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DATE

News (chronologically)

6/13/03

Allmendinger  takes provisional pole at Laguna  RuSPORT rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) extended his points lead in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship by one marker in provisional qualifying Friday by putting his car on the provisional pole for Saturday's Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (SPEED Channel, June 16, 1:00 p.m. ET). Allmendinger, a native of nearby Hollister, Calif., toured the 2.238-mile permanent road circuit in 1:18.082 (103.184 mph), and shattered the one-lap qualifying record of 1:18.755 (102.302 mph) established in 1997 by Alex Barron, who went on to win the '97 Toyota Atlantic title. As a result, Allmendinger is guaranteed a starting spot on the front row for the race, and now leads Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN) by three points, 45-42. Should Allmendinger remain on pole after Saturday morning's final qualifying session, it would be the second pole of his young Toyota Atlantic career. Qualifying second on the provisional grid was Sacramento-born Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports/BG Products), who posted a best lap of 1:18.144 (103.102 mph). Despite being hampered by an illness that required attention from the CART Champ Car medical staff, Hand managed to position himself among the top contenders to take the victory in the Grand Prix of Monterey. If Hand is able to take the pole in Saturday morning's final qualifying session, it would be the third pole of his CART Toyota Atlantic Championship career, and his first since the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2002. Alex Figge (#69 Wine Country Motorsports/Patrick Racing/Trench Shoring) qualified third with a best lap of 1:18.343 (102.840 mph). Figge also qualified third on the provisional grid for the season opener in Monterrey before slipping to eighth on the final grid, and his previous best start this season was seventh at Long Beach. His career best starting position was second at Chicago Motor Speedway last year.  Allmendinger's RuSPORT teammate Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) filled out the top five on the provisional grid after posting a best lap of 1:18.626 (102.470 mph), while Lynx Racing's Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) was sixth at 1:18.712 (102.358 mph). The top six drivers in the field turned laps in excess of Barron's previous track record. Macri was seventh on the provisional grid at 1:17.784 (102.264 mph), and was the last driver in the field to turn a lap within one second of Allmendinger's quick time. Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) was eighth after first-round qualifying by turning in a best lap of 1:19.146 (101.797 mph), and Venezuelan Alex Garcia (#9 Dixien/Omnisource/LA Fitness/Diestra) was ninth at 1:19.450 (101.407 mph). Mexico's Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing) rounded out the top 10 at 1:19.505 (101.337 mph). The entire first round qualifying session was run without a red flag, enabling several drivers to turn more than 20 laps during the 40-minute session. Aside from a brief stoppage for the Simple Green Champ Car Safety Team to retrieve Allmendinger's car, which was stopped on course without power, the entire morning session was also run without incident.

6/13/03

Homestead reconstruction update  On Friday, June 13, a rolling machine smoothes out Turn Four of the "New" Homestead-Miami Speedway which is being re-constructed this summer with 20-degree, variable banking in its turns. The dirt in all four turns is now in place at 55-feet wide and 20-degree, variable banking. The track reconfiguration project, which began 24 days ago, is on schedule to be complete for Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, November 13-16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Photo Credit: Denis Bancroft

6/13/03

DiLeo  takes provisional pole at Laguna  Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada took the provisional pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.812 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Series championship points leader Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, took second on the provisional grid with a time of 1:27.030 seconds as Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii scored his best-ever qualifying position in Barber Dodge competition with a third with a time of 1:27.753 seconds. The half hour session ran under green flag conditions to the end after the session was red-flagged early to retrieve the car of David Martinez, who ran wide at the exit of turn six. Colin Fleming of North Hills, California qualified fourth in his Tenfold-liveried machine, with Mexico City, Mexico, native Memo Rojas taking fifth in his Telmex-backed entry. Fellow Mexican German Quiroga qualified in sixth in the Gigante-backed entry, with Chris Baker of Houston, Texas, backing up his strong performance in Milwaukee with a strong seventh place on the provisional grid. Luis Pelayo powered his Telmex machine into eighth, with second round winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico taking ninth. Nelson Phillippe of Valence, France rounded out the top ten in provisional qualifying with a time of 1:28.052 seconds in his Lease Plan machine.

6/13/03

NTN to sponsor Manning  Team owner Derrick Walker announced today that NTN Bearing Corporation has signed on as an associate sponsor of rookie Darren Manning’s #15 RAC Walker Racing Champ Car entry for the remainder of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. NTN advances into the Champ Car World Series with Walker Racing with a long-standing sponsorship history in the Toyota Atlantic Championship including a current sponsorship of Jonathan Macri. “NTN has spent several years in motorsports sponsorship and we’re pleased to have them come on board with Walker Racing,” said Walker. “It illustrates how the Champ Car Ladder System can work for sponsors as well as drivers who are looking at getting a feel for what Champ Car racing can offer. “Additionally, through our relationship with other companies we are looking to provide NTN a benefit beyond the performance and visibility of the race track. While this is an important element in motorsports sponsorships, we also strive to provide our partners with programs that having winning results that reach beyond on-track activities to impact the company’s goals in the marketplace.” The NTN logo will run on the top of the sidepods beginning at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 15 June. Additionally, the NTN brand name will be prominently displayed on team apparel, transporter graphics and on the car’s vortex generators. NTN will also provide technical assistance on bearing packages to Walker Racing, with a strong focus on applications, research and development.

6/13/03

Fontana gets its 2nd Cup race  A second NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, which will finish “Under the Lights” during Labor Day weekend, will be added to the 2004 racing schedule at California Speedway. The announcement was made today by NASCAR President Mike Helton at a press conference conducted at Michigan International Speedway, site of this weekend’s Sirius 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. The 500-mile race, which will be sponsored by Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn, is scheduled for Sunday, September 5, 2004. The Pop Secret 500 is the first NASCAR Winston Cup race ever announced as scheduled for prime time (Eastern time zone) on a Sunday night. The race will be broadcast live on NBC. The weekend will also include a Saturday NASCAR Busch Series 300-mile race scheduled for the afternoon of September 4th.  "This is a great day for race fans in Southern California and throughout the region,” California Speedway President Bill Miller said. “This day is seven years in the making, and we appreciate the consideration given by NASCAR to sanction two Winston Cup events here and the efforts of our ISC corporate family to make this second date a reality. We would like to thank the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and the county’s Planning Division for their efforts in working with us on a proposal for the second event and helping to make this a reality. “We also welcome a new corporate partner in Pop Secret and look forward to working with their team to make the Pop Secret 500 a memorable event,” Miller continued. “With the help of Pop Secret, along with several other corporate partners, this event will be the place motorsports fans of all ages will want to be on Labor Day weekend. We look forward to next year’s two visits by NASCAR’s stars to ‘America’s Ultimate Race Place’.” “We’re thrilled to have the strong relationship we’ve developed with ISC through the years,” said Doug Fulton, Pop Secret marketing manager. “We look forward to working with our new partners at California Speedway as we add this exciting new race to the schedule.” The new late summer race joins the spring Auto Club 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, which will be held May 2, 2004. The speedway has hosted one Winston Cup race every year since its Grand Opening in June of 1997. Every Winston Cup race has sold out at the 92,000-seat venue.

6/13/03

Junqueira leads early practice at Laguna Seca  Bruno Junqueira set the fastest time in Friday morning's Champ Car practice at Laguna Seca. His time of 1:10.751 (113.875mph) from the first session went unbeaten as the temperatures rose in the midday Californian sun. Second fastest, again from the first session was Patrick Carpentier at 1:11.017 (113.449mph), with rookie Sebastien Bourdais, fastest in the second period, improving his time to 1:11.237 (113.099mph) to place third overall. A 10 minute session starts at 5:30pm ET, with qualifying following on.

6/13/03

Three Rahals to descend on Road America  Graham and Kyle Rahal Continue Family’s 46-Year Elkhart Lake Tradition on June 20-22 When third generation racers Graham and Kyle Rahal hit the 15-turn, eight-tenths of a mile Briggs & Stratton MOTORPLEX karting track at Road America next weekend (June 20-22), the teenagers’ participation in the Snap-on Champ Car “Stars of Tomorrow” presented by RACER will mark a 46-year tradition. Little did Mike Rahal know back in 1957 that he would start a family ritual that included his own racing, his sons’ competition and now his grandsons’ upcoming karting participation at the legendary racing facility. “There had been races in the streets at Elkhart Lake for several years in the 1950s,” said the 74-year-old Rahal, who’ll be on hand next weekend to watch his grandsons in action. “Then I took my (racing) driver’s school at Road America and was able to race over 20 years at that great place. I don’t know of a better road racing track in North America. I raced the Road America 500 race ten times and the June Sprints some 20 years. Our family had some great experiences there. But I crashed and broke my leg there too. But I saw (sons) Bobby and Ian race there and now seeing Graham and Kyle will be very exciting. I guess I started a tradition dating back to 1957.” Graham, Bobby’s 14-year-old son, and Kyle, the 16-year-old son of Bobby’s younger brother Ian, have continued the Rahal racing tradition at Road America with a national campaign on the “Stars of Tomorrow” karting tour, the initial step in the Champ Car Ladder racing system. “I was five years old when I remember going to Road America with my parents and watching my dad race,” said Bobby Rahal, the three-time Champ Car champion and 1986 Indy 500 winner. “Of course, I raced many years at Elkhart Lake and so did my brother Ian. Then I remember taking Graham to Road America when he was five and Ian brought Kyle about the same time too. Our family has had many great times at the track. I saw some of the world’s greatest drivers race at Elkhart Lake. It is a legendary place.”

6/13/03

IRL PC Game ready for testing  Gamers can now experience the blazing speeds and burning rubber of the intense racing gameplay of Codemasters' IndyCar Series in the new playable PC demo, now available at http://www.codemasters.com/indycarseries (in “Downloads”). IndyCar Series is set to ship for the PC-CD ROM on July 15, 2003. A version for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is available now, with a version for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft shipping on June 24, 2003. Play the demo and sample IndyCar Series’ pure professional racing at speeds faster than 220 mph at any and all tracks on the Indy Racing circuit. IndyCar Series is the official video game of the grueling U.S. open-wheel championship and includes “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing,” the Indy 500. With its adrenaline-fueled and dangerously close pack-racing, players need total focus to handle the incredible on-track maneuvers. The demo, along with the latest visuals and information on the game, is now available from the game’s dedicated microsite at http://www.codemasters.com/indycarseries

6/13/03

Minardi withdraws support for tech changes  Minardi have issued the following statement with regards to the proposed 2003 Formula One technical regulations: European Minardi Cosworth owner, Paul Stoddart, today revealed that he withdrew his team's support for proposed changes to the 2003 Formula One technical regulations, as well as approval for the content of the 2004 regulations, both of which were due to be voted on by the Formula One Commission on Friday, June 6. Stoddart cited the failure of the manufacturer-supported Grand Prix teams to move forward with their undertakings either for the establishment of a "Fighting Fund", to assist the smaller, independent Formula One teams, or for the supply of Euro10 million customer engines, as agreed earlier this year, as significant contributing factors in his decision. "I was forced to reconsider my consent to the Formula One Commission vote on the 2004 Regulations, and the proposed changes to the 2003 Regulations," he comments. "On reflection, I was perhaps too eager to please people who, it seems, have actually been working to try to make it difficult for Minardi to continue. On reading the proposed changes in detail, and taking into consideration the cost implications for Minardi, I had no choice but to withdraw my consent." Stoddart followed up his comments by proposing that the manufacturer teams consider the following course of action:

  • European Minardi and Jordan Grand Prix to be paid the agreed January 15, 2003 moneys immediately and without condition

  • The GPWC to honor its commitment to the independent teams on engine supplies for the 2004 season, and beyond

Should there be significant, and helpful, movement on these points, Stoddart indicated that European Minardi might reconsider its position.

6/13/03

Ford to host fan forum  The Rose City has long been known as a hotbed of Champ Car racing, hosting the 750hp race cars on Portland International Raceway’s winding 1.969-mile ribbon of pavement since 1984. On Wednesday, June 18th Northwest Ford dealers are acknowledging the Portland fan support that has made the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford so popular over the years with its inaugural Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Night sponsored by The WB, KWJJ and KOTK. The famous Rose Garden Arena in downtown Portland will play host to the event from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., with Champ Car drivers on hand for autograph sessions, including proven drivers such as Jimmy Vasser, Adrian Fernandez, Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani, along with young veterans Bruno Junqueira and Mario Dominguez and rookies Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Haberfeld, Patrick Lemarie and Gualter Salles. Fans will get a chance to interact with Champ Car pilots in a question and answer session, in addition to being available for autographs from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. and again from 7:45 – 8:45 p.m. Ford’s inaugural Fan Appreciation Night will also serve as the last time to catch the stars before they strap in the cockpit for the 20th annual G.I. Joe’s 200 at PIR, June 22nd. Ford production vehicles, official Ford pace vehicles and Champ Car show cars will all be on display in the Rose Garden Arena as part of the show. Attendees can enter to win pace car rides in CART FastLaps– the unique program that enables fans to experience first hand the thrill of taking a high speed ride around a Champ Car World Series race circuit– in addition to tickets to the G.I. Joe’s 200 and various other Ford Racing prizes. One lucky person will win a VIP Honorary Pit Crew Weekend Package courtesy of Ford Racing. This person and a guest will serve as honorary crew members during the June 21st Champ Car qualifying session at PIR and will receive tickets to Ford’s pre-race hospitality on race day. The two will receive lunch, participate in a raffle for prizes, go on a guided paddock tour and have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with a Champ Car driver before heading to the race. Free admission tickets to the Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Night are available by stopping in at your local Northwest Ford dealer. For more information visit the Ford Racing website at www.fordracing.com.

6/13/03

Jeff & Brooke settle out of court  Statement from Jeff Gordon - "On Tuesday, Brooke and I reached a settlement in our divorce proceedings which the court recognized on Thursday. I'm happy with the terms of the settlement and I wish Brooke the best in the future."

6/13/03

Labonte to carry Hulk promotion  To coincide with the summer film release of The Hulk, which hits theaters next Friday, June 20, 2003, Action Performance Companies, in cooperation with Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Universal Pictures, is showcasing the Hulk via a series of race car paint schemes appearing in the NASCAR®, National Hot Rod Association, Indy Racing League and World of Outlaws circuits. Each race car will highlight a distinct vision of Hulk, the unstoppable engine of destruction and power spawned from gamma-ray nuclear energy. This weekend, Hulk will smash and bash his way into the NASCAR® Winston Cup Series, where he will join 2000 NASCAR® Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte. Labonte is driving the mean, green No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Hulk Chevrolet Monte Carlo machine as part of the 400-mile event at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2003.

6/13/03

Martinsville construction update  Despite a near-record rainfall of over 11 inches in the past 30 days, work on two construction projects at Martinsville Speedway is right on schedule. Both the new entrance into the speedway and a new section of high-rise seats in the first and second turn area of track will be completed in plenty of time for the SUBWAY 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on October 19. "Work was well underway when all the rain came. It slowed the road work a little, but really didn't have an effect on the seats," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. "We've had a few good days of sunny, dry weather and the road work is right back on schedule again."   Campbell said the new section of seats should be finished by mid-July. The new entrance should be finished by September, Campbell said. The new entrance will enter speedway property from U.S. 220 at about the same spot as the present entrance, but will immediately veer to the left and cut through the track's main public parking area. There will be four lanes for vehicular traffic and two lanes for pedestrian traffic. "The new road should make things run much smoother on race weekends," said Campbell. "The old road was built in the early 1970s and served its purpose well, but the crowds are much bigger now and we just needed a bigger entrance to keep traffic flowing smoothly. The construction is also giving the entrance to the track a facelift. Gone is the large "Martinsville Speedway" sign that sported a marquee and the time and temperature. It will be replaced with a new, state-of-the-art sign marking the entrance. Work on the new seats, which rise above the suites in the first and second turns, is about at the halfway mark. The new seats will not go on sale until they are completed.

6/13/03

Gidley to drive for Rocketsports  Open wheel racing specialist Memo Gidley will make his Trans-Am Series debut with Rocketsports Racing driving the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup race during Infineon Raceway’s Winston Cup weekend June 20-22. From 1993 to 1998, Gidley won in every type of car he raced. With three Formula 2000 and five Toyota Atlantic wins, Gidley was making a name for himself. After two seasons finishing second and third in the Toyota Atlantics Championship, Gidley drove for veteran Champ Car owners Derek Walker and Dale Coyne in 1999. Gidley scored points in only his second race en route to second place in the Rookie of The Year battle while competing in only half the races. Gidley, who got his start in racing on the local BMX dirt track, is a native of nearby San Rafael, California. “Racing at Infineon Raceway will be great because it’s less than ten minutes from where I live and grew up,” said Gidley, who is making his sedan racing debut. “It’s also where I made a name for myself in racing karts, so many of my friends who have never seen me drive will be at this race. “I am very excited to be driving with Rocketsports, which is one of the best teams in the business,” said Gidley, who has 38 career starts in the Champ Car Series. “I like the Trans-Am Series cars because they look and sound cool, especially a V-8 powered Jaguar. “I have seen these cars race a lot this year, and the Trans-Am Series is nothing but close racing excitement,” continued Gidley, who won the Players Challenge for the Toyota Atlantics Championship in 1997, an award given to the driver that scored the most points in the four Canadian races. “It would be great to turn this into an opportunity to race the Rocketsports Jaguar XKR in more Trans-Am Series races down the road. Plus now that I have fenders, who knows what kind of excitement you will see. “We look forward to having Memo drive with us at Infineon. He’s got a great reputation as a fierce competitor,” said Rocketsports Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi, himself a three-time Trans-Am Series champion. “He’ll face a lot of competition from veteran road racers and the great crop of rookies we have this year.” Gidley’s red No. 3 Jaguar XKR will be sponsored by ACE Hardware stores. “Not only am I local, but so are the ACE Hardware stores that are sponsoring my effort to win this race,” added Gidley, whose sponsor has never before in their 105-year history been involved in motorsports sponsorship. “It’s great to introduce a great company like ACE into the motosports sponsorship arena. I only hope I can make ACE an even bigger household name.”

6/13/03
Industry News

TV ratings for all sports are down  While NASCAR ratings continue to climb, just about every other sport is in decline.  Despite an exciting climax to Game 4 of the NBA Finals, ended in a last-second finish, the tie only earned a 6.6 national household rating, 39 percent below last year's Game 4 on NBC between the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers - even though all the suspense had been drained from the 2002 series by Game 4 as the Lakers steamrolled to a four-game sweep. The Nets beat the Spurs, 77-76, on Wednesday to even the Finals at 2-2. Through the first four games, this year's series has averaged a 6.3 rating, 38 percent lower than the 10.2 for the Lakers-Nets.

