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DATE

News (chronologically)

7/5/03

Maia dominates in Cleveland  Leo Maia of Oakland, California, led from flag to flag at Burke Lakefront Airport to take his fourth win of the season with a dominating performance that saw him cross the finish line 17.542 seconds ahead of second place Dan Di Leo. Maia's fastest race lap of 1:13.661 seconds bested the previous race lap record, held by current Toyota Atlantics Championship points leader and 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion A.J. Allmendinger. Laguna Seca round winner Di Leo scored his third podium finish of the season with his second place result, as German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico, made his first ever appearance on the Barber Dodge podium with a third place finish. Second round race winner David Martinez finished fourth, with Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico outdragging Burt Frisselle to the finish line for fifth place. Memo Rojas lost out at the start and fell back in the order but finished seventh, with Scott Poirier matching his eighth place qualifying effort with an eighth place finish. David Wieringa finished in ninth in his second Barber Dodge race of the season, with Portland podium finisher Colin Fleming finishing in tenth.

7/5/03

Cleveland race sold out  UPDATE The attendance was announced officially as 58,471 for the race and 112,232 for the three days, both up significantly from 2002.  The place was packed.  7/5/03 - As far as we could tell every grandstand seat was sold out in Cleveland for the inaugural night race, and the general admission and suites were full as well.  There is no question that moving the race to the night was the best thing CART could have done.  The fans didn't have to endure the oppressive sun and the race was much more of a spectacle under the lights.  Photo by Mark C.

7/5/03

Argent to sponsor Miami race  The Grand Prix Americas announced today that Argent Mortgage Company, LLC will become the Official Mortgage Company of the GRAND PRIX AMERICAS and title sponsor of its season-finale CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race, scheduled for Sunday, September 28, 2003. Argent Mortgage Company, with headquarters in Orange, California, is also the sponsor of the Team Argent #24 racecar piloted by rookie driver Danica Patrick in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series Championship. The Team Argent car is owned by three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal and talk show host David Letterman. "We just recently changed our name to Argent Mortgage Company in January," said Johanna Padberg, Vice President of Marketing. "We have used the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship through our team sponsorship with driver Danica Patrick and owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman to convey our new brand identity, and are excited about being a part of the final round of the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship as the title sponsor of the event."

7/5/03

Allmendinger wins again  In a wild one at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, American rookie sensation A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) took the lead from Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) in Turn 1 on Lap 17 and led the rest of the way en route to his third victory of the season and the third of his CART Toyota Atlantic Championship career in the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k (SPEED Channel, July 6, 1:00 p.m. ET). By winning his third race in just his sixth career Toyota Atlantic start, Allmendinger became the quickest rookie to get three victories since Greg Ray won three of his first four Toyota Atlantic races in 1994. In the process, Allmendinger swept all 23 available championship points from the weekend and extended his lead in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship point standings. He now holds a 15-point advantage (102-87) over Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) with half of the season now in the books.  Afterward Allmendinger said, "It was a great race and a lot of fun. I didn't have a great start, falling back to second and then with my teammate Aaron getting a great start and getting around me down the back straightaway. But after the first two laps and when my tires came around, my car was just excellent. Then it was just a matter of pacing myself. The key for me was just getting around Michael (Valiante) clean, and then securing the move. Michael and I had a great battle for the lead and it was great racing- clean, and just fun. Overall, the team had a great weekend."

7/5/03

Monteiro may not start race  Tiago Monteiro was complaining of a slight headache after hitting the wall in warm-ups for tonight's Cleveland Champ Car race.  He was sent to Metro Health Hospital for a precautionary CT Scan of his head.  It's possible he could still race tonight.  Mark C.

7/5/03

More trouble for Tracy  This Toronto Sun article talks about the confrontation between Chris Pook and Paul Tracy on the pit road in Cleveland.   Pook was not happy with Tracy's actions on the track and he let him know it.  Players/Forsythe team members were furious at Pook's actions, especially that it took place on the race course. The team felt Pook had crossed the boundary between sports administration and on-the-field action. "It would be like NHL commissioner Gary Bettman going on the ice to yell at Mats Sundin during a game," a team source told The Sun. Michael Bonelli, an executive from Player's head office in Montreal, was brought in yesterday to deal with what the team called a serious breach of racing protocol. "Chris Pook has no business coming up to our driver on the race course," Bonelli said. Bonelli was livid Pook was even on pit road in the first place. "Chris Pook's job is to make sure the grandstands are full and that they don't blow over when a wind comes up," Bonelli said. "If there is a problem with Paul Tracy on the track it is the job of the series chief steward (Chris Kneifel) to deal with it, not Chris Pook," Bonelli said.

7/5/03

Team bosses to meet Sunday on Fighting Fund  The Formula 1 team bosses will meet tomorrow morning at Magny-Cours to try to come up with a solution to the problem of the "fighting fund" with Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart saying that he is going to run cars without any driver aids at Silverstone.

7/5/03

CART fans want turbo  At CART's fan forum in Cleveland today Paul Gentilozzi asked for a show of hands as to whether CART should stay with the turbo engine or move to a V-10.  Everyone raised their hand for the turbo.  Not a single fan raised their hand for the V-10.

7/5/03

Fittipaldi thinks more street races a good thing  At Cleveland today Emerson Fittipaldi said that CART's goal of racing on primarily urban street races was the right direction.

7/5/03

Fittipaldi confirms move to two car team  At Cleveland today Emerson Fittipaldi reiterated his goal of expanding to a two-car Champ Car team in 2004.  Paul Gentilozzi meanwhile, stated he would probably stay as a 1-car team in 2004.

7/5/03

Gentilozzi responds to Roger Penske  At Cleveland today, Paul Gentilozzi was asked to respond to Roger Penske's comment this week that CART's demise was inevitable.  Paul said, "Roger is going to have blisters on his hand trying to dig CART's grave.  Roger is doing what Roger has to do (to justify his move to the IRL).  When he was in CART he was shaking his pom-poms over here."

7/5/03
F3000

Pantano wins in France  Giorgio Pantano became the only International F3000 driver this season to become a double winner with a lights to flag performance at Magny-Cours this afternoon. As a result, he has breathed fresh life into his title challenge after two non-scoring races at Monaco and the Nurburgring.  The Italian, in his Durango entered Lola headed home points leader Bjorn Wirdheim by just over 4-seconds on the now slightly longer Nevers track. His second 10 points of the season see him elevated to 2nd in the points table, although Wirdheim actually extends his lead to 16 points by dint of fellow protagonist and last weekend's winner - Enrico Toccacelo (Jordan Junior) finishing an uncompetitive 13th.  Despite trying to live with Pantano early on, Wirdheim steadily dropped back in the second half of the race and registered his third runners-up position of the year. Maintaining the impressive consistency that was only broken by his altercation in Germany last weekend with Sperafico, who finished a lonely 3rd today, the Arden driver has the advantage going in to the final 4 races of the year. His Arden International teammate Townsend Bell fared less well and lost time when he went off the road at Grande Courbe, leaving him to finish in a lowly 12th place. The only non finishers in France were the two Den Bla Avis cars of Phil Giebler and Nicolas Kiesa. Giebler was unable to start the race after aggravating the shoulder injury that he sustained at Monaco last month. Kiesa, who was hoping to reignite his title push, pulled into the pits to retire after an altercation with Zsolt Baumgartner’s Coloni Lola. “We were quite optimistic of some points but unfortunately he tangled with Baumgartner and spun,” said DBA team manager Paul Jackson. “We hope the team will be back to full strength at Silverstone and we hope for better fortune there.” Both BCN Competition cars, run by former Lotus F1 designer Enrique Scalabroni finished, with American Will Langhorne coming home in 14th, whilst teammate Valerio Scassellati followed him in 15th position.  The 7th race of the 10 round series moves on to Silverstone on Saturday 19th July.

7/5/03

Bridgestone hurts itself by favoring Ferrari  Michelin motorsport boss Pierre Dupasquier says that because Bridgestone has only one top team Michelin has been able to pull ahead of them. By putting all their eggs in one basket, neither Ferrari or Bridgestone know what the real competitive problem is. 'Having three top teams,' he said, 'it just means that we know more where the result is coming from.' He refers to Williams, McLaren and Renault, all of whom run on the French boots. He says of Bridgestone's approach: 'When you deal with one machine and you are slow, you don't know really where the problem lies. 'Is it the car, is it the tire, is it the aerodynamics, is it the engine, the gearbox? You don't know. If the result is good, it's fine. 'If it's bad, sorry.'

7/5/03

Comptech getting beat in CART support series  Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick of Team Rahal has struggled to keep up with the pack all weekend. She qualified 11th and was 1.8 seconds off the pace yesterday. She said earlier this week the team has struggled with its engines, and her engine blew during yesterday's practice round, limiting her to eight laps. She is the only driver using engines built by Comptech. Cleveland Plain Dealer

7/5/03

Hornish to test Cosworth again  Sam Hornish will test the Cosworth (soon to be Chevy) engine at Kansas City Monday and at Brooklyn, Mich., on Thursday. The Cosworth ran comparable laps to the Toyotas and Hondas during a June 12 test in Joliet, Ill.  We quizzed a Cosworth engineer in Cleveland this weekend for the CART race on how the Cosworth IRL test went in Chicago and he gave us a big smile and two thumbs up. The fact that they are testing the engine further leads us to believe Chevy and Cosworth will do the deal and we hear the first race could be at Michigan later this month (July 27).  Mark C.

7/5/03

RuSport to step up to Champ Cars or IRL  RuSport Toyota Atlantic team owner Carl Russo in the past has stated his goal was to advance to a senior open wheel circuit - either CART or the IRL - in one to three years. Russo told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper yesterday this season's success has shaved that third year off the timeline. He said he is committed to Toyota-Atlantic next year, but might also test the waters on a limited basis in CART or IRL. Russo also is committed to developing American, or at least North American, drivers because "there aren't a lot of American drivers competing in what is an American series," he said.

7/5/03
F3000

Giebler at Magny-Cours, maybe not  2nd UPDATE  After completing a sponsorship deal in the eleventh hour that would see Phil Giebler run in his fifth FIA/F-3000 race driving for Den Bla Avis in this weekend's round at Magny-Cours as part of the French Grand Prix...His shoulder injury from Monaco has once again shown up to spoil his efforts. Giebler originally had raised enough sponsorship to run in the past four events and attracted a new sponsor that would hopefully fund the balance of the season. Due to it's recent arrival, there was a concern that there would not be enough time to complete the deal in time for this weekend's event. A forty-eight hour marathon resulted in a deal in time for this morning's first practice round.  Upon entering the car, Phil's shoulder began to stiffen and became unresponsive. He had dislocated it during a visit to the wall at the swimming pool section of the Monaco circuit, five weeks ago while qualifying. The injury had sidelined him in lap one of the race when his shoulder "came apart" under load. After a four week period of therapy, he felt good enough to drive in last week's race in Germany...during the race, the car picked up a major vibration that transferred directly into his upper arms causing extreme pain and numbness. He managed to finish in ninth place and once again sought medical help. Although stiff, he felt capable of driving. Phil missed the morning practice session and worked with a physio. He attempted to qualify the car in the afternoon and simply could not fully use his left arm and had to drop out after twelve laps.  "I hope to be able to race tomorrow but have no idea if my shoulder will be up to the task...I'm ready to go but this has been the most agonizing and mysterious injury of my entire career. One moment I feel fine and the next my left arm just stops working. I'll return on Monday to work with the orthopedic specialist I've been seeing since the accident and sincerely hope to be 100% by Silverstone" stated Phil.  7/4/03 - Phil Giebler's has qualified 16th for tomorrow's race, despite earlier concerns he may not take part at all. Earlier the American's manager admitted the short gap since the last race had made it hard to find sponsorship. Giebler sat in the garage throughout this afternoon's free practice session. In a statement earlier he said: "It'll be disappointing if we were not in the car this weekend, as I'm finally at a circuit that I know quite well and I am beginning to feel comfortable in the car and with the team." "But I've been here before and I'll just shake it off and begin focusing on Silverstone...if that's how everything works out."  7/4/03 - As of this writing...It doesn't look good for Phil to be in the car for Magny-Cours this weekend. Giebler's F-3000 program had found enough funding to run the past four races. A new American based deal surfaced very recently, but due to the short period of time between The European GP and this weekend's race (one week), plus the Fourth of July Holiday in the US...it's going to be a long shot to get everything done in time. We hope to have everything complete in time for Phil to reenter the Den Bla Avis car in time for Silverstone. There is a remote possibility that Giebler will run this weekend, stay tuned and be sure to watch the race this Saturday morning live on Speed. "It'll be disappointing if we're not in the car this weekend, as I'm finally at a circuit that I know quite well and I am beginning to feel comfortable in the car and with the team...but I've been here before and I'll just shake it off and begin focusing on Silverstone...if that's how everything works out," stated Phil.

7/5/03

Williams duo dominate final French GP practice 

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m14.966s
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m15.577s
3 David Coulthard McLaren 1m15.600s
4 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m15.918s
5 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m16.012s
6 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m16.039s
7 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m16.112s
8 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m16.133s
9 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m16.345s
10 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m16.376s
11 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m17.036s
12 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m17.101s
13 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m17.690s
14 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m17.776s
15 Jenson Button BAR 1m17.808s
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m17.908s
17 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m18.057s
18 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m18.670s
19 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m18.696s
20 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m19.044s

7/5/03

Latest F1 news items 

Mixed Cheering For Minardi
Williams And Bud Team Up
BAR File Counter-Claim Against PPGI
Minardi So Close To A Perfect Day
Angry Webber Doesn't Blame Michael
Stoddart Drops Another Bombshell
Bridgestone Defend One-Team Approach
Montagny's Baptism Of Fire
Webber Not Looking For Switch

7/5/03

News tidbits from the Magny-Cours paddock  Renault ace JARNO TRULLI chose to leave his traditional helmet design at home this weekend. New Helmet  The Italian is wearing a new silver helmet: 'One of my Dutch friends, Martin Koene, worked with me in karting,' he explains. 'Martin asked me to adopt his colors for a single event,' explains Jarno. 'Magny-Cours is special to me, but I'll also do it at Silverstone, too.'  Flying Dutchman It took Jos Verstappen nearly ten years and 101 grands prix, but finally the Dutchman took provisional pole in Formula One.  'Well obviously it doesn't happen too often in this [Minardi] team because we know what our situation is,' the Dutchman said.   'But when you get the opportunity,' as the 30-year-old did in changeable weather at Magny-Cours, 'you have to take the advantage.  'The first 100 Formula One races are behind me, and now we have opened a new account.' Inspiring Lap BAR driver Jacques Villeneuve's flying lap for sixth place was almost as inspiring as Jos's.  With all the off-track legal kafuffle, the Canadian hadn't tasted one practice lap when he attacked first qualifying on a wet, and modified, Magny-Cours track.  'I had no idea how it will be under braking and, actually, where is the optimum braking point,' the former world champion explained of his 'frustrating' day.  'There were also some really greasy parts of the track which I was discovering for the first time today.'  New Compound  And finally, Michelin have unveiled an all-new option of dry weather tire in Magny-Cours this weekend. Motorsport boss Pierre Dupasquier said it featured a fresh construction method but it is most radically different in terms of compound.  'It is very easy to make faster tires,' he explained, 'but the trick is to do so without compromising durability.  'Everything I have seen so far leads me to believe that we will supply our five partner teams with competitive tires this weekend.'

