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1/29/03

 

The Beers on Rusty   When the green flag waves to start this year¹s Daytona 500 stock car race on Sunday, February 16th, it will truly be OMiller Time¹ for everyone in attendance at Daytona International Speedway. Today, Miller Lite announced that should Rusty Wallace win his first Daytona 500, all legal drinking age race fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite. Wallace, the 1989 series champion and a former series rookie-of-the-year, has recorded 54 career NASCAR Winston Cup wins and 36 pole positions during his career. In his last five Daytona 500s, Wallace has registered three top-five finishes, including a career best third-place finish in 2001. During his stock car career, Wallace has made 40 starts at Daytona International Speedway, including a best-ever second-place finish last July in the Pepsi 400

1/29/03

Team Rahal wraps up successful test at Laguna Seca  Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr. began pre-season testing for the 2003 Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with three days of testing at Laguna Seca Raceway (Saturday-Monday). Jourdain logged 450 miles in the Gigante/Office Depot/Ford-Cosworth/Lola featuring Bridgestone tires. Jourdain posted competitive times and ended the test with a quick time on Monday that put him in the top-five for the combined three days. "It was great to finally get back in the car after a couple of months off," said Jourdain, who had not been in a Champ Car since the 2002 season finale at Mexico City. "Last season our biggest problems were on the permanent road courses so this was an important test for us. I think we addressed some of those concerns and we certainly learned a few things that will help us when the season begins." Team Rahal Champ Car World Series team manager, Ray Leto, was impressed with the progress the team made through the initial test for the Gigante/Office Depot team. "We had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, especially with the first race only a few weeks away," said Leto. "The three days at Laguna Seca proved to be very productive and we made some very good progress addressing some questions we had with trying to consolidate our road course set-ups. It was our first time out with the new Ford-Cosworth XFE and we are impressed with the package Ford is supplying to the series." Team Rahal's Champ Car program will return to testing with next week's Champ Car World Series Spring Training at Sebring International Raceway. The 2003 Champ Car World Series kicks off with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, February 21-23. "I think it is going to be a very competitive season," said Jourdain. "Right now it appears Newman-Haas might have a bit of advantage, but the lasting impression I got from this test is just how close and competitive this season is going to be."

1/29/03

Team Rahal wraps up two days of testing at Phoenix   Team Rahal and 1998 Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack continued pre-season preparations for with two days of testing at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Brack logged nearly 250 miles in the Pioneer/Miller Lite/Honda/Dallara/Firestone posting competitive speeds on the one-mile PIR track. "We made some significant progress on our learning curve," said Brack. "The process of understanding a new chassis and working with our new partners on the Honda engine program is one that will take time to gel. Fortunately that process has been expedited because of the quality of people the make up our team and the Honda team. As good as I feel about where we are today I know there is still a lot of preparation to be done for the season opener at Homestead. Next week's "Test in the West" will be a good barometer of where we are competitively with the rest of the field." Team Rahal IndyCar series team manager, Steve Dickson, was impressed with the progress made through what was only the second test for Brack and the new Pioneer/Miller team. "It was a productive two days for the team, especially considering the lengthy test list we started with," said Dickson. "The biggest thing for Kenny and the Pioneer/Miller team is just building a familiarity mechanically with the car and the engine."  Team Rahal's IndyCar series program will return to testing with next week's "Test in the West" at Fontana and Phoenix. The 2003 Indy Racing League season kicks off with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway February 28-March 2.

1/29/03

Indy 500 ticket sales lagging badly   Normally the Indy 500 sells out all its seats by June or July following each Memorial Day race.  However, even with Ganassi, Penske, Andretti Green, Nunn, Toyota, Honda, etc dumping CART for the IRL, interest in this years Indy 500 may be at an all-time low.  According to this Brickyard webpage, tickets are still available in most grandstands.  This is unheard of.  Will they eventually sellout?  Probably, but it's clear by the lackluster TV ratings, and now slow ticket sales, that interest in the Indy 500 is waning.  AR1 has long maintained that NASCAR has sucked the oval track market dry in the USA, leaving little left for open wheel racing.  Chris Pook is well aware of this, and has correctly positioned CART to be the premier road racing series in North America.  Now in bed with Bernie Ecclestone, there's little doubt where CART's future lies.  With that said, the Indy 500 is still a very special race.  You don't just erase all the heritage and history the event holds.  However, it's now possible last years finish controversy that left many people believing Paul Tracy was cheated out of a win (CART's third in a row), has done more damage to the Indy 500's reputation than we first thought. Another possible reason is the economy, but CART ticket sales are up.  Beating a dead horse, where's my fork?

1/29/03

Mexico ticket sales up 45%  Tickets just went on sale to the general public 15 days ago for this years Monterrey, Mexico race and the promoter is reporting ticket sales are up 45% over the same period last year.  They are hopeful that they will sellout all the 60,000 grandstand seats again this year, plus many more general admission tickets and they have not really started their big advertising push yet.  With more Mexicans in the race this year, we expect a possible record crowd. This information was provided at a press conference today in Monterrey.

1/29/03

Pollock says CART smart to go international  In today's press conference (see transcript ) whereby Craig Pollock announced Patrick Lemarié as his driver for 2003, we posed the following question to Mr. Pollock: Q. You mentioned that Chris Pook is talking about CART as an international series now. Is that at all helping you with your sponsorship hunt? CRAIG POLLOCK: It absolutely is, because it opens up the sponsorship possibilities internationally. I come from Europe. That's where my best sponsors are, or best sponsor possibilities are, and it gives me the opportunity to argue effectively what the sponsors need for these particular markets. It probably also is kind of handy that I speak a couple of languages, some of them pretty bad, but I can communicate in a few languages and that tends to help. And it tends to help to have drivers that can communicate in another language. It helps to have a series that is traveling abroad. So I think it's just going in the right direction. It feels like a mini-Formula 1 series at the moment.  Q. Do you see opportunities for CART possibly to maybe replace Formula 1 in some venues where Formula 1 doesn't race any more in the future?  CRAIG POLLOCK: I definitely -- Bernie signed up so many circuits and he's promised them so many races and he can't come through on his promises. I would say if Chris Pook, he's negotiating with Bernie and helping out Bernie by talking to Spa, talking to Brands Hatch, talking to Estoril, talking to the various different major circuits. I have to say that I have raced on them all and they are great circuits and would be great for Formula 1 again. If Formula 1 can't go there, why shouldn't we?

1/29/03

Indy 500 3-week schedule set   Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced Jan. 29 the schedule for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, with the traditional three-week format culminating in Race Day on May 25. Opening Day is Sunday, May 4, with festivities centering on this year's race theme, "Art in Motion," and the first on-track practice of the event. Practice continues daily from May 5-9. Qualification action starts on Saturday, May 10 with Pole Day. Drivers will compete for the coveted MBNA Pole Award and the accompanying $100,000 bonus and other prizes. Qualifications will continue with Second Day Qualifying on Sunday, May 11. The Speedway will be closed to track activity May 12-13, but will re-open May 14-17 for four more days of practice leading up to the thrilling final day of qualifying, Bump Day, Sunday, May 18. While there will be no IRL IndyCar Series on-track activity May 19-21, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again will play host to the popular 500 Festival Community Day on Wednesday, May 21, featuring track laps for the public in their passenger cars, a driver autograph session and other family-oriented activities. Carburetion Day, the final practice session for the starting field of 33, takes place Thursday, May 22. Fans also will see the action-packed Indy 500 Pit Stop Contest in which top race teams compete for the right to become "The Fastest Crew at Indy." Carb Day will end with the Carb Day Concert. Race Day for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be Sunday, May 25. The green flag for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will drop at 11 a.m. (EST). The complete 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race schedule:
Sunday, May 4 Opening Day Practice
May 5-9 Practice
Saturday, May 10 Pole Day (MBNA Pole Qualifying, practice)
Sunday, May 11 Second-day qualifying
May 12-13 No track activity
May 14-17 Practice
Sunday, May 18 Bump Day (Final day of qualifying)
May 19-20 No track activity
Wednesday, May 21 500 Festival Community Day
Thursday, May 22 Carburetion Day (Final practice, Pit Stop Contest, concert)
Friday, May 23 No track activity
Saturday, May 24 Public Drivers' Meeting, 500 Festival Parade
Sunday, May 25 87th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, 11 a.m. (EST)

1/29/03

Wednesday test times from Valencia  Weather: Sunny and windy Temperature: Track 23°; Air 17° (Track Length: 4.005 kilometers)

Names Chassis Laptime Laps
Alexander Wurz McLaren 1m.11.095s 75
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m.11.613s 85
David Coulthard McLaren 1m.11.635s 52
Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m.11.741s 109
Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m.12.251s 63
Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m.12.260s 58
Olivier Panis Toyota 1m.12.382s 47
Mark Webber Jaguar 1m.12.556s 44
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m.12.855s 81
Jenson Button BAR 1m.12.932s 25
Cristiano Da Matta Toyota 1m.13.116s 77
Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m.13.134s 59
Justin Wilson Minardi 1m.17.192s 49

Best Times To Date
Date  Driver  Team  Tires  Time  Speed/Gap
23-Jan  Kimi Raikkonen  McLaren  M  1:10.647  126.839 mph
22-Jan  Juan Pablo Montoya  WilliamsF1  M  1:10.794  0.147
29-Jan  Alexander Wurz  McLaren  M  1:11.095  0.448
28-Jan  Rubens Barrichello  Ferrari  B  1:11.429  0.782
29-Jan  Michael Schumacher  Ferrari  B  1:11.613  0.966
29-Jan  David Coulthard  McLaren  M  1:11.635  0.988
28-Jan  Giancarlo Fisichella  Jordan  B  1:11.703  1.056
23-Jan  Nick Heidfeld  Sauber  B  1:11.778  1.131
28-Jan  Olivier Panis  Toyota  M  1:11.867  1.220
24-Jan  Marc Gene  WilliamsF1  M  1:11.901  1.254
28-Jan  Mark Webber  Jaguar  M  1:11.952  1.305
29-Jan  Jacques Villeneuve  BAR  B  1:12.260  1.613
28-Jan  Christiano da Matta  Toyota  M  1:12.690  2.043
29-Jan  Heinz-Harald Frentzen  Sauber  B  1:12.855  2.208
28-Jan  Luca Badoer  Ferrari  B  1:12.889  2.242
28-Jan  Gary Paffett  McLaren  M  1:12.890  2.243
29-Jan  Jenson Button  BAR  B  1:12.932  2.285
28-Jan  Takuma Sato  BAR  B  1:13.118  2.471
29-Jan  Justin Wilson  Minardi  M  1:17.192  6.545

1/29/03

Riley Scott & Jim Mathews to use Yates engines  Riley & Scott Racing LLC and Jim Matthews Racing announced today an agreement to power the team’s Riley & Scott Mk III C with a Ford V-8 supplied by Yates Racing Engines in their 2003 endurance campaign. The team’s first race with the new motor will be the 51st Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 15. Car Owner/Driver Jim Matthews was pleased to announce the new agreement. “Robert Yates’ history of providing the best Ford V-8 motors available is beyond reproach. Their facility, knowledge and dedication to what they do are second to none in the industry. Together with our new Michelin tires, the continuing development of the chassis, and Marc Goossens as our lead driver, I think we have a good chance to be competitive at Sebring”. In addition to operating the #38 and #88 teams in the Winston Cup Series, Robert Yates Racing and its subsidiaries are important vendors of racing engines and components in various series around the world. For his part, Robert Yates looks forward to the project: “I’ve known and worked with Bob and Bill Riley for many years and am a great admirer of their work. Jim Matthews deserves a lot of credit for building a solid program with the Rileys and we are very pleased to be a part of it”. 2003 will the team’s second year in LMP 900 competition in the ALMS. The team’s best finish in 2002 was a third at Sebring. At Le Mans, the team ran as high as sixth overall before engine failure cut short the effort in the 14th hour of competition.

1/29/03

PK Racing to announce Patrick Lemarie  Today's Journal de Montreal published a story in today's newspaper that says PK Racing and Craig Pollock will announce Frenchmen Patrick Lemarie as their driver today.  The article says the Champ Car world series will have four French-speaking drivers in 2003. In addition to Carpentier, Tagliani and Lemarié, we'll also see French driver Sebastien Bourdais, who finally obtained the second wheel available at Newman-Haas.

1/29/03

Villeneuve calls F1 drivers robots  "When I got into F1, it was difficult to say what I thought because people would always end up thinking that I was doing it on purpose to get an image or a reaction, and it is easy to get blasted for it," he told JV-World.com. "After a while I got respected for it, and now people know if they ask a question, I will tell them what I think. Most people who get into F1 now get in very young, and they are being told how to be and what to be, and they are too happy just to be in F1 to even bother saying something that might antagonize someone."

1/29/03

 

Union 76 Gas to leave NASCAR, move to Europe   UPDATE: NASCAR Statement Regarding ConocoPhillips: NASCAR and ConocoPhillips continue to enjoy a strong working relationship and look forward to another great season in 2003. NASCAR has enjoyed its longstanding relationship with the company and wishes it all the best in the future. While we will be saying goodbye to ConocoPhillips, we look forward to welcoming a new official fuel supplier to NASCAR in 2004. We are already in the process of identifying the new official fuel supplier and will make an announcement regarding that supplier at the appropriate time. 1/29/03 - AR1 staff has been seeing Union 76 Racing Gasoline advertisements in Europe recently, indicating they are moving heavily into that arena.  Now from Forbes.com/Reuters  ConocoPhillips, owner of the 76 gasoline brand, said on Tuesday it will end its more than half century-long relationship with NASCAR auto racing at the end of the year. The familiar 76 gasoline logo -- an orange ball with the number 76 in blue at its center -- has been a fixture at NASCAR as "the official fuel of NASCAR." But 76's Houston-based parent company said it will end the sponsorship deal of more than 50 years by Dec. 31. ConocoPhillips said 76 will fulfill all of its contractual obligations, including supplying racing fuel at all Winston Cup events and at NASCAR's other circuits -- the BGN and CTS -- before returning its official fuel rights to NASCAR at year's end.

