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DATE

News (chronologically)

7/25/03

Record crowd turns out in Vancouver  A stellar Friday (a workday) crowd of 45,023 turned out to watch the Champ Cars qualify in Vancouver under bright beautiful skys and perfect low-70-degree F temperatures.   It was the best Friday attendance in the race's 14-year history.  Some think CART's dying, yet some series would die for a Friday crowd that large.

7/25/03

Martinez takes provisional pole  David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico, took the pole position in first-round qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race in Vancouver with a fast lap time of 1:15.265 on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit. Memo Rojas finished the session in second place on the provisional grid, with Dan Di Leo taking third. Leo Maia of Oakland, California scored fourth position, with German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico taking fifth ahead of Antoine Bessette. Barber-Champ Car Scholarship driver Colin Fleming qualified seventh, with fellow Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, taking eighth. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France qualified ninth, with Barber-Champ Car Scholarship driver Scott Poirier taking his Michelin-liveried machine to tenth.

7/25/03

Walker Racing and Valiante ride-search details  Michael Valiante and Walker Racing team owner Derrick Walker are joining forces in a sponsorship-seeking effort aimed at producing a 2004 Champ Car World Series ride for the Vancouver driver, who is currently a championship contender with Lynx Racing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series.  More....

7/25/03

Junqueira tops 2nd practice at Vancouver The track's getting faster at Vancouver, and just 0.003sec separates the top two at the end of the second practice session. Those two are the same two that lead the Champ Car World Series. Bruno Junqueira was fastest with a 1:02.330 (102.865mph), just ahead of Paul Tracy on 1:02.333 (102.860mph). Alex Tagliani was third quickest on 1:02.751 (102.175mph).

7/25/03

CART stock watch UPDATE In NYSE trading today MPH closed at $1.60 DOWN $0.25 p/shr. or 13.51% on Volume of 251,800 shares.
$0.95 Bid - $1.93 Asked on close.
Session High/Low: $1.93/$1.52 (a new 52 week Low)
Dow Jones Up 172.06 or 1.89% on Volume of 1.64 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 29.28 or 1.72%
S&P 500 Up 17.08 or 1.74%

7/25/03 -  In NYSE trading as of 12:45PM MPH is DOWN $0.25 p/shr. or 13.51% on Volume of 86,400 shares.
Last Trade: $1.58 (a new l52 week low) $1.58 Bid - $1.59 Asked.
Session High/Low: $1.93/$1.58
8,200 shares traded at 11:49AM
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

7/25/03

Hornish fastest of the day at MIS    Two time IRL IndyCar TM Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. posted the fastest lap of the day today at Michigan International Speedway with a lap of 32.1977 seconds, 223.618 mph in his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. The lap came during the morning practice. Kenny Brack, the 1998 IRL IndyCar Series champion and 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner, was second fastest at 32.2894, 222.983 in his No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Scott Dixon was third fastest in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone with a lap of 32.3616, 222.486.   More later.....

7/25/03

Puerto Rico GP track map  The circuit map for the Puerto Rico Grand Prix, the 2003 season finale for the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup, has been released. The race is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26 at Isla Grande Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The circuit map is available in the “Paddock” section of trans-amseries.com, and prgrandprix.com. The 1.6-mile, 10-turn temporary airport course was designed with assistance from renowned race track designer Martyn C. Thake. Thake, whose most recent projects include the Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City Champ Car World Series circuits, and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Champ Car and Trans-Am Series street course, is assisting with the construction of the course, which is currently under way. Eagle West, which has built many temporary street courses in North America, including the Molson Indy Toronto and the Molson Indy Vancouver Champ Car World Series tracks, has been tapped to build the track. The picturesque circuit, which uses San Juan Harbor as its backdrop, boasts a wide racing surface and 180-degree track visibility for fans. The circuit will have at least 10,000 grandstand seats and 20 custom-made, air-conditioned hospitality suites. “The venue is reminiscent of the Cleveland Grand Prix circuit, which has long been an exciting event for both our fans and our competitors,” said Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. “The Puerto Rico circuit will offer fans an up-close experience with our race cars on an extremely competitive circuit that is sure to pose unique challenges for our competitors. “The Caribbean and Latin America are parts of the world well known for having enthusiastic auto racing fans,” he added. “I guarantee those fans will witness an historic event at Puerto Rico.” Tickets for the Puerto Rico Grand Prix are now on sale through TicketPop. Tickets can be purchased by calling TicketPop at 787-294-0001 or by visiting ticketpop.com. The Puerto Rico Grand Prix will be aired on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED Channel Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars. The Trans-Am Series is America’s oldest continuously running sports car racing series and celebrates its 38th anniversary in 2003.

7/25/03

Practice notes from Pocono - II  Christian Fittipaldi quote on the garage assignments next to John Andretti. "No, it was just a coincidence. Points, it was points. It was just a huge coincidence. John (Andretti) talks to me and I talk to John. John talks to Kyle (Petty). There was no tension. Professionally they had their differences. Professionally they had a slight difference on how they thought. Now they sorted it out and turned to the next page." Frank Ryan

7/25/03

Practice notes from Pocono - I  Practice is over at Pocono with Ryan Newman posting the fastest time in his Alltel Dodge. Newman posted a quick lap of 169.097 mph coming on the 13th of his 14 practice laps. Of the other 43 drivers, last week's winner Jimmie Johnson was second fast in practice, while Derek Cope and Morgan Shepherd were at the bottom of the speed charts. John Andretti makes his second start in the NetZero Hi Speed Pontiac and turned in the 8th fastest practice time. Ironically, Andretti's garage bay is located right next to the Petty Enterprises #43. The current driver of the #43, Christian Fittipaldi, will run in tomorrow's ARCA/REMAX Pennsylvania 200, and was 36th fastest with a practice speed nearly a second and a half behind Newman.  Frank Ryan

7/25/03

Road America offers discounts to boost ticket sales  Road America is offering discounts and incentives to boost ticket sales for the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs and Stratton, according to George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. The discount coupons are in area newspapers and through the AAA Automobile Club. Other fan incentives include Friday's group photo with Mario Andretti on the race track at Turn 5 and a fan autograph session with the CART drivers. Saturday kids can meet Cartoon Network's Johnny Bravo in the Aurora Family Fun Zone, and for fans of all ages, a Fan Forum with Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Newman and the CART Inner Circle Fan Club meeting. Tickets are available online, www.roadamerica.com or by calling 1.800.365.7223. Parking and children 12 and under are free. "We're working to create an awareness about the CART race and really emphasize how much fan interaction there is with the drivers," said Bruggenthies. "Tickets include entrance to the paddock, where the teams set up, so it's possible to be very close to the drivers. It's a great racing atmosphere," he said. "This year is very special because of world champion driver Mario Andretti's involvement," Bruggenthies continued. "He negotiated on behalf of the fans and Road America and he's the reason that we're going to see CART racing here next weekend. Without Mario there would be no Champ Cars at Road America this year, and we want to do our part to encourage fans to come to the race and to thank Mario. We're still hearing that fans don't know that the race is Aug. 3, and more important, that the race is back on," he said. "We need all race fans to join with us and make an extra effort to turn this event into a rousing success." Tickets for the four-day weekend are $115; daily tickets are Thursday, $10 (test day), Friday $25, Saturday $40 and Sunday $60. Road America has placed $5 coupons in the Chicago Tribune and in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal and the Gannet newspapers in Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids. In Northeast Wisconsin, coupons will appear in The Entertainer and the Auto Gazette, free newspapers distributed in convenience stores, among other locations. AAA Automobile Club members also will receive $5 off, as well as CART's Inner Circle Fan Club members. Area hotels report rooms available, and the Elkhart Lake Chamber of Commerce, 920.876.2922, has homes and rooms in homes available. The Chamber's rooms were originally booked by Fox Network, but when CART canceled the race, the network canceled the rooms. Road America also offers camping at the race track in the Carousel Campground for tents and pop-ups and along the race track. To reserve space, call 1.800.365.7223, or order online, www.roadamerica.com Gates open at 7 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, and sessions begin between 8 and 8:30 a.m. each day. The Champ Car race begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will be carried live on HDNet, available through Dish and Direct TV and on some cable television systems.

7/25/03

Tracy fastest in first Vancouver practice  Paul Tracy was fastest in the first practice session at Vancouver, but we expect to see the times drop as the Champ Cars put down more rubber throughout the next free practice at 2:40pm ET, and first qualifying which starts at 6pm ET. Tracy, series leader, set a time of 1:03.196 (101.456mph) three tenths of a second faster than Oriol Servia at 1:03.589 (100.829mph), and the second Canadian in the top three, Patrick Carpentier with 1:04.084 (100.050mph).

7/25/03

Junqueira wants to stay in CART  This Denver Post article and the Rocky Mountain News article talks about Bruno Junqueira's desire to stay in CART, including his views on the series and why he stayed in CART rather than going to the IRL.

7/25/03

Cosworth Chevy shocker at MIS    Oh what Ford can do for Chevy.  Two time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. posted the fastest lap of the first Firestone Indy 400 practice session. Using a new Chevy engine designed and built by Ford Cosworth, Hornish turned a lap of 32.1977 seconds, 223.618 mph in his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Cosworth Chevrolet/Firestone. Kenny Brack was 2nd and Scott Dixon 3rd.  The next IRL IndyCar Series practice session is set for 1:30 p.m. (EDT).

7/25/03

Franchitti released from hospital after surgery  Dario Franchitti, the popular IndyCar driver for Andretti Green Racing in the Indy Racing League, was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis today after recovering from back surgery last weekend. The Scotsman was allowed to leave with his family and friends less than a week after the operation to repair a compression fracture in his L-5 vertebra. “I’m happy the procedure went well and glad it’s finally behind me,“ said Franchitti. “Dr. Trammell and his team did a fantastic job with a minimal amount of pain and disruption, and I can’t thank the medical staff at Methodist Hospital enough. They were great. Thanks to everyone for all their support and the get-well wishes I’ve been receiving this week. I’m resting and doing very well.” Renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Terry Trammell and his partner Dr. Larry Stevens, performed the video assisted thorascopic anterior vertebraectonomy and they expect Franchitti to make a speedy recovery. “Dario’s surgery went very well and he has recovered very rapidly,” said Dr. Trammell. “He was able to get up and walk only a few days following the procedure and that was a great sign. We’ve got him in a custom fitted carbon fiber brace that he’ll have to wear for a while, but it will allow him to move around freely and participate in fitness training down the road.”

7/25/03
ARCA

Busch wins Pocono pole  Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet, earned the Pennsylvania 200 pole position during ARCA Series qualifying at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Thursday. With a lap of 170.849 mph (52.678 seconds), the 18-year-old shattered Casey Mears' month-old ARCA track record of 169.802 mph (53.003 seconds). The pole at Pocono is the second for Busch in ARCA competition this season. The Las Vegas native won from the inside of Row 1 in his first-ever start with Hendrick Motorsports at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway on April 11 -- also a track record. Busch's qualifying competition included NASCAR Winston Cup Series regulars Mears and Christian Fittipaldi (third), NASCAR Busch Series driver David Reutimann (fourth) and four-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel (fifth).   Frank Ryan

7/25/03

Ticket sales down for Brickyard 400  UPDATE A "search" of Brickyard 400 tickets on Ebay has resulted in 700+ matches of two or more tickets. IMS and the local scalpers (although they may be selling on eBay) aren't the only ones with tickets and no buyers. A little research will show that "bid on" tickets on eBay are getting less than face value if they're even getting bid on. There will be empty seats for the Brickyard just as there was for the Indy 500 and will be for the USGP.   7/25/03 - According to this Wish TV article, For the first time in the Brickyard’s ten-year history there have never been so many reserved seats still available. Still, officials and fans aren't concerned. Since it came here ten years ago, the Brickyard 400 has emerged as the best-selling race here at the Speedway. But this year if sales don't pick up soon, many of the seats could be empty when the green flag is dropped. There were no lines and no waiting at the Speedway ticket office Thursday where thousands of tickets are still available. “There are more tickets available this year than have been in years past this far out. But we're not overly concerned about it. It seems to be the trend right now in motor sports. It's just because of the economy and so many other reasons,” said Ron Green, Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesperson. Ticket brokers have already staked out their spots along 16th and Georgetown, where one vendor says he's sold just six tickets in the past week. “Maybe it's the economy. I don't know if things are not as well as they were. The fans are the fans and racing is racing,” said Jay Garner. NASCAR fans say it doesn't matter how many tickets haven't sold. They believe the Brickyard will eventually sell out.

7/25/03

Even NASCAR not immune to sponsor woes  Even NASCAR, as successful as it is, is not immune to sponsorship woes in this weak economy and in the USA saturated motorsports market.  Another example - Ultra Motorsports is looking for a new Winston Cup sponsor on the No. 7 Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer. Sirius Satellite Radio won't return in 2004.

7/25/03

Pollock says CART needs complete overhaul  UPDATE A reader responds to Pollock's comments, Dear AR1, If you don’t mind, I am sick to death of reading “Pollock says this . . . “ or “Pollock says that . . . “ or “Pollock thinks whatever Pollock thinks (none of which has yet to impress me in the least).“ Craig Pollock is one of those rare breed of men who has a gift for the obvious. He is the ONLY thing that concerns me about CART’s future. Well, a stockholder lawsuit kind of has me concerned too but at least that guy is one of us not some F1 namby-pamby! May I suggest Mr. Pollock redirect whatever investment he had planned to make in CART into the flailing career of his meal-ticket thinks-he’s-still-a-superstar-driver client and leave CART alone! To even suggest CART should be (nothing more) than a domestic F1 feeder system demeans what is, in many people’s opinion, the superior form of open wheel motorsport that is CART. He does not see (does not want) Europe or Asia in the cards because that could create some healthy competition for F1, and precious F1 resources, like big paycheck under performing possibly washed-up but can’t admit it, or win races, F1 talent. Mr. Pollock’s intentions are transparent to say the least and demeaning to the U.S. fan base. But that’s just my opinion . . . I may be wrong. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois Dear J.N.,  We believe Pollock is suggesting CART drop Europe for the time being because CART can't afford to keep losing money on self-promoted or subsidized races.  He's probably thinking CART needs to retreat back to North America and regroup, before making another assault into the shark infested waters of Europe and Asia in better financial shape and with some manufacturers in their back pocket.  Mark C.  7/25/03 -  Craig Pollock, rumored to be involved with CART's rumored buyout, says the series needs a major overhaul - 1) A new name, American Grand prix Series, 2) Standing starts, 3) Single-lap qualifying, 4) a reduced schedule to just 14 races, all in North America and one in Australia.  He does not see Europe or Asia in the cards. 5) CART should be an official feeder series to F1.  We here at AR1 are of the opinion that CART needs to completely reinvent itself to completely separate it from the IRL.  The creation of the IRL and the split of the sport in two has killed the sport of Indy Car racing in the USA.  NASCAR now monopolizes everything in this country because the split has crippled open wheel racing, driving a stake right through its heart, which will likely prove to be fatal.  Open wheel racing's best chance for success in the USA, and for CART, is to reinvent itself as something new, something refreshing, but most importantly, something special, and something elite....and that is to be as much like F1 as possible.  Open wheel racing has always succeeded in America when it was viewed as something special, cars that represented state-of-the-art creations from America's best and brightest.  When it tried to deviate from that market niche, and it tried to tread in stock car racing territory as a dumbed-down el-cheapo form of motorsports, it represented the beginning of the end.  As we wrote, CART, like the Phoenix, is about to rise from the ashes.  If and when it does, it will need to be something that really catches the fans attention.

