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DATE

News (chronologically)

4/23/03

Registration open for CART Town meeting   Registration is now available to Champ Car fans for the next installment of the Champ Car Town Meeting series Monday, April 28th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, site of the May 29-31 Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite for Round 6 of the Champ Car World Series. The Milwaukee Town Meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m. on Monday at the Wisconsin Exposition Center, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in nearby West Allis, Wisconsin. Fans can now register to receive free tickets to the event by going to the official website of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, www.champcarworldseries.com. Champ Car World Series points leader Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing and Champ Car Ladder System standout A.J. Allmendinger of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will highlight the Town Meeting panel. After winning the first three rounds of the season, Tracy was named driver of the season’s first quarter, a prestigious award presented by Legends Marketing Group which recognizes the best drivers in North American auto racing. Allmendinger, one of the top up-and-coming American open wheel racers, won the second round of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship earlier this month at Long Beach in only his second race in the Atlantic series. Also included on the Town Meeting panel are Joe Chrnelich, CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park which features the fabled Milwaukee Mile oval, and Champ Car Vice President of Communications Adam Saal. The evening’s festivities will be hosted by local motorsports luminary David Hobbs. Earlier in the day on Monday, both Tracy and Allmendinger will be on hand at the Milwaukee County Historical Society for a VIP luncheon and the grand opening of The Milwaukee Mile’s Centennial exhibit celebrating 100 years of racing at the storied facility. Both drivers, who will be competing at The Mile in their respective series May 29-31, will be signing autographs from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. (CDT) at the Historical Society located at 910 N. Old World Third Street in Milwaukee. The Champ Cars will race under the lights for the first time ever Saturday, May 31st at the Milwaukee Mile, where Tracy will be looking to defend his 2002 title, and Allmendinger will make his competitive oval racing debut in the Toyota Atlantic cars.

4/23/03

Fellows fastest at Sears Point  Road-course specialist Ron Fellows posted the fastest lap Wednesday during a NASCAR Winston Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Fellows, who will compete on the two NASCAR road courses this year for Dale Earnhardt Inc., recorded the fastest lap ever recorded on the 10-turn, 2-mile circuit for Winston Cup stock cars at 1 minute, 16.24 seconds. Tony Stewart (Home Depot Chevrolet) holds the official track record of 1:16.64, set in 2002.  "I'm surprised a little bit at the time and how fast it was, but the equipment and resources I have at DEI are incredible and it showed in this test," said Fellows, who has twice won at Infineon Raceway in the American Le Mans Series driving a Corvette. "With a little luck I think I have a chance to not only be competitive here in June but possibly win the race. This is a top-flight team." Mark Martin (Viagra Ford), one of six Winston Cup drivers testing the road course in preparation for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 (June 19-22), was second in testing at 1:16.47, while Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth (DeWalt Ford) was third at 1:17.19. Jamie McMurray (Havoline Dodge, 1:17.24), Casey Mears (Target Dodge, 1:17.47) and Jack Sprague (NetZero Pontiac, 1:18.04) completed the session. "Dale Jr. is in the hunt for a championship, so whatever I can do to help him and Steve (Park) and Mike (Waltrip) with their road-race programs is also one of my jobs," Fellows said. "I'm hoping we can make this a win-win for everyone."

4/23/03

Lingering effects from crash keep de Ferran on sidelines  Gil de Ferran was supposed to make his return to driving today at Indy after his March 23rd accident.  However, pain from not one, but two broken vertebrae (neck and lower back), along with dizzy spells from his concussion forced him out. He is now shooting for a return on opening day at Indy.  Like we stated previously, Gil has had several concussions. One more and it may end his career.  Racing wheel-to-wheel on ovals in open wheel cars, with hard concrete walls in close proximity, has to weigh on his mind.

4/23/03

Scheckter crashes yet again  We lost count how many times this guy has crashed.  There was one other accident during the day. At approximately 2 p.m. (EST) at Indy today, Tomas Scheckter made contact with the outside retaining wall exiting Turn 3 in his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He was uninjured. “We tried some pretty radical changes, and it made the car too loose,” Scheckter said. “I was on my out lap, and in Turn 3 it started to come around. I caught it once, then twice, but it just came around and hit the wall pretty good. It all happened really fast. I'm just glad that it happened on my out lap and not when I was up to full speed.”

4/23/03

Mugello day 2 test times
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m21.667s 37
2 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m21.730s 48
3 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m22.672s 62
4 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m23.077s 36
5 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m23.700s 42
6 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m23.762s 33
7 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas B 1m23.817s 19
8 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda B 1m24.673s 51
9 Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m24.690s 53
10 Jenson Button BAR-Honda B 1m24.692s 30

4/23/03

Montoya fastest, then crashes  Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest time in testing at Silverstone today, but then had a huge crash at the high-speed Becketts corner in the afternoon. The Colombian lost control of his car at the exit of the Becketts complex, which then spun before skimming over a gravel trap and into the tire barriers. It took trackside marshals ten minutes to extract Montoya from the car, as he was trapped underneath the crumpled tire barrier. He was taken to the medical center for an examination but was given a clean bill of health, thanks in part to the HANS Device.

4/23/03
Industry News

SARS closes big auto show  Shanghai Auto Show is closing three days early, highlighting the threat which the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak poses to the mainland's economic prospects. Officials at the country's biggest automotive fair, which opened on Monday at the International Exhibition Centre in Pudong, said it would close at 6 pm today, instead of Sunday evening. Organizers had planned for at least 400,000 visitors during the six days but attendances were already well down. "The closure follows the decision of the city government last weekend to limit meetings attended by large numbers of people," an official said. "The organizers met this morning [Wednesday] and made the decision."

4/23/03

Scott Dixon broke pelvis too  More bad news for the IRL, as the injury rate mounts for the most dangerous form of motorsports in the world.  Scott Dixon's injuries are far worse than first thought after his recent high speed crash in the Japan round of the Indy Racing League. X-rays today in the US have revealed that Dixon has fractured his pelvis in three places, that is to go along with his broken wrist. Dixon has been complaining of a sore hip ever since the crash and doctors have only just discovered the latest injury. However he still remains optimistic of driving in the famous Indy 500 next month. But his mother Glenys Dixon says if Scott does drive in the Indy 500, he will still be in some pain and discomfort.  Add the Kenny Brack and Mario Andretti cars that were wiped out at Indy today, Foyt's car two days ago, and one can see that the human and race car expense in the IRL is pushing costs through the roof.

4/23/03

Like it or not, AR1 disagrees with Chris Pook   UPDATE  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I fully agree with you on the issue of turbos versus V10s, and when I read Kirby's article on CART.com this morning, thought of something else. Out of the many various views expressed in the article (Chris Pook's, Cosworth VP Ian Biscoe's, Jim McGee's, and others), a meeting point might be precisely what someone on your crew had suggested in an article last year. A single spec engine (I believe this was after the Cosworth deal was announced, but details were not), badged (and maybe tweaked) by several different manufacturers. Incorporated with several people's suggestion of a spec ECU, I think this would provide a formula much easier to regulate and monitor than any normal multi-manufacturer formula. And yet it would have the pizzazz of a manufacturer-driven series. This morning (after reading Kirby's article), I was talking with an electrical contractor who is a die-hard race fan, who's been to the Long Beach Grand Prix many times, and goes to most every (auto) race at Fontana. He knew Paul Tracy was running away with the CART series, and knew that most of the "big names" had gone to the IRL. But, interestingly, he didn't know that every single engine on the track in CART was now being built by Cosworth. He even watched a bit of this year's LBGP on SPEED, and didn't catch that fact. Which makes you think... if you put a bunch of manufacturers' badges on 'em, how many of the joes in the TV audience are even going to realize that they're all the same engine? Is that advertising bang for the buck, or what? Of course, as a former Cosworth employee I might be just a leeeettle bit prejudiced, but irrespective, I think it makes sense. David Laufer   Dear David, Yes, that was a proposal I presented to CART last year.  Have Cosworth take care of the rebuilds of a standard spec engine and sell the badging rights to any manufacturer who wants to play.  Spend money on marketing, not R&D. Manufacturers would commit to a minimum amount of dollars to marketing the series around their product, pay CART a tolling fee, grow the series together, rather than beat each other into the ground wasting millions on R&D.   Make it affordable, reliable and competitive.  CART did not take up my suggestion at the time and now the series is paying dearly for it.  The paddock is very cash poor with only one engine manufacturer.  Manufacturers buy TV ad time, hospitality, etc.  CART is falling short in all those areas.  CART desperately needs more manufacturers, the sooner the better. Mark Cipolloni    4/22/03 - On CART.com, Chris Pook explains his view of the engine rule debate going on in CART now. "Champ Car today, as a marketing, public relations, promotion and business facilitation company that happens to sanction motor car races has by far the most efficient marketing delivery system in North America," Pooks says. "Since North America--Canada, the USA and Mexico--is the single largest automotive buying trade block in the world, we need to clearly take full advantage of our assets. By operating events in the major metropolitan markets that we currently have on our schedule as well as those we plan on adding over the next two or three years, we have a tremendous product to offer to the automobile manufacturers of the world. "In order to close the loop for these manufacturers, we need to align our race cars with the everyday automobile as much as possible - gasoline engines being the first step along the way. We also must remember that technology is important - our audience/market is clearly a technology conscious group, therefore if we are going to go to a normally aspirated engine, the V10 makes all the sense in the world - at least that is what we are being told! " Pook agrees that strict technical management of ECUs must take place. "Having said that technology is important, we must not let it drive the cost of engines out of sight, thus the need to manage the ECU programs in concert with the manufacturers involved in the series. The cost of gasoline in North America it appears, is on the path to match the cost in Europe! Mileage is going to be an important factor very shortly in the public's decision as to which car they will purchase - we must work with our manufacturer's and give and/or provide for them 'selling tools' which they can use to market their products. We must not forget that this is all about "selling cars". Champ Car racing is just one strategy and it is our responsibility as a sanctioning body to make it an efficient strategy." Pook says Champ Car will work closely with Ford and other manufacturers in determining the best rules package for the future. "Having said all this," Pook concludes, "we must now listen to our partner Ford Motor Company and find out what works for them - is it 2005 or 2006 or when? We must also recognize that we are in very difficult economic times - difficult economic times for all automobile manufacturers. The days of spending millions of dollars on R & D for race car engines are, I believe, going away. Yes there will be budgets for development. However, we must encourage our automobile manufacturer friends to spend their money in and around our series promoting the sale of their automobiles. "We have a very good and loyal audience who will buy their products. We have major markets in which we can dominate the media with their brands for three to five weeks each year. We can drive traffic to dealerships who in turn will sell their products. It is a good program, however like all programs, timing is critical and that is what we are working through at this time."   AR1 View - if Chris is serious that he wants to align CART with the engine manufacturers, than CART had better take a long hard look at a small displacement turbo engine.  As documented thoroughly here on AR1, the trend for passenger cars is NOT V-10 engines, but smaller, more fuel efficient engines that are turbocharged to gain back lost HP from the small displacement. You will see more and more cars with turbos in the coming years and we would not be surprised to see every passenger car turbocharged 20 years from now. Turbos for street cars are now very reliable with the advent of synthetic oils that can withstand the high temperatures generating by a turbo spinning at very high RPM.  The sophisticated ECU's take care of turbo lag, etc.   In Europe, where gas prices are very high, turbos are proliferating with almost every manufacturer now using them.. A very small percentage of passenger cars will have V10 engines in the next decade, so while they are sexy, is that really where the manufacturers want to be?  If CART is going to mimic the 2006 low-cost F1 V10 engine specs that is one thing, but if not, a 1.5 Liter turbo gasoline engine (V8) will better align CART with the manufacturers and the passenger cars they sell.  After all, as Chris stated - this is all about "selling cars."  How about this idea - a 1.5 Liter turbo V10?  Mark Cipolloni

4/23/03
F3000

Minassian denies claims  Minassian has denied these claims and would like to make it clear to the motorsport community that immediately following the Barcelona test session, the week before the race in Imola, he expressed concerns regarding the team’s preparation for the season. “I thought that as Brand Motorsport was essentially a new team, that they were under-prepared to compete at this level,” commented Minassian. “If it wasn’t for Martin Kendrick’s heartfelt request for me to compete, I would not have been in Imola at all that weekend.” Immediately following the first round of the F3000 Championship, Minassian quit the team. “I was not under contract to the team,” he said. “When I joined Brand they had an experienced level of staff supporting the team, but a few weeks prior to the first race they left.” “I don’t understand why Martin is being so vociferous to me, I thought we had a good working relationship, I even helped him to find a new engineer. I find his comments disrespectful and hurtful at the very least.”

4/23/03

Lauda hits out at Jag  Niki Lauda is blaming Jaguar for Antonio Pizzonia’s poor form so far this season. Pizzonia has made an uncertain start to his F1 career, prompting rumours – denied by Jaguar – that he may not see out the season. Lauda said: "I really don't know what they are doing to be honest but Pizzonia would need for sure more guidance from the top which nobody will do there, I guess." "He performed very well in the wet, which is always complicated, and here too. I am a little bit disappointed about Pizzonia because I thought he might be a little closer. "I always knew that Webber, because of his experience, would be in the lead but he’s doing a perfect job."

