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DATE

News (chronologically)

5/6/03

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.27 Down $0.28 on Volume of 88,200 shares.
$2.64 Bid - $5.60 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.18/$3.47
MPH Value Change Down 7.89%
DOW Jones Up 56.79 or 0.67% on Volume of 2.06 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 19.67 or 1.31%
S&P 500 Down 7.84 or 0.85%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

5/6/03

DEI fires Steve Park, hires Green  UPDATE Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced today that NASCAR veteran Jeff Green will take over the driving duties of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet starting with the Winston Open at Lowe’s Motor Speed on May 18th. Green will drive the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet on an interim basis. Green drove for DEI in its first full season on the NASCAR Busch Series in 1995 when seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt retired from the Busch Series after clinching his seventh Winston Cup championship in 1994. Green left the organization in1997, but he continued to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series where he won 16 races including winning the 2000 NASCAR Busch series championship. His most recent accomplishments have been driving in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for veteran car owner Richard Childress.   5/6/03 - Dale Earnhardt Incorporated has released Steve Park from his driving duties of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet. Park, DEI’s first full time Winston Cup driver began driving for DEI in the fall of 1996 before racing a full season in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1997. He contended for the NBS Championship that year, finishing third in the series point standings and clinched the Rookie of the Year title. He went on to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup series beginning in 1998, where he made 157 starts and had two victories and three poles, his best finish in the points standings was 11th in 2000. “Steve was instrumental in DEI first a NASCAR Winston Cup program,” stated Teresa Earnhardt. “Our loyalty to each other was hard to overcome, however the time came where we simply had to make a change. We wish Steve the best in his future endeavors.”

5/6/03

Tracy lost gearbox, not engine  It was reported by many that Paul Tracy had an engine let go at Brands Hatch.  As it turns out, it was his gearbox that exploded and the gearbox oil caught on fire.  Cosworth lost no engines the entire weekend.

5/6/03

Paul Ricard Day 1 - Gene tops charts 

Place Driver Team Time laps
1 M. Gene Williams 1.13.650 104
2 H. Frentzen Sauber 1.14.632 99
3 C. da Matta Toyota 1.15.915 63
4 R. Zonta Toyota 1.16.445 43

5/6/03

Ferrari is in another league  Former CART and F1 champion, and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve said the new Ferrari is in a league of its own. “It just shows that they are doing it better than anyone else,” he said. “It just shows that nobody else is at the same level. Even though F1 is the most professional racing in the world, Ferrari is in another league.”

5/6/03

Spain- a race of firsts  The Spanish Grand Prix marked a number of “firsts” for assorted drivers and teams. A Spanish driver, Fernando Alonso, led his home Grand Prix for the first time. Cristiano da Matta and Ralph Firman each scored their first F1 points. Mark Webber, Jaguar-Cosworth and Panasonic Toyota each scored their first points of the season. It was the first time a front-running driver, Kimi Raikkonen, has started at the back of the field because of a driving mistake in the new one-car, one-lap qualifying session. It also was the first time that Raikkonen has not finished on the podium this season. The Spanish Grand Prix also marked the first time this season that Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen have not been classed as finishers. This also was the first classified finish for Minardi rookie Justin Wilson, who finished 11th. And, finally, it was the first win for the new Ferrari F2003-GA.  In the almost first column - Fernando Alonso’s second-place finish equaled the best ever F1 result recorded by a Spanish driver. Spain’s Alfonso de Portago shared the second-place Ferrari with England’s Peter Collins in the 1956 British Grand Prix.

5/6/03

Three to be inducted into hall  Colin Chapman, Eddie Kuzma and Roger McCluskey will posthumously assume their place among the legends of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in the Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies May 16. The Auto Racing Hall of Fame honors drivers, car owners, mechanics and event officials who have made significant contributions to the success and colorful history of the sport of open-wheel racing. The ceremonies will take place in conjunction with the annual Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club Banquet/Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductions in the Hall of Champions banquet room at the Adam’s Mark Indianapolis Airport Hotel.

5/6/03

CART stock gets hammered  At mid-session today MPH is getting “Hammered” - Down $0.36 per share or 10.14% to $3.19 per share. 51,300 shares traded.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

5/6/03

IRL feels effect of CART teams  This IndyStar.com article says, If it looks like the Indy Racing League, it must be the Indy Racing League. Or is it? Looks can be deceiving. An Indianapolis Star survey of the 16 teams competing in this month's Indianapolis 500 revealed a dramatic shift in the IRL. More than a third of the participants -- drivers, teams and crew members -- competed in the rival Championship Auto Racing Teams series last season.  Read more...

5/6/03

CART's half throttle is full bore  This UK Guardian article (the famous British newspaper that the liberal elites read) says, It is not yet clear whether CART, the nearest thing America has to formula one, has a future in Britain but, if it does, it is not on the short circuit at Brands Hatch. Or at least not in the format it chose to use yesterday. On a circuit which measures just under 1.2 miles, necessitating a race distance of 165 laps, the powers that be decided that each driver would make only two mandatory pit stops. The problem was that the limited capacity of the cars left the drivers having to conserve fuel to ensure they made it to the next stop, and an extra stop would cost too much time on such a short circuit. They could not drive flat out because to do so would use too much fuel, and the result was a procession as boring as anything produced by formula one. Ever. It was hardly the way to help spread the gospel of Cart - Championship Auto Racing Teams - around the globe, which was the reason they were here - and at Rockingham in the past two years. "The race was about who saved more fuel, not who went faster," shrugged the Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, who finished second to his Newman-Haas team-mate Sébastien Bourdais. "It's a good track for the drivers but we need to change the rules." Like Bourdais he calculated he had made only four overtaking moves throughout the race, all when lapping back markers. Mario Dominguez, who finished third for Herdez Racing, reckoned he had passed only two cars, and described the experience as like racing 800hp cars on a kart track. Darren Manning, the sole Briton on the grid, finished 10th after providing one of the day's more interesting moments when he slid off attempting to overtake. He was able to attempt it only because he had had to make an unexpected third pit stop and so had enough fuel to put his foot down.   "The cars just didn't get a chance to stretch their legs out there," said the Yorkshireman. "That's a big shame because, believe me, they're great at slip-streaming. We had to come here to show what we could do, show the quality of the drivers and teams, but maybe it would have been better to use the grand prix circuit."  Clearly it would, but Cart was promoting this race itself and the money was not there to prepare Brands Hatch's longer track.......In fact it is far from certain the financially troubled series has a future at all. Falling television ratings, ferocious competition from numerous other formulas and the straitened US economy means Cart is losing money hand over fist. If Pook is hoping that the formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone may yet come riding to the rescue, yesterday's British leg of the series did him no favors. Ecclestone is not known for spending the smallest part of his fortune without the prospect of a serious return......There was nothing wrong with the razzmatazz, the "Americana" as Pook called it. The honorary grand marshals Damon Hill, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi chorused the customary "Gentlemen, start your engines", the race began and, for almost 50 laps, 18 cars lapped in perfect formation. Only after the pit stops began was the field mixed enough to provide some occasional excitement. Alex Yoong, as formula one fans will recall, can usually be relied on to mess things up at some point, and duly crashed out. It looked as though the Canadian Paul Tracy would win his fourth race of the season for Players Forsythe Racing until his Cosworth engine blew up, leaving Bourdais and Junqueira to lead the field home. The crowd, estimated perhaps a fraction optimistically at just under 40,000, watched in some bemusement. Having been promised wheel-to-wheel racing and constant overtaking, they were entitled to feel let down. [CART needed to hit a homerun, but struck out].

5/6/03

Kanaan cleared to drive  Tony Kanaan was cleared Monday afternoon by Indy Racing League officials to compete in the 87th Indianapolis 500. The move ends speculation that Kanaan would have to miss Saturday's pole qualifying and start the race at the back of the field. It also ended the possibility that Mario Andretti might try to qualify Kanaan's car on Saturday.

5/6/03

BMW confirms it will stay in F1  BMW has confirmed that it will stay in Formula 1 in 2005 and beyond. We hear they rejected the idea of building their own car but negotiations to extend the current deal with Williams are still going on.   Frank Williams and Dr Mario Theissen were seen spending many hours behind closed doors in meetings at the Spanish Grand Prix. "We will continue beyond 2004 in F1," Theissen said. "This has been agreed already by the board. What we are now talking about is not if, but how, to continue. The ultimate goal is to be competitive, to get into a position to win the championship."

5/6/03

Mayer did not pass test  Some readers have asked what happened to Scott Mayer.  He did not pass his rookie test at Indy driving for PDM and is out of a ride.  As we reported when he first entered the IRL, he was a backmarker in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series, and was surprised the IRL ever let him race in the first place.

5/6/03

CART bleeds $9 million in quarter  The shine has been taken off CART's day in the sun yesterday - when its Champ Car World Series performed before a 40,000-sell-out crowd in England - with more painful finance figures. CART - already hit by years of negative cash flow - saw total revenues for the three months ended March 31 reach $6.2m, compared with $5.6m a year earlier. But total expenses for the first three months rose to $20.6m compared to just $7.6m in the same prior-year period. Net loss for the 2003 first quarter was $9m or $0.61 per fully diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.6m, or $0.11 per fully diluted share, in the comparable period a year ago. Most notably - and in the long-term most worryingly - is the continual erosion of the $100m cash fund held by CART since it went public. The cash mountain has always been seen as CART's major strength. However, the continual decline in funds has led many to speculate on the long-term future of the series and project ahead to a time when the cash runs out and outgoings continues to outweigh incomings. CART balance sheet with cash and short-term investments now stands at $70.6m and working capital of $75.1m. Said CART CEO Chris Pook: "We continue to face challenges on many fronts especially in the face of a weak economy and global events. "However, we have strengthened our sales efforts and continue to make strides in promoting CART's advantages as a powerful marketing tool for multi-national companies interested in exploiting the global market place." Race distributions for the three months was $11m compared to $1m in the same period in the prior year. Race distributions consist of purse payments, year-end point fund, participation payments, and new in 2003, entrant support payments and team assistance. Purse and year-end point fund expenses remain the same as in 2002. Race participation payments were increased from the prior year's amount of $10,000 per race, per entrant to $20,000 in 2003. In 2003, the company began making entrant support payments to participating teams as part of a financial incentive plan to attract and retain teams to compete in the series; the payments are $22,500 per race, per entrant. Team assistance payments are being made to ensure that there are a sufficient number of race cars competing in our series. As of March 31, CART had expensed $8m in team assistance. The increase was also partially due to holding one additional race in the three months. Added Thomas Carter, CART CFO: "The increase in expenses highlights our commitment to invest in our most valuable asset - our teams. This commitment helps to ensure we have a sufficient number of viable teams competing in our series for 2003." The quarterly results also reflect a change in CART's television agreement with Speed Channel. In 2003, CART pays for television production and is responsible for selling the advertising inventory, while in 2002 Speed Channel paid for production and received the advertising inventory for races broadcast on their network. Said the financial statement: "Administrative and indirect expenses were higher than in the previous year's quarter partially due to increases in insurance expense, legal expenses and the timing of certain marketing and promotional initiatives that fell into the 2003 first quarter." Added Carter: "The increase in administrative and indirect expenses for the first quarter of 2003 is not indicative of what we expect for the year." In March of this year, CART acquired promotion company Raceworks - its operations have been included in the consolidated financial statements since that date. SPBusiness.com

5/6/03

Reader enjoyed Brands  Dear AR1, Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Brands Hatch. It was a fantastic event, although needed a bit more overtaking, but that was always going to be difficult on such a short, tight lap, but still the Champ Cars were an impressive site. As is the close up access to the teams & drivers, I saw Mario, Emerson and several drivers wandering freely amongst us spectators...and the brothers Franchitti were zooming around on a scooter behind the Paddock Hill grandstands! It was good to see the grandstands full - I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people there Saturday & Sunday. The miles of traffic trying to get in the circuit was unbelievable, we took an alternative route which by-passed most of it, but for most people it probably took well over an hour to get in. I hope they continue the association with TOCA for next year, as there is no doubt that having a strong support package helps attendance. The Touring Cars always draw several thousand people, especially on a bank holiday weekend. As has been documented, the current pit lane is a bit tight for Champ Cars - There was some talk last year of the modifications to the Grand Prix circuit including a new pit lane, have you heard any more about this? Regards, Stuart Page

5/6/03
Industry News

Virgin to launch airline in USA  Sir Richard Branson expects to have a Virgin-branded domestic US airline up and running within 6 months, much earlier than expected.  Branson said the airline might be called Virgin Red to distinguish it from its sister airline, Virgin Blue, in Australia.  The airline would start with eight planes and focus on cross-country routes initially.  The billionaire entrepreneur told the London Times, "I hope we would launch in the next six months.  It will be a low-cost airline with high quality, seat back videos and leather seats.  We have not settled on a name yet, but it will be something like V America or Virgin Red."  A team from Virgin has been working on the US project since the start of the year.  Virgin used to be a sponsor for the Jordan F1 Team, and Branson was at one time rumored to be interested in the CART series.  We didn't see the connection at the time (why would Branson be interested in an American based racing series?) but launching Virgin Red in the USA and putting the name all over a sport like CART could make some sense.  Pure speculation mind you.  Mark C.

5/6/03

Will there be any passes in CART this year?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, will there be any passes for the lead in CART this year?  And they wonder why their TV ratings are terrible.  They have no clue.  Robert Jackson, Newark, NJ  Dear Robert, You will likely see some passing at the EuroSpeedway oval, and perhaps at the Milwaukee oval, but after that, the remainder of the year you will only see passes in the pits.  All the cars are essentially equal with the same HP.  Unless the leader gets it terribly wrong, the drivers can't pass on any of CART's road and street circuits, which is the majority of their races.  To their credit, CART has perfected putting on parades.  Monday's race at Brands Hatch was one of the smoothest running parades we have seen in awhile, executed to perfection.  The cars were perfectly aligned in single-file formation for lap after boring lap.  There is an easy fix to this problem, but CART simply refuses to implement it, thinking that the elimination of traction control and some aero changes are the answer (We are four races into the season and still no passes for the lead, so clearly that theory is proven wrong).  The design changes necessary to the Ford Cosworth engines to enable each driver to make at least 10 passes per race have been planned and the cost proposal (an unbelievably low cost we might add) given to CART.  If and when CART decides to put an end to these parades and give Ford Cosworth notice to proceed to implement the changes, it will take 6 months before we see it on the track.  Cosworth has to redo their engine mapping to slightly detune the running efficiency of the engine, at the same time bumping up the turbo boost pressure further to keep the HP at current levels (750 HP), They then must run three tests on their transient dyno, which is reserved most of the time for their Jaguar F1 engine, to perfect the mapping.  Then, ten times per race, a driver will get 50 extra HP (800 HP)  - when he pushes the passing button on the steering wheel the engine will run at peak efficiency (i.e. the 800 HP level) for a duration of 5 seconds, enough time to dive inside your opponent and get the pass done.  The driver must manage when and where they use the button, much like they manage when and where to make a slingshot pass on an oval (just as artificial we might add).  We are now in May, which means even if CART were to give notice to proceed today, the remainder of the 2003 season after Milwaukee, will be a single-file formation parade (the fastest guy in the race is usually the pole sitter.  He gets out in front and the rest follow all race long).  The best we can hope for now will be the 2004 season.  However, by then, CART's TV ratings, already below infomercials and TV test patterns, might set a new Neilson TV rating, the first broadcast ever to record a perfect zero rating (to match their perfect zero passes for the lead), down from an industry low of 0.15 now.  Perhaps they will rename their TV broadcasts "Watching Paint Dry."  To add excitement, each broadcast could feature a different color paint.  The problem that CART faces with implementing the pass button is a concern  What few fans it has left have become so accustomed to processional parades, they might get too excited when seeing an actual pass for the lead, and keel over from heart failure.  Mark C.

