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DATE

News (chronologically)

2/27/03

CART stock watch

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.32 Up $0.01 on Volume of 74,700 shares.
$2.66 Bid - $3.63 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.26 / $3.40
MPH Value Change Up 0.30%
DOW Jones Up 78.01 or 1.0% on Volume of 1.59 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 20.28 or 1.56%
S&P 500 Up 9.73 or 1.18%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

2/27/03

Portland Town Meeting article In this Portland Oregonian article, Chris Pook says Portland is vital to CART's recovery.  The article goes on to talk about CART and its future in Portland.

2/27/03

Indy Racing 2Day returns   “Indy Racing 2Day,” the ESPN2 program televised on the same day as every IRL IndyCar Series event, returns for a fourth consecutive season in 2003. The 30-minute show includes highlights, driver and team interviews, news, features and analysis, setting the scene for all 16 IndyCar Series events. Each show is televised live from the track, giving fans an in-depth and up-close look at America’s top open-wheel series. Commentators on the show consist of ABC-ESPN’s IndyCar Series team: Bob Jenkins, host; Paul Page, play-by-play; Scott Goodyear, analysis; Jack Arute and Gary Gerould, pit reporters. The season debut of “Indy Racing 2Day” is scheduled for ESPN2 at noon (EST) Sunday, March 2 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The live telecast of the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 starts at 1 p.m. on ABC.

2/27/03

Denver GP tickets on sale  Tickets for the 2003 Shell Grand Prix of Denver, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 29-31, are now on sale, company officials announced today. Ticket packages for the Labor Day Weekend event, featuring CART’s Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, range from general admission to reserved seating in one of the many grandstands strategically located at the best vantage points around the track. Other ticket choices include an array of hospitality options  including the new “Big Turn Club” near Turn No. 5  that can make any race fan feel like royalty. “Now that the Champ Car season is underway, people are going to start thinking about racing in Denver again,” said John Frew, vice president and general manager of the Shell Grand Prix of Denver. “We want all our fans to have first choice on great seats, so we suggest they place their ticket orders sooner rather than later. “We have solicited feedback from everyone involved with our inaugural race last Labor Day weekend,” added Frew, “including our fans, the drivers, Champ Car, our neighbors at Pepsi Center, our vendors and the City of Denver. We are using that information to improve our product and make the 2003 race even better. As a result, the 2003 Grand Prix promises to be an exciting challenge for the drivers and a rewarding experience for the fans.” Complimenting the top-notch racing at the Grand Prix will be a variety of family-oriented activities throughout the weekend, as well as the immensely popular Rock-N-Roar Concert, which last year featured popular rock band Train at the Universal Lending CityLights Pavilion. Race fans will again have free admission to the Grand Prix Lifestyle Expo, featuring the latest high-tech products and services, racecars, games, and simulators. In addition, the extreme sports demonstrations will return, as will the kids' fun zone. Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $40 for a Sunday-only general admission ticket (no reserved seat) to $105 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in upper levels of the grandstands. Pre-paid parking packages are available and can be purchased when ordering tickets through the Grand Prix ticket office. Ordering is easy by calling toll free (888) 82-SPEED or visiting the event’s official web site, www.gpdenver.com. Race fans wishing to pay by check rather than credit card can also request a ticket brochure. The second annual Shell Grand Prix of Denver will be run on an improved 1.65-mile, nine-turn temporary street circuit around Pepsi Center adjacent to Denver's Lower Downtown, and feature the cars and stars of Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, as well as the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup and the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship.

2/27/03

Best Test Times to Date  

Silverstone

Date

Driver

Team

T

Time

Gap

25 Feb

Raikkonen

McLaren

M

0:41.728

-

26 Feb

Firman

Jordan

B

0:42.372

0.644

26 Feb

Webber

Jaguar

M

0:42.395

0.667

27 Feb

McNish

Renault

M

0:42.560

0.832

26 Feb

Sato

BAR

B

0:42.610

0.882

25 Feb

Trulli

Renault

M

0:42.679

0.951

25 Feb

Coulthard

McLaren

M

0:42.883

1.155

26 Feb

Fisichella

Jordan

B

0:43.951

2.223

26 Feb

Alonso

Renault

M

0:44.477

2.749


Imola

Date

Driver

Team

T

Time

Gap

19 Feb

M Schumacher

Ferrari

B

1:20.440

137.180 mph

27 Feb

Villeneuve

BAR

B

1:21.393

0.953

19 Feb

Barrichello

Ferrari

B

1:21.545

1.105

19 Feb

Heidfeld

Sauber

B

1:21.749

1.309

19 Feb

Frentzen

Sauber

B

1:22.117

1.677

27 Feb

Gene

WilliamsF1

M

1:22.650

2.210

27 Feb

Wurz

McLaren

M

1:22.925

2.485

18 Feb

Badoer

Ferrari

B

1:23.022

1.405

26 Feb

da Matta

Toyota

M

1:23.127

2.687

26 Feb

Zonta

Toyota

M

1:23.678

3.238

26 Feb

Verstappen

Minardi

B

1:27.300

6.860

26 Feb

Wilson

Minardi

B

1:27.500

7.060


Jerez

Date

Driver

Team

T

Time

Gap

10 Jan

Badoer

Ferrari

B

1:18.486

126.183 mph

27 Feb

Panis

Toyota

M

1:19.080

0.594

27 Feb

Coulthard

McLaren

M

1:20.062

1.576

10 Jan

Burti

Ferrari

B

1:20.482

1.996

27 Feb

Raikkonen

McLaren

M

1:20.757

2.271

27 Feb

R Schumacher

WilliamsF1

M

1:20.811

2.325

10 Jan

Trulli

Renault

M

1:21.320

2.834

6 Jan

Gene

WilliamsF1

M

1:22.182

3.696

10 Jan

Alonso

Renault

M

1:22.995

4.509

25 Feb

M Schumacher

Ferrari

B

1:25.321

6.835

25 Feb

Montoya

WilliamsF1

M

1:27.999

9.513


Fiorano

Date

Driver

Team

T

Time

Gap

14 Feb

M Schumacher

Ferrari

B

0:56.786

117.257 mph

27 Feb

Massa

Ferrari

B

0:57.378

0.592

20 Feb

Wilson

Minardi

B

1:01.080

4.294

19 Feb

Verstappen

Minardi

B

1:01.200

4.414

2/27/03
Industry News

BMW expects approval from China   BMW expects China's State Council to formally approve its planned joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings "during the next few weeks" in a development that will pave the way for the German manufacturer to launch its first mainland production line. "We are confident that State Council approval will be received during the next few weeks," BMW board member Michael Ganal said at a press conference in Singapore Thursday. "We are fully in line with our timetable and remain confident that production can commence by the end of 2003."  The factory, in Shenyang, Liaoning province, will have an initial annual capacity of 30,000 vehicles, and is expected to rise to 100,000 units within five years. It will produce BMW 3-series sedans for the domestic market.

2/27/03

Thursday Test Times from Imola and Jerez  

Thursday's times from Imola
1 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:21.393 78 laps
2 Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1:22.650 81 laps
3 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.925 58 laps
4 Ricardo Zonta Toyota 1:23.678 68 laps
Thursday's times from Jerez:
1 Olivier Panis Toyota 1:19.080 55 laps
2 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:19.573 26 laps (F2003)
3 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:20.041 89 laps (f20020
4 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.062 68 laps
5 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.757 41 laps
6 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1:20.811 99 laps

2/27/03

F1 driver salaries (Approx)  

1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, $45 Million
2. Jacques Villeneuve, BAR, $13 Million
3. Ralf Schumacher, Williams, $11 Million
4. JP. Montoya, Williams, $9 Million
5. David Coulthard, McLaren, $8 Million
6. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, $7 Million
7. Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan, $5.5 Million
8. Jenson Button, BAR, $5 Million
9. Jarno Trulli, Renault, $4.8 Million
10. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, $4.5 Million
11. Oliver Panis, Toyota, $4 Million
12. Cristiano de Matta, Toyota, $2 Million
13. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber, $1.5 Million
14. Mark Webber, Jaguar, $1.4 Million
15. Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, $1.3 Million
16. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1.2 Million
17. Jos Verstappen, Minardi, $800,000
18. Antonio Pizzonia, Jaguar, $600,000
19. Ralph Firman, Jordan, $500,000
20. Justin Wilson, Minardi, $300,000

2/27/03

375,000 expected for season opener   375,000 people are expected through the turnstiles in Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia for the upcoming F1 season opener over the 4-day weekend event.

2/27/03

Pook - no Spa for CART for awhile  " Spa is a pretty exciting racetrack. There probably would be a fairly substantial disparity in times between ourselves and F1 there. It's those very high-speed tracks that the F1 cars, with all their downforce, the grip they've got on their tires, their braking capabilities with those carbon fiber disc brakes they've got, can really make the difference bigger. We had a six-second spread at Montreal between F1 times and ourselves. At Spa, we could be looking at as much as 10, 12, 14 second spread. Maybe we ought to wait for a year or so and let the F1 race sort of disappear there for a couple years, then maybe we might appear. You never know."

2/27/03

Pook looking to get more races on Network TV  - Q. Chris, what are we doing to attract better TV coverage? Everybody in this room tonight is the hard core fan. For us to expand our series is to expand the market base, that is like getting better TV coverage. We've lost ESPN, lost Channel 2, ABC. What are we doing to address that issue? Target, Texaco, they've left because they don't think they get the bang for their buck. What are we doing to get that back? With that the money will come back and the popularity and success of our series will come back. Speedvision is 50 to a hundred bucks. That's price prohibitive for a lot of people.   Chris Pook - We're sensitive to this issue. We inherited the Speedvision contract when we came in in December of 2001. We're growing our relationship with CBS. More and more you'll see more races on CBS. I think we touched on that a little earlier tonight. We are working with another network outlet for 2004. We do need to bring it back to the mainstream. We have to walk before we run. We have to build. We're sensitive to it. We will get it done. We've got to regain the credibility of the networks. That's what we're doing. I think Terry Linger, who produces the show for us, the standard of production now, we get hundreds and hundreds of e-mails just raving about the standard of the production. As you said, the problem is getting the signal into your living room on an economical basis. That's what we're working on.

2/27/03

It will be hard for ex- CART teams to return  - Two-part question to Chris Pook last night. Has there been any more discussions with Tony George about reuniting? What about the teams that have defected to IRL? How long do you think it's going to be because those guys get tired of going around in circles?
SCOTT PRUETT: I know Franchitti is not happy about it.
JIMMY VASSER: Some of those guys are already tired of it.
CHRIS POOK: I'm on record on numerous occasions. My office door is open. My phone is available to be answered. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that phone to ring. I'm going to get on and do what I've got to do in this series to get on with what we've got because it's too good to wait around for somebody to pick up the phone and talk to us. It's going to be very difficult. It's going to be a very difficult situation for us if those teams decide they do want to come back because we have got new teams that have come in in good faith, put themselves on the line to join our series and invest in our series. We have got guys that are guaranteeing loans. One guy's got his house on the line. He's really committed to building a team. As much as it would be nice probably to have those teams come back, I don't want to do that. Morally it troubles me that I would push someone that's come to help us when we needed them to then later shove them out the door just because there's a big name that decides they want to come home. If they want to come home, they can come home, earn their way to come home. But I'm not going to trample on someone that's reached out to us and is part of our new family. That's the way it's going to be.