6/13/03

Fan appreciation event for Portland  On Wednesday, June 18th, at the Rose Garden Arena in downtown Portland, Oregon, the Inaugural Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Night presented by your Northwest Ford Stores and sponsored by The WB, KWJJ and KOTK is slated. This gives fans a chance to meet the stars of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford before they compete in the G.I. Joe’s 200 at Portland International Raceway June 20th – 23rd. This exciting fun-filled night will run from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and includes a variety of activities including autograph sessions and Q&A's with their favorite Champ Car drivers. Race show cars, Ford production vehicles and Ford Champ Car pace vehicles will all be on display.  Champ Car drivers scheduled to appear include:
Jimmy Vasser – American Spirit Team Johansson
Sebastien Bourdais – Newman Haas Racing
Adrian Fernandez – Fernandez Racing
Alex Tagliani – Rocketsports Racing
Bruno Junqueira – Newman Haas Racing
Mario Dominguez – Herdez Competition
Oriol Servia – Patrick Racing
Mario Haberfeld – Mi-Jack Conquest Racing
Patrick Lemarie – PK Racing
Gualter Salles – Dale Coyne Racing
Joel Camathias – Dale Coyne Racing
Roberto Moreno – Herdez Competition

6/13/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Schu Backs Barrichello
Burti Searches For Drive
Arrows Under The Hammer
New McLaren Delayed Again
Button Given All-Clear
JPM Scoffs At Schu Contract
German F1 Circuit Sues EU
Villeneuve Slides Down Pitlane?
Qualifying Rain For Canada
Rubens Expects New Contract
Ecclestone Will Compromise
Raikkonen Admits MP4-18 Shunt
Panis Admits Frustration
Montoya Aims For GP Double
'I'm No Has-Been' - Villeneuve
BAR Spat Caused By Team: JV
Ferrari Confirm Massa Interest

6/12/03

Thursday press conference from Montreal  Transcript

DRIVERS:
Juan Pablo MONTOYA
Olivier PANIS
Kimi RAIKKONEN
Jarno TRULLI
Jacques VILLENEUVE

6/12/03

Teams from ALMS win two poles at LeMans  Teams from the American Le Mans Series won two class pole positions Thursday as qualifying concluded for this weekend’s 71st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while many other ALMS teams turned competitive speeds in their respective classes. Both poles came in the classes for production-based cars.  The Ferrari 550 Maranello of Veloqx Prodrive Racing was the fastest qualifier in the GTS class, turning the 8.625-mile Circuit de La Sarthe in 3:53.278. Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic and Peter Kox of The Netherlands, who will share the Prodrive Ferrari when the American Le Mans Series resumes at Road Atlanta later this month, and Jamie Davies of England will pilot the pole-winning car at Le Mans.   More....

6/12/03

Final NASCAR Pocono TV rating up 4%  Sunday's Pocono 500 on FOX turned in a 5.3 final rating and 14 share, up 4 percent from last year's 5.1 final number. The race had 5,680,000 households tune in, according to Nielsen Media Research.

6/12/03

Burti seeks 2004 F1 seat  Luciano Burti will be in Montreal this weekend to attend the Canadian Grand Prix, in the hope of talking to a few team bosses and landing an F1 drive for 2004. "I'm going to Montreal because I know the importance of discussing personally with the team principals," he told his website. "I started my contacts at the Brazilian GP, and since then I am feeling confident about the possibilities for next season. I know that in F1 it is difficult to preview what is going to happen, but I believe in my experience and in the results I can offer."

6/12/03

Kristensen retains pole after final qualifying at LeMans  The grid for the 71st 24 Hours of Le Mans has been set. As expected it was a battle between the two factory Bentley Cars and the three Audi ‘privateer’ teams of Team ADT Champion Racing, Audi Sport UK and Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. The two-car Bentley Speed 8 team with qualifying times of 3:32.843 (Tom Kristensen) and 3:35.098 (Johnny Herbert) will share the front row. The Audi Sport UK car will be grid 3rd with a time of 3:35.745 set by legendary Le Mans driver, Frank Biela. Jan Magnussen, brand new to the Audi R8, put in a lap time of 3:36.418 to secure 5th position for Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. Team ADT Champion Racing is in 6th position with a time of 3:36.857 set by JJ Lehto.  Three drivers per team will share the duties behind the wheel of the 3.6-liter, bi-turbo Audi R8 which has been de-tuned by 60bhp due to imposed power reductions for the Le Mans Prototype 900 class this year. Each driver will normally drive in “stints” lasting between two and three hours, at speeds in excess of 200mph. Since the race is comprised of four different classes of cars (LMP 900, LMP 675, GTS and GT) lapping the slower cars is one of the driver’s most difficult tasks. Rod Bymaster, Audi Sport North America’s Motorsport Manager, stated the Audi privateer teams chose to spend most of their qualifying time in prepping the cars. “Champion, Audi UK and Team Goh used this qualifying session to test various setups for the cars as opposed to just going after the pole position. All three Audi teams feel confident that they have a very good car and a good shot at winning Le Mans. It’s going to be a fantastic race!” The quaint town of Le Mans is situated on the outskirts of France and has been hosting the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans for 71 years. The field of 50 cars will compete on an 8.48 mile circuit made up of public roads, purpose-built sections and 21 turns. The green flag will be dropped Saturday at 4:00 pm Central European time. In North America, race fans will be able to watch 17 hours of live coverage of the event on SPEED Channel, beginning at 9 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday. Live coverage of the entire race can be heard online at www.radiolemans.com.

Pos Drivers Team Car Time
1 Kristensen/Smith/Capello Bentley Speed 8 3m32.843s
2 Herbert/Brabham/Blundell Bentley Speed 8 3m35.098s
3 Salo/Biela/McCarthy Audi Sport UK R8 3m35.745s
4 Lammers/Wallace/Bosch Racing for Holland Dome-Judd 3m36.156s
5 Magnussen/Ara/Werner Audi Sport Japan R8 3m36.418s
6 Pirro/Lehto/Johansson Champion Racing Audi R8 3m36.857s
7 Matthews/Goossens/Tinseau Riley & Scott-Ford 3m37.476
8 Gommendy/Gabbiani/Ortiz Racing for Holland Dome-Judd 3m38.058s
9 Gounon/Cochet/Gregoire Courage Courage-Judd 3m40.400s
10 Beretta/Jeannette/Papis JML Team Panoz LMP-01 Evo 3m40.766s
LMP 675 class
Pos (overall) Drivers Team Car Time
1 (16)Nielsen/Shimoda/Elgaard DBA-Zytek 3m44.333s
2 (17)Dayton/Field/Sutherland Lola-MG 3m46.404s
3 (18)Rosenblad/Alliot/Hallyday Courage-JPX 3m51.550s
LM GTS class
Pos (overall) Drivers Team Car Time
1 (20)Enge/Kox/Davies Ferrari 550 Maranello 3m53.278s
2 (22)Turner/Davidson/Burt Ferrari 550 Maranello 3m54.725s
3 (24)Collins/Gavin/Pilgrim Chevrolet Corvette 3m55.613s
LM GT class
Pos (overall) Drivers Team Car Time
1 (34)Maassen/Collard/Luhr Porsche 911 GT3-RS 4m06.984s
2 (35)Bernhard/Bergmeister/Buckler Porsche 911 GT3-RS 4m07.028s
3 (37)Hindery/Lieb/Baron Porsche 911 GT3-RS 4m08.913s

6/12/03

Al Unser Jr. Transcript  Al Unser Jr, winner of last weekends IRL at Texas Motor Speedway was the featured guest on this weeks IRL media teleconference.  Transcript

6/12/03

Dare moved to rehab center  Injured IRL driver Airton Dare was moved from the hospital to a nearby Indianapolis rehabilitation center as he recovers from injuries after crashing during practice in Texas last week. Dare was transferred to the rehab center Wednesday. His recovery is expected to take up to three months. Recall he broke his right arm and right leg in practice June 5 for the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He had surgery in Dallas, then another operation in Indianapolis to repair minor fractures in his hand and foot.

6/12/03

Button cleared for Canada  Jenson Button has been given the all-clear to race in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix after coming through a fitness test in Montreal. The 23-year-old Brit, who had said earlier the checkup was a formality, was put through his paces at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by the sport's medical chief Professor Sid Watkins following his 180mph crash in Monaco. "Jenson has been given the all-clear by Professor Watkins," said a BAR-Honda spokeswoman. "It was very straightforward, there were no problems." "Everything was perfect last Tuesday when I saw Sid so it's just another checkup," said Button earlier of his fitness test. "Sid needs another opinion, it can't just be him. But it's a formality really. "Having two weeks off is good, you can relax but you do want to get back in the car and I can't wait really. "I will get in the car and won't think anything of what happened at all. I wasn't thinking about it two days after the accident. "It does make you more aware of the risks. It hurt quite a bit but to be able to walk away from something like that without any real problems is good. "I won't drive any differently. If you crash with another car and it's quite severe it can be a little bit damaging when you come to try and overtake someone again but when you do it on your own I don't think it causes any problems."

6/12/03

Toyota's yen for NASCAR  This Greenville News article has some interesting quotes on the controversy surrounding Toyota's pending entry into NASCAR

6/12/03

Lazier stays in Foyt car for Colorado race  In other Honda Indy 225 entry news, Jaques Lazier will remain as the driver of the No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Lazier, a native of Vail, Colo., finished 19th in his first start for Foyt on June 7 at Texas.

6/12/03

Final auction for Arrows  The assets of the bankrupt Arrows Formula One team go up for auction next week (June 18 and 19) as the administrators look to raise funds for creditors. Other F1 teams are expected to bid. The sale is being staged at the Arrows team's former headquarters, the Leafield Technical Center in England. A spokesman for the sale stated: "It really is like an empty cathedral. The place has remained pretty much untouched since the 300 staff were laid off. It really is a case of almost everything being up for sale - including the cars." The auction, conducted by Dovebid, features cars - including three-seater hospitality F1 cars), trailers, racing and pit equipment, hospitality buses, Arrows clothing, helmets, marketing materials and memorabilia. However, some of the key lots could be sold prior to the auction, should the right bid come in. Added the spokesman: "If the administrator gets what it considers a good offer for some of the items then they may strike a deal prior to the sale."

6/12/03

Denver race gets a facelift  This Denver Post article talks about a facelift for the upcoming Denver CART race.  "We heard the criticism from last year's race. There really wasn't a good on-course pass," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports Inc., promoter of the GPD. "There's nothing with the layout of the circuit that should prevent that from happening." Crews soon will begin turning ordinary concrete and asphalt into a smooth racing surface, hoping CART's turbocharged, 750-horsepower cars find better traction. Last year, practice sessions featured a bevy of accidents and spins. On race day, most drivers said they drove passively. "If it's smooth you can challenge more, as opposed to trying to save the car," Michaelian said. "For a first-time racetrack, the guys thought they knew what they wanted to bring with the cars. Now they know," CART CEO Chris Pook said. Secondly, CART is in the first year of an exclusive chassis and engine agreement with Ford-Cosworth. Every team is provided with the same equipment. "Last year it was about how much one engine manufacturer wanted to put into it over the others," Pook said. Added Michaelian: "Same car, same chassis, same engine. Now a driver's skill comes in to play." Junqueira averaged 90.35 mph in winning last year's inaugural race. Michaelian said it's imperative to have the entire field average 80 mph. He couldn't find a better track configuration without taking out the long backstretch, in which cars exceed 170 mph. "You don't want to disturb the length of the long backstretch, because to average 100 mph on this course, you have to do 170 to 175 mph back there," he said. A section of Auraria Parkway, which serves as the frontstretch, including pit lane, is the only public property used for the track. It will not be resurfaced, general manager John Frew said. "That's what street racing is about. It's never perfect," Pook said.

6/12/03

Daytona 500 winner to sign autographs in conjunction with CART race  Two-time defending Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip has been scheduled to do an autograph session to coincide with the upcoming CART weekend. Waltrip, the younger brother of three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, is currently sixth in Winston Cup points driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. The autograph session will take place June 19 at the Delta Park G.I. Joe’s in Portland, adjacent to Portland International Raceway. To be one of the 250 people to get an autograph from the driver, you must be one of the first 250 people in line outside of the store by 12:30 p.m. Waltrip will sign from 2:30-4 p.m. The CART races will take place June 20-22.

6/12/03

New GM for St. Pete race  Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:DVD) has announced the hiring of Timothy Ramsberger to the position of General Manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Ramsberger is an attorney who specializes in sports law as well as sports management consulting and representation. He also is a native of St. Petersburg and has been actively involved in numerous major sporting events. A graduate of Florida State University's Law School, Ramsberger also received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Florida State and an MBA from Rollins College. Ramsberger's first work with major sporting events was as Deputy Venue Executive Director and Venue Operations Director for the World Cup 1994 soccer games played in Orlando, Florida. He then worked in venue management for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Following that, Ramsberger worked in event programming and business affairs for Disney Sports Attractions in Orlando, Florida. "We are pleased to have Tim Ramsberger as part of the Dover Motorsports, Inc. family," said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. "His experience in the sporting realm is noteworthy, and the fact that he also is from the St. Petersburg area should serve him well in his efforts to help make the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg one of the major sporting events in the state of Florida." Ramsberger also feels that the experience gained in working international sporting events should be a major plus in promoting the Champ Car Series, which features many international racers. "Having worked in virtually all aspects of large international sporting events, I hope to bring some valuable experience to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg," said Ramsberger. "I very much appreciate Dover Motorsports, Inc., making me feel so welcome. I look forward to working with the people with CART and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. My goal is to make this race a must-see event for our state, our region and even internationally."

6/12/03

Herta confirmed at PK Racing, Lemarie out of ride  We rumored this yesterday.  Now it's official, as Herta becomes the 4th American driver in CART.  PK Racing today announced that former Champ Car race winner and Laguna Seca ace Bryan Herta will take over the driving responsibilities of the #27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Monterey. The California native has been confirmed for the Grand Prix of Monterey only, and will replace former PK Racing driver Patrick Lemarie, who has decided to move on to other opportunities. Along with today’s announcement that the Rhode Island native Geoff Boss has joined Dale Coyne Racing, Herta’s signing boosts the total of U.S.-born drivers in the Champ Car World Series to four. The veteran Herta has a pair of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca victories under his belt, having taken wins in 1997 and ’98 at the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Herta also owns three Laguna Seca poles, taking the top qualifying spots in each Monterey stop from 1996-98. He has 120 series starts, primarily with Team Rahal, and last competed in the series in 2001 when he ran a full season with Forsythe Championship Racing. Last season he drove full-time in the American Le Mans Series with the Panoz factory team and also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Both PK Racing team owners Craig Pollock and Kevin Kalkhoven, and Vice President Russell Cameron, extended their gratitude to Lemarie for his willingness to help the team this season at such short notice in the preseason as the team was founded. Lemarie ran the first six events of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season and scored eight championship points in those six races. Considering his prior Formula 1 testing experience, his assistance was invaluable to the team, which wishes him the best of luck in his future motorsports endeavors. [Editor's note: Herta or Max Papis will likely finish out the year at PK Racing.  Craig Pollock has made it quite clear that the team will move to two-cars soon.  We can confirm that is still their plan, but whether it happens this year, or in 2004, has yet to be announced.  Expect some very positive team news from the CART paddock in the next six weeks.  It's becoming clear that CART will be alive and well in 2004 and will spend less money to support its teams than it spent in 2003.  This of course will be bad news for CART's naysayers who once again, incorrectly we might add, predicted CART's demise.  We wonder how long it can continue before they lose what little credibility they still have left].

6/12/03

Boss to drive for Dale Coyne  Former Indy Lights race winner Geoff Boss and Dale Coyne Racing today announced their plans to run the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford beginning with this weekend’s Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Narragansett, Rhode Island driver comes to Champ Car after a stellar career in the CART Ladder System winning in every category in which he raced. Boss began his racing career in 1991 where he took Rookie of the Year in the Skip Barber Formula Ford Championship. Boss went on to be Champion of the East and Midwest Barber Ford series in 1992. The Barber Saab Pro Series was the next challenge from 1993 through 1996, where Geoff was second in the overall championship in 1995 and scored several wins in 95 and 96 at Miami, Sears Point, Phoenix, Reno and Watkins Glen. After a strong tutelage in the Barber series, Geoff Boss moved up to Dayton Indy Lights from 1997 through 2000. Running with strong fields including Oriol Servia, Cristiano da Matta and Helio Castroneves, Geoff recorded several podiums, top five finishes and a win from pole position at the 1999 Toronto Grand Prix. Geoff Boss comes from a heritage of family racing. His Grandfather Russ Boss raced against some of the all time greats competing in Sports Cars throughout the 1950’s. Currently the Boss brothers have raced in several formulas. Brothers Andy and Peter raced in various Skip Barber and CART ladder series over the past several seasons. Currently Pete Boss is racing in the European F3000 series with his most recent finish a 3rd at Enna, Italy. “It is every drivers dream in the ladder series to graduate to Champ Cars,” reflected the personable Boss. “This is a great opportunity from Dale Coyne and I am grateful to my sponsors who have supported me throughout my racing career in this the biggest step in professional racing.” Dale Coyne Racing has been busy testing at Mid-Ohio and Putnam Park the week following Milwaukee to evaluate and prepare Boss for his rookie debut. “Geoff has proven himself in the past but his lack of track time in the past two years needed to be tested,” commented team owner Dale Coyne. “After three days of running, the natural talent of Geoff is becoming evident as we look for a solid beginning and a strong finish to the rest of the season.” The team tested one day at Mid-Ohio and two days at Putnam Park, Indiana. Geoff ran highly competitive times at Putnam Park tying the track record previously held by Dario Franchitti at the 1.75-mile Indiana road course. The Lola/Ford will campaign the remaining CART schedule beginning at Laguna Seca. Geoff Boss represents the third American to be in the Champ Car series full time. More testing is planned after the west coast swing of Laguna Seca and Portland. Boss will replace Salles this weekend at Laguna because Salles has other sponsor commitments.  Coyne has not announced who Boss will replace (Salles or Camathias) for the remaining races.

6/12/03

Hooters dumps Bodine  Hooters Racing will end their sponsorship of the Brett Bodine Racing #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team at the end of June. After being the primary sponsor for most of the 2002 season and the first half of this season, Hooters' last event with the team will be the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15th. "We are clearly disappointed in the performance of the team both this season and last. We respect and like Brett and really want to see him succeed. However, it does not make business sense to continue to pour money into a marketing venture that is not getting exposure on race days. We wish the best for Brett in the future, and hope that he is able to find support from a company looking to fund a NASCAR team," said Mike McNeil, Vice President of Marketing for Hooters. Brett Bodine Racing PR

6/12/03

Earnhardt Jr. appearance  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be a guest on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," Wednesday night, June 18. The show airs on NBC-TV at 12:35 a.m. Eastern. Dale Jr. will also be featured on HBO's "On the Record with Bob Costas," beginning June 27. The feature highlights the 50th anniversary of the Corvette, the first American sports car. Look for future Junior sightings on "Rome is Burning," Jim Rome's new talk show on ESPN, as well as a feature in the upcoming "sports edition" of GQ Magazine, where Dale Jr. participates in "the secrets of sports superstars."

6/12/03

How did Gordon and Montoya compare?  Yesterday Juan Montoya and Jeff Gordon swapped cars at Indy.  So how did the two compare lap time wise?  According to Gordon's crew chief, Robbie Loomis, Montoya ran a top lap of 1 minute, 39.9 seconds in the stock car, which was a mere 1.1 seconds behind what Gordon did in a shakedown session an hour prior. Gordon then ran 1:16.5 in Montoya's car, respectable given that Juan's best lap was only 1.3 seconds quicker.  Of course Juan wasn't really trying hard because the slowest qualifying speed in last year's U.S. Grand Prix was 1:13.8 (Juan qualified at 1:11.414), but that was achieved in qualifying trim with a well-rubbered track.

6/12/03

Chris Pook speaks about CART's past disrespect of George, Ecclestone  CART CEO Chris Pook spoke about the new CART to the Motor Press Guild, a Los Angeles trade group, last week. National Speed Sport News quotes him in their latest edition - "It (the Indy 500) is truly one of the great sporting events of this nation, and it has fallen apart at the seams," he said. But Pook was equally hard on the former leadership at CART, saying, among other things, that in dealing with Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George and F1czar Bernie Ecclestone, CART owners and executives behaved both rudely and dumbly. "First of all, CART treated Tony (George) like crap," Pook said. "It treated him very rudely, very badly. They had no respect for him. He is the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I don't care what you think about him or what your opinion of him, you have to treat him with respect. He was not treated with respect." Nor did CART manage its relationship with Ecclestone well. "Some of my more intelligent predecessors, I put the "intelligent" in quotes ... went over to Europe and started spouting that they were going to put Formula One out of business, and they were going to be the worldwide series," Pook said. "(It was) the stupidest thing they could ever have possibly have done, and just showed a complete lack of knowledge of what this business is about. So Bernard was a little irked at that ... it got his attention, so, y'know, he certainly didn't have any love for Championship Auto Racing Teams, in the latter part of the 90s."  [Editor's Note - and we saw that when Bernie said negative things about CART every chance he got].

