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DATE

News (chronologically)

1/15/03

Yasukawa passes rookie test   Roger Yasukawa passed the Indy Racing League rookie test Jan. 14 at Phoenix International Raceway during his first test session with Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. Yasukawa, 25, from Los Angeles, is driving the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the new team, owned by CART driver Adrian Fernandez and former Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki, during the entire 16-race IRL IndyCar Series season this year. “It was great, and I am really happy about everything,” Yasukawa said of the two-day test. “The main thing was to pass the rookie test, which we accomplished, and to get used to the car and the team and how we work together. The crew did a fantastic job in preparing the car. It was amazing that we had no problems the first day. “It was a very valuable two days for me. I am getting more comfortable every time I go out. The car is much bigger, and the horsepower is triple what I am used to. The team did a fantastic job in putting the car together and keeping me under control. The car’s stability is very good, and I feel very comfortable in the car. The speed was a matter to get used to. The car is a blast to drive, and I am really enjoying it.” Indy Racing League Technical Manager Mark Bridges oversaw the test on the 1-mile desert oval.

1/15/03

Gordon's comments on hosting SNL  "It was awesome. It was a neat opportunity to be able to do that. They'd asked me to do it one other time, but I didn't have the guts to do it. I didn't have the time in the schedule to do it. They asked me when we were up there at the banquet. The only way I wanted to do it was to go through the entire six-day routine and rehearse and go through the skits and all that. They made it an awesome experience and treated me like gold. They allowed me to have input in everything. When you see all that's put into that show, it's pretty impressive. It's something I'll never forget. I was able to do things I never thought I'd do in front of a mirror - let alone on TV. It's pretty neat when you put a wig on and some facial hair and a costume - it allows you to be somebody else for a change. It was fun. I enjoyed it." "It was something you're nervous about but excited about at the same time. There was a skit that I read for the first time and I just laughed. I said no way was I going to do that. Just doing the Ricky Funk thing was probably the most fun thing I had a chance to do." "Well, you rehearse things a couple of times so you kind of know what's going to happen. It just depends on the reaction of the other actors. There were times they were really cutting up during rehearsals that you would just die laughing at when they start ad-libbing and doing things. I had such a blast, but I didn't want to screw-up too bad. There were times when I was laughing on the inside a lot and just trying to remember what my cue was and my lines and all that stuff. There were plenty of laughs, that's for sure."

1/15/03

Sirius may face bankruptcy  UPDATE Sirius Satellite is close to completing a $1 billion refinancing package which will give them cash to tide them over until they become profitable. Previous rumors that sponsorship of the No. 7 Ultra Motorsports team (Jimmy Spencer) was in trouble are likely false.   1/14/03 - NASCAR team sponsor (#7 Dodge) Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said it may be forced to file for Bankruptcy Court protection if the company, which offers more than 100 radio channels that can be heard across the U.S., can't complete a refinancing by June

1/15/03

New F1 rules will make things very interesting   Under Article 71a), each car will be required to go into parc fermè immediately after making its second qualifying run. All cars will be released simultaneously from parc fermè shortly before the start of the race, when all checks on all cars will have been completed. Does this mean the cars will race in qualifying trim or qualify in race trim? We know that how the cars are set up for qualifying bears no resemblance to how they're set up to race.  This will make things really interesting!  Warren Davis   One items has the possibility of making major changes to the sport in and of itself, the brakes. With such short braking distances from speed, F1 cars have little opportunity for overtaking under braking. The standard braking system should be designated as an iron system, rather than today's carbon fiber system. In addition to being dramatically less expensive than carbon-carbon brakes, iron brakes require far longer braking distances, enabling the passing of competitors under braking. They also don't absorb heat nearly as well as carbon brakes, which requires a finer touch on the part of the driver. Shaun Fagan

1/15/03

Tracy steps up to help with Canada ticket sales  According to this Toronto Sun article, It is no secret that for the past dozen seasons the Toronto Molson Indy relied heavily on Paul Tracy to add luster to the annual race by the lake. Yesterday he again stepped up to launch the public sale of tickets to the July racing festival. But he wonders why Molson Indy executives always pick the coldest day of winter to kick off ticket sales. The West Hill native left the warmth of Las Vegas to venture in to downtown Toronto, where the wind chill factor drove the thermometer to -19 C. "Last year when I came here the city was in the middle of a huge snowstorm," Tracy said. But he warmed up quickly with the announcement that renewals for the July 11-13 race already were up 12% from 2002. "It's always nice to race in my home town," he said. "It's a big deal for me and for the city." The 2003 season is one where Tracy will carry the heaviest load among drivers promoting the struggling Champ Car World Series (formerly CART). He also will carry the pressure to win a championship in an all-Canadian team made-to-order for him.

1/15/03

Miami attendance much lower than first thought   [Editor's Note: this race needs to be moved to a cooler time of year] According to this Miami Today article, Raceworks gave away nearly as many tickets as it sold for its October auto race in downtown Miami, according to a city audit. A memo from Victor Igwe, director of the Office of Internal Audits, reports that 14,526 tickets were sold for the Grand Prix Americas and 12,174 were given out for free. The numbers don't include tickets given away for hospitality, said Grand Prix Americas President Chuck Martinez. He estimated the race drew 85,000 over three days, counting a person for each race attended. Raceworks partner and Miami developer Willy Bermello in July had predicted 12,000 out-of-town fans. He owns 33.33% of Raceworks, attorney Peter Yanowitch 63.67% and racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi 3%. In the end, 25% to 28% of tickets sold were from Broward County, Mr. Martinez said. The rest, he said, came from "all over." In addition to tickets sales, about 40 people from each of the 77 racing teams came to Miami, he said, plus sponsors and media. The city got free tickets and about 1,500 went to the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority, Mr. Martinez said. That city agency in July gave Raceworks, which has a 25-year city license for the race, a $2 million loan to build infrastructure. Championship Auto Racing Teams, or CART, has vowed to buy 60% of Raceworks once the promoter and Miami settle a suit brought by Homestead-Miami Speedway because the race contract lacked competitive bidding. Mr. Martinez said this week a contract with CART should be signed by month's end. He attributed lower-than-expected attendance to a lack of marketing and the pending suit. "There were a lot of problems. The race was on and off because of the suit with Homestead Speedway," said former assistant city manager Frank Rollason, who said he wasn't surprised by low attendance and justified the free tickets in light of national TV coverage. "How much is that ad worth? How much better is it to give out tickets than have empty bleachers?" he said.

1/15/03

Gentilozzi to announce driver Friday  Paul Gentilozzi will announce his driver Friday at 1:00 PM EST.  That will preceded by the announcement of night races Thursday.  Mark C.

1/15/03

Pook: "20 cars within 10 days"  Chris Pook stated today in Montreal that CART has announced 15 cars so far for 2003, but they have 3 more contracts completed already and 2 more close to being completed.  He said 20 cars will be announced within the next 10 days (15 + 5 more)  Mark C.

1/15/03

More on Pollock team  During the press conference in Montreal today, Craig Pollock credited Russ Cameron, the Team Manager for PK Racing, as helping to hire the 30 employees they already have onboard in 6 short weeks.  Recall that Russ was going to start Horizon Motorsports by buying PacWest equipment and shop.  Instead Pollock bought the team and Russ is working for him in a major position.  Interestingly, Kevin kalkhoven called Craig Pollock about starting a team together....i.e. Pollock blamed Kevin for "all this."  First test will be Spring Training.  Only 5 days of testing before season.  Important that they hired experienced people. Mark C.

1/15/03

Panel approves Cleveland race through 2007, night race in store  2nd UPDATE Remember, the press conference to announce the night race is tomorrow (Thursday) and we expect both Milwaukee and Cleveland to be announced as night races.  1/11/03 - Today's Cleveland Plain-Dealer says, The news conference invitations are black, making it pretty obvious the next Cleveland Grand Prix will be held under the lights. The annual race at Burke Lakefront Airport, traditionally run on July Fourth weekend, is expected to be held on a Saturday night. The official word will come Thursday morning at Burke in an announcement of "significant developments that will revolutionize the face of racing in Cleveland," the invitation said.  Officials at Cleveland-based IMG, which promotes the race, would not give specifics on what has been in the works since at least the end of the last summer's race. IMG, the city and Championship Auto Racing Teams, which sanctions the event, have long said a new deal was in the works. But no official announcement has been made for the event or a race date. Privately, those close to the negotiations say they are "excited, thrilled and ecstatic" about the expected changes for the 22nd annual race. Night racing on the open-wheel circuit has been common for several seasons, but whatever IMG, CART and the city of Cleveland have in store apparently will go beyond that. "Cleveland will definitely be making history," Bud Stanner, president of IMG/Motorsports, said yesterday. "Our announcement will be the first of its kind in the world in both magnitude and scope. This will truly put Cleveland at the head of the pack, and add tremendous excitement for our sponsors and race fans."  1/9/03 - According to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, City Council's Aviation Committee yesterday approved a new five-year lease that allows the Cleveland Grand Prix to continue at Burke Lakefront Airport through 2007. The agreement with race promoter IMG Motorsports-Cleveland Inc. now must be approved by the Finance Committee and the full council on Monday. A previous five-year lease expired after last July's race. IMG must pay the city rent ranging from $80,000 this year to $100,000 by the end of the lease. It also must pay 5 percent of gross revenues above $5 million. In addition to the rent, IMG is responsible for covering city costs for services including police and fire protection, trash pickup and park maintenance. This year's race is scheduled for July 6. The lease does not require IMG to hold the auto race and says the firm can cancel the agreement at any time if the race is not sanctioned by the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) tour. Graham Hearns, who directs the Grand Prix for IMG, told the committee that the event pumps more than $20 million a year into the Cleveland economy. The race also provides weeks of work for laborers who set up grandstands and tents. Officials are looking at the possibility of racing on a Saturday night, but Hearns said it would take a massive lighting effort. The race is typically held on a Sunday afternoon.

1/15/03

IRL Pit Pass show schedule   The popular "Indy Racing League Pit Pass" television program is returning to ESPN2 for a second season in 2003, giving viewers in-depth, behind-the-scenes access to the drivers, teams and personalities of the IRL IndyCar Series and IRL Infiniti Pro Series. The first "Indy Racing League Pit Pass" episode of 2003 will be televised from 2:30-3 p.m. (EST) Thursday, Jan. 16, focusing on the final-race showdown for the IRL IndyCar Series title between Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves last September at the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Produced by IMS Productions and filmed primarily during the 2002 IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series seasons, each episode follows drivers or officials through the highs and lows of an entire weekend of competition, providing fans total access to the inner workings of a team. Narrated by nationally syndicated voice talent Laura Steele, each 30-minute show will be broadcast on ESPN2 and distributed worldwide by ESPN International. he 2003 "Indy Racing League Pit Pass" schedule (all times Eastern, New York):
Jan. 16
2:30-3 p.m.
2002 IndyCar Series championship showdown
Feb. 20
2:30-3 p.m.
Birth of the IRL Infiniti Pro Series
March 20
12:30-1 p.m.
George Mack
May 1
3-3:30 p.m.
Tomas Scheckter
May 15
3-3:30 p.m.
Helio Castroneves
June 19
2:30-3 p.m.
Robbie Buhl
July 16
3-3:30 p.m.
Gil de Ferran
Aug. 22
3:30-4 p.m.
Sarah Fisher
Sept. 18
2:30-3 p.m.
Pennzoil Panther Racing pit crew
Oct. 22
3-3:30 p.m.
Jeff Ward
Nov. 19
1:30-2 p.m.
Alex Barron
Dec. 18
3-3:30 p.m.
Firestone

1/15/03

Papis to drive Ferrari in Daytona 24-hours   JMB Racing USA Team Ferrari announced today that Max Papis will drive for the team at the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. Papis, who has raced competitively at Daytona since 1998, has finished on the class podium at the Rolex 24 every year except for 2001 when engine failure cut short his team's efforts. The Italian driver won his class in 2000 and captured the overall victory with Doran Lista Racing last year at the classic twice-around-the-clock event. The Italian driver will pilot JMB's #20 Ferrari 360GT with Brazilian Augusto Farfus and Andrea Garbagnati, of Monaco. The fourth driver of the #20 machine has yet to be announced. The team will also campaign the #22 Ferrari in the GT class, with Americans Ron Atapattu and Dr. Steve Earle joining Frenchman Phillip Shearer and Italian Ludovico Manfredi.

1/15/03

Make no mistake about it...stage is set   We here at AR1 have been saying that CART and F1 need to use a common lower-cost gasoline V-10 in 2005 and beyond.  If you read the new FIA regulations issued today, stripping the F1 engines of technology and unnecessary costs, the stage is set for a common, affordable V-10 for both series.  We are willing to bet Bernie and Max were able to sell the teams on stripping out technology today by promising them the NAFTA market through CART and the common engine formula.  Stay tuned and we shall see how it all plays out. F1 changes explained.  The Phoenix is about to rise.  Mark C.

1/15/03

Major changes for F1  The FIA issued the following at 17:15 GMT on Wednesday January 15th.  Despite the disappearance of two Formula One teams in the past twelve months, nothing has been done to save money.  Last October, the Formula One teams rejected all the FIA’s cost-saving proposals. The teams themselves have had several meetings, but produced nothing.  The FIA therefore invited the teams to a meeting at Heathrow Airport today and informed them that in order to reduce costs and improve the racing it will rigorously apply existing rules from the start of the coming season, in order to:

  • eliminate pit to car telemetry;

  • eliminate car to pit telemetry;

  • eliminate all radio communication between team and driver;

  • allow only two cars per team (ie no spare car);

  • place cars in parc fermè between final qualifying and the race (teams will be unable to work on them, except under strict supervision);

  • eliminate traction control, launch control and fully automatic gearboxes (possible derogation for all or part of 2003 to be followed by absolute enforcement in 2004, if necessary by means of standard electronic control units - you heard that here on AR1 too);

and that the FIA will also,

  • allow teams to use common components;

  • and that it intends to introduce sporting rules for 2004 which will

  • require the use of a standard braking system;

  • require the use of a standard rear wing;

  • require the use of long-life components;

  • ensure that car manufacturers involved in Formula One supply engines to all competing teams;

and that for 2005 it intends to bring in further sporting rules to require

  • engine life to be extended from one to two races; (sounds like CART)

  • a further extension to the life of major components;

  • new penalties for engine or component changes outside permitted times;

and that for 2006 it intends to bring in a further sporting rule to require

  • engine life to be extended to six races;

and that it will seek the agreement of the teams to introduce a new technical regulation to

  • eliminate the use of expensive exotic materials in any part of the car, including the engine.

  • The FIA note detailing and explaining the above was handed to the teams today.