2/27/03

CART's first Portland Town Meeting a success  - If the first two ground-breaking Champ Car Town Meetings are any indication, the organization just might have a hit on its hands.  Following up on a very successful initial Town Meeting in Columbus last season, some of the key members of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford traveled to Portland Wednesday night to meet with another building full of Champ Car racing fans in a forum that included CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook and 1996 series champ Jimmy Vasser.  More.... | Full Transcript

2/27/03

Foyt switches to Dallara   A J Foyt IV will make his IRL IndyCar Series debut in a Dallara chassis at Homestead this weekend, after his team decided on a last minute switch from rival constructor Panoz G Force. The team made the change after Foyt IV crashed his original G Force chassis recently. The team's second driver, Shigeaki Hattori, will still run in a G Force. Both cars will be powered by Toyota engines. "Other teams are running Dallara, which seem to have more downforce or more grip, which is what you want on the short tracks and flat tracks like Homestead," said Foyt IV, who completed all his pre-season testing in a G Force. "I'm anxious to get my first race in the Conseco [No.] 14 under my belt. My goals are pretty simple. I want to qualifying decent, run all day and finish the race."

2/27/03

Dan Marino Grand Marshal   Legendary Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino will serve as Grand Marshal for the Toyota Indy 300, the season-opener for the IRL IndyCar Series, set for Sunday, March 2 at 1 pm (ABC) at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As Grand Marshal, Marino will give the command "Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" prior to the running of the Toyota Indy 300. "I'm looking forward to helping kick off the 2003 IndyCar Series at the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway," said Marino. "It's going to be exciting to see these cars and drivers compete at speeds over 200 miles-per-hour." "We're honored to have Dan Marino, one of the greatest athletes in the history of South Florida, serve as Grand Marshal for the Toyota Indy 300," said Curtis Gray, President Homestead-Miami Speedway. "Fans will have the unique opportunity this weekend to see Dan give the most famous words in all of racing - 'Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.'"

2/27/03

Cheever loses Dudot  In this ESPN.RPM article, Eddie Cheever was blowing Bernard Dudot's horn for his engine program.  Well Eddie just lost him. The man regarded as the father of Renault's ultra-successful V10 Formula 1 engines of the mid-'90s, Bernard Dudot, has rejoined the French manufacturer as it struggles to get to grips with its radical wide-angled engine of 2003. Dudot, 64, will assist Flavio Briatore, managing director of the Renault F1 Team, in running the team's engine department at Viry-Chatillon near Paris. Renault has admitted that its current V10 engine is down-on-power compared to its rivals.

2/27/03

Williams wastes $200 million   Frank Williams has gone on record that his team's new car is not on pace with the Ferrari and has zero chance of winning races.  Imagine that, a $200+ million annual budget and no chance of winning!  Why don't you and Ron Dennis write another letter to Max Mosley, or threaten to sue the FIA again Frank.  Sure Frank that will fix your woes.  It's time to strip all the ridiculous technology out of F1 and get back to some real racing.  Mark C.

2/27/03

Rusty backpedals  We bet NASCAR had a little talk with Rusty Wallace. At Rockingham last Friday, Rusty Wallace was quoted in a Dodge news release as saying, "I don't know why they (Chevrolets) were so good at Daytona. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn't get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they're out for them when they get to Talladega." Wallace didn't single out any specific teams or drivers, but many in the Chevy camp are wondering why Wallace is alleging that others were cheating when his own team was busted for using an unapproved carburetor in a pre-Daytona 500 qualifying race. Asked to clarify his comments this week, Wallace said, "I'm not making comments about any Chevrolet team. I want to put that on the record. I just thought there were a lot of peculiar things going on, and NASCAR has informed me they're going to be looking for everybody at Talladega." USA Today

2/27/03

Just call him Al  The Canadian Pres article talks about the newest Al Unser.  The slender youngster with the big smile is the fourth generation of racing Unsers. Al Unser has a great tradition to follow - and a lot to live up to. "People couldn't figure out what to call me," said the 20-year-old aspiring driver with the famous name and familiar face. "I kept saying, 'I'm just Al,' and, eventually, that's what I told people to call me, "Just Al." "I got out on the road a little bit and I realized I needed to stop speeding and maybe do this on a road circuit," Unser said, grinning. "I just started really liking racing, and watching my dad and the cars got me real excited. I just felt like I wanted to do it and, once I got in the car, I felt relieved. This is what I want to do." "That's where I got my first real racing," he said. "In the regionals, I started winning right away." "I didn't expect it to happen so fast," said his mother, Shelley, who divorced Little Al in 2001. "We blew through the ladder system - regionals, nationals, driving schools and he needed more experience." With some scholarship money from the Skip Barber school, but no primary sponsor, Unser has moved to CART's Barber-Dodge Series.
His father hasn't been around much since the divorce, but he took his son to Homestead, Fla., last week as a spotter for his IRL test and came to St. Petersburg, to watch the youngster's race. "Dad is happy I'm doing this," Unser said. "He's busy with his own racing, but he has so much experience. He helped me a lot, just telling me things about the car." After years in CART, Little Al is competing in the all-oval Indy Racing League, but the son says he isn't worried in which series he winds up. "I'd race NASCAR, I'd race CART and I'd love to race in the Indy 500. I'll race anything," the newest racing Unser said, sounding very much like the family members who preceded him.

2/27/03

St. Pete TV Ratings  As long as CART continues to have its races broadcast on SPEED Channel and not CBS, and as long as CART fails to promote the drivers into household names, its TV Ratings will continue to be abysmal.  Here is the tally for the weekend.  A 0.2 just isn't going to cut it.  While the IRL is moving more races onto network TV, CART has done just the opposite, and the results are evident.  Most people we talk to can't even get SPEED Channel from their cable provider. SPEED and Terry Linger do a great job on the race production, but they have to realize that for CART to survive, its races must be moved to network TV, leaving SPEED for pre-race, post-race, qualifying and re-runs.  The SPEED guys may not like what we say, but the facts are the facts.

Show/Date/Network/Time/Rating/Households
G.P. of St. Petersburg re-air 02/23 - Speed 9:00p-11:30pm - 0.1 rating - 38,000 households
G.P. of St. Petersburg live 02/23 - Speed 1:00p-3:30p - 0.2 rating - 136,000
Champ Car Pre-race 02/23 - Speed 12:30p-1:00p - 0.2 rating - 120,000
Champ Car Qualifying re-air 02/22 - Speed 1:00a-2:30a - 0.1 rating - 37,000
Champ Car Qualifying re-air 02/22 - Speed 8:00p-9:30p - 0.1 rating - 61,000
Champ Car Qualifying 02/22 - Speed 1:30p-3:00p - 0.2 rating - 101,000

2/27/03

Wallace fined $3,000  NASCAR officials have fined driver Mike Wallace $3,000 for his use of inappropriate language during the telecast of Monday's Rockingham 200 at
North Carolina Speedway. Wallace was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the rule book: "Actions detrimental to stock car racing."

2/27/03

Blaney crew wins Round 2  The over-the-wall pit crew for Dave Blaney and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team won Round 2 of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. Blaney's crew spent 223 seconds in the pits to edge the crew of Kurt Busch and the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie team by four seconds to earn the weekly $20,000 prize. The Jasper Motorsports team added six new team members prior to the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, including four crew members who have provided immediate dividends for the team's over-the-wall efforts.

2/27/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

'Messed Up Grid' For Albert Park
107 Percent Heads For Scrapheap
Lauda Hails Return Of Driver
Webber Out To Earn Respect
Minardi Primed For Melbourne
Jerez: Schu Juggernaut Rolls On
Firman Fastest At Silverstone
Five Teams At Sunny Imola
Williams Hopeful For BMW Future
Webber Wants To Ride Alone
FIA Orders Unimpeded View
Williams Admit Aerodynamic Flaws
Tough Decision For Villeneuve
Stern Ultimatum For Governing FIA
Williams Writes Off Melbourne
Mosley: 'They Would Not Meet Us'
Bernie Puts Bucks On FIA Boss
Coulthard Eyes Schumacher Defeat
FIA Plans Spy-In-The-Briefing

2/27/03

Fosters to sponsor Imola   Australian beer-brand Foster's announced today it has taken title sponsorship of the San Marino Grand Prix from 2003.  Held at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari facility at Imola, in northern Italy, the event is the third title sponsorship for Foster's Brewing International to add to the imminent Australian Grand Prix.   'This is another first for Foster's,' said Managing Director, Richard Scully, whose company will also headline the British event at Silverstone in July.   The Foster's San Marino Grand Prix, to be held at Imola on 20 April, is the fourth race on the Championship calendar and first after the grueling initial flyaway season.

2/27/03

RTL retains German TV rights   German television network RTL has retained the free-to-air broadcast rights for Formula One.  In a four-year extension to its existing deal, sources report that the network will pay some 85 million euros per year to beam the pinnacle of motorsports in Michael Schumacher's home country.   'Formula One is the only sport that can be re-financed through television,' said RTL's head of information Hans Mahr.

2/27/03

Zanardi to be Grand Marshall at German 500  UPDATE  They still await Alex Zanardi's reply to their offer.  The corrected translation - Hans-Jörg Fischer says, "Alex Zanardi, more than just about anyone, symbolizes the sport of motor racing - with all its many facets. We have even greater respect for his wonderful personality and the way in which Alex Zanardi has come to terms with his fate. It would be an extraordinary honor for my team and me, for CART and all Champ Car pilots, as well as for the region of Lusatia, to be able to welcome him to the German 500 as a member of this great international family."  2/26/03 - This translated brazil.crash.net article says that Italian Alex Zanardi, former F1 and CART driver could be the Grand Marshall of the GP of Lausitzring. The German race will be held on May 11. In 2001, Zanardi had its career violently interrupted by losing both legs after his car was struck by Forsythe driver, Canadian Alex Tagliani. The 1997 and 1998 CART champion will be responsible for pronouncing the famous phrase, "Gentleman, start your engines", before the beginning of the race. Zanardi has enormous respect for his wonderful personality and for the way that he has dealt with his disability. " 'It will be an extraordinary honor for me, CART, all the drivers, as well as for the region of Lusatia to attend the race' Zanardi said," as quoted by the promoter of the race, Hans-Jorg Fischer.  Paul Josephson

2/27/03

On the right track  The Roush Racing tandem of Jeff Burton (No. 99 CITGO Ford) and Mark Martin (No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford) have won three of the five NASCAR Winston Cup Series races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Burton won consecutive events in 1999 and 2000, following up the win by Martin in the inaugural race in 1998. Martin has finished among the top 10 in all five of his starts while Burton has been in the top 10 four times. Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) has a pair of top-three finishes in his last four starts at Las Vegas. He finished third in 1999 and was victorious in 2001. His success, however, has only come in the odd years as he has finished 17th or worse in the even years (1998, 2000, 2002).  Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) has three consecutive top-seven finishes, including a best of second in 2001. He also is the only driver to win multiple Bud Poles at Las Vegas, capturing the top qualifying position in 1998 and 2001.

2/27/03

What's the word?  “Is there any way we could just ‘write-off’ these first two (races)? You know – like just take the loss on the ol’ profit sheet and start the season with a fresh sheet of paper? No? OK… well, this is not a 38th-place team, and I think everyone knows that. But, we need to start putting together some finishes to get closer to the front of the points. I guess that goes without saying, but we struggled in the first two races last year (29th and 26th place finishes in 2002), and we were back up to sixth in points after we won at Talladega a few weeks later. There’s some heartache and some frustration about how we’ve finished, but no one has panicked and we’re getting ready to go at it again.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet).   “For me, winning here probably would be the biggest thing for me in terms of winning a single race. The Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis are right up there, but I can’t imagine anything being any bigger than winning in Vegas.” – Las Vegas native Kurt Busch (No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford).  “Vegas could be a good weekend for us. If you can say that before you get to a blackjack table, that’s a pretty good feeling.” -- Ken Schrader (No. 49 Dakota Imaging Dodge), who is looking forward to the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 after a good test session during NASCAR Preseason Thunder at LVMS in late January.

