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DATE

News (chronologically)

6/5/03

Chevys perfect at TMS  There are six Chevrolets entered at Texas this weekend and they qualified right together as a group - dead last in succession 16-17-18-19-20-21.  This proves beyond a doubt that HP is everything in the IRL and on the ovals.  Chevy has little HP and driver talent means almost nothing on ovals, so they can't overcome the deficit to the superior Japanese engine powered cars.. It's 100% throttle racing, may the best engine win.

16. Sam Hornish Jr., Chevrolet, 212.498
17. Vitor Meira, Chevrolet, 212.142
18. Robbie Buhl, Chevrolet, 211.726
19. Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 211.565
20. Buddy Rice, Chevrolet, 211.476
21. Sarah Fisher, Chevrolet, 210.915

6/5/03

Dare crashes hard at TMS, rushed to hospital  2nd UPDATE Airton Dare suffered a broken right femur (upper leg) and broken right humerus (upper arm).  We have updated our IRL vs. CART injury chart. So far in 2003, the IRL is leading CART in every injury category by a wide margin and the season is young.  Just when the IRL said they were making their cars safer, the injury toll in the IRL continues to mount.  6/5/03 - To the right is a photo (courtesy of US News) of Dare's crash (click on photo to be taken to US News website for larger image).  It was a nasty hit - all part of oval track racing.  Dare had to be cut out of the car with the jaws of life and was in grimacing pain as soon as they took his helmet off.  It appears the right front wheel crushed the right side of the tub and we would be surprised if he does not require orthopedic surgery. Welcome to oval track racing.   Stay tuned for updates.  6/5/03 - It isn't funny anymore.  This is serious.  As the first practice session got underway, we are sad to report possible more broken bones for an IRL driver.  At 7:35 p.m. (EDT), Airton Dare made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 4 with the right side of the No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone at Texas Motor Speedway. The car slid from Turn 4 into the grass portion of the infield between pit lane and the racetrack and was facing backward. There was heavy damage to the right side of the car. Dare was helped from the car by Indy Racing League safety team members and transported via air to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. 2000 IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Dare is awake and alert and in stable condition, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League medical services director. Dare will be evaluated for a possible fracture of his upper right arm and upper right leg. A further update will be provided when available.  How can AJ Foyt afford to replace all these damaged cars this year?

6/5/03

Takagi fastest in opening practice at TMS   Tora Takagi led the opening practice for the Bombardier 500 this evening at Texas Motor Speedway, as Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone combinations swept the top three spots at the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval. Takagi was fastest at 23.8465 seconds, 219.655 mph in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Tomas Scheckter was second at 23.8687, 219.451 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, while teammate Scott Dixon was third at 23.9086, 219.084 in the team's No. 9 entry.  MBNA Pole Qualifying is next tonight under the lights at Texas, scheduled to start at 10 p.m. (EDT).  [Editor's Note - CART's Champ Cars were up at 237 MPH when the G-Forces were just too much for the drivers.  At below 220 MPH, driver should be OK]

6/5/03

Night race brings CART improved TV rating   Although still dismal, The Centennial 250 CART Champ Car race from the Milwaukee Mile turned in a 0.4 rating (230,000 households) on SPEED Channel last Saturday night.  This compares with previous SPEED ratings in the 0.15 and 0.21 range.  CART is probably going to put a series of 7 or 8 races on prime time next year (Saturday or Sunday evening), some tape delayed, but this proves that prime time brings more eyeballs and more value to the sponsors.

6/5/03

Scheckter accuses Cheever of telling him to pull over  This Seattle Times article says, Tomas Scheckter earned the first pole of his IRL career one year ago at Texas Motor Speedway. He also had his teammate and his boss — Eddie Cheever — starting next to him on the front row. Therein lies the problem. Scheckter claims he was under orders from Cheever to pull over and let Cheever by him. "I was told to lose the race," Scheckter said. "It's great to know I can start the race this weekend without being asked to finish second to somebody on purpose." Scheckter, an IRL rookie last season with Cheever's Red Bull team, now drives for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Cheever is not driving this year, concentrating on running his team and helping his new protégé, Buddy Rice. When told of Scheckter's comments, Cheever had a quick response: "Absolute rubbish," he said. "The only request I ever asked of him was to stop crashing." Crashing was a problem for Scheckter last season, failing to finish six races because of accidents. But he said that subject wasn't addressed last June at TMS. "We had team orders," Scheckter said. "After I qualified on the pole, I was told whenever Eddie and me were racing together, I should let him by. It was very disappointing to hear, but after 10 laps, he was sixth and I was leading, so it wasn't much of a problem."

6/5/03

Herdez not standing still   Grupo Herdez has long been a standard bearer in the CART Champ Car World Series among Hispanic companies, with their brands having been prominently displayed on the high-speed cars of the open-wheel racing series for many years. The team has expanded to a two-car outfit for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season and is enjoying one of its best seasons in 2003, with driver Mario Dominguez earning a pair of podium finishes in the year’s first five races. The Herdez squad is moving just as quickly off the track as well, as the team’s #55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Car and Dominguez showed last week when they participated in the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC) reception Tuesday evening at Ford Field in Detroit. The NHCC, of which the Ford Motor Company is a member, is a nonprofit organization that is centered around increasing business opportunities for Hispanic companies around the world. After racing at Milwaukee on Saturday night, Dominguez journeyed to Detroit and spoke at the reception about getting his start in major-league auto racing and extolled the virtues of sponsorship and the role that Herdez played in his career. He then signed autographs for many of the attendees and posed for pictures with his Champ Car. “Grupo Herdez and the team have done quite a lot with Ford this year in helping them publicize their Hispanic initiative and this was a very important function for us,” said Herdez Competition Business Director Kevin Lee. “Ford has done a lot for the series this year and anything that we can do to help them, obviously helps us and the rest of the series.”

6/5/03

More feedback on Milwaukee yellows   UPDATE A reader responds, The REAL question is why did it take ten laps to "cleanup" after Tracy's wheel came off? No liquids, no debris, except for the wayward wheel. Gary Shell  Dear Gary, It's hard to argue that point, but in general, the Simple Green team does an admiral job, the best in the business.  CART needs to be going back to green as soon as the trucks pull back into position.  If someone is caught in the pits, tough luck, they blew their strategy.  Mark C.   6/5/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, I have read with interest your reader feedback on Milwaukee regarding race yellows.  The comparison to CART with F1 and NASCAR is laughable. They race under totally different conditions and track surface mentality. I work in motorsports safety and I can tell you CART is the best at making sure the race track surface is good to go before launching drivers out there at 200mph. The reader feedback reminds me of the guy at the scene of a house fire watching it burn and then criticizing the fire department for taking too long to get there. How long should it take to clean up an incident that requires a driver extrication, fluid /oil clean up, and gathering up the numerous pieces of carbon fiber and metal frags.   The Simple Green Safety Team is the best in the world and hustle their ass off to save precious TV time and green flag racing. Ask the drivers what kind of track condition they want at 200 mph plus?  NASCAR says let em run through it, and F1 leaves cars on track and makes them part of the course hazards. How many 240 mph ovals does F1 run on?  And have your readers looked closely at the track surface and the crap left out there on the racing surface?  B. Kinsey Kingman, AZ.

6/5/03

Papis in, Vergers out in ASCAR    Max Papis, a three-times Champ Car race winner in America and ex-Formula One racer, gets his first taste of ASCAR Days of Thunder in the HTML team’s McDonald’s-sponsored Ford Taurus as the Italian sets his sights on becoming king of the Rockingham oval this weekend. ‘Mad Max’ begins testing tomorrow in the car he hopes will give him the perfect start to his ASCAR Days of Thunder career when the green flag drops for the next round of the Days of Thunder racing series at the 1.5-mile banked oval on Sunday. While Papis was joining the series for the first time, in a dramatic turn of events the championship race has been turned on its head with points leader Michael Verger forced to sit out this weekend’s races through injury. The Flying Dutchman was involved in a road accident on his motor bike last Sunday, badly injuring his shoulder. “Michael dislocated his shoulder, pushing it backwards and it did some damage to the muscles” said West-Tec Commercial Director Dennis Klein. “He went to see a specialist who deals with professional sports injuries and was told that there was no way he could race. He’ll still be at the track over the weekend, though.” Vergers is now sidelined for at least the next two rounds of the championship, wrecking his chances of winning the Days of Thunder series. Vergers’ demise has handed his closest rivals, Roland Rehfeld – Papis’ new teammate – and Deuce Racing RML’s Ben Collins an opportunity to take over at the head of the pack. Rehfeld won the second race at Rockingham last month for HTML and will be hoping to notch up another victory on Sunday. A replacement driver for Vergers in the West-Tec car will be announced tomorrow.

6/5/03

Boris Said to drive Pontiac at Sonoma    Road course specialist Boris Said has been named by MB2 Motorsports to drive the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac in the June 22 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Said, 40, will be substituting for Jerry Nadeau, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a May 2 accident at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Mike Wallace, who has been the team's substitute driver, will continue in the same role at the oval races. One of the leading national and international sports car drivers, Said has competed in seven career Winston Cup races. Six of his seven starts have come at NASCAR's two road courses -- Infineon Raceway (2000, 2001, 2002) and Watkins Glen (1999, 2001, 2002). His other start was at Homestead Miami Speedway in 1999. "Just like Jerry, Boris has established a reputation as a NASCAR road racing expert," said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. "We are excited that he has agreed to fill in for Jerry at Infineon Raceway. Boris' experience as a sports car racer will give us an excellent opportunity to have a competitive weekend at the first road course of the season." Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., has enjoyed success at Infineon Raceway. As a NASCAR driver, he finished 11th in the 2001 Winston Cup race and won the 1998 Craftsman Truck event. As a sports car racer in the American Le Mans Series, he won at Infineon in 2000 and was runner-up in 2001.

6/5/03

Alex Yoong staying busy 2nd UPDATE  Malaysia's ex-F1 racer is back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia enjoying family life with his wife Arianna and 5-month-old son, Alister, after racing successfully in four Champ Car races which spanned four countries in Mexico, USA, England and Germany over a period of eight weeks. Yoong indicated that his time off from racing is a blessing in disguise as the time spent with the family is priceless. "When you are always on the road you miss out on spending time with family and I have been enjoying this period getting to know my son. Although not racing is frustrating, I thoroughly value the time I have with the people who matter to me most," said Yoong. As to when Yoong will be getting into a race car again, he said he's not in too much of a hurry to chase down a ride, although definite offers have been made. "It was really disappointing when the champ car drive ended; especially as we were doing so well. There was a real possibility to race at the front over there which made it very enjoyable. My first race at an oval in Germany was also an incredible experience. To race side by side at 200 mph for an entire race is something I would like to do again. In the meantime, there are a few other possibilities on the table to go racing again soon. I have always wanted to do some of the other great races like the Lemans 24 hrs. and Bathurst in Australia. So we are still working towards going racing, but for now, I will be spending a little time at home after so many years on the road," intimated Yoong. Meanwhile, Yoong is still training daily and busy meeting his numerous PR commitments in the month ahead with the Malaysian Sports Ministry and the Malaysian media. Amongst these commitments are TV and radio program appearances and a possible visit to Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia. This will be Yoong's first visit to East Malaysia since he first started racing 12 years ago.

6/5/03

Turkey eyes 2005 F1 race 2nd UPDATE  Mumtaz "Mike" Tahincioglu, the chairman of the Turkish Automobile and Motorsports Federation (TOMSFED) has announced that there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for a Formula 1 specification track at Kurtnoy, near Istanbul on July 9th. It is expected that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the ceremony as will Bernie Ecclestone and almost certainly Max Mosley. The new track, which has been designed by Hermann Tilke, will be finished by the end of 2004 and it is anticipated that Turkey will be bidding for a Grand Prix in 2005. The 3.3-mile track is expected to cost something in the region of $60m.  3/30/03 -  Turkey is believed to be closer to announcing a deal to host a Grand Prix at a completely new circuit near Istanbul. The new facility will be close to the new Pendik-Kurtkoy Airport, on the eastern side of Istanbul. The Sabiha Goksen Airport is built on 1600 acre site close to the main highway from Istanbul and within easy reach of the city and Istanbul's population of 15m should mean that big crowds will be attracted to the event. The logic behind the location is similar to that in Malaysia as there will no issues with noise. The only major flaw in the project is that the track will be in one of the most earthquake-prone regions.  11/21/03 - Turkey has moved one step closer to landing a round of the Formula One World Championship.  The nation's motorsports federation issued a statement this week in which it claims that F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone has selected Istanbul for a Grand Prix in 2005 and beyond.  72-year-old Ecclestone toured Turkey and three potential Formula One sites earlier this year; Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya.  Turkey's motorsports federation, TOMSFED, say that Bernie has chosen Istanbul for its logistics and global stature and will now push ahead with penning a commercial agreement.  'Now we need to finalize the commercial issues and the TV rights,' TOMSFED quoted Ecclestone as saying in a letter. TOMSFED has acquired some land on Istanbul's eastern front, close to the city's newly-completed second airport, and said it expected a track designer to visit within a week to start plans for a Grand Prix style circuit.  Ecclestone was quoted as saying: 'Not only is it a major city known throughout the world, but what swayed me was the logistics for the teams.' Turkish anti-smoking lobbies, however, stand opposed to the plan to bring Formula One to the country. Rumblings inside the country suggest that F1 might compel Turkey to exempt its sport from a total ban on cigarette advertising.  German circuit designer Hermann Tilke, most recently responsible for Malaysia's Sepang facility and the new Bahrain and China projects, will reportedly add Turkey to his imminent plans.  2005 is being tipped as an inaugural date for the Grand Prix of Turkey. 'We sincerely believe that this organization, which will provide a great opportunity for our country, will also benefit tourism and sports in Turkey,' the TOMSFED statement continued.  China (Shanghai) and Bahrain (Sakhir) will be added to the 2004 Formula One schedule to make up an 18-strong Grand Prix calendar.  But, even despite Spa-Francorchamps' removal from next year's championship, one or two more existing European races could face the chop to make way for F1's new wave of international tracks.

6/5/03

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6/5/03

More feedback on NASCAR/Toyota article   Readers write (a sample few),   Dear AR1, The Insider Racing News “article “ calling on NASCAR to ban foreign, especially, Japanese manufacturers from the sport(sic) is one of the most racist and disturbing peaces of garbage I have ever read on a motorsports site. This person says she speaks for the majority of NASCAR fans. No wonder our war mongering leaders are so popular right now! Hey lets go back and bomb ‘em all again...after all they owe us an apology!!! Not only do NASCAR race with equipment from a past life their fans carry decade old grudges and an archaic belief that the USA is the only truly civilized nation in the world. Xenophobes all! She says that these “foreigners” will destroy the “sport” but I think the France family and their unabated greed will do that without any outside help! I hope that the author and her ilk continue feeling this way, you can rest assured that they will not be accepted outside of their Homeland and NASCAR will wither and die like the outmoded ideals which flame it’s existence. Ray Masters, Hawaii Another reader writes, I certainly hope AR1, by posting this vitriol without comment, doesn't condone the opinions of the author. I also hope that the author doesn't truly represent the majority of NASCAR fans. This is pure bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Does the existence of "foreigners" in baseball or basketball make those sports any less American? And what about Daimler-Chrysler being owned by Germans, the United States' other WWII enemy? She discounts this by saying Dodge is an American make. This seems to be veiled anti-Asian thinking. It's acceptable to be in NASCAR if they are Europeans, but not if they are Asians? As a fan of CART and F1, I find that the international, cosmopolitan element of these brands of motorsports are a key part of their appeal. It's a shame that the author doesn't recognize this. How else will her beloved Southern drivers claim to be "the greatest in the world" if they don't compete against the best international manufacturers and drivers? Sincerely, Jason Bredimus, Scottsdale, Arizona   Another writes, Please ask your NASCAR writer to prepare a proper response to this vile piece of trash. I realize that these kind of people do exist, but hatred, bigotry and ignorance are certainly not traits shared by most of us, NASCAR fans or not. I think we've all had enough of this kind of "thinking" from the Eric Rudolphs of the world. I know it'd be easy to make light of this as stereotypical NASCAR thinking, but we know that's not true, and there's nothing funny about it. Thanks. Robert Kachel Are most NASCAR fans ass backwards? I consider myself to be a fan of motorsports in general, NASCAR being one, but for Ms. Thompson to deny Toyota entry into NASCAR because of Pearl Harbor and the history of the South seems a little hypocritical to me. I assume the US still hasn’t apologized for Hiroshima and Nagasaki and did he mention the history and tradition of NASCAR as it correlates to the South, if we kept in line those traditions, I don’t think we would see Shawna Robinson or Bill Lester in a car let alone at the track. Maybe Ms. Thompson doesn’t realize that the components that make up the Fords, Chevys, and Dodges we drive around either come from oversees, down south (Mexico), or up North (Canada). These cars are not Made in America, they are Assembled in America. The world has become a small place and business is business, so either evolve or get the hell out of the way. And please Ms. Thompson, if you are representing the majority of NASCAR fans, it is better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool, than it is to speak and remove all doubt. Anonymous