1/29/03
Industry News

High winds blow down tower at TMS  High winds Tuesday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway caused the 110-foot scoring tower inside of Turn 3 to fall to the ground. No one was injured when the electronic tower cracked at the base around 3 p.m. and fell parallel to the start of turn 4 on the north-end turn of the 1.5-mile oval TMS track. “I was talking on the phone and looking out the window of my office when it happened,’’ said TMS vice president and general manager Eddie Gossage. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” The tower lists the numbers of 20 cars in descending order of their position during the race. An identical tower stands on the inside of Turn 1. “We will have structural engineers here looking at the other tower before the end of day,’’ Gossage said. “We have roped off the area around the standing tower with enough distance to keep everyone safe. We may put guide wires on it if the engineers feel it will help support the structure.’’  Dallas Morning News (with photos)

1/29/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Trulli Relishes Renault Challenge
Busy Day At Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Button Plays Down JV Feud
Senna Trial Leaves Williams Surprised
A Lot Riding On New Williams FW25
Eddie's Absence A Great Loss: Burti
Round The Clock Progress In Manama
Michelin And BMW Step Up Roles
Minardi Left Boot-less In Spain
Wurz: McLaren Won't Race 'Old' Car
More To Come From Improved BAR

1/29/03

More photos from Laguna Seca Open test  

Carp2.jpg Shirt.jpg Mario1.jpg
Photo Page - by Kenneth Barton

1/28/03

 

NASCAR to award big $$$ in 2003   NASCAR Winston Cup Series sponsor R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today that the NASCAR Winston Cup point fund - the year-end money awarded to the top-25 drivers in the point standings - will be $17 million in 2003, an increase of $3 million over 2002.  The NASCAR Winston Cup champion will receive a minimum of $4.25 million from Winston and NASCAR in 2003, a $500,000 increase over last year. Drivers finishing second through fourth will each receive more than $1 million at the annual awards ceremony in New York in December. The total point fund includes money from Winston, NASCAR and the tracks that host NASCAR Winston Cup Series events. As the popularity of NASCAR Winston Cup racing has increased, so has the point fund. After starting at $100,000 in 1971, the figure rose to $750,000 by 1985. Winston and NASCAR broke new ground in 1986 when the point fund increased to $2 million and the champion's share to $400,000. The point fund reached $2,500,000 in 1989 with the champion collecting $1 million. By 1998, the total had jumped to $5 million with the champion's share at $2 million. In 2000, the NASCAR Winston Cup point fund doubled, from $5 to $10 million with the champion collecting $3 million. Since Winston's began its partnership with NASCAR in 1971, it has contributed more than $100 million in purse, bonus and point-fund money. The $17 million point fund for 2003 includes a guaranteed $16,660,000 to be awarded to the top 25 drivers at the conclusion of the 2000 season as well as $340,000 for the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus program awards $10,000 to the driver who wins the race and is also the NASCAR Winston Cup point leader at the conclusion of the event. If there is no winner, the money carries over from race to race until an eligible driver wins the bonus.

1/28/03

Update to article  We have updated our article titled CART, F1 coming to grips with doing business in China based on additional information.  The following has been added - Regarding CART and F1 teams getting money out of China, here are some examples of how it can be done - Walt Disney does a lot of business in China....sometimes they take foreign currency which China has plenty of as they sell a lot of goods to American and they also accumulate US$ when they sell to other countries as those countries take US$ in payment. AND sometimes they don't mind taking RMB as they also buy merchandise manufactured in China from companies that don't mind having payment in RMB.  The Chinese companies that have US$ are plentiful and invariably these are companies that also need to advertise their goods, so getting the US$ to pay for such advertisement is no problem for them, legally (applying to the China central bank to buy US$ for such purpose) or illegally (paying the media owners or CART teams from their off-shore accounts).  Yes, the RMB is not traded in the open market (not convertible) but neither is the Malaysian ringgit (followed China in 1998 to avoid the Asian crash) and the Indian rupees (since 30 years ago) and many other currencies. However, Americans and the rest of the world are still actively trading with India and Malaysia and, therefore, China.  CART teams can either elect to have payment in US$ or RMB if they have the need for Chinese goods (steel, coal, food products, beer, soft toys, iron ore, merchandise, electronic and electrical goods) and many other products widely exported. We assume they would take the cash.  It's not simple, but it can be done because so many foreign companies are now doing business in China.

1/28/03

Yoong's Champ Car team announcement   UPDATE AutoRacing1.com sources in Malaysia tell us a decision by Yoong and his backers will likely now be made right after Spring Training in Florida.  As we understand it, they are waiting on a go, or no-go, from a Malaysian sponsor.  Negotiations are down to one team.  Most of the money is in place, but the last sponsor must come forward to fill the shortage.  1/23/03 - Malaysian racer Alex Yoong has delayed announcing which Champ Car team he will be driving for this year due to continuing negotiations with teams. He revealed today that there was no shortage of offers, but the budgets that various teams need him to bring was a problem, as his Malaysian sponsors would prefer to be involved with Formula 1. He said that most teams require their drivers to bring a budget of between $5 million and $7 million to get a seat. He confirms that he now has a best offer from a team that requires him to bring an amount of only $2.5 million from his sponsors, as the team has managed to raise $3.5 million from American sponsors for Yoong. "We are presently working very hard on getting the budget and I am still hopeful of getting to the starting grid for the first race on February 23rd," said Yoong from his Kuala Lumpur home. "The present delay may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and I won't lose any sleep over it. I prefer to be driving without needing to bring a big budget to the team. If it doesn't happen, there will be opportunities later and maybe elsewhere." Yoong, 26, became his country's first ever Formula 1 driver when he made his debut for Minardi in August 2001 in the Italian GP and drove for the team till the end of the 2002 season. "My objective is still to get back into Formula 1 by 2004, when China organizes her first Grand Prix. But if there is a year's delay, it's OK," added Yoong. The 2003 CART championship has been renamed 'Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford' and is expected to have a bigger line-up than last year. Yoong will miss the Chinese New Year celebrations as he will be leaving Kuala Lumpur for Florida on the February 1st to attend Champ Car's "Spring Training".  "Spring Training" is the pre-season event where all the registered teams turn up in force at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida and are introduced to the media and fans while conducting test sessions over three days - from February 4th to the 6th. Yoong said that an announcement one way or another will be made very soon.

1/28/03

Herdez Racing has good test at Laguna Seca  The first “open test” of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season got under way last weekend at the beautiful Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Herdez Competition presented two cars for the test, piloted by last year’s CART Rookie of the Year Mario Dominguez and veteran Roberto Moreno, and followed the open test with another day of team testing on Monday. Both cars performed well during the open test in which a total of 13 potential Champ Car competitors participated. “We had no major hiccups,” said Chief Engineer Tom Brown. “Both cars ran smoothly all three days and we generated a lot of good data and miles.” Dominguez posted his best time on the third day of testing, 1:09.8 seconds around the 2.238 mile permanent road course while Moreno continued to get accustomed to the Lola chassis. Team principal Keith Wiggins was also complimentary about the team’s results. “This was time well-spent for us as a team as we were able to continue to develop the car we had last season. Both drivers did a good job during the test; we were extremely pleased with Mario’s progress in particular. He has started these pre-season tests as a more mature and confident driver and it’s showing in his on-track performance.” Dominguez was pleased with his results as well. “I think the test went really well. We got to test a lot of things on the car that we never had the time to do last year – I didn’t realize there were so many options left! This is where you really see the benefit of running two cars; we were able to try out some things on my car and others on Roberto’s and it allows the team to make much faster progress through the engineering plan.” Both drivers will return to their duties next week as a part of Champ Car’s “Spring Training” media and testing event in Florida. Beginning with media events on the site of the season-opener in St. Petersburg on Sunday and Monday, on-track testing will continue at Sebring International Raceway February 4 – 6, 2003.

1/28/03

Why Senna really crashed  According to this Planet F1 article, a Channel 4 documentary (Also shown in the USA on the Learning Channel), Going Critical, has produced the most likely cause for the fatality. When investigators took apart Senna's car (Photo to right courtesy Getty Images), they found that the steering column had snapped at a point where it had been altered by the Williams team engineers. Senna had requested that the steering column on his FW16 be made longer, so a section of 18mm tube had been grafted into the column and welded at both ends. However, the car's black-box data recorder measured, among other things, the twisting force that was applied to the steering column. This data showed that, right up to the time of impact, force was being applied to the steering wheel. This meant that the column must have snapped on or after impact, rather than before. The reason Senna went off the road was almost certainly due to the low ride height of the car. Following a long period behind the pace car his tires were cold and so the car was at the critical level when it was bottoming out on the track. While a lower ride height made Senna's car faster, it also made it unstable. Just before Senna crashed, sparks were seen flying from the back of his car, suggesting that the ride height had been reduced to zero for some reason, the bottom of the car was touching the track. Not only did this mean that the downforce was greatly lessened, because air could no longer travel beneath the car, but it also meant that, as the metallic skid beneath the car hit the ground, the tires lost their grip on the track. Though there are other far-fetched theories of why Senna went off-track - for instance, that he blacked out - the likelihood that it was steering column failure has been ruled out by the program's evidence.

1/28/03

 

NASCAR drivers talk schedule change   NASCAR officials have said they are looking at some distinct schedule changes starting with the 2004 Winston Cup season. Some of those changes include the possibilities of more night races, and starting races later in the afternoon in the hopes of increasing national television audiences. Some observers have speculated on the possibilities of a Daytona 500 at night.  More....

1/28/03

CART TV Schedule  Here is the CART USA TV schedule for the first two races of 2003:
February 23 - St. Petersburg
SPEED Channel | Sat, Feb 22 1:30 pm ET | Qualifying2 Live
SPEED Channel | Sat, Feb 22 3:00 pm ET | Stars of Tomorrow Las Vegas
SPEED Channel | Sat, Feb 22 8:00 pm ET | Qualifying2 Repeat
SPEED Channel | Sun, Feb 23 1:00 am ET | Qualifying2 Repeat
SPEED Channel | Sun, Feb 23 12:30 pm ET | Pre-Race
SPEED Channel | Sun, Feb 23 1:00 pm ET | Race Live
SPEED Channel | Sun, Feb 23 9:00 pm ET | Race Repeat
SPEED Channel | Mon, Feb 24 1:00 am ET | Race Repeat
March 23 - Monterrey
SPEED Channel | Sat, Mar 22 2:30 pm ET | Qualifying2 Live
SPEED Channel | Sun, Mar 23 1:30 pm ET | Pre-Race
SPEED Channel | Sun, Mar 23 2:00 pm ET | Race Live

1/28/03

Aventis to sponsor Pro race   Racing For Kids and Aventis Pharmaceuticals have partnered to become the title sponsor for the 2003 Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series event on July 6 at Kansas Speedway. The Aventis Racing For Kids 100 will serve as a showcase event for the 14-year-old Racing For Kids charity, which has a primary mission of using the popularity of motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the healthcare needs of children. “We’re pleased to team with Aventis Pharmaceuticals and Racing For Kids to bring race fans another exciting Infiniti Pro Series event this year,” Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger said. “The Infiniti Pro Series cars offer fast, exciting events among some of the best drivers and future superstars of the motorsports world.”

1/28/03

Brack and Kanaan settle in at Phoenix   Kenny Brack and Tony Kanaan each moved closer to understanding their new IRL IndyCar Series rides during testing Jan. 27 at Phoenix International Raceway. Brack, who won the 1998 IRL IndyCar Series title and the 1999 Indianapolis 500, tested a Miller/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Team Rahal, while IndyCar Series newcomer Kanaan tested a Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Andretti Green Racing. “Everything is going pretty well,” Kanaan said. “We spent a fair bit of time making adjustments in the cockpit and getting settled in. We need to spend all the time we have right now figuring out what this car likes and what it doesn’t, and how Andretti Green Racing can use each on-track session to give us more information than the last.” Brack, who has four career IndyCar Series victories, returns to the series full time in 2003 after spending the last three years in CART. Kanaan has one career IndyCar Series start, at the 2002 Indianapolis 500, where he started fifth and led 23 laps before finishing 28th after an accident in Turn 3 on Lap 89. Both Brack and Kanaan will test again Jan. 28 at PIR before participating in the Indy Racing League’s Test in the West, which will be conducted Feb. 3-4 at California Speedway and Feb. 6-8 at Phoenix. “I have to say I’m pretty happy,” Kanaan said. “We still have things that need to be worked on, but overall we’ve got a good starting point heading into Test in the West.”

