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DATE

News (chronologically)

4/11/03
Fran-Am

Fran-Am to race twice at Montreal    It was officially announced earlier this week that races of both the Fran-Am Sport 2000 and Fran-Am Sport 1600 Series will be staged at the 2003 Formula 1 Air Canada Grand Prix next June. The Air Canada Grand Prix – one of the two prestigious Formula 1 Grands Prix to be held in North America this year – will host two distinct Fran-Am Sport races, June 13-15, 2003 on the 2.71-mile (4,361-km) long Gilles Villeneuve Circuit located on Ile Notre-Dame, a stone throw from downtown Montreal. It is expected that an impressive crowd of several hundreds of thousands of spectators will watch the two Fran-Am races during the three days of the event. These two development series are designed to showcase the talent of the most talented young road racers who have the ambition of making it into Formula 1 and ChampCar racing.

4/11/03

Gentilozzi tops practice times Paul Gentilozzi was a dominant force during Friday’s first-round practice for Sunday’s Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup race, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Gentilozzi, driver of the No. 3 Design 500 Jaguar XKR, toured the 11-turn temporary oval in a time of 1:22.570 minutes at an average speed of 85.804 miles per hour. “We’re not 100 percent yet, but it runs pretty good,” said Gentilozzi. “The (brake) pedal was a little soft. I was being pretty careful under braking. In fact I was braking a good car length short, but we snuck up on it. “The track conditions were pretty darn good,” added Gentilozzi. “It was a little slick in spots, but overall, it was pretty good.” Boris Said, driver of the No. 33 New Century Mortgage/Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang, recovered from an early session shunt in turn nine to record the second fastest time at 1:23.371 minutes, ahead of Scott Pruett’s No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Stu Hayner, driver of the No. 2 Trenton Forging/GMAC Commercial Finance Corvette and Michael Lewis, driver of the No. 12 Trans-Am Tools by ProQuest Jaguar XKR, completed the top five.

4/11/03

Sarah looks dejected Sarah Fisher doesn't look very happy in Motegi on Friday as she tries to come to grips with the Motegi circuit and the fact her Chevy engine can't keep up with the Honda's and Toyota's, both trying to win in their home country.  A typical small IRL Friday crowd looks on.  Photo by Ron McQueeney/IMS.

4/11/03

BAR tests new Honda engine  B·A·R Honda concluded a three-day test at Paul Ricard today.   A predominantly trouble-free day resulted in 134 laps of track time for Jacques, the second fastest time of the day, and plenty of data for the engineers. Jacques commented, “The beginning of the test was affected badly by the weather so we were unable to do much work on the first day. The afternoon of the second day was very productive though. We managed to do a lot of laps with the new engine, which was great; it is reliable and works well. We concentrated mainly on tire testing and were able to choose our tires for Imola. I'm really looking forward to the next race.”

4/11/03

Justus wins provisional pole  CART Toyota Atlantic Championship rookie Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) threw down a blistering lap of 1:17.260 (91.701 mph) in provisional qualifying for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (SPEED Channel, Sunday, April 13, 1:30 p.m. ET) to claim his first career provisional pole. Justus' performance today shattered the previous track record for a Toyota Atlantic car on the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit, which was set by Canadian David Rutledge in 2001 at 1:18.168 (90.636 mph). In total, the top six qualifiers today turned laps in excess of the former track record. In the process, Justus earned one championship point and guaranteed himself a Toyota Atlantic career best starting position, as he will start no worse than second on Sunday. His previous best starting position was 10th, which he achieved in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season-opening Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix three weeks ago. Sunday's race will be just the fifth Toyota Atlantic start for the 2000 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 national champion. Building on the momentum of a second place result in Monterrey, Canadian Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN) placed his car second on the provisional grid after posting a best lap of 1:17.549 (91.359 mph). Macri matched his previous best qualifying performance today, as he also started on the outside of the front row for Toyota Atlantic events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2001 and 2002. After finishing second four times, Macri enters the weekend looking for his first career Toyota Atlantic victory. Qualifying third provisionally was Mexican Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing), who clocked a best lap of 1:17.613 (91.284 mph). Going into tomorrow's final qualifying session, Diaz will be looking to claim his second consecutive Toyota Atlantic pole position after taking the pole at the season opener in Monterrey. Should he take the top qualifying position, it would be the fourth pole of his Toyota Atlantic career. He is looking for his third career Toyota Atlantic race victory this weekend.

4/11/03

Rain, track will make race difficult  We quizzed Sebastien Bourdais after qualifying today what he thought it will be like on Sunday if the forecast for rain in Long Beach holds true.  "it will be very very difficult," stated Bourdais.  "The track is a bit bumpy, we no longer have traction control, and the power in the higher boost Ford Cosworth engine comes on with a rush, making it hard to control these cars on the rain slicked track and not clip a wall."  Mark C.

4/11/03

Villeneuve on the attack again  According to Autosport, Jacques Villeneuve is not impressed with the safety at the Paul Ricard test track in France. The Paul Ricard circuit was recently redesigned as a state of the art F1 test track. Instead of tire barriers, the circuit features wide concrete run-off areas featuring special strips to slow the car so it is not damaged by an impact, but Villeneuve is unimpressed, saying "Some of the corners are so dangerous – I wish they'd put some tire barriers here. Those asphalt strips do stop the car, but if you miss the line you can go over and just carry on driving, which isn't like any other circuit we race at." Villeneuve was second fastest in testing at the circuit yesterday but says the smooth asphalt at the circuit limits the relevance of testing at the track, saying "We did some tire work but it doesn't help much because the asphalt is so different from any of the circuits we race on. I really don't know why we keep coming here. We did some mileage today, but it didn't have a purpose."

4/11/03

Look for Alex Yoong to improve  Alex Yoong told us the setup on his car was way off this morning, but once they get it right, he expects to improve significantly.  We asked him how he likes the track.  He stated, "it's a fun track, not too difficult, and good for these cars."

4/11/03

Elkhart Lake back on  Mario Andretti met with reporters today in Long Beach and said his negotiations were successful and the Road America Champ Car races will be reinstated for 2003.  There are still some legal formalities to deal with (like getting the lawsuits dropped) so it won't be announced this weekend.

4/11/03

Pollock still talking to Salo  We asked Craig Pollock today about the status of his 2nd car.  He told us he is still working on it, but won't announce it until all the funding is in place.  We are hearing that Mika Salo is still his #1 choice for the 2nd car and to look for something toward the end of the year.  Mark C.

4/11/03

CART's future at Fontana may depend on NASCAR  CART President Chris Pook said in this Orange County Register interviewQ:  Are ovals still going to be an essential part of the CART schedule in the future? A: Yes, I believe so. It is all part of our heritage and our culture. We need to watch Fontana very carefully and make sure that the customers still want it. As long as the numbers are respectable there, we will still go there. Although, that might change if California Speedway gets another Winston Cup race. That would definitely factor into our decision to return there after our contract with the speedway expires in 2004.

4/11/03

Pook speaks  CART President Chris Pook is never one to hide his feelings when talking to the media.  He was in rare form in this Orange County Register interviewQ: What did you say to the established teams that went to the IRL? A: Don't let the door hit you on your (butt) on the way out. There are a couple of them I have a great admiration for and continue to respect. But there are a couple who I have absolutely no respect for. I wouldn't relieve myself on their brains even if they were on fire. These are guys who made their living on the CART circuit. They would have been nothing without this series. They were part of the equation of it going wrong, and then they turn around and badmouth it and trash it and then move on. ... That bothers me.

4/11/03

Tracy tops opening practice in Long Beach  Paul Tracy led opening practice this morning in Long Beach and the 2nd free practice session is now underway.  At 11:22 AM PCT, Patrick Carpentier currently tops the charts ahead of Mario Dominguez and Roberto Moreno. 

4/11/03
F3000

Arden team completes Barcelona test   The Arden Team completed final preparations in Barcelona today for next weekend's first round in Imola. Both Townsend Bell and Bjorn Wirdheim recorded impressive times and secured third and forth fastest lap times respectively, continuing to work through development programs. Christian Horner commented: "We've had two positive days covering all items on the Testing agenda. We now look forward to the first race with confidence in what appears to be one of the most competitive Driver line ups for the 2003 season". Bjorn Wirdheim commented: " I am very happy with our preparations and feel very confident in the car. It has been a good two days. It's been a long winter and can't wait to get started in one weeks time". Townsend Bell commented: "I have really enjoyed this circuit and it has surprised me how the track varies from the morning to the afternoon. We have completed full tank runs, practice starts and pit stop simulations and I am looking forward to making my debut next weekend".

4/11/03

Formula One may be CART's answer  This Long Beach Press Telegram article says, The Press- Telegram has learned from sources that spoke on condition of anonymity that CART is in talks with Ecclestone. The plan would be to allow Ecclestone to purchase a majority interest in CART which would clear the way to take the company private and likely end Pook's run as CART president and CEO......CART's Champ World Series would not become so much a feeder series for Formula One, the pre-eminent open-wheel racing series in the world, but a "compatible series,' one source said. But some reports out of Europe have CART becoming the new F1 Championship if the manufacturers break away to start their own series like they have been threatening for years. Either way, Ecclestone's involvement in CART would be a boon to promoters like the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. His dollars Ecclestone is one of the five richest people in England and status in the racing world would give CART increased credibility and, more importantly, stability. "If this comes about, I think it would be advantageous to the series,' Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian said. "Without knowing the dealings, it is hard to make a complete assessment ... but his name and experience would be a valuable asset to have.' Calls made over the past week to Ecclestone's office were not returned, but that's fairly typical. Ecclestone is known for keeping a lid on his business dealings until there's something official to announce. The next CART board meeting is April 22, but board member and team owner Derrick Walker said he wouldn't expect anything to happen that soon. A majority of the board would be needed to lift the so-called poison pill, which effectively limits ownership of CART stock to 24.9 percent of the company. Then there are various Security and Exchange Commission filings which could take months to complete. If all the hurdles are negotiated and Ecclestone takes over, Pook would likely step down from his post but remain chairman of the board. That would clear the way for David Clare, CART's current chief operating officer, to step in. Clare was one of Ecclestone's top deputies for nine years before coming to CART in January. "We'll see what happens,' Pook told the Press-Telegram while in town March 24 for the CART Town Meeting. "There's some talk of that, but we'll see.' Pook and other CART officials said that since the company is public, regulations prevent them for commenting further on the possible merger with F1. Others not bound by SEC policy have spoken openly about a possible merger. Team owner Gerald Forsythe told the Press- Telegram at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.) in February that he wants to take the company private. When he was in Monterrey, Mexico, last month for CART's second race of the season he told reporters that Ecclestone is a possible investor and the two combined could take the company private. "It's clear something is going on,' said CART team owner Stefan Johansson, who is a former F1 driver. "If something were to happen, it would be great.' "I would have no doubt it would help,' said racing legend and current CART team owner Bobby Rahal, who once raced and headed a team in Formula One. "He (Ecclestone) wields a lot of power in Europe and having that kind of clout wouldn't hurt any organization.' Pook met with Ecclestone as recently as last month, but that's only partly to blame for the rumors of a merger. Pook's moves since taking over as CEO have aligned the series closer to F1, leading many to believe a merger with F1 is imminent......If Ecclestone doesn't hop on board with CART and the series fails, it's not likely F1, as it stands now, would come back to Long Beach. Ecclestone told the Press- Telegram in October that Long Beach lacks permanent garages and other amenities needed to host an F1 race. Michaelian said the Grand Prix Association would have to substantially raise ticket prices if that were to happen, a prospect he isn't thrilled about.

4/11/03

Pollock does not think the breakaway F1 series will happen  We spoke to CART team owner Craig Pollock in Long Beach this morning and he expressed to us that he doubts the breakaway GPWC series will happen.  He pointed out what happened to Indy Car racing when CART and the IRL split and he thinks if that happening in F1 it could be fatal.  He thinks the GPWC is just a bargaining tool by the manufacturers to get more of a say in F1.  The manufacturers have said they want Bernie involved in their series, but we doubt Bernie would ever agree to working for the manufacturers.  He would devote 100% of his time to CART before he did that. Mark C.