Changes explained (Sounds like what AR1 has been proposing for awhile)

1/15/03

Wednesday test times from Barcelona  Weather: Dry and Cold Temperature: Track 15°; Air 13° (Track 4.728km)

Names Chassis Laptime Laps
David Coulthard McLaren 1m.15.278 38
Alex Wurz McLaren 1m.15.511 65
Kimi Räikkönnen McLaren 1m.16.158 37
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m.16.656 75
Olivier Panis Toyota 1m.16.884 33
Marc Gene Williams 1m.17.115 67
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m.17.278 74
Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m.17.775 30
Cristiano Da Matta Toyota 1m.18.124 95
Jenson Button BAR 1m.18.388 28
Mark Webber Jaguar 1m.18.732 73
Olivier Beretta Williams 1m.19.395 45
Fernando Alonso Renault 1m.20.515 46
Alan McNish Renault 1m.21.157 24

1/15/03

Bridgestone thrilled by CART move   The relationship between Bridgestone and Championship Auto Racing Teams grows stronger by the week; that's quite evident in the new Champ Car World Series branding logo unveiled today at CART headquarters. As Presenting Sponsor and Official Tire of the series in 2003, Bridgestone enjoys prominent exposure on the "Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford" emblem introduced by CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. What's more, elements of the logo design are synonymous with Bridgestone and its heritage. "Bridgestone Motorsport worked closely with CART and its associates to develop a logo representative of the Champ Car series and its most ardent supporters," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "This unique emblem is visually pleasing and defines the excitement and flavor of this demanding series. It provides the level of exposure our company wanted, which is important in our tire marketing efforts. And it offers race fans a quick visual connection between the key players, establishing a solid benchmark for the quality of racing they expect." Along with the globally recognized Bridgestone brand logo adorning the top of the new CART emblem, the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford logo features subtle arrows reminiscent of those on the sidewall of each and every Bridgestone Potenza racing radial that will be used by the Champ Cars in 2003. The addition of the arrows was no coincidence. "The arrows on the Champ Car World Series logo are symbolic of the way this series is moving forward in conjunction with its partner Bridgestone," Speyer said. "And that's precisely what we are doing together: building on an impressive past but moving ahead to a bright future. We at Bridgestone Motorsport are extremely proud to be a part of this new logo and to be an integral partner in Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford."

1/15/03

New Jordan hits the track  The 2003 Jordan made its first run today in Silverstone today. Here are the first photos.

1/15/03

CART to add two new big venues in 2004   Chris Pook announced today that CART will add two new big city markets to the 2004 CART schedule.  We pretty much know where, but can't say.

1/15/03

Pollock's PK Racing to expand to two cars   Craig Pollock confirmed today that his new CART team will soon expand to two cars, but will start with one car in St. Pete next month.  I think the JDS Uniphase connection explains a lot about the launch being in Montreal. JDS is a very strong presence in the Canadian high-tech scene with a big R and D operation in Ottawa. In fact, most people in the high tech industry speak of JDS as an Ottawa based firm.  A quick check on JDS website indicates their headquarters is shared between Ottawa Canada and San Jose California. Could we see a two car team with a Canadian and a US driver?  Pollock also mentioned he would love to have Jacques Villeneuve on his CART team in 2004.  "This has all come together very quickly," said Pollock. "The timing is perfect, because CART is in the process of reinforcing its organization and priorities, and has done a tremendous job in that regard over the last few months. "The fact that all CART teams will be running with the same engine this season will make the start-up a bit easier for us because it's a level playing field for everyone. If we do our jobs well, we should be able to field a competitive team. But we're going to make sure that we walk before we run." Kalkhoven said: "My interest in life is building businesses, and I regard PK Racing as a business. Craig and I have had the opportunity to discuss the business of racing quite frequently over the year, and I'm pleased that we are able to join forces in fielding a team in the CART series."

1/15/03

Russian drivers enter 12-hours Sebring  The international flavor of the American Le Mans Series has become even stronger with the entry of two Russian drivers in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The two drivers will be the first from Russia in the 51 years of America’s oldest sports car race and are believed to be among the few ever to compete in any major automobile race in the United States. The event will be held on Saturday, Mar. 15, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Nikolay Fomenko and Alexey Vassiliev, both of Moscow, will co-drive a Porsche 911 GT3 RS fielded by RWS-Yukos Motorsports of Switzerland. The racing team is operated by longtime racer Rudi Walch, who co-owns it with Hans Jorg Hofer. Both drivers are veterans of auto racing, most recently as competitors in the FIA GT Series in Europe in 2001 and 2002. Fomenko, 40, has been racing since 1995 and is well-known in Russia as an actor, showman, TV and radio presenter. Vasiliev, 31, has been racing since he was 14 and has enjoyed success in karting, rallying, ice racing and in touring cars. In GT racing, they drove Porsches for a German team, TNK Racing.

1/15/03

Foyt's son moves up to Cup  A.J. Foyt Racing formally announced the team’s 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series plans of Larry Foyt – A.J.’s son – campaigning for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors with sponsorship from Harrah's. A.J. Foyt has struggled with his operation since he returned to NASCAR Winston Cup as an owner in 2000. For 2003, Foyt has made some big changes. He'll switch car makes, hopping from Pontiacs to Dodges, and he'll end his own engine program and utilize engines from Evernham Motorsports. "It's a team effort," Foyt said. "We've had some good people. We've had some bad people. We just haven't had a team to pull it together all at 100 percent. Yes, it has been very frustrating. Every time I come down here, I didn't necessarily beat them all the time. I did beat them a few times, but at least I was up there until something happen. That's not the way I run my racing operation. I've worked real hard to turn it around." Foyt believes his son is ready to tackle the challenges of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "I’ve thrown him in here with a pack of wolves mainly on purpose and that's the best way to learn," Foyt said. Larry, who finished 20th in the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series point standings with two top-10 finishes, has set some reasonable goals for 2003 – qualify for all the races and be consistent. "My dad, as long as you're giving 100 percent, he's not going to be on you as bad," Larry said. "If you're just riding around, he has that uncanny eye to tell, he's going to be all over you. For me, it's get seat time and I want to run up front. Top 20s for me would almost be like a win."

1/15/03

Daytona offers fans chance to get up close  As the sport of NASCAR grows, more and more fans are trying to get closer to all the action. Daytona International Speedway is responding by offering several different race packages that put fans where they have never been before. If you want to watch the races from pit road, the Paddock Club Fan Suite is the way to go. This is the first time that suites in the Paddock Club have been opened to fans outside of hospitality or corporate packages. Fans will be able to drive inside the track, park next to their suite and enjoy three days of racing. Another new way to watch all the racing action outside of the track is through the Turn 3 Reserved Terrace Parking Package, which offers the only specialty vehicle parking outside of the track where you can still view all of the racing action. Guests will be able to park their specialty vehicle right next to fence alongside the Superstretch entering Turn 3.

1/15/03

St. Pete schedule set   The schedule for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix features three races Feb.23, including the marquee CART season opener. Cars will be on the waterfront street course for the first time at 8 a.m. Feb.21 with a Trans-Am series practice. The Champ Cars practice at 10 that day with the first round of qualifying that afternoon. The first race is the Barber Dodge event at 3:45 Feb.22. The remaining races will be Feb.23, with the Fran-Am series at 10:20 a.m., the Champ Cars at 1 p.m. and the Trans-Ams at 4.

1/15/03

Childress to build winery  NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and a business partner have announced plans to develop 70 acres for a winery, vineyard and hotel in Davidson County, NC. Childress, president of Richard Childress Racing Enterprises in Welcome, said the initial investment would be from $6 million to $8 million. "It's just something I've always wanted to do. And it's going to be a lot of fun," said Childress, who added that he has been going to California vineyards as a tourist for about 10 years. "Naturally, I want it to be profitable. But I think this is something the whole community can enjoy."  Childress and business partner Greg Johns of Greensboro plan to develop the land at the intersection of U.S. 64 and U.S. 52 west of Lexington. Plans include a 25,000-square-foot winery, a 25-acre vineyard, a hotel, restaurant and gift shop. AP

1/15/03

Mercedes willing to supply 2nd team  According to a report in The Guardian newspaper this morning, Mercedes-Benz says that it is willing to supply a engines to a second team in Formula 1 next year "under certain circumstances". The report says that these engines would be supplied for a cost of only $10m, considerably less than the money currently being demanded by Ferrari and Cosworth for their V10s this year.  The fallacy of this concept, which has become common in F1, is that the secondary teams never get engines as powerful as the primary team, meaning those teams go into a GP season knowing they have zero chance of winning a race.  We don't know about you, but we don't call that racing.  F1 must restructure its rules such that engines are less expensive to build and to buy, which will result in more manufacturers entering the series, something that is needed.  What Mercedes proposes is just continuing the mess F1 currently finds itself in.  Mark C.

1/15/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Da Matta Adjusts To Grand Prix Life
Davidson Backs Powerful Honda Claims
Willis Promises 'Substantially Better' 005
Sauber, Toyota Try New Cars In Spain
Coulthard Flies At Busy Barcelona Test
Jacques: Button Needs To Earn Respect
Richards Urges Bosses To Reform F1
Montoya: I Will Challenge For '03 Title
Albers Guaranteed 2004 Minardi Drive?
Arrows Wound Up In Birmingham Court
Ambiguity Leaves Door Open For Reform
Track Debut For Black Jordan EJ13
CART More Physical Than F1: Cristiano
Button Expects Difficult Year At B.A.R
Davidson: '03 Jordan Drive Unlikely

1/15/03

Yoong and Baby   Malaysia's first F1 and CART driver, Alex Yoong, today confirmed that his newborn son has been named Alister Yoong Yi-Ming. "We waited until today before introducing his name, as we were waiting for the boy's great-grandfather (my grandfather) to pick the Chinese name for him," said the happy father. “I’ve always been the sort of person who was not impressed by how cute babies are. But now that I’m a father, I see them in a totally new light and am completely besotted by my son,” Yoong added. “Arianna and I have decided to throw away the receipt as we will definitely be keeping this one.” Alister was born on January 10th at 10.03am in Kuala Lumpur. With the arrival of Alister, the Yoong family now spans five generations, as Alister's great-great-grandmother (Yoong's paternal great-grandmother) is still alive and well at age 102, in the Chinese city of Meixian in Guangdong province. Yoong confirms that he and his wife have planned to take Alister to visit her in China as soon as time permits.

1/15/03
Industry News

Land swap may yield Hawaii race track  According to this Hawaii newspaper article, a tentative agreement has been reached that allows the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to build homes for Native Hawaiians in Kunia and a private group to construct a new Hawai'i Raceway Park at Kalaeloa. Officials for DHHL and the group confirmed yesterday that the agreement had been reached after the Hawaiian Homes Commission unanimously cleared the way Dec. 19 for the department to negotiate the deal. Under the agreement, Hawai'i Motorsports Center Limited Partners would purchase 180 acres of agricultural land along Kunia Road across from the Royal Kunia subdivision, and exchange it for a 140-acre Hawaiian Home Lands parcel at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station to build a new raceway park. Mike Oakland of Hawai'i Motorsports Center LP, president of the general partnership that owns the existing Hawai'i Raceway Park, confirmed that the tentative deal would allow his organization to build a new race facility next to the state Kalaeloa Airport. The renamed Hawai'i Motorsports Center would be more than twice the size of the racing venue at Campbell Industrial Park.As for Hawai'i Raceway Park, Oakland believes an expanded racing facility could bring Hawai'i professional-level racing events, yet still be available for local drivers. Oakland said about 7,000 temporary bleachers at the current track would be brought over to the new site. Permanent bleachers would be phased in and total about 28,000 seats. He estimated it would cost about $20 million to construct a 1.1-mile tri-oval track, an interior 1-mile road course, a quarter-mile drag strip, a Ñ-mile stock car track, a go-cart track, start-line building, and 2,000 parking stalls. Oakland did not have an estimate for the facility's second phase, which would include pit-row facilities and a racing-theme amusement park. He estimated it would cost more than $100 million to expand to a world-class racing venue. "This track is going to come together in phases, slow and steady. But we think we'll get there," he said.

1/15/03

Fittipaldi a surprise fastest on Tuesday  Christian Fittipaldi was a surprise "fastest-driver-of-the-day" Tuesday, at NASCAR Preseason Thunder. Fittipaldi was in the Andy Petree-owned No. 33 Chevrolets. Car No. "33x" was the fast machine, with a 183.561-mph lap, posted in the afternoon session, leading the day's speeds. Fittipaldi is a heralded rookie, the nephew of former Formula One and Indy 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and comes to NASCAR from the CART open-wheel circuit. He also tested for Petree last week at Daytona, in the No. 55 Chevrolet. "You find the precision [in a race car] in your own way," Fittipaldi said, when asked to compare the feel of CART machines to full-body stock cars. "I think every motor racing vehicle has a soft spot to it."

Speeds from Tuesday afternoon's Winston Cup preseason test session at Daytona International Speedway (with car number, driver, car make and speed):

1. (33X) Christian Fittipaldi, Chevrolet, 183.561

2. (12b) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 183.408

3. (88A) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 183.083

4. (12A) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 183.035

5. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 183.035

6. (6A) Mark Martin, Ford, 183.027

7. (45A) Kyle Petty, Dodge, 182.622

8. (23B) Kenny Wallace, Dodge, 182.515

9. (8B) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 182.515

10. (30) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 182.508

11. (40A) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 182.312

12. (40) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 182.065

13. (88B) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 182.002

14. (25B) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 181.917

15. (32B) Ricky Craven, Pontiac, 181.906

16. (21M) Ricky Rudd, Ford, 181.848

17. (9B) Bill Elliott, Dodge, 181.778

18. (7) Jimmy Spencer, Dodge, 181.752

19. (45B) Kyle Petty, Dodge, 181.657

20. (22A) Ward Burton, Dodge, 181.587

21. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 181.565

22. (19A) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 181.528

23. (14) Larry Foyt, Dodge, 181.459

24. (0B) Jack Sprague, Pontiac, 181.291

25. (24B) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 181.258

26. (31) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 181.207

27. (23A) Kenny Wallace, Dodge, 181.138

28. (9A) Bill Elliott, Dodge, 180.926

29. (31X) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 180.861

30. (24A) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 180.828

31. (25a) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 180.730

32. (22B) Ward Burton, Dodge, 180.614

33. (7A) Jimmy Spencer, Dodge, 180.556

34. (19B) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 180.357

35. (6B) Mark Martin, Ford, 180.274

36. (60) David Green, Chevrolet, 180.144

37. (32A) Ricky Craven, Pontiac, 180.097

38. (21) Ricky Rudd, Ford, 180.014

39. (29A) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 179.924

40. (57) Jeff Fultz, Ford, 179.695

41. (16A) Greg Biffle, Ford, 179.655

42. (54A) Geoffrey Bodine, Ford, 179.512

43. (0A) Jack Sprague, Pontiac, 179.512

44. (54) Geoffrey Bodine, Ford, 179.119

45. (11) Brett Bodine, Ford, 179.065

46. (33) Christian Fittipaldi, Chevrolet, 178.990

47. (16B) Greg Biffle, Ford, 178.813

48. (57a) Jeff Fultz, Ford, 177.235

1/15/03

Super Aguri Fernandez Racing complete first test   Super Aguri Fernandez Racing today concluded a successful two-day test at Phoenix International Raceway with Roger Yasukawa turning his first laps aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone in preparation for the team’s debut in the IRL IndyCar Series. Under the watchful eye of IRL officials, Yasukawa also passed the first stage of his required Rookie evaluation test this afternoon and is now cleared to test with other drivers. “I am extremely pleased with the progress of the team, with our new engineer John Dick and with Roger,” said Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director. “Roger’s feedback is very precise, his times are very consistent and he got up to speed very quickly. I am very, very pleased with his progress. “This is the first time in my career that I have come to the first test of the season with a new chassis and new engine and have run 300 miles in two days. It is a tremendous credit to both Honda and Dallara, because the reliability was phenomenal.” Yasukawa, 25, of Los Angeles, was the 1999 CART Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the championship in 2001. He graduated to the Atlantic series in 2002 netting three podiums, including a win in Milwaukee, and finishing 10th in the points in only a partial season of competition. “It was great and I am really happy about everything,” said Yasukawa of his inaugural outing. “The main thing was to pass the Rookie test, which we accomplished, and to get used to the car and the team and how we work together. The crew did a fantastic job in preparing the car. It was amazing that we had no problems the first day. “It was a very valuable two days for me. I am getting more comfortable every time I go out. The car is much bigger and the horsepower is triple what I am used to. The team did a fantastic job in putting the car together and keeping me under control. The car’s stability is very good and I feel very comfortable in the car. The speed was a matter to get used to. The car is a blast to drive and I am really enjoying it.