6/5/03

Toyota gaining notoriety as NASCAR's "Great Satan"   This Racing Press article says, the Dodge lawsuit stipulates that Bill Davis "broke a clause in [his] contract that says neither Davis nor his employees can 'represent, endorse, or otherwise promote the vehicles, parts or service of a DaimlerChrysler competitor.'" But what really is the issue is not competing decals or branding issues -- it is Dodge's worry that Toyota is getting access to valuable and confidential data that Davis compiled from Dodge as a factory team in the Winston Cup Series. This kind of backroom gamesmanship amounts to corporate espionage, and if true the allegations could open Davis up to some heavy legal penalties. And, in truth, Dodge has every right to be nervous about Toyota getting its hands on their data, especially considering how successful Dodge has been in the short time it has been back in Winston Cup racing. What a very few are wondering right now is whether Ford and GM are sitting back in their corporate boardrooms snickering about how the worm has turned against Dodge, since the latter was the beneficiary of the same "unofficial technical exchange" when the automaker was being seduced back into NASCAR after leaving the sport in the early 1970s. Some feel that if Toyota wooed Davis to turn over his data store, they were simply taking a page out of a playbook that has been in circulation for decades among the other automakers. Interestingly, though, that viewpoint is not widely shared because of the ridiculous paranoia and bad sentiment surrounding Toyota's pending entry into NASCAR racing. It seems as though most in stock car racing are participating in a different form of gamesmanship to turn NASCAR against the Japanese -- that of manipulating the court of media opinion. Toyota is notorious in motorsports for -- gasp! horrors! -- spending its budgets freely in order to win races and championships. Their reputation is one of throwing a seemingly endless supply of cash into whatever series they run and bringing unprecedented technology to bear in order to pummel their competition into submission. And I suppose I would like to know... what in the world is wrong with that? Isn't auto racing supposed to be about winning? Hasn't everybody and their dog been whining about there not being enough money these days to be competitive?......NASCAR fans may not like the idea of Toyota invading their sport (it's only been recently that they've been able to swallow guys like Bill Lester, Carlos Contreras, and Christian Fittipaldi dipping their toes in the stock car water), but the drivers and teams that have a shot at running Toyota equipment love the idea. And that's not because they think NASCAR is going to be gifting the Japanese automaker a bunch of wins and a championship right out of the box. The guys who will run Toyota equipment have seen in other forms of racing how dedicated TRD is to helping their teams win. "Factory support" for Toyota means more than slapping decals on a car, awarding a budget, and supplying cylinder heads. It means expending whatever it takes in terms of time, money, and manpower to make their teams competitive and victorious......If anyone wants to know the real reason why Toyota's NASCAR competitors are afraid, they only need to look at the Indy Racing League this year. For seven years, Chevrolet had the run of the IndyCar series, coasting along without any real opposition (sorry, Nissan/Infiniti, but it's the truth). But when Toyota came in, the GM powerplant immediately looked and performed like a weak sister in comparison to the new Japanese-built powerplants. Lest anyone believe that Toyota "out-technologied" General Motors, let it be clearly understood that Toyota had to work within the same very strict engine guidelines that other manufacturers must adhere to. Toyota's IRL engine met the same standards as Chevrolet's -- but obviously Toyota did a better job in development, because they are making Chevy look really, really bad. The result is that Chevrolet has to step up its game in order to compete in the IRL. And if Toyota comes in and lays waste to the competition in NASCAR, then Ford, Dodge, and GM will have to step up their games as well to stay on equal footing.

6/5/03

Doran-Lista team updates Dallara for Road Atlanta  The Doran-Lista Racing Dallara-MG Prototype is receiving updating and refreshing before the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta. Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard Sr. will co-drive the car in the next round of the American Le Mans Series. "We did a fair amount of work on the sub-assemblies since Sebring, and they’re all finished,” said team owner Kevin Doran. “The gearbox is ready. Most of the bodywork is ready too. We’re repainting a tail and some small crash damage that required some bodywork from Sebring, but all of that is partially done to completely done. And we’re building a brand-new spare tail too.” A successful professional sports car racing team for many years, the Doran Lista team returned to American Le Mans Series competition for 2003 after several years away from the series. The team plans to contest as many of the nine rounds of the series as possible this season.

6/5/03

Biela blown away by Nordschleife  American Le Mans Series driver Frank Biela was thrilled this past weekend when he had the opportunity to drive an Audi R8 Prototype on a ceremonial lap around the famous Nordschleife circuit in Germany prior to the start of a 24-hour touring car race at the Nurburgring. Biela, a German who now lives in Monaco, described the lap around the 26-kilometer circuit as “mind-blowing.” The last sports car race on the Nordschleife was held in 1983, and Biela’s lap in the most successful sports car of current times led a mini-revival. Some 194,000 spectators on hand for the race witnessed the demonstration. “Up to now I’ve driven the R8 many thousands of kilometers on the most different race circuits,” said Biela, co-winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. “But the lap around the Nordschleife was something very magical.” Biela will co-dive with Marco Werner for Infineon Team Joest in the remaining events on the American Le Mans Series schedule this season. He will drive for Audi Sport UK in an Audi R8 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans June 14-15 as he seeks his fourth consecutive win in the famed French endurance racing event.

6/5/03

SPEED live at LeMans  American race fans will be able to watch live coverage of more than half of next weekend’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the SPEED Channel cable television channel. There will be 19 American drivers in the field at Le Mans, and 21 racing teams from the American Le Mans Series. The American Le Mans Series, founded in 1999 and based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has helped Americans regain interest in the classic French endurance sports car racing event, with growth each year since the formation of the series. ALMS Founder Don Panoz has been named Grand Marshal for this year’s Le Mans event as a gesture of appreciation by the event organizers. SPEED Channel’s coverage will begin at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday, June 14, with a 30-minute pre-race show and then three hours of live racing. SPEED will then return to Le Mans several times throughout the race for updates and live coverage, ending with three hours and the finish of the race starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 15. A complete SPEED Channel broadcast schedule for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is available online at www.speedtv.com

* 9 - 9:30 a.m. - Qualifying special (taped)
* 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Pre-race and live first-day race coverage
* 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Live evening race coverage
* 7 p.m. - Live segment part of SpeedNews
* 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. - Live 30-minute update
* 12:30 a.m. - 4 a.m. - Live race coverage (dawn at Le Mans)
* 4 a.m. - 7 a.m. - Bonus 'insomniac" coverage (morning thru midday at Le Mans)
* 7 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Live race coverage (the finish)

6/5/03

IRL and IMS websites hit big numbers  Indy Racing Online (www.indyracing.com) and indy500.com attracted nearly 230 million hits from May 1-26 as Web users flocked to the official sites of the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500, respectively, for information on the 87th Indianapolis 500. There were 200.5 million hits and 50.3 million page views at indyracing.com from May 1-26, with 53.4 million hits and 16 million page views alone on Race Day, May 25. Indy500.com attracted 29.2 million hits and 4.2 million page views from May 1-26, with 3.1 million hits and 360,710 page views on Race Day. Web research data also showed the continued global appeal of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500, as indyracing.com attracted viewers from around the world. The list of the top 10 locals attracting the most visits to indyracing.com during May:
1. Indiana
2. California
3. Japan
4. Illinois
5. Texas
6. New Jersey
7. Ohio
8. Florida
9. Sweden
10. Michigan

6/4/03

Toyota tests new engine   Panasonic Toyota Racing continued its dual three-day test at Silverstone and Monza today with race drivers Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis both completing substantial mileage during the day. Panis conducted the Italian leg of the session and totaled 91 laps, whilst testing a new engine specification that the team plans to use at next week's Canadian Grand Prix. Da Matta carried out general set-up work and tire testing in Silverstone and clocked the fastest time of the day over his 75 laps. "We had another decent day of running and got through most of the long job list we had today, despite rain in the morning and early afternoon," said da Matta. "We made some good improvements to the TF103's set-up overnight and did a bit of tire testing. Overall it has been a highly productive two days for me in Silverstone with over 150 laps completed. I am handing the car over to Ricardo for the final day tomorrow, as I am going to Belo Horizonte before the Canadian Grand Prix to acclimatize myself to the time difference in Montreal, which is the same as in Brazil."

6/4/03
Industry News

Big losses at Chrysler   Socked by having to give big incentives to sell its cars, DaimlerChrysler has warned they will lose $1.1 Billion in the second quarter. The German firm has already made it clear that Chrysler will not meet its full year operating profit target of $2 Billion."

6/4/03

Bernie - 16 races and no plans to retire   Just recently Bernie Ecclestone was talking about expanding the F1 calendar to 20 races but now he told the German news agency DPA that "we found out some time ago that 16 is a good number, maybe one more. That is the kind of limit we want. I suspect Europe will have a third world economy within the next decade anyhow. I think the European politicians have taken the wrong direction in their thought processes. Maybe we won't have to cut the races, maybe some European Grands Prix will disappear all on their own." Ecclestone told DPA that he has no plans to retire. "I have a rich wife," he said, " so I don't have to do the job. I do it simply because I like what I do.

6/4/03

Sore back sidelines Villeneuve   Jacques Villeneuve was testing today at Monza but he will miss tomorrow's testing day because of his back problem. "Today I really needed to make an extra effort to go until the end of the day to prepare for my home Grand Prix," said the Canadian driver. "But tomorrow, I will not be able to continue the testing program." BAR decided to ask Anthony Davidson to do an additional day of work to replace Villeneuve tomorrow at Monza.

6/4/03

Dare to drive for Foyt at TMS  [Editor's Note: Once again AJ Foyt hires another foreigner to replace Shigeaki Hattori.  Why no American USAC Sprinter AJ?  Isn't that what you bad-mouthed CART for not doing?  Isn't that what the the IRL was supposed to be all about?  His actions speaks far louder than his words]  Airton Dare will drive an A.J. Foyt Racing entry at the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway, according to a team news release. Dare will drive the No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone as a teammate to regular Foyt driver A.J. Foyt IV. Dare replaces Shigeaki Hattori. “I think it’ll be good to work with A.J. IV, because we have a good relationship from when he used to change my right front tire last year,” Dare said. “We’ll be able to exchange information, and I think that will help both of us out a lot.” Dare, 25, drove the entire 2002 season for Foyt. He earned his first career victory in July 2002 at Kansas Speedway and finished third last year at the Bombardier 500 in Foyt’s car. This will be Dare’s second start of the season. He finished 24th in a third Foyt car in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 after being eliminated in an accident on Lap 127.

6/4/03

Dodge sues Bill Davis Racing, Davis responds   2nd UPDATE Bill Davis responds - Bill Davis Racing is surprised by the decision of Daimler Chrysler's notification to terminate their agreement with Bill Davis Racing and to file suit alleging that Bill Davis Racing has breached its agreement with Daimler Chrysler. Bill Davis Racing firmly believes that it has not breached the Daimler Chrysler agreement and that there is no justifiable reason for Daimler Chrysler asserting a claim that it has breached such an agreement. Bill Davis Racing is confident that it will prevail in the litigation and that the court will agree that is has not breached its agreement with Daimler Chrysler. Bill Davis Racing will continue racing the Dodge Intrepid in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series. Bill Davis Racing PR  6/3/03 - This USA Today article sheds more light on this nasty situation.  We suspect you will see all the American manufacturers protecting their turf just as strongly as the Japanese try to invade NASCAR.  It might turn out to be NASCAR's little version of Pearl Harbor followed by Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   6/3/03 - According to Autosport, DaimlerChrysler, which has terminated the contract between its US-based Dodge automobile brand and Bill Davis Racing, has now filed a lawsuit against the NASCAR Winston Cup team. DaimlerChrysler alleges that BDR has broken its contract by building and testing a prototype Toyota in preparation for that company's entry into the Craftsman Truck series in 2004.

6/4/03

IRL trying to fill empty grandstands with free tickets  A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com,  First I love the work you do. I joined last year, but due to a lack of funds saving for a wedding I can not renew right now, but I wanted to share with you something I got in the mail today from Marlboro. Dear Fred, You and a friend are invited to be our guests at the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday June 28th, 2003 There's nothing to buy. Just bring the enclosed ticket voucher to the track and enjoy the day. Participation is limited to smokers 21 years of age or older and a guest 21 years of age or older. It's our way of introducing you to the exciting world of Marlboro Team Penske racing. The enclosed ticket voucher includes directions to the track location where you'll pick up your free tickets. In addition if you are one of the first 1,500 eligible attendees, you and your guest will receive garage passes, which permit access to the infield. So, show up early and watch the Marlboro Team Penske crew prepare the racecars. Race day is... Come join us as we take on the competition at one of racing's most exciting tracks. For more information, please call 1-877-20-RACING We'll see you at the track. --Your friends at Marlboro Team Penske.  This direct marketing promotion that I received makes me wonder just how many of these went out. Now, I am not a smoker, but I have always signed up for the freebies at the track just to see if I can get anything "Kool" in the mail--and this is not "Kool!". I know what I'll do with this, toss it in the trash and save my money up so that hopefully next summer I can get to a CART race! Sincerely,  Fred Bloch  Dear Fred, We have heard of similar free ticket giveaways by Marlboro, Honda and Toyota at other events as well.  One has to wonder if anyone would show up if not for the freebies.  Certainly when word gets out to the few hundred that bought tickets so far, they won't buy any tickets in the future, and go with the free tickets next year.  Free ticket giveaways kill the market.  This is a false economy with no hope of ever making money in that market in the future.  It's toast.  Mark C.

6/4/03

Andretti & Patrick step down from CART Board  Racing legends Mario Andretti and CART Champ Car co-founder U.E. “Pat” Patrick will relinquish their positions as members of the Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. Board of Directors next month, although both plan to stay involved in the sport they have helped define for five decades. Andretti is stepping down to enter into a more defined business relationship with CART Champ Car and the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. He is currently a spokesperson for the open wheel racing sanctioning body in which he won his fourth and final Champ Car title in 1984. Most recently Andretti served as liaison for CART Champ Car and Road America, helping reinstate the longtime Champ Car race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which resulted in the renaming of the August 3rd event as the “Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton.” “I’ve very much enjoyed serving on CART’s Board of Directors and I’ll continue to be a very active and vocal supporter of CART and Champ Car racing,” said Andretti. “CART’s unique mix of road, street courses and ovals continues to be the best challenge in racing and a true test of a race car driver, and I will always support that challenge.” Patrick, one of the most respected names in Champ Car racing and CART’s first president, will also not stand for re-election. Patrick will continue to pursue his many business interests in addition to his role as owner of Patrick Racing, one of the most successful teams in Champ Car racing history with past drivers, including Andretti, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi, Scott Pruett, Adrian Fernandez, Roberto Moreno, Jimmy Vasser, and in 2003, Oriol Servia. Patrick and Andretti will formally step down from the board at next month’s annual meeting of stockholders at the company’s Indianapolis headquarters, where respected businessman Robert D. Biggs will be up for election to the board.   Biggs retired from the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers in October 1999, where he served as the managing partner of the PricewaterhouseCoopers office in Peoria, Illinois from 1984 through 1990 and the managing partner of the Indianapolis office from 1992 to 1999. Biggs has been the responsible partner for accounting services for a variety of New York Stock Exchange listed companies throughout his career.

6/4/03

More on NASCAR and Toyota - Gunfight at the OK Corral   This SPEED TV article says, Don Miller, general manager of Penske Racing South, touched a little on that during Dodge's customary weekly press conference Tuesday. I quote: "I'd say when Toyota comes in, they're not going to come in to run 10th or 20th," said Miller, a 30-year veteran of Penske's stock-car operations. "That's not how they operate. These guys are going to be playing for keeps. "I'm telling you right now when it happens it's going to be the gunfight at the OK Corral. You wait and see. The guys that aren't paying attention [will die in the gunfight]. This is something I think you can see on the horizon. "You don't want to carry a squirt gun to a gunfight. You want to go in there with a shotgun. "They're going to be real serious about what they do, and we're going to have to be just as serious about beating them. I think it'll be tougher and tougher on smaller teams, because the technology advances that are being made as I watch them and develop them and work with our people to keep us on that same plain, it's become more and more difficult." Miller went on to commend NASCAR for keeping "the playing field" level, but you can sense the wariness, the sense of Pearl Harbor on the horizon. So there is the idea that the DC suit against Davis is the first pre-emptive shot in an international war far beyond NASCAR's traditional theater—a war you wonder if NASCAR is prepared for. Penske, of course, just signed on with Dodge last fall, jumping over from Ford in a move Roger typically termed "a business decision." Penske also last year transferred his engine allegiance in IRL IndyCar from GM to Toyota; in addition, he is one of the leading Toyota dealership operators in the U.S. Moreover, there's Chip Ganassi, who also runs Toyota engines in the IRL. Chip entered NASCAR in 2001 with Dodge. Just about everyone believes one or both of those will get first crack at Toyota's major-league stock-car program, at whatever time the fruit begins to fall. Toyota has announced it will enter the Truck series next year, with a generally accepted date of 2006 or 2007 for a Winston Cup debut.