4/11/03
F3000

Townsend Bell moves up to 3rd fastest in Spain   Townsend Bell of San Luis Obispo, California continued to place among the quickest drivers in F3000 racing after the second day of an FIA test at the 2.95 mile Catalunya circuit near Barcelona in Spain. He improved his times over a second from the previous days run. Bell and his ARDEN International teammate Bjoern Wirdheim of Sweden were 3rd and 4th today, using up their allotment of tires in the morning test program, and using the afternoon to test gearbox settings for the Imola race next weekend in Italy. Bell’s 3rd place time was 1 minute, 32.191 seconds, with Wirdheim at 1:32.314……. “We got everything done that we wanted”, said Christian Horner, boss of the ARDEN team. “We are in good shape for Imola. We had a long list of things to check and used up all 4 sets of tires we are allowed for the test. So did not run at speeds in the afternoon, just used the time to make sure the Imola settings were working”. Spain was a warm sunny 60° as the 19 cars used their last chance to prepare for the season opener in Italy April 19. Townsend Bell described the key differences between Imola and Catalunya as grip and two very high-speed corners at the Spanish track. He said, “You go through tires very quickly in Spain. My fastest lap was generally on my first quick lap – an out lap and then the fastest time I could get. We could easily use up 8 sets of tires here, but the FIA only allow 1 set for the test”. Bell said, “ I think I am ready for the first race. The team has been great, we did all the checks we had on our list. Am looking forward to Imola”. The times for the top ten are:
Driver Team Times
Ricardo Sperafico Coloni Team 1:31.184
Patrick Friesbacher Red Bull Jr.Team 1:31.610
Townsend Bell Arden Team 1:32.191
Bjorn Wirdheim Arden Team 1:32.314
Rob Nguyen BCN Team 1:32.647
Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull Jr Team 1:32.855
Zsolt Baumgartner Coloni Team 1:32.875
Tony Schmidt Astromega Team 1:32.894
Yannick Schroeder Superfond IRS Team 1:33.011
Jeff Van Hooydonk Astromega Team 1:33.084

4/11/03

Lights tested for Cleveland   On Thursday, March 20, the first Musco light tower was erected temporarily and tested to ensure the lighting plan is ample for July’s race. In addition to Grand Prix and Musco personnel, Champ Car President and CEO Chris Pook was on hand to evaluate the lighting. “The Musco lighting is magnificent. We were able to conduct this initial test thanks to the cooperation of the City of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport,” said Mr. Pook. “With the bright lights and the Illuminating the Burke Lakefront Airport circuit is the world’s largest temporary lighting project ever undertaken. It will also mark the first time a road racing circuit has been lit. The project will require 21 Musco Mobile lighting trucks producing the equivalent of nearly a half million standard car headlights. The excitement surrounding the spectacle of night racing has spread to race fans. Ticket renewals are up by nine percent over last year’s numbers. In addition to racing under the lights, the official City of Cleveland fireworks will add to the nighttime excitement on Friday, July 4. Admission prices to this 22nd annual event remain the same for the third straight year. Tickets to the U.S. Bank presents the Cleveland Grand Prix can be ordered by calling 1-800-498-RACE (7223) or through Ticketmaster.

4/11/03

Fantasy CART   Check out www.FantasyCart.us and place your bet as to who will be the Long Beach Grand Prix Champion. Fantasy CART is a sponsor of American Spirit Team Johansson. Registered players will have a budget to build their ultimate Champ Car team; entries must be received before the event weekend begins. Prizes include American Spirit team gear, cash, race credentials and the opportunity to spend a race weekend as an American Spirit guest which will include lunch with Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

4/11/03

Parrott returns to Roush  Roush Racing announced today that they have re-hired Brad Parrott and assigned him to join the #99 CITGO team, reporting to crew chief Paul Andrews. "We are excited to bring Brad (Parrott) back to Roush Racing," said Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 CITGO Ford. "Our Busch Series team had a lot of success last year and Brad was a big contributor to that success so we think he can come in and help the #99 team this year." Parrott was crew chief for Burton and the #9 Busch Series team in 2002 making the trip to victory lane five times in only 14 races. Crew chief Paul Andrews is excited to have this kind of experience in his stable. "I think this is a really good thing," said Andrews. "We will be able to utilize Brad's (Parrott) knowledge and expertise to help advance the #99 team. We are fortunate to have so many talented people working on the CITGO team, and Brad will help make us even stronger."

4/11/03

Fisichella named winner of Brazilian GP  Reuters reports Formula One's governing body has overturned the result of Sunday's chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix, awarding a first career victory to Jordan's Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella. McLaren's championship leader Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, declared the winner at Interlagos, was demoted on Friday to second place after a meeting of race stewards at International Automobile Federation (FIA) headquarters. "I am delighted for Giancarlo, the team, Ford and all our sponsors," said team boss Eddie Jordan. "Sunday's race was absolutely thrilling and I am very grateful to the FIA for examining the results in such detail and acknowledging that the victory is Giancarlo's."

4/11/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Teams Sign Up For Breakaway Series
Productive Day At Paul Ricard
BMW To Drop Williams, Build Own Racer?
Quick Word In Formula One 1
Webber Loses Out, But Happy For Fisi
F1 To Change Controversial Count-Back
Bobbi Buys $1m Minardi Testing Ticket
Montoya Eyes Ferrari Future
F1 Will Forget Irvine: Rubens
Michelin Argue For Stricter Rules
BMW Expects Williams Step Forward
GPWC Doesn't 'Give A Damn': BE
Quick Word In Formula One 2
GPWC A Waste Of Time, Money
Montoya Could Be Fitter, Says Boss

4/11/03

F-18 Flyover at Long Beach   Those in attendance at this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will get a dose of air power with a F-18 fly-over as part of the ceremonies preceding the Champ Car World Series race on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. The four F-18 fighters, based in China Lake, will circle Palos Verdes and San Pedro before making their run toward the downtown Long Beach area and the 1.97-mile Grand Prix race circuit on the city streets surrounding the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. The fly-over is part of a pre-race ceremony that will include a joint service Color Guard presenting the American flag, as well as the Elite Frogs parachute team comprised of current and former U.S. Navy SEALS who are masters of the free-fall and canopy relative work. In addition, representatives from each of the U.S. military services will serve as Grand Marshals for the race. The 29th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place April 11-13 on a 1.97-mile, 11-turn temporary race circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach, Calif. For tickets or race information, call (888) 82-SPEED, or visit the official race Web site at www.longbeachgp.com

4/11/03

Scott Pruett to appear on Car and Driver Radio   Two-time Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup champion Scott Pruett is scheduled to be interviewed on ³Car and Driver Radio,² hosted by Alan Taylor on 97.1 FM Talk in Los Angeles. Pruett will be part of a live remote being held in the Expo Center at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach temporary circuit Saturday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m.

4/10/03
F3000

Townsend Bell news from Europe   Townsend Bell continues to impress the F3000 series competitors with a 4th quickest time at the official FIA testing today at the Barcelona track in Spain. This was the young Californian’s first time on the 2.95 mile 14 turn course at Catalunya and he was quickly up to speed according to ARDEN team boss Christian Horner. “ He was on the pace on his second run in the morning and I was very pleased to see him understand the track complexities that early in the day”. Bell said, “ the track is not as tricky as Imola to learn, has two really fast corners, the last two, which are perfect for me. “We did the usual testing of a lot of things you do at tests, things we were not able to do at Jerez because of the rain. We tried different springs, shocks, shock builds, diffs and dampers….We tried standing starts…That is a bit like driving an NHRA car! But once you get the hang of it is the same as stop light racing on the streets of California. It is new for me but I should be OK. “ The morning was the quickest for most drivers because of the cooler temperatures. You only get one good lap out of the tires. We tested without tire warmers, which is the way it will be in the race events. The abrasive nature of the track means that on the second or third lap you must be on the pace. You must also get a special rhythm on the high speed last two turns to get a good time.” Bell’s best time, set in the morning was timed to the same 1/1000th of a second as N. Kiesa, the Den Bla Avis driver, a time of 1 minute 33.304 seconds in the FIA timing charts. Derek Hill, another Californian entered by the Super Nova team was out of the top ten today in his second test outing of the year, with a time of 1:35.106. The top ten times are as follows:

1. Ricardo Sperifico

Coloni Team

1:31.552

2. Patrick Freisbacher

Red Bull Coloni Team

1:32.891

3. Jaroslav Janis

Superfond IRS Team

1:33.093

4. Townsend Bell

Arden Inernational Team

1:33.304

5. N. Kiesa

Den Bla Avis Team

1:33.304

6. Bjorn Wirdheim

Arden International Team

1:33.401

7. Yannick Schroeder

Superfond IRS Team

1:33.486

8. Jeff on Hoydonk

 Astromega Team

1:33.542

9. Vitantonio Liuzzi

RedBull Jr. Team

1:33.648

10. Tony Schmidt

Astromega Team

1:33.786

4/10/03

Ford recognizes Johnson Controls   Champ Car Official Sponsor Ford Motor Company awarded its highest supplier honor– the World Excellence Award– last week to 41 suppliers for their superior performance during 2002. Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls Inc., primary sponsor of Rocketsports Racing’s entry in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford with driver Alex Tagliani (#33 Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone), left the ceremonies in Dearborn, Michigan with three distinguished awards. “Ford Motor Company’s recognition of us with such great honors speaks volumes when you are among their premier forty-one suppliers spanning 13 countries,” said Manager of Johnson Controls Motorsports Programs Jeff Telman. “From a motorsport perspective, we plan on continuing to utilize technologies gained in Champ Car’s competitive environment to positively shape our business.” Johnson Controls accepted the awards in a ceremony at the Ford Motor Company Conference and Events Center amid a theme celebrating Ford’s Centennial. Nearly 200 of Ford’s largest production and non-production suppliers attended the fifth annual event. “During this special year of our Centennial, we take great delight in honoring our supplier partners for their dedication in helping us build quality into our cars and trucks,” said Ford Vice President of Global Purchasing Tony Brown. Specifically, Johnson Controls won three Recognition of Achievement Awards, including the Corporate Citizenship Award for Social Responsibility for suppliers that excel in community involvement and address working conditions issues; the Consumer Driven 6-Sigma Award for suppliers that had a black belt lead a project that had a direct impact on Ford customer satisfaction; and the Warranty Reduction Award for suppliers excelling in warranty improvement.

4/10/03

Coulthard on top at Paul Ricard test session 

Driver

Team

T

Laps

Time

Gap

1. Coulthard

McLaren

M

124

1:08.019

126.711 mph

2. Villeneuve

BAR

B

135

1:08.199

0.180

3. Wurz

McLaren

M

114

1:08.337

0.318

4. Raikkonen

McLaren

M

88

1:08.393

0.374

5. R Schumacher

WilliamsF1

M

87

1:08.403

0.384

6. da Matta

Toyota

M

99

1:08.590

0.571

7. Gene

WilliamsF1

M

94

1:08.717

0.698

8. Panis

Toyota

M

46

1:09.969

1.950

4/10/03

New Ferrari test photos from Mugello 
TEST68HIGH.jpg TEST69HIGH.jpg TEST70HIGH.jpg TEST71HIGH.jpg TEST72HIGH.jpg
TEST73HIGH.jpg TEST75HIGH.jpg TEST76HIGH.jpg TEST77HIGH.jpg TEST78HIGH.jpg

4/10/03

Teams signup for breakaway series  Formula 1's threatened breakaway series, the Grand Prix World Championship, took another big step closer to reality today. AUTOSPORT sources have revealed that all 11 F1 teams, from Ferrari to Minardi, have signed up to the concept of the Operational Agreement for the series, which is scheduled to start in 2008. The teams met with the GPWC organizers in Munich, Germany, today (Thursday), where the five car manufacturers involved in F1 presented an Operational Agreement – their version of F1's Concorde Agreement. They are understood to have signed a Memorandum of Agreement over the terms of the Operational Agreement, which is believed to feature more favorable financial terms to the teams than they currently receive.  GPWC must now meet with Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone to update them on the meeting.  Autosport.com

4/10/03

IRL falling short of drivers for signature event This Portland Oregon article says, You have to wonder if anyone remembers what really started America's open-wheel racing war. The longer it lasts, the more muddled it seems. Now, it appears the Indianapolis 500, the largest prize in the conflict, might be the latest victim. As of today, the Indy Racing League doesn't have enough drivers to fill the 33-car field at Indy next month. The deadline to enter cars was a week ago. Seventeen teams have submitted applications for 34 cars. Six drivers are listed as TBA (to be announced). That means that if at least five drivers don't show up at Indy with fat sponsorship behind them, it is possible the race might begin with only a partial field......It wasn't too many years ago that IRL founder Tony George created the series to give American drivers a chance to show their stuff on American ovals with American-made horsepower. Back then, he didn't care much for the domination of foreign drivers in CART. Or foreign engines. Or foreign race tracks. But, this weekend, the IRL competes at Motegi City, Japan, for its first race overseas. And who is leading the IRL as it heads to Japan? Brazilian Tony Kanaan. Followed by Brazilian Helio Castroneves. Followed by New Zealander Scott Dixon, then Brazilians Gil de Ferran and Filip Giaffone. And they are driving cars powered by Toyota and Honda. A few Chevrolets are in the field, but they are so far behind the Japanese in the horsepower battle that the Chevy drivers can barely get a whiff of burnt methanol. And as far as drivers who learned their craft on ovals? Well, there's Sarah Fisher. And, well, there's Sarah Fisher.