5/6/03

CART gets black eye from F1 media  Longtime respected F1 journalist Bob McKenzie of the London Daily Express newspaper (he and Bernie Ecclestone talk regularly) uses the following phrases in his article on Monday's CART race at Brands Hatch, England - "Dull procession at Brands Hatch is holy unjust for race fans," "fuel farce makes it Chump Cars, not Champ Cars."  Just when CART needed to hit a homerun, they struck out.

5/6/03

New chief a coup for Bahrain GP  A NEW general manager has been appointed at the Bahrain Racing Circuit in preparation for the Formula One Grand Prix next year. Hans Geist, who is currently general manager of the A1 Ring, in Austria, which will stage its final round of the competition this season, will take the post. The move was announced by General Organization for Youth and Sports (Goys) president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa following the Spanish Grand Prix, in Barcelona. He also said so far investment contracts worth $1 billion have been signed which are directly connected to the circuit. "There is over $1bn in signed projects which are related to tourism and infrastructure," he said. In addition, Bahrain Television has been granted the terrestrial rights to screen Formula One races for the remainder of this year's season for free. A deal has also been signed which will see the station broadcast Formula One via its satellite service from 2005. But the appointment of Mr Geist is seen as a major coup by Bahrain Racing Circuit officials. "He [Mr Geist] has eight years experience and we have chosen him out of three candidates," said Shaikh Fawaz, who is also chairman of the Bahrain Racing Circuit Committee. More . . .

5/6/03

Kanaan tells it like it is  From http://tinyurl.com/b2ka Tony Kanaan (broken wrist) is ready to return after logging some 1,800 laps last week in a go-kart. He expects to be in his IRL car Tuesday, the three-week anniversary of his surgery. "If I can drive a go-kart, I can drive one of these," he said.

5/6/03

Seen at Brands Hatch - III  Injured IRL driver Dario Franchitti was seen making the rounds in the Brands Hatch paddock Mark C.

5/6/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Ralph Puts Lid On Speculation
Alonso More Popular Than Football
BMW Undecided Over Williams
Ferrari Dismiss Renault Challenge
Coulthard And Trulli: No Love Lost
Flavio Refuses To Predict Future
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Renault V10 Not Far Behind: Ferrari
Sad To See End Of Austrian GP
'A Lot To Come' From New Ferrari

5/5/03

Green released from RCR  Green released from RCR #30 ride: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has ended the contract of Jeff Green as the driver for RCR's #30 AOL NASCAR Winston Cup program, effective immediately. "Our relationship was not where we had hoped it would be at this point so we decided to make this move now," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Enterprises, Inc. "Jeff is a very good race car driver but sometimes change can be good for everyone involved. I'll always be grateful to him for what he accomplished for RCR in both the Winston Cup Series and the Busch Series." Green was the driver for the #30 America Online team since its inception for an eight-race schedule in 2001. He finished 17th in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series final point standings and is currently in 32nd place after the first 11 races this season. He earned two pole positions during his tenure at RCR, for this season's Daytona 500 and the August 2001 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. He also earned two NASCAR Busch Series victories for RCR's No. 21 team in 2002. A replacement driver will be announced at a later date. RCR PR

5/5/03

Takagi leads day #2 at Indy  Tora Takagi may be a rookie at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but you’d never know it by looking at the speed chart. Takagi led practice May 5 for the 87th Indianapolis 500 with a lap of 39.2980 seconds, 229.019 mph in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He turned his top lap during the “Happy Hour” final hour of practice on a sunny, windy day at the historic 2.5-mile oval. That was the fastest lap of the event after two days of practice. And it also continued an impressive display so far by Formula One and CART veteran Takagi, who was third fastest on Opening Day at 39.4937, 227.884. “I was very conservative today,” Takagi said. “The weather was much hotter today, and the track was slick. When I went out just after noon, my car wasn’t so good. It was very slippery because of the track. We made many changes to the car, and when I went back out after four o’clock, the car was much, much better. “I’m very happy to be the fastest today, but its only practice. We will have to make many changes to get ready for qualifying this weekend.” Practice continues from noon-7 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday. MBNA Pole Day is Saturday. Race Day is Sunday, May 25. IRL IndyCarTM Series points leader Scott Sharp was second today at 39.3415, 228.766 in the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. He continued to click like a metronome during the first two days of practice, as he was fastest on Opening Day with a nearly identical lap, 39.3419, 228.764. Indy rookie Scott Dixon was third at 39.3999, 228.427 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. It was a strong showing for Dixon, who is recovering from a broken wrist suffered in a two-car accident in the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Motegi, Japan. My hand is feeling better, and I’m excited to be here.” Gil de Ferran ended up fourth at 39.4016, 228.417 in the No. 6T Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Rookie Dan Wheldon rounded out the top five at 39.4334, 228.233 in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, the only car in the top five not powered by a Toyota engine. It also was a strong day for the Panoz G Force chassis, as drivers in that car turned three of the top four speeds.

5/5/03

Bahrain to rake in $millions  According to this Gulf Daily News article, THE financial benefit from staging a Formula One Grand Prix is expected to run into tens of millions of dollars every year. A top official from the FIA - Formula One's governing body - says it will be the equivalent of Bahrain staging an Olympic Games annually [Editor's Note: yeah right. If you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you]. He says it is impossible to accurately predict revenues from staging a Grand Prix, but says the impact on Bahrain's economy will be massive. "The economic benefit is measured in tens of millions of dollars," said Alan Donnelly, who is representing FIA president Max Mosley at the Spanish Grand Prix. "The Olympic Games and the World Cup are the biggest events in the world, but they are held every four years. "Bahrain will have its equivalent of that every year. "It is difficult to quantify the income, but in every country which has a Formula One Grand Prix there are substantial economic benefits." Bahrain will host its first Formula One race next year at the Bahrain Racing Circuit, in Sakhir. It fought off competition from a host of other countries in the Middle East to land the Formula One contract. Mr Donnelly says it was chosen because it is viewed as a stable location prepared to invest in the scheme. "Other countries such as Dubai had several projects for Formula One," he said at the Circuit De Catalunya yesterday. "But the promoters or the countries were not prepared to commit financially except for Bahrain. "There was a major project in Beirut, but there were political changes. Bahrain has stability, interest level and financing." Mr Donnelly said the event will be held in Bahrain on behalf of all the countries in the Middle East. "There will obviously be co-operation with other countries in the region," he said. "It is a Bahrain championship, but it is significant for the whole region. "The whole Middle East is involved and represented through Bahrain." The first Bahrain Grand Prix will be included on the Formula One calendar next year, but organisers still have not announced a date.

5/5/03

Mario - this was more rewarding  We asked Mario Dominguez which race was more rewarding, his controversial win in Australia last year, or his third place today. He said definitely today was more rewarding.  "I was lucky in Australia, here we earned it," stated Dominguez Mark C.

5/5/03

Fuel economy run at Brands  Next year CART needs to mandate a minimum of three pit stops for the Brands Hatch race.  Every driver said they had to save fuel and could not really race.  With three stops, they will all be able to run 100% throttle the whole race.  Mark C.

5/5/03

CART maintains a perfect record  CART's inaugural London Trophy race was professionally run and well attended.  However, CART maintained its perfect record - zero on-track passes for the lead, maintaining its status as the #1 parade company in the USA. Perhaps that will change next week at EuroSpeedway, an oval.  Since CART does not race on many ovals, it needs to fix the processions on road and street courses.  Mark C.

5/5/03

Seen at Brands Hatch - II 


(L) The Grid Girls, (C) Near capacity crowd, (R) Paddock Hill stands were full

5/5/03

Seen at Brands Hatch - I 


(L) Former World Driving Champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Damon Hill and Mario Andretti, (C) Bobby Rahal talks to CART COO David Clare, (R) F1 driver Justin Wilson

5/5/03

Wanted - race driver, bring money  2nd UPDATE We are hearing that PJ Jones may be the driver to get the ride.  Guess this should be moved to the Rumors Page.  5/5/03 - We hear that PDM has found a taker.  We expect the announcement soon.  5/4/03 - Robin Miller reported on RPM Today that PDM Racing has their seat for sale for 200,000 dollars for the Indy 500.....But so far there has been no interest.

5/5/03

Weekend attendance for Brands Hatch  The weekend attendance was announced as 58,500 for the inaugural London Champ Car Trophy. The race day attendance was 40,000.  Mark C.

5/5/03

Weather update from Brands Hatch  The weather today at Brands Hatch so far is partly sunny and about 65 degrees F.  There is a slight chance of a brief shower.  Cars are backed up for miles getting into the track and the grandstands were almost completely full for this mornings BTCC race.  There are thousands of fans around the track.  The estimates of 40,000 attendance appear about right.  It's 1.5 hours to race time.  Hopefully those lined up to get into the track make it in by the 2:00 start times.  On the ride in this morning we noticed fields full of overnight campers, many in tents.  Mark C.

5/5/03

Alex Yoong looks forward to home race with new sponsor  UPDATE Here is a photo of the Malaysia logo on the side of the car.  The main logo is paid for by the Malaysia Dept. of Tourism.  Malaysian Airlines is on the nose of the car and on Alex's uniform.  5/1/03 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong boarded the Malaysia Airlines flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to London last night en route to his third Champ Car race of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series championship with Dale Coyne Racing.   The London Champ Car Trophy race will be held at what Yoong considers to be his other "home" circuit, Brands Hatch, where he got on his first Formula 3 podium when he finished second in 1999 with the Alan Docking team. Yoong honed his early race career in the UK between 1996 and 1999.  "I have good memories from the Brands Hatch circuit and I am really looking forward to returning to race there," said Yoong, minutes before leaving for London. "It will be most challenging and a lot of hard work to race 165 laps of the 1.93 km (1.19 mile) Indy circuit."  On tire wear and race strategies, Yoong said, "I don't think tire wear will be an issue as the Bridgestones stand up pretty well. What is a potential issue is how our race strategies hold up during the race. You don't want to pit at the wrong time to find yourself one lap behind the lead cars as can easily happen on such a short circuit."  For the record, of the 19 starters this weekend, only Briton, Darren Manning, Brazilian, Mario Haberfeld and Yoong have ever raced on the short oval-like Indy circuit of Brands Hatch - when all three competed in the British Formula 3 Championships in the late 90’s.  The Dale Coyne Racing Lola/Ford/Bridgestone #11, which Yoong will be driving this weekend, will carry "Malaysia" on the sidepods for the Brands Hatch race on Bank Holiday - Monday, May 5th.  Malaysia Airlines, which is Yoong's official carrier, will also appear on Yoong's Arai helmet and race suit for the race. The first qualifying session will begin at 2:30 p.m. GMT on Saturday, while the second qualifier starts at 1:45 p.m. GMT, Sunday. The race is scheduled to commence on Monday, at 2 p.m. GMT. Live timings and commentary can be accessed from www.cart.com.

5/5/03

Fittipaldi makes it three  Former Champ Car title winner and current Champ Car team owner Emerson Fittipaldi will complete a three-man Grand Marshal team for this afternoon’s London Champ Car Trophy at historic Brands Hatch in Kent, England, site of Round 4 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Fittipaldi, the legendary Brazilian driver and two-time Formula One World Champion will share the Grand Marshal duties with fellow former Formula One Champions Damon Hill and Mario Andretti. “This is a very special honor to be chosen as Grand Marshal for the Champ Car’s return to Brands Hatch, especially with two fantastic champions such as Mario and Damon,” said the co-owner of Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing, who captured the CART championship in 1989. “Having the opportunity to be here as a team owner and to share this honor with them is fantastic.” As Grand Marshals, the trio will announce to everyone at the Kent circuit, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” a line synonymous with North American racing. They will give the signal for the 165-lap race to begin, and they will wave the checkered flag following its conclusion. All three legendary racers will then present the top three podium finishers with the London Champ Car Trophy awards on the victory podium at the conclusion of today’s event.

5/5/03

Bentley & Audi leads LeMans test times  Bentleys and Audis led the way overall Sunday as racing teams had eight hours of testing at the Circuit de La Sarthe to help them prepare for next month’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Regular American Le Mans Series teams were well-represented, setting the fastest times in two classes and running close to the front in others.  Story

5/5/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Pizzonia Stays, Jaguar Admit Mistake
Bridgestone Win, Michelin Claim Victory
Ferrari Win With Eye On Renault
Alonso The 'Real Deal' At Home Race
No Sympathy For McLaren - Schumacher
McLaren & Williams To Drop Arbitration
No-One Will Beat My Brother: Ralf
Two-Day GP Weekends Unlikely
Hang Onto Pizzonia, Champions Urge
Jacques Loses Patience With BAR
Fingers Of Blame Wag In Spain
BMW Refuse To Offer Cheap Engines
McLaren Now Wait On New Silver Racer
Final Word In The Catalan Paddock 1
Final Word In The Catalan Paddock 2
Ralf Grieves By Focusing On Job

5/5/03

Loss of a Brands landmark  This CART.com article says, Keen-eyed racing fans might notice something missing from Brands Hatch this weekend – the pedestrian bridge that crossed the track just prior to the Druids hairpin. The bridge, which advertised Dunlop tires for many years, was struck by a truck on Thursday after the driver apparently failed to notice a freshly-painted “4.0 meter” height warning. The collision caused so much damage to the bridge that it had to be taken down. Not everyone was bemoaning the loss of the bridge. It was the bane of racing photographers for decades, spoiling the shot on the run from Paddock Hill Bend up into Druids. “There must have been a photographer driving that truck,” quipped photographer Gavin Lawrence of the LAT photographic agency.

5/5/03

Alonso gets praise from his team - a future star  Fernando Alonso has been paid a tribute by Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne who believes Alonso could even win a race this season - only his second in Formula One. "He'll shrug his shoulders and say it was easy and it's no big deal, but it was a brilliant drive," Gascoyne said. "He's the real deal." "We were on at him to really push in the second stint to get as close as possible to Michael because that's how we got Barrichello at the first stops," stated Alonso, "But Michael is the worst guy to be racing in those conditions because he knows exactly what to do." Alonso, who was cheered throughout the race by his home crowd, said: "It has been fantastic. We did our maximum and fought with Ferrari and that is really good for us. "I pushed hard all the way and I only eased off for the last two laps. Today I did 60 qualifying laps. "This is the best day of my life and I feel as if I am dreaming. It's difficult to describe what I felt on that final lap with all the flags and the crowds cheering for me." "All those who said we were on the wrong strategy were wrong. What happened [in the race] was what we thought was going to happen," he said. "At the aero circuits like Silverstone and Suzuka we should be as good as we were here and in Hungary and Monaco we might be even better. "In Austria and Canada we'll struggle, but we have to aim for podiums at every race."