6/12/03

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6/12/03

Dodge lawsuit puzzles Toyota   This article contains quotes from Toyota's Les Unger, who doesn't understand why Dodge is suing Bill Davis racing.  "We aren't interested at all in Winston Cup. All we want to do is build a truck," Unger said. "We are working with many companies to try and get the truck right aerodynamically so that NASCAR can approve it. This was no kind of secret deal that we had going with Bill Davis Racing. People feel that this shows what direction we are going with our teams ... that Bill Davis Racing will be one of them. That is what makes this so perplexing. "Let me just say that people will be surprised when we do come out and say who our teams actually are." Unger said Toyota has received 50 applications from prospective team owners, but he said they will only have six trucks in Daytona Beach in February. He hopes to begin making announcements in the next 90 days.  [Editor's Note: clearly the lawsuit had nothing to do with letting secrets get into Toyota's hands and everything to do with trying to stop Toyota from stealing all the best teams by letting all teams know if they even think about going to Toyota, and turn their back on Ford, Chevy or Dodge, they could lose all existing factory support immediately.  Clearly, the others feel very threatened by Toyota and their large racing budget].

6/12/03

Wilson admits Minardi just a stepping stone  Minardi driver Justin Wilson has admitted that he wishes to leave Minardi and follow in the footsteps of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. “I am happy with the way it has gone for me this season but I want some points in the bag now”, Wilson explained. “It would be great to get the points in Canada this weekend. The intention at the start of the season was to be regularly challenging for points with the new scoring system but it hasn’t quite worked out the way we hoped.” Wilson says he will feel sad leaving but is widely expected to do so, even by the Team Principal Paul Stoddart. Wilson added: “This will all stand me in good stead for future years.” “This is a very important part of my season to try and improve myself and get myself something sorted out for next season,” “Hopefully I can progress and be in a more competitive environment next year. That’s what Paul is hoping I can do and that’s what we’re all hoping I can do. It’ll be sad to leave. But Paul expects me to move on as he did with Mark and Fernando.”

6/11/03

Provisional qualifying at LeMans - Bentleys dominate 

Pos Drivers Car Time  Full Story
LMP 900/GTP
1 Kristensen/Capello/Smith Bentley 3m32.843s
2 Brabham/Herbert/Blundell Bentley 3m35.222s
3 Biela/Salo/McCarthy Audi 3m37.076s
4 Pirro/Lehto/Johansson Audi 3m37.316s
5 Lammers/Bosch/Wallace Dome 3m37.350s
6 Ara/Magnussen/Werner Audi 3m37.691s
7 Ortiz/Gabbiani/Gommendy Dome 3m38.908s
8 Beretta/Jeannette/Papis Panoz 3m40.766s
9 Boullion/Lagorce/Sarrazin Courage 3m40.839s
10 Kondo/Katayama/Fukuda Dome 3m41.608s
LMP 675
Pos (overall) Drivers Car Time
1 (16) Nielsen/Shimoda/Elgaard DBA 3m44.333s
2 (17) Field/Dayton/Sutherland Lola MG 3m53.212s
3 (18) Rugolo/Bouvet/Boulay Durango MG 3m53.252s
GTS Class
Pos (overall) Drivers Car Time
1 (19) Kox/Enge/Davies Ferrari 3m53.278s
2 (22) Gavin/Pilgrim/Collins Corvette 3m55.613s
3 (23) Burt/Davidson/Turner Ferrari 3m56.267s
GT Class
Pos (overall) Drivers Car Time
1 (32) Luhr/Maassen/Collard Porsche 911 4m07.996s
2 (34) Buckler/Bergmeister/Bernhard Porsche 911 4m08.105s
3 (35) Hindery/Baron/Lieb Porsche 4m10.292s

6/11/03

CART's Denver race picks up title sponsor  The second edition of the Grand Prix of Denver, which features the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will have a first-time title sponsor as the 750hp CART Champ Cars roar through the streets of the Mile High City August 29-31. The Grand Prix of Denver announced today that Denver-based financial services firm Centrix Financial, LLC has signed an agreement to become title sponsor of the Labor Day weekend auto race. The three-day event will now be known as the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. The event will take place on an improved 1.65-mile, nine-turn temporary street circuit around Pepsi Center adjacent to Denver's Lower Downtown. “We are proud to announce Centrix Financial as our title sponsor,” said John Frew, General Manager of the Grand Prix. “Like the Grand Prix of Denver itself, Centrix Financial represents a Colorado success story, and we are pleased to be a partner with (Centrix CEO and Chairman) Bob Sutton and his team of professionals. We also welcome Argent’s commitment to racing, its support of Danica’s effort in the Toyota Atlantic Series and look forward to making the company’s involvement in Denver a most rewarding one.” In addition to the Centrix title sponsorship, the Grand Prix of Denver also announced a title sponsorship for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship event, which will be run on the same weekend as the Champ Cars. Argent Mortgage Company, LLC will become the title sponsor of its CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race, the Argent Mortgage Challenge, scheduled for Sunday, August 31 and will also be the Official Mortgage Company of the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. Argent Mortgage has become very active in sponsoring the top-level series in CART’s Ladder System, sponsoring the Toyota Atlantic event in Milwaukee two weeks ago as well as serving as the season-long primary sponsor of the Team Argent #24 racecar piloted by rookie driver Danica Patrick. "The support we received in our first year in Denver assured us that this race would be a success,” said CART CEO and President Christopher R. Pook. “Now with companies like Centrix Financial and Argent Mortgage lending their support, we are even more excited about the future.”

6/11/03

Franchitti back in seat this weekend  Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti will return to the cockpit of the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Sunday for the running of the Honda Indy 225. The 30-year-old Scot was unable to race in the last three Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series races after sustaining an injury to his back in an off-track incident in April and has spent the last ten weeks rehabilitating. Saturday morning’s practice will mark the first time Franchitti has been in an IndyCar Series machine since the Phoenix race on March 23. “I’m very excited to be getting back into the Archipelago/Motorola car,” said Franchitti. “It has been a long ten weeks. It was very hard being at the race track and not being able to drive the car. I’d like to thank Dr. Trammell and also my trainers Toni and Tino Mathis for their hard work to help me get back in the car. I’m really looking forward to working with my guys again; they did a fantastic job while I was gone. The Archipelago/Motorola car has been running well, Dan (Wheldon), Robby (Gordon) and Bryan (Herta) did a good job throughout. Now we are just going to concentrate on winning some races.” Franchitti returns to his Archipelago/Motorola car as the fourth different driver in four races. Andretti Green Racing rookie Dan Wheldon brought the #27 home in seventh place at Motegi, Japan. Robby Gordon then took over the entry at Indianapolis and qualified on the outside of the front row. Gordon retired early form the event with a gearbox problem finishing 22nd. Bryan Herta then took over the controls at Texas, finishing fifth in his IndyCar Series debut.

6/11/03

Heidfeld slams Canada track   German driver Nick Heidfeld reckons that the final corner at Canada needs to be altered. "The last corner before the start/finish straight has had a high curb the last couple of years and if you go over too much it is high enough to damage the car; I hope that's changed. "You have to be careful coming into that corner because the guy in front might be going into the pits. The entry speed is very high and you could get caught out if you judged your braking on the car in front only to find it is going into the pits and doesn't have to make the corner," Heidfeld added. "In places the track is narrow and lacks run-off areas, especially in the second chicane. The corner under the bridge out the back is very bumpy and you have to be very careful there."

6/11/03

No. 60 Roush team suspends operations   Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, announced today that the Roush Racing No. 60 NASCAR Busch Series team will suspend operations effective immediately. “Roush Racing has been able to successfully execute a 15-race marketing test for Clean Control Corporation, makers of OdoBan Odor Eliminator and has proven to their satisfaction that the NASCAR Busch Series is a viable marketing investment,” said Smith. “It is now up to the marketing staff at Clean Control to take its experience to generate the ancillary marketing initiatives necessary to fully activate the program through their distribution base. While we hoped that we could continue to operate without interruption, we are optimistic that the final marketing plans of OdoBan will include a longer term commitment to Roush Racing and the Busch Series.”

6/11/03

Dare out three months  AJ Foyt had this to say in the USA Today newspaper - "This past weekend was one of the worst I've ever had at Texas Motor Speedway. Airton Dare, who was making his second start for me this year, was injured in practice on Thursday evening when the right front suspension failed on the car as he was going through Turn 4 at over 200 mph. He shot into the wall which sheared off the right sidepod, broke fuel lines and sent the car up in flames. Then he hit the wall again and I think that's when his right side took a beating. He broke his upper arm, hand, thigh and foot. Luckily, he didn't lose consciousness, although that also means he felt all of the pain of his injuries. He underwent surgery that night and doctors put rods in his arm and thigh. Then he went to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Sunday for further work on his hand and foot. The doctors say he'll be out for about three months. Airton's got a long road ahead, but being just 25, he's got youth working for him. He'll probably surprise the doctors by how fast he recovers."

6/11/03

Three Audi privateer teams set to attack LeMans  It’s the most famous week leading up to the most famous race in sportscar racing. This week marks the 71st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Audi is here in force with three privateer teams: Team ADT Champion Racing, Audi Sport UK and Audi Sport Japan Team Goh.  All three teams have been developing their cars as well as their strategy as this year’s race is surely to be one of the most competitive, not only in battling with the two Bentley cars, but also amongst the three Audi teams. Everyone has the same goal, the famed trophy from the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Story

6/11/03

Labonte comments on Green accident   Terry Labonte, driver of the no. 5 Kellogg's Chevy, commented on the controversial incident with Jeff Green during the closing laps of Sunday's Pocono 500: "I got a good run on him coming off the corner and he cut down to block me. When I tried to cut back to the right, I didn't want to let off the gas and I thought I had him cleared. I caught him in the back and around he went. I never meant to get into Jeff, but I had such a good run on him and then we just got together."

6/11/03

GPWC reserves domain name   The Grand Prix World Championship company, comprising of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari, Ford and Renault, has filed applications to register trademarks and a website domain name. However, will they be able to use the words “Grand Prix” because the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management company might play hardball and claim they have exclusive use in a motorsport context. Grand Prix is used for many CART races and even in Tennis, so it may be too late.

6/11/03

Canadian GP completely sold out   A reader writes, SARS scare in nearby Toronto or not, again, the Montreal Canadian Grand-Prix is sold out and the weather says sun sun sun sun from Thursday to Sunday... Expect another record to be broken... Imagine if we could have a 4-day event like the Australian GP.   Expect 350,000+, mainly local fans because of the SARS scare. Vic from Montreal

6/11/03

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6/11/03

Skip Barber rehires Marketing Manager  Skip Barber Racing School, LLC, parent company of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, today announced that they have brought Rick Roso on board as its Motorsports Marketing Manager. If the name rings a bell, it's because Roso was the operation's Public Relations director and in-house TV coordinating producer between 1989 and 1998. His responsibilities will be wide-ranging, but in particular Roso will be supporting marketing, public relations, website and TV efforts for the Barber Dodge Pro Series, the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine, and the numerous and varied Skip Barber scholarship programs, including the Karting efforts. In addition, he'll be a primary liaison between CART Champ Car and Skip Barber Racing. Roso replaces George Tamayo, who recently joined the RuSPORT CART Toyota Atlantic team as Commercial Manager. During his five-year "hiatus," Roso worked on various racing projects, including those with Porsche Cars North America and Red Bull Energy Drink (as part of its F1 Driver Search initiative). He lives in Litchfield, Conn., with his two young children.

6/11/03

Open house at Road Atlanta  In an effort to offer additional and unique access for race fans, the American Le Mans Series will have a paddock Open House and a Pit Walk for fans during the weekend of the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta June 27-29 at Road Atlanta. Both activities will be sponsored and promoted in the Atlanta area by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper (AJC). “The American Le Mans Series was created for the fans, and that has been our series motto and a belief that we live by every day,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. “While we know that our series already offers wonderful access for fans to paddock areas at the race tracks, we have been looking into ways to improve the ‘up-close and personal’ nature of what our series can do for the fans. We feel that these two aspects of the upcoming event at Road Atlanta will provide fans of our series an even better experience when they attend the event.” The AJC Autograph Party in the Paddock will combine two traditional aspects of an American Le Mans Series event weekend into an open house atmosphere, beginning at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, and continuing until 1 p.m. The traditional driver autograph session held at each ALMS event will be staged in the paddock area, with drivers sitting at tables adjacent to their team paddock space. In addition, each race team will open its team transporter to allow fans to view inside, and each team will station at least two uniformed representatives to visit with fans and answer questions. IMSA technical officials will also be stationed at the scrutineering area to answer questions from fans, and members of the IMSA Safety Team will also be available for fans. “Fans can always walk through the paddock at our events, but the race teams are usually busy with preparing their cars and team members can’t always stop to talk,” said Atherton. “The fans will now have the opportunity to get driver autographs, see the team transporter and equipment close-up and talk to team representatives in a leisurely setting.” The AJC Pit Walk will bring a tradition of European motorsports to America, giving fans access to pit road, an area of the track that is normally off-limits even to those with a paddock pass. From 11 a.m. until noon on race day, Sunday, June 29, race fans will be permitted to walk pit road at Road Atlanta. All teams competing in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta will have their race cars in their pit boxes on pit road during that time, and uniformed team members will be present to talk to fans, answer questions and assist with photos.

6/11/03

Pikes Peak entry list  The Infiniti Pro series entry list is down to 13 cars for the Pikes Peak race this coming weekend and the IRL entry list stands at 22 cars of the usual cast of characters.

6/11/03

Yoong not giving up on CART for 2003  Malaysia's Alex Yoong is not giving up hope of returning to the Champ Car World Series this year despite losing his seat to Gualter Salles of Brazil after the German round last month. "We will continue making efforts to secure a seat for some Champ Car races this year," said Yoong when contacted in Kuala Lumpur recently, "We are still very much in touch with Dale Coyne in this respect as we have built up a good working relationship in the four races we had done together." Yoong has said that Champ Car is the best route to take for returning to Formula 1 and that it had been most enjoyable for him to have been given the chance to race with Dale Coyne in four races this year as it was possible for him to mix it with the top runners in both practices and races.

6/10/03

Green injured, but will race   After his Pocono wreck Jeff Green visited his personal doctor for further tests on Monday, Green was diagnosed with a fractured tailbone. "Dr. Petty ran an MRI and CAT scan on me yesterday," Green said. "Everything is fine. My neck muscles are a little pulled and my tailbone is fractured. There's nothing I can do about either one of those but grin and bear it. We are working on a special padding to put in the seat for this weekend though. That should definitely help. With how hard of a hit that was and how badly damaged the car is, I consider myself very lucky. Everything worked properly inside the race car--the seatbelts and the seat. The steering collapsed very well to keep it away from me. It was just a horrendous accident." Green will be behind the wheel this weekend as the team carries their renewed sense of confidence with them to Michigan International Speedway. Pennzoil PR

6/10/03

Tag renews with McLaren  TAG Heuer and McLaren International are delighted to announce the extension and enhancement of their long-term partnership for Formula One auto racing. 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 Timekeeper, 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 renowned drivers 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 One, a sport where the brand has been Official Timekeeper for the World Championship since 1992."

6/10/03

Ford to display Zanardi's hand-controlled car  As one of the presenting sponsors of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the Ford Motor Company is displaying its long-standing commitment to American open-wheel racing, which dates back to the earliest days of racing competition in the United States. That commitment, along with the rest of Ford’s vast racing heritage, will be on display in Dearborn, Michigan this week as the manufacturer celebrates its 100th anniversary on the grounds of Ford Motor Co.’s World Headquarters June 12 - 16. CART Champ Car racing machines will play a key part in the historic display as the hand-controlled Champ Car that Alex Zanardi piloted during his inspirational 194mph laps last month at EuroSpeedway Lausitz will be on hand along with the #55 Herdez Competition machine driven this year by Mario Dominguez. The Zanardi car was custom built by Eric Bachelart’s Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing team in order to afford the two-time CART champion the opportunity to complete the 13 laps he did not get to run at Lausitz in 2001 when he suffered a devastating accident that resulted in the traumatic amputation of both of his lower legs. The car features a modified brake pedal, a hand-control throttle as well as a hand-control clutch that is mounted near the shifter. Zanardi ran two separate stints in the car at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz last May, turning laps at an average speed of over 194 mph. The cars will be on display in one of two Ford Racing vehicle display tents. Other cars will include the 1966 GT40 1-2-3 finishers from LeMans, a 1909 Model T, a 1923 Model T Indy Car, NASCAR cutaway car, the historic 1901 Sweepstakes that Henry Ford raced, and Ned Jarrett's #11 Ford Fairlane. Event hours are 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. -8 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 10 a.m. -1 p.m. on Monday.

6/10/03

Vasser - a dying breed  UPDATE A CART fan responds to the subject Mercury News article,  I'm quite offended with the remark that "CART is still the clear Number 2 in this open-wheel dilemma in the U.S.". How can you say this when clearly CART's attendance is remarkable compared to the empty ovals the IRL races on. What about the fact that NASCAR and IRL tickets are sold as "package deals". If the IRL tickets were sold as it's own race there would be nobody buying them. Everybody loves to forget this when they look at Texas. CART is winning this so-called battle. We are just going about our business and not listening to the endless dribble that comes from the journalists who really don't know what they are talking about. Our races clearly draw more people then any IRL race. What happened to IRL's 30 car fields since they were getting the CART defectors? It looks pretty clear that the so called defecting of Andretti-Green and Chip Ganassi had zero effect on the IRL and it's substandard racing? Their growth hasn't come with the influx of ex-CART teams. They barely have more cars then us. What 22 at Texas? Where are these huge fields they were predicting last year? It hasn't happened.....has it? And it won't. You guys should issue an official apology to all us CART fans for this dribble. I suggest you look at attendance figures and the "lack" of these predicted 30 car fields. The IRL has 3 more cars then us. That's not substantial growth in my world.   I don't know what world you're living in?  James Shaw  6/10/03 - This Mercury News article says, If Morgan Hill native Jimmy Vasser takes a moment to look around the 19 cars in the starting grid before Sunday's CART race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, he will see: Mexican drivers. Canadian. Brazilian. French. Portuguese. English. Catalonian. And just one other U.S. driver -- teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay. Chalk it up to the continuing fallout of the 1996 split that drastically reduced the profile of open-wheel-style racing in the United States and left the track wide open for the incredible growth of stock cars. ``Ten years ago, Indy cars were more of a destination for a young American driver,'' said Vasser, who enters the Grand Prix of Monterey 11th in the CART season standings. ``But interest in Indy car style has declined. TV ratings and sponsorships have declined. And NASCAR's popularity has increased. That's why young American drivers are more interested in NASCAR.'' The number of Americans in elite open-wheel racing has shrunk on both sides of the CART-IRL dispute. Last month's Indianapolis 500, run by the IRL, had 20 U.S. drivers among the 33 starters -- a drop from 27 in 1998. As for CART, 11 of its 19 races are in the United States and Vasser acknowledges the international makeup of the drivers doesn't necessarily help in the battle for race fans' attention. ``The series needs to have a few more Americans,'' said Vasser, CART's 1996 champion. ``The number of American drivers is down, for sure.'' It could drop even further. At 37, Vasser is driving this year in some Busch Series races -- one of NASCAR's secondary attractions -- and hopes to maybe even get a Winston Cup ride or two before the end of the season. ``That's where I would like to go with it,'' Vasser said. ``I'm not just doing it for kicks. I'm intrigued by the challenge. You can drive a little older in NASCAR because the cars are easier to drive. Forty is about the end of the line for an Indy car driver.'' For Vasser, it all began racing quarter midgets on a Sunnyvale track at 6. He graduated from Live Oak High School, attended San Jose State and went to driving school at Laguna Seca. Although he now lives in the Las Vegas area, he has a flat in San Francisco and co-owns a car dealership with his father in Napa. Like most open-wheel drivers, Vasser would like to see a resolution to the IRL-CART infighting. Although CART continues to confound the doomsayers who said the series would struggle to survive this year, it still is the clear No. 2 to the IRL. ``The future of CART lies in the strengths of the teams, and some are not as financially sound as they need to be,'' Vasser said. ``It's very important that teams like ours find sponsorship to be able to race next year. If they don't, the car count will go down and CART will have trouble.''