7/25/03

Nothing minor league about CART   This Vancouver The Province article says, For a supposed 'minor league' circuit, the CART Champ Car World Series is packing the fans in at its Vancouver event and other races across the continent. Maybe Vancouver, at a time when losing both the NBA and the PGA Tour still smarts, and with the Winter Olympics still seven years away, is simply keen to cling to anything with a "big league" label. In that case, the next big question should be whether or not the CART Champ Car World Series still fits that billing. When it comes to entertaining racing and strong personalities, it's hard to argue Champ Car -- even after much-publicized losses of high-profile drivers to the Indy Racing League -- is anything but big league. Unfortunately, when it comes to sports status in the new millennium, the bottom line is the bottom line and Champ Cars appear to be heading south faster than Paul Tracy down the Quebec Street straightaway. The article then goes on to discuss everything wrong with CART but, then ends with - In the end, however, comparisons between CART and other racing series may be meaningless. For Vancouver race fans the concept of "big league," much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

7/25/03

China launches race team with eye toward F1  A Chinese racing team that hopes to compete on the Formula One circuit has been launched, state press reported Friday. The Shangsai FRD Grandtour Tire team aims to become China's first ever to join the lucrative Formula One event and plans to encourage Chinese drivers to get race starts, the China Daily said. They would be well advised to try CART first, because to compete in F1 would be next to impossible for a start-up team that has no motorsports history.  “The team's start-up marks the first step in our efforts to more closely link Chinese racing sports to the international racing community behind F1", said Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of Shanghai International Circuit Co (SIC). SIC, set up last year to oversee the construction of a Formula One circuit in Shanghai, has teamed up with Guangdong-based Formula Racing Development Ltd (FRD) and Singapore-based Grandtour Tire to jointly operate the racing team. The three companies signed an agreement on Thursday, the newspaper said. Grandtour Tire will provide nine million dollars in sponsorship over the next three years, according to Peter Wu, chairman of the company's China division. SIC will be responsible for marketing the team and FRD, an established auto-racing team, will cultivate promising Chinese drivers. The aim is to develop the technology and capability to compete "in the coming years" with the likes of Ferrari and Williams.

7/25/03

Drivers favor standing starts, one-lap qualifying   According to this Vancouver Sun article, and as AR1 has been saying for years, CART needs standing starts and single-lap qualifying.  Formula One's move to one-lap qualifying from the one-hour, 12-lap window used previously is being watched closely by CART. The switch has helped shake up starting grids at F1 and stopped some of the whining from drivers who felt cars on warm-up or cool-down laps had spoiled their fliers. Observers speculate CART might adopt it too, along with F1-style standing starts, to bring the two series closer together. "I'm all for it," said series leader Paul Tracy of Toronto. "It's no problem with me. We did single-car qualifying in Brands Hatch (England). I qualified on the pole, so whatever they want to bring on is good for me." Spain's Oriol Servia likes the idea, too. He complained about blocking during qualifying at Toronto two weeks ago. "Well, it would definitely solve the problems because then, you know, it's just yourself and the racetrack," he said. "We did it in Brands Hatch and I thought it was a great show for the fans and for the rest of us because you actually get to see the other guys qualifying. I think it adds a little bit of emotion to the whole process."

7/25/03

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7/25/03
Industry News

A poor country?  Bentley doing surprisingly well in China   Luxury carmaker Bentley said yesterday that it sold 32 models in China in the first half of this year, including one that cost 11.28 million Yuan ($1.36 million), complete with flat-screen television, stereo and DVD player.   The British manufacturer, which sells only handmade cars, entered the Chinese market last year, with showrooms and repair centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.  It sold 50 units last year, with prices ranging from two million to more than 10 million Yuan, ranking first among Bentley sales in Asia.   "Our target for this year is 60 and that is conservative," said a spokesman for the Shanghai showroom.   "We sold 32 in the first half of this year, mostly to the heads of private businesses aged between 35 and 55, from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The most expensive was the Mulliner 728 for 11.28 million Yuan. It is longer than the normal Bentley.  This comes with an interior that you can turn into a private cinema, with a 22-inch flat screen color television, 360-degree stereo sound and DVD player.   Whatever you can imagine, we have in this car," he said.   Asked who bought this top-of-the-line model, he declined to say.  "That is a commercial secret. Our clients do not want the public to know who they are."  The spokesman said maintenance costs for a Bentley were similar to those of a Mercedes Benz and BMW, the choice of most rich Chinese, at several thousand Yuan per 10,000 kilometers.  But repairs were more expensive because the parts and components were handmade, he said.   The average Shanghai citizen earns about 1,500 Yuan ($181) a month which means he would have to work for 618 years before he could buy the Mulliner.

7/24/03

Cosworth Chevy to debut Sunday   Following the Indy Racing League's approval of the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 on July 19, driver Sam Hornish Jr. and Pennzoil Panther Racing, the leading Chevrolet team in the entrant points standings, will test the new powerplant in Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. In accordance with the guidelines announced by Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL, the second highest Chevrolet team in the entrant points standings at the conclusion of the Michigan race will test the Gen IV engine in the Emerson Indy 250 on Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. The Panther Racing team will revert to the previous Gen III version at GIR. "The Firestone Indy 400 will be the first test of the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 under actual race conditions," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL program manager. "This program has come together very quickly, and the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 is still in the early stages of development. While we have great confidence in the engine and we look forward to a performance improvement in the future, we will be in a testing mode at MIS. We have realistic expectations about the first race with a brand-new design. Our primary goals are to accumulate racing miles and to gain experience with the new engine package. If the Panther Racing entry performs well and produces a good result, that would be a bonus. "The Gen IV engine has less than 1,000 miles of track testing to date, so we are still learning about its performance and durability," Negri continued. "The IRL's decision to allow us to test the engine at two tracks will give us an opportunity to work through any reliability issues before converting all of the Chevrolet teams to Gen IV engines for the race at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 17. "The 2-mile Michigan oval is one of the most punishing tracks on the IRL circuit in terms of the engine's duty cycle," Negri noted. "While we can simulate the loads in a dyno cell, there is no substitute for running an engine flat-out on a high-banked oval. The test at MIS will give us the real-world experience that we need to continue the engine's development."

7/24/03

CART stock analysis   A reader writes, I couldn't help but notice "Shares are under heavy accumulation by financial institutions" (see related article).  Institutional purchases don't happen on this kind of stock unless something is going on. Like profit taking. There was a magic number that triggered the purchases by institutional investors where they could profit from future sales or during the privatization buy back. Wednesday was a huge trading for CART stock. So somewhere on the street an estimated price for the privatization is floating around, that is somewhere near or above $2.36 and the less confident are selling while the confident are buying.  Strictly an opinion. Niles Anders  Dear Niles, We rumored the August 7th date for the announcement of a bid and a plan to take CART private and secure its future (see Rumors page).  We grilled our source twice to ensure ourselves that there was some merit to their information.  Because we do not yet know if anything is going to really happen on August 7th, it remains a rumor.  We have no way of knowing if the rumor is true (yet), but there are an awful lot of signs that point to something about to happen soon. Your news may be another sign.  If the rumored August 7th announcement turns out to be false, or if it is delayed, it could be curtains for CART because once a bid is made, the SEC has strict rules as to how the shareholders have to be notified of the bid, and the shareholder voting process can take a month or more.  That puts CART into September, and budgets from most sponsors are completed in August, September, at the very latest. This announcement, if there is one, is cutting it dangerously close.  Mark C.

7/24/03

What was the Nashville TV Rating?   UPDATE We finally were able to get the IRL rating, it was a 0.3 on ESPN2, down 40% in one year from last year's race, also broadcast on ESPN2.  So much for the claims by the IRL principals that the series is growing (See TV ratings trend below).  One has to wonder what the motorsports marketing folks at Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Marlboro, 7-11, Pioneer, Miller, Delphi, Pennzoil, etc. are thinking.  The spilt in Indy Car racing has caused it to fade into oblivion, and even the once great Indy 500 no longer gets even the average rating a NASCAR race gets, including those NASCAR races on cable TV.  7/24/03 - Dear AutoRacing1.com, I saw the rating for last weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup race, but I have not seen a rating for the IRL race from Nashville on ESPN2.  What gives?  Steve South, San Antonio, Texas.  Dear Steve, We only have access to the top 20 sports rated programs on network TV from Nielsen Media Research, and for the Top 20 rated cable shows.  The IRL race did not make the top 20 on either list, unless they overlooked the IRL race.  The 20th rated show had a 0.1/0 share rating in 138,000 households.  We will try to find out what the rating was, but we don't expect it to be very high since it was on ESPN2.  Mark C.

IRL TV Ratings Trend

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%)

Kansas (ABC) 1.2 (Down 7.7%)

Nashville (ESPN2) 0.3 (Down 40%)

7/24/03

Is Gordon the hometown favorite at Pocono?  Despite the fact that four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon was born in California and planted his racing roots in Indiana, it is Pennsylvania that boasts more Gordon fans than any other state. As of February, the state that hosts this weekend's event at Pocono Raceway holds the most memberships to the Jeff Gordon Fan Club (JGFC). Gordon, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, acknowledges this by hosting a fan club event each year near the Long Pond track. Gordon shows his appreciation to these dedicated Keystone State fans by spending a few hours with them signing autographs, posing for photographs and answering questions.   "It is truly an honor for me to meet race fans, especially these die-hard fans in Pennsylvania," Gordon said. "The fans out here not only enjoy NASCAR Winston Cup racing, but you can find a lot of them at the local short tracks on a Saturday night. Some of my most exciting racing memories are right here in Pennsylvania. The first year I raced Sprint cars (1985), I had a lot of fun racing Doug Wolfgang at Tri-City Speedway. We also had a lot of fun racing at places like Selinsgrove and Silver Springs Speedway in the late 80's.  Then when I started racing stock cars in the Busch Series, we'd race at Nazareth (where his best finish was a fifth in two starts). Now, of course, we come here a couple times a year to Pocono where this DuPont team has had a lot of success. No matter which series I've raced in, the fans have always been nothing but supportive. They're some of the greatest race fans in the world.  When I first started racing, I tried to learn as much as I could from guys like Steve Kinser and Rick Mears," Gordon said. "To see young people using me as an example now only makes my position as a role model more important. It's hard to explain how good it makes you feel when you see people wearing shirts in support of your team. Seeing that makes what you're doing that much more important because you're not only doing it for your team but for your fans." Gordon returns to Pocono for the Pennsylvania 500 with three wins (1996, 1997 and 1998), two poles (1996 and 1998), 10 top-fives and with 15 top-10's in 21 starts (71 percent). 

7/24/03

CART stock continues to plummet   2nd UPDATE In NYSE trading today MPH closed at $1.85 DOWN $0.32 p/shr. or 14.75% on Volume of 172,300 shares.
$1.29 Bid - $2.25 Asked on close.
Session High/Low: $2.17/$1.85 (a new 52 week Low)
Dow Jones Down 81.73 or 0.89% on Volume of 1.9B shares.
NASDAQ Down 17.76 or 1.03%
S&P 500 Down 7.01 or 0.71%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com   7/24/03 - It's now down $0.27 p/shr. on volume of 117,600.  MPH has traded as low as $1.90 per share.....and headed downward toward a penny stock. 7/24/03 - In NYSE trading as of 10:20AM today, MPH is DOWN $0.10 p/shr. or 4.16% on Volume of 44,500 shares. This fall in stock price must be making potential buyers giddy with the thought they can take the company private for less money.  However, all the bad news about CART is sending potential sponsors scurrying for the doors, meaning by the time they buy it, the product's image will be so damaged it will cost them more to repair that damage, or it will be beyond repair, and they will have wasted their money.  As we said, it's now or never for CART.  Any further delay in announcing a buyer, if there is one, could mean curtains.  Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago www.andersongroupe.com

7/24/03

Walker Racing to hold press conference   Walker Racing will hold a press conference this Friday at 1:00 PM PST in Vancouver to formally announce a significant collaborative association with Canadian driver Michael Valiante.  There was a press release announcing this already.  This press conference will provide more details.

7/24/03

Porsche rules out F1, delays return to racing    Porsche has decided to delay its planned return to motor racing for financial reasons, chairman Wendelin Wiedeking said in an interview published in today's Financial Times Deutschland. "We've set back this step for cost reasons," Wiedeking told the newspaper while it Italy. The group's development division had already drawn up concrete plans for a prototype that could have started racing next year. "We would have entered an attractive racing series (read that ALMS?) and other makers would have followed us," Wiedeking said. He nevertheless ruled out participating in the prestigious Formula One series.

7/24/03

Unser Grand Marshal for Michigan race    Al Unser had many special moments during his 33-year driving career. Additionally, he’s one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. One of those special moments occurred in September of 1974 at Michigan International Speedway. That day, Unser was a part of history as he was the last driver to win on Firestone tires before its initial exit from racing at the end of the 1974 season and Unser’s only open-wheel win at MIS. Since its return to open-wheel racing in 1995, Firestone has won every open-wheel race at MIS. Firestone is also the only tire to compete in all 80 IRL IndyCar Series races since the series’ inception in 1995. Unser will return to the site of the historical win this weekend, as he will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Firestone Indy 400 on July 27 at MIS. Phil Pacsi, Executive Director of Firestone Brand Marketing, will serve as the Firestone Indy 400 Honorary Starter and drop the green flag to start the 400-mile race. “Since we are celebrating our 35th anniversary in 2003, it’s only appropriate that one of open wheel racing’s legendary drivers will give the command to start engines,” said MIS President Brett Shelton. “Al Unser has given MIS race fans so many great memories over the years, we’re excited that he could be a part of our July event weekend.”

7/24/03

Tommy Kendall on Wind Tunnel   This Friday, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain welcomes 4-time Trans-Am Champion and current CART Speed Channel broadcaster Tommy Kendall. T.K. will join Dave live from Vancouver where he'll be calling the CART action as he's done all season long. Send your e-mail questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com now or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL from 11:00pm ET - 12:00pm ET on Friday night to be a part of the live call-in portions of the show.

7/24/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Fisichella Eyes Sister Ferrari Seat
'No Progress' On Silverstone Future
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Minardi Slam F1 Internet Websites
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Wilson Targets Benchmark Webber
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Stewart Defends Wilson Firing

7/24/03

Bernie promises return to Spa in 2005, maybe sooner    Bernie Ecclestone has promised to take his Formula One circus back to the popular and demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit.  That's the insistence of Serge Kubla, economics minister for the southern French-speaking region of Wallonia where Belgium used to host the Grand Prix.  He said: 'Mr Ecclestone told me that he would do everything he can to bring back the grand prix to Spa-Francorchamps and even for next year.'   Ecclestone, the F1 impresario, cancelled Spa's F1 contract when it moved to accelerate a ban on tobacco advertising from 2005 to next month.   But Kubla reckons Bernie has now assured Belgium that he'll either substitute the date of another race or 'reach agreement with the teams to find a new date.'   'He assured me that he was 100 percent behind a return of the grand prix to Spa,' he continued.   'In my eyes, the worst thing that could happen now would be that the GP comes back in 2005 and not 2004.'  Belgian news agencies are also reporting that the country's Senate Commission for Social Affairs has voted 9-4 to approve the so-called 'Francorchamps bill'.   The bill would delay the tobacco advertising ban from next month to July 31 2005, in accordance with the European Union's directive.

