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DATE

News (chronologically)

8/7/03

USGP ticket holders get pit access  Race day ticket holders for the 2003 United States Grand Prix can get an up-close look at one of the most exclusive places in motorsports – the Formula One pits – during a pit walkabout Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The walkabout takes place from 8 a.m.-noon (EST, Indy time) and is available for free to all ticket holders for the 2003 United States Grand Prix. This is one of the very few fan walkabouts available on the 16-event, global F1 schedule in 2003. “It’s only fitting that the Speedway is offering this exciting, new pit walkabout to United States Grand Prix fans during one of the most thrilling Formula One seasons in recent memory,” said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway senior vice president of business affairs. “The pit walkabout will provide United States Grand Prix fans with an up-close look at the technology and intricacies of a Formula One team. "We’re pleased to offer increased accessibility to the inner workings of F1 as an added incentive for our ticket buyers, and this pit walkabout will be the start of a great weekend of exciting racing.” Fans can walk the pits and stand adjacent to the open garages, providing a clear view of the sleek cars, high-tech equipment and skilled personnel of all 10 Formula One teams, including current standouts Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, BMW WilliamsF1 and West McLaren Mercedes. Those three teams will continue their intense chase for Drivers and Constructors Championships during the fourth annual Formula One race on the 2.606-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While no formal driver appearances are scheduled during the walkabout, F1 drivers have been in the garages and signed autographs during walkabouts at other Grand Prix venues. Still and video photography will be allowed during the walkabout. United States Grand Prix ticket holders will be mailed separate passes for the walkabout. Instructions for parking and entering the track will accompany the passes.

8/7/03

Trois-Rivičres penalties revised   The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup has revised two penalties assessed during the Aug. 2 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivičres race. The penalties, levied against Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Jaguar XKR) and Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Chevrolet Corvette), were the result of violation of rule 2.10 in the Trans-Am Series General Regulations and Technical Specifications: “Ground Clearance” found in post-race inspection. Drissi and Scarallo will be moved to the bottom of the results, with a notation stating “excluded from results.” In addition, neither driver will receive Drivers’ or Team Owners’ points or prize money for the Trois-Rivičres event. The rest of the field moves up as a result. The penalties were adjusted to conform to the precedence set in the Trans-Am Series for previous violations of technical specifications.

8/7/03

CART stock watch   In NYSE trading today MPH closed UNCHANGED at $1.45 p/shr. on massive volume of 603,300 shares.  Numerous trades in excess of 20,000 shares, several as high as 50,000 shares per trade.
High/Low of Session: $1.55/$1.40
52 Week Low: $1.45
NYSE UP 64.71 or 0.71%
NASDAQ DOWN 0.47 or 0.03%
S&P 500 UP 7.04 or 0.73%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/7/03

Bristol keeps 2 dates  Bristol Motor Speedway officially announced its 2004 NASCAR race dates, with events falling on the final weekends in March and August. The Food City 500 weekend, March 26-28, 2004, features a Friday pole day for both of NASCAR's top series, NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, and the Food City 500 on Sunday. Bristol’s most popular event, the Sharpie 500-Food City 250 weekend, will run Friday and Saturday nights, August 27 and 28. NASCAR's Busch Series will practice and qualify on Thursday, August 26, and race on Friday night in the Food City 250. Teams will practice and qualify for the Sharpie 500 on Friday before the Food City 250. The Sharpie 500 field takes the green flag on Saturday night, August 28..

8/7/03

What if nobody wins?  With RJR and Winston turning over the reigns to NEXTEL next year, what will happen if nobody wins the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus this year? To claim the bonus, a driver needs to not only win a race, but must also be leading the Winston Cup points chase at the end of the race. So far this year Matt Kenseth has had the most opportunities to do so, but hasn’t been able to close the deal and pick up the bonus. If nobody collects the bonus after the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, whatever money is left over will be divided incrementally among the top-10 finishers in the final NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Currently at $220,000 the bonus increases by $10,000 every week.

8/7/03

New BAR Technical Director The BAR Honda technical team has been strengthened following the appointment of 43-year old Gary Savage, in a newly created role of Deputy Technical Director. Savage's role is to take day-to-day responsibility for implementing and coordinating the design and testing programs across departments whilst working closely with Geoffrey Willis, the team's Technical Director, to develop the technical interaction with team partners, Honda and Bridgestone. Willis will remain responsible for leading the design and operation of the car, as well as the long-term technical strategy, but is now free to spend more time on the complex design concepts required to push the team and its partners forward in the increasingly competitive F1 arena. Commenting on his appointment as Deputy Technical Director, Savage said: "This is the perfect move for me. The partnership Geoffrey and I have works very well, and I hope that together we can push forward the shorter and long-term development of the car. I have immense respect for Geoffrey and I'm looking forward to working with him in my new position." Gary Savage has a colorful background, his career beginning as an Officer in the Royal Marines after leaving college. Prior to joining the world of F1 in 1990, at the age of 30, Savage worked in the advanced chemical materials industry. This included manufacturing materials for use on aircrafts, tanks and other high tech machinery.

8/7/03

Said looking for full-time Cup ride  This AP article says, Boris Said has had enough of being a road racing "hired gun." He wants to be a full-time driver on NASCAR's top circuit. "I'm going to try my hardest to make it happen," he said. Said is one of several road racing specialists hired regularly by NASCAR teams to drive in the events at Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen, N.Y., the only road circuits on the Winston Cup schedule. He'll be back at the wheel of the No. 01 MB2 Pontiac for Sunday's race at the upstate New York track, driving in place of Jerry Nadeau, who is recovering from injuries sustained May 2 in a brutal crash in Richmond, Va. It's the same car that Said put on the pole at Sonoma in June, then drove to a sixth-place finish.

8/7/03

Gil de Ferran interview  Gil de Ferran was this week's guest on the weekly IRL media teleconference.  De Ferran drives the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. He currently has two victories to his credit this year, those being the 2003 Indianapolis 500 as well as the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, and he currently stands third in the IndyCar Series point standings, just three points shy of current leader Scott Dixon. Transcript

8/7/03
Industry News

Built for speed This DDI Magazine article says, Ardent auto racing fans in Findlay, Ohio, no longer need to wait for an event to come to town to purchase authentic racing-related merchandise. Located near Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, one of the state's most well-known racetracks, racing merchandise is available year-round at the city's Wal-Mart Supercenter. Mac Tools recently teamed with Wal-Mart to open Fuel RLS (Real Life Speed), an 800-sq.-ft., in-store shop offering racing buffs an array of racing-themed apparel, collectibles, car parts and autographed memorabilia in its Findlay Supercenter. In fact, the new shop, which opened in March, provides racing lovers access to NASCAR, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Drag Racing and Bigfoot items they would not be able to purchase elsewhere. More.....

8/7/03


War of the Worlds, it's time to man the battle stations   UPDATE A reader responds, I think Bernie Ecclestone would be making a big mistake by not investing in CART. Formula 1 is going to need an ally to battle the oval racing contingent. I certainly hope that the round and round leagues don't take over. Mr. Ecclestone if you're reading this, please understand that both my father and I became Formula 1 fans after years and years of watching CART. We needed more races to watch, and being open wheel fans naturally led us to Formula 1. Also understand that Formula 1's presence in America isn't nearly strong enough to let CART fade out of existence. If you don't have the foresight to save CART then you will learn painfully when the NASCAR steamroller leaves the confines of America. It won't be long now. Don't relegate us fans to having to watch the truest form of lazy American racing. Sincerely, Joe Yack P.S. AutoRacing1 is the only site for racing news.  Dear Joe, We have to assume Bernie sees it coming, but we assume Bernie figures he will retire before the oval track cartel makes a significant impact overseas, hence is not too worried. Mark C.   8/7/03 - A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just read Mark Cipolloni's War of the Worlds article.  Oh my god, it's really happening right before our eyes.  With NASCAR taking on Japanese and Brazilian drivers, Japanese manufacturers, talk of going to Australia, Canada and Mexico, there's no doubt about it, the oval track cartel is poised to make an assault on the international scene.  If Bernie doesn't buy CART (50/50 chance at best), I think road racing will pretty much die in this country, and eventually around the world.  The oval track cartel has very deep pockets. Jeff Purdy, Omaha, Nebraska  Dear Jeff, If Bernie doesn't buy CART and work together to strengthen the road racing cartel, then it would be time for Plan B.  CART, ALMS and Trans-Am, who have all been weakened by the strength of NASCAR's domination in the USA, should either merge, or form some sort of tight alliance that would see all three work together to strengthen road racing's position in North America, similar to the NASCAR/IRL alliance.  They could run joint races frequently (i.e. CART/ALMS/Trans-Am) to bring more entertainment to the fans, and sell a road racing package to a TV broadcaster.  Drivers from one series could frequently drive in one of the other series on the same weekend, generating more fan interest.  Throw in concerts (as rumored) and all of a sudden a fan has a weekend full of entertainment before them.  I have always said that CART should do joint weekends with ALMS at Sebring, Washington DC and Road Atlanta, with ALMS joining CART at places like Beijing, Long Beach, Mexico City, Montreal, etc.  Trans-Am could be there too.  Add in Toyota Atlantics and Barber Dodge and the action will be non-stop.  Rather than an alliance, I would prefer to see a merger, with Don Panoz throwing his weight and wealth in with that of Gerald Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi.  I have a lot of respect for Scott Atherton (President of ALMS), so bringing him under the CART umbrella certainly is a positive. Paul Gentilozzi already owns Trans-Am, and if he's buying CART as rumored, it's easy to see how a merger of Trans-Am, CART and ALMS into one strong entity is quite possible and brings immediate strength to the road racing cartel, at least in North America.  Merging all three together eliminates redundant staff, thereby reducing overhead.  Merging all three brings the current manufacturers from all three series together under one umbrella where they can be coddled and nurtured. In a nutshell, if CART doesn't get Bernie, which would be our first choice, Plan B would turn out to be a very close second - - consolidate and strengthen.  I would still change the name of the CART series to the American Grand Prix Series, couple that with the American LeMans Series and the Trans-American (Trans-Am) series and all of a sudden you have an all-American company with an all-American theme for North America. The sooner this happens, with or without Bernie, the better....but what do I know? Mark C.

8/7/03

Speedway Motorsports rating increased Analyst Joseph D Hovorka of Raymond James upgrades Speedway Motorsports (TRK) from "market perform" to "outperform." The target price is set to $30.

8/7/03

CART Simple Green Safety Team special to finally air   Heralded across the motorsports landscape as the standard to which at-the-track safety services should be held, the CART Champ Car Simple Green Safety Team will be featured in a video piece to be aired as part of NBC's NASCAR Winston Cup pre-race show leading up to this weekend's Sirius at the Glen event at Watkins Glen. The network's color analyst and racer Wally Dallenbach Jr. (son of former Champ Car star and Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach Sr.) accompanied a film crew to the Molson Indy Toronto last month to find out what makes the Safety Team one of the best quick-response outfits anywhere in motorsports. The piece contains interviews with series Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey and series Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell as well as with Director of Safety Lon Bromley and Champ Car World Series drivers Jimmy Vasser and Adrian Fernandez. The feature will air at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday afternoon. It was to have aired on July 27 as part of the Pocono race weekend but was postponed due to an abbreviated pre-race show.

8/7/03

Darlington to add lights  Although they lost their traditional Labor Day weekend Southern 500 date, Darlington Raceway will still have two Winston Cup dates in 2004 and have gotten the go-ahead to install lights at the famous historic track.