7/5/03

More on NASCAR escape hatch   NASCAR's stock cars may soon have escape hatches. ''You mean alternative exits,'' said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of competition who is now headquartered in NASCAR's new research and development center at Concord. Several drivers tried out the car equipped with the roof exit. It's almost like a T-top. NASCAR plans to take a car donated by Michael Waltrip's team and fit it with the new exit to take to its testing facility in Nebraska next week. If it passes the safety tests, Nelson said it will become an option for drivers. The cost is minimal. ''It's for some of the bigger guys,'' Nelson said. ``Small guys maybe don't need it. I saw Matt Kenseth a year ago jump out of his car in a blink of an eye. Maybe he wouldn't see the need for it, but it would maybe be good for the bigger guy who has to shoehorn himself in and out.'' Winston Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Ken Schrader and Busch Series driver Coy Gibbs have all tried it, and Nelson said they liked it. Miami Herald

7/5/03

More on AT&T's team sponsorship   NASCAR executives are still studying AT& T's sponsorship program with #49 car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau [driver, Ken Schrader qualified 4th for the Pepsi 400], who has had a contract this season allowing AT&T to become primary sponsor whenever it desires. AT&T  wanted to up its stake in NASCAR in 2004 by putting its Wireless division on the quarterpanel of a Jack Roush [#99] car or a Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#1] car. But NASCAR insists that the new series sponsorship contract with Nextel precludes any such new deal, that only current wireless sponsors Cingular and AllTel could be 'grandfathered' in, and that Cingular and ALLTEL could only remain in the sport as long as they remain with current car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske. But AT&T officials are not willing to be pushed out of the picture so easily. Even now, two weeks after NASCAR and Nextel signed, NASCAR officials have been unable to resolve the AT&T situation. The specifics at issue with AT&T are unclear, but NASCAR faces a situation where it must avoid the appearance of one set of rules for powerful car owners like Childress and Penske yet another set of rules for less powerful car owners such as Morgenthau. The AT&T situation has stunned observers in the Winston Cup garage because AT&T is currently one of NASCAR's 'official' sponsors and thus presumably in close contact with the sanctioning body. There are also a number of legal issues related to the Nextel-NASCAR-AT&T affair - does NASCAR have the legal right to read any car owner's contract? Winston Salem Journal

7/5/03

2004 Taurus on way to approval   NASCAR’s John Darby told TFR, that the new 2004 Taurus has met the requirements set forth in the rulebook as they pertain to new car submissions. The NASCAR rulebook clearly states that all cars that are to be considered for competition in the following calendar year must be submitted to NASCAR no later than July 1 of the current event season. “The submittal process is well underway,” said the director of NASCAR. “We’ve seen the first iterations of nose and tail and things like that and have worked through that process. From there they’re going back to clean some real small minor issues up.” Estimating when he’d get the car Darby said, “I think probably mid-August we’ll have the car where we’ll be able to track and tunnel test it.” The track and tunnel test are a sure sign that the ’04 Taurus is well on it’s way to NASCAR’s final scrutiny, including a visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway for on-track runs. Once those laps are completed the car will be loaded onto a hauler and transported to the Lockheed wind tunnel for aero testing.  [Editor's Note:  How silly.  All the cars are identical due to body templates.  Just put new decals on a 2003 Chevy and call it a 2004 Taurus.]

7/5/03

Both pathetic Petty cars miss Daytona field   Why did two Petty Enterprises cars [#43 and #44] miss the Pepsi 400 at Daytona? What went wrong? Simple, Kyle Petty said. The engines weren't up to snuff. "It's the way things go, especially at a restrictor-plate race," Petty said. "Somewhere, we've gotten behind on our engines, and we just ain't caught up. It's been showing everywhere we've been, but it really showed up here. Mike's engines have been really, really good, but these are the same cars that we ran here before. We lost ground this time. You can't say it's got a lot to do with the cars. I've got to put all this on our engine department." Petty Enterprises engines are built by Mike Ege Racing Engines, a company started before the 2002 season to exclusively construct engines for the Pettys. Ege came from Robert Yates Racing, long known as one of the best engine-building companies in NASCAR. But Ege hasn't gained any horsepower on restrictor-plate engines. That doesn't sound too bad, but when you consider everyone else is gaining a few horsepower, the Pettys slide backwards.  NASCAR.com

7/5/03

Pruett wins again  Two veterans and a young up-and-comer dominated Friday’s Trans-Am on the Tarmac, Round 6 of the 2003 Trans-Am for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup Championship, at Burke Lakefront Airport. At the head of the pack was Scott Pruett, whose dominating performance was only matched by the consistent efforts of runner-up finisher and rookie sensation Jorge Diaz, and veteran Max Lagod. Paul Gentilozzi, who finished a provisional second, was placed fourth after the race. Gentilozzi, driver of the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR, was penalized two positions for violating Trans-Am Series Rule 1.8.13: “Unjustifiable Risk.” The penalty was assessed due to incidents during the race, which involved Michael Lewis (No. 12 Westward Tools/The Crank Jaguar XKR) and Bobby Sak (No. 10 Revolution Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette). Pruett simply turned in a dominating performance Friday. The driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR lead all 48 laps of the race from the pole, set the fastest race lap (1:13.475), earned his fourth victory of the season, and retained the lead in the Drivers’ Championship. In the process, Pruett won the BFGoodrich® Tires Take Control Award for leading the most laps and the $2,000 Flowmaster American Thunder Challenge Award.

7/5/03

Montoya says it was proper racing  Juan Pablo Montoya passionately defended his audacious overtaking move on Michael Schumacher during the European Grand Prix. Ferrari technical chief Ross Brawn called the 27-year-old 'a madman' who lacked style and class for knocking his rival into a spin. 'I don't really care what he - or anyone - says,' Juan Pablo added in Nevers, a quiet countryside region in France. 'I thought it was a pretty good move. I was a bit surprised that I managed to pass him on the outside, but I didn't mind! I was pretty happy afterwards.' Montoya pointed out that 'it's not the first time we've clashed. 'And it won't be the last, either,' he added with a flash of white teeth. 'It's good for racing, good for the fans. The sport needs it. I was pleased.' Montoya said the move also excited his boss Sir Frank Williams. 'Just before the race he said he wanted to see some proper racing. So I was pleased that I could do it for him.' And he responded to criticism that despite notching up seven pole positions last year, he hasn't yet filled the P1 slot in 2003. 'I have been pretty calm this year,' said Juan. 'I was flat-out at the start of the year but then [technical boss] Patrick [Head] told me to calm down to ensure I don't make any mistakes.'

7/4/03

Salles to miss next two races  Dale Coyne confirmed with us today that Gualter Salles can not race in the next two CART races due to previous commitments.  Alex Sperafico will fill in at Toronto and possibly Vancouver.  Sperafico, who competed in the International F3000 series last year after racing in North America in the Barber Dodge Series, tested with Coyne at Mid-Ohio earlier this week.

7/4/03

Seoul just won't work  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I've read with interest the articles about CART expanding to Seoul or China.  I'm stationed at Youngsan Garrison, Seoul, which is right in the middle of downtown Seoul. After being here several weeks I do not see any way to stage a street race in this town or even a race in a park. The traffic gridlock here is unbelievable (almost every person here has a car and they all drive like they are trying to qualify for the Monaco GP).  To close down a section of the town to stage a race would be an undertaking that would cost way too much money and unless it was on a stretch of highway by the Han River there would be no place to set up a track. Don't get me wrong its a neat city with a lot to offer, I just don't see it happening. China, with a tie in to the Olympics would work though. Now that I no longer can watch the Speed Channel, all my racing comes from the net, and AutoRacing1 is the first place I look. LTC Mel Hull, USA Army Youngsan Garrison, Seoul.

7/4/03

Attendance up in Cleveland, credit night race  Moving CART's Cleveland race to Saturday night was one of the smartest things CART has done in awhile.  While the afternoon sun was unbearable on Friday, the qualifying under the lights was run in comfortable temperatures and the lights were spectacular.  The grandstands were all 60% full by the time qualifying began and all stayed to watch the fireworks afterwards.   Although the race lost its title sponsor, ticket sales are up.  However, there are less grandstands for this race as there once was.  Grandstand seating is no more than 30,000.  All were enthused about the race moving to night, but none more than Rahal. "I think this night thing is going to be huge," he said. "And you can only do it here. You can't do it at any other road course. It would take 100 lights. I think it is going to be a great show. I think this will be more interesting than the ovals. You'll see more brakes glowing, and the titanium studs, we used to use them in the old days and they banned them, which I thought was a joke. When you bottom out, they put on a hell of a show. It's like fireworks."

7/4/03

Road racers continue to kick butt in the IRL   While the USAC dirt trackers continue to wear their Road to Indy hats while watching from the sidelines, road racers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon registered the top two practice times in each of today's two practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's Kansas Indy 300, after dominating the last two races.  In fact road racers dominate everything about the all-oval IRL series.  Even Sam Hornish started out as a road racer in CART's ladder system.  The fact of the matter is that driving front engine cars on dirt are a total waste of time when trying to move up to rear-engined IRL cars on pavement. Every short tracker who has tried it has failed miserably.  Time to put those Road to Indy hats away guys, because the road to Indy is through a proper road racing background where you truly learn to become a good driver.  Back to Kansas - overall, Toyota's occupied five of the day's top-six places. Scheckter led Dixon in both practice sessions with the fastest overall time of 218.264 mph. Dixon, who has won the last two IndyCar Series events, placed second just .0604 seconds behind the South African.  It should be noted that AJ Foyt IV, who did not have proper road racing training, was once again slowest of all the Toyota powered drivers.

7/4/03
Industry News

UPS to set up operations in mainland China  United Parcel Service (UPS) has moved responsibility for its Greater China operations from Hong Kong to Shanghai to stay in closer touch with expanding mainland business opportunities. UPS, which saw the volume of mainland cargo it handled in the fourth quarter last year jump a comparative 60 per cent, until last month managed China operations from Hong Kong. It said the move would not result in any retrenchments in Hong Kong. "The Shanghai market has been requiring a lot more management time lately so we came to the realization that we have to monitor our China business from the mainland," Greater China district senior vice-president Perry Chao said. "Hong Kong remains a very important market to us and there will be no reduction in the size of our office there. It's just that we feel the size of the opportunities on the mainland in the next few years means you have to be there. If you're not, you may miss something."

7/4/03
Industry News

VW to double production in China  Volkswagen and its partner China FAW Group plan to invest one billion euros (HK$9 billion) to build a new plant in China, more than doubling the venture's capacity.  The plant in the northeastern city of Changchun would have an annual capacity of 330,000 cars when completed in 2007, said Wang Miye, a spokesman for FAW-Volkswagen Automobile, which is 40 per cent owned by Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker.  The partners would also expand production capacity at their existing venture in Changchun to 330,000 cars a year from 300,000. "They're running at capacity to meet demand, so the expansion will allow them to make new models and not lose customers," said Gu Qun, who tracks carmakers at industry consultant Automotive Resources Asia in Shanghai. "More overseas automakers may follow suit and increase production." Volkswagen, General Motors and other overseas carmakers are expanding production in China, where one person in 120 owns a vehicle and private incomes are rising. Sales in China may almost triple to 5.8 million vehicles, including cars, trucks and buses, by 2010, according to a forecast from McKinsey in Shanghai. Volkswagen said in December it aimed to double vehicle sales in China, its biggest market outside of Germany, to one million units in 2007 from about 500,000 last year. Volkswagen and FAW's 11 billion yuan (HK$10.3 billion) Changchun venture now makes Jetta and Bora models and Audi brand cars.  Bloomberg in China

7/4/03

Maia repeats pole winning performance  Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the pole position in final qualifying for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race with a 1:14.118 second lap on the 2.106 mile temporary circuit on Burke Lakefront Airport. Canada's Dan Di Leo qualified second with a 1:14.302 second effort while David Martinez took third position with a 1:14.598. The Barber Dodge Pro Series demonstrated again how competitive qualifying is as the top eleven drivers had times within just second of the pole time. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, matched his position from Thursday with his fourth place effort in the second session. Burt Frisselle improved his qualifying form to move from eighth on the grid up to start in fifth, with Mexican German Quiroga starting alongside in sixth. Luis Pelayo and Barber Champ Car Scholarship Scott Poirier will take the green flag from the fourth row, with Ryan Millen making his first top ten start in his nascent Barber Dodge Pro Series career from ninth, alongside of Portland round podium finisher Colin Fleming.

Grid Pos/Car #/Driver/Hometown/Best Time/MPH
1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./01:14.118/102.291
2/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:14.302/102.038
3/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/01:14.598/101.633
4/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/01:14.630/101.589
5/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/01:14.871/101.262
6/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/01:14.894/101.231
7/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/01:14.961/101.141
8/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/01:15.005/101.081
9/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./01:15.011/101.073
10/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./01:15.035/101.041
11/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/01:15.102/100.951
12/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/01:15.217/100.796
13/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/01:15.227/100.783
14/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/01:15.259/100.740
15/18/Robbie Montinola/Laguna Niguel, Calif./01:15.506/100.411
16/14/David Wieringa/Chicago, Illinios/01:15.801/100.020
17/88/Greg Long/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:18.612/96.443

7/4/03

The fall of Laguna Seca  Officially, the Sunday attendance for CART's race at Laguna Seca was 28,000 for Sunday and 42,000 for the weekend.  That was announced and the track must pay the county a certain dollar amount per attendee per their agreement with the county.  The track is actually in a park. The three-day attendance was 118,000 in 2000, dropping to 91,000 in 2001, 74,000 in 2002 and 42,000 in 2003.  2001 was the last year the race was run in the autumn, and we understand the promoter has requested a move back to that time of year. They also need to improve the fan amenities.  Fans won't put up with sitting in the sun on dusty hills any longer. 