5/5/03

Mario Andretti Q&A  Motorsport legend Mario Andretti has made his fair share of headlines in the past couple of weeks. First, he made an improbable return to IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his son Michael's team. Then, his comeback was abruptly ended by the biggest crash of his storied career. Somewhere in the midst of all that, he found the time to mediate between CART and Road America officials to save the series' race at the classic circuit. He traveled to Britain to be on hand for the London Champ Car Trophy at Brands Hatch. In Britain to witness the London Champ Car trophy at Brands Hatch, he took the time to talk about the Kent circuit with Autosport, Road America, that crash and more.  Transcript

5/5/03

Interview with Robby Gordon  This is a transcript of a recent teleconference with Robby Gordon, who will attempt the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 "daily double" on May 25, racing during the day at Indy and in the evening at the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Charlotte, N.C.   Transcript

5/4/03

The Newman factor  This UK Observer newspaper article talks about Paul Newman, co-owner of the Newman Haas Racing team.  It discusses his career both on the screen and off (i.e. at the race track).  He's been a champion driver, finished second at Le Mans and owns a top US racing team. He also makes movies - as long as they don't interfere with his motor sport. Paul Newman tells OSM why, even at the age of 78, he can't keep away from the track.

5/4/03

Pizzonia insists his ride is secure  Jaguar driver Antonio Pizzonia said Sunday his seat with Jaguar was safe after Jaguar guaranteed he would not be dropped despite his disastrous Spanish Grand Prix.  The 22-year-old said Jaguar officials have confirmed his place on the team for the remainder of the season and have apologized for making suggestions his position was under review. "I have a firm contract and I will be staying with Jaguar," said Pizzonia, who was set to be replaced by McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz after Jaguar approached the Austrian. "All the speculation has been inaccurate. The team has apologized to me for what they did and they told me I am staying. This has been a difficult time for me but hopefully things will become easier from now on."

5/4/03

Fittipaldi predicts spectacular race in Germany  Emerson Fittipaldi predicted today at Brands Hatch that the German 500 at EuroSpeedway next Sunday will be spectacular.  "The aero package CART has for that race should make for a lot of overtaking, and the finish will come down to the last 100 feet," stated Fittipaldi.   Mark C.

5/4/03

Update on CART in Brazil  We asked Emerson Fittipaldi about the prospects of CART returning to Brazil.  He said the economy is really bad in South America right now, and until it turns around, it is not going to happen.  Even the MotoGP had to be cancelled two weeks ago.  The problem is compounded because the Brazilian government cut off all tobacco advertising overnight.  And you thought the European Union countries were bad?  When Bernie Ecclestone heard what they did, he hit the roof.   Mark C.

5/4/03

Pit lane is tight for Champ Cars  We asked Paul Tracy if the tight Brands Hatch pit lane might be a problem on race day.  He said not so much the width as the length of the pit boxes. "If you don't pull in just right, or the guy in front of you is sticking out, it will totally ruin your pit stop," stated Tracy.  Because of that we asked Tracy if teammates might stagger their pit stops, but he said that is usually not possible without hurting the guy who has to stop first. "For strategy reasons, every driver wants to stop as late as possible," stated Tracy. Mark C.

5/4/03

In F1, winning isn't everything  This NY Times article says, While winning races would seem to be the goal of every race driver, Ken Tyrrell, the longtime Formula One team owner who died in 2001, once said otherwise. "You would be surprised by the number of drivers in Formula One who love to drive the cars but do not absolutely have to win races," he said in an interview in the late 1990's. This is partly because of the nature of the sport. As the series prepares for its fifth race of the season, at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona today, there have been four different winners in the first four races for the first time since 1983, when Keke Rosberg, John Watson, Alan Prost and Patrick Tambay won. In Formula One, in which each team builds its own car, teams can build so well that they dominate all the others. This, along with the dominating talents of one or two drivers, means that the majority of racers must lower their expectations. "Your goals are different depending on what team you're with," said Mark Webber, a driver at the midlevel Jaguar team. "You can get a lot of stimulation and satisfaction from doing different things at different teams. It's not like other sports where there is clearly one winner."   That approach, said Julian Jakobi, who managed Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost and now Juan Pablo Montoya, is common among rookies. "You know that you have to adjust your mental thinking to the fact that you will not be in a position to win races unless you're in one of the top three or four teams," Jakobi said. "You have to perform so that you come to the attention of the team principals, so that when they look to replace a driver they will take the driver who's got some experience in the teams."

5/4/03

Bahrain hopes to draw 35,000 for first race  Rest assured, they will take a financial bath and go belly up before long, especially with Bernie's high sanctioning fees.  This Gulf News article says, Bahrain expects to pull at least 35,000 people for its first Formula One Grand Prix.  All the facilities to host the event and cope with the crowds will be ready ahead of time, it was pledged yesterday.  Preparations were made in advance to ensure the war in Iraq did not delay work on the Bahrain Racing Circuit.  Organizers feared that the conflict might jeopardize Bahrain's chances of staging a Formula One Grand Prix next year.  But Works Minister Fahmi Al Jowder says construction materials were stockpiled to make sure it would not be a problem if shipping services were affected.  Unless the government subsidizes the race in a major way, you simply can not hope to break even, let alone make a profit.

5/4/03

Reynard teams strategize  All the Reynard team owners and engineers met today at Brands Hatch to share ideas on how to make their cars competitive with the obvious superior Lolas.  Since they are prohibited by the CART rules freeze from doing anything significant to catch up to the Lola, they discussed things like asking CART for slightly more turbo boost (but that would burn more fuel than the Lolas running at less boost), giving the Reynard teams a slight weight advantage and aerodynamic changes.  Like we have said repeatedly, CART can't lock the rules such that teams using an inferior car are permanently locked into a losing situation.  If they do, they won't have those teams next year (teams with no chance of winning can't sell sponsorship) and CART can just close its doors and cease to exist. The IRL manages its racing and NASCAR does too.  When you restrict rules to save cost like NASCAR and the IRL, you must then manage the rules such that everyone has a fair chance to win.  If you leave rules wide open like F1 does, that's an entirely different situation, it's then every man for himself.  Mark C.

5/4/03

Team Penske was using Traction Control since 1994 2nd UPDATE Emerson Fittipaldi held a press conference today at Brands Hatch, and he was asked to compare today's Champ Cars to those he drove when he retired in 1996 after his bad accident at Michigan.  He stated that today's cars are harder to drive, "Back then we had traction control and today we do not."  Who was Emmo driving for in 1996 - Team Penske. That is two drivers in one week who said they had traction control back then.  The question was totally unrelated to the topic of this Hot News item, but we found it curious that both Tracy and Fittipaldi would say the same thing in two totally unrelated press conferences, to two unrelated questions.  Although Team Penske issued the letter to us denying they had it, if they did, we don't know why they should care.  As we said, in racing it is not cheating until you get caught, and if they were smart enough to outsmart the officials in that era, so be it. Their winning record stands. They weren't the first team to push the envelope of the rules and they certainly won't be the last.  4/29/03 - A Team Penske Spokesperson writes, Dear AR1, I want to make a correction to your "Team Penske using traction control since 94" item. Paul Tracy is correct that he saw many new developments while driving for team Penske. We developed "Electronic boost control", "Traction Control" and "No lift shift" technology during the years he was with us. The first use of traction control was in 92 and in 93 it was used full season. After the 93 season CART made several rule changes that included banning Traction Control. It was not used in 94 although many people including CART thought we were. Mr. Penske always allowed us to take advantage of the rules where we could, but NEVER approved use of illegal items. Paul Rochotte, Penske Racing South  4/29/03 -  Paul Tracy stated during CART's Town Meeting in Milwaukee Monday night that when he was driving for Team Penske in 1994 they were already using a form of traction control, way before it was legalized in 2001.  As they say, it ain't cheating until you get caught. 

5/4/03

Emmo disagrees with Mario  We posed the same question to Emerson Fittipaldi as we posed to Mario Andretti yesterday - would CART be better off moving closer to F1 and Bernie Ecclestone, or to try and merge back with the IRL?  Emmo said, "definitely closer to F1.  There is a big gap under F1 that CART can fill.  The IRL races on totally different venues (high banked ovals) so their cars are different."  Mark C.

5/4/03

Weather update for Brands Hatch  UPDATE Weather update - sunny and bright tomorrow for the Champ Car race at Brands.  However, this is England and that can change an hour from now.  5/4/03 - The latest weather forecast for Brands Hatch has improved slightly, with a 30% chance of showers Monday afternoon.  We can't have Bernie getting his hair wet now can we?  Too bad the race wasn't today at Brands.  So far it's an  absolutely perfect day for motor racing.  Mark C.

5/4/03

CART drivers want race moved to long circuit  Every Champ Car driver we asked said they want CART to move the Brands Hatch race to the long track as soon as possible.  Sebastien Bourdais stated, "all the drivers say yeah, let's race on this circuit when they see the long track."  Former driver Emerson Fittipaldi did not agree, he thinks the short circuit will be very exciting.  "The British fans will be very excited when they see the race tomorrow, you will see stated Fittipaldi.

5/4/03

Two stops not enough for race?  CART has mandated a minimum of two stops for Monday's race at Brands Hatch, but Paul Tracy said he drove 60 laps on a set of tires this morning and the cords were showing through.  The race is 165 laps, so 60 laps would be enough for the tires, but will they go off so bad by that time such that a third stop may be necessary.  He also said that fuel would be marginal with two stops.

5/4/03

Sunday qualifying for F1?  Since the cars can't be touched after qualifying anyway, why not?  F1 team bosses are considering a cost-cutting proposal to condense the grand prix weekend and have final qualifying on the morning of the race itself. "It's a good idea, isn't it," said Eddie Jordan of a proposal put forward by his own director of race engineering Gary Anderson. "Can you imagine 9.30 qualifying (on a Sunday morning) and the race five hours later?," added the Irish entrepreneur at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. "What's wrong with that? It's fantastic."  "We would have to be careful that we don't have a whole lot of test team cars. You have to use the cars that you are going to use for the weekend," said Jordan. Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said the proposal had been mentioned at a meeting of team bosses and technical directors with the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) last Tuesday. "It's informal at the moment but it's been circulated and it undoubtedly will be discussed at the next team owners' meeting," said Stoddart. "But I'm not so sure it's that easy in my mind to change the race weekend. "Two day weekends would no doubt save money but there are other issues here about contractual commitments with the promoters and I don't think we are quite at that stage yet," added Stoddart. "The final format, if indeed anything comes out of it (the proposal), may look a bit different to that."

5/4/03

Oval track racing places minimum on driving skill  Underscoring what we have maintained for years, that oval track racing is all about car and very little to do with driving skill, this Indy Star (Indy Star is very pro-IRL) article says, that Sam Hornish's skill can't make up for the lack of horsepower in his Chevy powered IRL car.  Oval track racing places a premium on HP and car setup - the driver is pretty much along for the ride.  The biggest participation of a driver in oval racing is working with their engineer to get the car setup right, not driving it.  You can't try to overdrive an ill handling or underpowered oval track car, because you will eventually stuff it into the wall.

5/4/03

Bourdais quickest in morning practice  Sebastien Bourdais topped the charts in the final practice session before qualifying for the London Champ Car Trophy. The Frenchman set a time of 37.379s (114.802mph), not as fast as overnight pole sitter Paul Tracy, but it is anticipated that the records will fall again during this afternoon’s final qualifying. Paul Tracy was second fastest with 37.499s (114.435mph) continuing the pace that he has demonstrated all season. Third quickest this morning was Adrian Fernandez with a 37.530s (114.341mph) lap.

5/4/03

Why CART is racing on Monday  CART is holding its London Champ Car Trophy race on Monday, a holiday in England.  There are two primary reasons for this.  First, CART does not want to go head-to-head with the F1 race today in Barcelona.  Second there is the traditional Duxford air show today northeast of London which usually draws 1/2 million people.  Having the race on Monday is likely to be very good for CART because it avoids having to share attention these two events, and may become the traditional date we suspect.

5/4/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Pedro Hits Back At Former Teammate
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Dennis Unimpressed With New Ferrari
Schu: Watch Out For F2003-GA In Spain
Wilson For Jaguar, Says Eddie
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Word In The Catalan Paddock: Sunday
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5/4/03

Paddock Hill perfect setting for Champ Car beasts  Champ cars are absolute beasts. They are notoriously horrid to drive but the great advantage they have over their more technology enhanced Formula One cousins is that they are pretty much all the same. The same Ford-Cosworth V8 800bhp engines, the same tires and the same ability to dive into the famously stomach-churning Paddock Bend at Brands Hatch at 130mph after "slowing'' from 185. Champ car racing may never have the appeal in Britain it does in the US but after this weekend there could be a lot of converts. Attempts to win over the British public to what used to be called Indy car racing have never really succeeded. The CART events at the new Rockingham Track over the past two years had novelty value but surely Brits want something more than breathtaking speed and Concorde-like sound? The race tomorrow on the Indy (short, 1.2 mile) circuit at Brands will offer more: 165 laps of high speed, white-knuckle entertainment from the screaming engines of the fastest single-seater racing cars in the world. This attempt to place a satellite arm of the CART series in Europe (there is another in Germany next weekend) is interpreted by Formula One as a challenge to its hold on the motor sport public, which has been stretched by contrived finishes and predictable results. The only British driver in tomorrow's race, Darren Manning, points out that unlike Formula One, Champ car racing is not dominated by ever changing technology, which is not to say that the cars are not highly developed, only that they are basically the same as each other. That, he says, greatly adds to the fun. "I don't believe any other formula comes close. The cars are always fantastic to watch but at Brands Hatch the race should be even more spectacular because it is such a tight track.'' Manning is hoping that his own familiarity with the circuit should give him an advantage because it was where he had his first two junior motor races and slid out in both. This season after three Champ car races in the States with two places in the top 10 he is 10th overall and so far has not been able to approach the leader, a Canadian, Paul Tracy, who has won all three. However, Tracy is by no means certain to create an all-time championship record of four consecutive victories. He has been racing for 19 years, 12 of them in Champ cars and reckons nothing daunts him. When the G-forces hit in on Paddock and the car bottoms out at the foot of Hailwood Hill for the umpteenth time tomorrow even that sort of confidence may stick in his throat. Yesterday Mario Andretti called Paddock "one of the greatest corners in world motor racing.'' For most of the drivers in yesterday's practice sessions and qualifying it was not only the approach to Paddock, or Turn One as the Americans insist on calling it, that was a blind corner. The rest of the Indy circuit may not be very long – not long to appreciate the capabilities of these cars – but it was different to anything they had faced before. Even so Tracy adapted remarkably quickly, setting a fastest lap of 116.160mph in only the second of yesterday's practice sessions and leading the afternoon qualifying at 115.96mph ahead of Brazil's Bruno Junqueira (115.909mph). Manning, who was suffering from a severe headache in the morning recovered to be fifth fastest at 114.234mph in the qualifying period that described it as "disappointing because I made a mistake at Druids.'' With the top drivers divided by thousandths of a second that meant going off line by about six inches.  The Independent