1/15/03

What is all the fuss about 19,000 RPM?   Bob Varsha, while announcing the F3000 race in France, stated that Toyota took one of their 2002 Champ Car engines and revved it to over 18,000rpm for an entire race distance. It lasted and doesn't even have pneumatic valves!  What is all this hype about the 19,000 rpm barrier in BMW again?

1/14/03

Indy Speedway added to NASCAR simulators  The world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval will soon become a part of the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway experience when the track is added to the unique racing center simulators on February 2. William R. Donaldson, Chairman and CEO of Interactive Motorsports and Entertainment Corp., announced the second new addition to the mall-based NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway racing centers in the past three and a half months. Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway. “We are very pleased to offer our customers the opportunity to experience racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at each of our 12 racing centers,” said Donaldson. “We have had many, many requests to add Indianapolis, and we are happy to now offer the Brickyard to our customers.” 

1/14/03

New CART website?   Will CART launch a new website on Wednesday?  It appears so as http://www.champcarworldseries.com now mirrors CART.com.

1/14/03

Legal battle between DE and Kannapolis  Dale Earnhardt's widow has asked city officials in Kannapolis to stop using the late driver's name and likeness on materials associated with a statue and park until they get her approval. George Taulbee, an attorney representing Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Inc., said Monday he asked officials with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute to end all use of fund-raising fliers and billboards until the materials have been authorized. "We're hopeful this can be resolved because everybody wants the statue and the park to be an appropriate memorial to Dale," Taulbee said. "But materials that display his name and image require approval before they are used, and that approval has not been obtained."

1/14/03

Back pain forces Ralf out again  After back pain forced him out of the cockpit on Monday morning after just five laps of the Barcelona circuit, Ralf Schumacher tried again on Tuesday morning, only to suffer more back pain. As a result, Ralf has opted to sit out the remaining test days this month to allow himself time to heal properly. "Of course, it's a pity that I'm not in the condition to complete the tests,” he said. “But it doesn't make any sense if you can hardly move. I wasn't due to test in the near future anyway. I'm going to take a break until the presentation of the new car in order to really get my strength back." Williams have employed Olivier Beretta on the short term, the month of January, to take over Ralf's scheduled duties. 33-year-old Beretta used to race in the series, albeit briefly, back in 1994 when he completed ten events for Larousse.

1/14/03

Magnussen lands LeMans ride in Audi  Jan Magnussen with drive an Audi R8 for the Japanese Team Goh outfit it was announced today.  After struggling with the Panoz for many years, Magnussen welcomes the chance at getting his hands on the Audi.

1/14/03

CART stock watch  

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.38 Down $0.01 on Volume of 125,100 shares.
$2.73 Bid - $3.71 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.20 / $3.41
MPH Value Change Down 0.29%
DOW Jones Up 56.64 or 0.64% on Volume of 1.68 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 14.97 or 1.04%
S&P 500 Up 5.4 or 0.58%

1/14/03

Next Tuesday big day for NASCAR  Next Tuesday is a big day for NASCAR and AutoRacing1.com will be there. The annual media tour will spend a considerable amount of time taking a first hand look at the efforts of the new Research and Development center. According to one individual at NASCAR, this visit by the media is the most important item on “Bill France’s radar.” The visit aside, it was heartening to hear France’s name spoken as the leader of the sanctioning body after an extended battle with cancer.  Stan Creekmore

1/14/03

CART open test at Laguna Seca   Championship Auto Racing Teams has scheduled a two-day open test available to all Champ Car teams competing the in 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The open sessions are slated for Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th on the historic 2.238-mile permanent road course in the California countryside that has played host to Champ Car racing since 1983. Four sessions, totaling 13 hours of on-track activity, are scheduled at Laguna Seca where Champ Car open tests have been staged four of the past five years. The Champ Car test comes on the heels of Laguna Seca's upcoming January 17th unveiling of its new premier pit row suites and garages. CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook is scheduled to be on hand for this Friday's unveiling ceremonies. The premier pit row suites will consist of 12 state-of the-art suites, situated on top of 10 double-car garages. The new complex represents Phase 1 of a major capital improvement campaign for the facility. The full complement of Champ Car teams and drivers competing in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will be unveiled at Champ Car Spring Training events held in St. Petersburg, Florida, February 2-3 and nearby Sebring International Raceway, February 4-6.

1/14/03

BTCC calendar revised to support CART race   “Brands Hatch is looking forward to hosting the CART event and are confident that our facilities and infrastructure, together with the unique atmosphere of Brands Hatch, will provide a fantastic setting for this important new addition to the motorsports calendar,” said Andrew Waller, Group Marketing Director of Octagon Motorsports UK. “With two such prestigious series coming together for the bank holiday weekend, we anticipate a strong turnout and some stunning single-seater, production and saloon car racing.”

2003 BTCC Meeting dates

1 & 2 - April 21st - Mondello Park

11 & 12 - July 13th - Rockingham

3 & 4 - May 5th - Brands Indy*

13 & 14 - August 9th (Sat) - Snetterton

5 & 6 - May 26th - Thruxton

15 & 16 - August 25th - Brands Indy

7 & 8 - June 8th - Silverstone

17 & 18 - September 7th - Donington

9 & 10 - June 22nd - Croft

19 & 20 - September 21st - Oulton Park

1/14/03

SPEED to announce Truck broadcast team  SPEED Channel will officially introduce it's five-member on-air team for the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Monday, Jan. 20 as part of the Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour.

1/14/03

Tuesday test times from Barcelona 

David Coulthard McLaren 1m.15.266 61
Marc Gene Williams 1m.16.568 69
Nick Heidfeld Sauber Petronas 1m.16.688 81
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m.16.828 39
Olivier Panis Toyota 1m.17.066 34  (2003 Car)
Alex Wurz McLaren 1m.17.307 48
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber Petronas 1m.17.909 68
Cristiano Da Matta Toyota 1m.19.092 38  (2002 Car)
Olivier Beretta Williams 1m.19.160 53

1/14/03

Honda promises more power for BAR  B.A.R will benefit from exclusive Honda factory engines in 2003; and the Japanese manufacturer are promising 'more power' and 'improved torque' with the RA003e V10. As they hit the livery with a prominent sponsorship arrangement this year, Project Leader Takeo Kiuchi thinks that Honda and B.A.R are ready to compete 'at the highest level in Formula One.' He added: 'The whole team are determined to give the fans some exciting racing this year.' The all-new B.A.R Honda 005 will make its testing debut tomorrow, Wednesday, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona - new boy Jenson Button to take the driving wheel. The Japanese admitted a 'difficult time' for the manufacturer since returning in 2000. 'We have not been satisfied with our performance and we want to do better,' he admitted. Takeo Kiuchi, talking openly as the wraps fell off a sleek 005 challenger for the official launch at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, was race engineer to the late, great Ayrton Senna in the early 1990s. 'In 2003 we want to start the season competitively,' he continues. 'The RA003E is more than 15kg lighter than last year's engine; it revs to more than 19,000rpm and the torque curve is improved, too. 'Our target is to get into a position to fight for the world title as soon as possible. In short, Honda is committed to B.A.R, to Formula One and to winning.' But this year, even more so than 2002, Honda will continue to play a role in the joint chassis development program with the Brackley grand prix constructors. Honda is also providing additional financial support to the team with noticeably stronger branding, including on the rear wing, on the new B.A.R Honda 005. The greater visible link to the team will provide all Honda staff and fans around the world with a greater sense of 'pride, involvement and motivation towards our F1 activities,' explained Kiuchi.

1/14/03

NASCAR renews ATC deal  NASCAR has renewed its contract with New York-based Alan Taylor Communications (ATC) for consumer public relation services in 2003. ATC, which has been on board with NASCAR since December of 2000, will continue to focus on activities to drive coverage of races in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications: “Over the last several years, we’ve made huge strides in the quantity and quality of coverage we are seeing in the top metropolitan markets. “Having a premier firm like Alan Taylor Communications as a resource has and will continue to help us maximize our efforts in this critical initiative.”

1/14/03
Industry News

Field set for oval-track supremacy  True Value IROC officials recently announced the field for the 2003 True Value International USA Oval Track Race of Champions (We call it Oval Track Race of Champions because that is all it is). The field will consist of representation from five major USA oval track racing series and the returning series champion.
(Note: Listed in Alphabetical Order)
1. Greg Biffle (NASCAR Busch) - 1st Year
2. Mike Bliss (NASCAR Craftsmen Truck) - 1st Year
3. Kurt Busch (NASCAR Winston Cup) - 1st Year
4. Helio Castroneves (IRL IndyCar) - 2nd Year
5. Felipe Giaffone (IRL IndyCar) - 1st Year
6. Kevin Harvick (NASCAR Winston Cup) - 2nd Year (2002 Champion)
7. Sam Hornish (IRL IndyCar) - 2nd Year
8. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR Winston Cup) - 1st Year
9. Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws) - 4th Year
10. Danny Lasoski (World of Outlaws) - 2nd Year
11. Mark Martin (NASCAR Winston Cup) - 10th Year (Four-Time Champion)
12. Ryan Newman (NASCAR Winston Cup) - 1st Year
2003 True Value IROC Series Schedule:
1. Daytona International Speedway - February 14, 2003
2. Talladega Superspeedway - April 5, 2003
3. Chicagoland Speedway - July 12, 2003
4. Indianapolis Motor Speedway - August 2, 2003

1/14/03

Evernham personnel changes  Evernham Motorsports announced that several key personnel have assumed new duties within the organization. Effective immediately, Kenny Francis assumes the role of team director. Prior to accepting this position, Francis was race engineer for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge driven by Bill Elliott. Derek Jones assumes Francis' former duties in addition to his duties as senior engineer for Evernham Motorsports. Dr. Eric Warren, technical director, continues to oversee all engineering aspects related to the Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepids. Mike Shiplett assumes the role of lead mechanic for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Shiplett comes to Evernham Motorsports from the No. 7 Dodge Winston Cup team. Josh Browne assumes the role of race engineer. His responsibilities include supervision of all engineering aspects specific to the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. "We have a lot of knowledgeable people working at Evernham Motorsports, and we decided to distribute that knowledge a little differently," said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. "These changes reflect our commitment to bringing the best possible product to the race track for the Dodge Dealers and all of our valued partners. Kenny has been an integral part of the success of our organization, and I know he will continue to do so in his new role. The addition of Mike Shiplett and the transition of Josh to the No. 19 team solidifies Evernham Motorsports' commitment to using technological based decisions to enhance our on-track performance. "We have restructured a little differently than the traditional Winston Cup operation, but this sport is growing in such monumental ways that sometimes traditional ways need to be updated." Earlier this year, Evernham Motorsports announced that the No. 19 Dodge team would run under a new management system consisting of a team director, a lead mechanic and a race engineer. The No. 9 Dodge team assumes this structure as well and remains intact with Mike Ford as the director of operations, Bobby Foley as the lead mechanic with Jones as race engineer for the team.

1/14/03

Memo pretty popular in Hawaii   A reader writes, Dear AR1, While Hawaii is somewhat isolated from the world of motorsports, we have plenty of interest and more active participants than many realize. I hope CART realizes how much Memo's annual kart clinic has done for increasing awareness and enthusiasm for karts AND CART in the 50th state.  J. Wade, Hawaii

1/14/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Dario Thinks Da Matta Could Struggle
Cautious Approach For Jaguar And Webber
Cristiano Da Matta Grapples With Grooves
Air Supply For Swiss Team Sauber
Race Approach For Tester Allan McNish
David On Juan: All Brawn And No Brain
Three Cars For F1 As Grid Declines?
New Sauber C22 Makes Barcelona Debut
Williams Back To Work At Barcelona
Reform To Return Cheats To Formula One?
Davidson: Minardi My Toughest Challenge
Coulthard: Flat Out Despite New Rules
Brief: Italians, Brazilians And Skis
Zonta Eager For One-Lap Challenge
Pizzonia Targets '03 Points And Podiums
McNish Eyes 2003 Role As Shop-Window
Williams Tester Backs 2003 Success

1/14/03

All fired up   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Man, I'm getting so fired up right now about the up coming season. I'm now really beginning to believe that the new young guns coming in will definitely keep the talent level above anything the IRL can throw at it. People are starting to turn their heads again (actually more people than ever considering attendance figures and the new obvious European interest). The new teams. The tradition of staying with the 4 different types of circuits. The new logo. The new formula. The rebirth. Even the crazy series title is brilliant because everyone is talking about it and keeping the focus on the Champ Car World Series. May the best man/team win!!!!  I've never been to Cleveland, but I am now. I can't wait for a night race on the airport!!! D. Hughes Atlanta, GA

1/13/03

Sometimes things are meant to happen   Some lament at last years cancelled CART race at the EuroSpeedway.  We are of the opinion things happen for a reason, though we don't always see it at the time.   They cancelled race because the tracks financial troubles, but it turned out to be a good thing, because the race would NOT have happened anyway, due to the major flooding that happened during the week the race was supposed to happen. The flooding around the area was severe, with many roads flooded over, and people evacuating the entire area.

1/13/03

Sneak peek at new CART logo   According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, CART appears to have given those attending the 33rd annual Auto Racing All-American Team banquet in Pomona on Saturday night a look at its new logos days ahead of their official unveiling. On page 10 of the program in the lower-right corner is what looks to be CART's new logo featuring the open-wheel racing series' new major sponsors Bridgestone and Ford. CART was forced to change the name of the series when FedEx pulled out as the title sponsor after the 2002 season. The CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) logo also gets a new look as officials apparently have moved away from the checkered flag graphic featuring the colors red, white and blue. The formal unveiling of the new logo is scheduled for Wednesday.