4/23/03

Will SARS cancel CART's Toronto race?   2nd UPDATE The New Jersey Health Commissioner has advised all New Jersey residents to avoid any travel to SARS infected places, including Hong Kong and Toronto, two places he specifically named. Will CART attempt to do what Major League Baseball has instructed its teams going into Toronto to do? MLB has told told its teams and players that on road trips to Toronto, they should avoid giving autographs, visit no hospitals or medical facilities and avoid all large crowds. Unfortunately for CART and fans attending the race, it's awfully difficult to avoid large crowds at the downtown Toronto race track. It very likely may call for CART to close off the pit lane and close the paddock area to the public, as well as instruct their drivers to avoid fan contact and cancel any autograph sessions. It certainly won't help CART sell tickets, but could help the drivers to avoid contracting the highly-contagious disease that has no known cure.   This story isn't ready to go away just yet.  4/22/03 - A reader writes, I live in the city of Toronto and I have to comment on the SARS scare. Yes it is true that unfortunately 14 people have died from SARS in the Toronto area, but what the media fails to mention is that there are still 3 million people in the city living their daily lives. We are not going around with masks on our faces and gloves on our hands. We are taking the public transit , going to the movies and shopping malls, and living our normal day to day lives. Our public health officials are doing a great job of containing the spread of SARS. It is the media that has put the fear in people by not reporting how life is still going on in Toronto. It is safe to come to the city of Toronto, and it would be an incredible loss to CART or anybody else that cancelled their plans to come to this great city. Thank you.  Carol Boomhour, Toronto, Canada  4/21/03 - Will the spread of SARS force CART to cancel one or more of its Canadian races?  A 14th person died in Canada this weekend, and this can't be taken lightly.  A number of sporting events have been cancelled in the affected regions already, and as the disease spreads, more will die until a cure is found.  At this time, the areas with large numbers of SARS cases are Toronto, Canada; Singapore; Hanoi, Vietnam; Taiwan; and the following regions in China: Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Shanxi. International travelers departing from any of the affected areas should be screened for possible SARS before boarding their airplanes. Travelers with one or more symptoms of the disease who have a history of exposure and who appear ill must be seen by a physician who, after an examination, may advise them to delay their trip until they are well enough to travel. Mark Cipolloni

4/23/03

Let them race   UPDATE Another reader responds, Dear AR1, I agree that CART should give the teams all the fuel they want, give them a boost button, and do away with the mandatory pit stops. The racing has become a bit contrived with the mandatory stops. If a driver wants to save fuel and do one less stop that is fine, but he will pay a big price if a full course caution comes out and he is stuck with old tires and less fuel compared to others who are gassing it with fresher tires. This will also create more overtaking attempts, with the guys with older tires trying to hold off the fresher clad runners. AR1 claims that CART needs more passing, but how do you do this if you are running a spec engine and forcing the teams to pit at the same time thereby making them equal at all times? By allowing different fuel and tire strategies you will change the performance of each car, making some slower and some faster at certain times during the race, and then you will increase the amount of passing. Regards, Bob Lowe Woburn, MA  Bob, you make a valid point.  We were just explaining CART's strategy to get the drivers to run all out all the time because people were complaining that too many drivers were on a fuel economy run. We have floated a proposal to CART on how to create a significant amount of passing, with or without mandatory pitstops.  Cosworth has given CART a formal cost estimate to implement the concept.  We are hopeful CART will enact it.  In a nutshell, the concept is this - since CART races on a lot of tight street and road courses where it will always be hard to pass, why not implement a "go button" on the wheel that would give the drivers extra turbo boost pressure 10 times per race, say 50 extra HP for a duration of say 5 seconds.  The onboard computer would track how many pushes he has used.  Each push would gobble up precious fuel of course.  The driver would have to choose when and where he used his 10 pushes.  Does he use pushes at the start, during the race at key passing opportunities, or save them for the finish?  Does a driver being overtaken also push his button to prevent be overtaken, or does he let the driver past and save the push?  You can imagine all the strategy it would take to manage your allotment of 10 pushes.  It would create potentially 10 passes per driver almost anywhere on the track.  While some may refer to this as rather artificial, is it anymore artificial than the draft on an oval?  Passing with a draft, at say, Fontana takes zero skill, so why would this concept really be anymore artificial?  On a superspeedway, do you draft past on the penultimate lap and risk being repassed on the last lap, or do you wait?  It is the same sort of strategy with the "go button." Do you push it coming off the corner, half way down the straight, or wait until the next opportunity. All the other current strategy would still apply, this just adds another element of suspense.   If CART wants to continue to race on tight concrete walled canyons, then we believe the Go Button is the best way to create more passing and intrigue, because even w/o traction control, there have been zero passes for the lead on the track so far this year, so although better, it's not enough for the kind of racing CART does. CART has a history of races with zero on-track passes for the lead, and this has directly contributed to its falling TV ratings.  The majority of American fans are born and bred on the notion that "passing is racing" and "follow the leader is a parade." Mark Cipolloni  4/22/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, regarding CART's new pitstop rule, why mandatory pit stops and defined pit stop windows? Here’s a novel idea. Why not give the teams all the fuel they can burn (CART and Cosworth do control the engines) and LET THE DAMN TEAMS RACE ! ! Maybe throw in “the button” and see if that improves the shows in the concrete canyons but essentially get the “expletive deleted” out of the way and let ‘em race! Stop trying to manage the competition! And while I’m ranting I oh so enjoyed seeing the Andretti/Honda/IRL TV spot that, basically, snatched the town meeting idea served up to Mr. Pook on a silver platter, when was that, LAST YEAR, you remember it don’t you, the fan idea for TV spots that made fun of the IRL not being able to turn right. Honda took it and turned it around and shoved it right up CART’s . . . . wastegate! Nice to see they’re not burning any midnight oil in the CART offices trying to figure out how to put The * Grandson and his tin horn “vision” back their place. Bet Ford could have produced a similar commercial, but, “Why would you want to do that?”   Jim Anderson, Chicago, IL   Dear Jim, CART is the USA's #1 parade company, and the only way to pass is to have pit stops.  Without the turbo boost button idea to give the drivers a chance to slip past, it's follow-the-leader all day long.  However, in CART's defense, if they gave them all the fuel they wanted and did not mandate pit stops, teams would still conserve fuel and try to eliminate a pit stop to win the race.  CART's theory is if you make them have to stop, there is no advantage gained by saving fuel, hence why not race hard between stops and burn all you have.  Mark Cipolloni

4/23/03

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4/22/03

Foyt crashes again  Will someone please park this kid before he really hurts himself. He is totally out of his element.  Who is paying for all the cars he has torn up this year?  Certainly not his bankrupt sponsors Conseco! There was only one incident during private testing at Indy today when rookie A.J. Foyt IV made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turns 1 and 2 in his No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Foyt was unhurt.   “I went out for the afternoon run, and the temperature was a little hotter, and the car picked up more of a push,” Foyt said. “I glanced off the wall in Turn 1 which knocked out the front brakes. It wouldn’t turn going into (Turn) 2, and it did a slow spin and brushed the wall with the other side in Turn 2. The front and rear suspension was damaged on both sides.”

4/22/03

Private testing notes from Indy  Luyendyk turns laps: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk tested his No. 20 Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone on April 22, his first laps in the new IndyCar Series equipment that will be used through 2005. “It’s very nice,” Luyendyk said. “I’m really impressed with the Toyota engine. It’s smooth as silk. Driving out on the track, the car is very quiet. Everything works the way it should. The engine is very smooth and feels very nice to drive. The gearbox feels good, and the guys that put together the car – it works perfect, and everything is very tight. They did a good job. “I’m a little slower today than these guys, but I came to shake the car down. I’m not very comfortable in the car – we need to modify the seat, and I’ve got a little bit of helmet lift that I don’t want all month. Still, I was able to drive the car quickly, but we need to go quicker.” Luyendyk has not been in a car since he finished 16th in the Michigan Indy 400 in July 2002. He sees that as a slight disadvantage over the other drivers who are regular IndyCar Series competitors. “They just come in, get in the car and go, and I’m just getting back into the rhythm again,” Luyendyk said. “I take my time to get my tires up to temperature and up to pressure, and they do that in a little shorter amount of laps. But this is no checkered flag today, and we’re just getting into things slowly, and that’s what you have to do. “It’s so easy to get caught out at this place – it can bite you if you start running into the corners on cold tires, and it’s pretty cold today.”

4/22/03

Mugello test times for Tuesday 
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m22.805s 71
2 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m22.994s 82
3 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m23.142s 93
4 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m23.886s 47
5 Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m23.945s 65
6 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas B 1m24.267s 57

4/22/03
Industry News

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4/22/03

12 teams test at Indy  Twelve IRL IndyCar Series drivers prepared for the 87th Indianapolis 500 by testing in cold conditions April 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Among the drivers was Alex Barron, who tested the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Barron, who won Bank One Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year honors with Tomas Scheckter last year, has been substituting for Gil de Ferran, who suffered a concussion and a minor back fracture in an accident during the Purex Dial Indy 200 on March 23 at Phoenix International Raceway. Barron, from Menifee, Calif., completed 102 laps today at the Speedway. “The track is a bit different from last year because they shaved the track last year, and the track is a bit more seasoned now,” Barron said. “The cars are quite a bit different with the change, so to show up here and get in the car, we got a pretty good balance right away. We’re just trying to get a good balance on the car, and at that point we’ll probably try something else. So far, it’s gone pretty good.” Temperatures struggled to reach 50 degrees at the Speedway, and Barron hopes for better weather when the team tests April 23. “It’s pretty cold today, which is a little bit of an issue with the balance of the car,” Barron said. “Hopefully tomorrow it will be a little bit better. I know some teams tested on Saturday (April 19), and it was like 70 degrees, so it’s quite a bit different.” Despite his testing at the Speedway for Penske, no Indy 500 seat is guaranteed for Barron, who won in 2002 at Nashville. Should de Ferran be ready to drive by Opening Day at the Speedway on May 4, Barron is most likely back to his role as one of the top free agents on the driver market. “Either way, you get exposure,” Barron said of driving for Marlboro Team Penske. “At the same time, it helps you get to know the new cars, and no matter where you end up, that’s going to pay off for you. And, it helps Team Penske get a good base for the month of May and the direction as far as package-wise.” Should Barron not continue with Penske when de Ferran returns, his hiring as a substitute for the most successful team in Indy-style racing helps to raise his worthy stock even higher. “They’re one of the elite teams, for sure,” Barron said. “They do everything real professional. I think when you’re a part of that, you learn a lot. Being here at Indy with a team like this, it’s hard to go wrong.”

4/22/03

CART adopts new rules for Brands Hatch   The drivers and teams of the 2003 Champ Car World Series will add their legacies to the fabled list of competitors that have raced at Britain’s Brands Hatch circuit, and the series announced today that it has adopted a new set of rules that will ensure that the competition level will be the equal of any series that has participated there. The 19 cars of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will take to the tricky seven-turn 1.2-mile Brands Hatch track for the May 3-5 London Champ Car Trophy event, and will do so under new single-event guidelines that will enhance competition along with providing maximum safety for drivers and teams. Addressing driver’s concerns over the ability to get a clear qualifying lap on the 1.2-mile short course, Champ Car adopted a single-car qualifying format that will give each competitor six laps to chase the pole position, with four of those laps being timed. The running order for the first round of qualifying will be set by practice times while Sunday’s final qualifying order will be based on the Saturday results. In accordance with new rules put in place in 2002, there is a single championship point available to the leaders of both qualifying sessions, and the fastest car in each session is guaranteed a front-row starting spot for Monday’s 165-lap race. The other change goes into effect on race day, as Champ Car management and its teams agreed to revoke the mandatory pit windows for the Brands Hatch event. The pit windows have been replaced for the event by a rule that states that each car must complete two pit stops under green-flag conditions. The green-flag service must include a four-tire change in order to count toward the two mandatory stops. Teams may pit under caution periods at will, but can only add fuel to the car, and can only have two team members over the wall during a yellow-flag stop. “We took the concerns that our drivers had over the lack of clear space during qualifying and created a scenario that will allow them to run flat out as they fight for the pole,” said Champ Car Vice-President of Operations John Lopes. “The rule changes governing pit stops at Brands Hatch will also provide for a full afternoon of full-out racing with teams now able to use different strategies in pursuit of victory.” The London Champ Car Trophy, which will see points leader Paul Tracy go for his record-tying fourth consecutive victory, will be seen on CBS Sports on May 10 at 1 p.m. The CBS coverage will begin on May 4 with a season preview and qualifying show at 12 p.m.

4/22/03

Mosley says F1 too easy  Mosley says the F1 teams are generally opposing the bans on the grounds of suspicion of cheating and protecting their investments on expensive electronic systems. But the FIA boss says the real, hidden reason is that each team thinks 'it has got the best system, and they don't want to give it up.' He adds: 'And I fully understand that.' The Englishman, however, says public opinion overrides all the leading teams' objections put forward in a meeting of F1 team bosses at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola) circuit on Thursday. 'The idea that you can press a button at the start in Monaco and beat the guy into Sainte Devote just because you've got a better system isn't really acceptable,' Mosley said. 'That is not what you expect from the best drivers in the world.' Ron Dennis (McLaren) and Sir Frank Williams intend to take the governing FIA to arbitration if it goes ahead with plans to rob the pinnacle of motorsports of it's electronic fancies. But Max stayed firm in the bosses meeting by telling them 'it is not a question of what you want, it's what the public want because in the end they pay for it.'

4/22/03

CBS to televise Miami race  Following in the footsteps of what was the highest-rated race in the 2002 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, organizers of the Grand Prix Americas announced today that this year’s Champ Car street race in downtown Miami will be televised live on CBS. The second-year event, which will be Round 15 of the 2003 Champ Car World Series schedule, received a rating of 1.4 with a 3 share on CBS last year, reaching 1,449,000 households – a rating that was the highest of the season for the Champ Cars. Locally in Miami, the inaugural race was shown on tape-delay, due to a conflict with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, and received a rating of 6.7. “We are thrilled to be on the CBS network once again,” said Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. “This increased exposure will allow us to showcase our spectacular event and put the spotlight on the beautiful scenery and people of Miami.” Time of the broadcast will vary depending on CBS’s football schedule. In cities where CBS is carrying a West Coast game, The Grand Prix Americas will be aired live. In the other cities, the race will be broadcast on tape-delay. The race will be the seventh to be televised on CBS in the 2003 season. “We are looking at ways to help teams build value for their sponsors and partners and getting the Grand Prix Americas in front of the fans is a key part of aiding our teams,” said CART CEO and President Christopher R. Pook.

