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DATE

News (chronologically)

3/14/03

Jaskol nips Matos for Barber Dodge win  Matt Jaskol of Las Vegas, Nevada, made the most of a late-race yellow to edge out polesitter Rafael Matos by .123 second for the win in the opening round of the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER at Sebring International Raceway. Brian Frisselle converted his third starting position into a third place finish, with Ben Freudenberg of North Bend, Oregon, taking fourth ahead of Ward Imrie. Salvador Duran of Mexico City, Mexico, took sixth place with Dominique Claessens of Torrance, California, in seventh. Barber- Champ Car Karting Scholarship driver Philippe Gelinas came home in eighth, with Abraham Zimroth of New York, New York, in ninth, and Joe D'Agostino, another Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship driver, rounding out the top ten in a very exciting 30 minute race. Jaskol, who secured his ride in the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER with a Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship, was excited to emerge the winner of a race that looked as though would be Matos.' "I had to push really hard to get up front from where I started back in eighth," said Jaskol. "The Michelins were good and consistent, though, and I was able to be fast at the end when it counted. It was some really exciting racing today, as everyone was really aggressive out there, but this is a really intensely competitive field, and I am really excited to take this win." Polesitter Rafael Matos was disappointed not to take the win after spending most of the race up front and setting the fastest lap of the race, but knows that championships are made of points, not just wins.

3/14/03

Nakano to run for Beck and Honda in Motegi   [Editor's Note: In an effort to bolster a short field and get more Japanese drivers in their home race, Honda is probably funding this entire effort] Beck Motorsports today announced plans to contest the upcoming Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, using Honda power with veteran open-wheel racer Shinji Nakano in the cockpit. Formed in 1991 by second-generation racer Greg Beck, Beck Motorsports has fielded Indianapolis 500 efforts for drivers including Buddy Lazier, Stephane Gregoire and Hideshi Matsuda. With the formation of the IRL in 1996, the team appeared at the series’ inaugural event, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, with Robbie Buhl as the driver. More recently, Beck fielded Billy Boat in 2001, finishing fourth in the championship with four top-five finishes and eight top-10 results in the 13-race season, including a second-place finish at Nashville. “We are really looking forward to working with Shinji and Honda,” said Beck. “We’re building a strong relationship and we should have a successful run in Japan.” Formula One veteran Nakano most recently completed a three-year CART program with Walker Racing and Fernandez Racing, all with Honda power. Highlights last season included a pair of top-five results at Toronto and Chicago, while his best finish at Twin Ring Motegi came in an eighth-place run in 2000. With today’s announcement, Honda will field a total of six entries at the upcoming Motegi event, all using Dallara chassis.

3/14/03

Mad Max ready for Sebring   “Mad Max” Papis makes his return to the 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend, driving the No. 10 JML Team Panoz LMP01 race car. Papis, along with teammates Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette, will start the 51st annual 12 Hours of Sebring race from the sixth position on the grid. Max’s only other running at the legendary Sebring circuit was in 1996, driving the MOMO Ferrari 333 SP with Gianpiero Moretti and Didier Theys. That was Max’s second U.S. race, and his first U.S. pole position. “I have been getting my feet wet with the new car and new environment,” said Papis “This is a new venture with JML Team Panoz, but they have good experience with this car and at Sebring. I am also glad to be back at Sebring. The event is bigger than I remember. The crowd seems to be bigger and has grown a lot. It’s a very special atmosphere.” Papis is optimistic about the team’s chances of success this weekend. “I feel our position is strong,” said Papis. “What we may not have in performance over the Audis and Bentley, we have in consistency, reliability, pit work and team experience. We have been consistent with our lap times, but I believe we can still get another second to second-and-a-half more out of the car.” Papis first competed in IMSA sports car racing in 1996 with the MOMO Ferrari team, where he collected three victories and earned his nickname, “Mad Max” for his late race charges. In late1996, he joined the elite Championship Auto Race Teams (CART) series. He won three CART races, at Miami, Portland and Laguna Seca, in seven years, as well as numerous podium finishes and two pole positions. He also fulfilled a personal career dream by competed in the Indianapolis 500 last year. Max remembers his first time to Sebring and how unique the fans are to this event, compared to anywhere else in the world. “Sebring is a special place. I always remember coming here and seeing all the crazy fans,” added Papis. “When I first came to Sebring, I was so surprised to see people with their sofas on top of motor homes and driving these wild vehicles around the Paddock. I had never seen anything like this in Europe. The fans were so different here and I went back to Italy and told my family and friends about all of this that I saw and no one could believe it. You have to see this to believe it.” Papis, who won the 2002 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race, hopes to add more successful sports car racing history to his bio this weekend.

3/14/03

Media picks Champion Audi to win   While the two cars of Team Bentley have received a great deal of attention in pre-race buildup, the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 is the favorite to win Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a poll of 26 domestic and international journalists who are covering the sports car endurance race at Sebring International Raceway. Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson, all former drivers in Formula One racing, will share the Champion Audi, which received nine winning votes from journalists. The three drivers are all former winners of America’s oldest sports car race. Receiving six winning votes in the poll was the Infineon Team Joest Audi, the polesitting car for the event. Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Phillip Peter will be the co-drivers for the Joest team, which has won the Sebring event three consecutive years. The Audi UK Audi R8, to be driven by Jonny Kane, Perry McCarthy and Mika Salo, received three votes in the poll, as did the Bentley Speed 8 driven by Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith. Receiving two votes in the media poll were the Dyson Racing Lola-MG driven by James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace and the Jim Matthews Racing Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Yates driven by Jan Magnussen, Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews. The second Bentley, driven by the lineup of David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell, received one vote in the poll. The 51st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and will be televised live by the SPEED Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

3/14/03

Hold the wrecking balls, CMS still lives  From today's Chicago Sun Times - PLEASE HOLD ALL wrecking balls regarding Sportsman's Park: Hawthorne National managing associate Patricia Bidwill is denying recent published reports that stated the historic Cicero racetrack had been sold to the northwest suburban DiMucci companies for redevelopment as a $150 million recreation, shopping and convention center. ''Contrary to the recent press release of the DiMucci Company, the National Jockey Club has not entered into any agreement with the Palatine-based company,'' Bidwill said. ''Our calls to the DiMucci Co. to investigate the reasoning behind the press release were not returned. ''While the NJC has received bona fide offers from several nationally acclaimed developers in the range of $15 to $20 million, there are no contemplated negotiations with the DiMucci Co.,'' Bidwill continued. ''We are not aware that the DiMucci Co. has either the financial wherewithal or the experience to develop the type of project that was announced.'' CALLS TO Anthony DiMucci, the CEO of the DiMucci Development Corp., from ''At The Races'' were not returned. His firm is a 68-year-old family-held outfit that started out as a single-home builder and expanded by lots and boundaries when patriarch Salvatore DiMucci Sr. contracted to develop much of southern Mount Prospect at the time O'Hare Airport was being inflated into a major commercial air hub. More recently, the DiMucci companies developed the site of Western Electric's old Hawthorne Works into the modern Cicero Market Place. That gave the firm extended regional credibility when it trumpeted its acquisition of the Sportsman's site in a company-generated press release last week. But it just isn't so, said Bidwill.

3/14/03

Sato tops testing in Jerez  

Driver

Team

T

Laps

Time

Gap

Sato

BAR

B

86

1:18.672

125.885 mph

R Schumacher

WilliamsF1

M

70

1:18.729

0.057

Panis

Toyota

M

67

1:18.983

0.311

Wurz

McLaren

M

115

1:19.387

0.715

de la Rosa

McLaren

M

100

1:19.635

0.963

3/14/03

Allmendinger a marked man  This Monterey Herald article says, A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister would just as soon resume next weekend right where he left off in 2002. After a record-setting performance en route to the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship last year, Allmendinger has moved up to the Toyota Atlantic Series this season. The top rung of the Champ Car World Series ladder system launches the 2003 campaign March 21-23 in Monterrey, Mexico, as a support race for the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, with a projected 16-car field that promises to be extremely competitive. The Toyota Atlantic race will be televised live on Speed Channel at 8:30 a.m. While there are a number of talented drivers in the field, including last year's series runner-up Michael Valiante, Allmendinger was so dominant in the Barber Dodge championship that he'll be a marked man this year. The 21-year-old Allmendinger, who has also been a lead driver for Paul Tracy's karting team, won six of 10 races last year, earned four poles and captured the championship by a record 68 points over runner-up Rafael Sperafico. The six victories tied Kenny Brack's Pro Series record but Allmendinger accomplished it in two fewer races. Allmendinger will be driving for RuSPORT. "My expectation is to win the championship," Allmendinger said last month. "Anything less than that will be a disappointment. We're really coming together as a team."

3/14/03

CART Stock Watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.00 UP $0.27 on Volume of 82,200 shares.
$2.38 Bid - $2.42 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.75 / $3.01
MPH Value Change UP 9.89%
DOW Jones UP 37.96 or 0.49% on Volume of 1.86 billion shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 0.53 or 0.04%
S&P 500 UP 1.36 or 0.16%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

3/14/03

Tidbits from Darlington   Andy Petree, still struggling to return his Winston Cup operation to full-time status, was telling his story to anyone who would listen on Friday afternoon at Darlington.......Brett Bodine’s decision to run the #57 CLR Ford at Darlington ruined plans by estranged wife Diane Bodine to be present at the racetrack. D. Bodine is under a court order to stay away from tracks where B. Bodine is racing........Terry and Bobby Labonte had a bit more on their minds during Speedweeks in February. Their mother, Martha Labonte, suffered a mild heart attack a couple weeks earlier, while at a doctor’s office. Mrs. Labonte, was admitted to the hospital for car and has since recovered fully from the episode. Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor

3/14/03

More on Rockingham's fight to keep both races   Chris Browning, General Manager North Carolina Speedway, says his track continues to fight to keep both Winston Cup dates at the racetrack. “This February sales were down from last year, but if you compare the tickets sales to those of four to five years ago we are still selling more tickets,” said Browning. “This year was down because we are heavily dependent on walk up sales and those sales are effected heavily by the weather. We had two inches of ice on the ground a week before the race and the weather report for the week was bad.” Browning admits the track seating is overbuilt which gives the perception attendance is lagging. It is not. What Browning would like to see is a change in dates to see if that would help improve ticket sales. “What we need is to race in better weather months.” Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor

3/14/03

Triplett to resign   Changes continue to occur at NASCAR with Kevin Triplett, NASCAR managing director of business operations, announcing he will leave the sport around June to pursue political dreams in his Virginia hometown. Triplett rose to his current position after joining NASCAR in 1994 as the media coordinator for the Winston Cup Series. Triplett, an avid student of politics has long dreamed of running for public office, an is now said to be presented with a prime opportunity to fulfill that dream.  Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor

3/14/03

ALMS adds event at Road Atlanta   The American Le Mans Series has announced the addition of an event at Road Atlanta to its schedule of races for the 2003 season. The event, which will be held on Sunday, June 29, will bring the professional sports car racing series schedule for 2003 to nine races. The Atlanta Grand Prix, a two-hour, 45-minute timed race, will be the next event on the American Le Mans Series schedule in 2003 following the March 15 running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Road Atlanta event will be televised live by CBS Sports and broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web. The series, which is in its fifth season in 2003, traditionally schedules around the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, making it possible for series regulars to compete in the French endurance racing classic and then return to North America for the balance of the American Le Mans Series season. Teams must also be in France for the traditional Pre-Practice in early May. The 2.54-mile Road Atlanta, located in Braselton, Ga., will also host Petit Le Mans on October 15-18, making it the only facility to hold two American Le Mans Series races in 2003. Petit Le Mans, a 1,000-mile endurance race, will be the season finale.

3/14/03

Matos retains Barber Dodge pole  Rafael Matos of Belo Horizonte, Brazil held on to his provisional pole position in final qualifying today for the first round of the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER today with a lap of 2:22.919 seconds around the legendary 3.7-mile circuit at Sebring International Raceway. The time is a new track record for the category, besting Matos' previous record of 2:23.696 seconds, which he set in first qualifying on Thursday. Lining up alongside Matos in Friday's race will be fellow Barber-Champ Car Scholarship driver Philippe Gelinas of Grand Mere, Quebec. Brian Frisselle improved on his first qualifying effort to move himself to third on the grid, with Gerardo Bonilla taking fourth. Ben Freudenberg of North Bend, Oregon, will start fifth alongside of Mexican Salvador Duran. Joe D'Agostino and Matt Jaskol, both of whom won scholarships in the Barber-Champ Car Karting Run Off in January, will make up the fourth row, with David Jurca and Ward Imrie slotting into the fifth row. Round one of the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER will get underway Friday at 3:25 pm.

3/14/03

More on Barilla and American Spirit  American Spirit Team Johansson is pleased to announce their partnership with Barilla, the world’s leading pasta producer as an official supplier to the team in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Barilla and the Champ Car World Series share world-wide success and a common theme, innovation and excellence. “I am very pleased to have Barilla as one of our suppliers, it is a great company with a rich history in racing,” said team owner, Stefan Johansson. Johansson’s relationship with Barilla extends back to 1988, when he raced with Barilla’s Vice Chairman, Paolo Barilla. “Paolo is a dear old friend of mine. We shared a car at Le Mans on a couple of occasions; it’s great to re-acquaint the relationship.” “I never lost touch with Stefan; I have always respected his skills as a racecar driver and a businessman. Stefan has a long history with Italy and its healthy nutritional traditions, both for having been a driver for Ferrari and for having spent so much time here,” commented Paolo Barilla. “We are really pleased to grow our relationship through Barilla’s products and to contribute to the success of Stefan’s latest challenge, American Spirit Team Johansson.” Headquartered in Parma, Italy, Barilla’s group brands include Barilla and Wasa. America’s love for pasta has measurably increased Barilla’s sales in the United States. The company recently expanded their operation to the United States, building a factory in Ames, Iowa. For more information on Barilla, please visit www.barilla.com, for more information on American Spirit, please visit www.AmericanSpiritTeamJohansson.com.