1/13/03

SPEED to televise 16 hours of Daytona live   Grand American Road Racing Association announced that it has reached an agreement with SPEED Channel to broadcast 16 hours of live coverage of the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. SPEED Channel's live coverage of America's great road race will begin on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET, with pre-race ceremonies and Grand Marshal Bobby Rahal saying the most famous words in motorsports - "Drivers start your engines." The green flag will fall at 1 p.m. ET, and SPEED Channel will follow the action live into the night. Saturday's broadcast will end at 9 p.m. ET Live coverage will resume Sunday morning at 6 a.m. ET, where SPEED Channel will update race fans with what happened during the night and follow the final hours of racing live to the checkered flag at 1 p.m. ET. and the Victory Lane celebration that follows. SPEED Channel is the only 24-hour cable network devoted to the millions of people who love racing. The network features authentic coverage of major events, in addition to the latest industry and consumer news. SPEED Channel is the exclusive American broadcaster of the Rolex Sports Car Series. For program listings and availability of SPEED Channel in an area visit www.speedtv.com. Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE.

1/13/03

Monterrey seating stays same   If you look at the seating chart for the 2003 CART race in Monterrey, you will see one less grandstand (Grandstand #8).  The one at the end of pit road has been removed.  However, others have been enlarged, so the total seating remains at 60,000.

1/13/03

Race partner, Octagon, ignores CART   If you go to Octagon's website for Brands Hatch http://www.octagonmotorsports.com/ you will see zero mention of the upcoming CART race on May 5th.  Octagon was hired last year to help CART with several marketing related things and for international TV negotiations.  To not even mention the CART race is a slap in the face to CART. Eurospeedway had their announcement up the same day the race was announced.  Let's hope the rumors of Bernie Ecclestone buying Octagon are true, because certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.

1/13/03

Carpenter to drive for his Godfather   Ed Carpenter, step-son of Tony George, will drive for his God-Father, A.J. Foyt, in the 2003 IRL Infiniti Pro Series, team officials announced Jan. 13. Carpenter, 21, will drive the No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/Zippo/Jack K. Elrod Co. Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which won the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series title with A.J. Foyt IV in 2002. Foyt IV is climbing to the IRL IndyCar Series this year. “I wanted to stay in the Infiniti Pro Series as a team owner, and I thought Ed did a good job last year, so I called him to see if he’d drive for me,” Foyt said. “I think Ed has a lot of potential, and I think I can teach him some things to make him an even better driver.” For 2001 USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Carpenter, the chance to drive for the legendary Foyt is a dream come true. “I’m looking forward to it a lot,” said Carpenter, who finished third in the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series championship driving for Sinden Racing Service. “I felt like it was a big opportunity when A.J. called me and offered me a chance to drive for him and his team.” Carpenter, from Indianapolis, has modeled his racing career on Foyt’s. Carpenter also has raced on asphalt and dirt short tracks in USAC Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget competition. “He has been one of my heroes for my whole career,” Carpenter said. “In his career, he was the type of guy that could get in any type of car and drive anything, and that’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do the last couple of years. I’ve been racing in so many different series. I’m just looking forward to working with him and trying to get as much knowledge out of him as I can.” After a strong rookie season in which he earned six top-five and three top-three finishes in seven events, Carpenter aims for even greater success in 2003. “My ultimate goal is to win the Infiniti Pro Series championship, but what we didn’t do last year was win any races,” Carpenter said. “Winning races and qualifying on the pole are the two things I didn’t do, and those are things I’m going to need to do to win a championship. I think we’ll be able to get that done with Foyt.”

1/13/03

CART missing boat  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, how come you publish test lap times for F1, NASCAR and IRL, yet for CART all we get are stories.  As a fan I want to know who is going quick in the off-season.  Telling me someone tests means absolutely nothing.  Greg Kelleye, Harrisburg, PA, Dear Greg, We do not always publish CART lap times from pre-season testing because the teams do not provide them and CART does not mandate them.  We have harped on CART for years about this, but it just falls on deaf ears.  While we can respect their desire for secrecy (no one is more secret than F1 teams yet their test times are published), sometimes we wonder if they care what the fans want.  Mark C.

1/13/03

Junqueira completes first 2003 test  Brazilian Bruno Junqueira completed his first two-day test with Newman/Haas Racing late Friday, January 10 at the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway and ran a combined total of more than 400 miles over the two days in the new Ford/Cosworth-Lola-Bridgestone package. Newman/Haas Racing will attempt to defend their 2002 CART title in the upcoming Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford series set to open on February 23, in St. Petersburg, Fla. as well as earn their third consecutive season-opening victory. "I was looking forward to the test for a long time and I think it went well," said Junqueira. "I was more comfortable in the car as the test went on and was able to get to know my crew for the first time. We were trying new set-ups for the Ford engine and working to adapt the team's existing set-ups to our new package. We know we have more things to learn before we are ready for the first race but everyone is excited about starting the season." Junqueira will begin his third season in the Championship Auto Racing Team's (CART) premier series in 2003 and first at NHR. He was the runner-up in the 2002 CART Championship to NHR driver and fellow Belo Horizonte, Brazil native Cristiano da Matta and won races in Japan and Denver, finished on the podium six times and earned four pole positions. "We were able to complete a good amount of miles for Bruno's first test which was our first priority," said Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "We knew he is a talented driver based on his performance and the fact that he was one of the biggest threats we had to win the 2002 championship but being able to work with him enforced that belief. Not only were we attempting to learn how to best communicate with him, we were also learning about the Ford/Cosworth. We left Sebring with a long list of things we want to work on before we run in Laguna Seca and Spring Training." The next scheduled test for Newman/Haas Racing will take place at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca road course January 25-27 and will be followed by CART's annual Spring Training media event which will be held at Sebring International Raceway Feb. 4-6.

1/13/03

Todd Bodine signs with BelCar Racing  Sam Belnavis and Travis Carter announced today the formation of BelCar Racing. The minority-owned organization will field the No. 54 Army National Guard Ford Taurus driven by Todd Bodine for the entire 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Belnavis, the majority shareholder, intends on making a long-term impact with BelCar Racing by being the first minority-owned team in NASCAR’s 55-year history to run a full schedule in the series top division. “Our involvement in racing is focused on enhancing the diversity effort in NASCAR as well as increasing the recruitment efforts and retention rates of our primary advertiser, the Army National Guard,” said Belnavis, chairman of BelCar Racing. “The Army National Guard, along with our driver, Todd Bodine and the resources that Travis Carter brings with him, are helping us lay the groundwork for a successful future in Winston Cup racing.”  BelCar Racing will operate out of the Travis Carter Enterprises complex.

1/13/03

Herdez team completes first test of 2003  Herdez Competition completed a three-day testing regimen last Friday at the 1.65 mile Sebring International Raceway in Florida with Roberto Moreno at the wheel. Moreno took over testing duties from 2002 CART Rookie of the Year Mario Dominguez, who continues to recuperate from shoulder surgery that took place in December. While unable to participate in driving duties, Dominguez attended the first two days of the test as a part of the team. While Moreno completed three days of engine development work for Ford-Cosworth prior to Christmas, this was his first time in a current specification Champ car for some time and he was thrilled to be back. “For me, it’s quite important to get back behind the wheel after a year away,” Moreno said. “Despite all of my experience, it takes time to get used to being in the car. The work I did for Ford last year was really focused on working on the engine mapping – once that was right, I turned over the car to a group of Toyota Atlantic drivers and spend the balance of that test coaching them. “So this was really my first time for awhile in a test focused on developing car set up. I really enjoyed the interaction with (chief engineer) Tom Brown and the other engineering staff and the chance to try out a current specification Lola chassis. I haven’t been in a Lola chassis since the Homestead race in 1997 so that was an adjustment as well.” “We feel it was a good test overall,” added Herdez Competition Managing Director Keith Wiggins. “We achieved all of our objectives during the test, which were primarily focused on evaluating the 2003 specification package and making sure were headed in the right direction from an engineering standpoint.” The team is still finalizing plans for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season and hopes to soon announce the addition of a second full time entry for the first time in its history. The team’s testing program will continue January 20th, when the team returns to Sebring with Dominguez at the helm.

1/13/03

Montoya on top in Barcelona  Williams and Sauber were in testing action again on Monday at Barcelona. Williams continued their recent heavy testing workload as they ran both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, as well as test driver Marc Gene. It was Montoya who set the pace, finishing the day 0.6s seconds up on Gene. Schumacher completed only a handful of laps and propped up the timesheets.
1 MONTOYA Williams BMW 1m17.793s
2 GENE Williams BMW 1m18.397s
3 FRENTZEN Sauber Petronas 1m18.691s
4 HEIDFELD Sauber Petronas 1m18.897s
5 R. SCHUMACHER Williams BMW 1m19.637s

1/13/03
Skip Barber

Skip Barber adds Pi Data Systems  Skip Barber Racing School announced today the implementation of the Pi VIDS (Video Indexed Data System) for use in Computer Lapping sessions. The Computer Lapping program allows drivers to accelerate their learning curve with the help of data acquisition and analysis. Drivers can analyze their laps with a sophisticated data collection system that monitors and records throttle position, speed, engine RPM and braking points over the course of each lap, giving the drivers information about how to improve their driving and lower their lap times. The addition of the new Pi system now allows on-car recording of real time video images onto removable memory cards. These MPEG video files are offloaded from the car by removing the memory card from the Pi VIDS unit and then are replayed with Pi V6 analysis software, which synchronizes the image displayed with the V6 dataset from the Pi logger that was recorded simultaneously. The system comprises a color CCD camera, a solid state video recorder, a playback add-on for V6 Analysis, and a software setup utility for configuring the camera and the MPEG recorder. The Pi Video Indexed Data System images are recorded at up to 30 frames per second in MPEG format. The output from an end-of-lap beacon is used to index the end of lap points onto the MPEG file. V6 Analysis then uses this index to synchronize the video playback with the cursor position in the V6 software. The computer cars are being deployed into the fleet of Skip Barber Racing School Formula Dodge for use at a wide variety of locations across the country. Skip Barber Racing School is the Official Racing School of CART. The Dodge division of DaimlerChrysler, Michelin, and Quaker State are key strategic and marketing partners for the School.

1/13/03

All teams spying on DEI  There's no question that the DEI stable of racecars seems to have the inside track as far as performance at Daytona. And now other teams, including other Chevy teams, are trying to figure out what the advantage is. Recently in the garage area, a Hendrick Motorsports employee, in street cloths, was seen taking pictures of competitors' car noses and tails. This week there's been a lot of open talk regarding the rear bumper cap and rear-end styling of the DEI cars. There's no doubt that there's a visual difference in those areas between the DEI cars and the other Chevys. But NASCAR doesn't inspect cars during these test sessions - unless requested - so, it wouldn't matter how DEI, or any other team, trimmed any aspect of their car. The question is whether the other teams can figure out the DEI advantage and implement it themselves. This will be a challenge with less than four weeks until the Daytona 500.

1/13/03

Johansson to still drive  When it was announced recently that Stefan Johansson was going to become a team owner in the CART series, many fans of the American Le Mans Series wondered if they had seen Johansson drive his last race. They needn’t have worried. The popular Swede plans to continue driving in 2003 and will start his season in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on March 15, seeking his third win in America’s oldest sports car race. Johansson, who formerly raced in Formula One and in CART, has raced sports cars much of his career and almost exclusively for the last few years. He has been a regular competitor on the American Le Mans Series since the formation of the series in 1999 and drove for Champion Racing in an Audi R8 during the 2002 season.

1/13/03
F3

Piquet to use Ralt   Ralt has sold an F3 car to Piquet Racing following two successful tests in Brazil at the end of last year. Nelsinho Piquet, son of former World Champion Nelson Pquet, covered nearly 2,000 kilometers in the car without encountering any significant problems. “We were delighted when Nelson told us in December, while we were still in Brazil, that Piquet Sports wanted to buy the car from us. The team is running Nelsinho in the British series this year, but I understand will not make a decision on which car to run until evaluating our opposition. Apart from this, there is some interest from a couple of other teams who have been watching our car’s progress over the past 12 months,” said Ralt boss Steve Ward.

1/13/03

Brands Hatch tickets on sale  Better get your Brands Hatch tickets soon because they are going to go fast.  Telephone (+44) 1327 850270 International/ 01327 850270 within UK.
Cost £40 (US$65) General Admission,
£55 (US$90) Grandstands
£15 (US$25) Paddock Pass
£10 (US$16) per person per night for camping
£70 (US$ 112) 3 day pass
Parking Free.

1/13/03

Head warns FIA  According to the Williams technical director Ferrari could once again come under the spotlight if either of their two drivers won the Australian Grand Prix whilst traction control was banned. Head doesn't want a return to the pre-traction control days when Ferrari's engine management system was alleged to mimic traction control. "Even if there were a sudden decision next week and we went to Melbourne without traction control," he told The Guardian, "everyone would just assume that Ferrari were cheating again." Head believes that if the FIA wants to implement a ban then they would have to make all the teams use a standard electronic control unit supplied by motorsport's governing body [Editor's Note: Exactly what AR1 proposed previously and what we think CART and F1 will do in 2005 when new engine rules come into effect]. If this does not happen he feels accusations will be making the headlines again.

1/13/03

Castrol backs Montoya  Castrol Oil has signed on as an associate sponsor for young Williams BMW sensation Juan Montoya.

1/13/03

Dario thinks da Matta will do well  Cristiano Da Matta has received a vote of confidence from his former CART rival Dario Franchitti. The Scot was impressed with Da Matta in the American series and believes he has the skill to achieve the same success in Formula One. “Cristiano did a fantastic job this year to win the CART Champ Car series and I think he is going to do well in F1,” said Franchitti, who was appearing at the Autosport International in Birmingham. “I think it will be difficult for him because, knowing Cristiano's style quite well, he likes a car with a bit of understeer and from what I understand the Toyota is quite notorious for its oversteer. But if they can that sorted out and get the car to his liking. “I think he is incredibly talented he just needs the right opportunity,” he concluded.