8/7/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

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Suzuka On Last Legs: Jacques Villeneuve
Renault To Continue Podium Trend
Flying Finn 'Finished' With F1
Renault Plan Few More Horses In '03
Trulli Backs Montoya For Championship
Hakkinen Not Sure About DC's Future
Villeneuve: Nothing Left To Prove In F1

8/6/03

IRL to announce race in Milwaukee on Wednesday  UPDATE The drivers and teams of the IRL IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series will compete July 22-25, 2004 at The Milwaukee Mile, officials from the IRL, state of Wisconsin and The Milwaukee Mile announced Aug. 6. The Milwaukee Mile, in West Allis, Wis., is located on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, and the announcement was made at a press conference during the Wisconsin State Fair. Jim Doyle, governor of the state of Wisconsin, Tony George, president and CEO of the IRL, and IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack participated in the press conference announcing the new venue for the IRL. The four-day weekend of racing will feature the IndyCar Series and the Infiniti Pro Series events taking place on July 25. “The Milwaukee Mile and Indy-style racing have had a long and storied history,” George said. “We look forward to bringing the drivers of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the IRL back to Milwaukee and to a track that will showcase our wheel-to-wheel racing.” Originally a privately owned horse-racing track, the 1-mile oval has been in existence since at least 1876 and played host to automobile races since 1903, making it the oldest racetrack in continuous use. “We couldn’t be happier or more excited to add the IRL IndyCar series to the 2004 schedule,” said Wisconsin State Fair Park Board Chairman Martin J. Greenberg. “The IRL has really come of age in popularity both on and off the racetrack. Tony George and his entire staff have revitalized open-wheel racing in this country and beyond. “In turn, we’ve revitalized The Milwaukee Mile as we celebrate our 100th Anniversary. We’ve had an incredible 100th season so far and to be able to cap it off with such an important addition to our schedule shows the racing community and our fans that we’re serious about bringing this great racetrack into the next century by offering the best and most exciting racing in the world.”    8/6/03 -  Tomorrow officials from the Indy Racing League, The Milwaukee Mile and the state of Wisconsin will announce an IRL race at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis. starting in 2004. On hand will be Tony George, president and CEO, Indy Racing League, Jim Doyle, Governor, state of Wisconsin, Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations, IRL, Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs, IRL, Joe Chrnelich, Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO, Martin Greenberg, board chairman, Wisconsin State Fair Park, Mark Perrone, vice president and GM, Milwaukee Mile

8/6/03

Aero exam: eight cars at the wind tunnel … Eight NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars – two from each manufacturer – were involved in an extensive wind-tunnel test on Tuesday at a facility in Marietta, Ga. The following cars were obtained for the test following Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart; No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon; No. 38 M&M’s Ford of Elliott Sadler; No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford of Matt Kenseth; No. 42 Havoline Dodge of Jamie McMurray; No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge of Rusty Wallace; No. 32 Tide Pontiac of Ricky Craven; and No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac of Johnny Benson. “The focus of this test is for the ’04 season and has nothing to do with the competition this season,” said NASCAR Winston Cup Series director John Darby. “We’re going to get a snapshot of where everyone is today and also conduct some preliminary testing in spoiler reduction.”.

8/6/03

TV Timeout II: Perception may not be reality when it comes to commercials … MotorsportsTV.com has published a report addressing fans’ concerns about commercials interrupting race broadcasts. Data from 102 broadcasts from 2000 through 2003 was examined. The data included the amount of commercial time per hour in each broadcast and the amount of commercial time between the start of the race and the checkered flag. According to the report, the data indicated that there appears to be no significant increase in commercial time during that span. In 2000, the average amount of commercials per hour was 14 minutes, 39 seconds. According to the report, in 2003, through the Brickyard 400, the average is 14:47, an increase of only eight seconds of commercial time per hour under the landmark TV contract that went into effect in 2001.

8/6/03

TV Timeout: Indy residents turned out – and tuned in … In Indianapolis, at last Sunday’s Brickyard 400, approximately 300,000 fans were on hand. As far as the Indy market’s TV race-watchers were concerned, the event (broadcast by NBC) earned an incredible 22.1 rating – outside the Daytona 500, the highest local market rating for any race this year. Indy led the way for 16 markets that had a rating greater than 8.0, including non-traditional NASCAR markets Dayton (10.5), Milwaukee (8.7), Columbus (8.5) and St. Louis (8.2). (Figures from NBC and Nielsen Media Research.)

8/6/03


Villeneuve again belittles IRL & CART   In this interview, Jacques Villeneuve answers the question - Of the current crop of IRL & CART Drivers who do you feel, if any, are Formula One material? Jacques: "I don’t think that you could take anyone from IRL. They only compete on ovals. There might be some good drivers, but it’s difficult to judge, so I really don’t know. I haven’t really followed the IRL series close enough to judge. In CART, the driver that has been the quickest and the most competitive through the season is Paul Tracy."    You are one of a very small number of drivers who have been successful both in the American Champ Car series and in F1. My question is, what is the biggest difference, and the biggest adjustment you had to make while entering F1 from the American CART series? Jacques: "That F1 is a bigger step up than anyone would expect. Being quick in Champ Car does not make you quick in F1. However, if you are quick in F1 you should have no problems in Champ Car." [Editor's Note, Champ Cars, like IRL cars, are overweight beasts, and are so slow compared to F1 cars they give the appearance of "Lazy racing" as Niki Lauda coined them].

8/6/03
Industry News

Speedway Motorsports reports record revenue   Speedway Motorsports, Inc. today announced record revenues for the three and six months ended June 30, 2003, and reaffirmed full year 2003 earnings per share guidance of $1.55 to $1.65. Second quarter highlights include Lowe's Motor Speedway hosting its largest crowds ever at "The Winston" NASCAR All-star event, as well as Texas Motor Speedway hosting near capacity crowds at its Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event. Also, the Company successfully completed a private placement of 6 3/4% senior subordinated notes, renegotiated a replacement credit facility, and redeemed its 8 1/2% senior subordinated notes.  More...

8/6/03

Feud of the week: Brickyard 400 vs. Indy 500   This CBS Sportsline article says it all. Tony George's vision of creating the IRL has diminished the crown jewel of open wheel racing to a mere shadow of its former self.  In the poll included in the article, the Brickyard 400 is outscoring the Indy 500 3:1 in popularity.  The 500 has lost much of its luster since Tony George formed the IRL in a split with CART. This past May, due in part to the faltering economy, the Indy 500 barely managed to fill the field with 33 cars. In comparison, a few weeks later in the same weak economy, 52 drivers attempted to make the 43-car field for the Brickyard 400. The biggest factor in the Brickyard 400's favor is NASCAR's popularity. The IRL doesn't come close. People will watch the Indy 500 because of the past, but few, except the hardcore racing fan, actually know any of the IRL drivers in the race. These are no longer the days of Andretti and Foyt. The Indy 500 has lost touch with the common fan. The Indianapolis 500 isn't an icon of racing because of what it is, but because of what it once was. NASCAR drivers are more than willing to carry the torch.  History will show that the inevitable extinction of Indy Car racing in America will be pinned on the person who created the IRL, split Indy Car racing in half, fractured its fan base, its sponsor base and its teams, thereby allowing stock car racing to monopolize racing in America - Anton (Tony) George.

8/6/03

Interview with Denis Chevrier  The Renault F1 Team’s Engine Operations Manager sat down to discuss a dramatic season, and spoke about the developments to come between now and the end of the season.  Denis, how do you evaluate the 2003 season?  DC: Our objective we set at the start of the year was to score four podiums, and we achieved that with Jarno’s result in Hockenheim. What’s more, even though the third team in the Constructors’ Championship is quite a way ahead, the teams behind can’t really worry us now. That has taken off some of the pressure, meaning we can tackle the last races of the season without too many worries. If you had to talk about disappointments, what would be top of the list?  DC: The three leading teams are very close in terms of points, which goes some way to prove they have monopolized the major points-paying positions this year. Our aim was to get close to them, and we haven’t quite made it all the way there yet. Our position is that of the outsider team, which can score a significant number of points on occasion, but not consistently: we perhaps haven’t quite yet managed to regularly fight with the big boys. Having said that, we are not far off: the team’s performances are on the right track, and we have the potential to develop further. When you get there, everything has to be performing at 100%: chassis, engine, drivers and strategy. That is hard to do from start to finish in a Grand Prix.  On the subject of reliability, are you pleased with the progress made this year?   DC: Yes. According to some, we apparently began the season with uncertain reliability: I think the critics were silenced by our results, which proved a lot better than they had predicted. Naturally, we have had a few retirements and we still need to make progress in this area, because the top three teams have excellent reliability.  What have been the major engine evolutions this season?  DC: We brought out a ‘D’ spec engine in Austria. This step brought gains in power and performance, bringing an improvement in lap time of around 0.2s. The ‘E’ spec made its debut a little later at the Nürburgring. The changes were primarily in the upper part of the engine, which meant we gained horsepower without any increase in engine speed. There were also some changes for Hockenheim concentrating primarily on reliability. These will be a solid base for the next developments.  And what will those developments be, between now and Suzuka?  DC: From Budapest, we will be able to count on a bit more power. A final performance step is planned for Monza or Indianapolis: given that the Italian Grand Prix is particularly mechanically demanding, we may decide to delay this final evolution until Indianapolis.

8/6/03

Testing discovery makes Danica Patrick upbeat about rest of season     Some of the most important laps Danica Patrick has turned this season may not have been in a Toyota Atlantic Championship series race, they may have been at a test at Blackhawk Farms last week in suburban Chicago. Patrick and her Argent Mortgage Company team spent a day on track at Blackhawk and made some significant strides in understanding the car. Those strides paid off in a season best start of fourth at Trois-Rivičres and her third top-five result of the season. "This was a test that really opened the door for us," said Patrick. "We have a greater understanding of the car and that showed last weekend. The key for us is to keep building on what we have accomplished and take this to the next level." In her first year in the competitive Toyota Atlantic Championship, Patrick is seventh in points after eight races, just a single point behind Joey Hand in sixth. Patrick has posted three top-five results including a third place finish in the season opener at Monterrey, Mexico. She has six top-ten results all while getting accustomed to a new series and her first year Team Rahal Atlantic program. "We have a lot of experience on this team, but it is still the first year most of these people have worked together and it takes time for everyone to come together," said Patrick. "Every time we run we are making progress as a group. That is all you can ask for as a rookie in this series. I said at the start of the year I wanted to see improvement and I know we are making strides." This week Patrick comes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Round 9 of the 2003 Championship. Mid-Ohio is the home track for Team Rahal and this year will mark the first time that the Team Rahal Atlantic program has raced on the circuit. "We had a test day at Mid-Ohio in July but we really didn't get everything accomplished that we wanted because of some mechanical problems," said Patrick. "Still this team has a wealth of information about this track and what it takes to be successful. Bobby [Rahal] himself is a valuable resource to me in preparing to run at this track."

8/6/03

NASCAR catches another cheater   NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Jeff Buckner has been fined $1,000 for a rule infraction that occurred during the Brickyard 400 race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Buckner was penalized for having unapproved rear axles on the #02 Pontiac of driver Hermie Sadler. NASCAR officials discovered the infraction during last Saturday's (Aug. 2) post-qualifying inspection. Buckner was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book.

8/6/03

MIS Cup race gets sponsor   Michigan International Speedway announced that Grand Rapids, MI based Gordon Food Service, a premier foodservice distributor with 94 retail stores in the Midwest, will sponsor the GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on Sunday, August 17. Gordon Food Service is a 106-year-old family-owned and managed company. The company's distribution network services more than 30,000 customers with more than 14,000 products. The company also operates a chain of retail GFS Marketplace stores. The GFS Marketplace stores, begun in 1979, service the emergency needs of GFS truck delivery customers and are also the primary supplier to many smaller operators who prefer to pick up their products including: restaurants, churches, day care providers, service clubs, caterers, adult foster care facilities, convenience stores and concessionaires. Party planners and fundraising groups also find a wide variety of restaurant quality products that will make their event a success. The stores are open to the public and do not charge a membership fee. With 94 retail stores strategically located throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, GFS Marketplace is dedicated to providing superior customer service and restaurant quality foodservice products. General Admission (infield) tickets for the GFS Marketplace 400 went on sale Sunday [August 3rd]. Reserved seats are still available for the Saturday August 16 Cabela's 250 featuring a concert by Grammy-nominated rock band 3 Doors Down. For tickets, call the Michigan International Speedway Ticket Office (1-800-354-1010 or 517-592-6672) or by going on-line at www.MISpeedway.com. Michigan International Speedway PR

8/6/03

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8/6/03

Papis and PK Racing post best finish yet at Elkhart Lake  "Mad Max" Papis had his best run in a CART Champ Car since returning to the series with PK Racing in late June. The Italian, who currently resides in Miami Beach, Florida, overcame a 16th place qualifying performance to come within four seconds of a podium finish in his fifth race with his new team. "Sunday's race showed that under difficult circumstances, determination and the will to succeed came out in everybody," said Papis with his usual gusto. "The guys gave me fantastic pit stops, and I made it happen on the track. It was a team effort, and we never gave up." Papis, who climbed the charts quickly, hounded Darren Manning late in the contest, and when the Englishman's Reynard broke third gear, Papis slipped past into fourth place. He set off after Alex Tagliani, who was slowing with worn rear rain tires, but Max ran out of laps to catch his rival with the rain-shortened 34-lap race. Papis climbed from 16th to the Top Ten by Lap 11, and into the Top Five by Lap 18. "We are really making progress," Papis said. "Under difficult circumstances, the team was good in the pits and I drove very hard. Once given the opportunity, I take it. We are focusing really hard to grab whatever we can. We need to improve our qualifying and step up our game, but we are not that far off. We will get there!" The PK Racing team spent today performing a seven-post shaker rig test in Indianapolis, from which they expect to learn additional information in preparation for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. "Road America's race was great proof of the determination of the team. It is the first gift I give to Kevin Kalkhoven and everyone at PK Racing. My goal is a podium finish before the end of the season. This weekend we were only five seconds off that goal. We will continue to push to succeed at what I know we can do," added the popular Italian. Papis now has collected 17 points in the CART points championship, placing him 16th overall in just three finishes in five races.