5/4/03

Manning says Wilson should have raced in CART  Darren Manning believes Justin Wilson should have turned his back on Formula One and joined him in the States. Manning, 28, is the only British driver in the pulsating American CART series, which will stage its UK round at Brands Hatch for the first time on Monday in front of an expected crowd of 40,000 fans. After the opening three races, Manning is lying 10th in the series - and the second-best rookie - while fellow Yorkshireman Wilson has yet to finish a race, let alone score a point for his struggling Minardi team in Formula One. Manning, driving for the Indianapolis-based Walker Racing outfit, revealed: "There are two routes you can take to become a Formula One driver. You can either join a back-of-the-grid team like Justin has and hope you are spotted by a better team. "Or you can try and make a name in America - the same as Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya did - and then jump straight into a winning Formula One car. "My ambition is still to become a Formula One driver but only with a top team. I feel Justin would have benefited from driving in America first." Wilson has had to pay Minardi almost £2m for his drive - raised by forming himself into a public company and selling shares to fans anxious to help his progress. Manning on the other hand is being paid and will also receive a percentage of the $100,000 first prize if he clinches the London Champ Car trophy at the Bank Holiday race. Sponsored by the RAC, Manning will touch 245kph in his 800bhp turbo-charged machine as the 20-car field negotiate the Kent circuit's tricky 1.1 mile Indy track. He added: "My first experience of racing these cars in front of my home crowd was at Rockingham last season when I finished ninth, but I hope to do a lot better this time around. "The beauty with this series is that the racing is so close, with less than a second separating the top 15 cars. "I know F1 has enjoyed a cracking start to the season with a different winner in the opening four races but that's been largely due to some races being run in the wet. "In this series, everyone has the chance of leaving the track a winner and fans have the chance to mingle with drivers, whereas in F1 they are all locked away out of sight."  The SUN

5/4/03

Nadeau hurt badly in Richmond crash  3rd UPDATE  Nadeau remained in critical condition a day after the crash at Richmond International Raceway. He has not spoken since the accident, team manager Jay Frye said, but has been communicating with visitors despite being sedated. "He was aware that I was there," said Frye, who has seen the 32-year-old driver three times since the accident in practice Friday afternoon. Frye said Nadeau acknowledged his presence by squeezing Frye's hand. "He looks phenomenal," Frye said. "Once I went in to see him and left, it made a world of difference to me. You go in not knowing what to expect, and then you see -- there's your guy. Everything's OK." "We're very encouraged," he said. "We'll know so much more tonight or tomorrow morning" after more testing has been completed and studied. "We feel like he's in great, great care," Frye said. Nadeau suffered a partially collapsed left lung and rib injuries, although Frye said "we don't know how many or which ones." NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Nadeau was wearing a HANS device, a head and neck restraint made mandatory in October 2001 -- eight months after the death of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. This accounts for why Nadeau has no neck injuries, but the side impact must have resulted in his head hitting something for him to have head injuries. 5/3/03 - A source close to the family said Nadeau sustained a concussion and broken ribs in the accident. The source said the doctors were going to induce a coma so that they could better treat Nadeau's injuries. Officials at the hospital refused to comment.  5/3/03 - The 32-year-old driver from Danbury, Conn., did not appear to be moving when he was removed from his car strapped to a body board. He was being fed oxygen through a bag when he was placed in the ambulance.   5/2/03 - Driver Jerry Nadeau was airlifted from Richmond International Raceway with what NASCAR called "potential serious injuries" after a crash in final practice Friday night, preparing for Saturday's Pontiac 400. Nadeau, 32, was taken to Medical College of Virginia Hospital downtown after the wreck 15mins into the evening shakedown. No further word was available as of 6 p.m. NASCAR vp/communications Jim Hunter said: "Jerry Nadeau has been airlifted over to Medical College of Virginia for further evaluation. The doctors have told us there is the potential for serious injuries. That's all we know." Nadeau spun and crashed through the first and second turns at the 0.75mi oval, hitting the outside wall initially with the left-rear corner of the car. Medics cut the top off the car and spent nearly 15mins in the car, attempting to stabilize Nadeau and remove him. His neck was immobilized and he was placed on a backboard before being taken to the ambulance.  SPEED TV

5/3/03

McLaren to Jaguar - take it or leave it  McLaren has offered Jaguar, which is interested in signing Austrian driver Alexander Wurz to replace Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, a take-it-or-leave-it deal. McLaren boss Ron Dennis told reporters at the Spanish Grand Prix that they were now waiting for a response from the Ford-owned team, which is weighing up Pizzonia after his underperformance in qualifying. "We were approached by Jaguar. They really didn't wait for a response before approaching Alexander, which was not particularly correct," he said. "We have made a proposal to Jaguar that could see Alexander leave and go to Jaguar. We think it's a very balanced proposal and it's for them to decide whether to accept it or not." "We've made the position extremely clear. It's not negotiable," said Dennis. "It's a fair, balanced reflection of what we believe are the current circumstances surrounding both his contract and their objectives. "It is not looking to obstruct either Alex's career or Jaguar's intentions."

5/3/03

Zanardi will drive in Germany  2nd UPDATE Here is the official announcement5/2/03 - Zanardi's #66 is in the paddock at Brands Hatch with hand controls.  We expect him to drive the final 13 laps he missed at the EuroSpeedway in 2000 as reported back on April 14th.  4/14/03 - It has been discussed previously, but now we here the money is there and Alex Zanardi will drive a special Champ Car with hand controls for the accelerator at EuroSpeedway this year and complete the 13 laps he did not finish in 2001.His run will occur prior to the main race.  We hear he will brake with his artificial legs and will drive the laps at speed.  Mark C.

5/3/03

Mario - Racing needs unity  This Indy Business Journal article says, Mario Andretti's first-ever ride in an Indy Racing League car, which turned into a death-defying crash, has him talking reconciliation between the open-wheel racing series he once openly bashed and the one he still serves as board member. The timing of Andretti's entry into the IRL fray couldn't have been more ironic. At the same time he was turning test laps in the 7-Eleven-sponsored Andretti Green IRL car owned by his son Michael, CART officials were announcing a deal Andretti had brokered to get CART back into Elkhart Lake, Wis. The Road America open-wheel race was restored there for CART, in large part, because Andretti took the lead in negotiations with local race organizers. CART in turn renamed the race the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America. "Apparently, Mario just survived two miracles, one at Indianapolis and one in his negotiations with Road America, so I guess he's ready to take on another with reconciliation talks," said John Zimmermann, editor of Racer Magazine. "All [Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRL President] Tony George has ever shown is that he wants to kill CART. But anybody associated with Mario Andretti gets a halo effect of good vibrations, so who knows?" In the aftermath, Andretti said IRL and CART need to stop sparring to the detriment of open-wheel racing. "My ultimate wish is that somehow we'd find a solution to marry these two series," Andretti said April 30 from his Nazareth, Pa., office. "Open-wheel racing needs to put its energies in one basket. " Andretti said he would gladly play a role in negotiations. "I would do somersaults to make this happen," he said. "I'd stand on my head. I'd do whatever. I'm confident there's an ultimate answer." The turn of events, industry sources said, made it apparent how important an affiliation with Andretti is in this industry. Some wonder if a tug-of-war between CART and IRL for his attention might ensue. Andretti turned laps for the Andretti Green Racing team April 23 in testing for the Indianapolis 500. It turned out to be some of the best publicity for the IRL this year, and not just because Mario's car hit debris from another crash and flipped in the air repeatedly before landing upright. "His active participation has been very good for Andretti Green Racing, the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's an ongoing story," said Fred Nation, IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman. The testing run caught officials for CART, where Andretti serves as one of nine board members, off guard, according to sources close to the series. CART officials were unavailable for comment. Andretti said he notified CART officials of his plans, but added, "I didn't have to ask them. Nobody controls me." Nation said IRL officials were especially pleased that Andretti told them he liked IRL-specified equipment, which has often been a target of his criticism in the past. Industry sources said Andretti's move was a real head-scratcher. "If I'm CART, I'm not too happy," said Zak Brown, president of Just Marketing, a local motorsports marketing consultancy. "Mario is a CART board member and the feud is not over. This is the wrong message to send. He says he doesn't like the IRL, and five minutes later he's getting into one of their cars. It was great for the IRL. They were on CNN, ESPN, CNBC and just about everywhere else." Brown said Michael Andretti could have easily found another test driver, probably more qualified to drive than Mario. But other industry sources said another driver couldn't have gained nearly the hype......."I support CART for its diversity," Andretti said of the series that mixes races on ovals and road tracks. "This product is precious to me in many ways. I think CART still has a future."

5/3/03

Spotted at Brands Hatch  We spotted former Swift and Jaguar aerodynamicist Mark Handford in the Brands Hatch paddock hanging around the Newman Haas pits.  Handford was recently let go by the Jaguar F1 team in the major reshuffling that occurred over the winter.  We jokingly asked him if he was enjoying some time off and what he was up to.  He said he was doing a bit of work for Newman Haas, but was also talking to CART about doing some work for them, helping them come up with better aerodynamic packages for the cars.

5/3/03
F3000

Pantano wins in Spain  Italian Georgio Pantano has made amends of his no-points performance at Imola by leading all the way in Spain.  Pantano led away from pole position and his Durango Lola was pressed hard in the early laps by first race winner Bjorn Wirdheim, but the 2nd place starter saw his tires go off and he dropped back, giving the Italian breathing space to win comfortably.  Wirdheim was still able to finish in second place to remain at the top of the points table.

5/3/03

Keller to replace Nadeau  Jason Keller will drive for the injured Jerry Nadeau in Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400, a spokesperson for Keller said after Friday night's Hardee's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race. Keller practiced Nadeau's #01 U.S. Army Pontiac car in Happy Hour on Friday afternoon. Keller, who has competed in 298 Busch Series races, will be making his Winston Cup debut. NASCAR.com

5/3/03

More NASCAR sponsor talk  Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said Friday there are "four or five" companies involved in discussions about eventually replacing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as title sponsor of the sport's top series. Hunter also said, however, that some of companies mentioned as possible candidates in published reports - Anheuser-Busch, AT&T and UPS and others - may not be among them. "McDonald's? Yes, we've talked to them," Hunter said. "I've seen names like Coca-Cola, VISA, Microsoft, Gillette and maybe one or two others pop up. If you say those kinds or companies are included among the ones we're talking to, that'd be accurate." The Charlotte Observer

5/3/03

Mario Andretti & Damon Hill co-Grand Marshals  Ex-Formula One World Champions Damon Hill and Mario Andretti will share the duties as Grand Marshals at the fourth round of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the London Champ Car Trophy, which takes place at Brands Hatch on Monday, May 5. As Grand Marshals, the legendary pair will announce to everyone at the Kent circuit, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” a line synonymous with North American racing. They will give the signal for the 165-lap race to begin, as well as waving the chekered flag following its conclusion. Damon and Mario will then present the top three podium finishers with the London Champ Car Trophy and customary champagne. Formula One World Champion in 1978, Mario Andretti is often referred to as the greatest race car driver of all time, having proven himself a winner at all levels of competition. Mario's skilled and versatile driving has produced some of racing history's most legendary accomplishments and is the only driver ever to win Champ Car races in four decades. Most recently, the four-time Champ Car titlewinner came to the aid of the series as the driving force behind the reinstatement of this year’s Road America event to the schedule. For 42-year-old Damon Hill, who won one of the closest ever Formula One World Championships in 1996 in his Williams-Renault, this will be a welcome return to Brands Hatch for this is where he won his first ever car race in the FF1600 Championship. The London Champ Car Trophy race takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend of 3 - 5 May and a variety of general admission and grandstand tickets are available on the day. For further information please visit www.londonchampcartrophy.com.

5/3/03

Manning tops first practice session at Brands  British driver Darren Manning, driving a Reynard Ford, showed the rest of the Champ Car drivers the fast way around the historic Brands Hatch circuit this morning under partly sunny skies and cool temperatures.  Manning was the only driver to get a lap in under 38 seconds, 37.995 sec. to be exact.  Bruno Junqueira and Paul Tracy rounded out the top three.  Adrian Fernández crashed in Clearways to end the session, and Monteiro spun but did not hit anything earlier.  Mark C.

5/3/03

Spain, Alonso goes fastest in final free practice  Hometown favorite, Spaniard Fernando Alonso leapt to the top of the timesheets in the final free practice session at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya to get his home crowd excited in anticipation of this afternoon's final qualifying session. The Renault driver lapped in a best time of 1m17.670s as the track improved markedly from the earlier session when many found it dirty. This was almost exactly half a second slower than the lap that Michael Schumacher achieved in yesterday's first qualifying session in the new Ferrari F2003-GA but, notably, it was more than half a second ahead of the next fastest time, the 1m18.214s lap set by the other Ferrari driver, Rubens Barrichello.

5/3/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Pizzonia Crumbles Under Pressure
Kimi's The Real Deal: Williams
Coulthard Welcomes TC Reprieve
Firman Joins F1's Endangered List
Coulthard Impatient For New McLaren
Bernie Pines For Muslim F1 Driver
Word In The Catalan Paddock: Saturday 1
Word In The Catalan Paddock: Saturday 2
Don't Blame Us, Says Fuel Rig Supplier
Bans To Pass Without Notice: F1 Drivers

5/2/03

Weather update for Brands Hatch  The Champ Car teams visiting Brands Hatch for this weekend's London Trophy round of the Champ Car World Series are expecting wet weather to play a part in Monday's race, although most drivers are hoping to avoid that eventuality. According to double-pole winner Sebastien Bourdais, the weather for Saturday's practice and Sunday's qualifying may remain dry, but heavy rain is predicted for race day. “I think it is going to be a really long race and it is probably going to rain so…” said Bourdais. “Saturday and Sunday the weather forecast is not that bad but on Monday it will be raining. “I enjoy driving in the rain but on the other hand the rain tires are very hard and the grip level is pretty bad. Also I have not driven the car in wet conditions. It doesn't rain very often where we normally race!” Darren Manning, the only British driver in the field this weekend, also hopes that the track will remain dry during the race. “I want it to dry really,” he said, “because when it is wet it can be a bit of a lottery. If you're the last one to pass the checkered flag in qualifying and the track is drying you have an advantage, but if you're not... And in the race you're in the lap of the gods whether somebody can see you or not. So dry makes it a bit more of a level playing field and safer. “If it's like today (Friday), where there is a real storm and then it stops, we'll clear the water in two or three laps anyway and then we can get down to racing. I don't mind that at all.”  Autosport.com

5/2/03

Papis ready to test at LeMans  "Mad Max" Papis is in Europe, ready to test in Le Mans, France for the 71st running of the 24 Heures du Mans. Papis, who joined the JML Team Panoz team for selected races during 2003, was signed to drive with Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette for the prestigious 24-hour European race. Max also competed with the team at the 12 Hours of Sebring, finishing fifth in its inaugural race as a privateer team. "I'm glad to be back driving at Le Mans again," said the Italian Papis. "I haven't been to The Sarthe since 1998, when I drove the Ferrari 333 SP. It will be great testing the Panoz LMP-01 at Le Mans this weekend and getting a feel for the historic track again. I love Le Mans because I followed races there since I was a young boy and I know a lot about the history. Many of my racing heroes drove at Le Mans over the years." This year's twice-around-the-clock European enduro will be held on June 14-15th. The organizers have changed the test day this year to include eight hours of practice on Sunday, May 4, at the Circuit de La Sarthe, the 8.625-mile circuit that includes some permanent portions as well as parts of French public roads. Practice will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. All 50 selected teams, as well as six reserve cars, will participate in the test day. The LMP 900 class, in which the two-car team of JML Team Panoz will compete, has a total of 16 cars entered, including five that compete regularly in the American LeMans Series. Papis has been very busy lately. He recently tested a NASCAR Winston Cup car for Ray Evernham's Dodge team, where he got advice from veteran NASCAR driver Bill Elliott. Papis competed over 80 laps at Kentucky Speedway in a successful test, which earned him praise from both Evernham and Test Team and R&D Coordinator, Sammy Johns. He joined the Evernham Motorsports team at Fontana, California last weekend as their guest for the NASCAR race. Also, Max was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week to talk to a few teams about a possible ride in this year's upcoming Indy 500 race. Papis, always one to be a step ahead and ready for what may come his way, prepared car seats and talked to team engineers to get up-to-date on the latest Indy car technology. "It has been a very busy time for me," said Papis. "I am talking with many people about many different possibilities, both for this year and next year. My focus this weekend will be sports cars and endurance racing. I continue to work out constantly and am in strong physical and mental condition. I enjoy the endurance racing and always love the opportunity to come back to Europe to race. Although I have many wonderful new fans in America, some of my European fans go way back to my racing days in Formula One or even Formula 3000. It's always special to be cheered on by fellow Italians too."