2/27/03

Survey assessment spot on  2nd UPDATE Another reader writes, CART should pay you for doing your survey - was excellent! I hope they at least read it. The question is, how are they going to build driver recognition if they fill the series up with f1 want-a-be's who are only there because can't get a ride in f1 and who clearly have no plans for a career in Champ Cars, and who will check-out the minute the get and F1 offer? The "feeder series" idea and driver recognition are clearly incompatible. Donn Kelly, Chicago Dear Donn, You are absolutely correct.  The only way CART can grow is for the drivers to become heroes.  As long as CART is positioned as a feeder series, the heroes (i.e. the best drivers) will go to F1 as fast as they came. CART is going to have to build its series into a final destination while at the same time dealing with always losing its best drivers to F1.  Not an easy scenario to deal with, unless one believes that Bernie will grow CART into a North American F1 to maximize his return on his investment.  Stay tuned....Mark C2/25/03 - Another reader writes, I agree that the drivers have to become stars and household names. When I watch the races I'm cheering for my favorite drivers, not paint schemes on cars. In fact, it was interest in the drivers that got me hooked on CART. My husband is a long-time motorsports fan, and has always watched CART. While passing by the TV, I happened to see the Target ads with Jimmy Vasser and Alex Zanardi. Pretty soon, I was asking, "How are Jimmy and Alex doing this week?" Then, I was sitting there watching the races and learning about the series, the other drivers, etc. Now, I am a certified CART fanatic. The personalities of the drivers hooked me and got me interested in the sport. Vasser is still my favorite driver, but any given Sunday will find me rooting for a number of drivers to do well. I'm looking forward to first victories for Servia, Jourdain and Tags this year, and the new rookie field includes several with great promise--both as drivers and personalities. Which brings us back to making stars of the drivers. I never understood why Target only showed the Jimmy and Alex ads during CART races. Maybe showing them during other programming would have attracted new viewers to CART. Wouldn't that have benefited both CART and Target, which would have gotten even more exposure for their sponsorship dollars? Honda had some great ads featuring CART teams (Remember Gil de Ferran making FedEx deliveries, or the TKG engineers' groupies?) and they only showed them during CART races. Let's hope that if CART attracts more consumer products companies as sponsors, those sponsors exploit the sponsorship fully by using the drivers and teams in advertising. And that they run the ads somewhere besides CART races. Are you listening, Ford? Cathy Stucker Sugar Land, Texas P.S. My answer to question 5 on the survey is "Chris Pook has a bigger hammer." Would that count as correct? Dear Cathy, I have heard people say Chris quietly carries a screwdriver just in case he's confronted with someone carrying a hammer. Mark C.  2/25/03 - A reader writes, Dear Scott Morris/AR1, Your article on the survey of CART fans at St. Pete was excellent.  I recently read somewhere that the IRL is focusing solely on promoting drivers within their series. I agree with your assessment of CART, make your drivers household names and the sponsors will follow. CART MUST RETAIN drivers and build a FAN following, not "event attenders" Evan Pridham  Dear Evan, Yes, Scott's survey pretty much confirmed what we have suspected for years.  Until CART can retain and make the drivers household names and/or heroes, their event attendance will be super (they really do have the best venues) but their TV attendance will be only as good as the IRL, which suffers from the same problem.  SPEED does an excellent job in their CART TV broadcasts, perhaps the best in the business.  However, because they do not yet reach enough households, it's killing CART in the sponsorship area and it's hard to grow driver recognition if enough eyeballs are not watching week in and week out.  SPEED executives are going to have to recognize this and allow CART to put more races on network TV in 2004, at least 2/3 of them.  Then, as SPEED households grow, the revised agreement would allow races to slowly be moved back onto SPEED, say 1 race for each 5 million households added. Performance based agreements are common today and that is what CART needs from SPEED.  Mark C.

2/26/03

Williams confident of renewed BMW deal  Williams are confident of continuing their Formula One partnership with BMW after an existing deal expires at the end of 2004, team principal Frank Williams said on Wednesday. "We had a long meeting with BMW yesterday on a contract and made a lot of progress. We believe we'll do a deal, we're hoping to do a deal. We're optimistic," he told reporters at the team factory. Asked how long it might take, he replied: "A month or two. We've got some races in the way now." "BMW have always been very long-term people," added Williams. "They may have another option like buy another team or start their own team but the latter would probably take them two or three years. "They wouldn't want to come in and go to the back of the field."

2/26/03

Williams has aero problems  Technical director Patrick Head told reporters at the team's factory near Oxford on Wednesday that the FW25 was currently slower than expected. "I am of the view that our car isn't performing well enough," he said. "It's not going as well as we want it to and we recognize a few handling problems which we don't want to be there. We can measure a few aerodynamic characteristics which we think are driving these problems." "I think we've got some work to do but I'm very confident that the car is a good step forward for us," said Head. "We are still in the process of exactly understanding the reasons and it could be as simple as a guide vane deflecting under load which we might fix overnight. Or it could be much more complex. "I don't think we're in any sort of trouble like Jaguar at the beginning of last year but we're not where we want to be and we're working hard on it." Williams acknowledged that BMW, whose engine is generally considered a match for Ferrari's on power, were not very happy with the situation. "But they recognize, especially (motorsport director) Gerhard (Berger), that what you see in testing is not necessarily what you see in racing," he said.

2/26/03

A day of tennis for the Penske boys  Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, who will be competing in Sunday's Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, participated in an exhibition tennis match for the media this afternoon with professional tennis stars Anna Kournikova and Jan-Michael Gambill at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, FL. Kournikova and Gambill are in Florida preparing for next month's NASDAQ-100. The doubles team of Castroneves and Kournikova dominated partners de Ferran and Gambill winning four of the five games played.  Photos and More...

2/26/03

Williams and Dennis respond yet again to Mosley  In their letter of reply today, Frank Williams and Ron Dennis defended their actions and willingness to go to court in Switzerland to argue over the Concorde Agreement, the secret document which governs F1. "We do not want to be drawn into an unseemly public debate," said Williams and Dennis in their letter to Mosley. "We made our position entirely clear in our letter to the FIA of 20th February. We believe that the FIA is in breach of contract, we disagree with a number of the changes you have imposed and we are concerned that the FIA Technical Working Group members have expressed a view that the changes could increase the safety risk. "In the event that the FIA does not confirm that they will seek the agreement of all the teams with respect to the recent changes to the Technical and Sporting Regulations that they intend to impose by close of business today, we will commence arbitration proceedings under the Concorde Agreement which will resolve these issues in a confidential and dignified manner. "Williams F1 and McLaren are passionately committed to Formula One, our goal is to ensure that the future of the sport is stable, well run and professionally administered. "To that end we remain willing, without prejudice to our legal position, to have a formal, private meeting with the FIA at any time to discuss how we can improve Formula One."

2/26/03

Wednesday test times from Silverstone 

1 R. Firman Jordan 0.42.372 30 Laps
2 M. Webber Jaguar 0.42.395 13 Laps
3 T. Sato BAR 0.42.610 18 Laps
4 A. McNish Renault 0.42.742 128 Laps
5 J. Trulli Renault 0.43.552 25 Laps
6 G. Fisichella Jordan 0.43.951 22 Laps
7 F. Alonso Renault 0.44.477 25 Laps

2/26/03

Wednesday test times from Jerez 

1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:25.616 54 laps
2 David Coulthard McLaren 1:26.384 44 laps
3 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1:27.010 49 laps
4 Olivier Panis Toyota 1:28.725 25 laps
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1:29.195 39 laps

2/26/03

Wednesday test times from Imola 

1 Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1:22.918 47 laps
2 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:22.943 17 laps
3 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1:23.127 66 laps
4 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.533 28 laps
5 Justin Wilson Minardi-Cosworth 1:23.934 24 laps
6 Jos Verstappen Minardi-Cosworth 1:26.352 12 laps

2/26/03

Gonzalez trial set  - According to this Monterey Herald article, In September 1999, Uruguayan race car driver Gonzalo Rodriguez was killed in a spectacular crash at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Beginning Monday, jurors will decide if Rodriguez was a casualty of the inherent danger of racing or the victim of "reckless" conditions at the Monterey race track. Rodriguez, racing for Team Penske, was entering the corkscrew in Turn 8 during the practice laps of the Shell 300 Honda Grand Prix of Monterey when he lost control of his Indy-style car. Traveling between 70 and 80 mph, the car skidded off the track and hurtled through a gravel trap, slammed into a wall of tires and then into a concrete barrier. The car went airborne, flying over the barrier and landing upside down on a grassy hill. The 27-year-old Rodriguez suffered massive head and neck injuries and was pronounced dead at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. A year later, Rodriguez's parents filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), which operates Laguna Seca, and Championship Auto Racing Team (CART), which sponsors the Honda Grand Prix among other races in the CART series. At the heart of the lawsuit were claims that the track's gravel pit was too small to slow a car leaving the track and that the barriers beyond the pit were insufficient to save a driver's life. Rodriguez's parents, Ruben Rodriguez Saldias and Lillian Bongol-Rodriguez, accused the defendants of negligence and reckless disregard for their son's life......The trial, in the Monterey courtroom of Judge Robert O'Farrell, is expected to last more than three weeks. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are former champion race car driver and Team Penske owner Roger Penske; Timothy Cindric, president of Penske; and former champion racer and retired CART chief steward Wally Dallenbach.

2/26/03

Mario won't watch Michael race until Indy According to this Express Times article, Mario Andretti will be among the missing this weekend when his son kicks off his final, abbreviated season as a driver in the IRL IndyCar Series Toyota 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Michael Andretti plans to drive his No. 7 7-Eleven Big Gulp Honda-powered Dallara in the first four races, then retire -- win, lose or crash -- after the Indianapolis 500 in May. Mario, a legend of a driver and the most recognizable name in auto racing history, also said he would miss Michael's second and third races. Mario said he would be out of town while the new team gets its feet wet in the IRL. "I will be at Indianapolis," Mario said, to witness Michael's final race as a driver. "This week I have a previous commitment I made to Al Unser to be in L.A. (Los Angeles) to receive an award at the Paralysis Project of America banquet." He said he would miss the next two races, in Japan and Phoenix, because of an evolving business commitment. "It's no secret how I feel about the IRL," Mario said. "But I support Michael with all my heart. I'm still his staunchest fan. I will be there in heart and spirit on Sunday. Believe me, I will be riding every inch with him." "I have mixed feelings about Michael retiring," said Mario, who won 18 races and a CART championship in his 40s. "He's still at the top of his game. If he retires after Indianapolis, like he says he is, he will be leaving a lot in the garage. Look what I did in my 40s." Mario said, as a parent, he's glad in a way that Michael will be out of harms way as a car owner and not as a driver. "As race fan, I'm really sorry if he goes," Mario said. "He's one exciting driver. I hate to see him go -- and maybe he won't if he's in the running for the point championship at Indy." Only A.J. Foyt and Mario have won more races than Michael. "He could easily become the all-time leader," Mario said.  More...