7/24/03

EuroSpeedway 2nd most popular German track   EuroSpeedway Lausitz is the most popular German race track after the well known Nürburgring. That results from a survey by racing1.de, one of the most popular German motorsports portals. "Which German race track do you like most?" Within the "racing1.de trendcheck" from 4th July until 15th July 2003 this question has been answered by 1,067 users in total. With 20.99 % of all votes Germany's youngest race track could successfully stand up to Norisring (15,75%), Motopark Oschersleben (10.78%) and also Hockenheimring and Sachsenring (10.31% each). As expected Germany's 76 years old and most famous race track finished first with 31.87% of the votes. Marc-Thorsten Lenze, Director Media and Public Relations at EuroSpeedway Lausitz, is happy about the result: "We are satisfied that doing just our 3rd season we already could achieve such a good result. Especially we are glad that this fantastic reference was given to us by our main target group, the German motor sport fans. As a multi-functional racing facility we offer motor sports in a big mixture of oval and Grand Prix track racing to motor sport fans which can't be offered in this variety by any other race tracks." EuroSpeedway Lausitz, that just opened in August 2000, is the only circuit in Europe that includes a 2-miles-superspeedway (tri-oval).  As a oval race track EuroSpeedway Lausitz is the home of both the Champ Car World Series and the British Stock-Car-Series ASCAR, the European equivalent to the American NASCAR-Winston-Cup. V8STAR is going to be the first German touring car series that is competing two times in the oval this year. In season 2003 the European touring car series number one, DTM, chose the Lausitz race track as its only host in East Germany. The Superfund World Series by Nissan, that is after Formula One the second powerful series in Europe, had its debut in Germany on the Grand Prix race track. Thrilling motorcycle racing action is offered by the International German Motorcycle championship (IDM). With Porsche GTP series and Beru Top 10 popular sports has a home at EuroSpeedway Lausitz as well. The complete result of the survey "www.racing1.de Trendcheck": Question: "Which German race track do you like most?" Total Votes: 1067 (4th-15th July)
1st Nürburgring 340 votes (31,87%)
2nd EuroSpeedway Lausitz 224 votes (20,99%)
3rd Norisring 168 votes (15,75%)
4th Motopark Oschersleben 115 votes (10,78%)
5th Hockenheimring 110 votes (10,31%)
Tie Sachsenring 110 votes (10,31%)

7/24/03

CART's German 500 draws over 26.45 million viewers   Total TV audiences of the "German 500" were 26.45 million.  The number was actually higher, but we have yet to find the data for Mexico and Brazil, traditionally big TV markets for CART.  We are trying to track them down.
Germany 21.95 million viewers 5:27 hours on (RBB, ARD, ZDF, MDR 3, RTL, n-tv, DSF, Bayern 3, Hessen 3, EuroNews, NDR)
USA 1.63 million viewers 2:45 hours on (CBS, Speed Channel)
Pan-Europe 1.32 million viewers 0:53 hours on (Eurosport)
Canada 0.70 million viewers 7:40 hours on (RDS, TSN)
France 0.59 million viewers 22:06 hours on (AB Moteurs)
Australia 0.16 million viewers 1:49 hours on (Channel 10)
Japan 0.09 million viewers 1:58 hours on (G+)
Switzerland Unknown 0:48 hours (TSI2)
Mexico unknown
Brazil unknown

7/23/03

Fittipaldi to meet Brazilian soccer team   Motor racing and soccer have long been a staple of Brazil’s sporting pastime, producing great names over the years like Senna, Pele, Fittipaldi, and most recently the world’s finest footman, Ronaldo. Among the great figures in Brazilian motorsport, Emerson Fittipaldi made a name for himself through the years as a wheelman in some of the most demanding racing machines in the world. The former Formula One and CART champion still represents his native country as team owner for Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing in the Champ Car World Series, but tonight the racing legend will switch gears when he steps on the pitch and meets with members of Brazil’s Men’s National Team. In tonight’s pre-game festivities for the semifinals of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Fittipaldi will meet the Brazilian National soccer team before their battle with the U.S. National Team tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET in the monstrous Orange Bowl in Miami. The 1989 CART champion will be back in the Miami spotlight again September 26-28 with his Fittipaldi-Dingman Champ Car squad for the second annual Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com, Round 16 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Tickets for the Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com can be purchased at www.miamirace.com, or catch it on CBS Sports September 28th (check local listings for air times).

7/23/03
Industry News

Kodak to cut 6,000 jobs  Eastman Kodak Co. on Wednesday said it would cut up to 6,000 jobs this year, reflecting a need to cut costs at its flagging photographic film business, even as it reported a 60 percent decline in second-quarter profits.

7/23/03
Industry News

Snap-On woes continue  Southeastern Wisconsin got another dose of economic woe this week when Snap-on Inc. said it would close its Kenosha factory, putting up to 290 people out of work. Some will lose their jobs within a couple of months and the prospects for transferring to other Snap-on factories will be limited at best. The company, which has lopped off almost ten percent of its worldwide workforce in the past two years, will also close a plant at Mount Carmel, Ill., which will put another 270 workers there out of work.

7/23/03

CART stock tanks   In NYSE trading today MPH closed DOWN $0.40 p/shr. on massive Volume of 483,200 shares.  Volume Highlights:
The morning session lumbered along at normal for MPH volume per trade levels until 1:00PM.
01:00PM 9,700 traded
02:16PM 8,000 traded
02:50PM 27,900 traded
02:54PM 75,000 traded
03:00PM 100,000 traded
03:29PM 32,500 traded
03:35PM 91,600 traded
MPH Value Change DOWN 15.56% for the day.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

7/23/03

Mosley says Silverstone issues can be resolved   FIA President Max Mosley told AUTOSPORT that the sticking point is the amount of rent that the BRDC charges for the use of the circuit on British GP weekend. "My understanding is that they refused a specific proposal," said Mosley. "Jackie [Stewart, BRDC president] and Martin [Brundle, BRDC chairman] kept questioning how much money FOM received, but there's a certain price for a grand prix and we can't have every other grand prix running to one price and Britain running for less. What's been put to the BRDC is that they take a great deal less rent and do not monopolize facilities at the circuit. In return for that, Bernie and Octagon [now Brands Hatch Circuits] would finance the building and all the work. So is there anything holding the thing up? Everyone seems to be agreeing. This is a blinding deal from their [the BRDC's] point of view. It's open and shut. No rational person could argue against it." Mosley hinted that the money the BRDC has been charging for rent has been generous to say the least: "£5million is a lot for a disused airfield that has been given to you anyway."

7/23/03

Vancouver Fan Forum set   This coming Friday in Vancouver, the Science World Stage will host a Champ Car Fan Forum with Champ Car Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes, PK Racing team owner Craig Pollock, SPEED Channel commentator Derek Daly and Team Player’s Vice President of Operations Neil Micklewright.  The forum will run from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

7/23/03

Salles back in Coyne car   Gualter Salles (#19 Alpina Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to drive for Dale Coyne Racing in Vancouver after he missed the last race to run in a Brazil Touring Car championship race.

7/23/03

GP of Americas pageant   The Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com held its first heat of the Miss Grand Prix Americas Pageant at Club Radius in Boca Raton. Among the judges were CART Champ Car Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay and American Le Mans Series Driver Terry Borcheller along with his wife Tracy. The winners were:
Nanci Mazzella
Jessica Canizales
Tami Donaldson
Kristen Sheffield
Nina Silvestro
The 2003 Miss GPA Pageant is South Florida's ultimate sports model search, where beautiful contestants compete to represent the Grand Prix Americas. Heats will be held throughout South Florida in July, August and September and the finals will be held on Wednesday of race week during the Grand Prix Americas Fan Fest at Bayside Marketplace. All semi-finalists will be a part of the glamour and excitement of this world-famous event. In addition, the top five finalists will be a part of the opening ceremonies and join the winning drivers on the podium for the trophy presentation.

7/23/03

BMW engine ahead of schedule for 2004   Although the 2003 season still has five races left to run, BMW are already preparing for next year and have been doing so for some time now. Mario Theissen has confirmed that the new engine, the P84, should be on the test rig before the end of the month and will be tested in the car before the year is out. “Our new engine is on schedule. We started the development work of the P84 earlier because the engine has to deliver a different performance. We started to work on it at the end of 2002," Theissen explained. “Our plan is that of 2002. We intend to test the engine in the car for the first time before the end of the season." But, one thing Theissen is not too enthusiastic about is the proposal to switch back from the V10 to an eight cylinder engine in the future as the costs would skyrocket. "To switch to eight cylinder engines now would increase the costs drastically, since we not only have to develop the current engine, but we also have to push the research concerning the new engine,” he explained on the BMW website. “It's not enough to remove two cylinders. We would face lots of new problems."

7/23/03

Ticket sales down for Hungarian GP  Organizers of the Hungarian Grand Prix, scheduled for the 17th of August, have said sales are down 35% from this time last year when they saw 180,000 spectators come through the gates over the course of the three-day event.

7/23/03

BRDC rejects Bernie's demands, is Silverstone dead?  The BRDC, Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management, and members of the Government's Department of Trade and Industry, and the East Midlands Development Agency met yesterday to discuss the future of the Silverstone circuit. During the meeting a deal was put forward to the BRDC, but this was rejected by the organization. A statement put out by FOM said, "A proposal was put forward to secure the British Grand Prix until the end of 2015. The proposal did not involve the BRDC raising money or taking any financial risk. Unfortunately no progress was made with the BRDC representatives."  Grandprix.com  The news that the British Racing Drivers' Club has rejected a deal put to it by all parties involved in the Silverstone negotiations is disastrous news for the short-term future of the British Grand Prix. It is not altogether surprising given that the deal proposed was agreed by all parties involved except the BRDC at an informal meeting on Sunday at Silverstone. Our sources say this meeting was attended by representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry, the regional development agency, Formula One Management and Octagon and that a solution to the problem was agreed which would allow the race to continue without the BRDC having to borrow money to fund the rebuilding work necessary. The problem, it seems, was that the BRDC had to accept a lower rent and the club was not willing to do that. The BRDC now has 30 days to ensure that the race goes ahead next year without problems. If not (and it is very unlikely to happen) Britain may be left off the World Championship calendar in 2004. There is no doubt that the way this has been done has not pleased the BRDC but one has to ask why this route was adopted rather than allowing for open negotiations between all parties. The only obvious conclusion is that the other parties did not think that the BRDC had anything valid to contribute to finding a solution and that raises other questions about why this would be the case. If the race is lost it is expected that there will be ructions within the BRDC.  Grandprix.com

7/23/03

What about other TV numbers?   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, How much attention does CART (and its sponsors) pay to the ratings on Fox Sports Espanol? It seems to me that these numbers should be included in rating totals. I speak very little Spanish, but I have watched two races this season (Brands Hatch live, and Cleveland live) on Fox Sports Espanol. I also plan to watch Road America on the same channel. I just turn down the sound and turn on CART's internet audio. It seems that with CART's targeted marketing at the Hispanic community, they would want to include ALL viewers in their ratings reporting. Another thing that I have noticed on Fox Sports Espanol is that Tecate, Quaker State, Ford, and other sponsors buy a lot more commercial time. Tim Hubbel, Turlock, CA   Dear Tim, certainly you raise a good point.  When CART had a good international TV package through ESPN International, they used to claim 1 billion viewers worldwide per year.  However, they never commissioned an independent study to verify those claims with real data.  It's very hard to compile from all the countries.  F1 claims 2.5 billion worldwide per year.  The bottom line is that the Nielsen ratings are only a partial picture of the total viewers.  Mark C.

7/23/03

Two millionth Australia CART fan to collect prize    When Nives Ceccato from Mermaid Waters, Australia walked through the turnstiles in Surfers Paradise, she became the series’ two millionth fan to attend a Champ Car event last season, winning a trip for two to a round of her choice on the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule. "I was stoked....actually in shock when informed of the prize. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe this had happened to me,” Ceccato said. With 18 other Champ Car races to choose from on the 2003 schedule, Ceccato had the difficult decision of picking from a number of outstanding events. Because of CART’s diversity and international appeal, Ceccato had the unique opportunity to select from street circuits, road courses, ovals or superspeedways, in exotic race markets such as Montreal, Mexico City, Miami and London. Ultimately, Ceccato and her husband Lucciano selected this weekend’s Molson Indy Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada as their prize and will make the once in a lifetime journey across the globe to see their very first Molson Indy event. The couple will watch the Vancouver race from the Champ Car Suite, go on two Fast Lap pace car rides, as well as stay at the official hotel of the event. “I have attended every Lexmark Indy 300 since the first year in 1991,” Ceccato said. “My family loves it and never misses it. Now we get to see one overseas and we can’t wait.” CART Champ Car President and CEO Christopher R. Pook said he was delighted to provide the opportunity for a Gold Coast family who has supported Champ Car racing for so long with a trip of a lifetime to an international race. “It is a testament to the natural splendor and the great racing that we have in Vancouver that our two millionth fan from a year ago chose to attend the Molson Indy Vancouver when given a choice of any of our events to attend this year,” Pook said. "As excited as we are about reaching an attendance milestone like this, we are equally excited to provide a trip like this for a lucky fan.” Tickets for the October 26th Lexmark Indy 300 in Australia are on sale at www.ticketek.com, and this weekend’s Molson Indy Vancouver will air Sunday on SPEED Channel starting with pre-race coverage at 9:00 p.m. ET

7/23/03

Spencer responds to Andretti's comments  Andretti, making his first start for Haas CNC Racing, was involved in a crash on the eighth lap of the New England race with Jimmy Spencer. The Pontiac sustained severe damage to the rear and left side. "It drives me nuts to think that another guy would do that. He hit me three or four times down here [in Turn 3 and 4] and I thought, 'well, he just got in deep.' I made a mistake trying to get around Dale Jarrett and got sideways, so he got a run on me. But I was still on the outside of him. When we went down into Turn 1, he hit me once and then a second time and got me all the way around. The last time he hit me, it was like it was to get me out of the way. It's really disappointing. He's got a full-time job. He's not making life any easier for me, I'll tell you that. I'm really, really disappointed for the team, disappointed for me, disappointed on the day. We had a good car and we got taken out for no reason. It's not right. When you're on the outside, you're the helpless guy, and it's going to happen more today. The way I feel, I think it was real intentional." Spencer's retort: "I think John is just reaching for straws. It was just a racing deal. He passed me earlier in the race and he slipped going up into the corner and I got back underneath him and we went down the back straightaway and I passed him. Then when we went up into turns one and two my car just got a little free on me, and he kept pinching me down and pinching me down. My thought was it was just a racing thing, but on the other side of it, I feel like John should have used a little more common sense. He should have said, 'This is my first ride in this car and I have to get a good feel for it' and he didn't. Instead, he was all aggressive and kept pinching me down and I had no alternative left. I just got a little free and we bumped and he ended up spinning out. I didn't mean anything by it. But desperate people do desperate things I guess. We haven't talked. When he was fixing the car after the race they threw some stuff on my hauler for my driver and crew to get rid of. That was very unprofessional. It's not the crew members that cause these problems. It is usually the drivers, so the drivers should discuss this afterwards and he was nowhere around to discuss this with."