1/28/03

Tuesday times from Valencia 

Driver

Team

Tires

Laps

Time

Speed/Gap

Rubens Barrichello

Ferrari

B

79

1:11.429

125.450 mph

Giancarlo Fisichella

Jordan

B

66

1:11.703

0.274

Olivier Panis

Toyota

M

63

1:11.867

0.438

Mark Webber

Jaguar

M

52

1:11.952

0.523

Jacques Villeneuve

BAR

B

65

1:12.384

0.955

Cristiano da Matta

Toyota

M

62

1:12.690

1.261

Alexander Wurz

McLaren

M

41

1:12.774

1.345

Luca Badoer

Ferrari

B

104

1:12.889

1.460

Gary Paffett

McLaren

M

19

1:12.890

1.461

Takuma Sato

BAR

B

51

1:13.118

1.689

1/28/03

Newman Haas completes 3-day test  Newman/Haas Racing continued to make progress at the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course since finishing in first and second place in the 2002 CART Champ car race with drivers Cristiano da Matta and Christian Fittipaldi respectively during a three day test. New driver Bruno Junqueira was assisted by reigning F3000 champion Sebastien Bourdais, 23, at the test and both turned the unofficial fastest laps each of the two days of the open test on Saturday and Sunday before the team ran a third day on Monday. "The team definitely has a good setup at Laguna Seca and we were able to continue to make improvements," said Junqueira, who ran as high as third at this track in the 2002 event but finished fourth for Target/Ganassi Racing. "Our previous test at Sebring was good but there were only a couple of other cars there so it was hard to measure our performance until we came here. Of course you can't relax just because you had a good test but it does give us confidence that we are headed in the right direction." On Saturday, Bourdais's final run earned him the unofficial fastest time of 70.154 seconds (114.845 mph) of the 12 drivers participating while Junqueira ran the second-fastest lap of 70.195 seconds (114.777 mph). Junqueira had held the fastest lap time until Bourdais's last run of the day. On Sunday, Junqueira posted the fastest lap time of the day as well as the weekend when he ran a lap of 69.172 seconds (116.475 mph), which was faster than the pole-winning lap of 69.473 seconds set by Cristiano da Matta in the 2002 race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Like his childhood friend da Matta in the 2002 CART Spring Training held at this track, Junqueira maintained either the first or second position in all four testing sessions over the weekend. Bourdais set the second fastest time of 69.709 seconds (115.578 mph) on Sunday while continuing to learn the new road course. Monday brought mixed fortunes as Junqueira was able to complete almost 225 miles while Bourdais was involved in a minor crash that ended his running at the 45 mile mark. Over the three-day test Junqueira was able to complete more than 500 miles while Bourdais completed 360. "Apart from the incident, it was a good test," said Bourdais, who was born in the legendary racing town of LeMans, France. "Newman/Haas Racing has a good understanding of how to make their cars good at this track and it helped me to get acclimated quicker. I continued to learn more about driving a Champ car and enjoyed the experience." "We spent most of Saturday morning working to get both drivers comfortable in the cars before we were able to concentrate on work Saturday afternoon so we were pretty happy with setting the top two times," added Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "On Sunday we had a couple of problems but we were able to resolve them and continue testing. Bruno was able to complete 100 laps on Monday but we ended Sebastien's test early because we weren't sure if we were going to be able to repair his car before the end of the day. Overall, it was a very productive test. Both drivers picked up where we left off at this track last June but we'll have to keep working hard to keep up with the progress of the other teams."

1/28/03

PK Racing to announce driver  Craig Pollock's PK Racing team has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday to announce their driver. Stay tuned......

1/28/03

Walker to announce 2nd driver  At noon Eastern time on Thursday Walker Racing will announce their 2nd driver to team with Roberto Gonzales.  We also expect a sponsor announcement.  Previously Rodolfo Lavin held a press conference in Mexico to announce he was driving for Walker, but the team denied any deal was done.  We hear it is not Lavin, but the announcement is significant.

1/28/03

DSTP gears up for run at Atlantic title  With most of the country in a deep freeze, it is hard to imagine that the start of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is under two months away. With a fully healed driver and a tweaked team roster, Dede Roger’s DSTP Motorsports is poised to reclaim the Championship that it last won in 2000. Most of the team has stayed the same from last year with Richard Jones (Rangi) still in the Lead Mechanic and Car Chief role along with some additional duties. Kent Stacy will also return as Engineer, along with: Ross McLeod (Transmission Specialist), Jim Rice (Mechanic), Bud Wilkinson (Data Specialist), and Jason Dunford (Transportation Engineer). Natalie Gustetter, Team Manager for DSTP Motorsports, feels that all the pieces are in place to give the team the best shot possible at this year’s title. "We have all of our cards in place and are ready to start a fresh season,” said Gustetter. “We just know that the 2003 season is going to be a good one for DSTP, and we can't wait to get started. Team moral is very high and everyone is excited to win again. Let's go racing!" American driver, Joey Hand, will return for his third season this year after winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2001. Hand entered the 2002 Championship as the favorite to win the title and was off to a great start with a third place finish in Monterrey, Mexico, and a pole at Long Beach. The Championship hopes came to a quick end following Long Beach as Hand was forced out of the car for six races after he sustained injuries in a testing incident at The Milwaukee Mile. "Obviously, last year did not go as planned,” said Hand, who is starting his third season with DSTP. “Since my accident last season, I've been looking forward to the start of this season. There is no question that we were championship contenders last year, and we plan on contending for the championship again this time around. I cannot thank Dede (Rogers) and the whole DSTP team enough for giving me another opportunity and for sticking with me throughout the tough times last year. The team and I are very excited to get back to our winning ways, and will begin to at the first race in Monterrey, Mexico." A new addition to the DSTP is Brian Tate, who will oversee Public Relations for the team. Brian comes to DSTP after spending three years working in the Communication Department for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship.  DSTP

1/28/03
Industry News

Cardinale takes over PR work at Infineon Raceway  John Cardinale, who has managed Public Relations efforts at Infineon Raceway since 1998, has been named Vice President of Media and Community Relations, raceway officials announced. Cardinale, a 37-year-old San Francisco native, is responsible for all media communications originating from Infineon Raceway and oversees the facility's various community initiatives. "A good deal of our success over the last few years is attributable to John’s efforts in raising our public profile and helping tell the compelling story of what’s happening at this facility," said Steve Page, raceway president and general manager. "More importantly, his personal integrity and leadership help define the quality of our organization.* During his tenure at the raceway, Cardinale has worked to expand news coverage of motor racing in the San Francisco Bay Area, which now includes weekly motorsports programming on a prominent San Francisco all-sports radio station, live broadcasts of 15-20 NASCAR Winston Cup races each year and weekly motorsports sections in nearly every major newspaper. He has also helped develop an Emmy-nominated NASCAR Winston Cup Preview Show on the local FOX Sports Net affiliate.

1/28/03

Work on Bahrain in overtime mode  Work on the Bahrain Formula One circuit is on a fast track with workers putting in long hours to ensure the circuit is ready by 2004. Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa al-Khalifa, Chairman of the Circuit Committee, told the Reuters news agency that all was ahead of schedule. ‘This biggest challenge is the time frame,’ he said. ‘They're working 24 hours a day. The workforce is up close to 1,000 people now. We're slightly ahead of plan now but it's still early days.’ Work at the moment is still concentrated on clearing rock, a job that has been going on since mid November. The end result Sheik Mohammed added would be a dramatic location for Formula One racing not only for drivers, but also for visiting observers and the massive television audience. ‘The area of the main grandstand will be landscaped like an oasis,’ he explained enthusiastically. ‘You can go out into the desert and back to the oasis. ‘From the driver's point of view we have the changes in elevation. Part of the track is behind the hill and we have some nice elevation changes to make the track more exciting.’

1/28/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Suganuma Pleased With Progress
Jarno Trulli: No Excuses In 2003
Jordan Denies Red Bull Buyout
Only Podiums Will Do For Jacques
Richards Wants Villeneuve To Stay
Minardi Team To Wear Puma Shoes
Montagny Gets 'Stuck In' To New Role
Austria Loses Its Grand Prix
McLaren Charging For Title Challenge
Renault: On Track For World Success
FIA Add Condolences To Agnelli Family
Montoya Thinks New Rules Will Work
Williams Eyes Kimi As Next Champion
Gene Anxious For FW25 Launch
Albert Park Welcomes More Action
Brief: Ayrton Senna And Takuma Sato
Villeneuve Defends Outspoken Honesty

1/27/03

 

Cut Downforce? Softer Tires?   According to this Winston Salem Journal article, NASCAR's George Pyne reiterated NASCAR's plans to cut downforce on Winston Cup cars. Four years ago, a good car would generate 800 to 900 pounds of downforce, with its rear spoiler, nose and roof designs. This season, a good car will generate well over 1,400 pounds. The more downforce, the better a car sticks in the corners, but at the expense of a tremendous, dangerous increase in tire deformation. In response, Goodyear has gone to a much harder tire to prevent blowouts. But drivers have complained about the hard tires and have pushed NASCAR and Goodyear for softer tires, which they say would make for better racing. Goodyear, however, doesn't plan to switch to softer tires until NASCAR can cut the downforce to back under 1,000 pounds, according to several teams. This year, NASCAR's John Darby hopes to make at least two 1/2-inch cuts in the rear spoiler. Each cut would take about 50 pounds of downforce off the rear, and it is assumed that teams would then have to take another 50 pounds off the nose to keep the car balanced. Two such cuts would cut downforce back to 1,200 pounds, close enough to where Goodyear might provide somewhat softer tires.

1/27/03

Patrick Racing has successful first test  Visteon/Patrick Racing held its first test of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season running for two days, January 25 -26, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Oriol Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing car, which is powered by Ford-Cosworth with a Lola chassis and Bridgestone tires, ran a total of 250 miles and notched a fast time of 70.569 seconds (114.169 mph) putting him seventh on the combined practice report after the two days of testing. His quick time during the first day of testing was 71.378 seconds (112.875 mph) placing him fifth on the speed charts. Servia, who is in his fourth Champ Car season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, was pleased with the results of the test saying, “The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team spent the first day of the test shaking down the primary and backup cars. The team did a good job preparing the cars and we had a very productive day with no problems. The second day we got more into racing and tied to make the car quick. The Visteon/Patrick Racing car was well balanced and I was quite happy. In the morning we were third fastest then, in the afternoon, we tired some things mainly to learn more about the car. We didn’t improve our time, but we learned a lot and that is why we test.” Servia also noted that, “This was my first test with Visteon/Patrick Racing. I joined the team at mid-season last year and we didn’t do any testing. It was also my first chance to work with engineer Steve Challis. I think things went very well and I am looking forward to getting back on the track at Spring Training.” Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee said, “This was our first test of the 2003 season, so it was the first time we have run our new Lola chassis and the new Ford-Cosworth engine. It was also the first time Oriol has tested with the team and the first test with Steve Challis as the engineer. Given all the new elements it was a good shakedown for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team. McGee went on to say, “The Lola chassis looks good, the Ford-Cosworth engine ran exceptionally well.

1/27/03

New Cosworth quieter  Running at only 12,000 + RPM, the new Ford Cosworth engine is noticeably quieter than last years CART engines leading some to suggest Cosworth should make it a single sided turbo so it sounds like a real race car.  Details, details.  Mark C.

1/27/03

New McLaren a radical departure   McLaren chief designer Adrian Newey says that the new McLaren MP4/18 will be a radical departure from any other F1 car he has produced. What will make the new car so special he would not reveal. "The new McLaren will be entirely different to the other cars," Newey told Auto Motor und Sport.  The new car won't race until the Spanish GP.

1/27/03

Bourdais destroys Newman Haas Lola  UPDATE AR1 has learned that Bourdais is OK, and it has not been determined yet whether the car is a write-off.  He went off at Turn 10, a 115+ MPH turn.  1/27/03 -  AR1 sources tell us Sebastien Bourdais has just had a big crash at Laguna Seca and totaled one of the Newman Haas Lolas.  No word on the condition of the driver, but we think he is OK.  The team stayed on to test (as did Herdez) after the CART open test this weekend.  Mark C.

1/27/03

Players Forsythe happy with test   Team Player’s drivers Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy conducted their first combined CART pre-season testing sessions of the winter this past weekend, clocking some impressive fast laps on the Laguna Seca road course. Carpentier, who ran close to 200 laps during the two-day session that brought together most of the CART teams, clocked a lap of 69.712 seconds (115.573 mph), the third-best performance of the weekend, after Newman/Haas drivers Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais. Tracy, who put in about 165 laps, produced the fourth-fastest lap (70.157 seconds, 114.840 mph). “I’m getting more comfortable each time out,” said Tracy of his second testing session with Team Player’s. “We still have some work to do to try and coax more speed out of the car, but we made some big strides from our Saturday session to the one on Sunday. We had no mechanical problems and we got a lot of work done from an engineering standpoint.” Tracy said the fact Team Player’s had both of its cars at the same testing session for the first time in this off-season produced plenty of useful data, some of which help in his adaptation process with his new team. “This is the first time I’ve been paired with a teammate (Patrick) who is a left-footed braker,” explained Tracy. “Because Pat brakes with his left foot, he’s able to brake a lot deeper than I can. That type of thing shows up on the data that we’ve compiled this weekend, so I can take a look at it and see how I can approach braking a bit later and, consequently, that might help me gain a split second here and there.” Carpentier said he was satisfied by the consistency of his fast laps, although he added the goal of the weekend sessions was more in gathering information on the Team Player’s Champ car than clocking fast laps. “There is a different approach to testing this year,” added Carpentier. “Because there are so few testing sessions, the focus is more on the mechanical side than the aerodynamics. We now have only nine more hours of testing before the start of the season, so we have to make sure we get the most of our testing sessions.” The nine remaining hours of testing will be consumed at the three-day CART spring-training session in Sebring, Florida, February 4-6.