3/14/03

Small field for Phoenix race  This is growth?  This Phoenix newspaper article says, A sagging economy coupled with new Indy Racing League rules requiring that teams purchase pricey new equipment may leave next week's Purex/Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with its smallest field in 24 years. As of Thursday, 21 cars were entered for the March 23 race, the exact number lining the starting grid at the season opener two weeks ago in Homestead, Fla. The last time an Indy car race at PIR attracted fewer than 21 cars was 1979, when 18 drivers were in the lineup. Since switching allegiance from the CART Champ Car series to the IRL in 1996, the smallest PIR field was 22 cars, which occurred in the 1996 and 1997 races. Beginning with the 1998 race, the average starting field is 26.8 cars. IRL Vice President Brian Barnhart said earlier this week that it's possible the field still may increase by two cars before practice begins a week from today.  Road construction on 115th Avenue, the main artery into PIR, will force spectators to make alternate arrival plans. PIR officials suggest fans exit Interstate 10 at Litchfield Road or Estrella Parkway and follow signs to the racetrack.

3/14/03

Time buys becoming common?  A reader writes, I found this article regarding the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL hockey) needing to get into a radio "time-buy" to get their games on the radio in Chicago to be interesting.  Comparing this to CART's time-buy situation.... a lot of folks have been critical of CART for needing to get into a time-buy with CBS for TV air-time. Apparently such time-buys are becoming more common in major league sports than we realize... The realities of the current economy, the media and sports audiences. Mark Graham

3/14/03

Walker enters agreement with Van Diemen to develop Reynard  Walker Racing LLC, the company that Derrick Walker established last year to continue the supply and support for the Reynard Champ Car, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Van Diemen Racing International Racing Service Ltd, of Snetterton, England, for the development of the Reynard chassis for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. "We are pleased to have additional support from Van Diemen to focus exclusively on areas of development under the current rules and of course on the much-needed future development of the 2004 update packages," said Derrick Walker, president of Walker Racing. "We are delighted that our group will be able to offer development and manufacturing support to the teams competing with the Reynard chassis in the Champ Car World Series and we are particularly pleased to be entering into partnership with Derrick Walker on this project," said Ralph Firman, Chairman of Van Diemen. Walker Racing also announced the renewal of its agreement with Oxford Racing Developments (ORD) to continue to supply technical support and manufacture current car parts. "Since the unfortunate closing of Reynard and Reynard North America last year, we have been able to subcontract the production of Reynard parts needs through Simon Dowson and the employees at Oxford Racing Developments in the UK," Walker said. "We are pleased to say this relationship will continue and the teams running Reynards will benefit from the combined efforts of Van Diemen and ORD." "ORD is very pleased to remain involved in the Champ Car program with Walker Racing LLC," said Simon Dowson, ORD's managing director. "With the resources of all the teams running the Reynard coming together and the combination of LLC, ORD and Van Diemen, the package looks in a strong position going forward." As Van Diemen begins this venture, it marks the company's initial involvement in the Champ Car World Series. "We enthusiastically welcome Van Diemen to Champ Car," said Champ Car Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "Van Diemen delivers a deep pool of talented engineers and experience as a chassis constructor to the Champ Car paddock and we are pleased that the Reynard chassis and our teams will benefit from these resources, particularly for aerodynamic development." Walker Racing LLC will supply six drivers with the Reynard chassis for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford including Walker Racing rookies Rodolfo Lavin and Darren Manning, Conquest Racing's Mario Haberfeld, Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing's Tiago Monteiro, and America Spirit Team Johansson's Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

3/14/03

Travel fund money announced   Answering the long time requests of North American karters, the SnapOn.com Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow karting series is offering an unprecedented payout to racers with a $100,000 Travel Fund support program for 2003. “With this travel program we are looking out for the businesses in karting and sharing a benefits program with those that are the backbone of this sport,” said Stars Operations Director Paul Zalud. “A travel award program doesn’t just help the two or three competitors who can grab some prize money, it’s a broad-based program to make professional kart racing through the Stars of Tomorrow a little easier for all committed teams.” The travel award program is available to karting teams that commit to a full season of racing in Stars of Tomorrow for 2003. The definition of a team and requirements of the program can be found on the www.cartstars.com website. “I am very happy with this program Stars has put forth,” said Trackmagic Racing Karts owner Fausto Vitello. “We have heard a lot of promises over the years in karting, and Stars is beginning to deliver.” The program pays sums based on distance traveled, escalating to a team that travels 1000 miles or more one way receiving $500 per event. “Healthy, motivated race teams are the lifeblood of any racing series,” said Stars principal Bobby Rahal. “It is our intent to support the hard working karting teams who put so much into the sport.”

3/14/03
Industry News

Bobby Unser promoting new book   Dear AR1, Like most Americans trying to keep up with the latest developments in the Iraq situation I have been tuned into various evening news programs recently. On Monday night while watching Kudlow and Cramer on CNBC, they had Bobby Unser on in one of the segments promoting his new book "Winners Are Driven". The book is about how Unser attained success in racing and shares his philosophy for success in life. On Tuesday night Unser was a guest on the Fox News show Hannity and Colmes., Mike Jablo

3/14/03

Mario wants IRL to add road races  This Indy Star article says, Mario Andretti has received private and public invitations from his son, Michael, owner of the new Andretti Green Racing, to join him at Indy Racing League events. So far, Andretti, a Championship Auto Racing Teams board member, has declined. But the 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner told The Star this week he will end his boycott of the IRL if series president Tony George adds road racing to the schedule. "As soon as the IRL becomes diverse, it will be a totally different story with me," he said. The IRL has no immediate plans to add a road-course race, although there could be interest now that CART has vacated Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. IRL officials downplayed such an addition for 2004. The IRL now plays the same role as the U.S. Auto Club did in 1965 when he joined the Indy-car ranks, Andretti said. That 18-race schedule consisted largely of oval races on dirt tracks. The exceptions were the Pikes Peak (Colo.) Hill Climb and the road-course race at Indianapolis Raceway. When he was younger, Andretti was fortunate to have the ear of Bill Smyth, then the president of the Indianapolis-based sanctioning body. "I told him that in a full-oval series I would never reach my retirement," Andretti said. "The safety aspect is much better in road races and so is the popularity. (USAC) needed to mix it up." USAC did. In 1966, an exhibition race was held in Japan, and the next season included five road races. USAC added several more road-course events before 1970. "When CART came along (in 1979), they cultivated road racing and more people came from (the Can Am series)," Andretti said. "That didn't take away from the ovals; it strengthened them. "To me, that's the way open-wheel racing has to go. The IRL has a good TV package but no fan base. CART has the fan base because of its (event) diversity through the years, but it doesn't have a TV package. So each side is lacking something."

3/14/03

Final Atlanta TV ratings up 7%   For the third consecutive week, NASCAR on FOX posted the highest rating of any sporting event on television. Sunday’s Winston Cup race from Atlanta earned a 6.4 rating and 16 share, drawing 6,683,000 households and 9.9 million viewers. This is a 7 percent gain over last year’s 6.0/15. Powering FOX to victory circle were the coveted young male demos, as the race drew a 4.4 rating among Men 18-34, up 19 percent over last year (3.7). Season-to-date, NASCAR on FOX continues to post growth in Households ( up 8%, 6.7/16 vs. 6.2/15) and all key demos, including a 15 percent increase in Men 18-34 (4.5 vs. 3.9). Further dispelling the myth that NASCAR is a regional sport, FOX continues to earn excellent figures in “non traditional” NASCAR markets, such as Chicago (+47% Sunday, +26% for the year), Philadelphia (+26% Sunday, +15% for the year), Boston (+24% Sunday, +27% for the year), Seattle (+45% Sunday, +29% for the year), and Minneapolis (+37% Sunday, +19% for the year). Fox Sports Press Release

3/14/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

McLaren's '03 Title Dream Alive
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Sam Michael: Why So Bright-Eyed?
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New Teams To Fill Barren F1 Grid
BAR Absolve Jacques Of Blame
Still Hope For New Williams Racer
McNish: It Felt Very, Very Odd
Patience A Virtue For BAR Pilots
Bernie Plays Down New Rule-Effects
GP Boss Denies $90m Handout
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British Grand Prix Under A Cloud
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Pain In The Back For Pedro
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3/14/03
Industry News

Fontana may get lighted   National Speed Sport News reports that California Speedway has applied for an amendment to their permit with San Bernardino County to allow night racing.  If approved, the 2-mile oval will begin a eight-month $6 million project to install lights.  The track is likely to seek public money for the lighting project from area redevelopment funds.  It's possible we may someday see NASCAR, CART and the IRL all under the lights at Fontana.  However, there is speculation that ISC might not invite CART back to the track after its current contract expires at the end of 2004.  Only time will tell, but Fontana does meet Chris Pook's criteria of racing within large metropolitan areas.  Though not in LA, one can certainly argue that Fontana is not far from millions of people in LA County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  Will CART still be racing on ovals by then, or will it be a 100% road racing series?  Mark C.

3/14/03

ALMS President guest on Wind Tunnel   American Le Mans Series President & CEO Scott Atherton will be the featured guest on SPEED Channel’s new interactive program “Wind Tunnel” on Friday night, March 14. The 60-minute program airs on the cable television network at 11 p.m. (Eastern). Atherton and program host Dave Despain will take questions from viewers during the show. SPEED Channel will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 15, the opening race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season.

3/13/03

Trans-Am well represented at Sebring  Several current and past Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup drivers are set to take on some of the world¹s best endurance racers at the 51st running of the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring race this weekend at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Topping the entry list is 2002 Trans-Am Series champion Boris Said, who will share driving duties in the No. 40 Alegra Motorsports BMW M3 with Carlos de Queseda and Scooter Gabel. Said, who finished second after starting last in the first race of the season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in February, won eight of 12 races last season to secure the title. Said drives the No. 33 ACS Express/Menards Ford Mustang in the Trans-Am Series. Other current Trans-Am Series drivers in the field are Tomy Drissi and Michael Lewis, who will co-drive the No. 12 American Spirit Racing Riley & Scott MK III C Lincoln. The pair is entered in the Le Mans Prototype 900 class for faster, heavier prototype racing cars. Drissi drives the No. 5 LXG, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Movie Jaguar XKR in the Trans-Am Series. Lewis pilots the No. 12 Trans-Am Tools by ProQuest Jaguar XKR. ³Racing a prototype at Sebring makes me respect the Trans-Am Series car even more,² said Drissi, who is no stranger to Sebring, having competed at the 3.7-mile road course in a Trans-Am Series car three times between 1999 and 2001. ³Racing with other classes gives you such a different perspective. I really miss all the same kind of cars going after each other.² Meanwhile, in the LMP 675 class for lighter, less-powerful prototypes, 2002 Trans-Am Series Rookie of the Year Butch Leitzinger will share driving duties with James Weaver and Andy Wallace in the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 AER MG. Leitzinger won three races last season and finished second in the Drivers¹ Championship to Said. In the GTS production-car ranks, Trans-Am Series legend Ron Fellows will co-drive with Johnny O¹Connell and Franck Freon in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C5R. During his 10-year, 96-race Trans-Am Series career, Fellows won 19 races, placing him sixth on the all-time victory list behind the late Mark Donohue, Tommy Kendall, Paul Gentilozzi, Bob Tullius and the late Peter Gregg. Also racing in the LMP 900 class is Trans-Am Series alumnus John Macaluso, who is teaming with Clint Field and Rick Sutherland in the No. 30 Banana Joe¹s Lola B2K/10 MG.

3/13/03

Hunter-Reay fast at Firebird  American Spirit Team Johansson driver Ryan Hunter-Reay wrapped up three productive days of testing at Firebird International Raceway’s East course on Wednesday. It was the first unofficial test for the 22-year old American; he logged 340 miles on the 1.2 mile road course. The quickest of the three cars testing, Hunter-Reay set a fast time of 48.15 seconds. "This test was monumental for me in terms of getting comfortable with the Champ Car. We were forced into the deep end of the pool at St. Pete with only the test at Spring Training behind us, so to complete three full days this week was just fantastic. I now feel like it’s my Champ Car and my environment and that gives me a lot of extra confidence going into Mexico next week.” With the team just 71 days old, Hunter-Reay’s seat-time has been limited. He wasted no time getting his #31 Champ Car up to speed during the test, maximizing the opportunity to develop the car and complete the team’s test plan, which included suspension and geometry analysis, “Seat time is invaluable for Ryan right now. We came to the test with a long job list and we accomplished everything we set out to do. I am very happy with the progress Ryan and the team made,” commented team manager, Rob Hill. “We learned a lot this week; we will take this knowledge and apply it to results in the upcoming races.” The East road course at Firebird includes 10-turns and a ½ mile straight away, coupled with Arizona’s fantastic winter weather makes it an ideal venue for winter testing. “We practiced everything from A – Z. The team treated each stop like an actual race pit stop, that was great practice for all of us and they did an awesome job,” said Hunter-Reay. In his transition from the Atlantic car to the Champ Car, Hunter-Reay picked up an additional 490 horsepower and 400 lbs. The physical challenges of the Champ Car take some getting used to, “The Champ Car is very demanding both physically and mentally. I have stepped up my fitness program considerably and it is paying off, at the end of the three days I was ready for two more,” continued Hunter-Reay.

3/13/03

DSTP Test in the West  DSTP Motorsports kicked its Championship efforts into high gear this past week with test sessions at circuits located in California and Arizona; and from the results, the troubles of last year are a thing of the past. The team spent one day last week testing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, California before heading to Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona for another two days of testing earlier this week. Capping if off was a final day of testing at Arizona Motorsports Park, before packing up and getting ready for the season opener in Monterrey, Mexico. Short of taking out a Ouija board and having the team gather around for a séance to scare away the evil spirits, the DSTP crew has pulled out all the stops to find the gremlins that plagued the team during the 2002 season. The hard work has apparently paid off. Damage was found in their primary car over the winter while the team was rebuilding both of their Swift 014.a racing machines. The damage was sustained in a practice accident at the Round 4 Laguna Seca event last season. The hidden damage to the tub of the car left the team scratching their heads for the rest of 2002 trying to figure out just what was going on. With the problem cured, the demons of 2002 seem to be exorcised and hopes are once again high heading into another season. “Our whole testing program has been pushed back because of the problem we found with the car over the winter, but the delay has paid off because the cars were very good as soon as we unloaded them at Buttonwillow,” said Kent Stacy, DSTP Motorsports Engineer. “The cars tuned very well and all the adjustments we made to them worked as expected. It was our first test of the season and we were quite fast right out of the box and we continued to move forward and got faster and faster the whole time. We learned a lot from all the testing and feel pretty solid on where we stand heading to Mexico.”

