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DATE

News (chronologically)

6/28/03

IRL saved Hornish from McDonalds  Quote of the night at Richmond came from Sam Hornish after finishing 4th - "I never thought I'd be able to race Indy cars," he revealed. "I never thought that I had the talent or would get the opportunity to do it. The fact that I get to do it, even if it's a bad day it's better than working in a fast-food restaurant."

6/28/03

Foyt IV dead last, hits wall again  2nd UPDATE As predicted, Foyt IV crashed out of a race again.  This has got to be costing AJ Foyt a tremendous amount of money to repair all the damaged cars. His sponsor, Conseco, is in bankruptcy, so we doubt they are writing any more checks.  6/28/03 - A reader writes, I was just looking at the qualifying times for the IRL race tonight. AJ Foyt IV posted a 153.450 qualifying time. That's almost 15 MPH slower than the pole and almost 8 MPH slower than Buddy Lazier, the 21st (second to last) qualifier! On a short track like Richmond, that could be a serious safety problem, and I'm sure it has more than a couple of drivers worried. Clearly, AJ is not going to park the kid, but when will the IRL finally step in and take some action? This is ridiculous. Dennis Szot - Dallas, TX  Dear Dennis, CART did what was right and pulled Shigeaki Hattori's drivers license years ago when he was in over his head, but we can't see the IRL ever doing that to Foyt's grandson, could you?  Mark C. 6/28/03 - Rookie AJ Foyt IV's appetite for finding the concrete wall almost every race weekend continued in Richmond where he brushed the wall in practice Friday.  He was not injured. Odds are he will crash out of tonight's race from his last in the field starting spot. It's apparent he didn't inherit any of his grandfather's driving talent. Tonight's race is likely to be an expensive one for IRL teams.  Others to sustain car damage so far this weekend include:

Foyt IV - Minor damage

Hornish  - Major damage

Buhl - Major damage

Takagi - Major damage

Ray - Minor damage

Fisher - Minor damage

6/28/03

Weaver awarded pole at Road Atlanta  James Weaver was awarded the top starting position for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta after Saturday's qualifying was canceled due to wet track conditions at Road Atlanta. The starting lineup for the race was determined by practice speeds that were posted during three sessions held during the day and Weaver set the fastest lap of 1:13.748 (123.990 mph) in the Dyson Racing Lola-MG. Weaver will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger in Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute sports car race. Frank Biela and Marco Werner will start second in the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8, with Biela turning a 1:13.753 lap at the end of the final practice session to almost beat Weaver's time. JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert will start third in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. Weaver set the fastest time in the LMP 675 class, as well as overall, while Biela's time was the fastest among LMP 900 cars. Full Story & Lineup

6/28/03

Why no fuel injection for NASCAR   Steve Peterson, NASCAR's technical director for Winston Cup, said one of the main reasons NASCAR hasn't switched to a fuel-injection engine is the belief that it would be harder to control rules violations. "Fuel injection can be very difficult to police once it gets beyond the basic computer controls and programming," Peterson said. "Computer code must be downloaded, analyzed and verified, and it will always be suspect. Fuel injection is a real opportunity to tune the system and attempt to add in driver aids and devices beyond the technology limits." But other racing series are using fuel-injected engines without any problems. Making the switch would mean many NASCAR inspectors would need to be retrained, as would many of the mechanics who work in the sport. Even if NASCAR stays with the push-rod, carburetor engines indefinitely, the way the engines are produced could undergo changes. Most teams build their own engines from components supplied by the manufacturers. Some smaller teams lease engines from a team that builds motors. Toyota might want to do it the way it has in other racing series and build engines in-house and supply them to teams through a sale or lease agreement. That could eliminate a lot of jobs in NASCAR, but it also could reduce the costs of team owners. Dallas Morning News

6/28/03

Breaking news from Nurburgring  Kimi Raikkonen is treading eerily in the footsteps of compatriot, and eventual double world champion, Mika Hakkinen.
Another Finn
Not only are they both Finns and earned F1 success with McLaren, but Mika - like 23-year-old Kimi on Saturday - earned his first pole at the Nurburgring (1997). 'It's nice to hear that some other Finnish bloke had a bit of fun here too,' laughed the 'Iceman' Raikkonen after going fastest on Saturday.
DC Puzzled
David Coulthard is baffled by his mysterious lack of pace when Formula One goes one-lap qualifying.  The McLaren veteran, notching up 150 grands prix this weekend, is more than a second slower than pole-sitting team-mate Raikkonen around the Nurburgring.  'I'm not getting enough out of the lap,' he said, 'but there's no problem in the race. I honestly don't know what the story is, but I'm working on a solution.'
Confusion Reigns
Confusion reigned at the Nurburgring on Saturday morning when, for the first time in memory, two separate time sheets were issued for the practice sessions. The FIA's race director Charlie Whiting explained why he had not issued the normal 'accumulative' timesheet for the two 45-minute sessions. 'There has been some confusion among the teams about which tires they're allowed to use on Saturday.  'We told the teams that they could treat each session as separate, so now we're treating them the same in terms of timesheets.'
McLaren Dilemma
McLaren chief Ron Dennis is facing a dilemma about when to introduce the all-new, but so far un-raced and unproven, MP4-18. Kimi Raikkonen scored the 'older' MP4-17D's first pole position in 26 races on Saturday: 'We have a very fast racing car and another one waiting in the wings.' Dennis concluded, 'We will have to do some serious thinking over the next few weeks.'
Gascoyne, Toyota
Renault are on the verge of losing their highly-rated technical wizard Mike Gascoyne to big-spending Toyota. 'I've got absolutely no comment to make,' he told British media in Germany. 'I'm just concentrating on my job.' Toyota are offering Gascoyne a reported $6.5m to make the switch.
Toyota To Retain
Jacques Villeneuve has lost one of his future racing options as Toyota vowed to keep current racers Olivier Panis and Cristiano Da Matta in 2004. He insisted: 'We didn't talk to them so it doesn't really matter.' Earlier, Toyota chief Ove Andersson told reporters at the Nurburgring, 'It is 95% certain we will keep our two drivers.'
Minardi Sue
Minardi will sue three Malaysian companies over more than $1.5 million in sponsorship allegedly owed to the struggling F1 team. Team chief Paul Stoddart said in Germany that former driver Alex Yoong was owed money under a deal for him to be paid a percentage of sponsorship he raised.

6/28/03

Brazil's impact on the IRL  This Washington Post article talks about how the IRL has become dominated by Brazilians, who have displaced all the American short trackers.  Ironically this is one of the things the IRL contingent criticized CART for all those years. People like AJ Foyt don't complain about the Brazilians anymore, suddenly they are OK.

6/28/03

Takagi destroys car in final practice  UPDATE Three of the top four on the grid crashed during the late-night session, including the two Chevy-powered cars that made waves earlier in the evening by briefly holding the pole position. Sarah Fisher and Sam Hornish Jr. crashed, as did Tora Takagi and Robbie Buhl.  Saturday night's race has all he makings of a real crash fest.  6/27/03 - Tora Takagi, who qualified third today for Saturday night’s SunTrust Indy Challenge on the Richmond International Raceway three-quarter-mile oval, was unhurt but damaged his #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force beyond repair during final practice late this evening. Takagi lost control of his car in Turn Two, spun and hit the outside retaining wall left-side first. The team moved to Takagi’s back-up car for Saturday night’s race and, by IRL IndyCar Series rules, start from the back of the 22-car field.

6/28/03

Williams BMW duo 1-2 in final practice at Nürburgring  Ralf Schumacher topped the timesheets for his Williams team during this morning’s second free practice, having set a time of 1MIN 31.305. Olivier Panis, who was first in the previous session with a 1MIN 31.181 – the fastest time set this morning – ended the 45-minutes in third spot, just behind the late-charging Williams of Juan-Pablo Montoya.
Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m31.305s
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m31.366s
3 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m31.490s
4 David Coulthard McLaren 1m31.608s
5 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m32.021s
6 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m32.057s
7 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m32.356s
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m32.391s
9 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m32.652s
10 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m33.010s
11 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m33.076s
12 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m33.214s
13 Jenson Button BAR 1m33.474s
14 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m33.635s
15 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m33.698s
16 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m34.085s
17 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m34.827s
18 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m34.940s
19 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m36.026s
20 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m36.381s  

6/28/03

Latest F1 news items 

Mercedes To Power Another Team
Irvine Slams 'Wimp' Ralf Schu
BMW And Williams Power On
Mixed Review For Chicane Change
Villeneuve's Future Looks Bleak
F1 To Follow Touring Cars?
Coulthard Plays Down 150th
Ross Brawn May Have Quit
Minardi 'Desperate' To Keep Wilson
Alonso Victory Waits For '05
3 Manufacturers: 'No Way' To Customers
Peter Sauber On The Market

6/27/03

Haug suggests changes for qualifying   Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug believes that Formula 1 should adopt a DTM-style 'Super-Pole' system, which has proven highly popular in the German touring car series this year.  "On the one hand, mixed conditions can create unusual grids; but if you had two guys fighting for the World Championship and it was decided by someone getting a dry track and someone else having to run in the wet, I think there would be a lot of criticism," said Haug.   "We could use a system similar to the DTM, where drivers have three sets of tires to set their best lap, followed by a top-10 run-off. That would mean that the window (for changeable conditions) is tighter."   "It (the current system) works well," he said, "and having fuel in the car for qualifying works better than expected and creates surprises. You need to look at the race on Sunday before you know where you are."  BMW's Mario Theissen, added: "I like one car out at a time because everyone has full attention, but I think that perhaps it would be better if you had a second run, like in skiing or ski-jumping, where the top 50 percent get to go again. Qualifying with race fuels is better than expected. Originally I was critical but it's interesting for us even if a little hard for the spectators.   "On another matter, I think we should try to get back to common testing ground rather than having separate schemes. I think it would be good for the show to have more testing on a race weekend – it would be better for the spectators and for the organizers."

6/27/03

Bobby Labonte renews with Gibbs thru 2008   Bobby Labonte has signed a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing that will see the Texan stay with the team through the 2008 season.  "I feel great that I know where I am going to be driving for quite a few more years," said a very happy Labonte. "Joe, Pat, J.D. and Coy have all been wonderful to work with and work for and they have made me feel like a part of their family since day one. I am very blessed to have been able to drive for Joe and be a part of such a great organization. He has taught me a lot over the nine years I have been here, not only about myself, but also more importantly about being a good Christian, a good husband and a good father. The wins we have shared and the championship are really incredible, but I appreciate those life lessons he has taught me more than anything else. For Gibbs, the feelings are mutual. Having seen the good, the bad and the ugly in professional sports, Gibbs knows how lucky he is to have Labonte representing him and all of JGR's sponsors. "Bobby is a class act," boasted Gibbs. "He is a guy that every kid in the country can look up to and every parent can feel good about. He has done a superb job for us and I don't think I could ever thank him enough for what he has meant to Joe Gibbs Racing. We are happy to be able to make this announcement about Bobby staying with us for a while and we hope that shows our level of commitment to the fans, our employees and most importantly our sponsors that we will continue to field the most competitive teams in the industry."

6/27/03

How did the Chevys get so fast?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I can't believe Sarah Fisher qualified 2nd at Richmond, in a Chevy nonetheless.  What's up with that?  Bubba Smith Atlanta, Georgia  Dear Bubba,  Richmond is not a HP track, so the Chevy cars should be more competitive.  A brief rain shower interrupted qualifying Friday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway, and gave those who ran afterwards the advantage of a slightly cooler track surface. Three of those drivers – Scott Dixon, Sarah Fisher and Tora Takagi – ended up posting the fastest three qualifying speeds.  Mark C.

6/27/03
F-3000

Americans Bell & Giebler show well at Nurburgring  Townsend Bell celebrated the birth of his son by taking a very respectable sixth place in FIA F3000 qualifying at the Nurburgring, while Arden International teammate Bjorn Wirdheim put his Monaco disappointment behind him by taking pole for Saturday’s race.    Phil Giebler excelled and was running quickest until the last forty-five seconds of the session when he dropped to third. Story

6/27/03

Newman/Haas duo 1-2 at Road America  Newman/Haas Racing ended a successful one-day test late yesterday at the top of the speed charts at the 4.048-mile Road America road course in preparation for the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America on Aug. 3. Both PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira and Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais participated in the test for the team and posted the first and second fastest lap times, respectively, on a day that featured 11 drivers on track. "The car was good and we were able to put in a 1:43.02 lap time which was the best for the day but we know everyone will keep working hard before we come back to race so we have to as well," said Junqueira, who earned his first Champ Car victory on this course in 2001. "I love driving on the course. It's my favorite track of the year. The baseline of the car was already very good but we made some improvements that better suit my driving style. I'm looking forward to the race already." "The test went pretty good, we ended one-two and accomplished a lot during the day," added Bourdais, whose lap time of 1:43.3 was second fastest unofficially. "It is a neat place and it is a lot of fun to drive but it's unbelievably quick. It's a track where if you put a wheel off in the grass it's over - you crash. It's a tough place. I can see how the drivers who have won here say it's an accomplishment they are very proud of."

6/27/03
F-3000

F3000 at Nurburgring - Wirdheim takes pole on damp track 

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Bjorn Wirdheim Arden International 1m48.123s
2 Ricardo Sperafico Coloni F3000 1m48.140s
3 Enrico Toccacelo Jordan Grand Prix Junior Team 1m48.286s
4 Patrick Friesacher Red Bull Junior Team F3000 1m48.464s
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull Junior Team F3000 1m48.717s
6 Townsend Bell Arden International 1m48.874s
7 Derek Hill Jordan Grand Prix Junior Team 1m48.998s
8 Jeffrey van Hooydonk Team Astromega 1m49.343s
9 Yannick Schroeder PSM-ISR Charouz 1m49.351s
10 Nicolas Kiesa Den Bla Avis 1m49.391s
11 Philip Gieber Den Bla Avis 1m49.440s
12 Jaroslav Janis PSM-ISR Charouz 1m49.500s
13 Tony Schmidt Team Astromega 1m49.875s
14 Giorgio Pantano Durango Formula 1m49.793s
15 Zsolt Baumgartner Coloni F3000 1m49.911s
16 Raffaele Giammaria Durango Formula 1m50.586s
17 Will Langhorne BCN F3000 1m50.607s
18 Valerio Scassellati BCN F3000 1m51.782s

6/27/03

News in brief from Nurburgring  BMW and Williams have agreed to terms on a highly-anticipated deal to extend their partnership until the end of 2009.  'This new contract envisages enhanced integration between the two partners,' said BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel........Mercedes will supply just one Formula One team, in addition to McLaren, with 'affordable' customer engines next season. Competition boss Norbert Haug said a deal was likely to be announced 'within, I would say, the next six weeks..'........BAR ace Jacques Villeneuve admits that his future looks bleak in Formula One.  'There are a lot of discussions,' the former world champion said, 'but right now nothing that looks too positive. But I'm pretty sure some team will want me.'..........Much of the Formula One field is unhappy with changes to the formerly-named Veedol chicane for this year's European Grand Prix at Nurburgring.  'The modifications seem to work well,' said Michael Schumacher, who helped finance and design the NGK corner.  'But the issue with the bollards needs to be resolved.'   Jenson Button twice broke his wing on the corner-marker in question while Juan Pablo Montoya said the old Veedol chicane was 'much more exciting.'