1/27/03



NASCAR prepares for global expansion, starting with live British TV   As predicted by Mark Cipolloni in his latest article, Why CART and F1 must, and will share a common V10 engine platform, the oval track cartel plans to expand overseas, and unless the road racing cartel defends their turf, first by adopting a common engine platform to strength their position, it could mean curtains for road racing in a decade or two.  Starting with the Budweiser Shootout, every single lap of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season will be shown live on Sky (Channel 420) and then NTL Cable (Channel 917), all done by the North American Sports Network (NASN).  Original USA feed will be used, so British fans will hear and see exactly what the American are seeing.  We hear NASCAR will first get on live TV in as many countries as possible, before a concerted effort is made to race overseas.  Some have suggested NASCAR will simple buy CASCAR (Canada) and ASCAR (Europe), put the NASCAR name and rules on them (they already run to rules not too different than NASCAR), put the NASCAR marketing might behind it, and expand their product continent by continent.  We hear the IRL may want to ride their coattails through that process.  Now you understand why the alliance between CART and F1 (Pook and Ecclestone) has begun, first informally, and later formally, to strengthen the road racing base.  Bernie and Chris are very smart men.  They see the handwriting on the wall.  The war has just begun!  Mark C.

1/27/03

Foyt signs deal with Toyota   UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Interesting that AJ has signed with Toyota. He was always outspoken against furiners ruining Indy cars and now he has a Japanese engine. I wonder if it will be a lease, because he was against them in CART?  Michael Crane  Dear Michael, even AJ has to swallow his pride if he wants to have a chance to win. We guess he doesn't think Chevy (American) can beat Toyota (Japanese), or he would not have switched.  Perhaps now he will use Toyota in Winston Cup as well...when they make the jump in 2007 as rumored.  Mark C.  1/27/03 - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and A.J. Foyt Enterprises announced today that they have reached an agreement for Toyota to supply Indy Racing League (IRL) engines to the team beginning in 2003, the manufacturer’s inaugural season of IRL competition. The agreement makes A. J. Foyt Enterprises one of five teams to sign with Toyota in the manufacturer’s quest for an Indianapolis 500 victory and an IRL IndyCar Series championship. Foyt’s team joins Kelley Racing, Team Penske, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Mo Nunn Racing in utilizing Toyota power in 2003. A.J. Foyt Enterprises will campaign 18-year-old phenom A.J. Foyt IV, the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series champion in 2002 and the grandson of team owner A.J. Foyt. He was an AAWRBA First-team All-American selection last season after winning four races and four pole positions. "We’re thrilled to be partnering with A.J. Foyt Enterprises, a name synonymous with IndyCar racing,“ said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. “A.J.’s team is a proven winner in the IndyCar Series, and his talented grandson A.J. Foyt IV shows great promise for the future.”

1/27/03

Jordan won't sell team   Eddie Jordan has strongly denied he will sell his struggling Formula One team to Red Bull, despite increased speculation the two have been in talks. Jordan insists despite the current troubled position the team finds itself in, added financial assistance from the sport's organizers should ensure the team survives the 2003 season. "Even if Red Bull dreams of it, I will not sell my team, stated Eddie Jordan. “We are in need of a lot of money, but we will manage on our own."

1/27/03

More on car nos.   Our 2003 CART Silly Season Page lists the latest CART Champ Car car numbers for 2003, as we know them.  It should be noted that the Championship winning Newman Haas team will run #1 and #2, i.e. they got one of the Team Penske numbers and Players Forsythe got the other.

1/27/03

Test in West Preview   If the 2003 Indy Racing League Test in the West had a theme song, “Getting to Know You” might be appropriate. The annual preseason Open Test always features new teams, drivers and highlights, but the eighth annual Test in the West at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway has many exciting new aspects in the first glimpse at most of the major teams in both the IRL IndyCar Series and IRL Infiniti Pro Series running at the same track since the end of the 2002 season. More....

1/27/03

Octagon finally acknowledges race at Brands Hatch   Today, January 27th, Octagon has finally put up an article on their Brands Hatch website acknowledging that they will host a CART race on May 5th.  Incredible that it has taken this long.  The Champ Car race has been added to their Season Pass package (good for all races at Octagon owned tracks except the British GP).  From what we hear, tickets are going to be hard to get, so if you are going, buy them now.  Click here.

1/27/03

Austria set to lose F1 race   According to this Autosport.com article, Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told one of Austria's biggest newspapers that the country will lose its place on the grand prix calendar next year due to its government bringing forward a ban on tobacco advertising. The A1-Ring at Spielberg holds a contract to host a Formula 1 event until 2006, but Ecclestone told Kronen Zeitung: "We'll be racing for the last time in Spielberg on May 18 this year – then it's over. Of course, we had a contract with Spielberg until 2006, but with an exit clause that's now come into effect. Your [Austria's] health minister is the one to blame because he agreed to bringing forward the ban on tobacco advertising." Ecclestone gave his comments while in Kitzbuhel for the World Cup skiing races at the weekend. "In 2004 we're racing in Shanghai and Bahrain, 2005 in Istanbul, then in Russia," he said. "It's possible that we then only have five or six races in central Europe." When asked whether Austria would be one of those venues, Ecclestone replied: "The decision is final." The loss of Austria will not be greeted with much sympathy in F1 circles as the race was held in an area which did not really have the infrastructure to support the event.

1/27/03

Dale Earnhardt Jr. does not like smaller fuel tanks   In an attempt to give drivers some breathing room in the frenetic multi-car drafts, NASCAR officials cut the size of fuel tanks approximately in half at the two tracks, Daytona and Talladega, where the plates are used to limit horsepower. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won both Talladega races in 2002, remains unhappy with the change. “It’s just an added hassle,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something very necessary. That race at Talladega, where we ran that smaller fuel cell, did separate the pack, but that was because people were making mistakes on and off pit road, running out of gas and not having as good a fuel mileage as everybody else. That’s not the reasons that you want to be able to separate the packs. That’s not a good result from the change they made. “I hate the fact that I have to make more pit stops. It’s really hard for us to get down pit road when you’re running that fast. It’s very dangerous. We’ve seen a lot of crashes happen coming onto pit road when a pack tries to come on pit road and everybody decides to and some guys don’t. It’s kind of dangerous. You’ve got guys who can’t slow down or misjudge the entrance of pit road and run into the back of you. Things like that happen. You tear a tire off or blow a tire out coming down pit road. You don’t want to take four, but you have to because you flat spotted both front tires sliding into the pits. You can tear the gears out, tear the read end out, or tear the transmission out trying to get off of pit road. It just increases all those things. It increases the ability of those things to happen.”

1/27/03

Fernández pleased with Laguna Seca test   Adrian Fernandez turned his first laps in the new #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone this weekend, deeming the two-day Champ Car open test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca a success for Fernandez Racing. "I'm a little bit sore, but it was nice to be back in the race car after three months," said Fernandez, who has been sidelined since a racing accident in Surfers Paradise, Australia, on October 27 last year. "Everything went very smoothly, and the team is working very well together. It was a good two days." Fernandez turned a total of 169 laps on the 2.238-mile road course, posting a best lap time of 70.6 seconds. It was his first run with the new Ford-Cosworth XFE - the spec engine that will power the entire field in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. "The new package seems to be very good," added Fernandez. "The engine is different than what we are used to, but we are learning a lot. I think we are right there considering this is the first time I have been back in the car. I am still a little rusty, and I need to work more on regaining my strength because I haven't been able to strength-train due to the [fractured] vertebrae. Overall, I am happy. We are in striking distance and there is still some time to come from me." Team Manager Gustavo del Campo was equally pleased with the course of events over the two-day outing and the team's progress. "Adrián is in very good shape for being out of the car the past few months," said del Campo. "We were focusing on seven or eight lap runs, trying to be consistent and find a good balance. We weren't going for the fastest lap; we were only looking to put more mileage on the driver at this point. "The car is very good. We didn't have any problems with the engine, the new Pi system, etc. The team is the same group of people as last season, only now [Race Engineer] David Watson knows he is in charge for the whole year. [Watson originally joined the team for the last three events of the 2002 season.] I think we are in very good shape and this was a very good start." Fernandez is looking forward to the team's next outing -- CART's Spring Training - which begins with media activities in St. Petersburg, Fla., on February 2, and moves to Sebring International Raceway for on-track testing from February 4 through 6. "The three days at Sebring are going to help me," said Fernandez. "It is one thing to work out in the gym, but it is nothing like driving a race car. This is the longest period that I have had without driving since I started racing 20-some years ago. I am not worried about it because it will come back. Our test at Laguna was good, and I was even surprised myself that I was pretty much right there because I am still getting back to 100 percent. I am looking forward to Sebring."

1/27/03

Taxpayer funding will continue for Surfers race   According to this Australian Herald Sun article, taxpayer funding for the Gold Coast Indy 300 race will continue for as long as it remains in the state. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said yesterday the motor race was a major tourism event for Queensland and would always need some level of government sponsorship. His comments came as international computer printer maker Lexmark was announced as the new naming rights sponsor for the Indy under a four-year, multi-million-dollar deal. It replaces Honda whose five-year contract with Indy - Queensland's biggest annual event - expired last year. Lexmark managing director Henrik Stensfeldt would not reveal how much the company had paid for the naming rights. Mr Stensfeldt said the sponsorship deal would help provide wider exposure for Lexmark in Queensland and reflected the growing importance of the Australian market. Queensland taxpayers contributed nearly $11 million to the Indy race last year and are expected to provide the same level of funding for this year's race, to be held on October 23 to 26 on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Mr Beattie yesterday defended the expense, saying more than $50 million was returned through economic benefits to the state. He said the event generated 175,000 visitor nights in Queensland last year and was seen by an international audience of more than 700 million people in 190 countries. "Tourism no longer simply relies on natural assets ... event tourism is absolutely essential to attract people," Mr Beattie said. Tourism Queensland chairman Terry Jackman said the Indy was arguably the state's "best known and best loved" event. He said while Queensland does attract massive one-off events such as the Rugby World Cup, the Indy was "really the annual big-ticket item on the tourism events calendar".

1/27/03
Industry News

1948 Indy 500 driver killed   Johnny Mauro, a 1948 Indianapolis 500 racer and founder of the U.S. Truck Driving School, was one of two driver's killed in a head-on collision on Interstate 70. Mauro, 92, and 17-year-old Christopher Basinski, a student at Chatfield High School, died Thursday night after Mauro's car crossed into incoming traffic, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Ron Watkins. ''We're just befuddled,'' Mauro's brother, Chuck Mauro, said Friday. ''I don't know if he had a stroke or a heart attack or what. But he was healthy and I really don't know.'' A passenger in Basinski's car, 16-year-old Dillan Newman of Morrison, was hospitalized with serious injuries. ''We feel so badly about it, not only about him, but about the other young man who was killed,'' Chuck Mauro said. ''We just feel so terrible about that.'' Johnny Mauro was one of 11 children and raced for years across the Midwest. AP

1/27/03

IRL will start to promote its drivers like NASCAR does   We have long maintained that NASCAR is so popular because it has made its drivers household names, and hence the fans have followed.  Fans follow their "heroes", not the cars, the technology, or the party atmosphere of an event (see related article - Do heroes make a sport, or does a sport make heroes? by Mark Cipolloni).  Up until this point, that is why the IRL, CART, ALMS, etc, flounder around 1.0 TV ratings while NASCAR enjoys 4+ ratings.  This has not been lost on Tony George.  Starting in 2003, the IRL will begin to create its heroes, i.e. the drivers. If he succeeds in his plan, the IRL TV ratings will begin to grow, while the other racing series that promote their events, cars, or technology will continue to flounder.   In this article, George lays out his 2003 goals for the IRL: 1) Stick to oval race tracks. 2) Strictly regulate engines and cars to keep performance roughly equal and competition intense. 3) Begin promoting its drivers as stars, much like NASCAR drivers. 4) Build the IRL brand through media coverage, video games and by getting drivers involved with fans before each race. 5) Encourage more women drivers to join the league. 5) Continue to hold down costs for racing teams by requiring them to buy their engines and chassis from approved suppliers. Perhaps the biggest challenge for George will come from trying to keep down costs while welcoming Honda and Toyota into the league as approved engine suppliers for the 2003 season. "What we hoped to have accomplished with the league and formula is a level playing field, where having access to virtually unlimited resources won't get you the kinds of gains that give you a huge advantage," George said. "We think the competition is very close. Someone with fewer resources can compete with either the manufacturer-supported teams or the ones that have high-profile sponsors." George said it is unlikely any races will be added to the roster at the Indianapolis International Speedway, which hosts the Indianapolis 500 in May, the Brickyard 400 in August and the United States Grand Prix in September. Regarding the competition with CART, George after his speech said that motor sports is a big enough arena to accommodate both. "By focusing on ovals, we can develop our niche and grow our business," he said. "Likewise, CART moving toward road courses, they should be able to develop that as well."