6/10/03

Fittipaldi in, Andretti out at Petty   UPDATE Remember when John Andretti lost his Pennzoil CART Indy Car ride (Jim Hall) and they brought in a real charger from Italy, Teo Fabi? Andretti bashed CART and bad-mouthed "Ride Buying Foreigners".  Now that Christian Fittipaldi (from Brazil) has taken over for him in NASCRAP, will he result to the "usual Andretti whining, crying, complaining and moaning"?  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California  6/10/03 - Christian Fittipaldi will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for most of the rest of this season, beginning with this weekend’s 400-mile race at Michigan Speedway. Petty Enterprises announced this morning Fittipaldi would replace John Andretti, who has driven for the team since 1998. "Christian Fittipaldi has shown, every time he has gotten in a Winston Cup car, including Phoenix, Texas and Daytona, that he has the talent to drive these cars and help us get to the front," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "We look forward to showing everyone what Christian can do week in and week out." A driver to be determined will drive the #43 in the three races Fittipaldi drives the #44 Bugles Dodge, and his one race under the New York Yankees pinstripes colors. "This decision was finalized this week. We then informed General Mills of what we were going to do, and we are moving forward," Petty said. Fittipaldi, one of the top young names in Formula One and CART racing before moving to Petty Enterprises, will be starting his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup race this week. He ran in October’s race at Phoenix, as well as the season-opening Daytona 500 and April’s 500-miler at Texas Motor Speedway. "We appreciate what John has done for us," said Richard Petty. "We had some successes, won some poles and won a race but we feel like where we are right now it’s time for a change for Petty Enterprises and for John. "Speed and Fittipaldi go together," he continued. "He knows how to run fast, and he knows how to race fast. We feel he is going to do a great job for Petty Enterprises and for Cheerios and Betty Crocker."

6/10/03

NASCAR releases part of Stewart's car   NASCAR returned part of Tony Stewart's Chevrolet that was impounded March 28 after failing inspection. John Darby, NASCAR's Winston Cup director, said Joe Gibbs Racing was allowed to retrieve the chassis and engine. The car was seized after its body measurements did not pass inspection before practice for a race at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR will keep the parts that did not meet specifications. The problems were in "the area around the back of the car, back window to back deck," NASCAR president Mike Helton said.

6/10/03

No sympathy for IRL constituents  A reader writes, Dear AR1, GM's admission that it needs a technical partner with experience in either F1, CART or both, to compete in the IRL effectively pulls the latest and last pillar from the IRL's bogus original manifesto -- the so-called "shade-tree" mechanic. The introduction of Toyota and Honda into the IRL this year will likely force GM to move engine creation and service out of the industrial parks around IMS and to the high-tech factories of Britain -- if it wants to stay. This is nothing new, really. Today, Roger Penske dominates the Indy 500 even more than he did in 1994 -- he's won every '500 since his return in 2001, including two sweeps. There are just two American drivers who came up through the ranks of America's short ovals -- Al Unser, Jr., and Sarah Fisher. Two Japanese manufacturers taking advantage of European and Japanese technology dominate the series and the winning chassis in every Indy 500 since the IRL introduced its new and dangerous formula in 1997 has come from overseas. Even the wheel-to-wheel racing is gone -- this year's Indy 500 was as much a parade as any race at Milwaukee in recent years. No, it was all BS from the beginning and many of us knew it. As such, I have no sympathy for the fans, manufacturers or teams who backed the IRL in the beginning. If they were that blind to Mr. George's true intentions, then they deserve what they're getting now.  James Allen, Virginia

6/10/03

British GP retains F1 status  According to this ITV-F1.com article, The British Grand Prix will keep its place on the 17-date Formula One calendar after the direct intervention of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Government officials, according to a leading figure in the sport. The decision comes after the World Council of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) voted in Monaco in favor of the Silverstone race retaining its championship status. FIA president Max Mosley said: "After the broken promises of recent years from the organizers of the British Grand Prix, we have now received binding commitments from them that the chaos experienced by motor sports fans in recent years will be addressed properly in time for next year's Grand Prix." He added: "I feel now that for the first time the FIA has received a comprehensive commitment necessary to deliver for the fans." However, the FIA has placed strict conditions upon event promoters Octagon Motorsports and the British Racing Drivers Club including a £3.5 million performance bond after traffic and parking problems blighted the last two races at Silverstone. Around £10.6 million will be spent on making improvements to the Northamptonshire circuit before next year's race on July 7. Rob Bain, chief executive of Octagon, is delighted that the race will go ahead as planned. Bain said: "We (Octagon) offered the performance bond to them to show our complete confidence in finishing all the phase one work before the 2002 Grand Prix. "Naturally I am delighted with the FIA decision to reinstate our Grand Prix for next year. "Having met the minister of sport and local authorities we are confident we can get the job done and the required works will happen. "The silver lining to this episode during the last week is that it has at least got support from the British Government down to the local councils all pulling together on the same team behind the British Grand Prix." Sports Minister Richard Caborn said: "I'm delighted that the race will go ahead."

6/10/03
MOTO GP

Qatar signs 5-year deal   Qatar is set to become the first Middle East country to host a round of the MotoGP championship after signing an agreement with promoters Dorna for a race next season. Dorna said an agreement was signed at Mugello in Italy on Saturday between Naser Bin Khalifa al-Ateiah, president of the Qatar Motor and motorcycle federation, and Dorna chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta. "The initial agreement gives Dorna the option to include the Qatar Grand Prix in the pre-calendar for 2004, subject to a final homologation by the FIM of the race track that will be built close to Doha in the next few months," Dorna said. The statement said the first race would be scheduled for late 2004 as part of a five-year agreement.

6/10/03

Soft Walls can destroy cars    In this Fox Sports article, Jeff Hammond says, I know that NASCAR is really close to implementing soft-wall technology at a lot of race tracks, but there's a time and a place for everything, and I would rather see what happened on Sunday than watch a race car get into a soft wall that isn't properly installed and designed and do more damage. I have been to NASCAR's Research and Development Center and have tried to keep abreast of what's going on with the soft-wall technology. I know what can happen if the walls are installed incorrectly because I've seen it with my own two eyes. I've seen race cars destroyed as if two Caterpillar backhoes had run through them. The impact with the walls destroyed the car because the walls weren't designed properly. A soft wall may have helped Jeff Green and his crash into the inside wall. It may have helped some of that front impact, but overall, the soft walls are not ready yet. If NASCAR weren't working on soft walls, I would be mad, but I know that they are working on them as diligently as possible. Let's give them the time necessary to make sure that they are right before they are implemented. As NASCAR president Mike Helton and managing director of competition Gary Nelson have said, they won't react because they feel pressure. They want to make sure that when they make an improvement, it IS an improvement.

6/10/03

Pocono ratings up 11%    The Winston Cup race from Pocono on FOX turned in solid overnights of a 5.1 rating and 12 share, an 11 percent increase over last year's overnights of 4.6/11. Some big markets outside of the Southeast saw some big increases over last year:
Baltimore (+104%)
St. Louis (+89%)
New York (+82%)
Milwaukee (+74%)
Chicago (+57%)
Minneapolis (+49%).
Last year's race got a nice overnight bump to finish with a 5.1 and 15 share. The 2001 race had overnights of 4.3/11 and finished with a 4.4 rating and 11 share.  MotorsportsTV.com

6/10/03

CART's fundamental error  CART CEO Chris Pook has declared the decision to float the company in 2000 as a 'fundamental error' - and one which has left it in the financial crisis it faces today.   In a revealing interview in Sportsbusiness.com's sister publication, SportBusiness International, being mailed to subscribers now, Pook also does not rule out taking the business private again as it struggles to shore up its finances. Although CART raised $100m through the flotation, the cash reserve has been dwindling each year, raising concerns over its long term viability. Says Pook, in the June issue of the industry's leading publication: "When management took the company public they took their eye off the ball as far as their core business was concerned and started worrying about share price options and all that stupid stuff. "Floating the company was fundamentally an error. Had we not gone public then, I think the company today would be fine." The Champ Car World Series has suffered from declining sponsorship, TV audiences, and at-venue attendance, in recent years, and although Pook claims CART has now 'turned the corner', courtesy of a major internal restructuring procedure put into place when he took over in December 2001, it continues to be in a perilous position. Says Pook: "Would I consider taking the company private again? If you're doing your job properly you look at all the options. You have to do what is best for your shareholders. "It's out there. Nothing has been dismissed. You have to keep your options open."

6/10/03

New engine for Toyota in Canada  Panasonic Toyota Racing moves to Canada this week for round 8 of this year's championship, the halfway point of the season. Olivier Panis has contested 8 Canadian GPs to date with a best result of fourth in 1995, whilst Cristiano da Matta was pole-sitter and runner- up in the Montreal CART race in 2002. Consequently both drivers bring valuable experience with them. "I have previous racing experience at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, having driven there at last year's CART event where I was runner-up, so I will not lose any time learning the track during Friday morning's one-hour practice session,” said Cristiano. “The circuit is enjoyable to drive with some good chances to overtake, but it is particularly hard on the brakes and the engine. We are running a new spec engine this weekend, which I am sure will be beneficial to us. Overall, I am in a quite optimistic frame of mind, and although it could be a tough weekend, I'm looking forward to it."

6/10/03

What I hate most about Tony George  This Deep Throttle article says, "When Tony George assumed control of the Speedway, he had one job: not to mess up the Indy 500. He wasn't tasked to bring in F1 or NASCAR, or to create an inferior racing series. He was entrusted with the stewardship of what used to be America's greatest race. Never has a man failed so miserably at his job."

6/10/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

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6/10/03

TMS boring?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I watched the IRL race Sat. night and I was bored. All the big IRL fans that say CART races are parades, well what do you think that race was, yes there was a few side by side passes.  But overall, it was not exciting at all. In the beginning of the race for the lame announcers to compare the speeds of open wheel cars to NASCAR's cars at TMS is so stupid.  All they could talk about all night long is their crowd 92,000 (yea right) I admit there was a crowd but there was not 92,000 people there. Another thing they could not stop saying is boy they are just flying around this track at 219.  187mph average. Who is writing the script? They are the most annoying announcers on TV. One thing they didn't compare is that NASCAR packs the place. They leave a lot of facts out.   No wonder no one watches the IRL races, can't stand to listen to the announcers..that's only 1 reason. Cynthia Adams   Dear Cynthia, You are correct that this year's race was boring compared to previous years, but now the field doesn't have all equal engines like they were previously with most cars running Chevy.  Toyota is king in the IRL right now, making big horsepower everywhere, thereby, stringing out the cars more. Mark C.

6/10/03

Nice to see 92,000......but  A reader writes, Dear AR1, How many seats are there in the main grandstand at TMS? They were less than half full, so to reach 92,000 they have to hold some 200,000. That’s a big number. As I recall Fontana holds 110,000, or so. And Fontana is much longer, and higher, too. While it was nice to see a good crowd for OW racing, I quibble because “92,000” was mentioned almost 92,000 times on the broadcast. Jeff Skinner, Northridge, California  Dear Jeff, The main grandstand at TMS holds 120,000 people. Mark C.

6/9/03
Industry News

Ford celebrates its 100th anniversary  This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company, which was founded on June 16, 1903 by 39-year-old entrepreneur Henry Ford. The historic occasion will be celebrated on the grounds of Ford Motor Co.'s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., from June 12 - 16...Racing legends Sir Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, the Wood Brothers and many more will be on hand along with many of the cars that they and other Ford legends have driven throughout the years. Visitors to the event will also be treated to a concert series that will feature performances by Beyonce Knowles, Toby Keith and Earth Wind and Fire...In addition to the festivities in Dearborn, Edsel B. Ford II will serve as grand marshal of the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 15, and all Ford teams and drivers will be wearing Ford Centennial hats throughout this weekend's CART Champ Car, NASCAR and NHRA events...Over the past century Ford Motor Co. has put a strong emphasis on racing, and rightfully so, since funding to start the company came from a race won by Henry Ford in 1901. In Henry's first and only competitive race he defeated Alexander Winton in a 10-lap event at the Detroit Driving Club in front of a number of potential investors. The prize won was $1,000 and a cut glass punch bowl, however, the acclaim brought him one step closer to achieving his dream, because several people watching that day would come forward and offer financial support for subsequent efforts...Henry Ford established Ford Motor Company 20 months later. He proved his belief in low-cost production and created the car that literally put the world on wheels. The impact of Ford's automobile company goes beyond the auto industry as it has had a manor impact on society as well with the development of the moving assembly line and the $5-a-day workday.

6/9/03

New pit lane suites and garages at Laguna Seca  Unveiled at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in January, 2003, the new complex is located inside Turn 11 at the entrance to Pit Row, and contains 12 hospitality suites on top of 10 double-car garages. The project broke ground on February 8, 2002, was built at a cost of $7.5 million and is the first phase of a major capital improvement campaign underway at the facility. The Premier Pit Row Suites feature four corporate suites and eight individual Suites, directly overlooking the action on Pit Row. Corporate suites are designed for companies hosting up to 40 guests in a climate-controlled environment and include indoor and outdoor seating, multiple televisions, wet bar, refrigerator, private bathroom, and a conversational seating area. The individual suites are designed for individual fans or companies hosting small groups. They also feature multiple televisions, wet bar, refrigerator, private bathroom and outdoor seating. The 10 double-car garages are each 16' wide and 32' deep. They feature one walk-through door and roll-up doors on both front and back, making it easy for teams to move their cars and support equipment from their trucks in the paddock, into the garages and out onto Pit Lane. Each garage contains a 110 volt electrical supply and phone lines. The ground floor of the building also features a catering kitchen to support the hospitality suites and men's and women's restrooms. The garages got their first taste of action when CART Champ Car teams tested in mid-January.

6/9/03

Schumacher and Todt extend Ferrari contracts  UPDATE  Some quotes - Jean Todt: "In a few days time, I will reach the tenth anniversary of my joining Ferrari. I have always said that I would end my work in this field here at Maranello. I still have a great passion for my work and my motivation is the same as ever. I could not dream of being with a greater team. Staying here for a few more years is something to be proud of. I hope that we will be able to give our fans further great satisfaction. I am proud to head up this team and to work for the automobile legend that is Ferrari.”   Michael Schumacher: "I love this sport I do and I feel extremely comfortable at Ferrari. It was therefore almost something to be taken for granted that I would extend my contract to the end of the 2006 season. The fact that Jean Todt and other key personnel in the team have also confirmed they plan to stay with Ferrari for the same period of time made this decision even easier to take. I am really pleased to be able to work with a team like this, with great friends, in the hope of enjoying even more success together. We have some exciting seasons ahead of us and, as usual, I am ready to give these great challenges my best shot. Ferrari is like a second family to me and I am proud to be part of this marvelous group."  Luca Montezemolo: “Ferrari’s success over the past few years is based on the great professionalism of the team. In my opinion, maintaining stability and providing continuity are the most important things. This month, Todt completes ten years with Ferrari and Schumacher is the driver who has been with the team for the longest time, as well as being the one who has brought us the most victories. By the end of 2006, he will have been at the front line for Ferrari for eleven seasons. However, a strong team is made up of a group of people: Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Paolo Martinelli and Gilles Simon have done an exceptional job over the years and behind them, other gifted engineers are growing in stature and they represent our future. The mood here is calm with little excitement over the renewal of contracts, even if, as is easily understandable, there is no lack of “siren” calls from the market, in an area where everyone wants to win and there are few excellent specialists. I am also pleased to nip in the bud speculation as to Schumacher’s future. He is motivated and feels strong and that is the best answer to so many various rumors. As for Barrichello, the question does not arise, as there has never been speculation about his retirement. It will eventually come down to a choice as to how we tackle 2005, but at the moment we have barely reached the mid-point of the 2003 season!”  6/9/03 - Ferrari announced that Jean Todt will continue in his role as Managing Director of the Gestione Sportiva to the end of 2006. Also continuing to report in to him up to that date will be Technical Director Ross Brawn, Engine Director Paolo Martinelli, Chief Designer Rory Byrne and head of engine design Gilles Simon. Furthermore, Ferrari announces that it has extended its agreement with the driver Michael Schumacher to the end of the 2006 season.

6/9/03

Bridgestone stepping up promotions  For 2003, Bridgestone has become much more than the official tire supplier for the Champ Car World Series. As the presenting sponsor of the 2003 season, Bridgestone has stepped up with massive marketing support and promotional appearances at its many tire dealerships around the country both inside and outside of the Champ Car race market.

6/9/03

Pit Windows in effect at Laguna Seca  In order to discourage fuel-economy racing and provide top-speed action for the fans, Champ Car Racing Operations will maintain the mandatory pit windows for this weekend’s event, setting them at 24 laps around the 2.238-mile circuit.

6/9/03

Jourdain 240th driver to win Champ Car race  Michel Jourdain Jr. became the 240th driver in the 93-year history of Champ Car racing to take a race victory as he claimed his first career win with a dominant performance at the Milwaukee Mile. Jourdain now holds the series points lead for the second time in his career and now enjoys his largest-ever advantage in the points as he leads Paul Tracy by 10 markers after six races.

6/9/03

CART TV update for Laguna Seca  SPEED Channel and CBS Sports will combine for the next two weeks to give racing fans the best open-wheel racing coverage anywhere. CBS Sports will broadcast the Grand Prix of Monterey live to the nation beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, and will do so again the following weekend with the G.I. Joe’s 200 from Portland. SPEED Channel will broadcast Saturday qualifying at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time in both Laguna Seca and in Portland the following week

6/9/03

19 Americans headed to 24 Hours of LeMans    Nineteen American racing drivers will be among the 150 drivers from around the world who will compete in this weekend’s 71st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most famous endurance race. Only 12 American drivers have been able to score an overall victory at Le Mans in the past 70 runnings, including some of the most famous names in American racing history. Interest in Le Mans among Americans had waned over the years until the birth and growth of the American Le Mans Series, which started in 1999 as a series of sports car races in North America using the same rules and many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans. Don Panoz, Founder of the American Le Mans Series, has been named Grand Marshal for the event by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among the 50 cars that will start the race, twenty-one regularly compete in American Le Mans Series events, and 32 were in the field for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring that started the 2003 ALMS season in March. Though American drivers have scored numerous class wins in recent years, including last year, the last time an American driver won the event overall was Davy Jones in 1996. Legendary road racing stars Phil Hill, Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood were each three-time overall winners at Le Mans during their careers, with Hill’s win in 1958 the first for a United States native. Other American winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been Price Cobb (1990), Masten Gregory (1965), Dan Gurney (1967), A.J. Foyt (1967), Carroll Shelby (1959) and Bill and Don Whittington (1979). In addition, Luigi Chinetti scored his third Le Mans win in 1949 after becoming an American citizen. In last year’s event, American Johnny O’Connell was part of the Corvette team that won the GTS class, while Butch Leitzinger helped Bentley win the GTP class in the event. Kevin Buckler was both driver and owner of the car that won the GT class. Practice and qualifying will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evening, with the 8.625-mile Circuit de La Sarthe open until midnight both nights. The twice-around-the-clock event begins at 4 p.m. (France time) on Saturday, June 14. In North America, race fans will be able to watch 17 hours of live coverage of the event on the SPEED Channel, beginning at 9 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday. Live coverage of the entire race can be heard online at www.radiolemans.com. The American Le Mans Series resumes action with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., June 27-29. The 2003 American participants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, by state, showing team, type car (class), include:
ARIZONA (3): Terry Borcheller, Phoenix, Risi Competizione, Ferrari 360 Modena (GT); Jeff Bucknum, Lake Havasu City, Team Bucknum Racing, Pilbeam MP91 (LMP 675); Chris McMurry, Phoenix, Team Bucknum Racing, Pilbeam MP91 (LMP 675).
CALIFORNIA (3): Kevin Buckler, Sonoma, The Racers Group, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT); Kelly Collins, Corona del Mar, Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS); Rick Sutherland, Los Gatos; Intersport Racing, Lola EX257-MG (LMP 675).
FLORIDA (5): Peter Baron, Deerfield Beach, Orbit Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT); Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, JML Team Panoz, Panoz LMP01 (LMP 900); Shane Lewis, Jupiter; Risi Competizione-ACEMCO Motorsports, Ferrari 360 Modena (GT); Jim Matthews, Boca Raton; Jim Matthews Racing, Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Ford (LMP 900); Andy Pilgrim, Aventura; Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS).
GEORGIA (2): Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth; Risi Competizione, Ferrari 360 Modena (GT); Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch; Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R.
MASSACHUSETTS (1): John Lloyd, Boston; Seikel Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT).
NEW YORK (2): Duncan Dayton, North Salem, Intersport Racing, Lola EX257-MG (LMP 675); Leo Hindery, New York City; Orbit Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT).
OHIO (1): Jon Field, Dublin; Intersport Racing, Lola EX257.
PENNSYLVANIA (1): Butch Leitzinger, State College; Risi Competizione-ACEMCO Motorsports, Ferrari 360 Modena (GT).
WASHINGTON (1): Bryan Willman, Kirkland; Team Bucknum Racing, Pilbeam MP91 (LMP 675).

