Hot News

Thanks for visiting our Hot News page  Please visit our Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt.  If you have some news, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it.  User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.

Go to our forums to discuss this news.

DATE

News (chronologically)

6/20/03

HD Net confirms Road America broadcast  HDNet has obtained the exclusive (in any format) rights to broadcast CART's Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America (Wisconsin) August 1-3. Andretti will be a co-host. We will be producing this major race with 16 hidef cameras over the 4 mile course and the pits. There are two hours of racing on Friday, five on Saturday, and nearly six on Sunday. We'll also be producing background pieces prior to the races. The broadcast will be made available to all hidef distributors throughout the U.S.

6/20/03

Maia fastest on Day 1  Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, took the provisional pole for Sunday's race with a best lap time of 1:14.158 seconds at Portland International Raceway in the first qualifying session for the Barber Dodge Pro Series round five. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, secured second position on the provisional grid with a time of 1:14.448 seconds as round four winner Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada, took third with a lap time of 1:14.499 seconds. The top eleven drivers qualified within one second of the pole time on the 1.969-mile circuit. Colin Fleming of North Hills, California, ran fourth quickest in the session as round two winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico, was fifth. Telmex sponsored Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico, scored sixth on the provisional grid, as Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Scott Poirier of Deerfield Beach, Florida was seventh. Chris Green of Beaconsfield, Quebec, was eighth quick in the session, with Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, in ninth. Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, was quickest early in the session, but ended in tenth.

Pos/#/Driver/Hometown/Lap/MPH
1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./01:14.158/95.585
2/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/01:14.448/95.213
3/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:14.499/95.148
4/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./01:14.564/95.065
5/47/David Martinez L/Monterrey, Mexico/01:14.665/94.936
6/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/01:14.979/94.538
7/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/01:15.014/94.494
8/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/01:15.109/94.375
9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/01:15.142/94.333
10/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/01:15.152/94.321
11/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/01:15.270/94.173
12/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/01:15.332/94.095
13/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./01:15.747/93.580
14/17/Ben Freudenberg/North Bend, Oregon/01:15.780/93.539
15/18/Robbie Montinola/Laguna Beach, Calif./01:16.033/93.228
16/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/01:45.481/67.201

6/20/03

Trans-Am drivers dominate NASCAR regulars  Boris Said, winner of last year’s Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Drivers’ Championship, showed he is equally impressive in a stock car as a Trans-Am Series sports car Friday at Infineon Raceway, by winning the pole for Sunday’s Winston Cup Series race. Other Trans-Am Series regulars qualifying for the Winston Cup event were Scott Pruett, driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR and Johnny Miller (No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR), who will make his Winston Cup debut Sunday, prior to the Trans-Am Series race. Said, who regularly drives the No. 33 ACS/GE Access/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang in the Trans-Am Series, toured the 1.949-mile road course in a record one minute, 16.522 seconds at an average speed of 93.620 miles per hour. Said is substituting for the injured Jerry Nadeau in the Winston Cup Series race, driving the No. 01 Army Pontiac Grand Prix. Said, who earned his first Winston Cup pole, led a trio of Trans-Am Series veterans in qualifying, as Robby Gordon, who won in his lone Trans-Am Series start at Long Beach in 1992 in a Roush Mustang, was second fastest, ahead of Trans-Am Series journeyman Ron Fellows, who competed in the Series from 1995-1997. “That was a good lap,” said Said, who is also competing in the NASCAR Southwest Tour Race here this weekend. “This is big for our sponsor, but it’s also big for me. It’s huge. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have won a Winston Cup pole. The regulars always come through at the end, but just to get this under my belt, and to finish in the top 10 on Sunday, I’ll be happy. “I have to con Jay Frye out of a car for Daytona,“ added Said, who through his pole-winning effort automatically qualifies to compete in the Daytona 500 next year. “But right now, I have to qualify the Southwest Tour car and later, the Trans-Am Series car, so I still have a lot of work to do today.” Gordon remarked that it was a reunion for him. Gordon competed with Fellows at Long Beach in the Trans-Am Series race there in 1992. “We raced the Trans-Am Series a long time ago,” said Gordon. “Boris came into the Trans-Am Series after us, but Ron and I raced Long Beach almost 10 years ago. “Those guys, Ron and Boris, are really good race car drivers,” added Gordon. “They should be able to come here, and race with us. If they can get into good cars, and compete with us, I see no reason they can’t come here and play.”

6/20/03

Pruett fastest in Sears Point practice  Scott Pruett gave his hometown crowd something to cheer about as the Roseville, Calif. native topped first-round practice for the Trans-Am 100, Round 5 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup championship, Friday evening at Infineon Raceway. Pruett, driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, ripped off a one minute, 14.666-second lap at 94.887 miles per hour at the 1.949-mile road course. Johnny Miller was second fastest in the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar, ahead of Boris Said (No. 33 ACS/GE Access/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang), Tomy Drissi (No. 5 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Jaguar XKR) and Michael Lewis (No. 12 Westward Tools/The Crank Jaguar XKR). “We ran high-mileage tires,” said the two-time Trans-Am Series Drivers’ Champion. “We focused on race setup and tomorrow we plan to concentrate on qualifying. We were a little disappointed with the car when it came off the trailer, but we kept adjusting. It should be okay for qualifying.” “I’m looking forward to the race,” added Pruett, who qualified for the Winston Cup Series race earlier in the day. “We look forward to a good finish and hope to re-take the points lead.” Miller, who also qualified for the Winston Cup race and will make his NASCAR debut Sunday, was happy to get back into his Trans-Am Series Jaguar. Miller will enter qualifying tomorrow with a two-point lead in the championship. “We finally ended up with a good, clean lap and we’re just a tenth off Scott’s time, so that’s good,” said Miller. “That was pretty good. We have a little adjusting to do, but we were quick and we’ll be quicker. We’ll be in the hunt for this thing.” Said, who set a Winston Cup qualifying record in earning the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR event, was equally pleased with his Trans-Am Series effort. “This was a big day for me,” said Said. “To get a Winston Cup pole and secure a spot in the Budweiser Shootout is really big for me. I was on such a high in the practice session. My car was really good. We were quickest for a while, and then we parked it. I think we’ll do really well in the race.” Pruett’s time was nearly two seconds quicker than the Winston Cup pole time set by Said earlier in the day. Interestingly, in fact, the top-nine cars in practice were all faster than the Winston Cup pole speed. The Trans-Am 100, part of Infineon Raceway’s NASCAR weekend, is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, following the Winston Cup Series race. The race will air, on tape-delayed basis, on the SPEED Channel, on Friday, June 27.

1. Scott Pruett, Jaguar XKR, 1:14.666, 94.887.
2. Johnny Miller, Jaguar XKR 1:14.779, 94.743.
3. Boris Said, Ford Mustang, 1:15.000, 94.464.
4. Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.694, 93.598.
5. Michael Lewis, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.717, 93.569.
6. Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:15.738, 93.544.
7. Stuart Hayner, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:15.950, 93.282.
8. Greg Pickett, Jaguar XKR, 1:16.070, 93.135.
9. Memo Gidley, Jaguar XKR, 1:16.362, 92.779.
10. Bobby Sak (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.856, 92.183.
11. Jorge Diaz, Jr (R), Jaguar XKR, 1:17.233, 91.733.
12. Kane Scott, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:17.762, 91.109.
13. John Baucom, Jaguar XKR, 1:17.815, 91.047.
14. Mike Davis, Ford Mustang, 1:18.592, 90.147.
15. Rick Lee, Qvale Mangusta, 1:18.602, 90.135.
16. Simon Gregg, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:19.061, 89.612.
17. Marvin Jones, Qvale Mangusta, 1:22.530, 85.845.
18. George Nolte, Ford Mustang, 1:22.807, 85.558.

6/20/03

Hunter-Reay's time disallowed  Post-race inspection revealed that second fastest qualifier Ryan Hunter-Reay's car was found to be 2 pounds underweight (about a quart of oil) and his times from Friday disallowed.  Hunter-Reay was obviously frustrated and disappointed.  Certainly 2 pounds did not make him fast enough to earn 2nd fast time.  Prior to this year, some drivers were 50 pounds heavier than others, that is a significant weight difference.  With today's method of weighing the car with the driver, everyone is equal in that regard.  However, 2 pounds underweight is meaningless, but the rules are the rules.  CART very much wants/needs Americans to start showing their muscle against the foreign drivers, so it must have been difficult for them to send the American rookie to the back for just 2 pounds, but that says a lot for the integrity of the CART officials - the rules are the rules as they say.  Ryan missed the Pole today by Tracy balking him on a hot lap in a 3 year old Reynard with B class components compared to the other Reynards on the track (most have John Travis GTR front wings and front suspension uprights). Can you imagine if Carl Hass would have put Ryan in a NHR Lola alongside Bourdais?  An American rookie who has certainly demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt he can, at a minimum, run as fast as a 11 year veteran (Vasser) that is a past Champion of the series and Vasser posted poles and wins last year in a Lola with an established team.  Mark C.

6/20/03

Dalziel takes Portland pole  “Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) posted a new track record in Friday's first round of qualifying and claimed the provisional pole for Saturday's G.I. Joe's 200 Toyota Atlantic event at Portland International Raceway (SPEED Channel, 1:00 p.m. ET, June 23). Dalziel clocked a best lap of 1:06.677 (106.310 mph) to top the previous track record of 1:06.749 (106.195 mph) established by Dorricott Racing driver Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing) in 2002. The performance also enabled Dalziel to earn a championship point, which places him into a third place tie in the point standings with RuSPORT's Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT), and he is guaranteed a front row starting spot regardless of the outcome of Saturday morning's final qualifying session.  Qualifying third on the provisional grid was Alex Figge (#69 Make-A-Wish Foundation) with a best lap of 1:07.183 (105.509 mph). The Californian was fastest in the morning practice session, and despite dropping back a few positions in qualifying, it was his second straight top-three qualifying performance. He also qualified second for last weekend's Grand Prix of Monterey. Points leader A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) qualified fourth on the provisional grid with a best time of 1:07.588 (104.877 mph), and brought the 40-minute qualifying session to a premature end as he nosed his car into the tire barrier in Turn 4 with approximately three minutes remaining. He was not injured in the accident, but was stripped of his best lap due to the fact that he brought out the red flag.

6/20/03

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $2.48 Down $0.18 on yet another day of significant (for MPH) Volume of 136,600 shares.
$1.83 Bid - $2.48 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.22/$2.75
MPH Value Change Down 6.77%
DOW Jones Up 21.22 or 0.23% on Volume of 2.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 3.91 or 0.24%
S&P 500 Up 0.99 or 0.1%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

6/20/03

CART again teams up with NHTSA  Continuing a five-year partnership that has helped further the cause of highway safety around the nation, CART Champ Car and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today launched a new promotional campaign to promote highway and vehicle safety. The announcement was made in conjunction with this weekend’s running of the 20th G.I. Joe’s 200 at Portland International Raceway. Champ Car racing will be featured in new television and radio public service advertisements that encourage drivers to wear their seat belts, spotlighting the new ˜Click it or Ticket’ campaign which uses the increased threat of traffic tickets to encourage drivers to use their seat belts. “Safety is one of CART Champ Car’s primary concerns both on and off the track,” said Christopher R. Pook, Champ Car President and CEO. ”As the racing industry leader in safety, our commitment never ends at the checkered flag. I’m proud of how our drivers and staff have devoted their time to bring our safety messages to all of our fans. The ultimate rush is knowing that a family walked away from a car accident because they saw our message and buckled up, bought a safer car or properly used a child safety seat.” The Click it or Ticket campaign is a high-profile law enforcement activity that gives people more of a reason to buckle up ”the increased threat of a traffic ticket. In ‘Click it or Ticket’ programs, law enforcement agencies mobilize to focus on seat belt violations and publicize the effort through news and advertising. The program has resulted in double-digit increases in seat belt use in some states and is spreading to law enforcement outlets across the country. "Safety is President Bush's and Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta's top transportation priority," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA Administrator. "That's why we've teamed up with CART Champ Car to reach race fans with lifesaving information about the importance of playing it safe on the highway. We commend CART Champ Car for its commitment and leadership in promoting safety on the track and throughout American communities." The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will be featured in print, television and radio advertising featured not only on the Champ Car World Series television broadcasts, but also to Armed Forces Network outlets around the world. The print advertisements will appear in as many as 64 airports across the country under a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration as well as in all U.S. Military publications. The partnership also includes Spanish-language public safety announcements that will run in many markets.

6/20/03

Wheldon fast in Kentucky test  Rookie Dan Wheldon posted the fastest speed of the day June 20 at the Indy Racing League IndyCarä Series Open Test at Kentucky Speedway. Wheldon, driving teammate Dario Franchitti’s No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, turned a lap of 24.0392 seconds, 221.638 mph.  “Obviously I’m in Dario’s car because of Dario’s unfortunate circumstances,” Wheldon said. “We wish him well.” Franchitti will miss the remainder of the 2003 season due to upcoming back surgery, Andretti Green Racing officials announced June 19. The replacement driver has not been announced.  Wheldon completed 117 laps around the 1.5-mile oval, turning the top speed late in the afternoon session on his 113th lap of the day. "We are looking forward to coming here for the race,” Wheldon said. “It is one of my favorite tracks. It is fast, it is bumpy and you can run side by side. It is just exciting. The racing here is normally good. I haven’t been in one, but looking from the outside it is good.” The IndyCar Series returns to Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 17 for the fourth annual Belterra Casino Indy 300. Scott Dixon, the only repeat winner in 2003, was second fastest of the day, turning a lap of 24.1575, 220.553 in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. “We’ve had a busy week of testing, and it ended on a good note today,” Dixon said. “We ran a lot of miles and didn’t have any problems. The car has been fast at all of the tracks that we’ve gone to this year, and that gives me a lot of confidence.” IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan, Wheldon’s teammate, was third in his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone at 24.1920, 220.238. Tomas Scheckter, Dixon’s teammate, was fourth at 24.1977, 220.186 in his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Indianapolis 500 champion Gil de Ferran rounded out the top five in his No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone at 24.2527, 219.687. Fifteen drivers completed 1,968 accident free laps in party cloudy conditions with temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees.