1/27/03

Champ Car Stars releases 2003 regulations   The Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow karting series released its 2003 technical regulations today. As previously disclosed, the regulations follow closely FIA/CIK international karting standards for the ICC, ICA, and World Formula classes. “I want to commend our National Technical Director, Scott G. Evans, on a superb job establishing regulations that provide sensible, stable rules for our constituents,” said Stars’ Operations Director Paul Zalud. “Rules making and enforcement is no easy task. Stars is fortunate to have one of the most disciplined and thorough rules directors in the sport in Mr. Evans.” Reflecting the recent merger with the WKA/SCCA Constructor’s Championship, the Stars regulations provide consistency with existing WKA regulations for the junior classes of 80cc shifter, Yamaha Superbox, and Cadet. Additional classes that will be run in Stars regional programs are also covered in the rules. “It is our mission at Stars to be a stabilizing and unifying force in American karting in order to elevate the sport. It is indeed a pleasure to begin to make this mission a reality in conjunction with our friends at the WKA, SCCA, and CIK,” said Zalud. “We believe this is another step towards a real change in American kart racing. It is now incumbent upon us to take these rules and run a tight, sensible racing series.” One current hot issue that is addressed in the Stars regulations is the matter of 2003 CIK bodywork. “In order to serve all our constituents, both 2003 and pre-2003 compliant bodywork will be allowed for the 2003 season,” continued Zalud. “We do not wish to put suppliers, distributors, retailers, and racers in an unreasonable position either by forcing them to abandon pre-2003 inventories or by departing from CIK regulations and sticking new chassis owners with bodywork they cannot use.” The Stars regulations can be found at www.cartstars.com. The Champ Car 'Stars of Tomorrow' karting series is the official first level in CART's driver development system and an officially sanctioned series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing. Founded by racing star Bryan Herta and now owned in conjunction with a group of racing veterans, including three-time CART champion and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, the Stars of Tomorrow serves as the first step for the CART driver development ladder. Stars focuses on recognizing the skills of the drivers rather than the technology development within the machines, using FIA/CIK International standards. More information can be found at www.cartstars.com.

1/27/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Eddie Jordan Wants Young Blood
Bernie Eyes Control Of British GP
New Bans To Affect F1 Tires?
Ralph Firman Still In The Running
Trulli Supports Electronic Bans
Sauber In Pain Over Telemetry Ban
Hakkinen Promises More Rally Racing
Sauber: Toyota To Spring Surprise
Fisichella Sad To See Irvine Go
McNish To Toyota: Go Easy On Da Matta
Make Or Break For Minardi Testers
Irvine: I Would Have Raced For Free
Williams To Launch Radical Racer
Schumacher Unfazed By Gizmo Bans
Williams Switch Off Electronic Aids
Jordan Denies Free-Eddie Claims
Breakaway Group Willing To Compromise
Button Left Disillusioned At The Top

1/27/03

NASCAR worried about poisoning drivers  2nd UPDATE Another reader writes, Just to remind everybody, as Richard Petty was winding down his NASCAR career, he was also concerned about carbon-monoxide poisoning and felt it was something that hurt his performances. Towards the end he was even wearing a helmet that was feeding him "unpoisoned air.", something similar to what fighter pilots wear at high altitude. Not even "The King" could get NASCAR to take notice....Scott Emerson Bull  1/26/03 - A reader writes, The carbon monoxide problem in NASCAR is not new, they have been an aware of the problem since the 60's. I was casually watching a NASCAR event almost 15 years ago and Benny Parsons mention the problem during his commentary, in between carburetors are superior to fuel injection, and Bill France is a saint. Parsons did also mention the Doctor who conducted the study, but I can't recall the Doctors name, and Parsons mentioned his own high post race blood toxin levels as driver during the study. As if it matters (NASCAR only cares after they kill or nearly kill someone) David R. Smith Louisville, KY  1/26/03 - According to this Winston Salem News Journal article, NASCAR is studying catalytic converters that can turn deadly carbon monoxide into relatively harmless carbon dioxide. NASCAR's R&D director, Gary Nelson, said that Rick Mast's illness and Tony Stewart's poisoning at Martinsville last fall triggered NASCAR to start a major investigation in to the carbon monoxide issue. In part of the NASCAR study, some drivers last fall gave doctors a balloon sample from their lungs after the race.  We here at AR1 feel this issue is one reason why many Winston Cup drivers are cutting back on the number of non-Cup races they participate in.

1/26/03

News from Laguna - less HP, faster lap times   HP is down to 750 HP this year in CART with the standard Ford Cosworth, yet hot off the presses - Bruno Junqueira was faster today at Laguna Seca than last years pole time by about 1/2 second. For the second straight day, the cars of the Newman/Haas Racing stable set the pace in the Champ Car Open Test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This time, it was Bruno Junqueira taking quick time honors over yet-to-be-signed Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais. On Saturday, Bourdais was slightly quicker than Junqueira. Player's/Forsythe Racing's Patrick Carpentier wound up third fastest for the second day in a row. Ironically, the entire engine budget for CART this year will be $25 million (all cars all races) whereas it was about $200 million last year......and the cars are going faster....which proves you don't need runaway engine costs to go fast.  Full Story Mark C.

1/26/03

From the major ouch department   The Gazzetta dello Sport from Italy has reported that the new FIA rule to ban two way telemetry this season has cost the Sauber Petronas team dearly. This past off-season the Sauber team reportedly spent $1.9 million on developing a new two way telemetry system for the Sauber C22.  On a more positive note, teams will save 10 times this in future development costs, so the new rules are saving Sauber and everyone else a lot of money.

1/26/03

Seen at Laguna on Saturday - III  

(Photos by Bob Heathcote

1/26/03

Tire talk with Bridgestone   Tire talk with Bridgestone -- conducted with Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager Bridgestone Motorsport.  Transcript

1/26/03

Someone needs to pickup Pantano   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have been watching this past years F3000 races on SPEED Channel.  Giorgio Pantano and Sebastien Bourdais put on some great battles all year long.  Bourdais has been super fast in Champ Cars already and there is no question Pantano is equally as talented and would be just as impressive.  After hearing that Pantano got screwed out of a Champ Car ride in the 11th hour by Dana Brewer, if I were a team owner looking for a driver, I would be knocking on this kids door.  CART isn't going to grow its series with ride-buyers, it's going to grow it with talented drivers like a Zanardi, Montoya, Bourdais or Pantano who can get the fans excited again.  Dan Jones, Seattle, Wa.   Dear Dan, there is no question that what happened to the talented Pantano was disheartening.  Finding a ride now, even back in F3000, may be too late.  It's too bad for CART as well, because some of its better TV ratings came from Italy, especially when Zanardi was winning.  The Italians are indeed fanatical about their racing, and Pantano is very popular in Italy.  Mark C.

1/26/03

CART wasted money on Andretti   In this CanadianRacing.com interview, Paul Tracy says - I’m a supporter of CART and I have been a supporter of CART for a long time. They’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of years marketing Michael (Andretti) as CART’s guy. Then all of a sudden, Michael’s bad-mouthing CART, and slamming the people that run CART, and I’ve never really done that. “Michael Andretti” is a very powerful name, and Michael was the key focus of their marketing campaign. I guess now it’s my turn. I’ve got some years, and some name recognition, yet it’s not something I’ve really thought about. It just goes along with everything else. I just try to go out and put as much of myself out there and do a good job......I think they’ve addressed a lot of issues. Going back to Europe is important, stabilizing the rules package is important, stabilizing the engine package is important. I think they’ve done a lot, but the biggest hurdle right now is the car count, but we’re almost there. In this economy, it’s very hard to generate a lot of money for sponsorship, whether it’s sports teams or Olympic athletes or car racing. You’ve got sports teams going bankrupt right now like the Ottawa Senators or Buffalo Sabres. They generate millions of dollars in revenue, and they’re going bankrupt. The times are tough right now in filling the grid, with 9/11, and with America about to go to war, people aren’t focusing on throwing millions of dollars into sponsoring racecars. We’ve had a lot of new teams coming into CART with people like Craig Pollack, and spending their own money to support auto racing when times are tough. I applaud people like that.

1/25/03

Seen at Laguna Seca on Saturday  

Car# Driver Sponsor
1 Bruno Junqueira None (Though car was purple and white, could it be     Pioneer?)
2 Sebastian Bourdais Lilly
3 Paul Tracy Players
4 Roberto Moreno Herdez (Never heard an official announcement)
9 Michel Jourdain Gigante
19 Joel Camathias None (Though car was blue and white)
20 Oriol Servia Visteon (Wish they had changed the paint scheme)
32 Patrick Carpentier Players
33 Alex Tagliani Johnson Controls, I believe Microchip.
34 Mario Haberfeld Mi-Jack
51 Adrian Fernandez Tecate, Quaker State
55 Mario Dominguez Herdez

1/25/03

Newman Haas to unveil new sponsor   Newman Haas is tentatively scheduled to unveil a new team sponsor on Monday February 3rd in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Kmart and Havoline are gone, but the team has found a replacement.  Eli Lilly is still on board though the team still can't use the Calais name until the FDA approves the drug.  We hear it is now close. Mark C.

1/25/03

Briatore attacks F1   The flamboyant Flavio Briatore has this to say about F1's woes, and you can tell it's aimed right at people like Ron Dennis who want to keep all the technology in the sport: "We are not doing anything for the public," he said. "We care about the technology for the technology. When, for example, we had something new like telemetry, nobody thought if this created a better show for the public. Do the public appreciate it? No way! It is only for us, meaning that we don't care what our customers want. Our product is too expensive at this moment, and the public does not appreciate our product. It is that simple." "You see the other teams fall off left and right, and you still go straight like nothing happened," Briatore said. "Some people never want to change anything." The problem, Briatore said, is that the teams can't agree on any solutions. And that opens the door for F1's governing body the FIA to step in and make changes that may not be popular with the teams. "We give the possibility for those changes to be imposed on us because we are not agreeing on anything," he said. "This is the real problem of F1. The people want to see a race. but F1 in the last three or four months was more in the economic pages of the newspapers and not in the sporting pages. We forget that we are doing sport. We lost the track. We need to come back very quickly onto the right track. "Normally you run a business and you sit together and decide what you need to do to run a business," he continued. "The moment you have a solution you go to the director, the referee, and say this is what we propose. It never happens (with the F1 teams). We need to have rules imposed on us. Max (Mosley the FIA president) and Bernie (Ecclestone, F1's commercial rights holder) understand that we are going completely out hand." "We have seen on many occasions people working in F1 people and making a lot of money out of it, but they don't care what the people think," Briatore said. "We need to care about what the people think because we need to sell cars to the people; we need to bring an image to the people. We need to make the people enjoy our racing. You know the TV ratings dropped, and they should be dropping because what we produce (in the race) on Sunday ... it is a miracle that people are still watching TV." "First you need to work on the circuits," he said. "You need to modify a lot of the tracks because on some of these tracks it is impossible to overtake somebody if you are walking, never mind racing a F1 car. Secondly we have make a car with less aerodynamic downforce so that you can overtake the guy in front of you." "The people don't care about how much we spend," he said. "This is our problem and we don't need to discuss it in the newspaper every day. People have those problems in their own homes -- the budget to pay the rent and the electricity bill -- they don't care how much Toyota is saving or Renault spending. "Our problem is that we need to give a better race, a better spectacle," he added. "Sure, if we are business people, we need to manage to give this product with less money. This is possible. We don't to save two or three percent in F1. We have the possibility to save 50 or 60 percent." "Really, it is quite incredible that when the spectators see two cars on the grid, and that behind those two cars are 1,000 people," Briatore said. "We look like a joke. One thousand people behind two racing cars? This is not the way to go." The bottom line, Briatore insisted, is that F1 has to look after its fans and listen to what they want. He summed it all up this way: "It is like you have a store and you don't care what the client wants," Briatore said. "Because you like black, you order everything in black. If the client likes white, you don't care."

1/25/03

Renault changes mind on Friday testing   According to this Auto Motor Sport article, Renault will withdraw from Friday testing due to the rule changes, they need more track-time, which is understandable. The first year of any major rules change requires more testing to adopt.  In years 2, 3 and beyond, when all the needless technology is stripped from the F1 cars, there will be far less urgency to test.

1/25/03

What about Paul Ricard? UPDATE More info on Paul Ricard - Length: from 0.51 miles to 3.62 miles (40 possible configurations), Width: 40 feet. Paul Ricard is the most modern motor racing facility in the world. After 12 months of intensive re-development by Bernie Ecclestone, it now offers the teams who test there 40 different configurations. Home of the French GP in the 70"s, it is currently dedicated exclusively to testing, the circuit features exceptional safety facilities and some unique technological solutions: with 32 timing sensors, an automatic circuit-sprinkler system, air-conditioned garages and no gravel traps, it is truly one-of-a-kind. A system of colored lights positioned around the circuit performs the job of the marshals, while the tarmac run-off areas mean cars can continue without any damage after a spin. Paul Ricard is now capable of simulating a range of circuits as different as Budapest and Montreal.  1/24/03 -  We published an article awhile back which explored the idea of CART racing at Bernie Ecclestone's track in Paul Ricard, France.  A rumor has surfaced that France is possibly in CART's future.  In Autosport, Nigel Roebuck talks about what Bernie Ecclestone has done since he bought Paul Ricard. Nigel writes, " I was there last two dozen years ago, and upon my return last week was stunned by what Bernie had done with the place, to the point that it was difficult some of the time to work out where one was. Approaching the track, there is now what appears to be a vast Provencal country club, which proves on closer inspection to be the Hotel du Catellet, and was put up by....you guessed. It looks like the kind of place where you settle the bill through a building society, and one of the restaurants, they tell me, is about to receive its first Michelin star. Everything top drawer, as you would expect from Bernie C. Ecclestone. Once inside the circuit, access roads are at last laid out logically, and there are impressive new pits, media building, and so on. And if the race is boring.....just flip on the sprinkler system and you have a wet race for added excitement, under clear blue skies.  All that's needed is to erect grandstands/bleachers and they can go racing.