6/4/03

It's time to tell NASCAR how we feel about Toyota   UPDATE A reader responds, Dear AR1, Toyota in NASCAR. American cars, though still inferior in most respects to Japanese cars, would not be nearly as good as they are today if not for competition from a superior Japanese product. Please don't try to argue that point before picking up the 100% American publication called Consumer Reports. We Americans perpetrated the most horrendous and destructive single attack in the history of warfare upon the Japanese. They don't appear to hold grudges in that regard, so I think you might want to extend them the same courtesy. Keep in mind also that NASCAR fans are not the only ones who have relatives or family from the big wars. You do not have an exclusive on that one. I am a die-hard CART and F1 fan, and my grandfather was a decorated WWII bomber pilot and POW. He owned Chryslers, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Fords, Volkswagons, Volvos and Toyotas. He was an engineer, and a very intelligent man that understood that these things that are history...are mostly just history. The future is our future. There are Toyotas made in this country that have more American made parts than American made vehicles. Yes, I would agree that Toyota coming into NASCAR is a threat. It is a threat to the status quo. It is a threat to the American manufacturers that don't really even make the so called "stock car" in any fashion. The cars on the track have almost nothing in common with the cars you buy from the showroom except for four wheels and a steering wheel. When was the last time you could buy a V-8 stick shift carbureted Monte Carlo? Or a two door Taurus or Intrepid? All NASCAR is about, is taking the hard earned money of those fine people you describe, by fashioning a form of entertainment that appeals to them, that really bears little resemblance to the sport you describe, or the purist sense of what racing is about. This is, in my opinion, made evident by their failure to adopt a medical and safety team. It's expensive and they simply don't want to spend the money. Its about fashioning an efficient means of profit. Also, I hate to break the news to you, that NASCAR is only a distant relative of that type of racing which you describe, which is admittedly a cherished part of American heritage and history. However, I would oppose your position on how things should stay the same. Progress and evolution is unstoppable and undeniable. We went to the moon, we have cured many forms of cancer and other diseases, and technology has had far reaching benefits to the human race. The automotive industry has been an example of this, with amazing developments in power, efficiency and safety in the 100+ years of automotive history. So for NASCAR to stay the same would be both un-American and incongruent with the path of the auto industry itself...right? It is human nature to press forward and onward. In fact, this is the very core of racing itself. Better, faster...etc. Toyota will come into NASCAR, they will do very well, and it will put the manufacturers on notice that they are going to have to sing for their supper. Somebody please remind me what difference it makes to run a Dodge, Chevy, Ford or Toyota. The only difference is who is going to pay more money to put the brand name on the car. I do agree with you that NASCAR is ignoring its audience, and that its audience is not going to readily accept Toyota. Maybe this is a strategy for NASCAR...to bring in an new rival to keep the on track battle interesting and exciting. Keep in mind also that NASCAR, with its known existence as one of the most dictatorial bodies in sports and business, could very easily fall under fire if it doesn't give Toyota a chance to compete. I could see a very expensive court case with a serious and substantial constitutional argument on discrimination and equal opportunity. If NASCAR typifies America, then they must allow Toyota to compete. America is an open capitalistic society. If NASCAR were to shut out Toyota, it would be like the United States eliminating all imported goods, and closing the ports and borders completely. That begins to sound much more like the elements of other forms of government, not a democracy, and certainly not America. I think it is interesting that NASCAR is America's Sport, but really displays nothing that is American except the token American vehicle manufacturer involvement, and good old boys from the south. Oh wait...Ryan Newman is a Yankee with an engineering degree from Purdue. Hmmm...should we keep him from racing? He might just be too smart, and present a threat to the other drivers. Of course not, that's silly. NASCAR makes the rules, they dictate everything, and you follow or pay the consequences. It is much more like a Totalitarian Dictatorship or Monarchist government...not like America. Even Don Hawk, formerly one of Dale Earnhardts key people said "NASCAR is not a democracy, it is a benevolent dictatorship". And he said that as if it were a good thing, because his team was the recipient of such benevolence. These are all things you might want to think about. Consider all the facts, and then argue your case. Lets not keep things the same. Let's push forward, and onward. Toyota in NASCAR is a good thing. Scott Morris, Orlando FL Another reader writes, I have to make a comment on Denise Thompson’s xenophobic comments that were reprinted on AR1 – that such an attitude exists in 2003 is extremely disturbing. If this spells out the way the average NASCAR fan feels, then this country is in serious trouble. Take a look on the back of a US Quarter, on which is written: "E Pluribus Unum" - the Motto of the United States of America, which in Latin means "One, composed from Many" My father fought in the Pacific theater in WW2, and is happy that I’ve made a good living - working for, among others, two Japanese auto manufacturers. He has forgiven and forgotten. To make a reference to WW2 in relation to NASCAR is demeaning to those men who gave their lives. Look no further than CART’s recent trip to Dresden for an example of forgiveness at its finest – the people of that area welcomed us, despite the fact that America joined the British in firebombing the city as a way to break the German peoples’ spirit at the end of the war. The city has still not recovered. America was founded on the principles of fair play and equal opportunity for all – and I do believe that includes immigrants of all types, including Japanese automobile manufactures. If you can’t stand the heat (or the competition!), Denise, get out of the kitchen. Diane Swintal 6/4/03 - This Insider Racing News article says, There are two reasons why most of the fans don't want to see Toyota in NASCAR. The first reason: During World War II, not only did some of these fans lose a grandfather, husband, dad, uncle, brother, cousin and or a dear friend, while other fans may have a loved one that is or was permanently injured, as losing their eyesight or even a limb if not two, during the sneak attack on our American troops, that fateful day on December 7, 1941 known as "The Attack at Pearl Harbor." The Japanese brutally killed our boys on the March to Bataan, on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima, as well as the P.O.W. camps, our American soldiers were brutally murdered and dismembered. It's not that we Americans hold a grudge, it's just the Japanese have never apologized to the United States for any of these cowardly acts. Don't get me wrong, we realize that the Dodges are now a German vehicle (Daimler owns 51% while Chrysler owns 49%), and we don't mind having foreign cars in NASCAR such as the Dodge, but it was first an American manufactured vehicle. The fans just don't want to see any foreign made cars in NASCAR. Secondly: Traditionally this sport was based in the south and has traveled throughout the United States. Drivers like Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty, Ralph Earnhardt and Curtis Turner, just to mention a few, began this sport on the beaches of Florida and North Carolina, as well as dirt tracks in North Carolina. This sport has been passed from generation to generations of American families. What happened to the tradition of this sport? This is what the fans are asking. Why does Mike Helton or even Bill France have the right to change that? Looking at the whole picture, if Toyota is allowed to race in NASCAR, what's next? Are we going to open the door to Italy, France, Russia, China, or the rest of the world. Where does it end? Does this sport go International? Will we be actively looking for foreign drivers? Will NASCAR be building tracks in other countries? No longer will NASCAR be an American sport. Like so many other things we have lost, it's time for the fans to stand up and fight for this by letting NASCAR know how we feel about it. I am speaking on behalf of the majority of the NASCAR fans, We do not want Toyota or any other foreign made car in the sport of NASCAR. We want to keep the tradition and we want to keep NASCAR the way it is right now, today. Many fans have fallen in love with the sport. Don't let NASCAR or anyone else take it away from us.

6/4/03

F1 looking into lowering HP   Whereas CART's current 2.65 L turbo engine has been in use for over 25 years, any racing series that uses normally aspirated engines that are not severely restricted, must do a wholesale engine redesign every 3 to 5 years to keep speeds in check.  The IRL went from 4.0L to 3.5 L quickly.  The F1 Technical Group are reportedly in the process of working on a project designed to limit the performances of future engines. Ron Dennis has said to Motorsport News: “The Technical Group is looking into the possibility of reviewing the lowered cylinder capacity, or even of reducing the number of cylinders.”   The best engines now have 900 horsepower, and over 19,000 rpm.  AR1 has long maintained that the most economical, long-term engine platform is a 1.8 L turbo, be it a V-10 or a V-8.  However, that likely won't happen.  The V-10 is sexy, and the scream runs chills down your spine.  It's here to stay for a while.  If they had any brains, they would restrict the engines such that the cost was low enough that CART and F1 could share the same engines.  This would bring value to the manufacturers by opening up the entire NAFTA market to them.  Mark C.

6/4/03

BAR court case this month   British American Racing did not have their cars impounded after the Monaco Grand Prix despite previous reports that a court injunction, issued by France Corbeil on behalf of ex-sponsor Teleglobe, gave them permission to. A team spokeswoman exclusively told F1-Live that although a representative did arrive at Monaco after the race, the cars were not seized and a court hearing will take place on June 26th. “A representative of France Corbeil did arrive at the track after the race. The paperwork he presented had no substance and the cars were not seized,” she said. “A hearing with the court will take place on 26 June and we anticipate that this will clarify the whole situation.” The claim stems back five-years and the current management was not aware of this fact until earlier this year. However, the team expects the matter to be solved within the next four weeks.

6/4/03

Renault and Clearswift join forces   The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce a new partnership with Clearswift, the world's leading provider of software for managing and securing email. The team will install ES ClearEdge & ES ClearPoint PMI in Summer 2003 to enforce e-policy management for inbound and outbound email communications. "The Renault F1 Team operates in an environment where confidentiality and protection of copyrights are absolutely paramount. The team's success is heavily dependent on technological advancement and using the best available technology to help us in that quest. Clearswift ES is best of breed software and will provide the team with the protection they need", said Graeme Hackland, IT Manager, Renault F1 Team. "We operate in a sector which gets tremendous media attention", Hackland added. "It is also a sector where sensitive information is handled throughout our departments. As a result, we need to protect ourselves and our employees, in those areas of communication that could be potentially vulnerable to malicious attacks." "ES will help to protect our operations in France and in the UK against this by filtering and monitoring the content of all email communications going into and out of the Renault F1 Team," Renault

6/4/03

Meyer joins IRL  Veteran IRL IndyCar Series engine builder and team manager Butch Meyer has joined the Indy Racing League as technical director for the IRL Infiniti Pro Series, league officials announced June 4. Meyer will work closely with Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the Indy Racing League, and Roger Bailey, executive director for the IRL Infiniti Pro Series. “We’re delighted to have Butch join us,” Bailey said. “He brings a wealth of experience not only in the engine world, but in team management. He will be a great asset to the Infiniti Pro Series as we continue to expand.” Meyer, who is the grandson of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Louis Meyer and the son of legendary engine builder Louis “Sonny” Meyer Jr., began his career in Indy-style racing in 1965 working for his father at Louis Meyer, Inc. He worked on the double-overhead cam Ford engine that was one of the most successful engines in the late 60s and early 70s and powered Mario Andretti to victory in the 1969 Indianapolis 500.

6/4/03

Updated times for Montoya/Gordon   SPEED Channel will strap in with Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya as the pair swap hot rods for the afternoon on June 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon/Montoya Tradin' Paint will air live from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET. A special one-hour edition will replay Friday night, June 20th at 8:30 p.m., immediately following Winston Cup Qualifying.

6/4/03

NASCAR on cable even beats Indy 500   How popular is NASCAR?  Consider this, The MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 on FX garnered a 4.7 rating on Sunday (vs. a 4.6 for the Indy 500 on network TV ABC). 4.7 is equal to last year's rating for the Dover race on FX. Of course a rating point on cable means a different number of households than on network TV. The race reached 3,807,000 households (5,377,000 viewers).  Although the rating was lower, the Indy 500 actually garnered more households than Dover, but to think that NASCAR can pull that high a rating on FX no less, and that number of households, speaks volumes for the popularity of NASCAR.  Mark C.

6/4/03

Latest F1 Hot News items

Montoya's Monaco Win In Doubt?
Cris Can't Wait For Canada
Six Teams At High-Speed Monza
More F1 Testing Kicks Off
Ferrari Push Schu Decision
Takuma Was Left At Home
Jenson Thanks F1 Safety
MP4-18 Shows Teeth In Spain
Sauber Unveil New Ferrari V10
Ferrari Rattled By Challenge
McLaren Still Furious At JV

6/3/03

Ralf tops Silverstone test times  There were only two drivers in action today at Silverstone, Ralf Schumacher for WilliamsF1 and Cristiano da Matta for Toyota. The German topped the timesheets completing 52 laps on his way to posting a 1:22.613. "Despite intermittent rain throughout the day, we have had quite a productive session in terms of mileage," Sam Michael told the team's website. "We managed to make some progress with the aero testing as well doing some work on the electronics of the car before ending the day with engine endurance running." Cristiano, who had a great race in Monaco at the week-end spent the day re-acquainting himself with the circuit working on general set-up and aero tests. "I haven't driven at Silverstone since F3000 in 1996," he said, "it's good to be back. I like the track a lot and I have missed driving here. The weather wasn't great today with some rain, but that's what Silverstone is all about isn't it?"

6/3/03

American Team Spirit shuffle  American Spirit Team Johansson has shuffled a few positions within the team, in efforts to maximize the potential of the #12 entry driven by Jimmy Vasser, the #31 entry driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay and its team members. Graham Taylor will now hold the title of team manager, while Robin Hill will serve as the team’s crew chief. Taylor, a veteran of Formula One will oversee the day-to-day running of American Spirit, while he will no longer race engineer Ryan Hunter-Reay, he will continue managing the technical aspects of American Spirit. Hill, the 1997 championship winning crew chief with Alex Zanardi will return to the role of crew chief, a new position within American Spirit. Paul Burgess recently joined American Spirit Team Johansson, he will race engineer the #31 entry driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay. A native of Kenley, England, Burgess’s background includes Formula One and the Indy Racing League.

6/3/03

CART Town Meeting transcript  w/Chris Pook, Jim Liberatore, Patrick Carpentier, Bid Stanner, Joey Hand.  Chris Pook had a lot to say.  Enjoy... Transcript

6/3/03

Jennifer Lopez doesn't come cheap  KROQ 106.7 FM Los Angeles reported this morning that Formula 1 asked JLo (Jennifer Lopez) if she would make an appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix to the apparent 'benefit' of both parties involved.  JLo's apparent demands were that she be paid $400,000 (!), she bring her 'entourage' and that they all be put up in the best hotel and have all their 'expenses' paid for! Whew! Formula 1 refused her demands. By the way, Bono (from U2) was a guest of the Jordan team and was paid nothing to attend. Kenneth Holland, Los Angeles, CA

6/3/03

Junqueira fit, but sorry after crash  This crash.net article says that Newman-Haas Racing's Bruno Junqueira was lucky to escape serious injury after crashing out of the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 and making a quick visit to a nearby hospital as doctors checked over his neck. "I'm very sorry that I couldn't run a good race for the PacifiCare team," said Junqueira who made hard contact with the outside wall in turns one and two of the historic one-mile oval on just the fourth lap of Saturday night's chilly 250-lap affair. The race marked the coldest temperatures the Bridgestone/Firestone motorsports program has faced since it entered CART competition in 1995, and the field was warned to proceed with caution. Despite running three green/yellow flag laps at the start in order to help the drivers get their tires up to temperatures, they were still too cold for Junqueira, whose spinning car also collected those of Roberto Moreno and Patrick Lemarie. "We were three wide on the start and I was in the middle going into the corner and I had to back off the throttle," explained Junqueira, who entered the sixth round of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford tied with Paul Tracy at the head of the standings. "I got on the throttle after that and lost control of the car." CART's Simple Green Safety Team was on the site immediately and he was carefully removed from his car and initially taken to CART's infield Medical Centre for evaluation. Due to tenderness in his neck he was then taken via ambulance to Froedert Memorial Lutheran Hospital for precautionary x-rays and a CT Scan, both of which proved negative for damage. He was released from the hospital shortly before 1am local time and traveled back to his Miami base later on Sunday. With no lasting affects from the crash Junqueira will be fit to compete in the next two rounds of the Championship, which take place on consecutive weekends starting on June 14/15 at Laguna Seca. "I was really excited to race here because I like the one-mile ovals. I'm looking forward to Laguna Seca and Portland." On the strength of earning his first CART victory on Saturday night, Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr jumped from third in the pre-race point standings to the lead with 77. Tracy only earned one-point for his 12th place finish after he ran in the top three prior to losing a wheel late in the race meaning Junqueira fell to third place, only 11 points out of the lead and one behind Tracy.

6/3/03

Herta to make first IRL start at TMS  Open-wheel racing veteran Bryan Herta will make his Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar™ Series debut Saturday night in the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Texas Motor Speedway. Herta was tabbed in May as the replacement driver for Dario Franchitti, who is recovering from injuries suffered in an off-track accident. The 33-year-old Herta is no stranger to Texas as he tested there with the Archipelago/Motorola crew in late May. It was Herta’s second test with the team, having already completed two days of running at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Herta also was at Texas in 2001 with CART, posting the fourth fastest time in qualifying before the race was cancelled. “I’m very excited to be getting back into an open-wheel car,” said Herta. “This is going to be my first open-wheel race in about a year-and-a-half, but I feel very prepared. I’ve been working with the Archipelago/Motorola team since the beginning of May and we’ve been able to log a lot of miles. This is a race of firsts for me -- my first IndyCar Series race and my first night race. I’ve seen some of the Texas races on TV and there is a lot of close competition and exciting racing.” The Michigan native posted two wins and seven poles in an eight-year CART career. He also claimed the 1993 Indy Lights championship and 1991 Barber Saab Pro Series titles. In 2002, he was behind the wheel of the Panoz LMP 01 in the American Lemans Series where he finished 10th in the drivers’ standings. “This is going to be a whole new experience for our team,” said Kyle Moyer, Archipelago/Motorola team manager. “This is our first ever night race and we are looking forward to it. Texas has always been an exciting race. We have been quick everywhere we’ve gone, but at the same time Bryan is going to be the fourth different driver we’ve had in four races. We’ve tested a couple of times with him and he is getting more and more comfortable in the car.”