7/23/03

Craven & Nemechek in Akron for Soap Box Derby  Ricky Craven (No. 32 Tide Pontiac) and Joe Nemechek (No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet) are scheduled to be on hand Saturday in Akron, Ohio as NASCAR ambassadors for the 66th All-American Soap Box Derby, an official NASCAR youth initiative. Craven, a former Soap Box racer, attended the event last year and raced in a gravity-powered car at the famed 989-foot Derby Downs track. The two drivers are scheduled to face each other in an exhibition race on Saturday. Over 400 youngsters in three divisions who hail from 42 states, Washington, D.C., Germany, Japan and New Zealand will compete for more than $50,000 in scholarship awards.

7/23/03

Most bonus money ever at stake  A victory at Pocono by Matt Kenseth would not only add to his lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, but would add handsomely to his pocket as well. Kenseth has the only opportunity to take home the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus, which now stands at a record $200,000. The former mark was established by Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) in 2000 when he collected $190,000 with his win at Indianapolis. The last driver to claim the bonus was Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) following his win at Darlington in March 2002, 50 races ago.

7/23/03

700th start for Rudd  Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) has started a NASCAR Winston Cup-record 699 consecutive races, and has his sights set on No. 700 at Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500. The start at Pocono Raceway would be Rudd’s 49th at the track, more than any other NASCAR Winston Cup driver. The highlight of the 49 starts came in the Pocono 500 of June 2001 when he recorded his lone victory at the 2.5-mile track. During a streak that has entered its 22nd season, Rudd has registered 23 NASCAR Winston Cup wins, 28 Bud Poles, 186 top-five finishes and 322 top-10 efforts. He has been ranked in the NASCAR Top 10 at season’s end a total of 18 times during the streak, with a top finish of second coming in the 1991 season. He has earned over $30 million in winnings and was voted one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers during that span. Plenty to be proud of, plenty to relish. But one aspect of his streak – quality finishes – stands out most for Rudd, a 46-year-old native of Chesapeake, Va. “I guess something I’m a little prouder of – and I’m not sure of the average – but in nearly 50% of those races (actually 46% during the streak – 322 of 358), we finished in the top 10,” Rudd said. “So it is not just being there, it is kind of the quality of the finishes you got when you were there. I get asked a lot how the sport has changed,” he said. “I’ve been around since 1975, and I’m coming close to 700 starts. But the first seven, eight years of my career were spent working hard trying to get my foot in the door. That was the hard part. There were a lot of successful guys and very talented drivers that just never made it. Now you’ve got 43 cars on any given weekend that if everything gets tuned up just right any of those 43 could win. There are favorites, but it’s not impossible for one of these guys to win that you’re not expecting to because of the quality of the teams and the quality of the drivers. There’s a lot more depth of competition than there used to be.”

7/23/03

New England 300 TV Rating up  3%  Sunday’s New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway had a final rating of 4.7 on TNT. Over 4 million households tuned in, up 3% from last year’s broadcast. The race also produced the largest audience for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on cable this season and was the weekend’s most-watched sporting event on cable.

7/23/03

What does it all mean?    A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, In light of CART'S poor financial guidance for 2003 yesterday, what do you make of the large number of shares traded yesterday and the price jumping up $.21? I would have thought the bottom would have fallen out as a result of yesterday's news. Rick Flaute, Dayton, Ohio Dear Rick, The group who are going to bid on CART are fully aware of the financial situation with CART.  The revised guidance likely caused some of the remaining investors to sell, while those looking to buy the company and take it private probably decided to grab even more shares at today's low price.  The group will have to offer at least $3 per share (we think) to buy the company, so every share they can buy for less than that is money saved.  Mark C.

7/23/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Bernie's Deadline Is 'Unrealistic'
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Minardi Sign Bruni As Friday Tester
Pizzonia Turns Down Testing Role
Fisichella Has Plenty Of Options
Ralf Refuses To Beat Himself Up
McLaren Won't Risk Racing MP4-18
Silverstone Summoned To World Council?
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7/23/03

A scathing attack on the IRL?    While not directly saying negative things about the IRL, this article by Gordon Kirby is an absolutely scathing attack on the IRL, its basic premise, indeed its fundamental flaws. One interesting excerpt, Tim Coffeen makes the point that road racing is a different spectacle than oval racing, and that many oval fans don’t appreciate the physical requirements of road racing. “Road racing will never be like oval racing where you go around the track side-by-side all day long,” Coffeen observed. “It’s a different art form. Another thing many people don’t realize about road racing is how physical it is, how physically demanding it is on the drivers. You don’t see any fat guys in road racing.”....which is really more of a refection on NASCAR, where overweight drivers are more common.

7/23/03

Did you know?    A brain child of former CART Champ Car President and CEO, John Frasco, the Molson Indy Vancouver was established in 1989 with the collective assistance from the City of Vancouver, Concord Pacific Place, Molson Breweries, B.C. Pavilion Corporation and Tourism Vancouver. The original course was built around B.C. Place Stadium on the former Expo '86 lands on the north side of False Creek in downtown Vancouver. The first CART race event was held on Labor Day Weekend in 1990…Molson Breweries purchased the race from John Frasco in 1995 and has executed the event every year since under the management of their sports and entertainment division, now known as Molson Sports & Entertainment…Over the years, the continued development of the False Creek lands on the Concord Pacific Place site has resulted in numerous changes to the race track and event site. In 1997, the race announced that a major change to the race track route would take place prior to the 1998 event. Residential development of the False Creek area had boomed and the land required for grandstands and event amenities had become a sea of high end condominiums and a beautiful waterfront community…From the 1998 race through to 2004, the race track has and will run around the end of False Creek utilizing portions of downtown streets including Pacific Boulevard, Abbott Street, Expo Boulevard, Quebec Street and the Science World parking lot in Creekside Park. In addition, the facility is made up of lands owned and controlled by Concord Pacific Place, the Plaza of Nations, GM Place, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board, Translink and Science World. The annual race attracts over 160,000 people during its three event days.

7/23/03

Andretti Foundation to host "Breakfast with the Fans" program    The Michael Andretti Foundation is introducing “Breakfast with the Fans,” an opportunity for fans to be a VIP for the morning and get an inside look at the activities that take place at Indy Racing League IndyCar Series events. This thrilling opportunity is being offered to fans at three different locations: in Nazareth, Pa., on Aug. 22, Fontana, Calif., on Sept. 19 and Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 10. The activities will be held on Friday mornings in all locations with times varying from track to track. All participants will be issued a special VIP pass for that morning, which will get them access into the tour areas. Only those who purchase the appropriate tickets/credentials from the speedways will be permitted to stay past the conclusion of the tour. Cost for each event is $ 75 per person and space is limited to 60 fans in each market on a first-come, first-served basis. As part of the “Breakfast with the Fans” program, the participants will be able to start the day off with a full-service breakfast served at the Team 7-Eleven hospitality area by the Andretti Green Racing chefs. Then, the activities will continue with a “question & answer” session with AGR owner Michael Andretti, followed by an autograph for each guest. Guests will then be able to sit back and relax while they get the inside information on both the track and the IndyCar Series, including an up close look at an AGR team car. All proceeds from the fundraisers will be donated to the Michael Andretti Foundation. Fans can secure a spot at the events by sending an e-mail to: foundation@andretti.com. For additional information, fans should contact the office at 1-800-324-1321. Checks must be made out to: The Michael Andretti Foundation. Specific schedules & information pertaining to each event will be communicated with the participants closer to the event date. Please note that all inclusions are subject to change based on event schedule changes made by the speedway or the IRL.

7/23/03

Vancouver track talk    The 12-turn temporary street course in downtown Vancouver is centered around the scenic False Creek waterway. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson estimates top speeds of 183 mph down the long back straight, and minimum cornering speeds of 55 mph. Drivers will shift 20 times per lap throughout the course of the 100-lap race, pulling a maximum G force load of 2.4. The complex track provides many challenges as Watson notes: “Curbing can be a problem here, and the car needs to be solid through the right-hander onto the back straight. The circuit is bumpy so shocks are important. Traffic during qualifying can be an issue so you need to get up to speed quickly. After four races in a row where rain has threatened the show, I hope the weather will be boring and remain dry!”   Fernández Racing

7/23/03
Industry News

Toyota will push on in China  Senior executives from Japan's top carmaker Toyota say tight regulations will not slow its drive into China's booming market, although they hope for some relaxation of the rules. "There is a view that this way of thinking could contradict international rules as China is in the WTO," Toyota president Fujio Cho said yesterday when asked about the reported Chinese policy of giving a bigger market share to Chinese carmakers. "If it is true ... we have to develop new strategies" to deal with Beijing's plan, he said. However, he did not know about a reported "draft" of China's new car policy. China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001. Mr. Cho said: "There is no question we will combine all our resources [to expand Toyota's business in China]." Toyota vice president Yoshio Ishizaka said Beijing was banning joint ventures between Chinese and foreign companies from selling imported cars through their sales channels. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Tokyo

7/23/03

Chevy, Cosworth, IRL and CART A reader writes, Dear AR1, One interesting side effect of the Cosworth/Chevy IRL engine deal... if Ford's biggest rival, GM, can take a Cosworth engine and badge it as a Chevy, then it really shows the potential for a spec engine, badged by different companies, in CART. And Cosworth has shown that they can handle the load. They're handling the entire field in CART, and will carry Chevy's portion of the IRL field, along with their normal F1, BTCC, WRC, & other commitments. David Laufer  Dear David, You are absolutely correct.  Our proposal for CART to have Cosworth supply the entire CART field with spec V10 or V8 Turbo engines was based on 1) They have proven they have the capacity to do it and do it well, 2) The badging concept is the fairest, most economical way to go racing for all involved.  In fact, CART should work with Cosworth to do it ASAP, even 2004.  For the first year, the Ford name can be on, say, 1/3 of the engines, and the other 2/3 badged by say, two other car companies that might want to buy into a major racing series.  I don't see them landing more than three companies this late in the game for 2004, but the beauty of this concept is that any company can come onboard even in the 11th hour because the engines are ready.  There really is no reason to wait on this concept.  It will sell itself once car manufacturers hear about the option and realize the economics of the concept.  In year #2 and year #3 more companies will see how well it is working and scramble to get in before the maximum is met.  We proposed a maximum of five companies, each taking three two-car teams, for a total of six cars per manufacturer and 30 maximum cars on the starting grid.  A return to a 30-car grid should be CART's goal.  The more cars on the grid the more fans in the grandstands and the more people watching on TV because each driver has his/her fan following.  3) The badging concept immediately enables a company like Chevy, Cadillac,  Hyundai, etc, who don't have the wherewithal to build race engines at that level, to come into the series in a big way, winning races the very first year, and instead of wasting untold sums of money trying to build an engine to be competitive over a period of 3 to 5 years, can instead invest that money in their "factory" teams, in series advertising, in marketing, in special fan promotions, etc., all the important areas that grow the series/sport.  In our mind, and in many people in the CART paddock that we have bounced this concept off of, this is a concept in racing whose time has come.  For CART to continue with just the Ford name in 2004 serves no purpose whatsoever.  It's not like Ford is pumping huge amounts of money into the series to help CART grow.  Just the opposite, they have been largely invisible, and even their hospitality tent has disappeared from the CART paddock.  If we were running CART, we would contact every single car manufacturer in the world immediately and offer the badging concept to them for 2004.  We're willing to bet they would get more takers than just Ford, and that's a good thing for all the obvious reasons.  Mark C.

7/23/03

What is CART's Business Plan?    A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You’ve done an excellent job of evaluating CART’s issues and proposing solutions. Given CART’s pace of spending and the need for a cash infusion from the buying group as it goes private, I’m wondering about their business plan. No one will buy CART without a business plan that will show how they plan to make it profitable in a relatively short period… say within two years. How do you see the business plan coming together in terms of revenues versus spending? Perhaps a new article is in order. The business plan needs to address all sources of revenues as well as anticipated operating expenses and capital expenses (if any). Questions: 1) How much longer before teams will have the necessary sponsors to operate independently of CART funding?, 2) What big companies could potentially replace the tobacco companies, particularly Players in this case?, 3) Can CART raise sanction fees to track operators without losing them to the IRL? 4) How much is needed from the primary series sponsor (nee PPG and FedEx) and perhaps associate series sponsors to support the series? 5) What will it take in terms of advertising dollars per race to cover the costs of producing CART races for TV? 6) Can CART or the teams plan for and expect any financial help from the eventual return of competing engine manufacturers? Maury Williams, Cincinnati OH  Dear Maury, Clearly the new team that is going to take CART private already have a plan in place.  To answer your questions directly, 1) The new CART TV package and the trust in the new CART owners will help the teams land sponsorship deals.  2004 will be soft, but by 2005 things should look a lot better if the economy picks up; 2) We have heard and it is rumored that Canadian Labatts Beer could possibly replace Player's, but we're not certain.  3) Not at this time, and not before 2006 as we see it.  4) NASCAR is rumored to be getting $80 million per year from Nextel.  Using a ratio of TV ratings, where CART's are about 1/5 of NASCAR's ratings, you can do the math and see a sponsor should pay about $16 million per year to CART to be the series sponsor. A lot will depend on who the new owners of CART are.  If Bernie Ecclestone is involved and everyone knows it, then CART is golden.  If he's not involved, CART won't command anywhere near that amount. 5) As we understand it, about $1 million per race, in round numbers.  6) Absolutely. And if CART doesn't get more manufacturers involved in the series in 2004, it's chances of survival will be greatly diminished.  The engine badging concept allows this to happen.  CART has the solution staring them in the face, but will they use it only they know.  Mark C.

7/23/03

Joel Camathias reflects on his CART experience   Joel Camathias reflects on his recent experience driving for Dale Coyne and his desire to remain in the Champ Car series on his website.

7/23/03

CART stock watch In NYSE trading Tuesday MPH closed at $2.57 UP $0.21 p/shr. on Volume of 179,000 shares.
Session High: $2.58. Session Low: $2.36
52 Week High: $8.65. 52 Week Low: $2.22
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

7/22/03

HBO to air Zanardi special tonight The inspirational story of Alex Zanardi’s emotional return to the cockpit of a 750hp CART Champ Car thrilled racing fans across the globe when he turned laps around the two-mile EuroSpeedway Lausitz at an average speed of 194 mph. Now for fans that want to relive the moment as well as view much of the behind-the-scenes action of the landmark event, HBO’s sports magazine show, Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel will air a segment on Zanardi and his remarkable story in tonight’s edition of the award-winning show, which debuts at 10:00 p.m. ET on HBO. A two-time former CART Champ Car title winner, Zanardi turned 13 laps in a specially-prepared hand-control race car in his first time in a Champ Car since his horrific 2001 accident that resulted in the traumatic amputation of his lower legs. Television’s most honored sports magazine show visited EuroSpeedway in May to capture the moments leading up the exhibition laps and caught Zanardi in private moments before and after his run. Gumbel spoke not only with Zanardi, but also fellow Champ Car drivers Jimmy Vasser and Alex Tagliani along with CART Champ Car physicians Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Steve Olvey, who helped save Zanardi’s life in the moments after the accident. Gumbel and the Real Sports production team also traveled back to Zanardi’s home in Monte Carlo last month to further document the amazing tale of the popular Italian driver. The show will re-air nearly 60 times in the next month across all of HBO’s family of cable networks.