7/4/03

Hornish carrying Terminator 3 colors in Kansas   Hollywood once again will come to an IRL IndyCar Series event as two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr. will race in the Kansas Indy 300 in a car with a special paint scheme featuring the new action film “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”  Hornish will take to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in his specially painted No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.  “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is in theaters nationwide now. Hornish and nearly 300 guests attended a “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” premier July 2 in Kansas City, Mo.  The new look for Hornish’s car is a part of a program spearheaded by Action Performance Companies Inc. in cooperation with Warner Bros. Pictures, C-2 Pictures and Intermedia Films. “Terminator 3” schemes can also be seen on cars in the National Hot Rod Association and NASCAR events.

7/4/03

Allmendinger takes pole position in Cleveland  RuSPORT rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) provided a few early fireworks on the Fourth of July as he shattered the Toyota Atlantic track record at Burke Lakefront Airport with a lap at 1:04.927 (116.771 mph) to retain the pole position for Saturday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k (SPEED Channel, July 6, 1:00 p.m. ET).   Allmendinger, the current points leader in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, already earned one point for taking the provisional pole in Thursday's first round of qualifying. By going quicker to retain the pole today, Allmendinger earned a second championship point, extending his lead to eight (81-73) over Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) heading into the race.

7/4/03

Dominguez fastest in final Cleveland practice  Mario Dominguez was fastest in this afternoon's first practice, while Paul Tracy sits on provisional pole for  the U.S Bank Presents the Cleveland Grand Prix, but rookie Sebastien Bourdais set the pace when the sun went down last night.  Darren Manning was second fastest with a 59.362-second lap, but the English rookie was one of several drivers to stop the Friday afternoon session for a tow-in. Others included Adrian Fernandez and Max Papis. Ominous-looking clouds moved into the Cleveland lakefront area toward the end of the session, but the rain held off until after the Champ Cars were off-track.

7/4/03

Darkness may lead to mistakes  We spoke to Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servia about the lighting at Cleveland.  Both said it's harder to see than at Milwaukee, a 1-mile oval that was easier to light. "I think the darkness is going to lead to more driver errors and more overtaking opportunities," stated Hunter-Reay."  In some corners it's hard to see where the track ends and the grass begins, especially when you are going at such high speeds and your head is bounced about by the bumps," said Servia.  Some of the lights have been moved by Musco in time for tonight's qualifying session, especially in turns 7 and 8, where lighting was the worse.  Musco claimed they were not able test the lights down that end of the track due to limited FAA access to the airport, so they were flying blind the first night.   Mark C.

7/4/03

First run in F1 for Montagny  “I’m quite pleased after this first run in the car at Magny-Cours, and had a good time out there today. Circumstances weren’t ideal today, with the engine problem and the weather conditions, but I did my best. With an extra hour’s running, I think I could have adapted completely to running in the rain, but in the event, it was impossible. Nonetheless, it was a useful and enjoyable experience, and that’s perhaps the most important thing.”

7/4/03

IRL year-end banquet at Disney   The stars of the IRL IndyCar™ Series and Infiniti Pro Series will travel to Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort on Oct. 25, 2003 for the annual Indy Racing League Championship Celebration, league officials announced July 4. The invitation-only event, themed “Magical Moments of the Indy Racing League,” will take place in Epcot’s World ShowPlace, the largest dedicated group facility ever created inside a theme park. “Walt Disney World is a unique venue in which our teams and sponsors can relax and celebrate the 2003 season,” said Tony George, Indy Racing League president and CEO. “Specifically, Epcot World ShowPlace will provide the setting for a magical evening. “Everyone that travels with the league deserves time at the end of the season to get away from work, enjoy great company and reflect on the season. Traveling to different destinations each year to honor our champion is a unique way to celebrate the season. I have no doubt that Orlando will make for one of the more memorable stops for the celebration.” Orlando, Fla., is the fourth city the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration has visited this millennium. In 2000, the champion was crowned at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis. The following year the celebration took place at The Speedway Club in Fort Worth, Texas, while last year the event was staged at the House of Blues in Chicago. From 1997-99, the awards ceremony took place in Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League corporate office.

7/4/03
F3000

Pantano wins pole in France 

Pos. Name Team Time
1 Giorgio Pantano Durango 1:28.888
2 Bjorn Wirdheim Arden 1:28.933
3 Jaroslav Janis Superfund ISR Charouz 1:29.077
4 Ricardo Sperafico Coloni 1:29.357
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull 1:29.434
6 Tony Schmidt Astromega 1:29.554
7 Yannick Schroeder PSM Charouz 1:29.643
8 Patrick Friesacher Red Bull 1:29.672
9 Zsolt Baumgartner Coloni 1:29.683
10 Jeffrey van Hooydonk Astromega 1:29.802
11 Townsend Bell Arden 1:29.811
12 Nicolas Kiesa Den Bla Avis 1:30.192
13 Derek Hill SuperNova/Jordan Junior 1:30.195
14 Enrico Toccacelo SuperNova/Jordan Junior 1:30.343
15 Raffaele Gianmaria Durango 1:30.658
16 Philip Giebler Den Bla Avis 1:31.040
17 Will Langhorne BCN 1:31.501
18 Valerio Scassellati BCN 1:32.474

7/4/03

BAR cars impounded by French police 4th UPDATE This pitpass article sheds more light on the situation.  7/4/03 - The judge has granted BAR a reprieve so they will be able to run this weekend.  However, they have missed the first practice session and will go into Friday qualifying with no preparation.  7/4/03 - Dave Richards is in the Nevers courthouse this morning trying to get the seizure order overturned.  7/4/03 - A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1, Another BAR chapter was just written.  How dumb must Richards be, everybody in Montreal knew that the cars would be seized, it should have been after Monaco but Richards just packed things and left from the backyard... How can one have faith in such a system, such a rotten organization... I personally think that Jacques is being dragged in mud to the advantage of Button, an Englishman just like B.A.T.   Now that B.A.T. has surprisingly closed its plant in Montreal a couple of weeks ago, the next step is to terminate our driver?  Bull, and I hope the next step is HONDA buying the team and Bernie cleaning the paddocks of these fools, pouring dirt on the series.  F1 does not deserve B.A.R. and Richards.  Jacques doesn't either... Regards, Victor Beaudoin, Montreal  7/3/02 -  Grandprix.com reports that the three British American Racing Formula 1 cars have been seized by the French authorities in relation to the dispute between the team and the Monaco-based PPGI company, which claims that BAR owes it over $3 million in commission on a sponsorship deal in 1997. Team boss David Richards is due to arrive at Magny-Cours shortly to try to sort out the problem. The team is expected to make an announcement later this evening but at the moment there is no official comment at all. A French court will decide on Friday if BAR can race at the French GP.

7/4/03

French GP - Webber fastest in wet practice session Mark Webber was the fastest in the first official practice session for the French Grand Prix. Ralf Schumacher was second followed by the two Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli and Antonio Pizzonia in the second Jaguar. Webber was run into in the pitlane by Michael Schumacher, but still was fastest.

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT  TIME
1. Mark Webber Australia Jaguar-Cosworth 1:26.915
2. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW 1:28.082
3. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:28.260
4. Jarno Trulli Italy Renault 1:28.296
5. Antonio Pizzonia Brazil Jaguar-Cosworth 1:28.442
6. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari 1:28.681
7. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.718
8. Olivier Panis France Toyota 1:28.773
9. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Jordan-Ford 1:28.782
10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Sauber-Petronas 1:28.803
11. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.846
12. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-Petronas 1:29.317
13. Juan Pablo Montoya Colombia Williams-BMW 1:29.608
14. Ralph Firman Britain Jordan-Ford 1:29.640
15. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari 1:29.813
16. Cristiano Da Matta Brazil Toyota 1:30.791
17. Jos Verstappen Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth 1:32.091
18. Justin Wilson Britain Minardi-Cosworth 1:32.535
19. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda No Time
20. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda No Time

7/4/03

Alonso leads Friday test 

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIME
1. FERNANDO ALONSO Spain Renault 1:16.709
2. MARK WEBBER Australia Jaguar-Cosworth 1:17.017
3. JARNO TRULLI Italy Renault 1:17.323
4. ANTONIO PIZZONIA Brazil Jaguar-Cosworth 1:17.946
5. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Italy Jordan-Ford 1:18.771
6. FRANCK MONTAGNY France Renault 1:18.823
7. JOS VERSTAPPEN Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth 1:19.289
8. JUSTIN WILSON Britain Minardi-Cosworth 1:19.636
9. RALPH FIRMAN Britain Jordan-Ford 1:20.259

7/4/03

Latest F1 news items 

Olivier Panis: Leaner And Meaner?
'03 Approach May Cost Kimi Title
Police Move In On BAR-Honda
Don't Bet On Me, Warns Schumacher
David Detests One-Lap Challenge
Montoya's 'Lesson' For Ralf Schu
Ralf Backs Team-Mate Over Clash
Fernando Pleads Innocence
Ford Change Tune On Cheap Engines?
Villeneuve Slams Magny-Cours Circuit
Montoya Defends Audacious Move
Alonso Backs Wide-Angle Axe

7/4/03

IRL Richmond TV rating  UPDATE The final Richmond IRL rating was a 0.48, which was rounded up to 0.50.  411,000 households tuned in across the entire USA.  The Local Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper had this to say about the rating - "It doesn't get much smaller than that. An ESPN spokesman called that "about average" for an IRL event. The local numbers weren't available, which probably is a good thing."  7/4/03 - The preliminary rating for last Saturday night's IRL race on ESPN was a 0.48, down from 0.60 last year, also on ESPN on a Saturday night.  We don't expect the final rating released tomorrow to be much different....from what we hear.  The IRL TV ratings have trended downward all year, this despite getting many teams, sponsors and manufacturers from CART.  What's confusing is that the IRL TV announcers keep saying the series is growing leaps and bounds.  Who are the fans to believe, the announcers or the statistics?

2002:
Homestead (ABC) 1.5
Phoenix (ABC) 1.2
California (ESPN) 0.5
Nazareth (ABC) 1.3
Indy (ABC) 4.8
Texas (ESPN) 0.6
Pike's Peak (ABC) 1.0
Richmond (ESPN) 0.6
Kansas (ABC) 1.3
Nashville (ESPN2) 0.5
Michigan (ABC) 1.2
Kentucky (ABC) 0.9
Gateway (ESPN) 0.8
Chicagoland (ABC) 1.1
Texas (ABC) 0.9
2003:
Homestead (ABC) 1.8  (Up 20%)
Phoenix (ABC) 0.9  (Down 25%)
Japan (ABC) 0.9 (First Time Event, but down from a 1.0 for CART on ABC in 2001)
Indy (ABC) 4.6  (Down 4.1%)
Texas (ESPN) 0.4 (Down 33%)
Pike's Peak (ABC) 0.7 (Down 30%)

Richmond (ESPN) 0.48 (Down 20%)

7/3/03

Wrong the first time, Penske again says CART's days are numbered  UPDATE Dear AR1, Again Roger Penske speaks with his usual arrogant "forked tongue". Who is he kidding that IRL's "All Oval" format is cheaper than CART's Road Racing.  IRL has totaled numerous cars every year. FOYT IV has done over $1 Million's worth of damage alone. Penske has severely damaged cars at Phoenix, Motegi and Richmond and his driver Gil de Ferran has suffered a broken back and has been knocked senseless on two separate occasions.  I know many fans who "LOATHE PENSKE" and his distortions, but this is absolute nonsense. The only thing "GOING UP" in the IRL are the cost of MEDICAL/HOSPITALIZATION INSURANCE Premiums"!  Steve Levinson  7/3/03 - The latest edition of National Speed Sport News has an article titled "CART's Days are Numbered."  In it Roger Penske says - "As we appraise the current situation in the IRL, 18 months ago we didn't have Michael Andretti's team, we didn't have Bobby Rahal's team, we didn't have Adrian Fernandez's team so some good teams have migrated to the IRL," Penske said at Richmond Int'l Raceway, site of Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge IRL race. "These teams came on their own. The real crunch time will come at the end of 2003 when CART has to make a decision about their future." Penske believes that CART's current business situation has led to its potential downfall. "Right now, they have elected to be a series that has mostly international venues with road races," Penske said. "They had also been supporting the teams through the capital base of CART and that can only go on so long. One of the worst things we found is any business that is subsidized can't stand on its own two feet. At some point, you ended up hitting the wall. It took time to divide this sport and it will take time to bring it back together. I think it's obvious where they need to be." Penske believes a sale of CART could be the solution and he stressed that he is not interested in any involvement in the rival series, either as an owner or a participant. "I made it clear many months ago what my position was when I moved to the IRL," Penske said. Penske believes the IRL does not need to add a lot more races. He believes the series should stop at 16 races. If that includes a few road races, he believes they need to be near major markets for the sponsors and fans. He also believes the IRL needs to evaluate its options in terms of speedways. "I don't see any type of merger between the IRL and CART because right now, CART has Mexico with two races, they are in Germany and England and I think that would be problematic for our sponsors and costs would escalate for our teams," Penske said. "If CART is going to be part of another series, then the IRL needs to stay the course. From what I understand from the IRL people is they want to support the tracks that have supported them from the beginning and that is the key." Penske believes oval racing has the closest races a fan could see and points out how ovals have helped NASCAR increase its fan base. He said it's more expensive to run on road courses than ovals because of the gearbox, brakes and suspension as well as different wing packages that would require two different setups for oval and road courses. "If CART continues on its road, there is no place in that for the IRL," Penske said. "If CART goes away, then the IRL may need to add a few road courses." Penske believes Saturday night's crowd of 50,000 spectators at Richmond International Raceway -- deep in the heart of NASCAR country -- is a very positive sign for the IRL. "I was surprised to see how many people were out in the campers waiting to come to the race," Penske said. "Something was going to happen here tonight. These are new fans, too. We've only had three races here. When NASCAR had its first three races here, they probably didn't have the number of fans that we had here tonight. If we can start drawing 50,000 or 60,000 fans regularly, then I think open-wheel racing can be in good shape."  [Editor's Note:  18 months ago Roger Penske predicted there would be only one open wheel series in the USA in 12 to 18 months.  18 months have passed and there are still two series and the IRL TV ratings continue to drop at a precipitous rate. We await Roger's next prediction of CART's demise in 12 to 18 months.  It's also interesting to note the pro-IRL anti-CART slant this article took vs. the Kansas City Star article we referenced in an article on our Home page titled What Did Roger Penske Really Mean?  NSSN and writer Bruce Martin have been anti-CART for years, so it's not surprising.]