2/26/03

FIA to allow cameras in Drivers Meeting  FIA President Max Mosley said on Tuesday that he wants to allow television cameras into the drivers' pre-race meeting, which has until now been a closed-door gathering. FIA delegate Charlie Whiting talks over any issues with the drivers.  "One of the downsides of stopping the teams refuelling between qualifying and the race is that they wouldn't want to go out in the warm-up on Sunday morning," Mosley told Reuters. "People have got into the habit of watching the warm-up so we need to replace it with something. The idea we are working on at this very moment is replacing it with the drivers' meeting and allowing the television in there to cover it." "With the television cameras there, the drivers could discuss perhaps the incident that happened in the last race when one of them ran into the other, or something that happened in practice. There's always something to discuss." "We feel that this would bring the television viewer more into personal, intimate contact with the drivers and see them as they are when they are really talking genuinely and not just giving an interview."

2/26/03

Advance purchase tickets for London Trophy race  - Advance purchase tickets for one of the most exciting race weekends of the British motorsport calendar, the London Champ Car Trophy, are now on sale. Champ Cars headline a feast of motor racing entertainment with Touring Cars, Porsche Cup, Formula Renault, Formula Ford, and Renault Clio’s supporting the British round of the Champ Car World Series. All this action, together with karting, a free funfair, children’s activities and sideshows will take place at Brands Hatch circuit on Spring bank holiday, 3 – 5 May. The weekend of entertainment offers great value for money with ticket prices starting at just £10 for Saturday practice day, £15 for Sunday qualifying and £40 for race day on Monday when bought in advance, with all children under 15 being given free entrance. The Champ Car World Series is renowned in the USA for bringing fans up close and personal to the stars and personalities of this international racing series and promise to bring this unique style to Britain. An all-driver autograph session with the Champ Car drivers on qualifying day is an added bonus for spectators and, with paddock pass tickets at only £10, fans can also tour all the teams’ pit garages and watch the cars being prepared for the race. The London Champ Car Trophy is a weekend for all the family to enjoy. It offers motor racing fans non-stop track action from the turbo charged, 200 mile an hour Champ Cars and wheel-to-wheel action of the British Touring Car Championship saloon and production cars, to the thrills and spills of Formula Ford single-seaters, sporty Porsche’s and Clio’s. Champ Car racing boasts an illustrious roster of past drivers including Jacques Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell and Mario Andretti. Children will have the chance to experience mini quad bikes, bouncy castle, climbing wall and many other attractions. The London Champ Car Trophy race weekend at Brands Hatch circuit will be round 4 of the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. The series races in the USA, Mexico, Australia, Canada and Europe. Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing cars that reach speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone. The London Champ Car Trophy booking line is 0870 850 1023. The event website will be available from March 10 at www.londonchampcartrophy.com

2/26/03

Bridgestone hits gold with CART  - When Bridgestone Motorsport announced its intention to become Presenting Sponsor of the Champ Car World Series in 2003, the company promised an aggressive market activation plan in conjunction with the racing. If the opening event of Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford is any indication, Bridgestone has kept that oath. A pre-race promotion utilizing nearly 100 independent Bridgestone tire dealers throughout Florida, under the Morgan Tire and Auto (MTA) umbrella, generated interest and enthusiasm in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, increased business at the retail outlets and augmented attendance at race weekend. "We're very pleased with the overall results of the entire program," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "The cooperation and hard work of everyone involved at Bridgestone, Morgan Tire and Auto, Dover Motorsports and Champ Car made this a most successful endeavor. It was truly a win-win situation." The deal between MTA and race promoter Dover Motorsports saturated central and western Florida with pre-race publicity and exposure. Race fans could visit any of 74 Tires Plus or 20 TireStarz locations and pick up vouchers to exchange for free admission to Friday's on-track activities at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In addition, they could register for a pair of race-day tickets to be given away in a random drawing at all 94 participating outlets. Colorful banners promoting the giveaways were displayed at each location. Extensive radio and newspaper advertising drew notice to the promotion. Bridgestone supplied its popular show truck, complete with racing and performance show cars, to numerous participating locations. Champ Car drivers Bruno Junqueira, Mario Dominguez and Roberto Moreno made store appearances in the weeks leading up to the race. Moreno's visit was so popular that the overflow of fans was parking in a neighboring rival tire dealer's lot and walking across the street to meet him. Store employees embraced the promotion as well by competing in a Bridgestone passenger tire sales incentive contest, with the top performers earning race-day tickets and pre-race entertainment in the MTA hospitality tent. There they were treated to visits from Championship Auto Racing Teams President and CEO Christopher R. Pook and Champ Car driver Jimmy Vasser. "This was a tremendous promotion and the proof is in the results," said Richard Siegel, Vice President of Marketing for Tires Plus. "On the climactic weekend of the promotion, the week before the race, we charted a sizable increase in traffic to our retail outlets, and the Tampa area locations established a record three-day profit. We could not be happier with the outcome and with the cooperation from Champ Car, Dover Motorsports and Bridgestone Motorsport. We're eager to investigate other race markets where we can activate a program like this." That is music to the ears of those at Champ Car. It's the precise type of marketing platform that President and CEO Pook has been preaching. "We're very happy that the Champ Car World Series was able to provide such a successful platform for both Bridgestone and Morgan Tire and Auto," said Pook. "This is a perfect example of how Champ Car events like the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg can help activate local businesses and take promotional opportunities to a new level." It's also what Bridgestone envisioned when it stepped up to back the Champ Car World Series more extensively in 2003. "Our primary goals," explained Speyer, "are to showcase the technological strengths of the Bridgestone race tires and to increase the exposure of the Bridgestone brand in general. The MTA program in St. Pete helped us achieve both and we intend to use it as a model for other regions around the country."  Bridgestone

2/26/03

FIA clarifies new rules  This FIA issued this press release today clarifying many of the new F1 rules in place in 2003 starting in Australia.  An interesting read.

2/26/03

Hwy 3 in honor of Earnhardt  On March 3rd, 2003 in front of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Teresa Earnhardt will unveil the first official NC Highway 3 sign. A ceremony will begin at 12:00 with Teresa Earnhardt and other North Carolina State and local officials attending. Governor Easley signed the bill this past fall to switch NC Highway 136 to NC Highway 3 in honor of NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt. Highway 3 (Dale Earnhardt Highway) is a 28 mile highway that runs past Dale Earnhardt Inc headquarters, through Iredell and Cabarrus counties and Kannapolis, NC, the hometown of Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt Inc, is located at
1675 Dale Earnhardt Highway # 3, Mooresville, North Carolina 28115

2/26/03

Audi rejects F1  German newsagency DPA is reporting that Audi chief executive Martin Winterkorn has confirmed that Audi company has no plans to enter F1. Winterkorn says that the company which has been dominant at Le Mans in recent years will spend less on the sport this year but will up the budgets again in 2004. "We do not envisage entering Formula 1," he said, noting that the huge costs involved would not make it worthwhile for the firm.

2/26/03

More on #15 cheating  Pandora’s Box was recently opened in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage when Rusty Wallace publicly used the C word on the record — instances of competitors blatantly calling each other cheaters being as rare as a scone with tea in the garage. In less than demure fashion, Wallace said, "I don't know why they [Chevrolets] were so good at Daytona. They had more power and a little less coefficient of drag. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn't get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they're out for them when they get to Talladega.” There’s no doubt that rumors fueled the subsequent chatter at Rockingham, N.C. regarding what NASCAR might have found in post-race inspections on the No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet. But noise does not make fact. Additionally, Dale Earnhardt Inc. staff vehemently deny any wrong doing in connection to any of their Daytona 500 entries. Nonetheless, two aerodynamic issues quickly became the focus. Firstly, the rear decklid of Michael Waltrip’s race winning car. DEI’s chief technical personnel admitted to one garage crew chief that there was a problem with the decklid of their car and NASCAR levied a heavy fine on his team. Winston Cup director, John Darby confirmed to www.teamfordracing.com that there was indeed a problem with the No. 15 car. However, he specified it was a non-performance-enhancing item. The problem, as described by Darby, dealt with one of the lock pins that holds the decklid closed, which had vibrated loose during the race. The second issue dealt with alterations to the underside of the car before it went on display in Daytona USA. Darby said there was no issue beyond the loose decklid pin. “From our inspection process during Speedweeks we didn't see anything in pre- or post-race [inspections] that was a factor.” Darby added the camera shell removed early in the Speedweeks inspection cycle by NASCAR, like the decklid pin, had no performance enhancing properties, and therefore was not subject to penalty. However, performance enhancing and non-performance enhancing violation penalties are not always clearly viewed by all parties. When NASCAR found an illegal spring, which had zero performance-enhancing effect according to Roush Racing, in Mark Martin’s car following the Nov. 3, 2002, Rockingham event the violation brought the team a $5,000 fine and deduction of 25 championship points. “We're always looking and learning to try to stay up with everything that's going on,” Darby said regarding the inspection process. “The great thing about that is that [the] garage is a real valuable tool in helping us with that.” Any grumbling in the garage calling for Wallace to receive a point deduction for the illegal carburetor found after his Gatorade 125 qualifying race was quashed considering the race was a non-point event. He was penalized a qualifying position for a qualifying infraction. This spotlight on the inspection process doesn’t have Darby looking to Talladega Superspeedway’s event with special considerations. “I won't say that we're ready for anything, or laying the weeds looking for something in particular. But every event we run we learn more and we'll continue to apply whatever procedures we need to.”   Ford Racing

2/26/03

More CART/F1 Forsythe/Bernie talk  - This TSN.ca article talks about the rumors circulating of a possible Bernie Ecclestone buy into CART, or some sort of closer ties between CART and F1.  We do know that Chris Pook is supposedly heading to Europe this week to meet with Ecclestone.  Mark C.

2/26/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Five Aces Head Toyota Academy
Rubython Launches New F1 Mag
Pre-Season Enters Final Throes
Overcast Progress At Silverstone
Ferrari Split Efforts In Two
Jacques Unhappy At Imola Test
Mosley Dashes Belgian GP Hopes
Mosley Bites Back At Leading Teams
Bernie Backs Irate FIA Boss
Jordan: All Is Well Despite Rumors
Webber: Long 'Aero' Way To Go
A Decade Of Waiting For Toyota?
Jordan: Lear Jet In Mothballs
Lauda Sides With Governing FIA
Audi Dismiss F1 Challenge
Button Amused At JV Angst
Spa Still Hopeful For 2003 Race
Damning Rejoinder By FIA Chief

2/26/03

CART/Octagon playing the London theme  - UPDATE Click on the Logo to the right to see the full advertisement being run in the UK for the upcoming CART/BTCC weekend at Brands Hatch. Note the connection to London that is being made, which is brilliant as CART establishes itself as a "Big City" racing series worldwide.  Brands Hatch is on the outskirts of London.  2/21/03 - In this article we published by Gary Parravani, we suggested that CART play the big city London theme and they are.  Advertising has started in the UK and they are calling the race the London Champ Car Trophy.  Brands Hatch is located very near London, the biggest city in the UK (and one of the biggest in the world). Brands (as it’s affectionately known) resides just outside the south east quadrant of the M25 motorway. For those of you that don’t know, the M25 is a huge circular freeway that surrounds London and approximately 16 million people. In logical terms if you want a huge crowd at a race it makes sense to race where there is a large population!  Chris Pook is adamant that CART race as close as possible to big cities.  We never heard of any race at Brands previously tied directly to London, but it makes perfect sense.  Mark C.