4/10/03

Champ Car test for F3000 champion   The FIA International F3000 Championship's primary suppliers Lola, Zytek and Avon have pooled their resources to create a $150,000 prize fund for the 2003 series, including a Champ Car World Series test for the winning driver. Teams will receive an all-new exhaust system for this season, provided by Zytek, which dramatically changes the engine note of the 450bhp V8 engine. Avon tyres have also committed awards, not only for race wins but also pole positions and fastest laps. Teams spokesman Christian Horner commented: "This prize fund generously donated by Lola, Zytek and Avon is a real boost for this years championship. A guaranteed Champ Car test for this year's championship winning driver offers a unique opportunity and coupled with new engine acoustics from Zytek, and performance related support from Avon, provides a real benefit during difficult economic times." Last year's F3000 champion, Sebastien Bourdais, is racing in the Champ Car World Series for the frontrunning Newman/Haas squad.  Autosport..com

4/10/03

Bobbi buys Minardi test ride at $250K per weekend  The Minardi team has stated that  Italian racer Matteo Bobbi will run the PS03 at Imola next week in a four-race weekend test deal worth £159,000 ($250,000) per Friday.

4/10/03

USAF and Walker Racing   Darren Manning’s #15 RAC Walker Racing Champ Car will take on a new look for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, sporting the distinctive United States Air Force winged logo on its sidepods in a tribute to troops defending the United States. “We felt it was fitting to take this opportunity to show our support of the men and women of our armed forces in our first race in the United States since the conflict began,” said team owner Derrick Walker. “The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will be paying respect to the troops in various ways throughout the weekend, and this allows us to enhance those efforts by further recognizing these men and women, the Air Force in particular, for their courageous efforts.” Over 8575 Air Force personnel operate out of three bases in the southern California region surrounding the Long Beach area. “We are truly grateful that Walker Racing is demonstrating their support by promoting the Air Force in one of the series’ largest events, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said Captain Jeff Owen. Darren Manning echoed the team owner’s sentiments. “The skill and courage of all the troops from the many nations that are involved in this conflict, including support from England, is truly amazing,” Manning said. “I admire the sacrifice that these men and women are making. Our thoughts are with the troops for a safe return home.”

4/10/03

McGee optimistic about CART   This AP article has comments from Jim McGee who is generally positive on the future of CART.

4/10/03

F1 tops TV ratings  The new rules must be working.  The Brazilian Grand Prix topped TV ratings in the UK last weekend as the ITV coverage reportedly pulled a peak of 13 million viewers.

4/10/03

Hey NASCAR, show us the proof  This RPM.ESPN.com article talks about NASCAR's call to not give a penalty to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for passing below the yellow line in last Sunday's Talladega race.  This article says NASCAR rules, making them up as they go.

4/10/03

Mario Andretti on F1 now and then  This Autoweek article says, This year marks the silver anniversary of Mario Andretti’s Formula One world championship. In 1978, he became only the second American driver to win the title, Phil Hill being the first. Andretti’s championship is also significant because it came just as the sport was ramping up to engage in the highly sophisticated technological warfare that Max Mosley and the FIA are now trying to abolish. Mosley’s new rules package banning telemetry, radios and other electronic forms of driver assistance would relegate next year’s F1 pilots to cockpit conditions similar to those when Andretti reigned. So we asked Mario, 63, what Grand Prix racing was like a quarter of a century ago and how he feels about the proposed changes?  More.....

4/10/03

Conquest Racing testing news   Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and driver Mario Haberfeld wrapped up to productive days of testing at Arizona Motorsports Park on March 8 and continued West to Long Beach, for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mario was second quick of five cars at the test, just a tenth off the fastest time. “We had two good days, although we a small gearbox issue”, said Mario. “I guess that had to do with the ECU, and was more an annoyance than anything else. But overall, I was very pleased with our progress. We had a chance to work through a large number of options, some of which we’ll be able to use this weekend. The guys worked very hard, and we are developing good communication.” Mario, currently leading the Rookie of the Year standings and sixth overall in driver points, is looking forward to the Long Beach experience. “I understand that the atmosphere and energy is fantastic, and it will be great to be a part of it. But we’re there to achieve a good result, so we’ll be focused on the car and the race.” Mario is also looking forward to next week, when the team will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It will be my first time on an oval”, Mario noted. “That’s what makes the Champ Car Series so challenging. In a single week, we’ll test at a road course in the desert, run a huge event through the streets of Southern California, and then run 200 mph on an oval at Las Vegas. After that, we’ll load up for two weeks in Europe. What an experience!”

4/10/03

WatchTime Magazine signs deal with Conquest  WatchTime Magazine, a leading world-wide magazine devoted to wristwatches and lifestyle, today announced an agreement to become an associate sponsor of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and driver Mario Haberfeld in the 2003 Champ Car World Series. “WatchTime combines a unique blend of European expertise and US editorial coverage to serve the needs of our US readers”, said Wolfgang Blum, President of WatchTime USA. “The Champ Car World Series and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing are a great match for our company. We are aware of the strong connection between the technology in Champ Car and fine watches, and are pleased to associate with this form of upscale motorsport”. Eric Bachelart, President & CEO of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, was pleased to make the announcement with WatchTime. “We plan to show WatchTime that the Champ Car environment is an effective platform to grow their business. Media companies are a great fit for motorsports partnerships, and the WatchTime reader is probably already a Champ Car fan.” WatchTime Magazine is owned by Ebner Verlag, Europe's leading publisher of consumer oriented wristwatch and jewelry magazines.

4/10/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

FIA Probe Into Brazilian Result
Ferrari Prepares For F1 Revival
Minardi Confirm Bobbi For Imola
Jaguar Deny Pizzonia Rumors
McLaren Delay MP4-18 For A Month
Sauber Wraps Up At Monza
Williams Defend Bold New Design
Renault Muscle Way Into Top 3
Fisichella Holds Breath Until Friday
Ralf Forced Onto Williams Bench?
Da Matta Looks For Better Form
Minardi Wait For Fighting Fund
Rain Hampers Paul Ricard Progress
Schu: 'I Knew It Would Be Tough'
Renault Analyzing Fernando's Shunt

4/10/03

28 drivers for 33 Indy 500 slots The entry list for the 2003 Indy 500 is final.  28 drivers are entered for 67 cars.
Former race winners (5): Arie Luyendyk, 2 (1990, 1997); Al Unser Jr., 2 (1992, 1994); Buddy Lazier (1996); Kenny Brack (1999); Helio Castroneves, 2 (2001-02).
Former pole winners (5): Arie Luyendyk, 3 (1993, 1997, 1999); Al Unser Jr. (1994), Billy Boat (1998), Greg Ray (2000), Scott Sharp (2001).
Rookies (9): Scott Dixon, Roger Yasukawa, Dan Wheldon, Scott Mayer, A.J. Foyt IV, Tora Takagi, Vitor Meira, Buddy Rice, Tony Renna.
U.S. born (15): Robbie Buhl, Roger Yasukawa, Scott Sharp, Al Unser Jr., Buddy Lazier, Michael Andretti, Scott Mayer, A.J. Foyt IV, Sam Hornish Jr., Billy Boat, Sarah Fisher, Jaques Lazier, Greg Ray, Buddy Rice, Tony Renna.
Foreign born (13): Scott Dixon, New Zealand; Tomas Scheckter, South Africa; Kenny Brack, Sweden; Tony Kanaan, Brazil; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Dan Wheldon, England; Shigeaki Hattori, Japan; Tora Takagi, Japan; Felipe Giaffone, Brazil; Arie Luyendyk, Holland; Vitor Meira, Brazil; Helio Castroneves, Brazil; Gil de Ferran, Brazil.
Youngest: A.J. Foyt IV, 18.
Oldest: Arie Luyendyk, 49.
Most previous starts: Arie Luyendyk, 17.

4/9/03

Dale Coyne signs Alex Yoong  – We rumored this yesterday.  Malaysia's ex-Formula 1 driver, Alex Yoong, who turned in an impressive debut in Round 2 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Presented By Ford in Monterrey, Mexico two weeks ago, has been confirmed by Dale Coyne Racing for the remainder of the 2003 CART season, beginning with this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California. Yoong just finished his first off-race weekend test with Coyne Racing yesterday at the all-new Arizona Motorsports Park Circuit, west of Phoenix, where he ran 97 trouble-free laps and clocked very respectable times.  "We would like to welcome Alex on board our team once again. He will definitely start the Long Beach race this weekend alongside our regular driver, Joel Camathias," said owner, Dale Coyne. "Alex's solid performances at Monterrey and during our 1-day test have convinced us that, given the opportunity for a full season ride, Alex will show the world his competitive abilities." "Alex is great to work with and he has the talent and potential to be on the podium this year once he learns more about the Champ Cars after getting a late start to this season. We are expecting great things from him this year," added Coyne. The number 11 Lola/Ford/Bridgestone car will be the mount for Alex for the remainder of the season. The team is planning additional testing as the busy summer swing begins. Yoong, meanwhile, is looking forward to the Grand Prix of Long Beach which is reputed to be the biggest Champ Car race of the year in the States as well as being an event steeped in tradition. "I'm very happy to get Dale Coyne Racing's vote of confidence and, naturally, I'm excited about the prospect of doing the whole season, as well as being relieved that this is sorted out. We can now concentrate on the racing," said Yoong, enthusiastically.

4/9/03

Motegi a homecoming for some  Until Hiro Matsushita joined the CART series in 1991, there had never been a Japanese driver in open wheel Indy-type racing. When the green flag is waved for the start of the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on April 13, however, three Japanese natives and an American of Japanese descent will push on the throttle and seek victory.  Japanese fans attending the Indy Racing League IndyCar™ Series’ first visit to their country will have plenty to cheer for, and their names are Shigeaki Hattori, Shinji Nakano, Tora Takagi and Roger Yasukawa. Hattori finished 13th in final 2002 IndyCar Series standings and drives the EPSON Dallara/Toyota/Firestone for four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and team owner A.J. Foyt Jr. Nakano and Takagi are both Formula One veterans and competed in CART in 2002. Nakano is driving the Beard Papa’s/Auto Project Honda Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Beck Motorsports, while Takagi drives the Pioneer Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone for Mo Nunn Racing.

4/9/03

Armed Services to be honored at LBGP  – In recognition of their efforts at home and around the world, representatives of each branch of the nation’s armed services will serve as Grand Marshals for this weekend’s 29th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. “I’m sure that all race attendees this weekend will welcome the opportunity to salute the joint services in recognition of the heroic efforts of our military forces over the past few weeks,” said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.  “Their presence here is a strong reminder of the commitment that has been made by so many in the defense of our country.” The Grand Marshals will give the time-honored command, “Gentlemen, start your engines” to the 19 starters in during pre-race ceremonies for Sunday’s 1 p.m. (PT) Champ Car World Series race. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel.

4/9/03

CART TV replays  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Has anyone noticed that the premier draw for this weekends race at Long Beach will be rebroadcast once the following Thursday but the Toyota Atlantic's will be shown as repeat twice, once Sunday night then later in the week. More unbelievable is that Trans-Am will be rebroadcast (3) times. Am I the village idiot on wondering why Champcars get so little airplay on Speed Channel or are Atlantic's and Trams Am more popular? I guess I shouldn't complain. At least they are being replayed after this race. First one this year to my knowledge. Fill me in if you can. Thanks for the great site, I read it before my morning sports page. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI   Dear Arno, You raise a valid point.  We will try to find out, but assume it's because CART has so few sponsors willing to buy advertising time for the replays.  Mark C.

4/9/03

What will they think of next  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I assume you have seen this IRL/CART jokester.   No, but that Iraq spin-meister had to be the funniest comedian on TV we have seen in years.  Talk about a blatant liar.  We actually think he believed what he was saying.