8/5/03

Messy calls at Elkhart Lake  This RPM.ESPN.com article says the last two Champ Car races are pretty good indicators of why the drivers don't respect chief steward Chris Kneifel or his staff, the American fan base has dwindled and some promoters consider CART a four-letter word. Let's begin with Sunday's soggy fiasco at Elkhart Lake, which managed to undo all of Mario Andretti's goodwill work the past three months, and came on the heels of a classic amateur show at Vancouver the week before.  The article reinforces our Hot News item below about why bother having rain tires if you are not going to use them.

8/5/03

Spike TV debuts Monday with Danica Patrick show    Spike TV speaks to guys' love of cars with a new interstitial series, "Zero To Sixty," starring top female race car driver Danica Patrick, debuting Monday, August 11 (from the Playboy Mansion). These 60-second updates cover all the news from the automobile world -- everything from the latest concept cars, showroom news, and the hottest looks from the top carmaker's design studios. After its premiere on the network's official launch date of Monday, August 11, Zero To Sixty will settle into a weekend rotation with new reports airing periodically on Saturdays and Sundays. "Spike TV is evolving into the place guys come to talk about and learn about cars. In 'Zero to Sixty,' we bring together the latest news from the auto world in a way that's never been done before," said Kevin Kay, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, Spike TV. "It's fast-paced, it's informative, it's sexy -- and it's hosted by Danica Patrick -- one of the highest ranking and certainly best looking CART racers on the circuit." "'Zero to Sixty' is the first mainstream automotive news program of its kind. Danica's upbeat and witty delivery of real industry news appeals to Spike TV's audience of young, car-savvy men," said Fred Seibert, Zero to Sixty's executive producer. "Zero to Sixty will quickly establish Spike TV as an automotive authority." Patrick, a member of CART's Team Rahal, owned by former driving superstar Bobby Rahal and David Letterman, is considered one of the sport's top open wheel drivers. A native of Roscoe, Ill., Patrick has made a meteoric rise through the racing ranks -- starting with a second place finish as an unknown 18-year old at the world renowned Formula Ford Festival in 2000. She made her CART debut in 2002 and within a few months, won the pro/celebrity race in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The creator/producers of Zero to Sixty are Emil Rensing and Fred Seibert. Spike TV, the first network for men, is available in 86 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. MTV Networks owns and operates the cable television programming services MTV: Music Television, MTV2, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land, VH1, CMT: Country Music Television, and Spike TV, as well as The Digital Suite from MTV Networks, a package of thirteen digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks also operates and offers joint ventures, licensing agreements and syndication deals whereby its programming can be seen worldwide.   PRN Newswire. Related article.

8/5/03

CART should do away with rain tires  UPDATE A reader responds, Dear AR1, I couldn't agree with you more on this post. CART's biggest weakness is that they don't drive in the rain anymore. Rain is part of racing as far as I'm concerned. "Real Racing"? That's what CART calls itself doesn't it? This is not baseball, is it? The problem is that if CART doesn't give a chance to their drivers to gain experience driving in such conditions, the next time they have no option but to delay the race or parade around behind the pace car. CART has to decide if canceling or delaying road course races because of the rain is doing any good to the series. In my opinion it is not, just giving them a black eye. A lot of people have the opinion that it is due to the safety of the drivers that they parade around instead of race. I know that wet conditions are more difficult but that doesn't make the races more dangerous if the drivers know how to race in such conditions. The latest fatalities and injuries in open wheel racing have been in perfectly dry weather. Rain is what separates the men from the boys in motor racing. If not, CART should change their slogan from "Real Racing" to "Real Parading." Regards, Roberto Reyes  8/4/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, I am disgusted with CART for not letting the drivers race in the rain at Road America.  I was there and the conditions were not that bad.  Why do they even bother to pretend to race in the rain when in fact all they do is parade around behind the pace car until the track is almost dry.  Who are they kidding?  Roger Nutt, Chicago IL  Dear Roger, CART would lose their title of America's #1 parade company if they didn't parade around behind the pace car.  We remember the days when Champ Cars actually raced in all conditions (with more HP than they have today), but unlike F1 cars and drivers, who are able to race in almost any conditions, we can't recall the last time CART actually let the drivers race in anger in the rain. This year Bridgestone brought out a softer rain tire because last year's was so hard it was treacherous.  However, even with the softer tire, CART waited until the track was pretty dry before going green.  These days they wait until the track is only damp before letting them go.  The great drivers of the past would say, if you can't see in the mist, or if the track was slippery, the accelerator works both ways, meaning you can lift and slow down if afraid or if in over your head. Sure there were puddles of water in a few spots - the accelerator works both ways.  Drivers like Sebastian Bourdais chose a full wet setup and was mad the stewards did not let the race start under green right from the beginning.  The drivers who were complaining about the conditions either didn't gamble with a full wet setup, or simply are not good in the rain.  Of course your car feels bad in the rain if you stayed on a dry setup.  Too bad really.  Again, the accelerator works both ways.  As Bourdais put it, "I think it's just a matter of knowing if we (the CART series) want to do rain races or not, if you want to compete or not. If CART doesn't want to do races in the rain then maybe it's not worth buying rain tires. Basically it's just a matter of being fair for everybody. We each have to choose the setup for the race (i.e. taking a gamble on the conditions is all part of racing in the rain). Knowing the conditions were really wet, I was one of the guys that picked a wet setup. The race was supposed to start with heavy rain, they are supposed to put the green flag out. If they don't want to do it, then why bother even starting the engines?"  We remember the memorable drivers by the true rain meisters, Pedro Rodriguez and Ayrton Senna, and today Michael Schumacher.  The true greats of the sport who could blow away the competition as soon as the rain began falling. Unfortunately CART fans will never get to find out who, if any, might be a rain meister because it's clear the drivers are never going to be given a real shot in the rain, and because they never get to really go at it in the rain, they lose what skill they may have developed previously. It's sad really, and the fans are being cheated.  Mark C.

8/5/03

Toyota Atlantic series to be well represented on Wind Tunnel   The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will be well-represented on the first week of nightly "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" programs on SPEED Channel, as the series' points leader will be a featured guest on Tuesday, August 5 broadcast and a team owner in the series will be the featured guest on Wednesday, August 6. A.J. Allmendinger, driver of the #4 RuSPORT Toyota/Swift, who picked up his third consecutive Toyota Atlantic victory and his fifth of the season in Sunday's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, will join Brickyard 400 winner Kevin Harvick on Tuesday's show. Allmendinger will be live in the studio with Despain to field questions from the host as well as from viewers via telephone. The rookie currently leads the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship point standings by 34 points over Scotland's Ryan Dalziel with four of 12 races remaining on the schedule. Twenty-four hours later, first-year Toyota Atlantic team owner and former Atlantic competitor Bobby Rahal will be the featured guest on the program. Rahal is the owner of Danica Patrick's #24 Argent Mortgage Company Toyota/Swift, who qualified a Toyota Atlantic career-best of fourth and finished fifth in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. The three-time CART Champ Car champion also fields a car for Michel Jourdain Jr. in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and is one of the principals of the Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow karting program. Rahal will be the Toyota Atlantic team's second representative to appear on the show, as Patrick was the featured guest on Friday, June 20 on the weekend of the G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway.

8/5/03

Racing saves CART  This Mansfield Ohio newspaper article says, While the business side of CART remains a mess, the product on the track continues to be its salvation. Despite speculation that it would, the racing hasn't dropped off a bit in 2003. It starts with the engines. Tasked with fitting every car with a spec V-8 turbo engine, Ford-Cosworth met the challenge and then some. Where mechanical failures were once common, they are now rare. "What Ford and Cosworth have done for Champ Car is absolutely phenomenal. They don't get thanked enough," said John Lopes, Champ Car's vice president of racing operations. Cosworth is so good at what it does, Chevrolet came calling earlier this year to seek help with its IRL engines. The drivers are drivers again. They know their cars will be there at the end, so there's no need to baby them. With no traction control and no fuel knobs in the cockpit, there is nothing to cover-up mistakes on the track and no way to stretch fuel for economy runs. "I really enjoy the series this year without the traction control," last year's winner at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Patrick Carpentier said. "There are quite a few guys who can be fast."  More....

8/5/03
IROC

IROC series in need of overhaul   This Mercury News article says what we have been saying for while, the IROC series in its current format is nothing but a NASCAR driver benefit series with a different name.  To call it international is insulting.

8/5/03

IRL seeking $10 million title sponsor   This Sports Business Journal article (requires subscription) reports that "the Indy Racing League is on the street seeking its first title sponsor in two years." The report says that the IRL is asking $10 million a year for the sponsorship.

8/5/03

Jarrett's jackman hit on narrow Indy pit lane   UPDATE  John Bryan is at home and resting after being involved in a pit road incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Brickyard 400. After being evaluated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Bryan was released with all tests coming back negative. Albeit a little sore, Bryan’s spirits are up and he is looking forward to getting back to the race track. “I’m very sore . . . I feel like I was hit by a racecar,” Bryan joked Monday afternoon. “I am a little sore all over right now but the biggest thing that’s sore is my shoulder, which makes sense because I landed on my right shoulder. Other than that, I feel pretty good and hope to get back to the shop later this week.” Bryan, who has been working at Robert Yates Racing since 1996, has been part of the #88 team pit crew since April 2002. He has worked as the Parts Manager since 1996, and shortly after that went to work pitting the #28 Robert Yates Racing Fords before moving to the #88 team in 2002. Bryan says he has every intention of returning to his jackman duties as soon as possible. Bryan, who flew home with the team on Sunday night, talked to Jarrett before leaving Indianapolis. “I saw Dale at the airport and I think seeing me in person and being able to see I was OK was a big help for him,” Bryan said. “DJ is a great person and a great driver. We’re having a tough time as a team, but we’ll get through it and I just want to get back to the track and be part of that.” Bryan says one of the positives that came out of the weekend was the performance of his safety equipment. “The safety equipment did a great job,” Bryan said. “I wear a Troy Lee helmet which has a chin guard and I think that made a huge difference. I think I was able to figure some things out too that may even help make this job safer and have talked to both Robert (Yates) and DJ (Jarrett) about it.” Bryan will sit out this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen and probably the August 17th race at Michigan International Speedway. He hopes to be able to attend the race in Michigan for moral support for the team. “These things happen,” Bryan said. “This is the class I signed up for 10 or 11 years ago when I started doing this. I’m not quitting and I’m looking forward to getting back to the track in the next couple weeks.” Bryan is going to continue resting for the next couple days before returning back to work. Elevation Motorsports PR  8/3/03 - John Bryan, the jackman for Dale Jarrett's team, appeared to be injured in a freak accident on pit road early in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bryan was checked at the infield medical center and was taken via ground transportation to Clarian Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Dr. Henry Bock, medical services director for IMS, said Bryan was awake and alert, but did not provide a report on his injuries, if any.

8/5/03

Bernie says drivers should be paid based on performance  Bernie Ecclestone has told team bosses to link drivers’ wages to the number of points they score. He told The Times: "We can have racing. What was the problem with the racing at Silverstone? As soon as they all realized they could win or get decent places, they all started overtaking. There has been too long when the team manager calls drivers in and they expect to do their overtaking in the pits, relying on stopping for eight seconds when the other guy takes ten. They should do their overtaking on the track." He said: "When I had Nelson, I told him he would get paid when he got points. It must have worked because he didn’t do too badly. Maybe instead of paying Michael Schumacher $60 million for a contract, they should pay him $10 million every time he wins. The drivers should be capable of motivating themselves but that doesn’t always happen. It is impossible to force the teams to do it, but we should think about paying the drivers when they get points and not just hand out the big salaries flying around at the moment."  Mark C.

8/5/03

Watch Road America broadcast now  If you have broadband, CART.com now has a video-on-demand link for the full race broadcast of this past weekend's Mario Andretti GP from Road America.  Mark C.