2/26/03

Brands Hatch Improvements  Click on the image to the right to see the changes currently being done to the Brands Hatch circuit.  The Dingle Dell chicane is being eliminated for the World Superbike race in 2003 and for CART in 2004.  The gravel trap outside of Paddock Hill Bend (Turn 1) is being paved with asphalt and the spectators moved back 10 feet.  The debris fencing all around the circuit is being beefed up.  In order for CART to move to the longer GP Circuit in 2004, Hawthorne Bend will need to be reconfigured into a chicane with a proper runoff area created  because the Champ Cars would approach that corner at a very high rate of speed.  At some point the pits and paddock need to be moved to the Pilgrims Drop straight, because there are not enough garages and the pits are too short for more than 20 cars. Because Pilgrims Drop is steep downhill followed by a steep rise to Hawthorne Bend, the pits will need to be raised above the track surface (pit lane can't have too much elevation change) using a flatter vertical curve, and a concrete wall is needed between the track surface and the elevated pit lane.  This will be a major expense, but rumor has it Bernie has his people looking into it.  The good news is that none of the improvements would extend outside the boundaries of the existing track limits - all changes would be done within the confines of the existing circuit, making environmental approvals a bit easier.  Yes, trees will need to be cut down, but that can be mitigated by planting four new trees for everyone cut down.  Mark C.

2/26/03

CART drivers to remain unknowns  On today's CART teleconference a question was asked by AutoRacing1.com whether Ford, Bridgestone or Pacificare had any plans to feature CART drivers in their TV ads, ads that might be shown during CART races, or during any TV broadcast for that matter.  All three companies stated they had no plans to use CART drivers in their TV ads, instead using them for local market promotions.  While this may help those companies in the local markets, the couple of hundred people that meet those drivers pale in comparison to the millions a TV ad can reach.  One needs to look no further than the Target Alex Zanardi/Jimmy Vasser TV ads that were a big hit and brought those drivers a lot more name recognition.  One can argue that during that time Zanardi was by far the most recognizable CART driver to the general public.  It's not like it would cost CART sponsors any additional money.  Instead of hiring a spokesperson to do the TV ad, they can probably hire the driver free of charge (would do wonders for the drivers career) and produce the same number of TV ads as they were going to produce anyway.  Whether these ads get shown during soap operas, NASCAR races or even the Super Bowl, it exposes these drivers and their names to people while they are promoting Ford Cars, Bridgestone Tires or any other product.  If CART grows because their drivers become household names, the TV ratings go up and the sponsors benefit.  It's a vicious circle that needs to start somewhere.  As long as CART's drivers remain unknown to the general USA population, TV ratings will remain low. Our informal survey done at St. Pete this past weekend supports what we have long suspected, most of the fans at the "great" events CART puts on have no clue who the drivers are.  This is now elevated to CART's #1 problem.  They Cancelled the Funeral, now it's time to address the other problems. (Related article - Do heroes make a sport, or does a sport make heroes? It's time to engage CART's sponsors)   Mark C.

2/25/03

22 cars in IRL season opener The IRL finally released the entry list for this weekends season opener in Homestead.  With the last minute addition of Fisher, the list shows 22 potential starters.  26 cars started last years event.  In a year when the IRL is supposed to be growing and CART dying, 22 starters is a 15% drop from a year ago.  Brian Barnhart predicted over 30 cars for the IRL this year, saying they might have to turn some away.  22 means he missed by 26%.

2/25/03

Lauda hails rules changes  Niki Lauda has cheered Formula One's rule changes for 2003 (and beyond) as just what the sport needs. "I think what has been changed is a big step forward," the Austrian, dismissed as Jaguar team boss last November, told reporters at a news conference organized by Germany's RTL television Tuesday. Triple champion Lauda praised in particular the decision to ban refuelling between the new single-lap qualifying Saturday and Sunday's race. "I think altogether this is the best rule change I have ever seen in Formula One because it will make it more attractive," he said. "We will not have the same boring kind of races we had in the past and I think this was the biggest problem to overcome and I think it was a perfect job." "In the past the teams were thinking about what needed to be changed but they never could find an agreement," he said. "So finally Max took over in a very dramatic way and changed a lot of things around. There are more unknowns now -- how the grid will be coming together. "I was always complaining about all this computer help to the driver because in the end there's less effort for the driver to control the car if the computer does the job," said Lauda. "Last weekend I was together with (Ferrari's world champion) Michael Schumacher and I discussed it with him. He basically says that 'If I am a good driver, I will be able to drive like a computer." "From this point of view, I think it's back to where it should be, for the man to drive the car and not the computers." "For starts all you do is push a button. In the old days, if you screwed up the start at Monte Carlo where you have too much wheelspin you lost the race." "So from the driver point of view it will be much more difficult, more exciting and you will see some differences in race results. "I think this is what a race should be."

2/25/03
Industry News

Chrysler profits plunge  Chrysler's per-vehicle operating profit fell 76 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002 compared with the third quarter as the company boosted incentives to fend off General Motors. "There was a big step upward in marketing costs in the fourth quarter that is completely related to the extraordinary aggressiveness, especially of General Motors," said Juergen Schrempp, chairman of DaimlerChrysler, in a conference call with analysts last week in Germany.

2/25/03

Last minute deal will see Fisher in season opener Sarah Fisher will drive in the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 after Dreyer & Reinbold Racing secured a primary sponsor for Fisher’s entry for the event, team officials announced Feb. 25. WeGotGear, a female-owned business founded in 1999, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 23 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by Fisher at Homestead-Miami Speedway. WeGotGear offers corporate premium and promotional products for major clients. “We Got Gear stepped in to help get the season started,” team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. “We’re grateful for their support in making this first race possible for the No. 23 team.” Additional supporters on Fisher’s car include Chevrolet, and longtime team sponsors Purex and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.  Talks continue with multiple sponsors for the long-term support of Fisher’s entry, Reinbold said. The focus remains on a full-season effort to ensure her participation with the team, he said.

2/25/03

Female golfer will further erode Indy 500 TV Ratings  This Valvoline article says Annika Sorenstam's decision to be a "driver" in the Bank of America Colonial, the tradition-steeped PGA Tour event heretofore made famous by legendary Ben Hogan, is an unfortunate turn for another icon trying to reconnect with the public's sweet spot — the Indianapolis 500. The Colonial, like Indy, is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. This impending tsunami of Sorenstam publicity might result in a TV ratings bogey for the already challenged "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." You can write it down right now: The Sorenstam Saga — the world's greatest female golfer will become the first woman to play in a PGA tournament since 1945 — is guaranteed to exhaust the available media oxygen supply during those seven days. That will be much to the delight of the CBS and USA networks, whose cameras will televise Annika's every swing, and to the fret of ABC and ESPN on-site at Indy. Yet, I am certain, even World News Tonight and SportsCenter will lovingly devote more minutes to Sorenstam May 19-25 than they will to all 33 starters at Indy combined.  This comes at a crucial moment for the 500, already facing it's most important running since the IRL-CART showdown in 1996, because of elevated expectations (cited even by ABC Sports President Howard Katz) caused by the presence of Honda and Toyota as well as Michael Andretti's retirement. While it may still claim the title as the world's largest single-day sports event, there is no question Indy is struggling with attendance, sponsorship, marketing and TV ratings issues. After years of not unexpected viewership declines following the League's split from CART, ABC's numbers went up with the return of Team Penske in 2001, only to experience a troubling drop last May. Fox publicists, meanwhile, gleefully were making the reporter rounds at the Daytona 500 with statistical currency, which bought a lot of credibility for their own spotlight attraction. Such as this, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The last time Indy beat Daytona in the television ratings was in 1995, and last year Daytona more than lapped Indy. According to Nielsen Media Research, Daytona was seen in 10.9 percent of U.S. homes with a TV set, Indy in 4.8. In the last three years Daytona has drawn an 81 percent larger audience than Indy. In fact, 16 Winston Cup races beat the Indy 500."

2/25/03

News on Portland Town meeting  A Portland reader writes, Dear AR1, It appears that CART has done a good job getting the word out to the local sports radio media for the Portland Town meeting. I listen to Portland's KFXX Sportsradio 910 The Fan, and every 20 minutes, The Fan is promoting the event in their "20/20 Sports update" segments. They are traditionally a "stick and ball" sports station, but they do cover all things CART when they relate to Portland....Bronson Graff, Portland, OR

2/25/03

Fultz to attempt Cup qualifying  Jeff Fultz might not be a name that race fans instantly recognize, but he's hoping that will all change at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he attempts to make his Winston Cup debut in the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Fultz will also attempt to make Saturday's ARCA 400, putting even more pressure on this young driver. Fultz was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday with four NASCAR Winston Cup drivers -- Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Elliott Sadler and Brett Bodine -- all testing for the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Bodine set the fast time during Tuesday's test, posting a lap of 29.56 seconds (187.551 mph). Choosing Atlanta as the track to make the leap from part-time ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR Busch Series driver to NASCAR's most elite series wasn't hard for Fultz. "I like Atlanta - I like its banking and its fast speeds," said Fultz. "Although I've never run a race here, I'm comfortable with the track and it was the only logical place to attempt my first Winston Cup race." The full-time fabricator and test driver for Jasper Motorsports is running a limited ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2003 for Jim Craig Racing. Fultz will attempt to make his Winston Cup debut for CLR Racing in the No. 57.

2/25/03

Delphi sponsorship extension for Chicagoland race Chicagoland Speedway and Delphi Corp. announced an extension Feb. 25 for the title rights to the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event that will take place Sept. 7, 2003, continuing the entitlement of the Delphi Indy 300 through the 2003 season. “Delphi has been a tremendous partner during our first two seasons and an integral part in expanding Chicagoland Speedway’s popularity in local and national markets,” said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. “In the first two Delphi Indy 300’s, we have crowned the 2001 IRL champion and seen the closest finish in IRL history in 2002. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Delphi in 2003 and providing more unbelievable IndyCar Series racing at Chicagoland Speedway.”

2/25/03

Ticket sales going well in Germany  Marc-Thorsten Lenze, spokesman of EuroSpeedway Lausitz, is particularly pleased at the fans' response to ticket sales for the German 500. "Together with CART, we have chosen the right strategy. Our fan-friendly ticket prices starting at 49.00 euro have met with a very positive response from fans. In particular, we are finding that people are buying additional tickets to the ones they bought last year, which are still valid, for friends and relatives." There are three categories of tickets, all of which are valid for three days: gold (149.00 euro), silver (99.00 euro) and bronze (49.00 euro). A euro = to approx. $1 US dollar

2/25/03

Sponsor for BAM at Vegas  dakota imaging, inc. will sponsor Ken Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge team in this week’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The company is a leading provider of high-volume transaction processing systems and services. "dakota imaging was with us as a sponsor some last year, and it’s great to have them back with us," said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. "With a nationwide audience on FOX and over 100,000 people in a sold out Las Vegas track, this should be another good experience for them, and for us."