4/9/03

TMS lawsuit, judge denies NASCAR  Francis Ferko, the Plano resident who is suing NASCAR, received favorable news Tuesday in orders issued by Judge Richard Schell in the U.S. District Court in Sherman. Judge Schell denied NASCAR's request to realign plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He also granted a motion by Speedway Motorsports Inc. to dismiss NASCAR's request to have some disputes of the case handled in a separate judgment. Ferko, a shareholder of SMI, is suing NASCAR over failing to deliver on alleged promise to award Texas Motor Speedway a second Winston Cup date. TMS is one of seven tracks owned by SMI. Ferko also is suing NASCAR over possible federal antitrust violations in the relationship between NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. NASCAR's attorneys filed a motion in December asking the plaintiff in the case be realigned from Ferko to SMI and Bruton Smith, the chairman of SMI. When SMI's attorneys filed documents stating SMI agreed with Ferko's claims, NASCAR's attorneys asked that SMI and Smith be listed as the actual plaintiff. Judge Schell denied that motion. He also granted SMI's cross-claim to dismiss NASCAR's request for a declaratory judgment. Sam Cherry, lead attorney for Ferko, said five attorneys representing three law firms handling the lawsuit attended the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS on March 30. Cherry also said two of their "experts" – an economist and an antitrust specialist – attended.  Dallas Morning News

4/9/03
Industry News

Toyota signs joint venture in China   Toyota Motor, the world's No 3 carmaker, has formed a 50-50 mainland joint venture valued at more than three billion yuan (about HK$2.81 billion) in an attempt to catch up with its global rivals in China. The new venture with First Automotive Works (FAW) will make and market four new models in the world's most populous and fastest-growing car market. Toyota, which has entered China's market far behind other leading global carmakers, is believed to be planning a broader range of products in an effort to make up for lost time. Volkswagen, General Motors and Honda Motor have had established positions in the mainland market for years. Other recent entrants include German luxury carmaker BMW and Hyundai Motor, which have formed separate joint ventures with Chinese partners. Two Hong Kong-listed firms not engaged in car manufacturing have also made initial, separate forays into China by acquiring stakes in smaller domestic car plants. "China is one of the most important markets for Toyota," Toyota president Fujio Cho was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in Tokyo. Mr Cho said Toyota hoped to gain a market share of 10 per cent in China. "We expect the luxury [car] market to continue growing in China, as seen by the European rivals," he said.

4/9/03

Busy weekend ahead for Team Rahal  For the second time this season, and only the second time in Team Rahal's twelve year history, the team will compete in three separate open wheel series on the same weekend. In addition to Danica Patrick's Toyota Atlantic Championship effort, the team will also compete in the Champ Car World Series with Michel Jourdain Jr. at Long Beach. The third Team Rahal program in action this weekend will be Kenny Brack's Pioneer/Miller Lite entry in the IRL's IndyCar Series race in Motegi, Japan. The first time the three programs ran on the same weekend (March 21-23) Team Rahal captured three top-five results, including podiums finishes for Jourdain (2nd) and Patrick (3rd).

4/9/03

Miller Brewing joins Rahal's Atlantics program  Long time Team Rahal partner, Miller Brewing Company, has expanded their involvement with the Team to include Danica Patrick's Toyota Atlantic Championship program. They will make their debut on the #24 Argent Mortgage Company Toyota/Swift this weekend. Miller Brewing Company is the co-primary sponsor of Team Rahal's program with Kenny Brack in the IRL's IndyCar Series. Miller was the first sponsor of Rahal/Hogan Racing, the predecessor to Team Rahal.

4/9/03

Martinsville tidbits  Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) is the leader in Martinsville victories among active drivers, with six. That victory total is tied (with Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough) for third all-time behind Richard Petty (15) and Darrell Waltrip (11). Wallace was the last driver to win both Martinsville races in the same year, doing so in 1994. … Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) and Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) have three victories apiece at Martinsville. … Ricky Craven (No. 32 Tide Pontiac) has two career NASCAR Winston Cup victories; the first came at Martinsville’s 2001 autumn event. In the five Martinsville races since October 2000, Craven is the only driver who has led at least one lap in each. … Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) has had top-10 finishes in his last eight Martinsville events, including a victory in April 2001. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the only driver last year to have top-five runs in both Martinsville races. … Jeff Burton (No. 99 CITGO Ford) has posted nine top-10 finishes, including one victory, in his last 11 races at Martinsville.

4/9/03

Changes for #88 team  Robert Yates Racing has announced changes to the management structure of the No. 88 UPS Ford team (Dale Jarrett driving). Brad Parrott has been released from crew chief duties and Competition Director Todd Parrott has taken an indefinite leave of absence. Jarrett has posted only two top-10 finishes so far this season. The team will be under the temporary leadership of Garth Finley and Richard Buck this weekend at Martinsville, according to RYR.

4/9/03

Cheever to miss Indy 500  Eddie Cheever Jr. will not drive in the Indianapolis 500 this May in order to focus on management of Red Bull Cheever Racing and other business interests. The decision ends a 13-year streak at the famous race, which Cheever won in 1998. "I'm calling this a self-imposed sabbatical," Cheever said. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do in the future. All I know right now is that I have too much going on. I haven't been able to spend any time preparing to race at Indy." Red Bull Cheever Racing has entered the No. 52 Chevrolet/Dallara to be driven by Buddy Rice. Also entered in the Indy 500 field is the No. 51 usually driven by Cheever. However, Cheever said he isn't sure who - if anyone - will drive the car at Indianapolis. This season Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Buddy Rice finished 16th in the IRL IndyCar Series opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished ninth last month at Phoenix International Raceway. The team will compete this weekend at the Japan Indy 300 at Twin Ring Motegi. Cheever said he will miss racing at Indianapolis, but will continue to direct the team's efforts during the month of May. After planning to run a limited number of races this season, including the Indy 500, Cheever isn't sure about when he will return to the driver's seat. "I'm not certain about the future," he said. "Right now I'm just concentrating on running the team and on the acquisition of TWR Engines. I'm honestly not sure about what I'll do as a driver in the future."

4/9/03

Good news for CART in Surfers  With a new naming rights sponsor in Lexmark, a new event logo and a host of new Champ Car teams and drivers, a fresh new brand image and television commercial was launched today in Australia marking the future of the Lexmark Indy 300 – Round 17 of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. “Indy Fever – Catch the Heatwaves” is the tagline that will become synonymous with the Lexmark Indy 300, heralding a new chapter in the success of the annual Gold Coast showpiece in Surfers Paradise, Queensland held October 23-26. “We have created a new brand image for the 2003 event– one that encapsulates excitement, entertainment, the beauty of Queensland and the Gold Coast, a carnival atmosphere and the feature doubleheader of the Champ Cars and V8 Supercars,” said Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James Ashworth. The new imagery for the Lexmark Indy 300 will be featured in a national print media campaign and all promotional material leading up to the races. Current points leader of the Champ Car World Series and 1995 Australia winner Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing was announced as International Ambassador for this year’s Lexmark Indy 300. The explosive Canadian has started the Champ Car World Series in rare form, winning the first two rounds in St Petersburg, Florida and Monterrey, Mexico. He was a winner on the Gold Coast in 1995 and will be one of the favorites when the series returns for the Lexmark Indy 300 this season. “It’s great to be named International Ambassador for the Lexmark Indy 300. It’s a terrific race and a race I’ve always enjoyed coming down to,” said Tracy. “There have been 12 different winners and to be the first to win the Lexmark Indy 300 for a second time would be fantastic.” Ashworth said he was delighted that Paul Tracy accepted the invitation to be International Ambassador for 2003. “Paul has been a foundation for Champ Car racing since starting his career in 1991 and has always been a strong advocate for the Gold Coast round of the series,” said Ashworth. A tremendous demand for tickets to the Lexmark Indy 300 has organizers confident of surpassing 300,000 spectators for 2003. Queensland’s premier event in the tourism capital of the Gold Coast has developed into an Australian social and sporting icon and grown into one of the world’s leading motorsport spectacles. Early indicators point toward a record crowd in excess of 300,000 over the four days. “The event has grown every year since 1995 and attendance would have reached 300,000 last year if the weather was kinder,” said Ashworth. “When the Lexmark Indy 300 surpasses 300,000, it will have doubled the attendance from the inaugural year in 1991, again highlighting the event’s growth.” “The phone has already been ringing off the hook from people wanting ticketing details for this year.”

4/9/03

Microsoft No Limits college tour features Champ Cars  The high-tech racing machines of the Champ Car World Series have long been admired for their use of cutting-edge technology, infusing science and speed to propel drivers around race circuits at well over 200mph. But the witches’ brew that gets these cars from start to finish in the blink of eye needs to be stirred by accomplished engineers, as advances in aerodynamics, power, weight and space-age materials have made the people behind the computers some of the most important people in the paddock. The Microsoft Corporation has been long driven by its passion to deliver cutting-edge technology, enabling success not only for racing, but also for businesses and homes across the globe. Therefore it was only natural that Microsoft feature Champ Car racing in its rolling college exhibit, showcasing how .NET technologies are empowering the next generation of race engineers to push the limits of speed. The students will get this glimpse at the new technologies with the formation of the Microsoft No Limits Tour, which will cover more than 25 West Coast universities during April and May.  “We are pleased to be able to play a role in the Microsoft ‘No Limits’ Tour,” said Champ Car Vice-President of Marketing Steve Fusek. “Champ Car fans have long been among the early adopters of the latest technologies and Microsoft has always been leading the way in providing the latest innovations to the world, so the chance to have Champ Car and Microsoft together is something that we are excited about.” The traveling display will highlight the latest Microsoft technology, and illustrate how those innovations are used in the world of Champ Car racing. The display will feature the cars and drivers of American Spirit Team Johansson, one of the rookie teams on the circuit with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The exhibit features a race replay of the season-opening event from St. Petersburg, with Microsoft applications showing the entire wealth of telemetry available to team engineers. The new Microsoft applications are synched up with the race replay to show the data stream in real time, enabling students to study how the data is used to help the performance of the car. Newly-developed Microsoft code will be also used in a leaderboard display that is also synched with the race replay. A Driving Tester will give students an overhead view from the rear wing of Vasser’s car, and let them turn a couple of laps along with the 1996 series champion, with the Microsoft application showing how the student’s driving compared to the American Sprit driver. There will be hands-on displays for the students that will include Tablet and Pocket PCs, Smartphones, Pi Research sensors, Sigma steering wheels and driver suits from Hunter-Reay and Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick. Students can enter a programming competition based on a data stream from the car’s telemetry with the winning entries earning a trip to the August 31 Grand Prix of Denver. There will also be daily giveaways for the new Microsoft Xbox gaming console. The tour begins at the University of Arizona on April 7 before moving to this week’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The tour covers the West Coast during April and May, ending May 29 in the Los Angeles area.

4/9/03

Foyt withdraws from Martinsville  In an effort to catch up on building up resources and test for upcoming events, the #14 Foyt/Harrah's Racing team has withdrawn its entry for this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway. "It was a very tough decision to not go to Martinsville this weekend, but we think it's the best choice for us right now," said Larry Foyt, driver of the #14 Foyt/Harrah's Racing Dodge. "We got such a slow start at the beginning of the year and this will give us a chance to catch up, build up our resources and actually test, something we haven't been able to do since the season started." The team plans on doing a two-day test next week at Richmond International Raceway.

4/9/03

Crew Chief fined $10,000  NASCAR officials announced today that Pat Tryson, crew chief for the No. 21 Ford that competes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, has been fined $10,000 for rule violations on April 5 during practice for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (held April 6). The No. 21, driven by Ricky Rudd, was in violation of Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-W (improperly attached weight). As the No. 21 was preparing to go onto the race track, the improperly attached weight fell off the car. No word yet on NASCAR’s investigation on why the tether on Ryan Newman’s tire failed.

4/9/03

Tracy "I was robbed of Indy 500 win  Questions from yesterday's CART media teleconference - . Speaking of the Indy 500, you're removed now from what happened last year. Your thoughts on what happened last year, have you put it behind you or is it still a sore spot?  PAUL TRACY: Well, I don't think it's -- it's something that I don't really think about from day-to-day. But, you know, I still feel and know that based on the evidence that is there at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in their film department, I know that I won the race. It's really politics that have dictated the outcome of the race. There's really nothing I can do about it. That's just the way it is and I move on and concentrate on my new team and what I have to do.  Q. Would you go back to race in the Indy 500?  PAUL TRACY: No I don't think so. My focus is to do a good job for Players and Jerry Forsythe, and their focus is on CART. So that's what they pay me to do and that's what I want to do.