6/27/03

Merrill Lynch bullish on turbo engines  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, With regard to the Merrill Lynch report you referenced on Garrett Engine Boosting Systems, Inc. division of Honeywell International, Inc. - - The market analysts are bullish on Garrett based on how they see the future for turbocharging worldwide. There is plenty of data in the report.  While the naysayers and self-appointed experts blow hot air, we are marching on. They are looking backward and assuming little or no change is in the wind. Market analysts and industry do not make financial commitments without understanding market trends, or they don't last long. When I first started doing motorsports turbo development in 1995, I didn't fully appreciate the durability and cost potential of turbocharging in racing, having spent some years on commercial passenger car applications. Even seasoned commercial turbo application engineers usually don't because they are used to comparisons in mild part-load situations where the durability/cost benefit potential is less obvious. With racing application at full load most of the time, durability and cost issues arise. I had read many times in automotive publications about expensive and fragile turbocharged racing engines. I was starting to believe it must be true. The industry even used cost reduction as a reason for switching from turbo to N.A. in F1. Anyone can build a fragile or expensive engine with or without turbo, so I don't doubt there have been fragile expensive turbo engines. And anyone can spend obscene amounts of money even if it is not necessary. The question is, what is the durability record and the necessary development/maintenance costs of the winners. Then I was approached by the man in charge of developing an engine for Toyota's GT One LeMans project (done in Germany). He was previously involved in development of BMW's turbo F1 motor. He told me he would never seriously consider N.A. as long as an equivalent performing turbo formula was an option. The reason - Durability and Cost. So I asked him to elaborate. Why specifically is turbo more durable and cheaper? The answer - the need for RPM, multi-cylinders and and/or exotic materials in order to live just long enough to win. Your engine design life becomes one lap more than the race distance. Here is a man who actually paid the bills for both N.A. and turbo development and maintenance telling me there is no comparison in durability or cost, in his opinion. Later I had the same experience with another race engine developer from Germany. Then Audi came along and told me basically the same story. I am thinking, this is one of racings best kept secrets. Influential people, some engineers, don't get it - or say they don't for some political/marketing reason. So I published a factual SAE paper using the arguments and data of the experts who are on the cutting edge of race engine development and who have actually paid the bills for both N.A. and Turbo engine development and maintenance. I tried reading your Forum, but the participants don't appear to have read or understood your article so there is not much to engage. For the most knowledgeable ones, a little knowledge can be dangerous. Doug Milliken, Motorsports Manager, Garrett Engine Boosting Systems   6/27/03 -  In regard to our recent article by Mark Cipolloni titled, Why turbos make for superior street and race engines, we came across this recent Merrill Lynch research paper (PDF format) on Honeywell's Garrett turbocharger division.  For those who questioned the future of the turbo engine market for passenger cars, you might find this paper enlightening.  It does a thorough analysis of the turbo market, both now and in the future.  The article states that roughly 20% of all cars sold worldwide are turbocharged today and it expects that number to reach 40% by 2010. 

6/27/03

New Winston Cup team   Arnold Motorsports Is Pleased To Announce The Formation Of Their New Team Which Will Compete In A Partial NASCAR Winston Cup Series Schedule This Year And Go Full Time In 2004. In Addition To Announcing The New Team, Donald L. Arnold, Team Owner, Is Pleased And Privileged To Announce That NASCAR Great Bobby Allison Will Serve As V.P. And Consultant. "I'm Looking Forward To Them Putting This Deal Together," Allison Said. Dodge Has Been Chosen As The Manufacturer Of Choice By Arnold Motorsports. Billy Bigby, Jr. Has Been Named The Driver And The Engine Program Of Choice Is The Arrington "A" Engine Program. "Bobby Will Consult With Us On Testing And Also Be A Spokesperson For Our Team With Sponsors," Arnold Continued. Bobby Allison Website

6/27/03

Villeneuve will take salary cut to win  This AP article says, Although his contract is up after this year, it's not clear where the 32-year-old Villeneuve will end up. He's too expensive for most teams to pursue - BAR can't even afford to resign him at his going rate. Also, there's no sign that a seat will open at Ferrari, Williams or McLaren, the only teams that can afford him and also put him in a competitive ride. Where Villeneuve ends up is anyone's guess. "I don't want to wait until I am 50 to be in a position to be competitive again," he said. "But when you make a decision, you have to see what is available and what your options are, and it is impossible for me to give you an answer until I know what the options really are. "It is easy to say now, 'Oh, I only want to drive in these kind of teams,' but when the question is you drive in another team or you stay at home, then maybe you will change your mind-set." Villeneuve is suffering through a miserable fifth season with BAR with just 3 points and two straight DNFs - including two weeks ago at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the track named after his late father. But a driver in his position, unsure of where he'll end up and unsure who even wants him in a car, doesn't really have many choices. F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone wants Villeneuve to retain a spot on the grid, where he and Schumacher are the only active series champions. But Ecclestone believes that years of running in the back of the pack have demoralized Villeneuve and a top ride is the only thing that will rejuvenate the driver. "How can he motivate himself? He has won the CART series, the world championship, he has won a lot of races," Ecclestone said. "I imagine he comes to a race and thinks, 'If I really do a good job, maybe I can qualify 10th, maybe, and maybe in a race I can run eighth or ninth.' Hey, what difference is it to him if he is 13th or seventh? "I would like to see him in the Ferrari." But that won't happen because Villeneuve is too proud to be the No. 2 to Schumacher. "I wouldn't drive in Rubens Barrichello's position," Villeneuve said. So Villeneuve has to take a long hard look around the paddock and figure out where he can best fit in. He says he'll take a pay cut if it means driving for a team that can win races. "If it were a team in a position to bring the results that I want I don't think that money would be a real problem for me," he said. Pollock, a shareholder at BAR, still thinks that team can be among the top three in F1 and has not ruled out finding a way for Villeneuve to remain there. But the manager is confident other winning teams will want the driver and that a contract with a low-base salary and performance incentives could make Villeneuve an extremely attractive option. "Top drivers dictate that a lot of money be spent on them," Pollock said. "But a top driver's head also dictates that he wants to win. Having made the money in the past, he would be going for a contract where he could win now."  Here is another article on the topic.  And yet another article where Jacques admits his F1 future looks bleak. Will he retire after this year, go fishing, or eat his words and run in CART, which he said he would never do again?

6/27/03

Johansson relishes role as team owner  This AP article says, A veteran of Formula One and former CART rookie of the year, Stefan Johansson is the first-year owner of American Spirit Team Johansson, featuring Americans Jimmy Vasser and rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay behind the wheel. "When I stopped racing CART at the end of '96, I decided to start an Indy Lights team," he said. "I ran that for a few years, then this year there was an opportunity to get into CART, and I decided it was a good thing to do." It's been somewhat of a bumpy road in the first year. Johansson had about a month to put together his team before the first race of the year, and the challenges didn't stop there. Saddled with the inferior Reynard chassis - the top five finishers at last weekend's G.I. Joe's 200 were Lolas, a common theme all year - for this season, the American Spirit team has had a difficult time finding success in the CART series. "We're a little bit hampered with this Reynard chassis," Johansson said. "We've had some bad luck, we've had a lot of accidents, which has obviously set us back a little bit. We had a few roadblocks in our way early on, definitely - stuff that happens in your daily life of doing business. We definitely had our fair share of dramas. "You just chip away, add people where you need people. It's constantly evolving. It typically takes three years to build a winning team." But those dramas have not dampened Johansson's enthusiasm for the sport that has dominated his life for so long. "I'm committed to this 100 percent - you'd be a complete fool to jump into something this intensive if it's only for one year," he said. "I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to do this really for my entire life. I love every aspect of this business, whether it's driving, management or owning a team. "There's constantly pressure, massive pressure the whole time. You've just got to figure it out, you've got to think quick. When you come up with an answer and it works, it's incredibly satisfying."

6/27/03

TV News  Boris Said is Dave Despain's guest tonight on Wind Tunnel at 11:00 on SPEED Channel.  Mike Pearl was hired this week at ABC as senior vice president and executive producer. Pearl moves over from Turner Sports, where he drew wide acclaim for his work on the NBA broadcasts. From 1988 to 1995, Pearl worked at CBS, and did some work on their racing coverage. Some IRL insiders are encouraged by Pearl's hiring at ABC, where he'll have some of the same responsibilities recently held by former ABC Sports boss Howard Katz. Katz is now the COO at NFL Films, but was shown the door at Disney by ESPN boss George Bodenheimer, who assumed Katz' responsibilities at ABC. Pearl is known for his creativity. Turner's NBA broadcasts have one of the best studio shows in all of sports, and that energy and enthusiasm can only help the IRL, which is really struggling to gain traction in the ratings. This, of course, assumes that Disney wants to put some of Pearl's expertise to work on the IRL.  MotorsportsTV.com

6/27/03

Williams & BMW extend partnership  Williams and engine suppliers BMW have extended their partnership for a further five years until the end of the 2009 season, it was announced today. The contract between the two was due to end next season but the extension was announced at BMW's home race, the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Dr. Burkhard Göschel is the board member of the BMW Group responsible for the BMW Formula One Project. He explained: “We are very pleased to have placed collaboration with WilliamsF1 on a sound and long-term basis. This new contract envisages enhanced integration between the two partners. As an automobile manufacturer, we have options that are simply not open to a racing team and we need to join together in exploiting these possibilities. By the same token, this is all about supporting the specialist expertise of one of the most successful teams in the history of Formula One, harnessing that expertise and achieving perfect integration. We are convinced that this alignment will lay the foundation stone for the future success of this project.” BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal Frank Williams reflected, “BMW have been an extremely impressive and highly motivated engine partner to work with since 2000. I have every confidence that with the structure of this new agreement we will be able to draw from a deeper pool of BMW resource. When added together with the technical competence and determination to win at WilliamsF1, I believe that this relationship will yield significant dividends.”

6/27/03

Trivia question  2nd UPDATE Another reader writes, I saw the answer posted to your trivia question about the first driver to spray champagne. It's partially correct. Here's Dan Gurney's side of the story and a great 1996 piece by Lewis Franck.  I have a copy of that poster hanging by my desk at work. John Hullinger  6/27/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, Dan Gurney is the answer to the next trivia question you posted below. The why is; Dan Gurney didn't consume alcohol. So, he found something else to do with the stuff when he won his first F1 race!   Gilles Villeneuve sponsor trivia part two:  Up until the time that Marlboro became a sponsor on the Ferrari team, the drivers "owned" their suits, and they could sell their own space, so to speak. Gilles "main sponsor" on his suit, when he was with Ferrari, was the famous maker of Lambrusco, Giacobazzi.  Jody Scheckter's was Brooklyn, which, oddly enough, is an Italian brand of Chewing gum!  Daniel Manchester, Northbrook, IL  6/26/03 - Who was the main sponsor of Gilles Villeneuve? Answer: In 1976, Labatt signed its first sponsorship contract with Gilles Villeneuve. This funding allowed him to complete his budget, to win the Formula Atlantic series and to get himself noticed by the world of Formula 1. After becoming an official Ferrari driver in 1978, Gilles Villeneuve still wore the colors of Labatt when he scored his first career victory, on the new circuit at Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal (a circuit to which the brewery had made a large financial contribution). By the way, it was with the froth from an enormous bottle of Labatt, not champagne, that Gilles Villeneuve celebrated his victory that year. Labatt would remain associated with the Quebec driver until his death in 1982. During the years 1995-1998, the brewery would join forces with another Formula 1 driver by the name of Villeneuve: his son Jacques, who would become world champion in 1997.  Will Labatt make a comeback in racing soon?  Rumors suggest it will.   Next trivia question: At each Grand Prix, the drivers on the podium spray each other with champagne. Where does this tradition come from?

6/27/03

Panis surprises in opening practice at Nurburgring  Olivier Panis in a Toyota topped the charts in Friday morning practice for this weekend's European GP at the Nurburgring. Mark Webber was just 0.027 back in his Jaguar and Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd in his McLaren, 0.063 sec back.  Michelin runners dominated the session.

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 20 PANIS Toyota M 1'31"197 203.217 Km/h 22
2. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'31"224 + 0'00"027 19
3. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'31"260 + 0'00"063 19
4. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'31"513 + 0'00"316 22
5. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'31"750 + 0'00"553 18
6. 15 PIZZONIA Jaguar Cosworth M 1'31"794 + 0'00"597 18
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'31"918 + 0'00"721 22
8. 4 R. SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'32"170 + 0'00"973 22
9. 21 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'32"492 + 0'01"295 26
10. 1 M. SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'32"560 + 0'01"363 23
11. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'32"590 + 0'01"393 22
12. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'32"607 + 0'01"410 17
13. 11 FISICHELLA Jordan Ford B 1'32"692 + 0'01"495 16
14. 10 FRENTZEN Sauber Petronas B 1'32"792 + 0'01"595 20
15. 17 BUTTON BAR Honda B 1'32"841 + 0'01"644 23
16. 9 HEIDFELD Sauber Petronas B 1'32"901 + 0'01"704 18
17. 16 VILLENEUVE BAR Honda B 1'33"602 + 0'02"405 21
18. 12 FIRMAN Jordan Ford B 1'33"643 + 0'02"446 17
19. 19 VERSTAPPEN Minardi Cosworth B 1'34"947 + 0'03"750 9
20. 18 WILSON Minardi Cosworth B 1'35"525 + 0'04"328 14

6/27/03

Interview with Matt Kenseth   Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Taurus, is the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader as the series takes its third and final break of the season. Kenseth, who has finished in the top 10 in 13 of his last 15 starts, has a 174-point lead with 20 races remaining. Kenseth's Winston Cup points lead is the largest after 16 races in the past 16 years.  Transcript

6/27/03

Sony signs deal with F1  Sony Computer Entertainment Europe yesterday signed a four-year contract with Formula One Administration Ltd, making them the official publisher of Formula One titles. Speaking on the new deal, Chris Deering, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said "This four year exclusive relationship is the basis for a very exciting partnership between the world's leading motorsport and the most successful video game platform. "Together I believe we will create a totally new consumer game experience that combines the power of PlayStation 2 with the exhilaration and spectacle of Formula One. Short of pulling on gloves and a helmet this is as close to being in the driver's seat as you're going to get."

6/27/03

Trulli fastest in Friday test a Nurburgring  Jarno Trulli set the fastest time in the Friday test session at the European Grand Prix, beating teammate Fernando Alonso. Trulli the most laps in the test, completing 48 tours of the Nurburgring track. The Renault duo were comfortably ahead of their nearest rival, Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia who was 0.880s back from Trulli.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m32.085s
2 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m32.311s
3 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m32.965s
4 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m33.019s
5 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m33.174s
6 Allan McNish Renault 1m33.935s
7 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m34.579s
8 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m34.857s
9 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m35.455s

6/27/03

Latest F1 news items 

Kimi Pines For All-New McLaren
Williams Won't Follow New Trend
Mexico Declares F1 Interest
Minardi Find More Dutch Support
Is Kimi Quicker Than David?
Loyal Schu Brother Slams Critics
Heinz-Harald Expected More
Ferrari Flock To Kerpen
Dennis Defends McLaren Delay
Montoya Not Betting On Title
Heidfeld 'Looks Around' For Drive
Renault Unleash More Power
Verstappen Looks To The Future
Mr Consistency Aims For Title
Will Minardi Race Old Arrows?
'Not Surprised' At Rival Resurgence
Head Attacks BAR Decision

6/27/03

Petty rides again for charity   NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and more than 200 motorcyclists roared into McKinney, Texas during the 9th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America - a cross-country motorcycle ride that raises money for children's hospitals and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The riders took a pit stop at Towne Lake Park where Petty led motorcyclists and area residents on the Victory Challenge to raise additional money for the charity. The Victory Challenge is a test-ride program, through Victory Motorcycles, that encourages people across the U.S. to visit a Victory dealership or demo-ride location and raise money for kids by taking a test drive on a Victory motorcycle. The program, which runs through June 30, donates $1 for each Victory motorcycle test ride to the Kyle Petty Charity Ride.