No. Driver Car Time Speed Laps
1 27 Dan Wheldon (R) Archipelago/Motorola D/H/F 24.0392 221.638 117
2 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing G/T/F 24.1575 220.553 133
3 11 Tony Kanaan Team 7-Eleven D/H/F 24.1920 220.238 146
4 10 Tomas Scheckter Target Chip Ganassi Racing G/T/F 24.1977 220.186 137
5 6 Gil de Ferran Marlboro Team Penske D/T/F 24.2527 219.687 168
6 15 Kenny Brack Pioneer/Miller Lite D/H/F 24.2599 219.622 154
7 21 Felipe Giaffone Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G/T/F 24.3191 219.087 136
8 13 Greg Ray TrimSpa Special G/H/F 24.3298 218.991 103
9 3T Helio Castroneves Marlboro Team Penske D/T/F 24.4023 218.340 173
10 31 Al Unser Jr. Corteco D/T/F 24.4750 217.692 109
11 14 A.J. Foyt IV (R) Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing G/T/F 24.4755 217.687 121
12 12 Tora Takagi Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing G/T/F 24.5513 217.015 85
13 55 Roger Yasukawa (R) Panasonic ARTA D/H/F 24.5648 216.896 122
14 2 Vitor Meira Menards/Johns Manville D/C/F 24.5654 216.890 128
15 9T Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing G/T/F 24.9615 213.449 29
16 52 Buddy Rice Red Bull Cheever Racing D/C/F 25.0758 212.476 107
(R) – Rookie

6/20/03

Trouble brewing in Kentucky  This Indy Star article says, Indy Racing League drivers complained about potentially hazardous bumps at Kentucky Speedway after testing today. Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran said the track's condition dramatically deteriorated since last year's Belterra Casino Indy 300, raising safety concerns about this year's IRL race, scheduled for Aug. 17. "I don't know what happened," de Ferran said. "Last year, it was not that bad. This year, for whatever reason, the track is unbelievably bumpy." The drivers said the roughest patches were concentrated around the first two turns. Speedway officials blamed the track condition on winter weather.....Mark Cassis, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway, said he would meet with IRL officials to discuss the conditions and, if necessary, the track would implement rules to slow the cars.

6/20/03

Portland 2nd practice is all Tagliani  Alex Tagliani headed the time sheets before rain affected the second practice session at Portland. Tagliani's time of 1:00.138 (117.969mph) was slower than Paul Tracy's first session time. The shower has passed, and the drivers will be hoping the track dries before qualifying starts at 5:30pm ET.   Haberfeld, right, spun off twice in the wet session.

6/20/03

Nextel paying $75 million per year to NASCAR   The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will debut in 2004, the kickoff of a 10-year contract reportedly worth between $70 million-$75 million annually. The latter figure, reported on the That's Racin' Web site, works out to $1 spent for each of NASCAR's 75 million fans. "It's a 10-year arrangement, but I hope it's a lifetime arrangement," Tim Donahue, Nextel's president and chief executive officer, said at the Nasdaq Stock Market in Times Square. "The cultures match extremely well. I hope we can demonstrate to NASCAR and its fans we're going to be a wonderful partner." Financial details were not disclosed. But The Associated Press reported that Nextel will pay $40 million a year in rights fees and spend another $30 million per year to promote the series, which includes one race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

6/20/03

Portland first practice is all Tracy  Under warm but cloudy skies Paul Tracy led the opening practice for Sunday's CART Champ Car in Portland, Oregon with a speed of 118.103 mph.  Second fastest was Michel Jourdain and Patrick Carpentier was 3rd.  Next practice is at 2:10 PM and qualifying starts at 5:30 PM

6/20/03

More on why the GPWC will fail  From the beginning we have maintained that the breakaway GPWC series would never get off the ground, and if it did, it would fail miserably, because manufacturers have no business being regulators of a sport, they should be simply participants and competitors.  As we have maintained all along, Bernie Ecclestone owns the intellectual property rights to the rules and regulations and so any new series would have to do something completely different to avoid copyright issues and that would be more expensive than continuing to develop the current machinery.  For example, the GPWC could race three-wheel tricycles and that would avoid copyright issues.  If the GPWC looks or smells like F1, Bernie will sue the dickens out of the series and drive a final stake through its heart. Yesterday, BMW went public questioning their involvement with the GPWC for these very reasons.  Others, like Toyota, were smart enough to never join the group, knowing they had no business running the sport.  Stick a fork in the GPWC; it's done, it just doesn't know it yet.  Mark C.

6/20/03

NASCAR drivers to test at Chicagoland   Wednesday, June 25, NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Ward Burton, Kenny Wallace and Jason Keller will be testing at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the July 13th Tropicana 400, NASCAR Winston Cup Series event. Also testing will be NASCAR Busch Series drivers Coy Gibbs and Mike Wallace for the July 12th Tropicana Twister 300, NASCAR Busch Series event. This is the third test session of the 2003 season at Chicagoland Speedway and it is not open to the general public.

6/20/03

Portland working to make race a success  This Portland Oregonian article says, "The CART race this weekend should be a sales tool for Portland," said Norm Daniels, president of the G.I. Joe's chain of sports and auto stores, a race sponsor for 20 years. "It should show what our area is like and make families and people who make business decisions want to move here. We should be telling the world about what we have to offer."........Daniels said he doesn't look at the race from a dollars-spent vs. dollars-returned standpoint. "We look at how G.I. Joe's is presented and if it is an event that we want our name attached to," he said. "Part of that is how much exposure we get at the race and how many tickets are sold to it, because those are the people who really care about the event." And despite the attention to the business interests, Nealy still wants people in the seats. As of early June, ticket sales were "soft," Nealy said, down about 20 percent from a year ago. "The mom and pop ticket buyers are strong," Nealy said. "Where we are down is in corporate ticket sales, the companies that would buy blocks of tickets for employees and business contacts." Daniels hasn't committed to sponsorship beyond this season. "That doesn't mean we won't," he said. "It just means we haven't decided. "A year ago I thought things looked pretty bleak for the series. I don't think that anymore. Pook has done everything he said he would do. I was pretty pessimistic then, now I'm optimistic. "No matter what I decide, I think the race will continue to have a future in Portland."

6/20/03

CART Microsoft No Limits traveling show  The NO LIMITS Tour is a behind the scenes look at the technology and people that power one of the highest tech sports in the world: Champ Car racing. At this exhibit, you’ll get an up close look at everything racing: from the tools used by race engineers to capture and analyze race data, to an actual Champ Car, to fireproof racing suits.  More....

6/20/03

NASCAR TV ratings up 13%   A massive small market bump that gave the Winston Cup race from Michigan a 13 percent ratings increase over last year. The Sirius Satellite Radio 400 on FOX turned in final numbers of a 5.4 rating and 16 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, up from last year's final 4.8 rating. 5.7 million households and 8.4 million people tuned in. The 0.9 small market bump (from 4.5 to 5.4) is one of the largest in recent memory. This "bump" is the increase in the ratings that was caused by factoring in the one-third of viewers from the smaller markets that were not counted in Monday's overnight rating.  Importantly, NASCAR leapfrogged over both days of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC to finish behind only the NBA Finals in the sports ratings. The pre-race show turned in a 3.2 rating and 10 share.  MotorsportsTV.com  
In a television climate where just breaking even with the previous years' viewership calls for celebration, here are a few things to consider:

  • Since coming to FOX, NASCAR is up +18% over the comparable first half of the season in 2000 (5.9 vs. 5.0). That's the most growth of any major sport over the last three years.

  • NASCAR's lead over the NBA regular season is +127%, the biggest gap ever between the two sports.

  • Three FOX NASCAR races this year outdrew the 2003 NBA Finals' 6-game average of 6.5/12: Daytona (9.8/21), Las Vegas (6.9/15), and Rockingham (6.7/16).

  • NASCAR on FOX is the No. 1 spring package in sports with a 5.8/14 average (through Pocono). That beats not only the NBA regular season (2.6/6), but also the NBA Playoffs (4.8/11) and NCAA Tournament (5.0/10).

  • NASCAR on FOX is up +8% this year in the important M18-34 demo.

  • Numerous "non-traditional" NASCAR markets are up this year, reflecting NASCAR's becoming a true national sport: New York is up +11%, Boston +19%, Chicago +5%, Detroit +5%, Minneapolis +17%, Baltimore +40%, St. Louis +14%. (market by market ratings are through Michigan).  FOX Sports Press Release

6/20/03

Bahrain learns from Paul Ricard  In brief circuit news, the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France hosted a delegation from Bahrain this week to watch a Toyota F1 test in progress. 'A lot of people have been talking about this track,' said Fahmi Al Jowder, adding that Ricard's electronics and run-off areas were of particular interest. Bahrain will host its inaugural Grand Prix in Sakhir next year. 'The global concept associating a luxury hotel, an international airport and an automotive track all in one is really fantastic,' His Excellency concluded.

6/20/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Williams: Cash For A Champion
Montagny Takes McNish's Seat
Teams Wrap-Up F1 Testing
Davidson Sits Out F1 Test
Vodafone Attack Jordan
Knights Ride For Silverstone
Fisi Would Pay For Ferrari Drive
Kyalami Eyes F1 Return
Crashes Won't Delay McLaren
Williams Happy With Smoke-Free Team
Ferrari Look For Italian Driver
Bernie Won't Steal British GP
Williams Ride Crest Of Form
DC Will Never Lift Title

6/20/03

CART and IRL final TV ratings a disaster  MotorsportsTV.com reports that the IRL race from Pikes Peak on ABC on Sunday garnered final numbers of a 0.7 rating and 2 share, representing 748,000 households. The CART race from Laguna Seca on CBS turned in finals of a 0.6 rating and 2 share, representing 682,000 households. As a way of comparison, NBA Inside Stuff on ABC had a 0.7 rating and a WNBA broadcast on NBC had a 0.6 rating. The only sports broadcast with a worse number was WUSA soccer on PAX. NFL Europe and a National Thoroughbred Racing Association broadcast turned in better numbers than CART and the IRL.  It's clear that the split of the sport has effectively killed Indy Car racing, and going head-to-head in the same timeslot hurt both series..  CART's only hope is for drastic measures and a wholesale redefinition in its product to distance itself as far as possible from Indy Car Racing.  That includes a bigger emphasis on international races, and close ties to F1.

6/20/03

Camathias out, Salles back in at Coyne  Dale Coyne Racing prepares for this weekend's GI Joe's 200 with drivers Geoff Boss and Gualter Salles. The team's number 11 and 19 cars will be driven by American rookie Geoff Boss and Brazilian veteran Gualter Salles for this weekend's return to the Northwest. Boss is making his second start after finishing his first race at Laguna Seca last week in 16th position. Gualter Salles returns after running last week in the Brazilian Stock Car Series for his second race of the year in the number 19 Alpina Lola. Team regular driver Joel Camathias remains with the team but will not be driving until later in the year. "I am happy with the team and what we have achieved so far this year," commented the 22 year old Swiss. "Everyone is working hard to be back in a car as soon as possible." Joel ran one of his strongest races at Laguna Seca where he recorded the 7th fastest time of the race only one half second off the fastest set by race winner Patrick Carpentier.

6/19/03

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $2.66 Down $0.13 on significant (for MPH) Volume of 152,900 shares.
$2.00 Bid - $2.99 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.61/$2.85
MPH Value Change Down 4.66%
DOW Jones Down 114.27 or 1.23% on Volume of 1.83 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 28.45 or 1.7%
S&P 500 Down 15.39 or 1.52%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

6/19/03

Montagny gets a chance  Renault test-driver Franck Montagny has been given the opportunity to shine in front of his home crowd at the French Grand Prix after the team announced that he will replace Allan McNish in the two-hour private practice session on Friday. "I'm obviously thrilled the team has asked me to test at Magny-Cours," Montagny told Renault's website. "It will be an important race for the team, and a big challenge for me to do a good job – I still can't quite believe that I will be preparing to run in just two weeks' time! "Magny-Cours is a circuit I know very well, and I have already won twice this year on the modified layout," the Nissan World Series championship leader continued. "It's a great opportunity for me to perform in front of the French fans, and I'm looking forward to participating in a Grand Prix weekend for the first time."

6/19/03

Breaking the Glass Ceiling  This is a nice article about CART Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick in Sports Illustrated magazine.  Danica Patrick drives a Toyota, but longs for a Ferrari. The 160 mph she gets out of her Toyota is OK, but she likes the Ferrari's 200 mph. More....

6/19/03

Franchitti out for rest of 2003  Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti will miss the remainder of the 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar™ Series season. After continued discussions with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell, Franchitti has decided to undergo back surgery. The Edinburgh, Scotland native, who started three races this year, sustained a fracture to his back during an off-track incident in April. Franchitti’s most recent start came last Sunday at Pikes Peak International Raceway, where, after a 10 week absence he drove to a fourth-place finish behind the wheel of the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone. The team has not yet announced who will replace Franchitti during the final 10 races of the 16-race schedule. Dario Franchitti, Driver, #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone “I’m really disappointed that I will not be able to compete for the remainder of the IRL season. After assessing the options available, I feel that to do the surgery now is the best thing for me. By having the surgery, I can be back to 100 percent fitness at Andretti Green Racing for the 2004 IndyCar Series Championship and the Indianapolis 500. I want to thank everybody at AGR for their continued support and look forward to continued success with them.” Michael Andretti, Owner, Andretti Green Racing “I feel awful for Dario right now. I know this is one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make and I know he is making the right choice. Dario is a very important part of Andretti Green Racing and he is doing the right thing for himself and the team. For sure, the team is 110 percent behind Dario.”

6/19/03

Chevy Cosworth test rained out  Yesterday's first test by Chevy and Panther Racing of the Cosworth IRL engine was rained out.  They will try again today.

6/19/03

Cleveland GP Block Party  A free block party will be held in the Warehouse District on July 2 in advance of the CART Champ Car Cleveland Grand Prix. It will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on West 6th Street between St. Clair and Lakeside. It will include two 30-minute autograph sessions, plus other activities, including a live broadcast on radio station WNCX FM/98.5. . . . Those wishing to volunteer to work in various areas for the race should call 216-436-3311

6/19/03

Parents put NASCAR before kids   Felony arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for a borough couple accused of leaving their three young children unattended for nearly 18 hours while they went to a NASCAR race. James Wendling, 52, and his wife, Denise Heyer-Wendling, 37, both of Old Forge Drive, are expected to be arraigned before District Justice Elmo Frey Jr. on three counts each of endangering the welfare of children. As of 4:15 p.m., the couple had not surrendered to authorities. Police said they were called to the Wendlings' Old Forge Drive home June 8 after Heyer-Wendling's ex-husband arrived to drop off an 8-year-old child and a 6-year-old child from their dissolved marriage. At that time, the unnamed ex-husband discovered that Wendling and Heyer-Wendling had left a 10-year-old child to watch over a 2-year-old child and a 3-week-old child while they attended the Pocono 500 on June 8 at Pocono Raceway. Express Times

6/19/03

NASCAR sweeps TV ratings   [Thanks to the creation of the IRL and the fracturing of the sport of Indy Car racing] NASCAR says that the June 6-8 weekend saw NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finish one, two and three in ratings among motorsports events on television, according to Nielsen Media Research. The three series finished ahead of ARCA, CART and the IRL. The Trace Adkins Chrome 300 broadcast on FX June 14 from Nashville drew 1,343,000 viewers, up 9% from last year. In addition, 897,000 households tuned in to the event, 5% more than one year ago. NASCAR PR

6/19/03

CART sets award banquet date  The culmination of a long season of CART Champ Car racing is always a time for celebration as new champions are crowned and the accomplishments of the year are lauded. Although not even half over, the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has already given the motorsports world a number of reasons for celebration, with the early-season dominance of Paul Tracy, the emergence of rookie Sebastien Bourdais and the first career victory for Michel Jourdain. These and the victories to come will all be celebrated Tuesday, November 4 in Palm Springs as CART Champ Car announced today that it will hold its annual Awards Ceremony and Business Meetings at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, California. The ceremony will be held two days after the season-ending 500-mile race at California Speedway, leaving Monday open for a possible rain date for the turbocharged CART Champ Cars. The event will see the awarding of the Vanderbilt Cup to the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion along with honors given to the series top manufacturers and rookies as well as various other awards. There will also be various business meetings conducted in conjunction with the awards ceremony as the series prepares for the 2004 season.