4/22/03

Cope picks up sponsor  Great Barrier Reef announces today their sponsorship of Derrike Cope a Winston Cup driver scheduled to race in the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway April 27, 2003. Mr. Cope is a former Daytona 500 winner and a television analyst for Fox Sports News’ “NASCAR This Morning”. “Getting involved in the fastest growing sport in the United States fulfills a marketing objective of increasing our brand awareness”, stated Mike Hardy, Chief Operating Officer for Great Barrier Reef. “We believe that the demographics of NASCAR coincide closely with the demographics of our target customer base. We will use this relationship with Derrike to bring the excitement of NASCAR to our subscribers and the value of our service to an even wider population.” Hardy also stated “We at Great Barrier Reef are pleased to enter into this venture with Derrike Cope. We feel he represents the same values in which we strongly believe: Hard work, value for you money and quality performance.” Great Barrier Reef, Inc. (GBR) provides Internet access services to subscribers across the United States.

4/22/03

Free test days slated for Road Atlanta  As a gesture of appreciation to the teams that have made a full-season commitment, and to fans who have supported the series and its events, the American Le Mans Series is sponsoring two days of open testing at Road Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 27-28. Road Atlanta will be the site for the next race on the American Le Mans Series schedule, the June 27-29 Atlanta Grand Prix. The two-hour, 45-minute timed event will be televised live by CBS Sports and broadcast live by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web. The test session at Road Atlanta will be open to the public at no charge and will be free to all ALMS Championship Incentive Plan entrants. The 2.54-mile circuit will be open for testing from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days, with a scheduled one-hour lunch break each day. The American Le Mans Series always builds its schedule around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the famed French endurance racing event upon which the series is based. Many teams that compete in ALMS events also compete at Le Mans and are required to be in France for pre-practice on May 4, as well as the race on June 14-15. Therefore, the series is currently in its annual schedule break. While there are many American Le Mans Series teams going to Le Mans, there are also many that are not,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. “This test will give the teams staying home the opportunity to get some track time during the break in our schedule and help prepare themselves for the Atlanta Grand Prix. It will also give the fans a chance to get a free sample of the cars and action they will see when a full American Le Mans Series grid convenes at Road Atlanta at the end of June.” Road Atlanta will also host the season finale for the American Le Mans Series, the sixth annual Petit Le Mans Oct. 15-18. The track is currently offering a special, discounted “Two Event Ticket,” as well as separate tickets to both events. Information is available online at www.roadatlanta.com or by calling 1-800-849-RACE (7223).

4/22/03

NASCAR site eyed in Linden NJ  A developer who sought to build a NASCAR racing track at the Meadowlands Sports Complex now wants to build the speedway at an industrial site in Linden, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Tuesday. The $401 million proposal by developer and former state Assemblyman Morton Salkind calls for Liberty Speedway at Linden to feature a 100,000-seat grandstand - expandable to 140,000 seats - and a .92-mile track in accordance with NASCAR regulations, the newspaper reported. It also calls for a 400,000-square-foot entertainment center and a 20-story hotel and conference center. If approved, the track would be the only NASCAR facility in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area. Salkind submitted a similar plan last fall for the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford. That plan is technically still on the table, although Salkind now prefers the Linden site.  AP Story

4/22/03

Testing for LeMans at Paul Ricard  Audi, Bentley, Ascari, Oreca and Pescarolo prepared for Le Mans 24 hours at the Paul Ricard HTTT.  Being the only track in Europe with a straight as long as the Le Mans straight, the Paul Ricard HTTT is the ideal track to fully test and optimize the car preparation for the race. The 2002 test session was concluding as Audi finished 1, 2, 3 and Bentley, just behind in fourth place at the 2002 edition of Le Mans 24 Hours race. In 2003, teams Bentley, Audi Goh, Prodrive and Solution F decided to renew testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT to search and find the right car settings for the Preliminary Test Session to take place at Le Mans on May 5th to 6th 2003. (Race June 14th/15th ).  The Paul Ricard HTTT was open to the teams between Tuesday, April 15th at 10:00 am and Wednesday, April 16th at 6:00 pm, giving the opportunity to complete a long and intensive test session and a 24 hours simulation. After over 30 hours on track solutions 1B ( 5, 759) and 1A ( 5, 752 km ), team Bentley with drivers R. Capello, T. Kristensen, G. Smith, M. Blundell and J. Herbert, completed over 5 000 km, setting best times ahead of rivals Audi Goh and Prodrive. Team Audi Goh, trained of endurance racing, chose to work more on the car’s setting with drivers S.Ara, J. Magnussen and M. Werner than on endurance racing. The team completed around 2 000 km in the 30 hours, using the track only three hours during the night.  Car Racing, the owner of the three Ferrari 550 Maranello present at the Paul Ricard HTTT, chose to use the time to mixe the preparation of two Prodrive Ferraris for Le Mans 24 Hours completing some 5 000 km and one Ferrari for the French GT Championship (GT FFSA) prepared by team Solution F who completed some 500 km. Drivers K. Burt, J. Davies, A. Davidson, T.Enge, P. Kox, D. Turner, L. Alphand, J. Polican and M. Neugarten split between the three cars searching for the best settings. Philippe Gurdjian , President and CEO of Excelis said at the end of the session : “ In the last 30 hours, we have given teams the opportunity to exploit the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in order to prepare for the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. Two of the three teams completed more or less 5 000 km which is the Le Mans 24 Hours race distance of the winners in 2002 (Audi). Nine spins only in more than 30 hours… no major problem during this session, which is the best satisfaction we can have. Big efforts have been put together by all the actors of this session, and our wish now is to see these teams succeed at the next 24 Hours of Le Mans”.
Tuesday April 15th from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Track 1B : 5,759 Km
Weather: dry –strong South East wind –Air temperature mini 10C°, maxi 22C°
Team Number of Laps Best Lap
Bentley 272 1 :41 :331
Audi Goh 102 1 :42 :627
Prodrive 151 1 :52 :375
Tuesday April 15th from 5:00 pm to Wednesday 16th /6:00 pm
Track 1A : 5,752 km
Weather: dry – moderated wind – full moon, Air temperature mini 10C° maxi 22C°
Bentley 718 1 :38 :275
Audi Goh 228 1 :39 :644
Prodrive 690 1 :48 :909
Solution F 86 1 :51 :413

4/22/03
Industry News

New Honda President a product of racing  Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that Mr. Takeo Fukui will become the company’s sixth President and Chief Executive Officer effective in late June 2003. Mr. Fukui, 58, currently a Senior Managing and Representative Director, will succeed Mr. Hiroyuki Yoshino, 63, who will assume the post of Director and Advisor to Honda Motor Co. This management succession will occur following the final decision of the Honda Motor Board of Directors after the company’s annual shareholders meeting in late June 2003. Mr. Fukui brings a vast 34 years of experience with Honda to his new role, including expertise in research and development, engineering, environmental technology, racing activities and the manufacturing of automobiles, motorcycles and power products. Mr. Fukui joined Honda in 1969, after graduating from Waseda University with a B.S. in Applied Chemistry. He started his career at Honda as a member of the Honda project team that developed the Honda CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engine, which made the Honda Civic the first car to meet the strict emissions standards set by the U.S. Clean Air Act. In 1978, Fukui was transferred to the area of motorcycle racing, where he devoted almost a decade to Honda’s racing success including in the World Grand Prix 500cc class – where Honda won the championship for the first time in 1983. After 19 years with Honda R&D Co., including serving as Managing Director as well as President of Honda Racing Corp., Fukui was appointed to the Board of Directors of Honda Motor Co. in 1988. As Managing Director and later as Senior Managing Director of Honda R&D Co., Mr. Fukui assumed the entire responsibility for motorcycle development from 1987 to 1992. In 1992, he became General Manager of the Hamamatsu Factory – a production facility with one of the most complex product mixes of any Honda factory in the world, including motorcycles, power products and auto transmissions. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Executive Vice President and later as President of Honda of America Mfg., Inc. in Ohio, where production volume significantly expanded under his tenure in order to meet increasing customer demand for Honda products in the North American market. In 1998, Mr. Fukui was named President of Honda R&D Co., his current post, and promoted to Senior Managing Director of Honda Motor Co. in 1999 with the additional responsibility for Honda’s motorsports activities, including Formula One Grand Prix racing. Mr. Hiroyuki Yoshino has served as Honda’s fifth CEO since assuming the position in June 1998. He has been with Honda more than 40 years, including the past five years as President and CEO. Under Mr. Yoshino’s strong leadership, Honda has expanded its global business from 10 million customers in 1998 to more than 15 million customers in 2002 while creating two new autonomous regional operations in South America and China. The company also has continued to advance its technological leadership, including the introduction of two gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the “FCX” fuel cell vehicle and ASIMO, the world’s first bi-pedal humanoid robot. Significantly, over the past four years, Honda has innovated its global manufacturing operations to the flexible “New Manufacturing System” that enables Honda to quickly and flexibly respond to changes in the marketplace on a global basis.

4/22/03

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4/22/03

More feedback on passing in CART   Dear AutoRacing1.com, A bit of venting along with a bit of agreement. While I agree the Speed numbers seem somewhat suspect, don't forget the numbers for Fox Espanol. Also, it's pretty tough for CART to challenge the last holes of The Masters golf tournament. IRL was way down also. Focus on the positive; people outside this country understand the nature of road racing. Yes, it's more like soccer than basketball. In soccer, each score is extremely valuable and cause for wild celebration. In road/street racing, an on-track pass for position is a beautiful and rare thing. For example, the Mexico City race was estimated to have had 20 million Mexican households tuned in. That's more viewers than ANY NASCAR race, ever!  Every race, CART pulls in more global viewers than anything but World Rally and F1. The IRL isn't on the global radar, and NASCAR is barely a blip. CART has a great product for the significant percentage of the planet who "get" road racing. Sure, we'd all like to see more passing but at the end of the day the fast guys qualify up front and pull away. CART was making great headway in gradually introducing road racing to the American public, but the Split has changed that. CART has to focus on it's strengths and hope that it can obtain financial stability in a global market and then gradually reintroduce itself to the American public. (Danica Patrick running up front in a 2005 Champ Car, for example). Like many people, I'd like to see CART go to speedway wings on the street and road courses, and full multi-element wings on the ovals, with increases in ground effects for both. Yes, the racing could improve with cars able to follow nose to tail through corners under both scenarios. CART might be wise to pick up a couple of used chassis and do their own "entertainment" setup testing. However, I think that any improvement in the ability of cars to pass wouldn't be so dramatic as to offset the basic loss of interest by the American fan in the short term. It's just going to take time. You imply that the powers that be aren't thinking about this stuff; I have a feeling that they are. Lando Magee Dime Box, Texas Dear Lando, You make some valid points, but.....Judging by the lack of new sponsors in the CART paddock, one can argue that the TV ratings are being watched by the powers to be. What is surprising is how far their SPEED ratings have fallen since last year.  Clearly CART's marketing program is not working, probably because it is underfunded.  As for CART having a great international audience.  It used to with ESPN International - some 200 countries received CART broadcasts.  Now CART is broadcast in very few overseas markets, perhaps 10.  Mark Cipolloni

4/22/03

Feedback on passing in CART   Dear AutoRacing1.com, Rubber Band Racing vs. Parade Racing. Which is better? Granted, the IRL and NASCAR races do have passing, but in most cases, the passing seems fake to me. It seems like the only reason there is a pass is because of drafting, not because there was some incredible move on the part of a driver (i.e., true racing) or because one Team tweaked the car just that much better than another. In many races, the lead cars can look like a rubber band, where cars go back and forth for the lead because the car that just got passed can now draft the car in front and eventually overtake it. This occurred over and over again during the CART Michigan race a couple years ago and the ABC announcers were going crazy about how great the racing was. I didn't agree. In this type of race, the winner is the driver that happens to be at the right part of the rubber band at the right time. One of the best oval races I have seen lately was last year's Fontana race. What a great race. In this race it seemed like a second place car could overtake the lead car and could actually pull away. It seemed like you could actually see the guy that was driving better and pushing harder get rewarded. I do believe that CART needs more passing. When passing occurs in CART on a road/street course, there's no other passing that's better. It can be very exciting. But I feel that road racing is different that oval racing and fans have to understand this. During a road/street race, not only does the driver race his fellow competitors, but he is also racing the track, and I believe a lot of people don't understand that and therefore, don't enjoy it. As example would be Michel Jourdain, Jr.'s incredible drive at the end of the Long Beach race. He needed at least a 40 second lead over Fernandez to ensure the win, and he laid it out and did his part and got the 40 seconds. Even though CART still needs improvement, I do have to say that this year's racing does seem a lot better than I have seen for a while. I recall St. Petersburg's race were Bourdais was screaming through the pack. That was fun to watch. As a side note, the television coverage on that race was great. They showed a lot of great action and it seemed like the cameras were pointing in the right direction at the right time. Thanks, Kevin Kelch, Omaha, Nebraska  Dear Kevin, what you say is absolutely true, but only the hard core fan understands that.  CART needs to win over the "fringe" fans and new fans to grow, but those fans are going to NASCAR instead, where cars do pass for the lead.  Mark Cipolloni

4/22/03

Trans-Am passing feedback  Dear Autoracing1.com, On April 17th Jeff Skinner wrote to say that Boris' pass took away, not added to the TA race, that Scott had a huge lead and that without reversing the grid there is no passing at LB...I don't know which race he was watching, but Scott never had more than .8 second lead over Boris. If you want to call that a huge lead? Boris matched Scott's time lap after lap and even took a close peek for a pass attempt in T8 just before the yellow. At that point, I knew it was a matter of time before BS pounced. Also, was Jeff asleep during the grueling duel between Stu Hayner, Bobby Sak, Greg Pickett and Jorge Diaz Jr.? Those 5 swapped places more times than Cher changes her wig. Jorge fought back from a contact/spin to finish an impressive 5th. And where was Jeff last year when we had four lead changes between three drivers on the last lap? If that isn't passing....Sheesh, what more do you want on a street course? Caroline B. Wright, Series PA Announcer, Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup

4/22/03

Boris Said afraid to speak mind  According to this San Diego Union Tribune article, Boris Said is outspoken. That's the feature that makes the reigning Trans-Am champ so popular with fans and the media in this era of goody-two-shoes drivers, media consultants and formatted responses. Listen hard to some of the pabulum from the post-race press conferences you see on television. After the driver thanks every sponsor, his crew, the troops engaged in whichever conflict plus the fans and mentions what a great venue the race was in, he will dodge the one or two questions put to him with an orchestrated, politically correct comment. Where have you gone Darrell Waltrip, A.J. Foyt and Richard Petty? Which is why Said is so refreshing. He's old school. He says what he thinks. And that has gotten him into a world of trouble – and his likely departure from the Trans-Am circuit. "This could be my last Trans-Am race for awhile," the Carlsbad resident said Sunday after driving a Ford Mustang to his first Long Beach win. "I'm nervous about Trans-Am officials controlling my destiny. I'm nervous about them pulling my professional license if I say another thing they don't like. My living is racing. I've never had a problem before and now my future is being threatened. "There is no freedom of speech here (Trans-Am)."