8/5/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

Pizzonia Eyes BMW-Williams Return
Lobbyists Dismayed By Spa 'Sell-Out'
Williams Drivers 'Free To Race'
Trulli Slams Schu's 'Unfair' Move
High Court Judge Blasts Eddie Jordan
Williams Appeals Schumacher Penalty
We Won't Win In Hungary: Ferrari Boss
Frank Williams Vows To Keep Montoya
No Ferrari Crisis, Schumacher Insists
Raikkonen Hits Back At Team-Order Jibe

8/4/03

Feedback to Mark Cuban  Some have written to express their amazement of how good the HD Net pictures were of this weekend's CART race from Road America.  You can thank Mark Cuban for the efforts put out by his company HDNet.  While many have complained about the lack of R/A coverage it could not hurt to have a guy like Mr. Cuban on our CART's side.  Billionaire sports nuts are a good thing.  His email address is mark@hd.net if you would like to send him a note.  We have heard he reads and answers his own e-mail.

8/4/03

Kentucky track better, still bumpy   This AP article says, that recent efforts to smooth the extremely bumpy Kentucky Motor Speedway track surface have helped, but Kenny Brack says it's still pretty rough.

8/4/03

Trulli says Schumacher cheated  One of the hardest fought battles during the German GP was between Jarno Trulli and Michael Schumacher. The Ferrari driver eventually overtook the Italian but had to put all four wheels off the track on the asphalt-covered run-off area in his maneuver. Jarno Trulli did not appreciate this move at all. "Michael was able to pass me after doing a maneuver that is not fair," explained the Renault driver to Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was always told that we cannot pass a driver by putting all four wheels off the track and I think that everybody knows that rule, including Michael. When he came back on the track, I left him enough space and when he overtook me I told myself that he was going to hand me back my second position or that the stewards were going to force him to move over but nothing happened.  I don't want to talk to him about it because I think it is more appropriate to review the situation with the FIA," added Trulli. "Briatore told me that he was going to make a formal complaint about it but finally it wasn't necessary."

8/4/03

Brickyard 400 - more hype than substance   This Sports Illustrated article says that the flat Indy track is not really good for the type of racing NASCAR does and the race is nothing more than hype.  The author says it does not yet have the history to back all the elevated hoopla it is given.

8/4/03

Impressed with Toyota  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I was impressed by Toyota's solid performance in yesterday's German GP. It looks like they finally put cars together; the next step for them is to be competitive. They have a tremendous driver lineup with da Matta and Panis. Both in perfect formation throughout the entire race (I could picture da Matta learning from Panis' lines) also the pit stops were done by the book. This team will be a force to be reckoned with in a very short period of time. I can see them outclassing Jaguar next year right behind Renault. Regards, Roberto Reyes

8/4/03

Brickyard 400 ratings down slightly   Sunday's broadcast of the Brickyard 400 garnered an overnight rating of 5.5, according to Nielsen Media Research as reported by Sports Business Daily. This is down 3 1/2% from last year's 5.7 overnight number. Last year's race got a solid small market bump to finish with a 6.3 final rating. MotorsportTV.com

8/4/03

Politicians vie for NASCAR "Dads"   This Washington Post article says, In 2000, it was soccer moms. Today, the demographic that's most in demand by political strategists converges at racetracks Sunday afternoons to whoop, holler and shake a fist at the souped-up Fords and Chevys whizzing past. They're called "NASCAR dads." "They are middle- to lower middle-class males who are family men, live in rural areas, used to vote heavily Democratic but now usually vote Republican," explains Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "That's the definition of a NASCAR dad, and there are a lot of them." And the National Rifle Association, as well as Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), are staking considerable sums on the belief that if NASCAR can sell its fans on Pennzoil motor oil and Budweiser beer, why not the Second Amendment and the next president of the United States? The NRA, whose billboards now adorn a half-dozen NASCAR speedways, sees stock-car racing as a means of bypassing the mainstream media and appealing directly to the Americans who support its agenda. Graham, whose presidential campaign fields the "Bob Graham for President" NASCAR truck, sees auto racing as a way of forging a connection with rural voters by tapping into the passion they feel for American-made cars and the hardscrabble racers behind the wheel. It makes eminent sense to Virginia-based political strategist David "Mudcat" Saunders, who is credited with identifying the potential significance of NASCAR dads and developing the first successful statewide strategy to woo them. The beneficiary was Virginia gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner, who slapped "Warner for Governor" on the side of a Ford F-150 for a 2001 NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway as part of his Saunders-inspired campaign strategy. Warner went on to claim 51.4 percent of the rural vote, becoming the first Democrat to carry Virginia's rural electorate in a generation. "If you're going to send a message of hope to rural America, there is no better vehicle than NASCAR," says Saunders, now an adviser to Graham's presidential campaign. More.....recommended

8/4/03

Junqueira to head new nightly SPEED show   Bruno Junqueira has just returned to his Miami home from his best weekend of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and is spending his first full day as series points leader by headlining SPEED Channel’s new daily racing show. Tonight, Junqueira will join SPEED Channel’s Dave Despain on a new venture as the Despain-hosted Wind Tunnel program moves to a nightly format that will see the show broadcast each evening from Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The Newman/Haas Racing pilot will join the program from his Miami home, discussing Sunday’s victory that moved him into the points lead for the first time in his career. Junqueira captured all 23 championship points at last weekend’s Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America Presented by Briggs & Stratton, claiming his first win of the year and moving into the series points lead by three digits over Paul Tracy.

8/4/03

Failure is not an option for CART's Gentilozzi   This Mansfield, Ohio newspaper article says, Paul Gentilozzi has been a part of CART just six months and already he's one of its best spokesmen. As the owner of Rocketsports Racing, the team which fields the Johnson Controls Lola for Alex Tagliani, Gentilozzi could do for the Champ Car World Series what Colonel Sanders did for chicken. A new breed of owner, he could become a voice for the sport, a charismatic personality which people latch onto. Mark Cuban did it for the Dallas Mavericks and the NBA, maybe Gentilozzi can do the same for CART. "I've been an underachiever, so you've gotta do the best you can," he joked during a June test session at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He was a hockey player at Michigan State who played "penalty box" for the Spartans. After graduation, Gentilozzi built a commercial real estate empire in mid-Michigan. He also found his competitive outlet in sports car racing, and before long was rewriting the Trans-Am Series record book. Now 53, he bought the Trans-Am marketing rights with plans of bringing that historic series back to its glory days. But that wasn't enough. He wanted to start an open-wheel team for his longtime sponsors at Johnson Controls who were ready for a more high-profile sponsorship. Yeah, he's an underachiever and Bart Simpson is an overachiever. "The business deal was right. For years I made a lot of decisions based on emotion and was determined not to do that this time," Gentilozzi said. "We had two choices, do the IRL or this. The IRL has a lot of great things about it, and the Indianapolis 500 is a great race, but it's one race. We could have flown in customers from all over the world and if we would have had a bad day, there is no redemption. Here I get 18 chances to shine." But before he made the move, he consulted a couple of old friends, Bobby Rahal and Paul Newman. "Bobby was especially helpful. Paul Newman lobbied really hard, and Paul can be a persuasive guy," Gentilozzi said. So he came to CART, one of five new teams, ready to take on his buddies Rahal and Newman as well as the other established teams.   More...

8/4/03

F3000

Wirdheim gets Jordan test  Newly-crowned F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim has been offered a test drive by Jordan. Wirdheim, who wrapped up the title with two races still to run, will test for the team at Monza in early September, as well as driving the team’s third car in Friday testing at the Italian GP. Wirdheim said: "I feel really relieved. It feels extra good to win the championship with two races to go because I can now focus more on the next step."

8/4/03

Battle between two factions continues   This Mansfield, Ohio newspaper article says, The question was inevitable. Those three letters -- I-R-L -- are always brought up at fan gatherings. At the Cleveland Grand Prix, America's other open-wheel series was asked about again, only this time under the guise of some comments made by longtime open-wheel team owner Roger Penske about Champ Car's inevitable doom. Paul Gentilozzi has only been a team owner in CART for six months, but he was ready. Everybody in Champ Car is ready when the topic turns to what many CART fanatics call the "evil empire." "I've known Roger Penske and have done business with him for more than 20 years. Racing is a game of musical chairs, and Roger is the smartest guy because when the music stops, he's going to have a chair. You cannot forget that," Gentilozzi said, just getting warmed up. "He has huge involvements with Toyota and Daimler. He's doing what he has to do for his business, and I completely respect that." Then came the kicker for the crowd. "It wasn't so long ago that he had the pom-poms and the skirt on cheering for CART. The economy and the flow of money went the other way, and now he's doing what he has to do." Gentilozzi was working the crowd like a Sunday preacher. All that was missing from the tent revival was a chorus of amens from the CART crowd. "Tony George (founder of the IRL and owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is a great friend," he continued for the congregation. "I like Tony, but I'm over here in CART, and I believe in what we're doing. I know we'll be here in '05." Open-wheel racing's holy war is in its eighth year. It's just as contentious today as it was in 1996 when the first Indy 500 was held without the stars of the day.   More...

8/4/03

Schuey rips Villeneuve  Here is another article which quotes Michael Schumacher saying Jacques Villeneuve is not good enough to be his teammate.

8/4/03

New Ford NASCAR engine   This Roanoke Times article says, Ford officials said they have talked to NASCAR about submitting a new engine. "We're heading towards submitting a piece of hardware by the deadline, which we're shooting for a September-October time frame," said Greg Specht, North American Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology. "It's going to be nothing radical and, frankly, nothing they haven't seen before, but it's going to give our engine builders some new ground to work on and to catch up with our competitors."

8/4/03

Road America articles from Wisconsin  

Elkhart Lake turns out to say thanks to Mario Andretti

Road America President expresses dismay over race

20-year-old charged in stabbing

8/4/03

Breuers makes debut in Toyota Atlantic   Marc Breuers will return to the site of his first Barber Dodge Pro Series win, this time behind the wheel of a Toyota Atlantics car. Marc has signed a deal with Brooks Associates Racing that will put him in the team's car for three races, starting at Mid-Ohio -- the site of that first win -- on Aug. 10. Last year Marc started fifth in the BDPS race and quickly moved up through the field to take the lead and drive on to victory. Next up for Marc is a test session this weekend in Oklahoma as he and the team try to get a feel for one another. It's not the first time Marc has tested a Toyota Atlantics car. He tested in the off-season, posting impressive times in his first time behind the wheel. After Mid-Ohio, Marc will contest the final two U.S. races on the schedule, Denver (Aug. 31) and Miami (Sept. 28). All three races will be shown on Speed Channel. Television times will be posted when they become available.

8/4/03

NASCAR TV ratings continue to climb   No, NASCAR's TV ratings haven't plateaued yet, NBC's Mike McCarley said. In fact, Winston Cup racing has more viewers today than ever, and it is on its way to a third straight season of ratings growth, which would be remarkable in the world of sports . . . 'A plateau is going to come at some point,' McCarley said. 'But last year was the first time any sport had grown in back to back seasons, as far as ratings, since Michael Jordan's NBA comeback season. NASCAR did that last year, and Fox was up two percent this year, and we (NBC) were up 16 percent for Daytona and up two percent for Chicago, so it is continuing to grow . . . However, the downside on the TV front at the moment is economic - neither Fox nor NBC has yet made any money on the NASCAR package. The $400 million a year being paid to Daytona simply is not being recouped by Sunday ad sales. 'We try to squeeze in as many ads as we can during cautions. But you have to play the cards you're dealt at each race,' McCarley said. 'Over the course of the season you'll see the percentage for this season and last season and the years before NBC and Fox took over will be pretty similar.' Winston-Salem Journal

8/4/03

Germany crowd down slightly  Attendance for the German GP was over 100,000 despite very hot conditions.  Attendance was off 17,000 and many visible empty seats were evident.

8/4/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

Williams Assess Team Orders Change
Ralf Punished For First-Corner Melee
Donington Park To Bid For British GP
Trulli Fights Raging Fever On Podium
Drivers Don't Accept Crash Blame
Bridgestone: Schu's Tire Didn't Fail
Is DC Staying On? - 'Yes,' Says Scot
No Title Dreams For Dominant Juan
Bernie Denies Canadian GP In Trouble
Spa's Back, But Teams Don't Want More Races
Schu: No Optimism Ahead Of Hungary
Montezemolo Slams Rising F1 Costs
Trulli's Garlic Powers A Podium
Bruised Kimi Still In Title Chase
Toyota To Retain Both '03 Drivers
Williams Not Ruling Out 18 Races

8/3/03

Biela and Werner win in Canada   Frank Biela and Marco Werner drove the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 to a dominating win in today's American Le Mans Series Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on the historic Trois-Rivieres street circuit in Canada. The German duo scored their third American Le Mans Series win of the 2003 season in the LMP 900 class, leading all 169 laps that comprised the three-hour timed event on the 1.521-mile circuit. "I have a lot of experience on street circuits, and you have to like street circuits in order to do well on them," said Werner, a veteran driver who is in his first full season on the series. Werner had qualified the Audi R8 on the pole in Saturday's qualifying and drove the first hour of the event. "JJ Lehto pushed me really hard in my stint," he said. "I could never get more than four or five seconds ahead of him. It was a difficult stint with the traffic, and there was a lot of pressure." Johnny Herbert and Lehto finished second in the ADT Champion Audi, falling out of contention due to pitting just before a full-course yellow and losing a lap. Although Herbert was able to pass Biela late in the race and make up the lap, he did not have time to challenge for the win.