7/22/03

CART issues revised financial guidance for 2003  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) (NYSE:MPH) today updated its financial guidance for 2003 and the outlook for 2004 and it's all bad news!!!
2003 Financial Guidance The company is updating its financial guidance for 2003 following the conclusion of the first half of its race season. With ten of its scheduled nineteen races in the record books, four of six self-promoted events and six of its seven scheduled network races for the 2003 season completed, the company has revised its expectations based on the trends seen in several key areas.
Sanction Fees and Self-Promoted Races The company currently expects to receive sanction fees of $24.0 to $25.0 million, down from its previous expectation of $25.0 to $26.0 million. The reduction is due to a reduced outlook for revenue sharing at its races where the sanction fee is determined by the commercial success of the race, based on race experience so far this year. We have conducted four CART-promoted events so far in 2003: Brands Hatch, England, Eurospeedway Lausitz, Germany, Portland, Oregon and Cleveland, Ohio. Based on its experience to date and the forecast for the two remaining CART-promoted events, the company believes the losses from all its self-promoted events will be in the upper range of its previous guidance of $4.8 to $7.8 million for 2003.
Sponsorship Sales  Sponsorship sales so far this year are trending behind our previous guidance. With a soft advertising market and an economy that is struggling to recover, sponsorship sales continue to be a challenge for the company. The company is lowering its previous expectation for 2003 sponsorship sales of $7.0 to $8.0 million to $6.0 to $7.0 million.
Television Advertising Sales  We have completed six of the seven scheduled CBS network races for this year, where the rates we can charge are higher than those we can charge for cable advertising. Based on our recent experience in selling our television advertising and the fact that all but one of our remaining races will be on cable, we are reducing our previous forecasts down to $2.0 million to $3.0 million for 2003.
Operating Costs  Administrative and indirect expenses are expected to be approximately $1.0 million greater than previously anticipated due to higher than expected legal expenses and the settlement of a lawsuit. We now expect administrative and indirect expenses to be between $22.0 and $23.0 million for 2003.
Outlook for 2004 and Beyond  Due to the continuing downward trend in several of its critical revenue streams, as discussed above, and a lowering of its expectations regarding the 2004 year, management now expects that it will need to raise additional capital to complete the 2004 season. Projections beyond 2004 are, in management's view, very speculative. Currently, however, management does not expect the company to have positive cash flow from operations or earnings any earlier than 2006. As announced previously in light of the near term financial challenges facing the company we have retained the investing banking firm of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. to assist us in exploring financing and other strategic alternatives that may be available to CART. There cannot be any assurance that this process will result in any transaction or as to the terms and conditions of any transaction that may be proposed to or pursued by the company.

7/22/03
F-3000

Will Langhorne talks about England race  I want to thank BCN Competition for the opportunity to race with them at Silverstone. As a team, we continue to make gains and as I get more comfortable with the car we are starting to show the true potential of the car and the team. This past weekend we made good progress in the overall pace of the car, but unfortunately I made a mistake in an attempted pass that hurt our result. However, I still need to continue to be aggressive in my driving and yet make fewer mistakes. I was very glad to have Mark Hynes as a teammate. He is a true champion and is an excellent asset to the team with his experience. I am totally impressed with the BCN Competition F3000 team's commitment and desire to win and they are constantly working hard to improve the car. At the start of the race, I got too much wheelspin but was pleasantly surprised at the pace of the car and the opportunity to make some competitive passes. As for my off, Baumgartner got sideways out of a corner and I looked for the opportunity to pass. Unfortunately, I had one side of the car on the marbles and lost it under braking and just went through the gravel trap. I continued at speed through the gravel trap to ensure that I did not get stuck. After expending some time cleaning my tires up, I was on a relative pace with the leaders for the remainder of the race. I think we made some gains this weekend and are in a good position for Hockenheim. I have won twice at Hockenheim in the Porsche Cup and look forward to being very competitive with the BCN Competition F3000 team at the new circuit. I want to thank everyone for their support to allow me to compete in International F3000 and I especially appreciate the hard work of the team and the lengths they have gone to make sure that all the available resources are utilized in this effort in furthering the development of the car.

7/22/03

Claude Bourbonnais to drive for Gentilozzi  French Canadian driver Claude Bourbonnais will make his Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup debut during the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières July 31-Aug. 2. Bourbonnais, a veteran open-wheel and sports car racer, will drive the No. 3 Rocketsports Racing Jaguar XKR at North America’s oldest temporary street course. Bourbonnais will compete in the car normally driven by three-time Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi. Gentilozzi, who ended his record streak of 183 consecutive starts by surrendering his ride to Brian Simo at Lime Rock earlier this year, is competing on a part-time basis this year. “My goal this season is to seek out championship-caliber drivers to compete in the No. 3 Jaguar XKR,” said Gentilozzi, who will be in Road America during the Trois-Rivières weekend with his Champ Car World Series team. “Claude more than fits that description. He’s been competitive in every series in which he’s raced, and has demonstrated himself as a true racer. He’ll be a potent force to deal with in front of a hometown crowd, at his home track.” Bourbonnais will receive backing from longtime sponsor Player’s for the Trois-Rivières event. Player’s is a former title sponsor of the Trois-Rivières race. “We hope that this sponsorship will enable Claude to do well at Trois-Rivières,” said Michael Bonelli, Sponsorship Associate for Player’s. “There are several reasons for our decision to provide this support. We are a sponsor of the Rocketsports team in the Champ Car World Series and we were aware the team was looking for an experienced driver to compete at Trois-Rivières.  As a former title sponsor of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, we wanted to find some way to be associated with this extremely popular event by providing a ride to an accomplished Quebec driver,” added Bonelli. “We selected Claude because he is a former member of the Player’s driver development program who has considerable racing experience. We wish him well in Trois-Rivières.”

7/22/03

Mario Andretti sounds off  In this Lima News article, Mario Andretti addresses some issues - So with the Aug. 10 race at Mid-Ohio, one of CART's oldest races, rumored to be off the schedule in 2004, would Andretti the ex-board member try to step in and save the day? "Well, let's put it this way, it takes two to tango. If Mid-Ohio wants CART, I don't think CART really is in the business of axing events that have been on the schedule for a long time," Andretti said. "I think the situation in Mid-Ohio is quite different than what it was at Elkhart Lake. I think this is something that there is still time to work out potential issues that could stand in the way of a renewal. Both sides have to want to be there. It's got to make sense for everyone. So if Mid-Ohio really wants CART, I don't think CART's going to go away." Andretti has also been outspoken in his support of a single, unified open-wheel series in North America, something that hasn't been since Tony George formed the IRL in 1995. Is a unified series even possible now? "We know that between the two series there are some fundamental philosophies that differ. But, again, I think you've got to look at the big picture. I keep saying, I think the overall well being of open-wheel racing is what is at stake here," Andretti said. "That's the way we should be reasoning today; how do we find common ground? How do we find a way to pull in the same direction?  I would like to think we'd be a lot stronger pulling together than going separate ways. I fully believe that there would be winners on all sides if the two factions would come together with a common agreement." If anyone could pull it off, Andretti would have to be on the list of finalists.

7/22/03

Pocono is a gold mine for fans and sponsors  The thoughts of Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge driver Kyle Petty heading into Pocono: "We run a 500-mile race there in the middle of June and they pack the place. We come back, what, five or six weeks later, and they pack it all over again. I bet if we ran a third one in another five weeks, they'd pack that one too. I guess Doc and Rose (Mattioli) had a pretty good read on the fans in this area when they and some friends built the place back 20-something years ago. They have always said there is a hunger up here for good racing, and that shows in the grandstands. These fans are intense. From what I've seen, all of our fans are pretty intense, but the ones around Pocono seem to give it that little something extra. If they are cheering for you, they don't just applaud politely. Man, they are up on their feet, stomping and screaming and yelling your name. If they are booing you, they don't just give you a dirty look - they get on their feet, and stomp and scream and yell your name. Yeah, I know. You just have to be there to tell the difference. You have to ride through the infield to get to the garage, and it gives you a chance to see them up close. They are ready. They love this stuff. These are what the real supporters of racing are like. These are the people that don't just buy our sponsors' products, they go out of their way to buy them. I'd bet you a Coca-Cola that you could go into that infield and find nothing but Brawny paper towels. No self-respecting Pocono race fan would dare come into that infield with anything else. Then again, why would anybody buy anything else? It's the best out there.  But it goes to show you what kind of people they are. They know the sport. They know the players. They know what is involved. They get to the track early in the week and early each day, and they stay until the last engine cuts off. They don't want to miss anything. Hopefully you won't be able to do it this weekend but watch sometime when it rains. Half of them go under the grandstands to stay dry, the other half stay up there under ponchos and umbrellas just to make sure they don't miss anything. They'll cheer the jet dryer when it goes by."

7/22/03

Winning a race may cost less than a buck  A roll of tape costs a race team less than a dollar, but the changes it produces in a race vehicle often mean several positions in the finishing order - and several thousand dollars. Two Ford Racing NASCAR truck teams took to the 1.54-mile track at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Monday to see just how much difference the tape configuration on the front air dam and grille made to the trucks' cooling system and downforce. "If you add more tape, your truck gets faster because you loosen it up and give it more downforce," said Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Motel/RV Park Ford. "But if there's too much tape, then you're not giving the engine a chance to cool and it hurts you in the end. We're trying to find the balance." Crawford tested 29 different tape setups on the grille of his truck Monday, and his team compared those telemetry numbers against the numbers set by Carl Edwards in his No. 99 Roush Racing Ford Monday. "What we're doing is going to help Ford Racing in the Truck Series as a whole," Edwards said. "I think the other teams have done this, but I'm not sure Ford had until this point, but hopefully we'll learn something that will help the whole Ford program."

7/22/03

Sauber reconsidering Friday option for 2004  Sauber-Petronas F1 team principal Peter Sauber regrets that he did not join rivals who signed up to the 'Heathrow Agreement', allowing them to test for two hours on the Friday of each GP weekend, reports Motorsport Aktuell. "Looking back, I have to admit that it would have been the better way," said Sauber. "We're currently investigating if it's worth changing our testing strategy for 2004."

7/22/03
Industry News

Rupert Murdoch a dad again  Reuters reports that News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has become a father for the sixth time. Wendi Deng, the third wife of the 72-year-old chairman, gave birth to the couple's second child -- a girl named Chloe -- in New York on Thursday. Murdoch and Deng, 35, already have a one-year-old daughter, Grace.

7/22/03

ALMS set with NBC team  Rick Benjamin will be the lead announcer for NBC Sports live television coverage of three upcoming races for the American Le Mans Series, joined by a veteran team of announcers and producers.  The July 27 running of the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma from California's Infineon Raceway will be the first NBC Sports telecast of an American Le Mans Series event in 2003 and continues a relationship that has existed between the series and the network since the ALMS was formed in 1999. The broadcast begins at 4 p.m. (EDT).  Also appearing on NBC Sports will be American Le Mans Series events from Mosport International Raceway near Toronto on August 17 and from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 7.  Benjamin, a veteran and diversified auto racing announcer, will be anchoring NBC Sports telecasts of American Le Mans Series races for the third consecutive year. He has appeared on many American TV networks covering many forms of racing and continues as a mainstay on SPEED Channel, including hosting the weekend "SPEED News" program.  "I'm very happy to be back with NBC Sports for the American Le Mans Series," said Benjamin. "We have a great team assembled and we look forward to bringing the excitement of the events to our viewers."  On the three NBC telecasts, Benjamin will be joined in the booth by former sports car racing standout Bill Adam, who will provide race analysis. Reporting from the pits will be Martin Haven and Jon Beekhuis. Tracy Wolfson will be a feature reporter on the telecast from Infineon Raceway.  Bill Herbstman will serve as Production Coordinator for NBC Sports, while the race telecasts will be produced by Wheeler Television of Charlotte, N.C. Billy McCoy will be the Director and Jim Roller will be Producer.

7/22/03

Mugen Honda boss put in slammer  2nd UPDATE Hirotoshi Honda has been formally charged with $8.4 million in tax evasion.  He faces up to 4 years in jail, making him 65 before he gets out.  7/2/03 - 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.

7/22/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Wilson Swaps Black Overalls For Green
Ferrari Respond To Fisichella Rumor
Philosophical Kimi Rues Missed Chance
Wilson Not Guaranteed 2004 Seat
Don't Blame Us For Invasion: Stewart
Gascoyne Slams 'Disgraceful' Schu
McLaren Went Overboard With MP4-18
Hungary Vows To Prevent Track Invasion
Jaguar Regret Dropping Pizzonia
Minardi Aims To Keep 'The Boss'
Rubens Learns From 'Bad Times'
Da Matta Says Toyota 'Fifth Best'
Bernie: I Don't Want Silverstone
Davidson Admits 'Strange' Jag Deal
Ferrari Cautious For Upcoming Races
Stoddart Welcomes Kiesa To Squad
Stewart Vents Anger On F1 Bosses
F1 Must Learn From Track Invasion

7/21/03
Industry News

Earnings at GM fall 30% Second-quarter earnings tumbled 30 percent at General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker made almost nothing selling cars and trucks, either here or in Europe. Virtually all of its profits came from loaning money for home and commercial mortgages. Despite the mixed message in GM's numbers, chief financial officer John Devine said Thursday that the automaker is optimistic about the rest of the year and should make more in the second half of 2003 than it expected a few months ago. GM's upbeat attitude -- it sees incentives moderating and sales picking up -- contrasts with Ford Motor Co. which was cynical about the next few months and its ability to make a profit in the third quarter in a Wednesday call with Wall Street.

7/21/03
Industry News

Visteon losses mount  Visteon Corp., the world's fourth-largest maker of auto parts, had a $167-million net loss in the second quarter because of costs to close a business and lower production at Ford Motor Co., its largest customer. The $1.33 a share loss compared with net income of $72 million, or 56 cents, in the 2002 period, the Dearborn-based company said Friday. Sales fell 8.5 percent, from $5.04 billion to $4.61 billion. Visteon relies on Ford for four-fifths of sales. The automaker reduced North American production 15 percent in the quarter as U.S. sales fell in the first half. Visteon, which is getting rid of unprofitable businesses or those whose earnings it considers insufficient, had $139 million in costs for transferring its seating unit to Johnson Controls Inc. The company continues "to chip away at their business," said Credit Lyonnais Securities Inc. analyst Chuck Brady. "They still have a considerable amount of lower-margin businesses that aren't core for them." Brady rates Visteon "reduce" and said he doesn't own the shares.

7/21/03

GP of the Americas signs another sponsor  Grand Prix Americas has secured Sportsbook.com as the presenting sponsor for the 2003 race, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. The event will now be called the Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com. This sponsorship marks the rare partnership of an on-line gaming company with a major motor-racing event.  “We are elated to have an international publicly traded company such as Sportsbook.com become involved in our race,” said Martinez. “This is an exciting time for us as race week nears. This partnership puts us one step closer to our goal of making the Grand Prix Americas one of the elite sporting events in the country.”  “Sportsbook.com is excited to begin a long term relationship with CART and the Grand Prix Americas,” said Jeff Gilroy, spokesperson, Sportsbook.com. “This is a key element of our auto racing program and I believe you will see more pro sports leagues and organizations working with Sportsbook.com in the near future.”   Sportsbook.com, a progressive online gaming company, was founded in 1997 from a base in the Caribbean and has since grown to become the industry leader. Sportsbook.com, now based in London, is publicly traded as part of the Sportingbet PLC Group, the largest online gaming company in the world.