5/2/03

CART on CBS next three weekends  Over the course of the next two weekends, Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will dominate CBS Sports' weekend programming with three consecutive days of weekend coverage. CBS will air its first CART Champ Car programming of the 2003 season with Sunday's "Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford - Past, Present, and Future" broadcast from England's Brands Hatch Circuit. The program - which airs at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 4 - will chronicle the 2003 season to date, in addition to bringing viewers up to speed on what has happened in the two qualifying sessions for Monday's inaugural London Champ Car Trophy and taking a look at what's to come for the 2003 CART Champ Car season. On Saturday, May 10, CBS Sports will air the London Champ Car Trophy race - which will have taken place on Monday, May 5 - which will be the first English-speaking telecast of the event in the United States. The London Champ Car Trophy is scheduled to air at 1:00 p.m. ET next Saturday. The weekend on CBS wraps up with the second running of the German 500 from EuroSpeedway Lausitz on Sunday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The German 500 is the first oval race of the 2003 Champ Car World Series, and is sure to be an emotional event as two-time Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi - who lost both of his legs from the knee down in the inaugural CART Champ Car event at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in 2001 - will be at the track serving as the grand marshal of the race.

5/2/03

More evidence NASCAR is mainstream  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I belong to the Executives' Club Of Chicago. The organization consists of senior executives and managers from the Chicago area and attracts Fortune 500 CEO's as guest speakers at their monthly events. Recent speakers have included CEO's from companies such as Deere and Company, Kraft, Pepsico, General Motors, SBC Ameritech, Oracle and Xerox. I was pleasantly surprised when it was announced at yesterday's meeting that the June event will be "The Business of NASCAR- It's More Than Racing ..It's Big Business". The event will be sponsored by NASCAR, UPS and Hilton Chicago with panelists George Pyne, COO of NASCAR, Dale Jarrett and John Beystehner, Senior Vice President Of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at UPS. The moderator of the panel will be Matthew Alexander, Vice President and General Manager of Chicagoland Speedway. The agenda notes that "those interested in learning more about NASCAR partnerships will be offered a personal behind the scenes visit to Chicagoland Speedway with complementary passes to the July 12 Busch race or July 13 Winston Cup race and behind the scenes tour prior to the race." This is another example of NASCAR's sports marketing machine connecting with business client's in promoting it's organization as well as a local race. Even more amazing is this activity is in a metro area where three prominent NASCAR supporters (Grainger, Kraft and McDonalds )corporate headquarters exist. So, while the CART/IRL split continues, NASCAR keeps winning new fans and sponsors. As a fan of open wheel racing this is very frustrating.  Mike Jablo

5/2/03

Friday Press Conference from Spain  

Rubens BARRICHELLO
David COULTHARD
Ralph FIRMAN
Juan Pablo MONTOYA
Justin WILSON  Transcript

5/2/03

F1 news update from Barcelona   Formula One's governing FIA has bowed to pressure from the teams and opted to defer a proposed ban on traction control.   The Federation said in a statement on Friday that a meeting of team bosses on Tuesday had found agreement to ban launch-control and fully automatic gearboxes from 2004.  But as for traction control, 'the teams ... unanimously requested the FIA not to proceed with a ban,' according to the statement.  It continued that the decision to scrap a traction-control ban was made only after a commitment from the manufacturers to supply engines to independent teams at 'fully affordable' rates.  In other quick news, struggling rookie Antonio Pizzonia's troubles continued at Barcelona on Friday when he struck and injured one of his mechanics in pitlane.  The Brazilian hit mechanic Andy Saunders, throwing him into the air, when Antonio overshot his pit area during Friday free testing.  A team spokesman for Jaguar said Saunders was thrown more than six feet into the air but was recovering in the circuit medical centre with nothing more than cuts, bruises and a headache.  Meanwhile, McLaren tester Alexander Wurz is still waiting in the wings to replace the 22-year-old Pizzonia.  Despite news that McLaren had shelved the idea to 'loan' the Austrian to Jaguar for the balance of 2003, Wurz told reporters in Barcelona this morning that 'negotiations are in progress.'   'It's not that easy,' he added. 'Good things need time.'   Back on the Circuit de Catalunya, Ferrari bosses were delighted and emotional after the successful debut of its new racer, the F2003-GA on Friday.  Team chief Jean Todt said Michael Schumacher's quickest time in provisional shoot-out qualifying was an 'emotional moment. We are embarking on a new adventure with the F2003-GA,' the Frenchman continued.   Technical director Ross Brawn said the first run of Maranello's handsome latest concoction on low fuel and new tyres was 'very pleasing.'   He added, 'We still have to do some work on the balance of the car for tomorrow, but the results are encouraging and I think we can look forward to a strong race on Sunday.'   Rubens Barrichello's intended race car developed a water leak just before the qualifying session, the Brazilian going third after running in Schumacher's spare.  Andrew Maitland

5/2/03

New Ferrari shines in opening qualifying   Michael Schumacher made the debut of the new Ferrari F2003-GA a good one by setting the quickest time in the first qualifying session for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. Schumacher lapped in 1m17.130s, just 0.019s quicker than Renault driver Jarno Trulli. A fine lap from the Italian managed to split the Ferrari teammates, with Rubens Barrichello third quickest at 1m17.218s. Cristiano Da Matta a surprising fourth quickest for Toyota. Team mate Olivier Panis was also right up there in sixth, the pair split by Jenson Button's BAR-Honda, who was a full 0.8s quicker than teammate Jacques Villeneuve.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m17.130s
2 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m17.149s
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m17.218s
4 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m17.443s
5 Jenson Button BAR 1m17.613s
6 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m17.746s
7 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m17.793s
8 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m17.862s
9 David Coulthard McLaren 1m18.060s
10 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m18.100s
11 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m18.409s
12 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m18.461s
13 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m18.528s
14 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m18.607s
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m18.879s
16 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m18.909s
17 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m19.050s
18 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m19.195s
19 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m20.822s
20 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m21.100s

5/2/03

Canadian GP loses title sponsor   Air Canada will not renew its sponsorship of the Canadian Grand Prix, but it won't affect this year's edition of the Formula One race, an official for the airline said Thursday. The troubled airline's contract to be title sponsor of the Air Canada Grand Prix expires after the race on June 15 at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. "We have come to the end of a five-year agreement and unfortunately, with regret, we had to confirm to the Grand Prix organization that we wouldn't renew the contract," Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said. "But we are working with them on this year's event."

5/2/03

New Hampshire resurfaced again  New Hampshire International Speedway was repaved again this week, well in advance of the Winston Cup race set for July 20. Track management was severely criticized after last July's race because turns 3 and 4 proved extremely slick. The turns were resurfaced in April 2002 and had to be redone in June, only three weeks before the race. Typically, it takes at least four weeks to cure a new surface. Track owner Bob Bahre said he had all four turns resurfaced this time. "I think it's going to work out well," he said. Bahre ordered the resurfacing even though the second Cup race at the track last September was contested without complaint. NASCAR's Busch series will provide the first test of the new surface, racing here July 19.  AP Story

5/2/03

Ralf leads opening practice in Spain   In Barcelona, Spain, Michael Schumacher, behind the wheel of the new Ferrari F2003-GA, called the Red Shark by the Italian media, was 1.723 seconds off Friday AM session-leading time set by Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW while Barrichello was 1.288 seconds adrift.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m17.015s
2 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m17.138s
3 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m17.184s
4 David Coulthard McLaren 1m17.209s
5 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m17.220s
6 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m17.897s
7 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m17.933s
8 Jenson Button BAR 1m17.966s
9 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m18.101s
10 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m18.303s
11 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m18.350s
12 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m18.639s
13 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m18.691s
14 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m18.731s
15 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m18.738s
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m18.954s
17 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m19.219s
18 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m19.337s
19 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m20.264s
20 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m20.559s

5/2/03

Pizzonia mows down Jaguar mechanic   If Antonio Pizzonia had any hope of saving his F1 drive at Jaguar, he can pretty much forget about it after colliding with one of his Jaguar mechanics. The Brazilian came into the pits too fast during a two-hour private test at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. His car hit mechanic Andy Saunders, throwing him several feet into the air. Saunders was taken to the track's medical center suffering from cuts and bruises and slight concussion. Jaguar are set to replace Pizzonia after this race with McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz.

5/2/03

Trulli leads free testing in Spain  Jarno Trulli set the pace for Renault in the free testing session preceding first official practice for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.
Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m17.706s
2 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m17.991s
3 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m18.048s
4 Allan McNish Renault 1m18.625s
5 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m18.699s
6 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m18.731s
7 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m18.761s
8 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m21.036s
9 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m21.294s

5/2/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Formula One Ponders Appeal Chaos
Word In The Catalan Paddock: Friday 1
Villeneuve Admits BAR Race Option
Minardi Denies Takeover 'Nonsense'
BAR Boss Slams GPWC Breakaway
F2003-GA: Talk Of The Catalan Paddock
Embattled Antonio Vows To Fight Back
Williams Defend Bold New FW25
Jaguar Undecided Over Alex Wurz
Brief News From Spanish GP: Friday
Word In The Catalan Paddock: Friday 2
McLaren Find Crucial Car Advantage
Traction Control To Stay In '04?
Jacques Toys With Le Mans Future
Williams Crew Slam Jaguar Racing

5/2/03

Thursday Press Conference from Spain 

Ross Brawn (Ferrari technical director)
Patrick Head (Williams technical director)
Pat Symonds (Renault director of engineering)
Geoff Willis (BAR technical director)   Transcript

5/2/03

Atwood lands one-race deal  Former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Casey Atwood has landed a one-race deal with his former employer, Evernham Motorsports, in the upcoming Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Atwood has signed on to drive the #91 Dodge Intrepid at the Pocono 500 on June 8, 2003 sponsored by Mountain Dew LiveWire, a new Mountain Dew product that will be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The one-race deal is part of the “summer only” product launch for the new drink. Mountain Dew is an associate sponsor on Evernham’s #19 Dodge Intrepid, driven by Jeremy Mayfield, and has been a primary sponsor on the car for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Atwood has been sitting on the sidelines this season, trying to find a ride after being released from the Jim Smith-owned Sirius Satellite Dodge Intrepid with two races to go in the 2002 season. Atwood drove the #19 Dodge Intrepid for Evernham for the 2000 and 2001 Winston Cup seasons before going to Evernham-Ultra Motorsports, a joint venture between Evernham and Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith.  Pete McCole

5/1/03

New concussion tests help determine readiness  Concussions are a fact of life in automobile racing, where crashing into a concrete wall at high speed is relatively common. Until now, one of the most difficult decisions facing doctors who treat race drivers for concussions has been knowing when a driver is well enough to return to a race car. Now, thanks to Mark Lovell, director of the Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there is a new, important tool. It's call ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. That's a formal way of describing a computer test devised by Lovell and Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon, in conjunction with several of Lovell's former colleagues at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. The test, which takes 22 minutes the first time and a little less in subsequent uses, measures memory, reaction time, mental speed, information processing, anticipation time and other functions of the brain affected by concussions. The idea is to administer the test while the subject is healthy -- at the start of the season, preferably. That sets a "baseline" with which to measure further tests after a head injury. In auto racing, CART has been using the test since last year, all the Indy Racing League drivers will take the test as part of their physical for entering the May 25 Indianapolis 500, Formula One has the software and plans to implement the program as soon as possible, and NASCAR is studying it. Gary Nelson, managing director of competition for NASCAR, said some drivers are using it on a volunteer basis. Steve Park, who missed the last eight Winston Cup races of 2001 and the first four events of 2002, flew to Pittsburgh in February to take the ImPACT test. Park said he wishes he had known about the test before a crash, at Darlington in a Busch Series car, that temporarily left him with blurred vision and slurred speech.  ESPN/AP

5/1/03

Indy 500 TV coverage  The ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 television networks will provide extensive, live coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May leading up to and including the 87th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 25. ESPN2 also will be a part of history when it broadcasts the inaugural Freedom 100 Infiniti Pro Series race live from IMS on Saturday, May 17.   Story

5/1/03

De Ferran and Dixon cleared to drive  IRL IndyCar Series standouts Gil de Ferran and Scott Dixon both have been cleared to drive in the 87th Indianapolis 500. De Ferran suffered a minor fracture of the lower back and a slight concussion in a two-car accident during the Purex Dial Indy 200 on March 23 at Phoenix International Raceway. Dixon suffered a broken wrist in a two-car accident during the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi [Editor's note - and broken pelvis, which was never publicized, except in New Zealand, Dixon's home country]. De Ferran will drive the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone on Opening Day of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 4, according to a team news release. “It will be the first time I get back in a car since Phoenix, and I’m quite anxious to get going,” de Ferran said. “Although it wasn’t the type of time off I would’ve preferred, it was nice to have a little break, and now its time to go back to work. From a physical standpoint, I’m nearly at the same level of fitness I was prior to the start of the season.” Dixon hopes to drive the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone sometime during the first week of practice, according to a team news release. “Dr. Scheid and Dr. Fisher did an awesome job in healing my hand and wrist,” Dixon said. “I have full motion now; I’ll just have to wear a small splint while I’m in the car. I’m planning on getting in the car during the first week of practice to get some laps and see how it feels. “I’ve only been around the track once. I paid my dollar and hopped into the Speedway tour bus. I’m sure it will be a lot different and faster in the Target machine.” Pole Day for the 87th Indianapolis 500 is Saturday, May 10. Race Day is Sunday, May 25.