6/27/03

Gidley enjoyed shot at Trans-Am  Memo Gidley finished fourth in his first ever Trans-AM race this past weekend driving for Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Racing team.  This one race deal was sponsored by Ace Paint and 20 local Ace Hardware Dealers and was run in conjunction with the NASCAR Winston Cup.  Gidley's only testing was fifty laps at Michigan's Gingerman road course the previous Wednesday in a short shake down that helped him to at least "feel comfortable and make sure everything fit right inside the car."  Memo found himself ninth quick in the first practice session late Friday afternoon. "The car was heavier than anything I had ever driven" said Gidley, "so first I had to get used to how the extra weight responded in the turns and over the elevation changes of a track like Infineon Raceway.  "There was a lot to learn in a short time, but I really enjoyed the challenge."  Memo qualified fifth on Saturday and ended the Sunday morning warm up in the third spot. "The car felt very good on Sunday morning...there were still a few little things I know I could have done to make it quicker had I had one more session."  During the race Memo made his way up to fourth place and was in the hunt for third when on a restart, he and series points leader, Johnny Miller got together in turn three.  "I was boxed in and looking for a way by third place when I felt a bump and found myself sideways. There wasn't a lot I could do, as I was hit in my blind spot. I thought I was going around but somehow managed to keep the car from spinning." said Gidley.   Unfortunately for Miller, the result was a cut tire that would put him a lap down.  Gidley seemed to have one more chance at third after the final caution of the day but ended up having to settle for fourth.  "These cars have a lot of horsepower and can easily burn off the rear tires" said Gidley.  "I thought I set my car up conservatively enough so that my tires would be in good shape at the end.   I guess I missed it a little because although I was having a blast sliding the Ace/Jaguar XKR around, my rear tires were pretty cooked at the end. Happy with fourth? First race, I'll take it this time but not in the future"   Although this was a one-race program, Memo hopes for the opportunity to drive in the Trans-Am series again soon. "I really had a good time driving the Ace/Rocketsports Jaguar XKR" said Gidley. "The Rocketsports team are excellent, worked hard and were a great group. I hope to race with them again. I also wanted to thank the fans that helped with financial support through the "Fans For Memo" effort."

6/26/03

Will Legault be the next CART boss?  UPDATE  Who is Normand Legault?  The multilingual Normand Legault is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GPF1 Inc. He was until recently, President and General Manager of Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc., an event in which he became involved in 1978. Initially in charge of sponsorship, Mr. Legault became General Manager in 1981, a position he held until 1983.  Between 1984 and 1989, he launched various businesses in the field of communications and events, before returning to Grand Prix du Canada in 1989 as a consultant. The following year, he once again became General Manager of the company, which he acquired a few years later. Attracting over 326,000 spectators, the 2002 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix was the largest sporting event in Canada’s history. The ‘Promoter’s trophy for the best organized Grand Prix’ was awarded to the Canadian Grand Prix for the year 2001. Normand Legault is also a member of the International Formula One Commission (Editor's Note:  don't take this item lightly).  An active participant in the Montreal community, Mr. Legault was President of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal for 2000-2001 and he is now Chairman. He is governor of the Université de Sherbrooke faculty of administration, governor of the Regroupement des jeunes gens d’affaires du Québec and President of the Club des Carabins of University of Montréal.  Mr. Legault is Chairman of the Place des Arts, he is on the board of directors of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF) and of Expert-Medic Inc. In addition to being a member of the office of the FMMJ (Fondation du maire de Montréal pour la jeunesse) fundraising campaign, he is also a member of the UNICEF Ambassadors’ Committee. Mr. Legault was elected by La Presse, Personality of the Year 2001.  6/26/03 -  This morning's Journal de Montreal reports that when contacted in his Montreal office, Normand Legault (Canadian GP and CART Molson Indy Montreal boss) did not deny the rumor, which came out this past weekend, regarding him being the next CART President. According to Gerry Forsythe, Legault was offered Chris Pook's position as head of CART.  After dancing around the question two or three times, probably out of respect for his friend, Chris Pook, Legault finally admitted that he was looking at the offer, the opportunity to run CART, but stated that he wouldn't comment right now and said that Pook was running CART the best possible way for now. In fact, he stated, "replacing Pook shouldn't be a surprise since he (Pook) personally stated before that he wouldn't be around after 2004 or so."  There is a large photo and other CART and F1 news that accompany the report.  Mark C.

6/26/03

Herbert celebrates 39th birthday  Former Formula One winner Johnny Herbert celebrated his 39th birthday Wednesday as he prepared to re-join ADT Champion Racing for this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. The English driver, whose last F1 win was in the 1999 Grand Prix of Europe at the Nurburgring for the Stewart-Ford team, will be looking to score his second career win in the American Le Mans Series and to help the Florida-based Champion team win for the first time on the series. Herbert will co-drive with another former F1 pilot, JJ Lehto of Finland, in the same Audi R8 that the Champion team ran to third overall and the LMP 900 class win in the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans. It marked the first appearance by an American team on the overall Le Mans podium in 19 years. Herbert, who drove for the Champion team on the ALMS in 2001 and 2002, drove for Team Bentley at Le Mans and finished second overall. "Our Audi arrived in Atlanta direct from France on Monday," said Herbert. "It has been washed and polished plus an oil change which is remarkable considering it completed around 3,200 miles at around 130 mph at Le Mans."

6/26/03

Danica Patrick gets first laps in Prodrive Ferrari  It didn't take Danica Patrick long to look like a member of the famed Prodrive Ferrari team. The rising young American racing star made her first laps in the bright-red Ferrari 550 Maranello on Wednesday and Thursday in a private test session and will make her debut in American Le Mans Series competition in this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. Patrick, who also drives for Bobby Rahal's CART Toyota Atlantic team, was fitting in with the British team, wearing the Ferrari red in her new Prodrive racing suit and in a designer team shirt when not in the car. She spent part of the day Wednesday getting fitted into the car's seat as well as getting to know her crew and her new co-driver, Jerome Policand of France, and had her first laps in the car late Wednesday afternoon. "It's going well and I really like the Ferrari," said the 21-year-old from Roscoe, Ill., on Thursday. "I'm glad to have this time in the car in a testing situation because it's different from the cars I'm used to driving. "The brakes are especially different because I've never driven a car with carbon brakes," she said. "I also have to adjust to a car that rolls. It's really important that I have a good weekend with this team. I'm happy to be here because I want to race." Rahal, the former Indianapolis 500 winner who is working with Patrick as a mentor and advisor, was on hand Wednesday and will return Sunday for the two-hour, 45-minute race. The Prodrive team won the GTS class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago. Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic and Peter Kox of The Netherlands, two of the three winning drivers from Le Mans, will steer the other Prodrive entry in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.

6/26/03

Players team happy with Road America test   Team Player's driver Paul Tracy, the current leader in the Champ Car World Series drivers' standings, was among 12 drivers taking part Thursday in a testing session on the venerable Road America course, site of the August 3 race in the series. "We really covered the board in terms of what we needed to do," said Todd Malloy, the chief engineer for Tracy's No. 3 car. " We worked mainly on aerodynamic components specific to the Road America track. We tried different shock absorbers/dampers and got some quality information from the session. Most of the contending teams in the series were on hand for the session. Tracy ran 27 laps, covering 110 miles, on the equivalent of two fuel stints, a simulation of the pit frequency during the race on the 4.048 road course, where Tracy has three career poles and two victories, most recently in 2000. "It's always a lot of fun running laps on Road America, even testing laps," said Tracy, whose best lap on Thursday was one minute, 45.07 seconds, third fastest by the time Team Player's packed up for the day. "I'm happy with the balance of the car. We have a good set-up that I expect will enable us to run well when we come back here in August. "The only disappointing thing about the session today was not putting in as many laps as we would have liked because of the punctures we sustained on the two rear tires," added Tracy. "We were only allowed the two sets of tires, so the punctures prematurely ended the session. But we couldn't do much about it." On the strength of two consecutive podium finishes, including his second-place finish last weekend at Portland, Tracy has recaptured the lead in the drivers' standings, a 99-95 edge over Brazilian Bruno Junqueira.

6/26/03

European GP Thursday Press Conference  Transcript

DRIVERS :
Heinz-Harald FRENTZEN
Nick HEIDFELD
Michael SCHUMACHER
Ralf SCHUMACHER
Jos VERSTAPPEN

6/26/03

New sponsor for Minardi  Commencing with this weekend’s Formula One Grand Prix of Europe at the Nurburgring, Wilux Benelux, a producer of shower cubicles and baths in the medium- and top-class segments, becomes a commercial partner of the European Minardi Cosworth F1 Team. The Wilux logo, along with the catch-phrase, "Bathroom pleasure", will appear on the Minardi Formula One cars, as well as on the overalls and helmets of drivers, Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson. For customers, there will be interesting promotional activities surrounding each Grand Prix, which will be announced in the media. For Wilux, an organization with an annual turnover of some 60 million Euros and about 180 employees, which exports bathroom equipment to 28 countries worldwide, the co-operation with Minardi is a logical step. Managing Director, R. Wildschut, explains : “In the past, Wilux has been involved as a sponsor in motorcycle racing and football with a Dutch Premier League club. Given our strong current market position, and in spite of the recession, we believe that it is time for us to move to the highest level in sports sponsorship. The co-operation with Minardi is a logical step. We firmly believe in the team’s capabilities and potential, and are glad to support them in their efforts.” Jos Verstappen, who will be driving in his 100th Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, is the most successful Dutch Formula One driver in history. He raced previously for Benetton, Tyrrell, Stewart and Arrows, and signed for the Faenza-based European Minardi team this season. His team-mate, Justin Wilson, is in his first year of Formula One competition. “For us, the combination of a Dutch driver in an Italian team is just ideal,” says Wilux Managing Director, Wildschut. “Our headquarters are located in The Netherlands, but the design of our products comes from Italy, where we also have our own facilities in San Dona di Piave, near Venice.” The co-operation between Wilux Benelux and Minardi will be promoted in various ways. For instance, the image of Jos Verstappen’s Formula One car will be displayed on the Wilux transporters that can be seen on the roads all over Europe. Posters and other promotional material will appear in the showrooms of Wilux dealers, and there will also be a sales promotion around each Grand Prix, during which customers can not only expect an interesting discount on Wilux products, but also obtain exclusive items related to Formula One and Minardi. Managing Director Wildschut of Wilux Benelux says : “We are proud of being able to race together with Minardi, and we look forward to a successful co-operation !” Minardi

6/26/03

Final NASCAR Sears Point TV Rating   NASCAR finished with final numbers of a 4.8 rating and 11 share for the Winston Cup race from Infineon Raceway on FOX, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is up 7 percent over last year. The race drew 5,084,000 households. The NASCAR race beat all the competition, which was led by a Tiger Woods PGA broadcast that drew a 3.2 and an 8 share.  Even in a bad economy, NASCAR just keeps getting more popular.

6/26/03

Final CART Portland TV Rating   CART's Portland race on CBS last Sunday came in with a final TV rating of 0.9 and a 2 share.

6/26/03

CART Mid-Ohio test open to fans   The Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio will run August 7-10, but fans of the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course can see the open-wheel rockets take to the Lexington, Ohio track on Monday, June 30, to test for the upcoming race. Many of the Bridgestone Presents the CART Champ Car World Series powered by Ford competitors have committed to the test day, including defending race champion Patrick Carpentier of Player's/Forsythe Racing, Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing, Hilliard, Ohio's Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain, Jr., and Fernandez Racing's Adrian Fernandez, who won last week's CART Champ Car World Series event in Portland, Oregon. "Mid-Ohio is excited to make this event open to the public," said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, Inc. "This is an excellent opportunity for our loyal Champ Car fans to get energized about the upcoming race, and Mid-Ohio is pleased to donate the proceeds to a very worthy cause." Fans can enter the facility beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Gate 3 by making a $5.00 donation to The Hole In The Wall Camps, Inc., the Official Charity of CART Champ Car. Mid-Ohio All-Access Season Pass holders receive free admission to the day's events by presenting their season pass at the gate.

6/26/03

Is CART susceptible to an unfriendly takeover?   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Now that CART is up for sale, is it possible for someone like Tony George to come in and buy CART and then kill it off?  Dave Pillar, New York Dear Dave, The Revlon case set a precedence that the board of any company is obligated to get the best price for the shareholders, and to really look at nothing else.  That is why Larry Ellison from Oracle is so confident he will ultimately get PeopleSoft.  He will then move their products into Oracle and kill off PeopleSoft.  He has made that quite clear. It's possible that someone like Tony George could be the highest bidder for CART and the CART board would then be obligated to recommend to the shareholders to vote to approve his bid. However, there is nothing that prevents the shareholders from voting to take, the 2nd highest, or 3rd highest bid, if they deem it in their best interest in the long run.  Fortunately for CART, between Gerald Forsythe and Jon Vannini (and Vannini's friends who I hear would follow his lead) they control around 50% of CART's shares.  If they vote against an unfriendly takeover from someone like Tony George, they can prevent it from happening.  If I were Chris Pook and company, I'd make sure I didn't piss off Forsythe or Vannini, because either one could undermine what he may have planned.  Mark C.

6/26/03

Mandarino travels from Italy to Windsor    Lorenzo Mandarino, one of Canada’s brightest young racing stars, will trek across the Canadian countryside from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia to contest the Dodge Freedom Grand Prix of Windsor this weekend.  Lorenzo just returned from Parma, Italy after an intense session with the GP Racing team, manufacturers of the GP kart chassis.  “I am looking forward to racing at an event with such potential for major exposure," said Lorenzo. "After just returning from Italy I am focused on executing some of the techniques and chassis work we accomplished with the GP racing team. Truenorth Motorsports is the importer of GP chassis in Canada and one of my biggest supporters. Both GP and Truenorth are making it possible for me to run in Windsor."  Mandarino is now an official driver on the GP Racing team and will return to Italy in August for more racing and will also contest the ICC World Championship later this year.  “We were very happy with Lorenzo’s performance here in Italy,” said Gianpiero Cavaciuti son of GP Racing owner Beppe Cavaciuti. “He should be very competitive in the Windsor race.”  Lorenzo will run the remainder of the Stars races with the GP kart and TM power with backing from GP and Truenorth.  The Dodge Grand Prix of Windsor starts with practice for the ICC, ICA, 125 Moto, Rotax, 80 Junior and local 4-cycle classes on Friday, June 27th and races through the weekend.

6/26/03

Many events planned for Molson Indy Toronto event   The Molson Indy is so much more than just a race. Following is a listing (PDF format) of all of the exciting events geared to getting the city of Toronto revved up for the Molson Indy. And you wonder why the Canadian events are so successful.  Clearly these folks know how to promote a race.  Mark C.

6/26/03

Shell develops secret gear oil for Ferrari  Technical partners Shell and Ferrari have brought a new gear oil to the European Grand Prix. 'Our new gear oil, Shell Spirax Racing Gearbox Oil, is a major step forward,' said Mike Copson of Shell Global Solutions.' We have been working with Ferrari since the beginning of the season on Shell Spirax and we have made exciting developments as regards to friction loss, cooling and wear protection in the gearbox.' 'Put simply, Shell Spirax is an oil that allows the horsepower from the engine to be transmitted through the gearbox more efficiently.' continues Copson. 'I cannot divulge the exact performance gain, but I can say that we are delighted with the results from testing. The main reason for our optimism is that we have managed to make this major development without sacrificing the wear protection the oil offers the gears.' 'As with engine oil, the trick is to find the right balance between friction optimization and wear protection' says Copson. 'Shell Spirax is a massive step forward in all of these areas and as our fuel and oil development program continues back in the UK, we are looking forward to the next step forward with Ferrari very soon. Of course, developments we have made such as with Shell Spirax have been shared with our colleagues who can now use them as a base from which to develop new Shell road products.'