3/13/03

Gigante to sponsor Atlantics team  Veteran CART Toyota Atlantic Championship team owner Allen Berg announced today Grupo Gigante, Mexico's third largest supermarket chain, will sponsor its entry with Eduardo Figueroa of Mexico City as the driver. This will be Figueroa's second full season of Atlantic competition. Entering his 26th year in racing, Berg also confirmed continued associate sponsorship with Aviacsa Airlines, Arai Helmets, BG Oils, Mechanix Wear, Milenio Newspapers and Royse Graphics. "We welcome Grupo Gigante to our team and will be proud to campaign the red Gigante logo," said Berg. "I have continued to make dramatic changes in our team with enhanced sponsorship, new crew members and off season testing. Our ultimate goal is to continue to generate commercial relationships with companies and to add more marketing partners to our team. We also want to cultivate drivers with talent, promoting them to the highest ranks in racing. I want to continue to develop and mature this company into a winning open wheel team."

3/13/03

Matos takes Barber Dodge pole  Rafeal Matos of Belo Horizonte, Brazil took the provisional pole position in qualifying for the first round of the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER today with a lap of 2:23.696 seconds around the legendary 3.7-mile circuit at Sebring International Raceway, setting a new track record for the category. The final grid positions will be determined in second qualifying, scheduled for Friday morning at 8:55 am in advance of Friday's 3:25 pm race start time. Matos took the top spot in the closing moments of the 30-mintute session after trading the position with Phillippe Gelinas several times. Gelinas, of Grand Mere, Quebec, ended the session in second, with Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada taking the third spot. Fourth in the session was Salvador Duran of Mexico City, Mexico, with Michael Valiante protégé David Jurca, of Federal Way, Washington slotting into fifth.

3/13/03

CART schedules another Town Meeting  Continuing with the plan to bring key figures in the Champ Car World Series to the people where events are to be run, CART will conduct another event in its rapidly-growing Town Meeting series as it visits Long Beach – site of the April 11-13 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – on Monday, March 24. The Town Meeting concept began last year in Columbus, Ohio and gives local fans a chance to ask questions of a star-studded panel comprised of drivers, owners and executives of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. This year’s meeting schedule began with a trip to Portland where the venue had to be changed in order to meet the large demand from the fans. Long Beach will see another blue-ribbon gathering of Champ Car principals including CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian, Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani and Rocketsports Racing team owner Paul Gentilozzi. The evening will be hosted by SPEED Channel race analyst and former Trans Am champion Tommy Kendall. The town meeting will get underway at 7 p.m. on March 24th at The Grand at Willow Street Centre, 4101 E. Willow St. in Long Beach. Fans can register to receive free tickets to the event by going to the official website of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, www.champcarworldseries.com.

3/13/03

Walker Racing completes valuable testing time  Walker Racing drivers Rodolfo Lavin and Darren Manning completed a two-day test, Tuesday and Wednesday, at Firebird International Raceway's 1.25-mile East course. The drivers combined to complete 480 miles in the 80 degree, sunny Arizona weather running through several car changes, long runs, practice pit stops and simulated race runs. "Our focus was consistency and learning more about what our drivers need from the Reynard," said team owner Derrick Walker. "I was particularly pleased with the consistency of the Bridgestone tires. Firebird always presents a challenge for grip and, especially in testing you need the tires to hang in there with you. Overall, the drivers ran well and we're pleased with the progress we made." Only fellow rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay of American Spirit Team Johansson was testing as the Walker Racing rookies circled the track. "The test days were very important, since before the season we didn't have a chance to test very much," said Rodolfo Lavin, pilot of the #5 Corona Competition Team entry. "Just having the time behind the wheel is important, to get the miles in. Wednesday was especially productive for us. We tried a number of changes on the car to prepare for Monterrey and also practiced pit stops." Teammate Darren Manning was equally satisfied with progress the team made. "We were able to get through tons of stuff and got good data from the things that we wanted to try with the car," Manning said. "It was good for me just to have more time in the car. I have another few hundred miles of seat time now. Got some experience with how certain changes affect the car, so hopefully that experience will help me give better feedback to the engineers in the future. Specifically for Monterrey, we tried some set-ups that we expect will help us on the slippery circuit, so hopefully we can be pretty good right out of the box."

3/13/03

David Starr to make Cup start   David Starr has found a groove these days. It is on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet. He has been working since 1998 to make a go of it on that circuit, and it looks like he has found a home there, at least for now. But come Friday, March 28, Starr will attempt to qualify for his first Winston Cup Series race, the Samsung/RadioShack 500 (March 30) at Texas Motor Speedway. "Wayne and Connie Spears gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to drive for a racing team that is well funded and that has all the great pieces to a championship caliber team," Starr says of his truck team. "We look to have a better year than we had last year. That being said, I think, if you ask every driver out there who is not part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, what their dreams and aspirations are, they would be lying to you if they didn't tell you they wanted to be in Winston Cup." Starr makes no bones about it. That is where he wants to be some day full time. So, with the truck series off the weekend of March 28-30, Starr is trying to make personal history. It marks the first time he is attempting to qualify for a Winston Cup race. As has been the case so many times in the past in the truck series, it is David's uncle, Mike Starr, who operates the Team Texas High Performance Driving School, who is prepping David's ride for his Winston Cup qualifying bid. "Ever since I was a kid and wanted to be a race car driver, I have thought of being a Winston Cup driver," Starr says. "Having the opportunity to participate among the 43 best race car drivers in the United States, or even the world, is just hard to describe what it means to me. It is a dream come true.  "From our standpoint, our first race is just trying to make the race. It is only fitting that our first attempt to make a Winston Cup race is at Texas Motor Speedway because it is my favorite track."

3/13/03

Da Matta fastest again  Cristiano da Matta continued to set the pace in testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain today (Thursday), topping the timesheets in his Toyota TF103 and once again demonstrating the pace of the Japanese marque's new contender. The Brazilian completed 74 laps and set a best time of 1m18.994s, over half a second quicker than the next fastest driver, McLaren tester Alex Wurz.
Jerez day 2 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tyres Time Laps
1 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m18.994s 74
2 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m19.553s 57*
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m19.806s 69
4 Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m19.833s 56*
5 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda B 1m21.141s 58
B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin
* denotes 2002 car

3/13/03

Mosley predicts reduced costs will bring new teams  Max Mosley reckons F1 rule changes should see a number of new teams attracted to the sport. Speaking in an exclusive ITVF1 live chat, the FIA president said he was optimistic that the measures taken to cut the costs of competing in Formula 1 would attract fresh blood into the sport. Asked if he thought there would be any new teams next season, Mosley replied: "(It’s) a good possibility. And if we're able to get through further to reduce the costs of the engines, virtually a certainty in 2005/2006 I think. "The major obstacle to a new team is the cost of a competitive engine, at present this can be 20 million US dollars so about 12 or 13 million pounds which is an enormous amount of money in the current economic climate. "Next year, because of the new rule requiring one engine to be used per weekend, that cost will be halved but even 10 million dollars is still a great deal of money."

3/13/03

British GP for sale  According to this Planet-F1 article, In a move that has massive repercussions for British motorsport, the Octagon group are planning to sell all their British motorsport assets. The company, which is owned by US media giant Interpublic, is preparing to sell off its motorsport arm to curb rising debts. Currently Octagon own Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Oulton Park circuits, but the jewel in the crown is the 15-year contract to run the British Grand Prix. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was instrumental in swinging the deal after the Silverstone circuit lost the rights to run it. However Octagon and Ecclestone were unable to get planning permission to extend the Brands Hatch circuit to take modern Formula 1 cars. With the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) unwilling to sell Silverstone, the compromise deal was that Octagon would lease the circuit for 15 years, the length of their contract to run the race. A BRDC spokesman said there are no great anxieties about the future of the race and stated: "The BRDC has a 15-year lease with Octagon Motorsports, with 13 years left to run. The obligations of Octagon under the lease are guaranteed by Interpublic. There are no grounds to believe that those obligations will not be fulfilled."

3/13/03

Darlington fights to keep spring race   This AP article talks about Darlington's fight to keep its Spring Winston Cup race amid extreme pressure to give the date to another track.

3/13/03

CART drowning in red ink  This Indy Star article talks about CART's continued financial woes, saying the company is drowning in red ink.

3/13/03

IRL, CART keep eye on world politics  This Indy Star article talks about what the possible war in Iraq might mean to the IRL race scheduled in Japan in April, and CART's races in England in Germany in May.  The concern is for the safety of the teams when traveling overseas during war.  The IRL is particularly worried about nearby North Korea, which has a nut case as a President and is making threatening overtures by lobbing test Missiles out into the nearby ocean.

3/13/03

Australia USA TV rating  The Australian GP, which aired last Saturday evening on SPEED Channel in the USA, received a 0.54 rating, which equates to 307,000 households.  Thursday night's qualifying sessions had a .27 rating with 154,000 households. This is 10,000 more than the dirt race lead in, which did a .25 with 144,000 households. Friday night's session garnered a .31 rating, with 174,000 households.

3/13/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Pedro Impresses In Sunny Spain
Head: Don't Fiddle With New Rules
FIA Boss: New Rules Made Oz Great
Weather Drove Thrilling Season-Opener
Boss Can't Wait For New Racer
Revisions For New-Look F1 Rulebook
Fisichella On The Move
Top Ten Target For Jaguar Ace
Irvine Heads To Court Of Appeals
'Mum Thinks I'm Crazy' - Webber
Leave Our Loophole Alone: Minardi
Da Matta's Emotional Cocktail
Sullivan Continues Search For Star
Rules Threaten Spectacle: Newey

3/12/03

Extra tickets released for TMS   Fans still looking for a ticket to the sold-out Samsung/RadioShack 500 will now have one last chance. A block of approximately 400 tickets allotted to Fort Sill, Oklahoma has been released due to the recent deployment of troops. The tickets will go on sale Friday, March 14 at 9:00 a.m. The tickets are only available through the speedway ticket office and may be purchased at the ticket counter or by calling (817) 215-8500. "It is an honor to accept the return of these tickets from Fort Sill," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "We understand the greater need for these troops to help protect our freedom. We would rather these soldiers be here instead of in the Middle East, but all of us are safer because of their commitment." In addition to the release of block tickets from Fort Sill, only 200 season tickets, ranging in price from $214-$360, remain for the 2003 season. Race fans can purchase three great weekends of racing and see not only the NASCAR Winston Cup race, but also two Indy Racing League events, a NASCAR Busch Series race and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races for less than they will pay for the one Winston Cup ticket to the ticket brokers.

3/12/03

Work done on Paddock Hill Bend  In preparation for the upcoming CART race, work on Paddock Hill Bend has been completed.  New barriers have been put in complete with rows of tires, and the gravel trap has been paved over with asphalt.  The Paddock Hill grandstand is also already sold out.  The photo top right shows Paddock Hill Bend (Turn 1) before the paving of the gravel trap.


Panoramic view of Paddock Hill Bend, with Druids Bend up at the top of the hill in the background, which drops down to the left-hand Graham Hill Bend

3/12/03

Tracy completes 2-day road course test at Fontana  In his first return to the track since winning the season-opening Champ Car World Series race last month, Team Player’s driver Paul Tracy completed a productive two-day testing session on the Fontana road course on Wednesday. “It was a very workmanlike two days,” said Tracy, who logged a combined 150 laps during the sessions. “There was only one other driver (Portugal’s Tiago Monteiro of Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing) on the track, so these testing sessions were a great opportunity to prepare for the upcoming race in Monterrey, Mexico. Winning the opening race in St. Petersburg was a great way to start the season, but we’re certainly not going to let our guard down. Sometimes any little thing that you can discover in testing sessions can be a big help on race weekend.” While the two-day session marked the first time that Team Player’s has tested on the Fontana road course, Tracy has run laps there before, and he suggested using the track to simulate the configuration Team Player’s will be running on in Monterrey. Fontana, the site of a race in the Champ Car World Series, is best known as a super speedway, but within the facility there is a 1.5-mile road course that is used as a test circuit. “The track served its purpose for what we were working on over the last two days,” commented Tracy. “It’s a track that is especially hard on left front tires, and since you’re only allotted three sets of tires per day, you have to be careful how you use them, so that you don’t wear them out before you’ve done many laps. We didn’t make many runs of great length. We did three or four laps at a time and then headed back to the pits to allow the crew to work on different aspects of the car.” Team Player’s manager Phil LePan said the crew worked on various components on the first testing day, including brake calipers, the front suspension, front wing position, steering arms and dampers, before using the second day to try different underwings and make changes to the differential. “Both days went off very smoothly, with no mechanical problems,” said LePan. “We obtained some solid information that should definitely help us as we prepare for the race in Monterrey.”

3/12/03

Tony George to speak on panel  Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Tony George was one of six influential sports leaders on a panel March 12 as part of the first day of the prestigious 2003 World Congress of Sports in New York. George represented the motorsports industry on “The Powers That Be” panel. As president and CEO of IMS, he presides over three of the largest single-day sporting events in the world, the Indianapolis 500 IRL IndyCarTM Series race, Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race and the United States Grand Prix Formula One race. Joining George on the panel at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York were Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks; Jerry Colangelo, owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks; Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots; Bob DuPay, president and chief operating officer of Major League Baseball; and Robert Johnson, owner of the NBA’s new franchise in Charlotte, N.C. George said he was bullish on the future of motorsports. He cited how NASCAR has grown the market for racing, which will benefit the Indy Racing League because of new facilities and new racing fans. While George admitted the economy is a problem now for motorsports, he sees optimism for the future. “A rising tide lifts all boats, and we expect the future to be brighter,” George said. More than 600 influential leaders from the sports industry are attending the conference.