5/1/03

Roush sponsor talk Roush Racing’s president, Geoff Smith, spoke with Team Ford Racing regarding the status of the sponsorship deals on the five NASCAR Winston Cup cars his operation runs. Smith, who is an artful negotiator, began by saying that of his five entries only Greg Biffle’s Granger Ford is 100 percent locked-in with sponsorship, which spans through the 2005 season. Deals are pending with Matt Kenseth’s, Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s and Kurt Busch’s existing sponsors, but are not complete, yet. Pfizer, via its Viagra brand, has a contract with Martin’s team through the end of this year, with an option through the 2005 season. DeWalt, which sponsors Kenseth’s No. 17 Taurus, inked a one-year deal in 2002 for space. Burton’s No. 99 and Busch’s No. 97 both need renewals. Smith told TFR that he’s been “in detailed discussions for a period of time” with the four sponsors that are currently on Roush Cup entries and “in every case we’re past the stage of money.” Smith said that he hopes to have signed sponsors contracts near the end of May. His job is made somewhat easier, despite the tight economy, with programs among the strongest in the industry. As Smith works with potential sponsors the cars sit first (Kenseth) and fourth (Busch) in the point standings and the stable has two marquee drivers in Martin and Burton. Additionally, Smith said there is “interest in our programs beyond these [sponsors].”   Ford Racing

5/1/03

De Ferran puzzled by Tracy comment  De Ferran was puzzled by CART driver Paul Tracy's recent admission that he had been using traction control, an illegal electronic device that prevents a car's rear wheels from spinning, in CART races since 1994. "When we were at Honda together, I never used it," said de Ferran, who won CART championships in 2000 and '01. "So I don't know what the hell he's talking about." [Editor's Note: Tracy was talking about Penske and traction control in 1994, which is not when Penske was running Honda's. Gil has his years mixed up.  Maybe Honda was not using it in 1994, but Tracy claims the Penske team was]  USA Today

5/1/03
Industry News

More SAFER wall tests  As Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month enters its second year of use of its SAFER ("steel and foam energy reduction") barrier for the Indy 500 and preliminary practice and qualifying, NASCAR continues to try to adapt the revolutionary "soft-wall" system for its tracks. Dr. Dean Sicking, developer of the system, will conduct another test of a NASCAR variation Tuesday at the University of Nebraska. Data analysis is expected to take 4-6 weeks, so there's no clear indication whether NASCAR tracks will install SAFER barriers this season. Sicking and NASCAR officials have maintained that Indy's soft walls aren't applicable to NASCAR tracks because of the wide variety in radius and banking of turns -- the areas where the barriers are needed most. When practice opens Sunday for the May 25 Indy 500, drivers will feel perhaps the most secure ever with regard to smacking the erstwhile concrete walls at the Brickyard. Last year, SAFER barriers either prevented entirely, or significantly reduced, injuries in all crashes at Indy. Orlando Sentinel

5/1/03

Evernham Motorsports announces a new addition to the staff of Evernham Engines  Effective immediately, Mark McArdle joins the organization as general manager. McArdle's responsibilities include overseeing the more than 50 employees of Evernham Engines, which is located in Concord, N.C. The shop supplies engines to the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid, No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid as well as the No. 14 Harrah's Dodge. McArdle's focus is managing the organization's current operation while increasing its commitment to using available technology to help reach engineering-based solutions. "It takes a certain level of commitment to succeed in racing," McArdle said. "Ray's philosophy and my philosophy are right in line. You have to constantly be looking at ways to improve and make your product better. Ray and Dodge have proven that they are focused on remaining innovative in the sport, by using technology as a baseline for success. I have been involved in other racing series and have experienced the rewards of this type of decision making." McArdle boasts more than 20 years in motorsports -- the majority in open-wheel racing, where he helped produce Indianapolis 500 wins for racing legends Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser, Jr. In 1997, he was part of a team that won the manufacturer's championship in CART with Mercedes-Benz while working for Ilmor Racing Engines. McArdle has more than four years of experience on the Winston Cup circuit. He joins Evernham Engines from Robert Yates Racing where he was general manager of the engine department. "Mark's credentials speak for themselves," said Ray Evernham, President and CEO, Evernham Motorsports. "It is important to find every advantage in order to remain competitive in our sport today. The competition is closer than ever before and teams are looking for an edge. With Mark's experience, he is a perfect complement to our organization, and I am confident he will help take us to the next level."

5/1/03

Montoya criticizes Jag  Williams star Juan Pablo Montoya has criticized the expected decision of the Jaguar team to sack their struggling driver Antonio Pizzonia. This weekend's Spanish Grand Prix is likely to be Pizzonia's last race with the team before he is replaced by Austrian Alexander Wurz, currently McLaren's test driver. But Montoya believes Jaguar should stick by Pizzonia, who impressed the Colombian and his team bosses when he was test driver for Williams last year. "I don't understand why they would want to sack him. It's sad to say, but it's very typical Jaguar. Its not the first time they have done it is it? I guarantee if they give the guy a bit more time he will do the job," said Montoya. "He has done four races, he hasn't even begun to understand how everything works and already they are trying to sack him."

5/1/03

2004 F1 rules agreement  The Formula 1 team bosses and Max Mosley met on Tuesday in London to discuss the 2004 technical regulations and it was agreed that while launch control will be banned from the start of next year, traction-control will stay. Other discussions included engines for 2004 with the teams apparently agreeing to one engine per weekend. If the engine has to be changed the car will be dropped 10 places on the grid. We also hear that car-to-pit telemetry will be allowed.

5/1/03

Rusty Wallace wants more than a milestone  Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) is set to make his 600th consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start, Saturday night at Richmond. It’s a daunting streak, second only to Ricky Rudd’s (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) 690. Wallace, though, is more concerned about ending another streak. He hasn’t won a race since April 29, 2001 at California – 72 races ago. In Wallace’s corner this week is his rich history at Richmond. He leads active drivers in Richmond wins, with six. During the 72-race dry spell, Wallace still has been extremely competitive; he has recorded 14 top-five finishes, which include four seconds, three thirds and three fourths. His record during that span has produced a total of 28 top-10 finishes and shows that he has led laps in 21 of those races. “Like I said, it's not like we just laid down, rolled over and played dead." – Rusty Wallace, putting his 72-race winless streak in perspective, noting he has been a contender in many of those events.

5/1/03

Goodyear to make big cuts  This Akron Ohio Beacon Journal article talks about the major cuts the financially troubled Goodyear Tire and Rubber is about to make.  Will it affect their racing programs?

5/1/03

Teams warm-up for LeMans with test  Racing teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including 21 from the American Le Mans Series, will be in France this weekend for Sunday’s traditional Le Mans Test Day as they prepare for the June 14-15 running of the world’s most famous sports car endurance race. The teams will have eight hours of practice on Sunday at the Circuit de La Sarthe, the 8.625-mile circuit that includes some permanent portions as well as parts of French public roads. All 50 teams that were selected for the race, as well as the six reserve cars, are required to take part in the test day. Teams that also competed regularly in the American Le Mans Series have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall four straight years and have also scored numerous class wins. Teams will practice from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. For the first time this year, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has relaxed its requirement that all entered drivers participate in the test session. This year, teams were allowed to designate two of their three drivers to participate in the session, although any driver racing at Le Mans for the first time is required to take part in the practice day.

5/1/03

Siemens signs F1 deal  Sports Business Daily reports that "Siemens has announced an expansion of its agreement with F1, making the company a global partner and the exclusive official mobile phone of the series through 2004.  Along with signage at F1 tracks, the company's logo will be displayed on the racing teams' TV monitors in the pit lane, as well as sent out with the int'l TV signal when times are broadcast."

5/1/03

Imola TV rating  The San Marino Grand Prix from Imola, Italy garnered a 0.30 rating on SPEED over Easter weekend.   This is just slightly higher than what CART gets on SPEED, indicating that fans are not tuning into F1 either when on SPEED.  Of course it was Easter Sunday.

5/1/03

Appeal threat hanging over F1 season  This Autosport article says, The battle for the Formula 1 world championship could be decided in court after fears surfaced this week that a team may endeavor to have the first three races of the year annulled, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. Paddock sources have revealed that a nightmare scenario is in existence in which a team could try to challenge the legality of some races if McLaren and Williams's arbitration action against some of F1's new rules was successful. The scenario would revolve around the face that the first three races of the year had taken place under regulations that had not been approved by any of the teams. Any event from the San Marino Grand Prix could not be challenged because all teams approved the regulations in a meeting prior to the Imola event. Ferrari would stand to gain the most from the first three races being annulled. A source told AUTOSPORT: "If a team decided, towards the end of the year, that it wanted to lodge an appeal that the first three races had not been approved, and the FIA lost its arbitration battle with McLaren and Williams, then it would be up to the FIA Court of Appeal to judge whether or not the case had substance. There's a chance it could result in the results for the first three races being annulled."  For more on this story, get this week's AUTOSPORT magazine, on sale now.

5/1/03

Nadeau tops Wednesday testing at Lowes  Jerry Nadeau closed Wednesday’s testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway by putting up the fastest unofficial time of the two-day session as teams prepare for the May 17 running of The Winston and the May 25 running of the Coca Cola 600. Nadeau posted a top speed of 181.757mph, circling the 1.5-mile quad-oval with a lap time of 29.710 in the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix, making it a clean sweep for Pontiac during the two days of testing with Mike Skinner topping Tuesday’s speed chart in the #4 Kodak Pontiac. Jimmie Johnson, who holds the track qualifying record of 186.464mph set last May, posted the second fastest unofficial lap at 181.087mph. Skinner, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. The unofficial speeds: 1. Jerry Nadeau, 181.757; 2. Jimmie Johnson, 181.087; 3. Mike Skinner, 180.481; 4. Mark Martin, 180.192; 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 180.180; 6. John Andretti, 179.372; 7. Todd Bodine, 178.324; 8. Jeff Green, 177.579; 9. Dale Jarrett, 175.484; 10. Brett Bodine, 174.403; 11. Jeremy Mayfield, 173.997; 12. Kirk Shelmerdine, 173.533; 13. Tony Raines, 173.355.  Pete McCole

5/1/03

Alex Yoong looks forward to home race with new sponsor  Malaysia's Alex Yoong boarded the Malaysia Airlines flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to London last night en route to his third Champ Car race of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series championship with Dale Coyne Racing.   The London Champ Car Trophy race will be held at what Yoong considers to be his other "home" circuit, Brands Hatch, where he got on his first Formula 3 podium when he finished second in 1999 with the Alan Docking team. Yoong honed his early race career in the UK between 1996 and 1999.  "I have good memories from the Brands Hatch circuit and I am really looking forward to returning to race there," said Yoong, minutes before leaving for London. "It will be most challenging and a lot of hard work to race 165 laps of the 1.93 km (1.19 mile) Indy circuit."  On tire wear and race strategies, Yoong said, "I don't think tire wear will be an issue as the Bridgestones stand up pretty well. What is a potential issue is how our race strategies hold up during the race. You don't want to pit at the wrong time to find yourself one lap behind the lead cars as can easily happen on such a short circuit."  For the record, of the 19 starters this weekend, only Briton, Darren Manning, Brazilian, Mario Haberfeld and Yoong have ever raced on the short oval-like Indy circuit of Brands Hatch - when all three competed in the British Formula 3 Championships in the late 90’s.  The Dale Coyne Racing Lola/Ford/Bridgestone #11, which Yoong will be driving this weekend, will carry "Malaysia" on the sidepods for the Brands Hatch race on Bank Holiday - Monday, May 5th.  Malaysia Airlines, which is Yoong's official carrier, will also appear on Yoong's Arai helmet and race suit for the race. The first qualifying session will begin at 2:30 p.m. GMT on Saturday, while the second qualifier starts at 1:45 p.m. GMT, Sunday. The race is scheduled to commence on Monday, at 2 p.m. GMT. Live timings and commentary can be accessed from www.cart.com.

5/1/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Alonso Treads In Schu's Footprint
Firman Out To Prove His Worth
Bahrain Prepare For Early Race
Coulthard Waiting To Pounce
McNish Has Spanish Role To Play
Scottish Prize For Blind-Date Comp
F1 Not All Its Cracked Up To Be
Cloud But No Rain For Spanish Race?
McLaren And Williams Lose Court Battle
No Retirement In Sight For Champion
Justin Wilson: The Next Schumacher?
Barrichello's Future Is Scarlet
Ferrari's Influence To Save Imola
Fisichella No Fan Of Barcelona

5/1/03

Weather for Brands Hatch race  This link to the website of the UK Met Office shows 5 day forecasts for the region around Brands Hatch. East Malling is about 10 miles from Brands. Looks like cool with low clouds on race day.

4/30/03

Minardi to retain driver lineup  European Minardi Cosworth are set to retain their driver line-up of Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson, according to team principal Paul Stoddart. "I foresee Jos and Justin racing for Minardi again in 2004," said Stoddart. "Continuity is an important factor for any team in Formula One. I am sure we are going to renew the contract with Jos to keep him driving our cars for even longer."

4/30/03

Nigel Roebuck on why Mario did it  Dear Nigel, What was Mario Andretti thinking? He's just survived a horrifying accident while testing at Indianapolis and he was darn lucky to do so. Here is a man with nothing left to prove, yet he goes out and again risks contact with those concrete walls. What is it in him do you think that drives him to do this type of thing? What's the motivation? Why take such big risks? Nigel's answer on Autosport.  I've written about this in Fifth Column in this week's magazine, and the gist of my piece is that Mario Andretti is completely different from any other racing driver I have ever known. You mustn't think of him in terms of normal people - or even normal racing drivers....more

4/30/03

De Ferran cleared to drive in Indy 500  Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that two-time National Champion Gil de Ferran will participate in activities for the 87th running of the Memorial Day weekend classic. De Ferran, injured in an accident at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 23rd, will drive for the first time when the speedway opens Sunday, May 4th. "It will be the first time I get back in a car since Phoenix and I'm quite anxious to get going. Although it wasn't the type of time off I would've preferred, it was nice to have a little break and now its time to go back to work," said de Ferran. "From a physical standpoint, I'm nearly at the same level of fitness I was prior to the start of the season."

4/30/03

Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing website  The Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing CART Champ Car team now has their website up and running.   We have added them to our links page.