2/25/03

Raikkonen tops Silverstone test times 

Place Driver Team Time laps
1. K. Raikkonen McLaren 0.41.728 28
2. J. Trulli Renault 0.42.679 110
3. D. Coulthard McLaren 0.42.883 15
4. A. McNish Renault 0.43.018 154

2/25/03

New Honda engine helps Villeneuve top test times at Imola  "It's a fast car, but we seem to have lots of mechanical problems at the moment," Villeneuve told Autosport. "This specification of engine is a bit less driveable than the original. We'll have a later specification tomorrow, so we'll have to see how that is. The car is fast, but if it can't make it to the first pit-stop then it's no good, is it?" Tuesday's times
1. Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:22.86 30 laps
2. Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1:24.43 72 laps
3. Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1:25.85 44 laps

2/25/03

Mosley berates Ron Dennis  In his letter to Ron Dennis, Max Mosley berates Ron Dennis for not caring about the small teams.  "Your main 'proactive' work in the past twelve months seems to have been to try to prevent at all costs (including taking Bernie to arbitration) Minardi receiving money which I and at least two leading counsel believe is clearly due to them," Mosley said in his letter. "This was money which would have gone to Prost had he continued, never to either of you, yet you are apparently doing your utmost to grab it at Minardi's expense. Furthermore, Ron's public utterances on Minardi speak for themselves." Mosley said: "I note you seek credit for the Mercedes engine offer yet, as Mercedes themselves confirm in their letter of 14 January 2003, this has only become possible because of the single engine rule in 2004 - the rule you both did your utmost to prevent. Incidentally, you describe the Mercedes engine as "low-cost". At 625,000 Euros (over £400,000) per race, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase. The rumor that Jordan may be having to pay nearly 20 Euros million in 2003 does not make 10 Euros million "low cost."  Full Mosley letter.

2/25/03

Mosley takes swipe at Toyota spending  In this Planet F1 article, Max Mosley indirectly takes a swipe at Toyota - "We are currently seeing a money-spending contest with one manufacturer (and it's not Ferrari) employing upwards of 1000 people and virtually unlimited resources in an attempt to win the FIA Formula 1 World Championship," says Mosley. Toyota entered the World Sports Car Championship and then swiftly withdrew without achieving Le Mans success. They have also made a sudden withdrawal from the World Rally Championship in recent years as well as CART. Each time they have done this they have left the series reeling.  Whereas Mosley can see a reason for a top marque like Ferrari staying in F1, he is not so convinced about the volume car manufacturers' involvement. And he can do nothing to stop them spending their money. "There is nothing wrong with that, the rules don't prohibit it. But we cannot stop that manufacturer stopping tomorrow if, for example, its shareholders stage a revolt. In trying to make sure that Formula 1 can continue irrespective of the number of major manufacturers involved we are not being hostile, merely realistic."

2/25/03

Did police go easy on Stewart?  Ormond Beach police have started an internal investigation into the Feb. 9 traffic stop of NASCAR bad boy Tony Stewart. Police are investigating whether two officers involved in Stewart's early morning traffic stop let him off too easily because of his superstar status, Ormond Beach police spokesman Sgt. Mark Walker said. Stewart, the defending Winston Cup champion, was pulled over in a yellow Ferrari just before 1 a.m. Feb. 9 after Patrol Officer Anthony Zimmerer saw the car fly past him on the Granada Bridge, Walker said. Zimmerer said another passing vehicle prevented his radar from accurately clocking Stewart's speed, Walker said. Stewart was stopped by patrol officer Michael Bakaysa. Then he got a warning, rather than a ticket, from Zimmerer. Stewart's spokesman, Mike Arning, said Monday he could not confirm or deny reports that Stewart discussed the traffic stop on a local radio show Feb. 12. Daytona Beach News Journal

2/25/03

Warner Bros, IMAX team up for NASCAR  According to this Variety article, Warner Bros. is teaming up with Imax for the first time to make a 45-minute documentary about NASCAR auto racing. "NASCAR: The Imax Experience 3D" started production recently to coincide with the racing league's Daytona 500. This year marks the race's 45th anniversary. Warner will distribute the film exclusively to Imax theaters in spring 2004. The documentary will transport fans directly into the driver's seat and provide a history of the sport told from the viewpoint of some of its most prominent drivers.

2/25/03

Toyota F1 investment may never pay off  According to this Bloomberg Financial article, Toyota Motor Corp. may not reap rewards from its hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Formula One racing for about a decade -- and then only if it starts winning, investors and analysts said. Executive Vice President Akihiko Saito, announcing a second season for Toyota in the world's most-watched motor sport, said he aims to have drivers ``on the winners' podium'' in 2004. The world's third-largest automaker earned two championship points and reached the top 10 in nine out of 17 races last year. ``It would take about 10 years for any automaker to have the F-1 strategy pay off,'' said Brendan McMahon, chief executive of FutureBrand Inc., a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos., the world's largest advertising agency. If it succeeds, ``Toyota can begin to be seen as a brand that is about performance, advanced technology and ultimately, who knows, racing spirit,'' he said. ``It will take time to see that F-1 is having a positive effect on Toyota's business,'' said Norihiko Kamada, who helps manage $1.2 billion in funds for Chuo Mitsui Asset Management Co., including Toyota shares ......Formula One investment ``didn't do a great deal for Honda'' in terms of raising European market share and luring younger customers, Autopolis' Maxton said. ``If you want to create a sexy image of aspirational products, why not create sexy, aspirational products?''

2/25/03

Toyota denies they will join the GPWC  Toyota are still undecided about whether or not they wish to become the sixth manufacturer to join the GPWC, the company set up by Fiat, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and Renault. However Toyota boss Ove Anderson has denied the reports in the Sunday Times that he is joining the GPWC. He insists Toyota is still considering its options.

2/25/03

Mosley responds to Dennis/Williams letter  FIA President Max Mosley has replied to the recent letter from Ron Dennis and Frank Williams about the changes to the F1 regulations. Mosley accused the two team bosses of being "unfocused" in its response to his proposals and does not indicate that the team bosses agree with some of the changes. "It is impossible to have a dialogue if the response to a carefully considered set of proposals is a collection of vague claims and confused criticisms with no discernible attempt to address the arguments," Mosley wrote, although he went on to address the various issues raised by the teams. "Even if the entire FOM income were distributed among the teams, current cost levels would be unsustainable," Mosley said. He went on to point out that nothing had changed since the two teams agreed to sign the Concorde Agreement in 1998. Mosley also challenged the teams to show how the rules will "dumb down" the sport and suggested that the teams hire two halls and publicize that one would feature F1 drivers and the other electronics experts and see the result. He also challenged the argument that the FIA is being pessimistic. On the issue of the manufacturers Mosley was outspoken, pointing out that they do not consistently support the sport but come and go at will. "They are answerable to their shareholders not to the sport," Mosley wrote.  "They can and will leave the sport whenever it suits them. This is not a criticism, it is a fact. We must never be so naive as to believe we can rely on them. The top executive is an employee. He could be out of the job next week. It would be folly to allow F1 to be at the mercy of personnel and policy changes in the major manufacturers."

2/25/03

Latest F1 Not news 

Montoya: Too Soon To Judge FW25
New Teams Prudent For F1?
Jaguar Unveils Sporting Director
Renault Consolidates 3D Alliance
Bernie Threatens To Sue Teams
Minardi: Impossible To Repeat
Sauber Duo Fit For Australia
Antonio Pizzonia Can Hardly Wait
No More BMW Engine Advantage
F1 Can Afford To Shed Pounds
David Coulthard Backs His Boss
Brabham: Bans Will Help Schumacher
No Team Principal For Jaguar
Montoya Denies Need To Improve

2/25/03

St. Pete looks set for a long future  As long as CART keeps this race the weekend after the Daytona 500, the St. Pete race looks like it will only get better from here.  Weather-wise, a great place to be racing this time of year.  Now if they can just move the Miami race to November when it is cooler, CART can bookmark its seasons with warm-weather Florida event.  This St. Pete Times article pretty much sums up the race weekend for CART.

2/25/03

Haberfeld's moves  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I sure hope no one starts jumping all over Haberfeld for those two moves he put on Junqueira. Maybe I don't see it correct, but he only made ONE move (although very early down the straight, but it was still one move!) That is allowed and made for great racing! Don't penalize and restrict a guy for making a pass tough, that is the name of the game and was very exciting. I distinctly remember Villeneuve doing the same thing to Al Jr down the front straight at Portland. Al followed him the whole way down the straight only to cut back to the left at the end to take the best line and hung Villeneuve out to dry as he had already committed himself to the inside line. He overshot the corner and Jr. overtook him. It was great racing and I'd sure hate to see the stewards penalize some rookie for doing the same. After all, isn't this one of the pluses of having the rookies in the series?  The event was awesome! Access to the track was easy, park and ride speed was adequate (although bigger future crowds will need more buses!!), never had to wait for an open port-a-potty, easy access around the track (although recommend placing some hay or straw over the area behind the front straight bleachers- it was all black mud and everyone was jumping over it), numerous activities for the kids (rockclimbing, X-games type events), the jumbotron TV's were great (but would recommend placing them higher and farther back from the front straight to allow better viewing for everyone), TURN ONE!!!!!!! (almost perfect- paint for runway 6 factored into braking), crowd was pleasant (redneckless) and excited, the Andretti stand was MARIO only!, any Team Green apparel was on sale, and most of all, I heard numerous "The IRL Sucks!!!!" It reminded me of a mini Long Beach GP. This one is here to stay. And I have to say, I've always been a big proponent of the 1999 era with 900hp traction controlless cars, but damn, this new formula rocks too! Let's keep it (performance levels in terms of engine, well, maybe 800hp sounds nice) but we have to make the cars shorter and skinnier to shave some weight!   Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, FL.  Dear Derek, you are absolutely correct.  A driver is allowed one move when being passed and he is allowed to use the entire race track.  It was refreshing to see some aggressive driving again. It looked like a F3000 race out there at times and the fans loved it.  If CART penalizes Mario, we will be surprised, unless he did indeed make more than one move on a given pass attempt. As for the new formula, yes it is good and proves beyond any doubt that in 2005 and beyond, CART must issue a standard ECM to all engine manufacturers to prevent traction control from being used ever again.  As for the weight of the cars, we would like to see about 100 pounds taken out of the car as long as it can be done economically.  That will make the car still heavier than a F1 car, so when they use the same engine (a no-brainer) the F1 cars will still be faster. Mark C.