7/21/03

Giaffone returns to Brazil for rehab   Felipe Giaffone has been released from the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis and is in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil, according to Dr. Henry Bock, medical services director for the Indy Racing League. Giaffone, the 2001 Bombardier IRL Rookie of the Year, is continuing to recover from fractures to his right leg and pelvis suffered in an accident with Dan Wheldon on Lap 56 of the Kansas Indy 300 on July 6 at Kansas Speedway. “Felipe is returning home to Brazil to continue his rehabilitation,” Bock said. “His rehabilitation is going well.” While in Brazil, Giaffone is under the care of Dr. Moises Cohen, a renowned Brazilian surgeon who specializes in sports injuries and operates a physical therapy facility. Giaffone, 28, plans to undergo his rehabilitation five hours a day, seven days a week. “I’m feeling great,” Giaffone said. “The trip to Brazil was not as bad as I thought it would be. I think this will be the best thing for me, to be back home in my native country for a while with my family and work out with Dr. Cohen and his staff everyday. He’s worked with all the big drivers and athletes in Brazil, and I plan to work harder than I ever have in my life so I can get back into the Hollywood car for the last three races of the season. That’s my plan, anyway. This is a great facility, and I’ve heard great things about it. “Again, I want to say thanks to everyone in the racing community. They’ve been so great with their phone calls and e-mails and cards and letters and everything.” Giaffone said he plans to return to the United States to watch both the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway and the Firestone Indy 225 Aug. 24 at Nazareth Speedway. He scored his first IndyCar Series victory last season at Kentucky Speedway. Further updates about Giaffone’s condition will be provided when available.

7/21/03

Watch out for da Matta in 2004  UPDATE A reader responds, a couple of "light fuel load" out of sequence laps, makes da Matta (and many other CART drivers) as good as, or even better than any in F1?  Project that theory on Bourdais too, and F3000 is by FAR THE BEST OW series in the world .....dream on!  Mike Baretta, Miami, FL 7/21/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, In yesterday's British Grand Prix Cristiano proved what he has said before: CART has drivers who are as good as (if not better) than any driver in F1. Although he found himself in P1 because of the circumstances (he was out of sequence when all sorts of crazy things started happening); he was able to set the pace of the race (something that only the best drivers can do). He not only showed everyone how to properly restart a race when the green flag came out; but once he found his rhythm he pulled away. Raikkonen, in his far superior McLaren, was working hard to keep his pace; that's outstanding if you consider that Kimi is a serious contender for the Championship. If Toyota gives him a competitive car, watch Cristiano in 2004.  Robert Reyes  Dear Robert, Next year da Matta will have learned all the tracks and Toyota will only be stronger.  Mark C.

7/21/03

BRDC can't borrow to save Silverstone  Sir Jackie Stewart ridiculed a suggestion by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that the BRDC should borrow $80 million to spice up Silverstone. "The BRDC's overdraft right now is £3.26m and to say we should borrow the £50-60m is just ridiculous," he said.  "We are prepared to sit down and do what we can. But we can't do it all ourselves. We should sit down with everyone who benefits from the British Grand Prix and sort something out reflecting what each gets out of the race." 72-year-old Ecclestone, however, dismissed Stewart's refusal to get a bank loan to complete renovations that'll secure the Silverstone F1 race until 2015. "He can't say he can't afford to borrow money," said Ecclestone. "They get £8 million in rent on the track and don't spend a cent. I've never seen any money come out of the BRDC. If he can't afford the grand prix, he should go without. There are people who CAN afford it."  We suspect that at the end of the day, Bernie will come in and either take control of the race by buying the rights from BRDC, or become a partial owner of the race with them.

7/21/03

Tempers flare after Nashville   According to this Autosport.com article, The art of passing became an act of controversy in Saturday night's IRL IndyCar Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Pinched by a narrow racing groove, one another and officials, IRL drivers complained about all of the above following the Firestone Indy 200 on the 1.33-mile concrete oval. Scott Sharp was black-flagged and served a drive-through penalty for allegedly blocking Sam Hornish Jr. Tomas Scheckter was sent to the tail for speeding on pit lane. At one point, IRL officials warned A.J. Foyt IV to get out of the way and speed up. In all, it was not an aesthetically pleasing performance. Buddy Lazier wrecked twice in the late laps while trying to go all out, leaving Scheckter angry at Lazier and Tora Takagi and the IRL for a 10th-place finish. "Sometimes the rules have been a little lenient," Scheckter said of the pit violation. "When there's a whole bunch of cars in front of you and then say there's a backmarker that doesn't come in to the pits, you try to catch the leaders in the little bit of space you have before pit speed comes on. Sometimes you push it, but you're not really over speed." Sharp also disagreed with his penalty, which assisted his slide from the lead to a 13th-place finish. "All in all, it's a real shame about the penalty," Sharp said. "I don't think it was deserved."

7/21/03

Emmo to present Latin Grammy Award nominations  Former CART Champ Car World Series champion and current team co-owner Emerson Fittipaldi has been one of the biggest celebrities in the nation of Brazil for many years, dating back to his championship-winning days as a Formula 1 driver in the 1970s and ‘80s. Now, one of the country’s most recognizable stars will present nominations for the next generation of Brazilian talent as Fittipaldi will participate in the Fourth Annual Latin Grammy award nominations on Tuesday in Miami. Fittipaldi will reveal the nominations for a to-be-named Brazilian category in a ceremony in the main ballroom of Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He will be joined by many of the stars of the Latin music world for the ceremony, which celebrates the achievements of Latin artists in the past year. The actual award ceremony will take place September 3 at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. The Latin Grammy Awards structure includes 41 award categories, including four general categories: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist. Latin Grammy fields include: Pop, Rap/Hip-Hop, Rock, Tropical, Regional Mexican, Traditional, Jazz, Brazilian, Children's, Classical, Production and Music Video.

7/21/03

400th win for Chevy  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo, won the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway and gave Chevrolet its 400th victory of the modern era (1972-present) in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. "This win is very special because of all the opportunities Chevrolet has given me in the many forms of racing I've been in. To win a landmark event like this for them really means a lot to me."

7/21/03

Chevy takes full credit for Ford Cosworth engine   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, How did an article like this about the new Chevy IRL engine get into a national paper like USA Today without a mention of Cosworth? I couldn't believe the writer didn't mention it, COSWORTH is the story!  Dan Kellione  Dear Dan, Chevy is trying to keep it as quiet as possible the fact that all three engine builders from CART (HPD, TRD and Cosworth) blew them right out of the water.  It's a major embarrassment to a company like Chevy, so there was no mention of Ford or Cosworth in their press release.  They bought the rights to the engine and probably paid Ford and Cosworth plenty to keep quiet about it.  Officially it is a new "Chevy" engine, but those in racing who know better, are all snickering. Welcome to the world of marketing slant.  Could you imagine GM trying to compete in F1?  Not!  Mark C.

7/21/03
Dallara Nissan Superfund Series

Lausitzring Results  The Gabord Competicion team continued its domination of the Dallara Nissan World Series with a pair of 1-2 victories at the Eurospeedway Lausitz in Germany, with drivers Frank Montagny and Heikki Kovalainen taking a win apiece.

Race 1
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 26m45.199s
2 Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +4.976s
3 Staphane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +7.665s
4 Bas Leinders Racing Engineering +8.423s
5 Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi +14.103s
6 Narain Karthikeyan Carlin +15.085s
Race 2
1 Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 40m02.821s
2 Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion +2.776s
3 Jean-Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +3.101s
4 Narain Karthikeyan Carlin +13.399s
5 Bas Leinders Racing Engineering +13.946s
6 Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +24.673s

7/21/03

More tidbits from CART Shareholders meeting  1) CART will move away from self-promoted races in 2004.  2) Based on input from the manufacturers, 2005 may be too soon for the new engine formula. Perhaps Ford and a couple of others from the "Marketing Side" who could then join in 2006 with an engine program (No mention of "badging," but that's what it sounded like). CART will control the ECU.  3) Reiterated focus towards urban markets (sponsor driven). Specifically referred to natural terrain tracks in the middle of nowhere that, while fun for our drivers, may no longer fit CART's marketing model. Said it would be a "sad day" when they have to make that decision. (Goodbye Mid-Ohio!)  4) They want to develop drivers, particularly Americans. Looking to reduce cost in feeder system and change cars to better train drivers for the ChampCars. Phyllis Dorricott indicated that costs must be reduced and, while admitting she didn't really understand what they do, specifically challenged the special heads used by the driver that Pook had previously praised as an up and comer who had what it takes (AJ Allmendinger) and questioned whether he would be doing as well if everybody else had the same equipment. Pook indicated that they were well aware of that particular situation and were considering using one builder for the series where all components would then be the same. 5) They have candidates (but no agreement) for corporate sponsorship to fund scholarships for their ladder series champions to compete at the next level.  6) They are trying to utilize their PR to "build personalities".  7) A lot of talk about the ship going in the right direction, light at the end of the tunnel, etc. 8) Russ Breeden from Bettenhausen Motorsports was there last year questioning stock values and doing away with the poison pill, etc. was there again this year once again questioning stock values.

7/21/03

Kiesa replaces Wilson at Minardi  With Justin Wilson jumping to Jaguar (see Rumors page) Minardi has revealed Danish Formula 3000 racer Nicolas Kiesa as his replacement.  Kiesa won this year's F3000 race at Monaco when leader Bjorn Wirdheim pulled over too early to wave to his crew.

7/21/03
F-3000

Wirdheim wins Arden home race  Björn Wirdheim produced a dominating display at Round 7 of the FIA F3000 Championship at Silverstone on Saturday claiming Pole Position on Friday by 0.43 seconds.  The young Swedish Driver led from start to finish building a lead of 9 seconds by the end of the race over Championship rival Giorgio Pantano. Townsend Bell completed a great day for the Arden Team by finishing 7th, 3.3 seconds behind 3rd placed Liuzzi, with Ricardo Sperafico, Patrick Friesacher and Enrico Toccacelo sandwiched between!  The Californian Driver had acquitted himself well by qualifying 6th on yet another new circuit.  Losing a place at the start Townsend spent the race glued to Toccacelo's gearbox at the back of a high speed train which unfortunately did not provide any overtaking opportunities.  Björn Wirdheim commented: "I'm delighted to have won this race, especially as it is the team's home Race and it's been too long since my last win a Imola. The car was fantastic throughout the weekend and I'm pleased to have beaten Tomas's qualifying time from last year". Townsend Bell commented: "This circuit provides quite a challenge, especially with the high speed corners but I've really enjoyed my first visit. I didn't quite extract the maximum out of my last set of tires in qualifying but was satisfied with 6th on the grid. Starting on the dirty side of the track I lost a place at the start and soon found that I could run quicker than the cars ahead but it was just impossible to get close enough to overtake".  Christian Horner commented: "After Björn's mistake in Monaco I said that I would only forgive him if he won at Silverstone! His drive this weekend was outstanding and virtually mirrored Tomas Enge's performance last year by achieving Pole Position, fastest lap time and a comfortable race win. I'm also pleased with Townsend's performance on his first visit to Silverstone; he clearly had the pace to finish higher but with a lack of overtaking opportunities, he drove a controlled race to record his 3rd points finish of the season".

7/21/03

NASCAR Nextel deal has some worried  NASCAR's Nextel dealings continue to have repercussions throughout the Winston Cup garage, and some car owners are increasingly worried about what appears to be NASCAR's new aggressive stance in defining sponsorship categories, such as telecommunications. At the start of the season every driver and car owner must sign a contract with NASCAR agreeing to abide by a number of rules, including limits on sponsorships and marketing. No sign, no drive. With the Nextel-AT&T furor, some car owners fear that NASCAR may expand those limits.  Winston Salem Journal

7/21/03

NASCAR tidbits  Chad Blount, who is under contract with Roger Penske for uncertain duties, will test at Kentucky next week for Penske and Rusty Wallace, fueling rumors that Blount, 23, has a bigger future, perhaps as the next Ryan Newman. And Wallace's proposed Busch team, according to sources, is a possible Winston Cup team. But crew chief Bill Wilburn dismisses rumors about a shakeup looming in the Penske camp, though he recognizes pressure from sponsor Miller's new owner, South African Breweries, the second-largest beer company in the world. 'As far as I know, Chad Blount is testing for us, and that's it,' Wilburn says. 'He has no commitments to race anything. He has no commitments to drive a Busch car for Penske Racing, other than we might provide an engine or build a car. He's not going to be racing any Penske-owned car. He is not driving any Miller car. Rusty has his own Busch team going, and he's going to lease engines from Penske Engines, and he's got a couple guys he's looking at as drivers for 15 races.'  Winston Salem Journal

7/21/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Wilson Poised For Jaguar Switch
Schu Relaxed Despite No Win
F1 Teams Turn To Chinese Market
Track Invader Mars Silverstone Race
Ecclestone Issues Silverstone Ultimatum
Don't Blame Silverstone, Say F1 Chiefs
Rubens' Silent Championship Hope
Haug Points Finger At Silverstone
Montoya's Fortunes Soar At Silverstone
DC Defends Poor Qualifying Form
Stewart Ridicules Bernie's Advice
DC: Home Race Was Pain In Neck
Bernie Goes Easy After Invasion
Rubens Questions Trulli Tactics

7/20/03
Industry News

China's love affair with cars shows no letup   China's car love affair shows no sign of abating with newly rich consumers buying 120 per cent more BMWs in the first half of this year than the whole of last year. Despite talk of looming industry overcapacity the German car giant is betting on continued mainland sales growth to buttress weak buying power in international markets. While still a minnow compared with more entrenched rivals such as Volkswagen, the firm's Greater China managing director Guenther Seemann argues the 5,970 BMWs sold on the mainland in the first six months of the year is only a start. That compared with 6,677 BMWs sold during the whole of last year, but represented less than 1 per cent of the total 842,780 vehicles sold in the period - an 82 per cent increase in the same period a year ago. China's new urban rich have been riding a wave of rising incomes and booming property prices that combined with previously unavailable easy financing have made luxury car ownership readily available. BMW expects to sell 12,000 imported vehicles this year, and next year hopes to increase that to 15,000 while rolling out a planned 30,000 units from its 450 million euro (HK$3.93 billion) joint venture plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province with locally listed Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

7/20/03

Gascoyne calls Schu unprofessional   Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne accused Michael Schumacher of being unprofessional after he put Fernando Alonso onto the grass at the end of Hangar Straight on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix. "I thought there was some great racing and some very professional driving," he said. "The only unprofessional bit was Michael putting Fernando on the grass on the first lap, which I thought was disgraceful. Fernando was alongside him but Michael just kept going, didn't give him any room and put him on the grass at 185mph, which is probably a little dangerous... "If the guy is alongside, you've got to give him a car's width, and Michael didn't. But Fernando's not too unhappy about it, he can look after himself and he's confident about the future…"

7/20/03

IRL testing at Gateway this week   Tony Kanaan (Andretti-Green Racing), the current points leader, and No. 3 Scott Dixon (Target-Chip Ganassi Racing) will be at Gateway International Raceway Monday for testing. Also on hand will be Tomas Scheckter (Target-Chip Ganassi) and Bryan Herta (Andretti-Green). The Andretti-Green team will only be there Monday, while the Ganassi team will be there on Tuesday.