1/13/03
F3000

Brand rumors false   [Note, we had heard of rumors that Brand might enter the two CART European races in 2003 and then move to the IRL, but not that drivers had been signed as apparently some rumors suggested and alluded to in this press release.  Brand was never added to our 2003 CART Silly Season Page because we can't see CART giving any motors to a team that will use CART and then dump them to move to the IRL in 2004...unless of course the rumors of them moving to the IRL are false.  What would a European road racing team want with an all-oval American series that races primarily in tertiary markets?].  Recent rumors suggesting that Brand Motorsports has already signed two drivers for its 2003 FIA International F3000 and CART campaigns are false, and a press release containing Brand logos has been constructed by an unknown third party. An official announcement will be made as soon as drivers and sponsors are confirmed. The announcement will be circulated, as usual, via email and on the official Brand Motorsports website (www.brandmotorsports.com)

1/13/03

MG and John Judd reach agreement  MG Sport & Racing Limited and Engine Developments Limited are delighted to announce that they have reached agreement for the V8 & V10 Sportscar engines produced by Engine Developments at its Rugby factory, to be known as MG XPower engines from 2003 onwards. This agreement is part of the ongoing association between the two companies that began with the intended CART engine program announced in 2002. John Judd, managing director, Engine Developments Limited said: “This is an important part of the growth and realization of our Sportscar racing activities, and we are delighted that we have been able to find a way to continue our association with MG Sport & Racing. We hope that some of our existing and any potential new customers will benefit from this link up and enable them to obtain support from sources that were previously unavailable to them.” Rob Oldaker, managing director, MG Sport & Racing Limited added: “The association with EDL had continued after the CART rules change of direction last year and we now look forward to working together in technical collaboration on this new venture which widens further the exposure for MG XPower.” Engine Developments is also taking this opportunity to announce that it is developing a 2-litre version of the well known MG Rover, Powertrain Limited’s ‘K’ series 4 cylinder engine. Initially this will have Motorsport applications. “We believe there are a number of possible applications for the 2-litre engine, as the ultra lightweight ‘K’ series is already widely used in competition and is also available in various upgraded forms for road use. The 2-litre version, which we are currently referring to as the ‘K2000’, will give performance that has so far been unavailable from what is an extremely light and compact powerplant, so we are hopeful that it will generate substantial interest from existing ‘K’ series users”, said John Judd.

1/13/03

Jeff Gordon at ease on Saturday Night live  This Charlotte Observer article, and this Speedway Media article, talk about Jeff Gordon's performance on Saturday Night Live.

1/13/03

Alesi says F1 drivers will need better conditioning  French driver coach Jean Alesi says "As part of the daily routine, we will work on physical training. I will also look back on my career with the young drivers, to share with them the experience I gained in different teams I worked with in regard to physical preparation. And then of course there will be driving on ice in Formula France, which are two wheel drive cars". "It seems all the more important to me as our young drivers learn how to control a car in extreme conditions that, in my opinion, Formula 1 will soon do a U-turn on electronic assistance. It is necessary that they are prepared. Today the young F1 drivers learn bad habits with all those aids," insisted Alesi.

1/13/03

Michelin improves wet tires  Michelin’s hopes its new wet weather tire will bring them closer to Bridgestone. ‘Rain made it possible to test the tires on the wet and we observed that the compound of Michelin has greatly improved,’ Marc Gene explained after testing last week. ‘This allows us to get closer to Ferrari.’ In general Gene said the test had gone particularly well, singling out the new BMW P83 engine for praise. Munich’s new unit has been showing ominous form, set to back up the excellent P82 of 2002. ‘During those four days of testing, we haven't had any problems and we are pleased to have such a reliable engine,’ the Spaniard Gene added. ‘We used four different engines, racing many kilometers. Everything went very well. ‘Physically I'm really well prepared and this is important because we have a very intensive month ahead of us.’

1/13/03
Industry News

News from Hawaii  UPDATE  Dear AutoRacing1.com, Read your note on the "news from Hawaii" that someone sent in. here is the response to that. The Stadium Authority in Hawaii and the committee of members of Aloha Grand Prix, have met many times over the course of the year,  and continue to do so even to this day. Whoever sent you that information does not have the facts correctly, as I am am one of those committee members.
Fact: American Indy Car Series had only scheduled 1 year ending race at Hawaii raceway park in 1999 November.  Just after their announcement in Feb 99, the Rutherford-Hawaiian Super Prix fiasco, was announced, and the AIS along with the management of Hawaii Raceway Park decided not to run the AIS race in a competing month, by the time the Hawaiian Super Prix was cancelled 2-3 weeks prior to the race, there was no way the racing community would believe or embrace another race. Mr. Rutherford et. al. left a lot of broken promises and an ongoing bankruptcy.
Fact: The Aloha Grand Prix has not decided only to race on the grounds of the stadium parking lot, but if they do, the race configuration is nothing near like another one of Rutherfords failure of the 92-93 Hawaiian super prix.
Fact: Agreements between AIS, the Japan Honda Touring Car group and the Performance (NASCAR style cars) had been signed in early 2002, along with letters of intent from insurers, a TV package, some sponsors and others.
Fact: This event will not be announced to the public "as an official event" until all of the loose ends are tied up, you must understand the skepticism the Aloha Grand Prix has to overcome from the former Hawaiian Super Prix fiascos, henceforth meetings with the stadium and authority as well as other concerns have been ongoing weekly for the past 11 months.
Fact: The Mayors office of the city and county of Honolulu have sent letters of support for this event, currently the new administration in the State level have been sent information to them requesting their support, however they are aware of the event and ongoing negotiations.
Fact: This is not just a race of Indy cars, which is why I believe there also have been failures in the past. We have a large contingent of NASCAR fans and Japan visitors who are not familiar with NASCAR or open wheel (other than F1) whom we need to think of in terms of our race fan base out here.
Fact: There is a major concert planned inside the stadium as part of this event, with the concert promoters choice of talent.
Fact: This event is being done at a grass roots level, not some blown out of proportion hyped up "bigger than ever" event. The co-founders of the Aloha Grand Prix are from Hawaii with ties and business reputations in the Islands here, and are going to announce it when everything is in place, and not until then.
Fact: This race would need 14-15 months lead time after it is announced. And last,
Fact: There will not be a 10 million dollar purse, with the winner taking half.
Thanks for your time: Bobby Brooks, co-founder Aloha Grand Prix(TM)  12/12/03 - A promoter made a presentation this past summer to the Aloha Stadium Authority with the intent of staging the "Aloha Grand Prix" race weekend in the Stadium's parking lot (site of the original stillborn 1993 Hawaiian Super Grand Prix with Shelby Can-Am cars). So far there has been no public response from the Stadium Authority, but the fact there are residential areas very close to the Stadium may make this a foregone conclusion. We have not heard anything regarding a "road course-based American series" on the card - what was being proposed as the second support race was Winston West.  American Indy Car (AIS) has repeatedly scheduled a season-ending race in Hawaii for the past several years without ever getting beyond a seasonal scheduling announcement.   In a nutshell, don't hold your breadth for a major race in Hawaii any time soon.

1/13/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Renault Deny Friday Test Disadvantage
Justin Wilson Confident Of Shares Scheme
Brundle: Unanimity Unlikely At Meeting
Franck Montagny Thrilled With F1 Power
American Stars Line Up Formula One
New Race Engineer For Ralf Schumacher
'Real Buzz' At Rejuvenated Jaguar Team
Crucial Time Of Year For BMW
Mosley To Enforce Change On Wednesday
Davidson Still In The Jordan Hunt
Schumacher, Fisichella, Webber Honored
Ross Brawn: Jaguar Would Be A Challenge
Jordan Optimistic For Crucial Meeting
Coulthard: Never Been Hungrier For Title
Cristiano Turns To JPM For Advice
Money Not Only Factor, Says Paul Stoddart
Fisichella Next-Best To M Schumacher
Prost Boys Prepare For Racing Return
Brief: Cheever and Rahal Birthdays, Speedways And Skis
Brief: Sepang, Bourdais, Dakar And Paffett
McNish Signed For Technical Expertise
Wilson Hopes For January PS03 Debut
New MP4-17 A Step Forward, Says DC

1/13/03

Prost son to move up next step in career  Alain's 21-year-old son Nicolas Prost has confirmed his intention to contest the 2003 Formula Renault championship this year.  A student of Economics at a university in New York, Nicolas is also an accomplished golfer and was tipped to eventually grace the professional golfing circuit.

1/13/03

Who says CART is losing its best drivers?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just checking out the SPEED replay of the F3000 race in France when I noticed that the three of the top four drivers in the race will all be driving in CART next year (Bourdais, Pantano, Haberfeld). Who says CART is losing its great drivers? Looks like next year will be all new young blood in CART with the Toyota Atlantic guys vs. the F3000 guys for the top rung. Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, Florida

1/13/03

Sauber signs a new partner  Sauber Petronas and Kaeser Kompressoren AG have signed a partnership agreement that is to run over a period of several years, effective immediately. Kaeser Kompressoren AG are responsible for the complex compressed air supply system in Sauber Petronas's ultra-modern wind tunnel facility currently being built in Hinwil, and Kaeser will provide other services for Sauber Petronas as well. Under the terms of the agreement, Sauber Petronas will grant Kaeser various marketing rights, and the company's logo will be placed on the walls of the Sauber Petronas garage at Grand Prix circuits around the world. "Kaeser are making a very important technological contribution to our new wind tunnel project. In return, we're providing Kaeser with a platform that will enable the company to raise the visibility and public awareness of its brand name internationally," said Sauber Petronas Team Principal Peter Sauber. --Sauber--

1/12/03

Scenes from Autosport show F1 young guns Mark Webber of Australia and Jaguar (l) and Justin Wilson of Great Britain and Minardi (r) pose with ex-F1 driver Nigel Mansell during the F1 Awards at the 2003 Grand Prix Party at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England on January 11, 2003. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

 

Mark Webber of Australia and Jaguar won the Best Newcomer Award during the F1 Awards at the 2003 Grand Prix Party at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England on January 11, 2003. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

 

Mark Webber of Australia and Jaguar talks about his hopes for the forth coming sesason during the F1 Awards at the 2003 Grand Prix Party at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England on January 11, 2003. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

1/12/03

Eddie Jordan rocks GP party  Eddie Jordan presented Giancarlo Fisichella with the F1 Driver's Driver of 2002 Award at last night's Grand Prix Party held in Birmingham (Picture at right courtesy Jordan F1). The award is made to the F1 driver who, in a vote held among all the Formula One drivers from last season, is the ultimate 'driver's driver'. Fisi beat off competition from multiple World Champion Michael Schumacher who netted the Best Driver award, and was delighted. "I am very happy to have won this award and excited about the new season," commented Fisichella. "The new car looks good and I am sure we can be competitive this year. I want to win my first race and to be really competitive for the future." Eddie Jordan was unaware that he would be asked to present his driver with the award, but was very pleased for Fisi. "He's a great guy and certainly one of the very top drivers in F1 - I think this award shows that even his rivals think so too! I am very happy for him." The annual Grand Prix Party saw the usual eclectic mixture of F1 stars and rock and roll artists, some of the older faces such as veteran commentator Murray Walker, ex-drivers Martin Brundle and Derek Walker, being joined by newcomers including Christiano da Matta and Antonio Pizzonia. Rookie of the Year went to Mark Webber, the Special Safety Award went to the HANS Device, Albert Park won the Best Circuit, Ferrari the Best Car and Charlie Whiting, F1's Race Director, won a special award for his Outstanding Contribution to F1 in 2002. The rock stars included Cheeky Girls and Mis-Teeq, while Eddie Jordan's band - V10 - also rocked the night away, joined on stage by ChampCar ace Bryan Herta who had flown in from the USA for the event. "It was great to have a night of rock and roll with so many friends and people from F1," said EJ afterwards. "The band was on top form and we really enjoyed ourselves." EJ and Fisi's attention has now turned to Silverstone where the team is completing the first Jordan Ford EJ13 in readiness for its first tests. --Jordan--

1/12/03

Day takes over as Ralf's engineer  "The BMW WilliamsF1 Team confirmed that Gordon Day will formally take up the post as Ralf Schumacher's race engineer for the 2003 season," said a statement from the team. "Day, who has been with WilliamsF1 since 1999, formerly held a position as a data engineer with the team, and has worked as Ralf's race engineer during recent testing activities."

1/12/03

Herta hints at CART ride, still hunting F1 ride  According to this Autosport article, potential Champ Car returnee Bryan Herta could find himself driving a Minardi Formula 1 car at the US Grand Prix in September, the American hinted at the AUTOSPORT International Show. “There is still a small chance to possibly do some testing or something in Formula 1 next year which would be good,” said the American who spent a large proportion of his day rehearsing the Sex Pistol's Pretty Vacant behind the AUTOSPORT stage, for the F1 Party held in the NEC Arena last night (Saturday). “Paul Stoddart did give my first chance to drive in Formula 1” said the Californian, who tested for Minardi at Donington last autumn and was one of those in the frame for a drive when Alex Yoong withdrew for two races. “He did make me an offer to drive in the series this year but it wasn't a financial package that I could put together in the US unfortunately. “But there is still some chance because Minardi have opted to do the Friday morning testing. Certainly we've talked quite a bit about coming out and doing the US Grand Prix Friday testing which would be really good to do.” Herta hasn't driven in Champ Cars since 2001 but is hoping to combine the F1 testing with a full single-seater racing program this year. “I drove the Panoz in sportscars last year and I'm really looking to get back into single seaters,” said Herta. “I'm pretty close to do something in the CART series which I'm hoping will come off.”

1/12/03
Industry News

Autosport show awards  Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella has beaten world champion Michael Schumacher to the top spot in a poll of his Formula One peers. The Italian, who has failed to win a race in 107 F1 starts, picked up the Drivers' Driver Award at the F1 Awards despite only finishing 11th overall in last season's championship. "Giancarlo is one of the top three and I would say even top two drivers these days," said former commentator Murray Walker.
Drivers' driver award: Giancarlo Fisichella
Best driver award: Michael Schumacher
Team award: Ferrari
Lifetime achievement: Ron Dennis
Outstanding contribution: Charlie Whiting

1/12/03

Tony Stewart finishes 3rd in Chili Bowl  NASCAR driver Tony Stewart finished 3rd in last nights Chili Bowl.   Dan Boorse passed race leader Jay Drake on the last lap for the win. FINISH: 1. 88 - DAN BOORSE/Milwaukee, WI 2. 71 - JAY DRAKE/Val Verde, CA 3. 71s - TONY STEWART/Rushville, IN 4. 95f - AARON FIKE/Galesburg, IL 5. 15h - SCOTT HATTON/Roscoe, IL 6. 88m - JASON MEYERS/Fresno, CA 7. 11s - MATT WESTFALL/Ludlow, OH 8. 51h - MIKE HESS/Petersburg, IL 9. 8m - DAMION GARDNER/CONCORD, Calif. 10. 40L - NICK LUNDGREEN/Indianapolis, IN

1/12/03

Malaysian GP organizer eyes award  According to this Malaysian newspaper article, The F1 extravaganza is only in March but Sepang International Circuit (SIC), organiser of the 2003 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, has already increased its preparations to clinch the FIA’s Award for Best Organizer this year. SIC was judged the Best Organizer when it hosted the F1 for the first time in 1999. “We will do everything possible this year to win it again. Everyone has agreed to do it,” said its national press officer Azhar Ghazali. “We are aiming for a 100,000-strong crowd that Sunday,” he said after a main co-ordinating committee meeting at the Sepang F1 Circuit, chaired by SIC chairman Tan Sri Basir Ismail yesterday. Those who attended the meeting included representatives from the police, Malaysian Association of Hotels, Petronas Motorsports, the Immigration Department, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents and a medical team. Azhar said all stakeholders have been told to give their best for the event, which would be for three days from March 21. Several programs will be held across the country and overseas as a run-up to the event, starting with a grand launch at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur today. The promotional blitz will cover Penang, Johor Baru, Ipoh, Malacca and Kuching as well as venues abroad, including Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, China and the Middle East.