6/9/03

Mario Andretti part of fan forum at Portland  Mario Andretti will participate in the Champ Car Fan Forum on Friday from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Mazda product tent in the vendor area.”

6/9/03

Arizona testing for Tracy  Team Player’s driver Paul Tracy had the Arizona Motorsports Park road course all to himself Monday for one of the testing sessions allotted Champ Car World Series teams during the course of the season. The team used the session mainly as an opportunity to test parts rather than run laps in preparation for a specific track on the schedule. “Basically, we’re just hunters and gatherers in this testing session,” explained Tracy, who has won three races this season and is currently in second place in the drivers’ standings. “We’re looking at data, collecting information and making changes as we go along.” Tracy’s teammate Patrick Carpentier tested on this same track in early April, and his session provided Team Player’s with a good gear-ratio base for the 60-70 laps that Tracy ran on Monday. By design, there were no long runs and a good deal of the testing time was spent trying out different front wings and variations on the differential. Changes to the undertray were conducted in the afternoon session. “It’s important not to have too much down time when you have just the one-day testing session,” said Team Player’s manager Phil LePan. “We wanted to make sure that we maximized our time and went through everything we wanted to do. We’ll do some work on the car here tomorrow and then head to Laguna Seca on Wednesday.” When Carpentier tested on the Arizona road course, he described it as one of the smoothest he had ever run on, and Tracy was largely impressed by the facility after he had the opportunity to put in laps on Monday. “It’s a nice track,” he remarked. “I found it smooth and easy on the tires. But because I was the only one out there, it was quite slick because there wasn’t much rubber set down. Obviously, the conditions weren’t conducive to any track records. We had two sets of tires for the day and we were running harder tires than the ones Patrick used at his session.”

6/9/03

It sounds like CART has no 2005 engines lined up yet  In this CART-Racing interview, Derrick Walker, who sits on the CART Board, makes it sound like everything is still up in the air with regard to CART engines for 2005.  He says, Q: There’s a great deal of talk of a 3.5 liter normally aspirated V10 formula for 2005 in CART. With these engines costing millions a year to produce, how do you think CART will be able to finance such an engine deal and do you think this is the best route for the series to take?   Walker: It’s the first I’ve heard of a 3.5 liter engine for 2005. There’s been a lot of talk about a V10 for 2005. But let’s not focus on what formula could be, let’s focus on kind of engine formula CART should have. I think it’s really driven by a few factors. One, who’s out there from a manufacturing standpoint that is interested in joining our series and supplying engines? And obviously with their interest they’re going to have an opinion about what the formula should be, whether that is V8 or V10 or whatever. So, we listen to what the suppliers would like to do. Then, if they’d like to do it, that would be the first step. The second step is evaluating that opportunity and the impact it would have on CART. What are the costs associated? Can the costs be capped so that it’s kept relatively cost-effective for both the manufacturer and the teams? The other point to consider in a potential formula change is what is the right formula for the fans? Is there a high-tech sound that creates interest and excitement from a fan perspective? That’s another important criterion that must be considered. I think when all’s said and done in today’s world economic circumstances there’s not going to be too many options that are available to us (CART) and it’s going to become fairly clear this year what the future of 2005 should be because if any manufacturer looks at this competitive series, Champ Car, it will have to commit to 2005 now. The manufacturer would have to start now – whether there’s a formula change or even if the manufacturer is just new to the current formula – in order to be ready for 2005. So, there’s a lot to be done, but I believe it’s a relatively simple process. There’s a lot of what we would like which may have to be put to one side, and we’ll have to focus on what’s realistic, what can actually be done in the time frame. Q: And why not stick with the Ford Cosworth turbo engines?  Walker: If we’re continuing in a transition mode where we’re still building the sport, we may find that it’s in the best interest of the sport to stay with the product that we’ve currently got. There’s no doubt in my mind that when we get to the end of this year, we’re all going to look at the current engine formula and say it’s a lot of fun. There are some sporting and management advantages to staying with a single-engine formula, but you can’t deny the commercial benefits and the interest that comes along when you get multiple engine manufacturers. The short answer is if we can get the perfect scenario with multiple manufacturers who bring a product that we can afford and it is a product that the fans like, then that would be the preferred. But if we don’t, then there’s certainly nothing wrong with what we’re doing right now.

6/9/03

Walker and Van Diemen part company  In this CART-Racing interview, Derrick Walker reveals that In March, Van Diemen and Walker Racing jointly announced that they had entered into an agreement to develop the current Reynard chassis for the 2003 and 2004 season. Speaking exclusively to CART-Racing.com, Walker revealed that the British based Formula Ford manufacturer has indeed made a ´U-turn´ and is no longer involved in the development of the Reynard chassis. "We entered into an agreement with Van Diemen and they changed their mind, so we’re currently looking for alternative partners to see how we can increase the competitiveness of the Reynard," Walker stated. "If I was able to find the capital investment, it would be relatively easy because we could go forward and do it ourselves. But, we need an investor/technical partner which Van Diemen could have been, but they did a ´U-turn´ and we currently don’t have anybody partnering us. However, Walker is still pushing forward with plans to improve the chassis. "Our in-house engineering staff has continued to make enhancements to the Reynard which we then make available to our customers," Walker continued. "We spent a great deal of time developing bits that would improve the car under the rules guidelines that we had for the Brands Hatch/EuroSpeedway races where we had to run a car that would be competitive on a road course and on an oval with a road course configuration without compromising too much for either circuit. And I think we saw that it was a successful venture for ourselves and the other Reynard customers who chose to purchase the update. Additionally, we have developed some parts for the rear of the car that Champ Car approved before the 20 May aero-freeze. So we will be able to build and distribute these to our customers within the next month."

6/9/03

Reutemann gets rare infection  Carlos Reutemann, the former Formula 1 driver who has been a leading politician in his native Argentina in recent years, is one of dozens of people in the Sante Fe province who has contracted leptospirosis as a result of his involvement in helping to clean up the province after devastating floods in April. Leptospirosis is a rare disease caused by bacteria from rat urine. Although the disease can be dangerous it is not thought that Reutemann has a serious case but he has been ordered to take time off by doctors and is being treated with antibiotics.  Grand Prix.com

6/9/03

What no HANS Device?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I noticed Little Al was not wearing a HANS Device when he got out of his car Sat. night in Texas. I thought it was mandatory?  Andy Ryan  Dear Andy, as far as we know, the IRL still does not mandate the HANS or Hutchens Device, which in our humble opinion, is negligent, but who are we to judge?  The IRL makes it the drivers responsibility, like NASCAR did until Earnhardt was killed.  Mark C.

6/9/03

Herb Fishel named Grand Marshal    Herb Fishel, one of the most influential automotive executives in motorsports history, has been named Grand Marshal for the June 27-29 Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta, featuring the American Le Mans Series, at Road Atlanta. Fishel, who will retire September 1 after 40 years with General Motors, has most recently been Executive Director of GM Racing. He is on special assignment to GM Service and Parts Operations until his retirement. The Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta is a new race on the American Le Mans Series in 2003, and Road Atlanta is the only racing circuit to hold two events for the professional sports car racing series this season. The 2.54-mile track will also hold the season-ending Petit Le Mans Oct. 15-18. General Motors, the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, has had a presence in the American Le Mans Series with its Corvette program from the beginning of the series in 1999. After learning the series for two years, the Corvette scored its first GTS win in September of 2000 and the familiar yellow machines have been regular podium fixtures ever since. “Herb Fishel’s influence has been greatly felt in the American Le Mans Series, and we are very pleased that he accepted our invitation to be Grand Marshal for the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta,” said Don Panoz, Founder of the American Le Mans Series and the owner of Road Atlanta. “It will be an honor to have him with us on race weekend.” Fishel entered the auto racing world in 1969, when he was assigned to the Chevrolet Product Performance Group. There, the North Carolina native would work with many of his childhood heroes like Smokey Yunick and Junior Johnson. Seven years later, Fishel became manager of Buick Motor Division’s Special Products Engineering Group, where he was responsible for the Buick Regals driven by Darrell Waltrip and others in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series

6/9/03

New Chevy engine    NASCAR tentatively approved the new R99 engine General Motors wants to use in the Craftsman Truck Series next year. The R99 is expected to generate more horsepower than the current SB2 engine, but GM is more focused on durability. The R99 has larger camshafts and more bore spacing that is similar to the engine Dodge uses now and that Toyota will run in 2004. If the R99 performs well, GM will push to use it in Winston Cup races in 2005, but NASCAR isn't likely to grant approval before Toyota joins the Cup series. Sporting News

6/9/03

"Formula Indy" for merged CART/IRL series?  UPDATE  A reader reminds us, Just a minor clarification of your Hot News article on Formula Indy. Emerson Fittipaldi drank the milk when he won the first time at Indy in 1989. It was his second victory, in 1993, when Emmo brushed the milk aside in favor of orange juice. Also, after the TV camera was turned off, he did drink the milk at the prodding of Roger Penske.  Maury Williams, Dayton, Ohio   6/8/03 - Helio Castroneves says in this Forth-Worth Star Telegram article, "If there is a reason our sport is not more popular (in Brazil), it is because the tradition there is soccer," Castroneves said. "In motor racing, it is Formula One, because they have been broadcasting it since the 1970s. IndyCar racing has been on TV only from the mid-to-late '80s. It takes time for the public to understand." They understand? In the United States, hardly anybody understands open-wheel racing anymore. The spat between CART and the IRL has taken care of that. De Ferran and Castroneves felt the effects when Marlboro Team Penske switched their allegiances from CART to IRL. "All of a sudden, we were on a different TV network back home," Castroneves said. "Even myself got a little confused." "People were watching the races," de Ferran added, "and they were getting confused, saying, 'I saw this race, and where were you?'" But since 1989, when Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi won on Memorial Day and shunned the traditional toast for a big gulp of orange juice, the folks back in Sao Paolo have been learning what IndyCar racing is all about. "Formula Indy," they call it. It would make a nice name for when the two groups finally make peace. "That, for me, is the only wish I have," Castroneves said. "I wish that we have one, strong, open-wheel series. I don't care what the name is."

6/9/03

Healthy rivalry brewing in CART  This AP article talks about the healthy rivalry brewing in CART between Paul Tracy and points leader Michel Jourdain Jr.....something CART desperately needs right now.

6/9/03

Honda & Toyota's CART & F1 experience blow Chevy away  This Fox Sports article is an interesting read about Chevy and its teams and how they misjudged the impact Formula One and CART level technology would have on a strict, cost-control, rev-limited engine formula. "There was a belief when you have very tight rules structures, much like NASCAR after the engines are developed and refined, people have reached the same level," he said. "We have made tremendous improvements from the Chevy Indy V8 when it was first brought out, but so have our rivals."........If Chevrolet strikes a deal with Cosworth, it could greatly impact the engine-building companies that have been a staple of the IRL since 1997. Such companies as Speedway Engines and Team Menard could be left in limbo because of proprietary issues with Cosworth. "IRL rules require you have outside engine builders," Vogelin said. "I question the independence of the way some of these were set up. But there is a role in the series for people such as Rick Long. "We don't know what might develop because it will depend on who the partner is, if we go to an outside partner. Depending on who you do the deal with, there might be some proprietary technology on who needs to be protected." Vogelin said, if that is the case, then much like Honda and Toyota have done, they will severely limit who works on the engines. Chevy teams and drivers are confident that General Motors can find a solution to this problem, but give undertones as to how serious the problem is. "GM is the biggest auto manufacturer in the world," Buddy Lazier said. "They have a whole lot of resources and weight to fix this. Right now, we are pretty confident that it will get worked out. But if it doesn't get worked out, we are in deep, deep, deep trouble." Cheever wants to cut through the politics and get back to a level where his driver has a fair chance at contending for a victory. "I want the best engine that has the most horsepower that has the best ability to service my race team," Cheever said. "That's what I want. I don't want a bunch of bull (crap). I want the best that is available."

6/9/03

Speak and Hodgson excluded as Deuce Racing RML lodge protest  The provisional result of the Days of Thunder race held at Rockingham on Sunday 8th June was changed after Deuce Racing RML lodged a protest against the top two cars, Rob Speak in the number 5 Learn Direct car and Stevie Hodgson in the number 6 Acorn Racing with Xcel Motorsport. Deuce Racing RML protested against the fact that the top two cars didn't race with rear axle cooling pumps required in the technical regulations. The BARC officials upheld the protest, promoting Ben Collins to the top spot of the podium with Ian McKellar Jnr and Alejandro Lince in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Team West-Tec (Rob Speak) and Xcel Motorsport (Stevie Hodgson) have lodged an appeal with the MSA so the results for Round 3 of this year's championship will remain provisional.
PROVISIONAL RESULT - Round 3
1 - Ben COLLINS - Territorial Army - 31m37.199 - 40 laps
2 - Ian McKELLAR Jnr - dsi Anydoc - +5.458s
3 - Alejandro LINCE - Deuce Racing RML - +5.642s
4 - Kevin CLARKE - Intersport Racing - +6.369s
5 - John MICKEL - dsi Anydoc - +8.954s
Fastest Lap -
Ben COLLINS - Territorial Army/ Deuce Racing RML - 35.334 - 150.68mph
21 cars took part in the race

6/9/03

Sato on-call for Canada  “Lucky Strike BAR Honda have confirmed the good news that Jenson Button has recovered from his Monaco accident and the team are looking forward to him racing in the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix,” the statement read. “Takuma will be attending Montreal in his usual capacity of third driver for BAR. This has been planned for a long time since Takuma attends all the long-haul races as a matter of policy and was present in Australia, Malaysia and Brazil.”

6/9/03

CART Stars karting action  Veteran racer Jason Bowles triumphed in the ICC shifter class Sunday after retiring from the lead in Saturday’s race at the Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow event in Colorado Springs.  Burnaby, British Columbia’s Kevin Glover made it a clean sweep of the ICA class by taking another pole and win Sunday over JM Racing Avanti driver Andrew Alfonso.   More...

6/9/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Ralf And Juan At It Again
Laughed In The Face Of Death
Newey: MP4-18 Will Race On
New McLaren Tastes Barriers
Michelin Have An Advantage
'03 Goes Down To The Wire
Button OK For Montreal
Rubens Tries To Forget Monaco
Legend Steers Rookie To Speed
Local Hero Is Fighting Fit

6/9/03
Bikes

AMA Superbikes from Road America  Neither dense fog nor rain could keep the AMA riders off of Road America's new track configuration and a stunning runaway win by 32.623 seconds in the second Superbike race by Eric Bostrom. Weekend race results follow.
Chevy Trucks Superbike Championship Final #1 (Saturday, 6/7/03)
1) Mat Mladin Rancho Cucamonga, CA American Suzuki 1000
2) Miguel Duhamel Repentigny, PQ American Honda 1000
3) Kurtis Roberts Hickman, CA American Honda 1000
Fast Time: Mat Mladin 2:14.740
Mat Mladin Margin of Victory: .28
Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Final (Saturday, 6/7/03)
1) Steve Rapp Corona, CA Valvoline Emgo Suzuki 750
2) Vincent Haskovec Lake Elsinore, CA Hooters Suzuki 750
3) Joshua Hayes Gulfport, MS Attack Suzuki 750
Fast Time: Vincent Haskovec 2:19.912
Steve Rapp Margin of Victory: .578
Chevy Trucks Superbike Championship Final #2 (Sunday 6/8/03)
1) Eric Bostrom Las Vegas, NV Kawasaki 800
2) Aaron Yates Milledgeville, GA American Suzuki 1000
3) Larry Pegram Baltimore, OH Dream Team Racing Ducati 998
Fast Time: Mat Mladin 2:25.235
E. Bostrom margin of victory: 32.623
Pro Honda Oils Supersport (Sunday 6/8/03)
1) Tommy Hayden Owensboro, KY Kawasaki 599
2) Roger Hayden Owensboro, KY American Honda 600
3) Damon Buckmaster Cypress, CA Yamaha 600
Fast Time: Tommy Hayden 2:45.553
Tommy Hayden Margin of Victory: 3.481
MBNA 250 Grand Prix (Sunday 6/8/03)
1) Richard Oliver Auberry, CA Team Oliver Yamaha 250
2) Charles Sorensen San Jose, CA Stargel Aprilia 250
3) Simon Turner Miami, Fl Priority Honda 250
Fast Time: Richard Oliver 2:30.229
Richard Oliver Margin of Victory: 29.801
Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (Sunday 6/8/03)
1) Damon Buckmaster Cypress, Ca Yamaha 1000
2) Joshua Hayes Gulfport, MS Attack Suzuki 1000
3) Ben Spies Longview, TX American Suzuki 1000
Fast Time: Damon Buckmaster 2:16.687
Damon Buckmaster Margin of Victory: 2.128

6/9/03

Button's shunt  is a lesson learned  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Jenson's shunt at Monaco is eerily reminiscent of Karl Wendlinger's 1994 Monaco practice shunt years ago ( which left Karl with serious bruising of the brain), and underscores the importance of vigilant safety advances such as the mandatory HANS device this year in F1. (I wear a HANS device in relatively safe Porsche Club events because I know how important the device can be in a crash). Without the HANS device I imagine Jenson's injuries could have been much worse. Bravo! to F1's Professor Sid Watkins, Charles Whiting and others. Mark S. McConkey - President, Gonzo Motorsports, Chicago, Illinois

6/9/03

McLaren will struggle  McLaren will struggle on the long-straights and tight chicanes of Canada's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. That was the opinion of team CEO Ron Dennis; and his view is now echoed by technical director Adrian Newey who ponders the 'old' MP4-17D's last blast. Asked how David Coulthard and title leader Kimi Raikkonen will fare in Montreal, the Briton admitted: 'It's too difficult to know.' McLaren's Mercedes-Benz engine is easily the least powerful of the 'big three' including Ferrari and BMW-Williams. Newey said of the street/road circuit on man-made island Ile Notre Dame: 'It's quite a power circuit, so I expect you'll see some fairly impressive top speeds from the teams just mentioned.' He admits his surprise that Dennis' lads are still leading the world championship even after seven races from runaway 2002 winners Scuderia Ferrari. 'If I'm honest, yes,' said the architect of the all-new and radical MP4-18 car, to debut at the end of this month in Germany. 'At the end of last year I don't think we could expect to be leading Ferrari seven races in with a development of last year's car. I think it's a credit to everybody at McLaren, the way we've managed to develop the car, and indeed to Michelin, for what they've done.'