7/3/03

Allmendinger takes Toyota Atlantic pole  After a "disappointing" Portland race where he finished fourth, rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) re-established himself as the man to beat in Thursday's provisional qualifying session for the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k (SPEED Channel, July 6, 1:00 p.m. ET) at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport by throwing down a blistering lap of 1:05.757 (115.297 mph) to take the provisional pole. The lap was more than six tenths of a second faster than his next closest competitor, and allowed Allmendinger to guarantee himself a front row starting position for Saturday's race and extend his streak of top-three starting positions. The rookie has not started outside the top three in any race thus far in his Toyota Atlantic career. More importantly, Allmendinger earned a bonus championship point for his efforts, and now leads Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) by seven markers (80-73) in the chase for the 2003 Toyota Atlantic title. Qualifying second on the provisional grid was Mexican Luis Diaz (#33 Telmex/Dorricott Racing), who turned in a best lap of 1:06.400 (114.181 mph). It was the best qualifying performance for Diaz since he took the pole position for the season-opening Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix in his native Mexico. Diaz currently stands ninth in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, 42 points adrift of Allmendinger, so today's performance was certainly a welcome boost for Diaz and the team.

7/3/03

SARS warning removed from Toronto  Just in time for next weekend's CART race in Toronto, the World Health Organization has removed their SARS warning for the City of Toronto.

7/3/03

Maia takes provisional pole  Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the provisional pole position in first round qualifying for Saturday's race at Burke Lakefront Airport today with a lap of 1:14.124 seconds on the 2.106-mile temporary airport circuit. Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada, secured second place on the provisional grid, with David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico taking third. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico scored fourth, with Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Colin Fleming taking fifth. Nelson Philippe of Valece, France, qualified sixth, with German Quiroga taking seventh on the provisional grid. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, qualified eighth ahead of Barber Champ Car Scholarship racer Scott Poirier, with Luis Pelayo taking tenth after losing his fastest lap of the session when he brought out the red flag when he spun off course and brought debris onto the racing surface to end the session. "I was driving the car too hard early in the session, and once I settled down some, I started getting the times I needed," said Maia. "It didn't feel like it was a fast lap, since I didn't feel like I was really taking any chances, but I guess it was good enough to take the pole. I know that I could have gone faster on my last lap, but the red flag came out to end the session, so I knew at least that no one else was going to beat my time."
Pos/Car #/Driver/Hometown/Best Lap/ Laps Comp/Fastest Lap/MPH
1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./25/26/01:14.124/102.283
2/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/14/22/01:14.317/102.017
3/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/21/23/01:14.647/101.566
4/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico 16/23 01:14.839/101.306
5/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./20/26/01:15.035/101.041
6/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/26/26/01:15.227/100.783
7/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/18/26/01:15.273/100.721
8/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/23/27/01:15.402/100.549
9/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/24/26/01:15.445/100.492
10/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/21/22/01:15.540/100.365
11/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./20/21/01:15.575/100.319
12/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/18/24/01:15.615/100.266
13/14/David Wieringa/Chicago, Illinios/19/22/01:15.801/100.020
14/18/Robbie Montinola/Laguna Niguel, Calif./16/22/01:15.910/99.876
15/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico 23/23/01:16.115/99.607
16/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/17/18/01:16.505/99.099
17/88/Greg Long/Markham, Ontario, Canada/25/27/01:19.309/95.596

7/3/03

Champ Car World Series on National Geographic  The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and the series’ most recent winner Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were recently highlighted on the National Geographic Channel’s documentary “Dangerous Jobs: Need for Speed” which began its nationally-televised broadcast schedule on Wednesday evening. A significant portion of the hour-long program– which is based on the life of a race car driver– tracked Fernandez through his recovery from injuries sustained last season in Surfers Paradise, Australia, to his return to the cockpit in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida. Much of the footage used in the documentary was shot on location at Champ Car World Series events in both 2002 and 2003. The broadcast also features interviews with Champ Car drivers and series medical personnel, including Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey and Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell. The documentary will air again in its entirety on the National Geographic Channel Saturday, July 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET and again Wednesday, July 9th at 3:00 p.m. ET.

7/3/03

Junqueira paces opening practice  Bruno Junqueira set the pace in today’s opening practice session for Saturday night’s U.S. Bank Cleveland Grand Prix. The Newman/Haas driver surged to the top of the time sheet in the closing minutes of the session, lapping in 59.555 (127.304mph). Junqueira edged Player’s/Forsythe teammates Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy and his own teammate, and fastest rookie, Sebastien Bourdais. These four were the only drivers to lap the 2.106-mile airport circuit in under sixty seconds.

7/3/03

McDonald's to sponsor Bourdais  UPDATE We have added a photo of yesterday's unveiling taken by Dan R. Boyd/LAT.   7/2/03 - Leading global food service retailer McDonald's® and four-time championship-winning team Newman/Haas Racing today announced an alliance for select 2003 Champ Car World Series events. McDonald's will join Eli Lilly & Company as the co-primary sponsor of the No. 2 car driven by rookie sensation Sebastien Bourdais as an extension of their launch of the Premium Salads that feature Newman's Own® Salad Dressing at races in Cleveland on July 5, Denver on August 31 and Miami on September 28.  Story

7/3/03

Thursday French GP Press Conference  Transcript

DRIVERS:
Fernando ALONSO
Olivier PANIS
Kimi RAIKKONEN
Ralf SCHUMACHER
Jarno TRULLI

7/3/03

Special paint schemes for Wallace and Wimmer   NVE Pharmaceuticals, the parent company of Stacker 2, "The World's Strongest Fat Burner," has announced it has created special paint schemes for Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer in NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway this weekend and at Dover International Speedway in September. The special schemes will coincide with the launch of new energy drink YJ Stinger, an extension of NVE's current Stacker 2 product line. Kenny Wallace will drive the No. 23 YJ Stinger Red Dodge in the Winston Cup Series race while Scott Wimmer will pilot the No. 23 YJ Stinger Green Chevrolet in the Busch Series race. YJ Stinger is a new energy drink that comes in three great tasting flavors: Pounding Punch, Sinful Citrus and Enraged Raspberry. It is scheduled to launch in stores around the country the middle of July. "Stacker 2 is about creating marketing programs that inject enthusiasm for our brands into our consumers, and we know they'll be revved up about YJ Stinger when we unveil the YJ Stinger cars that Kenny and Scott will drive," said Bob Emilian, Vice President of marketing for NVE Pharmaceuticals. "Once we have the fans energized, we'll give them ample opportunities to use up that energy at our interactive exhibits outside the tracks. I've seen some slick paint schemes in The Winston before, but the new YJ Stinger cars are the most original I've seen yet," Wallace said. "The collectors are going to go nuts." Wimmer, slightly more subdued than Wallace, spared no emotion when he explained his car. "Those cars are going to be hot," Wimmer said. "I've never seen anything like them on the track. Special paint schemes get better every year, and this is the best one I've seen this year."

7/3/03

Panis labels Magny-Cours corner dangerous  Toyota’s Olivier Panis has branded the redesigned final corner at Magny-Cours dangerous. The corner, previously a tight hairpin, has been modified into a fast sweeping turn in a bid to encourage overtaking. The Frenchman is not pleased with what he saw. He said: "I feel the way the corner at Magny-Cours has been redesigned makes it extremely dangerous. "It only needs someone to lose control and cut across the grass and they will fly straight into the path of other cars. "If it’s raining any car going off at the start of the bend would skid across the wet grass."

7/3/03

Carpentier breaks arm in bicycle accident  For Patrick Carpentier driving a race car is safer than riding a bicycle. Carpentier, who will defend his title at this week's CART Cleveland Grand Prix, feels fortunate to still be driving after crashing into a tow truck while riding his bike on June 24. "I'm so lucky," said the Joliette, Que. native, who estimated he hit a trailer being pulled by the truck at 35 m.p.h. "I've hit the wall in a car at 200 mph, and this was worse." Carpentier was training with his friend, motorcycle rider Miguel Duhamel, when they were cut off by the truck while racing down an incline on bikes like those used in the Tour de France. Duhamel was able to see the truck drifting over in time and pulled to the left, narrowly avoiding a collision. Carpentier, however, was drafting behind Duhamel and had his head down when he plowed into the side of the trailer. "Boom!" Carpentier said, slamming his fist into his hand. "It really shook me up." Carpentier suffered a hairline fracture in his right arm as well as bumps, bruises and scrapes. "But nothing to keep me from racing," he said. "It split my glasses in half. I was wearing a helmet, so it could have been a lot worse." After the near disaster, Carpentier can't wait to race. He's also eager to see the brilliant sparkling colours and hear the deafening roar this holiday weekend.

7/3/03

Robert "Bootie" Barker added to TV lineup   NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Robert "Bootie" Barker has been added to SPEED Channel's on-air team and is scheduled to host a regular segment each Saturday as part of SpeedNews - NASCAR Edition. The new segment - Bootie Call -- debuts this weekend from Daytona and will be an insider's look at what's going on in the NASCAR garage area from week to week. "Most of what is said about what's going on at the track is from an outsider's perspective," said Barker, crew chief for the No. 77 Jasper Motorsports Ford piloted by Dave Blaney. "This will be an effort to get the SPEED Channel viewers even closer to the action." SPEED Channel expects Barker's role to grow with the network. "We're excited about getting Bootie on the team," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming & Production/Executive Producer. "Viewers can expect to see him on more of our shows in the near future."

7/3/03

SAFER wall at Richmond   A major safety upgrade awaits Richmond International Raceway, which will become the first short track fitted with the energy-absorbing Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier in the coming weeks. The 0.75-mile oval, where a handful of NASCAR's most violent crashes have occurred the past two years, will have the SAFER system in place for its NASCAR triple-header Sept. 4-6 [Cup, Busch, Trucks]. The barrier, which relies on steel tubes and foam to absorb the impact of a crash, will be attached to the outside walls in two 1,100-foot sections that will cover the track's four turns. RIR President Doug Fritz said construction would begin a few weeks before the race weekend, which will feature NASCAR's top three touring series. "We're proud to be one of the first tracks to have the system installed," Fritz said. "The installation of this state-of-the-art safety system is an example of Richmond International Raceway and International Speedway Corp.'s ongoing commitment to driver safety." The "soft wall technology" has proved highly effective since being installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2002. Several Indy Racing League and Winston Cup drivers have endured hard collisions at IMS in the past year, but there have been no serious injuries. Because the barrier originally was designed for Indianapolis' 2.5-mile oval, months of testing were required to adapt SAFER for shorter tracks. Dr. Dean Sicking, who was commissioned by the IRL in 1998 to build the barrier, led a team of researchers that conducted several tests on a replica of an RIR wall at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Lincoln, Neb. NASCAR President Mike Helton recently said the goal is to erect the SAFER barrier at several tracks by next spring. New Hampshire International Speedway, a 1-mile oval where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr. were killed in separate crashes in 2000, likely is next to implement the SAFER barrier, possibly for its Sept. 15 Winston Cup race. Richmond Times Dispatch

7/3/03
Industry News

Briggs Cunningham dies   Briggs Swift Cunningham, an icon of American road racing, died Wednesday of complications related to Alzheimer's Disease in Las Vegas at the age of 96. Cunningham was at the forefront of the rebirth of road racing in America following World War II, and was renowned as a sportsman of the highest caliber. He represented America superbly in the 24 Hours of Le Mans throughout the 1950s and '60s as a driver and team owner, both with cars bearing his own name and others. His induction this year into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., was richly deserved and long overdue. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laura, of Las Vegas, son Briggs S. Cunningham III of Danville, Ky., daughters Lucie McKinney of Green Farms, Conn., and Cythlen Maddock of Palm Beach, Fla., stepsons Bill Elmer and Joe Elmer, 19 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. on August 8 at the Pacific View Cemetery, 3500 Pacific View Dr., Corona Del Mar, Calif. The family has requested that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association in lieu of flowers. More at vintagemotorsport.com

7/3/03

Labonte edges de Ferran   Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran finished second to NASCAR Winston Cup standout Bobby Labonte in second-quarter voting for the Driver of the Year Award. Labonte edged 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner de Ferran by just three points, 75-72, in balloting of 18 media experts and one cumulative fan vote taken from Internet voting at www.speedtv.com.

7/3/03

Teams to test at Nashville  Many IRL IndyCar Series teams will participate in an Open Test on Wednesday, July 9 at Nashville Superspeedway, preparing for the series event July 19 at the 1.33-mile concrete oval. Testing will take place from 1-8 p.m. (CDT). Admission is $5 and free to Nashville Superspeedway season-ticket holders.

7/3/03

Home sweet home for Michelin  Michelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier says : "We scored a superb victory at the Nürburgring last Sunday. Will we be able to summon up a repeat performance on home soil? That’s not really a question we have asked ourselves. Reflecting on the past few races it certainly appears as though we have provided our partners with extremely competitive tires and they are making good use of them. For us, though, the French Grand Prix is a race just like any other. We don’t have a great deal of track experience, either, because we don’t do any private testing here.   Teams are adopting a variety of tactical approaches this season and there have been a number of race incidents. As a result, every event has had a slightly different flavor and everybody has enjoyed this element of unpredictability. Some cars work more effectively at certain circuits than others and competition between the tire manufacturers and leading drivers means that almost anything can happen at each event.  We don’t know what the weather will be like this weekend at Magny-Cours, but there is no guarantee of blazing sunshine. We’ll just have to see what fate has in store," concluded Dupasquier. BMW Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya added this comment about the Michelin tires : "Our tires should be really competitive in Magny-Cours. As we have seen especially in the last few races, Michelin has gained the upper hand in the tire war and on their home ground they might aim to perform at the top even if they might be a bit more under pressure. With the help of our tires I hope I'll be able to double the pole position I set there in 2002 and possibly take advantage of it, unlike I did last year, when I finished fourth."  Michelin

7/3/03

Latest F1 news items 

Is McNish Still Bitter?
Kimi To Forget French Misery
Montoya Expects Michelin To Fly
Alonso Blames Coulthard Error
Ferrari Admit French Struggle
Montoya Ready To Take On Schu
Rivals Have More Hunger: Ferrari
Hot Action Expected In France
Jordan: Turn For The Worse In France
McNish Seeks F1 Racing Switch
Tobacco Teams Look For Loophole
Montoya: I'm Still In The Fight

7/2/03

CART stock watch  MPH closed at $2.51 UP $0.01 p/shr. on Volume of 35,500 shares.
11,400 shares or 32% of total Volume traded in the last 30 minutes of the session.
$1.86 Bid - $2.82 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.45/$2.60
MPH Value Change UP 0.40%
DOW Jones Up 101.89 or 1.13% on Volume of 1.8 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 38.6 or 2.35%
S&P 500 Up 11.43 or 1.16%
A safe and restful weekend to all.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