4/9/03

Spencer/Busch feud continues  Jimmy Spencer was recently asked whether Kurt Busch has an attitude problem: "I don't talk to Kurt. I don't get along with Kurt. I think he has a lot of problems mentally that Jack Roush is working on, so to me, I think Kurt Busch is a heck of a competitor and a great racer. He does have a lot of problems, and I think NASCAR has talked to him, and I think Jack is talking to him. Once he gets to the level of getting that all straightened out personally, I think he's going to be a lot better competitor than he is now. To me, the drivers I talk to, he's cocky, he doesn't respect them. He's got a lot of things he needs to address himself personally. He's no Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Jeff Burton or Mark Martin. He's no Matt Kenseth. You can win races and contend for the championship and not have that attitude he has. That attitude he has will be a major player in him not becoming a Winston Cup champion until he learns to get along with his fellow competitors and not have that chip on his shoulder. I learned a long time ago that you don't realize when you've got people mad at you, you can't be successful because there's always somebody in that woodpile that's going to grab you and knock you down to earth. He had a confrontation with Tony Stewart again Sunday. I watched it on TV. I think he'll learn eventually how to handle himself. "

4/9/03

Fisi mat be awarded Brazilian GP win  Stop the presses!  Giancarlo Fisichella could be declared the winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The FIA, the governing body of motorsport, has summoned the stewards of last weekend's chaotic race to its headquarters in Paris on Friday after receiving evidence which suggests that Fisichella had started his 56th lap before the race was stopped. This is contrary to the information supplied by the race time-keepers. If the evidence proves correct then the race classification would stand from the end of the 54th lap when the Jordan driver was leading. The result at the moment is classified at 53 completed laps with Kimi Raikkonen regarded the winner. An FIA press release this morning stated that in accordance with Article 179(b) of the International Sporting Code, the stewards of the Brazilian GP will re-convene on Friday 11 April at 11.00am to review the results of the event. All competitors who might be affected by the outcome of the meeting have also been invited to attend. This could include those who crashed, thus bringing out the red flags.

4/9/03

Kimi should not have received full points  In what could make a difference at the end of the year, Ferrari World champion Michael Schumacher said in a television interview on Tuesday that Kimi Raikkonen should not have received the full 10 points as winner of the chaotic Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix last Sunday.  Schumacher said that the world governing body FIA did not act upon its rules which say that full points can only be given in a stopped race if more than 75 per cent of the distance are completed. The race was stopped during the 55th of 71 scheduled laps because of a series of crashes, but the final results were - according to FIA rules - based on the listing after 53 laps. "One gets full points if three quarters of the distance is completed - which would be 54 laps - 55 laps were raced but two are deducted. Based on this Raikkonen was declared the winner," Schumacher told Germany's RTL television. A result after 54 laps would have 76 per cent of the race, but 53 only 74 per cent.

4/9/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

No Date For New McLaren Debut
New-Car Action At Mugello And Ricard
Schu Questions McLaren Victory
Sato Applauds Old Jordan Team
Alonso Vows To Race At Imola
Bernie Calls For Quali Lottery
Jordan Praise For Strategy Guru
Michael Slams FIA Inconsistency
Burti Pans Substandard Interlagos
Bobbi To Drive Minardi At Imola
FIA Considers One-Wet-Tire Storm
More McLaren Praise For Fisichella
Sauber Team Hits Monza Slopes
Schu Pins Hopes On New Ferrari
Alonso: I Knew The Safety Car Was Out

4/9/03

Alex Yoong testing update  UPDATE Drivers testing included Michel Jourdain Jr., Tiago Monteiro, Mario Haberfeld, Joel Camathias, Alex Yoong, Fernandez and Carpentier. Yoong is awaiting confirmation (expected soon) that he will race in this weekend's race at Long Beach, California which is round 3 of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series (see rumors page). 4/8/03 - AR1 just got off the telephone with Alex Yoong.  He just completed one full day of testing at the Arizona Motorsports Park 16-turn road course (pictured right) just west of Phoenix with Dale Coyne Racing.  He completed 97 laps on the 2.25 mile circuit with a best lap of 1:14.2, about one second off the fast lap turned by both Adrian Fernandez and Patrick Carpentier, both of whom tested for two full days.  "The new track has a lot of grip and is very smooth.  Compared to Monterrey, Mexico, which was so slippery, this track really allowed these cars to shine, it was great fun," stated Yoong.  Mark C.

4/8/03

Zonta fastest at Paul Ricard Tuesday 

Place Driver Team Time laps
1 R. Zonta Toyota 1.08.277 -
2 R. Schumacher Williams 1.08.454 81
3 M. Gené Williams 1.09.209 53

4/8/03

Fernandez quick in testing  Fernandez Racing wrapped up a successful two-day test this afternoon at Arizona Motorsports Park with Adrian Fernandez and Team Player’s Patrick Carpentier recording the fastest unofficial time around the 2.23-mile, 16-turn road course located in Litchfield Park, Arizona. The test marked the first time that Champ Cars have run at the facility, and both Fernandez and Team Manager Gustavo del Campo had high praises for the new race track, which was designed by Alan Wilson and opened its doors on March 7 of this year. Fernandez tallied 172 trouble-free laps during the outing, recording a best lap time of 72.3 seconds this afternoon and shaving eight-tenths off his best time of 73.1 seconds which was the quickest yesterday. A total of seven Champ Car drivers participated in the test, including Michel Jourdain Jr., Tiago Monteiro, Mario Haberfeld, Joel Camathias, Alex Yoong and Carpentier. The team will head to Long Beach, California, tomorrow [April 9] to prepare for this weekend’s race – the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Round Three of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Fernandez Racing will hit the testing trail again immediately following the Long Beach event with a two-day test scheduled at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon, beginning April 15. "It was a very good day. We did a lot of laps, made a lot of good changes and I’m feeling pretty happy. I’m looking forward to this weekend. I think we are going to be strong. This was by far the best test we have had in a long time. The whole team performed tremendously well. We did all the changes we wanted to do, ran all the miles we wanted and we were fast and competitive. This track is beautiful. They did a great job here.”  Mark C.

4/8/03

McLaren to test new car  McLaren will shake down the new MP4-18 at Paul Ricard this week in a closed test.  As yet, no decision has been made about when it will make its competitive debut. Alex Wurz is expected to be on driving duties. The 2003 car is understood to have something very radical on it. It is not impossible that the car will run at the San Marino Grand Prix next time out but managing director Martin Whitmarsh has always maintained that it will be introduced only when it represents an "improved package" in terms of both performance and reliability.

4/8/03

See Aryton Senna's last full year on SPEED  As part of SPEED Channel's new F1 programming contract, the network will air a series of one-hour films highlighting each race of the 1993 Formula One season. The specials will debut May 11 at 9 p.m. ET and will be shown chronologically on selected non-F1 Sundays for the remainder of the year. The first race in the series will highlight the great battle between F1 legends Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna for the win at Kyalami. Also included in the 1993 collection, the Australian Grand Prix features Senna's 41st and final victory in his last race with McLaren.
South Africa (May 11, 9 p.m. ET)
Brazilian Grand Prix (May 25, 9 p.m. ET)
Grand Prix of Europe (June 22, 9 p.m.)
San Marino Grand Prix (July 13, 9 p.m. ET)
Spanish Grand Prix (Aug. 10, 9 p.m. ET)
Monaco Grand Prix (Aug. 17, 9 p.m. ET)
Canadian Grand Prix (Aug. 31, 9 p.m. ET)
French Grand Prix (Sept. 7, 9 p.m. ET)
British Grand Prix (Oct. 5, 9 p.m. ET)
German Grand Prix (Oct. 26, 9 p.m. ET)
Hungarian Grand Prix (Nov. 9, 9 p.m. ET)
Belgium Grand Prix (Nov. 16, 9 p.m.)
Italian Grand Prix (Nov. 23, 8 p.m. ET)
Portugal (Nov. 30, 8 p.m. ET)
Japanese Grand Prix (Dec. 7, 8 p.m. ET)
Australian Grand Prix (Dec. 14, 8 p.m. ET)

4/8/03

Players team testing update  A two-day testing session at the Arizona Motorsports Park road course just west of Phoenix left Team Player’s driver Patrick Carpentier impressed with the track and the productive outcome of running laps on the new 2.25-mile road-course layout. “It’s one of the smoothest tracks that I’ve ever run on,” said Carpentier, who shared the facilities with a half-dozen other Champ Car World Series drivers and clocked fast laps in the 1 minute, 13.27-second range, the quickest along with Adrian Fernandez. “The smoothness of the track might not simulate the facilities at Long Beach for our next race, but the testing sessions we had over the last two days will help us on other tracks that we’ll be racing on during the season.” Carpentier put in about 65 laps each day, returning to the pits frequently so that the Team Player’s crew could work on such aspects as aerodynamics and brake-related components. Team Player’s took possession of a brand new Lola for the session and conducted a shakedown of the car during testing. The new Lola will likely be used as the backup car for the race in Long Beach this Sunday. “Monday was a really good day of testing,” remarked Carpentier, who was on the track for the first time since March 23 in Mexico, site of the second race of the season in the Champ Car World Series. Carpentier was ill with a viral infection for most of that weekend, but he has since fully recovered. “It had been a while since we’d had a totally problem-free day of testing, so that was a lot of fun. Also, it was good to have the engineering crews of both cars (Carpentier’s and his teammate Paul Tracy) at the same session. The more brainpower you have, the more things you can find with the car, and that might help to give us an edge on race weekend.” Carpentier, who has a pair of eighth-place finishes in the first two races of the season, for eighth place in the drivers’ standings, said he is getting more accustomed to the Lola chassis – Team Player’s used the Reynard chassis prior to this season – with every lap that he runs. “That’s another reason why this type of testing session is so beneficial – the more laps you’re able to put in with this Lola chassis, the more routine it becomes, so that there is a natural feel to the car,” added Carpentier. “It adds to my confidence for the race in Long Beach, where I believe Team Player’s can really do well.” Carpentier ‘s teammate Paul Tracy, who will be testing on the Portland road course on April 15-16 while he tests on the Homestead Oval April 16-17, is heading to Long Beach this weekend on the strength of victories in the first two races of the season. Team Player’s is seeking to make it three straight wins for the first time in its history.

4/8/03

CART weekly teleconference  This weeks guests were CART point leader Paul Tracy and AJ Allmendinger  Transcript

4/8/03
MotoGP

Japanese rider fights for his life   UPDATE There has been a slight improvement in the state of Daijiro Kato over the last few hours, according to his close friend and fellow MotoGP rider Makoto Tamada. Kato is in a critical condition after suffering serious injuries to his head, neck and chest, but Tamada this morning told motograndprix.com that his heart rate is stronger after 48 hours in the intensive care unit of the Mie Medical Center in Yokkaaichi. The hospital have not made any official statement and are unlikely to do so unless there is a major change in Kato´s condition. `I still can´t believe it,´ said Tamada. `I don´t know how to take in what has happened to Daijiro. I can only pray that he recovers and I am at the temple right now. I went straight from the circuit to the hospital after the race. Yesterday his blood pressure, which had been low, recovered. Even though he has survived the most important stage after the accident, the doctor says he is still in grave danger. It is difficult to predict the future of the situation´.   4/7/03 - Japanese motorcyclist Daijiro Kato was fighting for his life after crashing Sunday during the season-opening Grand Prix of Japan. The 26-year-old rider sustained serious head, neck and chest injuries and was in critical condition, race officials said. He was in a coma when flown to the hospital by helicopter. The first news from the medical team on the track was that Kato's heart had stopped and he was unconscious, race medical director Claudio Macchiagodena said. "Only fast action in the ambulance to resuscitate his heart gave him the chance to fight for his life," Macchiagodena said. Kato, a former 250cc world champion, hit the wall with his Honda. The 3.6-mile Suzuka track is considered one of the most dangerous in Grand Prix motorcycling.  AP Story

4/8/03

CART announces deal with Montreal firm  Officials from Champ Car announced today that they have entered a partnership with World Audio Visual Entertainment Systems (W.A.V.E.S.), making the Montreal-headquartered hi-tech company the “Official Interactive Video and Audio Viewing System Provider” with its breakthrough television broadcasting device Kangaroo. Following an impressive preview showing during last October’s Grand Prix Americas in Miami, Florida, WAVES is launching its Kangaroo.tv service this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Kangaroo is a totally-new wireless interactive entertainment medium that will create a unique experience to on-site spectators at events on the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule. The user-friendly spectator device offers access to a broad range of video and audio material, unavailable before, as well as live, real-time content. Whether from a seat in the stands or from any other point on the site, the race fan will choose from a number of different views of the event on the wireless, lightweight and battery-powered device. “This relationship is a perfect marriage of racing and technology and we are pleased to offer Champ Car fans the unique interactive service that Kangaroo provides,” said Champ Car Vice President of Marketing Steve Fusek. “This is truly a breakthrough in engaging spectators in our form of racing and we look forward to working with WAVES in the development of Kangaroo.” The Kangaroo production unit will broadcast event-specific content to the onsite spectator, who will choose their favorite views of the race, have access to on-board or pit cameras, as well as real-time driver standings, replays and interviews. In addition to unique live audiovisuals, Kangaroo will provide access to rich interactive content including the event program in electronic format, wide-ranging information on drivers, teams, rules and regulations, event results, and landmarks, as well as points of interest of the host city, a site map, a list of exhibitors, access routes and event scheduling. “Kangaroo represents a totally new paradigm to the on-site audience attending sporting events,” said WAVES Vice President of Corporate Development Alain Charette. “Kangaroo will bring Champ Car fans the added value of being a lot closer to the action yet empowering them to fully control their viewing experience.” Beginning in Long Beach this weekend, Kangaroo will provide Champ Car fans with the added value of being closer to the action than ever before. As the 2003 Champ Car World Series season progresses, several thousand units will be available through a broad range of rental packages. The Kangaroo.tv service will be available to Champ Car fans at all but the two European races, and at all venues the following years. For more information call (514) 990-0807 or visit Kangaroo.tv.