8/3/03

More feedback on HDNet   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, A friend of mine with whom I watch all CART and F1 races got HDnet in time for the race at Road America. We watched it back to back with a TIVO recording (no loss in resolution) of the F1 race at Hockenheim. Despite the rain delays, I have seen the future of sports broadcasting. The F1 race was blurry and artifacted (jagged) by comparison. Nothing can compare with how spectacular the clarity is with an HD feed. It was like being trackside and watching through a crystal clear pane of glass. I'm sure not many people got to see it, but it's fitting that CART is charting these waters first.  Thanks for the excellent coverage, as always... Patrick Harte

8/3/03

Mid-Ohio fans start petition   Fan efforts to help persuade CART to keep Mid-Ohio on the Champ Car schedule started today at the race watching party for Road America at Frog, Bear and Wild Boar in Columbus, OH. A petition has been started to ask CART to keep Mid-Ohio on the schedule for 2004 and beyond. The petition will be circulating at the Columbus, OH, CART/Mid-Ohio Fan Fest at PromoWest Pavilion on Thursday, August 7. The petition will also be available for signatures at Mid-Ohio all weekend starting Thursday at the campgrounds. If you'd like to help save the race, look for the banners indicating a petition signing location or for the people circulating the petition anywhere on the grounds. Photo is of the first signature.

8/3/03

Road America race broadcasts standing room only  It's standing room only with the crowd flowing outside the doors at the establishments in Indianapolis that are showing today's CART race live on HDNet.

8/3/03

Road America race restarted after delay  Champ Car officials have restarted the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America, reducing the number of laps to 34. The officials plan to get the race in yet this evening.

8/3/03

Road America live on the web  If you have broadband, here is a link to a live broadcast of the race from Road America from the Brazil TV folks RedeTV

8/3/03

Road America update  UPDATE CART just announced a target starting time somewhere between 5:30 and 5:45. The teams have been notified.  8/3/03 - Champ Car officials have put the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America on hold because of rainy conditions. Drivers are unable to see because of the heavy spray the cars kick up. The officials hope to get the race in yet this evening, with the possibility of starting as late as 6:30 p.m. It's still raining steadily with a grey, featureless sky. Adam Saal and Beaux Barfield, a race steward, held a brief update at 3:50. Beaux - We made our best efforts to get the track dry, but we've stopped all of our efforts to get the track back. Until the rain let's up, I couldn't give you a time. Question - Any estimated time for a restart? Adam - You have to get the track dry. Beaux - We haven't gotten that far into it (as to discussing a restart condition). The drivers are giving input. Adam - The ground effects sprays water up and visibility is 0 at 60 mph. Water stays in the valleys. Beaux - We're looking at a range of options. There's a possibility of running tomorrow morning. Adam - Carl Haas suggested that. A few years ago, we would have pulled the plug by now. Question - What about water on the track in Canada Corner? Beaux - There is no specific problem area. It's just standing water everywhere. If we go tomorrow, we'd start 8 laps in. We've only just begun to discuss the possibilities. Adam - we haven't given up on today yet. Question - I think in 1995 when Zanardi won, if my memory serves me right, we started at about 5:00 and ended at 7:30. How late will we wait? Beaux - 6:00 or 6:30. Adam - our TV partners are staying with it around the world; the day isn't over yet.  Paul Josephson

8/3/03

Allmendinger holds off Dalziel   CART Toyota Atlantic Championship points leader A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) moved another step closer in his quest for the series crown by going flag-to-flag en route to a 0.465-second victory over his next closest challenger in the points race,  Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. It was Allmendinger's third consecutive victory and his fifth of the season, making the rookie the first driver since Hoover Orsi in 2001 to win three straight races, and he was also the first driver to win five races in a season since Orsi won five on the way to taking the '01 series title. He also became the first rookie to win five races in a season since Alex Barron won five on his way to winning the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship crown in 1997. After taking his third consecutive $1,000 Toyota Pole Award in qualifying, Allmendinger kept the field at bay going into Turn 1 on the opening lap, and motored off to a comfortable margin in the middle stages of the event. However, on Lap 35, Allmendinger got caught up behind the lapped car of Kyle Krisiloff (#7 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One), which allowed Dalziel to close the gap to within half a second of Allmendinger. Once Allmendinger dispatched Krisiloff, he managed to open up another gap of over a second, but made a slight mistake on Lap 42 that allowed Dalziel to again close up dramatically. Nevertheless, Dalziel was not able to get close enough to make a pass, and Allmendinger sped off to the victory. It was his series leading sixth podium finish in eight races thus far this season.
1. (1) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 45.
2. (3) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 45.
3. (2) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 45.
4. (7) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 45.
5. (4) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 45.
6. (6) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 45.
7. (8) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 45.
8. (9) Stephan C. Roy, Toyota/Swift, 45.
9. (12) Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, Toyota/Swift, 45.
10. (15) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 43.
11. (14) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 43.
12. (13) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 41.
13. (11) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 41.
14. (5) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 38.
15. (10) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 12, mechanical.
Time of Race: 45:14.076.
Average Speed: 90.787 mph.
Margin of victory: 0.465 seconds.
Lap leaders: Allmendinger, 1-45.
Caution Flags: None.

8/3/03

Road America fans hail Andretti as hero   This Chicago Tribune article says, Road America is a jewel of a place, a 4-mile permanent road course that wends through the trees of a countryside in the heart of northeast Wisconsin. It is a track that challenges even the best drivers, who love it in return, and beckons even the most casual fans, who can picnic and party on its rolling hills as a race unfolds below them. It was back in 1982 that CART first ran, and for the next 20 seasons, the place was always a part of its schedule. But then, early this year, money intruded and positions were taken and lawsuits were filed and it was announced that this summer the series would not run. "I'm sure, inside, they had compelling arguments for doing so," Mario Andretti said. "But once we started talking about it and expressing our disappointment [in the media], it was amazing to go on-line and see the response the fans were providing. It was something you could not ignore. When you have a series like CART that has been very strong in road racing, you must cultivate not just the street events, not just the temporary events, but also events that have been with you from the beginning. Elkhart Lake is certainly one of those. It is really important." It was important enough that Andretti, still his sport's most luminous name, set out to save the event. He talked to CART head Chris Pook and to the track's board members. He pushed the sides through two weeks of negotiations, and finally, in mid-May, pushed them into reaching an agreement......"Grazie Mario" read the buttons many fans wore on Friday night under a tent set up on its grounds. The Osthoff Resort will host a "Grazie Mario!" party that includes free admission and food and Andretti wines. "The race's impact is significant. It means literally millions of dollars for the community," says Lola Roeh, the resort's general manager. Yet the dispute involving this year's race did not come without negative consequences. The track could not reclaim its traditional race date in late August. CART lost its traditional window on SPEED Channel, leaving Sunday's race to be carried by HDNet. And any number of fans, believing the traditional race gone, either turned in their tickets for refunds or traded them in for other events at the track. "This would have been my 10-year anniversary for attending the race. . . . I have always looked forward to planning my vacation around the event," one of those fans wrote the track in an e-mail. "Unfortunately, due to previous issues that CART has had with Road America, I will no longer make an effort to go to the race. . . . The way CART is running a business is very questionable at times and has caused a lack of interest in their product." Sunday's crowd, then, figures to be smaller than those of the past, but that was of little concern to Andretti on Friday afternoon. He had salvaged Sunday's race and guaranteed that CART would run at Road America next year as well, and that was enough for now. "I don't think you can hang your hat on tents alone. Just the word temporary means exactly that," Andretti said. "To maintain the criteria that has been so strong for CART, we must become partners in promotions with venues like this. "Just walking around today, it's amazing. I've never, ever felt in my life like I did today with the fans saying thank you for bringing the race back. That outpouring of emotion is just unbelievable . . . [and] not just the fans love to be here, but the competitors as well. Their satisfaction in being here, that's great payback in and of itself. "It's heartwarming, and if the event is successful, who knows? The two years can be 20. It'll all be driven by the facts. We'll see what the response will be."

8/3/03

Road America declared a wet race   UPDATE: Race has been red-flagged due to standing water on the track.  Jet dryers have been sent out.  The race has been shortened to 47 laps. 8/3/02 -It is raining here at Road America and although the downpour has letup and the rain is light right now, the clouds are ominous.  The start has been declared a wet start and all cars must start on rain tires and in single file.  Mark C.

8/3/03

CART drivers have big day in Germany  A pair of former CART Champ Car World Series champions displayed their considerable talents today in the Formula 1 German Grand Prix with 1999 series winner Juan Pablo Montoya claiming his third career F1 victory in a dominant performance at Hockenheim.   Montoya was joined in the top six by 2002 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title winner Cristiano da Matta, who scored his best finish since winning last year’s Vanderbilt Cup as a Champ Car driver with Newman/Haas Racing. Montoya took his second win of the year and the third of his career, winning Sunday’s German Grand Prix by more than a minute over David Coulthard. The victory draws the Colombian to within six points of the F1 championship lead. Da Matta finished sixth and climbs into the top 12 in the season standings. “Myself and everyone in CART are very proud of Juan Pablo and Cristiano and what they accomplished today,” said Fittipaldi-Dingman team co-owner Emerson Fittipaldi, who himself won championships both in F1 and CART Champ Car. “Juan Pablo is world championship material and Cristiano is proving himself to be ahead of the learning curve for rookies. They both have a great deal of talent and we are proud to have had them as champions in our series.” Da Matta and Montoya are the latest in a series of former CART Champ Car World Series champions that have also competed in the Formula 1 World Championship. The list of elite drivers includes Fittipaldi as well as Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Zanardi.  Mark C.

8/3/03

Castroneves in a major drought   This Chicago Tribune article says that Helio Castroneves has been grounded. The driver nicknamed "Spiderman" has not climbed a fence in a victory celebration since winning his second straight Indianapolis 500 last year. Castroneves has been competitive over his past 19 races, but he has failed to win in the Indy Racing League. Marlboro Team Penske President Tim Cindric said if Castroneves' celebratory maneuver was not so well known, his winless streak wouldn't be noticed. "People look forward to how he appreciates a win by expressing himself with so much enthusiasm," Cindric said. "After some time, fans miss that and I know he misses it. But he's been second or third six times this season, so if we just keep knocking at the door, good things will happen." Castroneves kept thinking that too, even as his competitors raced around Michigan International Speedway last week while a hole in his radiator ended his day on the 71st of 200 laps. "I can't get frustrated and I can't lose the faith," he said from pit row. Castroneves also insisted he's not tired of answering questions about his winless streak. "This is a natural thing that happens to athletes in every sport," said Castroneves, who has nine career IRL and CART victories. "We all go through ups and downs. We've been close all year, so I know we're going to break through with a victory soon." Castroneves and the rest of the IRL have the week off. The series resumes Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. "I have no doubt Helio will win again soon," team owner Roger Penske said. "Even Tiger Woods has streaks without a win, so it can happen to even the best in any sport." While Castroneves has gone 14 months without a victory, he isn't in a horrible slump.  More.....

8/3/03

Attempted murderer apprehended at Road America  A 20-year old man stabbed another man this week between the town of Elkhart Lake and the Road America track.  The man then ran onto the Road America track trying to get away where President George Bruggentheis happened to spot him running across the karting track as a storm approached.  Authorities were called and the man was caught by the Sargento Bridge.  The track then replayed the video from its security cameras and spotted where he entered the facility.  Dogs were sent on the trail and they found the knife the man had dropped.  Mark C.

8/3/03

FIA slaps Ralf with penalty  The FIA has slapped Ralf Schumacher with a penalty which will see him start 10 positions back in Hungary for causing today's first turn accident in Germany.  Ralf moved left to improve his line and caused Barrichello and Räikkönen to spin wildly and drop out of the race.  Ralf was also eliminated.