4/30/03

Indy 500 opening day activities  The sights, sounds and ambience of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway return for the 87th time Sunday, May 4 with Indianapolis Star Opening Day – the first day of practice for the drivers of the IRL IndyCar™ Series as they prepare for the 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Children age 12 and younger will be admitted to the Speedway grounds free of charge on Indianapolis Star Opening Day. Tickets for adults are $5 and are available on a two-for-one basis by presenting a coupon from an advertisement running May 4 in The Indianapolis Star. The coupons also are available on The Star’s Web site, www.indystar.com. In addition to IndyCar Series practice from 1-6 p.m. (EST), a full range of family activities are planned, primarily in the morning: -- The first 3,000 fans to the Pagoda Plaza area will receive a free Indianapolis 500 car flag courtesy of The Star. Public gates open at 9 a.m. -- An autograph session with IndyCar Series drivers will take place from 11 a.m.-noon at the Bombardier Pagoda Plaza, located behind the Speedway’s 13-story Bombardier Pagoda control tower. The list of driver participants tentatively includes: Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Tomas Scheckter, Tora Takagi, Felipe Giaffone, Buddy Rice, Jaques Lazier, Vitor Meira, Tony Renna, Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp. -- The Mayor’s Breakfast track lap also takes place at 11 a.m. More than 30 mayors from communities around Indiana will be guests of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who will wave the green flag at 1 p.m. to start practice for the “500.” -- The 500 Festival Princess Coronation – during which the 500 Festival Queen will be announced – is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. on the Pagoda Plaza Stage. -- At 12:40 p.m., official Indianapolis 500 opening ceremonies will take place, featuring remarks by Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet officials, and Mayor Peterson. Following their remarks, 2002 Miss Indiana Tangra Riggle will sing the National Anthem. -- At 12:50, the five former Indianapolis 500 winners competing in the 2003 Indianapolis 500 – Helio Castroneves, Kenny Brack, Arie Luyendyk, Buddy Lazier and Al Unser Jr. – will together take the first ceremonial lap of practice. The five former winners and a host of the world’s best drivers – including Michael Andretti, Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp and Sarah Fisher – will get down to business as practice gets underway at 1 p.m. for the world’s greatest auto race. The 87th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 25. A limited number of reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Indianapolis 500 remain available. General admission and reserved tickets for practice, qualifications and Race Day can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.

4/30/03

Ticket demand low for Indy 500  This Indy Channel.com article says, The event dubbed "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" may have something different this year -- empty seats. Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are going to new lengths this spring to try to lure fans to the track, RTV6's Sarah Fraidin reported. The track opens this weekend, but reserved seats for the big race are still available, officials confirmed.....Kyle Kinnett has been selling Indy 500 tickets from his Broad Ripple business for 15 years. This year, he can't sell the tickets he said he's positive he'll be stuck with dozens of unsold tickets on race day. "As long as I've been here, that's never happened," Kinnett said. "It's unbelievable. If you would have told me six years ago that the box office still had tickets available, I would've bought every one of them." Speedway officials admitted it's unusual to find lots of reserved seats still available a few days from May, but they won't say how many tickets are left or if this is a historical first, Fraidin reported. Green said some people have been giving him their tickets on consignment. He said if he can sell them, they'll get some cash, but he doesn't think he'll be able to, Fraidin reported.  My how far we have fallen since the heyday's of 1995 i.e. before the CART/IRL split.

4/30/03

Walker Racing shows off Champ Car in London's Hyde Park  According to this SPEED TV article, Darren Manning and the Walker Racing team took Champ Car racing to the heart of London Wednesday, taking part in a pit-stop display in the middle of Hyde Park as part of the pre-event promotion for this weekend’s London Champ Car Trophy race at Brands Hatch. With the British Touring Car Championship also in action at Brands, reigning champion James Thompson joined in the event with the works Vauxhall team to show off their pit-stop skills. The event saw Manning and Thompson circle their respective vehicles around Hyde Park's bandstand, before making a series of demonstration pit stops. The Walker Racing crew made a fastest stop of 5.854sec. It was such a slick display that the team had to be instructed to slow down its stop so that the BBC camera crew could capture all the action. "I've been around here in the summer, having the odd beer, but it's a bit different to be driving my Champ Car round here," said Manning about the event. "I think it's going to create a bit of interest. I'm sure we've woken up the city this morning!" The Briton did his best to demonstrate the awesome power of a Champ Car, getting his car very sideways on the park's loose gravel paths. "It's got to be done," he laughed. "It's easy in my car, with 800hp and rear-wheel drive. It's a bit different to a front-wheel-drive 200hp touring car."  Photo page.

4/30/03

Is CART missing out on a golden opportunity?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, There's a lot of talk about whether or not Mario is too old to drive a race car. It is interesting that, just a couple of years ago when CART was raising money for charity by offering rides in a specially built two-seater Champ car, Mario was one of the drivers. Even more interesting is that, during one session at Laguna Seca, he reportedly managed to push this overweight, aerodynamically-poor two-seater to such a great pace that he would have placed several spots above the bottom of the grid for that weekend's CART race. And of course, anyone who has watched the documentary on the filming of the IMAX film, "SuperSpeedway," has seen some of what Mario can do, even with a TOP-HEAVY, aerodynamically-poor, race car. Maybe CART's once again missing out on a golden opportunity here! David Laufer  Dear David, while we have the highest respect for Mario, and firmly believe he was America's greatest driver ever, his best days are way behind him. While he may still be competitive on ovals where car setup and horsepower are 99.9% of the game, when it comes to road racing (i.e. CART) he would be out to lunch. We saw that in Mario's latter years in CART, a backmarker on road courses, yet competitive on ovals. Ditto on his last outing at LeMans, his teammates were significantly faster than him.  As for him being fast in the IMAX car - he was running with a lot more turbo boost pressure than everyone else.  I suspect, the 2-seater may have been as well.  Road racing is a young man's game where fast reflexes are key. At 63 years old, Mario's reflexes just are not there like in his younger days. Mario is a great Ambassador for the sport. The sport can't afford to lose him, nor can his family, and Mario has nothing further to prove. He already proved last week that he is still good enough to be competitive in an IRL car. He should get out for good and leave it at that.  Mark C.

4/30/03

CART St. Pete race lost $1 million  According to this St. Petersburg Times article, The cars were fast and crowds were enthusiastic. But the positive reviews for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a three-day street racing event in February, didn't extend to the promoter's bottom line. In a report filed with financial regulators, Dover Motorsports revealed the race's losses approached $1.3-million. Patrick J. Bagley, Dover's senior vice president for finance, said that number was "generally accurate," but added that a small part of the loss was attributable to other minor events. Given that the St. Petersburg race, in its first year, did not have a title sponsor, a loss was not surprising. "Generally, on an inaugural event, it's very difficult to come out of the gate and have it profitable," Bagley said......"The inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg event, which was run through the streets of a revitalized St. Petersburg was successful in all operational aspects," according to the quarterly earnings report by Dover Motorsports. "Unfortunately, the event did not meet revenue goals as a result of the soft economy, a threat of war and too few sponsors." CART gets a sanctioning fee from Dover. Part of that fee is "variable based on the profitability and success of the event," Bagley said. The goal for next year, Bagley said: Get a title sponsor for the race and to make a profit. But he said there was no break-even deadline that would determine the race's fate.  Kevin Dunn, the city's managing director for development coordination, said he has heard a lot of positive comments about the race. Now that more people know what the event entails, he said, perhaps attendance will increase next year. "We've never had anything of the caliber of the Champ Car series," Dunn said. "I got a lot of feedback that it was a lot more than they expected."

4/30/03

Villeneuve will not race in CART  BAR Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve has ruled out a move back to CART when his contract expires at the end of the season. Villeneuve said he would rather quit motor racing than take up a drive in the American series. "I will not race in the CART series. If it stays at its current level, it is not interesting for me." [Editor's note - in other words, if CART remains a dumbed down series trying to copy the IRL, he's not interested] "If I don't find an F1 cockpit, I'll quit. I've won the F1 championship already. There are other things in life apart from F1 racing." He continued in Austrian racing magazine Motorsport aktuell: "I am playing with the idea of a start in the 24 hour race in Le Mans. One race per year would be a new adventure."

4/30/03

Schumacher has no retirement plans  Michael Schumacher has no plans to retire. "I want to race for many more years in Formula One," the German said. "As long as there's stability and I'm motivated I will stay with Ferrari." "I'm the one they're all trying to knock off the top at the moment and it's good like that," he added. "It's better to be dethroned than to have never reached the top."

4/30/03

Bernie relieves Ron & Frank of $1 million  UPDATE As it turns out, Bernie relieved Ron and Frank of more money than we initially thought - $1.1 million instead of $1.0 million.  This may make them think twice about going to arbitration against Bernie and Max over the Concorde Agreement in the future.  4/28/03 - For years, Ron Dennis and Frank Williams have tried to outsmart Bernie Ecclestone, and for years, Bernie has been cleaning their pockets. One way or the other, Bernie always seems to come out on the winning side.  This Grandprix.com article says,  The Williams and McLaren teams took Bernie Ecclestone to arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland more than a year ago because of a supposed agreement between them and Ecclestone over the teams getting a percentage of the money raised by a sale of the SLEC company as part of the settlement over the 1998 Concorde Agreement. The two teams reckoned that they had each been promised one percent of the money raised in the event of a flotation and had also negotiated a similar deal if the company was sold privately. The team felt that they had documents that covered this eventuality but the ICC did not agree and the claim was rejected. If the claim had been successful each team would have been owed $20.3m by SLEC, allowing for the payment which should have been made and interest which they would be due. The teams were also ordered to pay SLEC's costs, which are believed to be more than $1m, which Bernie probably gets a good laugh over.  Now these two jokers are siding with the manufacturers to form a breakaway F1 series and taking the FIA to arbitration over the banning of electronic aids and other useless technology because they think the driver should have all the latest gizmos at their disposal, even if they mask a drivers shortcomings.  We suspect Bernie will thwart them once again.

4/30/03

GPWC predicts big money for F1 teams  Grand Prix World Championship earnings forecast, set out in the 'memorandum of understanding' signed by all 10 F1 teams, predicts that the participants would be paid more than $350 million a year (almost double their share of the 2002 F1 revenue, or about $17.5 million per car), reports the Financial Times newspaper. And the teams would also share an annual bonus equal to 50 percent of GPWC's pre-tax profits, which are projected at $150 million.

4/30/03
Industry News

Infineon could move to the USA  Electronics giant Infineon is thinking about moving its Headquarters from Germany to Switzerland, Singapore or the USA. The reason for the move, according to Germany's Handelsblatt, is that Infineon's main rivals in Asia and the USA enjoy tax advantages.

4/30/03

Brits really love their F1  British F1 broadcaster ITV claims that almost half Britain's TV viewing audience tuned in to its coverage of the San Marino GP. A peak figure of 4.6m viewers has been stated, equating to a 42.8 percent audience share of all terrestrial and non-terrestrial TV viewers at the time. The program pulled in an average of 3.6m people, for a 35 percent audience share.  This is far better percentages than even NASCAR gets.

4/30/03

Minardi to retain driver lineup  European Minardi Cosworth are set to retain their driver line-up of Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson, according to team principal Paul Stoddart. "I foresee Jos and Justin racing for Minardi again in 2004," said Stoddart. "Continuity is an important factor for any team in Formula One. I am sure we are going to renew the contract with Jos to keep him driving our cars for even longer."

4/30/03

Nigel Roebuck on why Mario did it  Dear Nigel, What was Mario Andretti thinking? He's just survived a horrifying accident while testing at Indianapolis and he was darn lucky to do so. Here is a man with nothing left to prove, yet he goes out and again risks contact with those concrete walls. What is it in him do you think that drives him to do this type of thing? What's the motivation? Why take such big risks? Nigel's answer on Autosport.  I've written about this in Fifth Column in this week's magazine, and the gist of my piece is that Mario Andretti is completely different from any other racing driver I have ever known. You mustn't think of him in terms of normal people - or even normal racing drivers....more

4/30/03

De Ferran cleared to drive in Indy 500  Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that two-time National Champion Gil de Ferran will participate in activities for the 87th running of the Memorial Day weekend classic. De Ferran, injured in an accident at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 23rd, will drive for the first time when the speedway opens Sunday, May 4th. "It will be the first time I get back in a car since Phoenix and I'm quite anxious to get going. Although it wasn't the type of time off I would've preferred, it was nice to have a little break and now its time to go back to work," said de Ferran. "From a physical standpoint, I'm nearly at the same level of fitness I was prior to the start of the season."

4/30/03

Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing website  The Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing CART Champ Car team now has their website up and running.   We have added them to our links page.

4/30/03

Indy 500 opening day activities  The sights, sounds and ambience of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway return for the 87th time Sunday, May 4 with Indianapolis Star Opening Day – the first day of practice for the drivers of the IRL IndyCar™ Series as they prepare for the 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Children age 12 and younger will be admitted to the Speedway grounds free of charge on Indianapolis Star Opening Day. Tickets for adults are $5 and are available on a two-for-one basis by presenting a coupon from an advertisement running May 4 in The Indianapolis Star. The coupons also are available on The Star’s Web site, www.indystar.com. In addition to IndyCar Series practice from 1-6 p.m. (EST), a full range of family activities are planned, primarily in the morning: -- The first 3,000 fans to the Pagoda Plaza area will receive a free Indianapolis 500 car flag courtesy of The Star. Public gates open at 9 a.m. -- An autograph session with IndyCar Series drivers will take place from 11 a.m.-noon at the Bombardier Pagoda Plaza, located behind the Speedway’s 13-story Bombardier Pagoda control tower. The list of driver participants tentatively includes: Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Tomas Scheckter, Tora Takagi, Felipe Giaffone, Buddy Rice, Jaques Lazier, Vitor Meira, Tony Renna, Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp. -- The Mayor’s Breakfast track lap also takes place at 11 a.m. More than 30 mayors from communities around Indiana will be guests of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who will wave the green flag at 1 p.m. to start practice for the “500.” -- The 500 Festival Princess Coronation – during which the 500 Festival Queen will be announced – is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. on the Pagoda Plaza Stage. -- At 12:40 p.m., official Indianapolis 500 opening ceremonies will take place, featuring remarks by Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet officials, and Mayor Peterson. Following their remarks, 2002 Miss Indiana Tangra Riggle will sing the National Anthem. -- At 12:50, the five former Indianapolis 500 winners competing in the 2003 Indianapolis 500 – Helio Castroneves, Kenny Brack, Arie Luyendyk, Buddy Lazier and Al Unser Jr. – will together take the first ceremonial lap of practice. The five former winners and a host of the world’s best drivers – including Michael Andretti, Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp and Sarah Fisher – will get down to business as practice gets underway at 1 p.m. for the world’s greatest auto race. The 87th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 25. A limited number of reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Indianapolis 500 remain available. General admission and reserved tickets for practice, qualifications and Race Day can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.

4/30/03

Ticket demand low for Indy 500  This Indy Channel.com article says, The event dubbed "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" may have something different this year -- empty seats. Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are going to new lengths this spring to try to lure fans to the track, RTV6's Sarah Fraidin reported. The track opens this weekend, but reserved seats for the big race are still available, officials confirmed.....Kyle Kinnett has been selling Indy 500 tickets from his Broad Ripple business for 15 years. This year, he can't sell the tickets he said he's positive he'll be stuck with dozens of unsold tickets on race day. "As long as I've been here, that's never happened," Kinnett said. "It's unbelievable. If you would have told me six years ago that the box office still had tickets available, I would've bought every one of them." Speedway officials admitted it's unusual to find lots of reserved seats still available a few days from May, but they won't say how many tickets are left or if this is a historical first, Fraidin reported. Green said some people have been giving him their tickets on consignment. He said if he can sell them, they'll get some cash, but he doesn't think he'll be able to, Fraidin reported.  My how far we have fallen since the heyday's of 1995 i.e. before the CART/IRL split.