6/26/03

Earnhardt concert details finalized   The talent lineup is confirmed as the excitement builds for the World Center of Racing's first music festival - the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert - on Saturday, June 28th. Hosted by Teresa Earnhardt, the festival kicks off at 3:00 p.m. with two-time Grammy winner Delbert McClinton. The lineup is as follows:
Delbert McClinton - 3:00 PM
Alabama - 4:00 PM
Kyle Petty Charity Ride - 4:40
Kenny Chesney - 5:00
The Goo Goo Dolls - 6:10
Sheryl Crow - 7:35
Brooks & Dunn - 9:00
Hootie & The Blowfish - 10:25
Fireworks - 11:05
Also featured during the daylong festival honoring seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and benefiting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation will be singer/songwriter Gary Chapman who will serve as master of ceremonies of the live event. Special appearances will also be made by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and DEI Winston Cup drivers Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green. This all-day festival of music and memories - the first to benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation -begins at noon when fans will be treated to interactive exhibits from concert sponsors and special guest appearances Teresa Earnhardt established the Foundation to carry on Dale's name and good works through the charitable causes he championed during his lifetime. Race and music fans who attend this Saturday's Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert at the Daytona International Speedway will receive a free ticket to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Paul Revere 250 and Kraft/Nabisco Qualifying Night for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series on Thursday, July 3.

6/26/03
Industry News

Fiat to lay off 12,000   Fiat has confirmed that it is to cut about 12,000 jobs worldwide and launch a $2 billion rights issue as part of a $5 billion comeback plan announced on Thursday.   The job cuts - the bulk of which will occur outside Italy - and the share issue were unveiled in Turin by the troubled Italian engineering group and its founding family on Thursday morning. Under the measures, about 9,500 jobs will be lost outside of Italy, with 2,800 jobs being cut domestically as 12 out of 138 plants are closed around the world.  Ferrari is not expected to be affected.

6/26/03

NASCAR fans - the US Government wants you   The Newark New Jersey Star-Ledger says the U.S. Army is spending $30 million of its $2 billion annual recruiting budget this year on NASCAR sponsorships. Its desire is to persuade some of the 75 million NASCAR fans to sign up. Its goal is 250,000 enlistments this year.

6/26/03

Drivers anticipate lights at Cleveland  Next weekend, CART Champ Car will run the 22nd annual Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport. The 2003 Grand Prix of Cleveland will feature a major difference: for the first time the race will be run at night. This will be the first time in series history that a road course will be run under the lights, and it will become the largest temporary lighting project in history. Earlier this year, CART Champ Car tested the night racing waters on an oval at The Milwaukee Mile with great success. Few drivers around the Champ Car paddock have experienced night racing on a road course, but those who have are confident that Champ Car's efforts to light the course will provide a safe and challenging circuit. Rookie driver Ryan Hunter-Reay and veteran Max Papis shared past night racing experiences and their thoughts on this year's race.   More....

6/26/03

As 3rd season winds down, FOX sees more success   Last Sunday, the third NASCAR on FOX season came to an end at Infineon Raceway. The twisty road course through the wine country of Napa Valley provides perhaps the perfect contrast to the ovals and tri-ovals that typify tracks in the southeast, and in a way demonstrates just how national NASCAR has become.  More....

6/26/03

Latest F1 news items 

Fisichella Frustrated
Belgian GP Set To Return
A Sprinkle Of Rain In Germany?
BMW-Williams' 'Real Test'
Wilson Learns From 'The Boss'
McLaren Delayed Until Monza!
Schu's Mental Advantage
Rubens: It's Time To Win Now
Formula One Drops Tobacco Ban
Jacques: I May Not Find A Seat
Ralph: The Time Has Come
F1 Sets Provisional Calendar

6/26/03

NASCAR TV Guide specials   As NASCAR approaches the second half of its 2003 Winston Cup season, TV Guide hits newsstands with its July 5 special Winston Cup mid-season issue (on sale June 30th), featuring two different collector’s covers. The sport’s two leading pairs—Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip; and Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch—will each command a cover. In addition, newsstand issues of the magazine will include two special TV Guide bonuses. The first is a pair of cut-out trading cards, depicting Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 Budweiser Chevrolet on one side, with racing statistics and exclusive quotes from each driver on the reverse. The second bonus feature is a two-sided pullout poster with a photograph of Earnhardt Jr. on one side and Gordon on the other. Both sides of the poster also include the schedule for the remainder of the Winston Cup 2003 season. In addition to giving complete up-to-date stats on the first half of the Winston Cup season. This special mid-season TV Guide NASCAR report also examines whether anyone has a shot at beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Michael Waltrip at Daytona’s July 5 prime-time race. Edelstein, author of NASCAR Generations, looks at this winning team’s strongest competition and analyzes the five top contenders: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Ward Burton, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. As for Waltrip, he remains confident. “Lots of drivers have [Daytona] figured out,” he says. “None of them concern me.”

6/25/03

IRL weekly notebook  When the IRL IndyCar Series visits Richmond International Raceway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 28, comparisons between open-wheel racing and NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing are inevitable.  After all, RIR has played host to stock-car races since 1953. And Virginia is a traditional hotbed of stock-car racing.   More.....

6/25/03

Female midget racer to get a shot at Pro Series cars  Midget racing veteran Sarah McCune will test an IRL Infiniti Pro Series car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports on June 27 at Kentucky Speedway. The test will mark the first time a female short-track standout has driven one of the 450-horsepower Infiniti Pro Series machines. Road racer Mishael Abbott tested a Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone in November 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to test an Infiniti Pro Series car,” said McCune, 25. “Sam Schmidt Motorsports is a great team. Right now we’re looking for sponsorship, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to run the rest of the Pro Series season.” McCune, from Perrysburg, Ohio, began racing quarter-midgets at age 11. In 1996, she became the first woman to win an ARCA Midget feature event. In 1997, she became the first woman to win a North American Auto Racing Series (NAMARS) feature en route to second place in the series point standings.

6/25/03

Feedback on differentiating CART - IV  A reader writes, Dear AR1, With regard to Mr. Cipolloni's latest article I really don't like the name "American Grand Prix" It implies a "not quite Grand Prix," or an "almost Grand Prix" I like "Champ Car" they are racing for a seasons championship. The Winston Cup is what they race for. IRL teams pay their penance at there other events for a shot at the Indianapolis 500. but I do agree, lose the acronym CART. George Cappello, Rockville Centre, New York  Dear George, CART is not branded and Champ Car is not branded.  Never was, never will be.  The American public is oblivious to both.  Say either one and you will be met with blank stares.  CART's further use of either name is analogous to pumping cash down a rat hole.  ChampCar, ChimpCar, ChumpCar - it's all the same, oblivious to the American public and completely unrecognizable.  At least CART is recognized a little as a result of it being around since 1979.  ChampCar wasn't used until Tony George took back the IndyCar name, which CART used for years.  IndyCar is a branded name, and Tony hammered one big nail into CART's coffin with that move.  Ironically, because of the tons of negative press the series has received in ALL newspapers and racing magazines over the last two years predicting it's demise, the term CART is much better known than ChampCar.  F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, LeMans and Grand Prix are branded auto racing names or words that most people recognize.  If CART were to call the series the American Grand Prix Series, and its cars Grand Prix cars, a light bulb will immediately go off in the head of the average person on the street recognizing what you mean, thereby helping to grow the fan base.  As I wrote, CART must completely reinvent itself to light a fire under the American public.  If CART wants to retain some connection to its past, then call it the "CART American Grand Prix Series" for another five years and then slowly phase out the CART portion of the name.  CART is still the sanctioning body for the series, analogous to the FIA for F1.  It's officially the "FIA Formula One World Championship Series" but few people use the FIA portion.  FIA is there, but in the background.....as it should be for CART in my humble opinion.   Mark C.

6/25/03

IRL Hot Laps  Sam Hornish Jr. was honored June 23 in Dallas at the annual Dallas All Sports Association awards. Two-time IndyCar Series champion Hornish received the Texas Motor Speedway Award recognizing him as the most valuable player in motorsports for the 2002 season. Past winners of the award include fellow IndyCar Series champion Greg Ray and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Bobby Labonte … Richmond International Raceway recently signed a unique promotional partnership with Richmond International Airport. RIR events and the drivers that compete in them will be promoted at the airport through signage, displays and video highlights. Backlit signs featuring IRL IndyCar Series drivers and video footage from last year’s SunTrust Indy Challenge now are on display at the airport, and an IndyCar Series race car is on display in the airport’s first-floor lobby. “Welcome Race Fans” banners also are on display … Injured IndyCar Series driver Airton Dare returned home to his native Brazil last week to continue therapy for the severe injuries he received when slamming the hard concrete wall at Texas Motor Speedway.

6/25/03

Feedback on differentiating CART - III  A reader writes, Dear AR1, With regard to Mr. Cipolloni's latest article I agree whole-heartedly about CART differentiating itself in the market-place, in fact, I think they should go even further.  First, get rid of all of the ovals - those are the domain of NASCAR and IRL - get rid of the ovals and get rid of the confusion. Second, if F1 leaves a good market, CART shouldn't hesitate in filling it. If F1 doesn't want Imola, then CART should be in there in a second and forget about Fontana, Milwaukee or Mid-Ohio (does a true world-class racing series need two races in Wisconsin or Ohio?) -- or any other place you can't get 50,000 fans in attendance. With F1 deserting tracks in Europe, CART has the opportunity of a lifetime to become the first true American league to be successful in Europe. NFL has NFL Europe and basketball is talking about going to Europe in their next expansion. With F1 leaving, CART should be racing in Germany, England and Spa in a northern European stretch in August, with a Southern European stretch of Italy, France and Spain in late April-early May. The U.S. sponsor market is pretty well tapped out with NASCAR taking most, and then IRL and CART fighting for scraps, so get a product that will find worldwide sponsors. Six races in Europe, six races in the U.S., two in Mexico, three in Canada, S. Korea, China and Australia. The perfect 20-race schedule that sells product in the biggest economies in the world. Keep Long Beach, Cleveland, Road America, St. Pete, Denver and one in Texas...then go world-wide. You'd be in every American time-zone and three of the four largest states in the country. It's time to let minor markets like Milwaukee and Portland go (ever wonder why the NFL, NHL, and MLB aren't there?). Richard Gozinya, Portsmouth, Ohio  Another reader writes, Dear AR1, Fully agree with your article but I too believe CART needs to continue with the ovals and add a few. What was CART's most popular event in 2002 by unanimous vote from the fans? Fontana. What have been CART's two best races (of course, open to argument) thus far in 2003? Lausitz and Milwaukee. All ovals. Carpentier, Tracy, and Vasser all said yesterday in CART's website that they felt more ovals should be put into place. If the drivers are even calling for it, how much more obvious can it be. Craig Pollock made an interesting remark that CART is a "confusing series" here in the States and by that I assume he means running on ovals normally consumed by NASCAR. Sure CART can be called confusing but only because the common fellow just doesn't know what the heck CART is about and this will continue as long as CART allows it to be so. Until the day that people in the U.S. know that Fontana is the series finale and one of the best races of the entire year for any series, and until CART develops and identifies its own "Daytona" or "Indy" (Grand Prix of NYC, eh?) then CART will remain in oblivion. CART is (on paper) the only racing series in the world to have all "the angles", such as the diversity of venues and tracks, national and international races, national and international drivers. If CART doesn't spend the money or time to promote this, then they're spinning their wheels. Like you said, put the drivers out there for people to see. Terry Labonte hasn't won a race in who knows how long, yet anytime you go to the grocery store to pick up your cereal, guess whose car is posted on the front of Frosted Flakes? CART has got to go all out and for the jugular, soon!! Thanks, Dave Holyoak, Clinton, NJ  Dear Dave, CART has to decide what it wants to be.  It cannot be everything to everyone.  It must focus on one area and excel at it.  As the reader above you points out, we must get rid of the confusion between CART and the IRL.  If that means CART giving up on the ovals (in the USA only), so be it. The attendance just isn't there to justify ovals for CART in the USA.  Mark C.

6/25/03

Feedback on differentiating CART - II  UPDATE  A reader responds, I have to agree with the reader who says we need to keep CART separated as not just a second-tier F1. Being the "Junior League" to the big boys would REALLY be the death-knell of the series! It might actually have that status, de facto, right now, but at least it's not acknowledged. If CART ever becomes F1 Junior in name, then Joe Shmoe from Kokomo (i.e. the average TV watcher with no series-loyalty) will choose the PREMIER series every time, and pass on the wannabes. Look at Minor League versus Major League baseball, Arena Football versus the NFL, the ABA versus the NBA, etc. The junior leagues NEVER get any real TV coverage! If you want to attract the kind of sponsors you need for a big-budget (i.e. classy) operation, you've got to be the class of the field. That's why Coyne has never been a front-runner, and Newman Haas consistently has been... you spend the money to get the money. BE THE BEST! David Laufer, San Fernando, CA Dear David, If I implied that CART would be marketed as a secondary feeder series, that was not meant to be so.  It would be marketed as a top-level series, but under the covers it would be lower cost through standardization. As I wrote, to the senses (hearing and seeing) it must appear unique on another level to American fans.  I would hope that whoever takes CART private, would recognize they can't sell a tier 2 series at tier 1 prices.  6/25/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, Another upside to the proposals defended by your latest article ("CART must differentiate itself - clearly"), referring specifically to the association with F1 that CART must seek, would be a tremendous improvement in CART's Latin American TV Package. Ditch the "North" from the "North American F1" moniker, return to the Rio "roval" and perhaps add a race at Buenos Aires' Oscar Galvez circuit that hosted F1 in the '90s, and CART/American F1 would most certainly have similar importance to F1's for South American TV Networks. In the specific case of Brazil and Argentina, I'm willing to bet it would receive the same prestigious treatment F1 receives from the two countries' top networks (Globo in Brazil and Telefe in Argentina - both show all 16 races live with excellent rates). Currently, CART has a weak package with many tape-delayed races in RedeTV! in Brazil (the country's #5 network) and is absent from Argentina, since ESPN Int'l is showing only the IRL now. As AR1 has stated previously, a F1 - American F1 combo would provide full weekly action, NASCAR-style. In Latin America's specific case, it's hard not to see F1's large audiences migrating almost instantly to an American F1 that embraced drivers such as Ricardo Zonta, Luciano Burti or Esteban Tuero - all fast guys that miss that little "extra something" that would've kept them in F1, but that does not mean they're not capable of putting on a great show. The continent's largest networks would go for it, especially if it had Bernie's seal of approval. With open-wheel racing's top categories comprised of an average of only 20 grid spaces each, there will be room for everyone: A F1 for Schumachers and Montoyas, an American F1 for Salos and Pizzonias, and the IRL for bullring-breds such as Sarah Fisher or past-prime big names like Al Jr. Bernie Ecclestone has said he'd like to have "10 F1 races" in North America if he could. American F1 can give him just that, with larger South American audiences as a plus. Cássio S. Côrtes, Brazil

6/25/03

To spite EU, FIA drops tobacco ban   The FIA announced on Wednesday that they had dropped the self-imposed ban on tobacco sponsorship in all motor sports, including F1. Motorsport's governing body had intended to impose the ban on 1 October 2006 in accordance with the European Union's ban. However, in light of the EU's decision to move their ban forward to July 2005, the FIA has now cancelled their plans to stop tobacco sponsorship and advertising. "On legal advice the FIA has withdrawn the ban on tobacco sponsorship in motor sport voted in October, 2000 (for implementation in 2006) and substituted the following as a recommendation: That motor sport promoters and competitors (including circuit owners, event organizers, teams, and drivers) should cease all forms of tobacco sponsorship from October 1, 2006," an FIA statement said.