6/19/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

'Michelin Winning Tire War
Stewart, Brundle, Blast Bernie
We Have To Get Better: Schu
Minardi To Race Old Arrows?
Jeff Gordon Impresses Williams
Schu Defends Brother's Caution
New McLaren Fails Crash Test
JV's 'Extraordinary' Season
Alonso Astounds F1 Paddock
Testing At Jerez And Silverstone

6/19/03

Portland track facts  The 1.969-mile permanent road course comprises 10 turns and the tricky Festival Curves, providing a blend of slow and medium speed corners on a flat, smooth track and plenty of challenges for drivers and engineers. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson notes that understeer is often an issue. Watson estimates a top speed of 179 mph and minimum speeds around 38 mph. Drivers will be shifting an average of 20 times per lap and will reach 3.2 lateral G-forces through the turns with -2.9 G-force under braking. The race is scheduled for 100 laps (or a maximum of two hours and 10 minutes) with the maximum lap interval for pit stops set at 28 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops. Fernández Racing

6/19/03

Andretti Green Racing wraps up 3 days testing  Andretti Green Racing drivers Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon returned to the track on Tuesday and Wednesday, logging more than 750 miles of work during a two-day test at Kansas Speedway. The trio took to the 1.5-mile tri-oval in preparation for the speedway’s Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar™ Series event, which is slated for July 6. Kanaan, who is fresh off two consecutive runner-up finishes in the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone and owns a 49-point lead in the series standings, enjoyed his first workout ever at Kansas. “It’s an amazing racetrack,” said Kanaan, who participated in the first day of the session. “It’s a beautiful place. It was good for me to find out what the racetrack is all about. We ran quite a few laps, made a couple changes to the car and made it better, so I think we’ll be competitive when we get back here for the race.” Kanaan’s rookie teammate, Dan Wheldon, recorded more than 500 miles of work in his #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, the majority of which was part of a Firestone tire test. “I did a lot of testing for Firestone and it worked out fantastic,” said Wheldon. “It was an enjoyable experience. It was my first tire test as part of the IndyCar™ Series and I enjoyed it very much. Basically, that took up the majority of our time. The rest was taken up by just some fine- tuning that we’re doing for the race. It all went very well and I’m looking forward to the race when we come back.” Dario Franchitti, who returned to action last Sunday at Pikes Peak International Raceway, turned 53 practice laps in the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone on Wednesday, looking to build on the momentum gained from last weekend’s fourth-place finish. Team manager Kyle Moyer felt the team reaped plenty of benefits from the two-day session. “Overall, we’re really, really happy,” said Moyer. “We worked mainly on our race setup today with Dario. We think we’re pretty close, but we’re looking forward to coming back in a few weeks and finishing off the work we have left. The cars ran flawlessly, like usual, so all in all I think it was a pretty good test.”

6/19/03

Bet you didn't know  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, Why can't the current Reynard teams implement more than just the Reynske front wings to help them catch up?  Wally Jones, Indianapolis  Dear Wally, Remember something, the Penske bodywork was 2001-spec. The 2002 Reynard underfloor and sidepods made more downforce than the Penske stuff. This was why last year when the Players team was offered the Penske stuff by John Travis, they refused it, since what they had already was better!  As a matter of fact, by the end of 2001, all the latest Reynard sidepods, underfloor inserts, radiator ducts etc. were as good, if not better than the Penske stuff. Another point of fact is that at the end of 2001, Reynard rushed through 2 car sets of this bodywork for Penske for Fontana. The Penske front wing was better than the 2001 Reynard front wing, and the latest 2002 Reynard front wing introduced last year at Long Beach was closer, but the Penske front wing may still be a bit better, but only a bit. A funny story about what precipitated Team Penske making their own bits. When the first 00i Reynard arrived, Roger saw the bulge on the leading edge of the sidepods and said, "I don't like that. Get rid of it." So they went into the tunnel to see what they could do to get rid of it, then had to change the flugelhorns, etc. to balance the change at the front. They carried on in 2001 with their own developments. They also had to justify having their staff in Poole. The biggest advantage the Penske-Reynard had wasn't aero. It was their front suspension. Reynard worked for years on a weight-transfer front suspension that was originally Gil de Ferran's idea when he was at Walker Racing. (Remember that Gil is actually a trained engineer.) Reynard could never get the thing to work properly, over many different versions, from hydraulic drop-links to simpler mechanical systems which picked up the lower pushrod mounting point from the lower wishbone to the upright so that the turning action of the upright fed weight across the car to the opposite side to try to keep the inside tire in touch with the tarmac. Some always suspected that Gil & Penske perfected this system, and that is what gave them their advantage in 2001. Now on to aero. The Reynard needs a new floor and sidepods for sure, but not the Penske stuff. Lola pushed the envelope with their 2002 car into an area that Reynard was told by a former CART tech representative was illegal. The area in question is the height of the front hollow of the underfloor, which on the Lola is what necessitates the high leading inboard top edge above the radiator ducts. The rule left a gray area that Reynard told CART was there, and they asked for a clarification. The former CART tech representative said that Reynard couldn't do this, so they didn't. (This was back in 2000 or 2001, we are not sure which.)  Then, there was a change in CART's technical office, and a current CART tech rep was put in charge. The problem was that the former one didn't put this in writing. (He never put ANYTHING in writing we hear!) When the Lola appeared at winter testing before the 02 season, and the Reynard engineers saw the Lola, they complained to the new tech rep. The new tech rep looked at the rule, which had to do with the height of the floor in this area, and said that unless Reynard had something in writing, that the Lola, while maybe being outside the spirit of the rule, was within the letter of the rule. So Reynard went back in the tunnel with a version of this floor to be introduced ASAP, but when the company went bust, so did that new bodywork kit. It existed, because our spies saw pics of the wind tunnel model. At that time, they had not achieved numbers good enough to justify it, but they were very early into the program.  Probably a longer answer then you were looking for, but now you know the whole story.  Mark C.  6/18/03 - Did you know that the new front wings being used by some of the Reynard teams in CART were used by the Penske Team when they ran their Reynske Reynards?  Yup.  John Travis designed them and many other things for the Penske team to make the Reynskes fast.  John, who owns the rights to all the upgrades he did for Penske, has given permission for GTR (Global Technologies Racing) to manufacture the wings and sell them to the Reynard teams.  Too bad CART aero freeze won't allow the teams to use new underbody and side pod designs as well.  The Reynard teams still need help to catch the Lola's.  Mark C.

6/18/03

CART weekly teleconference  The G.I. Joe's 200 is taking place this weekend at Portland International Raceway where the sun has been shining all week except for when we threw open the blinds today and now there's heavy clouds everywhere. Today the weekly CART media teleconference included AJ Allmendinger and a returning Max Papis. Transcript

6/18/03

Silverstone strikes back  Following previous comments made by Bernie Ecclestone, the British Racing Drivers Club, owner of Silverstone, has issued the following statement. "The attack by Bernie Ecclestone on the efforts we and Octagon (Brands Hatch Circuits) are carrying out to improve Silverstone is totally unwarranted," said BRDC President Sir Jackie Stewart and Chairman Martin Brundle. "In close consultation and approval with the FIA, Allsport and FOM, we abandoned the original scheme for a pit complex in response to pressure from the FIA to get road access right and car parking vastly improved from the grand prix in 2002, which we achieved with considerable positive public and customer reaction. Following 2002 we have carried out further improvements to the centre of the circuit in relation to better public amenities and we are now working towards an appropriate pit and paddock complex development program for the future. "We don't hear such attacks on other circuits around the world, some of which Mr Ecclestone has an interest in. It is unfair in what Mr Ecclestone should regard as his home British Grand Prix at Silverstone that we face this predictable annual criticism. Mr Ecclestone received every piece of paperwork and information that was related to the money already spent out of the $60m contributed by BRDC/FOM/Octagon. He had every opportunity to comment or suggest other priorities - he chose not to. The money spent out of the $60m has not, contrary to Mr Ecclestone's statement, been to benefit of the Club and its members." "The BRDC is determined to do all that it can, with private sector support, and hopefully public funding to turn Silverstone into a centre of excellence and one of the finest circuits for drivers and customers in the world, and to do that in constructive co-operation with the FIA, Allsport and FOM and not in public bickering."

6/18/03

De Ferran and Hornish nominated for awards  IRL IndyCar Series stars Gil de Ferran and Sam Hornish Jr. have been nominated for two prestigious sports awards determined by fan voting on the Internet. 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner de Ferran and two-time series champion Hornish are among five nominees for the Best Driver ESPY Award, while de Ferran is one of eight nominees for the Speed Channel Presents the Driver of the Year Award for the second quarter of 2003. De Ferran and Hornish join Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and NHRA Funny Car champion John Force as nominees for the Best Driver Award at the 11th Annual ESPY Awards Presented by General Motors, which take place July 16 in Hollywood. Fans can vote for de Ferran and Hornish until June 30 by logging on to the Best Driver voting page, on ESPN’s Web page. The Best Driver category is one of 17 categories for various sports. This is the second consecutive year that de Ferran and Hornish have been nominated in the Best Driver category. Schumacher won the award last year. Hornish and de Ferran join a list of superstar ESPY nominees that includes Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Annika Sorenstam, Tim Duncan, Mario Lemieux, Lisa Leslie, Rich Gannon and more. De Ferran was included among the second quarter Driver of the Year nominees based on his victory in the 87th Indianapolis 500 in May. Other nominees include NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Bobby Labonte, USAC short-track star J.J. Yeley, drag racer Larry Dixon and CART rookie Sebastien Bourdais. The winner of this quarter’s award will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member of motorsports journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans voting at http://www.speedtv.com/features/36. The winner of the quarterly voting will be presented a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix Swiss Watch, the official watch of the Driver of the Year, to commemorate the honor. At the end of the year, a special, separate vote will be conducted for the 2003 Driver of the Year.

6/18/03

Big IRL test Friday  A lineup of 15 IndyCar Series drivers is expected to participate in an Open Test on Friday, June 20 at Kentucky Speedway. The drivers and teams expected: Kenny Brack (Team Rahal), Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske), Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Team Penske), Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), A.J. Foyt IV (A.J. Foyt Enterprises), Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green Racing), Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing), Vitor Meira (Team Menard), Greg Ray (Access Motorsports), Buddy Rice (Red Bull Cheever Racing), Tomas Scheckter (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Tora Takagi (Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing), Al Unser Jr. (Kelley Racing), Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing), Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing). Testing starts at 9 a.m. (EDT) and ends at 4:30 p.m. on the 1.5-mile oval. The Belterra Casino Indy 300 take places Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway, with the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series race Aug. 16.

6/18/03

Why not Mexican fans?  Today's front page story in the Oregonian newspaper says, When the green flag drops Sunday at Portland International Raceway, one-fifth of the 19 drivers in the G.I. Joe's 200 Champ Car race will be from Mexico. So, why not 20 percent of the fans in the grandstands? If things work out the way co-promoters CART and Global Events Group hope, that could be the case in a few years. Reaching out to Latinos is an effort that has paid dividends in other places, such as Oregon that have significant Latino populations. CART considers the Latino market in the United States largely untapped and hopes to mine enthusiasm for Mexican drivers to bolster sagging ticket sales. New markets offer the potential of teams with sponsorships at a time when CART is subsidizing teams and race venues to keep the series going. The new markets also give the series a more international flavor and allow it to consider worldwide businesses as the next significant sponsors of CART. Much of the attraction is that CART has something to sell to Latino fans: successful drivers racing under the banner of Mexican products, said Jim Michaelian, president of the Grand Prix Association. More....

6/18/03

New McLaren fails FIA crash test  The McLaren MP4/18 chassis has failed the mandatory FIA crash test and will not be able to compete in a Grand Prix until it passes the crash test. The German daily Die Welt reported this news and also added that with this situation, the new car will definitely not be part of the race at the Nurburgring. According to an anonymous FIA source quoted in Die Welt, the problems that plague the new McLaren car are so serious that it may require many months to come up with a solution! Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes Motorsport, responded - "No team passes the crash test on the first trial," said Haug. "There are no FIA tests that are going to be impossible to pass for us. We will succeed in these tests on time and it will not delay the introduction of our car."

6/18/03

Finger-Following technology explained  A number of readers have written to ask what finger-following engine technology is.  In layman's terms it has to do with a new rocker arm design that allows the cam follower to stay in contact with a more radical cam lift and duration without the need for an extra strong spring.  The radical lift and duration is where a lot of HP has been gained recently.  It also has a reduced mass (lighter weight spring and rocker) and allows for better oil lubrication.  Why the word finger?  Because it kind of looks like one. This design has been used in CART and F1 for a number of years (using either a spring in CART or an air valve in F1 to apply the necessary pressure), but the IRL manufacturers had no clue until the CART manufacturers came in and blew them away. Mark C.

6/18/03

Danica Patrick on Wind Tunnel   CART Toyota Atlantic driver and rising young American racing star Danica Patrick, who will make her American Le Mans Series debut next week at Road Atlanta, will be the featured guest on the SPEED Channel’s viewer call-in show, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, on Friday, June 20. The show airs at 11 p.m. (Eastern) on the cable television channel. Viewers can call in to ask questions at 1-866-W-TUNNEL or email questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com. Patrick will drive for the Prodrive Ferrari team in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta June 27-29 in her first-ever American Le Mans Series race. Her co-driver in the Ferrari 550 Maranello will be Anthony Davidson of England. The Prodrive team won the GTS class in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 21-year-old Patrick, from Roscoe, Ill., is also racing full time this season in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series for Team Rahal.