7/20/03

The other race is on in F1   This New York Times article talks about the fight to find sponsorship in F1.  F1Business magazine said in its July issue that team sponsorships in NASCAR amounted to about $500 million per season, while in Formula One it was $1.8 billion. Tobacco advertising, which will be outlawed in most European countries in 2005, provides a large percentage of the Formula One total. The Budweiser deal is typical of how teams are not only seeking different kinds of sponsors, but how the circuit has started entering new markets and expanded its sponsor base. Malaysia joined the circuit in 1999, the United States in 2000, and next year there will be races in Bahrain and in China. India may soon follow. "China is our single greatest focus for our commercial activities at the moment, with the race coming in 2004 in Shanghai," said Hugh Chambers, the marketing director at the BAR team, which is owned by the British American Tobacco company. "There will be products and services that come out of these colossal markets with a billion people, that have very developed businesses and are very profitable and that then want to seek worldwide markets." BAR announced a long-term sponsorship on Thursday with a Chinese Web site, Sina.com, and the Jordan team this year signed a partnership with China Central Television, the national broadcaster, to cover the team. Jordan is one of two teams fighting for survival, and it took another team's sponsor, Vodafone, to court in London last month. Jordan is seeking $150 million in damages, saying Vodafone had agreed to sponsor the team, then dropped it in favor of Ferrari. Paul Stoddart, the owner of Minardi, the sport's poorest team, said stealing sponsors was commonplace. "If you get a good quality sponsor, with naming rights, a title sponsor, a major partner," Stoddart said, "the minute that name appears in the paddock, the bigger teams have armies of people trying to take that sponsorship away from small teams." He said that after he signed Gazprom, the Russian gas company, at the Hungarian Grand Prix last August, the company became the target of the McLaren team. "It's business and I don't begrudge them for doing it," Stoddart said. "But there are no ethics, and the lack of ethics means that there is this continual drive for the rich to get richer — and the by-product of that is that the poor go out of business." Stoddart, after exposing the behind-the-scenes battles between team owners last month, won a battle this week to enforce a "fighting fund" into which rich teams pay money to help poor teams survive. "After intense negotiations over the last 10 days," Stoddart said Wednesday, "I'm pleased to say that all the talking will be now done on the track for the remainder of the Formula One season."

7/20/03

Historic race driver killed   Reuters reports that A 56-year-old driver has died after he crashed his historic sportscar during a support race for the Grand Prix, organizers say. They said in a statement that David Heynes crashed his 1958 Lotus 15 into the tire wall at Becketts Corner during the final event on the program after the Formula One race. "He received intensive medical treatment at the scene and in the circuit's Grand Prix medical centre where he was pronounced dead," the statement said.

7/20/03

Finally, go-karting to solidify in blockbuster deal   In what can only be termed as a blockbuster announcement, top level karting organizations Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow and Superkarts! USA have agreed in principle to merge operations. The agreement was made between SKUSA president and CEO Jim Murley and Stars principal Bobby Rahal. “Mr. Murley and I both recognized that for professional kart racing to fulfill its potential a coming together of both our organizations was necessary,” said Rahal. “SKUSA has had a strong role in the rising professionalism and entertainment value of kart racing and Stars has quickly made inroads in key areas vital to the success of the sport. Combining these efforts presents all of karting with great promise and we look forward to what lies ahead.” Discussions between the two organizations, who have oftentimes clashed on scheduling and philosophy, have been ongoing for many months. Talks intensified this weekend at the SKUSA ProMoto event here in Oregon, with an agreement coming late last night. “We respect and recognize the contribution Jim and the SKUSA team have made to karting,“ said Rahal.. “We are eager and excited to work together to take the sport to that elusive next level.” The first event for the new organization will be the 2003 Supernationals, held at the California Speedway in conjunction with the Champ Car event, October 31 and November 1-2, 2003. More information on the merger and details of the series will be forthcoming as it is made available. [Editor's Note: This was a long time coming and it is exactly what was needed to remove any confusion a youngster may have with regard to his career direction. This announcement solidifies CART's entry rung on its growth ladder.  CART has the best ladder system in the USA when it comes to training drivers for any type of circuit, and this announcement, along with another announcement to be made soon regarding the Toyota Atlantic Series, will only strengthen the ladder system.  This improved farm system is necessary to develop drivers to someday be world driving champions.  It was good, but soon it will be better.  Once CART's privatization is complete, and its future secured, drivers, sponsors, teams and fans will have a clear understanding of the path one must take in North America to reach the pinnacle of motorsports, F1]. 

Karting (<100HP)-->Barber Dodge Regional (>100HP)-->Barber Dodge Pro (>200HP)-->Toyota Atlantic (>300HP)-->Fran-Am V6 (>400HP)-->Champ Cars(>700HP)-->F1 (>900HP).

7/20/03

CART needs to switch to one-lap, single-car qualifying  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, After watching today's British GP I have come to the conclusion that F1's single-car, single-lap qualifying is the best thing that ever happened to the sport in a long time.  Why doesn't CART adopt it for all its road races?  Michael Peters, Cleveland, Ohio  Dear Michael, I agree wholeheartedly.  The starting grid for today's British GP was mixed up with some of the fast runners interspersed with some mid-packers.  This led to a very interesting race today, with more passing than I can ever remember in a F1 race.  It certainly helps to have some of the fast guys starting behind the others from time to time.  Giving the driver just a single lap means he has one chance to be perfect, for one small mistake can drop you back into the pack on the grid.  CART must implement the push-to-pass button in 2004 along with single-car, single-lap qualifying.  As it does in F1, this will mix the grid up, but at the same time give the fast drivers a tool to help them work their way to the front if they mess up in qualifying.  The fans will be the ones who benefit the most because races will feature a lot more passing.  Some find the single-lap qualifying boring on the road and street circuits and prefer today's format.  CART will have to add in some extra practice on Saturday so the fans can enjoy the cars on track as much as they do today.  Mark C.

7/20/03

Stoddart resists engine downsizing   Formula One can forget about reducing engine capacity from 3.0 L to 2.5L before at least 2008, according to ailing Minardi boss Paul Stoddart. He said stability is guaranteed in the Concorde Agreement, which expires at the end of 2007, and needs a unanimous vote from team bosses for rules changes. 'They'd never get unanimity for a capacity change,' insisted Stoddart. 'Myself, Eddie Jordan and probably Sauber would just sit there with our arms folded.' Stoddart says the privateer bosses are not out to cause trouble; it's just they can't afford the mammoth cost implications of a radical engine change. 'They can forget it unless something is done for the smaller teams,' he added 'If they want to do something constructive, help us out with our customer engines. That's the biggest handicap there is. Then we'll talk.' We expect an announcement will be made soon that guarantees customer engines for privateer team at a reasonable price.

7/20/03

Protestor runs onto track in British GP   A man, believed to be a protestor, darted onto the track during today's British GP and ran down Hangar Straight. The man wandered down the middle of the track on lap 12 as cars roared past at about 120 mph on the entrance to Hangar Straight, the fastest part of the circuit.   Police arrested the 56-year-old man and charged him with "aggravated trespass." He will be interviewed by police later on Sunday in Northampton, central England.  The Safety Car was deployed and yellow flags waved until the man, wearing what looked like a red and green kilt and green underpants, running up the track, arms outstretched, could be removed.  In a frightening sight, the man did not only run up the track but towards the race cars as they drove by.  The man was pushed  to the ground and drug off the track by a track marshal.   One has to wonder what ramifications for the British Grand Prix this may have as it raises questions as to the security of the track and how this this dangerous situation was allowed to happen. At a time when the future of the race is on shaky ground from Bernie Ecclestone criticism, this is the last thing the British Grand Prix organizers and BRDC need.  In 1977 British driver Tom Pryce was killed at the South African Grand Prix when he collided with a marshal who was running across the track with a fire extinguisher. The marshal also died.  Both Max Mosley, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and Bernie Ecclestone have been critical of the circuit, with Ecclestone last year calling the British GP "a country fair masquerading as a world event."

7/20/03

Weather looks good for race  At eight o'clock local time this morning a southwesterly breeze is making it necessary to wear jackets, but the skies are blue interspersed with cloud and the chance of rain has diminished to 10 percent.   At one stage the skies towards nearby Banbury were black, but that has now cleared up and the forecast indicates that the race will be held in the dry.  A temperature high of 22 degrees Celsius is expected, and if the race is anywhere near as hot as qualifying was yesterday, tire degradation will again play a crucial role this afternoon.

7/20/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Williams To Order Montoya Aside
Button Leaps To Silverstone's Defense
Jordan Expect To Lose Fisichella
India Targets 2007 For F1
DC Insists: Kimi's No Faster Than Me
BAR Deny Wilson Interest
Forget About V8's, Says Stoddart
Villeneuve Thanks Button For Support
Head Expects Hostility To Mount
Williams Questions Bernie Assault
Irvine's Retirement At Full-Throttle
Webber Waits For Winning Offer
Ralf Lost Pace Away From Circuit
Williams Unperturbed By Minardi Demise
Schu: Death At Wheel Would Be Fate

7/20/03

Quick Word in the Silverstone Paddock - 1  RON DENNIS reckons his team has struggled for balance this weekend because it concentrated the pre-British GP testing schedule at Barcelona.  McLaren Struggle  'It made some of the initial set-up work more difficult,' said the McLaren CEO. 'David [Coulthard]'s lack of balance [12th] made life difficult for him.'  JARNO TRULLI is looking to win the British Grand Prix after securing a front-row qualifying berth. 'Yeah, it's certainly possible,' he said.  Renault Eye Win  Team technical director Mike Gascoyne agrees: 'He drove a fantastic lap even though he struggled for balance most of the weekend.  'We are looking to win the race on Sunday.'  Williams Drop Back  After immensely competitive races in France and Germany, BMW-Williams dropped back a few places on the British Grand Prix grid.  BMW director MARIO THEISSEN says fourth and seventh reflects the fact that 'both Ralf and Juan weren't happy with their cars.'

7/20/03

Quick Word in the Silverstone Paddock - 2  Bridgestone's new tire came up trumps at Silverstone, according to Ferrari chief ROSS BRAWN, demonstrated with Rubens Barrichello's eighth career pole. Bridgestone Bounce Back  'They brought new tires for us, both in terms of their compound and their construction,' he said. 'We're competing for the win again now.'  Despite rumors that he's about to drop Jacques Villeneuve, BAR boss DAVID RICHARDS lauded the Canadian's 'excellent' qualifying lap in Britain.  BAR Laud Jacques  'Both he and his team have worked hard all weekend to extract the maximum from the car, and P9 bodes well for the race,' he said.  Brackley tech boss GEOFF WILLIS, on the other hand, was surprised that Jenson Button's [20th] hard ride over Beckett's managed to break the push-rod arm.  Willis Surprised  'We bring specially-reinforced components here,' he said, 'so we're surprised that we've exceeded even the enormous loads that these parts are tested to.'

7/20/03
Industry News

More on Homestead-Miami Construction   Along with the new corners at the Homestead-Miami Speedway they will also be building a new, permanent karting facility there. Besides the track, they will also build storage/warehouse facilities for the karting teams.   Mark C.

7/20/03

Hornish Jr. Power?   A reader writes, I watched the IRL broadcast tonight. Seemed like more yellow than green laps covered by ESPN2.  My question is, how the heck is Hornish Jr getting as high as 3rd or 4th with a Chevy powerplant that is supposedly some 30 HP down to Honda and Toyota? While he's breezing his way through the field, the rest of the Chevys (and AJ's Toyota) are, race after race, back markers. I just don't get it that he is that much better than the rest of the Chevys on the track. Tony Dinelli, Tulsa, OK  Dear Tony, Nashville and Richmond are more handling tracks than HP tracks.  The Panther Racing team is the best in the business when it comes to chassis setup (their IPS car wins all the time too) and young Hornish is a pretty good oval track driver.  The IRL 100% throttle racing (did you notice his in-car telemetry, it read 100% throttle as if it was permanently stuck there) is all about keeping your momentum up and he seems to be very good at picking his way through traffic without having to lift. I also believe the others were on a more conservative fuel strategy that Hornish last night, enabling him to pass relatively easy.  However, it cost him big time when his Chevy had to pit early under a green-flag, whereas the others pitted under caution later.  Mark C.

7/20/03

Hornish confident he can win with new Ford Cosworth, oops, Chevy engine   Sam Hornish will debut the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 in the upcoming Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on July 27. The Panther team has conducted three track tests with the new powerplant. "From what we've seen in testing, I think the new Chevy engine will put us real close," Hornish predicted. "We've been very happy with the way everything is going, and real proud that Chevrolet did what they had to do to put us in a position to be competitive and win races."  Hornish displayed the driving form that has made him the talk of the IndyCar Series, passing cars on inside and outside lines. Starting from the 20th spot on the grid, he was 10th on Lap 60, fifth on Lap 66, and third on Lap 90. On Lap 97, he passed Tora Takagi for second in Turn 2 and Tony Kanaan in Turn 3 to take the lead. "I knew it was a pass for the lead, but I didn't really think about it," Hornish recalled. "I'm glad that we had an opportunity to get up there. We've worked real hard this year making sure that we had good handling cars because we knew that when Chevrolet got us the horsepower we had to have the car to be able to win races. We know what it takes to make this car fast, and hopefully we'll prove that next week in Michigan.  QUOTES FROM TODAY’S CHEVY GEN IV ANNOUNCEMENT: BRIAN BARNHART: (Is reliability the reason only one team will use the engine at Michigan and Gateway?): “That has a little bit to do with it. Part of the issue, as well as that you are introducing new parts in here. You have to give the ability to test, without mandating mass production, simply because if they have made a mistake in the production then you have mass production, made 20 of 40 bits, if it is a cylinder head, 40 cylinder heads that are all junk, then you’ve cost the manufacturer a lot of money. You want a contract to last for the introduction of new bits once or twice before it is made available to all participants so they can test them. If there are reliability issues, they can make adjustments before they have to mass-produce them for everybody.” (NASCAR is criticized about making changes throughout the season. What is the atmosphere that makes it different for the IRL?): “It is unprecedented in Indy Racing League history. What we are doing … this is a major change, than anything we have had to do before.   It is in the best interest of everybody that the best competition is maintained, the side-by-side competitive quality that we have on the track now. The Chevrolet teams are happy that Panther gets to run it at the Michigan event. Whoever gets it for the St. Louis event is yet to be determined. It is going to be the next highest car in the points total.” (What if the engine is unreliable?): “That will be hard to speculate. They have been tested three times, in Chicago, Kansas and Michigan, and if there wasn’t a lot of faith in that fact that it is going to help in the end, then they wouldn’t have made the exceptional request for us to make the change without the faith that it is going to improve the situation. One of the most difficult things would be, and again that is why we test in one-on-one situations, if in Michigan and St. Louis if it would have proven to be highly unreliable, then I would assume at that point in time there may be issues as to whether this was the right time for everybody to make the change from the league standpoint keeping them (Toyota and Honda) informed, as well. Toyota and Honda want the competition to improve, as well as everybody else. All this is going to do is to keep them working harder, and they welcome the competition, as well, I’m sure.”