1/12/03

Brawn hints of possible future Jaguar move  Ferrari Technical Director Ross Brawn believes Jaguar has the potential to become the ‘British Ferrari’ and interestingly enough he admits that one day that could be his new challenge. In an interview with the F1Racing magazine, Brawn was asked about his willingness to leave Maranello and take up a new challenge with Jaguar which would be a natural move considering the Ferrari man is an Englishman and Jaguar is an English team. Brawn said: “Jaguar really could become the British Ferrari. They have the history. They do their own engine. They do their own car. Maybe one day a team like theirs would be a new challenge.” “But I don’t feel that I need that at the moment. I don’t need that challenge. I am very fulfilled at Ferrari.” “Living in Italy is very nice! I’m proud that there is a little part of Britain, a little part of England, working in Maranello. Its great and I’ve not tired of it.”

1/12/03

No problem adapting to IRL for road racer  Former F1 driver Takagi was having his first ever run in an IRL car. "First, I drove the 2002 G Force just to get a feel for an IRL car because I never drove one before," said the Japanese. "I did a total of about 40 laps. Then I got into the 2003 car with the Toyota engine, and the first thing I realized was that the car had a lot more power (gone are the days of parity in the IRL). That made me very happy. "It didn't take long to adapt to the style of the IRL machine. I had no difficulties getting used to it. My main intention was to make sure the team left with the car in one piece. We will have plenty of testing to come, and I can say that I am very pleased with what I experienced today."

1/12/03
IROC

It is time to end International Race of Champions  This Hoosier.com article talks about a topic near and dear to our heart - IROC, and why it needs to be either overhauled or terminated.  The series is nothing more than a NASCAR Winston Cup race (All cars identical in IROC, all cars identical in Cup) made to order for Cup drivers.  All races are run on ovals, whereas in years gone by two races were on road courses and two on ovals.  Because the cars are stock cars, the open wheel drivers are at a distinct disadvantage and the NASCAR drivers usually will draft wit the NASCAR regulars leaving the road racers out to dry.  Essentially all the drivers are American with races run on American tracks.  There is nothing international about it.  It should be called the American Race of Champions.  Last year Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon opted out and this year Tony Stewart has opted out of IROC because it does nothing for their careers whatsoever.  It has become a meaningless championship and the sooner they pull the plug on this farce the better.  Bernie Ecclestone and Chris Pook should get together and start a true International Race of Champions run in identically prepared F3000 cars.  Invite drivers from around the world and hold four races in Europe and the USA/Canada.  Run the races at the beginning of December and into January when all drivers are not racing and could participate.  That is a slow time of year for race fans, so following this true IROC series will give fans something to do in the off-season.  Hold the races in southern Europe and Hawaii and Florida where the weather is nice in the winter.

1/11/03

Moreno high on Bourdais  After sharing the track at Sebring this past week with the Newman Haas team, Roberto Moreno, who was on hand to test for the Herdez team, said "Sebastien seems very switched on and very talented," said Moreno. "He's up to the job very quickly and I think he's one of those hot shoes."  Not bad for a rookie with only a few days in a Champ Car.

1/11/03

Da Matta seeks advice from Montoya  This ESPN article says that Cristiano da Matta asked advice from Juan Montoya on the differences between F1 and CART.  The article also talks about the difficulties in driving each series.  F1 is harder on the neck because of the higher g-loads in the corners, but CART is more physical because the cars are heavier and they have no driver aids like F1 does.

1/11/03

Reminder: Jeff Gordon on SNL tonight  A reminder for race fans, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will host Saturday Night Live tonight.  Don't miss it.

1/11/03

Panel approves Cleveland race through 2007, night race in store  UPDATE Today's Cleveland Plain-Dealer says, The news conference invitations are black, making it pretty obvious the next Cleveland Grand Prix will be held under the lights. The annual race at Burke Lakefront Airport, traditionally run on July Fourth weekend, is expected to be held on a Saturday night. The official word will come Thursday morning at Burke in an announcement of "significant developments that will revolutionize the face of racing in Cleveland," the invitation said.  Officials at Cleveland-based IMG, which promotes the race, would not give specifics on what has been in the works since at least the end of the last summer's race. IMG, the city and Championship Auto Racing Teams, which sanctions the event, have long said a new deal was in the works. But no official announcement has been made for the event or a race date. Privately, those close to the negotiations say they are "excited, thrilled and ecstatic" about the expected changes for the 22nd annual race. Night racing on the open-wheel circuit has been common for several seasons, but whatever IMG, CART and the city of Cleveland have in store apparently will go beyond that. "Cleveland will definitely be making history," Bud Stanner, president of IMG/Motorsports, said yesterday. "Our announcement will be the first of its kind in the world in both magnitude and scope. This will truly put Cleveland at the head of the pack, and add tremendous excitement for our sponsors and race fans."  1/9/03 - According to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, City Council's Aviation Committee yesterday approved a new five-year lease that allows the Cleveland Grand Prix to continue at Burke Lakefront Airport through 2007. The agreement with race promoter IMG Motorsports-Cleveland Inc. now must be approved by the Finance Committee and the full council on Monday. A previous five-year lease expired after last July's race. IMG must pay the city rent ranging from $80,000 this year to $100,000 by the end of the lease. It also must pay 5 percent of gross revenues above $5 million. In addition to the rent, IMG is responsible for covering city costs for services including police and fire protection, trash pickup and park maintenance. This year's race is scheduled for July 6. The lease does not require IMG to hold the auto race and says the firm can cancel the agreement at any time if the race is not sanctioned by the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) tour. Graham Hearns, who directs the Grand Prix for IMG, told the committee that the event pumps more than $20 million a year into the Cleveland economy. The race also provides weeks of work for laborers who set up grandstands and tents. Officials are looking at the possibility of racing on a Saturday night, but Hearns said it would take a massive lighting effort. The race is typically held on a Sunday afternoon.

1/11/03

Mosley has had it with F1 teams  This Planet-F1 article says, Max Mosley is heading into Wednesday's meeting with the F1 team bosses with just one agenda, which is to force through radical changes. The FIA President is thought to have lost his patience with the teams who refuse to allow significant changes on the technical side of the sport. Mosley, who believes that change is the only way to ensure the survival of the sport, is now adamant that he can make changes that not only cut costs but also improve the show for the viewers. It is thought that he wants power steering, automatic gearboxes and traction control banned. He is also threatening stricter policing of cars to ensure that teams are not using high-tech gizmos that are not allowed in F1. "Max was very disappointed the teams did not try harder to find their own ideas for change," an FIA source told The Times. "They know how serious things are and he expected them to make an attempt. He will be going into Wednesday's meeting looking for positive changes that will happen right now, meaning from the start of 2003, and it is not an option to try to postpone things as the teams did, hoping it will all go away." Wednesday's meeting is probably the last time that changes can be decided on as the 2003 season starts in March. However with such a short period of time between the meeting and the Australian Grand Prix teams are likely to oppose any changes. Within the sporting regulations there is a rule prohibiting the use of 'driver aids'. This has been conveniently overlooked in the past to allow traction control, telemetry, fully automatic gearboxes and even power steering. Should Mosley enforce the letter of the law he could insist that these are not used on cars from Melbourne onwards.

1/11/03
Formula 3

American sets sights on F1  Keep your eye on this kid.  If you recall two years ago, Richard Antinucci set the USA F3 series ablaze, winning just about everything driving for Antonio Ferrari.  This Autosport article says, Antinucci sets sights on Formula 1. F3 star wants to be first US F1 driver champion since Mario Andretti.  Ironically both were born in Italy but later became Americans.   Formula 3 driver Richard Antinucci believes that Formula 1 needs to have an American driver, and that he intends for it to be him. Speaking at the AUTOSPORT international show in Birmingham today (Friday), the Carlin F3 driver also said that he has to perform and challenge for the title in the series this year. Talking about the US Grand Prix, Antinucci said: "It's very important to have an American driver racing at an American track, It's home-soil and the fans need someone to represent them in the race. The sooner it happens the better, and I hope I'm the one." Antinucci is entering his second season of British F3, and is switching from Manor Motorsport to the Carlin team, which won the championship in 2001 with Takuma Sato. Although he is aware of the challenge ahead, the American is confident going into the season. "F3 features the best drivers at my age range," he said. "They're the best of the best, and it's not going to be my nationality that gets me to where I'm going, it's going to be me being at the top ranks of where I'm racing. "The timing is now. I'm with a top team, I have to do this. This will be my second year in F3, and this has to be it for me."  Antinucci had a very good year in F3 in 2002.

1/11/03
Industry News

Feedback on Women race series article  We received a lot of reader comments on the Formula Women article reminding us that there have been at least 2 or 3 other all-women series before.  Comments like - The writer of this story obviously forgot (or did not know) about the Women's Global GT Series that was open to women from around the world with previous real racing experience. Somebody needs to put Graeme Glew in touch with Don Panoz. As many people in motorsport know, Don ran an all-women championship using his purpose built Panoz school cars as a support for the ALMS the season before last I think it was. It was received rather enthusiastically by the public, but unfortunately it could not be sustained by outside sponsorships.

1/11/03

Mario has no plans to field a CART team  UPDATE A reader who asked to remain anonymous wrote to say, "I don't know where Michael comes off saying there never was a plan for Mario to start a race team.  I know for a fact Mario had discussions about that very subject.  Someone is lying and it isn't Pook.  It's probably best Michael race on strictly ovals now, because he certainly is no longer competitive on road courses.  It's sorry to see this once great CART driver have to make enemies not only with the CART community, but with his own father, the greatest American race driver ever."  1/10/03 - In this Indy Star article Michael Andretti said his father, Mario, has no plans to field a CART team. "There never has been (a plan)," he said. "It's all propaganda by (CART CEO Chris) Pook."

1/11/03

First picture of 2003 Penske  2nd UPDATE  A reader writes, Dear AR1, In regards to the photograph of Marlboro Team Penske’s new race car, please permit me the following observation. Man, that is one butt ugly race car the Capitan’s got there! No way will it get confused with the REAL race cars run in CART! Warmest Regards, J.N. Anderson, Chicago, IL   Another writes, I loathe the IRL, but be careful about jumping to conclusions on this design. Pullrods are a perfectly acceptable solution for activating springs and dampers. In fact, they position the dampers lower in the car which is theoretically better. One of the F1 teams experimented with pullrods in the last few years and ran them for at least one season - Arrows, I think it was (then abandoned them because inferior). The reason most open wheel designs use a pushrod is that it places the dampers and springs within easy reach for the mechanics making it quicker to change springs and make damper adjustments. Non-open wheel designs do it because open wheel do it!  As for the profile, we know the cars have plenty of downforce so perhaps this is attempt to reduce drag by decreasing frontal area. Dallara may have struggled in Formula 1, but they're not a bunch of hacks. I love your site and visit everyday. Thanks, Kerry Vincent  Dear Kerry, frontal area is not reduced at all, it is just moved back to the cockpit where the windscreen pops up into the air.  1/10/03 - One thing we missed but a reader spotted, was the fact that the front shocks are activated by pull-rods (a la 1980's design philosophy), not push rods as seen on most current day cars.  1/10/03 - Here is the first picture of the 2003 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara (Castroneves) with Toyota power.  We are quite taken aback by the low profile of the tub between the front wheels.  The trend has been toward a stiff high profile cross-section for increased polar moment of inertia and increased crash protection.  This design is bucking recent trends in CART and F1 and was has to wonder what the thought process was behind the change.  F1 is typically the leader in car design trends and technology, and it anything their tubs are getting stiffer and taller.

1/11/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Verstappen Delighted With F1 Return
Slight Changes Ensure Wilson Debut
Alex Yoong Welcomes Junior To World
Briatore Explains Renault Test Option
McNish: Renault Role 'Next Best Thing'
Prestigious Award For Cosworth Racing
Ricardo Zonta Returns To Formula One
No Jaguar Role For Martin Brundle
Wilson: Welcome To Minardi, Jos
TF103 Sparks Positive First Impressions
Bridgestone Buoyed By First '03 Test
Ferrari Fastest As Renault Head Home
Montagny Eyes Role As Stepping-Stone
New Addition To Jordan Engineer Team
Wilson Dreamed Only Of Formula One

1/10/03

Berger does an about face  BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger has executed an embarrassing U-turn of opinion on BMWs future in motorsports.   'Building our own car or creating our own team would be very challenging, but that would not necessarily be the best solution for BMW,' said the 43-year-old.  But with that contract set to expire at the close of next season - and Berger's up for renewal this August - the Austrian urged that BMW should embark on its own chassis-building program for 2005 and beyond. All that, however, has changed in a swift converse statement: 'For BMW it looks at the moment that Williams is a very good partner,' he told Autosport. 'And I personally think a continuation with Williams is the best way forward.'

1/10/03

Test speeds from Homestead, ex-CART drivers dominate  Three days of IRL IndyCar Series testing concluded late Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway as 12 drivers from eight IndyCar teams tested at speeds consistently over 200 miles per hour. The teams were preparing for the Toyota Indy 300, the Indy Car season-opener set for February 28 - March 2, 2003. Testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway were some of the biggest names in open wheel racing including Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, Sam Hornish Jr. of Pennzoil Panther Racing, Michael Andretti and Tony Kanaan of Andretti-Green Racing, Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp of Kelley Racing, Felipe Giaffone of Mo Nunn Racing, and Kenny Brack of Team Rahal. According to Homestead-Miami Speedway Timing and Scoring, Kanaan was fastest over the three days with a top speed of 205.871 miles-per-hour on Wednesday. Other top speeds were registered by Brack (204.005), de Ferran (202.779), Sharp (202.323), Castroneves (202.247), and Hornish (201.945).