6/3/03

No testing at Homestead   In an unprecedented move, NASCAR announced yesterday that testing at Homestead has been cancelled for the rest of the year. The ban on testing applies not only to the Winston Cup teams, but also the Busch and the Craftsman Truck series . With Homestead undergoing major reconstruction, namely increasing its banking from six to 18 to 20 degrees, the ban on testing should make for a wild and unpredictable NASCAR Championship weekend in November.

6/3/03

Jones to sub for Foyt   Road course racer, P.J. Jones will driver the #14 Harrah's Dodge at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on the road course there on June 22nd, in place of regular driver, rookie Larry Foyt.  Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR

6/3/03

Has NASCAR peaked?   This article asks the question many are asking, has NASCAR peaked?  The answer is quite simple, it has peaked in the USA, or is close to it, hence why NASCAR is beginning to look outside the USA borders.

6/3/03

Tag & McLaren strengthen ties  AG Heuer and McLaren International are delighted to announce a further strengthening of their Partnership. The TAG Heuer brand will now appear on all the West McLaren Mercedes drivers’ helmet visors. This is in addition to TAG Heuer’s role within West McLaren Mercedes as both Official Watch Supplier and Time Keeper, the latter of which sees the test team utilize TAG Heuer’s latest precision timing equipment. “TAG Heuer is extremely proud today to announce the strengthening of its partnership with McLaren International. A deep friendship and mutual respect have developed over the years thanks to this shared passion for motor sports. That is what now leads TAG Heuer to deepen the nature of our relationship with McLaren, with the famous TAG Heuer brand now appearing on the helmets of David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa”, commented Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of TAG Heuer SA. “The partnership with the McLaren team has enabled us to gain access to and to develop new technologies and materials. Through the close co-operation with the team's drivers and engineers, it has given rise to extremely innovative watch models such as the Kirium Ti5 or the 1/1000th second Microtimer. Extending and broadening this partnership will enable our watchmakers and designers to find new sources of inspiration in terms of prestige and performance, the two most characteristic dimensions of TAG Heuer, which are also integral values held by McLaren. The announcement underscores TAG Heuer's commitment and involvement to McLaren and Formula 1, a sport where the brand has been Official Timekeeper for the World Championship since 1992.” “We are very proud to be announcing a further development to our relationship with TAG Heuer, who next year will enter their 20th year of association with McLaren International, making TAG Heuer one of our longest serving Partners. It is also particularly pleasing as TAG Heuer is now no longer part of the TAG Group, but LVMH Luxury Group”, said Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the TAG McLaren Group.  Tag Heuer

6/3/03

Milwaukee feedback  UPDATE Another reader writes, As one of those people who froze his butt off Saturday night, I agree with Shaun Moore. Why does it take so long to clean up after a wreck. I took 6 people to the race and they all complained, but, as Shaun notes, this yellow flag thing is not unique to Milwaukee.  CART takes forever to get through a caution period, and they are getting worse! Donn Kelly, Chicago Another writes, One note, which may or may not be of consequence--there wasn't one ATM money machine available on the grounds. For me that was a problem, perhaps I am alone, but I just figured I'd get some cash at the track (Miller Park, for example, has several). A minor issue, I know, but a mistake nonetheless. Otherwise a great night. Michael Panosh, Milwaukee, WI  6/1/03 - Readers write, Dear autoracing1.com, You want to see the difference in the level of professionalism and organization in F1 and CART? Look no further than to watch the CART and F1 races this weekend. While it takes 15 laps for CART to clean up a single car accident, while F1 can clean up a multiple car crash on the very tight streets of Monaco without a full course yellow. Crashes on an oval obviously dictates a full course yellow, but CART takes entirely TOO LONG to deal with those yellows. Unfortunately though it doesn't just take place on ovals, but also on street courses as well. From St. Petersburg to Milwaukee CART acts as though they are taking a stroll in the park with these clean-ups. This is motor racing, not parading. CART needs to get a handle on this situation as it damages the racing by shortening the race distance significantly, looks unprofessional, and moreover is awfully boring to look at for 20 laps. Even NAPCAR isn't this bad when it takes its "scheduled breaks" for their caution period. Shaun Moore, Norfolk, VA  Dear Mr. Pook, Okay, so the CART race made it ALL of the way to lap three -- Okay so it actually made it to turn negative 1 before the effects of tire warmers (the lack thereof) showed their ugly face. Why don't you go and ask Mr. Haas if he would now be willing to pick up the tab for ALL of the warmers up and down pit lane. Word to the wise ... you are not suppose to hold the nail as someone is swinging the hammer.  Greg, Long Island, N.Y.  Dear AR1, There has been a lot of discussion about 'CART' not allowing tire warmers - the bottom line is, the owners did not want to pay for them and refused to vote them in. CART officials would have loved to have tire warmers this weekend, but the owners knew that the well funded teams would have them immediately whilst others might not - the mentality still of one's own agenda versus the greater good. However, one would agree that tire warmers are cheaper than the cost of repairing a car... Ed Reed

6/3/03
Porsche Supercup

Patrick Long finishes 3rd in Monaco   American Patrick Long made his debut in the Michelin Porsche Supercup in grand style last weekend, storming from 12th on the grid to finish a sensational third on the fabled streets of Monte Carlo. Long, who has been racing for the Porsche factory as a member of the UPS Porsche Junior team in the German Carrera Cup, drove as a guest in the Monaco Supercup event. During the race in Monte Carlo, Long took advantage of several accidents and was able to work his way through from 12th on the grid to finish third. "With the accident right after Ste. Devote the track became very, very narrow,” Long said. “I made up my mind to try and pass the chaos on the left side, and I was really close to the barrier, when a car came rolling back from the right. The question was: throttle or brake? I decided for the throttle, and that was the right thing to do." The assembled Formula 1 journalists struggled to remember the last time an American flag was seen on the podium at Monaco but the consensus was that the last time was in 1964 when Richie Ginther finished second in a BRM.

6/3/03

Duran wins twice at Road America   Mexico's Salvador Duran had a breakthrough weekend at Road America, taking wins in both Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine races at Road America to vault himself to the top of the championship standings. Duran ran from a position of strength all weekend, taking the pole position in qualifying for both races as well as setting a new track record in the second race. The two wins were the first in National Championship competition for Duran, improving on his previous-best finish of third, earned in the first race at Virginia International Raceway in April. The National Championship utilized the 2.2-mile "short course" at Road America, which combined the fast flowing speed sections of the long course, with the all-important Carrousel corner, with several slower-speed technical corners. The first race of the weekend got underway under drying conditions, and the National Championship crew elected to have the field race on treaded Michelin Pilots in case the weather were to return during the race. "It was a really good race between me and Rafael," said Duran. "He was really pushing me hard along the way, but I was able to keep the lead and take the win. I hope I can do that again tomorrow."

6/3/03

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6/3/03

Letterman plugs CART   As a lead-in to his show on Monday night, David Letterman showed footage of his winning car at Milwaukee over the weekend in the hands of Michel Jourdain Jr., and put a big plug in for CART.  He had Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran on later in the show, so the IRL got their plug too.

6/3/03

Lola designing bits and pieces for Reynard   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook stated "Lola is designing some bits and pieces to help the Reynard chassis."  Patrick Carpentier stated that the Reynard has a lot smaller window to get it working well.  You have to run Reynard very stiff to make it go fast.  The Lola is a much more forgiving car.

6/2/03

Pook - IRL is not competition   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook stated "I don't consider the IRL any competition at all. I just wish they would go and do their own thing and we will do ours." "The people of Indianapolis are very friendly to us." "This is not about playing with one man's toys." "It's terribly sad for such a huge event."  "It's too bad what has happened to the 500.  "The ratings are down again, the attendance is down, but it will eventually come back.  The race is bigger than all of us."

6/2/03

Pook - engine design must start soon   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook stated that "CART's 2005 engines must be under design by August or September of this year. The chassis manufacturers can move quicker, but the engine design must start soon. By October 2004 the new cars/engines package must be on the track for testing."

6/2/03

Pook - CART would consider running under lights at Fontana   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook was asked if CART would consider running under the lights at Fontana when they are erected.  Pook stated, "it would be very interesting to see CART under lights at Fontana.  That would be up to the promoters there and our drivers if they thought it was safe."  Patrick Carpentier said CART should not race at night on a Superspeedway if it is cold.  It's one thing to race on a slower track when it is cold, but a Superspeedway would be too dangerous."  Therefore, it would have to be during a warmer time of year, because the first week in November at Fontana is far too cold at night.

6/2/03

Pook - CART at Sebring would be interesting   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook was asked if CART would consider running with ALMS at Sebring or Road Atlanta.  Pook stated, "we are concerned about the speed of our cars coming down the hill toward the final turn at Road Atlanta (not enough run-off)."  As for racing at Sebring - "I don't know if we could run on the Sebring 12-hours weekend but that would be an interesting thought process."

6/2/03

Pook - CART won't retain turbo   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook was asked if CART considered going to a turbocharged gasoline engine rather than normally aspirated in 2005.  He said no, "I don't think they will be turbocharged."

6/2/03

Pook - we won't be a feeder series to F1   At the Cleveland CART Town Meeting on Monday night CART president Chris Pook stated that CART will not be a feeder series to F1, but it does want to be a series that develops great race drivers.  He said CART will never be the same as F1, but there is nothing wrong with having a relationship with them."

6/2/03

Plane lands inside TMS  A small aircraft landed right in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway today.  As usual, our spy cameras were on the scene to capture it live.  The pilot made a flyby then made a daring landing on the concrete pavement that runs along the backside of the infield garages, a short and narrow runway by any standards.  Our spies tell us it was a Cirrus SR22 plane.  If you have Real Player you can see the video by clicking here.  The IRL race is coming up this weekend at TMS.  Flying Magazine is presenting the Flying Market Expo that will be located in the parking lot behind the main grandstand of Texas Motor Speedway. The displays will be open Thursday through Saturday at no additional charge to race fans. Fans will be able to walk through a variety of exhibits and see airplanes including those from Cirrus and Socata Aircraft along with other manufacturers.

6/2/03

Correction   In Saturday's post-race press release from CART for the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite CART Toyota Atlantic Championship event, it was noted that Kyle Krisiloff broke the track record during the race with a best lap of 24.645 sec. (150.749 mph). In 2002, Ryan Hunter-Reay set a track record during qualifying with a best lap of 24.762 sec. (150.036 mph), which was the time used to determine whether or not Krisiloff broke the track record. However, Hunter-Reay actually broke his own track record during the 2002 race with a best lap of 24.609 sec. (150.969 mph), which continues to stand as the one lap record at Milwaukee.

6/2/03

Puerto Rican GP announces sponsors   The Puerto Rico Grand Prix, the 2003 season finale for the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup, announced its title and presenting sponsors Monday, June 2 during a formal presentation at the race’s official hotel, the Caribe Hilton. The race’s title sponsor is the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, while the Municipality of San Juan has been inked as presenting sponsor. Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett was joined at the event by Puerto Rico Grand Prix Promoter Jorge Diaz, Trans-Am Series drivers Jorge Diaz, Jr. and Johnny Miller; and circuit designer Martyn C. Thake. Veteran Trans-Am Series competitor Stu Hayner was also scheduled to appear. “When we began planning this year’s schedule, we wanted to make the season finale a truly special event, and there is no doubt that the Puerto Rico Grand Prix will fit the bill,” said Clagett. “The venue will offer fans an up-close experience with our race cars on an extremely competitive circuit that is sure to pose unique challenges for our competitors. “We have a virtually untapped market in the Caribbean, a part of the world well known for its enthusiastic auto racing fans,” he added. “I guarantee those fans will not go home disappointed.”  Diaz, Jr., who currently leads the Trans-Am Series rookie standings and sits third in the overall Drivers’ Championship, is looking forward to racing in his hometown. "I think that this is the largest auto event in the history of Puerto Rico,” said Diaz. “I think there is going to be a great build up of enthusiasm. Everyone here follows the sport. They have favorite drivers and know a lot of auto racing history. There is a lot of enthusiasm about all of the series and the combination of the Trans-Am Series with SPEED World Challenge is a good fit. “Between Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, we’ll have ten more Trans-Am Series entries,” he added. “We could feasibly have 30 cars, which for the spectator and the sport will be awesome. We have very good drivers, who for the first time will get the chance to race with the best the Trans-Am Series has to offer. It will be a good test for them. No one has an advantage and the race will really determine who’s a driver and who’s not. “Being in a place where Trans-Am Series hasn’t been before will be a big advantage for the sport,” Diaz concluded. “This event will make history on our island and will bring people to the track. You couldn’t be in a better location. The race is in the middle of the largest population center on the island. It will be like having a race in the middle of New York City.”

6/2/03

Waltrip's Dover blunder   Michael Waltrip had this to say after the race at Dover on Sunday - "We started out moving up through the field and felt pretty good about our car early in the game," Waltrip said. "In the middle of the race we were pretty neutral (then why change the car if it is neutral - isn't that where you want it?) and we weren't moving forward anymore. We had to do something, so I asked for an adjustment. Slugger was reluctant to make the change, but because we needed a modification of some sort, he went with me on the change and it made the car push. That mistake shot me back to about 20th. When we finally altered the car and moved up, we didn't have enough time left in the race to make up all the ground we lost." Waltrip continues to stay in the elite mix of drivers eyeing the Winston Cup trophy. Waltrip moved up one position to sixth in the championship standings, closing to 143 points out of second.

6/2/03

Pfizer renews with Martin/Roush   Mark Martin's sponsorship with Pfizer [Viagra] has been extended another two years, according to team officials who had been awaiting word last week from the pharmaceutical company on whether or not it would exercise a bailout option in its contract. When that deadline came and went, with no word from Pfizer executives, the contract was automatically extended. Winston Salem Journal

6/2/03

There was a buzz in the air   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just wanted to mention something I thought was really cool. I could not believe the number of people buying the new Champ Car merchandise, most of which is actually pretty cool looking stuff. Despite the cold weather, there was a buzz in the air. I'd never been to the race in Milwaukee before, but now it's a can't miss event for me!  Good to hear that Helio and Tony weren't hurt at Richmond. It's only a matter of time, though..... Tony Olufson, St. Paul, MN

6/2/03

Did Lazier ruin his career?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Jaques Lazier had a great career going with Sam Schmidt. He was a great outside passer. He was getting top 10's and had a handshake agreement to drive for him after doing so well. Menard stole him from Schmidt. Lazier also reneged on the handshake deal. He went to a team that he has no chemistry and now another American is without a ride. A shame really. Menard should be ashamed of himself, but Lazier also took the big bucks and killed his career.  Sure Schmidt didn't have a team this year, but Lazier was so good that they may have gotten a factory deal had he stayed.... Marco Clark

6/2/03

CART's starting to climb the hill   This Milwaukee Sports Business News article gives a good overview of where CART is, and the positive strides it has made.  One comment that we 101% agree with - "Toward the end of last year, when some people knew they were leaving, all they did was bad-mouth everything we were doing," CART veteran Jim McGee, the general manager of Patrick Racing, said earlier this year. "But walk through the garages [now] and you'll find a completely different atmosphere, totally upbeat. There is a spirit of cooperation that is refreshing. Two things have happened since Chris took over. He got rid of the malcontents and he brought in positive people who believe in helping one another."  We here at AR1 don't have to mention the names of the malcontents.  They know who they are.  They are in the IRL paddock now, spreading their cancer there.

6/2/03

Milwaukee winners and losers   This Milwaukee Sentinel article lists the winners and losers from Saturday night.  Some notable ones - Winners Michel Jourdain, obviously. After 125 starts with a top finish of second, he turned in a convincing performance for his first champ-car victory by leading 233 of the 250 laps, driving smart and avoiding trouble. Give a big assist, too, to Team Rahal, which gave Jourdain a car that was as good as any over the long haul. Jourdain's big night could be the feel-good story of the season.   Paul Tracy, runner-up Oriol Servia and third-place Patrick Carpentier. On a cold night, these three did their best to put on a show for the fans, making gutsy passes and clawing for every position.  The Mile. Some 34,700 race-day tickets were sold, management said, and although the actual crowd was more like 25,000, that was a nice base to build upon. Open-wheel racing is struggling at many domestic venues, but everyone seemed satisfied with the turnout, especially considering the temperature was 46 degrees.  The fans. A few finishing touches are needed on the new $20 million grandstand complex - here's a hint: without better labeling, the 300-level restrooms will remain essentially unisex - but the project was long overdue and greatly appreciated. Darren Manning. The British rookie ran competitively all night, and that's about all you could ask of someone in his first oval race under tricky conditions. Finishing fourth, ahead of veterans Alex Tagliani and Adrian Fernandez, makes the accomplishment more impressive.  Tire supplier Bridgestone. Their product had never raced in such unfavorable conditions, yet performed admirably. Granted, CART's return to high-down force wings helped the cars stick to the track, but nobody could blame the tires - at least not in good conscience - for the accidents that occurred.  Losers - Anyone who thinks the hard work is over or that the new grandstand guarantees success for the Mile. One decent night doesn't pay the debt service on the project, nor does it guarantee that future CART races will make money, that the champ-car circuit will remain viable or that other races will thrive. Promoting races is a tough business these days, especially for those running small racetracks and counting on open-wheel races to help pay the bills.  The work of the CART safety team is normally beyond reproach, and everyone involved appreciates its effort in keeping the drivers safe and the track raceable. But still, the yellow-flag periods lasted longer Saturday night than anyone would have expected. Maybe the cold made the down-time drag. But 10 laps to chase down Tracy's loose wheel? Come on.