6/18/03

Chevy GP at Road Atlanta happenings  Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., will welcome the stars and cars of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta June 27-29. The weekend will feature a two-hour, 45-minute event for the American Le Mans Series at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. The weekend schedule will also include practice and qualifying on both Friday and Saturday, along with several other support series races. Support series include the SPEED World Challenge, Star Mazda Series and the Panoz GT Pro Series. Road Atlanta will also host the season finale for the American Le Mans Series, the sixth annual Petit Le Mans Oct. 15-18. The track is currently offering a special, discounted “Two Event Ticket,” as well as separate tickets to both events. Information is available online at www.roadatlanta.com or by calling 1-800-849-RACE (7223).
** FREE CONCERT SATURDAY NIGHT – Recording artist Jimmy LaFave will perform a concert at Road Atlanta on Saturday, June 28, at 6 p.m. The concert will be free to Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta ticket holders courtesy of Hyper Sport and will take place on the Hyper Sport Stage in the Vendor Village area of the Road Atlanta infield. Folk rock artist LaFave has been recording and performing since the early 1980s and has released six CDs during his career. Though born in Texas, LaFave lived a great deal of his early years in Oklahoma. He has strong musical ties to the state and often refers to his “red dirt music.” He now lives in Austin, Tex.
** HAWAIIAN TROPIC MODEL SEARCH SET FOR ROAD ATLANTA – Hawaiian Tropic, one of the sponsors of the American Le Mans Series, will hold a two-day model search at Road Atlanta as part of the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta weekend June 27-29. More than 30 contestants are expected to take part in the preliminary competition on Saturday, June 28, at 1 p.m. on the Hyper Sport Stage in the Vendor Village area of the Road Atlanta infield. The finals will be held on Sunday, June 29, at 1:30 p.m. Hawaiian Tropic, which has had a presence at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 25 years, joined the American Le Mans Series in 2001, bringing another popular tradition of the world’s most famous endurance race to the series that bears its name. Hawaiian Tropic’s promotional models attend every American Le Mans Series event as goodwill ambassadors, participating in such pre-race activities as starting grid ceremonies and the driver autograph session. The models also roam the paddock area to interact with fans and race teams.
** MAZDA EXTREME STREET AT ROAD ATLANTA – Mazda Extreme Street, a national sport compact/import car show that tours with the American Le Mans Series and the SPEED World Challenge, will be at Road Atlanta on Sunday, June 29, with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. Sport and import car enthusiasts will have the opportunity to win $2,500 in cash awards as well as trophies and giveaways. The Mazda Extreme Street has been steadily growing since being introduced in 2001 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California. Show cars can be registered online at www.mazdaextremestreet.com. Registration is open to all makes and models.
** AIR FORCE JETS TO HELP START RACE – A pair of US Air Force reserve Command A-10A Thunderbolt II Attack aircraft will do a flyover prior to the 3 p.m. start of the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta on Sunday, June 29. The two aircraft are from the 926th Fighter Wing, with the unit based at the Naval Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans. The Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple and effective twin-engined jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.
** OLIVE GARDEN FERRARI AT WORLD OF COCA-COLA – The Team Olive Garden Ferrari and its drivers will appear at World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta on Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Olive Garden and Coca-Cola, sponsors of the Gabriele Rafanelli-owned race team, are also teaming up for the appearance. Drivers Mimmo Schiattarella and Emanuele Naspetti will sign autographs for race fans, and the team’s Ferrari 550 Maranello American Le Mans Series race car will be on display. Discount coupons for Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta admission tickets will be available, as will Coca-Cola and Olive Garden giveaways. Located in a three-story pavilion adjacent to Underground Atlanta, World of Coca-Cola encompasses the rich history and progress of the beverage that was created in Atlanta more than 110 years ago. The attraction is at 55 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

6/18/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

'Turkey, Russia, On The Cusp
McLaren To Shelve Equality?
Rubens Sets Pace At Silverstone
EJ Eyes Switch To Mercedes
Minardi Scoop Old Arrows
McLaren Cancel Silverstone Test
Jordan-Vodafone Action Begins
BAR Boss Slams Stoddart
Schumacher Eyes Sixth Title
'Time To Go Racing' - Bernie
New McLaren Quick At Jerez
Wurz Writes Off New MP4-18
Silverstone On The Rocks - Again

6/18/03

Attendance down 10%  Germany's Nurburgring - scene of next weekend's European Grand Prix - says it expects a 10 percent dip in spectators this year. Circuit boss Walter Kafitz reports that 85,000 tickets have been sold so far: 'We won't sell out but it's still a decent figure.'

6/18/03

Finally!!!!!  Dear AR1, either this is the first time it's been announced outside the Portland area, or is someone in Portland actually doing a good job promoting the race and drivers. I think it's great to see events at restaurants and bars with drivers as the highlight. This is so much better than the occasional appearance at a Bridgestone tire store or auto dealership. Restaurants and bars love to take any opportunity to turn something into a happening event. A few years ago in the city of Monterey (Laguna Seca), if you drove through downtown you would see almost every bar with the checkered banners outside welcoming race fans, and a few bars even had CART and Atlantic cars on display. It really helped to build a buzz and create an energetic atmosphere. Portland may be on to something.  On another note, I noticed that Ford finally created a commercial touting its association with CART. It's basic and looks like it was thrown together rather quickly, but it's a start. Now they need to start running that commercial on CBS during non-race broadcasts. And finally, I was surprised to see a SPEED-TV commercial promoting the ChampCar World Series during The O'Reilly Factor. Perhaps an attempt by Speed to show CART that it really is interested? Either way, kudos to both for a step in the right direction. Regards, Jesus Gonzalez, San Dimas, CA

6/18/03

Vegas NASCAR cafe woes  The Sahara is moving to evict the NASCAR Cafe from its Strip-front property in Las Vegas, but the roller-coaster operator is fighting back. The 1,750-room hotel notified the roller coaster and restaurant operator, Dyer Ventures, on May 23 that it wants the property at 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South vacated by Monday. Gordon Gaming Corp., holding company for the 51-year-old Sahara, wrote Dyer on April 22 outlining nonmonetary defaults in the property's 25-year lease. NASCAR Cafe said it offered to correct the alleged defaults in a "conciliatory reply." But its response was a letter saying the lease was being terminated and the cafe was being evicted, said Efrem Rosenfeld, a partner in Rosenfeld & Money, the law firm representing the NASCAR Cafe. Las Vegas Review Journal

6/18/03

CART fan happenings in Portland 

Northwest Ford Stores to Present Inaugural Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Night at The Rose Garden Arena…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, Roberto Moreno, Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani, along with veterans Bruno Junqueira, Gualter Salles and Mario Dominguez and rookies Sebastien Bourdais, Joel Camathias and Mario Haberfeld. 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 call T.J. Ansley at Campbell & Co at (313) 203-7144 or call the Rose Garden at (503) 234-9291.
Downtown Pit Stop Demonstration…CART Champ Car rookie sensation Mario Haberfeld and his Mi-Jack Conquest Racing crew will light up Downtown Portland on Wednesday, June 18th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. with a unique Pit Stop demonstration. The fan-friendly event will take place on SW Broadway between SW Yamhill & SW Salmon and is open to the public. Contact Ronda Courtney at Global Events Group at (503) 821-4342 for more details.
G.I. Joe's Store Autograph Session…Tualatin G.I. Joe's located at 17799 SW Boones Ferry Road in Tualatin, OR will host an autograph session Thursday, June 19th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with Champ Car Drivers Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay; Alex Tagliani, Oriol Servia and Gualter Salles. The event is open to the public. Contact Ronda Courtney at Global Events Group at (503) 821-4342 for more details.
Celebrate the Ultimate Birthday Party with Adrian Fernandez… Fernando’s Hideaway at 824 SW 1st Street in Downtown Portland is set to host a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the G.I. Joe's 200. The event, which includes food, beverages, music, salsa lessons and a live Mariachi band takes place Friday, June 20th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The wildly popular Champ Car driver Adrian Fernandez will be on hand for autographs The event is open to the public. Contact Ronda Courtney at Global Events Group at (503) 821-4342 for more details.
Party in the Pearl…Piazza Italia at 1129 NW Johnson in Downtown Portland will host an Italian-style street party Saturday, June 21st from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. that will feature food and beverage, live music and a spectacular display of cars by Ferrari, Maserati, Vespa, Alfa Romeo, and Ducate Car Clubs. Champ Car Driver Alex Tagliani of Rocketsports Racing will stop by the event which is open to the public. Contact Ronda Courtney at Global Events Group at (503) 821-4342 for more details.

6/18/03

Pook sounds very confident  In this CART.com interview, CART president Chris Pook sounds pretty confident about the plan he has in place to rescue CART, this despite Monday's fairly negative Financial Guidance press release.  We think you will see that plan begin to unfold shortly in a series of rather major announcements. Those who have wanted CART dead took great joy in that press release, saying we told you so.  Will Chris Pook have the last laugh?  Mark C.

6/17/03

Another new McLaren trashed  McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz crashed one of the new MP4-18s heavily at Jerez on Today, seriously damaging the car. The accident does not appear to have been caused by any mechanical problem but comes just 10 days after another big crash for the MP4-18 in testing.

6/17/03

Yet another turbo/supercharged street car in the works  AR1 has learned that the Chevy Monte Carlo 2004 model will also become a supercharged car, the same as the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. Both cars are built in Oshawa, Ontario.  The American manufacturers are catching on to the turbo and supercharge craze hitting Europe and Asia.  As we have said, turbos and superchargers are basically "free" HP for all size engines, regardless of displacement and the number of cylinders.  Now that they are very reliable, and turbo lag has been overcome by computer controls, we here at AR1 have gone out on a limb to predict that in 10 years time, it's quite conceivable that 100% of all street cars will be supercharged or turbocharged.  They improve HP, fuel mileage and reduce emissions, a win-win-win scenario.  Given that, we continue to maintain that if Chris Pook is serious about CART being a marketing platform for the passenger car industry, then the next generation CART engine will be a turbocharged V8 or V10 running on methanol, or running on gasoline (which will require intercoolers to cool the air/fuel mixture).  Intercoolers are really no big deal.  Turbo gasoline street cars are already using them as did turbo F1 cars years ago.  Mark C.

6/17/03
Industry News

SPEED Channel update  Channel's June Nielsen universe estimate is 57,728,000 households, an increase of 244,000 homes from May. In the last 12 months, SPEED has added 5.8 million U.S. homes -- 12th fastest growing channel on cable. In the last 24 months, SPEED has added 17.4 million U.S. homes, keeping its position as the fastest growing sports network in the country and eighth-fastest overall.

6/17/03

Nextel announcement set  NASCAR has scheduled a news conference in New York City on Thursday morning, when Nextel, a Reston, Va.-based provider of wireless communications services, will be introduced as the new sponsor of what is now known as the Winston Cup series, several sources confirmed. Sources said NASCAR has all-but-completed negotiations with Nextel and will unveil the new sponsor for its top series in extravagant style in New York. Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon has also been asked to attend and is expected to be on hand for the announcement, sources said. An advisory from NASCAR of the news conference is expected to be released sometime Tuesday, sources said. Nextel would take over the sponsorship deal that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has had since 1972. Last week, The Charlotte Observer reported the deal could be worth as much to $90 million per year, including about $40 million for television advertising and other media buys. ThatsRacin.com  SPEED Channel will go live to the floor of the NASDAQ in New York City at 10 a.m. on Thursday for a major news announcement by NASCAR. SPEED Channel's Ralph Sheheen will be on-site with Krista Voda in the SPEED studio.

6/17/03

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $2.90 Down $0.08 on Volume of 72,500 shares.
$2.27 Bid - $3.21 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.87/$3.10
MPH Value Change Up 2.68%
DOW Jones Up 4.06 or 0.04% on Volume of 1.83 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 1.98 or 0.12%
S&P 500 Up 0.95 or 0.09%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

6/17/03

Thoughts on CART and the IRL  3rd UPDATE Another reader chimes in - Dear AutoRacing1, I definitely agree with the readers who say that racing is not all about the passing! You say that CART needs more passes for the lead, but I believe that Laguna Seca showed that racing can be very exciting WITHOUT passes for the lead! Michel Jourdain's passes from 13th to 4th were incredible, especially passing on the inside at the top of the Corkscrew (he pulled a Zanardi pass 3 or 4 times, including once on Herta...again). The main reason that Carpentier was never passed for the lead was that he was the class of the field. Tracy's car was better early in the stints, but went away, and Junqueira's car was better late in the runs, but started out lousy. The fact that Junqueira never quite managed to catch Carpentier, to even try to set up a pass says a lot. That is why you have different engineers and different pit crews... the whole thing is racing, not just the driver in the seat. If it was all the driver, then to even things out they should rotate crews and engineers (and chassis) from team to team, race to race. And maybe eliminate pit stops entirely! That is also why "passing in the pits" is such a great part of CART racing! It really DOES matter who has the better, faster, more careful pit crew. As the one (unattributed) reader implies, watching the drama and heartbreak of Jourdain's final pit at Long Beach was worth any 10 passes at Michigan a few years ago. And Tracy's misadventure in Milwaukee was a defining moment in the race, and possibly the Championship. It's all racing. I do like your idea of the "overtake" button, especially with a limited number of applications. Because it adds another element into the mix. Do you use it to pass, or to keep the other guy behind you? Of course, I don't know about the feasibility with this year's mileage requirements (Whose fault is it if a high-mileage engine blows under the button?). Which also brings up the point of... was it Jourdain who ran both Germany and Milwaukee on one engine? That was cool! David Laufer    6/17/03 - Yet another reader writes, Dear AR1 If passing is so important to produce more viewers and better attendance, then explain to me the IRL Texas race. As I have written before, passing is not the Holy Grail that you are preaching. If this were the case, F1 would have died years ago, Michigan would still be on the CART schedule and the IRL would be blowing CART out of the water. Name recognition, stability and one series will bring open wheel racing back; not passing. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, Wisconsin   6/17/03 - Another reader responds, Though I think AR1's boost idea is great, I disagree with the statement of lousy racing. I guess we are still in the mind of last year. Last year was a horrible year for CART. It was compounded by being a horrible year for F1. Both had no drama at all. The racing was horrible. Things are 180 degrees turned this year. What do you mean no passing for lead. I believe Tracy's jumped a few starts to pass for the lead. Besides it isn't really the passing that's important; it's the drama, it's what makes your heart jump and your feet stand, and this has been happening in oodles this year, such as in Long Beach when Jourdain is about to get his first win and you wonder if he can make it out before the others, did he race long enough hard enough to pull it off; then the heartbreak of losing the gears.... You tell me that wasn't exciting.... How about Bourdais and Mario fighting for the lead in Germany, with Jourdain threatening just behind. Tell me that wasn't exciting... How about Jourdain winning his first in Milwaukee.... That was fantastic. How about Jourdain making passes in the impassible track of Laguna Seca (No, not a misspelling, I meant to say impassible). The only dud was Brands Hatch but as far as I'm concerned CART is batting a great average this year as far as great racing. The IRL product is boring (compared to last year) and F1 is good but neither is as exciting as CART this year.   6/17/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, CART says it is leaning toward road/street courses. Why should CART care about being dropped anyway? One wonders why Fontana is not backing CART, when CART doesn't seem like they know which direction they want the series to go. Just because CART has raced there for a long time doesn't mean anything. CART has raced at Road America for years, and until Mario Andretti got involved, CART wasn't concerned about keeping that race. As far as the racing goes........AR1 complains that the IRL racing is only HP and not driver skill. It appears that the only racing in CART is qualifying. If a driver can get the pole, there is a good chance that you can win the race, since there isn't any passing. It takes a lot of skill to play follow-the-leader. Rick Govert, Indiana Dear Rick, could not agree more.  The racing was pretty good at Laguna Seca with a good number of passes further back in the field, but at the front it was once again zero passes for the lead on the track for CART.  They have the ability to fix this problem, but they refuse to, preferring instead to be the USA's #1 parade company.  Mark C.