4/22/03

Concrete wall ends Priestley's career  Sports Business Daily reports that Jason Priestley told Entertainment Tonight that he has decided to end his racing career. "I worry about hitting my head again really hard and sort of what that would do to me," said Priestley.  Priestley is another victim of what is quickly becoming the most dangerous form of racing in the world - open wheel Indy Cars cars on oval tracks.

4/21/03
F3000

Photos added   We have added photos to the Townsend Bell story on the F3000 race from Imola, Italy this past weekend.  See story & photos

4/21/03

Yasukawa and Wheldon pass Indy rookie test  Roger Yasukawa joined six other rookie drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today to complete the IRL IndyCar Series mandatory Rookie Orientation Program in preparation for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. Yasukawa was required to complete four speed phases in the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone on the 2.5-mile oval. Cool temperatures relegated the speed segments to 2002 standards of 200 to 215 mph, with each phase increasing by five mph. “Today went really well,” said Yasukawa. “Obviously our aim was to get the rookie orientation done and for me to get used to the track. We were able to accomplish both of those and we had pretty good speed at the end of the day. I think there are a couple of more things that I need to do with my driving [style] but for me to be here for the first time at the Speedway, I am really happy with the overall outcome. It was very hard to imagine how it was going to be, and now that I have driven here I can go back tonight and think a lot more on what to try. “Overall the track is definitely very challenging and very fast. Turn One is especially challenging because it is kind of blind when you turn in and you definitely have to know where you are going. As you go faster the car balance feels better, but then you don’t have much of a margin of error so you have to be accurate as you go faster. That combination makes it very challenging for the driver and engineer. The team is doing a great job, and John [Dick, race engineer] and Tom [Anderson, managing director] both have great experience at this track. They are both definitely teaching me a lot.” Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon completed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Rookie Orientation Program today, paving the way for his first start in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. The 24-year-old Brit completed the four speed phases: completing 10 consecutive laps at 200-205 mph, 205-210 mph, 210-215 mph and anything above 215 mph. He also showed the consistent car control needed to pass the test. “The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car has been fast,” said Wheldon. “We just took our time getting up to speed. Tino Belli (Andretti Green technical director), who is going to be my engineer for the month of May, is keen on me peaking at the right time. I think they're just keeping me on an even keel right now, so come qualifying, we should be good. I'd say I'm in a good position with the Andretti Green Racing team. They've got great personnel and everyone is very strong at their positions. Rookie tests have been administered at the Speedway since 1936. The Rookie Orientation Program is an opportunity for rookie drivers to get experience on the famous 2.5-mile oval before the veterans arrive for Opening Day on May 4. It also gives them a chance to learn different lines around the track without traffic. "It is different, because Indy has four corners rather than the usual two,” said Wheldon. “It's a real good place. When you look at a circuit map you think, 'Oh four corners, pretty similar.' But when you get out there, they are completely different. It just takes a little while to adapt to what each corner wants and here, since you're going so fast, there is just less margin for error. So, everything has to be right to be fast, and that's what we're working on."

4/21/03

Buddy Rice breezes through rookie test  Buddy Rice has turned hundreds of laps in IRL IndyCar Series events, starting from the front row and nearly winning his first race. Still, for the Indianapolis 500, Rice is a rookie. Rice was the first driver to pass the Rookie Orientation Program on Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making himself and the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet eligible for the 87th running of the Indy 500 next month. Rice was exempt from the first two phases of the program, in which drivers are required to maintain pre-determined levels of speed for 10 consecutive laps while showing consistent car control. Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of the Indy Racing League, decides whether a driver has completed a phase after consulting with IRL director of special projects Johnny Rutherford and IRL driving coach Al Unser. While far from inexperienced, Rice recognized the tradition of -- and the need for -- ROP. "Nigel Mansell won the world championship in Formula One in 1992 and came here in '93 and had to go through rookie orientation," Rice said. "It's part of the rules. It's just the way it is. It's good to get through it. Now we can get on to testing and get on with the month of May." Rice was required to run 10 laps between 210 mph and 215 mph, then had to run 10 laps at 215 or more. Rice topped out with a lap of 220.719 mph. The Red Bull Cheever Racing team will continue testing Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the Indy 500 on May 25th. Opening day of practice is set for May 4, with pole qualifying on May 10 and the race set for May 25. Rice is enthusiastic, especially after recording 94 laps during a test Saturday at IMS. "Hopefully the whole month will go the way Saturday's test went," Rice said. "If it does, it will be pretty exciting. It will be exciting either way. Every week we're making progress."

4/21/03

Team plans for 500 jumbled by injuries  This Indy Star article says, The field for the 87th annual Indianapolis 500 is in a world of hurt. Already faced with the possibility of having its skimpiest participation list in decades, officials charged with hosting the 33-car Greatest Spectacle in Racing are also unsure which drivers they will have. Previously, NASCAR champion Tony Stewart said he would not participate. So did last year's controversial runner-up, Paul Tracy. Recent injuries have derailed Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway approaches May 4, the first day of official practice.  More....

4/21/03

Williams thinks F1 split will be avoided  This Reuters article says, A deal will be done between the various parties in Formula One to prevent a damaging future split in the sport, according to team boss Frank Williams.  "There will be a deal," he said on Saturday when asked about a move last week by all 10 teams to sign a memorandum of understanding to work with leading European carmakers in planning a new series from 2008. The existing 'Concorde Agreement' between teams, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) runs until 2007. FIA president Max Mosley said this week that the likelihood of two rival series in the future had increased, although he believed a solution would be found. The carmakers -- Ford, BMW, Renault, Ferrari's parent FIAT and DaimlerChysler -- want teams to have a far greater slice of the sport's revenues and have set up their own GPWC company to pave the way for their own championship. "Everyone it seems to me gets in a bit of a tizz about the GPWC and the split and this and that," said Williams at the San Marino Grand Prix. "But there's four more years to go on the (existing) contract. If I had a four-year contract with BMW, I'd have my feet up on the table, I'd be relaxed so to speak. What's the fuss?" Williams suggested the unanimous agreement of teams to sign the memorandum at a meeting in Munich was more of a warning shot to Formula One supremo Ecclestone. "I think it was just the teams stating a position that unless Bernie has a better offer -- and he's not very good at making great offers, bless him -- for the long term after 2007 then we'd rather go GPWC," said Williams. "But I think we all realize that a lot of water has got to flow under the bridge before the GPWC becomes a real series. And we also know that one series is better than two series."

4/21/03
Industry News

CARA Charities schedules auction   – With the 2003 racing season now in full swing, racing fans will have the opportunity to bid for some of open-wheel racing’s great collectibles in the new CARA Charities Online Auction this week (April 20-26) at caraux.org.  Some unique motorsports items are available to the highest bidder throughout the week that concludes on Saturday, April 26, at midnight.  A variety of open-wheel racing memorabilia including driver uniforms, crew uniforms, special car parts and specially autographed shirts, shoes, programs and other racing collectibles. All proceeds from the items will go to charity. Among the 25 auction pieces include:
• Tony Kanaan McDonalds Autographed Firesuit
• Tora Takagi Pioneer Autographed Firesuit
• Adrian Fernandez Autographed Tecate Team Crew Shirt
• Tony Kanaan Autographed Racing Shoes
• 2002 Toyota CART Posters Autographed By All Toyota Drivers including
CART series champion Cristiana da Matta.
• Cam Cover Plaque From A Ford Cosworth Engine
• 1991 Indy 500 Poster Autographed by Winner Rick Mears
• Autographed Checkered Flag by all Toyota Atlantic drivers
• Newman Haas Fleece Jacket autographed by Da Matta and Fittipaldi
These special auction items are currently featured on CARA Charities (caraux.org) and the highest bidders will be notified by April 28. Payment must be received by May 5th. If the money is not received by the deadline, the next highest bidder will win. Shipping charges are to be paid by the winning bidder.  For further information, look on the websites at www.caraux.org. Or also contact the CARA Charities office at (317) 299-2277 or e-mail to carachar@aol.com.

4/21/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

No Joy As Schumacher Wins Imola
Sir Frank Backs Fraught Ralf
Ferrari Close F2002 Chapter
Schu Brothers Do Formula One Proud
No Rush On New McLaren MP4-18
BMW To Renew Williams Contract
Decision To Race Was Michael's
Pizzonia: Too Young For Formula One?
British GP Secure: Ron Dennis

4/20/03

F1 cars really look drivable vs. Champ Cars  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Perhaps you can explain to me why F1 cars look like they move around more through the turns and the drivers appear to saw at the wheel much more than CART drivers do in Champ Cars.  Dave Alborghetti, Phoenix, AZ, Dear Dave, there are a couple of factors at work here.  IMO11HIGH.jpgFirst, as you can see in the photo to the right of the Ferrari, F1 cars use a much smaller diameter wheel, resulting in a much higher tire side wall.  A higher tire sidewall results in much more flexing of the tire as you can see in the photo.  Champ Cars have a much lower and stiffer tire sidewall (larger wheel diameter) much like you see on high performance street tires.  Explaining it in layman's terms, a lower profile tire gives a much stiffer (and harder) ride and is better performing.  However, it's also less forgiving, so when the car gets a little sideways, it can snap right around on the driver.  The second factor is that Champ Cars are overweight by some 400 pounds meaning they need stiffer springs.  Spring rates on a F1 car are usually much less because the cars are so light.  The combination of the "spring" rate of the tire flex and the spring rate of the actual springs, contributes to the overall stiffness of the car.  A "softer" sprung car is better over bumps and looks like it is dancing around more.  The driver can also "play" with a softer sprung car, throwing the car around more through the corners, without it getting away from him.  Hence a F1 car is more entertaining to watch, as the driver "dances with it" it from side to side as he saws at the wheel.  Great stuff, and it separates the men from the boys so-to-speak.  If CART is going to adopt a F1-like engine in 2005, and become a true training ground for F1, perhaps CART will also consider using the same size wheels and tires as F1 cars, and a lighter car.  Mark Cipolloni

4/20/03

Baltimore fans tuning into NASCAR  According to the folks at Fox TV, through last Sunday's race at Martinsville, Va., Baltimore is averaging a 5.0/11 rating/share, which is a 35 percent increase over last year's mark of 3.7/8 to this same point in the season. This sharp increase makes the city the nation's fastest-growing TV market and puts it into the vanguard of a group of NASCAR "hot pockets" that fall outside the sport's traditional Southeastern market. Other surging markets include Boston (up 24 percent), Seattle (21 percent) and Minneapolis (15 percent).

4/20/03

Ground breaking this week for Houston SuperSpeedway  A private groundbreaking ceremony for the Houston Super Speedway is slated for Tuesday. Steve Martin, an executive with track developer Star State Investments Inc., said he will give an update on the status of the racetrack at Tuesday’s ceremony. He also said construction on the $100 million racetrack could begin within 30 days. “We have been working very diligently on it,” he said. “It’s going to be great for people to see how far we’ve come along. They will be able to say, ‘All the hype and hoopla is gone. They are starting.’” Martin said Tuesday’s ceremony is not open to the public. He said the company has sent out about 200 invitations to public officials, corporations and media members. “It’s kind of our coming-out party,” Martin said. The investment company is planning to build a speedway on 2,700 acres of farm land at Highway 288 and FM 1462. The racetrack will seat about 90,000 people, and the investment company is hoping to attract both Indy Racing League and NASCAR events. “We are focused on getting the track on the ground,” Martin said. “Then I think we can talk about some of the other opportunities.” In the next 14 or 15 months, the investment company will focus on building the track, crash walls and areas inside the track for pit crews. In the following year, the focus will shift to the parking lot, grandstands and luxury suites, Martin said.

4/20/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Schumacher Brothers Lose Mother, Will Race
Williams Calms Breakaway Threat
Ralf Rumors 'Total Nonsense'
Schumacher And Alonso Escape Penalty
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 1)
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 2)
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 3)
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 4)
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 5)
Word In The Imola Paddock (Sunday 6)
Schumachers Exempt From Formalities
Bernie Warns GPWC To Accept Offer

4/20/03

IRL injuries mount  In what is likely the most dangerous form of auto racing worldwide, the injuries to IRL drivers from Motegi continue to mount.  Although not officially reported, Jaques Lazier also suffered a mild concussion as a result of his accident in Japan. As for the other more serious injuries at Motegi, this ESPN.com article says - Trammell operated on Kanaan's broken left arm Tuesday while Scheid and hand special Dr. Tim Dickey performed surgery on Dixon's right hand and wrist three days later. "Tony had a plate in his arm from another accident and his new break was just beyond the old one so we had to put in a new plate," said Trammell, who had Kanaan stay at his home and rehab from his 2000. "His arm is pretty sore but at least he's had experience in rehabbing this thing." Dixon, who made contact with Kanaan and sent them smashing into the third-turn wall as they battled for the lead, opted for screws and plates rather than the 10 weeks required to have the seven small fractures heal on their own. "They put a screw on the bone the wrist rolls on and then screws or plates on all the other broken bones to make it stronger," said Dixon, who captured the IRL season-opener and has consistently been the fastest driver along with Kanaan. "It's a little sore but the doctors think I'll probably be able to do some laps in that first week of practice so that's encouraging.".  This article contains a running tally of all injuries in CART and the IRL since the IRL was formed.  The alarming injury rate in the IRL has some people renaming it the "Injured" Racing League.  We can only imagine that the driver insurance rates in the IRL are skyrocketing.