6/2/03

What happened to Webber in Monaco?  Another strong qualifying effort went to waste when Mark was an early retiree with that engine air leak.  The team made much of the R4's improvement as Webber and Pizzonia pounded through their pre-race program.  "The team have been working hard to iron out the last of the gremlins," claimed Head of Vehicle Performance Mark Gillan, "and I am more than pleased with the reliability of the R4."  "So far it has been a very solid weekend for the team," confirmed Webber after qualifying ninth ­ where he would have expected, behind the Big Four.  "We certainly weren't looking for any heroics out there," said Webber, "and I just wanted to get the car into the top 10."  In fact he clocked 1:16.237 to be just a quarter of a second away from what he thought was the car's maximum performance, and less than a second off the pole-sitting pace of the Williams.  It all turned pear-shaped within 17 laps.  After Pizzonia stopped with an electrical problem, Webber pitted on lap 14 to top up his engine air supply, rejoined but pulled out three laps later.  "A disappointing way to finish the weekend," he commented, "as there was a lot of promise and I love racing here."  Odd spot: Jaguar spent much of the Monaco weekend milking media attention for the 'Pink Leaping Jaguar'.  Instead of the usual white cat on its car livery, the team used a pink version to celebrate a special jewelry collection and a fancy pink diamond unveiled in Casino Square on Thursday.  "Bringing horsepower and diamond glamor together in a seamless association," said the publicity puff.  Too bad they couldn't come up with a gem of a race!

6/2/03

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6/1/03

De Ferran on Letterman  2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran will be a guest on the David Letterman show Monday night June 2nd.

6/1/03

CART needs to pressure Eurosport   It was great to see the CART night race on British Eurosport, a great finish in the 1 hour highlights but once again CART got shafted. There was a 35 minute delay between the broadcast advertised and it actually coming on air. How can I recommend CART to friends if it never shows at the time slated? Would Eurosport try this trick on Bernie Ecclestone? If they did, surely he'd barbeque their arses on a contractual penalty clause and make sure it never happened again. Come on CART, all races in full even if tape delayed, at the time advertised is the only way forward. Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England

6/1/03

DC paid the price says team boss   Ron Dennis refused to add salt to David Coulthard's wounds after the Scot struggled home in today's Monaco Grand Prix.  The 32-year-old veteran could manage only 7th in his McLaren Mercedes and finished some 40 seconds adrift of 2nd-placed teammate Kimi Raikkonen.  Dennis, McLaren CEO, branded Coulthard's driving 'unacceptable' after failing to find a balance and making multiple mistakes in Austria a fortnight ago.  Now, he adds: 'I think he's disappointed with his own performance, so doesn't need me to put any more pressure on.'  Speculation in the Monte-Carlo paddock this weekend is that Coulthard's eight-year tenure at Woking might end ahead of 2004.  Dennis concluded of Coulthard's Monaco form: 'He didn't qualify well and paid the price through the weekend.'

6/1/03

Shoot-out to stay for now   Formula One won't scrap the new one-lap qualifying format before it's seen at least a full racing season.  FIA chief Max Mosley rejected a claim made by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone this weekend that the 'horrible' system is set for the immediate chop.   But Mosley refused to rule out a new system for 2004.   'Next season ... you can never say never,' the Englishman said. 'But at the moment there is not a clear proposal which is obviously better than what we've got now.'   Ecclestone said in Monaco that a good compromise would be to run the old 60-minute 'free for all' qualifying before a further top 10 shoot-out.

6/1/03

Button okay for Canada   Jenson Button says he has emerged from the biggest crash of his career with no fear.   'It doesn't scare me at all, which is great,' the BAR driver said in Monaco this afternoon.   Instead of being kitted up and ready to race at 2pm, the 23-year-old Briton was little more than a spectator after being ordered to stand down on medical advice.   The impact, which ended in a barrier in the run from Monte-Carlo's tunnel on Saturday, knocked Button unconscious and left him with a mild concussion.   He said: 'I'm looking forward to getting back in the car but I also don't want to be silly about it.'   Button is scheduled to test at the high-speed Monza circuit next week, but he isn't sure if he'll be able to fulfill that commitment.  'I'll definitely be in Canada, though, 100 percent,' he added of the next F1 event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

6/1/03

Michael blames Bridgestone   Michael Schumacher blamed Bridgestone, not Ferrari, after failing to win his sixth Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.  The German ace, five times world champion, explained that following the Michelin-shod Williams and McLaren cars home had 'nothing to do' with the F2003-GA.   'Probably it is fair to say that, on the tire side, we didn't look too good this weekend,' he said.   'If you look at our pace we were not far off but we were not in front and I would put that down to the tires.'   Ferrari chief Jean Todt agreed that Schumacher's second stint was completed at a less than satisfactory pace 'because the car-tire package was not working at its best.'   The Frenchman added: 'We will have to work very hard with Bridgestone in the next few weeks on the tires.'

6/1/03

McLaren slams Villeneuve   McLaren accused Jacques Villeneuve of ruining Kimi Raikkonen's chance of victory in today's Monaco Grand Prix. Team CEO Ron Dennis said the BAR driver held up eventual second-place finisher Raikkonen as he was lining up to be lapped.  'I feel a bit disappointed,' said Dennis in Monte-Carlo.  'I think Jacques Villeneuve was very slow in letting Kimi pass at a time when it was critical to the race.'   Dennis adds that the marshals didn't wave blue flags for over a lap but it then took Villeneuve 'several corners' before he was ready to cede track position.   'That really cost us the race win,' Dennis noted, pointing out that his Finnish driving ace only lost the race by six tenths of a second.   'If he hadn't had the traffic he would have emerged ahead of [Juan Pablo] Montoya after his next stop,' he said. 'It's Monaco, but it's frustrating.'

6/1/03

Montoya and his BMW   Juan Pablo Montoya worked hard for his second win at the pinnacle of motorsports earlier today.   BMW-Williams technical director Patrick Head said the team identified a problem on the Colombian's BMW engine whilst he led in Monte-Carlo on Sunday.  'We had warnings on the telemetric data about a problem,' Head said, 'so we asked him to turn the wick down a bit.  'That made him have to work a bit harder.'  Montoya's P83 BMW powerplant expired whilst he led at Austria a fortnight ago.   The street victory was Williams' first since 1983 in the Principality, which - according to Head - feels like a 'hell of a long time! 'But I'm most pleased for us because we've under-performed so far this season and I hope we can go on from here and participate a bit more.'  Williams' other racer, Ralf Schumacher, earned pole position on Saturday but faded with a chassis imbalance in the 61st Monaco GP.

6/1/03

Questioning Milwaukee crowd   A reader writes, Dear AR1, how can CART announce an attendance of 34,700 at Milwaukee when it was clear the 44,000 seat grandstands were not 75% full.  Mark Green, Houston, TX  Dear Mark, There were a fair amount of people in the infield and a lot of people who stayed down behind the grandstands most of the race to keep warm from the cold winds up in the grandstands.  We were also told that many people were no-shows because of the frigid weather.  Our best estimate is about 25,000 to 28,000, though they may have indeed sold 34,700 tickets that was announced.  We suspect some were giveaways to non-race fans who did not bother to come out since it was so cold.  Given open wheel racing on ovals is all but dead in the USA (NASCAR rules the ovals) it was a significant improvement over last year's CART attendance at Milwaukee and the crowd on hand was really into the race and the fireworks that proceeded it.  Many fans were wearing CART jackets, indicating many hard-core CART fans were there and braved the cold weather. One has to question whether CART is pushing their luck running a night race in Milwaukee this time of year.  It has been cold there the past three years, even in the daylight.  August would be a much better time of year for a night race in Milwaukee, on the front end or tail end of the State Fair held there.  We spoke to CART President Chris Pook after the race who predicted CART would sell the race out next year.  We shall see.  Mark C.

6/1/03

More on Mosley warns manufacturers   FIA President Max Mosley has once again warned that F1 risks losing teams as manufacturers continue to claim that his new regulations regarding engine packages are not feasible. Talking in Monaco Toyota boss Ove Andersson revealed that his company would be willing to supply engine packages for independent teams but not in 2004 - which is when the FIA wants to implement the scheme - and not for the proposed $10m price tag. Talking in Monaco the FIA President made it clear that if F1 is to continue with all the current ten teams, not to mention the hope of attracting new teams, the sport's governing body will have to stand firm. "Our position is that we would like to have the engines inexpensive but if they are not going to be forthcoming there is no reason not to insist on the banning of traction control," he told reporters in Monaco ahead of today's Grand Prix. "If something is not done quickly then it would be very surprising if we have got all 10 teams at the beginning of next season," he added. "If they don't help the small teams," he continued, referring to the manufacturers, "the small teams will disappear. "If the small teams disappear, the big teams will have to run three cars, for four teams to run three cars will cost a fortune, far more than a few million dollars. "There is only one car manufacturer in Europe making money at the moment," he continued, "and here nobody seems to take any notice. Every year there's a bigger motor home, a bigger jet, more money is spent and it's not realistic. "Sooner or later the realities of business, of economic life have got to get into the Formula One paddock," he warned, "It would be good if we could do it in a painless way and not a very painful one."

6/1/03

Bourdais to replace Junqueira   Bruno Junqueira was supposed to test for the Newman Haas team this week at Mid-Ohio.  However, due to the soreness in his neck from his crash at Milwaukee Saturday night, AR1 is hearing that his teammate, Sebastien Bourdais will likely take his place.  Bourdais was supposed to be there to observe anyway.

6/1/03

In-fighting over race dates continues   This ESPN.com article says, Reports that California Speedway will receive a second Winston Cup date in 2004 have created a ripple effect being felt from Darlington to Dallas. While the official 2004 schedule is yet to be released, ESPN.com reported two weeks ago that it is believed three International Speedway Corporation (ISC) tracks will shuffle dates among themselves. It is expected that Rockingham will lose its Fall date, Darlington's Southern 500 will be shifted into it's slot and the Winston Cup Series will spend Labor Day weekend just outside L.A. Darlington has hosted the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend since 1950. Consequently, many fans are miffed at the report and prospect of sacrificing tradition for the sake of growth. But their reaction pales in comparison to that of Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), which has been lobbying for a second date for years and has repeatedly been denied. "Certainly ISC has the right, we believe, to move races within its own company," said TMS President, Eddie Gossage. "But it begs the question more than ever, why is it that they can find and create dates out of thin air for California, Kansas, Chicagoland, Homestead, etc.?"   Gossage believes he knows the answer to his own question. "Why? Well I think there's only one reason why, that's because NASCAR owns those race tracks," said Gossage. Technically, ISC owns the racetracks, not NASCAR. They are separate entities but the degree of separation has been the center of debate for some time. At issue is the perception that there exists a conflict of interest between ISC and the sanctioning body, which are both controlled by the France family. It appears to be Gossage's belief and is the partial basis of a lawsuit filed by Frances Ferko, a shareholder of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated -- the corporation which owns TMS.   Texas Motor Speedway has wanted a second Cup race for some time. "I can understand (Gossage's) perception and am well aware of (Texas') position, but right now all of that is in litigation so we'll let the court's decide that," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President of Communications. "All we've ever asked for is to be treated like equals," Gossage added. "You know, it's one of those things where you have to say, 'is (adding a second California race) in the best interest of the sponsors and teams being granted?' And I've got to say no. And I think any objective person looking solely at numbers would say, 'no that's not serving the best of interests.'" The numbers Gossage bases his argument around are primarily seating capacity and purse money. According to track estimations, more than 200,000 spectators attended the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 in March versus 120,000 who attended the Auto Club 500 in California last month. By further comparison, Texas' total payout was $6,047,759 while California's was $4,940,261. "I would hope if California gets a race that it pays a purse," asserts Gossage. "I mean, the purse they're paying right now, I mean they opened the same year Texas did (1997) and they're only paying a percentage of the purse they pay in Texas, why is that?" Gossage describes the current relationship between NASCAR and TMS as "contentious" and believes that purse money isn't the only area where Texas pays more. "I'd sure like to see what the sanctioning fee is (for California Speedway). That dirty little secret that nobody can talk about," added Gossage. "We know our sanctioning fee, we believe from talking to others in the industry that our sanctioning fee is many times higher than anybody else's in the sport." Citing a confidentiality agreement, Gossage refused to reveal details of the current TMS/NASCAR sanctioning contract.

6/1/03

JV & JB   Jacques Villeneuve isn't as hard on BAR teammate Jenson Button as his media image portrays. The 31-year-old Canadian, who once said he had no respect for Jenson, sat by his hospital bedside as he recovered from a 290k/h Monaco crash on Saturday evening. Team chief David Richards said: 'He's come around very well with Jacques at his bedside, keeping him company.'

6/1/03

Williams aim for win  BMW-Williams would love to end a 20-year drought of Monaco wins this afternoon. Sir Frank's ranks haven't tasted glory in the Principality since 1983, but team racer Ralf Schumacher has pole position some twenty years later. 'I have been disappointed many times here over the last few years,' said tech director Patrick Head, 'I hope I will not be looking too grumpy tomorrow afternoon.'

6/1/03

Button to miss Monaco  Following a heavy crash in yesterday’s free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, B.A.R confirmed that Jenson Button was discharged from the hospital this morning. Despite feeling slightly stiff and sore, he has not suffered any long-term physical effects. B.A.R has taken the advice from the doctors at the Princess Grace hospital in Monaco and the FIA’s Medical Delegate, Professor Sid Watkins, and despite Jenson’s insistence that he is fit enough to race, the team have decided to withdraw him. Team Principal David Richards commented: "Whilst Jenson and the team are extremely disappointed that he will not compete today, we feel we have made the correct decision for his long-term well-being. He is already looking forward to testing at Monza next week and the Canadian Grand Prix in two week’s time."

6/1/03

Concerns over cold tires prove unfounded  Concerns over tire performance in the chilly Milwaukee evening proved unfounded.  Tonight's race marked the coldest temperatures the Bridgestone/Firestone motorsports program has faced since it entered Championship Auto Racing Teams competition in 1995, yet the tires were more than up to the challenge. Time after time on restarts and following pit stops, the drivers were able to get their Bridgestone Potenza race tires up to proper temperature and pressure quickly - despite track temperatures that dipped to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) by the end of the race. The Potenzas drew rave reviews for their performance.  "The tires were just perfect," Jourdain said. "On cold tires, that was the concern, but they were just perfect. And they lasted perfect the whole stint. The engineers from Bridgestone told us to be careful on cold tires, but they build a much better tire than even they think they do."  "Michel went hard right from the first lap," said Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal. "I was worried the way I saw him go into turn one. I thought if he gets through there, they (the Bridgestone tires) are pretty good, and they did a great job. The tires were super."  "Everybody was so worried about cold temperatures and the tires were fine," said second-place Oriol Servia of Visteon/Patrick Racing. "Even going out of the pits on cold tires, the first turn was a little slippery, but by the next turn they were already almost there. It was very progressive. I'm very impressed with the Bridgestones."  Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Tonight posed another special challenge for the Bridgestone Potenzas. The temperatures were colder than we expected; the coldest that we've ever raced on in Champ Car competition. While it was a challenge for everyone, the cars at the front put on some incredible racing. Congratulations to Michel Jourdain and Team Rahal; they've been loyal members of our racing team for some time now and we're happy to see them in victory circle. Michel was hooked up all night and never seemed hampered by the cool temperatures or anything else."

5/31/03

Leo Maia wins Barber Dodge Pro race  Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took his second Barber Dodge Pro Series win of the season after passing pole sitter Victor Gonzalez in the closing stages of the 60-lap race on the famed Milwaukee Mile. The race had only one yellow flag, demonstrating how well the young field acclimated itself to oval racing despite it being the first oval experience for most of the racers. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, made a last lap pass to take third place from Houston, Texas, native Chris Baker, who crossed the finish line in fourth ahead of Kihei, Hawaii's Burt Frisselle, who came home in fifth. Antoine Bessette of St. Brun, Quebec, finished sixth ahead of fellow Canadian Dan Di Leo. German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico took eighth place, with round two winner David Martinez finishing in ninth. Colin Fleming fought his way into the top ten after starting the race from the fifteenth position. Leo Maia came into the Milwaukee round with a ten-point margin over Memo Rojas in the championship points standings, and the victory grows Maia's lead to sixteen points over Rojas. Like many of the drivers in the field, the oval race was Maia's first ever, and the young racer clearly relished his experience in Milwaukee. "I had to be patient behind Victor nearly the whole race," said Maia. "He did a good job on the start, and then again I couldn't get by him on the restart, so I had to wait for traffic to come into play near the end, and it did. I was able to get a good run on him, and then we ran side by side for almost the whole lap, and I finally finished the pass. Once I got by, I also got some lapped cars between us, so I knew I had a buffer to the finish. I'm really excited to take this win, and looking forward to getting to Laguna." Victor Gonzalez had raced on ovals previously with the Barber Dodge Pro Series, at Chicago and Nazareth, and his experience paid off as he led the majority of the race, but just came up short in the end. The second place finish is Gonzalez's first visit to the podium and his best career finish in the Pro Series. "I have to congratulate Leo on a great race," said Gonzalez. "It was a lot of fun racing side-by side the whole way around the track like we did. I knew I could trust racing with him. I just wish I had come out on top. I am still very satisfied with this weekend, and with this result, now I am looking forward to getting him in Laguna.