3/12/03

Da Matta tops charts in Spain  

Jerez day 1 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m19.647s 67
2 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m20.285s 32*
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m20.385s 64
4 Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m20.561s 61
5 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda B 1m21.708s 74
B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin
* denotes 2002 car

3/12/03

NASCAR hands down more fines   NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chiefs James Ince and Mike Ford were fined $1,000 each for rules violations that occurred during Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Ince, crew chief for the #10 Valvoline Pontiac of driver Johnny Benson, was fined for an unapproved fuel filler check valve assembly. He was in violation of the following in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book: Section 12-4-Q, "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules"; and Section 12-4-A: "Actions detrimental to stock car racing." Ford, crew chief for the #9 Dodge of driver Bill Elliott, was fined for altering the car on pit road after the car had passed template inspection (Section 20-3.12.1) and actions detrimental to stock car racing (Section 12-4-A). NASCAR

3/12/03

Roush team discovers engine problems   Immediately following the race Sunday in Atlanta that saw four of the six teams that use Roush engines fall from the race, Jack Roush summoned his team of top level engineers in Livonia, Mich. and set out for Concord, NC on a mission to search out, identify and remedy the causes that forced the cars from the race. Roush was relieved when the engine teardown revealed that only overly aggressive engine tuning and oil starvation triggered the engine failures. " The good news is that none of the very substantial horsepower gains that we have been making caused any of our problems. The bad news is that the tuning mistake was my own. Now I know how Rick Hendrick's engine guy felt after Talladega last fall," said Roush. " I hurt pistons on the #6, #21,and #97 by tuning for fuel economy that just wasn't attainable for Atlanta and the #99's problem derived from a new oil pan that resulted in oil starvation," continued Roush. "We'll increase the piston-to-cylinder wall clearance somewhat, and enrich the carburetor modestly to solve the fuel tuning problem. We've got some room in the carburetor due to our exceptional fuel mileage history. To solve the 99's oil starvation problem we'll slightly increase the oil-tank volume and perform a minor change to the new oil pan." "So we'll be fine in the future with both of these changes." Roush says he is very pleased with the progress made by his engine department over the past year. "Our 10 wins in 2002, including wins at horsepower tracks like Atlanta, Homestead, Charlotte and Texas, and our strong start in 2003 demonstrates the strength in our engine program." "We've had good finishes this year and two of our drivers have led in the points," said Roush. "It would be even better, but Kurt got in an accident at Las Vegas. Also, Las Vegas was the last race that we ran with the 2002 crankshaft configuration which we had earlier discovered couldn't keep up with our horsepower gains. "Unfortunately one of the last of the obsolete crankshafts chose to fail on Mark's car in Las Vegas. We received our supply of the updated crankshafts, which had been strengthened 30 percent in the area of Mark's failure, just in time for Atlanta. "Definitely, the sky is not falling. Our horsepower is improved from last year and it's improving every race. So, in summation, we hurt a piston reaching for fuel economy that just wasn't attainable for Atlanta, we hurt a bearing due to an oversight in the revision of the oiling system and proved the necessity of our most recent crankshaft revision. "It will be great to have all of that behind us, as we mount championship efforts for all of our drivers throughout the year." "After only four races, Kurt has led the points and Matt is leading the points right now. Mark has run well in all but one race so far, Jeff Burton is in the top 10 and Greg Biffle has run respectably as well." To back up Roush's sentiments, Matt Kenseth has one win and posted three top-five finishes in the season's first four races, and Kurt Busch not only led the points for a week, but opened the season with two consecutive top-two finishes at Daytona and Rockingham. Furthermore, the facts do indeed back up Roush's assessments, with the group having posted one win, six top five and eight top 10 finishes before even rolling into Darlington.

3/12/03

Bentley fastest on Wednesday morning   Bentley muscle began to flex Wednesday morning at Sebring International Raceway in the first official practice session for Saturday’s 51st annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Bentley Speed 8 Prototype driven by Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith set the fastest time in a one-hour practice session, the first official session after two days of unofficial testing. The British Green racing machine turned a lap of 1:49.980 on the historic 3.7-mile circuit, fastest of the 51 cars that participated in the session. American Le Mans Series cars will have a second practice session at 2:40 p.m.Wednesday. IMSA Live Timing and Scoring and the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will be active for the session at www.americanlemans.com. The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8, which had been the fastest car the past two days in testing, was second-fastest on Wednesday morning at 1:51.221. Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson will share the car in the race. The Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Phillip Peter was third at 1:51.884. Leading the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes in the morning session was the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG of Didier de Radigues, Chris Dyson and Chad Block, which was fourth fastest overall at 1:52.093. The second Dyson machine of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace was second in class at 1:52.618. In the GTS class for production cars, the Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of Anthony Davidson, Darren Turner and Kelvin Burt led the way with a lap of 2:00.408, followed by the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim at 2:00.896. The GT class was led by the two-car Alex Job Racing team with its Porsche 911 GT3 RS machines. The car of defending ALMS champions Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen was first at 2:06.559, while the Jorg Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard car was clocked at 2:07.235.

3/12/03

Gordon wants full time rescue workers   UPDATE A reader writes, In my opinion, there is only one explanation for NASCAR not having the very best safety team in the business....greed. There is not one case or situation where the local volunteer help can even come close to a fully staffed mobile trauma center and ready-rolling specially trained racing emergency physician-staffed safety response team. Even if the word "adequate" were true, describing the current system, this is not enough for a series that is basking in money, power and resources. They should do everything possible and feasible. There is no excuse. Isn't a couple billion dollars enough? Lets not even mention that the incredible NASCAR marketing machine could surely find a sponsor for the program, and make some more money. Or perhaps they find it acceptable that a driver might get hurt once in a while. Although this though does not apply to myself personally...after all, racing's supposed appeal to many is that it is dangerous. If nobody ever gets hurt or dies...how dangerous can it be? Its already safer than professional football, though the perception is not as such. I am sure this is a position that almost anyone, fan or otherwise would deny, but the things the American public seem to enjoy often involve the element of danger and possible injury, or even death as a consequence. I applaud Jeff Gordon for speaking up. Unfortunately, he might get fined with the old "actions detrimental to stock car racing" rule, which is doled out to anyone that does not sing the praises of the NASCAR government. Sounds a lot like a dictatorship to me. Everyone under the wing and whimsy of the king. I guess it has worked for them business-wise, but it certainly has its drawbacks. Jeff Gordon should enlist Alex Zanardi as a spokesperson for his case. If Alex were at a cup event, he would not be alive today. Scott Morris, Florida  3/12/03 - Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon wants NASCAR to hire full-time rescue workers for tracks. "I have some concerns because it's basically local (fire and rescue workers) that they kind of train once they get (to races)," Gordon said. "I think we should have a team that travels with us that know the cars, know the tracks, know the drivers. Have these local people assist them." CART and the Indy Racing League have teams of rescue workers who travel to each race and receive extensive training related to racing accidents and other safety issues. NASCAR relies on tracks to hire local fire and rescue workers. Three times in the past eight months, twice at Daytona and at Las Vegas, workers' response abilities have been questioned. USA Today

3/12/03

Changes made to autopsy law   A Florida state law approved after Dale Earnhardt's death that restricts access to autopsy photos or tape recordings was modified by a state Senate committee Monday to allow grieving relatives to appoint a person such as an attorney, a doctor or a family friend to get autopsy records for them from a medical examiner. The current law, passed at the request of the late stock car driver's widow, allows only relatives to get such photos or recordings. The change recommended Monday would broaden that slightly to allow the family to designate someone else in writing to pick up the items. "That's all it does," said the sponsor, Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville. "Some of the medical examiners were requiring the actual relatives to come down. This just allows you to send a medical representative, an attorney, or someone else." Smith said that Earnhardt attorneys did not object to the change and that it will not affect public access to such records to the press or others.

3/12/03

Will there be any cars on Indy Bump Day? This TCPalm article says, What if "Bump Day" arrives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and there are no cars to bump? No drivers "on the bubble" sitting on pins and needles to see their name in the starting lineup for the Indy 500?
OK, so it's early in the racing season and it might sound a bit foolish to suggest that the Indy Racing League's newly labeled IndyCar Series won't be able to rustle up the traditional 33 cars for the 87th running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing on May 25. It is reasonable to say, though, that the bump line figures to be a lot shorter and therefore not nearly as bumpy as in the past.  More...

3/12/03

Dodge increases NASCAR involvement   Automotive manufacturer Dodge has furthered its investment in NASCAR after signing a new grass-roots racing sponsorship deal.
Dodge has increased its commitment to NASCAR’s grassroots racing program, signing a multi-year agreement to be the exclusive title sponsor of the newly renamed NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Explained NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne: "This is a major milestone in the history of the Weekly Series. This is the foundation of our sport, and with the increased support from Dodge, the Weekly Series will advance into the new century. Fans of weekly racing represent our most passionate fans, and this new sponsorship will deliver excitement to them as well as opportunities for teams and tracks across the country." "The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series provides Dodge and its 3,000 Dodge dealers tremendous marketing and promotional opportunities at the local level," said Jim Yetter, director - Dodge Motorsports and PVO Marketing. "We’re able to take racing to our customers in the heart of America, and help those with a passion for racing and for life achieve their aspirations and dreams. At the same time, the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series helps us complement our presence in NASCAR Winston Cup and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, allowing our dealers who do not have a large track near them to leverage motorsports to drive traffic and generate sales."

3/12/03

Arnold Motorsports update   We caught up with Billy Bigley Jr to inquire about his Winston Cup deal to drive the Arnold Motorsports #79 Ford this year. The team had originally hoped to debut in Vegas and run the rest of the Winston Cup season, but a sponsorship deal that is becoming difficult to seal has delayed the program. Bigley is confident the deal will get done, but he couldn’t offer a time frame or race that the team had hoped to debut at. Until then, Bigley will continue to run his ALLPRO car and also race at some select Florida venues. We updated our team driver chart accordingly (see NASCAR page).

3/12/03

Why gasoline?   In this Autoweek article, Chris Pook talks about some of the reason for CART to switch to gasoline engines in 2005.  “We’ll go to gasoline for two reasons,” he said. “No. 1, that’s a sensible thing to do, because that’s what real cars run on. Yes, there are diesels, but we’re not ready to go to diesels yet. And No. 2, the money from oil companies now is not in lubricants, as it once was. It’s in gas, and we want gasoline companies in our series, because when they come, they bring their retail stores with them, and when they bring their stores, then retail products like potato chips and Pepsi-Cola and all the other stuff you see in the stores can come too. “When we sat down to talk to Shell and Chevron, we were told, ‘We have no gasoline money in this series whatsoever. That’s lubricant money. When you have a gasoline product in your series that we can sell to customers, come back and talk to us.’”   Of course there are other reasons - a gasoline engine is easier to start with an onboard starter, it provides far more power per a given volume (meaning better fuel mileage & less fuel onboard), and F1 uses it.

3/12/03

Coulthard predicts Ferrari backlash   David Coulthard expects Ferrari to come out all guns blazing in Malaysia next week. He told The Herald: "I'm extremely pleased to have started the season with a victory, but people who are writing off Ferrari are making a big, big mistake. "They are going to come out for the next race more fired up than they have been for years and if you thought Sunday was action-packed, I have a feeling Malaysia will be even better." Coulthard admitted that his Australian Grand Prix had been less than spectacular but said he was still a worthy winner. He said: "It had really been pretty uninspiring until I took the lead. All I had been doing was going as fast as I could, staying out of trouble and hoping that things might happen ahead of me. "I know that I was in a position to take full advantage of the problems guys like Michael, Juan, Kimi and Rubens had during the race, but the point is I was there when it mattered – leading at the end of the race when they weren't."

3/12/03

Gordon wants full time rescue workers   Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon wants NASCAR to hire full-time rescue workers for tracks. "I have some concerns because it's basically local (fire and rescue workers) that they kind of train once they get (to races)," Gordon said. "I think we should have a team that travels with us that know the cars, know the tracks, know the drivers. Have these local people assist them." CART and the Indy Racing League have teams of rescue workers who travel to each race and receive extensive training related to racing accidents and other safety issues. NASCAR relies on tracks to hire local fire and rescue workers. Three times in the past eight months, twice at Daytona and at Las Vegas, workers' response abilities have been questioned. USA Today

3/12/03

Infiniti Pro series to race at Indy For the first time in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history, another automobile race will share the famed 2.5-mile oval with the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May, Speedway officials announced March 12. Featuring the cars and drivers of the IRL Infiniti Pro Series, the Freedom 100 will be run on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 17, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 40-lap race will see the green flag at 2 p.m. local time. “This is an exciting day for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League,” said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The Freedom 100 will be a great addition to the second week of activities for the Indianapolis 500. It’s a perfect fit to the schedule and makes sense for many reasons.” IRL and IMS officials accelerated the possibility of the Speedway playing host to an Infiniti Pro Series race after the successful debut of the series in 2002. A.J. Foyt IV won the inaugural championship and the Firestone Firehawk Cup that accompanies it. The decision to move forward with the race was solidified after the successful first event of 2003 at Homestead–Miami Speedway. “The growth of the Infiniti Pro Series has exceeded the IRL’s expectations,” said Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the Indy Racing League. “Roger (Bailey) was given a clean sheet of paper to build a series which will prepare drivers, mechanics, teams and sponsors for the IRL IndyCar Series. We all saw the Pro Series at the Speedway eventually, but its rapid growth made the Speedway race a real possibility in 2003.” The IRL Infiniti Pro Series serves as an essential stepping-stone for drivers striving to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel, oval-track racing in America – the IRL IndyCar Series. “This is great news for the teams and drivers of the Infiniti Pro Series,” said Roger Bailey, executive director of the IRL Infiniti Pro Series. “Clearly, racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the goal of these drivers. This race will provide them a great opportunity to get experience there before competing in the Indy 500.” A quality field of teams and drivers competes in the Infiniti Pro Series, which grows from seven to 12 races in 2003. The lineup of drivers comes from a variety of disciplines. Mark Taylor, winner of the first race in 2003, is joined by Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, and 2002 race winner Cory Witherill. Short-track open-wheel stars Aaron Fike, Ed Carpenter and Ronnie Johncox are back in 2003 and compete against road racers Paul Dana and Jeff Simmons, to name a few. Tickets for the inaugural Freedom 100 are $5, which is the normal Month of May practice day ticket price. The day will include the final IndyCar Series practice leading up to Bump Day, the final day of qualifying for the 87th Indianapolis 500.

3/12/03

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3/11/03

Danica Patrick appears in FHM spread   Arguably the best looking race driver worldwide, CART Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick appears in this FHMUS magazine spread.

3/11/03

In Indianapolis, racing is NASCAR   As a result of the CART/IRL split, more evidence that Indy Car racing doesn't stand a chance.  NASCAR's TV ratings continue to dwarf the IRL and CART, even in their hometown Indianapolis market for which their cars are named after.  A spokesman for Fox Sports said Monday that the city's viewership of Winston Cup races has improved 10 percent since this point last season. Indianapolis has not dipped below a 13.4 rating this season, led by a 19.3 for the Daytona 500. A rating is the percentage of all households. Fox realized a 13.7 in this market for the Las Vegas and Atlanta races and a 13.4 for the event at Rockingham, N.C. "That's the best Indianapolis has ever done for the regular season," network spokesman Tim Buckman said Monday. "Those numbers are way above the national average, too." The national average is a 6.3 rating for non-Daytona races. Indianapolis is fourth nationally behind Greensboro, N.C., Charlotte and Greenville, S.C., at 13.5, up from 12.3 last year. The Indy Racing League's season-opening race March 2 at Homestead, Fla., on ABC drew a 4.6 in Indianapolis. We don't have CART's number for Indy, but being it's opener was on SPEED Channel, you can bet it was a low rating.