7/2/03

HSBC returns as sponsor for CART's Miami race  HSBC returns as the Official Bank and Financial Services Provider for the Grand Prix Americas, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. The agreement calls for a two-year partnership between the Grand Prix Americas and HSBC. “We are excited about having HSBC return as a partner for our event,” said Martinez. “The fact we have companies such as HSBC signing multi-year deals is a testament to the success of our inaugural event." "We are proud to once again partner with the Grand Prix Americas,” said Manuel Diaz, president of HSBC Republic International. “Last year’s event was a tremendous success for us with our clients. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with the race.” Headquartered in London, HSBC Holdings plc is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises over 9,500 offices in 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

7/2/03

Junior looks for Daytona sweep   Out of the 23 tracks that host NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, Dale Earnhardt Jr. singles out historic Daytona International Speedway as the Mecca of stock car racing. "This place is a great race track with a lot of history," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It has such an impact on the sport. There are other tracks on the circuit that are important to NASCAR and that are cornerstones of the foundation. But this place here is a pillar. This place really represents everything that I like about the sport. I really like coming here." Earnhardt Jr.'s love for Daytona is reflected by his busy schedule for the upcoming July 2-5 Pepsi 400 weekend. He'll race under the lights in both the second annual Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo on Friday, July 4 and the 45th running of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5. Earnhardt Jr., whose late father Dale Earnhardt is the winningest driver at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval, just can't get enough racing at Daytona. "When you come in (through the tunnel), you can't get here fast enough and then when you leave, you drive out real slow - getting every little last bit you can because it's going to be too long before you come back," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I love it." In the last two years, Earnhardt Jr. has turned the "World Center of Racing" into his personal playground posting five victories. After finishing second in the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt Jr. captured his first career victory at the famed track winning the 2001 Pepsi 400. In 2002, he captured his first win in the Koolerz 300 NASCAR Busch Series event. During Speedweeks 2003, Earnhardt Jr. pulled off an amazing string of victories, winning the inaugural nighttime running of the Budweiser Shootout, a Gatorade 125-mile qualifying race and his second straight Koolerz 300 Busch Series race. Earnhardt Jr. thrives on the restrictor-plate tracks at Daytona and its sister track Talladega Superspeedway. He likes the close-quarters racing and understands how to manipulate the draft to his advantage. He also has resources of Dale Earnhardt Inc., which devote more time and research into restrictor-plate racing than any other team in the garage. "Anytime you run in a situation with restrictor plate equipment, you've still got to be able to get the best out of that equipment," said seven-time Daytona 500 champion and NASCAR legend Richard Petty. 'Whatever (Dale Jr.) has got on these kinds of race tracks, he gets the best out of it just like his dad did." Earnhardt Jr. will look for a Pepsi 400 weekend sweep just like he did recently at Talladega Superspeedway, where he won the Aaron's 312 Busch Series race and the Aaron's 499 Winston Cup event.

7/2/03

Jeff Gordon to be "cool" in Daytona   It is not easy to stay cool at Daytona in July. However, Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, intends to keep cool in several different ways as he enters the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday night. "It does get extremely hot in the car," said Gordon. "However, we have ways of dealing with the heat. We have a system that allows air to flow through our helmets and the crew works to keep me cool on pit stops with water and ice packs." Off the track this weekend, Gordon will be involved in a few other "cool" things. With DuPont's new "Cool2go Wrap" logo on the TV panel for this weekend's event, Gordon will promote the science company's new insulated beverage wrap -- label technology that allows the beverage to remain colder, longer. In addition, the No. 24 car will sport a special paint scheme that showcases the cool $1 billion that Pepsi is offering up in a current promotion. The paint scheme can be seen this Wednesday on the Today Show on NBC.

7/2/03

Bristol finds new way to make money   Fans can now purchase lap sponsorships for the upcoming Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Lap sponsors will receive space for a 20-word-or-less message, which will appear in the souvenir program, as well as a 1:64 scale die-cast event car. "Being that we're honoring one of Bristol's greatest heroes, Dale Earnhardt, with the souvenir program cover, I'm sure there'll be a lot of fans out there who will want to sponsor a lap and have their messages added to this truly collectible publication," said Jeff Byrd, BMS president and general manager. "Plus, the new feature of having a personalized program with the name of the lap sponsor printed on the cover will add something extra special." For the first time, each lap sponsor's name will be printed on the cover of the program. Recent technological advances in the printing industry allow for the personalization. The cost of a lap sponsorship is $100. The Speedway will take orders for lap sponsorships through Friday, August 1, 2003. Fans may request a specific lap number to sponsor. However if that lap number is taken, BMS will assign the closest available lap number.

7/2/03

A Ford and Cosworth story  This Machine Design magazine article is an interesting read on the Ford Cosworth CART engine program, particularly the design changes they did to make a 1200 mile engine from a 400 mile engine.

7/2/03

Paul Tracy's Porsche for sale  Want to own Paul Tracy's Porsche 911?  You can, just bid highest for it here on eBay.  You would be bidding on a very rare Porsche Turbo owned by Champcar World Series points leader Paul Tracy. The 2001 Porsche Turbo is fully modified into a Techart Type II GT Street car. The car comes with a Tiptronic transmission and upgrades include:
TechArt Type II aerodynamic body kit
TechArt 18" Formula GT alloy wheels
TechArt sport exhaust system
TechArt coil-over suspension kit
TechArt Stage 1 performance kit (470hp)
TechArt interior accessories

7/2/03

Ford GT to return to track  The Ford GT will make its return to the racing world this weekend as the all-new 2005 Ford GT paces the Champ Car World Series race at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. This marks the first public running of the '05 Ford GT outside of the Ford Centennial Celebration at World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., three weeks ago. At the wheel of the 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 Ford GT in Cleveland will be legendary driver Mario Andretti. Andretti's ties to the Ford GT date back to 1967 when he drove it to victory with Bruce McLaren at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla. "Mario should be used to running at the front of the pack in a Ford GT, since his experience with the original GT40 race car includes a win at Sebring," said Neil Hannemann, Ford GT Chief Program Engineer. The Ford GT gained popularity in the mid-1960's as a low-slung, muscular racing car built to win on the legendary Le Mans race circuit. The original Ford GT project was spearheaded by Henry Ford II, and Ford's project saw great success as the Ford GT won four straight 24 Hours of Le Mans races during the 1960's, including a 1-2-3 finish in 1966. The Ford GT race car changed Le Mans forever, and today it signifies a new era for Ford Motor Company. Over the past year Ford engineers have seen Ford's historic past turn into the present during the design and development of the '05 Ford GT. Now they will see the finished product return to what made it famous. "We're excited about the new 2005 Ford GT returning to the race track and being part of the pace car fleet during the Cleveland Grand Prix this weekend, and especially with Mario Andretti behind the wheel," said Hannemann. "With 500 horsepower, the new Ford GT shouldn't have a problem staying at the front once again."

7/2/03

Jarrett and Yates press conference   Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, has four NASCAR Winston Cup victories at Daytona, including a win in the 1999 Pepsi 400. Jarrett was this week's guest on the weekly teleconference, along with general manager Doug Yates. Transcript

7/2/03

ConAgra to sponsor Kansas   The nation's second-largest food company signed a four-year agreement Tuesday to sponsor the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway. The first Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, a Winston Cup event, will be held Oct. 5 at the track in Kansas City, Kan. "We're pleased to be teaming with a national, Midwest-based company like ConAgra Foods and its Banquet brand," speedway president Jeff Boerger said.

7/2/03

Mario Andretti to drive pace car  When U.S. Bank presents the Cleveland Grand Prix this Saturday night, there will be a CGP favorite standing on the gas at the head of the pack. Mario Andretti, the driver who won arguably the most thrilling race in CGP history in 1988, and the man with the most podium finishes in CGP history (seven), will drive the pace car for the pre-race parade and pace laps. Andretti, an outspoken supporter for both the Cleveland race and the CART series, ranked the 1-2-3 battle with Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan in 1988 as one of the best in his career.

7/2/03

Mugen Honda boss put in slammer  UPDATE Hirotoshi Honda has stepped down as president of Mugen after being arrested yesterday on suspicion of a massive tax evasion. He is accused of dodging $8.3 million in corporate taxes by hiding $25m of income in a separate company and creating false accounts to cover the money. Honda and Mugen's auditor, Norio Hirokawa, allegedly doctored the books for three years between 1997 and 2000. Hirokawa was also arrested. The Honda Motor Company, which was founded by Hirotoshi's father Soichiro, did hold a 40% stake in Mugen until 1999 when the shares were returned to Hirotoshi Honda. Honda Motor said that the company was "very surprised" at the arrests but said in a statement that it had been aware that Mugen was under investigation. In a separate case on Monday in Tokyo Hirotoshi Honda was ordered to pay $14.8 million to an automotive parts supplier.  7/1/02 - It's reported in France that Hirotoshi Honda, president of the former F1 engine supplier Mugen Honda, and the son of Honda Motors founder has been arrested in connection with an investigation into tax evasion. "Our lawyer was informed by prosecutors about the arrest of our president today," said a spokesman for Mugen, according to French news agency AFP. "We believe he is innocent as there is no evidence proving his involvement. Facts will become clear after investigators probe the case carefully." The same news agency reported that the company's auditor was also arrested.

7/2/03

Latest F1 news items 

Schu Parties Into The Night
Jacques Dejected
Renault Praise Michelin Pace
Jaguar Boys Rest Before Race
Toyota Boss Refuses To Reflect
Michael's Surprise Present
Frentzen Fond Of France
Rubens To Struggle In Heat?
Todt Doesn't Play Blame Game
EJ Pleads For More Cake
Montagny Previews 'New' Magny-Cours
Renault Expect Pace At 'Home'
More Races, Less Testing: Rubens

7/1/03

Penske Racing to make historic 1000th start  Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves will be making Penske Racing’s historic 999th and 1000th open-wheel starts (mostly CART, some IRL) this weekend at the Kansas Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway. Whichever driver starts further on the grid will reach a new milestone for the most successful team in American motorsports by adding one more statistic to the record book for Penske Racing.  Penske Racing’s legacy began on June 15, 1968 when the late Mark Donohue climbed into the driver’s seat marking the Team’s first start at Mosport. Donohue would go on to finish the race in fifth, but Penske Racing would continue to succeed for the next three and a half decades.  In the 35 years that Penske Racing has been competing in open-wheel racing, the Team has amassed several incredible records. Following is a brief summary of the results the Team has produced in its first 998 starts:
 115 Race Wins
 11 National Championships
 13 Indianapolis 500 Wins
 12 Indianapolis 500 Pole Positions
 141 Pole Positions
 44 Wins From the Pole
 32 1-2/1-2-3 Finishes
 24 500-Mile Race Wins
 50 1-2 Starts
CART's Patrick Racing is the Team with the second highest number of starts with 777, which includes 45 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two National Championships.

7/1/03

Tickets sold out in Kansas City  Because all NASCAR Winston Cup ticket holders must also buy an IRL ticket, tickets are sold out for the Kansas Indy 300 and Aventis Racing For Kids 100 on July 6, and tickets also are sold out for qualifying for both races July 5. Tickets for practice for both series July 4 are available by calling (913) 328-7223.

7/1/03

IRL title race wide open  The IRL IndyCar Series is reaching the halfway point of its 16-race 2003 season with the Kansas Indy 300 on July 6 at Kansas Speedway, and there are a few trends that can be pinpointed easily. Scott Dixon is the hottest driver in the series, having won the last two races, on June 15 at Pikes Peak and June 28 at Richmond in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He could become only the second driver to win three consecutive IndyCar Series events, matching the feat set by Kenny Brack en route to winning the 1998 series title. Series points leader Tony Kanaan is a model of consistency. Kanaan has led at least one lap in six of seven races this season in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone and has recorded six top-five finishes in seven starts. Target Chip Ganassi Racing is arguably the leading team in the series right now, with Dixon the only driver to earn more than one victory this season. He has three victories. Dixon and teammate Tomas Scheckter have combined to lead 702 of 1,431 laps this season, 49 percent of the laps turned in the series. Defending series champion Sam Hornish Jr. won’t go down without a fight. Hornish put in two stirring drives in June to finish fifth at Pikes Peak and fourth at Richmond despite less power in his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone compared to drivers with Toyota and Honda engines. Hornish is eighth in the series standings, 93 points behind Kanaan. But the one trend that’s most obvious entering the third annual trip for the IndyCar Series to Kansas Speedway is that no driver has a clear claim to the series title. Just 27 points separate leader Kanaan and second-place Dixon, with only 60 points separating the top six drivers. Combine the searing championship chase and the recent series trends, and the Kansas Indy 300 figures to be one of the most interesting races of the season. The race starts at noon (CDT) Sunday, July 6 and will be broadcast live by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The Kansas Indy 300 marks a return to a 1.5-mile oval, the most frequently raced circuit length in the series. Seven of the 16 races in the IndyCar Series in 2003 take place on 1.5-mile ovals, with three – Homestead-Miami Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi and Texas Motor Speedway – already completed. A glance at the results from those races could help predict which drivers and teams will be strong at Kansas. Only one driver has posted a top-10 finish at each of the races on 1.5-mile ovals this season – Hornish. He was 10th in March at Homestead-Miami, sixth in April at Twin Ring Motegi and 10th in June at Texas. Hornish also has fared well in the past at Kansas, finishing second each of the last two years.

7/1/03
Industry News

Volvo revs up sales in China  Ford Motor's Swedish car making arm Volvo plans to launch two new models in China this year as it aggressively steps up sales in the world's fastest-growing car market. The models would be the limited-edition sports saloon S60R and the newly upgraded S80 sedan, the China Business Weekly reported yesterday, quoting Volvo's president of China operations Ong Eng Song. The move is part of the company's global strategy to boost its worldwide sales to 600,000 vehicles in the coming years, up from 408,000 last year. Last month, Volvo began delivering its XC90 sports utility vehicle to Chinese customers and said it hoped to sell more than 2,000 cars this year. Volvo already exports the XC70 and C70 vehicles. "As China's car market is opening, competition has depended more on sales networks and after-sales services than on products," Mr Ong said.

7/1/03
Industry News

Chicago Motor Speedway auction  This link will take you to the auction company that will begin liquidating the assets of Chicago Motor Speedway next Tuesday.  This link will take you to a Chicago Sun Times article on the pending auction and the fate of the facility.

7/1/03

CART stock watch  MPH closed at $2.50 Unchanged for the day on Volume of 55,300 shares.
$2.43 Bid - $2.50 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.37/$2.50
MPH Value Change 0.0%
DOW Jones Up 55.51 or 0.62% on Volume of 1.80 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 17.26 or 1.06%
S&P 500 Up 7.81 or 0.82%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

7/1/03

Herta getting back into swing of things  Bryan Herta is still getting his feet wet in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, making only his third career start Saturday at Kansas Speedway. Herta was tabbed to drive the #27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone last week, as the replacement for Dario Franchitti, who will undergo back surgery this summer. Like many of the tracks on the IndyCar Series schedule, this will be Herta’s first visit to Kansas Speedway. The 33-year-old Herta is glad that he will have plenty of practice time to log laps around the 1.5-mile oval. "The Archipelago/Motorola crew tested at Kansas, so we have some data to work with,” said Herta. “We should be in good shape right off the truck. I'm glad the Kansas event is a three-day weekend. That will help me because I haven't been there yet and the more track time I can get the better.”