4/8/03

CART and F1 may need each other  CART board member Derrick Walker was quoted by Autoweek - There’s still nothing official regarding a link-up between CART and F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone, but the subterranean rumblings continue unabated. "Nothing has been brought to the board for discussion,” said Walker. Best guess is that Ecclestone and Gerald Forsythe will acquire enough CART stock to gain control of the company and take it private again." “It’s clear we have a lot in common from a global sports-business perspective, and it may be a necessity for them [F1] as much as us,” said Walker. “F1 has some serious issues of cost and manufacturer participation it needs to address. There was a time at CART’s peak when it was seen as a potential rival for F1. In today’s world the two may need each other.”

4/8/03

Pete Lyons award at LB  Officials from Historic Grand Prix, Inc., whose 27 authentic and original Formula One cars will race at this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, announced that the Pete Lyons Cup will be awarded to the car that best evokes the memories and captures the spirit of the 1976-1983 F1 era at Long Beach. The trophy is named for the veteran and highly respected journalist who covered the original F1 races around the globe for Autosport, AutoWeek and Formula/Racecar magazines. Lyons is still a regular contributor to AutoWeek, and his monthly column, "Fast Lines," appears in Vintage Racecar Journal. "These are wonderful cars from a great time,” said Lyons, who will also serve as one of the PA announcers for the Historic Grand Prix event, along with Casey Annis of Vintage Racecar Journal. “I used to love watching them snap and snarl around the racetrack, and I'm excited that Historic Grand Prix is giving us a chance to see them in action again. One of these teams is going to take me right back." The Pete Lyons Cup is a replica of the Revere Silver Bowl presented to the winner of the U.S. Grand Prix from 1961-1980. Lyons will award it to the owner of the car which he feels best recreates the feelings he used to have watching many of these very cars race at Long Beach. The Historic Grand Prix, one of five racing events taking place at the 2003 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will take place at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 13. The 27 vintage Formula One cars will qualify on Saturday, April 12, at 3:45 p.m.

4/8/03

Rubens ran out of fuel in Brazil  Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari team initially blamed a 'fuel feed' problem, but his boss Jean Todt now elaborates that the failure also had something to do with failed telemetry and not getting enough fuel in during the pitstop. In other words, Barrichello's potentially race-winning car ran out of fuel.

4/8/03

Road America counter sues CART Even as Mario Andretti tries to work out a deal to reinstate this years Champ Car race at Road America, the track filed this countersuit against CART yesterday.  It appears no one really wants this race to happen.  Here is the original CART lawsuit.

4/8/03

CART and Road America talking again  The 21-year relationship between Road America and CART, which ended abruptly last month, may be reconciled. Cheryl Barnes, the racetrack’s communications director, said Monday night that driving legend Mario Andretti, a CART Board member, and George Bruggenthies, Road America’s president and general manager, were in discussions to bring the open-wheel racing series back to Elkhart Lake. “George has been negotiating with Mario, who was working on behalf of the sanctioning body, on a deal for 2003 and beyond,” Barnes said. Barnes said negotiations between Bruggenthies and Andretti, a three-time CART race-winner at Road America, continued through Monday evening. When asked about the chances of an agreement, Barnes said: “We remain CART fans and remain hopeful that we’re able to come to a successful conclusion to our negotiations.”  More...

4/8/03

New Hampshire upgrades  Since the engines stopped roaring at New Hampshire International Speedway last fall, the staff at the Magic Mile has kept its nose to the grind stone. "There’s no offseason for our staff," said Ron Meade, NHIS’s director of new projects. "We’ve been really busy as you can imagine preparing for the racing season. We have in effect two Super Bowls to go along with a full schedule of amateur racing and our basic staff is 22 people." As the New England racing season approaches don’t expect things to let down in Loudon anytime soon. Things are starting to come into full swing once again as the Magic Mile begins its repaving process in the corners of the 1.058-mile oval. "Our original schedule was to do it some time in April," Meade said about repaving the corners, "and our basic intent was to repave the corners. I understand we’re going to get more snow. This time of year in New England is unpredictable, so we’re going to have to see how it goes." Here’s a quick history lesson about the past makeovers the NHIS racing surface has endured in recent history. NHIS widened the lower turn areas between turns 1 and 2 and between turns 3 and 4 in March 2002 to create a second groove that would make for safer, more exciting racing. Then in June cracks were found on the Magic Mile surface and NHIS owner Bob Bahre was forced to fix the problems with just three weeks for the surface to cure before the first Winston Cup race. Some said there was not enough time before the heavy Winston Cup cars came to town. During the Winston Cup race in July marbles built up in turns 3 and 4. Several drivers blamed the marbles for causing most of the 14 caution flags to fly. The Magic Mile isn’t getting a full blown facelift this year. It will be just getting some minor cosmetic surgery. "I don’t see paving as a safety issue," Meade said. "The Bahres always put safety to the forefront, but again this isn’t really a safety issue. It’s one of those things that has to be done." Completing the repaving process early in the spring will probably give the asphalt plenty of time to cure, but people will probably find something to complain about. So don’t automatically expect a ringing endorsement from the naysayers just yet.  Fosters Online

4/8/03
Industry News

More cuts for struggling Ford and GM   Detroit- Ford Motor Co. is intensifying efforts to slash its $30 billion budget for costs not directly related to vehicles, and General Motors Corp. is digging deeper to reduce expenses as the world's two largest automakers adjust to sluggish sales and rising competition. GM has asked departments to eliminate nonessential travel and, in some cases, to trim budgets more than what was expected at the start of the year, spokeswoman Toni Simonetti said. At No. 2 Ford, the automaker is working to reduce its nonproduct expenses - in marketing, sales and service and information technology, for example - by as much as 20 percent over the next two years.  AP Story

4/8/03

Trans-Am to honor warriors  The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup race, scheduled for April 13 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, will pay homage to America’s military forces. The Series will request every car entered in the race to carry decals representing America’s five military branches—Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. Also, a moment of silence will be observed during pre-race ceremonies to honor those who have died in defense of America. “We are privileged to honor our fighting men and women deployed at home and abroad,” said Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. “With the events taking place throughout the world, we thought it was only fitting to show our appreciation for our military. It is through the great sacrifice of our troops that we enjoy the freedom we have in this country today.”

4/8/03

Schumacher will race on  A glass of wine for Michael Schumacher at the end of a race that had gone badly and then a chat with the race doctor, Sid Watkins, on the condition of Fernando Alonso. After this it was off to the airport as fast as possible for the long journey home. The third race in this championship will not remain long in Michael's memory. He had not had to retire since Hockenheim 2001, a long time ago. And as the other Ferrari driver, Rubens Barrichello, could not finish the race either (on his home circuit), the atmosphere in the pits was not too festive. "It really is an extreme let down." Michael commented before his departure. "That goes for both of us. We could both have won the race; we are convinced of that. I feel really sorry for Rubens; the same thing happened to him last year too. I don't know, but it seems that his home races always go badly." To many observers, this year is not going well for Ferrari; Michael, though, puts this in perspective: "We shouldn't dwell on it too much. After only three races there is still a long way to go. There are still thirteen races left and anything is possible. Clearly, things haven't gone well for us until now, but in my opinion, the gap between McLaren and us is not that big. We would be ill advised to start panicking now." "The fact that Kimi Raikkonen won the Brazilian Grand Prix is obviously worse for us than it would have been had Giancarlo Fisichella won but things are not so bad. I see things in quite an objective way: for me this season was always going to be more difficult than last and I again want to underline that this is something that we have always pointed out. I don't want to make excuses; I want only to state that for me it was clear that we would have had to battle all the way. And battle we will; I don't have a problem with that." It is a good thing given recent events that both Michael and Rubens will be out testing the new single-seater to the max at Mugello this week. It is true that the 'old' car is still competitive but the new F2003-GA has proved to be even quicker. "When the new car is ready we will use it," said Michael, "even if it would not have changed the result at Interlagos. I am looking forward to working this week because it really is fun driving and developing the F2003-GA." First though, Michael will be stopping by the Fiat stand and the Lipsia motor show. Ferrari

4/8/03

Todt contemplates lost opportunity  A dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix saw both Ferraris retire at Interlagos on Sunday in a race of attrition in conditions that were at time atrocious. As far as Ferrari's team principal Jean Todt was concerned, it was tough day both on and off the track, which saw part of Ferrari's tactics nullified. Todt pointed out that "today, clearly, we were the quickest on the track, but unfortunately the final result was zero points." But he was also philosophical. "As I said in Malaysia it's a tough game. We just have to accept that and move forwards. I think on one side it's easier to be a good player when you have the right package. I think it's probably more frustrating when you're three seconds and you wonder how you are going to get it back. But saying that, we love our job, we are motivated but we love winning. Today we lost a good opportunity." Perhaps the most disappointing aspect was that Rubens Barrichello was leading when his engine suddenly cut out. "He had a fuel system problem," explained Todt. "We lost the telemetry right from the beginning and then we had some misfiring with the engine. Then it came back again but we didn't have the thing completely under control. Our data was OK, but we weren't aware about what was exactly the fuel problem in the system and we still don't know yet. We're going to analyze it when we are back at the factory." Todt was very disappointed that other teams were allowed to change front and rear wing settings for wet conditions prior to the race, as Michael Schumacher had taken a gamble with his wing settings which affected his qualifying performance. It was just one aspect of the new rules that upset Todt. "Yesterday Michael knew that he was taking a chance," said Todt, "taking into account the weather prediction and clearly, on one side, I feel that some competitors did change the engine for good reasons, because they had evidence and it's clear on that. Some may be happy, but that was something completely against the new rules." However, after all the accidents in the race, Todt admitted that the new rules, which allowed only one wet tyre, had to be revised. "I simply feel that we should go back to last year's rules where the teams were allowed to have two wet tyre specifications. To be condemned to use only one wet tyre is not good but it was voted -- not unanimously as some people said -- but it was voted through the Formula One Commission which I feel was a big mistake. We were completely against that. Unfortunately the tendency was in favour of one specification of tyre and I think we saw the problems with that today." Todt admitted that it will be important to bounce back at Imola. "Is it important, but you know it was important here, more particularly when we know that our main competitor so far is scoring a lot of points." Todt wouldn't confirm that Ferrari will be using two of the new F2003-GAs at Imola, but said "hopefully we will have two. Normally we will have two unless the testing next week (at Mugello and Fiorano) goes completely against what we feel. It's not yet sure." Ferrari

4/8/03

IRL on Everybody Loves Raymond  UPDATE The sign has been hanging in the kids room for a few years. The funny thing is Everybody loves Raymond is produced by Worldwide Pants, David Letterman's production company.  Letterman is of course a CART and IRL team owner with Bobby Rahal.  4/7/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, On tonight's episode of Everyone Loves Raymond in one of the scenes the background had a clear shot of a IRL poster that read Fans only. Did you notice it? Who's pocket in Hollywood is Tony in? And on CBS!!! What's up with that??? Sam Mancuso, Florida  Dear Sam,  It has been there awhile.  This came from the IRL's association with CAA, the huge entertainment agency that the IRL had contracted to help them extend their presents in "Hollywood"....Unless something else happened that I never heard about...I think this poster and what ever that guys name was that drove the 500 pace car last year (some soap opera actor) were the only things that ever grew out of this "forward thinking-high expectation" experiment.  Mark C.