3/11/03

CART releases 2002 Q4 financials   Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2002.  The number of events held in a particular quarter affects the comparability of earnings information from quarter to quarter. CART conducted four events in the fourth quarter of both 2002 and 2001 periods. As previously reported, race promotion expenses associated with the Grand Prix of the Americas event, held October 6, 2002, were recorded in the company’s third quarter results. Toyota Atlantics did not have any races in the fourth quarter of 2002, compared with two races in the prior-year season. Indy Lights, which was discontinued for 2002, conducted two races in the fourth quarter of 2001.  More....

3/11/03

Pacific Coast Motorsports becomes Patrick racing development team   Pacific Coast Motorsports today announced it has become the official Developmental Team of Patrick Racing. As the official Developmental Team, Pacific Coast Motorsports will work with Patrick Racing throughout the 2003 season to promote and enhance both teams. The teams will co-ordinate and execute various activities, as well as share information and resources. In addition, Pacific Coast Motorsports driver Alex Figge will have access to the knowledge and expertise that Patrick Racing and driver Oriol Servia bring to every event. "I am very excited to announce our association with Patrick Racing," said Tyler Tadevic, Pacific Coast Motorsports Team Director. "Mr. Patrick and the entire team are leaders in the sport and committed to the development of young drivers. I am confident this partnership will be very beneficial to Patrick Racing and Pacific Coast Motorsports." A founding member of the series in 1978, Patrick Racing is the most experienced team in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Owned by U.E. "Pat" Patrick, the team has fielded cars for some of the biggest names in Champ Car racing, with names like Andretti, Johncock, Fittipaldi, Sullivan, and Fernandez. In addition to the vast experience of Patrick, the team enjoys the leadership of the winningest Chief Mechanic/Team Manager/General Manager in the history of Champ Car racing, in Jim McGee. The team has 45 victories, 27 in CART competition, and has won two Champ Car national championships. In 2003, Patrick Racing will field one car in Champ Car with Servia behind the wheel. Pacific Coast Motorsports is a newly formed team focused on winning the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., the team features a vast amount of Atlantic Championship experience. Pacific Coast Motorsports will begin its 2003 season March 23, at the Tecate Telmex Grand Prix, in Monterey, Mexico.

3/11/03

IRL fans can clean up One lucky race fan has a chance to clean up – literally and financially – via the “Be A Clean Winner Sweepstakes” presented by Firestone, Purex and the Indy Racing League. The grand prize winner in the sweepstakes takes home a nicely equipped 2004 Chevy Tahoe LS, valued at $35,000, with the opportunity to win $100,000 if Robbie Buhl or his designated driver in Dreyer & Reinbold No. 24 race car wins the IRL IndyCar Series season-ending race Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway. The sweepstakes is open to legal residents, at least 18 years of age, in the 48 contiguous United States. Contestants may enter online at www.firestonetire.com, www.purex.com or www.indyracing.com, or by submitting name, address and phone number on a 3” x 5” card, mailed in an envelope, to: Purex Clean Winner Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 14681, Dept. PX0113, Mascoutah, IL 62224. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 21, 2003, the ending date of the sweepstakes. Complete contest rules are available online or by writing the above address. No purchase is necessary. The grand prize winner, selected by random drawing, will travel with a guest to Texas Motor Speedway for the season finale. This package for two includes air travel, three days and two nights lodging, grandstand tickets, pit passes and $200 spending money. To promote the contest, life-size photo stand-ups of Buhl will be displayed in approximately 750 outlets selling Purex laundry detergent in IRL race markets and in approximately 2,000 participating Firestone retail locations nationwide. At IRL races, special events and participating Firestone locations during the promotion, Firehawk discount coupons will be distributed, permitting fans to purchase any Firestone Firehawk street tire with UNI-TÒ, including the new Firehawk Indy 500 tire, for 10 percent off everyday retail price. Race fans also may pick up an IRL poster at participating Firestone outlets while supplies last.

3/11/03

NASCAR statement on Mike Wallace appeal  The National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of Mike S. Wallace. The Appeal concerned a $3,000 fine issued by NASCAR under Section 12-4-A; actions detrimental to stock car racing; use of improper language. The penalty stemmed from the live broadcast of the NASCAR Busch Series race at North Carolina Speedway on February 24, 2003 in which Mr. Wallace was a driver. During the hearing, Mr. Wallace acknowledged that the infraction had occurred, but argued that he had been unaware of the presence of a television camera/microphone during an exchange of words with driver Shane Hmiel in pit lane. Furthermore, he believed that he had just waived off a live broadcast interview. The Commission found Mr. Wallace’s testimony to be succinct and sincere. The Commission notes that Mr. Wallace conducted himself in a professional manner during an ensuing broadcast interview in that same race telecast. In considering the Appeal, the Commission recognized that NASCAR drivers in the top tiers of the sport are high-profile celebrities. They should expect to be subject to media coverage in all working areas at the racetrack and conduct themselves accordingly. In this specific case, the Commission felt that there were mitigating circumstances and that NASCAR was correct in issuing a lesser penalty than had been issued to others in the past for similar language infractions. A further reduction of the penalty was not warranted. It is therefore the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalty issued by NASCAR. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.

3/11/03

Will Toyota help or hurt NASCAR truck series?  This Stock Car City article talks about Toyota's entry into the NASCAR Truck Series and what it may ultimately mean for the series.

3/11/03

Three support races for Malaysian GP   The Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, which will be held at the Sepang F1 Circuit from March 21-23, will not be just all about Michael Schumacher and company. For the first time ever, the F1 race will be complemented by three supporting events – the Formula BMW Asia, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Formula Malaysia. The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) press officer, Azhar Ghazali, said yesterday that the inclusion of the three events had received approval from the International Automobile Federation (FIA). In the Formula Malaysia competition, competitors race in a single-seat 1300cc Formula Hayabusa Suzuki machine. The event is organized by SIC for local drivers. “The three supporting races have been included in the FIA race calendar for the Malaysian GP,” said Azhar. “We will have not just one but three supporting races this time. This is generally good for Malaysian motor-sports. With all these additional events, I believe there will be much more excitement throughout the whole weekend for the fans. “It will be better value for money for everyone attending the F1 race.” There was only one support race last year – the Formula Malaysia.

3/11/03

Road America expects to resolve dispute with CART   According to this Green Bay News Chronicle article, track spokeswoman Cheryl Barnes said Road America management believes it has met its financial obligations. "Our understanding, from the way we've executed such agreements in the past," said Barnes, "is we're in absolute financial compliance with (the contract)." She said the track has made its initial payment on the 2003 fees, and management expects to run a CART race Aug. 3, to the point that a replacement for CART hasn't been discussed yet. "It's way too early to even start thinking about that," she said. "We've got a contract for 2003. If we settle this, we'll be back to promote the race. We're sure we'll get it resolved. "We truly support CART. It's the best cars, the best drivers, the most exciting racing in the world."

3/11/03

Badoer crashes new Ferrari again   Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer has crashed the new F2003-GA for the second time in two tests. Badoer crashed at Mugello today and is reported to have caused serious damage to the car. This morning, Badoer shunted heavily in testing at Mugello. According to www.gazzetta.it, Badoer went off the track at the Curva dell'Arrabbiata and hit the barriers, causing serious damage to the car. The cause of the crash is suspected to be another mechanical failure. Badoer has been taken to hospital for a check-up.

3/11/03

Cancellation of CART race front page headlines   In this Sheboygan newspaper, cancellation of the CART race at Road America has made front page headlines.  It is interesting that with all the rumors the IRL will race at Road America in 2004, this article states that C. Joseph Russell, an Indianapolis-based attorney is representing Road America.  Indianapolis based?  Why would an Indianapolis attorney represent Road America, and not say a Chicago based attorney, a city larger and much closer to Road America?   We can only assume because CART's lawsuit was filed in Indy.  This article talks about the $ million in economic loss for the region because of the cancellation of the race.  Local fans have started a petition to reinstate the race.  Meanwhile, Road America continues to deny any dealing with the IRL.

3/11/03

Schumacher not worried   Five time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has rejected claims by David Coulthard that he is in anyway 'rattled' following his disappointing fourth place finish at the Australian GP. Schumacher told news agency, Reuters: "I can be satisfied with fourth place. The season is still long and the title is not decided over one race. "It is too early to have a clear picture of the other team's strengths." The German added: "In retrospect our choice of tires could be described as wrong but it was too damp at the start for us to start with tires for a dry surface. "Just after the race started we could not change tires either because it had then rained on the opposite section of the track. "Obviously this is not the result we had hoped for but you must not forget that many things went our way last year. "It was always clear to us that things could not always work out that well. And that race was somewhat chaotic." Speaking to British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, he continued: "The result does not mean the new car will come earlier. Our car was competitive. If the circumstances hadn't been so unlucky for me I think I would have had a realistic chance to win."

3/11/03

More on Road America   This Milwaukee Journal article talks more about the CART and Road America situation.  The CART press release stated - "In the future, Champ Car would consider returning to the storied Wisconsin race circuit providing a satisfactory and professionally responsible business arrangement can be reached with an appropriate race promoter." Bruggenthies said he didn't know what, exactly, to make of the statement. He said he hoped the track could play host to the series again at some point but admitted that litigation would make such a return difficult. "Obviously if they don't want to come here, I can't force them to come here," Bruggenthies said. "They've taken us off their schedule. I guess that's probably irreversible." 

3/11/03

CART down to just 10 USA races   With the elimination of Road America from its schedule, CART is now down to just 10 USA races in 2003, and 18 total races (10 USA, 3 Canada, 2 Mexico, 1 Australia, 2 Europe).  The reduced sanction fee for Road America is $1.75 million and the first $262,500 installment of that payment was due January 1st and not paid.   One of our forum members reminded us why CART rejected Road America's check and sent it back. Sending a check to CART for this year's down payment is a clever tactic, but if you are engaged in litigation with somebody, you don't accept their checks in that kind of situation, since it may be construed that you accept their legal position and their interpretation of the contract.  CART could choose to replace Road America with Road Atlanta by installing a quick chicane before the dangerous last turn (to slow the cars - see illustration to right) and making some other minor safety upgrades.  CART has looked at Road Atlanta for many years.  Perhaps now is the time to give the Atlanta market a try for 1 year with the assumption Road America will be back in 2004.  CART may be pleasantly surprised with the attendance and it would give them a much needed SE USA race if successful.  Although the August 1-3 weekend is rather hot in Georgia, CART does have a huge hole in their schedule in September to fit the race in.  Should the race not draw a big attendance, CART could chalk it up to an experiment.  We are well aware that CART and the IRL have failed in the Atlanta market previously, but that was on an oval.  Working against Road Atlanta is Chris Pook's insistence that CART race within big cities, not 40 miles away.  Mark C.

3/11/03

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3/11/03

Schu offered $32.1 million   Michael Schumacher has been offered a cool $32.1 million (US dollars) per season to keep steering his scarlet cockpit beyond 2004.  The reigning world champion's manager, Willi Weber, told a German daily newspaper that the Scuderia handed him an offer at Albert Park that extends beyond the terms of his current contract.  He said: 'Michael will let me know when he is ready to talk about it.'  The five times a title winner joined Ferrari in 1996 but failed to land his first scarlet championship triumph until 2000.  Since then, though, he has been unstoppable winning triple back-to-back championships and setting new records for all-time victories and total points hauls.

3/11/03

Road America and Houston feedback   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Here's my backlash regarding the potential divorce between CART and Road America: it would be a tragedy to be sure- for both parties and for the fans. As someone who grew up in the area, first attending the June Sprints in 1964, I can say I truly the love the place and I truly love CART. Having said that, I want to express a backlash against some readers who feel compelled to use the CART/RA situation as a reason to take a shot at street races- Houston in particular. As a Houston resident and an avid supporter of the Houston event I'd like to fill them in on a few things... 1) As the 4th largest city in the country, with some of the best CART TV ratings, and as the only CART venue between Long Beach and St. Petersburg, Houston is a market that cannot be ignored. 2) If properly promoted, particularly to the large Hispanic community in the area, attendance would be superb. Now that Carl Haas and Jim Melvin are out of the picture perhaps someone with some marketing savvy will bring in Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain, Mario Dominguez, Luis Diaz, Rodolfo Lavin, et. al. to pump up the excitement. 3) In the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston has the best garage facility in CART- period. 4) With the brand new Hilton Hotel of the Americas across the street from the pits, race and team headquarters are right at the track. 5) Street re-construction will allow a new and better course to be laid out (1/2 mile longer we hear). Let me know when the proposed Dallas road course sees the light of day. Until then, Houston needs to be back on the schedule (and Road America needs to stay on schedule). Steve Dannenbrink, Houston, TX

3/11/03

CART cancels Road America   2nd UPDATE We did finally get a statement from Road America's Cheryl Barnes about the rumor that Toyota and Roger Penske were recently spotted at the track.  "We are not talking with the IRL. We haven't been talking with Roger Penske nor the good folks at Toyota. They haven't been here to see our beautiful snow-covered race track. George Bruggenthies was at St. Pete and went to Daytona for part of Bike Week, while continuing to negotiate with CART. His first day in the office was this morning (Monday)."    3/10/03 - Road America issued this statement today - We were surprised and disappointed to learn of CART's recent statements and actions, especially CART's announcement today that they are canceling the Grand Prix of Road America, which was scheduled to be held at Road America on Aug. 3, 2003. Road America has a contract with CART and we have been preparing to host the fifth race under that contract in August. In fact, Road America has been attempting to negotiate a renewed contract with CART for 2004 and beyond. Road America has been acting in good faith in its dealings with CART and we have met all of our financial obligations under our agreement with CART. Road America has supported CART since 1982, through the series' highs and lows, making CART's recent behavior even more disappointing. Road America has been proceeding with preparation for the 2003 race and CART's sudden decision to ignore its contractual obligations causes inconvenience to not only Road America, but to all race fans as well. We have been assured by our legal counsel that the true facts of our discussions and understanding with CART will eventually be made known through the litigation process but we felt an obligation to our business associates and fans to assure them of Road America's continuing commitment to quality racing. While the track management and board members remain staunch CART supporters and have every hope for an amicable resolution of this unfortunate turn of events, the issue in our disagreement with CART is the value of the series to race fans and sponsors.   3/10/03 - Champ Car today announced that it is regretfully removing the Grand Prix of Road America from its 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule. In February, CART, Inc. filed suit against Road America for failure to pay the final installment on the agreed-upon sanctioning fee for last season's Champ Car event, as well as the first sanctioning fee payment for this season's race at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track. The balance of last year's sanctioning money remained unpaid at the close of business Friday, March 7, and Road America was also unwilling to adhere to the current sanctioning agreement and failed to pay initial installments of this season's sanctioning fee. Furthermore, the Road America race organizers rejected a reduced and revised financial arrangement that was offered by Champ Car management as a settlement of the lawsuit. As a result, the series was forced to remove this year's race from its schedule in order to give its teams, sponsors and broadcast partners proper time to adjust travel and logistics schedules. The Champ Car World Series has competed on the 4.048-mile Road America road course since 1982 and the series had every intention of continuing the rich tradition of Champ Car racing on the circuit this season. Regrettably, the decision to remove the Grand Prix of Road America, Round 12 of the 2003 Champ Car World Series scheduled for August 1-3, was brought about by the continued refusal of the track to comply with its sanctioning agreement. In the future Champ Car would consider returning to the storied Wisconsin race circuit providing a satisfactory and professionally responsible business arrangement can be reached with an appropriate race promoter.  {Editor's Note: We here at AR1 expect the IRL might announce a race at Road America before long, their first road race, and it will be on the USA's best road course.  However, that would mean the IRL races on six consecutive weekends, so maybe they won't race there until 2004.  Our sources say Toyota might sponsor the race it if were to happen. Unconfirmed reports had a Toyota rep and Roger Penske visiting Road America a few weeks ago, though that has not been confirmed because no one is talking on the record due to the lawsuit.  That means CART's 2003 schedule is down to 18 races, and this cancellation will be played as more negative PR for CART, even though it is not their fault that Road America could not meet their financial obligations.  If there is any way CART could make a race at Road Atlanta happen, now is the time to do it.  Put a quick chicane up before the dangerous last turn to slow the cars and lets go racing].