4/20/03
F3000

Wirdheim wins first round of F3000 Championship   After claiming Pole Position on Friday, Arden Driver Bjorn Wirdheim led from start to finish of the 31 lap race, commencing the season in the same winning form that he finished the 2002 season. Under pressure throughout the race from Red Bull Driver Patrick Friesacher the young Swede always looked fully in control as the two pulled out a huge lead over Ricardo Sperafico with Bjorn recording the fastest race lap on lap 6. Wirdheim was not the only impressive performance today with Townsend Bell making an action packed start to his F3000 career. After Qualifying an extremely credible fifth, the American Driver made a good start (his first ever standing start) and immediately put Vitantonio Liuzzi under pressure for fourth place. This battle went on until about half distance allowing Pantano to close and make an optimistic move at Tosa tapping the Arden Driver into a spin, dropping him into 16th place. Townsend recovered extremely well passing numerous cars to finish 9th just out of the points. Bjorn Wirdheim commented: "Everything went well for me today and I have felt confident in the car all weekend. Patrick was always not far behind so I pushed hard from start to finish. My only problem in the race was lapping one of the back markers but other than that I felt pretty in control". Townsend Bell commented: "This has been a weekend of new experiences for me, especially with my first standing start. I had the pace to run quicker than Liuzzi but I just couldn't find a way past. I was surprised when I got a tap from behind, having lost a lot of ground I managed to get up to 9th before running out of laps". Christian Horner commented: "We knew coming here that we were well prepared and Bjorn's performance today was excellent as the Red Bull car was never more than a second behind. Townsend also backed up his strong pre-season Testing form with a very respectable performance. Despite it being his first ever standing start it certainly didn't look like it and he was unlucky to have been nudged out of 5th place. Looking at his times after he rejoined he was capable of running in the top three".

4/19/03

Teams test new equipment at Indy  1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack was joined by two Indy rookies – Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira – in private testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 19. The three drivers combined for a total of 321 laps of testing with the new Indy Racing League IndyCar™ Series chassis and engine combinations. Meira, driving the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for Team Menard, completed the most laps with 148. Brack, who also won the 1998 Indy Racing League IndyCar™ Series season championship driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, took his first laps at the legendary 2.5-mile oval with Team Rahal driving the No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone. “It’s been a pain-free day for us,” said Brack, who completed 79 laps of testing. “We’ve done a lot of small trials. We’re getting there and it’s going pretty good. The speeds were decent and everything feels good, and that’s all you can ask for on the first day of testing. We have the whole month to get really fast.” Buddy Rice completed 94 laps in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Rice has competed in eight IndyCar Series races in his career, but has yet to experience driving in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” In his typically cool demeanor, Rice says he’s taking the days leading up to Indy one at a time. “We’re shaking down our (Indianapolis) car and just getting it all ready,” he said, “just trying to get some seat time with the new Dallara and the Chevy, and seeing where we’re going to be for the month of May. “(I am) definitely excited, but there’s a lot going on. Got this (test) today, then I go through my rookie orientation next week, then it’s off to Nashville for a night test. I think after that it will set in that we’re getting ready for the month of May.” Meira, who will be a teammate to full-time Team Menard driver Jaques Lazier at Indy, will drive the No. 22 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in his first attempt to qualify for the world’s most prestigious auto race. April 19 was Meira’s first day of testing on the famed Speedway oval. The driver from Brazilia, Brazil, said it was an emotional experience given the history of the Speedway, but kept his emotions in check. “Today is the first time this car has come here,” said Meira. “There is a lot to do, lots to improve. We’re still working, but the good thing is that every stop, every change we do is for the better, so we’re on the right way. “I tried today to keep my emotions as low as possible. It doesn’t match very well – speed and a lot of emotion. Even to only have done a few laps here is special because someday you can say you did some laps at Indianapolis.”

4/19/03

CART driver Tracy wins first Qtr DOY balloting  With three consecutive victories to start the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has set the Champ Car series aflame as he chases his first series championship. That flame spread like a wildfire through all other divisions of racing in the first three months of the season and when the smoke cleared, Tracy was the lone tree standing as the Champ Car series leader was named as the winner of the national Driver of the Quarter award by the Legends Marketing Group. The award, which has been in existence for 36 years, goes to the top driver among all racing series and inserts the Canadian driver as one of the four candidates to win the Driver of the Year award, which went to series champion Cristiano da Matta in 2002. “I’m extremely honored to have been selected, especially when you look at all the other drivers who were nominated,” said Tracy. “It’s also rewarding because it takes into account all the major racing series in North America and because fans have their say in the voting. It’s been a terrific start to the season not only for myself, but also for the Champ Car World Series with three great events. I cant’ say enough about the support that Team Player’s has shown me since I joined and I’m happy that I was able to put together a string of victories this early in the season as we strive to bring a championship title back to Canada.” Tracy opened his year with a win at St. Petersburg, then followed that up with a victory in Monterrey, Mexico. He completed the sweep this past weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach when he beat Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to the finish. Tracy was chosen ahead of such nominees as Dayton 500 winner Michael Waltrip, NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth, IRL race winner Tony Kanaan and NHRA Top Fuel rookie Brandon Bernstein who won two of the first three national events this year after taking over for his famous father Kenny Bernstein. The Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. In recognition of this honor Tracy will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix Swiss Watch. Maurice Lacroix USA – the official watch of the Driver of the Year award– is one of the fastest-growing Swiss watch manufacturers in America, with more than 400 quality jewelers representing the award-winning collection in the United States. In addition to Tracy’s award being announced Saturday night on SPEED Channel, the ceremony where da Matta was officially given the 2002 Driver of the Year award will be broadcast Sunday night on SPEED Channel. The award was given in conjunction with the induction ceremonies for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, where former Champ Car title winner and current team owner Emerson Fittipaldi was added to the list of racing luminaries in the Talladega museum.

4/19/03
MotoGP

Japanese rider succumbs   3rd UPDATE The MotoGP community was today mourning the death of one of its brightest stars, as Daijiro Kato finally lost his brave battle for life in the Yokkaichi Central Hospital, Japan. Kato has been in a coma since a horrific crash two weeks ago at the Suzuka Circuit, venue of the first round of the 2003 MotoGP World Championship. The former 250cc World Champion suffered head, neck and chest injuries in the accident and has been fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of the hospital, where he passed away on Sunday morning at 00:42 local time. Kato, 27, leaves behind a widow and two children.   4/16/03 - The MotoGP community continues to hold out hope for Daijiro Kato, who remains in coma one week after his tragic crash at the Suzuka Circuit. Honda´s Japanese website has reported that they have received more than 4,600 messages from well-wishers around the world, whilst here at motograndprix.com the total has soared to over 1,500. Members of the MotoGP paddock have also been expressing their solidarity with the former 250cc World Champion, including Ducati rider Loris Capirossi and Fuchs Kawasaki Team Manager Harald Eckl. `We had a dream debut with our bike but our excitement was completely overshadowed by what happened to Kato,´ said Capirossi. `He is in bad shape but we are all thinking about him and we hope he will show signs of improvement in the next few days.´ Meanwhile, Eckl added: `It is a sad time for motorcycle sport. We are all thinking about Daijiro and his family and we are praying for a miracle.´ Kato has shown no major signs of improvement since his pulse and heartbeat stabilised at the end of last week.  4/8/03 - 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

4/19/03

NASCAR Busch series struggling   According to this AP article, As the Busch Series prepares for its only California visit in next Saturday's Auto Club 300 at California Speedway in Fontana, questions surround the health of NASCAR's No. 2 series. ``I can't say the series is very healthy right now,'' said two-time Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie. ``I'd say we are almost in turmoil. The costs are too high and guys are being driven out of the sport. And the teams being brought in as field-fillers are not competitive. ``It's really hurting the series.'' Racing full time in the Busch Series since 1996, LaJoie is sort of the dean of the Busch Series. He says he has no interest in Winston Cup, preferring to have Sundays off with his family. In his 301 career starts, he has seen NASCAR grow into a major sport. But he hasn't seen the rewards his peers are earning across the track in the Winston Cup garage. ``It's so top heavy right now, it's sickening,'' LaJoie said. ``You get more money for finishing last in the Winston Cup race than you do for winning the Busch Series race.''.

4/19/03
Industry News

Rockingham track sold to management  According to Autosport Professional, The future of Britain's only oval race circuit, Rockingham Motor Speedway, is said to have been secured following a management buy-out. CEO Ashley Pover and chairman Joe Dickinson have acquired a majority stake in the Corby venue, believed to be 75 percent of the stock, from banker Guy Hands.

4/19/03

Bahrain circuit on fast track  This Gulf News article says, Work on the Bahrain Racing Circuit is running ahead of schedule and officials say they are confident it will be completed by March next year. Structures are already springing up at the 170-hectare site in Sakhir and workmen have so far finished 17.5 per cent of the BD52 million project. According to the original plans they were only scheduled to complete 13.4pc of the Formula One track by now. But time is of the essence and main contractor Cybarco-WCT is aware of pressures to meet the March 7 deadline. "One of the major factors is the time constraints," said project manager Costas Philippides. "But we knew that when we tendered for the project." A whopping fine will be imposed if the project is not finished on time - a cost which will be picked up by the contractors, who have secured commitments from international banks. If it is not ready, the amount will increase every 30 days after the deadline to a maximum of $40m. But there is also a maximum bonus on offer if it is finished ahead of schedule.

4/19/03

Ecclestone urges team owners to forget GPWC  Alan Henry writes in this article in The Guardian - Bernie Ecclestone has warned the formula one teams that it would be in their best interests to ditch their plans, in alliance with the major car makers, to stage an independent grand prix series from the start of 2008. He has urged the teams to accept his compromise offer and so end the deadlock over the breakaway series that the manufacturers have threatened in a bid to increase the income channeled their way. Ecclestone is determined to avoid the possibility of a split in 2008, when the manufacturers are due to set up their Grand Prix World Championship in competition with the official FIA formula one world championship. "There's been an offer on the table which they shouldn't refuse," said Ecclestone, whose role as formula one commercial rights holder through his 25% stake in his SLEC organization could be in jeopardy if the new series eventually took off. "This would be more than they had ever dreamed of," he said. "The problem is that the manufacturers' concerns started when we sold SLEC to Kirch and they were worried that the sport would be dominated by pay-to-view television. That didn't happen, but now they are concerned about other things." As things stand, the top 10 teams share 47% of the television revenue generated by the formula one world championship, with the 53% balance going to SLEC, which is owned by Kirch (75%) and Ecclestone (25%). This means around $200m (£131.5m) is divided between the teams on a sliding scale ranging from 20% ($40m) to Ferrari to around 4% ($8m) for Minardi. Ecclestone would not be drawn on just how much extra money he has offered, but is contemptuous of GPWC's claims that it can channel as much as 80% of the television income into the teams' pockets. "I have been around this business for a while and wouldn't like to be starting out in it just now," he said. "But they forget these things. If I was one of these teams with the sort of investment they have in formula one, the last thing I would be doing is to try and destabilize the sport." He added: "We don't even know how many teams will still be in business in 2008, let alone how many of the car manufacturers will stay involved."

4/19/03

Schu Brothers Dominate Grid Michael and Ralf Schumacher share the front row of the grid for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. The German pair, in their respective Ferrari and Williams racers, were a couple of tenths quicker than their team-mates Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) in third and fourth. Mark Webber continued to impress in his Jaguar Racing R4, with fifth, ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and an on-form Jacques Villeneuve (BAR). Full report to follow of Saturday's shoot-out qualifying session.

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 1) Pitlane pundits will be peering to the heavens when Saturday's shoot-out session gets underway at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola) circuit this afternoon. Local weather reports say that patchy cloud will intensify in the afternoon with a 'slight chance of rain.' The cloud will linger for Sunday's 2003 San Marino Grand Prix with scattered showers penned, again, for 2 o'clock - race-time. Back on track, Peter Sauber concurred with his similarly tire-shod teams on Friday that Bridgestone were the boots to have at Imola. The Swiss, noting that his Sauber racers could have done better and that Ferrari held the provisional (Friday) front-row, said 'These tires are extremely good over one lap. 'I think we can be confident for an improvement tomorrow (Saturday).' Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were 14th and 10th on Friday. Bridgestone's technical manager agreed, saying: 'Friday showed us the real competitiveness of our tires. It has definitely given us confidence for the race.' Ferrari's technical boss Ross Brawn said Bridgestone are quick over one lap, but it may not matter much if the skies turn dark on Sunday afternoon, as predicted. 'We may well be using our wet tire,' the Englishman laughed. Brawn's BAR counterpart Geoff Willis, meanwhile, said there isn't 'too much between' Bridgestone and Michelin in Italy this weekend. He added, 'Certainly in comparison to last year we have made a huge step closer to the Ferraris which is part of our plan.'

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 2) Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier was surprised after Friday qualifying at Imola yesterday. The Frenchman had outwardly boasted that his French boots should hold the mantle in Italy despite claims that lower ambient temperatures would swing the pendulum to Bridgestone. He said after Michelin's rivals scooped the two best times: 'There were one or two surprises today, but overall we are pleased with the way our tires have performed and there is everything still to play for this weekend.' Dupasquier insisted that 'some cars might have been running on very soft rubber. The forecasters predict that we might have rain, as well.' Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds blamed at least some of his racers' poor form on Friday - 13th and 16th - on uncompetitive Michelin tires. He said the Enstone ranks are 'obviously very unsatisfied with the present result which places us too far behind our direct competitors.' The slowest Renault ace, Italian Jarno Trulli, said his unbalanced R23 contender 'should improve' on Saturday. Also on Michelin tires at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit on Friday was a new face, Matteo Bobbi, who completed his first testing session for Minardi. But the Milanese ace, who's paid up to $1m to test the PS03 at four GP circuits in 2003, notched up just 10 laps after a Cosworth engine sensor failed. Bobbi, who languished six seconds off the pace, said he was 'happy that on the first run my lap time was not so far away from that of Jos (Verstappen).' He added, 'We lost time in the pits while the mechanics attended to the car, and then when I went back for my final run with about three minutes of the session left, there was a problem with the gearbox.'