1/25/03

Monterrey tickets on sale to general public   Tickets go on sale Sunday to the general public for the March 23rd Tecate Telmex Grand Prix CART race in Monterrey, Mexico.

1/25/03

Dr. Trammel responds to F1 crybabies   UPDATE We have added a photo to the right of Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello wearing the HANS Device.  We have not heard him crying about it at all. (Photo by Bryn Lennon, Getty Images1/23/03 - CART drivers have been using the HANS Device on both ovals and road courses for two years with very few complaints.  However, the F1 drivers are crying like babies about wearing the device.  In an article in Autosport Magazine, CART Orthopedic expert Dr. Terry Trammel responds to the cries - "I would say to any driver that there is absolutely no reason why they can't wear the HANS in any kind of race car.  It can be adapted to any style of driving.  Some F1 drivers have been outspoken in criticizing the HANS.  I'd be happy to work with them and I guarantee that they can wear it without if affecting their performance."

1/25/03

Jordan to name driver next week  Ralph Firman thinks, like many others in the F1 world, that former Sauber driver Felipe Massa (right) is the one that will eventually win the last Jordan seat. "I think Massa is favorite. He's in plum position because he has heavy backing, but perhaps nothing has been officially signed yet," he said. "I'd love to be in Formula One, it's what I've always dreamed of. It would be great to race against guys like Juan Pablo Montoya, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli who I raced against in Formula Three. But I'm due to go back to Japan on Tuesday and race in the GT and Formula Nippon series again this year so we'll see what happens." And it seems as if he won't have long to wait for the answer with Jordan's director of marketing Mark Gallagher confirming that all should be revealed by the middle of next week. "Massa and Ralph are very much in discussions with us," he said. "The discussions are coming along and it's pretty imminent - maybe Tuesday or Wednesday next week. At the end of the day we must go testing."

1/25/03

Irvine would have driven for free  The latest The Sun article says Eddie Irvine was paid £18m for his three year stint at Jaguar, but now says he would have driven for free. "From the start money has never been the issue," Irvine tells The Sun. "I have always tried to earn a reasonable wage from the sport but when a team has no money in the kitty it become a pointless exercise. "I know there were people thinking I was seeking a 'pension drive' by going to Jordan," he continues, "but nothing could be further from the truth. "I wanted to drive for them and prove a few things to a few people," adds the former Ferrari star. "Jordan would not have had to have paid me a bean. I was prepared to look for personal sponsorship and to sell space on my overalls and a small part of the car. "I could not have been fairer than that. The one thing which I wasn't going to do was to pay the team for the drive. That was never on."

1/25/03

Dover wants to keep two races  According to this Washington Post article, with major markets around the country clamoring for a NASCAR Winston Cup race, stock-car racing boss Bill France Jr. floated a controversial proposal this week for meeting that demand without adding to the sport's arduous, 36-race calendar. But officials at Dover (Del.) International Speedway yesterday balked at the proposal, which would involve giving up one of their annual races and moving it to St. Louis or Nashville, where Dover Motorsports, the company that owns the Delaware track, also owns tracks. "Given that our two races are both doing so well, and that we basically service the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia markets, which are major markets that NASCAR wants to stay strong in, I don't think there is any time soon that Dover will be giving up any of its two races to help Nashville or St. Louis have a Winston Cup race," said John Dunlap, director of public relations for Dover International Speedway. "We're not going to give up what we have. It's too good." The Dover track, dubbed "The Monster Mile," has hosted major stock-car races since 1969. According to Dunlap, both of its NASCAR races are attended by capacity crowds of 140,000 each spring and summer, drawing especially well from the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas.

1/25/03

Bodine's wife arrested  The wife of NASCAR driver Brett Bodine is expected to be extradited to Walton County, Florida on charges of harassing and threatening a Loganville woman. The Loganville woman had reportedly befriended Brett Bodine through her job with Hooters of America, one of Bodine's NASCAR sponsors. The woman has alleged she has been verbally threatened and harassed by Diane Bodine, 43, since last year. After an investigation, the Walton County Sheriff's Department issued arrest warrants for Diane Bodine on charges of making harassing phone calls and terroristic threats and acts, sheriff department Sgt. Jeff Johnson said. Diane Bodine was arrested last week at her Florida home by the Volusia County Sheriff's Department and was subsequently released on bond. Johnson said the department was seeking an extradition order to have Diane Bodine brought to Walton County to face the charges. Diane Bodine is the official owner of the No. 11 car driven by Brett Bodine, who made his NASCAR debut in 1985.

1/25/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Gascoyne: Button With A Lot To Prove
Ferrari Mourn Loss Of Giovanni Agnelli
Retirement In Fast Lane For Eddie Irvine
Bridgestone Buoyed By Barcelona Blitz
Williams And McLaren Wrap Up At Valencia
Massa Takes Pole Position For Jordan Ride
Fisichella Pleased With New Jordan Car
BAR Inject Patriotism With Jenson Button

1/24/03

New Atlantic team signs Figge  Pacific Coast Motorsports recently announced its formation and driver for the upcoming 2003 season. Alex Figge, of Santa Barbara, Calif., will contest the entire 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic Championship with Pacific Coast Motorsports. Recently formed, Pacific Coast Motorsports features a vast amount of Atlantic Championship experience. Team owner and Manager Tyler Tadevic has over five years experience in the Atlantic Championship, including managing World Speed Motorsports the past two years. Chief Engineer Mike Doyle has over 20 years of race experience with over nine years experience in the Atlantic Championship, while Chief Mechanic Alex Roberge joins the team having worked with P1 Racing for the past five years. "Pacific Coast Motorsports is focused on winning, said Tadevic. "Given the skills and experience of the crew, combined with Alex's [Figge] natural talent, we are looking to be a front-runner and have high hopes for the championship." Driving the No. 69 Wine Country Motorsports/Pacific Coast Motorsports Swift 014.a Toyota, Figge returns for his second year of Atlantic Championship competition. A driver of vast potential, Figge will be looking to capitalize on the experiences he gained in his rookie season. Thus far in pre-season testing, Figge has posted times as fast as the leaders at each test he has attended. "I can't wait for the season to start," said Figge. "The team has really gelled and I've posted some good results in testing. I know the team will give me all the tools necessary to compete for the championship."

1/24/03

Dana Brewer deceives another driver  Dana Brewer has left a trail of broken promises and lies behind him, and drivers with broken dreams. His latest victim was talented Giorgio Pantano who is now without a ride just before the season is to begin.   This speedtv.com article says that in the wake of the announcement that Sunoco will be the official fuel of the American Le Mans Series, it has become clear that the Christmas announcement from BC Motorsports that the team was moving into CART’s Champ Car series with backing耠from the oil company was also news to Sunoco’s management. "Sunoco is not, and has not been in any negotiations with BC Motorsport," said Rob Marro, General Manager of Sunoco Performance Products. "We have no plans to sponsor individual team or driver sponsorships in CART or any other series." It was said that BC Motorsports would be entering a one-car team in the series for Italian F3000 star Giorgio Pantano. "I’m flattered that BC Motorsports chose Sunoco to establish credibility," continued Marro, "but there was never any contact with us." BC Motorsports' plans are now unclear, and it appears that the team will not be racing in CART in 2003. The news also leaves Williams F1 test driver Pantano without a race drive with just weeks to go before CART’s season opener at St Petersburg, Fla. The Italian finished runner-up to France’s Sebastian Bourdais in the 2002 F3000 series. Bourdais is expected to be confirmed as Bruno Junqueira’s teammate at Newman/Haas in the next few days.  BC Motorsports has been removed from our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.

1/24/03

Tim Mayer takes over international duties  Creating the foundation for a key aspect of the strategic business plan of the Champ Car World Series, CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook announced today the appointment of Timothy A. Mayer, Managing Partner of G3 Communications, Inc. to head up CART international operations and development. Mayer, who most recently was CART's Vice President of Promoter Operations, will head up the operation of 2003 Champ Car events at Brands Hatch, England and at Eurospeedway Lausitz. In addition Mayer will oversee CART's relationship with the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia along with the development of other overseas events, CART's relationship with international sporting authorities and CART's international television. "While the North American region is the core of what Champ Car is about, our strategy going forward has to recognize that Champ Car is a global brand," Pook said. "With Tim's appointment, for the first time, CART is recognizing that we need to dedicate someone of Tim's experience to that mission." The announcement of Mayer's new appointment comes in conjunction with a list of new promotions and duties within Championship Auto Racing Teams, all of which will be detailed in a forthcoming release. Mayer's background includes six years developing overseas markets with the Champ Car series, including organizing the race in Rio de Janeiro, and producing coverage of the Champ Car series on Brazilian television. Joining CART in 1998, Mayer first took over administration of the Racing Operations division, then moved to head up Promoter Operations. Returning to run his own company, G3 Communications, Mayer is now taking over the international operations and development portfolio and will report directly to the company CEO. "The Champ Cars are widely recognized for the incredible quality of the racing. I am very excited to be able to work with Chris Pook and all of the Champ Car team to deliver this great brand worldwide," said Mayer. "I am also very pleased at the continuing confidence that Chris has shown in me in assigning me to this very important strategic goal of the company."

1/24/03

Sonoco joins ALMS  The great Mark Donohue and the Sunoco brand were synonymous in the world of professional sports car racing in the 60s and 70s, and the famous Sunoco name will return to the top level of sports car racing in a new marketing alliance for 2003. Sunoco will become the Official Fuel of the American Le Mans Series for the 2003 racing season and will also benefit the series with a television and marketing campaign. All cars that compete in events on the series will run on Sunoco GT Unleaded Racing Gasoline, while cars, drivers and crews will be adorned with the Sunoco brand logo. In addition to its presence at the events, Sunoco will support its partnership with the American Le Mans Series at the consumer level with displays and signage at its retail locations. Sunoco will also advertise on network telecasts of the events that appear on NBC Sports and CBS. “Thirty years ago, the Sunoco brand was very visible in American road racing due to the success of Mark Donohue,” said Rob Marro, General Manager of Sunoco Performance Products. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of the excitement surrounding the American Le Mans Series as it continues to grow and bring world-class sports car racing back to the forefront in North America.” “There is definitely a wonderful history associated with Sunoco and sports car racing, and it is an honor to have Sunoco as an important new ingredient of the American Le Mans Series,” said Scott Atherton, President of the ALMS. “Sunoco not only brings a great product for our race teams, but also brings important marketing clout to the table that will help us promote the series and the events.”

1/24/03

Toyota Atlantic deals in works  In addition to the teams that represented the recently-announced 16 entries for the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, several other Atlantic programs are also coming together. Chief among those teams is Reynoldsburg, Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing, which has competed in the series for the past eight seasons. According to team owner Mike Shank, a two-time Atlantic Team Owner of the Year, the team has every intention of competing in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, likely with two cars. The team has tested 10 drivers since the end of last season, and Shank reports that several deals are in the works, with a few approaching completion. Likewise, another Buckeye State team, Chardon-based Polestar Motor Racing, is working diligently to put a program together for 2003 as well. Polestar, which is being operated by long-time Atlantic competitors Jim and Pam Griffith, acquired all of the Atlantic equipment from Sigma Autosport, which competed in the series last season with Rocky Moran Jr. and David Wieringa. The team also has its own partial funding, and is in negotiations with a few drivers to complete the program. Tucson, Ariz.-based Brooks Associates Racing (formerly known as BBGP Racing) is in the process of putting together a two-car program that will compete full-time in the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship. The team will be moving to a new facility in Tucson within the next month that will house the team's race operations, as well as its marketing efforts. Team owner John Brooks explained that the team is currently talking to a number of drivers and that he is "cautiously optimistic" that deals for both cars will fall into place shortly. Long-time Atlantic competitors Condor Motorsports from Bloomington, Calif. are also actively seeking a program for 2003. Team owner Carlos Bobeda has been in contact with several drivers from all over the world, but the team and drivers have not yet secured the necessary funding to compete. JPT Motorsports out of Oceanside, Calif. is also hard at work in putting together a package for 2003 after fielding a car for DeWayne Cassel at Portland last year. Team owner Joe Tobin said that the team has a building full of equipment with one brand new Swift 014.a and another that has run just one race and a practice session last year at Cleveland. The team is actively searching for funding and a driver to complete its puzzle for the '03 season. Dorricott Racing, Lynx Racing, Scuadra Fortia and Sierra Sierra Racing are also in the process of finding funding for additional cars to run alongside each of the teams' previously announced drivers. The 12-race, 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship gets underway at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico on the weekend of March 23.

1/24/03

Teams test short track setup  Preparations for the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series continued Jan. 23 at Phoenix International Raceway with IndyCar Series drivers Gil de Ferran, Robbie Buhl and Al Unser Jr. testing on the 1-mile oval, concentrating on short oval setups. de Ferran, a two-time CART champion, completed more than 175 laps in his Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone during two days of testing. “Our two-day test at Phoenix was the first time we ran on a 1-mile oval with the 2003 race car,” de Ferran said. “The test was a good opportunity for us to work on our short oval setup, which is important, because it sets the tone for the season on this type of track. I believe it was a good test given we tried a number of different things and learned a lot over the last two days. “Our preseason preparation at this stage is going according to plan. It’s still early days to gauge our competitiveness. We’ll get a much better read on where we stand when we come back to Phoenix for Test in the West in early February.” Penske Racing President Tim Cindric was pleased with the test at Phoenix and hopes the team can score a second consecutive victory at PIR when the IndyCar Series returns for the Copper World Indy 200 on March 23. de Ferran’s teammate, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, won the event in 2002. “It was a productive two days at Phoenix for Marlboro Team Penske,” Cindric said. “We had our first opportunity to run the short oval package. We’re hoping to pick up where we left off here last year, but we’re not ready to go racing yet. We still need a bit more time.” IndyCar Series veteran Robbie Buhl, who struggled through the 2002 season and was running at the finish of only four of 15 races, was happy with the two-day test. "We did 200 miles as expected, and all trouble-free – which is a novel concept for us, given our bad luck last season,” Buhl said.