3/10/03

NJ firm dropped from Lowes lawsuit  A New Jersey company that makes grout was removed Monday as a defendant in a $27 million lawsuit by a couple injured when a pedestrian walkway collapsed at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  After plaintiffs Marty and Cindy Taylor of Nelson County, Va., rested their case Monday, the judge granted a motion to remove Anti-Hydro International Inc. of Flemington, N.J., from the case, said Doug Ey, the company's lawyer.  The Taylors' claim continues against Lowe's Motor Speedway and the company that built the walkway. "The judge found no evidence of negligence on the part of Anti-Hydro," Ey said. "That ended the case for them."  AP

3/10/03

Atlanta TV Rating  Nielsen's overnight figures show that Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Winston Cup race from Atlanta Motor Speedway was the weekend's most-watched sports program, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The race, which was won by Bobby Labonte in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Chevrolet, drew a 6.0 rating and 14 share to easily outdistance the 4.2/9 for ABC's broadcast of the NBA game between the 76ers and Lakers. The preliminary race figures are close to last year's 6.0/15 final figures but would need a considerable boost from small markets to match the 6.7/17 the race drew in 2001. Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter

3/10/03


(L to R) CART President and CEO Chris Pook, Honorable City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Grand Prix Americas Vice-President & General Manager Chuck M. Martinez.
Photo by Alberto Tamargo

CART Acquires 100% of Miami race   As an AR1 subscriber you read it first on our rumors page weeks ago -  Having made a successful return to the Miami market with the Champ Car World Series in 2002, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) ensured the long-term future of the Grand Prix Americas event today when it acquired Raceworks LLC, the Miami-based company that was the promoter for last season’s successful race. The acquisition gives CART the license to conduct a street race in South Florida for the next 15 years, and also gives the company 100 percent of the equity in the Raceworks entity. “We are pleased to have taken these steps to secure the Miami race for the foreseeable future,” said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. “As I have often said, I believe Miami to be the gateway to what is a very important Latin American market for us, and the fact that we can showcase our teams, drivers and sponsors in this market is a key point for us and for our future.” In addition to the Latin American market, the race gives the Champ Car World Series a solid foothold in one of the key U.S. urban markets, keeping the series in step with the successful business model that has brought races to major cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Cleveland, Portland and Milwaukee.  “I am extremely pleased that with the staging of the inaugural Grand Prix Americas last October my dream has been fulfilled,” said Peter Yanowich, co-founder of Raceworks, who helped bring the street race to Miami. “With the acquisition of Raceworks, LLC by CART, I am turning the reins of this important project over to one of the greatest race promoters this country has ever seen, Chris Pook, and the staff he has assembled at CART, including (Grand Prix Americas General Manager) Chuck Martinez. I am confident that they will bring great leadership, experience and financial support to enable the Grand Prix Americas to continue to be enjoyed by South Floridians for many years to come.” “The racing fans of South Florida have always been supportive of world-class racing,” said Martinez. “We look forward to producing an incredible event worthy of them and the City of Miami.” CART will own and run the event beginning in 2003, taking over the promotion of the race as it has with five other races this season. Coming on the heels of a successful event last year, the series is already taking steps to improve the 2003 race, including the construction of a new section of the track that will result in the temporary circuit extending further to the North along Biscayne Boulevard. “Aside from bringing together two premier races with the Champ Car World Series and the American Le Mans Series, the Grand Prix Americas adds to the list of world-class sporting events taking place in Miami,” said Mayor Manny Diaz. “With ownership by CART, the Grand Prix Americas can only get better.” The Grand Prix Americas – the 15th round of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford – will be held September 26-28 with the Champ Cars taking center stage along with the cars from the American Le Mans Series on the streets of Miami.

3/10/03

Road America's Cheryl Barnes radio interview   Cheryl Barnes, Road America's communications manager just finished an interview on WTMJ radio (5:00p.m. CST) and informed the interviewers that CART's cancellation of the Aug.1-3 Road America Grand Prix took them "totally by surprise". She said Road America had sent a check to CART on Friday and it was returned today. She said that they hoped that RA's lawyers could "overturn" the cancellation, and that they were receiving hundreds of calls from fans and many "vitriolic emails" regarding the cancellation. She also answered a question submitted by the broadcasters regarding the IRL racing at Road America. "We have not been in contact with them, she said. "We are behind CART 100%. We love CART. I'm not saying that this race won't happen until our lawyers tell me it's over".

3/10/03

IRL testing news  Two former Indianapolis 500 winners and IRL IndyCar Series champions were among the drivers testing March 9 at Phoenix International Raceway in preparation for the Purex Dial Indy 200 on March 23. Kenny Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1998 IRL IndyCar Series champion, tested his No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone along with 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2000 IndyCar Series champion Buddy Lazier, who tested a Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for Hemelgarn Racing. Rookie Roger Yasukawa tested his No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone. The private session March 9 wrapped up three days of testing at PIR since March 6. On March 6-7, Felipe Giaffone, driver of the No. 21 Hollywood Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, tested along with teammate Tora Takagi, driver of the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. “We had the ill feeling that Homestead and our cars were not going to agree with each other,” said Peter Parrott, team manager for Mo Nunn Racing. “But we don’t feel that way at all about Phoenix. We had a good race car here last year. We ran well here during the Test in the West. And we got a lot done here yesterday and today. “Felipe finally got the car to where he was comfortable and running quick laps. Tora has been going faster and faster each time he steps into the car. We’re encouraged.” “After Homestead, Phoenix is a whole different story,” Takagi said. “The lap times we turned here in race setup were very competitive. And we tried many different setups and learned a lot about our cars. I am looking forward to race weekend here.” Also on March 6-7, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, tested along with Kelley Racing teammates Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Unser tested the No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, while Sharp tested the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. tested his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone on March 6 while Jaques Lazier tested the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone on March 6-7. Buddy Rice, who drives the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone and lives in Phoenix, was also on hand to observe the test, working with engineers from Menard Cheever Technologies. But he did not drive.

3/10/03

Paul Newman on Biography Channel   UPDATE Apparently the air date has changed. According to their website, it will be shown next week. Multiple airings are listed below:
Tuesday, March 18 9:00 PM-10:00 PM
Wednesday, March 19 1:00 AM-2:00 AM
Wednesday, March 19 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Wednesday, March 19 6:00 PM-7:00 PM   3/10/03 - The Biography Channel will be presenting a special Biography of Paul Newman tonight (March 10) at 8:00 PM ET. It will feature the life of a remarkable man and will be a lead in to the upcoming Academy Awards Show later in March.

3/10/03

Another turbo hits the streets   We could not help but notice that yet another turbocharged passenger vehicle is coming out.  Note the massive HP produced by the turbo version of the Porsche Cayenne in the ALMS Porsche Cayenne Hot News item below.  As we understand it quite a number of turbocharged and supercharged cars are in the design pipeline at most of the car companies, so the notion of a long-term 1.5L or 1.8L turbocharged gasoline engine platform for CART and F1 makes more sense with each passing day.  Like we have said in the past, you probably won't be buying a V-10 passenger car anytime soon (although BMW is coming out with a 500 HP V-10 in their M5 and 6 Series cars).  We are seeing Turbos used on small fuel efficient, low-emission car engines, as well as massive HP versions like in the Mercedes.  Turbos are now very reliable and have little maintenance compared to years gone by.  When was the last time a turbo didn't win LeMans?  Turbos reduce the need for high RPM to make HP and Torque, increasing engine longevity.  Turbos eliminate the noise issue on street circuits, provide for a 20-year engine platform (that is how long CART's current engine has been around) and are more in-tune to what the engine manufacturers are doing/planning for many of their passenger vehicles. Mark C.

3/10/03

Porsche Cayenne part of ALMS safety team    The exciting new Porsche Cayenne luxury SUV will be part of the safety team of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) at all races for the American Le Mans Series in 2003. IMSA is the sanctioning body for the professional sports car racing series. The Porsche Cayenne goes on sale in North America on March 15, corresponding perfectly with the opening of the 2003 season for the American Le Mans Series. The Porsche Cayenne will debut as part of the safety team in the Mar. 12-15 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. A Porsche Cayenne Turbo will be the new Emergency Rapid Response Vehicle, carrying IMSA’s medical doctor and an extraction specialist from Amkus Rescue Systems in a speedy fashion to the scene of any accidents that occur during the course of competition. The Cayenne Turbo, though street-legal, is powerful and fast enough to chase a field of world-class racing sports cars when needed, and will do so on the opening lap of each race, the same procedure used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in Formula 1 racing. IMSA will also use a Porsche Cayenne S model as a Course Safety Vehicle, performing sweep laps prior to the start of the race and standing by for use during the course of practice, qualifying and racing action. The Cayenne S features a Porsche-designed 340-horsepower, 4.5-liter V8 that can propel it from 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds and to a top test-track speed of 150 mph. The Cayenne Turbo – positioned as the best on-road performing SUV – has a twin-turbocharged 4.5-liter V8 that produces 450 horsepower and 457 pounds-feet of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds, and can achieve a top test-track speed of 165 mph.

3/10/03

Wallace brothers in Hot Water  This Times Argus article talks about the Hot Water the Wallace brothers have gotten themselves in with NASCAR based on recent comments made in the public.

3/10/03

Lots of empty seats at Atlanta  UPDATE The attendance was estimated at 106,000, still a healthy number.  3/9/03 - As can be seen in this wide angle shot from Atlanta, there were a lot of empty seats for today's MBNA 500, indicating that many fans can no longer afford the expensive Winston Cup tickets and are staying home to watch on TV for free.  This of course has helped NASCAR's TV ratings.

3/10/03

Chat with Mario Dominguez   For our Mexican readers, you can join Mario Dominguez in a live chat on the Spanish version of ESPN.com.  Here is the link.

3/10/03

SPEED to telecast Sebring 12-Hours Flag-to-Flag    SPEED Channel will kick off the American Le Mans Series season with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 51st Annual Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, offering 13 hours of coverage from Florida's famed 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway. Using multi-shift production teams, SPEED Channel will deliver comprehensive coverage from Sebring with 25 cameras, including multiple on-boards and the popular Visor Cam used in SPEED Channel's coverage of The Champ Car World Series. Coverage from the track, built on a World War II military training airfield, begins at 10 a.m. ET with a half-hour pre-race program. "SPEED Channel is proud to be able to bring our viewers one of the finest endurance races of the year," said Doug Sellars, SPEED Channel VP and Executive Producer/Remote Productions. "The American Le Mans Series will grid more than 60 cars at this year's race, making it arguably the finest field of cars and drivers this event has ever seen." Audi drivers Emanuele Pirro, the 2001 ALMS champion and a three-time 24 Hours of LeMans winner, and former Formula One driver JJ Lehto, a 1995 winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be outfitted with SPEED's Visor Cams. The Visor Cam consists of a Sony camera body with a spy-camera head and some magical lens work. The result -- a control box that is ¾ of an inch in diameter and about 1½ inches long with a camera head that is less than ½ inch in diameter and a little more than 1½ inches in length. The camera head fits inside the visor behind the driver's field of vision in the helmet padding, giving the SPEED audience a true driver's eye, panoramic view of the race. As the oldest endurance race in the United States, Sebring attracts a road-racing crowd second only to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The on-air talent, which will split into two shifts for Sebring, includes play-by-play specialists Bob Varsha and Leigh Diffey, color commentators David Hobbs and Bill Adam and pit reporters Calvin Fish, Brian Till, Andrew Marriott and Martin Haven.

3/10/03

Hans Stuck Joins BMW Team PTG in Third BMW M3    International racing veteran and television commentator Hans Stuck will drive a third BMW M3 for BMW Team PTG in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT event at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on March 14, 2003. Stuck, of Austria, winner of five American Le Mans Series races for BMW Team PTG from 1999-2001 and three-time 12 Hours of Sebring champion, will join Bill Auberlen and Boris Said in the team's first entry into the World Challenge Series. Stuck will drive the McMillin Motorsport BMW M3, which Jeff McMillin, the 1997 Speedvision Cup and 2000 Speedvision GT champion, drove to fifth in the GT point standings last year. "It's great to have Hans joining us in Sebring," said BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner. Hans has been part of the team for many years and we're happy to have him back. He won the race for us in the Petit LeMans event in 2001, our last sports-car race, and there have been many other times when Hans has pulled the hot iron out of the fire for us. We know he's capable of doing that again."