PS/PS/#/DRIVER/HOMETOWN/PTS/PURSE/LP/STATUS
1/2/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./Gatorz Eyewear; Pit Bull; Soy Tech.; RDD Int'l/20/$13,000/60/Running
2/1/95/Victor Gonzalez/Hato Rey, Puerto Rico/Gencoat; Gonzalez Assoc; Kartway; VG Speed/17/$8,750/60/Running
3/8/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/TELMEX; Quaker State.; Canel's; Ericcson; LNB/14/$6,500/60/Running
4/4/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/RABCO/12/$4,500/60/Running
5/6/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/Rapid 2 Way; Ventura Travel; Axcel Graphics/11/$2,500/60/Running
6/5/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/Elan International; Groupe Bessette 10/$1,500 /60/Running
7/9/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/Select Auto Collision; FY2F2 Communications/9/$1,250/60/Running
8/11/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/GIGANTE; Mikels; Sante; Offic/8/$1,250/60/Running
9/14/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/Herdez; Aviacsa/7/$1,250 /60/Running/
10/15/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./Dodge; TenFold; King Taco; Sparco/6/$1,250/60/Running
11/7/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/DAC Aviation; Stelvio, Inc.; NoFear/6/$1,000/60/Running
12/16/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/Michelin; Rally Stores/4/$1,000/60/Running
13/3/14/David Wieringa/Chicago, Illinios/Car Quest; Keller's Custom Concepts 3/$1,000/60/Running
14/17/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/200+; Med Test; Oakley; Simpson/2/$1,000/60/Running
15/10/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/Lease Plan; FFSA/1/$1,000/59/Running
16/20/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/TELMEX; Intel; Quaker State.; Canel's; Ericcson; LNB/$750/59/Running
17/18/71/Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill, New Jersey/Cherry Hill Classic Cars/$750/59/Running
18/19/12/"Racer" Kashima/Tokyo, Japan/Arai; A'PEX; STRONG-S; Transmission Co. Ltd./$750/59/Running
19/12/34/Mike Richardson/Kelowna, B.C., Canada/Richardson Mechanical; WTF Solutions; Top Five/$750/1/Contact
20/13/57/Steve Welk/Franklin, Wisconsin/Welk Auto; Badger Land; Urban Arborist; Starr; Lakefront/$750/1/Contact

5/31/03
F3000

Arden team has mixed day in Monaco  Townsend Bell had a great run to sixth place in the most prestigious F3000 race of the year at Monte Carlo, but it was a personal nightmare for Arden teammate Bjorn Wirdheim, who gave away a certain victory in the last 200 yards of the race. The Swede made one of the oldest mistakes in motor racing when he misjudged the location of the start/finish line. While slowing to acknowledge his celebrating team on the pit wall he was passed by Dane Nick Kiesa, who suddenly realized that the checkered flag was waving some way down the road! Wirdheim had made a great start from pole, and had opened up a huge advantage in the first two-thirds of the race. A safety car interlude closed the field up, but on the restart he maintained his lead and never put a foot wrong before his bizarre error of judgment. By the time both he and the team realized his mistake it was too late, and Kiesa had swept past. As ever Monaco was a dramatic afternoon. Initially Riccardo Sperafico and Giorgio Pantano led the chase, until Pantano forced his way by. Sperafico then stopped for new tires. Later Italians Enrico Toccacelo and Vitantonio Liuzzi had a huge accident at the entry to Casino Square while battling for third, the incident bringing out the safety car. Later Sperafico eased Pantano off the road while trying to unlap himself – he subsequently received a black flag! While all this carnage was unfolding Townsend drove a steady race, gradually edging his way up the order. He was helped when five of his rivals were given drive thru penalties for cutting Ste Devote corner at the start, the right hand barrier having been replaced by a painted white line. Bell didn’t put a foot wrong, and sixth was a worthy reward for his tenacious performance. Townsend was pleased with his afternoon’s work: “After the Friday we had, the worst thing I could do was do something stupid and put it in the fence early on. I just kind of chilled on the first couple of laps, because I had only done a few prior to today, because I shunted in qualifying. The first few laps I was figuring out which way to turn around here. Once I was able to follow some cars and learn the track we clicked off some reasonable laps. I passed a couple of guys with a banzai move, and it came off. It was a weird race, and lots of people fell off in front of me, which always helps. It’s nice to have the car go home in one piece and get a few points. I can think about it and keep learning. It’ll come together. It’s hard not knowing the tracks and the tires and everything, but it’s starting to come around.” Arden team boss admitted it was a case of mixed emotions: “Bjorn used his head all afternoon and unfortunately in the last 100 meters obviously got confused about where the checkered flag was. It’s a great shame. It was difficult to see what was happening, and there was nothing we could do by the time we realized. He was the class of the field and was a second a lap quicker than the rest, but at least he does have an 18 points lead. Townsend did exactly what he was told to do. I told him that it would be a game of patience and he’d be looking at gearboxes all day. When he got fresh air he was actually very quick. He made a mistake yesterday in qualifying and it was a mistake for Bjorn today!”
1. Nick Kiesa 1h09m21.483s
2. Bjorn Wirdheim (- 0.985s)
3. Raffaele Giammaria (– 3.353s)
4. Jaroslav Janis (- 3.845s)
5. Zsolt Baumgartner (- 4.550s)
6. Townsend Bell (– 5.354s)
7. Yannick Schroeder (– 15.858s)
8. Jeff van Hooydonk (– 16.835s)
9. Bernhard Auinger (– 1 lap)
10. William Langhorne (– 2 laps)
Ret: Derek Hill (disqualified)
Ret: Phil Giebler (spin)

5/30/03

Dalziel nips Krisiloff at Milwaukee  In his 15th career start in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Discovery Lake/Daily Record Newspaper) claimed his first career Toyota Atlantic victory by 0.339 seconds over second-year competitor Kyle Krisiloff (#31 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One) in the Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite (SPEED Channel, June 1, 9 p.m. ET). After starting from the pole position based on practice speed due to Friday's qualifying rainout, Dalziel got the jump on the field heading into the first turn, and held off a hard-charging Krisiloff throughout the race to get the win. The victory for Dalziel eclipsed his previous career best finish of second, which he achieved at Monterrey and Denver in 2002, and was also the first win for Sierra Sierra Enterprises. The win came in the team's sixth start in Toyota Atlantic. At the start of the race, Canadian Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) attempted to pass rookie Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) on the inside of Turn 1 and the car lost traction and did a full 360-degree spin. Valiante did not make contact with any barriers and the other cars managed to avoid Valiante's spinning car, but the first two laps were run under caution.

5/31/03

Menard announces Meira  After a strong finish of 12th place in his first Indianapolis 500 last week, Vitor Meira will drive the No. 2 Johns Manville/Team Menard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entry in the remaining races of the 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. "Vitor has continued to impress us with his patience and determination," team owner John Menard said. "We put him to the test at Indy and he passed with flying colors. We want to give him a chance to gain experience on all the ovals we visit in the IndyCar series to prepare for what I hope will be a championship effort next season." Meira, 26, has traveled with Team Menard this year as a test driver. With only three days of practice during the month of May, he started 26th for the Indianapolis 500 on bump day as the fastest Chevrolet-powered qualifier. Meira heads to the Texas Motor Speedway next week, where he won the pole and finished third at the IndyCar Series season finale last September. "Texas Motor Speedway will be the first time in the IndyCar Series where I am going to a track where I have already raced," Meira said. "It is
very exciting, with a lot of side-by-side racing and drafting. We have a good baseline for that track. I am really looking forward to driving the Johns Manville/Team Menard car again. I want to thank John and the team for the opportunity."

5/31/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  UPDATED

'Stoddart Slams McLaren, Williams
Williams Sign New Sponsor
Toyota Won't Join GPWC
Toyota Cool On $10m Plan
Ferrari Boss Slams System
Jacques Responds To Jenson

Mosley Warns Manufacturers
Button Emerges From Mammoth Shunt
Seats Unfilled At Monaco
Schu Offered Higher Salary
Belgium To Return: FIA Chief
One-Lap Qualifying To Get Chop
Cash Injection For Struggling Minardi
Button Wanted To Qualify
No More Than 17, Says Mosley
Bernie Slams 'Sleeping' Teams
Button's Mettle Tested

5/31/03

Richards admits to legal woes  According to this Sporting Life article, BAR boss David Richards admitted on Saturday there was a chance his team will be unable to race in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix after confirming a court order had been obtained to seize their cars. Richards said that France Corbeil, part of a company called SAM Partnership Production Group International, had obtained a court order in Monaco over money allegedly owed from a commission involving a former team sponsor, Teleglobe. The dispute stretches back five years - before Richards replaced Craig Pollock as team principal - although the current management team were only made aware of it earlier this year when they received the demand for commission. "There is a chance we will not race," said Richards. "BAR believes Corbeil's claim to be baseless and when it was first presented to the Monaco court several weeks ago it was rejected." Corbeil has not been allowed into the Formula One paddock to serve the writ but could have the opportunity when the teams take to the grid for tomorrow's race on the streets of Monte Carlo. He is understood to have hired a security company. The team added in a statement: "The claim was re-presented with additional information on Wednesday afternoon, just prior to a national holiday weekend when all the courts are closed. "As a result, the team were not made aware of the action and did not have any opportunity to respond, therefore Judge Philippe Narmino granted Corbeil a seizure order in a private capacity, i.e without the assistance of the court or the police. "BAR is confident that, when it has the opportunity to present the situation to the courts on Monday morning, the seizure order will be lifted immediately. "BAR is also seeking legal advice from its lawyers regarding possible actions against France Corbeil for defamation/commercial slander."

5/31/03

Button to hospital after 180 MPH crash  UPDATE Jenson Button has been kept in the hospital overnight following his crash in Saturday morning practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, his BAR-Honda team said. BAR said in a statement: "The team is relieved to confirm that he has not sustained any physical injuries, however, he is suffering from slight nausea, which is understandable given the severity of the accident. "The team will seek medical advice tomorrow (Sunday) morning as to whether Jenson is fit to take part in the race." "But quite clearly after an accident of that magnitude he needs to rest and have a quiet couple of hours and an early night tonight and we'll put him through some sort of physio program tomorrow morning. "Hopefully he will be fit for the race. I don't think we will make the decision before midday tomorrow and obviously there will be certain milestones on the route to that. "But by midday tomorrow we should have a pretty good idea of how he is going to be." Richards admitted it was probably the biggest accident Button has been involved in, but insisted the talented young Briton will not be heavily affected by the crash. "He is still only 23 years old and he will come back fighting," Richards said. "He is fine. He is sitting up, joking, making phone calls and behaving as normal. "He is his normal self again. So, of course, he is feeling good, but he knows he needs to take a quiet time now. "He banged his right knee and his left ankle and his right arm is stiff. I am sure he will feel stiff tomorrow morning. It's a shame -- he was in such good form. But don't worry its only short term."   5/31/03 - Jenson Button was put on a stretcher and taken away after suffering a massive 180mph shunt at the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo today. The 23-year-old bounced off two guardrails before smashing sideways into a third metal barrier on the fastest part of the street circuit during final practice. Button was stuck in the cockpit of his badly-damaged BAR-Honda car for several minutes as Formula One's chief medic Professor Sid Watkins rushed to the scene. The Monaco-based driver was eventually put onto a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance and his participation in today's qualifying session or tomorrow's race is now in doubt.  Initial reports from medical personnel indicate that Jenson Button has suffered no serious injury as a result of his high-speed crash, but he will not qualify.  Although the Englishman was uninjured in the crash, he was still not feeling very well and it was decided that he should stay in the Princess Grace Hospital Centre for the rest of the day. The team will decide on Sunday morning whether it will go to ask the FIA stewards if Jenson can start the race from the back of the grid.

5/31/03
F3000

What really happened to Giebler in Monaco  Just so everyone knows what happened to Phil today at Monaco...He spun on lap one of the race, due to his arm locking up on him. He banged it up in his visit to the wall yesterday and where it was giving him problems through the night...he said he felt good enough to drive this morning. After the first few turns it began to throb a bit and became stiff....this was the reason for his dropping back after the start. Since he had done no laps at speed since yesterday's impact, he had no idea of what was happening to him (F3000 has no morning warm up session, prior to the race). Phil said that as he was entering the turn his left arm simply froze up, stopped working and he spun. He went on to say that it was "scary as hell" as it was a forth gear turn and he was in so much pain he couldn't think straight. He went to the track hospital and was told after X-rays that he had done tendon damage to his upper left arm and that a massive spasm had occurred while the arm was under excessive load. Due to constant shifting at Monaco, you do most of your driving with your left arm. He went on to say that his arm feels like it has been beaten by a baseball bat, has little strength and is numb, but otherwise he feels OK and very disappointed. He was told by the doctor that he needs to not use his arm for a few days, rest and stay put. He'll remain in the city until Tuesday.

5/31/03

More on Davis and Dodge  Dodge has no immediate plans to expand the number of factory-backed Winston Cup programs, despite cutting ties last week to Bill Davis Racing. "Something like that would not come as a direct, hasty response to what has occurred," said Todd Goyer, manager of Dodge Motorsports. "I can't say what will happen down the road, however." Last week, Dodge severed its contract to provide factory support to BDR's Winston Cup teams with drivers Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace. The manufacturer would not comment on the specific reason for its move, with Goyer saying only that BDR's actions were "intolerable." Speculation in the Winston Cup garage Friday was BDR was involved with Toyota and its plans to enter the NASCAR Truck series next season. Goyer would not directly respond to that issue, saying instead: "As a hypothetical question, it's safe to say if a Dodge team was working with another manufacturer, we would have concerns." BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Dodges for Ken Schrader, hopes to pick up some of the backing previously directed to BDR. BAM currently receives little factory support from Dodge. "The Dodge people know what their plans are for the rest of the year. Anything they can do for us, the gratitude would certainly be unlimited," said Eddie Jones, BAM's general manager. "They are already doing the things for us they can. They had a limited number of contracts and we weren't one of them. But they have been doing everything they could because they have seen our loyalty to the brand." Although it has no full-time primary sponsor, BAM has entered every race this season and has used Dodges since it began a part-time schedule last season. BDR officials again Friday declined to comment on the situation. ThatsRacin.com

5/31/03

Seen in Milwaukee - III  Chris Pook, Mario Andretti, Gerald Forsythe and other key figures that others were speculating were not here.

5/31/03

Monaco not a sellout  Monaco Grand Prix organizers are hoping for a late rush of Formula One fans after slow ticket sales for this year's showcase race. Seats for Sunday remained available on Friday at most prices, for what has long been billed as the social highlight of the motor racing season. Jean Claude Riccoboni of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) said 10 percent of the 25,000 seats and 12,000 standing positions remained unsold in the face of what he estimated to be the weakest demand for a decade. "Last year we sold out faster than any other year," said Riccoboni. "We sold all the Sunday tickets one or two months before the race. People now are waiting to the last minute."

5/31/03
F3000

Kiesa wins messy Monaco F3000 race  Nicolas Kiesa has won an action-packed race around the streets of Monte Carlo, but it was a mixture of luck and attrition which gave him the ten points. Sweden's Bjorn Wirdheim, starting from pole position, beat Ricardo Sperafico to the first corner, while behind them Enrico Toccacelo passed Vitantonio Liuzzi for fourth place. Wirdheim quickly pulled away from the battle for second unfolding in his mirrors between Giorgio Pantano and Ricardo Sperafico. By the half-way point of the race when Sperafico eventually lost the place between La Rascasse and Anthony Noghes, the Arden was 18 seconds ahead. With Pantano passed, Sperafico lost another place to Toccacelo before pulling into the pit lane. The first retirement had come after just one lap. American Phil Giebler spinning, but without coming into contact with any other cars. Countryman Derek Hill was another spinner, his race ended after being black-flagged for getting the marshals to help restart his car. He'd already been given a penalty for cutting the corner at Ste Devote on the first lap. With 18 laps to go, the Astromega of Tony Schmidt retired, having already made a pit-stop. While at the front a new battle for third was developing between Toccacelo and Liuzzi. Toccacelo was given a drive-through penalty for cutting the chicane while overtaking a backmarker, but crashed with Liuzzi before he reached the pit lane. That brought out the safety car, closing Wirdheim's lead over Pantano, and Kiesa, now in third. Neither driver was seriously injured in the crash, although Liuzzi limped away, and the race was restarted with eight laps remaining. Wirdheim started to pull away with Pantano battling Sperafico, who had rejoined several laps down. But the Durango driver's race ended when Sperafico crashed into him, then unlapped himself from Wirdheim. The Brazilian was black flagged. A race of controversy ended in farce when Wirdheim pulled over to the pit wall to celebrate victory with his mechanics, but slowed down too early and was passed on the line by Kiesa. Raffaele Giammaria finished third.  Source F-3000.net

5/31/03

USA open wheel "oval" racing in ruin  Some of the USAC short track drivers still wear their Road to Indy hats, which we find comical given the road to Indy is through the road courses of South America, the USA and Europe.  Attendance at IRL races, the USA's top form of oval track racing, continues to drop.  Now comes word (from the Las Vegas Sun) the World of Outlaws is in a world of hurt but it does not appear that Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith is going to be riding to the rescue. The popular winged sprint-car series is in a financial crisis, according to sources, and the only way out for WoO founder and president Ted Johnson may be to sell. World of Outlaws Inc. is being sued for more than $500,000 by a Charlotte, N.C.-based television production company and published reports have indicated that the organization is more than $1.5 million in debt. WoO had some of its assets seized, including a souvenir rig and pace truck, last Saturday night in conjunction with the lawsuit. Smith, whose holdings include Las Vegas Motor Speedway, has been mentioned as a potential buyer for the struggling series, which races at three dirt tracks he owns. But Smith was very low-key about his interest in the series when reached Thursday at his Charlotte office. "No, I think we have plenty of other things going on," Smith said when asked if he was interested in buying the World of Outlaws Series. "I don't know what Ted is doing or not doing, I really don't -- I'm not keeping up with it." Smith acknowledged that he had conversations with Johnson "a couple of years ago" about purchasing the series but would not say whether he would contact Johnson in the near future. "I always wish Ted the very best," Smith said. "I think he's got a good thing going there. I think he runs too many races but other than that, everything's fine.  The creation of the IRL and the fracturing of the open wheel fan base in the USA appears to have created a trickle down negative effect right through the grassroots of open wheel oval track racing.  NASCAR is now king of the ovals, from the grassroots level all the way to the top.  Again, the split has severely damaged the sport of open wheel racing in the USA, apparently irreversible, and we want to know if the people responsible are going to be held accountable.  Mark C.