6/17/03

Does NASCAR need road courses?  Two drivers' opinions on this question - KYLE PETTY, Driver, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge: “I don’t think the question is do we need road courses as much as why we don’t run more road courses than we do. I think Winston Cup needs more road courses. This series is one of the, if not the, most well-rounded series in the world. If you look at it, Formula One is all road courses, CART has become almost all road courses, IRL is almost all ovals - big ovals. “We race on half-mile, mile, mile-and-a-half, two-mile, two-and-a-half mile ovals, and add in a couple road courses. It’s the most diverse group of race tracks that there is. If you look at it in those terms, you would have to say that a Winston Cup driver is the more well-rounded driver compared to any other drivers in the world. I think if you throw in more road courses it only makes it better.” KEN SCHRADER, Driver, #49 BAM Racing Dodge: “In the grand scheme of things, I guess you don’t ‘need’ anything. You don’t have to race short tracks and you don’t have to race superspeedways and you don’t have to race road courses. We could all hop in go-karts and head down to the place by the video arcade and go at it. “The problem is nobody is going to care but us. There won’t be any crowds. There won’t be any television. There won’t be any media. Nothing. Just 43 guys in go-karts. We’ll care but nobody else. "I go where they say to go and I race where they say we are racing. It doesn’t matter if it is a half mile or a two-and-a-half mile or a road course or whatever. “We promote ourselves as the national championship. It’s the same cars every week but different tracks. That’s what makes the difference. If you are going to be the NASCAR champion, you have to be good everywhere. You don’t have to win everywhere, but you have to be good everywhere. You have to be able to do well on road courses as well as short tracks, and on big superspeedways as well as on intermediate speedways. “I like the road courses and like running on them. A race is a race. Sears Point and Watkins Glen are a challenge but so is everywhere else we go. Racing is racing.”

6/17/03

Biela - Road Atlanta is special  Frank Biela of Germany has been one of the most successful professional sports car racers in the world over the past few years, but the 38-year-old Audi Prototype driver experienced a frustrating disappointment in the recent running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Being the professional driver that he is, Biela knows that he will have to race on, and he will have the opportunity to do so when the American Le Mans Series season resumes with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta June 27-29.  “Road Atlanta is just a fantastic circuit,” said Biela, who won the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 2001 while driving for the Audi factory team. “It’s a challenging circuit and that makes it more interesting. Everybody likes to go there and it’s one of the nicest circuits.” Biela compared Road Atlanta to the legendary Nordschleife road racing circuit in Germany, a 26-kilometer long track that carves its way through varied terrain. Biela recently drove an Audi R8 Prototype on a demonstration lap around the Nordschleife. “Road Atlanta is completely different from the other circuits in the ALMS,” said Biela. “Probably not everybody in America knows about the Nordschleife, but going to Road Atlanta reminds me of that circuit because it’s up and down and through the forests and woods, a really nice place.” Biela is very wary of the last sequence of turns at Road Atlanta, which includes a chicane, a climb up a hill and then a fast, full-speed downhill to a right-hand turn. During the Petit Le Mans two years ago, Biela spun down the hill after collecting excess rubber on his tires, but recovered and went on to win. “The fast right-hander downhill stands out,” said Biela. “You go out of the chicane, you’re watching up in the sky, and then suddenly things fall down and you go into the fast right-hander. You have to know the line because you cannot see it.”

6/17/03
Bathurst 24

Yoong to drive in Bathurst 24 Hour race  David Searle, team owner of SAE Racing is excited to announce that 2002 Formula One and 2003 CART driver Alex Yoong has agreed to terms and will be driving the SAE BMW at this year's Bathurst 24 Hour. “When we decided to take on the Mountain this year we knew we needed two things, a reliable car and a top driving lineup. With this signing, combined with the rest of our team I am confident we now have both and will be a force to be reckoned with.” The car, the 2002 Super Tourer Championship winner under Alan Gurr will undergo a complete mechanical and exterior refit for the event with renown BMW engine builder Ernst Schlaepfer also making the trip out to help preparation. “The first goal is the class win, the second outright position and although we are some 5 liters down in engine size on some of the big boys, I am sure the legendary BMW reliability coupled with a great team will enable a possible podium place.” Alex is also looking forward to his first ever crack at the Mountain. “I have always wanted to race at Bathurst since I was a little boy and I believe it is one of the greatest circuits in the world. So when the chance came up to race there I was immediately interested.” “When weighing up our options SAE seemed to be approaching the race with a professional attitude and BMW is always a good bet for an endurance event. I know we are not going to be the race favorites but I think we may well surprise a few people.” “Thanks to David Searle and Tom Misner for giving me the opportunity and I hope Alan, Luke and I can repay the faith with a good result.” Having seen the track only on television, Alex will be coming out to Australia for a test drive and will also take the opportunity to visit the mountain in July. The team driver lineup currently stands at Alex Yoong, Alan Gurr and Luke Searle with one further driver to be added. The Bathurst 24 Hour will be running for the second time and is scheduled for the weekend of 21-23 November 2003.

6/17/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

'Put Me In A Ferrari' - Jacques
Wingless Williams Blame FIA
Coulthard Taking Back Seat
Ferrari Slam 'Absurd' System
Engine Deficit Is 'Nonsense'
Villeneuve Slams BAR Reliability
Dixon On Target For F1
Niki Lauda: Has Kimi Blown It?
Williams' Bubble To Burst?
Battle Of Three Pretenders
Williams Worried About MP4-18
Bernie 'Not Interested' In Minardi
Montoya: 'I Screwed Up'
Williams Considered Team Orders
DC Won't Write Himself Off
JV Talks To Top F1 Teams
F1 Left 'Confused' By Bernie

6/16/03

Where are all the IRL apologists now?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Where are all the IRL apologists and prophets now...they have a VERY good TV package, solid teams, solid manufacturer support, solid drivers and what happens? A 0.4 TV rating from Texas...arguably their best, most interesting and certainly most "entertaining" race...remember a few short weeks ago when these same folks were calling CART's ratings on SPEED "test pattern-like"...well, evidently, they would know!  I can just imagine the conversations between one of the leading CART owners and his big buck sponsor 18 months ago..."Pssst...listen...I'm gonna leave CART...shhh, keep it quiet...I'm still on the CART Franchise Board!...when that happens, everyone will follow me because I am the Pied Piper of American motorsports...when they do, CART will cease to exist and we will enjoy record crowds and record TV ratings...you in?". Of course, the poor folks deferred to the Messiah of Motorsport and (at that time) member of the Board of Directors and followed suit. Then Chip, Andretti, Nunn and Rahal followed their noses and gave the same song and dance to the unsuspecting souls at Target, Kool, etc...If you had told anyone, especially THAT group, that the IRL would get Toyota, Honda, some great teams and drivers from CART and still it would fail miserably at the gate and on TV as well, they would have moved to have you committed. At what stage are the shareholders of Philip Morris, 7-Eleven, Motorola, Target, etc going to start asking the difficult questions that I assume the senior executives at these companies are asking their marketing folks weekly, i.e "Why on God's green earth are we spending this kind of money on this when apparently very few people show up and/or watch it on TV"...one has to wonder what these people are thinking on Friday and Saturday when the stands are virtually empty and on Sunday when they look up to see anemic (at best) crowds...only to come back to the office and get handed Nielsen Ratings like that...It is almost inconceivable that this is what Roger, Chip, Andretti, Bobby, Mo and the folks at Toyota and Honda thought would or could have happened given the outcome of the last 18 months...this was a gamble to force a de facto unification via the extinction of CART centered around a massively flawed business model and the gamble has failed miserably...I hope it was worth the price.  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California  Dear Mordichai, We don't know about any conspiracy theories, but the Indy 500 is still important to some.  We have maintained all along (since 1996) that the creation of the IRL would doom the sport of Indy Car racing.  It was a bad thing that should have never happened.  Now it appears too late, hence why CART will align with F1 and distance itself as far as possible from any reference to Indy Car racing.  Sad, very sad.  Mark C.

6/16/03

IRL TV ratings tank  Finally the IRL Texas rating on ESPN is out and it's bad news, a 0.4 rating and a 1 share (down over 35% in one year - 0.62 in 2002).  This for a series that supposedly has all the ex-CART stars, sponsors and teams, as if it was the 2nd Coming.  But the news does not get any better for the IRL.  Their overnight rating for this past weekend's race at Pikes Peak on network TV (ABC) was just 0.8 and a 2 share, matched by CART on CBS in the same time slot, this from a series that some say is dead.  If CART is dead, the IRL is terminally ill and on life support.  Both races were the lowest-rated sporting events of the weekend. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Summer Racing Tour had a 1.1, the World Bowl football game garnered a 1.0, and WNBA basketball turned in a 0.9.  Meanwhile the NASCAR Michigan rating on Fox was up 10% to 4.5, so the open wheelers can't blame the economy, but you can blame the CART/IRL split.  If not for that, the two series combined had a 1.6 rating.  Whoever devised the idea to split the sport in two should be fired.  MotorsportsTV.com contributed to this news item.

6/16/03

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $2.98 Up $0.07 on Volume of 97,800 shares.
$2.28 Bid - $3.30 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.90/$3.20
MPH Value Change Up 2.41%
12,300 shares trades between 3:02PM and 3:16PM.
DOW Jones Up 201.84 or 2.21% on Volume of 1.59 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 40.83 or 2.51%
S&P 500 Up 22.25 or 2.25%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

6/16/03

Pruett to drive for Ganassi at Sears Point  With Round Five of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup set to take place at Infineon Raceway June 20-22, it will be a homecoming for two-time Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett. In addition to piloting his full-time ride in the No. 3 Rocketsports Racing Jaguar R Performance XKR, he'll return to the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit this weekend as well, driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Pruett's accomplishments in auto racing are numerous and varied. With championship titles in karting, IMSA, and the Trans-Am Series along with his class and overall wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pruett had been a top competitor in the Champ Car World Series, scoring two victories and earning Toyota its first pole position. Pruett has one full season of NASCAR Winston Cup experience under his belt, racing in 2000 for PPI Motorsports in its first season in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Pruett's best finish was 10th place in the Brickyard 400. Last year, Pruett drove the No. 41 Target ride to a sixth place finish at Watkins Glen. In 2001, Pruett qualified eighth and finished 11th at Watkins Glen in the No. 01 Ganassi entry.

6/16/03

CITGO drops sponsorship of #99  Roush Racing announced today that it has launched a search for a primary sponsor for the Jeff Burton driven, Roush Racing prepared No. 99 entry in Winston Cup competition. CITGO announced earlier today that it was ending its long running NASCAR sponsorship. “I am committed to Jack Roush, Roush Racing and my entire No. 99 team,” said Burton. “Jack and I have had a very successful history together, and we look forward to sharing and extending that history with a new primary sponsor. We’re convinced that the best is still in front of us, and we’re both committed to attaining our goals.”

6/16/03

Mike Skinner terminated  Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced today that Mike Skinner has been relieved of his driving duties for the No. 4 Kodak Pontiac. The termination is effective immediately. While a permanent driver has not yet been named, expect John Andretti to race in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 this weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Morgan-McClure had made many changes in an effort to improve the team’s performance, and finally decided a driver change was needed. "We feel it is necessary to perform better for our race team and for our sponsor, Kodak. We appreciate Mike's efforts in the car, but it is time for a change. "We have to finish races and that has not been happening. We went to Charlotte a few weeks ago and qualified third. Then earlier in the year, we qualified sixth at Bristol. I feel this shows our team has potential that is not being utilized in a maximum way," stated McClure.

6/16/03

Joe Gibbs Racing to field 3rd car  In the ever competitive NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Joe Gibbs Racing announced today they will field a third car out of their Huntersville, NC shops for both the Daytona and Talladega races this season. Piloting what will be the #80 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss. Sponsorship for the team will be coming from one of Joe Gibbs Racing's major associate sponsors. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder), a leading asthma maintenance product, will be the primary sponsor of the #80 car. Earlier this year, GSK and Joe Gibbs Racing announced a joint asthma education initiative, Racing Against Asthma, designed to help raise awareness of Advair and help bring information about asthma and effective asthma management to the public. As part of the education initiative, fans attending the Daytona and Talladega races will have the opportunity to visit the Racing Against Asthma trackside education center, which offers free lung function testing and interactive displays that provide fans with an engaging way to learn more about asthma.

6/16/03

What does "For Sale" press release mean?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I saw the press release about the pending CART sale on your home page.  What does it all mean?  Jeffery Moore, SF, California  Dear Jeff, there is really nothing new in the release we didn't already know.  The plan was for CART to survive using the money they had in the bank, then take it private.  From what we can tell, if CART is to be sold as all the rumors indicate, the SEC requires a public company such as CART to put out a press release to announce its intentions so all stockholders are notified and can act accordingly (sell their shares, buy more, or hold).  If rumors can be believed, Chris Pook already has a buyer in mind, and whether Bernie Ecclestone is a buyer, or working behind the scenes with others who will actually do the buying, remains to be seen.  Mark C.

6/16/03

New Taurus Tuesday  NASCAR officials will get their first look Tuesday at a prototype of the new Taurus that Ford plans to race in the Winston Cup next season. The car was built by Wood Brothers Racing, and the preview will be at the team's shop in Stuart, VA. Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing, said if all goes as planned the next step will be to run the car on a racetrack, then take it to the wind tunnel before further development. NASCAR said approval of the car for competition could come as early as August. That would give the Ford teams plenty of time to begin building new cars for next season. The Taurus currently being raced was introduced in 2002. Pontiac and Chevrolet introduced new cars this year, while Dodge has the same model it introduced in 2001. The Tauruses and Intrepids being raced this year both have aerodynamic modifications for 2003. Thatsracin.com/AP

6/16/03

Change to F1 procedures  The FIA have made certain amendments to event procedures over the course of the Grand Prix weekends, and the following is a list of the changes made

6/16/03

Earnhardt wants CART/F1 qualifying  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lobbying NASCAR to adopt the CART and old F1 qualifying rules when the Winston Cup teams go to road courses. It would allow drivers to run multiple laps, with the fastest counting as their qualifying time. Under the current setup, drivers run only one lap for qualifying. That leaves little room for error and is challenging for many who aren't as savvy on road courses. "I can race all right, but I just can't get a decent starting spot," Earnhardt says. "If we don't get the opportunity to do that, then I'm looking to do more road racing stuff, maybe with Jim France's (Grand American) Series to get a little more experience on the road courses."  Junior, who won the 1999 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, considers road courses the most physically demanding tracks on the Cup circuit (AR1 has been saying that for years). Sporting News

6/16/03

Villeneuve will stay  Craig Pollock said in an interview with Reuters that Villeneuve will not quit Formula1 just yet: "I am very confident he is going to be in Formula One next year," the Scot said. "I think it would be the greatest shame for Formula One to lose a personality such as Jacques."