1/24/03

Ten drivers to test at Laguna Seca  UPDATE We added Joel Camathias and Dale Coyne Racing to the list who will be there.  1/24/03 - A least 10 CART drivers will be at Mazda Raceway this weekend to participate in an open CART test.  CART Champ Car teams/drivers scheduled to appear include:
- Team Rahal / Michel Jourdain
- Newman/Haas Racing / Bruno Junqueira, Sebastian Bourdais (assumed)
- Player's/Forsythe Racing / Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier
- Fernandez Racing / Adrian Fernandez
- Mi-Jack Conquest Racing / Mario Haberfeld
- Patrick Racing / Oriol Servia
- Herdez Competition / Dominguez or Moreno
- Rocketsports Racing / Alex Tagliani

- Dale Coyne Racing / Joel Camathias

1/24/03

NASCAR special on Travel Channel  NASCAR and Travel Channel have partnered to produce two one-hour documentaries airing back-to-back on February 9, 2003, exclusively on the Travel Channel. NASCAR's THUNDER ROAD, which airs at 9:00 p.m. (ET), and ULTIMATE NASCAR, which airs at 10:00 p.m. (ET) on February 9, provide viewers with both the familiar and the lesser-known elements of the sport and a NASCAR race. The programs will re-air on Saturday, February 15 from 9 - 11 p.m. (ET), the evening before the launch of NASCAR's 2003 season debut, the Daytona 500. "Travel Channel does a fantastic job taking viewers to places they have never been, and opening the NASCAR world to a new audience will benefit our drivers, teams, tracks, sponsors and the continued growth of the sport," said Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting, NASCAR. "It is always fascinating to look at NASCAR through a new lens. Wilda Rokos and Travel Channel have captured elements of our sport and culture that will captivate their audience." NASCAR's THUNDER ROAD takes a behind-the-scenes look at race weekends, documenting pre-race preparation for the drivers, teams and fans. Beginning with an overview of the sport and its history, the program examines the people and the innovative technology that go into the preparation for each event. The NASCAR race season is a challenging 38-week journey, and NASCAR's THUNDER ROAD will highlight the travel to and from NASCAR events showcasing how the team haulers serve as the "life system" of the racing crew on the road. Widely regarded as one of the most fan-friendly sports, NASCAR's THUNDER ROAD gives viewers a fan's view of the race from both the grandstand seats and VIP suites, including adrenaline-laden race action, the marvels of souvenir row, and the thrill of the Victory Lane celebration.

1/24/03

Dodge seeks diversity  Minority candidates interested in pursuing technical careers in professional racing can now apply for scholarships sponsored by the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship Program. The program, in its third year of operation, aims to attract, recruit and train minorities for positions within the automotive and motorsports industry. "The Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program represents a guided pathway by which talented technical students can find their way to success as team members in one of the most exciting careers around - NASCAR racing," said John Fernandez, Director - Dodge Motorsports Operations. "This program represents DaimlerChrysler's true commitment to providing opportunities for all Americans."

1/24/03

IRL open test at Homestead  IRL IndyCar Series will Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday, February 17 and Tuesday, February 18. Teams and Drivers will be testing at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour in preparation for the Toyota Indy 300, February 28 - March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Teams and Drivers of the IRL IndyCar Series will include:
· Andretti-Green Racing: Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan
· A.J. Foyt Enterprises: A.J. Foyt IV
· Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: Robbie Buhl, Sarah Fisher
· Kelley Racing: Scott Sharp, Al Unser Jr.
· Marlboro Team Penske: Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran
· Mo Nunn Racing: Felipe Giaffone; Tora Takagi
· Panther Racing: Sam Hornish Jr.
· Red Bull Cheever Racing: Eddie Cheever Jr., Buddy Rice
· Super Aguri Fernandez Racing: Roger Yasukawa
· Target Chip Ganassi Racing: Scott Dixon, Tomas Scheckter
· Team Menard: Jaques Lazier
· Team Rahal: Kenny Brack

1/24/03

FIAT legend dies   Gianni Agnelli, grandson of the founder of FIAT has died. The honorary Chairman of FIAT, Agnelli had been suffering from cancer. News of his death came just before he was supposed to appear at a crisis meeting with members of his family, which owns 30% of FIAT, to discuss the company’s future. Agnelli was also a strong supporter of the Ferrari Formula One team, FIAT having long held a majority stake in the Prancing Horse firm, and a close associate of the marque’s President Luca Montezemolo. ‘The death of Giovanni Agnelli leaves an unfillable void in my life,’ Montezemolo said in a statement released today. ‘For over 35 years, his friendship and affection provided me with an incomparable reference point. I can never forget how often he was close to me during the most difficult moments and I attribute Ferrari’s success to him, knowing full well what a fundamental role he played in achieving it.’ Agnelli’s life also touched members of the Ferrari race team, from driver Michael Schumacher to Team Manager Jean Todt. ‘I am deeply saddened by the death of Avvocato Agnelli,’ Schumacher said. ‘I always had a profound respect for him and I consider myself proud to have known him. Every time we met, I was made aware of his great understanding and interest in Ferrari, Formula 1 and soccer, as well as his sensitivity to the problems of the world.’

1/24/03
F3000

Arden Recruits Rob Creswell to team with Townsend Bell  The Arden Team are delighted to announce today that they have secured the services of leading F3000 engineer Rob Creswell. Rob joins the Team from Super Nova having engineered Sebastian Bourdais to the 2002 Drivers Title. Rob will be responsible for engineering the car of recently announced American Driver Townsend Bell under the leadership of Director of Engineering Mick Cook. Prior to his 5 seasons with Super Nova in F3000, Rob also race engineered ex-Formula 1 Drivers JJ Lehto, David Brabham and Pedro de la Rosa and won the British Formula 3 Championship with Mika Hakkinen in 1990. Christian Horner commented: "Securing Rob's services to join the Arden Team is something we've been working on for a little while and I'm delighted that he will be part of our Team for the 2003 season working with Townsend Bell. Together with Mick Cook we now have the most experienced and successful engineering line up in F3000". Rob Creswell commented: "Having seen Arden emerge into a successful Team during the past few seasons convinced me that this is the right place to further my career. I am really looking forward to working with the Team and Townsend in what is sure to be a competitive 2003 season.

1/24/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Trying First Test For Jacques And Jenson
Quick Nick Turns Heads At Valencia
Schumacher Smashes Record At Barcelona
Fernando's Torture As Renault Test Driver
Villeneuve: The Honda Engine Lacks Punch
Schumacher Sad To See Irvine Walk Away
Sunday Warm-Up To Be Held On Saturday?
Wing Failure Caps Dire Week For Jordan
Jaguar Far From Happy After First Test
Coulthard Struck Down With Tummy Bug
Formula One Fondly Farewells 'The Swerve'
Briatore Rejects GPWC And Supports Change
Jordan In No Hurry To Fill Vacant Seat
McNish Ready To Step In And Race
R23 Is First 'Real' Renault: Gascoyne
Minardi Set For Switch To Bridgestone Boots
McNish: Irvine Should Give Up For Good
Renault Target Four Podiums With New R23
Jacques Warns: Formula One Will Die
Brief: Russian GP Off, Bernie Wants Slicks
Renault's Wake-Up Call At Spa-Francorchamps
Jordan EJ13 - Unlucky For Some

1/23/03

Steele to sponsor Bell/Bell/Gregg/Simon at Daytona  Steele Technologies announced today that it will join Derhaag Motorsports as the primary marketing partner for the team's entry in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb 1-2, 2003. The driver line-up for the #40 XtremeLens Chevrolet Corvette GTS is deep in talent and features two of the best known names in the history of sports car racing: Bell and Gregg. Racing legend Derek Bell and his son, Justin Bell, are teamed with Simon Gregg and Kenny Wilden. Simon, a 2000 Rolex 24 class winner, is the son of road racing champion driver and past winner at Daytona, the late Peter Gregg. Kenny Wilden posted the first-ever Trans-Am win for Derhaag Motorsports in 2000. The 2003 Rolex 24 will mark the third time that Justin Bell and his father will be teammates in a 24-hour endurance race. Derek Bell is a three-time winner at Daytona and five-time winner at Le Mans. It is their first attempt together at Daytona. "In 1995, my father and I raced together at Le Mans 24 hours," explained Justin. "We led that race for 16 hours before a failing clutch dropped us to third place by the finish. However, the memory of standing on the podium at Le Mans with my father on Father's Day has to be one of the most special moments in my life. So, we have unfinished business together. When Jim Derhaag opened the door for me to ask my father to join the team, I leaped at the chance. "Looking at the bigger picture, it's certainly a historic moment when the Bells join up with the Gregg name. Our fathers raced against each other many years ago when Peter Gregg had tremendous success at Daytona. I suspect that sitting on the starting grid will be a special moment for Simon as well."

1/23/03

Who is funding Johansson's team?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I picked up the National Speed Sport News today and Chris Economacki says in his column - "not far from CART's home office, returnee Stefan Johansson is reportedly telling all who will listen that his new two-car team is "fully funded" by CART.  Where does the line start?"  Is this true?  Is CART really funding their entire effort?  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California  Dear Mordichai, we had not heard from you in awhile and were wondering where you had been.  To address your question, that statement by Chris Economacki is incorrect, i.e. it is disinformation that probably needs to be retracted, but that is between NSSN and CART or Stefan, not us.  We know for a fact that Stefan's partners are Chris James and Dan Benton. Chris and Dan are co-founders of Andor Capital Management (www.andorcap.com). Andor Capital Management is the world's largest hedge fund with more than $8.5 billion dollars in the fund being managed.  These men are very very wealthy. They don't need a sponsor, nor do they need any charity from CART.  We did a little research and found that the two have contributed over $100 million of their personal money to the 9/11 World Trade disaster fund.  They are by far the largest contributors.  So "connected" are these two that landing a sponsor is almost a foregone conclusion. Rumor has it that Chris and Dan were the Americans looking to buy the Arrows F1 team until their due diligence period uncovered suspect accounting. They are very conservative businessmen held in high regard on Wall Street and in the business community. They don't get into business deals unless it's right.  That's probably a longer answer than you were looking for, but you came to the right source for the inside scoop.  Mark C.

1/23/03

Carpentier back on the ice  This St. Petersburg Times article says that Patrick Carpentier may have been back on the ice Wednesday afternoon but, unlike his first 11 years, he wasn't trying to skate circles around the competition. The former CART rookie of the year, in town to promote next month's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, met with members of the Lightning and Canadians during their morning skate at the St. Pete Times Forum. For Carpentier the jersey exchange was more than a chance to mingle with other professional athletes, it was a return to where one career ended and a new one began. Born Aug.13, 1971, in La Salle, Quebec, Carpentier initially competed in speed skating. Because he was young, he was limited to distances from 200 to 1,000 meters, but that didn't stop him from excelling. In 1982 he won the North American Championships, and his father rewarded him with a trip to a Montreal go-cart track. A couple laps around the circuit, and Carpentier's dreams went from Olympic medals to points championships. "I quit right there," Carpentier said. "I stopped speed skating. He bought me a go-cart and we started in racing." More....

1/23/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.32 Down $0.09 on Volume of 15,100 shares.
$2.67 Bid - $3.64 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.26 / $3.41
MPH Value Change Down 2.64%
DOW Jones Up 50.74 or 0.61% on Volume of 2.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 28.79 or 2.12%
S&P 500 Up 8.98 or 1.02%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

1/23/03
V8 Supercars

V8 Supercars sign 5-year Shanghai deal, what about CART?  First F1 and now V8 Supercars.  Before long everyone will want to race in China given it soon will be an economic powerhouse.  How much longer will CART wait to make a deal in Beijing, or Shanghai? Could they run together with the V8 Supercars in Shanghai like they do with them in Surfers?  At a meeting this week in Shanghai, the Peoples Republic of China, a Heads of Agreement was signed to stage a V8 Supercar race in Shanghai commencing in 2004 over a five-year period. The joint announcement was made at an official “Handshake” ceremony that took place between the Chairman of Shanghai Weice Business Company Limited Mr Xuan Guoxiong and AVESCO Chairman Mr Tony Cochrane. In another coup for the V8 Supercar category all rounds of the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be broadcast on Chinese free to air television commencing in March 2003 for six years. The first event will take place at a permanent circuit (i.e. the F1 circuit being built) within the city precinct with a full grid of Championship cars being air freighted to Shanghai in two 747 freighters - this represents the biggest uplift ever in the history of Australian sport. Mr. Cochrane said he was extremely proud to see this Australian iconic sport exported to a city of 20 million people and saw it as a major coup for the V8 Supercar Championship, the teams, drivers and Australia. “This multi million dollar deal follows fourteen months of careful planning and negotiations by AVESCO and represents an outstanding watershed in the evolution of the V8 Supercar category which is now recognized as the leading touring car category in the world. Mr Cochrane acknowledged the important role played by the China Development Corporation in helping bring the deal together and in particular it’s Marketing Director Mr. Benny Leung. “I am very excited to find such excellent Chinese partners for this event who share our vision to bring this fantastic sporting icon to the people of China,” said Mr. Cochrane. “There is a warm relationship that exists between the Chinese people and Australians. This is as a great opportunity for Australian companies interested in establishing themselves in China to showcase their presence through sponsorship support of this event and the championship. “Many of our existing sponsors will take advantage of the opportunity of partnering V8 Supercars into China and this opens the door for any other Australian businesses looking to forge relations in such an important part of the world,” he continued. “AVESCO will have the opportunity to extend its knowledge base and training capabilities in professional motorsport to the people of Shanghai. Mr. Cochrane and members of the Shanghai project planning committee return to Australia Friday and a media conference will be held at Brisbane International Airport at 7.00 am.