3/10/03
Announcement

Simple Green Truck contest #4   On our Home Page we have started our Simple Green Truck Contest #4.  If you know of any friends who are thinking about signing up for AR1, they can do so at a discounted rate (20% of) and a chance to win a die-cast Simple Green CART Safety truck until April 4th.  Congratulations to our previous winner, Robert Schmitt of Studio City, California.

3/10/03

1.9 million Aussies watch race   UPDATE That 1.9 million number is pretty awesome, if you add the perspective that the country has a population of just under 20 million total. The same percentage in the US would mean about 25 million people watched a race . . .  3/10/03 - An audience of 1.9 million Australian viewers tuned in to see David Coulthard's victory at the Fosters Australian Grand Prix yesterday, the first race ever hosted by Network Ten. Overall the 105-minute race secured an average audience of 1.7 million, while an average 1.18 million people watched the 10-hour broadcast. “TEN's telecast was the most comprehensive coverage of an Australian Grand Prix ever, and an indication of our commitment to Formula 1 and Motorsport,” Network Ten's general manager for sport David White said.  However, because the the weather, the race attendance was down 10% from 2002.  The 2003 attendance was 116,700.

3/10/03

Interlagos improvements   Improvements to the Interlagos circuit should be ready in time for the upcoming 3rd race on the F1 calendar. The April 6th event in São Paulo will see improvements to the draining system, curbs, tire walls and run off areas. In addition, new fences similar to the ones found at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be in place to keep spectators safe from any type of problem. Crews are also working hard to fix three sections of the track, located between Lago and Laranjinha corners, Pinheirinho and Bico de Pato and from the beginning of the Pit Straight thru to the Pit Entrance. All these sections are being resurfaced in order to eliminate the bumps. Teams will also find at their disposal a new complex of offices that has been built right behind the garages. These have been fitted with a small kitchen, meeting and rest room as well as other facilities. F1-Live.com.

3/10/03
Karting

Formula Kart and Skip Barber announce details    Formula Kart Productions announced today the dates and locations for the 2003 FL Region Rotax Max Challenge program. This program is part of the "FL Karters Awards Partnership" between Formula Kart Productions and Skip Barber Racing School.  Skip Barber Racing School, through the Formula Kart Florida Karters Awards Partnership ( FKAP ), will award FL Region Rotax Max Challenge Competitors racing school certificates with a total retail value of $10,500. Competitors will qualify through "local" Rotax Max Challenges for the opportunity to compete for the Skip Barber awards at the first annual FL RMax State Championship event.   "This is an unprecedented opportunity for amateur Florida kart racers to compete for a prestigious State Championship title, and the amazing Skip Barber Racing School awards" commented Formula Kart President Bill Wright. " Through our partnership Skip Barber has made it clear they support amateur level karters. I couldn't be more excited about this year."  "Skip Barber has a long tradition of reaching out to the grass roots of motorsports to breakdown the barriers to participation," said George Tamayo, Director of Marketing & Communications for Skip Barber. "It is one of the core philosophies that the company was founded on and we remain committed to. Our affiliation with Formula Kart is a further extension of that commitment and we couldn't be more pleased with it so far."  Founded in 1994, Formula Kart Productions is an event promotion company. Formula Kart Productions is the contracted administrator for the FL Region of Rotax Max Challenge competitions, the contracted administrator for the FL Region of Superkarts!USA competition, and the event coordinator for the 2003 FL RMax State Championship event.  3 separate Challenges, 5 races each with one drop. Competitors must declare which Challenge they will contest. Competitors will be allowed to change their declared Challenge, but can only change once, and will not transfer points to the new Challenge. Spec fuel and Oil is VP Motorsports 98 and C2 @ 50to1. Spec tires are Bridgestone YGK slick and YGR rain.
North FL RMax Challenge
Jacksonville 103rd Street
April 12th
April 26th
May 10th
June 14th
June 28th
For information about the North FL RMax Challenge contact Bill Wright at FK Motorsports 850-258-0846. You can get information about the Jacksonville complex and the North Florida Kart Club at their official web site at www.nfkc.us .
South FL RMax Challenge
Homestead Karting
April 13th
May 4th
June 15th
July 20th
August 10th
For information about the South FL RMax Challenge contact Rudy Ramsaroop at Rysa Racing 305-687-8711. You can get information about the Homestead Karting Complex at their official web site at www.homesteadkarting.com .
Central FL RMax Challenge
Ocala Gran Prix and St. Pete/Tampa
Dates TBA
For information about the Central FL RMax Challenge contact Bill Wright at FK Motorsports 850-258-0846
2003 FL RMax State Championship Event
August 30-31. Location TBA.

3/10/03

JML Panoz team shows off livery    One of the newest team's in the American Le Mans Series, JML Team Panoz, is set to kick off its 2003 assault next weekend in one of America's oldest motorsport events - the 51st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.  The team will field two Panoz LMP-01 cars at Sebring with an international driver line-up including former ALMS GTS champion Olivier Beretta (Monaco), young star Gunnar Jeannette (USA) and experienced CART and sportscar ace Max Papis (Italy) combining aboard the #10 car.  The #11 Panoz will be piloted by experienced Canadians Scott Maxwell and John Graham and young Swiss ace, Benjamin Leuenberger.  The team completed its preparations on Friday when Beretta drove the #10 car at Road Atlanta. The Georgian team is motivated to complete a strong result for team owner John McLoughlin who is recovering in hospital after a recent stroke.   "We shook down the car on Friday afternoon and everything felt really good - I am really looking forward to heading down to Sebring for the race," Beretta said.  "The team has done a great job in preparing the cars and everybody on the team is very motivated to do well for John (McLoughlin).  "I have really strong team mates for this weekend and it is also great to be back in the American Le Mans Series on a full-time basis.  "It is the best sportscar championship in the world with great tracks, great crowds, great events - I am very happy to be back."  The 2003 Sebring event features one of the strongest entry lists in recent history including the North American debut of the Bentley GTP prototype.  Leuenberger, a former winner of the BMW ADAC Formula Junior Cup in Germany, is eagerly awaiting his prototype debut and first race in the United States.  "I never expected to get this opportunity so early in the my career," Leuenberger said.  "It is really exciting for me because the track has so much history - I can't wait to get in the car at Sebring.  "From Formula Renault and Porsche Carrera Cup, this is a big step for me, but I really am grateful for the opportunity."  JML Team Panoz will take part in unofficial testing on Monday and Tuesday at the historic Florida venue before official practice begins on Wednesday.  Saturday's race begins at 10.30am and will be telecast live on Speed Channel - flag to flag. Race fans can also log on to http://www.americanlemans.com to listen to the entire race on American Le Mans Radio Web.

3/10/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Dennis Wants Qualifying Change
BAR-War Declared In Australia
Mosley Signals Aussie Thumbs-Up
Webber Enjoys Race Despite Failure
Schu Philosophical As Run Ends
DC Warns: Ferrari Will Fight Back
The Horse's Mouth: Aussie Analysis 1
The Horse's Mouth: Aussie Analysis 2
The Horse's Mouth: Aussie Analysis 3
Dennis Warns: More To Come
Rule Perfections For Malaysia

3/10/03

Should CART adopt F1's 1-lap qualifying rule?   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I think the new F1 rule whereby the cars have just one lap to qualify and then impound the cars until race time could be used by CART to spice up the races.  Enrique Gonzalo, Monterrey, Mexico, Dear Enrique, we don't agree.  The problem with 1-lap qualifying is when it rains half way through the qualifying session.  Those that go out on a wet track will be 10 to 15 seconds slower and forced, through no fault of their own, to start from the back. We can hear the whining and protests now.   While it would not be so bad if the fast guys start in the back sometimes, in CART it's near impossible to pass on many of its tracks.  Forcing a driver to start at the back because of Mother Nature would be too stiff a penalty to impose on anyone until CART fixes it's impossible to pass problem.  One thing CART can get rid of is the ridiculous mandatory pit stop window.  That makes everyone run the same pit and fuel load strategy and takes away some of the jumbling up of the field that F1 is trying to create.  And until CART switches to gasoline, they can't adopt the rule of no refueling after qualifying (a brilliant rule if you ask me).  Methanol is corrosive and can't be left in the car overnight.  The engines are flushed with gasoline each night, a process called pickling.  This would prevent CART from adopting this cleaver rule until 2005 when V-10 engines and gasoline are used.  You should also know that in 2005 Champ Cars will carry on-board starters which will enable a driver to restart their car after a spin and continue, eliminating the need for CART's ridiculous multitude of full-course yellows, which only portrays the series as Mickey Mouse.  Mark C.

3/10/03

NASCAR drivers to attempt Indy 500 run  UPDATE  Indy car ready, sponsor not - John Roberts: Is the Indy 500 in your plans again for this year? Robby Gordon: I've been working really hard on an Indy 500 program with Richard Childress. We've got an engine package lined up. We've got chassis lined up. We don't have a major sponsor right now so we're working hard, trying to get that put together. Hopefully we can get something put together here in a little while. It's tough right now with the situation we're in with America right now. If we're going to go to war, not going to go to war. People don't know if they want to spend money or not so that's making it a little more difficult. Fox Sports Net's NASCAR This Morning  2/10/03 - Add Jason Leffler's name to the list of NASCAR drivers who plan an attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in May. Leffler, former USAC Midget and Silver Crown champ, drove in 2001 for Roger Penske and retreated last year to Craftsman Trucks with Ultra Motorsports. He's back in Ultra's No. 2 Trucks this year. Leffler and team officials revealed Friday night that he would try to make at try at the 500, with details not yet clear, such as whose car he might drive or what sponsorship is available. John Andretti and Robby Gordon also have been given permission to run in the 500, with Gordon running the past two years there in cars co-owned by Cup car owner Richard Childress. Neither Andretti nor Gordon has made clear exactly what the plans are. Andretti says he wants to race at Indy because his cousin Michael will be making his final drive at the Speedway before retiring.  SPEED TV

3/9/03

F1 cars so much faster than Champ Cars   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I could not help but notice how much faster the F1 cars look on a street circuit than CART Champ Cars.  What gives, I thought the Champ Cars were supposed to be the fastest cars in the world?  Pete Kremer, Harrisburg, PA.  Dear Pete, Champ Cars are so heavy they can't get out of their own way on a street circuit.  Anyone who watched the Australian GP can appreciate just how fast a F1 car is, and the super quick reflexes needed to drive them fast.  We saw some spectacular driving in Australia, by the best drivers in the world.  Too bad the 2005 Champ Car couldn't be about 200 pounds lighter.  It could use the diet.  They are so heavy, the racing so slow, Niki Lauda coined it "Lazy Racing".  If the plan is for CART to develop future F1 drivers, the cars had better have about as much HP and weigh within 200 Lbs (with driver), or it will continue to be "Lazy Racing" and CART Champions in F1 (think da Matta, Michael Andretti, Zanardi) will continue to be in for a rude awakening when they graduate. Mario Andretti, Juan Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve made the transition, but they were each a special talent. Mark C.

3/9/03

Will noise be an issue for CART?   A reader writes, Dear AR1, I read with interest the Washington Post article regarding the cancellation of the ALMS race at DC. I wonder if anybody at CART has taken notice of this and any notes. The only reason I say this is, because of Chris Pook's near obsession with street races, the issue of noise abatement and public opposition will become more prevalent, especially when CART adopts the 3.0L V-10 format. In a series made up primarily of street courses...eventually this issue will pop up.....and CART could be drawn into more ugly PR and legal battles it does not need. Regards, Joe Angers, Boston, MA.  Dear Joe, The 1.8L turbo engine (the turbo muffles the sound somewhat) was probably the best engine for CART long-term given they race on so many street circuits and so many more passenger cars are now being built with them.  However, the decision to go with the V-10 has been made.  Hopefully it screams loud as hell (like a F1 car).  If citizens in certain cities raise a fuss, it's easy enough to slap mufflers on them.  Mark C.

3/9/03

Bad day for Roush engines  Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Kurt Busch made early exits for the second week in a row, and teammate Jeff Burton also lost an engine here in Atlanta, leaving team owner Jack Roush to wonder about the reliability of his engines. 

3/9/03

Waltrip brothers form truck team  Michael and Darrell Waltrip are going racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The brothers have formed Leroy's Boys Racing -- in honor of their late father and an offshoot of Michael Waltrip Racing -- and will field trucks in at least two races for Darrell, a three-time Winston Cup champion. The elder Waltrip came out of retirement in 2002 to drive in two Truck Series events. "I'll probably end up driving a race somewhere," Michael said Sunday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "But Darrell is going to do Martinsville and IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park)." Michael Waltrip Racing's crew chief, Bobby Kennedy will oversee the truck operation as well, but Buddy "Red Dog" Barnes, who left Ultra Motorsports on Friday, will assemble the trucks. "Red Dog has got a lot of experience in the Truck Series and he's been a friend of mine for many years," Michael said. "So he's going to be helping us out."

3/9/03

Childress leaves track after mother dies  Just hours after signing Kevin Harvick and Goodwrench to a contract extension, team owner Richard Childress received news that his mother had died. Virginia Hodge, a resident of East Bend, N.C., was 79. She passed away Saturday night after a brief illness, according to a team press release. Childress flew back to North Carolina on Sunday morning to be with family.

3/9/03

Denver Post talks about CART   Contrary to last year when many of the articles in the Denver Post were rather negative towards CART, this article paints a more favorable light.  One key point that Chris Pook keeps hammering home is the fact that CART is bringing the racing to downtown areas, just like the late Pete Rozelle did with the NFL years ago.  It worked for them and it is working for CART from an attendance standpoint.  However, with not enough sponsors that are willing to feature the CART drivers in their TV ads, the drivers will not become household names and CART will never develop the mainstream following that NASCAR enjoys.  NASCAR has been able to get nearly all of the sponsors in the series to feature their drivers in their print and TV ads, and that has led to the average guy on the street recognizing the drivers names and faces and this is the primary reason for NASCAR's meteoric TV rating growth. CART may have big events, but the fans don't go home and watch on TV week-in-and-week-out.  They will only do that if and when CART is able to build the drivers into heroes.

3/9/03

More on Washington DC cancellation    This Washington DC Post newspaper article sheds more light on why this years ALMS and Trans-Am races were cancelled.  Although there were several reasons, the fact that the promoter was not able to abate the noise stands out as the primary reason.