1/10/03

Rahal named Grand Marshal  Former Rolex 24 At Daytona champion and open-wheel legend Bobby Rahal will serve as the grand marshal of the 41st anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 1-2 at Daytona International Speedway. Rahal, one of the few Americans to compete in Formula One, captured the overall title in the 1981 Rolex 24 driving a Porsche Turbo with Brian Redman and Bob Garretson. The 50-year-old Rahal, a native of Ohio, also won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and is a three-time CART champion. "It's a pleasure to welcome Bobby Rahal as the grand marshal of the Rolex 24," Speedway President Robin Braig said. "His accomplishments in the motorsports arena make him a worthy choice to give the command to start engines in the only 24-hour sports car race in the United States." Serving as the honorary starter of the Rolex 24 is Walter Fisher, the President of Rolex U.S.A. Fisher will wave the green flag to start the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. Tickets for the Feb. 1-2 Rolex 24 At Daytona and other Speedweeks 2003 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

1/10/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.40 Up $0.20 on Volume of 85,400 shares.
$3.20 Bid - $3.35 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.05 / $3.50
MPH Value Change Up 6.25%
DOW Jones Up 8.77 or 0.1% on Volume of 2.03 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 9.26 or 0.64%
S&P 500 Up 0.0 or 0.0%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

1/10/03

First picture of 2003 Penske  UPDATE  One thing we missed but a reader spotted, was the fact that the front shocks are activated by pull-rods (a la 1980's design philosophy), not push rods as seen on most current day cars.  1/10/03 - Here is the first picture of the 2003 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara (Castroneves) with Toyota power.  We are quite taken aback by the low profile of the tub between the front wheels.  The trend has been toward a stiff high profile cross-section for increased polar moment of inertia and increased crash protection.  This design is bucking recent trends in CART and F1 and was has to wonder what the thought process was behind the change.  F1 is typically the leader in car design trends and technology, and it anything their tubs are getting stiffer and taller.

1/10/03

Two CART manufacturers win awards  Two of the top manufacturers in the Champ Car World Series were feted for their achievements in 2002 by the Motorsport Industry Association. Cosworth Racing, which will produce its XFE engines for use as the sole engine supplier in Champ Car competition for 2003-04, was named as the Business of the Year during the annual MIA Awards Dinner held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. In addition, Lola Cars, which won its first CART Constructors Championship in 2002 after winning 16 events, was given the organization's top award for Export Achievement.

1/10/03

Junqueira completes first test for NH  Brazilian Bruno Junqueira participated in his first test day with Newman/Haas Racing yesterday at the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway at was able to complete more than 250 trouble-free miles in the new Lilly Ford/Cosworth-Lola-Bridgestone package that the team will prepare for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.  More...

1/10/03
Industry News

Motorsports Expo 2003  Today through Sunday is the 18th annual Motorsports Expo show at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center.  This show is one of the largest Motorsports shows each year in the USA, attracting many drivers from NASCAR and other top series who sign autographs and give talks on various topics..  If you plan to attend, stop by our booth and say hello.

1/10/03

NASCAR reaches near 100% parity  NASCAR has apparently succeeded in developing body and engine parity amongst the manufacturers, and it's as close to an IROC series as one can get now.. Rusty Wallace comments on this at Daytona testing: "I can't differentiate (the engines) at all. They're all turning about 6800-7000 rpm's. They all sound the same under the hood. If you look at the cars, the Dodges and Fords looked pretty similar last year. The funny part now is when I look out there at all the cars they all look identical. They all sound the same. There's no distinct difference between the cars that you could see in the past. You would see one car going by real low to the ground and one car making much more rpm's, but they all look real close right now.

1/10/03

Manning targets CART's Brands Hatch race  In this Autosport article British single-seater star Darren Manning has not given up on a Champ Car drive in the 2003 series, despite testing a Japanese GT Nissan over the Christmas period, and has expressed his desire to be on the grid at Brands Hatch on May Bank Holiday weekend. “It would be great fun to drive at Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit in a Champ Car,” he said on stage at the AUTOPORT International Show this morning (Friday). “Paddock Hill Bend will be fantastic - 180mph no problem!” Manning was praised highly by CART boss Chris Pook yesterday who expressed his desire to see the Briton driving a Champ Car this year. “We are still looking hard,” said Manning. “We want to be out there for the full championship next year. But if not the full thing then maybe some of the other European races. “I was speaking with Chris Pook yesterday and we are in constant communication with the people at CART and quite a few teams. I haven't signed anything with anybody and we are keeping our options open.”

1/10/03

The Falcon has landed  This Indy Star article says, Access Motorsports has signed a letter of intent with MK to purchase the Ken Anderson-designed Falcon, although Access doesn't have the funding in place to announce a program or a driver. Access is based in Indianapolis and led by veteran team manager Ted Bitting and chief mechanic Jamie Nanny, former core members of the once-proud Treadway Racing team. Bitting said the team is "50-50" on competing this season and is working with drivers Robby McGehee and George Mack on what could be a two-car team. The Falcon is due to make its first test later this month with Hemelgarn Racing at Phoenix and Fontana, Calif. Ron Hemelgarn and his team manager, Lee Kunzman, said they will not commit to MK -- or any manufacturer -- until more sponsorship has been secured. Hemelgarn, who took a chance in 2000 with the Riley & Scott chassis, said the Falcon faces a lot of pressure to compete quickly with Dallara and G-Force, which have extensive IRL experience. "It's a big unknown, so it's got to hit right away or it's not going to hit," he said.

1/10/03

Andretti has no plans to retire yet  This Indy Star article says, Michael Andretti might drive longer than expected given the smooth road he said he's on. The 40-year-old veteran couldn't be happier with his new role as an owner/driver in the Indy Racing League. He enjoyed his first day of testing in the new Dallara/Honda package Wednesday at Homestead, Fla., and is relaxed with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree at the day-to-day helm of Andretti Green Racing. Andretti said this week he has no plans to retire following the Indianapolis 500, as had been speculated. "We'll have to wait and see because I want to see how (team ownership) affects my own (driving), but I feel pretty good and the plan is to run the whole season," he said. "I'm enjoying the (dual role) so far.  Andretti said team officials are close to finalizing sponsorship plans for the three-car operation -- Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan are his teammates -- and will have a formal announcement at the end of the month. Dan Wheldon is the test driver and standby in case Andretti steps down in midseason. The team also is working on its car numbers. Andretti is expected to again use No. 39. AGR wants Nos. 7 and 11 for Franchitti and Kanaan to please the sponsor, 7-Eleven.

1/10/03

Feedback on Carburetors article  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com - Thanks for your excellent article on this topic. I remember some British pilots form WW II saying that the Spitfire fighter, which had carburetors, was at a major handicap to the German Messerschmidt 109 (fuel injection) as the Spitfire engine stalled at a dive in certain angles since the carburetors failed in the high Gs. The Brits then hastily set about developing fuel injection, the rest is history as they say. I also own a 1988 Ford Escort which has carburetors and is due to be scrapped this week at its annual inspection. It cheers me up to read that only lawnmowers and NASCAR have carburetors now! At time of reading, carburetors took me to work and back. I await a Toyota retro-carburetor road car as a NASCAR spin-off with interest, but won't hold my breath!  Keep up the good work at AR1. Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England

1/10/03

Forsythe sells some CART stock  FORM 4 SEC - FROM 12/23/02-12/24/02, FORSYTHE GERALD R, A BENEFICIAL OWNER OF MORE THAN 10% OF SECURITY CLASS OF CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING (TICKER:MPH) SOLD 170,000 SHARES AT $3.47 - $3.78, BRINGING HOLDINGS TO 3,242,400 SHARES.  CART stock has gone down quite a bit in the past two days and one has to wonder if it is because Forsythe decided to sell some shares, leading others to follow.

1/10/03

Who will race with CART at Brands Hatch?  Looking at the 2003 schedules for F3 and BTCC series shows Formula 3 at Brands Hatch the same weekend as CART, not BTCC as some have reported (see this SPEED TV article as well as the CART press release announcing the Brands Hatch race).  BTCC was supposed to be at Thruxton that weekend.  It's believed that Thruxton will now take place when Silverstone was going to be, and Silverstone will take one of the Brands Hatch dates. Would be interesting to see what other support races there are. BTCC usually runs with Renault Clio, Formula Renault, Michelin Porsche Cup and a guest race which varies. This usually takes place over a two day race meeting period, since it is over three days hopefully we'll still get the whole package as well as the Champ Car race.

1/10/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Verstappen Joins Minardi For Season '03
Higher Targets For 2003 Toyota Team
Da Matta: I'll Be Ready For Australia
Snow Puts C22 Track Debut On Ice
McNish Signs As Premier Renault Tester
Renault Confirm Friday Testing And Montagny
Brawn Urges FIA To Clarify Team Orders
Panis Not Worried About Toyota Ousting
Change Of Tune For BMW Boss Berger
McLaren Adds Shine To Sponsor Line-Up
Positive Start To Williams' New Year
Ralf Quickest As Jerez Weather Declines
Walkinshaw Sued By Disgruntled Cosworth
Wilson Welcomes New Minardi Teammate
Brief: F1, Champcar, Rally and MotoGP
FW25 A Dead-Ringer For 2002 Ferrari?
Toyota Boss Backs Cologne Restructure
More Wins In Sight For Olly Panis

1/10/03

Pook - no more refueling  What changes do you have in store for the future? We have got to go to the future. We are thinking for 2005. As far as we are concerned the days of methanol-powered race cars are over. We will be on gasoline power in 2005, in all probability with a normally-aspirated V10 engine and we'll control the electronic boxes to make sure that traction control doesn't creep back in (all race series should do this to prevent technology from ruining the racing and driving costs through the roof). You will also probably see refueling disappear. You will see tire rules that provide hard and soft compounds and the 750bhp engines will have to run up to 800 miles between rebuilds. All those little bits and pieces will be brought in to bring racing back to racing.

1/10/03

Pook hints at new team owner announcements  In Thursday's Autosport interview Chris Pook says, Interest in the series is quite intense at the moment isn't it? The day before the Brands race is the Spanish Grand Prix. I know of at least two people that are coming back from Spain to see us, one will be Montoya and the other will be named Villeneuve. They will be there to see a lot of new blood and a lot of new team owners to our series. I think you are going to be very, very pleasantly surprised in the next 10 days by the names of some of the new team owners in our series . Are some of them from Europe? Yes we have a European ownership contingency coming to our series in 2003 and an even larger one coming in 2004. Obviously from our perspective we want to have a balance of all nationalities. AR1 has rumored a number of possible team owners including Craig Pollock and Prince Alfonso d'Orleans-Bourbon, the cousin of King Juan-Carlos of Spain, who owns the F3000 team Race Engineering.

1/9/03

Ticket Sales Open for the 3rd Edition of the Monterrey Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix  Starting next Tuesday, January 14th, tickets for the most exciting and expected event of the Mexican racing season, the third edition of the Monterrey Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix 2003 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will go on sale. More....

1/9/03

A lap around Brands Hatch with Derek Bell  Click on this link to take a lap around the Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch.  The video of Brands Hatch is narrated by five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell.  Choose the right video for Brands Hatch.

1/9/03

CART test slated for January at Laguna Seca  UPDATE Correction - the test at Laguna Seca is January 25-26 with the 27th a rain date.   1/4/03 - On Jan. 27-29, the CART season will really begin to take shape when the Champ Car World Series will hold an open test session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. While this will not be CART's annual Spring Training event (that will be Feb. 4-6 in Sebring, Fla.), it will give fans an opportunity to preview at least some, if not most, of the teams that will be competing in the Champ Car World Series this season.

1/9/03

IRL testing heats up in Florida  Offseason IRL IndyCar Series testing resembled a race weekend practice session Jan. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 10 drivers turning more than 700 laps without any major problems under clear, sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70’s.  The 10 drivers who tested have combined for five Indianapolis 500 wins, three IndyCar Series championships and 20 IndyCar Series victories, or 28 percent of the 71 races conducted since the series’ inception in 1996. More.....

1/9/03

CART stock watch  

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.20 Down $0.35 on Volume of 78,400 shares.
At 1:02PM EST 12,300 shares traded at $3.00 ($36,900), $0.33 cents lower than the prior trade.
$2.52 Bid - $3.23 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.00 / $3.59
MPH Value Change Down 9.86%
DOW Jones Up 180.87 or 2.1% on Volume of 2.05 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 37.4 or 2.67%
S&P 500 Up 17.64 or 1.94%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

1/9/03

More feedback on Brands short circuit  A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, Have no fears about the Indy circuit at Brands - it regularly provides some of the best racing of the season in British motorsport. Paddock, Druids and Surtees/Clark are all usual overtaking spots and I doubt it will be much different for Champ Cars.  I would even go as far as saying that the Indy circuit provides more spectacle than the Grand Prix extension. And to the reader who suggests it is Mickey Mouse, I suggest he can never have visited the place. I'd be interested to know if he has the same views after the event in May. I for one will be there. Neil Tipton

1/9/03

Duesenberg Brothers step down to Infiniti Pro series  Western Union, a worldwide leader in money transfer services, will team with Duesenberg Brothers Racing for the 2003 Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series, Western Union officials announced Jan. 9. “We’re proud to welcome the Duesenberg name, with its rich history in automobile competition, to the Infiniti Pro Series,” said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. A driver for the Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone will be announced at a later date. The team, which previously fielded entries in the USF3 and Atlantic series, plans to test its new Infiniti Pro Series car later this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We are very excited to begin our fourth year as the major sponsor for Duesenberg Brothers Racing, and are looking forward to the Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series,” said Mike Yerington, president, Western Union North America. “With the increased number of races and participants from last year, as well as the strong competition, we will have a season of close, challenging racing.”

1/9/03

Penske promotes Engineer  Penske promotes engineer: Marlboro Team Penske has announced that Grant Newbury will be the race engineer for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves during the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season. Newbury, 48, joined Penske Racing in 1989. During his tenure, the team has recorded 59 race wins, including five Indianapolis 500 victories. While he’s been a race engineer for a number of Penske drivers, 2003 marks Newbury’s first season as race engineer for Castroneves. Most recently, Newbury served as an engine track support engineer. From 1998-2001, Newbury’s primary role was development engineer. Between 1990-97, Newbury served as race engineer for legendary drivers Danny Sullivan, Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr. Before joining Marlboro Team Penske, Newbury was a full-time member of Truesports Racing from 1985-89. From 1978-84, Newbury developed advanced engine and emission control systems for General Motors Advanced Product Engineering. He also joined US Racing on a part-time basis from 1978-81 on the CanAm circuit, working with drivers George Follmer, Bobby Rahal and Tom Klausler. Newbury received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1978 and was granted a GM Fellowship in 1980 to attend the University of Michigan, where he earned a master of science degree in mechanical engineering.

1/9/03

BACE Motorsports jumps to Winston Cup in 2003  With the return of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series to the track this week in Daytona for winter testing, BACE Motorsports announced they will compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the 2003 season with Tony Raines as the driver of the No. 74 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Larry Carter has been named Crew Chief for the No. 74 Team in their first full season Cup effort. With BACE's transition to NASCAR's premiere division, the three-time Busch Series, Grand National Division Champions are focused on continuing a tradition of excellence initiated over 10 years ago when the team was founded by owner Bill Baumgardner. "We're excited to make the transition to the Winston Cup level with the No. 74 Team," Baumgardner said. "Last season we made a strategic change in plan for the No. 74 by running a handful of races at the Winston Cup level. Now we are dedicating 100 percent of the focus of this team to continue building a competitive Winston Cup program. Since BACE was formed, we've been committed to a standard of excellence that has led our team to success. With the elements we currently have in place, having Tony as our driver and several personnel changes we made during the off season, we believe that this is the appropriate time to make the move to Winston Cup."