6/16/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Charity Or Ulterior Motive?
'Fighting Fund' Not Yet Dead
Schu Slams New Points System
One Of Michael's Best
McLaren Confirm 'Low Risk' Debut
Michelin Deny Blame For Punctures
Bernie Won't Get Involved
Bernie's Calming Influence
Sauber Eye New Engine Supply
Ralf Denies 'Soft Touch' Label
Dennis Welcomes Bernie-Minardi

6/15/03

Di Leo wins Barber Dodge race  Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada held off a late-race charge by pole sitter Memo Rojas to win the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Laguna Seca. Rojas, of Mexico City, Mexico, finished just 1.533 seconds behind Di Leo, and was joined on the podium by fellow Mexican David Martinez. Leonardo Maia was forced to charge through the field after a first-lap incident dropped him to seventeenth place, but the championship points leader put his head down to finish in fourth, collecting one extra point for scoring the fastest lap of the race along the way. Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico, finished fifth in his Telmex machine after starting tenth, while Al Unser had his best result of his young Barber Dodge career to take sixth from his twelfth starting position.

PS/PS/#/DRIVER/HOMETOWN/PTS/PURSE/LP/STATUS
1/2/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/21/$13,000/27/Running
2/1/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/17/$8,750/27/Running
3/4/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/14/$6,500/27/Running
4/3/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif. 13/$4,500/27/Running
5/10/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/11/$2,500/27/Running
6/12/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/10/$1,500/27/Running
7/6/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./9/$1,250/27/Running
8/11/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/8/$1,250/27/Running
9/5/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/7/$1,250/27/Running
10/17/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/$1,250/27/Running
11/15/18/Robbie Montinola/Laguna Beach, Calif./5/$1,000/27/Running
12/13/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./4/$1,000/27/Running
*13/8/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/3/$1,000/27/Running
14/16/50/Brian Johnson/Woodland Hills, Calif/2/$1,000/27/Running
15/19/22/Bret MacDonald/Pleasanton, California/1/$1,000/26/Running
16/18/12/"Racer" Kashima/Tokyo, Japan/$750/26/Running
17/14/95/Victor Gonzalez/Hato Rey, Puerto Rico/$750/25/Contact
18/9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/$750/8/Contact
19/7/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/$750/0/Contact

6/15/03

Barnhart was going to park Foyt IV  Once again crash prone AJ Foyt IV was running so slow in an IRL race (this time at Pikes Peak) Brian Barnhart said he was about to park him when grandfather AJ Foyt called him into the pits and called it day.  Clearly AJ Foyt IV is in over his head and needs more time in a junior series, but AJ refuses to accept that.

6/15/03

Shrewd business drives Pettys to fire Andretti  This Orlando Sentinel article gives a bit more insight as to why Petty Enterprises fired John Andretti this past week.

6/15/03

Toyota engine heads approved  So three weeks ago, when NASCAR gave a thumbs up for Toyota's new 358 cylinder heads for next year's Truck tour, NASCAR also approved a brand new General Motors engine, block and all - first for next year's Truck tour and then for the Winston Cup tour when Toyota jumps in. And NASCAR has told Ford to get cracking and come up with some new engine stuff, too. The deadline to have something approved is Aug. 1. Winston Salem Journal

6/15/03

Panoz team matches best result at LeMans  The JML Team Panoz No. 11 entry of "Mad Max" Papis, Olivier Beretta and Gunnar Jeannette finished an impressive fifth overall in the 71st running of the 24 Heures du Mans race. "Fifth place is the best finish we could have expected and I am very glad we actually achieved it," said Papis. "We arrived here and nobody really expected much from us, but we quietly said don't count us out. Everybody at JML Team Panoz pushed very hard - the drivers, the crew, the engineers - this was a strong effort. It took a lot of effort from everybody and we had a flawless race. Many thanks go to Michelin whose tires were perfect, as always. We probably achieved the goal of 'best of the rest' behind the Bentleys and Audis and that is a not a bad result at all." Papis, Beretta and Jeannette all gave brilliant driving performances which included a battle to the end with the No. 13 Courage Competition Judd and the No. 15 Racing for Holland Dome Judd. All three cars ended up on the same lap 360, under a minute apart. "Gunnar and Max did a brilliant job and I have really enjoyed being part of the team for the Le Mans assault," said Beretta. "Nobody expected we would get a result like this, so that is what makes it so much sweeter. It has been a team effort. It's great to be racing with Max again. I have known him for many years and know he is a fantastic driver. Gunnar has also done a great job in the race." Dr. Don Panoz was proud of the team's effort. When asked about Max's driving performance, he remarked, "They don't call him 'Mad Max' for nothing!" This weekend's fifth place result by Papis, Beretta and Jeannette equaled the best ever performance by a Panoz in the LeMans 24 Hour race in 2000 by Johnny O'Connell, Hiroki Katoh and Pierre-Henri Raphanel. Papis had to quickly jet back to the U.S., as he will be joining the PK Racing CART Champ Car team this coming week at Portland and for the balance of the 2003 season.

6/15/03

Readers react to latest CART/Fontana news  More reader feedback on the news that CART has been dropped from the California Speedway season ticket package (see rumors page).  Dear AR1, The Champ Car race being dropped from the Fontana season ticket package and the Indy Car race being part of it may not mean that there will be no more Champ Car races at Fontana. How many people bought tickets to the last IRL race? This is a move to bolster IRL ticket sales, if not actual attendance (Fontana would like to make some money on the race) by forcing NASCAR fans to buy tickets to a race they probably won't attend. Fontana figures that the Champ Car fans will buy enough tickets without the season ticket package. TMS did the same thing. I had a friend buy TMS season tickets the day after the CART race was announced, to make sure he would get CART tickets. Lo and behold, when he received his season tickets, the CART race wasn't included. Mike Stucker Sugar Land, TX   Another reader writes, I had to write regarding Dennis Bickmeier's comments. Shame on him to create an excuse as to why CART is off the season ticket and IRL is on. Hey Dennis, be a man and state the truth. Why on Earth would anyone pick the IRL over CART at this racing venue? The IRL, new to Fontana (newer than CART), had one of the lowest and most embarrassing attendances ever last season (at your track). They maintain one of the lowest and most embarrassing attendance records at most of their venues. At least CART will have people in the stands!  So what do the business savvy at ISC do?... Allow IRL to move within a few weeks just ahead of this year's scheduled CART race (hoping to confuse and snatch as many open wheel fans as possible). And now, take CART off of the season ticket. Maybe you guys should go apply for a job at WorldCom. Show your true colors Denny. The ISC is kicking CART out the backdoor probably for Tony George's money. Spinning these ISC moves because you 'don't have any room for another race in the season package' is a bunch of bull. George's IRL series hasn't made a dime since it was established, and will probably be on a deathbed come 2006 (when Toyota and probably Honda move on to NASCAR). Their TV ratings and attendances are just as lousy this year as they were last year, yet you brainiacs justify all of this one way or another. Hopefully CART will just get fed up with all of your ISC crap, and drop Fontana for a venue which will respect and appreciate everything CART. For the sake of CART, I will watch this year's race at Fontana. But let the record show, I will never watch any other race or series at your miserable track. Kal Douglas Palm Beach, FL   Editor's Note:  In this LA Times article, Speedway President Bill Miller says, "We want to lay the foundation for years to come, not just in 2004, and with CART officials talking about scheduling more road and street races, and more races overseas, it would be difficult to make plans with them included."

6/15/03

Stoddart to play hardball with Dennis  After the heated verbal sparring that went on this week between Ron Dennis and Paul Stoddart over the "fighting fund" money for Minardi, there's no love lost between the two.  In the Minardi's post-qualifying press release the Australian made a reference to McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen: "It's a shame about Kimi," said Stoddart, "but these things happen. It's just racing."  Was this Stoddart's way of letting Ron Dennis know that he was fully aware Raikkonen would be starting from the pitlane - behind the Minardis,  and that no favors should be expected from either Verstappen or Wilson?  "In Barcelona Ron came down the grid on Sunday and actually asked me would I let Kimi through because he was much faster," Stoddart revealed last night. "I actually said yes.  "But I don't think there is going to be a similar conversation taking place tomorrow," said Stoddart. "We are out to race that McLaren and if he gets past, that's fine. But I'm racing that car."  We wonder what Paul's new partner Bernie Ecclestone will have to say about that.  Mark C.

6/15/03

Reflections on CART 2003  It is interesting to note that Cristiano DaMatta's pole time last year was a 1:09.473...just 0.102 seconds faster than Carpentier's time...CART had the top three covered by 1/10 sec...while we all obviously know that having all the engine manufacturers in CART is great from a commercial sense it is clear that the current package is every bit the equal, competition-wise, of the ultra-high cost alternative, even though CART has frozen chassis development and are using a much lower HP engine.  This is the best argument yet for the multiple badging concept for manufacturers,  that we here at AR1 have proposed, who are most interested in the marketing benefits of racing.  What has been lost on some is the degree to which the field is closing up.  With the same engine and limited chassis development, all the teams are really starting to find their way...the result is a bunching of times...just look, P7, 8, 9 & 10 are all in the same tenth of a second...this will only continue through the year...so, clearly nothing has been sacrificed from the sporting side yet budgets have been brought down considerably.  We would argue the sporting side is quickly being remedied...a boost button for passing, as we here a AR1 have proposed and CART is set.  Mark C.

6/15/03

Are Haberfeld and Monteiro sleepers?  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, Regarding Haberfeld, I saw the very same thing you are seeing at Spring Training...carrying serious speed through the toughest turns, and in a Reynard no less. I had several people, including Jeremy Shaw, look at me funny like I had not a clue as we stood there through the turn as he took lap times for everyone. I said, a whole lap time does not always tell the whole story. A driver that can carry speed like that through a turn will win if he can put it all together, and they usually do. Nigel Mansell was the other guy I remember as one who could carry unusual speed into and through a turn. Glad to know someone else saw it. I think this kid is a winner. Mark my word. There is just something about the European school of drivers (even the ones from south America all go to Europe as a "finishing school") that we just don't seem to be able to compete with. Yeah there are a few there now, but they are not really lighting anything on fire at all. Can't tell you why. Scott Morris, Florida  6/14/03 - Not that we don't have bigger things to talk about but we just went through the morning and afternoon practice times from Laguna Seca and they very much confirm what we saw.  We were watching at a few corners and Haberfeld is seriously quick.  We don't care what anyone says...the Reynard is visibly harder to drive and he works it over but good...also, Monteiro is WAAAY better than we thought...he carries mega speed into fast corners...frankly, those two looked as fast as anyone in T4...the fast right hander onto the back straight.  Mark C.

6/15/03

Built upon lies  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Somebody better tell Tora and Mo Nunn to talk to Paul Tracy about appealing Barnhart's decision. Also, is it all that surprising to see Barnhart deflecting criticism for Mario's accident away from the soft wall? See my comment above about IMS' decision relating to Paul Tracy last year and the complete silence about the entire controversy this year, particularly at a time when they were playing up the 1981 controversy. It also isn't surprising considering the IRL regularly touts its unparalleled safety - usually by Scott Goodyear after another accident. And finally, is it surprising given that the organization has for eight years told the world how great things are going and now, after they've turned their backs on every one of their original principles, telling us how things are going exactly according to plan? It's an organization built upon lies. And finally, did you see the way the paramedics lifted Bodine into the ambulance after his accident this morning? My God! Are those guys clueless or what? From your reports it says he suffered a broken collarbone, but I'd like to know if he received it in the crash or in the rescue. Appalling!  Just a little venting on this, one of the greatest weekends of racing ever. Le Mans, Laguna Seca, Michigan, Pikes Peak and Montreal all in one weekend. Amazing! Now, if only the Cardinals can beat the Yankees, all will be right with the world. Jim Albert, Virginia

6/15/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

JV Not In Gilles' Shadow
Bernie To The Rescue
Minardi Vs McLaren Hits The Track
Button To Miss Another Race?
Minardi Don't Belong In F1
Minardi Remain Opposed
Canada On Sunday: A Quick Word
Jacques Will Sacrifice Salary

6/15/03

LeMans 17-hour update 

AFTER SEVENTEEN HOURS: CAR TYPE #OF LAPS
1) Kristensen T./Capello R./Smith G. Bentley 288
2) Brabham D./Herbert J./Blundell M. Bentley 286
3) Pirro E./Lehto JJ./Johansson S. Audi R8 284
4) Ara S./Magnussen J./Werner M. Audi R8 281
5) Lammers J./Bosch J./Wallace A. Dome Judd 275
6) Beretta O./Jeannette G./Papis M Panoz Elan 274
7) Cochet J./Gounon JM./Gregoire S. Courage Judd 274
8) Heleray E./Ayari S./Minassian S. Courage Peugeot 273
9) Boullion JCH./Lagorce F./Sarrazin S/. Courage Peugeot 271
10)Kox P./Enge T./Davies J. Ferrari 263

6/14/03

Allmendinger sweeps to Atlantic win at Laguna Seca  After breaking his day-old track record with a best lap of 1:16.986 (104.653 mph) to take the pole position to start the day, RuSPORT rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) dominated the Grand Prix of Monterey later in the day by leading every lap en route to his second career CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race victory in his fourth career start on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. On the opening lap, Allmendinger led the field cleanly through the first five turns, but trouble occurred in Turn 6 as Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports/BG Products), who was running in fourth place at the time-put a wheel off course at the exit of the turn and spun across the track, backing his car hard into the tire barrier. The car then shot back across the track and slid off course. The drivers behind Hand were forced to take evasive action, and rookie Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) ran into the right rear wheel of Bryan Sellers (#17 Lynx Racing/3Dimensional Services/Drive4USA) who was practically stopped on course. The contact forced the nose of Patrick's car into the air, and she careened into the tire barrier on the outside of the track. Stephan C. Roy (#16 PlayStation 2/MGD/Mexxsport) also suffered damage to the suspension on his car, and Patrick and Roy were both out of the race, but none of the drivers involved were injured. Despite the crash, Hand made it back to his pit and was able to continue in the race after the team made repairs, albeit three laps down. Likewise, Sellers was also able to continue after lengthy repairs, but ultimately dropped out of the race with a mechanical failure after 22 laps.

6/14/03

Not impressed  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I went out to the Pikes Peak track today to watch the IRL cars practice and qualify.  There may have been 10 of us in the grandstands, and I am not exaggerating.   I wonder what all those big name drivers and sponsors think when they look up at those empty seats.  Reality must really set in.  Abe Butler, Denver, Co.