4/30/03

Walker Racing shows off Champ Car in London's Hyde Park  According to this SPEED TV article, Darren Manning and the Walker Racing team took Champ Car racing to the heart of London Wednesday, taking part in a pit-stop display in the middle of Hyde Park as part of the pre-event promotion for this weekend’s London Champ Car Trophy race at Brands Hatch. With the British Touring Car Championship also in action at Brands, reigning champion James Thompson joined in the event with the works Vauxhall team to show off their pit-stop skills. The event saw Manning and Thompson circle their respective vehicles around Hyde Park's bandstand, before making a series of demonstration pit stops. The Walker Racing crew made a fastest stop of 5.854sec. It was such a slick display that the team had to be instructed to slow down its stop so that the BBC camera crew could capture all the action. "I've been around here in the summer, having the odd beer, but it's a bit different to be driving my Champ Car round here," said Manning about the event. "I think it's going to create a bit of interest. I'm sure we've woken up the city this morning!" The Briton did his best to demonstrate the awesome power of a Champ Car, getting his car very sideways on the park's loose gravel paths. "It's got to be done," he laughed. "It's easy in my car, with 800hp and rear-wheel drive. It's a bit different to a front-wheel-drive 200hp touring car."  Photo page.

4/30/03

Is CART missing out on a golden opportunity?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, There's a lot of talk about whether or not Mario is too old to drive a race car. It is interesting that, just a couple of years ago when CART was raising money for charity by offering rides in a specially built two-seater Champ car, Mario was one of the drivers. Even more interesting is that, during one session at Laguna Seca, he reportedly managed to push this overweight, aerodynamically-poor two-seater to such a great pace that he would have placed several spots above the bottom of the grid for that weekend's CART race. And of course, anyone who has watched the documentary on the filming of the IMAX film, "SuperSpeedway," has seen some of what Mario can do, even with a TOP-HEAVY, aerodynamically-poor, race car. Maybe CART's once again missing out on a golden opportunity here! David Laufer  Dear David, while we have the highest respect for Mario, and firmly believe he was America's greatest driver ever, his best days are way behind him. While he may still be competitive on ovals where car setup and horsepower are 99.9% of the game, when it comes to road racing (i.e. CART) he would be out to lunch. We saw that in Mario's latter years in CART, a backmarker on road courses, yet competitive on ovals. Ditto on his last outing at LeMans, his teammates were significantly faster than him.  As for him being fast in the IMAX car - he was running with a lot more turbo boost pressure than everyone else.  I suspect, the 2-seater may have been as well.  Road racing is a young man's game where fast reflexes are key. At 63 years old, Mario's reflexes just are not there like in his younger days. Mario is a great Ambassador for the sport. The sport can't afford to lose him, nor can his family, and Mario has nothing further to prove. He already proved last week that he is still good enough to be competitive in an IRL car. He should get out for good and leave it at that.  Mark C.

4/30/03

CART St. Pete race lost $1 million  According to this St. Petersburg Times article, The cars were fast and crowds were enthusiastic. But the positive reviews for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a three-day street racing event in February, didn't extend to the promoter's bottom line. In a report filed with financial regulators, Dover Motorsports revealed the race's losses approached $1.3-million. Patrick J. Bagley, Dover's senior vice president for finance, said that number was "generally accurate," but added that a small part of the loss was attributable to other minor events. Given that the St. Petersburg race, in its first year, did not have a title sponsor, a loss was not surprising. "Generally, on an inaugural event, it's very difficult to come out of the gate and have it profitable," Bagley said......"The inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg event, which was run through the streets of a revitalized St. Petersburg was successful in all operational aspects," according to the quarterly earnings report by Dover Motorsports. "Unfortunately, the event did not meet revenue goals as a result of the soft economy, a threat of war and too few sponsors." CART gets a sanctioning fee from Dover. Part of that fee is "variable based on the profitability and success of the event," Bagley said. The goal for next year, Bagley said: Get a title sponsor for the race and to make a profit. But he said there was no break-even deadline that would determine the race's fate.  Kevin Dunn, the city's managing director for development coordination, said he has heard a lot of positive comments about the race. Now that more people know what the event entails, he said, perhaps attendance will increase next year. "We've never had anything of the caliber of the Champ Car series," Dunn said. "I got a lot of feedback that it was a lot more than they expected."

4/30/03

Villeneuve will not race in CART  BAR Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve has ruled out a move back to CART when his contract expires at the end of the season. Villeneuve said he would rather quit motor racing than take up a drive in the American series. "I will not race in the CART series. If it stays at its current level, it is not interesting for me." [Editor's note - in other words, if CART remains a dumbed down series trying to copy the IRL, he's not interested] "If I don't find an F1 cockpit, I'll quit. I've won the F1 championship already. There are other things in life apart from F1 racing." He continued in Austrian racing magazine Motorsport aktuell: "I am playing with the idea of a start in the 24 hour race in Le Mans. One race per year would be a new adventure."

4/30/03

Schumacher has no retirement plans  Michael Schumacher has no plans to retire. "I want to race for many more years in Formula One," the German said. "As long as there's stability and I'm motivated I will stay with Ferrari." "I'm the one they're all trying to knock off the top at the moment and it's good like that," he added. "It's better to be dethroned than to have never reached the top."

4/30/03

Bernie relieves Ron & Frank of $1 million  UPDATE As it turns out, Bernie relieved Ron and Frank of more money than we initially thought - $1.1 million instead of $1.0 million.  This may make them think twice about going to arbitration against Bernie and Max over the Concorde Agreement in the future.  4/28/03 - For years, Ron Dennis and Frank Williams have tried to outsmart Bernie Ecclestone, and for years, Bernie has been cleaning their pockets. One way or the other, Bernie always seems to come out on the winning side.  This Grandprix.com article says,  The Williams and McLaren teams took Bernie Ecclestone to arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland more than a year ago because of a supposed agreement between them and Ecclestone over the teams getting a percentage of the money raised by a sale of the SLEC company as part of the settlement over the 1998 Concorde Agreement. The two teams reckoned that they had each been promised one percent of the money raised in the event of a flotation and had also negotiated a similar deal if the company was sold privately. The team felt that they had documents that covered this eventuality but the ICC did not agree and the claim was rejected. If the claim had been successful each team would have been owed $20.3m by SLEC, allowing for the payment which should have been made and interest which they would be due. The teams were also ordered to pay SLEC's costs, which are believed to be more than $1m, which Bernie probably gets a good laugh over.  Now these two jokers are siding with the manufacturers to form a breakaway F1 series and taking the FIA to arbitration over the banning of electronic aids and other useless technology because they think the driver should have all the latest gizmos at their disposal, even if they mask a drivers shortcomings.  We suspect Bernie will thwart them once again.

4/30/03

GPWC predicts big money for F1 teams  Grand Prix World Championship earnings forecast, set out in the 'memorandum of understanding' signed by all 10 F1 teams, predicts that the participants would be paid more than $350 million a year (almost double their share of the 2002 F1 revenue, or about $17.5 million per car), reports the Financial Times newspaper. And the teams would also share an annual bonus equal to 50 percent of GPWC's pre-tax profits, which are projected at $150 million.

4/30/03
Industry News

Infineon could move to the USA  Electronics giant Infineon is thinking about moving its Headquarters from Germany to Switzerland, Singapore or the USA. The reason for the move, according to Germany's Handelsblatt, is that Infineon's main rivals in Asia and the USA enjoy tax advantages.

4/30/03

Brits really love their F1  British F1 broadcaster ITV claims that almost half Britain's TV viewing audience tuned in to its coverage of the San Marino GP. A peak figure of 4.6m viewers has been stated, equating to a 42.8 percent audience share of all terrestrial and non-terrestrial TV viewers at the time. The program pulled in an average of 3.6m people, for a 35 percent audience share.  This is far better percentages than even NASCAR gets.

4/30/03

Manning relishes CART  This BBC article says - Darren Manning would have sold his soul for a Formula One drive a few months ago. But the Yorkshireman insists it would now take a pretty special offer to tempt him to swap his Champ Car for an F1 machine. Manning has made an encouraging start to his debut season in the US-based Cart series after joining the Walker Racing team. And the former Williams and BAR test driver says Formula One could learn a few things from the Champ Car World Series as it seeks to boost its popularity. "I revel in the Champ Car atmosphere. It's very open and intimate," Manning told this website. "Spectators can get in to see the drivers, there's a one-hour autograph session you have to do and the paddock is open. I'd be happy to spend the rest of my life in Champ Car. "The racing is very professional and high quality but it's a lot more accessible to people and more of a friendly atmosphere. "Formula One is very alienated, even from team to team and driver to driver." "When I was racing in Europe I would have taken anything in Formula One and tried to raise any amount of money to do what Justin's done. I would have sold my soul. "But now, I'd be happy to spend the rest of my life in Champ Car and if the right deal doesn't come along in Formula One I wouldn't want to even talk about it."

4/30/03

Moreno only previous winner at Brands Hatch  Herdez Competition driver Roberto Moreno is the only current Champ Car driver that has won previously at Brands Hatch (Formula Fords, 1980)

4/30/03

Drivers to watch at Brands Hatch  Paul Tracy - Coming off his third consecutive victory of the season at Long Beach, Tracy will take the track at Brands Hatch looking to join Al Unser, Jr., Alex Zanardi and Cristiano da Matta as the only drivers in series history to win four straight Champ Car races. The early leader in the chase for the championship with 64 points, Tracy is also in search of his first pole position of the year, although he has scored three consecutive front row starting positions.  Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Despite turning in the finest drive of his career, which included his first-ever Champ Car pole position, Jourdain retired from the lead at Long Beach with eight laps remaining after failing to leave pit road on his final stop due to a failed gearbox. Third in the championship standings with 34 points, the 15th-place result in Long Beach was highly disappointing for the eight-year veteran, especially after dominating a race which saw him post its fastest lap and lead 48 of a possible 90 laps.   Bruno Junqueira - Has had a somewhat quiet season thus far, although he's currently second in the points behind leader Paul Tracy. With all the attention paid to his teammate, Sebastien Bourdais, Junqueira has amassed three top-five finishes, including a third-place result in St. Petersburg and Long Beach, to move towards the front of the championship standings.  Adrian Fernandez - Since his disappointing 15th-place finish in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fernandez has rebounded with a pair of top-five finishes, including fourth in Monterrey and second in Long Beach. Fourth in the championship heading into this weekend's race at Brands Hatch, Fernandez is one of just five current Champ Car drivers with previous experience on the famed British circuit (Formula Fords).  Sebastien Bourdais - Although he stands 16th in the points, this rookie has been one of the quickest drivers on the circuit this season and is in search of his first Champ Car victory. While the reigning F3000 champ has struggled in races, he has scored two pole positions and has led 49 laps, second only to Paul Tracy. Ford

4/30/03

2003 Indy 500 fast facts  See related article

4/30/03

Mario has no regrets about Indy test, ready to drive again  This Brickyard.com article says, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Andretti also said he still is available if his son and Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti needs him as a substitute qualifier May 10 for the injured Tony Kanaan. Mario added he would “have no problem getting back in the car.” “Right now, we’re going to wait and see,” Mario Andretti said from his home in Nazareth, Pa. Andretti, 63, did not hit the SAFER Barrier during his end-over-end flight at the end of a testing session. But he witnessed the positive outcome of two accidents during his return to the famed 2.5-mile oval. Actually, debris from the second accident of the day, involving 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Brack, triggered Andretti’s wild ride through the air. Brack’s No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Miller Lite/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone car struck the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with strong impact yet he stepped out of his machine unharmed. Andretti was driving right behind Brack when the accident occurred. “When Kenny hit it, he waited for a big ouch, and it was a non-event,” Andretti said. “That SAFER wall is really, really working.”  Andretti also was behind Tomas Scheckter earlier in the day when Scheckter hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3. “And he walked away,” Andretti said. “I mean, it was unbelievable if you could see the angle that he hit. He walked away. If there was just concrete there, it would not have been good.” .....Finally, Andretti said Michael Andretti may not need him to make a qualifying run because it appears Kanaan will be able drive. Robby Gordon was named April 25 as a replacement for injured Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti at Indy. “There is no specific plan,” Mario Andretti said. “We’ll see what the situations present themselves. “But out all of this, at least I got the chance to get in the car and work it up to speed. That was a great opportunity. It came out of Michael being in the position that he is, and me having the full confidence of the team and getting out there fairly cold turkey and doing what I did. “For myself, it totally replenished my spirit. That’s the only way I can put it.”

4/30/03

Skinner tops testing at Lowes  Mike Skinner posted the fastest lap in Tuesday’s testing session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.   Skinner, driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac Grand Prix, clocked in with a lap of 29.862, 180.832 mph, topping 11 other teams participating in the two-day test session in preparation for the upcoming Winston all-star race on May 17 and the Coca Cola 600 on May 25 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Mark Martin, the defending Coca Cola 600 champion, notched the second fastest lap of 180.216 mph. Jeff Green, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five on the unofficial speed charts.  All of Tuesday’s unofficial laps were well below the track record of 186.464 set by Jimmie Johnson during qualifying for last year’s Coca Cola 600.  Unofficial speeds:
1. Mike Skinner, 180.832 mph; 2. Mark Martin, 180.252; 3. Jeff Green, 180.216; 4. Dale Jarrett, 180.156; 5. Jimmie Johnson, 180.138; 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 179.330; 7. Todd Bodine, 178.306; 8. Jerry Nadeau, 177.971; 9. Jerry Mayfield, 177.608; 10. John Andretti, 177.410; 11. Brett Bodine, 175.046; 12. Tony Raines, 174.177.  Pete McCole

4/30/03

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4/30/03

Scoring towers and radio for Lausitzring  Two new mobile scoring towers will provide an even better overview for fans at the German 500, the Champ-Car comeback. For the first time, scoring towers are being installed in Turn 1, known by its new name of the "Goodyear-Turn", and Turn 3, now called the "Coca-Cola-Turn", of the 2-mile Superspeedway. These will indicate the ten leading drivers throughout the 154 laps of the circuit. Unlike races on classical Grand Prix circuits, oval races allow constant overtaking, slipstream duels and changes of position at speeds of up to 380 km/h. Another new service for fans is EuroSpeedway Radio on 92.6 FM. The race commentary by the well-known Eurosport commentators Manfred Jantke and Stefan Heinrich will be broadcast live on EuroSpeedway-Radio from Friday to Sunday. Owing to the fascinating sound of the 2.65-V turbo engines of the Champ Cars, you would be well advised to take headphones with you. Services to fans are a main priority off the track, too. The new EuroSpeedway camp site, which opened in 2002, is located behind the stands and accessible on foot, offering the convenience that motor sports fans seek. The charge of 12 Euros per person per night includes use of the sanitary facilities, including warm showers, as well as electricity supply and parking space. All guests arriving by train can take advantage of the bus shuttle service between Senftenberg railway station and EuroSpeedway Lausitz. From Friday to Sunday, the buses will be running between 7.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. Between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. (Saturday until 8 p.m.), the shuttle buses will take passengers from EuroSpeedway Lausitz back to the station. The fare is 3 Euros per journey. All categories of tickets are available from 7 a.m. on the first day of the event, i.e., Friday, from the day ticket office. Until Sunday, 4th May, inclusive, fans can also secure their tickets by booking in advance on our hotline: 01805/880288. There are three categories of tickets, all of which are valid for three days: gold (149.00 EUR), silver (99.00 EUR) and bronze (49.00 EUR). The ticket for the paddock costs 50.00 EUR.

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