1/9/03

IRL sends three to IROC  Two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr., two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone will represent the IRL IndyCar Series in the True Value International Race of Champions Series in 2003. Hornish and Castroneves each will make their second True Value IROC season appearances, as both debuted in 2002. Giaffone will be a True Value IROC rookie. The four-race, invitational True Value IROC Series matches 12 drivers from different forms of racing in equally prepared stock cars. The series opens Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway, continues April 5 at Talladega Superspeedway and July 12 at Chicagoland Speedway and concludes for the sixth consecutive year with a race Aug. 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Other competitors will be defending True Value IROC champion Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Greg Biffle from the NASCAR Busch Series, Mike Bliss from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and Indianapolis 500 veteran Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski from the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series.

1/9/03

CART may race on Brands long circuit in future  After receiving numerous emails from readers questioning why CART would use the Brands Hatch short Indy Circuit, we contacted CART's VP of Race Operations, John Lopes, for an explanation.  He responded by saying, Brands Hatch will present a very large circuit development project for us (CART) later in 2003. The long course is an option for the future but for this year, with the very tight timeline we are working under, we felt it was prudent to concentrate on the short course, which should provide the fans with exciting racing and a view of almost the entire race. As we develop the venue as a long-term U.K. home, we can tackle the bigger project from a circuit standpoint."   And now you know the rest of the story.  Mark C.

1/9/03

Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Releases 2003 Schedule  The Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer Magazine released its 2003 schedule today, with seven rounds slated for the Championship season, with each weekend featuring two races. The season will get underway at the 51st running of the famed 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March, and will conclude in mid-October at Laguna Seca. The series will also race in Canada, with a round at Mosport Park slated in mid-June. "We are really happy with the new schedule. Having the opportunity to race at the 12 Hour in Sebring is an exciting opportunity for these young racers," said Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Series Director Divina Galica. "The schedule will allow these drivers to get a lot of seat time at every track we visit. We are also excited about racing again in Canada at Mosport, as its such a fantastic track." 2002 Formula Dodge National Champion Grant Maimen was selected as a winner in the Red Bull Formula One drivers search this winter, and will compete in Europe during the 2003 season. Scott Poirer, who won a season of racing in the Formula Dodge National Championship at the National Championship Shootout last year, took second place in the season standings and will contest the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series after securing funding in the Barber-CART Shootout in December. Joe D'Agostino, Phillippe Gelinas, Matt Jaskol, and David Jurca will contest the Formula Dodge National Championship after securing funded seats at this week's Barber-CART Karting Scholarship. 2003 Formula Dodge National Championship March 13/14/15 Sebring, FL (51st Annual 12 Hours of Sebring)
April 25/26/27 Virginia International Raceway, VA
May 30/31/June 1 Road America (Short Course), WI
June 13/14/15 Mosport, Canada
July 4/5/6 Road America (Full Course), WI
Aug 14/15/16 Lime Rock, CT
Oct 10/11/12 Laguna Seca, CA

1/9/03

Bourdais completes 2nd test for Newman Haas  Reigning FIA F3000 Champion Sebastien Bourdais, 23, completed his second of two allowed "driver evaluation" test days for potential rookies as per CART rules (13.6.1A.3) yesterday and further impressed Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) with his driving and technical abilities. Under clear skies, and a steady breeze of mid-60-degree temperatures, Bourdais completed approximately 200 trouble-free miles on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway in what was NHR's first test with the Lilly Ford/Cosworth-Lola-Bridgestone package.  More...

1/9/03

Sauber launch snowed-out  Sauber could not complete the scheduled rollout of their new C22 today - because of heavy snow. The C22 should have made its debut today at Ferrari's Fiorano circuit in Italy. The official livery of the new car will be revealed at the team's February launch in Switzerland. Tests now will take place in Barcelona, Spain (still in plain livery) on January 13-15, 2003 (with German drivers Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen) and, after that, in Valencia on January 21-23 and 29-31, 2003. Weather conditions in Fiorano were bad this morning. Snow covered the track overnight and continued to fall today.

1/9/03
Industry News

Sports Management adds SMN Motorsports   Sports Management Network, Inc. announced today the addition of SMN Motorsports to their website. SMN Motorsports has recently been redefined as a distinct division of the firm in an effort to strengthen their already significant presence in the sport and adapt to changes that they have recognized within the motorsports landscape. SMN Motorsports will serve as the firm’s motorsports marketing and consulting division. The division will provide the highest quality experienced consultation, advice and service to corporations and communications agencies concerning motorsports sponsorship opportunities and how to maximize value within these sponsorships. To learn more about SMN Motorsports and the services it provides, please visit www.sportsmanagementnetwork.com.

1/9/03

Carey to sing   Daytona International Speedway announced today that Grammy Award winning artist Mariah Carey, the biggest selling female pop artist of all time, will kick off the festivities for the Feb. 16 Daytona 500 by singing the National Anthem. "We're thrilled to have this superstar join us for the 'Great American Race'," said Speedway President Robin Braig. "We're honored to have Mariah. I know her incredible voice will stir the hearts of our guests and our competitors." Carey will perform for an audience of millions on Feb. 16. The 2002 Daytona 500 was the most watched motorsports event in the world when on-site attendance and television viewing households are combined. The Daytona 500's estimated attendance in 2002 was 200,000 with a television rating of 10.9, 26 share, equal to 11,551,000 households.

1/9/03

Cosworth takes Walkinshaw to court  Tom Walkinshaw, owner of the Arrows Formula One team now in bankruptcy proceedings, is under further pressure after media reports revealed that the team's engine supplier Cosworth has begun legal proceedings against him. Cosworth has filed proceedings against Walkinshaw himself as opposed to the Arrows team or his company TWR Group regarding monies owed, believed to be in the region of  $4 million.

1/9/03

More reader feedback on Brands announcement  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Like many other CART and motor racing fans in general in the UK, I'm delighted that Brands Hatch has been announced as a venue for the series. Also, I had too had hoped to see the race on the full Grand Prix circuit. However, I do not think it is such a bad thing that the race is going to be on the 'Indy' circuit. I would not go as far as calling it "Mickey Mouse" as there are several overtaking opportunities around the course - the sweep from the final turn, along the home straight and into the famous paddock hill bend, also into Druids bend and into what (was? is?) Graham Hill bend. Also, as Chris Pook pointed out at the announcement the bonus is that the crowd can see most, if not all the track from their vantage points which nicely brings together the good points of oval racing and road racing..... Don't knock it before it has had chance!  As for the Grand Prix 'loop', it actually runs very close to a residential area and I believe the circuit only has permission from the local authorities to run a certain amount of meetings on it. These would have already presumably been filled in their fixtures for this season. This coupled with the work going on to the Grand Prix circuit could be reasons why CART opted to use the 'Indy' circuit for 2003 at least."  Regards, Steve Linfield, England  Dear Steve, Let's hope you are right, but we still hope CART moves the race to the longer circuit in 2004.  As reader Joe Angers wrote - You'd think CART would have learned it's lesson from Miami with regards to short tight road courses. When is CART going to finally start mandating minimum lengths for their road courses. CART has the opportunity to race on one of the most beautiful and historic tracks in the world, yet they decide to only race on tracks less than half the length of those beautiful tracks. That is such a waste.

1/9/03

Tagliani to drive for Gentilozzi  UPDATE  We have more on what the article says - "Player's and Gentilozzi had an agreement which will transfer Tag from Player's to Rocketsports.   Tag and Will Prappas (Tag's agent) are satisfied with the agreement. A source from Player's said, you can write that now and more is to be released officially tomorrow (today)."  1/9/03 - According to today's Journal de Montreal, Alex Tagliani will drive for Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsport Champ Car team.  We await the official announcement.

1/9/03

Sponsor boost for McLaren  UPDATE McLaren has further bolstered their sponsorship portfolio after signing a deal with Sonax. The German car polish firm has a long history of involvement in Formula 1 having previously been involved in sponsoring Jordan, Williams and both Schumacher brothers. The company's logo will appear on the rear wing of the McLarens as the team looks to improve on its dismal 2002 season which saw the Silver Arrows net only a solitary victory with David Coulthard at Monaco. McLaren boss Ron Dennis welcomed the deal. He said: "It gives everybody at West McLaren Mercedes a great sense of satisfaction to welcome a new partner to the team and demonstrates that Formula 1 continues to be an attractive option to companies world wide." "Like McLaren, Sonax believes strongly in attention to detail and delivering the best product solutions, and we look forward to working with them and maximizing our relationship to the benefit of both parties."  1/8/03 - Advanced Composites Group (ACG) and McLaren International are pleased to announce the extension of their current Partnership which will see the two companies continue their relationship on a long term basis. ACG is based in Derbyshire, England and supplies the European market and has a facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma covering the American region. ACG is a leading supplier of high performance composite materials, tooling, design solutions, training and R&D. The company initially became involved with McLaren in 1999 and the recent Partnership extension means ACG will continue in its role as an Official Supplier. "In the current economic climate, it's extremely satisfying that ACG has become another of our Partners who has decided to extend its relationship with the West McLaren Mercedes team," said Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director of McLaren International. "As approximately 85% of the West McLaren Mercedes Formula One cars are constructed from carbon fiber materials our relationship with ACG is extremely important and we have complete faith in their products. We are all looking forward to the start of the 2003 season and with a company like ACG on-board our challenge can only be stronger." "The Formula One industry is always regarded as being at the forefront of technical innovation. This has certainly been the case with composite materials considering the advances in structural performance and safety seen over recent years,” Alan Moore, Managing Director of Advanced Composites Group added. "Our relationship with McLaren is of tremendous value. Not only does the constant drive for improvements from McLaren's engineers help fuel our own product development and understanding, but also the McLaren brand is a powerful tool in helping us promote our technologies into other markets just starting to take advantage of the benefits that composite materials can bring."  McLaren

1/9/03

They must be nuts  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I can't believe what I just read.  CART announces they are going to race at Brands Hatch, which is great, then they say they are going to race on the Mickey Mouse short 1.2-mile Indy circuit.  I never heard of a 1.2-mile road course, it's preposterous and downright idiotic.  And looking at that course, there are no real straights, the cars are turning all the time. Oops I forgot, CART has a patent on putting on parades, and one can bet the Brands Hatch race will be a parade.  David Sellers, Chicago, IL  Dear David, we here at AR1 can't believe it either.  Let's hope it is because of the construction that is going on for the motorcycle races on the long course that won't be done in time for the CART race.  Hopefully CART will move to the long course in 2004. Chris Pook had this to say when he announced the race at the Autosport show today - "We have done some simulations and we have got a little bit of work to do, particularly at Paddock Hill Bend, which is one the world's most awe-inspiring turns. We are told that our entry speeds will be around 175mph and the cars will exit at around 150. It will certainly sort the men from the boys in a hurry."  Sounds pretty awesome. Mark C.

1/9/03

Panel approves Cleveland race through 2007  According to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, City Council's Aviation Committee yesterday approved a new five-year lease that allows the Cleveland Grand Prix to continue at Burke Lakefront Airport through 2007. The agreement with race promoter IMG Motorsports-Cleveland Inc. now must be approved by the Finance Committee and the full council on Monday. A previous five-year lease expired after last July's race. IMG must pay the city rent ranging from $80,000 this year to $100,000 by the end of the lease. It also must pay 5 percent of gross revenues above $5 million. In addition to the rent, IMG is responsible for covering city costs for services including police and fire protection, trash pickup and park maintenance. This year's race is scheduled for July 6. The lease does not require IMG to hold the auto race and says the firm can cancel the agreement at any time if the race is not sanctioned by the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) tour. Graham Hearns, who directs the Grand Prix for IMG, told the committee that the event pumps more than $20 million a year into the Cleveland economy. The race also provides weeks of work for laborers who set up grandstands and tents. Officials are looking at the possibility of racing on a Saturday night, but Hearns said it would take a massive lighting effort. The race is typically held on a Sunday afternoon.

1/9/03

Tagliani to drive for Gentilozzi  According to today's Journal de Montreal, Alex Tagliani will drive for Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsport Champ Car team.  We await the official announcement.

1/9/03

NASCAR may limit autograph access   This article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram says that NASCAR may limit how fans can request autographs at Winston Cup events. NASCAR is considering a plan to prohibit drivers from signing autographs in the garage area at tracks to reduce fan congestion. NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. said Wednesday the possible ban is part of the sanctioning body's ongoing effort to restore order in the garage. "We need to get the garage area back to where the guys can work on the cars," France said in an interview with The Associated Press. "So if we do this, when a fan asks a driver for an autograph, the driver will be able to say `NASCAR won't let me.' " A sport that has long prided itself on the level of access that fans have with the teams, NASCAR in recent years has seen an overcrowding that has led to numerous complaints from drivers and crews, as well as injuries among spectators. Jeff Gordon is swarmed by dozens of fans every time he's in the garage. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has taken to sprinting to his destinations. Crew members have griped that people surround the cars, making it impossible for them to move around, and fans have been treated for injuries from being run over by heavy tool carts or being knocked down in the crowds surrounding drivers. So France said he's proposed only allowing drivers to sign autographs in the area immediately around their hauler and organizing a period once a weekend where all 43 drivers would take turns sitting at a table to sign autographs in 10-minute increments. NASCAR plans to unveil the new rules for garage access later this month, France said. But its goal is to reduce the total number of individuals in the garage during competition by some 20 percent.

1/9/03

Breakaway series to meet today  The Grand Prix World Championship organization is due to have a meeting in Paris today to discuss further details of its planned rival series to Formula 1 in 2008. The meeting comes as the F1 teams prepare for their meeting with Max Mosley next week where it is expected there will be some dramatic new proposals for cost-cutting in F1." 

1/9/03

Nadeau: Army tank handles better than Cup car   Driver Jerry Nadeau, whose car is sponsored by the U.S. Army, visited troops in Afghanistan last week. "We weren't there to have fun," Nadeau said. "We were basically there to support the troops, but it turned out to be a fun deal. "I had a good time, and I'm glad I went." Nadeau drove a tank during his four-day visit. "They handled pretty good -- maybe a little bit better than the Cup cars," Nadeau said. "They've got good brakes." 

1/9/03

NASCAR Director doubts changes   Winston Cup Series director John Darby said he hopes a new rule that requires all cars to have the same measurement from the front edge of the roof to where the spoiler sits on the trunk will limit the changes made in the cars and their spoiler angles during Speed Weeks. "I would never eliminate the possibility of a change," Darby said. "Our ultimate responsibility is to keep the competition as good as we can for the fans who are going to watch the Daytona 500. It's highly unlikely we will be making a change." Because all the cars are new this year due to the new specifications, Darby doesn't expect any sandbagging during testing. "All of the teams in the garage are faced with a brand new piece," Darby said. "There are not a lot of days left between now and February 6, when we open up. Teams have to learn everything they can as fast as they can."

1/9/03

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