5/31/03

Final Indy 500 TV ratings down 4.2%, gets beat by NASCAR again  The final TV rating for this year's Indy 500 on ABC came in at a 4.6/14 share, down from a 4.8 rating last year, and down significantly since CART last raced at Indy in 1995 (10.9 rating back then).  The Coca-Cola 600 on FOX scored a 4.7 rating and 11 share. These results beat ABC’s Indianapolis 500 for the second straight year. MotorsportsTV.com reports that the Coca-Cola 600 beat Indy handily in the key demos: by 50 percent in M18-34 (3.3 vs. 2.2), by 42 percent in M18-49 (4.4 vs. 3.1), and with a 38 percent margin in M25-54 (5.1 vs. 3.7). The Coca-Cola 600 reached 5,055,000 households and 8,042,000 people, according to Nielsen Media Research. Indy had 4,892,000 households and 6,723,000 people.  The IRL has the majority of CART's best teams and drivers, as well as Honda and Toyota now spending huge sums of money to try and resurrect Indy Car racing. It's too late, the split has severely damaged the sport, apparently irreversible, and we want to know if the people responsible are going to be held accountable.  If IMS and the IRL were properly run corporations, heads would roll.  Mark C.

5/31/03

Cold Milwaukee weather will separate men from boys  UPDATE "A lot of it depends on the time," Bridgestone's Joe Barbieri said. "If it's 45 degrees at 8 o'clock (the scheduled start time), there's going to be a lot of discussions going on. If it's not going to hit 45 until 10, we'll just go racing. "We just have to wait (until) we get there. Ultimately, it's CART's call and it's up to the drivers to adjust. Some guys have been known to go a little brain dead even when it's warm."  One thing's for sure, if CART has to postpone this race because of cold temperatures, knowing full well that for night races tire warmers could be legalized, it will be another Texas fiasco, something we thought was behind CART since Chris Pook took over.  CART has mandated a 59-lap pit window, hoping to keep the race from turning into a battle of fuel mileage.  5/30/03 - With forecast lows of 40 degrees, the pit out laps will be critical tomorrow night says Paul Tracy.  "It will separate the men from the boys.  That is where valuable seconds will be gained or lost.  The Bridgestone tire is pretty sticky so I think we will be OK, even with the cold temperatures, but you must be careful until the tire reaches full temperature." Mark C.

5/31/03

Ferrari thinks fuel load an issue  Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were less than happy with their performance in this afternoon’s qualifying session. The reigning world champion will start from the third row in fifth place, with his Brazilian team-mate lining up behind him in seventh spot. Both men felt they had driven good clean laps, but today the cars did not deliver the speed required. While Schumacher felt that this was possibly due to the tires not performing so well over a single lap because of the extra rubber on the track surface, compared with Thursday, the main unknown factor about the meaning of the grid positions is down to fuel. If the cars higher up the grid than the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro duo achieved their times in part thanks to a lighter fuel load, then theoretically, Michael and Rubens will be able to run a longer first stint in the race, which would be an advantage. The truth will only emerge when the cars make their first pit stops tomorrow. While this was the Scuderia’s worst qualifying performance of the season so far, there was still a Schumacher on pole, as the fastest lap was set by the BMW-Williams of Ralf Schumacher. It was his first pole of the season, the second of his career. It was a closely fought contest, with Kimi Raikkonen second for McLaren-Mercedes, just 36 thousandths of a second slower. The Finnish driver is the meat in a BMW-Williams sandwich as Juan Pablo Montoya starts from third. Alongside him is the Renault of Jarno Trulli. Next to Michael on row three is the second McLaren-Mercedes of David Coulthard, while Rubens has the Renault of Fernando Alonso with him on row four in eighth place. The top ten was completed by Mark Webber, ninth for Jaguar and Cristiano da Matta tenth for Toyota. Michael and Rubens are the only Bridgestone runners in the top ten, but both men expressed confidence in their tire choice for tomorrow’s 78 lap contest in the 61st Monaco Grand Prix, the fiftieth in the World Championship.

5/31/03

Mosley predicts end to F1 dispute in weeks  FIA President Max Mosley predicted in Monaco today that a long running dispute over the future ownership of Formula One is close to being settled, but warned that the sport still needed to look closely at its financial condition to avoid other problems.  "Everybody concerned with the negotiations between Bernie, the banks, the manufacturers and the teams all say they are close to an agreement and I think that is probably true," said Mosley. "I don't know the details, and really I am a bit out of it, as it is up to them and is a commercial matter, but I believe they are close to an agreement. It is hard to say how long until then, as a lot of people are involved, and a lot of lawyers, and a lot of accountants. I think that once they have agreed in principle it should be quick. Just a matter of weeks." Mosley added that he felt it was not sensible to have two championships with five leading manufacturers involved in the sport threatening to create a breakaway series. "Neither would have enough money," he said. "But it doesn't matter to us. We can regulate two championships."  "Yes, it is good news for the future of the sport," said Mosley.  "It would be crazy to have two championships -- one run by the manufacturers and the bigger teams and the official championship, that Bernie has the right to which would be run with the smaller teams, or new teams. Television and the organizers would be playing one against the other and they would end up with no money. If there were two championships, in the end they would come together within a few months or whatever. They know this."

5/31/03

Red Lights  We hear that CART will mandate that all drivers keep their rear red rain light on for tonight's race under the lights in Milwaukee.  Reason - better visibility under the shadow created by the rear wings.  Mark C.

5/31/03

Montoya and Gordon swap date draws near  Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya will trade places Wednesday, June 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when they take turns driving speed demonstration laps around the 2.606-mile road course in Gordon’s DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Montoya’s BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25 car. This will be the first time that Gordon and Montoya will be behind the wheel of a Formula One car and NASCAR Winston Cup car, respectively. Gordon will attempt to win his fourth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Aug. 3 at the Speedway. The demonstration laps will be his first laps on the IMS road course. Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, will attempt to become the first driver in Speedway history to win on both the famed 2.5-mile oval and road course when he competes in the fourth United States Grand Prix on Sept. 28. Montoya and Gordon will participate in a media luncheon and press conference as well. Fans will have free access to IMS’ South Terrace grandstands for viewing.
Schedule:
9 a.m.
Gate 2 open (Main Entrance, Hall of Fame Museum)
11 a.m.
Photo Op, Yard of Bricks (media only)
·Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25
·Jeff Gordon, DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo
11:45 a.m.
Warm-up Laps
·Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25
·Jeff Gordon, DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Noon
Jeff Gordon Speed Demonstration, BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25
12:20 p.m.
Juan Pablo Montoya Speed Demonstration, DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo
12:45 p.m.
Parade Lap
·Jeff Gordon, BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25
·Juan Pablo Montoya, DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo

5/31/03

Gonzalez takes Barber Dodge Pro pole  Victor Gonzalez of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, took the pole for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at the Milwaukee Mile with a lap of 29.706 seconds for an average speed of 125.066 mph on the 1.032-mile oval. Series championship points leader Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, came up just .005 seconds short in his bid for the pole position, and will start alongside Gonzalez for tomorrows 60-lap race in the second position. Series returnee David Wieringa of Chicago, Illinois, secured the third position with a time of 29.748 seconds. The only oval race of the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series season utilized the Champ Car qualifying format, which gave each driver the opportunity to qualify alone on the track, with the qualifying order determined by inverting the order of the fastest speeds of the weekend, with the fastest drivers going last. The format created some drama as Wieringa qualified early in the session, and held on to the pole until late in the session. The entire field qualified within a second of the pole, underscoring just how competitive this series is.
 Pos/#/Driver/Hometown/Sponsor/Lap/MPH
1/95/Victor Gonzalez/Hato Rey, Puerto Rico/Gencoat; Gonzalez Assoc; Kartway; VG Speed/29.706/125.066/
2/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./Gatorz Eyewear; Pit Bull; Soy Tech.; RDD Int'l/29.713/125.036
3/14/David Wieringa/Chicago, Illinios/Car Quest; Keller's Custom Concepts/29.748/124.889
4/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/RABCO/29.941/124.084
5/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/Elan International; Groupe Bessette/29.954/124.030
6/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/Rapid 2 Way; Ventura Travel; Axcel Graphics/29.969/123.968
7/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/DAC Aviation; Stelvio, Inc.; NoFear/29.997/123.852
8/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/TELMEX; Quaker State.; Canel's; Ericcson; LNB/30.003/123.828
9/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/Select Auto Collision; FY2F2 Communications/30.031/123.712/
10/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/Lease Plan; FFSA/30.071/123.548 11/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/GIGANTE; Mikels; Sante; Offic/30.167/123.154
12/34/Mike Richardson/Kelowna, B.C., Canada/Richardson Mechanical; WTF Solutions; Top Five/30.177/123.114
13/57/Steve Welk/Franklin, Wisconsin/Welk Auto; Badger Land; Urban Arborist; Starr; Lakefront/30.188/123.069
14/47/David Martinez L/Monterrey, Mexico/Herdez; Aviacsa/30.220/122.938
15/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./Dodge; TenFold; King Taco; Sparco/30.347/122.424
16/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/Michelin; Team Autohaus Pompano; Rally Stores/30.357/122.384
17/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/200+; Med Test; Oakley; Simpson/30.468/121.938
18/71/Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill, New Jersey Cherry Hill Classic Cars/30.497/121.822
19/12/"Racer" Kashima/Tokyo, Japan/Arai; A'PEX; STRONG-S; Transmission Co. Ltd./30.720/120.938
20/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/TELMEX; Intel; Quaker State.; Canel's; Ericcson; LNB/0.000/0.000

5/31/03

Williams accuse Renault of cheating  According to this PitPass article, WilliamsF1 chief operations engineer Sam Michael, has accused Renault of flouting the rules regarding moveable aerodynamic devices. At a private function last night Michael said that Renault is using a rear wing which deformed at high speed, but which conformed to regulations when checked by scrutineers. Officially this has been termed as 'elasticity' and cannot, apparently, be proven as illegal. Michael explained that the scrutineers do check the rear wings by attaching weights to see if they deform, but these are attached to supported elements of the rear wing, whereas it is the unsupported elements on the Renault that deform. It is unclear what steps are being taken by either the FIA or rival teams, but this issue will no doubt rear its head at 'quick' circuits in the near future.

5/31/03

Coulthard moves to top of charts in Monaco Saturday practice 

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIRE TIME
1. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.747
2. Juan Pablo Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW 1:15.098
3. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari 1:15.255
4. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW 1:15.303
5. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault 1:15.517
6. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.604
7. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari 1:15.861
8. Mark Webber Australia Jaguar-Cosworth 1:15.886
9. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Jordan-Ford 1:16.311
10. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda 1:16.810
11. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda 1:16.895
12. Antonio Pizzonia Brazil Jaguar-Cosworth 1:17.113
13. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Sauber-Petronas 1:17.232
14. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:17.290
15. Cristiano Da Matta Brazil Toyota 1:17.686
16. Ralph Firman Britain Jordan-Ford 1:17.986
17. Olivier Panis France Toyota 1:18.101
18. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas 1:18.167
19. Jos Verstappen Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth 1:18.425
20. Justin Wilson Britain Minardi-Cosworth 1:18.606

5/30/03
Industry News

Phoenix to be reshaped  This Arizona Central article says, Phoenix International Raceway, the design for which resulted in a quirky, misshapen, 1-mile oval four decades ago, is undergoing a makeover intended to alter Turn 2 and a portion of the backside straightaway. Construction recently began to extend the Turn 2 wall outward and create a significantly wider racing surface. Although the dogleg along the back straightaway remains, it won't be so pronounced with the new design, which is intended to rid the "pinching-down effect" now associated with Turn 2. "The new Turn 2 is going to do two things," PIR President Bryan Sperber said. "It's going to make the track a little faster, but more importantly, it's going to create a new passing zone." "It's going to do something else, too. It's going to alter a track unlike any other. Certainly, PIR has blemishes, but that's what makes it so entertaining. A goofy dogleg and a deformed Turn 2 is what made the oval so challenging and had crew chiefs scratching their heads trying to configure an effective chassis setup. Although NASCAR officials and some drivers approve of the changes, which could also reduce accidents and increase safety, other drivers aren't exactly throwing a party in favor of the new design. "I don't like it," said Billy Boat, who has logged nearly as many laps at PIR as anyone from the Valley. "Turn 2 and that dogleg is what makes it so unique." Boat estimates IRL qualifying speeds likely will increase by 2-3 mph, to about 181-182 mph. "You can run wide open around there now, but not everyone can do that," Boat said. "The changes will make it easier for everyone to do it." Construction will necessitate adding some banking to the new Turn 2 at the point where the wall is being extended outward to connect to the current crossover opening for infield vehicular access. A temporary wall also is being constructed where the crossover is now because a permanent opening no longer is needed due to a vehicle/pedestrian tunnel being built in Turn 4.

5/30/03

Ticket sales up at Laguna Seca  We are told that ticket sales are up significantly at Laguna Seca for this year's CART race.  They are doing more promotion for the race and the local government is getting behind the event.  It's about time.  They are spending all that money on new garages and suites, it would have been a shame to let the race continue to slide into oblivion.  Mark C.

5/30/03

Dalziel will start from pole at Milwaukee  Despite the best efforts of CART Toyota Atlantic Championship officials, which included moving the start time of qualifying up 15 minutes, qualifying for Saturday's Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite was rained-out after eight cars made qualifying attempts. As a result, the starting grid was established based on combined practice speeds, giving Sierra Sierra Enterprises' second-year driver Ryan Dalziel (#28 Discovery Lake/Daily Record Newspaper) his second career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship pole position. Dalziel posted the fastest practice lap of the weekend at 149.571 mph (24.839 seconds), which gave the Scot his first pole since taking the top starting spot in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season finale at Denver. However, while Dalziel will be credited with the pole, he will not receive a championship point due to the fact that the qualifying session was not completed. Starting alongside Dalziel on the front row will be Canadian Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN), who turned in a best practice lap of 149.193 mph (24.902 seconds). The performance allowed Macri to match his career best starting position, which he established by starting second in 2002 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both Macri and Dalziel enter Saturday's race still looking for their first career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race victory.

5/30/03

Drivers went for fast times knowing rain was coming  Alex Tagliani's fast lap in practice today at Milwaukee was like a qualifier. "We knew rain was forecast so we kept dialing understeer out of the car and when we went for our fast lap toward the end of the session with new tires the wind died down and I was able to get a fast lap."  As it turned out, that was a pole winning effort.  Mark C.

5/30/03

Wing package makes a big difference  The pole sitter for tomorrow night's Milwaukee race, Alex Tagliani, says that "as long as two drivers are not equal, we should be able to pass around the outside here.  Before with the small wings, a driver could hold you up, but with these big wings, if you are faster, we should be able to get around the guy in front.  The trick will be to keep the car consistent all night." Mark C.

5/30/03

Rain-delay update from Milwaukee  UPDATE CART tried, but qualifying has been canceled and the cars will line up in the order of practice speeds tomorrow night. Tagliani will start from the pole, but will not earn the championship points that goes with it.  See related story, an interview with the General Manager, who expects a solid 34,000 in attendance for tomorrow night.  5/30/03 - It is currently 8:30 PM CST here in Milwaukee and we can see clear sky off to the northeast.  CART is trying to dry the track from the storm that blew through Milwaukee the last two hours.  CART's John Lopes said that "we want to finish qualifying by 11:00 PM at the latest so the teams, who need 2 hours afterwards, can be done and out of the track by 1:00 AM.  We are doing everything in our power to get the qualifying in.  If we can't, Alex Tagliani will start from pole as the result of being fastest in the practice sessions, Michel Jourdain would start 2nd, etc." Mark C.