6/25/03

Could not agree more with differentiating CART   A reader writes, Dear AR1, I read with great interest your article by Mark Cipolloni dated June 24. While I don't agree with everything you write on your web site, (but it is your web site) I think this article was very well thought out and written. Having recently moved to Charlotte, NC, (reluctantly) after 21 years of Open Wheel racing, I can say without question that the NASCAR steamroller is not going to stop anytime soon, and both CART and IRL need to change something. Your article presents a lot of good ideas. Again good job. All the best, Timothy Bumps, Concord, NC Another writes, Dear AR1, I agree with everything you proposed in that article. That is just too perfect. I especially like the idea about increasing the profits by increasing volume and offsetting the added costs of creating light material for keeping the rear of the cars "light." But, mainly, I'm glad to see you've finally decided to come around to the V-10 idea, in the name of distinction and sexiness. There are many advantages of the turbo, but if we wanna be "F1" like, the engine is crucial. And dammit! Give'em more revs!!! 14,000RPM MIN!!! Let's hear 'em screeeeeeeeam! D. Hughes, Florida. Yet another writes, Excellent article! I basically agree with everything you say but I have one thing to add and you may disagree with this: I think The American Grand Prix Series (great name!) should still run on a few ovals (say four or five). The reason? CART made a name for its series in its heyday by running on the different types of tracks including ovals. I've been to quite a few CART oval races over the years and they are exciting to watch. Also, I think if CART (sorry, the AGPS!) is going to closely align itself with Bernie (F1) then the fact that they (hopefully) continue to run some ovals will make the AGPS distinct and different from F1, which is EXACTLY what I think they would want, just like it used to be until 'the split'. I know oval racing for open wheel right now is not popular, but if you put a good product on the track (like CART used to!) the fans will come back. Naming CART 'American F1' or something similar is also a mistake. Keep ANYTHING with 'F1' in the name OUT! Let the AGPS stand on its own merit without having to 'mooch' off of F1 and giving the impression it's a feeder series! I'm sure you'll remember 12-15 years ago when Bernie and F1 were a little bit nervous about the popularity of CART. There was a reason for that. Let's hope Pook and Co. remember that. I believe these issues above (as well as your own) are vital. Do this, and I believe CART/AGPS can absolutely beat TG at his own game. Ken Holland, Los Angeles

6/25/03

What about Norisring?  UPDATE A reader from Germany writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am writing you in order to reply to the statement of Guenter Reinhold from 6/24 regarding a CART race at Norisring. I visited both the German 500 at EuroSpeedway Lausitz and the DTM race at Norisring. First of all I agree with Guenter that the Norisring is a fantastic street course - and for sure one of the highlights in the DTM calendar – but this does not allow one to draw the conclusion that Norisring is the better track for a champ car race. The champ cars will be in Europe for all time just the # 2 after formula 1. F1 has four fantastic German pilots and two German manufacturers. What is the USP of the champ cars? Oval racing is the answer. High speed oval racing is completely new in Europe. The German 500 events in 2001 and the return in 2003 have proved that oval racing is thrilling and offers entertainment to the fans in a new dimension that formula 1 can not offer. Therefore both events at EuroSpeedway were so successful with an unbelievable atmosphere on and beside the track. A champ car race at the Norisring is just another “formula something” in Germany. The Norisring is not far away from Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. And both tracks have difficulties to sell the F1 tickets. To talk about potential 200,000 spectators is – sorry - a bad joke and I wonder where so many spectators would sit at Norisring. It takes only 90 minutes by car from Berlin to EuroSpeedway (and Berlin has approx. three times more inhabitants than Munich). It is 30 minutes away from Dresden and about 2 hours to Leipzig. This is a brilliant trading area with more than 20 Million inhabitants and an enormous potential regarding the new EU members Poland and Czech Republic in the next years. Two champ car races will be too much for Germany. It makes more sense to talk about the German driver in 2004 and about more races in Europe. But the German 500 must be the single and unique home for the champ cars in Germany. This fantastic and ultra modern facility with its unique 2 miles superspeedway is made for high speed oval racing! K. Fliege, Germany Dear Mr. Fliege, Thanks for writing.  I believe Mr. Reinhold was suggesting the Norisring as a replacement for the rumored Hanover, Germany race, not EuroSpeedway.  With that said, I have to agree that Germany can't support two CART races right now.  Mark C.   6/24/03 - A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I am a journalist / photographer from Germany.  I came back from the DTM race at Norisring in Germany over the weekend where 128,000 fans attended the German DTM race.   It is a  great track, draws a large number of spectators every year, and is fun for everybody.  That track would be a good place for a CART race, much better than the already dead Hannover idea, and should bring a 200,000 attendance for the weekend.  The track is short, just 1.429 miles long (but longer than Miami), it's extremely wide, and a hairpin at the end of the long straight for overtaking... The track is situated close to downtown Nuremberg (about a mile), but offers much room for parking, paddock, uses three freeway exits, whatever you want.  It is not far from Munich, lots of race fans, who won't drive to Lausitzring anyway, because the distance between Munich and Lausitzring is about 450 miles, between Munich and Nuremburg 70 miles... There is not much racing in the southern part of Germany, and the fans are hungry.  Fans drive to Austria's F1-race, and they would go to Nuremburg too, for sure.  I love Lausitzring, but there could be a second race in Germany.  Guenter Reinhold, Germany  Dear Guenter, The Norisring is short and fast, with wide straights leading to narrow, tight hairpins. Action always abounds.  It meets Chris Pook's requirement for being in a urban environment and its simplistic design (for a street course) could actually lead to more passing.  The major action is at turn 1, as the track narrows from 10 abreast along the main straight into two-by-two for the hairpin.  As can be seen in the image to the right, one has to wonder if the track could even be extended to include the sweeping turn and straightaway to the SE of the current turn 1.  That would make the track very Long Beach like and lengthen it to over 2.5 miles. Even without doing that, it appears to be an action-packed circuit.  Situated in the southeastern portion of the city, staying near the Norisring shouldn't be too difficult. There are plenty of hotels within easy distance, and the Dutzendteich railway station is next to the circuit. Most Germans travel from outside the city to get to the track, from anywhere in Germany. Mark C.

6/25/03

More NASCAR readers like road courses   A reader writes, Dear AR1, With regard to Doug Belliveau's article about NASCAR on road courses, while I don't watch a lot of NASCAR races, I absolutely love NASCAR on the road courses. I personally would like to see more road courses in the schedule. It is just a whole other deal from watching oval races. When you see a pass for position on a road course, you are seeing some real driving, not just some driver getting a run off a corner. It is HARD to do. The BEST race I have ever seen (on TV) was a couple of years ago, some lower level NASCAR series, maybe "NASCAR North" or something like that at Watkins Glen. There was television exposure, maybe a $30K purse, a very big deal for the teams. Those guys held NOTHING back. I wish the Winston Cup stars could have seen it. Thanks for letting me express my opinion - Mike Collins

6/25/03

IRL car tested at Mid-Ohio  Proving IRL cars can turn left and right, this Mansfield News Journal article says, Don Stiles has proven something to the auto racing world. IRL cars can turn right. "Only this one," the Medina man said Saturday afternoon during the Sprint Vintage Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Stiles is driving a Riley & Scott Indy Car raced four times by Sarah Fisher during the 2000 season. But as open-wheel fans know, IRL is solely an oval track venture. To get one of their cars to work on the 2.4-mile, 15-turn permanent road course took some work. "The left side upright needed to be made so we could set up the camber to turn left and right. A lot of things (with the setup) had to change," Stiles said. Making it harder was the fact he was first to try it. "There is no data on IRL cars (on road courses)," he said. "It's kind of fun because nobody can say we're doing it wrong." Folks haven't been shy with advice. "People are helpful in this group. They'll say why don't you try this. They don't try to screw you," he said of fellow vintage open-wheel racers.

6/25/03

Latest F1 news items 

Rubens Returns To Scene Of Win
Iceman Kimi Keeps His Cool
Mixed Feelings For Toyota Boss
Teammate Will Never Beat Schu
'Doctor Jordan' Is Honored
Wilson Out To Conquer Germany
Lauda Name Returns To F1?
Gordon's Flirt With BAR
Button Needs Luck For Podium
Ferrari Aces Indulge In Soccer
Coulthard Notches Up 150

6/24/03

Not what the Brits hoped for   According to this F1Racing.de article, a record weekend crowd of well over 300,000 is expected at the Nurburgring for this weekend's European GP.  Certainly not what the Brits were hoping for with respect to which European tracks get to keep a F1 race in years to come.

6/24/03

CART and F1 lost chance at Jeff Gordon   Last week, Craig Pollock told The Toronto Sun that he had offered Jeff Gordon a drive alongside Jacques Villeneuve when he started the BAR team back in 1999, but Gordon says "There were discussions about it," Gordon told the Sun newspaper. "I was flattered that they wanted to talk to me about F1. But it never got to the stage of, ‘OK, you're going to come over here and you are going to test our car and be our driver.'" Gordon said that the F1 deal was dependent on him driving for Team Green in the Champ Car World Series for two seasons. At the time, British American Tobacco sponsored both BAR and Team Green. "It was like them saying to me, 'We would like to put you in a CART car with a team like Barry Green's and have you run two years of CART and then come and test for us in F1 and then maybe you could come and drive for us,' said Gordon. “I had already won two Winston Cup championships at that time. I told the BAR people I was pretty much set here. I was on my way, I was with the best team with the best sponsors. I had everything I could ask for here. It would have been a major step backward for me to do it that way with no guarantees of where it would get me."

6/24/03

Championship rundown   Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) was a contender coming into this year. Everyone knew that, after last season’s series-leading five victories. But who would have thought he would lead the NASCAR Top 10 this season for 13 consecutive weeks, dating back to Atlanta in March? There was a brief period of uncertainty – going into the Coca-Cola 600 Kenseth’s lead had been cut to 20 points by his old friend and one-time NASCAR Busch Series rival Earnhardt (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), who was bidding to lead the points for the first time in his career. Kenseth finished second in the 600 while Earnhardt came in 41st. The result: Kenseth left Charlotte with a 160-point spread. Coming into the Pepsi 400, Kenseth has a 174-point lead over four-time champion Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) and is looking more and more like a champion himself. … Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) lurks just outside the NASCAR Top 10, a recent rebound having placed him in 11th coming back to Daytona. That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s 547 points behind Kenseth, a monumental deficit.

6/24/03

Rookie rundown, what a crowd  Rookie rundown – what a crowd: McMurray (No. 42 Havoline Dodge) leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings – for now. Last year, McMurray was part of a pack of drivers that helped create an outstanding NASCAR Busch Series season. This season several of those drivers have moved on to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, creating a deep and talented rookie class. Coming into Daytona, McMurray leads the rookie points (173) with last year’s NASCAR Busch Series champion Greg Biffle (No. 16 Grainger Ford) only eight points (165) behind. McMurray’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge) is third (146). Jack Sprague (No. 0 NetZero Hi Speed Pontiac), a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, is fourth (141), Tony Raines (No. 74 BACE Motorsports Chevrolet) fifth (135), and Larry Foyt (No. 14 Harrah’s Dodge) sixth (77). All of those drivers were in the NASCAR Busch Series last season. Adding to the mix is Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama (No. 66 Kikkoman Ford), who rounds out the rookie class.

6/24/03

French court slaps Montoya's hand   Former CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya has lost his driving license in France for four months after being caught speeding by police driving his BMW at speeds of 126 mph on the A8 Autoroute on the French Riviera between the towns of Le Muy and Frejus. In addition to the ban - which only applies in France - the Monaco GP winner was fined $1,300. Montoya didn't attend the court hearing. His lawyer read out an apology.

6/24/03
Industry News

New wind tunnel   A new wind tunnel is being developed in Europe as a joint venture between Fondmetal and Dallara Automobili.  It will be open in early 2004 and available to any team needing a ground-effect tunnel (i.e. moving running plane).

6/24/03

Renault principals talk about European GP   Read what Renault management, engineers, engine men and drivers have to say about the Nurburgring track, site of this weekend's European GP.  Story

6/24/03

Petty replaces Fittipaldi for Daytona  One of NASCAR’s hottest young drivers will drive the #43 Berry Burst Cheerios Dodge in the July 5 400-mile Winston Cup race at the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Shane Hmiel, the 23-year-old hard-charger whose Innovative Motorsports team has been a major player in the NASCAR Busch Series, will drive the Daytona race for Petty Enterprises. Christian Fittipaldi, who has been driving the #43, will move to the #44 Bugles Dodge for this race. “We are very excited to have a young talent like Shane Hmiel drive the #43 for us at Daytona,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “George deBidart and Innovative Motorsports were very gracious in allowing us to ‘borrow’ Shane for this event. They have a tremendous program there, so I know Shane will be used to what he sees on the Winston Cup side of the fence.” Hmiel will be driving a special paint scheme carrying the Berry Burst Cheerios colors. Normally, the #43 carries the Cheerios and Betty Crocker paint scheme. “Daytona and Petty are some pretty special names, and I know Cheerios is especially excited since this is one of their Berry Burst races,” Hmiel said. “I’m really excited at this opportunity, and I am so glad George deBidart and Kyle Petty could work this out.” Hmiel is currently 11th in the NASCAR Busch Series points, notching two top-five finishes and five top-10s in his 16 starts this season.

6/24/03

CBS to televise Road Atlanta  CBS Sports will televise the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta from 4-6 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, marking the first-ever live network telecast of an event from Road Atlanta. CBS Sports televised its first ALMS race in 2002. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage available online each time the ALMS cars are on the track at Road Atlanta, including practice, qualifying and the race. The Radio Web is free of charge and can be accessed at www.americanlemans.com.

6/24/03

Danica Patrick gets new teammate for debut  Danica Patrick will have a new co-driver for her debut in the American Le Mans Series in this weekend’s Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.  The 21-year-old rising American racing star was slated to co-drive with Anthony Davidson of England for the Prodrive Ferrari team at Road Atlanta. However, due to his commitments as a Formula One testing driver, Davidson could not compete in all of the eight remaining races on the ALMS schedule and has therefore backed out of driving for Prodrive in America.  Taking his place in the #80 Ferrari 550 Maranello will be Jerome Policand of France, a longtime veteran of European road racing. Policand drove a Prodrive-prepared Ferrari for the Luke Alphand Aventures team in the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Policand has one career start in ALMS competition, finishing sixth overall while driving a Prototype in the series event held at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit in 2000.

6/24/03

Fireproof Balaclava  Ryan Newman pulled aside veteran driver Bill Elliott at Infineon Raceway last weekend to ask him about the fireproof hoods (it's called a Balaclava, Ryan), which are common in other series but are used by only a handful of NASCAR drivers, Elliott and Kyle Petty included. Newman, who sustained slight burns in an accident June 8 at Michigan International Speedway, says his unwillingness to try wearing a hood was "just more laziness than anything." Winston Cup series director John Darby says NASCAR is not requiring drivers to wear the hoods and notes that many helmets have fireproof lining that serves the same function. "I think every driver is aware of the fact that they have the option to pick their own protective clothing," he says. USA Today

6/24/03
AMA SuperBike

New Road Atlanta turn draws criticism  This eTracks article says, A new chicane at Road Atlanta's Turn Three has been heavily criticized by riders in the AMA Superbike series after a series of crashes. The chicane was, ironically, inserted to increase run-off for the motorcycle riders, moving them further away from a concrete wall. However, two series crashes showed that the corner changes had had the unexpected consequence of bringing a wall at the entry to the Esses into play. First Steve Rapp’s Suzuki hit the inside, and unpadded, wall at the base of the esses during Superbike qualifying, and then Woody Deatherage crashed into the same, still unpadded, wall during the second Superbike race. Rapp saw the impact coming and bailed out early, avoiding personal contact with the wall. But Deatherage followed his bike into the wall and broke his back.