6/9/03

'At least one' pit lane cheat  Unnamed sources at Scuderia Ferrari say a recent story about industrial espionage was 'dead on target.' A whisper in F1 circles intimated that a gang of ex-Ferrari engineers offered for sale detailed drawings of the highly-successful F2002 racer to rival teams. Speculation put the price tag at more than $1 million and insists that 'at least one' outfit took up the offer. Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn confirmed the existence of 'a story' but declined to make 'any comment whatsoever.' All he would say is, 'I've heard the stories and we know about it. Nothing more to say, full-stop.' Some pundits peered their eyes in the direction of fledgling F1 team Toyota and their Ferrari look-alike TF103 car. But team chief Ove Andersson scoffed at the suggestion. 'We were not offered any designs,' he stormed. 'We always reject any such offers because they are obviously illegal.' The information, relating to the car's mechanical design, aerodynamics and dimensions, was copied onto a CD and secretly offered to Jaguar, Sauber, BAR and perhaps others. But an unnamed official for one of the aforementioned teams said getting involved in industrial espionage is not worth the risk. 'It is dynamite,' he said of the detailed plans of the 15-race winning Ferrari built in Maranello, Italy. 'But no-one wants to be linked with this, because it would cast a difficult-to-shrug shadow over them.'

6/9/03

New McLaren on-target  McLaren's all-new MP4-18 is dead on target to hit the racing circuits by the end of this month. According to Woking's technical director Adrian Newey, the un-raced contender will wait just three weeks until it finds a grand prix grid at the Nurburgring. 'That's the target,' the Englishman confirmed of the widely-reported European Grand Prix date of June 29, in Germany. 'That's the earliest available target that we could make,' he continued to Autosport. Having said that, however, Newey insists that whether the 'Anti-Schumi Rocket' is ready by then depends entirely on 'how the testing goes' in Spain. MP4-18 ran reliably for three days, with both race drivers David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen, at the Circuit de Catalunya last week. The McLaren racers gave a thumbs-up to the visually radical design despite 23-year-old Finn Raikkonen putting it into the hedge at the high-speed final corner. Newey concludes: 'If the car runs smoothly and shows its reliability and performance potential, then yes, we'll race it at Nurburgring. 'If it doesn't, we won't.'

6/8/03

Jordan suing Vodafone  Vodafone is being sued for $225m by the Jordan Formula One team, which is claiming that the mobile phone company reneged on a deal to sponsor the team. Jordan is claiming that Vodafone agreed to fund the team and then walked away from the deal when an arrangement with Ferrari was offered. The case will be heard in the next few days. The talks with Jordan took place at the start of last year. Vodafone says the claim is "wholly without merit." It is understood that the case is one reason why there have been problems with the F1 "fighting fund" as payments to Jordan are being blocked because of the legal action.  Grand Prix.com

6/8/03

Chevy/Ford alliance possible This ESPN.com article says, From 1997 through 2002, Chevrolet won 66 of 68 races and six straight Indy Racing League championships. General Motors had virtually no competition until Nissan finally found victory lane twice before bailing at the end of 2002. But there's been a major shift in the IndyCar power structure this year, leaving Chevrolet with nothing but memories and unhappy teams. Toyota and Honda left Championship Auto Racing Teams for Tony George's all-oval series in 2003 and have basically put the Bow Tie Brigade on the trailer. Toyota teams led all 200 laps in Saturday night's Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, won by Al Unser Jr., and in five races Chevy-powered drivers haven't led a lap. Sam Hornish Jr., who won the last two IRL titles for Chevrolet, is no longer a factor because he's so under-horsepowered. His season highlight was running sixth at last month's Indianapolis 500 before his engine expired. On Saturday evening, he battled much of the 200 laps with a couple Hondas and Toyotas before being relegated to 11th at the finish. "Our goal tonight was to finish on the lead lap but we couldn't even do that," Hornish said.............. General Motors has approached Cosworth about trying to revive its IRL program. Ford, which powers every engine in CART this year and is also a presenting sponsor of the Champ Car series, owns Cosworth. "Yes, GM has talked to us but it's not a done deal yet," said Bernard Ferguson, commercial director of Cosworth Racing. "They've got a problem and we've got an engine." Cosworth has a 3.5-liter normally-aspirated IRL engine up and running on its dynamometer because, a couple years ago, CART announced it was changing its engine specs to the IRL's. "We're not spending 24 hours developing it and and we're not there yet but we've had it on the dyno and we think it would be competitive with the people currently competing in the IRL," Ferguson said. A test is planned later this month for Hornish's team with a Cosworth. Of course, the IRL still has to OK any and all changes to Chevrolet's configuration. "We need the final drawings and then we need to know if they have the capability to supply all the Chevy teams," said IRL vice president of competition Brian Barnhart. "These things don't happen overnight. "But Cosworth submitted engines for the IRL in 2003 and 2004 and they do appear to be the best option." Barnhart said the IRL would have no problem with Cosworth's motor replacing Chevy's. Neither did Toyota and Honda. "The more competition the better. Bring 'em on," said Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development. "We need General Motors to stay in this series so we have no problem with Cosworth. We've raced them before." Honda's Robert Clarke, whose company is in partnership with Ilmor Engineering, agreed. "We need Chevrolet to be competitive." The only unhappy people were a few CART owners who felt their $1.3 million engine lease to Ford might somehow be funneled to Cosworth for its IRL effort. "We're owned by Ford but we're an individual business as well and we have to exist. We have to chase every opportunity we can," Ferguson said. "We've been the longest supporter of CART and this isn't a CART vs. IRL deal. "We don't see any conflict whatsoever." Roger Penske went to the IRL, Bobby Rahal and Honda reunited and now Ford might indirectly help try to save Chevrolet. Auto racing always makes for strange bedfellows.

6/8/03

Danica Patrick to drive Prodrive Ferrari    Just over a week after testing an American Le Mans Series car for the first time, rising young American racing star Danica Patrick has joined one of the strongest teams in the series and will make her series debut in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta June 27-29. Patrick has joined the driving squad of the British Prodrive team, which on behalf of Care Racing Development will field a pair of Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the GTS class in the eight remaining rounds of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season. The 21-year-old Patrick, from Roscoe, Ill., will co-drive with Anthony Davidson of England in the #80 Prodrive Ferrari. Being paired with Davidson represents somewhat of a reunion for Patrick, who finished second to Davidson in the 2000 Formula Ford Festival in England, the highest finish ever by an American driver, and raced against him on several occasions. In addition to racing for Prodrive, Davidson is also the official test driver for the BAR Formula One team. Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic and Peter Kox of The Netherlands will share the #88 Prodrive team car. Patrick will be thrust into the ongoing battle for GTS class supremacy in the American Le Mans Series between the Prodrive Ferraris and the U.S.-based factory Chevrolet Corvette team. Joining the ALMS for the final three races of 2002, the Prodrive Ferrari was the only car able to beat the Corvette team in a race, with Enge and Kox winning the GTS class in the ALMS round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, along with pole positions by Enge in two of the three races. The Ferrari vs. Corvette battle has been one of the most competitive in the series. Patrick has been tabbed for racing stardom by many observers since beginning her career at age 10. After dominating go karts racing and winning three national titles from her Illinois base, she moved to England at the age of 16 and spent several years developing her road racing skills. She made her debut in the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series in 1998, then ran a full season in 1999. After her performance in the prestigious Festival event in 2000, she raced in the British Zetek Formula Ford championship in 2001. Her results in England caught the eye of former Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, owner of a multi-faceted racing team that includes CART Champ Car and Indy Racing League efforts. Shortly after Patrick won the Long Beach Grand Prix Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in 2002, Rahal signed her to drive for his team, and she ran a limited Barber-Dodge Pro Series schedule for Team Rahal in preparation for a full CART Toyota Atlantic Series assault in 2003. But Rahal wanted more opportunities for his young protégé, and he had been working behind the scenes, talking to various teams in the American Le Mans Series to try and put together a ride for Patrick in the remaining part of the 2003 season and beyond. She came to Road Atlanta on May 28 and did a test in the GT class Porsche fielded by Orbit Racing, and negotiations with the Prodrive team accelerated in the next week. “I feel that it’s important for a driver to drive in different types of racing,” said Rahal, who won Indy in 1986 and was CART champion in 1986, 1987 and 1992. He also enjoyed success in sports car racing, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1987. “At Danica’s age, and with her lack of experience, racing in this series will really help her,” said Rahal. “The more you do as a driver, the more you learn. And endurance racing is really good for a driver because you learn how to take care of a car and when to race.” “I’ve always wanted to do Le Mans-type racing, and longer races,” said Patrick. “I have the racing background and experience to move up to the next levels of the sport. People like Bobby Rahal and our sponsors have a belief in me and I am ready to show everyone that I belong here. I believe I’ll show them I can do the job.” “She has the potential to be a big star in motor racing and in sports in general,” Rahal said. “I wouldn’t be spending this amount of time and money if I didn’t think she could make it big. She has the drive and determination to be competitive in the highest levels in the future. I believe she can show everyone that she belongs with the best drivers.”

6/8/03

Toyota putting a scare in the NASCAR paddock    This AP article in the Toronto Sun says, Toyota hasn't even announced a timetable for its entry into Winston Cup, but it's already causing fear and loathing along pit lane. The Japanese auto giant will race in the Craftsman Truck series in 2004 and it's seen as just a stepping stone to bringing its brand to the big show, possibly by 2006. Rumors are rampant that Ford and Chevy may even pull out of the Truck series rather than put up the kind of money it may take to beat the Tundras. And Dodge has pulled its factory support from Bill Davis Racing after it was alleged BDR had turned over sensitive information to Toyota Racing Development. "If NASCAR keeps control of the rules ... (Toyota) is going to have to go through the same templates and the same engine approval issues," said Ray Evernham, owner of Dodge's primary team at the Winston Cup level. Speculation, however, is rampant that Toyota already is lobbying NASCAR to convert from small-block, carbureted V8s to fuel injected engines -- the kind that power Toyota's ultra-successful Indy car program.

6/8/03

Button warned to sit out  Peter Hamlyn, the neurosurgeon who treated former boxer Michael Watson, is concerned that Jenson Button could harm himself or a fellow competitor if he is allowed to return to the cockpit of his BAR-Honda before he has fully recovered from his Monaco practice crash. Button, 23, was knocked unconscious after hitting the infamous barriers at the chicane during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix and was advised to miss the race after seeing a specialist on Saturday night and spending the night in the hospital. He watched the race from the deck of his yacht after visiting the grid and pronouncing himself ready to get back in the car. But he missed a scheduled testing session this week and will be finally allowed to get back in the car on Friday in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix. "I am happy to report that I feel fine and I am ready for Montreal," Button said. Formula One does not implement an arbitrary ban for concussion so, if everything goes to plan, Button could be back on track just 13 days after the accident. Hamlyn warned: "If you give him a lethal machine and he's not firing on all cylinders then he could do himself or someone else some serious trouble. "There are two concerns when a sports person suffers a head injury. The first is that he may be susceptible to other injury such as blood clots, second impact syndrome or more brain damage and, secondly, there is a concern for other competitors." Several sports, including rugby, impose three-week bans for any player who has suffered concussion and amnesia but Formula One has joined Australian rules football in leading a change to cognitive testing, which Hamlyn strongly supports. Read full article at the Daily Telegraph

6/8/03
DTM

62,000 watch EuroSpeedway DTM race  In scorching heat (34 degrees Celsius) and in front of 62,000 spectators Bernd Schneider won today's German DTM race in a Mercedes. Schneider finished over 6 seconds in front of the Opel of Peter Drumbreck. Mattias Ekström fought his way to third position. Results:
1 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) 35 laps in 59m 49.631s
2 Peter Dumbreck (Opel) + 6.813s
3 Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 22.443s
4 Timo Scheider (Opel) + 22.978s
5 Jean Alesi (Mercedes) + 27.291s
6 Alain Menu (Opel) + 28.253s
7 Christijan Albers (Mercedes) + 28.470s
8 Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 36.866s
9 Christian Abt (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 41.586s
...
13 Karl Wendlinger (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 55.973s

6/8/03

Chevy doesn't stand a chance  During last night's IRL race, Toyota's Lee White was interviewed and he said Toyota spent a combined 52,000 miles between Japan and the Indy 500 running their IRL race engines on the engine dyno and on the track. They spent 1,000s of hours of Transient Dyno work alone!  It's no wonder Chevy can't keep up in the IRL, especially with mom & pop shops like Speedway Engines doing development for individual teams against the factory might of a TRD or HPD. There is just no way they will ever catch up unless the IRL secretly gives them a "special" rev limiter. We wonder what Toyota's NASCAR Truck and Winston Cup series will cost them before their cars and trucks hit the tracks? One has to feel sorry for Ford, GM and Dodge. However, in NASCAR, they constantly change the rules by giving favors to brands that are not good enough to keep up so that everyone is equal.  With Chevy so far out to lunch in the IRL, and with the IRL modeled after NASCAR, it won't be long before they will have to give Chevy special favors, or lose Chevy because no one will want to run one.

6/8/03

IRL drivers unhappy with reckless driving tactics  The Bombardier 500 lacked much of the side-by-side racing that marked past IRL events at Texas Motor Speedway, but it didn't lack for excitement. Some drivers thought there was too much excitement. Tony Kanaan, who finished second to Al Unser Jr., said a drivers' meeting needs to be called and a lecture presented on driving etiquette. "We had a good car but some people didn't play by the rules," said Greg Ray, who finished 11th. "I'm pretty angry. There are some people who need to be black-flagged." There were several wrecks in the race -- the biggest involving the cars of Scott Sharp, Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone with nine laps remaining. They were racing for third place when the cars got together between turns three and four. Sharp and Giaffone slammed into the wall while Takagi continued and finished third. Replays seemed to indicate that Sharp and Giaffone caused the wreck because they did not hold their line through the corner and forced Takagi down onto the apron.  Once Takagi hit the apron that shot him up into Sharp and Giaffone sending both into the wall, while Takagi motored on by.  In some respects, justice was served.  Ironically Sharp tried to blame Takagi for the accident afterwards, but it's clear from the replays he did not see Takagi and forced him down onto the apron.  Sharp's spotter should have told him Takagi was inside.  The blame really belongs on Giaffone who forced Sharp down who in turn forced Takagi down.  Let's just call it one of those racing accidents.  Mark C.

6/8/03

Two people killed in TMS parking lot  According to this AP article, Two people on a motorcycle were killed after a collision in the Texas Motor Speedway parking lot following the Bombardier 500 IRL race Saturday night. The accident occurred just after the race, Fort Worth police spokesman K.R. Ulrickson said. The motorcycle apparently hit a van, immediately killing a woman riding on the motorcycle, Ulrickson said. A man who also was on the motorcycle died while being transported to the hospital. Both victims weren't wearing helmets, Ulrickson said. The man and woman have yet to be identified. Further details of the accident weren't immediately available.

6/8/03

IRL eyes Milwaukee and/or Las Vegas for 2004  IRL Vice President Ken Ungar confirmed last night at Texas Motor Speedway that the league is considering races in Milwaukee and Las Vegas for 2004.

6/8/03

Johnson says one-groove Pocono track can be boring  The pole sitter for today's Pocono race says he would like to sprint out to an early lead and never surrender it. “That’s what we’re here for,” he said. But he’s realistic enough to know leading from the green flag to the checkered is a rarity in Winston Cup racing. It hasn’t been accomplished since Jeff Burton won three years ago in New Hampshire. Still, Johnson insists there’s no way to seriously contend on this triangular layout without being near the front. “There really isn’t a second groove all the way around and it’s very hard to make up ground and pass people while the leader is stretching it out away from you,” he said. “It’s all about track position here.” Although he would like to win for the third time in four weeks, Johnson has no thoughts of pushing his Chevrolet beyond its limits. "It’s all about track position here.’ “I’m going to take what the car gives me and what the conditions are, not make any mistakes and try to come out of here with a good finish,” he said.

6/8/03

Takagi slammed for crash  Japanese IRL IndyCar Series driver Tora Takagi has been slammed by his fellow drivers for a crash during Saturday night's race at Texas Motor Speedway. With nine laps to go, Takagi tried to pass Scott Sharp on the inside, who was himself side-by-side with Felipe Giaffone in a battle for third. Takagi's car got inside the duo down the back straight and then was forced down below the white line and onto the apron as they entered turn 3, then rebounded into Sharp's, taking him and Giaffone out of the race. Takagi continued to finish third. The move left Sharp fuming. "I fully expect the IRL will do something about it," said Sharp. "It's pretty obvious. Anytime your car gets on the apron, it just throws you up. The white line is the start of the apron. If you start to go down there, it will push your car back up." Helio Castroneves, who saw the accident from behind, said: "Tora just went inside too low. There was no way he could fit his car in there without crashing. It was just a shame that something like that happened. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Next time, it could be the real deal. They need to look into that." Kenny Brack "There was some pretty dangerous stuff going on out there," said Brack. "I don't know what Takagi was thinking. He tried to go from the banking to the apron and inside of Sharp. That was stupid." For his part, Takagi claimed he already had the line and was forced onto the apron because Sharp and Giaffone came down on him instead of holding their line through the turn. He said: "I have to avoid the crash. I have to go down because they did not hold their line, they did not give me room, I was already inside them down the back straight. It's not like I can just disappear once I was there. I was racing for the win just like they were. I had a good run down the back straight and was able to slingshot inside both of them. They must have not seen me and just came down on me once we entered the turn."

6/7/03

Unser credits Toyota power with win  In victory circle at Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Bombardier 500, Al Unser Jr. said "My Toyota engine outperformed that Honda (Kanaan's), and we came in just barely. When we pulled it in there at the finish, we were all alone.”   Chalk up another victory for Toyota over their Japanese rival Honda.  The Chevy powered cars, as expected, were never in the picture all night. The top Chevy was Sam Hornish Jr., in 10th place, one lap down.  Mark C.

6/7/03

Glover sweeps qualifying, Boyer injured  Doug Boyer, 16, of Munster, Indiana was in good condition at Memorial Hospital after a freak accident during qualifying severed part of his right ring finger. Boyer was just going out on his qualifying run in the KRT/Boyer Construction kart in the ICA class when he apparently reached over to his engine for an adjustment. Boyer’s finger became entangled in the kart’s chain drive, instantly severing the finger at the first joint. Boyer was alert and conversational the entire time and was in remarkably good spirits, even asking who got pole in ICA. “We never like to see injuries, and one such as Doug suffered is troubling,” said Stars Operations Director Paul Zalud. “We hope he makes a rapid recovery and is back racing with us soon.” Teammate John Zartarian, who races in the ICC shifter class, replaced Boyer and will run in both races today. Canadian Kevin Glover (right)  took pole positions for the Saturday races in both Intercontinental A (ICA) and Intercontinental C (ICC shifter) classes in Stars of Tomorrow action. Glover put his Genesis Racing CRG/Maxter/Vega tires kart on pole in the ICA class with a time of 38.549 seconds on the half-mile road course in the beautiful Colorado countryside. Johnny Amba of Valley Villiage, California, set an early time good enough for outside of row one, running a Gillard chassis with a Vortex motor. “Coming into the weekend I was hoping for pole in ICA and a top-three qualifying for ICC,” said Glover, from Burnaby, British Columbia. “From the race at Buttonwillow until now I realized I needed to do a few things to prepare myself and the team a little more. A little bit more physical fitness and mental preparation. So far it seems to have made a big difference.” The remainder of the ICA field produced some interesting stories. Some of the front runners from April’s race at Buttonwillow struggled a bit. Chris Giumarra and Landon Yee for TNR Kartsports struggled with gearing on the tight, challenging CRE track and qualified 11th and 16th, respectively in the 18 kart field. JM Racing’s Andrew Alfonso, who along with Giumarra won in this class in April, starts seventh. Alfonso was not concerned, considering he qualified 19th at Buttonwillow. “We just had the race setup on the Avanti kart for qualifying, so I think we’ll be fine,” said the driver from Danville, California. In ICC qualifying, Jason Bowles came up just short of pole in his CRG kart with TM power, 0.017 seconds longer than Glover’s 37.759. “I knew Glover was fast in practice. I came in after setting my fast time and no one was quicker in our session. I didn’t want to use my tires up. I relied on that time, knowing I’d get in the top two rows for sure. He just got me by a few hundredths,” said the driver from Ontario, California. Nicholas Halen of Carson City, Nevada qualified third while John Zartarian and J.D. Howell completed the top five for ICC.  The Champ Car 'Stars of Tomorrow' presented by RACER karting series is the official first level in CART's driver development system and an officially sanctioned series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing.