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 3) McLaren boss Ron Dennis has warned the racing world not to write off his silver chargers at Imola. Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard were just eighth and ninth after the Friday shoot-out, but Dennis insists the team 'spent a considerable amount of time' on tire selection', rather than chassis set-up. 'It's clearly that [the set-up] is not yet there,' he said, 'but the engineers are now focusing on that challenge for [Saturday's] qualifying.' Mercedes boss Norbert Haug was a little more forthright in claiming that McLaren's MP4-17 was simply 'not quick enough.' Quicker than both McLarens was rising sensation Mark Webber, who again demonstrated the quality of his Jaguar Racing R4 by going fifth. Furthermore, the Leaping Cat insists it is solved the fuel pick-up issue that has meant carrying extra fuel in the first three races of the 2003 season. A statement explained how 'the problem has not re-occurred thereby allowing the Jaguar R4 to demonstrate its true form for the first time this season.' Dr Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance, added that Webber's fifth was the 'clearest indication yet' of the improved direction that Jaguar Racing is taking. Ferrari's world champion Michael Schumacher headed into this weekend's Imola Grand Prix insisting that 'all the mistakes' of 2003 were behind him. As the circuit burst into life for opening Friday practice, though, the 34-year-old ran his F2002 off the track ending his run with a myriad of light damage. Technical director Ross Brawn said the lost track time was 'not a problem' as the Scuderia tested extensively at Imola last February. 'The mechanics did a good job in repairing the damage quickly,' he added before his boys in scarlet went one and two in Friday qualifying. He noted, 'The cars seem to be well balanced. The tires worked well over the single flying lap.'

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 4) No-one at Brackley-based BAR is particularly happy with Honda's latest specification of V10 engine. Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve are using the revised unit at Imola this weekend, Button claiming that, although it's a good first step, 'we really need to continue to make progress.' Honda's engineering head Shuhei Nakamoto said BAR's form on Friday in San Marino, where Jenson and Jacques finished 6th and 7th, wasn't 'too bad but I'm not completely happy either.' Faces at the similarly Japanese-owned Toyota team were even more glum after Friday's provisional shoot-out qualifying session. Olivier Panis was 12th quickest after taking a 'few risks' to iron out serious handling problems, but team-mate Cristiano Da Matta's TF103 continued to languish and wound up 18th. Chief designer Gustav Brunner said Toyota would be adapting Cristiano's car to 'reflect the major changes' made to Olivier's ahead of the Saturday blast. 'I sincerely hope we will make some more steps ahead,' he said. Fortunes are looking a little better, meanwhile, in blue and white as BMW-Williams eye up a challenge of the Ferrari pace in Imola. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were third and fourth quickest, less than half a second behind the scarlet leaders, with chief engineer Sam Michael praising a 'good start to the weekend.' 'Our performance is definitely improving,' the Australian notes of an FW25 boasting a few more aerodynamic revisions in Sam Marino. He added, 'It is good to see the chassis works well with these changes. We are looking forward to tomorrow.' Outgoing BMW boss Gerhard Berger, meanwhile - on duty at the Enzo e Dino Circuit this weekend - also admired the effect of new aerodynamic components on the troubled Williams car. 'Our result shows a big step forward,' said the Austrian. 'It shows what the potential of our car is. On Sunday, there could be a place on the podium for us.'

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 5) Michael Schumacher's blistering pace in the Friday qualifying session at Imola yesterday was an outright lap record. The German lapped the 3-mile circuit in 1 minute, 20.628 seconds, beating his previous record of 1:21.091 set in qualifying for last year's race on the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. Rubens Barrichello's 1:21.082 was also faster than Michael's '02 benchmark set in the same F2002 contender. Meanwhile, news from Brazil's Autodromo Carlos Pace circuit - home of the last F1 blast in Sao Paulo - is that track officials have vowed to fix a dangerous drainage problem. No less than 6 drivers were caught out at the Turn Three, Curva do Sol corner, flooded by persistent rivers of water streaming from a nearby drainage ditch. 'We will improve the drainage system,' Interlagos' managing director Julio Lima said. 'There will be no more rivers crossing the track.' Back at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit for this weekend's San Marino event, McLaren ace David Coulthard says he 'wasn't surprised' to hear of the Scuderia's decision to delay the all-new F2003-GA. 'I wasn't really paying attention,' said the Scot, 'but it doesn't surprise me. It is, however, interesting that all that testing can't create a reliable car for Ferrari. 'Clearly they are having a few major issues with it.' As Saturday's two 45-minute free practice sessions got underway, it wasn't long before Williams' Ralf Schumacher smacked his FW25 into the Variante Alta tire barriers. Meanwhile Renault, whose drivers Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli struggled for balance on Friday, tried 'dramatically' altered chassis set-ups ahead of today's qualifying blast. Alonso, sixth before Saturday qualifying, said the changes paid off. 'It was a bit of a risk, but it paid,' he said. 'I now feel much more confident for qualifying and for the race.'

4/19/03

FIA Probe Leaves Alonso Untroubled Fernando Alonso has played down news that his third place in the Brazilian Grand Prix is under threat. FIA President Max Mosley hinted that the Spaniard had passed under yellow flags at Interlagos before driving too quickly in a Safety Car period. The 21-year-old said in Imola: 'For me I don't really know much about the investigation. I'm not worried about it. 'I did a good race in Brazil and I'm happy with what I did in the race so I don't see any point to have any worries.' Fernando admitted that he knew about Mark Webber's crashed Jaguar at Turn 12 but only got the news on the radio seconds before his 60g impact. 'I had (the warning) too late,' he said. 'When you have the safety car you have yellow flags for the whole lap. But you can't do a lap at 10kmh.' Alonso crashed at more than 150mph under double-yellow flags, precipitating a red-flag and trip to hospital.

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 6) Jordan aimed for a top ten qualifying result at the Imola circuit on Saturday despite two Cosworth engine failures in practice. Brazilian GP winner Giancarlo Fisichella's failure was due to a broken water seal, but team manager Tim Edwards insisted that it 'doesn't really affect anything too much.' He explained that Jordan would fit fresh engines for qualifying and the race, anyway. Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was fastest in the final practice session before shoot-out qualifying, ahead of Ralf Schumacher who crashed his Williams heavily before the end of the session. An impressive Mark Webber was third, while Michael Schumacher continued to struggle (fifth) after spinning into the gravel. Meanwhile, ousted BAR team founder Craig Pollock admitted that he'd like to fill one of Formula One's two vacant garages in pitlane. The Scot, who still manages BAR racer Jacques Villeneuve, admitted at Imola that it's 'not out the question' that he'd return to the F1 paddock as team principal, but only in 2005. 'I would need the backing of a car manufacturer and a title sponsor in place,' he continued. Michael Schumacher has vowed to return to 'winning ways' for his beloved 'Tifosi' at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit on Sunday. 'We have the same car and the same people,' he said, harking back to the Maranello-led one-two in 2002. 'All I can do is to appeal to our fans to spend Easter at Imola to support us. The past is in our favor.'

4/19/03

Schu Admits He's Under Pressure Michael Schumacher admits he is under pressure after making mistakes in the opening three races of season 2003. The Ferrari-driving world champion said the criticism after crashing into Jarno Trulli at Sepang, and into the wall at Interlagos, 'has been intense.' He adds, 'It is also understandable. But the pressure from outside is nothing compared with the pressure I put myself through every time I go racing. 'We understand where things have gone wrong,' the German continues. 'I have made mistakes that are unacceptable to me, but we all make them. 'I have just got to hope that I have got them all out of my system for the rest of the season.'

4/19/03

Schumachers' Mother In Coma Michael and Ralf Schumacher's mother is in a coma, German daily Bild Zeitung reported on Saturday. 27-year-old Ralf, younger brother to world champion Michael, said Elisabeth Schumacher underwent an emergency operation in Cologne last Saturday after falling at home. 'Her condition is certainly stable but we're still very worried about her,' Ralf, the Williams ace, told Bild from Imola's Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. He added, 'Of course, in the circumstances we've been wondering if we should be racing at all. But we are in permanent contact with the doctors.' Michael and Ralf snatched the front-row of the San Marino GP grid on Saturday afternoon, respectively separated by less than a tenth of a second.

4/19/03

Last Racing Voyage For F2002 Rubens Barrichello is expecting to climb into his F2002 racer for the last time this Sunday, the Brazilian mused in Imola. He said whether the all-new, but unreliable, F2003-GA Ferrari rears it's racing head at Barcelona depends largely on a subsequent test at the Mugello track next week. 'Last week the test was rained out and that delayed everything a little bit,' said the 30-year-old. 'Performance-wise I think the car is fantastic but we had small problems so we thought it was better just to delay it a little bit, but I hope that we've got it very soon. 'At the moment I think it's just for this weekend, then we'll have the new one.' Team-mate Michael Schumacher reckons the F2002 is capable of winning at Imola after the team in scarlet waltzed to a dominant one-two last year. 'For the moment, it seems to be the case this year too,' he said before Saturday qualifying. 'Given our experience with the F2002, racing it here seems to have been a good decision so far.'

4/19/03

Word In The Imola Paddock (Saturday 7) Kimi Raikkonen on whether pole is a realistic target for the San Marino Grand Prix after lining up just eighth on Friday: 'It wasn't the best yesterday,' he said of McLaren's form so far in Imola, 'but we are battling for first place. 'I don't think we are far away in qualifying,' the boy-faced Finn continued. Jaguar's Mark Webber, meanwhile, reckons the team wearing scarlet are a Schu-in for pole position when the grid goes final qualifying. The Australian ace was third quickest in final practice at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, in his rapid R4. 'Whenever the Ferrari went out,' he said of Friday, 'I think it would have been quickest.' 'We saw in Malaysia that Michael was massively up on Friday. They've just had their toast landing butter side down so far.' David Coulthard concurs that Ferrari still has 'the quicker car over a single lap.' The McLaren-driving Scot added: 'If you look at their two dry qualifications on a Friday, they were a second quicker on both of them.' BMW's outgoing motorsport director Gerhard Berger insisted that Michael Schumacher and Ferrari remain undoubted favorites for the title. The Austrian said, 'The F2002 is still a cutting-edge machine.' Gary Anderson on where his Jordan-Ford EJ13 can improve at the challenging Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, otherwise known simply as 'Imola.' The technical director said, 'We need to work on the car to make it ride the curbs a bit better and try and find some lap time for tomorrow.' He said the special trophy ceremony on Friday, to award Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella with his Brazilian GP prize, was undoubtedly the 'best bit' of the weekend so far.

4/19/03

Lauda Praises His Jaguar Line-Up Niki Lauda has praised his appointment of 2003 Jaguar Racing drivers despite being dismissed by employers Ford late last year. The great Austrian gave Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia the nod to wear green in 2003 and said the former Australian ace was doing a 'perfect job'. The 26-year-old, Webber, was quickest in the wet session at Interlagos a fortnight ago before lining up third for the Brazilian GP grid. 'He performed very well in the wet, which is always complicated, and here too,' said Lauda, at Imola as a TV commentator. Lauda, the ex-triple world champion, admitted that 22-year-old Antonio Pizzonia had failed to impress in his first year of Formula One racing. 'He has disappointed me a bit,' said Niki, 'because I thought he might be a little closer to Mark. 'I don't know what Jaguar are doing to help him but the lad needs more guidance,' the outspoken ace added. 'Maybe there's no-one there to do it...'

4/19/03

Ralf Rejects Sacking Rumor Ralf Schumacher has fended off a rising rumor in the Imola F1 paddock that he'll be dumped by Williams at the end of this season. Several - particularly British - news sources claim that the 27-year-old German may have his lucrative 2004 contract with the Grove team ended prematurely in favor of the rated Giancarlo Fisichella. 'It's news to me,' said Ralf. 'I am working on my future after 2004 and I'm talking to a number of teams.' The Kerpen-born ace, younger brother to world champion at Ferrari Michael Schumacher, has been linked to Toyota and Jaguar. Meanwhile, privateer team boss Eddie Jordan says he'll do 'all he can' to see Giancarlo Fisichella move up the grid into a world championship-winning team. 'I'd rather see him fight for regular wins,' said the Irishman at Imola, 'than stop him from getting to the top.' 'I would help him to go if there is a place and if there is a real good opportunity.'

4/19/03

Michelin Advise Two-Stoppers Pierre Dupasquier is strongly suggesting that his Michelin-clad Formula One team partners opt for two-stop strategies on Sunday. The Frenchman, Michelin sporting boss, said 'everything points' to drivers making multiple stops at San Marino with it's high penalty for heavy fuel loads and short pitlane. He says the penalty for a heavy fuel load is 'quite substantial' at Imola - about four to five-tenths per lap for every extra 10kg a driver carries. Dupasquier continues: 'If any driver opts for a longer run, however, our tires will sufficiently durable.'

4/19/03

Irvine Questions 'Bizarre' Decision Eddie Irvine has questioned McLaren's 'bizarre appointment' of Pedro de la Rosa to the role of test driver. The outspoken Ulsterman failed to find a seat in pitlane for 2003 after, along with Spanish ace de la Rosa, he was axed from a stint at Jaguar Racing. The 37-year-old said that while 31-year-old Pedro is 'a lovely guy,' when it comes to technical feedback - essential for a development role - 'he is useless.' Irvine adds, 'It's even more bizarre when you consider that another ex-partner of mine, Luciano Burti, is a brilliant test driver and wants to get back into F1.' Burti's appointment at Scuderia Ferrari (2002) came to an end when erratic Brazilian Felipe Massa got the nod for this season.

4/19/03

Not Our Fault, Say F1 Timekeepers Formula One's official timekeepers TAG-Heuer insist that the bungled Brazilian Grand Prix result was not down to them. Giancarlo Fisichella and Kimi Raikkonen swapped winner's trophies on Friday at the Imola circuit after FIA admitted the result was wrong at Interlagos. But TAG-Heuer, who had the finger of blame pointed at them for apparently messing up the result, are adamant that their timekeeping was correct. 'We have established that there was no problem with the timing,' said TAG's F1 manager Jean Campiche. 'Our timekeeping was correct and we have no responsibility for this.'