1/23/03

Pruett back to Trans-Am  Two-time Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett will join the Rocketsports Racing stable for the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup announced team owner Paul Gentilozzi. Pruett, who claimed his Trans-Am titles in 1987 and 1994, will pilot a Jaguar XKR and will campaign the entire season. Pruett's last full season of Trans-Am competition was in 1994 but he returned to the Series in a Rocketsports Jaguar for the 2001 Laguna Seca event. His most recent road racing appearances include victories at the 2002 Rolex 24 of Daytona - GTS class and the 2001 24 Hours of LeMans - LMGTS class. Pruett, who ran his rookie season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2000, drove for Ganassi Racing in the 2002 Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen, running as high as third and finishing sixth. "We've worked together for many years and I respect him more than any other driver I've raced with," said Gentilozzi, a three-time Trans-Am champion himself. "He has tremendous desire and focus and will get the job done on the track and with the sponsors. He'll be a great addition to our Series." "As I look back on my racing career, it's come full circle," explained Pruett, who won the 1986 Riverside race in his first career Trans-Am start after starting last. "Road racing is where it all started. It's an exciting time to rejoin Paul and his team as well as the Trans-Am Series." Pruett is clear about his intentions for the 2003 season. "I want to win races and the championship," said Pruett, who scored 14 wins, 30 top-three and 32 top-five finishes, and 20 pole positions in his previous Trans-Am drives. "Winning is everything. "I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Jaguar XKR again," continued Pruett, who co-drove with Gentilozzi, Brian Simo, and Michael Lauer to the 2002 Rolex 24 GTS win at Daytona in an XKR. "It's a privilege to renew my relationship with Jaguar. We've enjoyed a lot of success together, first in the early 90's with the XJR12 and more recently in the XKR. Jaguar's heritage and success in road racing is legendary."

1/23/03

Senna's crash on The Learning Channel (TLC)  There is a show on TLC called Countdown To Danger. On tonight's episode was a story about the Senna crash. It will be repeated tonight at 11:00 PM EST (10:00 PM CST) and again on January 26th at 4:00 PM EST.

1/23/03

Yoong's Champ Car team announcement   Malaysian racer Alex Yoong has delayed announcing which Champ Car team he will be driving for this year due to continuing negotiations with teams. He revealed today that there was no shortage of offers, but the budgets that various teams need him to bring was a problem, as his Malaysian sponsors would prefer to be involved with Formula 1. He said that most teams require their drivers to bring a budget of between $5 million and $7 million to get a seat. He confirms that he now has a best offer from a team that requires him to bring an amount of only $2.5 million from his sponsors, as the team has managed to raise $3.5 million from American sponsors for Yoong. "We are presently working very hard on getting the budget and I am still hopeful of getting to the starting grid for the first race on February 23rd," said Yoong from his Kuala Lumpur home. "The present delay may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and I won't lose any sleep over it. I prefer to be driving without needing to bring a big budget to the team. If it doesn't happen, there will be opportunities later and maybe elsewhere." Yoong, 26, became his country's first ever Formula 1 driver when he made his debut for Minardi in August 2001 in the Italian GP and drove for the team till the end of the 2002 season. "My objective is still to get back into Formula 1 by 2004, when China organizes her first Grand Prix. But if there is a year's delay, it's OK," added Yoong. The 2003 CART championship has been renamed 'Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford' and is expected to have a bigger line-up than last year. Yoong will miss the Chinese New Year celebrations as he will be leaving Kuala Lumpur for Florida on the February 1st to attend Champ Car's "Spring Training".  "Spring Training" is the pre-season event where all the registered teams turn up in force at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida and are introduced to the media and fans while conducting test sessions over three days - from February 4th to the 6th. Yoong said that an announcement one way or another will be made very soon.

1/23/03

Laguna Seca garages and suites take shape   The general public was invited to attend the unveiling of the new Premier Pit Row Suites and Garages at the grand opening on Friday, January 17, at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca paddock. The Premier Pit Row Suites consist of 12 state-of the-art suites, situated on top of 10 double-car garages. The new complex, which is Phase 1 of a major capital improvement campaign for the facility, also includes a catering kitchen and men’s and women’s restrooms.


Photos courtesy of Mazda Raceway

1/23/03

F3000 driver passes IRL rookie test  FIA Formula 3000 veteran Alex Mueller passed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series rookie test Jan. 23 at California Speedway, driving for PDM Racing. Mueller, 23, from Germany, turned 101 laps on the 2-mile, D-shaped oval, with Mark Bridges, technical manager for the Indy Racing League, supervising the test. “He did very well,” Bridges said. “He’s got good car control and a good feel for the car. He’s very intelligent, gives good feedback and has a lot of talent.” It was the first time on an oval for Mueller, who finished second in the German Formula 3 championship in 2000. “I was quite happy,” Mueller said. “I’ve got a big smile on my face; it was cool. The guys did a good job. The setup was very good. It was my first time at these speeds, but I adapted easily. I was quite happy with the speed.” Mueller said he would like to compete in the IndyCar Series. “I’m trying to put a deal together,” Mueller said. “That’s the reason I’m here, to test this car and do a rookie test. I’m working hard on it to make something happen.”

1/23/03

Gordon's wife subpoena's records  The Jeff Gordon, Brooke Gordon divorce case is getting more interesting.  According to this AP article, lawyers for Jeff Gordon's wife have subpoenaed records from his competitors and NASCAR for use in their divorce case. Geoff Smith, general manager of Roush Racing, said the team planned to file an order Friday to block Brooke Gordon's request in Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan, where the company is headquartered. Roush does not want to make public the individual contracts it has with its drivers and sponsors. Those deals are highly sensitive in NASCAR, where each car owner works out separate agreements with every individual. Numbers are rarely talked about, preventing drivers from knowing how much their rivals receive in salary, percentage of winnings and souvenir sales. Sponsor deals also are secret, lest a company should find out if it is paying extra for something another might get for free. "Those are all the things that are the heart of our business," Smith said. "When we give it to Brooke, we're going to give it to Jeff. It's like having the Hendrick organization inside our team." NASCAR also has had records subpoenaed by Brooke Gordon's lawyers, said series spokesman Jim Hunter.

1/23/03

Interview with Stefan Johansson, Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay   We have added a link to the main story on our home page covering on Stefan Johansson's new CART team that is a full transcript from today's press conference of the announcement.

1/23/03

IRL testing news from Phoenix  Three of the top drivers and teams in the IRL IndyCar Series tested Jan. 22 at Phoenix International Raceway in preparation for the 2003 IndyCar Series season.  IndyCar Series veteran Robbie Buhl, 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion Scott Sharp and two-time CART champion Gil de Ferran all tested 2003 equipment on the 1-mile oval. More....

1/23/03

Schumacher breaks record in Barcelona, Kimi fast in Valencia 

Barcelona day 3 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m15.020s 84
2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m15.730s 67
3 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m16.431s 38
4 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda B 1m18.195 51
5 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar-Cosworth M 1m18.349s 63
6 Jenson Button BAR-Honda B 1m18.524s 20
7 Mark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth M 1m18.532s 49
8 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Cosworth B 1m19.819 20
Valencia day 3 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m10.647s 62
2 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas B 1m11.778s 71*
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m12.735s 62
4 Gary Paffett McLaren-Mercedes M 1m12.896s 54
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m13.072s 84
6 Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m13.120s 18
B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin
* denotes 2003 car

1/23/03

Franchitti will miss Brands Hatch   In an article in Autosport Magazine, Dario Franchitti was asked whether he has any regrets not being in CART's Brands Hatch race.  "I certainly would like to be there.  Chris Pook has done a great job, and I think it's going to be a very competitive series this year.  But the politics of racing are really starting to bore me.  Like any driver, all I want to do is go out and win."

1/23/03

Dr. Trammel responds to F1 crybabies   CART drivers have been using the HANS Device on both ovals and road courses for two years with very few complaints.  However, the F1 drivers are crying like babies about wearing the device.  In an article in Autosport Magazine, CART Orthopedic expert Dr. Terry Trammel responds to the cries - "I would say to any driver that there is absolutely no reason why they can't wear the HANS in any kind of race car.  It can be adapted to any style of driving.  Some F1 drivers have been outspoken in criticizing the HANS.  I'd be happy to work with them and I guarantee that they can wear it without if affecting their performance."

1/23/03

CART building for future  An unprecedented series of meetings featuring representatives from all series in the Champ Car Driver Development Ladder System at the Champ Car Indianapolis headquarters on Tuesday produced several opportunities to grow the Ladder System in 2003 and beyond.  Full Story

1/23/03
Industry News

Everyone is bullish on China    It seems almost all companies, including F1 and CART, are bullish on China these days, and for good reason.  Here is the latest example - Japanese electronics giant Toshiba will invest $1 billion in China in the next few years to boost production of computer chips, screens and mobile telephones. Nobumasa Hirata, the firm's chief China representative, said on Wednesday on the sidelines of an investment forum that Toshiba aimed to take advantage of one of the world's largest consumer markets. "This is a mid-term investment plan," he said. "Usually we plan for the next three to five years." Toshiba, Japan's largest chipmaker, has already invested $1 billion in China to manufacture household appliances, chips, laptops and handsets, according to a company statement. Reuters

1/23/03

IRL Indy 500 pole winning car not worth much  According to this Indy Star article, Race car investor Tim Cook never imagined the race car he bought in April 2000 would end up on the pole for the Indianapolis 500 two years later, much less on eBay, the Internet auction site. But there it was on eBay this week, the same G Force car that sits in his garage at home: for sale to the world. "It wasn't really my idea to (advertise) it like that (on eBay), but it was still fun," the Indianapolis resident said Wednesday. "Those really aren't the right kind of buyers for (a race car)." Cook, a 42-year-old international investment banker, didn't accept eBay's highest bid -- $22,600 -- because it was less than a third of his minimum price. The manufacturer's original price was $250,000.

1/23/03

Richmond slated to get SAFER Barrier  Depending on the results of upcoming crash testing at the University of Nebraska, Richmond International Raceway's walls could be fitted with the SAFER barrier as early as this season. NASCAR Competition Director Gary Nelson said an exact model of RIR's walls had been constructed at the Lincoln, Neb., research facility where the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier was created by Dr. Dean Sicking. Nelson said baseline testing had been completed, and Sicking is expected to do radius-testing with the SAFER barrier on the wall within the next three weeks. "One more test hopefully will give us the final sign-off, and then we'll start contacting tracks," Nelson said yesterday during a news conference at NASCAR's new research and development center. "If that [test] goes well, the decisions will come real quick on is Richmond ready, is Dover ready, is New Hampshire ready? Where can we go next? You'll see some quick movement once we can get past the point where we know the new wall will do no harm and that it can only improve the situation." It's not an issue of resources as much as it is what's the blueprint," Nelson said. "We don't have the blueprint yet." Because the barrier originally was developed for 2.5-mile IMS, the system wasn't adaptable to tracks that feature a tighter radius such as 0.75-mile RIR and the 1-mile ovals at Dover International Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway. NASCAR commissioned Sicking, who directs the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, to develop a barrier for its shorter tracks. "The possibility that this will happen is neat because it puts us at the forefront of safety in our industry," Fritz said. "We're proud that we may be one of the first tracks to have this barrier installed. Our track and International Speedway Corp. are leaders in the industry whether it's guest services, sponsor relations or driver safety, and driver safety is at the top of that list. . . . There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm around this upcoming test."

1/23/03

IRL makes rule to break tie  According to this Indy Star article, The Indy Racing League has amended its 2003 rule book to address how it will determine a winner in the event of a tie. Should a dead heat occur, as almost happened in September when Sam Hornish Jr. beat Al Unser Jr. by 0.0024 seconds at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway, scoring will revert to the previous lap. Senior vice president Brian Barnhart compared the logic to a driver bumping his way into the Indianapolis 500 lineup: He must be faster than the slowest qualifier. "Otherwise, he's just beside him; he hasn't passed him," Barnhart said. "And it's not likely we're going to have two identical laps in succession."

1/23/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Montoya Tops Times At Dry-Wet Valencia
Schumi Quick, R4 Expires and Jordan Stranded
TF103 A 'Big Improvement', Says Da Matta
Villeneuve: More Praise For New BAR Racer
Michael And Jacques Approve Of New Rules
Mercedes Join BMW In Challenging GPWC
Schu Tips McLaren For '03 Title Challenge
Full Support For F1 Revolution From BMW
Michael Will Falter, Sir Jackie Warns
Jacques: I Should Have Stayed At Home
Webber Defends R4 Despite Early Problems
Courtney And Bourdais Target F1
Zonta Makes F1 Return At Paul Ricard Tests

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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