6/14/03

Brett  Bodine in hard accident at Michigan  UPDATE Brett Bodine broke his collarbone in the accident and his brother Geoff will fill in for him Sunday.  6/14/03 - Brett Bodine, driver of the No. 11 Hooters Taurus, was involved in a practice accident during happy hour at Michigan International Speedway. He was awake and alert, but being transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Crew chief Mike Hillman spoke about the accident after seeing Bodine in the infield care center. MIKE HILLMAN, Crew Chief - No. 11 Hooters Taurus - IS BRETT OK? "They said he was alert and moving around and everything was OK. Todd (Bodine) stopped and talked to him and told me he was OK, but he took a pretty hard hit. Hopefully, there are no broken bones or anything seriously wrong. I think it probably cut down a right-front tire. We do run a safety switch on the throttle. A lot of people don't, but we have one on there so we shouldn't have been in that situation. It's just a bad deal and we'll have to get over it." IS THERE A REASON THEY CARRIED HIM OUT OF THE CAR? "I don't know. Maybe he was a little dizzy or groggy. They were just being safe. He's not one of those guys that has too big of an ego to let people help him." HE'S CONSCIOUS? "Oh yeah. They said he was doing fine." DID HE SAY ANYTHING ON THE RADIO? "No, he didn't talk to us on the radio. He talked to Todd and knew who Todd was, so that's a good sign." YOU SAW THE REPLAY ON PIT ROAD. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? "I'm really glad that he was talking and moving and everything was cool. We can always rebuild new race cars and we'll survive this like we do a lot of other obstacles, but we'll be OK." WHAT ABOUT THE RACE? "I don't know. It's a good car we ran before and we'll just have to see who we end up with to drive. Hopefully Brett can drive it, but if we can't, we'll call in somebody else." HAVE YOU EVER SEEN AN IMPACT LIKE THAT BEFORE? "Yeah, I've seen some pretty bad impacts. That was pretty good, but I'm glad they put those tires down on the inside wall because that really helped a bunch. They're really working hard at this soft wall issue and taking care of these drivers. The safety we've incorporated in these cars the last couple of years is immense and that's a tribute to the safety NASCAR wants to see and what we want to see for our drivers. That makes it a lot easier to walk out of these infield medical centers." Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 54 National Guard Taurus, witnessed his brother's accident in happy hour and spoke about it after practice. TODD BODINE - No. 54 National Guard Taurus - WHAT DID YOU SEE? "He blew a right-front for sure. There was no oil. I don't know what they were looking at because there were sparks and everything. It was viscous. It was hard. My only regret is that I didn't stop him from hitting the inside wall. I should have sacrificed my car because I could tell he was knocked out. That's why I was riding along side him, but both of them were pretty viscous hits. The second one was as bad as the first one." HOW DID YOU KNOW HE WAS KNOCKED OUT? "He wasn't slowing down. He was still running 150 miles an hour." HOW WAS HE WHEN HE GOT OUT OF THE CAR? "It took him a minute or so. I asked him a couple of times where he was at and he mumbled. On the third time he said Michigan and he knew who I was. I knew he was alright when he leaned up on the stretcher and hugged me and said he loved me. I knew he was alright then."

6/14/03

Bernie bails out small teams  UPDATE As it turns out now, Bernie is taking partial ownership of the Minardi team, securing its future.  "Having Bernie as a shareholder in the team came completely out of the blue," said Stoddart. "And I hope that now I can get on with making this team what I always wanted it to be but did not have the money to make happen. After September 11, 2001 there was just no money out there and it has been very frustrating for me and for the team, but now we have stability.  I hope we can go back to building up the team. At the end of the day I am here to race cars and not to be a politician. I don't apologize for what I did yesterday because it had to be done. Formula 1 is a fantastic sport and I want to do it properly and now I hope that I can. Having Bernie as a shareholder puts me in a very powerful position. I think what he has done is to ensure that there are 10 healthy teams in Formula 1 and I am now looking forward to trying to build the team up. I am clearly excited by this. Minardi now has a chance. It is too early to discuss any specifics but I am quite content but I do not expect Bernie to take an active role in the day-to-day running of the sport." Ecclestone said "It is time to get on with the sport and go racing."  6/14/03 - The Formula 1 team bosses had a meeting after qualifying on Saturday and we hear that Bernie Ecclestone agreed to help out the small teams to survive, dipping into Formula One funds rather than arguing over money which is regulated by the Concorde Agreement. It is believed that Minardi and Jordan Grand Prix will get money from Bernie's F1 corporation. Hopefully this will keep the feud out of the media.

6/14/03

Fike wins rain shortened Pro race  Aaron Fike earned his second career IRL Infiniti Pro Series victory by winning the rain-shortened Pikes Peak 100 on June 14 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The race ended after 87 of 100 scheduled laps due to rain, which triggered the final caution period of the race on Lap 84. Fike averaged 115.093 mph in the No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone for his first victory of the season. “This is one of my favorite tracks,” Fike said. “I’ve always had good luck here. This one’s for my dad. It’s Father’s Day tomorrow, so it’s a great present for him.” Pole sitter Jeff Simmons finished second in the No. 20 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, with Arie Luyendyk Jr. completing a stirring drive from the rear of the field to finish third in the No. 5 Sinden Racing Service entry.

6/14/03

Rojas takes pole at Laguna  Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, secured the pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.341 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada, will line up next to Rojas after securing the front row starting position in first round qualifying on Friday with his provisional pole. Season points leader Leo Maia will start the race from the third spot on the grid, and round two winner David Martinez will line up next to him in fourth. German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico, will start in fifth position, with Colin Fleming of North Hills, California starting in sixth. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, will take the green flag from sixth on the grid, next to Chris Baker of Houston, Texas. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, will line up in ninth for tomorrow's race, with Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico taking the tenth slot.

6/14/03

Kanaan on pole after Pikes Peak washout  Tony Kanaan will start on the pole based on practice speeds after a strong thunderstorm forced the cancellation of MBNA Pole Qualifying for the Honda Indy 225 this afternoon at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Kanaan turned the fastest speed of the event during the second practice today, 19.9743 seconds, 180.232 mph. He will start from the pole for the third time in six races this season. Helio Castroneves will start second based on his top practice lap of 20.0222, 179.800. The race starts at 4 p.m. (EDT) Sunday and will be broadcast live by ABC and the IMS Radio Network.
1. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota
3. (21) Felipe Giaffone, Panoz G Force-Toyota
4. (6) Gil de Ferran, Dallara-Toyota
5. (12) Tora Takagi, Panoz G Force-Toyota
6. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz G Force-Toyota
7. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda
8. (15) Kenny Brack, Dallara-Honda
9. (10) Tomas Scheckter, Panoz G Force-Toyota
10. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Toyota
11. (55) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda
12. (13) Greg Ray, Panoz G Force-Honda
13. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda
14. (4) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Chevrolet
15. (5) Jaques Lazier, Dallara-Toyota
16. (52) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Chevrolet
17. (91) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet
18. (24) Robbie Buhl, Dallara-Chevrolet
19. (23) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Chevrolet
20. (31) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Toyota
21. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota
22. (2) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Chevrolet

6/14/03

Herta confirms 2nd car coming for PK Racing  Bryan Herta stated today at Laguna Seca that PK Racing wants to add a 2nd car to the team soon.  He said he would discuss the possibility of driving that 2nd car with team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after this weekend.

6/14/03

Bourdais nominated for DOY quarterly ballot  With his dominating start to the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, Paul Tracy not only earned himself three consecutive victories, but also garnered the prestigious SPEED Channel Presents the National Driver of the Quarter award for his efforts. Now as voting for the second-quarter award begins, another consecutive-victory streak has landed one of Tracy’s fellow CART Champ Car drivers in the running for the award, voted on by a select panel of 18 media members as well as fans. Sebastien Bourdais was one of eight nominees for the second-quarter honors, getting the nod on the strength of back-to-back wins at Brands Hatch and EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The victories were the first two of the young Frenchman’s career and propelled him into the top-five of the season-long points race. Bourdais led 95 laps en route to his first career win at Brands Hatch, then paced 74 laps and led a trio of drivers to the finish line at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in a thrilling finish that saw him best Mario Dominguez by 0.084 seconds. He became the first rookie in Champ Car history to win from the pole in his very first oval-track start and is the first rookie since Juan Montoya in 1999 to win back-to-back races in the series. Fans can vote for the second Driver of the Quarter award by following the links on the series’ official website www.champcarworldseries.com or by logging on to www.speedtv.com. The fan vote can play an instrumental part in the voting as last year’s winner – 2002 CART Champ Car title winner Cristiano da Matta – won a narrow victory when the fan vote swayed the tally toward the Brazilian. Nearly 45,000 fans voted in the first-quarter voting, which helped Tracy earn a spot as one of the finalists for the Driver of the Year award, which will be announced in November. Bourdais is one of eight nominees for the award, along with NHRA Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon, winner of The Winston All-Star race Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time CART champion Gil de Ferran and USAC star J.J. Yeley.

6/14/03

Canada turns on Villeneuve  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I don't agree. From my standpoint of view, we're all behind Jacques and feel for him, what do I have to say? Look for Jacques to outclass Jenson as long as the car can hold on. Just look at Richards these days, he knows now that Jacques' still the future since the team's starting to come together, the guy who will take the team there is Jacques. Just look at the races he'll throw in Montreal, even though he fooled around in the 1st qualifying session, Jacques will be right there with his Bridgestones in the final laps tomorrow in Montreal and everybody's just behind him, each and every one of these 300,000+ in rain coats...Vic Beaudoin, Montreal  6/14/03 - Jacques Villeneuve's career in F1 appears to be nearing an end.  Now even his home country is getting tired on his antics.  The F1 circus is in Canada this weekend and the headline over the local paper’s opening profile described Villeneuve as “yesterday’s man”, criticized his behavior towards Jenson Button, his teammate, as “less than gracious” and worried that “the angry young man act has never seemed so old”.   Now he is being overshadowed by Button and all the talk is of Villeneuve leaving for either Toyota or Renault, or even being forced into early retirement at the age of 32, hardly a distinguished end to a career that has included both the CART and Formula One championships, and an Indy 500 win.

6/14/03

RuSPORT to provide test for Barber Dodge champion  Officials from the Champ Car Ladder System and Skip Barber Racing School, LLC announced today that RuSPORT, which currently fields two cars in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, will provide a two-day test to the driver who wins the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship for the next three seasons, beginning at the conclusion of the 2003 racing season. The inclusion of this test caps off what is already a substantial package for the champion of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. The driver who wins the title will also receive a $100,000 Barber-Champ Car Career Enhancement Award that is designed to help the champion driver move into Toyota Atlantic, which is part of the Skip Barber organization's overall Barber-Champ Car Scholarship program that awards more than $1 million annually in scholarships to drivers throughout the series on the Champ Car Ladder. "I sincerely want to thank RuSPORT for stepping forward and providing this tremendous opportunity for the Barber Dodge Pro Series champion," said CART Champ Car President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "I am impressed by the team's consideration of the Champ Car Ladder System, and I am confident that these tests will go a long way in helping Barber Dodge Pro Series champions move to the next level into Toyota Atlantic. As we have seen this year with young Allmendinger, the Barber Dodge Pro Series does a wonderful job in preparing drivers for the next step on the ladder, and I believe that we will see A.J. take the final step up the ladder into Champ Car in the near future."

6/14/03

Papis to drive for PK Racing rest of year  One of the veteran drivers of the CART Champ Car World Series, despite not having a ride for the first half of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Max Papis will have a new work address when he returns from Le Mans next week. Papis, who has three CART Champ Car victories among his 106 series starts, will return to the Champ Car World Series for the remainder of the 2003 campaign starting next weekend as he takes over as the driver of the #27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Papis will pilot the #27 car for the rest of the year, although the team admits that it will continue pursuing a relationship with Bryan Herta, who is driving the team’s car in this weekend’s Grand Prix of Monterey. “PK Racing is dedicated to winning races and we will continue to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal,” said PK Racing co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. “I want to experience the podium – I want that feeling, and I have confidence that both Bryan and Max can get us there.” Papis made his CART Champ Car debut in 1996 with Arceiro-Wells Racing and ran five full-time seasons in the series, earning two poles along with wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Portland International Raceway. He finished a career-best fifth in the 1999 championship while with Team Rahal, and made seven starts last season including a pair of podium finishes with the short-lived Sigma Autosport team. He last drove a Champ Car at California Speedway last year when he filled in for an injured Adrian Fernandez. “We are excited to have Max back in our series as he has always been one of our more popular drivers with the fans,” said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. “We are also very pleased that one of our rookie teams has shown their willingness to do whatever it takes to mold themselves into a championship squad.” Papis will begin his driving duties next weekend at the G.I. Joe’s 200, a race that he won in 2001 from the pole.

6/14/03

IRL penalizes Tora Takagi, Takagi can't accept it  UPDATE The following are statements in response to this morning’s ruling by the IRL that Mo Nunn Racing driver Tora Takagi would be stripped of 23 driver championship points and put on probation for the remainder of the year, and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing entry would be stripped of 23 entrant points, as a result of a Lap 191 incident at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend that also involved Scott Sharp and Takagi’s teammate Felipe Giaffone (Takagi went on to finish third): MORRIS NUNN “I don’t consider Tora an ‘overly aggressive’ driver. He made a move that he had a right to make. I have made that very clear to the IRL, and that’s really all there is to say. In the bigger picture, it’s pointless to have an opinion because it won’t get you anywhere. Any appeal may result in an increase in the penalty.” [Welcome to the IRL Mo]  TORA TAKAGI “I cannot accept this penalty. I never changed my line. If I would have, the accident would have been even more dramatic. Where I made my move, I was on the straight. Previous accidents this year have happened while drivers were turning into the corner. If they don’t let us make a move on the straight, then there will be no racing. I feel very bad for my crew, because they gave me a good race car again at Texas. I feel very bad for my sponsors and all of our supporters because they deserve better than this.”  6/14/03 - IRL IndyCar Series driver Tora Takagi has been penalized for displaying unacceptable driving habits during the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway, according to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president, racing operations for the Indy Racing League. Pursuant to Rules 8.1 and 8.3-A (Improper Conduct) of the Indy Racing League Rule Book, Takagi has been imposed probation until Dec. 31, 2003 and loss of 23 Driver points as well as 23 Entrant points for Mo Nunn Racing. Takagi, driver of the No. 12 Mo Nunn Racing entry, engaged in unacceptable behavior on the racetrack, including Lap 190 when he tried to pass teammate Felipe Giaffone and Scott Sharp, sending Giaffone and Sharp into the wall. While no one was injured, Takagi went on to a third-place finish while Giaffone and Sharp were unable to continue. “I have had several ‘Driver Only’ Meetings, dating back to May 4 at Indianapolis, to discuss what I perceived as a trend of unacceptable driving habits that developed at Phoenix and Motegi among several drivers,” Barnhart said. “I have reviewed the broadcast footage of the Texas race, and I am disappointed to view actions which exhibit reckless, careless and overly aggressive driving, and endangering the safety of competitors.” Takagi may appeal the imposition of the penalty within the time and in the manner prescribed in Section 12.1 of the Rule Book. An appeal may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty.

6/14/03

Ecclestone says Minardi doesn't belong in F1  Following the ‘fighting fund' verbal fight at yesterday's Montreal press conference, Bernie Ecclestone has said that Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart should not be in Formula 1. Stoddart is fighting for the payment of a £5million fund that was proposed by Ron Dennis in January to help the small teams, but dependent on rule stability which subsequently did not materialize. "Frankly, I was trying to push them [Minardi] not to race this year because he [Stoddart] shouldn't be in Formula 1," said Ecclestone. "You see the sort of budgets needed – $300 or $400m dollars – and he is saying he needs $10m to finish the season. "I did say in Austria last year that they should piss off, and I said at the end of the year that they should. But it is easier for me to say than for the guy to do. He is an enthusiast and he loves his racing, but we are a big professional business and can we afford enthusiasts? The answer is no. "In the end, if you lost a Ferrari or a McLaren it wouldn't be good but if you lose somebody that far down the grid it really doesn't make much difference. It's not good to lose anybody, but it's better if they don't make it, that they go in a gentlemanly way – like most teams that have stopped. "If he hasn't got the money he shouldn't be competing. It's like if you started a business and then things go bad and you are asking your competitors 'Please can you give me some money to help me compete against you?'" "We don't need 10 teams, we are happy with what we have got. We used to have 16 cars," he said, before describing Friday's public spat as "all a bit silly." "Stoddart believed that these people had got together and agreed to give him some money to help him stay in business," he added. "They say it was agreed subject to a lot of things and the subjects didn't happen so there was no deal. That's the bottom line. We are trying to sort it out. I have been doing this firefighting for an awful long time and this is just another fire that has flared up."