4/19/03

Italian leads Infiniti Pro test at Indy  As foreign road racers continue to dominate all aspects of the IRL, Italian IRL Infiniti Pro Series newcomer Marco Cioci led a field of sixteen drivers during testing April 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the inaugural Freedom 100 on May 17.  Cioci, a veteran of European Formula 3000 competition, topped the speed charts with a fastest lap of 47.8385 seconds, 188.133 mph in the No. 6 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.  Full Story

4/18/03

Herdez team tests at Portland  Sophomore Champ Car competitor Mario Dominguez and veteran Roberto Moreno completed two days of testing earlier this week at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. The team completed over 500 miles of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, having traveled north to Portland following last weekend’s fourth round of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford in Long Beach, California. Tom Brown – Chief Engineer: “It was our first time ever as a team to test at Portland and we went there with a number of items on the agenda; firstly to complete some tasks that were left over from our pre-season testing at Sebring, then to address some questions that had come up in the first three events, to apply some geometry changes that we had developed while testing on the 7-post rig, to test the Brands Hatch kit that we’ll be using next time out, and finally to do a little bit of preparation for the Portland race coming up in June. “The test went exceptionally well overall and I believe that we achieved all of our objectives. The team is really coming together as a whole now and I think we saw that last weekend in Long Beach and again in Portland. Everyone, from the mechanics to the drivers to the engineers to the crew chiefs, is working together very smoothly. “With regards to Mario, I think he made some significant progress. Portland has not been his favorite track in the past but I think his confidence is building now and the extra time there during the test has probably made it more to his liking. We also focused on developing some qualifying strategies – things like getting up to speed quicker and doing shorter qualifying stints – which we think will be quite helpful to us going forward.” Chris Gorne – Race Engineer, Car 4 – Moreno: “It was a good test for us. We spent quite a bit of time working on suspension development - work that is vital but impossible to do during a race meeting. Like any development exercise, sometimes it works, sometimes not - but it’s all good information.”

4/18/03

Patrick Racing also tests new road course  Visteon/Patrick Racing held its first in-season test of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season running three days, April 15-17, at Arizona Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona. Oriol Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing car, which is powered by Ford-Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis and Bridgestone tires, ran a total of 223 laps on the 2.21 mile Arizona Motorsports road course during the three days. On the first day wind and dust aborted the morning session after one run. However, the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team went back out a 1:35 PM and managed to get in a solid day of testing. They ran a total of 83 laps the first day, 30 in the backup car and 53 in the primary car, with a fast lap of 75.51 seconds.  The next day the team got in a full day of testing, all in the primary car, running a total of 103 laps with a quick lap of 73.11 seconds. The final day once again saw wind and dust hamper the team’s test. They only ran 37 laps, again all in the primary car, but still managed to turn their fastest lap of the test running a quick time of 72.21 seconds. “The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a great test in Arizona,” Servia said. “We worked with some new aerodynamic parts and learned a lot about the car. I think the things we learned will really help us, especially in the next two races in England and Germany,” Servia concluded. Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee said, “This was the first test since the start of the season for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team and I am very pleased with the results. Our fastest time was quicker than the group that tested here before Long Beach, but more importantly it gave Oriol and the engineering staff an opportunity to work with the car and try a few things. Overall, it was a very positive test. We ran almost 500 miles and learned a lot.” Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is the London Champ Car Trophy at Brands Hatch on May 3-5.

4/18/03

Milwaukee to host Town Meeting  Continuing with the plan to bring key figures in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford to the fans in and around its race markets, Champ Car will conduct another event in its ever-popular Town Meeting series as it visits Milwaukee – site of the May 29-31 Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite – at the end of this month. The Milwaukee Town Meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 28th at the Wisconsin Exposition Center, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in nearby West Allis, Wisconsin. Fans can register to receive free tickets to the event by going to the official website of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, www.champcarworldseries.com. Registration for the event will begin online Wednesday, April 23rd. Milwaukee will see another blue-ribbon Champ Car panel featuring points leader Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing who’s established a new Champ Car World Series standard by winning the first three rounds of the season. Joe Chrnelich, CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park which features the fabled Milwaukee Mile oval, will also be Champ Car’s guest that evening and the festivities will be hosted by local motorsports luminary David Hobbs. Additional panel members are expected to be announced in the coming days. The Town Meeting concept made its popular debut last year in Columbus, Ohio and gives local Champ Car fans a chance to ask questions of a star-studded panel comprised of the best and brightest personalities of the Champ Car World Series. The Milwaukee Town Meeting follows successful forums hosted on the West Coast in both Portland and Long Beach earlier this year. The May 31 Saturday Champ Car night race at The Milwaukee Mile will be the culmination of a year of changes for the track celebrating its 100th birthday this summer. The newly-refurbished facility has installed new grandstands and improved amenities for the fans, and will give them the opportunity to see the red-hot Tracy try to defend his 2002 Milwaukee win under the illumination of Musco lighting on the final weekend in May.

4/18/03

Mario impressed with Tracy, Bourdais  In this Arizona newspaper article, Mario Andretti has this to say about Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais - Mario on Paul Tracy winning the first three races of the CART season: "He's done some heady racing, and I'm glad to see him doing so well. He deserves it. He's such an exciting driver. He can measure up against anybody." Mario on CART rookie Sebastien Bourdais: "If I was an owner, I'd hire him. I watched him last year almost lap the field at Monaco, and that takes a lot of talent with a capital T."

4/18/03

Newman makes big donation & fan happy  It was hardly a typical day at the races for Elizabeth and Michael Rorman and their two sons, Ben (age seven) and Josh (age nine), of Rossmoor. In addition to watching the climactic finish to the 29th annual Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix, they were special guests of actor/race car co-owner Paul Newman and PacifiCare Health Systems, the sponsor of Newman/Haas Racing's number-one car driven by third-place finisher Bruno Junqueira. The special day was made possible thanks to a $100,000 donation from Newman's successful food business, Newman's Own, and the PacifiCare Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Cypress, Calif.-based PacifiCare, one of the nation's largest consumer health organizations. "It couldn't have gone better," said Elizabeth Rorman, who, at age 37, is battling metastatic breast cancer, and saw a wish come true for her two young sons and their father. "They took pace car rides around the track at more than 100 miles-per-hour. I don't think they'll ever feel like riding in the car with their dad again -- it's just too boring compared to today." The Rorman family also enjoyed a festive lunch and took in the race at PacifiCare's Pit Row race suite, and Elizabeth and Michael appeared in a pre-race ceremony highlighting the $100,000 donation. The ceremony included actor Paul Newman, PacifiCare President and Chief Executive Officer Howard G. Phanstiel, PacifiCare Foundation Director Riva Gebel and Thomas Rollerson, founder and president of the Dream Foundation, the Santa Barbara, national charity that helped make the Rorman family dream come true. "We, and our Dream Foundation family, the Rormans, are very grateful for the support and compassion Newman's Own, PacifiCare and its foundation, and the entire Long Beach Grand Prix Association showed us this weekend. It was a special event for all of us," said Rollerson. "It is so wonderful to see an organization such as PacifiCare go beyond the medical needs of the body to address the heart and soul of the human spirit. Thanks to this extraordinary contribution from both Newman's Own and PacifiCare, the Dream Foundation can continue to keep hopes and dreams alive for those in need." "We share the Newman/Haas Racing team's dedication to innovation and a willingness to take well-calculated risks in order to win," said Phanstiel. "We also share Mr. Newman's commitment to caring backed with action. All of us at PacifiCare were happy to help, demonstrating again that 'Caring is good. Doing something is better.'" Dream Foundation is a national pioneer in granting wishes to terminally ill adults. Since its founding in 1994, the Dream Foundation has fulfilled thousands of dreams from adults who are emotionally, financially and physically devastated by terminal illness. The goal of the foundation is to ensure that no adult, whose life will end prematurely due to a terminal illness, must ever pass from this earth without realizing one final wish from the heart. Additional information on the Dream Foundation can be found on its Web site, www.dreamfoundation.orgNHR

4/18/03

HB Bailey passes away   UPDATE  All of the information we have regarding arrangements for H.B. Bailey is as follows: Visitation 6-8 p.m., Monday, April 21, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugar Land, TX. Memorial Service 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church. A private burial service for family members will be held Tuesday morning, April 22.  4/17/03 - Herring Burl Bailey, known in racing circles for nearly 30 years as H.B. Bailey, passed away early this morning at Methodist Hospital from heart failure. A popular competitor in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, 1964-90, Bailey was one of the top independent drivers of the time, and a leader among the group. On the track, he was a three-time member of the Darlington Record Club at the famed Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. In the Grand American division in 1972, Bailey won the Daytona pole and finished second in the national championship standings. "Our sport was built by people like H.B. Bailey," said Richard Petty, who raced alongside him for years. "We all did things the same way in those days - we drove ourselves to the race track, we worked hard when we got there, we raced hard and then we drove home. H.B. was a racer through and through, and the sport is better off because he was a part of it. We will miss him." Bailey, 66, is survived by his wife of 21 years, Michelle; four sons, Dennis Burl, Kirk, John Travis and Joe Dan; and two daughters, Kittie and Sarah Lynn. Joe Dan Bailey, who is with the NASCAR Technical Institute, is the only child currently involved in motorsports. Funeral arrangements were pending Thursday afternoon.

4/18/03
F3000

Bell 5th in debut F3000 go  Arden International's Bjorn Wirdheim is on pole position for tomorrow's opening round of the FIA Formula 3000 Championship at Imola. The team's strong form was emphasized by his American teammate Townsend Bell being fifth fastest.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Bjorn Wirdheim Arden International 1m38.153s
2 Patrick Friesacher Red Bull Junior Team F3000 1m38.338s
3 Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull Junior Team F3000 1m38.811s
4 Ricardo Sperafico Coloni F3000 1m38.919s
5 Townsend Bell Arden International 1m39.077s
6 Yannick Schroeder PSM-ISR Charouz 1m39.257s
7 Giorgio Pantano Durango Formula 1m39.443s
8 Raffaele Giammaria Durango Formula 1m39.850s
9 Nicolas Minassian Brand Motorsport 1m39.930s
10 Enrico Toccacelo Jordan Grand Prix Junior Team 1m39.940s
11 Jeffrey van Hooydonk Team Astromega 1m39.992s
12 Tony Schmidt Team Astromega 1m40.005s
13 Nicolas Kiesa Den Bla Avis 1m40.011s
14 Gary Paffett Brand Motorsport 1m40.174s
15 Jaroslav Janis PSM-ISR Charouz 1m40.247s
16 Zsolt Baumgartner Coloni F3000 1m40.359s
17 Rob Nguyen BCN F3000 1m40.530s
18 Robbie Kerr Den Bla Avis 1m40.897s
19 Derek Hill Jordan Grand Prix Junior Team 1m41.351s
20 Valerio Scassellati BCN F3000 1m43.205s

4/18/03

Bourdais completes final pre-season test  Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais completed a two-day test at the new 2.23-mile, 16-turn Arizona Motorsports Park yesterday and was pleased with the results. Initially Newman/Haas Racing had planned to join more than one-half of the Champ Car World Series field at Portland International Raceway earlier this week but the weather forecast, which called for rain, convinced them to move the final two days of Bourdais allowed eight test to Arizona. "We only had two test days left of our eight that had to be used before the end of April so we decided to move the test to Phoenix," said Bourdais, 24. "It was a productive test and we learned quite a lot. It's hard to simulate a specific track but we learned some fundamental things that will hopefully help us throughout the season." Bourdais completed over 300 miles on Wednesday and over 150 on Thursday with a best lap time of 71.7 around the new road course that opened in March in Litchfield Park. Visteon driver Oriol Servia also tested at the track with Bourdais. "We had a very good test," said Brian Lisles, General Manager for Newman/Haas Racing. "On the first day we focused on aerodynamic parts that we will utilize for the rest of the season and found some things that we think will help us remain competitive. On the second day, we concentrated on mechanical areas that could help improve our performance. Overall we are very pleased with what we were able to accomplish over the two days." Bourdais, 24, won two of the first three pole positions so far this season as well as led all three events. Bourdais, PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira and all of Newman/Haas Racing are now focused on preparation for the next two rounds of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford in England and Germany. Neither team driver has competed at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom while the 154-lap race at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany will mark the first oval race of the season as well as the first oval race for rookie Bourdais.

4/18/03

CART's new night race put Mile in new light  This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article says, OK, so they're only lights. They can't feed the hungry or cure a horrible disease. They're not even a long-term fix for the ails of open-wheel racing. But when the folks from Musco Lighting flipped the switch Thursday night, and a racing legacy pushed a silver Mustang Cobra pace car through Turn 3, the Milwaukee Mile looked as good as ever. By this time, darkness had engulfed the new grandstand rising along the front stretch. Necessarily, all attention focused on a preview of CART's first nighttime race, the May 31 Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 presented by Miller Lite. Wow! Now, I realize that might sound a little silly. They're lights. Just lights. People have been putting up lights and racing at night for years on everything from the littlest dirt ovals that dot the countryside to the giant Daytona International Speedway. But this was the Mile, one of only a few urban speedways and a racetrack with a hundred years of history, and somehow turning on two powerful, temporary light banks made the place feel special.

4/18/03

Franchitti to miss Indy 500  Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola driver Dario Franchitti will miss the 2003 Indianapolis 500 and possibly the three Indy Racing League IndyCar Series races in June said Dr. Terry Trammell, orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedics Indianapolis. Trammell said Franchitti has an L1 stable burst fracture that does not require surgery but does require bracing for approximately three months. Franchitti will not be cleared to drive for approximately three months from the date of injury. He was injured while riding his motorcycle on Friday, April 4 in his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland. Franchitti said, “I’m pretty devastated right now, between not being able to compete in the Indy 500 and possibly missing a couple of the other races. I’m going to work hard to get back in the car as fast as possible. I’m in a wee bit of pain right now. Dr. Trammell knows what he is doing so I will listen to him and do whatever possible to get back in the car. It’s disappointing that I won’t be with the team at its first Indy 500. I feel bad for everyone at Andretti Green especially (owners) Michael (Andretti), Kim (Green), Kevin (Savoree) and I’m really going to miss working with my guys over the next month. I will be on hand to help in any way but my primary focus is to get back in the car as soon as possible.” Further updates on Franchitti’s condition will be provided when available.