6/24/03

Brack's band to return in Richmond  Kenny Brack’s new rock band – Pioneer presents Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers – will perform on Thursday (June 26) prior to the Richmond event when they open the show for current Top 40 artists, Three Doors Down, at Brown’s Island at 6:30 p.m. The seven-person group plays a variety of rock songs from the Rolling Stones to ZZ Top and from Chuck Berry to Janis Joplin.

6/24/03

Latest F1 news items 

Briatore: Trulli To Stay
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Michelin Claim Tire Supremacy
Testing And Press Calls
McLaren Delay Until Silverstone
Schu Predicts Season-Long Battle
Wet Tire Rule Is 'Unsafe'
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Michael And Jacques Team Up?

6/24/03
Industry News

Auto manufacturers double profits in China  China's 14 biggest carmakers, including China FAW Group and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, said combined profit more than doubled in the first five months of the year as demand for new passenger cars increased. Total profit increased to 14.8 billion yuan (HK$13.87 billion), the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said on its website. Mainland carmakers and their overseas partners such as General Motors, Ford Motor and Volkswagen are selling more vehicles in the world's fastest-growing market as rising incomes make private cars affordable to more individuals and businesses. One person in 120 owns a vehicle in China, so the potential for new first-time buys is huge. "Demand will be sustainable because of the introduction of new models and discounts offered by manufacturers," said Gu Qun, an analyst at industry consultant Automotive Resources Asia. General Motors forecast its vehicle sales in China, including imports, might rise to three million units by 2012, trade magazine Automotive News reported this month, citing Asia-Pacific president Fritz Henderson. The world's biggest carmaker sold 260,000 vehicles in China last year. First Auto, the country's No 2 carmaker, makes Audi, Jetta and Bora cars in partnership with Volkswagen in northeastern China's Jilin province. Dongfeng Motor partners PSA Peugeot Citroen in Wuhan city, making Fukang-brand cars, and has another venture with Nissan Motor. Shanghai Automotive has separate ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen in Shanghai, making Buick and Santana sedans.   Bloomberg in China

6/24/03

Schumacher will quit when a teammate can beat him   Michael Schumacher said in an interview Monday he would never settle for second best. "If, one day, a teammate surpasses me, it would be preferable to stop rather than to risk everything, even my life," the sports daily L'Equipe quoted Schumacher as saying. "When my teammate is better than me, then it will surely be time to say goodbye." "I've been working out, training physically ever since my karting days," the German said. "I soon realized that the stronger you are physically, the mentally stronger you are to, perhaps, take advantage of your rivals." "You have control of the car on the track," he said. "Adrenalin only comes when you lose control of a situation. I remember my first parachute jump. "I was standing by the airplane door and telling myself: 'No, decidedly, this is not the right thing to do.' Then, all of a sudden, I was outside." Schumacher said he believes in fate and knows accidents can happen despite the safety precautions in F1. "My wife and I are of the same opinion. The day this happens, it will be destiny, be it in a racing car or elsewhere."

6/24/03

Nextel stock up 23% on NASCAR announcement  Nextel Communications stock shot up 23 percent (closing at $17.78 per share on Friday) after the company, based in Reston, VA, agreed to replace R.J. Reynolds as a primary sponsor of the NASCAR Winston Cup series.

6/24/03

Save Mart renews with Infineon  Save Mart and Infineon Raceway announced a five-year agreement for the Modesto-based grocery store chain to continue being a title sponsor of the NASCAR Winston Cup race, a track official said. Save Mart has been the primary sponsor of the NASCAR's only stop in Northern California since 1992. The deal assures NASCAR will keep the two-mile road course on its schedule through 2008.

6/23/03

CART teams to test at Road America  Road America will open the race track to race fans who have purchased tickets to the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton, July 31-Aug. 3, when several CART teams test at the track on Thursday, June 26. Gates will open at 8:00 a.m. The event also is open to Season Ticket holders. Event tickets will be for sale at the Administrative Offices, adjacent to Gate 6 and may be ordered online at www.roadamerica.com Guests will be able to watch the cars testing from the grandstand at Turn 14. The teams slated to test at Road America have not been finalized. "We're very pleased to have CART's Champ Cars here at Road America," said George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. "There are many new drivers and we're glad they're taking a day after the Portland race to literally get up to speed. We know it will be beneficial for those who haven't been here before." The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America will be held the four-day weekend of July 31- Aug. 3. The Road America ticket price has been reduced to $55 for Sunday only and $115 for the four- day event. Event tickets include paddock access, free parking and children 12 and under are free. Other series racing CART weekend include the Miata Cup Series, Formula Ford 2000 and SPEED GT. In addition to the CART race, Road America will host the Brian Redman International Challenge Presented by Jaguar July 17-20 and the Road America 500 featuring the American Le Mans Series Aug. 21-24. The race track brochure is available online and tickets for all major races also are available online, www.roadamerica.com

6/23/03
Announcement

Email outage  Our email server was down all day Monday, so if you sent us realy important email, please resend.  Thanks.

6/23/03
Industry News

Changes to SPEED TV programming  Yesterday's Sports Business Daily cites a Sports Business Journal article that breaks the news of some big programming changes during weeknights at SPEED Channel, starting August 4. Here's a summary:

  • Less racing and more magazine shows during prime time.

  • Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will now be live from 9:00 - 10:00 each night.

  • The "Two Wheel Tuesday" and "Dirty Thursday" programming of motorcycle and dirt track racing is "eliminated."

  • A NASCAR programming block will air each weeknight from 6:00 to 8:00.

  • There will be more NASCAR programming during the day on Fridays.

  • There will be no more extended replays of the Winston Cup race on Wednesday nights. Instead, only a highlights package with "the most exciting portions" will be shown.

  • The motorcycle shows are being re-worked and will air in the 10:00 p.m. slot on Tuesday.

  • "Two Wheel Tuesday" will continue in some form, but the entire day won't be dedicated to motorcycles.

  • There will be racing every night from 10:00 to midnight.

  • No original programming is being removed.

MotorsportsTV.com

6/23/03

NASCAR TV rating up again  The NASCAR road race on FOX from Infineon Raceway finished as the highest-rated sports program for the weekend, checking in with overnights of a 4.8 rating and 10 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is up almost 7 percent over last year's 4.5 overnight rating.  MotorsportsTV.com

6/23/03

Robby Gordon answers critics  In this post-race interview, Robby Gordon comes right back at Jeff Gordon and some other drivers who complained about him racing back to the flag Sunday in Sonoma.

6/23/03

Nurburgring awaits Schumacher   After a full three day test programme at Silverstone and a weekend relaxing, Michael is keen to tackle the first race of the year in Germany. The European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring has special significance for Michael, given that the "Ring" is not far from his home town of Kerpen.

"In fact, I can only repeat what I usually say, that of course coming to the Nurburgring is something special for me. It is not so far from my home and usually a lot of my fans turn out to support me. That in itself is already a help and it is a great feeling when you arrive to find this tremendous atmosphere. It's good to have this support and also I have many good memories of this place."

How good is it to come to the Nurburgring as championship leader? "Obviously, it is great but even more important is knowing that, with the F2003-GA, I have a car which is simply amazing, with a very good performance level. In general, it is a fantastic feeling coming to the Nurburgring, but it is even better knowing that I can expect to be fighting for the win. Indeed, our car's main advantage is that it goes well on all the circuits and we are always in the hunt for the win. And, in the past few races at the Nurburgring, Ferrari has usually gone very well."

However, the season so far has shown that it is extremely difficult to make predictions this year. "It seems that the pecking order varies from circuit to circuit, with the result depending each time on the track layout," affirmed Michael. "I think that trend will continue in the second half of the season. We will continue to win races, but so will McLaren-Mercedes and BMW-Williams."

"As I've said before, I think it will be a tough fight for the title, which is likely to go down to the wire. The competition is close and there will be more changes in the order. However, I think it's natural that we have taken the lead in both classifications. My results up to the mid-point of the season are pretty good, especially if we ignore the first three races...Ok, we can't do that, but it's good all the same. At the moment, we are in a strong position with the prospect of doing better."

Any thoughts on the possibility of passing the 1000 points mark in the F1 world championship this weekend, at the same time as recording his 50th win with Ferrari? "It sounds good, but I prefer to talk about things only when they have become reality..." Ferrari

6/23/03
German DTM

Mercedes 1-2-3 sweep  In front of a backdrop of 128,000 spectators at the Norisring, Germany street circuit, the Mercedes team of Christijan Albers, Marcel Fässler, and Bernd Schneider, led a 1-2-3 Mercedes sweep. The DTM’s only street race developed, as expected, into a battle against the heat with cockpit temperatures exceeding 60 degrees Celsius.
1 Christijan Albers (Mercedes) 72 laps in 1h 00m 50.599s
2 Marcel Fässler (Mercedes) + 5.753s
3 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) + 12.081s
4 Peter Dumbreck (Opel) + 19.332s
5 Jean Alesi (Mercedes) + 30.169s
6 Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 31.704s
7 Christian Abt (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 34.116s
8 Joachim Winkelhock (Opel) + 51.050s
Positions after 5 of 10 races: 1 Albers, 36 points; 2 Schneider, 35; 3 Fässler, 29; 4 Dumbreck, 23; 5 Aiello, 22; 6 Ekström, 17.
Next race: Donington (GB), 27 July

6/23/03

Bodine injury update  On PRN's Garage Pass/XM Satellite Radio, injured driver Brett Bodine said his car's black box data recorder registered a hit measuring 60-gs when he crashed into the wall between turns one and two during Saturday's practice at Michigan knocking him out. Bodine is being evaluated by several doctors after suffering a concussion, a broken clavicle and a shoulder injury. His dentist is examining damage done to eight of Brett's teeth. Another concrete wall victim.

6/23/03

Wallace building 7/8-mile IRL track  This Indy Star article says, Veteran driver Rusty Wallace is involved in the construction of a 0.875-mile racetrack in Newton, Iowa, that he says would make an ideal Indy Racing League venue. Wallace has signed on to design the Des Moines-area track, which he says will be patterned after his favorite Winston Cup layout -- 0.75-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of the next IRL race. "Richmond is one of the most exciting tracks we race on, so why try to reinvent the wheel?" he said. Groundbreaking is scheduled Sept. 1, with completion 14 months later. The same company that constructed speedways in Kansas City, Kan., and Fontana, Calif., has been commissioned to build it. Wallace said it will open with 25,000 seats and cater to ASA, ARCA and U.S. Auto Club events. Seating could be expanded to entice NASCAR's Busch and Craftsman Truck series -- and the IRL. "It would be a good track for the IRL and we're courting them," Wallace said.

6/23/03

50,000 for Portland  Neither CART nor Global Events releases official attendance figures, but the crowd was estimated at 50,000 by the Portland Oregonian, down slightly from a year ago. "I think the days of getting 60,000 or 70,000 people to a race are over for a while," said Bill Hildick, who headed the Rose Festival's race committee for 15 years.   The stands did fill up more as the race went on, indicating people were late getting into the track, perhaps waiting out the weather.  However, we think the 50,000 number is high, and would have estimated 35,000, 40,000 tops.

6/23/03

A lap around Nurburgring  Enjoy the ride with McLaren’s third driver, Austrian Alexander Wurz, as he takes us around the Nurburgring – the home of Sunday’s European Grand Prix. Powering along the start-finish straight at the Nürburgring you reach 180mph / 289kph in sixth gear, before braking hard for the entrance to the Mercedes Arena, which is a tight right hand hairpin that will probably see you drop into 1st gear. This is immediately followed by a long 180-degree left hander and a 90-degree right hander, which sees you rejoin the old track. Powering up through the gears along the short straight that leads to the fast left of Valvoline Curve, you brake from speeds of 165mph / 265kph in fifth gear to 110mph / 177kph in third gear to negotiate the sweeping bend. A short burst on the throttle takes you to the second gear Ford Curve, this bumpy right hander is taken at 65mph / 104kph. On the exit you accelerate downhill up to 185mph / 297kph in sixth gear as you approach the Dunlop Kehre hairpin, which is taken at 60mph / 96kph in second. It is crucial to take a good line through the hairpin so that you can push hard and early on the throttle on the exit. Up the hill towards the RTL corner you reach speeds of 175mph / 281kph, lifting slightly for the left-right flick of the chicane, before braking hard for the RTL corner, dropping down to 85mph / 136kph in third for the 90-degree left-hander. A similar right- hander, which is one of the most crucial corners on the circuit, follows and takes you onto the back straight. Taken flat-out, the fast, sweeping straight, with a slight right kink, sees you reach 190mph / 300kph in seventh gear as you approach the Veedol-S chicane, the main overtaking opportunity at the circuit. This is another tough braking point as you drop from the highest speed at the Nürburgring to 60mph / 96kph in second to negotiate the chicane where you have to drive aggressively over the curbs in order to carry the speed through the corner. Accelerating out, a short burst on the throttle sees you reach 140mph / 225kph in fourth before dabbing the brakes for the final corner, Coca Cola Curve. Taken at 75mph / 120kph and using the whole curb as you exit, the right-hander flicks you back onto the start- finish straight to begin another lap. McLaren

6/23/03

Bridgestone was ready with rain tire  Bridgestone's dry-condition tires continued to deliver a fine performance even when the track was damp in Portland. Some speculated there might be a tire performance drop near the end of full stints in the race, but that was not the case. No fewer than seven drivers ran their fastest race laps within five laps of the finish when all the tires had more than 20 laps on them. That speaks for itself. They even ran the rain tires in the morning's warm-up and all the teams were confident the wet-weather Potenzas would have worked fine in the race if needed.

6/23/03

Latest F1 news items 

BMW Mull Over GPWC Split
Ralf Motivated For Home Race
JV 'No Fan' Of Nurburgring
F1 Testing: Italy, Spain
Williams Close To BMW Deal
EJ: Ferrari Blackmailed Me
Sauber Will Select Drivers
Jordan Misled Chief Sponsor
BAR Race Old Car In '04
Schu's Not Coming Home
Firman Happy With Speed
Villeneuve Looking 'Stupid'
Eddie Irvine In Trouble
Villeneuve Questions Bridgestone
Renault Laud Friday Testing
Is Schumacher A Racer?
Rubens Refuses To Tow Line
No Plans To Retire, Says HHF
Montoya More Motivated
Honda Unveil Engine Upgrade
BAR Work On Reliability
Williams To Sell F1 Team?
McNish Wishes Montagny Well

6/23/03

Bernie hires press officer  Bernie Ecclestone has always dealt with the press himself, but will now have a press officer for Formula One Management. The man is Norman Howell, who was for a period the Grand Prix correspondent of The Times and The Sunday Times before becoming Head of Communications at McLaren in 1993, a job he held for three years. In recent years he has been out of F1, working as a freelance reporter.  Grandprix.com

6/23/03

F1 eyes India  Bernie Ecclestone hopes to move Formula One deeper into Asia this decade. The F1 supremo, whilst globalizing the calendar with new races in Bahrain and China, admits that India would be another 'great' venue for his sport.  'I have looked into Asia now for a decade,' he said, 'as I believe that it is growing so fast.'  The 72-year-old added that the highly-populated country has immense interests for the 'car manufacturers and sponsors.'   Sources, including a government official, say a team connected to Formula One had assessed facilities in the southern cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad.  And Nazir Hoosein, vice president of the governing FIA, admitted that F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke had visited the aforementioned sites in India.  'But just because he's gone there, doesn't mean it's going to happen,' Hoosein insisted.