5/30/03

Tagliani leads practice at Milwaukee   Alex Tagliani appears to be hooked up at Milwaukee, turning the fastest lap in the final practice before tonight's single-car qualifying session.. Mark C.

5/30/03

Seen at Milwaukee - II   Two new sponsors seen at Milwaukee, Alpina is on the side of Gualter Salles' car and Swiss Watch maker Japhiro prominently covers the top of Patrick Lemarie's rear wing. Mark C.

5/30/03

Seen at Milwaukee   We spotted a couple of gentlemen walking around the CART paddock today with F3000 Brand Motorsports shirts on.  Recall they recently withdrew from the F3000 series.  Mark C.

5/30/03

Milwaukee will be a night race, regardless  If this weekend's inaugural night race at Milwaukee were to rain out Saturday night, the race will run Sunday night under the lights.  The Milwaukee fans want a night race, and a night race it will be.  Mark C.

5/30/03

Did talks with Toyota cause Dodge to drop Davis Racing? UPDATE Dodge isn’t messing around. The company does not intend to provide any sort of foundation for the competition, in this case the entry of Toyota into the Craftsman Truck Series. John Fernandez, Director of Motorsports at Dodge, meant it when he stated earlier this season that nothing less than a Winston Cup championship was the goal of 2003. To that end, Dodge terminated an agreement between themselves and Bill Davis Racing just prior to the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Dodge Motorsports has terminated an agreement with Bill Davis Racing due to a material breach of the agreement on their part,” stated Todd Goyer, Manager Dodge Motorsports Communications, on Friday afternoon at Dover International Speedway.  “The actions on their part were intolerable,” Goyer added. What was it the Davis Racing organization did to provoke such an extreme response? Goyer isn’t saying and neither is Fernandez. However, it isn’t all that difficult to connect a few dots.  Bill Davis Racing was one of three organizations that joined up with Dodge in 1999, along with Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. Davis left Pontiac to make the jump to Dodge after what the car owner admitted was an extremely agonizing process. Evernham led the group because of his past championships. Petty was wooed because of the deep history with the company. Dodge wanted Davis in the fold because “we liked the consistency in his choice of drivers and how he managed his race team.”  Even though the Dodge effort in the truck series floundered at times, the effort in Winston Cup was a near immediate rocket to contender status. One reason for the quick success of the program was what Dodge called their “one team” approach. Away from the track, Dodge encouraged their teams to share information freely, setting up a special high-speed computer connection between the teams to speed up the flow. Something Davis has now been cut off from using. It appears a break in that process has led to the rift between Dodge and Davis. “Our approached has been one of family,” said Fernandez. One team, one car, we even encourage our teams to coordinate their public relations efforts to the benefit of the entire program. We all work towards a consistent end. Anytime we see something that jeopardizes the integrity of our approach something has to be done. “That is what happened with Bill Davis Racing.”  Stan Creekmore, AR1 NASCAR Editor 5/30/03 -Dodge Motorsports has terminated its contract with Bill Davis Racing, cutting off all support and access to information for drivers Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace. Todd Goyer, managing director for Dodge Motorsports, said Thursday the contract was broken before last week's Coca-Cola 600 because of a "material breach of agreement." "We do have enough reason to reach the conclusion that we did," Goyer said. There has been speculation Davis has been in discussion with Toyota, which will become the first foreign automaker in NASCAR next season when it enters Tundras in the Truck Series. Goyer would not comment further on what led to the split with BDR. Davis can still use Dodge Intrepids for Burton, Wallace and Busch Series driver Scott Wimmer, but he'll now have to pay for all of his equipment. He'll also be shut out of the information sharing that goes on between Dodge teams. That access can be vital, considering NASCAR heavyweights Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi and Ray Evernham are part of the Dodge contingent. "Factory support means they have access to the technology that all the Dodge teams have and all the information sharing," Goyer said. "It's access to all the technical aspects, plus the marketing support and use of the Dodge brand name."  AP

5/30/03

Dixon turns fast lap again  For the second consecutive day, Scott Dixon turned the fastest lap at the Indy Racing League IndyCar™ Series’ Richmond Open Test at Richmond International Raceway.  Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, turned a lap of 16.2511 seconds, 166.143 mph. “It’s been pretty good,” Dixon said. “The car was good right off the trailer. We didn’t have to do much. We’re just fine-tuning it, making sure that different things that we try, we’re ending in the right direction. The guys have been doing a good job.” The Richmond Open Test was extended to 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 30 after rain cut short the scheduled May 29 session after less than 2.5 hours of track time. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, was second fastest with a lap of 16.3635, 165.001, while Dixon’s teammate, Tomas Scheckter, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, was third quick at 16.4405, 164.229. (see hot news item on today's crashes below).

1 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing G/T/F 16.2511 166.143 208
2 3 Helio Castroneves Marlboro Team Penske D/T/F 16.3635 165.001 168
3 10 Tomas Scheckter Target Chip Ganassi Racing G/T/F 16.4405 164.229 68
4 11 Tony Kanaan Team 7-Eleven D/H/F 16.4681 163.953 156
5 6 Gil de Ferran Marlboro Team Penske D/T/F 16.5910 162.739 90
6 15 Kenny Brack Pioneer/Miller Lite D/H/F 16.6831 161.840 87
7 21 Felipe Giaffone Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G/T/F 16.7485 161.208 201
8 12 Tora Takagi Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing G/T/F 16.7652 161.048 165
9 52 Buddy Rice Red Bull Cheever Racing D/C/F 16.8047 160.669 183
10 55 Roger Yasukawa (R) Panasonic ARTA D/H/F 17.1044 157.854 177
(R) – Rookie

5/30/03

Williams signs another sponsor  Xilinx today announced a collaboration with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team for the 2003 Formula One season. The technology alliance represents the culmination of a long-standing relationship between the two companies. Xilinx provides the BMW WilliamsF1 Team with its technology and support services for the vehicle control module (VCM). The Xilinx-enabled VCM is used to control essential components such as the gearbox, differential, traction control, launch control and telemetry.

5/30/03

Hornish launches new website  Sports Management Network, Inc. announced today that it has launched a newly developed website for 2001 and 2002 IndyCar champion and client Sam Hornish, Jr. SMN structured an agreement for the design, development and hosting of the website with world-class interactive and broadcast media producer Cinemagic. The website, located at http://www.samhornish.com , provides information on Hornish, his sponsors, and his racing activities in both the IndyCar Series and all-star IROC series as well as various other features. A Sam Hornish, Jr. merchandise line is currently being developed and will soon be available via this new website.

5/30/03

MiJack signs Financial Times as a sponsor  Mi-Jack Conquest Racing today announced that the Financial Times business newspaper and FT.com will join as associate sponsors for the 2003 Champ Car World Series, beginning with this weekend's 250 mile open-wheel classic at the famed Milwaukee Mile. Mi-Jack Conquest's Reynard - Ford, featuring the Financial Times and FT.com logos will be driven by rising star Mario Haberfeld, currently third in the rookie of the year chase. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing CEO Eric Bachelart commented: "We're tremendously pleased to welcome onboard a prestigious global brand like the FT as an associate sponsor. It is a natural fit - both Champ Car and the Financial Times have a long heritage - and reach a large and influential audience." As part of their new "Read To Lead" advertising campaign, building upon the FT's firmly established position as one of the world's leading business information brands, the Financial Times will continue its patronage of Mi-Jack Conquest for the remainder of the 2003 Champ Car season. Alex Withers, Senior Marketing Manager for the Financial Times noted:  "This is a great way for the FT to support the automotive community and continue to expand the FT brand across the US. We're looking forward to a strong and successful partnership with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and Mario." About the Financial Times: The Financial Times is firmly established as one of the world's leading business information brands, internationally recognized for its authoritative, accurate, and incisive news, comment and analysis. The Financial Times has in-depth coverage of major news, business and geo-political stories, as well as feature coverage of sport and culture from around the world. Whether in print or online, the Financial Times is essential reading for a global community of business influencers. Printed in 8 cities across the United Sates and twenty-one sites around the world, the Financial Times newspaper currently has a daily circulation of 450,000 copies worldwide. FT.com, the internet arm of the Financial Times, has 3.5 million unique monthly users and generates over 55 million monthly page views.

5/30/03

Hunter-Reay hits wall  CART rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed his Reynard heavily at turn two in the dying minutes of the second practice session. “The rear end of the car was feeling unstable throughout the session,” the American rookie explained. “We tried several changes, but they didn’t help. In the last stint, the team gave me a fresh set of tires and it just snapped. I had my first big hit on the oval, I am going to go through the telemetry and learn from it and we’ll be back tomorrow. The #12 side is happy with their car, we’ll talk to them and we’ll get it figured out.” Hunter-Reay will drive the 31x for the remainder of the weekend.

5/30/03

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $2.82 Up $0.17 on Volume of 34,000 shares.
$2.17 Bid - $3.14 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.67/$2.87
MPH Value Change Up 6.42%
DOW Jones Up 139.08 or 1.6 on Volume of 2.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 20.96 or 1.33%
S&P 500 Up 13.95 or 1.47%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

5/30/03

The carnage continues in the IRL  Testing update from Richmond today - four cars crashed - Tomas Scheckter hit the wall, Dan Wheldon hit the wall yesterday, and just now Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves got together.  Helio went upside down and tore down half the fence.  How much of this carnage can the teams afford?  That's four cars wiped out in two days. The drivers were not injured we hear, but Helio got out of his flaming car, tore off his helmet and got into a shouting match with Tony Kanaan spewing obscenities at each other in Portuguese. The rest of the test was cancelled.   “We were both running full tanks,” Kanaan said. “In talking to Helio, what happened was I was warming my tires, and he was obviously going much quicker. I went wide in Turn 3 and 4. I was going a slower speed than him, and he was in a blind spot. He hit me from behind. Fortunately, he’s OK and I’m OK, so we’re going to go back home.”  “I was just behind Tony, and we were running together,” Castroneves said. “All of sudden, Tony went high. He was in a situation where he couldn’t see my hands. When he slowed down, my car hit his left-rear wheel. I noticed I was upside down. I smelled the methanol, and I was just worried about it getting on fire. All of a sudden, the fire caught. It (the crash) was a good one. I wasn’t very happy, because the car was very good. I’m fine. I’m ready to go.”

5/30/03
F3000

Townsend Bell struggles in Monaco  Friday’s FIA F3000 qualifying brought mixed results for the Arden team as Bjorn Wirdheim took a superb pole position and Townsend Bell had a heavy
accident just two laps into the session. Townsend was one of three American drivers to fall foul of the tricky Swimming Pool section, but despite not completing the required three laps in the session, the stewards have decreed that he will be allowed to start from the back of the grid in 18th place. Townsend’s day started well when he was a respectable 13th in the half-hour practice session as he learned his way around the Monaco track, setting a best time of 1m29.891s. On his first hot qualifying lap he pushed a little too hard and was launched by the plastic curb that sits in the middle of the track at the revised exit of the Swimming Pool section. Townsend was extremely frustrated with what happened: “I took a lot of the curb on my first lap, and thought I’ll just see what it feels like. I was pretty shocked when the car went airborne, and I had no idea I risked doing that. At that point there was nothing I could do. I’m really disappointed. It’s not a very good showing from me, and we’ve certainly got a car that’s capable of great things. Bjorn did a helluva job to get pole, but there’s not much I can say. “Obviously if you have a day like we have today you don’t really care about the Monaco atmosphere! But the track is fun to drive. There are some tricky bits to get sorted, and in the race we can just hang in there and see what happens. Right now we might as well just go to the beach and cry for a bit.” Later Phil Giebler had a similar accident at the same spot, badly damaging his Den Bla Avis car, although he was already out of shape before he hit was launched by the curb. Also in trouble was rookie William Langhorne, a last minute replacement at the BCN team. He crashed on the entry to the Swimming Pool section, and did rather less damage than his compatriots. Having seen his three compatriots in the fence a relieved Derek Hill made it to the end of the session in one piece in 14th spot, disappointed that a change of ride height between practice and qualifying had not worked out. Wirdheim’s brilliant qualifying effort obviously puts him in the best possible shape to win and extend his title lead in Saturday’s race, but anything can happen at Monaco and many a comfortable leader has thrown away a victory on the principality’s streets. The run into the first turn at Ste Devote, a lot less tight now that the inside barrier has been replaced by a painted line, will be critical. Not least because his main title rivals Giorgio Pantano and Ricardo Sperafico are immediately behind him on the grid.
1. Bjorn Wirdheim…1m25.881s
2. Ricardo Sperafico…1m26.160s
3. Giorgio Pantano…1m26.257s
4. Vitantonio Liuzzi…1m26.488s
5. Enrico Toccacelo…1m26.694s
6. Nick Kiesa…1m27.204s
7. Jeff van Hooydonk…1m27.291s
8. Jaroslav Janis…1m27.291s
9. Raffaele Giammaria…1m27.674s
10. Zsolt Baumgartner…1m27.744s
14. Derek Hill…1m28.673s
15. Phil Giebler…1m29.038s
17. William Langhorne…1m41.808s
18. Townsend Bell…1m59.134s

5/30/03

Vasser on Wind Tunnel tonight  Jimmy Vasser will guest with Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel tonight on SPEED at 11:00. Send your e-mail questions for Dave and Jimmy to windtunnel@speedtv.com now or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL during the show.

5/30/03

Goodyear will not leave NASCAR  Stu Grant, head of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company's racing program as general manager, global race tires, said this week that Goodyear has no intention of leaving NASCAR. With the parent company struggling financially, reports have been circulating since late March that Goodyear would drop its racing division as a cost cutting measure. Goodyear is involved in several different types of racing and has been the sole supplier of tires for NASCAR's three major series, Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman truck, since 1997. But essentially, Goodyear has been the only tire in stock car racing's top circuit since 1974, when Firestone withdrew from the sport. Hoosier invaded the Winston Cup Series briefly in 1994, but left after one year. "We have no intention of getting out of NASCAR, in fact, we have a renewed commitment here," Grant said. "We have a five-year contract (through 2007) with NASCAR. Reportedly, Goodyear's corporate leadership has ordered its marketing department to start making better use of the racing program, and a bevy of marketing people were on hand at Charlotte last week. Still, some in the NASCAR garage remain a bit uneasy about Goodyear's situation, and competitors are appearing on the periphery of the sport. In March, Michelin sponsored the spring race at Darlington, which created a furor when Goodyear was never mentioned during the telecast of the event. And Yokohama recently became the official tire of Infineon Raceway (Sears Point). Others point out that while Goodyear does indeed have a long-term contract with NASCAR, it could sell its rights to another company and despite all the talk about a renewed commitment to the sport, Goodyear has cut back on its testing. Specifically, Goodyear reportedly will not test at New Hampshire, which is being repaved, or at Homestead, where a major construction project is underway to dramatically change the corners. A source close to NASCAR said it already has a contingency plan in place should Goodyear suddenly drop out. Most likely, that involves Firestone, which has the engineering experience necessary to produce racing tires for ovals. Lakeland Ledger

5/30/03

History of car manufacturers in F1  “The car industry is a welcome and valuable participant in Formula One. But grand prix racing is not the industry’s core business and no car company can be expected to maintain a constant presence. Company chiefs change and what today is fixed policy can tomorrow be seen as a mistake of the previous administration. The industry is entitled to come and go as it pleases and will always do so.” “Those who think that Formula One has no need for independent teams and can rely entirely on the big car companies should perhaps consider the following brief chronology.” Max Mosley, FIA President  More.....

5/30/03

CART Stars making their presence known  Several drivers from the Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER are making news around the country. Jonathan Bomarito, of Salinas, California won round three of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Bomarito was one of the original Stars champions back in 2000. Bomarito, who set a lap record in qualifying, drove his Valley financial PR1 Motorsports Ford to a wire to wire victory of the SCCA-sanctioned event. Other Stars alumni – Adam Pecorari, Chris Festa, and Steve Welk also nabbed top ten finishes in the race last weekend. Steve Welk is a busy man these days, as he is also running his maiden race in the Barber-Dodge Pro Series at the Milwaukee Mile this weekend. Welk also competes in the Zetec series as well as continuing to battle in the Stars of Tomorrow. “I have grown up watching races at ‘the Mile’ and when I heard that the Barber Dodge Pro Series was going to run here I knew I wanted to race,” said the Franklin, Wisconsin resident. The Barber-Dodge race is part of the Champ Car weekend at the historic track where they will be racing under the lights for the first time. Past Stars champion Colin Fleming of North Hills, California will also be competing at Milwaukee as he zeroes in on the Barber-Dodge Rookie of the Year Award. As part of the Champ Car ladder system, Welk and current Stars of Tomorrow racer Tony Loniewski of Springfield, Illinois will take part in the CART driver autograph session Friday at The Mile. Loniewski races the direct drive ICA class and impressed with a fantastic 28th to sixth place run at the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Grand Prix at BeaveRun earlier this month in Pennsylvania. 2001 Stars champion Matt Jaskol is battling for the championship lead in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER after taking round one of the series at Sebring in March. The FDNC is running this weekend at the famous Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Jaskol plans on being back there soon as he will compete in the ICC class for the Stars of Tomorrow in three weeks and then go on to the spectacular Stars of Tomorrow Dodge Grand Prix of Windsor in Windsor/Detroit, June 27-29.

5/30/03

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