7/1/03

Bike ride with Paul Tracy  Race fans and cycling enthusiasts will have the unique opportunity this Saturday night, July 5, to ride with CART Champ Car star driver Paul Tracy around Burke Lakefront Airport’s 2.106-mile course to celebrate the Champ Car World Series points leader’s 200th career race start. The event, titled the “PT200” in honor of the 22-time race winner’s 200th start in a career that began in 1991, allows up to 200 cyclists to join Tracy in a one-lap tour of the track before the U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix later that evening. Tracy, an avid cyclist who trains for Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford events by riding, will lead the pack around the lakefront airport circuit from a CART Champ Car pace vehicle. The PT200 is open to any and all cyclists over 13 years old but only the first 200 will make the cut by registering online at PT200@cart.com. All participants will get a free ticket for Saturday night’s race. Detailed instructions will be sent to all confirmed participants through a return email. On-site registration will open at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and the PT200 goes off at 7:15 p.m.

7/1/03

HDNet confirmed for Road America  Officials from HDNet and CART Champ Car announced today that television coverage of the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton on Sunday, August 3 will be shown exclusively in the United States on HDNet. The broadcast will be the biggest undertaking in the history of auto racing in the high definition format, as 16 high definition cameras and two HD mobile units will be spread throughout the 4.048-mile permanent road course to capture all of the action in crystal clear quality. "It seems fitting that one of the most challenging and picturesque venues in motor racing will be broadcast in this fascinating new format," said CART Champ Car president and CEO, Christopher R. Pook. "The United States government has mandated that all television networks will be required to broadcast in high definition within the next few years, and I am proud that our series is once again ahead of the curve as it relates to the use of new technologies. I fully expect this to be the best looking broadcast we will have this season." HDNet will offer more than 12 hours of live and original programming throughout the weekend at Road America, including extensive coverage on both qualifying days on August 1 and 2, in addition to all of the action on race day, August 3. The broadcasts will be available through HDNet's cable & satellite distributors, including DIRECTV, DISH network, Charter Communications and other cable affiliates; and in addition - by special arrangement with CART - on any other high-definition cable and satellite distributors who wish to make it available to their customers. The race will be rebroadcast several times on HDNet throughout the month of August. "HDNet is thrilled to bring the spectacular experience of high definition to CART auto racing," said Mark Cuban, co-founder and president of HDNet. "Thanks to the incredible picture and sound quality, the television audience will feel the excitement of every turn and every pit stop like they were there. Once again, HDNet is leading the television industry in applying HDTV to yet another sport." The opportunity to provide television coverage via HDNet was made considerably easier thanks to the fact that Road America officials had a fiber optic "ring" installed around the legendary road course a few years ago. The decision to broadcast the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton on HDNet resulted from the network's flexibility in scheduling in connection with the event's removal from and subsequent reinstatement to the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule. While HDNet offered Champ Car coverage last season for the Cleveland and Denver events, using a combination of four high definition cameras and conventional cameras to supplement the high definition pictures, the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton will be the first time that an entire race broadcast will be done using high definition cameras. Mario Andretti will serve as a co-host during the broadcast, with play-by-play and commentary being provided by the CART Champ Car International Broadcast team of Jeremy Shaw and Stephen Cox.

7/1/03

CART weekly teleconference  This week's guests included Adrian Fernandez, driver of the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford/Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, winner of the last race in Portland, and CART Toyota Atlantic driver Ryan Dalziel.  Transcript

7/1/03

Only one works Mercedes in F1  Mercedes boss Norbert Haug confirmed that the German car manufacturer is prepared to supply a second team with Formula 1 engines, but only those used by McLaren will be known as 'Mercedes.' "We need to put all the effort behind it, to supply an additional team, and that is the maximum," said Haug. "Everything else would compromise our own efforts and we cannot afford that. We were approached by more than one team but we did not go into the details so far. This will happen within, I would say, the next six weeks." According to Haug, any team which might be supplied with engines, would have to re-brand them, as only McLaren will run an official Mercedes power unit.

7/1/03

What did Roger Penske really mean?t  UPDATE Two more readers respond - Dear AR1, Regarding the "Revlon duty" under Delaware law, there does appear to be a few situations where it does not apply. From my somewhat limited research, it appears that Revlon doesn't normally apply in a stock-for-stock acquisition. I'm not sure if anybody in the ranks of rumored potential buyers would be considering a stock swap (News Corporation, Ltd. is publicly traded on the NYSE), but I suppose that it is a possibility. Additionally, Revlon typically only is held to apply when the company is up for auction or when the sale is "inevitable." What the courts use to determine inevitability of sale isn't generally defined, but since CART does have operating funds to continue for roughly the next 18 months the sale may not be considered inevitable yet.  There are also other methods of defense against unfriendly takeovers under Delaware law. The two most commonly cited defenses are the Unocal and Cheff defenses. In general terms they appear to allow company directors to take "reasonable" efforts to protect against a hostile takeover. While "reasonable" is another legal grey area, one might think that it is considered reasonable to allow CART to complete a friendly buyout with a potential long-term business partner (like Formula 1, or Rupert Murdoch) that would allow CART to fulfill the obligations of it's numerous promotional and other contracts, especially if the alternative would be sale to a company or individual who only intends to break the company up.  Frankly, I'm not particularly worried about the possibility of George buying CART just to shut it down. There's nothing to indicate any particular interest on George's part for doing so, and the potential for antitrust or other legal claims from disgruntled shareholders (not to mention defensive actions from the CART board) might be enough to make him want to pass on it.  Finally, keep in mind that an outright sale isn't the only possible outcome of CARTs enlisting Bear Stearns & Company. They are looking for "strategic alternatives," which could include additional investment from a new long-term partnership. While taking CART private would probably be the best long-term option, there's nothing to say that it would have to happen immediately if other partnership and long-term business plan could be developed that keeps CART financially viable. Kevin McCarrin  Another writes, “The Stockholders” are a very real wild card in this process. Those individuals (hard core fans and supporters like me) who own “respectable” positions, not in the Vannini/Forsythe league mind you, could be a real pain in the ass of a possible sale. It can be assumed we will NOT support a sale that puts CART out of business regardless of how rich the offer might be. It can further be assumed we will side with Forsythe and Management. Vannini will sell to the highest bidder, does not care about CART’s future any more than Tony does and generally can’t be trusted beyond is own personal interests. Which is perfectly OK. He has always been up front about his motivations and preferences. If someone offered him $8.00 per share he’d be gone tomorrow and he wouldn’t care if he was selling to Penske, George, France or Bernie. In addition, “Stakeholder Rights” has taken on a very new meaning and the courts, since Enron et al, are inclined to support minority shareholders at least to the point of slowing down the process so their positions and concerns can be heard and considered.  Add this to the dynamic: The France Family. Deep, deep pockets. Interests in road racing that are under performing as they have no credibility in road racing. Tony George blustering about making the IRL bigger than NASCAR. NASCAR’s strong TV relationships. Penske’s out of ISC. What is to prevent the France family, not ISC or NASCAR, from buying up as much MPH as they can get their hands on under $4.00 per share. Buy enough to insert themselves in the process and maybe buy CART along WITH Bernie! Talk about “unification!” Can you say a mass exodus of sponsor support from the IRL. Bernie/F1/CART controls the road racing. NASCAR/ISC controls the oval racing. The IRL is put to rest. The F1 race at Indy: GONE! NASCAR does not assign a date to Indy. CART refuses to run the Indy 500. Soon the France family is offering to buy IMS and the George family will be powerless to stop it! The game is truly afoot! JN Anderson, Chicago IL   7/1/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, With regard to Mark Cipolloni's latest article titled What did Roger Penske really mean?, I believe that shortly after assuming his current position, Chris Pook approached Tony George about some sort or unification and was clearly rebuffed. I'm not sure the board of directors is compelled to accept the highest offer. They can accept a lower offer if they feel it's in the best interest of the company. Don't you think any buy out amount is likely to represent a loss to most of the current shareholders? If they're going to lose most of their investment anyway, why give in to TG? Do you remember Mr. George's "I bring my hammer" statement. George Cappello, Rockville Centre, New York Dear George, That was the conventional wisdom until the Revlon lawsuit, whereby the courts ruled that a Board of Directors must accept the highest bid received, and literally nothing else. The shareholders then vote on the board's recommendation and they can choose to vote for another bid.  Mark C.

7/1/03

Waltrip in hunt for Daytona triple   Entering the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5, Michael Waltrip has a chance to put his name next to racing legend Cale Yarborough in Daytona International Speedway's record book. Waltrip has won the last two NASCAR Winston Cup Series point events at the historic 2.5-mile tri-oval - the 2002 Pepsi 400 and the 2003 Daytona 500. The driver of the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet will be gunning for three-in-a-row at the "World Center of Racing" in the exciting mid-summer classic under the lights on Saturday, July 5. The only driver who previously accomplished three straight victories was Cale Yarborough, who won the 1967 Pepsi 400 and the 1968 Daytona 500 and Pepsi 400. But Waltrip, who also captured the 2001 Daytona 500, isn't getting caught up in the hype about the record. He simply wants to win. "You don't worry about stuff like that until it's done," Waltrip said. "That's not what motivates you. What motivates you is to try to beat everyone else. I never really thought about being a two-time Daytona 500 champion. I was just there to win the Daytona 500. Records are cool. When it's all said and done, you look at your records. When you're in the middle of it, you're driven to be the best and outrun everybody." With the resources and knowledge that Dale Earnhardt Inc. possesses about restrictor-plate racing at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway, Waltrip has an excellent shot of pulling off the record win. Nobody in the garage spends more time on restrictor-plate development than DEI. In the last 10 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega, DEI has won eight with Waltrip delivering three of those victories.

7/1/03

Cleveland ticket sales  We quizzed the Cleveland GP folks about ticket sales for this year's race.  While they would not give us a number, they did say the phones have been ringing off the hook this week for people wanting to buy tickets.  Mark C.

7/1/03

Compton to drive #4 at Daytona   Morgan-McClure Motorsports named Stacy Compton as the driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac for the upcoming Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Compton, who currently races weekly in the Busch Series [#59 Kingford/Johnsonville Chevy], has 87 Winston Cup starts with one top-10 and two pole positions to his credit. Both poles were at Talladega Superspeedway in 2001. Compton will drive the #4 Kodak Grand Prix featuring Disney's epic motion picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The special "wrap" will be the first time a Kodak-sponsored race car has featured a motion picture theme. Stacy Compton quotes: "I am excited to get a chance to work with Larry and Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Larry and I have known each other for many years. I raced at Lonesome Pine Speedway every weekend and would stop by their shop on the way to the track. It is nice having a Virginia-based team paired with a Virginia driver. Morgan-McClure is a good organization. To have the opportunity to work with a sponsor the caliber of Kodak is exciting also. The Pirates of the Caribbean car is probably one of the coolest cars I have ever seen. It is sure to be a big hit." Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR

7/1/03

NASCAR knows how to make drivers heroes   While some other racing series have difficulties getting exposure for their stars, NASCAR can even get its second tier series drivers in the media. Kyle Busch, driver of the Busch Series No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet, and younger brother of Kurt Busch, is featured in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine (July 7), on newsstands now. Writer Hali Helfgott and Pulitzer Prize-nominated photographer Les Stone followed the 18-year-old driver to document his Busch Series debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. The piece, entitled "TOTAL ACCESS: TEST DRIVE," features nine full-color pictures, including Busch brushing his teeth and decaling his own race car.

7/1/03

Racy Racer   This Cleveland Plain Dealer article on Danica Patrick was front page in the Sports section of today's newspaper.

7/1/03

Sparks will fly in Cleveland   The 10-turn “Roar by the Shore” course is unique. It is the only two-mile road circuit in the US where fans can view the entire track from their grandstand seats. The addition of Musco Lighting to enable the second night race on the 2003 Champ Car World Series schedule represents the world’s largest outdoor lighting project. The track itself provides plenty of challenges. Just ask Adrian Fernandez. After struggling with setup problems throughout the weekend last year, Fernandez remarked that it was probably the worst race of his career. The circuit is wide offering drivers a variety of lines as they contend with the grip level afforded by the airport runways as well as the bumpiness of the circuit itself. Fernández Racing Race Engineer David Watson, who was not witness to the team’s struggles last year at Cleveland, notes that this is the least smooth race track the Champ Cars run on all year: “Last year was a disaster, so we need to stay focused on our gains so far this year. As usual, our hopes are high and we are aiming for another podium position. Our starting setup will be very similar to our final Portland setup with a few gear and ride height changes to suit the Cleveland circuit. This is a special track that really tests how good your shock package is. This is our first night race here, so fans can look forward to entertaining sparks and hot brake discs glowing in the dark!”

Champ Car On-Track Activities
Thursday, July 3
Practice 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Qualifying 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Practice 8:00 pm - 8:50 pm
Practice 9:40 pm - 10:30 pm
Friday, July 4
Practice 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Qualifying 8:20 pm - 9:20 pm*
Saturday, July 5
Warm Up 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Race 8:30 pm
*Broadcast Live on Speed Channel beginning at 8:00 pm ET.  Fernández Racing

7/1/03

Fans react bitterly to 'George has turned the IRL into the little series that could' article  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I tried to write this to the editor of the Kansas City article, but could not find an email address (The sports editor for the Kansas City Star can be reached via email at mfannin@kcstar.com). Let's see here. Tony George's IRL has less attendance over an entire season and per race than the so claimed "weak" CART series (and that includes the Indy 500, without that race the difference is much greater). The TV ratings are now virtually equal to the "weakened" CART ratings when they are both shown on network stations, yet the IRL ratings are still behind what CART used to draw on ABC only 2 years ago (not to mention anywhere close to what CART drew before the IRL created the "split"). The IRL and George's self-proclaimed "greatest spectacle" race, the Indy 500, no longer is a sellout, is awash with controversy and claims of biased and unequal officiating, continues to lose TV ratings year after year, and now garners only half the TV rating it did before the IRL was created (4.8 rating this year, which is about the AVERAGE for one NASCAR race--- as I said, they are the SELF-PROCLAIMED "greatest spectacle in racing").