6/22/03

Pruett wins T/A race at Sears Point  The pendulum officially came full circle Sunday at Infineon Raceway as Scott Pruett dominated the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup race, Round 5 of this year’s championship. The driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR earned his third victory this season, and unofficially retook the points lead from teammate Johnny Miller.  Full story & results

6/22/03

Hard words on sponsorship  If you don’t think life, in the soon to be Nextel garage, is changing rapidly heed the words of DEI vice president Ty Norris. Norris is searching for a primary sponsor and a driver to fit into the #1 Chevrolet. The search, despite the popularity of the sport, has not been a cakewalk. “You can sell a proven winner. You can sell potential. But, you can’t sell proven mediocrity and this garage is full of proven mediocrity,” said Norris. Proven mediocrity hasn’t helped companies such as Sprint, Citgo, Pennzoil, Hooters and others on the circuit decide against drastically reducing their involvement or from leaving the sport altogether. In addition, proven mediocrity has sent the likes of John Andretti and Mike Skinner to the sidelines before the halfway mark of the 2003 season. Andretti and Skinner are now sitting where Jeff Green and Steve Park were sitting just a month ago, with a single exception. No one stepped forward to put Andretti and Skinner back behind the wheel. Other necks may soon be on the block as car owners look to sell “potential” in the quest to garner the millions necessary to compete at NASCAR’s top level. It appears that the time is ripe for major re-lettering above the driver door on several cars. Larry McClure, owner of the #4 Kodak Pontiac, is one who had decided against a path proven mediocrity. The Abingdon, Va.-based team is looking to bank their future on a path of “potential” through the second half of the 2003 season. Teams are looking for drivers willing to “get up on the wheel” with an open mind, not a driver just looking to collect a fat paycheck. That’s a good sign for young talent looking for a chance to prove they can get the job done and a bad sign for aging veterans who are hoping for a couple more years of a steady paycheck.  Stan Creekmore, AR1 NASCAR Editor

6/22/03

No more can tossing  Beginning with the July 13 race at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR will prohibit teams from throwing or tossing gas cans or gas catch cans over the pit wall during a pit stop. The change was announced in Sunday's prerace drivers' meeting. If a violation happens under caution, the driver will have to restart at the end of the longest line. If it occurs under green-flag conditions, the driver must return to pit road to serve a 15-second penalty. The change is being made to reduce the likelihood of gas spills during pit stops. ThatsRacin.com

6/22/03

Bernie tops F1's richest  Formula 1's Bernie Ecclestone is worth a staggering $4.3 billion according to a report issued by The News of The World today. This makes Bernie Ecclestone the third richest person in Britain, behind The Duke of Westminster and Hans Rausing. Second in the F1 rich list is TAG McLaren entrepreneur, Mansour Ojjeh, who, alongside Ron Dennis, has set up the TAG Corporation including TAG Heuer watches. He is worth $1.3 billion – nearly $3 billion less than Ecclestone. Michael Schumacher is sixth with $415 million, behind Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz, Allsport’s Patrick McNally and Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo. Eddie Irvine is seventh on the list, with a fortune of $282 million. Piero Ferrari, Ron Dennis and Sir Frank Williams complete the top ten.

6/22/03

Pook addresses some CART changes  This Oregon Statesman Journal article says, Chris Pook spoke about the series’ future to developing American drivers. “It’s our responsibility to create the environment so these guys can come up and come through,” Pook said. “One thing about the Europeans is that when they get in the race car and they go fast right away, whereas our poor kids, it takes them a day in the race car to get up to speed. “It’s our fault as a sanctioning body for not providing the right environment for them to learn their trade. They’re perfectly capable of driving.” Pook said that the Toyota Atlantic Series drivers are going to be given more powerful engines and harder to drive cars in the next few years to make the transition to Champ Cars an easier proposition for drivers who advance through the CART ladder system. The majority of the drivers in the Champ Car field this year are nearly invisible to the average racing fan — such as Tiago Monteiro or Darren Manning — whereas the backmarkers in the NASCAR Winston Cup field are widely recognized by all racing fans. Pook takes responsibility for that. “I think that if you go and ask people who follow us pretty intensely, they know who Darren Manning is,” he said. “It’s our job as we grow it, to make sure they know who Darren Manning is. It’s always been that way in Championship Auto Racing.” There was speculation that Portland’s CART race weekend would be replaced by one in Seattle — presumably a street race — starting with next season, but Pook put that to rest....with an announcement today that CART would be back in Portland for three more years.

6/22/03

Road America reaches out for fans help  This Sheboygan Press article talks about the predicament Road America is in with regard to this year's CART race.  They got a late start promoting the race because of the lawsuits, and ticket sales are, therefore, lagging.  The track is hoping that fans will come out and view the race in person since it is not being televised.  Sure, it will be on HD Net, the high-definition channel that 99% of the population does not get, but that will only bring 1,000 or so USA viewers.  It's going to take some effort to make this race successful again.  Too bad the track doesn't think to bring a big carnival onto the property like the 24-Hours of LeMans, and make it a big week-long attraction for families in the region.  The problem with remote tracks like Road America is entertainment at night.  A big carnival, that becomes an annual attraction, would not only keep race fans entertained, it would bring non-race fans from the entire central Wisconsin region to the track, many of whom would hear the race cars and get hooked.  The track also has no garages and suites to entertain corporate guests, which bring tracks that have those amenities, a lot of money.  Mark C.

6/22/03

Portland contract extension transcript  Here is a link to the full transcript announcing Portland's 3-year contract extension with CART.  Some interesting quotes from those involved.

JIM FRANCESCONI: We’re very pleased with the agreement that will allow the City of Portland to continue to upgrade the physical structure and the fan amenities for this track. We are also encouraged by CART’s business plan and how it’s expected to become an even stronger international series in the future.  
CHRIS POOK: Well first of all, Commissioner, thank you very much indeed for your help in getting this agreement done. We have been firmly on record that the Pacific Northwest is a very important part of our strategic marketing plan for Championship Auto Racing Teams, our partners Bridgestone and Ford and Portland delivers the Pacific Northwest for us. It’s geographical location makes it important. It is close to Seattle, which is important for us. Our partner race up in Vancouver is another part of this whole equation, and Portland is a perfect example of our urban business plan and what we’re looking for. It’s a very picturesque track, it’s a road course it’s a traditional road course in every sense of the word and more importantly it’s located right in the heart of the city. It’s ten minutes from the center of the city and part of our whole philosophy at CART is that we must take our product to the marketplace versus some of the old thoughts which was more like the marketplace coming to the product.
MIKE NEALY: It’s too early to say at this point in time. We remain to be very optimistic about that, we truly do think GI Joe's will be back
JIM FRANCESCONI: First of all, the specifics on the performance measures we’re going to negotiate, but it does include things like international TV coverage, the quality of the cars, the number of cars, attendance, those types of factors. But we’re going to sit down and work those things through. 
Q: How about building bridges to allow the transporters to get out?
JIM FRANCESCONI: It certainly is on the list. We have an extensive list with a lot of issues, we know that that bridge needs to be built, but this is a tough economy but we as a city need to devise a variety of strategies working with CART and others to build that bridge. We’re very aware of it.
CHRIS POOK: Let me say something here. The bridge is important but there are some other things that right now that are more important than the bridge. We can live without the bridge, we’ve lived without it for 20 years and we just have to discipline ourselves a little bit better with how we come in and out of the place. There are other things that we need to do together on the facility and if the economy improves I’m sure the bridge will get built but us certainly as a sanctioning body to say that we want a bridge right now, that’s not the right thing for us to do. We’ve got other priorities that we want to work with the Parks Department right now.
Q: Are there any plans to build garages?
JIM FRANCESCONI: That is one of things that is on the list but in the grand scale there are things that come before that.
Q: The IRL is talking about trying to run road courses, have they made a run at you at all?
MIKE NEALY: Never.

6/22/03

Maia perfect in Portland  Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, delivered a flawless performance in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, leading from flag to flag to take his third win of the season. The win caps off an outstanding weekend for the second year Barber Dodge driver, as he extended his lead in the championship over Memo Rojas by scoring twenty three points with twenty for the win, two for qualifying, and one for carding the fastest race lap, which also set a new track record. The twenty-three point result is the first ever for any driver since the Pro Series began rewarding a point for fastest lap in 2002. Round two race winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico finished second to Maia by just 1.8 seconds after starting the race in fifth position as Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Colin Fleming of North Hills, California, finished in third.  "This was a great weekend for me. At the start, I didn't even want to look back, I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could," said Maia. "Towards the middle of the race, I had a pretty good gap to David, but then he started catching me a bit, so I bumped it up again in the late stages of the race. This is my second time to race here in Portland, and it's a great track. It's really a big rhythm track, and even though I was running alone, it's got so much variety in the track that it kept me busy the whole race."

FN PS/ST PS/CR #/DRIVER/HOMETOWN/PTS/PURSE/LP/STATUS/LAP/
1/1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./23/$13,000/32/Running/01:14.122
2/5/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey,Mexico/16/$8,750/32/Running/01:14.187
3/4/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./14/$6,500/32/Running/01:14.469
4/3/19/Dan Di Leo Markham,
Ontario,Canada/12/$4,500/32/Running/01:14.195
5/11/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City,Mexico/11/$2,500/32/Running/01:14.499
6/10/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/10/$1,500/32/Running/01:14.536
7/9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/9/$1,250/32/Running/01:14.831
8/12/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/8/$1,250 /32/Running/01:14.577
9/6/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/7/$1,250/32/Running/01:14.819
10/15/18/Robbie Montinola/Laguna Beach,Calif./6/$1,250/32/Running/ 01:14.936
11/14/17/Ben Freudenberg/North Bend,Oregon/5/$1,000/32/Running/01:14.907
12/13/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./4/$1,000/32/Running/01:14.641
13/8/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/3/$1,000/31/Running/01:14.822
14/2/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/2 $1,000/31/Running/01:14.624
15/7/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/1/$1,000/29/Contact/
01:14.806
16/16/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/$750/1/Handling/01:55.003
FASTEST RACE LAP Leonardo Maia
01:14.122 (95.632 mph) Lap 16 NEW RECORD

6/22/03
World Series by Nissan 2003

Montagny & Sarrazin win at Monza  Frank Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin were the dominating men this weekend at the Monza Park. Race 1: The first race of the fourth round of the World Series by Nissan 2003 saw a very spectacular starting accident involving Kovalainen and Burgueño. One of the drivers whose car got damaged in this incident was Racing Engineering’s Bas Leinders. Bas had been hit from behind by another car and had to retire in the pits as the damage on his car had been too much to continue the race. Stephane, starting from pole position didn’t have a good start and lost one position. Narain Karthikeyan had a problem in the chicane and in order to avoid an accident Stephane lifted and both of them were overtaken, which put Stephane in third position. On lap three Stephane was already back in second position and engaged in an amazing battle with Montagny for the victory. In the end he came up 1.892 seconds short, but Stephane grabbed the fastest lap in the race. Race 2: In the second race Stephane again started from pole position and drove to victory. Stephane extended the gap between him and his challengers with each lap. A brilliant tire change by the Racing Engineering mechanics underlined the outstanding position of Stephane’s car on this hot day at the Monza Park. Stephane, after a very successful day stated “I am very happy. This has been my best weekend in this championship so far and we will continue improving – me, the car, the team. I had a bad start in the first race and lost two places, but I finished second. I pushed hard in the first race and closed the gap to Montagny but there were not enough laps left to overtake him. In the second race I pushed hard each lap. It was a good race.” Alfonso de Orleans, president of Racing Engineering said “Stephane was amazing this weekend and the boys did a great job to give him a car that allowed him to pull off this victory. I have a feeling that it is the first of many to come.”

6/22/03

CART & Portland extend 3 years  Portland commissioner Jim Francesconi, CART Champ Car President and CEO Christopher R. Pook and the Portland Parks Department– in conjunction with the Portland/CART Business Coalition– announced today that they have agreed in principle to a business agreement to continue the 20-year tradition that has made the annual CART Champ Car World Series race at Portland International Raceway a key part of the annual Rose Festival calendar. The announcement was made jointly Sunday by Francesconi and Pook, who were joined by Mike Nealy, President of the Global Events Group, just prior to the running of the 20th annual G.I. Joe’s 200 at PIR. The agreement gives CART Champ Car a three-year contract to race at the 1.969-mile road course. “CART Champ Car has been the signature open-wheel racing event in our city for 20 years and we look forward to maintaining that relationship,” said Francesconi. “We are pleased that CART has agreed to include specific performance measurements in the final contract that will guarantee that the citizens of Portland and the Northwest will continue to enjoy world-class racing at Portland International Raceway.” The deal allows CART Champ Car to participate in the further development of the race circuit, and gives the series a firm foothold in the Pacific Northwest with the Portland and Vancouver events making CART Champ Car the premier open-wheel racing series to compete in the coveted Northwest region of the nation. “This is a big part of our long-term strategy for the series and I need to thank the members of the Portland/CART Business Coalition for their support in making this happen,” Pook said. “Getting the business community involved in the event is a key part of continuing the event’s legacy established by the Rose Festival, and their help will make this event one of the key annual attractions in the region.” “We are grateful for the efforts and decisive leadership of Commissioner Francesconi in reaching this important agreement,” said Nealy, whose company has organized the race since its inception and this year serves as CART Champ Car’s operating partner. “This will create a win-win-win situation for the City of Portland, its residents, its business community and all the companies involved in CART Champ Car.” The Portland/CART Business Coalition – which includes The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Oregon Sports Authority, Portland Business Alliance, The Portland Oregon Visitors Association and Portland Rose Festival Association – has committed to playing a larger role in marketing the event and activating the business community around the event.

6/22/03

Ryan Hunter-Reay making noises  What is going on with this kid this weekend...he has been very fast all weekend...P2 and P7 in Qualifying, P5 in warm up...if he has a good race, this could very well be a pivotal weekend for the young American...while some in the Paddock have questioned whether he was ready to step up to Champ Car after only 1 year in Atlantics, he is showing this weekend that he clearly has the speed to mix it up with the veterans...and he is doing this with a team that has one of the smallest budgets in the paddock and running the clearly inferior Reynard chassis...

6/22/03

60-year old man to race Infiniti Pro Series  The latest edition of NSSN reports that 60-year old white haired Tom D'Eath has revealed a dramatic career change.  He is quitting boat racing and will start a new career as a rookie in the Infiniti Pro Series later this year.  Normally we would say this is preposterous, but in 100% throttle racing, it's conceivable a driver can drive until they're 70 years old, or until they suffer a career ending injury against a concrete wall.  As long as you get the car handling correctly, it's full throttle, turn the wheel slightly, and don't hit anything, driving.  Fast reflexes, an important quality in the really great drivers and in any great athlete, are not required.  As 63-year old Mario Andretti showed when he hopped back into an IRL race car at Indy recently, once he got the car working, he was quickly up to speed in one day and running laps that would have easily put him in the field for this year's Indy 500. His accident had nothing to do with his reflexes, and everything to do with one Kenny Brack slamming the wall in front of him (caused by a blown engine), and scattering debris all over the race track. Mark C.

6/22/03

BAR to use interim car in 2004  The BAR team are opting to use an interim car for the beginning of the 2004 season, following in the footsteps of Ferrari and McLaren. Speaking on his team’s official website during the pre-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone, Technical Director Geoffrey Williams said, "We are going to be testing what I describe as a hybrid car at the end of this year that will have this year’s chassis with next year’s engine, gearbox and rear suspension. In order to give us time to make the big step forward that we want for the 2004 race-car – and also to start the year off very reliably – we want to run this hybrid car in the opening long-haul grands prix of 2004." Willis also revealed that work on the new car had already begun and that by July, 70% of their efforts would be channeled to the development of this. This will increase to 100% by September. "As ever we are still trying to do everything, but we are already well underway with the gearbox design and doing wind tunnel tests plus work on the hybrid car’s aero package." "From now until the end of July, we will be focusing around 70% of our efforts on this year’s car and 30% on next year’s; then it will change over to 30/70 the other way. By September we will be concentrating 100% on next year’s car."