7/20/03

Montoya vs. Schumacher  A reader writes, In response to the article (Montoya Could Learn From Schu) about JP Montoya and how Sir Frank and Patrick Head are frequently pointing out Michael Schumacher as an example of what to aspire to...they are all correct - even Juan.  Mark Twain once wrote that "the most skilled swordsman doesn't fear another experienced swordsman, rather, he fears an opponent who has never held a sword before, because that opponent will do the unexpected and fight in an unorthodox manner". JPM can learn a lesson (and I'm sure he has already) from Michael, but to beat him he has to do the unexpected - the unorthodox. It fits Juan to a T.  Mark McConkey, Chicago, IL

7/19/03
F3000

Wirdheim wins, Bell 7th in England  Townsend Bell enjoyed a good run to seventh place at Silverstone, while a victory for Arden teammate Bjorn Wirdheim put the FIA F3000 Championship almost within the grasp of the Swedish driver. He now has an 18-point lead with 30 up for grabs. Wirdheim took the lead at the start, and after initial pursuer and main title rival Giorgio Pantano faded, he had an unchallenged run to victory. He finished nine seconds ahead of the Italian who in turn opened a large advantage over a group of five cars which included Townsend Bell. It was lead by Vitantonio Liuzzi, who couldn’t match the leaders’ pace and thus held up Ricardo Sperafico, Patrick Friesacher, Enrico Toccacelo and Townsend. This group ran virtually nose to tail for the whole race, but with overtaking proving impossible Townsend was unable to make any progress up the order. However Bell did at least enjoy a trouble free run, and put a valuable race distance under his belt. The only frustration was that he lost a spot at the start of the race to Enrico Toccacelo: “I dropped back a position at the start, by the time I shifted to second Toccacelo was already ahead of me. So I just kind of slotted in and settled into a nice pace, and started to learn the track on old tires, because you have to drive it a little bit differently. That’s part of the learning process. But there was really not a whole lot to do during the race. We were just as quick as the cars in front of us, if not a little quicker, but every time I got within a few car lengths I lost downforce. It’s a little like oval racing!  I’d sit back in clean air and let the tires calm down. Nobody was trying anything so I’d push a little harder and get back close, then the tires would come off a little bit because I was working the fronts too hard, and so on. Nobody really seemed to make any moves, so at that point you’re hoping someone would fall off the road in front of you, but they didn’t.” Townsend has been a victim of several incidents this year, but this time there were no such dramas. “It was good to finish. Qualifying with the top five or six you’re with the smarter drivers anyway, and I feel like I can count on those guys to be a bit more predictable. Qualifying is everything in this deal. I'm finally adjusting to the fact that there are no full course cautions or pit stops to change your setup a little bit. It’s such an uphill battle for me with all the new tracks. To find the last 2% of the lap time in half an hour is impossible.”
Results (30 laps)
1. B Wirdheim…50m25.858s
2. G Pantano…50m34.793s
3. V Liuzzi…50m46.508s
4. R Sperafico…50m46.939s
5. P Friesacher…50m47.466s
6. E Toccacelo…50m49.105s
7. T Bell…50m49.773s
8. N Kiesa…50m58.386s
9. Y Schroeder…51m07.267s
10. J Janis…51m07.782s

7/19/03

IRL approves new Chevy engine  The Indy Racing League announced July 19 that it has approved a new engine design for Chevrolet for competition in the IndyCar™ Series. The change was approved after IRL officials received a formal request from GM Racing, the technical arm of GM’s motorsports program. The newly designed engine, which has been designated by GM Racing as the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8, was approved under terms and conditions set forth by the Indy Racing League. According to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL, the league has approved the use of the newly designed engine for two consecutive races, beginning with the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on July 27 in order to test the engine under race conditions pursuant to the Indy Racing League Engine Manufacturer Agreement. GM Racing will make the engine (including spares and spare parts) available to all full-time IRL entrants at the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway. The IRL and GM Racing have agreed that Panther Racing, the current season points leader among Chevrolet teams, will test the engine in the Michigan race in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by reigning IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. To create as much opportunity as possible among Chevrolet teams prior to full introduction of the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8, the next-highest placed Chevrolet team – other than Panther car No. 4 – in the season entrant point standings after Michigan will be selected to test the engine at the Emerson Indy 250 on Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. “In making our decision, the IRL had to consider the overall effect on competition anticipated by the introduction of the new engine, including the availability of the engine to all entrants, as well as ensuring that the cost of the design change is not passed on to the teams,” Barnhart said. “With that in mind, we have found the newly designed engine and castings to be in conformance with the rules.” Additionally, Barnhart has requested that GM Racing provide sufficient personnel to IRL entrants if needed to install the engines on a timely basis. Barnhart approved this process via the Indy Racing League Engine Manufacturer Agreement that allows a manufacturer to provide updates to an engine. The agreement calls for the manufacturer to obtain the IRL’s approval prior to any use and further states that the updated part be made available to all teams after a specified number of uses. “The request by GM Racing was based on performance deficiency demonstrated during the current season and the reliability problems created by efforts to address the performance deficiency,” Barnhart said. “While continuity and consistency are an important consideration for the IRL, it is equally important that the league’s hallmark of competitive, side-by-side racing be available for our fans and competitors.” General Motors has been an engine supplier in the IndyCar Series since the series introduced its naturally aspirated engine formula in 1997. Representing GM, Chevy made its return to Indy-style racing in 2002.

7/19/03

Road America: Mario's Intervention  This Sheboygan Press article talks about what Mario Andretti did to save the Road America race for CART.  Because of his efforts, the CART race at Road America, which died and returned to life in a span of eight weeks during the spring, will bear his name on Aug. 3, the Mario Andretti Grand Prix. “I made a lot of noise about it and got so many e-mails from fans,” said Andretti. “I went to (CART President and CEO) Chris Pook and said, ‘You’ve got to hear what the fans are saying. Is there any way we can start some dialogue?’” So began Andretti’s intervention to save the race at a track he loves dearly and competed at so successfully (three victories). “We just thought, ‘hurray,’” said Road America communications director Cheryl Barnes of Andretti getting involved. “Who could be a better ambassador to Road America than Mario Andretti?” The negotiations weren’t always smooth. During one especially tense time, Andretti asked himself, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

7/19/03

GP of Americas race poster unveiled  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, Nice poster. Too bad the car in the drawing is an IRL car!  Brad Cowell  Dear Brad, perhaps secretly the promoter, CART, is hoping the race will someday become an IRL event. The devils in the details as they say.  Mark C 7/18/03 - Romero Britto, a neo-Pop style artist and South Florida icon and Chuck Martinez, president and general manager of Grand Prix Americas, unveiled Britto’s design of the official Grand Prix Americas poster for 2003 at a V.I.P. party at Britto Central yesterday. Some local drivers including Emerson Fittipaldi, helped celebrate the unveiling. The original painting, as well as limited edition prints, will be auctioned to help raise funds for the Grand Prix Americas Foundation, which benefits Camillus House, Children’s Home Society of Florida, Cody Unser’s First Step Foundation, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Miami-Dade College Scholarship Foundation. The label 'neo-pop cubism,' indicates Romero Britto's links with certain artists and antecedent styles. To date, Britto's art is shown in over 140 galleries nationwide. He has been profiled in numerous national publications including People en Español, Art News, Forbes, and The Robb Report. His studio in Miami Beach, Florida is open to the public and has become a meeting place for school children, collectors and art enthusiasts. Britto's art is indeed, reaching the world. Grand Prix Americas is a week-long festival featuring various social events such as the FanFest at Bayside, Grand Prix Americas Street Festival in Coconut Grove and the Grand Prix Americas Foundation Magic in Miami Charity Ball and culminates with two of North America’s premier racing series. On September 26-28, 2003 Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will join the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) promoting a “dual-headline” that makes the Grand Prix Americas one of the foremost motorsports weekends of the year. This Blast by the Bay will be held in Downtown Miami at Bayfront Park in agreement with the City of Miami, the Bayfront Park Management Trust and the Miami Sports and Exhibition.

7/19/03

Why Atlantics needs an overhaul  We here at AR1 have made our feelings known that the CART Toyota Atlantics Series should run to F3000 specs.  However, as we understand it, Toyota does not have an engine in the 450 HP range, and were proposing something in the 350 HP range.  Others claim costs must be kept down.  One reason why costs are so high is because the series allows each team to have mods made to their engines.  In a spec series, geared to focus on driver talent, this is of course absurd.  This Monterey Herald article says, Another area of concern in Toyota Atlantic apparently centers around RuSPORT, the team for which Hollister's A.J. Allmendinger drives. The indication is that RuSPORT is using a different head on its engines than the others. While it is not illegal, it is expensive and, thus, takes it out of the realm of all the teams using it and, again, contributes to the disparity between teams.  As far as we are concerned, all the engines should be supplied and rebuilt by one company.  The Nissan Superfund World Series costs far less to run each year than the Toyota Atlantic series.  One way they are able to do it is by allowing no engine mods. One rumor suggests that CART will make a deal with the Nissan Series and move it under the CART umbrella lock, stock and barrel, as a replacement for the Toyota Atlantic series.  That certainly would give CART a F-3000 car and series for less money than today.  However, while the FIA F3000 series cars today have Zytec 470 HP V8's, the Nissan Series has 550 HP V6 Nissan engines. We hear the proposed new F2 series will have 550 HP engines, which would position the CART support series right where it should be in the international grand scheme of things....or, perhaps this F2 series that Max Mosley has hinted about will somehow include or replace CART's soon-to-be-overhauled Toyota Atlantic series.  Rumor has it (if you can believe rumors right?) that the big August 7th announcement regarding CART's future will include an announcement of a "new type of support series."  Hmm... Mark C.

7/19/03

NASCAR and Simpson settle out of court  UPDATE Attorneys representing NASCAR and safety equipment manufacturer Bill Simpson confirmed Friday there was no financial settlement to the deal they announced Tuesday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Simpson, of Avon, Ind., had insisted on receiving an apology from the sanctioning body before he filed an $8.5 million defamation lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis. NASCAR linked the seat belt of Simpson's former company to the death of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. Simpson insisted that Earnhardt had the belt installed at an angle unapproved by the manufacturer. Indianapolis Star  7/15/03 - The following joint statement is issued by Bill Simpson and NASCAR in connection with Mr. Simpson's voluntary dismissal of his defamation and false light invasion of privacy lawsuit against NASCAR pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. "Simpson and NASCAR are happy to announce that they agree that it is in the best interest of racing that they direct their time, energy and resources away from litigation and toward their joint goal of improving safety for professional racing drivers. Any misunderstanding between the parties, and the public, which gave rise to this litigation, can now be put to rest." NASCAR said it is pleased that Simpson dismissed his lawsuit. NASCAR President Mike Helton said, "We recognize that Bill has contributed significantly to the safety of motorsports for over 43 years, and we are glad the issue has been resolved." Simpson intends to supply teams and drivers with safety products from his new company. "I'm looking forward to doing what I do best," Simpson said, "and that's helping drivers and teams be as safe as they can at the track." This statement is the only consideration for the dismissal and the parties do not intend to discuss this matter further.

7/19/03

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7/19/03

British GP: Kimi jumps to top in Saturday morning practice  

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m22.263s
2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m22.397s
3 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m22.659s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m23.141s
5 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m23.316s
6 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m23.591s
7 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m23.596s
8 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m23.609s
9 David Coulthard McLaren 1m23.888s
10 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m23.902s
11 Jenson Button BAR 1m23.925s
12 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m23.939s
13 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m24.484s
14 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m24.532s
15 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m24.573s
16 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1m24.942s
17 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m25.044s
18 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m25.114s
19 Justin Wilson Minardi 1m25.808s
20 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m26.262s

7/19/03

New Taurus to be unveiled  From the Team Ford Racing site: You've supported your favorite Ford Racing drivers and teams all season long, and now it's time for us to say 'Thank You' to you, the fans. Join Ford Racing and Your Indiana Ford Stores at the RCA Dome, in downtown Indianapolis, on July 31 from 4:00-8:00pm/ct for Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day, where the excitement of racing is brought to you. Fans will have the opportunities to participate in Q&A and autograph sessions with NASCAR drivers Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Brett Bodine, Kasey Kahne, Rick Crawford, Jon Wood, Carl Edwards and Terry Cook. Attendees will also be able to see the unveiling of the 2004 Ford Taurus stock car and 2004 Ford F-150 truck during a special presentation with Edsel B. Ford II, member of the Ford Motor Company board of directors and chairman of Team Ford Racing. There will also be show car, car club, USAC and Ford production vehicle displays, as well as the Ford Racing merchandise trailer, pit crew demonstrations and interactive displays for adults and children. Tickets are free of charge and available at Your Local Indiana Ford Dealers. Each autograph session is limited to 350 autographs per driver. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Schedules for driver Q&A and autograph times will be available when the event begins. All Q&A and autograph sessions are subject to change. Ford Racing

7/19/03

Andretti lands DEI ride for Indy  John Andretti, who accepted a two-race deal this week to drive Haas CNC Racing's #0 Pontiacs for the next two races, has also agreed to drive a Dale Earnhardt, Inc. entry in the Aug. 3 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti tested a DEI car at Indy last week with good results. The Indy race replaces one originally scheduled for Chicagoland, in which Busch driver Jason Keller failed to qualify. "We are really confident he can qualify in the top 10 or 15 and run competitively all day," said Ty Norris, DEI's executive vice president for motorsports. "John wanted to be sure we were committed because he thinks he can go up there and be a factor in that race with that car. That gave us a lot of confidence." ThatsRacin.com

7/19/03

Road racer Mark Taylor smokes IPS field again, leads every lap  Results Friday of the Cleanevent 100 IRL Infiniti Pro Series event at Nashville Superspeedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Mark Taylor, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
2. (4) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
3. (6) Ross Fonferko, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
4. (3) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
5. (9) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
6. (8) Cory Witherill, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
7. (10) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
8. (12) Matt Beardsley, Dallara-Infiniti, 77
9. (13) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 77
10. (2) Brandon Erwin, Dallara-Infiniti, 76
11. (11) Dave Steele, Dallara-Infiniti, 74
12. (14) Jonathan Urlin, Dallara-Infiniti, 70
13. (5) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 20, accident
14. (7) Aaron Fike, Dallara-Infiniti, 6, oil leak
Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 142.306 mph.
Time of race: 00:42:12.2945.
Margin of victory: .3361
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps.
Lead changes: None.
Lap leaders: Taylor 1-77.
Point Standings: Taylor 271, Carpenter 175, Medeiros 175, Simmons 166, Witherill 156, Wood 155, Erwin 153, Fike 152, Urlin 150, Luyendyk 142.

7/19/03

Barron leads final practice in Nashville  Defending Firestone Indy 200 winner Alex Barron, who is substituting for the injured Felipe Giaffone in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, led the final practice session. Barron turned a lap of 22.9691 seconds, 203.572 mph. Kansas Indy 300 winner Bryan Herta was second fastest in the No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone at 23.0068, 203.418. Rookie Roger Yasukawa was third fastest at 23.0359, 203.161 in the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

7/19/03

Chevys dead last again  Qualifying at Nashville shows all the Chevys at the very back of the grid again.  The lone exception is AJ Foyt IV, once again the slowest of the Toyota cars and buried right at the back of the grid in the Chevy class.  Luckily Toyota has some good drivers in their fold, for if they all possessed the talent (or lack thereof) of Foyt, Toyota's engineers would be scratching their head trying to figure out where they went wrong. A young Juan Montoya stepped into an IRL car for the first time at Indy in 2000 and smoked the field. That is talent.  If Foyt was a star in the making, he would have shown at least a flash of talent here or there.  It's clear the kid needs to move back down to the Infiniti Pro Series or, better yet, to the CART Toyota Atlantic Series where he will get proper driving experience to perhaps someday handle the big cars.  It's hard not to feel sorry for him at this stage.  His lack of speed and numerous crashes surely has sapped any confidence he may have had.

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