8/3/03

Nemechek: NASCAR should use F1 pit lane   According to this Indy Star article, Joe Nemechek has become a fan of Formula One at Indy, if for no other reason than envy. The Winston Cup veteran and No. 7 starter for today's race wants to use the pavement strip that F-1 uses for pit road. Nemechek contends Indy's oval-track pit road is too narrow at 39 feet wide. The F-1 pit road is 50 feet wide. "I want to ask (Speedway president) Tony George if we can use the F-1 road," Nemechek said. "The one we've got is so narrow that you've really got to be careful. It's one of the narrowest we've got." A narrow pit road requires precision on entry and exit. If a team pitting in the middle of pit road decides to take fewer tires than its competition, the driver must dodge incoming and outgoing traffic. But there are no plans to use the F-1 road. The Speedway has temporary bleachers there and has sold all of the tickets. Plus, the grandstands in the area closest to the fourth turn are permanent.

8/3/03

A gauge of the health of Indy Car Racing   A reader writes, Dear AR1, I am watching pre-race coverage on WTHR out of Indianapolis in preparation for the Brickyard 400. All the vendors that they have spoken with are talking about how well things are selling this year. This is just the opposite that was reported during the "500". The 500 coverage was all doom and gloom and they were blaming the economy - I don't think the economy has changed much since May. When will people realize that open-wheel racing is really struggling - and not just CART? Thanks, Tim Clingenpeel, Lafayette, IN

8/3/03

Williams admits McLaren trying to steal Juan  This BBC article says, Formula One team owner Frank Williams has admitted that rival McLaren is pursuing his driver Juan Pablo Montoya. The BBC Sport website revealed this week that McLaren wanted to sign the Colombian after his Williams contract expires next year - or even for 2004 if possible. Williams said on Sunday: "Juan has a contract with this company until the end of '04 - after that it is an open market. "We'd love to see him stay with us forever, but I repeat it is an open market and other teams, including McLaren we believe, are after him. "Humans always tend to think the grass is greener somewhere else. I really don't know which way he is going to jump."

8/3/03

Future of Mid-Ohio and CART in doubt  This Mansfield, Ohio News Journal article says,  A 24-year-old relationship could come to an end after next weekend. In the final year of its con- tract, CART and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course have yet to start talks about the future. "What I'd like to say is, yes, we are working this out, and yes, we are having on-going open dialog about what our options are jointly," said TrueSports President Michelle Trueman Gajoch, the owner and operator of the track. "But to be honest, I've had no communication from (CART CEO Chris Pook). I've made very unsuccessful attempts to reach him and have had no direct communication from him for well over nine months. That's highly unusual." Typically, the track and a sanctioning body begin working out a future deal at least a year before the end of the contract. Trueman Gajoch said they simply renewed their 2002 agreement for 2003 at last year's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. "We worked out a very fair and equitable situation going forward for this year as did many of the permanent facilities in this country as well as the temporary circuits. I would say the majority did renegotiate their situations," Trueman Gajoch said. CART agreed to be a co-promoter for this year's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, which starts Friday with qualifying and ends Sunday afternoon with the race on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn permanent road course. But Mid-Ohio's future on CART's schedule is suspect at best and bleak at worst. Under Pook's leadership, CART has leaned more toward sanctioning temporary street courses in major market cities, calling it CART's urban policy. "I think the test is over. The races have been so successful this year, every single one," Pook said of CART's street festivals. It is CART's way of bringing its product to potentially new and larger fan bases that corporations and sponsors crave. McDonald's signed up to sponsor rookie Sebastien Bourdais for four urban races, starting in Cleveland. Pook would not say if he's optimistic the series will return to Mid-Ohio.  "I'll tell you after the race," he said. "I have stuff cooking all over the place. Some of it gets overcooked, and some of it gets undercooked. Mid-Ohio is one of the traditional racing courses in America, but unfortunately business times change. You have to adjust the way you do business. That means Mid-Ohio probably has to adjust the way they do business, too." Trueman Gajoch said she doesn't know what she's supposed to adjust. "Perhaps if we were communicating with each other I would have a much better understanding of what his perspective is," she said. "I read everything. I understand his vision and respect it because Chris has been a longtime promoter of races (at Long Beach) just as I have. I should make it clear my comments are with no disrespect to him, but it's the process by which they are doing business right now that I'm criticizing as far as the promoter-sanctioning body relationship." "It would be nice if emotion would pay the bills. Tradition is nice, but ..." Pook said. "I think when any good business person looks at the product they've invested in and was a part of helping grow, you're just not going to throw it out the window," she said. At CART's Columbus Town Hall Meeting in July, CART board member and team owner Derrick Walker approached Trueman Gajoch and reassured her no decision about Mid-Ohio had been made. "I don't believe they will make a decision until the race is run," she said. "We're selling tickets (for this weekend). Our ticket sales are certainly not significantly down and they're not up. They're on par with where they were a year ago." As for speculation IRL will take CART's place on the Mid-Ohio schedule, Trueman Gajoch said she hasn't talked to IRL's Tony George and any other IRL official. "I have no doubt they are going to go road racing. We have made no plans to go road racing with the IRL," she said. Does she expect to get a phone call from Indianapolis next Monday? "No, that's not his style," she said. "Mid-Ohio is going to be fine. We're not going to blow away," Trueman Gajoch said. But a 24-year-old relationship could blow away after this weekend.   This is a related article - can Bobby Rahal save Mid-Ohio like Mario Andretti saved Road America?

8/3/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

Jordan Lose Case, But Vow To Fight On
McLaren MP4-18 Set To Never Race In F1
Belgian Race To Return, Minister Confirms
Richards Offers Villeneuve BAR Pay-Cut
Jordan Refutes Anderson Quit Rumor
McLaren Reject Team Order Accusation
McLaren Stall On '04 Driver Line-Up
F1 To Stage Evening Races In 2005

8/3/03

News briefs from Hockenheim  Drivers, cars and Formula One tires will be tested to the limit today at Hockenheim as ambient temperatures are expected to soar.  Team chief Peter Sauber said the forecast, tipped to top the mercury at 34, would make 'tire performance a deciding factor.'  Power Boost  Struggling team Jordan praised a new specification of customer Cosworth V10 engine for a boost in pace at Hockenheim on Saturday.  Slow on Friday, the Silverstone outfit fitted the new powerplants for final qualifying yesterday boosting Giancarlo Fisichella to 12th on the grid.  'We used the new spec engines for the first time and it obviously helped,' said technical director Gary Anderson, 'which is a good thing.'   Williams' New Aero Meanwhile, BMW-Williams praised aerodynamic improvements for yet another one-two qualifying with the always improving FW25 chassis.  Chief engineer Sam Michael, 32, said the improvements - which put Juan Pablo Montoya on pole - were 'clearly another step forward.'  First F1 Test  Hockenheim paddock whispers suggested that Bentley's Le Mans 24 Hour victor Guy Smith is being lined up for a test in the FW25 some time later this year.  Guy hung around in the Silverstone paddock a couple of weeks ago and is provisionally penciled for a try in the BMW-powered Williams car, sources say.

8/3/03

HD broadcasts are awesome  UPDATE According to the HD.net website, Dish Network is providing the Road America race for FREE on Channel 9425 - any sports bar that has Dish Network and HD equipment should be able to get it. They don't need a subscription to the HD.net channel.   8/2/03 - A reader writes, I feel bad for those who do not have access to the Elkhart Lake broadcasts this weekend. And I understand why fans are so disappointed and upset that the broadcasts are not on network or cable TV. I would feel the same way! However, as someone who has HDNet in my home, I must say that the viewing is absolutely AWESOME. The pictures and sounds are something that words cannot adequately describe and regular television broadcasts will now always pale in comparison. I realize that it is not good for the series that so few fans have access to the programming, but I have to admit, I am having the time of my life watching every session. Mark Maslona, Cleveland, Ohio

8/3/03
F3000

Townsend Bell learning the European way of driving  Arden team boss Christian Horner was delighted to have the title secure with two races still to run: “I’m delighted that we got this one sewn up early. Bjorn has proved to be the class of the field all year. After qualifying he set his sights on second. He didn’t really want to get into a fight with Sperafico, as he knew that eight points with Pantano behind him would probably be enough. He got his head down and did a great job. The next step is to get him an F1 race seat.   I think this was Townsend’s best race this year. If you look at it his pace from start to finish was extremely good and it’s starting to come together very nicely now. He drove a great first couple of laps – he certainly has picked up the European way of doing things! His times were good and we should see him on the podium before the end of the year.”

8/2/03

Werner nabs pole in Canada   Marco Werner led a record-shattering qualifying session Saturday to take the pole for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. A new track qualifying record was set in all four classes of competition. Werner, driver of the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8, turned the 1.521-mile street racing circuit in a record time of 57.740, the fastest lap ever run on the track by any type of car. He earned his first career ALMS pole and will co-drive with fellow German Frank Biela in a car that was rebuilt overnight after Werner crashed it in Friday's testing session. "There is a lot of pressure on my shoulders," said Werner, who joined the ALMS this season driving for the very successful Joest team and was driving in qualifying for the first time. "Fortunately the team gave me an outstanding car to drive after my mistake of (Friday) in hitting the inside wall. The car was good to drive and it ran faster and faster." Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto will start second in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. Olivier Beretta and David Saelens were third-fastest in the LMP 900 class in the JML Team Panoz Panoz LMP01 and will start fourth overall. Butch Leitzinger led the LMP 675 class with a lap of 58.806 in the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG. He and co-driver James Weaver will start third overall. The second Dyson car of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson qualified second in the LMP 675 class, followed by the Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam MP91 of Jeff Bucknum, Bryan Willman and Chris McMurry. "We weren't sure if our car would work as well on this circuit as it did last week," said Leitzinger, from State College, Pa. He and Weaver made history last week by winning the ALMS event held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., the first overall race win in series history by a car from the LMP 675 class. "The Audi is going to be very hard to beat on this track because they can really put the power down, but James and I will do our best to take the fight to them."

8/2/03

Government employee fired for taking free NASCAR tickets   According to this AP article, A top state Department of Motor Vehicles official was fired Friday after he was accused of accepting free pit and garage passes to NASCAR races. The state Ethics Commission said there was reasonable cause to believe Donald LaHart had violated the gift provisions of state law by accepting 55 passes for the stock car races valued at $11,000. Most of the passes, good at 15 races run in 2001 and 2002, were used by friends of LaHart, the commission said. LaHart, an associate commissioner at DMV, had managed the state program under which NASCAR fans can get custom license plates that carry the car number and signature of their favorite driver. The plates cost New Yorkers an extra $43 with some of the revenue going to NASCAR. DMV officials said about 3,500 New Yorkers have obtained the NASCAR plates. The officials weren't immediately able to say how much the state and NASCAR had made off the program. LaHart's firing eliminated the possibility that he could have faced possible penalties of up to $10,000 from the commission, commission spokesman Walter Ayers said. LaHart, DMV's associate commissioner for marketing and new product development, declined to comment on the ethics investigation. He had been with DMV for seven years and was paid $78,039 a year. His attorney, John Poklemba, called the firing "ridiculous,'' but said he and his client had not yet decided whether to take the state to court. He said his client's problems stemmed from the Ethics Commission misinterpreting state law.

8/2/03

NASCAR still considers point system overhaul   According to this AP article, The current NASCAR points system was created by Bob Latford, who died on July 23. Latford invented the system on a request from NASCAR head Bill France Sr., first drawing it up on a cocktail napkin at the Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, Fla.  NASCAR is considering changing its championship points system to give bigger rewards for winning poles and races. The current system favors consistency over winning. The system, which began in 1975 and is often criticized, has been under attack this season while Matt Kenseth has built a whopping 232-point lead in the championship race with just one victory but a string of top-10 finishes. "We are reviewing the points system, as we often do when there is talk about one driver having so big of a lead that it looks like the championship will be decided before the season is over," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Saturday. "So we will look at every viable option and at the end of the year apply it to the point standings and see how things might have been different." One of the scenarios NASCAR is looking at is awarding a sizable points bonus to the race winner - anywhere from an additional 10 points to 50 - and giving a bonus for winning the pole. Other options include awarding the same amount of points to drivers who finish 30th through 43rd, or not awarding any points after 36th position. Both of those scenarios would make it pointless for damaged cars to return to the race track. NASCAR has already applied all those scenarios to past seasons and found that it never changed the series champion, Hunter said.

8/2/03

Herbert says Jacques should blame himself   According to this Toronto Sun article, Johnny Herbert drove for 10 years in Formula One and he doesn't feel the least bit sorry that Canada's Jacques Villeneuve may not get a ride next season. The British racing star said Villeneuve's choice of signing a long-term deal with BAR back in 1998 was his undoing. "Jacques' decision to stay with one team for that length of time hurt his career," Herbert told The Toronto Sun yesterday. Herbert's own F-1 career included stints with Benetton, Sauber, Jaguar and Arrows. "When it became clear in the third year at BAR that the team was not improving, Jacques should have moved on," Herbert said. But the three-time F-1 winner did admit that Villeneuve's spat this season with teammate Jensen Button has been good for both drivers.