6/14/03

Mexicans an engine for CART  This Mercury News article says, CART, which has struggled to survive amid an exodus of well-known drivers, teams and manufacturers -- is tapping into America's changing demographics and economics by using the Mexican influence as a lifeline and to draw fans to the sport. ``We're not only making an impression on the people in Mexico, but also Hispanics who live in the United States,'' driver Mario Dominguez said. ``You see all the Mexican flags at the track and all the Hispanics in the crowd. It makes you feel good when you're outside of your country and people are still rooting for you.'' Mexico is now on a very fast track . . . north and south of the border. ``In fact, the border is really being blurred in terms of sports interests,'' said Bobby Rahal, the former U.S. driving champion who owns Jourdain's team. ``And as the Hispanic population grows here, these Mexican sports personalities are going to have a greater role.''  More.....

6/14/03

Big bucks up for grabs in Pepsi 400 at Daytona  Ward Burton and ISC/NASCAR Chairman Bill France recently posed with a check representing the purse for the inaugural mid-summer classic in 1959, which was $26,560. Sterling Marlin and Speedway President Robin Braig unveiled a record check of $5,042,185 that will be paid to the 43-car field for this year's Pepsi 400, an increase of $635,337 over the 2002 Pepsi 400 payout. The Pepsi 400 purse could be even bigger. The Winston Leader Bonus, awarded to the winner of the race who also is the series point leader, stands at $150,000 entering this week's race at Michigan Speedway. If the Winston Leader Bonus is not collected by the Pepsi 400, it would be worth $170,000. "The winner of the Pepsi 400 is going to be well-rewarded," said Braig. "In fact, if a driver can sweep the Pepsi 400 weekend and win both the Pepsi 400 and the Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo, he'll be even richer." Besides the posted awards for the Pepsi 400, the purse for the Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series race is $1,317,488, an increase of $103,147 from last year's inaugural summer Busch Series race. "It's really unbelievable to think that some NASCAR guys will be going after five million dollars," Burton said. "It just shows where the sport has come from." "We're going to try to make that 50 million one day," France said.

6/14/03

Waltrip comments on NASCAR safety issues  (WHAT SAFETY THINGS CAN BE DONE TO HELP THE DRIVERS WHEN THE CARS CATCH ON FIRE IN A CRASH?) "Actually what you saw on Sunday was two examples of wrecks that happened right at the start of the race, which was Schrader's case, or right after a pit stop, which was Dale Jarrett's case. There was just a lot of fuel back there. We carry 22 gallons of gasoline in our cells. It probably had 20 gallons in it. That's not what caught on fire. It was the fuel in the fuel line or the overflow line that just burned a little bit. The main thing they can do to help us in the case of a fire is to make the cars easier to get out of. The cars are too small. The window is too hard to get out of. That's what needs to be addressed. If you're in a wreck and you give me a choice of which end I want to hit, I'll take the back end every time. There's a lot of cushion back there. A lot of that stuff bends down and gives. It takes away a lot of the energy and in return, makes the ride that you have to take much easier."   (HOW CLOSE IS NASCAR TO IMPLEMENTING THE ESCAPE HATCH THEY'VE BEEN WORKING ON?) "They're working on it. That's really all I know about that. Hopefully by the end of this year or by 2004 they'll have that as a part of our car. I've heard that a lot of progress has been made in that area."   (HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?) "I'm probably not as concerned as I should be. I think it's really the team's job to do everything they can to fill in every crack in the car and make you as safe from your own car as you can possibly be. Obviously when you have 40 cars running around in a pack, you're going to breathe air off those other cars. But you need to fill your car up and make it as safe as it can possibly be. My team does a great job at that. I've never really felt ill or weird after a race. But I'm looking forward to knowing that the air I'm going to breathe is going to be safer and better with the carbon monoxide filters that we're going to run."  (WHAT'S IT LIKE WHEN THE CRUSH PANELS GET KNOCKED OUT?) "Well, that's not cool. I've always just gotten hot. You breathe fumes and obviously you understand why you're getting dizzy. Fortunately, I've not had to deal with that a whole lot."

6/14/03

Villeneuve buys rights to book on his father  Jacques Villeneuve and his business manager Craig Pollock have bought the film rights to a best-selling book on Jacques' famous father Gilles Villeneuve. The book, Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver, written by The Star's Formula One correspondent Gerald Donaldson and first published in 1989, tells the story of Gilles, from his birth in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., on Jan. 18, 1950, to his death at 32 in a horrifying accident during final qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder on May 8, 1982. The account has been published in Italian, Japanese and French as well as English and has just been published in paperback. Jacques Villeneuve and Pollock are understood to be negotiating with a Montreal company to either produce a movie or a TV miniseries on Gilles, who won six Grand Prix races with Ferrari. Although he never won the world drivers championship (he was runner up in 1979), Gilles is still regarded as one of the most exciting drivers in modern times.  Toronto Star

6/14/03

Labor Day move may haunt NASCAR  This Charlotte Observer article talks about NASCAR's disregard for tradition in giving Darlington's traditional Labor Day date to Fontana.  NASCAR has sold its soul in a sorry swap for Hollywood glitz and potentially greater television ratings. No Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on Labor Day Weekend? It amounts to treachery, this transfer of Darlington's traditional spot on the Winston Cup Series calendar to California Speedway. There has been a Southern 500 on the egg-shaped Darlington track since Labor Day in 1950. It was NASCAR's first superspeedway race. Yes, 1950! NASCAR defecting with Darlington's date in favor of a larger market is tantamount to the NFL pulling the Packers out of Green Bay. There hasn't been a heist of sports history of this magnitude since Los Angeles lured the Dodgers to leave Brooklyn. Go to the Golden West, young man. And that's where the relatively youthful leaders of NASCAR are heading in their own style of gold rush.

6/14/03
Star Mazda

Moses Smith Tops The Star Mazda Charts in Friday Practice at Mazda Raceway  Moses Smith in the Team Tomlin/HASA Pool Products Formula Mazda set the fast time in Friday's 30 minute practice session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a time of 1:29.851 around the 2.5 mile circuit. John Olsen and Jamie Bach followed close behind as 37 cars made practice runs in preparation for Sunday's race immediately following the CART ChampCar Series event. Photo thanks to www.starmazda.com.

6/14/03

2003 IndyCar Spotters Guide  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I was looking for a 2003 IRL Spotters Guide and I came across this one.  Since you point out, correctly so I might add, that the IRL continues to suffer from crashes and driver injuries, I thought you might get a kick out of this.  Mike from Ohio.  Dear Mike, Thanks, but unfortunately there is nothing funny about broken arms, broken legs, broken feet, broken wrists, broken heads, broken spines, broken hands and broken cars.  Mark C.

6/14/03

Rules changes for Daytona  NASCAR on Friday issued a four-page technical bulletin to all Winston Cup teams outlining several changes that must be made to cars for next month's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The most visible change is the requirement of an additional rear roof air deflector, which will likely slow the cars slightly as well as help keep them stay grounded should they get involved in an accident. NASCAR recently conducted a wind-tunnel test with a third roof flap and discovered a change in the air deflector improved the efficiency and performance of the two flaps currently in use. Several other, minor changes were outlined in the bulletin, including rules mandating the height and thickness of air filters, quarter panels, and the fuel cells. ThatsRacin.com

6/14/03

Williams praises Jeff Gordon  This pitpass.com article says that Frank Williams was highly impressed with NASCAR champion, Jeff Gordon's performance in the FW24 when he recently swapped race cars with Juan Pablo Montoya at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hailing Jeff as a "really, really good driver" and "unafraid of the car." Frank explained, " His NASCAR car was braking at 250 meters, approximately, at the end of the pit straight and after about two laps he was braking at 75 meters in the F1 car. Juan was braking at about 60 or something like that. And his lap times were one second slower than Juan's. Now, this is no Grand Prix practice event, there were very few laps available for either driver.. for Juan to set up the car or for him to drive it.. but we were truly, and not for the benefit of any North Americans here, we were very, very impressed." Jeff, who drove seven laps in the Williams F1 was somewhat lost for words after his experience, " I really cannot describe the great feeling I had. The corners come up so fast, and the car brakes so well and turns so well, and at the exit of the corners it grabs it up and just goes. It is unreal, like slot car racing. " For many this car swapping exercise highlighted the desire to have an American behind the wheel of a Formula One car, could Jeff Gordon be that man? "The good news and bad news is, the good news is he is very, very quick, the bad news is we can't afford him. He is a winning NASCAR driver and his earnings, I am told, are out of sight!" laughed Frank, "We would all love to have a world class US driver in a Grand Prix team."

6/14/03

In-Fighting by F1 teams  UPDATE  Added photo of the "cat fighters" below.  6/14/03 - This USA Today article says, Formula One racing's "Fighting Fund," a proposal to help small-budget teams survive financial difficulties, apparently has collapsed. Left behind is a team boss full of fighting words for a rival he believes has double-crossed him, and a team that might not have a fighting chance of staying in business past the end of the season. Minardi's Paul Stoddart sat by himself on stage in an interview room on Friday afternoon, accusing McLaren-Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis of promising financial help, perhaps in the form of a larger share of money from F1 television contracts, to the struggling Minardi and Jordan teams back in January. Now, Stoddart says, Dennis himself has torpedoed the idea. A few minutes after Stoddart began speaking to the media, Dennis and executives from three other teams walked in (photo at right by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) — apparently after holding a meeting that Stoddart wasn't invited to. The normally reserved Dennis, angry that Stoddart would make public information about financial dealings in the context of an ultra-secretive sport, settled into a seat directly to Stoddart's right and, without making much eye contact, began to swing back despite repeated promises not to get "sucked into" a public disagreement. "We do not have a soup kitchen in Formula One," Dennis said.  More.....

6/14/03

Yet another turbo street car in the works  UPDATE We promised you photos of this turbocharged V-10 luxury muscle car from Audi.

  6/13/03 - As we have stated, you will gradually see more and more turbo powered cars hit the streets in the coming years as engine manufacturers realize their unqualified benefit.  We feel CART should take a serious look at a small displacement turbo V-8 or V-10 so that they are in line with what's coming down the pike for street cars.  The number of cylinders doesn't matter, a turbo has clear benefits for any size or configuration of engine.  It's likely all street cars will be turbocharged in the next 10-15 years as manufacturers look to bump up HP yet still deliver high fuel mileage.  Here is an example of an Audi turbo V-10 that could hit the showrooms in a few years - The Audi Nuvolari quattro, the vision of a “GT of tomorrow”, will be presented to the motorsport fans before the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Saturday 14 June 2003. The naming of the Audi study Nuvolari quattro pays homage to a racing legend, which in 1933, exactly 70 years ago, won the Le Mans 24 Hour race: Tazio Nuvolari. The graceful Italian, born 1892 in Mantua and died in 1953, wrote motorsport history like no other driver during the first half of the century. His spectacular driving style became his trademark, as did the yellow pullover that he always wore whilst racing. In 1938 Nuvolari changed teams, becoming works driver for Auto Union, and in 1939 he succeeded in winning the last Grand Prix for an Auto Union. The most powerful engine ever developed by Audi for use in a production car ensures adequate propulsion: a five-litre bi-turbo V10 with FSI direct-fuel injection, producing 441 kW (600 hp), with a maximum torque of 750 Newton meters. The Nuvolari quattro races from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 4.1 seconds. A 6-speed automatic gearbox incorporating shift-by-wire-technology makes the appropriate regulation of power and torque. When desired, the driver can change gear actively by using the steering wheel mounted shift paddles. It goes without saying that for such a powerful Audi the transmission of power is made by quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In keeping with the standard, the eye-catching large cross-drilled brake discs of the racing brake system are visible behind the 9-spoke wheels.  We will have photos of the car later tonight.

6/14/03

Villeneuve to learn his fate with BAR in July  BAR boss David Richards says he doesn't plan to discuss the future of the team's drivers until after the British Grand Prix at the earliest. "I'm not going to get into debates about where we are with drivers - other than the fact that we have a contract with Jenson for the long term - until the latter part of July." "Jacques has had a very poor start to the season, not from his own making, but quite frankly through the reliability that ourselves and Honda have offered to him with the car, and that’s an issue we have to address ourselves." Richards says he spoke with Villeneuve at last week's test in Monza, telling him the team is working hard to resolve the early season issues. "He can see the team’s improving, he can see the opportunities are there and so hopefully we can sort that out," said Richards.

6/14/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Button's A 'Waste Of Space'
Minardi Withdraws Support
War Breaks Out In Montreal
BAR Stalls On Villeneuve Talks
Rivals Laud Ferrari 'Dream Team'
If You Can't Take The Heat...
Minardi Pick Up New Sponsor
DC To Support Kimi's Quest
Schu Can Leave At Any Time
DC Confirms MP4-18 Delay

6/14/03

SPEED to broadcast all CART karting events  The Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER and motorsports network giant SPEED Channel announced today the top-level karting series would air multiple races on SPEED in 2003. "This agreement is historic for kart racing in America," said Stars principal Bobby Rahal. "We will begin to show the mass market what kart racing is all about." Stars, in association with Brian Lockwood Productions, LLC, will produce two one hour shows for the races at the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Sonoma in July and a show for the Stars Karting Championships at the California Speedway in early November. All shows will air on SPEED in the October-December time period. "We are very happy to add more Stars events to our 2003 lineup," said SPEED Channel president Jim Liberatore. "Stars of Tomorrow fits well in our plan to show racers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow." Lockwood, who has extensive television experience in racing, including Champ Car, NASCAR, and several karting events, sees this as an opportunity to highlight the best of what competitive kart racing has to offer. "Karting is an intense, high speed extreme motorsport," said Lockwood. "We aim to get up close and down low to show the many people viewing on SPEED Channel how extreme it really is." The production plans to greatly utilize in-kart footage to show the exciting wheel-to-wheel action. Although production details are still being finalized, the one hour programs are expected to primarily cover the ICC and ICA class races, with highlights of the other classes. "We were impressed at the ratings pull the 2002 Stars program had," said Senior Vice President of Programming and Production Rick Miner. "We expect the 2003 Stars shows to build on that and deliver exciting racing action to our more than 60 million subscribers."

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

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
3

Hot News Archives

2000 2001 2002 2003

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2001, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ

 

Banner 10000012



Watch CART, F1, NASCAR, ALMS & more on DirecTV
Our Price: $29.99
Order Now

Free Installation