6/7/03

Stewart mentors Pizzonia  According to a report in British newspaper The Sun, three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart has taken troubled Jaguar star Antonio Pizzonia under his wing. Stewart who sold his own F1 team to Ford, which in turn re-named it Jaguar, has every sympathy for the Brazilian. "Antonio has a bucketful of talent but it is just a question of getting him to exercise it," says the Scot. "Natural skills and driving by the seat of your pants is fine, but you have to channel it productively. "The trouble is Antonio has been trying too hard since making his debut," continues the 27-time GP winner, "and when that happens you go slower. "He has tended to over-drive in order to impress. When I entered Formula One in 1965 with BRM, the car had a 1.5 liter engine and it was much easier to make the adjustment. These days young drivers are having to cope with between 800 and 900hp. "I also walked into a big team," adds the Scot, "but I had Graham Hill to help me and guide me through the opening races. At Jaguar you have Mark Webber who is 26, and only in his second season, and young Antonio. "I have won on most circuits used these days," adds Stewart, "and feel I can help Antonio with his driving, whether it is on the mental side or the lines he needs to take on the circuit. I'm confident that with a little guidance he will start doing really well." Pizzonia, who received support from rival drivers and team bosses when his drive appeared to be under threat, is grateful for the help: "Jackie has so much experience and he has already given me a lot of tips which I have tried and have worked," he says. "He is trying to help and I am enjoying learning from him. "I have been a winner in almost every category I have raced in from karting to F3, and I intend to make my mark in Formula One."

6/7/03

AJ Foyt IV crashes again  AJ Foyt IV was the first driver out of the race at TMS tonight.  As expected, he hit the wall again.  This time it was a brush with the wall early in the race that bent the suspension.  Rather than doing himself anymore harm, the team decided to park Foyt.  He reported a push in the car and when he tried to go faster he lost the car and it pushed up into the wall exiting turn 2.

6/7/03

Big crowd expected tonight at TMS UPDATE TV announced the crowd at 92,000, which seems generous since the main grandstands holds 120,000 and there certainly was not 92,000 in those seats, closer to 65,000.  However, add in the suites and the infield, and perhaps there is 75,000 to 80,000.  Regardless, a very good crowd.  6/7/03 -  We hear at least 87,000 seats have been sold for tonight's IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway and if history holds true, the walkup crowd may push attendance over 100,000, a stout number for the IRL given recent soft attendance at other races.

6/7/03

Shanghai tidbits  The new 5.451 KM long Shanghai circuit will feature a 50,000 seat 1,300 foot long main grandstand, capacity for over 200,000 spectators, a new challenging decreasing radius first turn that is called a "snail turn" for its shape.  As can be seen from the artist rendering to the right, there will be two spectator bridges crossing over the main straight and going into the main grandstands, similar to EuroSpeedway.

6/7/03

Seen at TMS  AR1 spies spotted Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas, visiting the Toyota trailer and prowling the pit lane at Texas Motor Speedway.  Newman Haas engineers and drivers were seen at the Indy Speedway. Things that make you go hmmm when combined with their sightings at Phoenix.  AR1 sources say that Toyota is still courting Carl Haas to move to the IRL, but we can tell you if he does run an IRL team it will be in addition to his CART team.  Haas is still on the CART Board of Directors and in private conversations is VERY pro-CART.  We hear, Carl, being the shrewd businessman that he is, would be glad to relieve Toyota and/or Tony George of some of their money to support his CART effort, should they throw enough cash at him.  Won't matter, because the IRL has most of the big names and big sponsors and big teams from CART already, and their TV ratings and attendance continue to drop. In addition cars are getting destroyed, and drivers injured on almost a weekly basis, which is driving costs through the roof.

6/7/03

More on CART should drop Cosworth  UPDATE Another writes, Dear AR1, I wholeheartedly agree with David Laufer. With CART frankly waffling and dicking around with this supposed V-10 engine, and no guarantee that CART will renew the contract with Ford Cosworth, they have to look at other revenue streams. Also, it doesn't help when Pook seems to enjoy getting in these little digs at Cosworth. Time and time again...Ford and Cosworth have stayed loyal to CART, yet CART seems to enjoy kicking sand in their face. Not a smart thing to do when you need all the support you can get. I'll admit to a perverse sense of pleasure knowing that Ford's biggest corporate rival has to go begging them for help (my two Mustangs are smiling). I believe the fear in many of the fans is that the IRL will use this either directly or indirectly to influence Ford and undermine CART at every turn. If it comes to pass that Cosworth leaves CART...then the blame will lay squarely at CART's feet (yet again). Regards, Joe Angers Boston, MA   6/7/03 - Another reader writes, This article (see hot news item below) does I'm sure express the (hurt) feelings of many CART fans. I myself was a bit disappointed when I heard that Cosworth was looking at helping Chevy (their one-time arch-nemesis) with an IRL engine. But there is another picture here, also: You, and Stanley Johnson say that Ford has done nothing for the sport other than take the money. This is somewhat true, as the specific branch of Ford (Cosworth) which is reportedly LOOKING at helping Chevy has always been a "motorsports business." This means that the entire reason for Cosworth's existence was to make money developing and selling better racing engines. Unlike Toyota Racing Development (which sells sexy street applications and straight off-road accessories as well as true motorsports apps) and Honda Performance Development, which I believe are both funded through the ADVERTISING departments of their respective parent companies, Cosworth's sole source of revenue is building race engines. It is however untrue to think that Cosworth has given nothing to CART. Could Judd have supplied the entire field this year? I find it extremely doubtful! Remember, Cosworth was able to adapt an engine that was fully in stock (I don't believe I'm releasing privileged information when I say there were something like 70 XFs in the engine pool when I worked there), and which had been race-tested for three years! Judd might have come up with something, but cover the whole field? Even Toyota, with their huge budget, said they couldn't do that, and they also had race-proven engines on hand. And, going back a bit, Cosworth definitely DEFINED ChampCar a few years ago, when it was the DFX engine winning every race. If you want to question Cosworth's commitment to CART, how about questioning CART's commitment to Cosworth? In 2001, CART repeatedly caved in to Toyota, and basically tried to give them the CART Manufacturers' title. Do you remember Detroit that year, when Honda and Ford both showed up at the track, entirely unprepared for a new regulation, requiring a pop-off valve spacer that they had never seen, but which Toyota HAD DESIGNED AND DONE THE TESTING ON? Honda wanted to withdraw all their cars, but Ford caved in to CART, which basically forced Honda to stay also. Surprisingly, Honda finished 1-2 at that race, and ended up winning the championship. That was also the year that Toyota managed to get CART to ignore its own "Two Year Rule" on changes in engine specifications. Remember that CART specified exactly what Toyota wanted: an engine that could run both the IRL and CART series (so they thought). Then TOYOTA pulled the rug out from under them, by saying they weren't staying in the series anyway!   Meanwhile, Cosworth was bowing and scraping, saying "Yes sir, yes sir," whenever CART did a flip-flop. Commitment isn't one-sided! For a really interesting bit of history, and to show the "business first" orientation at Cosworth, it's worth noting that the very first year of the IRL, in 1996, almost the entire field was running one engine manufacturer: Cosworth! Aside from Team Menard, which had its own "Menard" V6 engines, the field ran the previous year's CART Cosworth XB engines. Cosworth looked at it as purely a business proposal... they had a boatload of old engines that they couldn't use anywhere, and Tony George had nobody else willing to supply him. The honchos at Cosworth have never been known to turn their nose up at anyone's money (because it's the only way they get any), and if they hadn't done it, there would have been massive layoffs at the plant in Torrance. Because that was the year that Honda (and later Toyota) began cherry-picking the teams, and laying in BIG financial incentives to sign with them. So, from the DFX to the IRL XB, to today's XFE, Cosworth has a history of supplying really good engines to ANYONE who wants to lay out the money, and not paying teams to run them. After all, it's their bread-and-butter. Interestingly, I was speaking with a machinist whose company supplies peripherals to HPD in Valencia, CA, and he said that every year, the company there says that it's their last year, that the headquarters in Japan is closing them down. On the other hand, at Cosworth the talk was where CART would be in 5 years and 10 years, and the expectation was that Cosworth would still be there, building whatever. Because, while they do a lot of things well, what the guys in Torrance really enjoy is building the best CART engines. David Laufer

6/7/03

Kimi crashed new McLaren  Kimi Raikkonen said after his Barcelona test yesterday where he crashed the new McLaren: "I really enjoyed my first test. The car feels good and every time I went out it got better and better.” But then the attacking Finn ran off the track in the fast final corner of the Circuit de Catalunya. The team has not issued any details but Raikkonen's PR manager Kikka Kuosmanen said: "There was a kind of incident and he went off. He had a small knee injury, the skin was a bit bruised, but nothing else. “I think it was the last corner and that is quite fast. The car was damaged but I don't know how much. I spoke to him today and he is alright, there are no serious problems."

6/7/03

Pocono will keep two races  NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday that Pocono Raceway, which has hosted two Winston Cup races per season since 1982, will likely have two more next season. Though Helton said the 2004 schedule isn't complete, he said, "I don't see anything changing in Pocono." In January, NASCAR officials speculated there might be a major schedule shakeup in 2004 and that some tracks - most notably Atlanta Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Darlington Raceway and North Carolina Speedway - could lose one of their two races. At the same time, rumors began rumbling about the future of Pocono, among others. "We explained we had no intentions of forcing people to move dates or give up dates, but that we were interested in talking to owners of multiple facilities about if there's a better way to use dates in other market areas," Helton said. "Pocono is distant from most of those conversations. Now if (Pocono Raceway owners) Joe and Rose (Mattioli) come to us with some sort of idea or concept, we'd listen to it."

6/7/03

Don't blame Simple Green Safety Team  UPDATE A reader writes, My thanks to Mark Graham for his explanation about “realignment”. He confirms my admiration for Simple Green and gives me the explanation I have been looking for for several years. Change the rules, get back to racing! Jeff Skinner  6/7/03 -  A reader responds to Hot News item on long yellows at Milwaukee, Dear AR1, I have noticed a number of postings on the site critical of CART's Simple Green Safety Team for the long yellow flag periods at Milwaukee and several other venues. I too feel some of the yellow flags are way too long, but after being at the Milwaukee race, and listening to the Safety Team and CART race control on my scanner, I don't believe the problem lies with the Safety Team. At this year's race in Milwaukee, during yellow flag periods, while CART's Safety Team would conduct the on-track clean up, the pits would be closed and the cars would be under the control of the pace car. Once the Safety Team had completed clean-up and was returning back to their stations, CART Race Control would re-align the field (Sec. 6.22 of the CART Rule Book). For some unknown (to me) reason, this realignment would take Race Control several laps to decide on and carry out. Then, after the realignment was completed, the pits would be open to lead lap cars, then one lap later, lapped cars (Sec. 6.21.7A.3 of CART Rule Book). After that, one or two laps were needed to "pack-up" the field and restart (green flag) the race. At the Milwaukee Mile this year, it typically took five to seven laps to complete the field realignment, pit stops, pack-up and race restart.... this is in addition to whatever number of laps the Safety Team needed for track clean-up. For example, Paul Tracy's lost wheel took the Safety Team two laps to chase down and get themselves off the track, but an additional six or seven laps for realignment, pitting, pack-up and restart procedures. In my opinion, the criticism for long yellow flag periods more appropriately lies with CART Race Control. If CART wants to shorten their yellow flag periods, they need to re-evaluate the execution of the yellow flag realignment, pitting, pack-up and race restart procedures, and if necessary revise the CART Rule Book. CART's Safety Team deserves nothing but compliments for the work they did in Milwaukee... and at all venues. Regards, Mark S. Graham

6/7/03

CART should drop Cosworth after 2003   UPDATE Another reader responds, I want to respond to the reader that recommends CART drop Cosworth after 2003.  First, Ford is doing more than its fair share to salvage CART. Ford is the only manufacturer that is sponsoring an upper echelon series as far as I know of.  And to say Ford has done absolutely nothing to promote CART is absurd. If it wasn't for Ford would there even be a CART series this year? It's providing marketing and technical support to series itself plus 19 teams. Ford, like several other automotive manufacturers, are having to watch every penny that is being spent in today's current economic climate. Not only is Ford involved in CART, but Formula 1, NASCAR (Winston, Busch & Craftsman Truck), NHRA, IHRA, World Rally, ARCA, Trans AM. USAC Focus Midgets and Off Road racing. I don't believe that any other manufacturer has this level of involvement. Maybe in a year or two they will be involved in the IRL. That doesn't mean they will leave CART. As stated before they are involved in many aspects of racing and that will probably continue if the involvement is financially feasible.  Secondly, Cosworth is a subsidiary of Ford. Like many other subsidiaries and divisions within Ford they all have to earn their own keep. Meaning they need to generate revenue to support their existence. I don't see a problem in Cosworth selling engines to Chevy. Cosworth is looking to generate more revenue and grow their business. This is the basic principle of any corporation. They would be fools not to. Personally, this is an indication that Ford's racing program is superior to GM's. Plus, if Ford decides to get involved with the IRL this will help in their preparation.   Remember Ford created a new organization last year called the Ford Performance Group. This group, which combined the activities of Ford Racing Technology, Vehicle Personalization and the Special Vehicle Team- SVT, is expected to earn their own keep as well. Cosworth is probably a part of this organization as well, however I am not for sure. But they are expected to generate revenue through the sales of vehicles, performance parts and accessories. Some final thoughts.

  1. I expected Ford and GM to work even closer in the future. They are the last remaining American auto manufacturers left. Let's face it, Chrysler is now a German company. They will work together to fight off the foreign automakers.

  2. As stated on AutoRacing1 before, I also expect Ford to disband or sell the Jaguar Formula 1 team. They will continue to have a presence in Formula 1 by supporting teams like Jordan and Minardi, which is currently taking place.

  3. I also believe that Ford will eventually get involved in the IRL, however, I hope that CART and IRL do merge before then.

  4. AutoRacing1 has done an outstanding job in reporting the dangers of open wheel racing on ovals. I believe drivers will ultimately drive the merger of CART and IRL. They will eventually demand a change for safety purposes and as race fans which should help in their efforts.

 6/7/03 - A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just read that the rumor is now fact that Cosworth is going to supply Chevrolet with their IRL engine.  Panther Racing will be testing it soon.  Considering how Ford has done absolutely nothing to promote CART, except take CART's money to supply engines at a healthy profit (Cosworth is, which Ford owns), it would seem to me that 1) Ford has no interest in helping CART, and have stated clearly they have no interest in 2005 when CART will switch to V-10s, 2) they are now conflicted by doing business in the IRL, 3) they will be saving Chevy, which will in turn help save the IRL.  After all that Tony George has done to undermine CART, I can't believe that a CART partner (Ford) would be helping their arch enemies, Chevy and the IRL. If Chevy stays in the series, it helps the IRL.  As it is, they will be gone soon because their engines are out to lunch.   Since Ford and Cosworth have no real allegiance to CART, if I was Chris Pook, I would be on the telephone to John Judd to supply spec engines starting next year for the entire grid.  They have a turbo engine, or CART can switch to Judd's V-10 a year early.   Even if the engine had no name on it, what's the difference?  The current engines may as well have no name because Ford hasn't done squat for CART, except get a free ride.  Stanley Johnson, Houston, TX  Dear Stan, for all we know, perhaps Chris has already made that call to Judd. That would also right a previous wrong by CART when they cancelled Judd's contract when they went with Cosworth exclusively.  Then Judd will drop his lawsuit against CART and CART could open up bidding rights for a company to put their name on the spec Judd engine. Mark C.

6/7/03

Brazilians put CART (and the IRL) on the map   This Las Vegas Sun article says, Brazilian drivers have won the past three Indianapolis 500s, the past three CART championships and a Brazilian sits atop the Indy Racing League standings heading into Saturday night's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Tony Kanaan, the IRL points leader who followed fellow Brazilians Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves to the finish line in last month's Indy 500, has a simple explanation for why his homeland has produced so many talented drivers. "They say it's the water," joked Kanaan, who grew up racing go-karts with two-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves. "Seriously, the only explanation I have is that we don't have many options in Brazil and motor racing is a very famous sport down there. In America, you have so many options. You have football, you have baseball, you have hockey, you name it. We don't have a lot of options. We have tennis, we have soccer and then we have racing." They also have tradition, starting with Formula One drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna -- who won a combined eight World Driving Championships. "With the tradition that Brazilians in the past did so well, a lot of kids they want to be a racecar driver," Kanaan said. "In America, you get that sometimes ... every single kid I meet, they all like cars. "In Brazil, this is huge so people just put their kids to race -- I was 8 years old when I started. I barely knew what to do and I was already driving a racecar. I think we start very early ... that's the only explanation. It's just a sport that they gave it to us as a gift and we succeed." Castroneves, who is second in the IRL standings, agreed with Kanaan's assessment. "We started very early in go-karts like 11, 12, 16, 17 years old," he said. "We're already actually having experience with open-wheel cars so all those mistakes that you might have -- crashing the cars or having a hard time getting up to speed or experience like you are leading and all of a sudden you crash -- we already passed those situations. "I guess because of that, when you got into a series like this, such a high speed and professional, we adapt in a much better situation than people that do not have much experience."

6/7/03

Both Germany races secure  Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly told organizers of the German Grands Prix at Hockenheim and the Nurburgring that he plans to keep both events on the F1 World Championship for the foreseeable future. "They are doing a very good job," Ecclestone said. "The facilities are good, the tracks also - so at this time we're happy with them." The current contract for the European Grand Prix held at the Nurburgring expires at the end of 2004, but it seems that chances are high a deal will be signed to extend that term. Hockenheim was revised in time for last year's race at a cost of 62 million euro, while 50million euro were spent over the past year on modifications at the Nurburgring.

6/7/03

Tony Stewart to move back to Indiana  NASCAR champ Tony Stewart  plans to leave North Carolina for a return to his native Indiana. Owner of two luxurious homes in the Tarheel State which are for sale, he was quoted as telling one prospective buyer. "...and I'll leave the Ferrari in the garage." Earl Baltes told this columnist in Indy recently that Tony is a prime candidate to be the new owner of his Eldora Speedway. National Speed Sport News

6/7/03

Scheckter might tow plane home with lawn tractor  Tomas Scheckter won a lawnmower and the one-year use of a plane along with his pole position for the Bombardier 500. Among the contingencies for winning the pole were a Toro riding lawn mower and a year's lease on a Cirrus SR-22 airplane. When asked how he would get the small plane home to South Africa, Scheckter smiled. "I certainly don't know how fly, so I don't know," Scheckter said. "Maybe I can tow it home with the Toro."