Let's not mention that there is no sound fan base for this series. Most of the people who do attend the IRL races are there because they have to buy an IRL ticket if they want to go to the NASCAR race....it would be interesting to see how many would actually show up if they had to buy the IRL ticket by itself. And the people who are the true fans of American open-wheel racing, HAVE been keeping up with "the split." They generally have no respect for the "grandma could drive 'em," high downforce, low powered racecars they use in that series. They know that Mr. George has OVERHYPED his series. They have seen the races and notice the inflated talk about this and that during the IRL races that the casual observer wouldn't notice. They despise how he has tried to destroy CART in the name of "saving?" open-wheel racing. They all know it really is all about the spoiled little rich kid wanting all the power and control. They know what he said was his reason for creating the IRL in the beginning. They also know how those "reasons" have all been thrown aside the first moment he could gain control and power, and has now left him with the exact same thing he despised and told the world was the reason he had to create the IRL. In other words, a hypocrite hoping the casual observer will not remember his claims of atrocity.

You journalists and casual observers may still buy into the hype. But the people who are really suffering, the true hard-core fans, know the truth. We WILL make the truth come out and we WILL remember the truth. The funny thing is that George actually believes that if he destroys CART, the CART (or true open-wheel racing fans) fans will support the IRL. I, for one, at that point, will do everything in my power to make sure the IRL fails. I will avoid any sponsor in that series and anything even remotely resembling the IRL. I will trash the IRL to anyone who asks me anything about open-wheel racing and any sponsor involved in the IRL. Even if it means supporting NASCAR races, I will do it if I see it as hurting the IRL. I will turn all attention to F1 (but you sure won't see me at an F1 race at Indy!- nor watching it on TV!). How is that for the "big" support George has for the IRL? D. Hughes--Jacksonville, Florida 

Another writes, Look, most open wheel fans have gotten use to this kind of shilling on the part of the media, especially local papers in smaller markets just before “the big” IRL event. But the characterizations and assertions put forth by Mr. Pedley amount to nothing less than a total embarrassment for your publication. Was Mr. Pedley pulled off of some other beat, like local restaurant and movie reviews, to cover the IRL? Is this the first time Mr. Pedley has written about motorsports? Mr. Pedley’s article (advertisement) is pure “media kit journalism” and true fans of the sport really resent it.

To assert the IRL has roared past CART to become the leading form of open wheel motorsport in the U.S. is laughable and ludicrous. Ask the IRL about PAID attendance, not the thousands and thousands of tickets routinely given away by Phillip Morris, Honda and Toyota. If your track happens to be one of the ISC controlled facilities that “bundles” (that is, FORCES NASCAR fans to buy IRL tickets that would otherwise go unsold in order to get their precious Cup tickets) their ticket sales, then go out to the race and ask those fans if they would have actually bought tickets to the IRL race separately. You will quickly learn from their answers that it is the IRL, not CART, that faces a questionable future. But those of us who actually follow open wheel motor racing could have expected this, given the number of times Tony George’s “vision” for the IRL has changed. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois

7/1/03

Latest F1 news items 

Ralf Targets Back-To-Back Glory
McLaren To DC: Shape Up Or Ship Out
Webber Courts Driving Superstars
Sleepless Nights For F1 Minnow
DC Still Furious With Alonso
Tensions Ease Between BMW, Williams
Schu Defends 'No Class' Montoya
Franck Feels The Pressure
Williams' Sympathy For Ron Dennis
Dixon Blazes Trail Towards F1
Yoong Demands Cash From Minardi
Montoya: No Intention To Follow
Jag Not Taking On 'Big Guys'
Boss: Watch Out When Juan's About

6/30/03

Bright.net named internet service provider for Cleveland GP   CART Champ Cars are not the only thing running fast at this year’s U.S. Bank Presents the Cleveland Grand Prix. As the “Official Internet Service Provider,” Bright.net Internet Providers will be setting up Cleveland’s first public Internet HotSpots at the event, July 3-5. Race fans can bring their PDA’s and Wi-Fi enabled devices and any other wireless computing apparatus for high-speed connectivity at the Grand Prix. A number of Bright.net HotSpots will be positioned around Burke Lakefront Airport offering spectators the ability to access the Internet or send a video e-mail to a friend. This is a free service while at the event. “Public Access Wireless Access (HotSpots) is the next big advancement in Internet technology,” said John Clarke, general manager of Bright.net. “In the near future, Bright.net plans to deploy Public HotSpots in the Cleveland and Akron areas. We’re excited to showcase this technology in a fast-paced, public setting for the first time at the premier summer event in the City, the Cleveland Grand Prix.”

6/30/03

Bobby Allison to be featured   Former NASCAR great Bobby Allison is going to be featured on Celebrity Wings on the The Discovery Wings Channel tonight at 8:00 EDT.

6/30/03

Road Atlanta garners 1.0 overnight  The American LeMans Series race scored a semi-respectable 1.0 overnight rating on CBS from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.  We have long maintained that any respectable race series will garner a 1.0 +/- on network TV and ALMS is not different.  Ditto for CART, IRL, F1 and Trans-Am.  The only series that commands higher ratings in the USA is NASCAR.

6/30/03

CART Stock Watch   MPH closed at $2.50 Up $0.01 on HUGE Volume of 441,100 shares.
Multiple trades in excess of 5,000 shares during the final 30 minutes
of session. Is the game afoot?
$1.87 Bid - $2.82 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $2.40/$2.51
MPH Value Change Up 0.40%
DOW Jones Down 3.61 or 0.04% on Volume of 2.28 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 2.46 or 0.15%
S&P 500 Down 1.72 or 0.18%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

6/30/03

Canadian Triple Crown announced   The three Canadian Molson Indy CART Champ Car Barber Dodge Pro Series races - Toronto, July 13; Vancouver, July 27; and Montreal, August 24 - mark the debut of an all-new racing scholarship, thanks to Dodge Canada and its dealer body. The Dodge Trans-Canada Challenge is a championship within a championship, one that rewards the three drivers who perform best in the three Molson Indy Barber Dodge races.   Story

6/30/03

George has turned the IRL into the little series that could  This Kansas City Star article It would be hard for Brian Barnhart to forget the shots that were taken at Indy Racing League founder Tony George a decade ago. That might be because Barnhart, IRL senior vice president for operations, has a good memory -- or it might be because the words were so appalling. Without getting into the obscene specifics, Barnhart just said, "Those attacks were unfounded, untrue and extremely unfair." As it turns out, they weren't prophetic. IRL senior vice president for operations in the IRL, might well have included "prophetic." That's because George's baby, the object of scorn and derision 10 years ago, has become the premier open-wheel racing series in North America. It has roared past the rival CART series. And now, it has nothing less than that 900-pound gorilla of auto racing -- NASCAR -- in its sights.....He told those associated with the Championship Auto Racing Teams series, which was then the premier North American open-wheel series, that he didn't like the way they were doing things. He told them they could either join him -- or not. People freaked. George, whose family had owned the speedway since buying it from World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in 1945, was accused of ruining open-wheel racing in this country for his personal gain. The accusations were liberally spiked with adjectives. Aside from a few CART people who shared George's views and joined the IRL when it took to the track in 1995 -- people such as A.J. Foyt, Eddie Cheever Jr., Ron Hemelgarn and Arie Luyendyk -- those who remained on the CART side ridiculed George and insisted his series would die a quick death. Much of the ill feeling towards George and his series persist today. It persists among competitors: "The attitude that you had when you were in CART was you couldn't like the IRL," said driver Scott Dixon, who moved this year from CART to IRL. And it persists among fans: "CART's management may have contributed to the animosity," said longtime open-wheel enthusiast Bill Kuhlmann of Independence. "But it was George, encouraged by people like A.J. Foyt, a notorious CART hater, who actually tore things apart.".....George said that catching NASCAR is indeed the IRL's goal. The viability of George's goal has its skeptics. "Not going to happen," said Robby Gordon, an occasional IRL driver whose current day job is with Richard Childress' Winston Cup team. "It's the cars, the people, the races (in Winston Cup). People relate to these cars. Maybe in 25 years it could happen, but not for the next 15 or 20 years." Jeff Gordon said that's about right. "We're driving cars that maybe people can relate to," he said. "Even though they're not real street cars. And I think our sponsors market the sport extremely well. I think our drivers...I think our fans can maybe just relate to them a little bit more than they can in other sports." Robby Gordon said: "The IRL is getting better, but it's still not back to where it was (before the split with CART)." He thinks he knows why NASCAR has gotten as popular as it has. And George thinks he can do it with the IRL. "I think they've built such a critical mass that it's taken on its own momentum and life of its own," George said. "We're trying to build that critical mass ourselves, and it's taken some time, but I think we're underway now." Some of the pieces to reach critical mass are already in place, he said. Foremost among them is the show. "We have been fortunate the last two or three years to have really good, close, competitive on-track competition providing a lot of exciting finishes," George said. "Just managing that and ensuring that we have a product that people want is what we're trying to do."....George said the existence of two series has created confusion among fans about which series is which. "It would improve chances (of catching NASCAR) quicker if there wasn't that confusion," he said. To reduce the number of open-wheel series from two to one, one of two things must happen. The two must unite, or one must die. Penske is hoping for the former. "I think there will be some rational combination of the two that will take place," Penske said George thinks that may no longer be possible, which leads to the latter option. CART appears to be ill -- perhaps terminally ill. Robby Gordon believes that there is something the IRL could do to hasten CART's demise: add a couple of road races to the schedule. He said that would help attract road-race fans and some drivers who have been hesitant about making the IRL their destination series. George continues to say "maybe" to road racing.

6/30/03

Scott Dixon to get F1 test  According to this Auckland, New Zealand article, Scott Dixon, will know in the next eight weeks what Formula One test drives have been organised for him. The manager of Scott Dixon Motorsport New Zealand, Peter Johnston, said from Auckland there were two or three options, and ideally they would be with high profile teams. Johnston said yesterday that Dixon's Las Vegas-based personal manager Stefan Johansson, himself a former Formula One racer, was in Europe negotiating with the teams. The tests, probably in Europe, would happen once Dixon's Indy Racing League commitments ended on October 12. They might even involve glamour teams Ferrari and McLaren with Johansson, a Swede, well connected. He drove for them in a 79-race Formula One career between 1980 and 1991. The scenario looked promising, Johnston said, with Dixon's second successive win on Sunday in the IRL at Richmond, Virginia, and his third of the season to take him within 27 points of the overall leader.

6/30/03

Fittipaldi to make night race debut   Preparing for his third start at NASCAR’s most prestigious track, Christian Fittipaldi, driver of the #44 Bugles Dodge, heads to the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this week for Saturday night’s Daytona 400. The summer classic will be the second Winston Cup start for Fittipaldi at the famed oval but his first under the lights at any stock car track. In February Fittipaldi raced the Daytona 500 in a car prepared by Andy Petree Racing. He also raced the ARCA race during Speed Weeks in a Petty Enterprises-built Dodge. Fittipaldi, who normally drives the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, will step into the #44 Bugles Dodge for this event. It is the first of three 2003 races for Fittipaldi under the Bugles colors, other events planned at Talladega, Ala., and Concord, N.C. He will also drive a New York Yankees car in August at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

6/30/03

Boris Said qualifies for Budweiser Shootout   Boris Said's first career Bud Pole Award on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., earned him his first career berth in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway in February, 2004. Said, a road course veteran filling in for the injured Jerry Nadeau in the No. 01 U. S. Army Pontiac Grand Prix, won his first pole at the Winston Cup level in record-breaking fashion as he turned a lap of 76.522 seconds at an average speed of 93.620 mph. After his fast lap, Said was already looking forward to the Budweiser Shootout. "If I can get the pole and show up at Daytona in February, that'd be a great vacation for me in the winter," Said said. Said's first appearance in the Budweiser Shootout would also be his first race in a stock car on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. He has competed in the past at the historic track in the sports car ranks. The Budweiser Shootout, a non-points race that will serve as the kickoff to the 2004 season, will be held under the lights Saturday night, Feb 7 as a part of Speedweeks 2004. Said becomes the 19th driver to qualify for the Budweiser Shootout. Drivers that have already secured spots by winning poles this season include Jeff Green, Dave Blaney, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Steve Park and Jimmie Johnson. Past winners already in the field are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Ken Schrader, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett and Geoffrey Bodine. The 2004 Budweiser Shootout field now stands at 19 drivers. The record for most cars appearing in the Budweiser Shootout was set in 2002 with 22 drivers.

6/30/03


It's all about heroes   It's not about the car, or the team in motorsports.  In the end it is all about the human aspect - the drivers, the heroes of the fans.  We have stated that on numerous occasions.   This NY Times article talks about Germany's big influence on F1, but in the end, above this German influence stands Schumacher. "People don't relate so much to a car, or brand," said Ove Andersson, head of the Toyota team. "The important thing is the human aspect, the hero. And in Germany you have the Mercedes Silver Arrows and all that, but in the end Schumacher is the driving force behind the popularity." Sauber estimated that fans were about 90 percent interested in Schumacher, 10 percent in the car.  NASCAR has learned this secret and the sport has grown in leaps and bounds.  Their drivers are featured in all their sponsors TV commercials.  The drivers have become household names.  Coca Cola has an ad now when you sit and watch a movie in the theater.  NASCAR drivers are everywhere - print ads, TV ads, movies, weekly NASCAR talk shows, etc.  Meanwhile, CART's drivers remain invisible to the general public - few print ads, no TV ads, no movie ads, no talk shows.  Chris Pook can do all he can to try to grow the big city races, but CART is nowhere if its drivers are not heroes.  This holds for any sport, and any form of racing. Related AR1 article Do heroes make a sport, or does a sport make heroes

6/30/03

Yoong says he has no ties to Minardi Malaysian woes, Stoddart owes him money   In response to the June 29, 2003 Reuters report in regard to an interview with Minardi boss Paul Stoddart at the Nurburgring, Malaysia's 2002 Minardi driver, Alex Yoong refuted his former boss’ allegation that the $300,000 driving fees for 2002 with the Faenza based squad is directly linked to the Malaysian sponsors of the team.

"The driving fees are not linked to the Malaysian sponsors in anyway. The contract does state that my drive is dependent on Malaysian sponsors coming in support with Minardi for 2002 and once I started driving for Minardi, the fees for my employment were due in accordance to the schedule in the contract." said Yoong.

"As for the assignment offer of debts owed by Malaysian sponsors to Minardi, Paul (Stoddart) did make the offer in February this year in Kuala Lumpur when he was en route to Melbourne, but it was in respect of only one company against which legal actions have been commenced by Minardi. He told me in the presence of my father that it's no point suing as the team is unlikely to make it past Brazil (round 3) and we are unlikely to get any payment if the team collapses. He suggested that there's a better chance if we assisted Minardi to collect from a Malaysian sponsor on whom legal actions have been started by Minardi to recover some $400,000."