6/22/03

Jordan claims Ferrari tried to blackmail him  Eddie Jordan has accused the Ferrari team of blackmailing him to drop his lawsuit against their sponsor, Vodafone. In the lawsuit Jordan claims the telecommunications failed to adhere to a verbal contract, although no formal paperwork was signed. Vodafone refutes these claims, stating that a deal was never finalized with the team. However, according to The Sunday Times, Ferrari’s Jean Todt warned they would veto the ‘Fighting Fund’ – an agreement in place to pay Jordan and Minardi $8 million each due to higher engine costs – if Jordan continued with the court case. In a letter to Jordan, Todt wrote: “Initially, we were ready to find a solution under which we would have waived in your favor some of our rights . . . We wrote Bernie Ecclestone on February 26, 2003 that we agreed with the proposed new solution, provided you would withdraw your claim against Vodafone.” In response to this, Eddie Jordan said Ferrari’s actions were “bullyboy tactics” which “smacked of intimidation and blackmail”.  “Sauber, Minardi and ours are the only teams not controlled by the major manufacturers. These teams feed off us. But they don’t give a toss about whether we survive.”  Bernie Ecclestone, has also suggested Ferrari did indeed make contact with Jordan.

6/22/03

Schumacher won't live in Germany  Five-time world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher ruled out moving back to his native Germany, Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported. He said he wanted his children Mick and Gina Maria to live normal lives, and Schumacher is so popular in Germany, that simply is not possible. "My children are learning very early how to deal with the fact that they have a famous father," the Ferrari driver said. "The choice of where I live is not only a question of tax, but also quality of life. There's nowhere better for us in Europe than Switzerland." Schumacher said he would be happier if his son Mick did something else than become a Formula One driver. "But if he was really passionate to drive, he would have my complete support just as I had from my parents," he said.

6/22/03

Mears, Fittipaldi struggle  This Indy Star article talks about the difficulties rookies Casey Mears and Christian Fittipaldi are having adopting to driving a road course in a heavy, clumsy Winston Cup car, after spending so much time in an open wheel car until now.

6/21/03

Dalziel wins again  For the second time in three races, Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) led flag-to-flag en route to victory in Saturday's Argent Mortgage Portland 100K at Portland International Raceway (SPEED Channel, June 23, 1:00 p.m. ET). After retaining the pole position in the morning's final qualifying session, Dalziel was never challenged throughout the 35 laps, and cruised to a 14.420-second victory over Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports/BG Products). In the process, the Scot became the second driver in as many weeks to sweep all 23 available championship points, joining last week's Grand Prix of Monterey winner A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT), and also managed to close the gap to Allmendinger in the point standings, as he now trails the American by just six points (79-73) heading into the halfway point of the season. It was Dalziel's third straight top-two finish, as he took his first Toyota Atlantic win three weeks ago at The Milwaukee Mile, and finished second last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In addition, Dalziel has now managed to finish in the top four in six of the last seven races, dating to a third place run in the second-to-last race of 2002 at Montreal. Allmendinger qualified second on the grid, but with off and on rain showers throughout the afternoon leading up to the race, the team originally elected to start the race on grooved rain tires. That decision ultimately proved to cost him any chance at the victory, as most of the other drivers in the field started on Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slicks, and Allmendinger was forced to start at the rear of the grid after pitting for slicks at the conclusion of the parade lap. With a second place result, Hand claimed his best finish of the season, eclipsing a previous best of seventh at Long Beach.  Justus claimed fifth place, and remains the only driver in the series to have finished inside the top five in every event this season. Finishing sixth was Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company), giving the rookie three top-six results in five career Toyota Atlantic starts. Figge rebounded from the opening lap spin to come home seventh, and he and Justus are the only two drivers to have finished in the top seven positions in each of the series' first five races of 2003.

6/21/03

Pruett secures Trans-Am pole at Sears  The provisional qualifying positions for Sunday's 51-lap, 101.49-mile Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Round 5, at Infineon Raceway, with starting position, driver, car, and fast lap with speed.
1. Scott Pruett, Jaguar XKR, 1:13.777, 97.103.
2. Michael Lewis, Jaguar XKR, 1:14.849, 95.713.
3. Boris Said, Ford Mustang, 1:14.920, 95.622.
4. Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.028, 95.484.
5. Memo Gidley, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.248, 95.205.
6. Johnny Miller, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.406, 95.006.
7. Stuart Hayner, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:15.437, 94.967.
8. Greg Pickett, Jaguar XKR, 1:15.715, 94.618.
9. Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.018, 94.241.
10. Kane Scott, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.037, 94.217.
11. Bobby Sak (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.240, 93.966.
12. John Baucom, Jaguar XKR, 1:16.247, 93.958.
13. Joey Scarallo (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.256, 93.947.
14. Mike Davis, Ford Mustang, 1:17.504, 92.434.
15. Rick Lee, Qvale Mangusta, 1:17.767, 92.121.
16. Simon Gregg, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:19.019, 90.662.
17. Marvin Jones, Qvale Mangusta, 1:19.186, 90.471.
18. George Nolte, Ford Mustang, 1:22.365, 86.979.

6/21/03

New Taurus Tuesday  UPDATE NASCAR looked at the 2004 Taurus this week during a visit to the Wood Brothers Racing shop. The visit went well according to those in attendance, but NASCAR indicated a few items need further addressing. The NASCAR visit did not constitute a formal submission, but rather the opportunity for the sanctioning body to become familiar with the car prior to NASCAR personnel’s thorough review prior to its competition approval. Dan Davis, director Ford Racing Technology, said that there are a few ways to get a car through the approval process, but that the best one is to keep NASCAR up to speed on the goals for the new car. Those issues can be born from minor communication problems and easily resolved with a quick look-see as the new car is developed. Davis said, “We want to show NASCAR the car up front, in case there are issues.”  Ford Racing  [Editor's Note: pretty meaningless really, all Cup cars run to the same set of body templates anyway.]   6/16/03 - 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

6/21/03

Maia gets pole at Portland  An outstanding effort in final qualifying for Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, enabled the points leader to hold on to his provisional pole as he scored the fastest time in a wet session with a 1.22.576 second lap on the 1.69-mile Portland International Raceway for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race. The lap time was the only one that mattered in the session, as wet conditions kept the speeds slower than they were in first qualifying on Friday, making the first round of qualifying the most vital to setting the grid for Sunday's race. Maia will start alongside of Memo Rojas, with round four winner Dan Di Leo starting in third. Colin Fleming of North Hills, California, will start fourth, with round two race winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico, starting in fifth. Telmex sponsored Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico, scored sixth on the grid, as Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Scott Poirier of Deerfield Beach, Florida took seventh. Chris Green of Beaconsfield, Quebec, will start in the fourth row in the eighth position with Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, in ninth, along side of Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Burt Frisselle.

6/21/03

Tracy - those w/glass jaws should shut mouths  When Paul Tracy heard other drivers complaining about his rough driving in Portland, he had this response, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones and those who have glass jaws should shut their mouths."  Several drivers, including Alex Tagliani who was punted off by Tracy on Friday, had called for the Stewards to reign in Tracy's aggressive driving and sit him down for awhile.  Tracy went on to address each of the allegations, but said he didn't realize he had balked Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Bruno Junqueira was balked by Tracy and said "tomorrow I'm going to do the same thing to him to show him what he did to me."  It looks like Tracy has half the field mad at him.

6/21/03

Jourdain fastest again  Michel Jourdain set the pace in Saturday morning's practice, the provisional pole sitter continuing his speed from yesterday's qualifying session. A shower in the final minutes ended the session early, and the clouds are heavy as we head toward final qualifying. Qualifying is next, at 4:45pm ET.

6/21/03

Minor changes in store for St. Pete  St Pete race officials are considering minor tweaks to the 1.8-mile course in the areas of Turn 10, where many cars spun in the inaugural race, the S-turn sequence that follows shortly after and the exit from pit road.  The planned demolition of the Bayfront Center Arena should not have negative consequences for the race, which circles the arena and uses the facilities.  In other news, former general manager Tom Begley, who hired an attorney when he was removed from the post, still is with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Foundation, and negotiations are continuing over his future involvement, Dover Motorsports spokesman John Dunlap said

6/21/03

New St. Pete GM actively seeks sponsor  Tim Ramsberger, the new general manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, who started his job Monday, is in active pursuit of a title sponsor for the event, which debuted in February on the city's waterfront. He said he started his pursuit even before his job officially began. "It is a priority," said Ramsberger, 41, at a media event Thursday. "Sponsorship is the key for success. ... I think I am now here to push that effort." Ramsberger, a local attorney with experience in sports marketing that includes the 1996 Olympic soccer events in Orlando, hopes to put the name of an area business on the Grand Prix. He and Dover Motorsports, the company that hired him and promotes the race, have contacted many area businesses, including the St. Petersburg Times, which was among the race sponsors in February. The price for naming rights for a CART race varies by location but might fall between $500,000 and $1-million.

6/21/03

NASCAR fans will go to IRL race if free  This Sporting News article says, Stock car racing is flourishing at Michigan International Speedway. Open-wheel racing is another story. Sunday's Sirius 400 at the Brooklyn, Mich., track drew more than 150,000 people, the 25th consecutive time the track's grandstand seats have sold out for a NASCAR Winston Cup race. That dates to June 1991. The fans came from Michigan, the rest of the Midwest and Canada. Many of them will return for the NASCAR race in August, even knowing it could again take them more than an hour to get into and then out of the track due to the traffic. But most of those fans won't return for the Indy Racing League event in July, and MIS president Brett Shelton is determined to change that. "Our focus is to make all three race weekends successful," Shelton said. "Our challenge is to get fans to show up for both Winston Cup and IRL races. "I don't think we'll expect the IRL race to pack the house any time soon, but we want to build upon our base and increase our attendance each year. I'm not unhappy with the turnout for our first IRL race, but if it's the same in five years, I'll be disappointed." A crowd estimated at 30,000 was scattered through the 136,000 seats at MIS for its first IRL race last summer........Race fan Carl Tyner of Brampton, Ontario, has been coming to MIS for Winston Cup events for more than 10 years and said he would only "maybe" come to the IRL race if it was free. "I don't really have an interest in the open-wheel cars," Tyner said. "I know all the (NASCAR) drivers. I've seen a few (IRL) races, but I couldn't tell you the names of too many drivers." [Thanks to the split, IndyCar Racing is done; stick a fork in it].

6/21/03

Industry News

Molson looks for USA expansion  This Canadian Press article says, Molson Inc., which posted record earnings last month, will seek to expand its international market in the next year, chief executive Dan O'Neill said yesterday. Acquisitions could be part of that strategy. "We'd love to expand into the United States, for sure, if we could find something in the United States that would give us value," he said after the company's annual meeting. "We said earlier that ... if there was an opportunity in Mexico we'd like to do that. That's a huge, profitable market." O'Neill, who said the brewer remains focused on Canada, said a study on the company's operations will be presented to the board in September, and early results indicate Molson should strive to export more of its products. "We're terrible in exports," he said. "We just haven't addressed that at all." He suggested the brewer has not exploited partnerships with foreign brewers whose products Molson sells in Canada. "We haven't gone to them and said, `Hey, we sell your beer in Canada — how about you sell our beer' in whatever country that happens to be." He said the cost would be minor and the upside would be additional volume from Canadian plants. Meanwhile, Molson is working to appeal to youth. When asked if the company is abandoning older drinkers, O'Neill said younger people are bigger beer consumers. "Two million Canadians represent over 60 per cent of the total beer drinking and they're not 50-year-old people," he said. ``They're legal drinking age to 24." Molson earned $312 million in its financial year ended March 31 despite slippage in its market share in Canada. O'Neill was upbeat at the shareholders meeting, saying the Montreal-based brewer wants to build on its successful foray into Brazil, where it bought Cervejarias Kaiser SA, the South American country's second-largest brewer, last year. It also would like to increase its share of the U.S. market. "We should do something there," he said, noting the United States is the largest and most profitable beer market in the world.

6/21/03

Portland holds fond memories for Papis  "Mad Max" Papis is in his element this week at Portland International Raceway for the CART G.I. Joe's 200. He makes his return to CART Champ Car racing after a one-year absence. But Papis drove like it was just yesterday, especially when the rains came out during the morning practice session. "It feels good to be back in CART," said the 33-year old Italian. "It would have been easier had I just jumped out of a Champ Car into this ride, but I will be confident, yet at the same time patient. I feel pretty comfortable with the car already. We're setting some realistic goals. The team knows what they are doing, so we should be pretty prepared. I think we're going to be able to have a good performance this weekend, and continue to grow from there." Papis, who is a three-time CART winner, is the only former Portland victor in the field this weekend. He collected a classic victory, leading the entire race from the pole in the rain in 2001 while driving for Team Rahal. Last year was an emotional year for Papis, who returned to defend his victory, only to have the plug pulled on the Sigma team due to financial difficulties. "Portland seems to play a major role in my CART career," added Papis. "The past two years were both very memorable, but for different reasons. Now, 2003 is the return of 'Mad Max'." Papis put the No. 27 PK Racing Lola-Ford Cosworth tenth on the provisional grid today. The effort satisfied PK Racing team manager Russell Cameron. "We felt we needed to find out where we were at with the car, so we needed a veteran with Lola experience," Cameron said. "We've run 11th before, but the encouraging thing is that the gap to the leader is more respectable," Cameron continued. "We've been 1.2 to 1.5 seconds off the pace, and Max was within eight-tenths today. That came in his first day back after not driving one of these cars for a year. It's great for the team, because they needed to regain the feeling of coming to the track with a chance to win." "It was definitely a very demanding day, especially psychologically," declared Papis. "It was a lot to absorb in a short amount of time. Overall, we are pretty pleased with what we did - not that it's okay to be P10 or P11, but we improved every time and peaked when necessary. Our last session was our fastest. Tomorrow we will find the remaining half-second we need to be on the front row. I'm pleased to be back!"

6/21/03

Air China enters into agreement with Walker Racing  UPDATE We have added a photo of the Air China logo on Manning's car.   6/20/03 - Walker Racing and Air China, through its marketing agency Pro-Motion, have entered into a marketing and business development agreement for the remainder of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World season to promote the Air China brand throughout the international market of Champ Car racing. Darren Manning’s #15 Walker Racing Champ Car will sport the Air China logo on its sidepods beginning at this weekend’s G.I. Joe’s 200 at Portland International Raceway, Round 8 of the Champ Car World Series schedule. “This is a great opportunity to partner with one of the most recognized brands both inside and outside of China,” said team owner Derrick Walker. “Our relationship will allow Walker Racing to partner with other companies that want to do business with Air China, and open the door to those who want to do business in the world’s fastest growing market.” Air China, China’s flag carrier, has retained Pro-Motion to provide consulting services for their international marketing efforts. Through increased international exposure of their brand with Walker Racing, Air China and Pro-Motion seek to elevate the airline’s brand visibility among tourists visiting the world’s second most popular tourist destination. China currently enjoys more than seven million international visitors each year to its cultural landmarks and ancient historical sites. Air China flies over 26 million passengers each year on one of the world’s newest fleets of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Felicity Song, who has ten years experience in airline industry marketing, runs Pro-Motion’s Beijing office. “This is an excellent opportunity to increase the international exposure of Air China through motorsports,” Song said. “Derrick Walker and the team at Walker Racing have a long history of putting a quality product on the track, and providing their business partners with unequaled business value and hospitality. Pro-Motion and Air China look forward to a long relationship with Walker Racing.”

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