2/24/03

A lap around Monterrey  This link will take you to a Real Video file of a lap around the Monterrey, Mexico race track, which is almost ready for the upcoming CART race.  Take note of all the grandstands.  Courtesy of El Norte

2/24/03

Concerned over Road America  2nd UPDATE Dear AR1, I have been reading the various comments from readers regarding the Road America track. I hope things work out so that this track can stay on the schedule. As for the fact that the track is not "close", this might be a
relative term. I would love to have only a 3 hour drive to see a Champ Car race. Not a lot of options to see a Champ Car race when you live in Nebraska (without the expense of flying, that is). Thankfully, we now have the Denver race (and possibly a Chicago street race) which is an 8 hour drive. I guess its all in how you look at it. Thanks, Kevin Kelch Omaha, Nebraska   2/23/03 - Dear Ms. Sanders, After reading your recently published comments on AR1 I find myself compelled to respond regarding CART’s future at R/A. I agree with you that the annual pilgrimage to R/A to watch CART’s best run North America’s premier natural terrain road coarse is truly one of the jewels in CART’s annual line-up. But the problems with a Champ Car race at R/A are not of CART’s making. The problem with R/A is it’s located in the middle of nowhere! Poor location contributes to paid attendance that has never seemed to live up to the stature of the event. It’s seems only hard core CART fans will make the pilgrimage to the beautiful Kettle Moraine. I think the real “problem” with R/A, again, besides it location and a lack of affordable accommodations (camping, while quant when we were younger, is now defined by my wife as a suite at The American Club, now much easier to secure since Team Penske went off to race Crapwagons), is R/A management and the Sheboygan County Bureau of Tourism (or what ever they call it). R/A management has not promote/advertised the race nearly enough in Chicago or Milwaukee to attract a new fan base to a race that is not supported by enough secondary entertainment to make it a “packed weekend of family entertainment” worth the almost 3 hour drive and from Chicago. Sheboygan County and Elkhart Lake have invested little over many years to expand the immediate infrastructure to support R/A and attract both additional tourism and race fans, who long ago outgrew their pup tents. R/A is a great race but I can get a beer and a good brat here in Chicago! It’s not CART’s fault R/A’s date may need to replaced with an event located in a major population center. It’s the realities of the marketplace. Given the choice I’d rather see a CART race on Chicago’s lake front with weekend attendance topping 150,000. Let the faithful in Wisconsin come south for a change. Respectfully, J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois  2/23/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, I am very concerned about the situation that is happening with Road America and have been following the happenings closely through your updates. The latest have me very disturbed… Road America's 2003 CART race is by no means secure. All I can say is that I have been a staunch supporter of CART for many years and if this happens - if Road America is removed from the circuit – I will have lost all faith in CART management. I am already questioning some of the decisions that are being made about the future of CART and this will be the last straw. Something must be done to keep this historic and extraordinary track (which is loved by fans and drivers alike) a part of the CART repertoire!! Regards, Jennifer Sandstrom, Palatine, IL

2/24/03

Jordan flies in the Cheap seats  According to this Reuters article, When Eddie Jordan flew to Barcelona for a recent Formula One test, he bought a ticket from a budget airline and joined the queue of ordinary passengers. It is an example that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and McLaren's Ron Dennis are unlikely to be following this season. Jordan likes the celebrity lifestyle as much as any other Formula One bigshot but times have changed and the Irish entrepreneur is swapping his private jet for less expensive transport. The anecdote has less to do with Jordan's financial situation, seemingly stabilized after the loss of title sponsors Deutsche Post last year, than with the message that the boss wants to send to his staff. The man who flew his entire team to the Belgian Grand Prix for one euro each on Ryanair last year has become a fellow traveler in the cheap seats. Belt-tightening is the order of the day among Formula One's smaller independent teams as recession bites and sponsorship money becomes harder to find. Jordan has asked all his employees to focus on saving money, trying every week to reduce unnecessary expenditure by doing something just as well for less. "We've been doing what is prudent to make sure that we're in Formula One for the long term," he said, two weeks before the start of the season in Australia on March 9.

2/24/03
Industry News

Lilly, 3M halt drug tests  This Bloomberg report says, Eli Lilly and Co. and 3M Co. suspended studies of an experimental drug called resiquimod that the companies were developing to treat genital herpes. Preliminary data from late-stage studies of more than 1,000 patients with the sexually transmitted disease didn't show resiquimod was effective in controlling outbreaks, Lilly spokeswoman Terra Fox said. Halting the trials will delay any potential bid for approval of the compound, which the companies had planned to submit to U.S. regulators in 2004, Fox said. Lilly and 3M will continue to analyze the drug's effects and may consider new trials. St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M, the maker of Scotch tape, already sells a topical cream called Aldara to treat genital warts.

2/24/03

Rockingham TV ratings increase  Fox earned a 6.3/13 overnight Nielsen rating for its coverage of yesterday's Subway 400 Winston Cup race at North Carolina Speedway, an 11% increase over last year's 5.7/13, according to the Sports Business Daily. The race, which saw Dale Jarrett victorious over Kurt Busch after a late-race battle, was the top sports event on television this weekend, well ahead of the 5.1/10 that ABC drew for its final-round coverage of the PGA's Nissan Open. Fox's pre-race coverage drew a 4.2/10 to rank third. Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter

2/24/03

McMurray wins rain-delayed BGN race  Jamie McMurray, driving the #1 Yellow Dodge owned by James Finch, dominated the rain-delayed Rockingham 200 at North Carolina Speedway on Monday scoring a 1.908 second win over second place David Green. Green, driving the car vacated by McMurray after he signed to drive for Chip Ganassi on the Winston Cup circuit, used a last lap pass to beat Todd Bodine off the fourth turn on the final lap for the second place finish. Bodine was third, followed by Randy LaJoie, Jason Keller, Mike Bliss, Kevin Grubb, Brain Vickers, Johnny Sauter and Kevin Harvick. “It was so fast,” said McMurray, after winning his third career NBS race in 37 starts. “We were almost scared to do anything to it because car was so good.” With McMurray running his own race at the front the best racing on the track was between veterans Green and Bodine. Bodine had the spot until Green took it on the final lap. “I made two or three mistakes there near the end and then I had my hands full holding (David) back and he got the spot,” said Bodine. “We had a good setup but sixty laps in the car starting pushing and we just never could fix it. We stayed close because we had great pit stops and the cautions fell just right at the end.” Green, basically out of a ride for the last two seasons, was overjoyed when he got the call to drive the #37 Timberwolf Chevrolet. “I was just happy to hear someone wanted an experienced driver,” said Green, who humbly agreed it was a combination of his experience and the determination of the crew that pushed them to the second place finish. “Our car was loose for most of the day,” explained Green. “The crew got it right on the last pit stop but we didn’t need all those cautions.” Coy Gibbs, in the MBNA Chevrolet, was the highest finishing rookie. Gibbs, a true rookie making his first start on the demanding asphalt at The Rock, said he was glad to bring the car home in one piece. “I spent the whole day trying to keep the car out of the wall,” said Gibbs, who somehow managed a 14th place finish after starting 26th. “I was really loose all day and that is not the thing to be here. You shut out as many distractions as possible and worry about just yourself and your car. “That’s how you survive.” McMurray pocketed $45,700 for the win and now leads the point standings 340-315 over Todd Bodine. Kevin Harvick is third, followed by David Green and Randy LaJoie. Stan Creekmore – NASCAR Editor

2/24/03

Olive Garden team to use Pirellis  Team Olive Garden Ferrari today announced it has selected Pirelli P Zero racing tires for its attack on the factory Corvette effort in the American Le Mans Series GTS championship this year. Olive Garden President Drew Madsen lauded the selection. “So much of what we do is inspired by close ties to Italy -- that makes Pirelli a wonderful part of our team. Together with our co-sponsor Coca-Cola, we welcome Pirelli to Team Olive Garden Ferrari and we’re thrilled to work with them. Adding their technical support and expertise to the team’s resources makes us even more excited about the new compet- itiveness we expect to achieve in the ALMS GTS Championship this year.”

2/24/03

Doran team to use Michelins  Kevin Doran, head of Doran-Lista Racing, announced today that his team has entered into a technical partership with Michelin for the 2003 American Le Mans Series, which begins with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on March 15. Engineers from Michelin North America, which is based in Greenville, SC., will provide expertise in tire compound selection to the team on-site at the different events, and will also provide data such as tire temperatures, etc. for comparison during practice sessions and before, during and after the races. “We have known Kevin Doran for a number of years, dating back to the mid-eighties,” said Herb Johnson Jr., Michelin’s director of motorsports. “He has been one of the most successful team managers ever, and he has a tremendous reputation in sp0fl.s car racing. We’re pleased to be a part of the Doran-Lista program, We hope that through this partnership we all will have many trips to the winners’ circle.” “Michelin’s product and technical support are fantastic,” said Doran, “and I’m looking forward to working with them this year..” “I’m very pleased to be driving on Michelins because I think they make one of the best tires in sports car racing,” said Didier Theys, lead driver for the Lebanon, Ohio-based team. “I was one of the official Michelin drivers back in 1983 in Formula 3, and at that time I worked with some people who are still with Michelin today,” Theys noted. “It is a great company. “I think almost all of our primary competition in ALMS this year will be on Michelins, so that should make the races even mom competitive,” Theys added. Go-driver Fredy Lienhard Sr. concurred. “Michelin tires are great, and this is definitely a plus for our team,” he said

2/24/03

Another Mack to enter IRL ranks  Veteran karting and NASCAR short-track driver Lloyd Mack will make his IRL Infiniti Pro Series debut with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Miami 100 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mack, 21, is the younger brother of IRL IndyCar Series driver George Mack, who became the first African-American driver to compete full time in the IndyCar Series, in 2002. Lloyd Mack will drive the No. 6 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone entry with backing from On-Line Financial Services and Barstow Orthopedics. Mack will be the first African-American driver to compete in the Infiniti Pro Series, the IRL’s official development series. “I’m very excited about it,” Mack said of his debut. “My goals are to try to get as many top 10’s as possible and try to get in the top 10 in points at the end of the year. There’s a lot of competition in the Infiniti Pro Series, and that’s one of the main reasons I accepted the offer from Mr. Schmidt to run it. “I think it’s an excellent stepping ground for me to try to eventually get to the IRL (IndyCar Series).” Mack, who lives in Chino, Calif., won numerous regional karting championships and more than 100 karting victories between 1991-98. He finished second in the 1998 International Karting Federation Grand Nationals. Mack also finished in the top five in each of his five starts in the NASCAR Grand American Modified Series in 2002 and has competed in the NASCAR Super Late Models division.

2/24/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.39 Up $0.04 on Volume of 32,100 shares.
$2.74 Bid - $3.70 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.30 / $3.49
MPH Value Change Up 1.19%
DOW Jones Down 159.87 or 1.99% on Volume of 1.49 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 26.65 or 1.98%
S&P 500 Down 15.59 or 1.84%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

2/24/03

Mishap Mars Subway 400 Pre-Race Show  3rd UPDATE All but one of the four injured parachutists were treated and released. The other four parachutists landed safely. Injuries included facial laceration, a back injury and a broken wrist and ankle. The injured jumpers were: 1) Colonel Leonard H. Kiser, senior Army National Guard advisor for US Army Special Operations Command, 2) Sgt. 1st Class Stuart J. Goodall, a civil affairs team leader with 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, 3) Major Anthony C. Dill, executive officer for 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), 4) Air Force Capt. Jesse L. Peterson, detachment commander for Detachment 5, 10th Combat Weather Squadron.  2/23/03 - An investigation into an accident that injured four members of the eight-man parachute team named the Black Daggers has been started by the U.S. ARMY Special Operations Command according to Barbara Ashley, U.S. ARMY Special Operations Command Center Public Relations. Identification of the four injured team members is being withheld until completion of the investigation. That said, Ashley confirmed the two jumpers transported to Womack Army Hospital in Fayetteville (NC) are listed in stable condition. The jumper transported to First Health Moore Regional Medical Center in Pinehurst (NC) was treated for lacerations but no update was available on his status. No status was listed for the jumper airlifted to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte (NC) however sources said the jumper suffered a back injury.  2/23/03 - Three of the eight member U.S. ARMY Special Operations Command Parachute team, The Black Daggers, were transported to local hospitals for treatment of injuries sustained during a pre-race show at North Carolina Speedway. A fourth member of the team was transported to First Health Moore Regional Medical Center in Pinehurst (NC) for treatment of minor injuries. One member of the team was airlifted to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte for further evaluation, while two members of the team were taken via ground to Womack Army Hospital in Fayetteville (NC). The remaining four members of the team were treated and released in the infield care center at the Speedway. Major Anthony Risi, a member of the team, stated it was not uncommon for the team to jump in adverse windy conditions. “The reading on the ground was 15 knots, “ said Risi, “But, the thing we didn’t know was the speed at which the winds were bouncing off the buildings and stands. There was just no way to tell.” Before being secluded by ISC officials Risi appeared to be telling his men that there was really no reason for concern for the health of their comrades with the exception of the one airlifted to Charlotte for further observation.   2/23/03 - Swirling winds inside of North Carolina Speedway forced several members of the US Army Special Ops parachutists team off course during a pre-race show before the start of the Subway 400. One member of the team landed near the gas pumps, inside the garage, while another landed between and iron fence and the front of the #8 Budweiser hauler. A third member of the team landed amid service trailers parked in the infield. It was reported that at least two members of the team were transported to a local hospital. – More to Follow Stan Creekmore – NASCAR Editor