"However, we do not know nor have ever met any of the key personalities of this Malaysian sponsor whom Minardi have taken legal action upon but we are of course interested to consider any better alternative that has a better chance of recovering the money owed to me by Minardi."

"Furthermore, we are not aware of any other Malaysian sponsors who still owe any money to Minardi from the 2002 season other than this sponsor, which Paul had said legal actions have commenced against. As for the other Malaysian sponsors who were with Minardi in 2002 we've met their management but we have no contracts whatsoever with any of them as all communications and subsequent contracts with these sponsors were done by Minardi directly with them without any involvement or input by me or my management."

"I definitely would not have done the deal with Minardi to drive in 2002 if not for the contracted fees as these fees were needed badly to pay part of the huge debt I've incurred during the racing years prior to this. What's the point of driving in Formula 1 if it means incurring more debts that I cannot repay?"

"The financial situation of Minardi had changed after Canada when Minardi found new sponsors and new investors. It is only fair and an honorable thing to do if Minardi pay me the balance of my fees amounting to $200,000 immediately. This amount had never been disputed by Minardi through our many written reminders and monthly statements of accounts sent to Minardi, and it has been outstanding for more than half a year now." explained Yoong.

6/30/03

Latest F1 news items 

Montoya Hits Back At Ferrari
GPWC Saga 'Going Nowhere'?
Coulthard To Be Retained
Stoddart Calls On Yoong's Help
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Thumbs-Up To Schu's Heroes
'Iceman' Kimi Shrugs Off Failure
Alonso Refuses To Accept Blame
McLaren Will Honor Testing Ban
Michelin Claim Supremacy
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Shaken Coulthard Slams Alonso
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Ferrari's Worst Race
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Ralf Takes Revenge On 'Experts'
McLaren May Not Race New Car

6/30/03
F-3000

Why are Americans slower? UPDATE  Feedback on this topic, Dear AR1, I've been working on both sides for a while and there are two additional items: European teams seem a little more focused on driver coaching throughout the junior ranks...I am not saying that American teams don't care or try to help their young drivers develop but the European teams almost always have a driver coach on payroll and the US teams rarely do. I also believe the competition is equal near the top in both Europe and the US...it just runs deeper into the grid both in drivers and operations in Europe and the UK, so you learn a lot whether you're running 3rd or 23rd. Donnie Graves   Another writes, I enjoy your site very much. I must take exception to your comments regarding the Toyota Atlantic Series. As a former driver and now team owner I believe the series provides drivers a good foundation to work from to move up to more powerful Champ Cars. Most of us owners agree we need to make some minor modifications to the future engine/chassis combination to provide a closer transition to the Champ Cars but that can be addressed by a little more horsepower and a little less tire. As far as the chassis is concerned the Dallara chassis has proven to be a competitive chassis at a cost efficient price. For the engine, most of us that have been in the series for years realize the series would not be what it is were it not for the support of Toyota. That association has been very successful and we would like to continue it in the future. Toyota could provide a motor in the 350 horsepower range and run 1500 miles between rebuilds and still keep the package light and agile. With less tire and more horsepower this would provide a car more difficult to drive, and keep costs within reason, and keep the "identity" of a series that has a deep and rich history. John Brooks, Brooks Associates Racing  Dear John, CART needs some crossover between F3000 Europe and F3000 USA. When American drivers win the CART F3000 championship, it will mean something....i.e. it will mean they won a F3000 championship - the whole world will recognize it for what it is. Right now we have nothing to gauge our drivers against, and the Europeans keep coming over and cleaning our clocks while young Americans get their butts kicked in Europe. As long as the USA has a unique series we will never get a measure on how the young Americans are doing or how good they are. Why do we have to be different than Japan, Europe and South America? What makes the USA so special? If CART uses the identical chassis to F3000, then economies of scale will mean less cost for F3000 Europe and F3000 USA. Perhaps the Atlantic teams should become Junior teams of the Champ Car teams. In NASCAR, many Cup team owners field Busch and Truck teams. It would be good if CART could get the Atlantic teams to pick a Champ Car team and do some sort of business deal whereby they were either owned by a Champ Car team, or be called their "Junior" team. This would allow the elimination of redundant staff, consolidation of race shops and the flow of personnel and engineering knowledge. Overall costs would be reduced and Champ Car teams would have an official minor league team......like other professional sports. Then you can afford the proper cars and engines for Atlantics.  It will be unfortunate if CART locks into its own formula again for 2005 and beyond when it's changing both chassis and engine in 2005.  What's shocking is that if the rumors of Bernie Ecclestone getting involved in CART are true, that he would even entertain anything other than a F3000 formula.  Perhaps the rumors are false. Mark C. 6/28/03 -  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I have a British friend who called me today, and we were chatting and he commented on how Americans that go to Europe can't seem to win anything. I was not able to argue with him. In every single case, the American driver is behind their teammate. In F3000 they are all more than half a second behind, with the exception of Giebler who is only about a tenth off. I just don't get it. Scott Morris, Orlando, FL  Dear Scott, This has been the topic of much discussion recently.  The Americans are at a disadvantage in Europe the first year because they are not familiar with the circuits or the cars.  It's no secret that the Toyota Atlantic series needs to be converted to 100% F3000 spec machines, which have the proper HP to weight to tire contact patch area to really challenge a driver and teach them how to drive a car with low downforce that is a bit overpowered for the tires. We need to give our kids the right tools with which to learn with.  Unfortunately, we hear CART and Toyota have, as of yet, not been able to come to an agreement to supply engines that are pretty much identical to the Zytec engines used in F3000.  It's possible CART will have to contract with Zytec to supply the engines and sell the badging rights to another passenger car company.  That would be too bad because Toyota has been good for the series, however, if CART locks itself into another car that is not 100% F3000 spec, then young European and South American drivers will continue to clean Americans clocks.  For direct comparison and training purposes, CART's ladder system needs to be perfectly in step with the rest of the world, however, CART is so desperate to keep Toyota in the series, we are afraid they will bow to whatever Toyota wants and once again not do what is right. The cost of the engine and new cars is also an issue.  CART must keep it affordable for the teams.   Mark C.

6/30/03

Full throttle lawyering    This Daytona Beach Journal article is an update on the Ferko vs. NASCAR antitrust lawsuit.  It will be interesting to see if others such as CART or ALMS join in on this lawsuit.

6/30/03

Not everyone is against Toyota moving to NASCAR  UPDATE A reader responds, Dear AR1, I agree partly with you on Toyota in racing as far as they do belong in NASCAR after all which is more American, a Dodge made in Canada like the Intrepid or a Camry made in the states.  On the other hand they are not what I would call world beaters.  They spent 160 million to win LeMans in 96,97, and 98 and never won.  After three years in F-1 I believe they have 3 points this year.  Not what I would call unstoppable!  Doug Ferguson, West Palm Beach FL Dear Doug, but the point we made was Toyota versus American car companies, and in that case their performance in F1 and at LeMans is probably better than what an American company could do today.  Mark C.   6/29/03 -   Many people in the NASCAR paddock are complaining about Toyota moving into Winston Cup in a couple of years, some against it because they are not "American," others concerned about the amount of money they will spend to win.  However, we don't share that view.  Most Toyota passenger cars are built in the USA and when it comes to beating the USA-owned companies, they are doing it both on and off the track.  Their street cars are simply better from a quality standpoint, and we have seen them go to IMSA and win, go to CART and win (though not before a couple of years of fielding 1-lap hand grenades) and now this year where they are totally dominating in the IRL on both small ovals and Superspeedways. Last night's 1-2-3 finish on the Richmond bullring proves their engines not only put out a lot of HP at places like Indy, they also have plenty of pulling power off the slow corners. There is a reason why the company is so profitable - they simply spend whatever it takes, both on and of the track, to get it right, knowing in the end it will pay off. And who can blame them for that?  This is opposite the American car companies who are run by bean counters looking to cut corners wherever they can to bring the cheapest product possible to market.  Mark C.

6/29/03
F3000

Will Langhorne Nurburgring report   The Nurburgring race was race number two for me and day four in an F3000 car. It was not the result that I was looking for, but we made improvements throughout the weekend and I feel confident for the next event at Magny-Cours. After stalling the car at the start I was on pace with the mid-pack runners and the improvements that the BCN Team did to the car for the race helped tremendously. As the race wore on I got comfortable in the car. I have treated these races as testing and have made progress in each session. The changes planned for Magny-Cours are an additional step to make the car fit my driving style. Therefore, we should be more competitive at the Magny-Cours. The BCN F3000 Team did an excellent job in car preparation and I continue to be impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the team and their intense desire to win. On a different note, I spotted Tommy Kendall in the paddock at the Nurburgring and believe F3000 could use his brand of sarcasm and humor.

6/29/03
F3000

Americans at Nurburgring  


(L to R) Bell is out but is 4th on his board  2. Phil Giebler is hanging tough  3. Bell runs 4th  4. Derek Hill had a good weekend  5. Hill talks to team owner David Sears  6. Townsend Bell on grid

6/29/03
F3000

Nurburgring - Giebler's roller coaster weekend   Often in car racing a driver has a better car and more talent than the results show on a particular day. On rare occasion a driver is able to show better than the car would like to allow. Phil Gieber had much of both this weekend at Germany's Nurburgring. Giebler in just his fourth time in the car, first time on the circuit and very first day ever driving an F3000 car in the rain, managed to stay in the top spot on the board for all but forty-five seconds (where he ran in third) in Friday morning's practice session. He and teammate Nicolas Kiesa maintained fourth and fifth spots in qualifying up until the final four minutes when cars began coming in for their last set of new tires. Both drivers were rolling out on new rubber when the yellow came out for the balance of the session making it impossible for them to make their last run at speed. They dropped to tenth and eleventh, a tenth of a second apart. Saturday ended up according to Phil to be: "The hardest race of my entire career. It was just one of those days that happens.   I had clutch problems from the second I rolled off the grid requiring me to tiptoe in order to not stall the car, my battery died on the grid, requiring a swap seconds before the start, having to roll off at a slow pace resulted in Tony Schmidt running into the back of me on the start and knocking out the lower half of my rear wing. So there I was sliding through the high speed turns with too little down force and I discover a major gearbox problem that cost me a half second (combined) on the straights...effectively not having use of my top gear. I picked up a major vibration that transferred into my recently injured shoulder making turning the car a nightmare...I have never been so happy to see a green flag in my life. I love driving in this series and for the Den Bla Avis team. All things considered, I am happy with a ninth place finish and I stayed in a points paying position until two laps from the end. David Sears' teams did a fantastic job today in picking up the win, third, fifth and ninth and I am proud of my teammates. I want to thank Dr. Martens & Beverly Hills Motorsport.com for their help." The team was impressed with the fact that Phil managed to bring the car home despite all of his problems. Phil had clutch problems and a battery go down on the grid, and it's never the best thing mentally for a driver to have problems right before the start," said team manager Paul Jackson.  "He also had gearbox problems during the race which made it very difficult for him, but, despite his ninth position, I have to say he drove an excellent race, bringing home a car that was obviously very difficult to drive. Phil improves every time he's in the car and his efforts in yesterday's practice session were near miraculous"

6/29/03

Schumacher calls it a racing accident   Michael Schumacher refused to blame Juan Pablo Montoya for their collision during the European Grand Prix here. Five-time world champion Schumacher spun off into the gravel on lap 43 of the 60-lap race after Montoya pulled off an ambitious overtaking move in his Williams on the outside of turn 1. "It was a pure racing incident," said Schumacher. "I'd have done exactly the same thing. That's what I told the stewards and we had a look at it. Maybe he could have given me a little more space and it would have been nicer but I'm not complaining. In an ideal world I would have liked more points and a better result but I have a bigger lead in the championship now so I'm not complaining. It was a good move."

6/29/03

Ferrari slams Montoya, Montoya slams back   UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, Ross Brawn comments about Montoya's driving tactics during today's European Grand Prix goes to show that the Ferrari "BOYS" only like it when they have drivers like "RALF" that won't even try to challenge "MICHAEL".  Also, Mr. Brawn should not be crying like a little baby as I'm sure he forgets what Michael does to other drivers.  Does he needs to be reminded of what he did to Jacques Villeneuve in Jerez, Spain in 99 or to Damon Hill in Australia.  Too bad the great Ayrton Senna is not with us anymore or he would be having a say on this comment from Mr. Brawn. Juan Pablo Montoya has "GUTS" and has not been, and never will be, intimidated by Michael!  Jorge Custodio, Fontana, CA.  6/29/03 -  Ferrari slammed Juan Pablo Montoya for the "mad" behavior which they felt cost world champion Michael Schumacher second place in the European Grand Prix.  The world champion was in second place behind his brother and race winner Ralf at the Nurburgring when Montoya tried to overtake him on the outside.  Schumacher slid up into Montoya and haplessly spun off, while Montoya did a masterful job of keeping control of his car even though Schumacher hit him.  Technical director Ross Brawn called the Colombian's style of driving "crude" and said he had been responsible for several crashes. "It was mad of Montoya. He could have taken both of them off the circuit," said Brawn.  It was a very crude overtaking move and he has done it several times before."   "He is not a classy driver in that respect."  Schumacher was left spinning in the gravel trap anxiously waving for help from the marshals to push him out.  Schumacher kept his engine running and was able to restart.   Montoya felt Michael Schumacher was responsible for the incident when the German spun off. He said: "I don't know what was wrong with Michael but in the corner he was very slow. I went down the hairpin and I went outside and we touched.  I gave him plenty of room but I wasn't going to give him all the track."  Fans like Montoya because he is aggressive and while the other drivers follow Schumacher like sheep, Montoya isn't intimidated by Schumacher in any way and has passed him on a number of occasions.

6/29/03

Kurt Busch takes in F1 race      A new face in the Formula One paddock this weekend has been NASCAR Winston Cup racer Kurt Busch. The 22-year-old  is fanatical about single seaters in general and Formula One racing in particular, and is tipped by yardstick Jeff Gordon as being NASCAR's next big star.  Busch tested a CART Champ Car for team Rahal earlier this year and said he has been interested in F1 since following Nigel Mansell when he went to CART in 1993. Visiting Europe on a rare off week for NASCAR, Busch said of F1,  "It is just surreal." "I always try to catch it on TV and I'd love to do a test if it was possible," Busch said. "But I am an oval racer and I am committed to NASCAR until at least 2006."

6/29/03

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6/29/03

Hornish to decide future in August  The Indy Star reports that Sam Hornish has stated he will make his decision as to his future in the IRL or NASCAR in the month of August.  Most are betting he will stay in the IRL because Tony George doesn't want to lose him and will do what it takes to keep him in open wheel cars.  Speculation is that if Gil de Ferran were to retire, Team Penske might pick him up.

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