8/2/03

Jordan tried to drop lawsuit According to this Planet F1 article, Just hours before Mr Justice Langley was due to hand down his judgment in Jordan's case against Vodafone, the F1 team applied to drop its High Court action, saying that they did not believe they were going to win anyway. Jordan had taken the mobile phone company to court, claiming that they had wrongly pulled out of a sponsorship deal after agreeing to it. Jordan also offered to pay Vodafone's legal costs. "Regretfully, it is clear that we are not going to win and for the good of Formula One and the team it is my decision to withdraw," team boss Eddie Jordan said. "We'll take the judge's ruling on the chin and then put this behind us. I must now channel all my energy into getting Jordan Grand Prix back on track for the rest of this year and for many years to come."

8/2/03

Pruett wins thriller at Trois-Rivičres  Scott Pruett came into the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivičres uncharacteristically uneasy about his chances at the tough French Canadian street course. However, the driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR put his fears to rest by earning his 19th career victory and his fifth triumph this season in Round 7 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship, held Saturday in Trois-Rivičres, Quebec.  Pruett, in fact, dominated the event at the 1.52-mile course, where he had only one previous start. Leading from the pole—his sixth in seven races this season and first for a Jaguar XKR here—Pruett held off a charging Johnny Miller and held the point for all 65 laps. In the process, Pruett also gave Jaguar its first Trois-Rivičres victory, and earned the $2,000 Flowmaster American Thunder Challenge Award for winning the pole, leading the most laps, setting the fastest lap—1:04.843—and winning the race. Pruett also won the BFGoodrich Tires Take Control Award for leading the most laps.  “I was pretty nervous into this race at Trois-Rivičres,” said the two-time Trans-Am Series champion. “Johnny (Miller) was tough all day long. He really turned the heat on and picked up the pace. He’s got a lot of experience in these cars and was able to run us hard.  “One of the things we learned this year is you can’t run these cars too hard, because you’ve got to have a good enough car at the end,” added Pruett. “But the Rocketsports team did a really good job to have three cars up here today.”
As exciting as Pruett’s charge to victory was, equally impressive was his nearest pursuers performances. Miller (No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR) finished second, his fifth podium this season, and Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Stuck on You Jaguar XKR), finished third after starting 14th on the grid.

8/2/03

Allmendinger takes 3rd consecutive pole  A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) did not go faster than his time from provisional qualifying on Friday, but turned a lap quick enough to pace final qualifying and add to his championship lead heading into Sunday's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (SPEED Channel, Live, 1 pm ET). In Saturday's final qualifying session, Allmendinger clocked a best lap of 59.338 seconds (92.278 mph) to head the field of 15 qualifiers, and earned an additional championship bonus point. He now leads Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) by 29 markers heading into Round 8 of the 12-race 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. He starts from the pole position, however, based on his track record speed of 59.296 seconds (92.343 mph) from Friday's provisional round of qualifying. Allmendinger will start from the pole position for the third consecutive race and the fifth time overall this season. In each of the previous four races that he started from the pole, he went on to win the race, and it was also the sixth consecutive Toyota Atlantic qualifying
session that he has positioned himself atop the time charts. Starting second will be defending Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres champion Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing), who paced the final qualifying session for the first two-thirds of the session before Allmendinger turned his fast
lap late in the running. Valiante posted a best lap of 59.454 seconds (92.098 mph), and starts inside the top three for the third consecutive event. It is his fourth straight top-five starting spot. Dalziel starts third after clocking a best lap of 59.526 seconds (91.987 mph). It was the Scot's seventh consecutive top-four starting spot, and his ninth top-four starting position in 10 races dating to a third place qualifying performance at Montreal in 2002. He goes into the race looking to continue his streak of top-five finishes to six consecutive races. Team Rahal's Argent Mortgage Company driver Danica Patrick will start fourth for Sunday's Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres marking her best starting position of the season. It is Patrick's second top-five start of the season and she surpassed the fifth place start she had in the season opener at Monterrey Mexico. At Monterrey she started fifth and finished third claiming the first podium result of her Atlantic career. Patrick ended Saturday qualifying fifth overall but her fast lap from Friday stood up to claim the outside of row two. The final session started on the wrong note as Patrick clipped the wall and sustained suspension damage. The Argent crew worked quickly and the Argent car returned to the track and came within a tenth of a second of matching her Friday time. ""The morning session was a challenge for us, but the engineers made a few changes and the car was much better this afternoon," said Patrick. "We went back to what we knew worked yesterday and we found our way back towards the front. I asked the engineers to improve the turn in and they improved it so much I hit the wall. The crew did a great job and they had me back on track in no time. Tomorrow will be a long race (45 laps) and the guys in front of me (Allmendinger, Valiante and Dalziel) are very fast. I just have to make sure I get my tires up to temp and that I pull a gap so I can run with them. I know my engineers are looking at a couple of ways to improve the car and who knows what can happen in the race."
1. (4) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 59.296, 92.343 mph.
2. (19) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 59.454, 92.098 mph.
3. (28) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 59.526, 91.987 mph.
4. (24) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.052, 91.181 mph.
5. (3) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.053, 91.179 mph.
6. (33) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.231, 90.910 mph.
7. (27) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.251, 90.880 mph.
8. (84) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.390, 90.671 mph.
9. (16) Stephan C. Roy, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.478, 90.539 mph.
10. (69) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.763, 90.114 mph.
11. (7) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.944, 89.846 mph.
12. (17) Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.236, 89.418 mph.
13. (9) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.462, 89.089 mph.
14. (2) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.752, 88.671 mph.
15. (8) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.937, 88.406 mph.

8/2/03

Hunter-Reay likes Reynske front wing  For the first time this year, CART rookie driver Ryan Hunter-Reay finally got to use the Reynske front wing at Road America and it paid immediate results for him.  He qualified 8th fastest right behind his veteran teammate Jimmy Vasser.  Ryan told us that for his style of driving, the new front wing paid huge dividends, enabling him to shave 9/10ths of a second off his time from Friday.  He was just a whisker slower than Vasser who said "our cars are good this weekend and Ryan is doing a real good job."  Vasser tried the Reynske front wing but reverted to the Players front wing as it seems to suit his style better. In photo top right, Hunter-Reay talks with team PR rep Katie Brannan Mark C.

8/2/03

Normand Legault slams Chris Pook, says he mismanaged CART money  Today's Journal de Montreal reports from Hockenheim, Germany that Montreal race promoter Normand Legault was attending a summit along with other big F1 names such as Bernie Ecclestone, etc. He was quoted as saying that after looking at CART's assets and previews on the potential buyout, Legault thinks that time will run out, as will the money, before CART could be sold and restructured. The problem is that the money went away too fast, losing $90 million this year alone. CART had to buy the TV exposure and support many teams. He puts the blame on internal feuds, with Pook being accused directly for spending that much. He said going to Europe wasn't a good idea either as it cost the series $8 million, and that the Tracy episode did nothing to help credibility either. He said "unless something big happens, I can't see myself helping the series at this point."  The title of the article was "The Titanic is Sinking."

8/2/03

NASCAR drivers win IROC again, make IRL drivers look like losers   We have long maintained that the IROC series heavily favors NASCAR drivers and the open wheel drivers are fools for accepting an invitation, only to come out looking like losers and elevating the status of NASCAR drivers.  It happened once again this year, with NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wining today's race in Indy, and IROC rookie and NASCAR Winston Cup regular Kurt Busch winning the IROC XXVII championship, scoring 69 points. Sam Hornish finished eighth with 30 points (the highest IRL driver), while Sharp and Giaffone finished 10th with 24 points. Giaffone scored 9 points in the first two IROC races of the year, while Sharp scored 15 points in the final two races. Castroneves finished 12th (dead last) with 23 points. Some guys will never learn.

8/2/03
F3000

Sperafico wins race, Wirdheim the title  Ricardo Sperafico won the 8th round of the International F3000 Championship this afternoon at Hockenheim, but it was Swede – Bjorn Wirdheim who stole the show to capture the 2003 title with 2nd place. It was the perfect result for the 23 year old, who, in his 2nd season of F3000 has proved to be the class of the field with 2 wins and only a single race where he has failed to score points (Nurburgring). “Today is like a dream for me,” said Wirdheim after the race. “The team have been fantastic all year and today is the realization of a lot of very hard work. I am overjoyed to have beaten so many really top drivers and I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has believed in me during my career.” Wirdheim becomes the first Swede to have won the title, eclipsing Kenny Brack’s runners up position in 1996. Bjorn will now aim to follow in the footsteps of countrymen Ronnie Peterson, Gunnar Nielsen and Stefan Johansson to become a full-fledged F1 driver. His prospects look good as all but three F3000 champions, since the series’ inception in 1985, have gone on to become Grand Prix drivers. Arden International also notched their first ever championship win after coming close last season with Tomas Enge. The team, which was set up by Christian Horner in 1997, was overjoyed at the victory that rewarded the team's consistency during a stellar season for the Banbury based squad. It was a joyous podium at the end of the 32-lap race that saw the drivers tested to the limits in their Lola B2/50 chassis as temperatures hovered around the 30-degree mark. Ricardo Sperafico, who started from pole, scored a convincing victory in his Coloni Motorsport entry, mirroring his win at the A1 Ring earlier in the 2003 campaign. The Brazilian led home Wirdheim by just over 3 seconds and said afterwards; “It was a great race, but demanding, as in the first part I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes because Wirdheim was very close. I’m pleased with my second place in the drivers standings and we are confident about a great result at Budapest and Monza too.” Joining Sperafico and Wirdheim on the podium was Red Bull Junior driver Patrick Freisacher who leaped from 4th on the grid to overtake teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi and score his best result since finishing 2nd at the season opener at Imola back in April. Liuzzi eventually came in 4th, closely followed American Townsend Bell who scored points for the third race in succession in 5th place. Tony Schmidt (Astromega) did well in his home event claiming 3 points for 6th, ahead of Italian Giorgio Pantano who lost out in a furious opening lap battle with Bell and Schmidt.  Results:

1 Ricardo Sperafico
2 Bjorn Wirdheim
3 Patrick Friesacher
4 Vitantonio Liuzzi
5 Townsend Bell
6 Tony Schmidt
7 Giorgio Pantano
8 Jaroslav Janis
9 Zsolt Baumgartner
10 Raffaele Giammaria
11 Yannick Schroeder
12 Will Langhorne
13 Sam Hancock
14 Valerio Scassellati
15 Michael Keohane
16 Enrico Toccacelo

8/2/03

F1 might have its first Indian driver  According to this Hindustan Times article, It was a case of so near and yet, so far, for Indian speed king Narain Karthikeyan. The 26-year-old Narain, currently second in the Formula Nissan World Series, came very close to racing for Minardi in the last five races of Formula One this season. Unfortunately for the Indian, the time that Minardi had given him to raise 800,000 Euros ($900,000 approx) through his sponsors was short. "My principal sponsors Tatas were very interested and I could have been racing this weekend in Hockenheim (Germany). But in the world of F1, nobody waits and I could not make it," said Narain on Thursday from Coimbatore. The situation is basically this. Narain, who has done very well to be placed second in the highly competitive Formula Nissan World Series, is good enough to be called by Formula One teams, but is cramped by a lack of resources. But it doesn't have him down. "People might say that time is running out for me but the fact is that F1 teams still do recognize me. The Nissan Series has six former F1 drivers, and I am happy that I am competing with them and doing well." The fastest Indian behind wheels believes that in the ever-changing world of F1, it might still be possible for him to drive for Minardi in the last two races at Indianapolis (USA) and Suzuka (Japan). "I am very familiar with the Suzuka track as I had raced there in the Formula Nippon series. I am sure things will pan out well and hopeful that the money required will be raised," added Narain.  "There is every possibility that there will be huge pressure on Kiesa to perform. And if he is two seconds off their No.1 driver Verstappen, the ball could be rolling for me," said Narain.

8/2/03

For John Andretti, justice is served   Petty Enterprises fired driver John Andretti several weeks ago because the results just were not there.  Meanwhile the Petty team remains one of the slowest teams in Winston Cup, with Kyle Petty and Christian Fittipaldi, who took over for Andretti, back in 50th and 52nd in yesterday's practice for the Brickyard 400.  John Andretti, driving a one-off race for DEI, was fastest on the day.  This backs up his excellent qualifying performance at Pocono last weekend.  Conclusion - John Andretti is a very good driver, it's the Petty team that needs a complete overhaul.  Firing Andretti was the best thing Petty could have done for Andretti.  Perhaps Kyle should have fired himself as team owner and put someone in place who can turn the team around.  Kyle should stick to driving.  Although never a superstar driver, he's clearly better at that than running a team.  Mark C.