3/9/03

Mosley satisfied with new rules   "I followed the race as a television viewer and I found the race exciting. I think Raikkonen was particularly unlucky. What he did was remarkable", Stated FIA's president Max Mosley, speaking on the telephone with AFP from his home in London. "I think that the new procedure is partly responsible for the excitement we have seen. Even if the conditions were a major factor, of course. As a matter of fact, with these new rules, the starting order was kind of unusual... apart from Ferrari's front row. All this combined with slightly difficult climatic conditions gave us an outstanding race.", said Mosley. Some situations were however surprising, notably Minardi's strategy, their drivers Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen not finishing their qualifying laps, giving the team the opportunity to work freely on their cars by not having to put them in parc fermé. "We were also surprised", admitted Mosley. "even if they had the right to do that. We will have to think about keeping that open or not in the rules. We could argue that the small teams in the back of the field can try that. It will not make a big difference. But we have to think about it. I believe we will probably forbid this situation but we will have to talk to the teams about that. We will have a meeting all together after the first three races." "No, I don't think that we will agree to that because this is one of the major change in the new rules. In my opinion, this aspect of the rules went really well."  "Apart from one or two team bosses (allusion made to Ron Dennis and Frank Williams), we have a complete collaboration with chief mechanics, engineers, everybody. We are on a permanent dialogue with Charlie Whiting (FIA technical delegate) because F1 is very complex. There were many things difficult to foresee.", admitted Max Mosley. "As for now, I am really satisfied. I was also very impressed by the drivers who managed to avoid accidents in the first two laps. They drove carefully. I think the new rules are also the reason for that."

3/9/03

Harvick re-ups for 3 years  Richard Childress Racing locked up its driver and primary sponsor of the No. 29 Chevrolet through the 2006 Winston Cup season, announcing three-year extensions yesterday for Kevin Harvick and GM Good wrench.

3/9/03

Button fumes at teammate   Jenson Button was furious with BAR teammate Jacques Villeneuve after a mix-up in the pit lane cost him the chance of taking points from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. When Button went in for his scheduled pit stop after 25 laps, he found Villeneuve already there and the 23-year-old was forced to queue up behind his teammate.  "When we did the pit-stop for fuel Jacques came in on the wrong lap, he came in on my lap and that completely buggered my race," he said. "It cost me a hell of a lot of time, it's like doing two pit stops. There is nothing you can do then, it completely destroyed the race. "I was very frustrated, the things I was saying on the radio. I was pretty annoyed. I couldn't drive for another lap as I would have run out of fuel. "Jacques did not come in when he was supposed to. I was a little bit shocked when he came in because I knew I was on the right lap. "He did apologise which was needed I think. But I am not very impressed, it is very annoying. "In effect I did four pit-stops, I came in and sat behind my teammate while he did his pit-stop and obviously the guys had to run back in and come back out because I was supposed to be coming in."

3/9/03

McGehee on RPM2Night   Robby McGehee is scheduled to be John Kernan's guest on RPM2Night (Sunday). The program airs from 11:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2. McGehee will be interviewed remotely from a studio in his hometown of St. Louis. He will talk about his recent flight with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, sharing videotape of his ride taken from the cockpit of the F/A-18 Hornet as it did various wild maneuvers over the California desert while pulling over seven and a half Gs.

3/9/03

Spencer still bitter about Ganassi  Jimmy Spencer remains unhappy with the way his tenure ended last season at Chip Ganassi Racing. Spencer lasted just one season in Ganassi's #41 Target Dodge and was replaced this season with rookie Casey Mears. "I was doing everything I was supposed to do last year," Spencer said Saturday. "I drove my heart out. I just didn't get along with the people there. The most excited I've ever been in my life and the greatest pleasure there ever was, was the day I got out of there." Spencer has a lawsuit pending against Ganassi claiming breach of contract. Spencer declined to comment on the status of the suit. ThatsRacin.com

3/9/03

Stoddart Defends Rule Loophole   Paul Stoddart spent much of his Sunday morning at a sodden Albert Park track defending his controversial team-tactics of a day earlier. Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen started the Australian Grand Prix from pitlane today after the Anglo-Italian squad ordered its drivers to abandon their one-shot qualifying laps. 'What we did was within the rules,' said a defiant Stoddart, who found a loophole in the new rules that state cars will be locked away in parc ferme 'if and when' they complete the shoot-out. 'It was carefully thought out, it was checked and re-checked before we did it - it was not a loophole,' he adds. Paul said the contentious routine may never be repeated again but explained how he grasped the opportunity to gain an advantage on rival teams who could not work on their cars overnight. Because the black racers did not complete their 3-lap Saturday run, they were not subject to the rule forcing cars under lock-and-key. At a chilly 2pm on Sunday afternoon, then, Wilson and Verstappen's racers were the only ones completely topped up with fuel and with full wet-setups after FIA's Charlie Whiting this morning allowed only very minimal setting changes. 'We've not damaged the sport,' said Stoddart. 'We've actually made the sport more interesting and our interpretation of the rules is just another strategic decision that throws another aspect of interest into the sport.' In the end, the rains stayed away for the 58 laps of Stoddart's home race leaving the Minardi boys without an advantage nor a top-eight position. 'It was worth a try, and we'd do it again,' the Australian boss adds.

3/9/03

Juan And Kimi Rue Lost Race   David Coulthard may have the champagne bubbling in his Crown Towers suite tonight, but his podium cohorts will be ruing the day they lost the 2003 Australian Grand Prix. Second across the line at an overcast Albert Park track was Juan Pablo Montoya; but the Colombian actually led for much of the race explaining his thunderous face in the post-race press conference. Montoya started the Aussie race on dry tires, unlike Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen's McLarens who dropped into the pack in the opening laps to change from unsuited intermediates. 'I think it was a pretty disastrous race,' said the 27-year-old who explained that lengthy spells in the lead were totally ruined with Safety Car periods. 'We took the right tires and we had a 16-second lead. Everything was going my way and then safety car came out.' He then built a ten second lead until another on-track incident 'screwed' Juan Pablo again. 'I went into turn one and when I picked up the throttle the car just turned into me,' Montoya added. Kimi Raikkonen and his McLaren strategists, meanwhile, pulled off a master stroke when they sacrificed taking the race start to change tires from wet to dry after the formation lap. 'We weren't really sure if it was ready for dry tires before the start, but on the parade lap we decided it was so we came in and changed it quickly,' the Finn explained. 'Unfortunately it didn't work out today because of the penalty,' he added, referring to his drive-through sentence for speeding in pitlane at 1km/h over the limit. 'It was a good race,' the 23-year-old insists, although he freely admitted his disappointment at throwing away the win.

3/9/03

Montoya Defends Williams FW25   Juan Pablo Montoya has defended his new Williams FW25 chassis after the media painted its prospects as dim. 'I'm really behind the FW25 and I believe in the car,' said the Colombian, who qualified the BMW-powered racer third before coming oh-so-close to the Albert Park win. 'After all I left both McLaren drivers behind me and got really close to the Ferraris,' he adds. 'Of course, we have to continue to work on it.' Montoya says the media jumped on the early disappointing test at Circuit de Catalunya with FW25 whilst insisting that the new Williams is a 'huge step forward' on its predecessor. Sir Frank Williams and technical boss Patrick Head were determined to pen something new for 2003 after failing to compete with Ferrari's fifteen wins last year. 'Last year's car looked like a boat, it looked huge,' Montoya adds. 'This car is so tiny, every single detail of the car is amazing.' He says Ferrari are still in pole position to soar to a sixth consecutive constructors' championship but the FW25 could be the foundation 'of a really good car. Montoya explains how, 'The car is very responsive, it's pretty nice to drive too. It's not as good as a Ferrari yet, but it is good.'

3/9/03

Webber With A Lot To Prove Mark Webber has a lot to prove at the Jaguar Racing marque this season, according to outgoing BMW boss Gerhard Berger. The 26-year-old Australian, Webber, got a rapturous reception by his home crowd at Albert Park today as he geared up for his first grand prix for the Leaping Cat - which eventually ended with suspension failure. He said: 'Once the race began, the performance of the car was good and I thoroughly enjoyed myself out there.' But Berger, 43 and a former ten-time winner at the pinnacle of motorsports, is reluctant to give the boy from Queanbeyan a Guernsey as rookies-to-watch like Kimi Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso. 'Last year it was too difficult to tell when Webber was driving at Minardi and he had a very weak team mate,' Berger said at Albert Park. 'I will actually be surprised if Webber can beat [Antonio] Pizzonia on a regular basis.' Another former ace, 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, agrees that Mark is still an unknown quantity. But the former Williams and Ferrari ace says that 22-year-old Pizzonia was also a strange choice for the re-building marque in green. 'What qualities have Webber and Pizzonia really got, other than youth and enthusiasm,' Nigel quizzed in an interview with Australian Associated Press. 'Do they even know what grand prix racing is all about? I doubt it.'

3/9/03

Team Orders Remain At Ferrari   Jean Todt has refused to rule-out the imposition of team orders in 2003, despite a new FIA directive banning them. The Frenchman's Scuderia Ferrari threw motorsport into furor in May last year when Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher swapped positions on the final corner in Austria. At the subsequent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, it was decreed that team orders that infringe on the race result, or bring the sport into disrepute, would be illegal and dealt with harshly. But Todt says the long-standing policy of the Prancing Horse remains intact: 'We will always privilege the interest of the company,' said the Ferrari sporting director. 'Motor racing has always had team orders but we admit that in the past we sometimes we did not apply them in the most clever way. 'We will take that into account for the future.' For the first time in more than fifty Formula One races, Ferrari did not have a driver representative on the post-race podium in Australia this afternoon. Rubens Barrichello fudged his race with a heavy shunt, whilst Michael Schumacher trickled home for fourth after a three-stop strategy and bodywork damage. 'I think our performance was actually quite good,' said Todt at the chilly Melbourne track. 'Circumstance was not our friend today.'

3/9/03

DC Admits Ferrari Still Fastest   David Coulthard praised a superb strategy and solid performance for his Australian Grand Prix win at Melbourne today. But the veteran Scot, who added his thirteenth victory at the pinnacle of motorsports in the picturesque Albert Park, admitted that Ferrari still remain favorites for ultimate '03 glory. 'Under pressure Ferrari can make mistakes, as today illustrated,' said David. 'But I admit that conditions were a little bit unusual today. 'There is still work to be done to be competitive against Ferrari.' David's keen strategy got off to an early start when at the end of lap two, the 31-year-old pulled into pitlane to swap his wet-weather tires for a fresh set of Michelin grooves. 'During the installation lap, the circuit was still wet, so we decided to start the race on wet tires,' he said, explaining that he nearly followed his team-mate to swap his boots after the formation lap. At the end of lap two, though, the silver machine swapped his tires and benefited from the mistakes at Ferrari, Williams - and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen - to earn his second Aussie win since 1997. He said: 'I'm really happy with the result especially as it is such a stark contrast to yesterday's qualifying.' Coulthard started the race from a lowly eleventh position. 'The team did a great job and we had the right strategy, which allowed us to optimize the unusual circumstances with the weather and the safety car. 'I think our performance showed that we have taken a step forward with the MP4-17D and further improved our competitiveness and hopefully we are all in for an exciting season.' Team boss Ron Dennis said the man whose performance was most commendable in Australia today was the McLaren strategist: 'Both our drivers excelled,' he started. 'But our strategy was perfect in difficult conditions.'

3/9/03

Dennis Consoles Cheerless Kimi   Ron Dennis comforted a disconsolate Kimi Raikkonen in the Albert Park pitlane this afternoon despite the Finn's strong podium finish. The 23-year-old, however, had looked set for glory as he fended off the charging Michael Schumacher for the grand prix lead. Raikkonen's race was shattered when he was called in for a drive-through penalty. Dennis, McLaren boss, put the blame at his Woking-team's feet, not at Kimi's who drove a 'truly superb race today.' 'Our apologies to Kimi whose 1.1 kilometer pitlane entry speeding excess was caused by a team error,' said the Englishman. 'We look forward to Malaysia which should suit our package.' Kimi's team-mate in silver, David Coulthard, now leads the 2003 Formula One championship with ten points, while McLaren tops the charts in the constructors' chase with 16. Dennis said the race stewards' decision to penalize Kimi was 'pretty harsh, really.'

3/9/03

Lock-And-Key Leaves Negative Vibes   Only the idle mechanics were cheering a new rule forcing Formula One contenders into a locked parc ferme garage-area on Saturday evening. Aimed at bridging the gap between pitlane's rich and poor, the FIA deprived teams of tinkering with setups or installing special qualifying components by insisting that the cars should remain under lock and key before the race. While the smiling mechanics spent their night having barbecues in the Albert Park paddock, though, McLaren chief Ron Dennis confirmed that FIA observers watched over progress when the cars were returned this morning. Only a very restrictive list of set-up changes can be made prior to the race, although FIA delegate Charlie Whiting allowed teams to make some safety provisions for the wet-weather in Australia. 'I hope and believe that we are all an honorable bunch but we have a couple of people in our garage whose normal occupations I could not tell you,' Dennis told Autosport. The Briton added that if McLaren wanted to cheat and work on the cars, 'I'm sure we could do.' Williams technical director Patrick Head added that his couple of 'nice Australians' watching over progress in the garage could also be easily led astray. He said, smiling: 'We haven't given them tea with sennapods or offered them any brown envelopes, but there is plenty of potential.'

3/9/03

Flawless Weekend Ends In Barriers   An error-free and blindingly-quick weekend for Rubens Barrichello came to an abrupt halt when the Brazilian threw his Ferrari into the barriers. The 30-year-old explained that the error was made as he spoke - no doubt with his characteristically Latin fire - to the team on the radio following news that he would be penalized. Rubens' F2002 crept over the line at 2pm and therefore incurred a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. 'It was just one of those things,' he explained after returning to the Albert Park pits and regaining his composure with a quick shower. 'There is no need to panic about this result. We just have to dig in and concentrate on Malaysia. The F2002 is still a very good car, as could be seen by Michael's lap times, even when he had lost some bodywork.' Barrichello says the jump-start will be subject to investigation as he held his scarlet boot on the brake-pedal as hard as he could but couldn't stop it creeping. 'It just wanted to start early today,' said the still-chirpy Brazilian who had hoped to get off to a flying start in the 2003 championship after declaring title ambitions. 'Just before the accident, we were talking on the radio about my penalty. I went into Turn 5 too fast, had understeer and could not hold it. 'The car was going well, but the front tires were already in trouble, because the track dried quicker than expected and I was still having to push hard. 'We must now put this race behind us, look to the next one and get used to the new rules.'

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