2/24/03

IRL beefs up sales and marketing departments  According to this Indy Star article, The Indy Racing League went on a hiring spree in the off-season, hoping the extra hands can raise its profile and its profits. IRL hired help in sales, public relations and marketing, increasing those staffs to 25 from 16. The racing circuit, which started in 1996 with five employees and a lot of help from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now has 52 employees, all dedicated exclusively to the league. "The last couple of years, we've tried to make the league a free-standing entity," said Fred Nation, executive vice president of communications for Hulman & Co., parent of IRL and the Speedway. The goal is to make the IRL, which still continues its rivalry with Championship Auto Racing Teams, into the slick, well-marketed and well-followed sport that professional basketball and NASCAR have become. "NASCAR has done a superb job of marketing stock car racing," said Ken Ungar, the IRL's senior vice president of business affairs. "What we're interested in is looking at the best practices in all sports." But the IRL must climb some big hills if it wants to reach NASCAR's heights. Attendance lags at nearly every IRL event except the June race at the Texas Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. Even the 500 hasn't returned to its pre-IRL form, when qualifications and Carburetion Day drew large crowds. And while NASCAR is the king of sport sponsorships, some IRL drivers struggle to land such deals. Sarah Fisher, one of the league's most popular drivers, is still without a sponsor this year. So was former Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier until late last week, the IRL said. That's why the first step in IRL's ambitious marketing plan is to improve attendance at all 16 races. To do it, the league wants to make each race a big event. That means pumping up the pre-race fireworks and entertainment. It also involves The Fan Experience, a mobile entertainment and ticket-selling promotion designed to drum up interest before each race. The Fan Experience lets visitors race interactively, try their hand in a pit-stop competition, buy IRL merchandise and listen to live music......The IRL also hired John Griffin, a seven-year NASCAR employee, to run its public relations department, and Tom Savage to put IRL and its drivers in the media beyond the sports pages. Griffin said. Activation is lingo for connecting the racing team and driver to the products. Earnhardt cutouts in the beer aisle are a prime example.....IRL's marketing department plans to do more teaching and helping companies to activate their sponsorships, Griffin said, as well as preparing ready-made materials for teams to pitch themselves to potential sponsors. Is IRL doing all this to steal fans from CART? Not at all, Ungar insists, even though the leagues have fought over drivers and teams for seven years....."Really, they're pursuing a different market and a different sports fan," Ungar said of CART. "The real target is the casual sports fan, not fans of CART or NASCAR."

2/24/03

Lazier & Hemelgarn hookup again  Hemelgarn Racing and Buddy Lazier, the most enduring team-driver partnership in Indy Racing League history, will compete in all 16 IRL IndyCar Series events this year, team owner Ron Hemelgarn said. Hemelgarn and Lazier have teamed up to start in 70 of the 71 races in IndyCar Series history since 1996. They have combined to win a record-tying eight races, including the 1996 Indianapolis 500, and the 2000 IndyCar Series championship. Lazier has recorded 25 top-five finishes and 39-top 10 finishes during his career, both series records. Lazier, 35, from Vail, Colo., will drive the No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone starting at the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team is working feverishly to put the finishing touches on its new car. Delta Faucet and Life Fitness remain as associate sponsors. “Even without testing, I think we can definitely be a contender in Miami,” Lazier said. “I know the track and more importantly, I am confident in the ability of my team. I think we’ll shock everybody and finish strong.” Said Hemelgarn: “I realize we’re starting the 2003 season later than we’d like, but I feel my team and driver have always responded well to pressure. Our team is building a new car as we speak. When we arrive in Miami we will spend all practice sessions working on race setups. “If our history of adversity repeats itself, we’re in good shape. In 1996, we were unable to test for the Indy 500 because Buddy lay in the hospital with a broken back. The results – we won!”

2/24/03

Kruse to sponsor Kelley Racing  Kelley Racing announced today hat Kruse International will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 31 and the No. 8 entries for the 2003 IndyCar Series season. Tom Kelley, owner of Kelley Racing, was pleased to welcome Kruse International to the team. “I’ve had a long association with Kruse International,” Kelley said. “Their auctions and museum facilities have always been first-class and we’re pleased that Kruse International is going to align its collectible auction properties with Kelley Racing.” Kruse International, headquartered in Auburn, In., is the world’s largest collector car auction firm with 52 years of experience, selling more vintage and collector cars than all other auction firms combined. Kruse International first became involved with Kelley Racing as a partner in 2002 on the No. 78 Kruse Special that Tony Renna piloted in the last four races of the Indy Racing League season.

2/24/03
Industry News

General Motors responds to Bill Gates  At a Computer Expo (COMDEX) show in Las Vegas, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon". In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows,
shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to
reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10.You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

2/24/03

How the local media gets behind a Champ Car race  This link from the St. Petersburg Times shows how a local newspaper gets behind a ChampCar race. Click on START YOUR ENGINE for a virtual tour of the track. Other nice features include panoramic views with "CLOSER LOOK" and some introductory lessons on "A PIT STOP."

2/24/03

Latest F1 Not news 

Firman Admits F1 Inexperience
Bernie Would Buy F1 Back
Button Predicts Williams Decline
Burti Weighs Up Racing Options
Mosley Offers Simple Ultimatum
Don't Write Rubens Off: Mansell
More Local Support For Jos
Ferrari Support For Cost-Cutting
Paul Stoddart Takes A Side
Jordan Promotes Schu Retirement
Stoddart Declines To Respond
Jaguar Praise For Youthful Line-Up
Wilson: Too Soft For Formula One?
Firman Unfazed By Fisichella
Toyota Eye Breakaway Switch
Wilson Welcomes Fellow 'Tall Guy'
Mosley: New F1 Teams For '05
Schu And Stewart: 'Very Reminiscent'
Jaguar: It's Time F1 Grew Up

2/24/03

Hogan joins Jaguar Racing  Jaguar Racing today announces a new Sporting Director with the appointment of John Hogan (59). In addition to his role as Sporting Director, John will also assume all marketing and acquisitions responsibilities in the role of Commercial Director. John joins the team with immediate effect.  Story

2/24/03

Mansell might become a CART team owner  In this short Autosport interview from yesterday at St. Pete, Nigel Mansell says he might consider becoming a CART team owner.  And in this interview, Emerson Fittipaldi says now is the perfect time become a team owner. Speaking of becoming a team owner, Eddie Irvine was quoted as saying he wanted to start a CART team when he retired from driving.  Well, he's retired.  Wonder if anyone from CART has contacted him about this yet.

2/24/03

European CART coverage  As an update on the Eurosport situation, the European viewers ended up with the whole race covered (as live) 1 hour after the race finished.. bad news is that it was supposed to start an hour earlier (so anyone that set their VCRS would have missed it ) good news is they were gonna show 45 mins of highlights, but instead showed he whole race.. good enough for me!!! Although I’m in England I was watching European Eurosport not British Eurosport, so I don’t know about the BE coverage. Damn, those new champ cars are great to watch, though! And the St. Pete circuit puts some of the other street circuits to shame! Gary Parravani, England

2/24/03

CART fan speaks positive about St. Pete  Dear AR1, I just got back from the Grand Prix of ST. PETE and I have to say this, this race was a first class operation, whether it be the track, the action or the fan hospitality. I was at Belle Isle inaugural race and this one definitely out staged any first time race in memory. The city of ST. Pete should also be applauded, throughout the weekend I saw the mayor shaking people's hands and thanking them for coming. The lines in the Paddock during the autograph session was impressive especially since they were mostly waiting on Rookies whom aren't very recognized. You can sense people were excited about CART and there was no mention of the Andretti's the Ganassi's and so on. In fact, the most impressive part for me was Sebastian Bourdais, this kid was fast, faster and fastest and with any luck he would have dominated the race had his team not made a boneheaded move and no pit him under the yellow. It was very difficult to see him put a tire off the racing line and while listening to his radio contact toward the second half of the race, he was driving behind his teammate (Junqueira) who was battling another driver for 3rd place and Bourdais 6 laps down, I can hear his engineer telling him "calm down Sebastien the two ahead of you are battling for position, don't ruin their race" and he was replying "well, they're not fast enough they need to move it". This was music to my ears, this kid is aggressive and good, reminded me of a young Montoya. Montoya replaced a Champion in Zanardi who went to F1 and out raced his veteran teammate (Vasser). This kid gives me the same itching feeling. I don't want to make too much of it, but I thought I would bring it to your attention, maybe an article comparing Montoya and Bourdais' careers. Lets not forget that he wasn't fazed by Tracy on his tail during every restart. I was sure Tracy would make the kid nervous but he wasn't shaking that's impressive enough for me. Lastly, this was an awesome show and I loved it, hope you guys did too. Sincerely, Ray Jaber  Dear Ray, your letter is pretty typical of the ones we have been receiving. CART hit a home run with this one.  Mark C.

2/24/03

CART take notice - two thumbs up for St. Pete  Almost to a man, the CART drivers now think St. Petersburg is the best temporary street from a racing standpoint, on the entire schedule.  CART would be wise to improve some of its other Mickey Mouse street circuits if that type of circuit is going to become its mainstay.  St. Pete had it all - it was wide, fast, smooth and it had a good combination of fast, medium and slow corners.  Tracks like Denver and Miami, while in good markets, leave a lot to be desired in terms of racing and passing.  The difficulty with street circuits are the constraints one has with closing streets and disrupting traffic. CART is either going to have to work harder at mitigating those situations, move the track to a better part of the city, or, if the city doesn't want to cooperate, move to another city altogether.  If fans want to watch a good parade, they can go to NY City and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  When a town has a real parade, don't they close down major streets?  You bet they do.   Mark C.

2/24/03

New rules put the driving back in CART  It is clear from watching the CART season opener at St. Petersburg, that the new CART regulations are doing what was intended.  Without traction control, the cars are getting sideways in the corners, and we saw lots of 4-wheel drifts.  Wheel spin was also something the drivers had to manage.  Paul Tracy stated, "It was tough. I mean, the tires definitely you really had to manage, you know, your tires. No traction control, the engine, how much power it has, off that hairpin it was easy to come off that corner and light the things off, wheels spinning all the way out of the corner. You really have to pay attention.  That middle stint, when I was behind Monteiro, I was really trying hard to get by him. I kept spinning the tires off the corner. The last couple laps of that stint I was really having a hard time because I wore my rear tires out."  The driving is back in CART.  Racing is supposed to be about driving ability of the athlete behind the wheel, and that is what you need to be fast in CART now.  This has contributed to a bigger gap from the front to back of a CART grid, much more than in recent years.  Traction Control and 100% throttle racing (IRL) take all the skill out of driving and make the gap from top to bottom small.  That's because there is little driving skill needed.  CART's traction control computers used to manage wheel spin and 100% throttle racing cars are so glued to the track with huge amounts of downforce, just about anyone can drive them - HP wins races in that case.  F3000 and CART are now the best bad-ass racing going right now.  Racing's not supposed to be a circus, nor a "show," it's supposed to be about the athlete - "Real Racing, Real Sport."    Mark C.

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