4/8/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Final Word From Interlagos Paddock 1
Local Racer Sad, Confused And Sorry
DC Slams Controversial Count-Back
Ferrari Look To End Drought
Bruised Alonso Heads For Home
Out Of Gas For Unlucky Rubens
All Is Not Lost, Says Ferrari Boss
Schu To Check F2003-GA At Mugello
Michelin Defend One-Tire Rule
Fernando's Fine, Says Renault Boss
Brazil Win To Alter MP4-18 Debut?
Unlucky Rubens Vows To Win At Home
Bahrain Forms Board Of Directors
GPWC Piles Pressure On Formula One
Final Word From Interlagos Paddock 2
Wet Tire Debate Boils On
Cheated, Angry And Fuming
Schu Primed For New Ferrari Car

4/8/03

Franchitti breaks back, to miss Motegi  Andretti Green Racing’s Dario Franchitti will be unable to compete in the Indy Racing League event at Twin Ring Motegi on April 11-13 as the result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last week. Dan Wheldon will replace Franchitti in the #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara-Honda at Twin Ring Motegi. Franchitti’s injury consists of a slight fracture of the L1 vertebra. Dario, who makes his home in Nashville but was born and raised near Edinburgh, Scotland, was visiting his family en route to Japan and was riding his MV Agusta motorcycle at the time of the accident. “The motorcycle had a mechanical problem,” said Franchitti. “I tried to slow down but, of course, that was a bit difficult under the circumstances and I wound-up crashing through a hedge and landing on my back.” Franchitti was taken by ambulance to St. John’s Hospital in Edinburgh for treatment and x-rays, and spent Friday night in the hospital. Subsequently, an MRI was conducted at Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow which revealed what Colin C. Mainds, F.R.C.S. termed “an anterior stable compression fracture of the L1” vertebra with “no posterior injury or canal compromise.” “This is the first time in 19 years of racing that I’ve missed an event due to injury,” says Franchitti, “and I’m terribly disappointed to miss the Twin Ring Motegi race. I’ve always enjoyed racing at Twin Ring Motegi. It’s a sensational race track and a world class facility, and my Japanese fans have always been very supportive, dating back to the days when I raced touring cars there.

4/7/03

NASCAR turns cheek because it's Earnhardt  This That'sRacin.com article says the post-race controversy over NASCAR's call - more precisely, its no call - overshadowed everything else, including a 27-car wreck on Lap 4 and 42 other lead changes in an intensely competitive race. Earnhardt Jr. was trying to run down Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth on the backstretch on Lap 185 when, as they approached Turn 2, Earnhardt Jr. said he saw Johnson and Kenseth drift to the outside. "There was about two and a half lanes of race track underneath them on the outside of the yellow line," Earnhardt Jr. said of the line used only here and at Daytona to mark the inside edge of the allowable area for racing. Cars that go below that line, in NASCAR's judgment, and advance their position can be black-flagged and penalized.  But it was Earnhardt, so NASCAR turns the other cheek, some speculate to grow him into a super hero replacement of his father.  What do you think?

4/7/03

F1 Podium a joke  A reader writes, Dear AR1, In probably the biggest joke in autoracing since the 2002 Indy 500, the 2003 Brazilian GP podium was anything but normal. How in the world can 1) the guy who first crossed the finish line on the last lap be in the second position (without being passed during the uncompleted final lap), and 2) the guy who caused the red flag because he did not heed the warning of the yellow flags, and never finished or made it across the finish line is third, despite 7 more drivers finishing the final lap ahead of him? What a joke and it costs a man his first GP win, after a brilliant drive, in roughly 140+ GP starts. Its a travesty to look at a podium and see there are only 2 people up there and those 2 are in the wrong order, unless the goal of racing has changed and I am unaware! That has to break some type of FIA protocol with regards to the post race presentation. Maybe the FIA should threaten a one million dollar fine on themselves after that sad display of rule making, ala 2002 Austria GP Ferrari fix. Can anyone give me at least some small rationale why it reverts back to 2 laps prior instead of the guy leading the last lap?  Derek Hughes, Florida  Dear Derek, We can't offer any logical rationale at all.  Mark C.

4/7/03

Drivers call for two wet tires  Formula 1 drivers have called for the single wet-weather tire rule to be abolished following the Friday deluge at the Brazilian GP. With Bridgestone and Michelin bringing only intermediate tires, a number of drivers chose to stay in their garages and not risk an inevitable incident.  "Have a second rain tire," was Michael Schumacher response. "I guess after this experience, whoever maybe voted to have only one tire maybe sees the complication of it and has a different opinion now."

4/7/03

Talladega TV ratings down  Nielsen says Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Aaron's 499 Winston Cup race from Talladega Superspeedway drew an overnight 5.7 rating and a 12 share, according to today's Sports Business Daily. The figures were well off the final numbers for 2002 Talladega race, which was run two weeks later and drew a 7.0/16, but all sports programming appears to be continuing to feel the impact of the war with Iraq. The Daily reports that the two NCAA basketball tournament semifinal games were off 30 percent and 25 percent. Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter

4/7/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.65 Up $0.18 on Volume of 30,800 shares.
$3.02 Bid - $3.96 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.55 / $3.71
MPH Value Change Up 5.19%
DOW Jones Up 23.26 or 0.28% on Volume of 1.8 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 6.0 or 0.43%
S&P 500 Up 1.08 or 0.12%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

4/7/03

Flying tires  Winston Cup officials recovered the tire from Ryan Newman's car and planned to study why a tether failed to keep it from bouncing out of Talladega Superspeedway in Sunday's race. Newman's left front wheel cleared the catch fence off turn 2 where there weren't any grandstands. The tire hit a parked car. No one was injured, a track spokesperson said. Goodyear lists a left front tire as weighing 24.3 pounds. Newman's tire was heavier because part of the steel front spindle remained attached. NASCAR requires teams to tether the front spindles to the car to prevent a wheel from coming off. The rule book states that teams must use steel fiber cables or Vectran fiber cables to tether the wheel. Roanoke Times

4/7/03

Oil additives to gain HP  Word in the garage: Some teams are using oxygenated oil additives that can boost an engine's horsepower by five to 15. Winston Cup Series director John Darby says the "snake oil" has been reported for a while, and his officials have taken random samples at Daytona and Talladega to try to determine what is out there. NASCAR always has taken a stringent stand against using additives in gasoline and might take a similar approach with oil. One owner whose team used oil additives last year says there is an increased risk of engine failure. Additives put a strain on the engine's rings because the oxygen reduces the oil's ability to lubricate. Sporting News

4/7/03

GPWC to meet w/F1 teams  The current F1 team principals have scheduled a meeting with the Grand Prix World Championship group this Thursday. “All the teams are meeting with the manufacturers [BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Ford and Ferrari] on Thursday,” McLaren Director Ron Dennis confirmed in Brazil over the weekend, “and I'm led to believe that the documentation that will be presented to the teams is a complete and comprehensive proposal. It has had significant input from all the teams and significant legal representation, so I don't think that there are any bad surprises.” "There is no desire for any of the teams to go in a different direction,” Dennis said, “but there is a definite desire to have a more equitable situation in F1 for everyone.”

4/7/03

More of a Hispanic flare at LB  Expect more of a Latin flair at this year's annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as organizers of the big racing bash join up with the event's parent Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) to hook more Hispanic fans. The tactic is already working, particularly in Long Beach, where Hispanic racing fans - particularly Mexican-Americans and those of Mexican heritage - are flocking to the three-day bash in growing numbers. According to top Grand Prix officials, about 25 percent of their permanent base of annual race visitors are now Hispanic, and with the rising prominence of more drivers with Latin roots, the numbers will continue to grow. And bigger crowds means more pocketbooks to tap into and that has helped to stimulate Latin-based companies like Gigante supermarkets and Tecate beer to make huge financial commitments to sponsor cars and have a high- profile role at the Grand Prix......One of the biggest coups in the bid to market to Latino race fans was Tecate's capture of the contract to be the exclusive beer distributor at the Grand Prix for the next three years, said Andres Siefken, senior brand manager with Labatt USA/Tecate USA in Norwalk, Conn. "This will pay for itself, in many ways,' Siefken said of Labatt's investment for the contract. For one, Tecate will increase the number of in- store promotions prior to the race from 200 locations to 1,000 stores. Previously, the biggest event Tecate sponsored was a concert with 35,000 people. The grand prix draws an average of 250,000 over its three-day run. "Tecate was much more aggressive. They brought a promotional package' to the table, Michaelian said. In Southern California, Tecate - the fourth largest import beer in the U.S. - is fourth behind Budweiser/Bud Light, Coors and Corona and the race promotion and its teeming number of fans will give it untold exposure, Siefken said.  Long Beach Press-Telegram

4/7/03
MotoGP

Japanese rider fights for his life   Japanese motorcyclist Daijiro Kato was fighting for his life after crashing Sunday during the season-opening Grand Prix of Japan. The 26-year-old rider sustained serious head, neck and chest injuries and was in critical condition, race officials said. He was in a coma when flown to the hospital by helicopter. The first news from the medical team on the track was that Kato's heart had stopped and he was unconscious, race medical director Claudio Macchiagodena said. "Only fast action in the ambulance to resuscitate his heart gave him the chance to fight for his life," Macchiagodena said. Kato, a former 250cc world champion, hit the wall with his Honda. The 3.6-mile Suzuka track is considered one of the most dangerous in Grand Prix motorcycling.  AP Story

4/7/03
Formula 3

Piquet takes podium in debut  17-year old Nelson Piquet Jr., son of former World Driving Champion Nelson Piquet,  started 2nd and finished 3rd in this weekends British F3 race at Donington park.  It was his first race outside of South America.

4/7/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Driver-By-Driver: Brazilian GP
Webber Nurses Bruised Ambition
Race Day In Brazil: Paddock Chatter 1
Lucky Escape For Young Spaniard
Race Day In Brazil: Paddock Chatter 2
Iceman Targets Title After Victory
Race Day In Brazil: Paddock Chatter 3
JV: Little Sympathy For Fernando
Race Day In Brazil: Paddock Chatter 4
Ferrari's Fortunes Worsen In Brazil
Michelin Reject Wet-Tire Pleas
Fisichella: I Still Think I Won
Sour Grapes Or F1 Cynicism?
McLaren Boss Slams Ecclestone
Head Denies Warning Letter To Ralf
Race Day In Brazil: Paddock Chatter 5

4/6/03

New Engineer for Haberfeld  Mario Haberfeld will be on his 4th Engineer in three races this coming weekend in Long Beach.  He started the year with Andy Miller, then went to Todd Molloy. John Ward helped out at Monterrey, and he met Andy Borme yesterday. He is really looking forward to working with him, because he knows what he accomplished with Helio Castroneves in CART.

4/6/03

FranAm has renewed focus on Canada  The huge successes of the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship and the 2003 Fran-Am 2000 World Championship Winter Series have fortunately produced a deserving benefactor in Canada. “We recognize the incredible passion for motor racing that exists in Canada as well as the huge, emerging pool of talented drivers that exists there,” stated Thierry Burckhart, President and CEO of Fran-Am Sport. “For those reasons we are going to be focusing much of our attention on our Canadian operations in the future.” Fran-Am Sport has already announced a total of five premiere Canadian rounds for their Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series in 2003, including a separate five-race championship that will crown a Canadian Fran-Am 2000 Champion. Adding to that commitment, they are presenting three Fran-Am 1600 Pro Championship series in the East, Central and Western regions of Canada featuring visits to the Air Canada F1 Grand Prix in Montreal, the ALMS race at Mosport, the Molson Indy in Montreal, plus two Grand-Am events at Mt. Tremblant and Mosport. “We are truly excited about Fran-Am Sport’s long-term commitment to Canada,” commented Andrew Field, president of Fran-Am Sport’s Canadian operations. “We have some fabulous young drivers entering our sport in this country and Fran-Am is poised to give all of them the greatest opportunities available. We have all the tools to find and develop the next World Champion from Canada.” In anticipation of a successful and busy season in Canada for 2003, Fran-Am Sport – Canada Operations has expanded their staff accordingly. Kelly Duran has been named Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Canada. She makes the move after most recently heading up the public relations for last year’s Fran-Am 2000 Pro Series and World Championship Winter series. Highly experienced Regional Race Directors and Administrators for each Canadian region have also come on board.