6/7/03

Dare will require more surgery  Injured IRL driver Airton Dare will be transferred to an Indianapolis hospital Sunday for additional surgery on broken bones in his right hand and right foot [Editor's Note: We have updated our injury table to include these additional injuries not previously reported] . A spokeswoman for A.J. Foyt Racing said on Friday that Dare was resting comfortably, after surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas to repair his broken right leg and broken right arm. "Something broke and it just shot me into the wall," Dare told the team's spokeswoman. "I remember A.J.'s story about when he got hurt at Elkhart Lake. He asked the doctors to hit him with a hammer. I know what he meant. I was wishing I could be knocked out, too." Dare was listed in stable condition following the surgery, according to Dr. Henry Bock, medical services director for the Indy Racing League. His femur (thigh bone) and upper arm bone were broken in the impact. He also sustained several minor fractures in his right hand and right foot. "I feel much better today," he said. "It only hurts when I move." Foyt said he hadn't determined what happened to the car before it crashed, but that the team was concerned about Dare. "I am very upset about what happened," Foyt said. "I'm glad they are the type of injuries he can recover from. When I talked to him on the phone today, he sounded pretty good." [Editor's Note: if AJ really cared about his drivers, he would not be fielding cars in the IRL, the most dangerous form of motorsports. We lost count how many of AJ's drivers have sustained broken bones over the years].  Foyt said Dare's first impact with the wall was more than 100 Gs. The third was about 80. "He hit a ton," Foyt said.  Dare will be out 2 to 3 months.

6/6/03

Blank sidepods for Sarah at TMS  Sarah Fisher does not have any sponsor on her car's sidepods this week at TMS. GMAC is on the engine cover and AOL is on the front wings. Looks like they stepped back from being primary sponsor.  AOL was on the sidepods at Indy.

6/6/03

Forsythe to sponsor Andretti Green team  Forsythe Solutions Group, a leading full- service technology infrastructure solutions provider, has joined forces with Andretti Green Racing as an associate sponsor. Forsythe is also assisting Andretti Green with the infrastructure design and development of the team’s customer-facing Web portal. Forsythe appeared on the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone IndyCar™ during the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 and will maintain a spot on the car for the remainder of the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season. The car will be driven by Bryan Herta in Saturday’s IRL IndyCar™ Series event at Texas Motor Speedway and again by Herta at Pikes Peak International Raceway in a substitute role for the injured Dario Franchitti, who is slated to return to action this summer. “Forsythe is the kind of organization we like to align ourselves with – strong, innovative and knowledgeable,” said Kevin Savoree, who co-owns Andretti Green Racing with Michael Andretti and Kim Green. “Their support of our race team is much appreciated and their expertise will, no doubt, provide us with one of the best Web portals in the motorsports industry.” The team’s new site – www.andrettigreenracing.com – is scheduled to be launched this summer. Established in 1971, Forsythe is a leading provider of technology infrastructure solutions. Forsythe helps organizations nationwide, including many Fortune 1000 companies, build cost-effective IT infrastructure they can trust. Forsythe serves as a trusted, independent advisor, offering cross-platform expertise, exceptional service, and Forward Progress(sm) Methodology to address the complete technology lifecycle, including assessment, design, integration and management. The solutions Forsythe provides to its customers incorporate best-of-breed technology from Forsythe’s strong network of industry-leading provider partners. Forsythe also provides expert financing solutions through sister company Forsythe McArthur Associates, a leading independent technology lessor. Forsythe Solutions Group and Forsythe McArthur are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Forsythe Technology Inc. In addition to its new relationship with Andretti Green, Forsythe provides technology infrastructure solutions to co-primary sponsor Archipelago, which operates the nation's first totally open all-electronic stock exchange.

6/6/03

More on Road America to be broadcast in HD, CART's death wish   A reader responds to Hot News item on this topic below, Dear AR1, Just read your News item regarding HDNET, and only 5 or 10 Households get it because of the slow start of HDTV. I know you were saying the figure with a wink & a nod, but I must say my personal experience says otherwise. The Company I own makes Wall Units & Entertainment Centers, and Home Theatres on a custom basis for individuals. The Last 18 months we have been making these to fit High Definition Televisions at a rate of 10 - 1. Most everyone of those people have DirecTV in the HD format, and thus receive HDNET. HDNET will also be starting soon, if not already, on many Cable Outlets that have HDTV capability. HDNET will also be expanding to 4 separate High Def Stations in the not too distant future. Of course these people ( My Customers ) are in the Upper, and Upper Middle Brackets of the income charts, but they are ideally suited for CART, and many of them are racing fans. Excluding my customers, I myself, and about 10 of my friends also are outfitted with HDTV. All of them watch HDNET a good part of the time. I saw the Denver Race last season, and it was incredible! HBO & Showtime have HD exclusive channels, and all our local over the air stations NBC, CBS, Public Station, and the WB, also have a number of their Prime Time Shows in the 1080i True HD, format. ABC broadcasts in a "near" HD format, and Fox has an "Enhanced Wide Screen" form of the format. ESPN will have a High Def version of the Network soon if not already. I know that Quite a few of my friends will watch Road America at my house. Some are CART Fans, the others WILL BE after they see CART in High Def. So the 5 to 10 households you talk about (wink), I guess are all in my vicinity!! :) Philadelphia, PA. Of course the actual numbers will not even come close to what we're "used to "( I know, I know not good ), BUT they will certainly be better than you predict. A High Def House SEEKS OUT High Def Broadcasts, so at least the viewers will WANT to watch, and maybe buy a few Sponsor Products. My eyes will be glued to HDNET on Road America Weekend. All my best, Bruce Barnstead

6/6/03

More on Dare crash  Airton Dare appears to be knocked out or reeling in severe pain in his wrecked #5 AJ Foyt Enterprises Toyota G-Force during practice for the IRL yesterday at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Note the cracked tub. This car is totaled with almost no salvageable parts.  Dare is lucky to have survived with fractures to his arm and femur (upper leg).  The car destroyed car was brand spanking new, right out of the crate (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

6/6/03

Mo Nunn teammates lead practice at TMS  Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi posted the two fastest speeds of the event during the final practice for the Bombardier 500 on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Giaffone led at 23.7471 seconds, 220.574 mph in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Takagi was second at 23.8182, 219.916 in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. The climb in speed was surprising considering that it occurred in the final practice, when teams usually test their full-tank race setup, which normally is slower than a qualifying setup. Tomas Scheckter won the MBNA Pole Thursday night with a lap of 23.8851, 219.300 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. But Giaffone admitted that he, Takagi and a host of other drivers benefited from driving in the slipstream of other cars, which creates plenty of extra speed while driving in the inches-apart packs that have become commonplace in IRL IndyCar Series events on the 1.5-mile oval. The final practice was the only session during the event in which all 22 starters were allowed on track at the same time, creating a large aerodynamic draft. “Everybody is getting a big tow,” Giaffone said. “Of course, I had a huge one. There were a lot of cars (in front of me). I think it was just one of those big tows.”

6/6/03

Andretti still bashing CART  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, It's funny that Michael is blaming the canceling of the CART TMS race on the CART officials. My faulty memory says that when I worked for one of the engine manufacturers in the series, and the Track Support personnel came back and gave their post-event (can't call it post-race) report, they were unanimous in blaming one person... Michael Andretti! They said that all through every driver meeting at the track, Michael was complaining and saying that it was a terrible track and that there was no way they could race there. Of course, there were questions as to whether his complaints were based on his poor personal results, or something else. Actually, the officials tried several responses to resolve the complaints, which were that the banking caused too much G-loading for the drivers. These responses included making 30-lap runs between mandatory yellow flags (similar to today's mandatory pit windows) among others. But nothing resolved Mikey's "issues." And he was able to make enough of a stink to cause the cancellation of the race. It's interesting to me that this year's IRL qualifying times at TMS are only 1 second off CART's qualifying times for the aborted 2001 race there, which raises the question "What could CART be expected to do differently?"  Name withheld by request   [Editor's note:  This story also correlates to the one that had Andretti telling Paul Tracy that "we should not be racing at this track" on pit lane between practice sessions.  Tracy told Andretti, "stop whining, we are paid to race," which infuriated Andretti.   Although we don't know, it's almost as if Andretti was afraid of TMS, and he did conveniently retire just before he would have run there this weekend.  Coincidence?  You decide.]  6/6/03 - Michael Andretti, probably the most hated person in the CART paddock right now, behind Tony George, continues his bashing of the series that made him, every chance he gets.  This Dallas Morning News article says, Michael Andretti was one of the CART drivers who voted not to race at Texas Motor Speedway two years ago because of concerns over safety. Andretti said Thursday that CART officials are to blame for the event being canceled on the day of the race. "CART should have done an open test before that race," Andretti said. "We only had one car come here and test. It was a farce and I knew it, but nobody would listen to me. I couldn't get them to act. In the end, it was the fans who paid for it."  In fact more than one CART Champ Car went there to test prior to the race weekend, but Michael Andretti does not remember those details (selective memory).  From our archives, here is a Dario Franchitti interview and a Helio Castroneves interview from testing they did at TMS prior to the race weekend.  Neither driver said the cars were too fast to race there.  We know that Kenny Brack, and Mauricio Gugelmin, also tested there prior to the race weekend.  There were two separate tests.   Except for Big Mo, all who tested TMS prior to the race weekend are now IRL drivers, and none of them were quoted in the media prior to the event saying CART should not race at TMS.   Here is a page of photos from our archives showing some of the drivers who tested TMS before the race weekend.  Ironically Team Green (pre-Andretti) was one of the teams testing. The fact of the matter is that the temperature was warmer and the cars were faster when CART went there to actually race and it was then, and only then, that they exceeded the limits of the human body, limits that no one knew existed (i.e. no one knew the exact threshold at the time.  Hindsight is 20-20).  Talk in the paddock is that Michael Andretti still resents that the drivers were not given a share of CART pie when CART went public and they think his bolting to the IRL and his continual negative digs on the series is his way of getting back at team owners in CART, in particular Carl Haas, who also fired him in 2001 by not renewing his contract.  Of course we don't know that for sure, but that is the scuttlebutt. 

6/6/03

Road America to be broadcast in HD, CART's death wish  3rd UPDATE We have to revise our estimates as to the number of viewers CART will get for the Road America race in the USA to close to zero, perhaps 500 or 1000 households.  Yes, you read that right, because few people have an HDTV set.   A normal NTSC TV is not capable of picking up a HDTV signal. You need a HDTV receiver to process the signal. One of the reasons HD has been slow to catch on. A consumer needs to spend (a few years ago $6,000) close to $1,800 to buy an HD compatible TV. Direct TV also requires a special dish if you want to pick up the HD channels. Now so you know, a normal 4 x 3 NTSC signal can be upconverted to HD but there is no increase in quality for the standard HDTV signal The picture also would be stretched to the 16 x 9 format. Conversely an HDTV signal can be downconverted to a NTSC signal but once again you will either experience a squashed picture or the picture would be cropped off to fit the 4 x 3 NTSC format.   6/5/03 - A reader writes, Regarding your comments on the Road America race being shown only on HDNet and in HD, I have mixed feelings. Personally, I'm excited to see the race  in all it's HD glory. But I agree with your statement that it will set an all-time low. DirecTV, the largest distributor of HDNet, will move the channel to a new $10.99 HDTV package beginning July 1st instead of it being "free" to HDTV-capable subscribers. Even though most of us will probably pony up the extra dough every month, it most likely solidifies your prediction of only one or two thousand people being able to see the race at all. But maybe HDNet will re-air the race several times over the next year like they did with Denver last year. Jim Ziogas, Cleveland, Ohio  Dear Jim, we were not aware that HD NET will be part of an additional $10.99 package. We now predict no more than 500 to 1,000 viewers for the race.  Mark C.   6/5/03 - Last year Cleveland and Denver (Home for HD Net) were done in HD on HD Net. Unfortunately their mobile units at the time only were capable of five cameras. We hear that Colorado Mobile, the company that provides facilities for HD Net and is owned by Mark Cuban (Note - Colorado Mobile provides the trucks for CART and is partially owned by FOX... See the connections) was to build a 8 camera unit. However, to cover Road America you need a minimum of 12 HD cameras and that is minimum poor quality TV. The 4-mile Road America circuit really needs a compliment of 18 - 20 cameras to do the job to Network quality.  HD Net reaches less than 1/2 million households (vs., say, 57 million for SPEED).  Doing the simple math, AR1 predicts that this broadcast will set a new record low for TV viewers, perhaps 1,000 or 2,000 total.....leading sponsors to bolt for the IRL.   It's as if CART has a death wish.  CART keeps setting TV records this year.  Only problem is the records they are setting are record lows not record highs. And to make matters worse, CART fans love Road America and the majority won't be able to watch the race.  Whose idea was this?   6/4/05 - Chris Pook has stated that CART was about to have a motor sports first. The Road America round of CART's Champ Car Series, the Mario Andretti Grand Prix, will be broadcast in high-definition television only. The broadcast will be coordinated by Mark Cuban, founder of broadcast.com and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

6/6/03

More 2003 races in prime time  Buoyed by the slight increase in TV ratings by showing the Milwaukee race in prime time Saturday night, CART's Vancouver and Montreal race broadcasts have been rescheduled to air tape-delayed, though same-day, at 9:00 pm EDT.  SPEED's Jim Liberatore said recently he prefers to air races in prime time.

6/6/03

Krisiloff makes history as he heads for Champ Car future  This CART.com article says, His father, Steve, raced Champ Cars for 12 years and his grandmother, Mari Hulman George, gives the command to "start your engines" every May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His Toyota Atlantic Swift is sponsored by the U.S. Grand Prix. Obviously, Kyle Krisiloff's open wheel bloodlines run deep. But the 17-year-old made some racing history of his own last Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile by finishing second in a hard-fought Atlantic battle with Ryan Dalziel. Besides becoming the youngest driver to ever make the podium in Atlantics, Krisiloff also regained some confidence and showed he belonged in CART's stepping stone to Champ Cars. Starting fourth in his debut with Dorricott Racing, Kyle went high into Turn 1 and was in second place exiting Turn 2. He stalked the more experienced Dalziel for the next 70 laps, turning the fastest lap of the race in the process, and wound up a couple car lengths behind at the checkered flag. "I tried everything but I just didn't have enough to ever get a run on him," said Krisiloff, who was embraced by his mother, Josie, and Mari as soon as he climbed out of the cockpit. "My car was OK in traffic but I got out of shape real bad one time exiting Turn 4 and that cost me about five car lengths. "But it was an awesome day and I can't thank Phyllis (Dorricott) enough for giving me this opportunity."........Steve Krisiloff, the operations manager for Patrick Racing who also spots for Oriol Servia and Kyle, probably had some unreasonable expectations for his son considering the Atlantics' depth in 2002. Yet he was adamant Kyle just needed the right combination. "I really like Peter Jacobs (engineer for Dorricott) because he's switched on and has made Kyle feel right at home," said the 11-time Indy 500 starter. Even though he claimed to have done a lot of oval racing (that was in quarter midgets), it was Kyle's initial pro start on a big oval and he looked right at home. "He drove so well and he's only 17 years old," said Phyllis Dorricott. "I was very impressed." It was hard not to be.

6/6/03

Chevy goes from bad to worse  We told you that Toyota and Honda would continue to pull away from Chevy, and to disregard Chevy's claims they were working to catch up.  Toyota and Honda stand still for no one.  Chevy is toast.  This Autosport article says, Things aren't getting any better for Chevrolet's beleaguered IRL engine program. Chevrolet had the six slowest times during Thursday's qualifying session for the Bombardier 500. The fastest Chevy of Sam Hornish Jr. was nearly seven mph slower than pole winner Tomas Scheckter's Toyota. "If you can't be on the pole, it's always good to be the best of what you're working with," Hornish said. "We're just trying to progress and get a little bit more every time we go out." Following Hornish at the back of the pack were the Chevrolets of Vitor Meira, Robbie Buhl, Buddy Lazier, Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher. "I'm not disappointed with the Chevy motor," Fisher said. "I know what they've got and I know they're working on it really, really hard. .

6/6/03

Andretti predicts Tony George will win the war  This Denver Post article says, Tony George used to be the villain among CART racers. The president and CEO of the IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is being vindicated in the view of some of those same people who now compete under his burgeoning umbrella. "As time has gone on, it's coming around to Tony," said IRL rookie driver-owner Michael Andretti, who amassed a record 42 CART victories as a driver from 1983-2002. "I admire him for staying quiet when people were saying bad stuff about him. Ultimately, he's going to win the war." If the IRL is winning, CART spokesman Adam Saal said, it's partly by default. He said because CART previously was mismanaged, it opened the doors to the moves of some of its best drivers, teams, manufacturers and sponsors to the IRL. "Certainly, some of the problems CART had in the past played into the IRL's hands," Saal said.

6/6/03

Crawford being wooed by Toyota  This Dallas Morning News article says, Veteran truck racer Rick Crawford has driven a Ford for seven seasons. He was asked Thursday if he was being wooed by Toyota, which is entering the series next year. "Yes, I've been asked," he said. "Some people say I'm crazy [for not saying yes], but Ford has been good to me. So has my team owner, Tom Mitchell of Ozona, Texas. I'm going to do what he tells me, and I hope my last lap in a race is driving for him."

6/6/03

Chevrolet should be ashamed  A reader writes, Dear AR1,  I find it laughable that Chevrolet is consulting with Cosworth for help with their engine situation, the CART paddock should be laughing also. The situation is a win, win situation for Cosworth, they have a new revenue source, from marketing a product they admittedly have little investment in, while strengthening their image as a highly proactive world class engine builder. The negative ripple effect on the Chevrolet / GM image will haunt them and many of their motor sports partners through out history as too inept to develop a second class racing engine with their vast resources! Regards, David R.S. Louisville, KY

6/6/03

Toyota acknowledges assoc. with Bill Davis    A Toyota spokesman says the company is working with Bill Davis Racing to develop its first entry into the Craftsman Truck Series but denies using the team to siphon trade secrets from Dodge, USA Today reports. Spokesman Xavier Dominicis says Toyota hired the team to help develop a chassis and body for its Tundra truck for the series and says the team is one of about 12 companies providing assistance. The story notes that Toyota is not named as a defendant in Dodge parent DaimlerChrysler's breach of contract suit against the team but points out that the suit "expresses concern that Davis' team has or will share DaimlerChrysler's confidential information with Toyota." Dodge announced last week that it was dropping its factory support of BDR, which enters Dodges for Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace in the Winston Cup Series. The team does not have an entry in the Craftsman Truck Series. Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter

6/6/03

When will the carnage stop?  A reader writes, Dear AR1,  I just heard about the horrible crash Airton Dare had at TMS.  I hope he is OK, but the fractures to his arm and leg sound like they were bad ones.  After reading your article that documents in detail all the injuries in the IRL, I am surprised OSHA does not close down the series.  How can the people who run the IRL, and the IRL team owners, sleep at night knowing full well their drivers are at such risk?  If there ever was a job whereby eventual serious injury is almost a certainty, one has to look no further than the IRL.  In fact, the number of driver injuries in that series is downright appalling.  My heart goes out to the IRL drivers.  Are they that desperate for work that they are willing to be sacrificial lambs to further the grandson's folly?  Steve Smith, Chicago, IL   Dear Steve, Those in the IRL paddock like to refer to their drivers as gladiators - willing to risk body and limb if necessary to race.  We never heard anyone call them sacrificial lambs before.  Interesting. You should note that in the referenced article, the table is up-to-date with regard to injuries, but the percentages given in the article have yet to be updated since the article was written.  For example, the article says an IRL driver is 439% more likely to be injured than a CART driver.  That number is now higher than that now.   Mark C.

6/6/03

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