4/18/03

SPEED Channel to air DOY Awards  SPEED Channel will air the Driver of the Year Awards Gala honoring 2002 Champ Car Champion Cristiano da Matta on Sunday at 9 PM ET. The event recently took place in Talledega. Da Matta taped an acceptance speech from Melbourne prior to the event. Former Newman Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi is also on the show as he accepted an award for his uncle Emerson Fittipaldi. Check your local listing to reconfirm air time.

4/18/03

Toyota Atlantic Sponsor Council meeting    In an effort to foster a unified CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and foster business-to-business relationships between the team and series sponsors, the first meeting of the Toyota Atlantic Sponsor Council was held at Long Beach on Thursday, April 10.   A steering committee was selected at the meeting and consists of CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President Vicki O'Connor, Toyota National Motorsports Manager Les Unger, Yokohama Tire Corporation Director of Marketing Communications Art Michalik, and Transnet Racing owner Juan Garcia.  The meeting was open to all CART Toyota Atlantic Championship teams, as well as their existing and potential sponsors, and set a course for future discussions that will take place throughout the season. Key issues discussed were ways to assist teams in their quest to find sponsors, providing value to current and new partners, and ideas on helping teams create sponsorship proposals that capture the interest of potential new partners. With that in mind, the Toyota Atlantic Sponsor Council will meet again in conjunction with the Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where a sponsorship proposal workshop with input from key Champ Car World Series and CART Toyota Atlantic Championship sponsors will be held.  "It was extremely helpful to gather all of our teams and partners into the same room and discuss the issues and opportunities in front of us this season," said O'Connor. "In today's environment, it has never been more important to deliver value to our sponsors, and the creation of a Sponsor Council is a wonderful idea. By working together as a group, we can use what we learn in these meetings to create successful programs for the series and all of its teams."

4/18/03

Yokohama announces promotion with SPEED   Officials from SPEED Channel and Yokohama Tire Corporation have announced that Yokohama has agreed to become the presenting sponsor of all CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race broadcasts on the television network. The agreement includes television commercials, broadcast mentions, and on-air billboards.  In addition to its involvement in the Toyota Atlantic broadcasts, Yokohama will be a part of other SPEED Channel programming, including American Le Mans, and FIA World Rally events. The agreement extends through the end of the 2003 racing season.  "We are very pleased with this agreement," said Yokohama Tire Corporation Director of Marketing Communications, Art Michalik. "It is one more step in our continuing efforts to support the Toyota Atlantic Championship series, and increase Yokohama's brand awareness among true enthusiasts. It is even more fitting in that this year marks Yokohama's 15th year as the official tire and associate sponsor for the Toyota Atlantic Championship series. The other great thing is that SPEED Channel is such an ideal fit for us. The depth and breadth of their programming reaches true racing and auto enthusiasts. Our variety of performance offerings suits the needs of this audience."

4/18/03

Atlantic tests notes from Laguna Seca   With six weeks remaining before the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship reconvenes for the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite at the historic Milwaukee Mile on the weekend of May 31 (SPEED, June 1, 9:00 p.m. ET), most of the teams in the series took advantage of the opportunity to put their machines through paces at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Wednesday.   Participating in the test were Pacific Coast Motorsports;, Dorricott Racing; DSTP Motorsports; Lynx Racing; Polestar Atlantic, LLC; Team Rahal; RuSPORT; Sierra Sierra Racing; Starwood Team Jensen; and Transnet Racing. The test was conducted in cool temperatures and overcast skies, but that didn't prevent the teams from putting several miles on their machines.   Long Beach winner A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) posted the unofficial fastest time at 1:17.5, followed by Sierra Sierra Racing's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Discovery Lake/Daily Record Newspaper) at 1:18.4, and Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Patrick Racing) at 1:18.5. Rounding out the top five were RuSPORT's Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) at 1:18.6 and Sierra Sierra's Marc DeVellis (#67 Pro-Works) at 1:18.7. Rain during the afternoon prevented many teams from running the entire day, and the test was interrupted only once, when Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN) pulled his car off-course just shy of Turn 3. The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will visit Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of June 14, for the Grand Prix of Monterey, which is Round 4 of the 12-race 2003 season.

4/18/03

Word in the Imola Paddock - 4   Peter Sauber and Nick Heidfeld traveled to Russia last week at the behest of new communications provider and sponsor Mobile TeleSystems (MTS). Starting with a photo shoot at Moscow's Red Square, directly in front of the Kremlin, Heidfeld later did a few show-laps in a go-kart. 'We were able to get a personal impression of the quality of the MTS network in Moscow,' said Sauber, 'which is certainly up to par with the networks of major western cities.' .........Meanwhile, Max Mosley said he wouldn't carry on as President of Formula One's governing body FIA if he thought he was getting 'too old.' The 63-year-old Englishman, who became President in the early Nineties, said the biggest danger of holding a high position within a sport is 'staying too long.' 'One has seen one or two examples of that in sporting bodies when people get into the position and stay too long,' he said. He said he'd only stand for another term, not set for renewal until late 2005, if he got an 'overwhelming' indication of people wanting him to stay. But he added, 'I've always felt if one is old enough to be the father of the people driving that is acceptable. 'When you get old enough to be the grandfather, though, you have got to start thinking about it and that is not such a long way off.'

4/18/03

Word in the Imola Paddock - 3   FIA President Max Mosley has insisted that the deadly SARS virus won't threaten the Canadian Grand Prix. The North American country is one of the worst affected by the rapidly-spreading virus that has already claimed more than 100 victims world-wide. 'I hope not,' said Mosley in an Imola news conference. 'At the moment, and one has to be realistic about these things, I think you're talking about a few dozens of deaths. 'But compared to the world population it's not significant and at the moment there's no suggestion of any restrictions on travel to almost any part of the world, still less to our Grands Prix.' ...............Turning his attention back onto the race-track, Max Mosley revealed that a 'major' meeting has been planned to discuss the imminent (2004) bans on electronic driver aids. 'The teams want them, but the FIA's position is that we're not happy,' he said of traction control, launch control and fully automatic gearboxes. Mosley said a meeting with team bosses on Thursday had found 'broad' agreement on standard components like standard rear wings, for the future. Meanwhile, world champion Michael Schumacher admits that season 2003 hasn't gone his way after strategy, technical and driver errors colored three race losses since Australia. 'I would wish to have more points,' said the candid German in Imola's paddock on Friday morning. He again backed Ferrari's decision to delay the introduction of a new F2003-GA racer on the grounds of unproven reliability. 'The car has the potential to be quicker,' he said, 'but it is just not ready yet.'

4/18/03

Word in the Imola Paddock - 2   Jarno Trulli and Allan McNish ensured that Renault's extra testing session on Friday was 'less than productive.' But head engineer Pat Symonds said a mechanical problem on Trulli's car, followed by a spin by dedicated Friday tester Allan McNish, had not put the Enstone team too far behind in Italy. 'I made a mistake and touched both the inside and outside curbs,' admitted Scotsman McNish, 'which meant I spun and we had to cut the session short.' Meanwhile, McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa reckons his Woking-based ranks will have a tough job to maintain the pace on Ferrari's home soil this weekend. 'I'm sure things will go back to normal,' said the Spanish ace, newly signed as McLaren's second tester.........'Imola's lay-out is very well adapted to Ferrari, together with the Bridgestone tires as good braking is of the uttermost importance there.' But the 31-year-old conceded that if the Italian marque 'does not start making a move on from here, things will be difficult for them.'.........In other news raising it's head at Imola, a team principal wrote a strongly-worded letter to FIA President Max Mosley after the Brazilian GP asking him to overturn the new rule mandating only one wet-tire compound per race. But Mosley, refusing to budge, said all bosses voted unanimously to change the rule last October: 'I wrote back saying absolutely, but it is the team that chose the rule, not us. 'We didn't tell them what tires, they chose the tires, they took the tires. They were tires agreed between the tire company and the team.' Still on the wet'n'wild Interlagos weekend, McLaren ace David Coulthard says it's ridiculous that Fernando Alonso was handed third place after causing an accident that cut the race short. The Scot, robbed of victory after pitting just before the red flag came out at Interlagos, said it 'doesn't seem right that the guy who caused the accident can get on the podium.'

4/18/03

Ferrari rebounds at Imola   Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari bounced back to dominate one-lap qualifying on home soil at the Enzo e Dino circuit today (Friday). The 34-year-old world champion was nearly half a second faster than team-mate Rubens Barrichello as the pair get down to business on the final racing outing of last year's F2002 car. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will start tomorrow's quest for the grid in 17th and 18th positions tomorrow after going next quickest in their improved Williams FW25s. Jaguar and Mark Webber continued to impress with fifth spot, ahead of the two BAR-Hondas and both McLaren drivers who struggled with pace on their Michelin tires. Belated Brazil winner Giancarlo Fisichella managed eleventh place, 1.7 seconds ahead of team-mate Ralph Firman, while Cristiano Da Matta (Toyota) and Antonio Pizzonia similarly failed to match their team-mates' pace. The Minardis of Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson brought up the rear, and will start tomorrow's Saturday shoot-out for the grid first.

Pos

Driver

Team

T

Time

Gap

1

M Schumacher

Ferrari

B

1:20.628

136.860 mph

2

Barrichello

Ferrari

B

1:21.082

0.454

3

R Schumacher

WilliamsF1

M

1:21.193

0.565

4

Montoya

WilliamsF1

M

1:21.490

0.862

5

Webber

Jaguar

M

1:21.669

1.041

6

Button

BAR

B

1:21.891

1.263

7

Villeneuve

BAR

B

1:21.926

1.298

8

Raikkonen

McLaren

M

1:22.147

1.519

9

Coulthard

McLaren

M

1:22.326

1.698

10

Frentzen

Sauber

B

1:22.531

1.903

11

Fisichella

Jordan

B

1:22.724

2.096

12

Panis

Toyota

M

1:22.765

2.137

13

Alonso

Renault

M

1:22.809

2.181

14

Heidfeld

Sauber

B

1:22.911

2.283

15

Pizzonia

Jaguar

M

1:22.919

2.291

16

Trulli

Renault

M

1:23.100

2.472

17

Firman

Jordan

B

1:24.360

3.732

18

da Matta

Toyota

M

1:24.854

4.226

19

Verstappen

Minardi

B

1:24.990

4.362

20

Wilson

Minardi

B

1:25.195

4.567

4/18/03

Imola AM practice notes   Ferrari's troubled Formula One season showed no signs of improving on Friday morning as Michael Schumacher sat out much of the practice session with a cracked suspension. 2001 San Marino Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher topped the times in the one-hour session before one-lap qualifying, the German pipping Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya by a tenth. The skies stayed clear and promised not to rain on the afternoon's Friday shoot-out; hardly a cloud in sight at a fine and mild Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. Mark Webber, still competitive in his Jaguar R4, was third fastest in opening practice ahead of the Renault of Jarno Trulli (fifth) and Rubens Barrichello (ninth). Jacques Villeneuve struggled for track-time and pace after a suspected gearbox problem halted progress on his BAR005, while Antonio Pizzonia (Jaguar) also languished with reliability gremlins. Both Ferrari aces, meanwhile, skidded into the gravel in a trend followed by David Coulthard, Ralph Firman and others. 'I am quite happy with the balance of my car,' said Jarno Trulli of Renault, 'However, there's still a lot to be done in this area.'

4/18/03

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4/18/03

Pizzonia fastest in Friday free practice   Jaguar driver Antonio Pizzonia was the quickest in this morning's free testing session, the young Brazilian completing a total of 33 laps to record a best overall time of 1:23.099, just over a tenth quicker than the EJ13 of Giancarlo Fisichella. Mark Webber was third quickest , three and a half tenths slower than his teammate while Ralph Firman put his Jordan into fourth overall after thirty laps.

4/18/03

Mosley rips out heart of GPWC   FIA president Max Mosley met with the media Thursday in Imola and answered a lot of questions.  On the issue of two F1 champions starting in 2008, Mosley had this to say - "Well, in one sense there would only be one FIA Formula One World Championship and that would be the one that started in 1950 and was won by Fangio etc, etc. But there is absolutely nothing to stop someone starting a rival series and it would be wrong to prevent them doing that.  Under the Concorde Agreement, we have to announce the regulations for 2008 no later than the 31st of December, 2005. Now once the Concorde Agreement expires, that's to say 2008, we are then fully in control of the regulations in Formula One just like we are in every other branch of motor sport, so some time between now and the end of 2005, we will announce the regulations for the FIA Formula One World Championship for the year 2008 and thereafter. If the teams, the manufacturers or a combination of them, the existing teams, wish to run a private series, they are absolutely free to do so. We would give them every possible help and they would then be expected to produce their regulations and their technical regulations and sporting regulations and at some point before the middle of 2007 they would submit them to the FIA unless there was something which affected safety or something completely outrageous to do with fairness, we would approve them and they would then run their series in 2008 and thereafter. You would then have the FIA Formula One World Championship to whatever the regulations we announce in 2005, you would have the GPWC series, whatever they chose to call it, with the regulations made available no later than the middle of 2007 and then competition would reign."  In essence, what Mosley is saying is that the GPWC can go off and start their own series, but the FIA World Championship will remain under the control of the FIA and be the same championship that started in 1950, with all its history and status.  If you want to be the recognized "World Driving Champion" you will race in the traditional FIA series.  If you want to be the GPWC champion, it will carry the same status as winning the Dallara Nissan Telefonica World Series, i.e. just another series, albeit a very expensive one.  Without the official "World Championship" stature, the GPWC will be either stillborn, or die quickly from  1) high-cost with little return, 2) almost no fan interest (the fans want to know who the World Champion is, not watch some overpaid prima dona in the rich boys series) and, 3) internal in-fighting between the manufacturers.  Bernie Ecclestone must be getting a real chuckle.  Mark C.

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