4/6/03

Boris Said appeal denied  An appeal filed by Boris Said, driver of the No. 33 ACS Express Racing Ford Mustang, was denied by the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Court of Appeals recently. Said was appealing a fine and penalty assessed by Trans-Am Series Chief Steward Terry Dale for rules violations just prior to the 2003 season. The appeals hearing was presided over by Chairman John W. Bornholdt. Also serving on the Court were Brian Kohl and K.C. Van Niman. "The defense did not present compelling evidence that Boris Said hadn't violated the rules noted in the penalty issued by the Series," said Bornholdt. "Therefore, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for appeal. Pursuant to this decision, all penalties as imposed by the Trans-Am Series Chief Steward shall remain in effect." Said was penalized for violating Trans-Am Series rule 1.11.1.8., "Public criticism of the Series, its officials or sponsors," rule 1.11.1.9., "Unsportsmanlike conduct," and 1.11.1.11., "Inappropriate, objectionable, or profane language or gestures." Said was fined $5,000, of which $3,000 was suspended, to be applied should a like event occur at any point within the 2003 Trans-Am Series season. Said was also placed on probation for the 2003 season, during which time the occurrence of any further similar incidents would result in further penalties.

4/6/03

F1 rule a sham  A reader writes, What a sham!!! I thought I had seen it all after last years Austrian GP, and Indy 500. How can the driver leading at the end of the race NOT be the winner? At least I didn't have to wake up at 6:30 AM to watch that debacle. The FIA has no clue! They blow a gasket when a team stages a finish, but have no problem awarding victory to a driver that did not win. The fact that it was Giancarlo Fisichella in a Jordan, who drove a flat out brilliant race, passed Kimi in anger, and led back across the start/finish, makes it that much more of a travesty. I wonder if the FIA would have the nerve to have done that (even though it is in their rulebook) if it had been Michael or Rubens in a Ferrari. Imagine the riot in Brazil, if it had been Rubens. I must give all the credit in the world to Giancarlo Fisichella, not only for the race he drove, but for the way he handled himself in the post race press conference. He had just been shafted in front of a worldwide audience and still handled himself like a pro. Now I have someone else to root for along with Montoya. Too bad his Jordan will most likely will never get a sniff of another podium. Joshua Weiss Chicago IL

4/6/03

Medical team slow to respond in Brazil  A reader writes, If you watched the end of the F1 race, I'm sure you paid attention to the condition of Fernando Alonso. The camera shots were very tight so we couldn't really see the whole scene, but the medical attention leaved something to be desired - especially compared to the CART or IRL safety teams. It seemed to take forever for the medical personnel to arrive. Imagine a Zanardi-type crash... I don't think he would have made it.  Rob Baas  Dear Rob - CART's Simple Green Safety Team is recognized as being the very best in racing, bar none.  The IRL also has a full-time safety team like CART.  Mark C.

4/6/03
MotoGP

Rossi leads 1-2-3 Italian sweep at Suzuka  Valentino Rossi emerged victorious from an historic Italian showdown at Suzuka today, as compatriot Max Biaggi clinched second place and Loris Capirossi completed the podium in his first race aboard the brand new Ducati Desmosedici. The reigning MotoGP World Champion took a firm first step towards his third successive title with a typically dominant performance aboard his Honda RC211V, leaving Biaggi trailing in his wake as he stormed to his third straight win at this technically demanding track. Capirossi led for the opening four laps, but eventually conceded ground to the rival pair and eventually lost touch with Biaggi as Rossi broke clear, unable to challenge for second place despite making a stirring comeback in the latter stages of the race. "The conditions all over the weekend were difficult but today we showed the amount of work we put in over the winter really paid off because the setting of the bike was very good," said Rossi. "Throughout the tests we were making race distances and gaining a lot of information about the bike and tires. The start of the race was very hard and the fight was tough. I had to push a lot to take the win." Aside from the intriguing podium struggle at the front, there was action all the way down the points positions as Sete Gibernau broke clear from the pack to consolidate fourth position and Troy Bayliss weathered a reckless attack from Tohru Ukawa to bring the second Ducati home in an impressive fifth on his MotoGP debut. Colin Edwards eventually won out in an exciting scrap with fellow American rookie Nicky Hayden, squeezing his Aprilia home in sixth place ahead of the Honda rider after exchanging places throughout the second half of the race. Meanwhile Alex Barros rode a brave race to finish as the top Yamaha representative in eighth after overcoming factory colleagues Shinya Nakano and Carlos Checa, despite riding with torn knee ligaments after a nasty a warm-up crash. Norick Abe followed his new team-mate Checa home in eleventh ahead of Noriyuki Haga, who recovered to haul his Aprilia over the line after crashing. Behind them John Hopkins took a well-deserved thirteenth place from his experienced Suzuki team-mate Kenny Roberts, whilst Olivier Jacque clinched the final available point. Photos Courtesy Getty Images

4/6/03

News tidbits from Long Beach  When the 29th running of the Long Beach Grand Prix gets under way on Friday, some now-vintage Formula One cars will become part of "The World's Fastest Beach Party' in the first Historic Grand Prix. "This is just another addition to the weekend,' said Jim Michaelian, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach president and CEO. His event brings in an estimated $40 million to the city and thousands of fans to downtown. "It allows a lot of people here 20-plus years ago to relive the past. It also gives those who have heard about the heritage of F1 in Long Beach the ability to experience it.' The old F1 cars, which will be on display throughout the weekend at the expo inside the Long Beach Convention Center, complement a week full of events aimed at appealing to different audiences. In addition to cars rolling down Shoreline Drive, a charity ball, golf tournament and fashion show are scheduled this week as part of the event.........But the marquee event, the Champ Car World Series, isn't the draw it once was. For the second consecutive year, ticket sales have lagged. "So far the daily sales are tracking close to last year,' Michaelian said. "Despite the outbreak of the war, we have had some encouraging signs, and we hope we can experience that kind of walk-up we got last year.' Big-name sponsors leaving CART have stung the Grand Prix Association. That makes walk-up sales all the more important since corporations are no longer buying big blocks of tickets. The race drew around 90,000 on Sunday and some 200,000 for the weekend last year. The Grand Prix Association's parent company, Dover Downs, doesn't release official crowd numbers......Another big name missing is Budweiser. Grand Prix Association officials were unable to extend a three-year contract that expired last year. That made the so-called official import beer, Mexico's Tecate, the official beer of the LBGP. Tecate's partner, Labatt of Canada, will also serve other brands such as Rolling Rock and Labatt Blue. "It was a marketplace they (Tecate) wanted to participate in,' Michaelian said. "They are in joint promotions with us and other sponsors, but it is difficult to lose a longtime sponsor like Budweiser. Having Tecate step up makes it less painful.'.............There have also been changes in the seating due to the ongoing construction of The Pike shopping and entertainment complex. Grandstand No.2 at Turn 5 and Grandstand No.34 on the front straightaway have been eliminated. Extra seating has been added around the course to compensate........Management at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, located inside the track, expect to be busy. More people have been booking rooms at the hotel than last year, said Cheryl Phelps, vice president and general manager. "We still have some rooms available but we are a little bit ahead of last year at the same time,' she said. The hotel was close to selling out last year, and Phelps said that she expects they will be close this year also. Excerpts from Long Beach Press Telegram article

4/6/03
Industry News

Australian Health Minister calls for delay in tobacco ad ban  Australia's Health Minister is leading the charge to have the introduction of a ban on tobacco sponsorship in motor racing delayed. Senator Kay Patterson has asked European Health Ministers not to introduce the ban in 2005 as they've been planning, but in 2006. Anti-smoking groups in Australia have reacted with alarm, but Senator Patterson says that delaying the ban is the sensible approach.  ABC Australia

4/6/03
IROC

NASCAR drivers beat IRL drivers again  IROC continued to be an all-NASCAR affair with Kurt Busch leading a 1-2-3 sweep by NASCAR drivers in yesterday's 2nd round of IROC at Talladega.  IRL driver Sam Hornish was a distant 4th.
1) Kurt Busch, NASCAR, 38 laps
2) Mike Bliss, NASCAR, 38, -0.098sec
3) Greg Biffle, NASCAR, 38
4) Sam Hornish, IndyCar, 38
5) Mark Martin, NASCAR, 38
6) Kevin Harvick, NASCAR, 38
7) Ryan Newman, NASCAR, 38
8) Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR, 38
9) Steve Kinser, World of Outlaws, 38
10) Danny Lasoski, World of Outlaws, 38
11) Felipe Giaffone, IndyCar, 38
12) Helio Castroneves, IndyCar, 37, engine

4/6/03

Chance of rain in Brazil  UPDATE Torrential rains hit the track this morning, some 3 hours before race time.  The drivers are concerned their intermediate tires can not handle that much water.  4/6/03 - Latest weather forecasts call for a chance of rain for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. Rain showers are forecast to fall throughout the day - even thunderstorms are possible.

4/6/03
Industry News

New Italian Racing magazine launches  A new magazine covering auto racing has begun operations in Italy. Titled "CONTROSTERZO" the publications is printed twice a month out of Bologna, Italy. The editorial staff is led by veteran Formula 1 journalist Franco Panariti, co-editor Guido Rancati (a specialist on the World Rally championship), and Stefano Semeraro.  Guest columnists for the Italian-language publications will include drivers like Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Eddie Irvine, and an Italian favorite popular with CART followers, Alex Zanardi.  With detailed event, extensive feature stories and a visual array of photographs and graphics, the first issue of the magazine sold out.  Issue two features interviews with Frank Williams, Paul Newman and next will be Jerry Forsythe. The last two written by Lino Manocchia, the well known correspondent who has covered American motorsport for various Italian publications over the last 40 years. Good luck Controsterzo.

4/6/03

Trans-Am invades Long Beach  If the finish of last year’s Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was any indication, this year’s edition of the event is certain to be a barn burner. The race, Round 2 of this year’s championship, is scheduled for Sunday, April 13, following the Champ Car World Series race.  More...

4/6/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Word In The Paddock 1: Saturday In Brazil
Word In The Paddock 2: Saturday In Brazil
Word In The Paddock 3: Saturday In Brazil
Word In The Paddock 4: Saturday In Brazil
Word In The Paddock 5: Saturday In Brazil
Brazil's Tobacco Volte-Face
Rubens And Mark, Heroes In Brazil
Pressure Settles On Schu's Shoulders
FIA's Surprise At Wet-Tire Storm
Bosses Snub Meeting With Mosley
Bernie: Tire Rule To Get Chop
Villeneuve Slams Honda Powerplant

4/6/03
NHRA

Drag Racer killed  Drag racer Phil Burghard was killed in a crash Saturday at Gateway International Raceway after losing control of his car in an NHRA competition. The 33-year-old driver crashed his Corvette during his second qualifying run for the Spring Sportsman Challenge XI. His car reached a top speed of 155.76 miles per hour. Burghard crashed in the sand traps at the end of the track's shutdown area, according to race officials. Emergency crews airlifted him to St. Louis University Hospital Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead. `It is a sad day for all of us in the Gateway racing community,'' said track vice president and general manager Matt Strelo. ``Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burghard family, and with the racers.'' AP

4/6/03

Ron tells Bernie to shut up  McLaren boss Ron Dennis has spoken out against recent negative comments on the new-look F1 from Grand Prix supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone has been outspoken in his dislike of the new F1 qualifying system, labeling it ‘awful.' But Dennis says that the F1 tsar should give his full backing to the sport, no matter what he thinks of the product. Dennis said in Brazil: “We are all entitled to our opinion, but you can make an analogy with the circus. What would you think if the ringmaster came out and said that you shouldn't watch lion number three because he's got a bad tummy and is not going to perform too well today? Or told you that the clown had flu? It's something I'm more than happy to criticize Bernie for. “Whatever the show is, the ringmaster should be wholeheartedly behind it whether it's good, bad or indifferent. And that's something I'm more than happy to criticize Bernie for. He's the ringmaster and he should behave like one.” Autosport.com

4/6/03

Team bosses delay meeting  Formula One team bosses have delayed a scheduled meeting planned to review the new rules introduced in the 2003 F1 championship season to spice up the action. Originally set for next Friday, the plan to postpone the talks until the 20th of the month instead is because they want more time to analyze the regulations before making decisions in haste.  "The reason that it has moved is because we really want to do a more thorough job than we have time available,” said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "We all felt when we had a team principals meeting yesterday that we needed more time to analyze the better part of the regulations. There are still strong views held by most people about every single regulation... we need more time to try and come to a consensus because the next set of changes, if and when they are made, have to be clearly for the better. So we don't want to be pressured into making decisions that are not well thought through "

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