8/2/03

Pruett wins pole at Trois-Rivičres  UPDATE The No. 8 Don Q Rum Jaguar XKR of rookie Jorge Diaz, Jr. will start last in today’s Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivičres, Round 7 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship. Diaz’s time was disallowed after his team elected to make an engine change. Diaz qualified ninth Friday. Diaz was cited under rule 1.7.10.1 in the Trans-Am Series Rulebook: “…If a driver changes engines after qualifying, the driver must forfeit his starting position and start at the back of the grid. The entire grid moves up, filling the vacant positions…”  8/1/03 - Scott Pruett didn’t let lack of experience or even gearbox troubles get in the way of him earning his sixth pole this season, and 26th of his career, during Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup qualifying Friday at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivičres. Pruett, who has made just one Trans-Am Series start here prior to this weekend, earned the pole with a 1:03.890-minute lap at 85.687 miles per hour. The pole was also Jaguar’s first pole here. For his efforts, Pruett, driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, won the Jaguar Pole Award, a performance-based initiative that rewards drivers who earn the pole at each of the Trans-Am Series’ events this season. Polesitters will receive a key—regardless of what type of car they race—which, at the culmination of the season, they will use to attempt to open the door to a 2004 Jaguar XK8, during a formal ceremony. The driver whose key opens the vehicle will win a one-year lease on the car. Johnny Miller (No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR) qualified second, ahead of French Canadian driver Claude Bourbonnais, driving the No. 3 Rocketsports Jaguar XKR. Michael Lewis (No. 12 Westward Tools/The Crank Jaguar XKR) and Bobby Sak (No. 10 Revolution Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five:
1. Scott Pruett, Jaguar XKR, 1:03.890, 4, 85.704.
2. Johnny Miller, Jaguar XKR, 1:04.055, 7, 85.483.
3. Claude Bourbonnais (R), Jaguar XKR, 1:04.423, 7, 84.994.
4. Michael Lewis, Jaguar XKR, 1:04.520, 7, 84.867.
5. Bobby Sak (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:04.786, 10, 84.518.
6. Stu Hayner, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:04.829, 12, 84.462
7. Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette,1:05.032, 7, 84.199.
8. Max Lagod, Chevrolet Camaro, 1:05.646, 8, 83.411.
9. Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:05.966, 6, 83.006.
10. John Baucom, Jaguar XKR, 1:06.451, 11, 82.401.
11. Joey Scarallo (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:06.502, 13, 82.337.
12. Simon Gregg, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:07.791, 3, 80.772.
13. Garrett Kletjian (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 1:10.859, 6, 77.275.
14. Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, No Time.
15. Jorge Diaz, Jr (R)*, Jaguar XKR, 1:05.653, 7, 83.402.
*Moved to the back of grid per rule 1.7.10.1: łŠIf a driver changes engines after qualifying, the driver must forfeit his starting position and start at the back of the grid. The entire grid moves up, filling the vacant positionsŠ˛

8/2/03

Ralf stays atop charts on Saturday morning  

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m15.387s
2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m15.495s
3 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m15.716s
4 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m16.277s
5 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m16.305s
6 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m16.320s
7 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m16.474s
8 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m16.493s
9 Jenson Button BAR 1m16.954s
10 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m16.957s
11 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m17.169s
12 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m17.334s
13 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m17.426s
14 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m17.583s
15 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m17.647s
16 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m17.766s
17 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m18.403s
18 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m19.533s
19 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m20.408s
20 David Coulthard McLaren -m-s

8/2/03

CART botched Road America telecast  UPDATE: It’s an amazement! A miracle! Within moments of your printing my note I was advised by another frustrated Chicago CART fan that we now have one(1) viewing venue:
Stanley's Kitchen & Tap- *NEW LISTING
(312) 642-0007
1970 N. Lincoln
Chicago
Gee Stanley, thanks for having us! Boy, I hope Stanley has a lot of room for all the Chicago fans that I’m sure will show up!
J.N. Anderson, Chicago “We're-Such-An-Important-Market-We-Get-One-Viewing-Party-But-Indianapolis-Gets-Three”, Illinois   8/2/03 - A frustrated reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Just wanted to take a moment to express how disappointed I am in CART for botching the R/A broadcast. It’s one thing to do an experimental HD broadcast in parallel with some kind of regular broadcast but pure stupidity to only do an HD feed. With so few outlets or “viewing parties” available I’ll wager no one will see what is arguable CART’s “Crown Jewel” road course event! I have spent two days dialoging with DirecTV (DTV) in the hope of convincing them to offer some kind of analog feed either as a low cost pay-per-view event or on tape delay. I was told they will be broadcasting the HDNet feed but one needs to be a subscriber to DTV’s high def service and have a hi def satellite system to receive HDNet programming. I don’t recall seeing this information anywhere on CART.com (no big surprise) and I think it was only mentioned in passing at HDNet’s site.  J.N. Anderson, Chicago (No Viewing Parties ‘Cause We're Too Small An Urban Market), Illinois

8/2/03

Mario: CART must keep different tracks  As noted in this AR1 Story by Paul Josephson, and reiterated in this AP article, America's greatest racing driver says that the CART series must promote and nurture different types of race tracks if it wants to survive, board member Mario Andretti said Friday. ``I feel that CART can only stand out alone in a strong way if they stay and diversify the series,'' he said at Road America, site of Sunday's Mario Andretti Grand Prix. Andretti said the league must promote its permanent road course tracks, such as Road America, as well as its temporary street courses and oval tracks. Andretti was the catalyst that brought Road America and CART together. CART cancelled the race this year, but was able to settle its differences with the track and also will return next year. Road America officials named the race in honor of the racing great. Andretti's love for the track - he won three races there - was the primary reason he got involved. He also said part of CART's attraction is its diversity. ``I think that is what made CART the series that it was, still is,'' he said. Andretti said fans would support the different races and expected the work he did for Road America to pay off. "If the event is successful like anything else, two years can be 20,'' he said.

8/2/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

Wilson To Prove His Worth: Button
Judge Accuses Jordan Of Attempting 'Injustice'
Kiesa Works To Earn Full F1 Drive
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Jacques Opens Talks With BAR Team
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Which Schu Do You Like Best?

8/1/03

Tagliani & Haberfeld escape injury in big wreck  Alex Tagliani went flying through the air at Road America Friday afternoon when he ran into the back of a slowing Mario Haberfeld, who was trying to avoid Tiago Monteiro.  "Unbelievable. I was coming up over the ridge at 160mph. Monteiro was trying to pass Haberfeld and went off course. Monteiro was on one side of the track and Haberfeld slowed on the other side of the track and must have been in first gear. I tried to brake and turn, but I locked up the brakes and had nowhere to go. It’s incredible; I’ve had it with these [Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing] teams. These guys are not conscious of where other guys are on the track. They think they are the only ones out there. The probation that was handed down was not enough. Points should be taken away.”  Neither driver were able to qualify on Friday due to damage to their cars.

20030801P_0032.jpg 20030801P_0033.jpg 20030801P_0034.jpg
Photos by Paul Strak/Players Racing

8/1/03

Tagliani & Haberfeld escape injury in big wreck  Alex Tagliani went flying through the air at Road America Friday afternoon when he ran into the back of a slowing Mario Haberfeld, who was trying to avoid Tiago Monteiro.  "Unbelievable. I was coming up over the ridge at 160mph. Monteiro was trying to pass Haberfeld and went off course. Monteiro was on one side of the track and Haberfeld slowed on the other side of the track and must have been in first gear. I tried to brake and turn, but I locked up the brakes and had nowhere to go. It’s incredible; I’ve had it with these [Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing] teams. These guys are not conscious of where other guys are on the track. They think they are the only ones out there. The probation that was handed down was not enough. Points should be taken away.”  Neither driver were able to qualify on Friday due to damage to their cars.

20030801P_0032.jpg 20030801P_0033.jpg 20030801P_0034.jpg
Photos by Paul Strak/Players Racing

8/1/03

John Andretti quickest at Indy Friday  

1 #81 John Andretti Chevrolet Kraft Foods 100th Anniversary 182.708 49.259 Leader
2 #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 182.645 49.276 -0.017
3 #25 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet UAW/Delphi 181.389 49.617 -0.358
4 #77 Dave Blaney Ford Jasper Engines & Transmissions 181.148 49.683 -0.424
5 #15 Michael Waltrip Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts 181.105 49.695 -0.436
6 #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet GM Goodwrench Service 181.068 49.705 -0.446
7 #17 Matt Kenseth Ford DeWalt Power Tools 181.036 49.714 -0.455
8 #31 Robby Gordon Chevrolet Cingular Wireless 180.959 49.735 -0.476
9 #20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Home Depot 180.930 49.743 -0.484
10 #40 Sterling Marlin Dodge Coors Light 180.596 49.835 -0.576

8/1/03

News from Hockenheim - I  F1 rookie Ralph Firman made it clear that he's keen on staying at the ailing Jordan team for another year.  Firman Wants To Stay  'I'm happy with the team,' he said, 'and I want to stay.' He said disillusioned teammate Giancarlo Fisichella has 'made it clear' that he wants to leave.   Michelin proved they have the measure of tire rivals Bridgestone, who supply Ferrari, at a hot and sunny Hockenheim circuit on Friday.  Michelin Set Pace  Motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier fended off claims that his Japanese rivals might bounce back to the top when the pace settles into longer runs on Sunday.  'No,' said the Frenchman. 'In practice, we did 12 to 15 laps at a time and we had no problems at all with wear rates. It makes me very positive.'  Bridgestone technical manager Hisao Suganuma admitted that his product and the Ferraris (8th and 9th) are in trouble.   'Obviously there's some work to do,' he said, 'but the track was still quite green this afternoon. There is certainly some improvement yet to come.'  No one, with the possibly exception of the rookie himself, was more pleased for Justin Wilson's 7th on Friday at Hockenheim than former boss Paul Stoddart.  Wilson Praised  The Minardi chief, who was instrumental in the Norfolk-born ace's switch to Jaguar, said his pace 'goes to show all the faith we had in him was justified.'  Wilson's new boss, head of Jaguar performance Mark Gillan, also praised the Englishman who turned 25 today.  'Justin's lap was simply superb,' he said. 'He handled the pressure with both composure and focus and was rewarded with an excellent P7 spot.'

8/1/03

News from Hockenheim - II  Michael Schumacher can forget about a charge for pole position in front of his home fans at Hockenheim, the Ferrari team has admitted.  The reigning world champion, struggling for pace on sluggish Bridgestone tires, could only manage ninth in the Friday one-lap dash.   No Ferrari Pace  'That's not what we're used to,' said team chief Jean Todt. Technical boss Ross Brawn added that neither driver was satisfied with his F2003's setup.  'We know we have room to improve,' he said. 'We may not be on the front row tomorrow, but we can still be confident about Sunday's race.'  Ailing privateer F1 team Jordan tried to drop its landmark court case against potential sponsor Vodafone on Friday.  Jordan Drop Case  Irish chief Eddie Jordan issued a statement admitting defeat to the telecommunications brand, who sponsor champion team Ferrari.  'It is clear we are not going to win,' it read. 'So for the good of ... the team it is my decision to withdraw.'   Jordan offered to pay Vodafone's legal costs but the disgruntled company isn't playing ball - it wants the court judgment to be made public.   The United States Grand Prix will be run in June, not September as it has since the inaugural 2000 race, starting from 2004.  Indy Gets New Date  'This is exciting news,' said Indy circuit chief Tony George of the provisional date. 'The summer date will be good and set up a North American swing for F1.'  Jacques Villeneuve and his management are in 'deep discussions' with BAR over a new Formula One contract.   JV Wants To Race   The Canadian will have to take a massive pay cut but he insisted that a year off is not an attractive option. 'I still want to race,' he said.   'There is no plan or a date for when we will make a decision. Until something is done you talk with everybody.'

8/1/03

CART stock watch  Shares of CART stock (MPH) continued to plummet today, closing at $1.50 per share on speculation of more bad news in the 2nd quarter.

8/1/03

Allmendinger, Valiante & Patrick top qualifying  The juggernaut that is A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) and the first-year RuSPORT team continued in Friday's first round of qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (SPEED Channel, Live, 1:00 p.m. ET)., as the rookie blistered the previous track record and put his car on the provisional pole position. Allmendinger posted a best lap of 59.296 seconds (92.343 mph) and broke the two-year-old track record of 1:00.663 (90.263 mph) established by 2001 series champion Hoover Orsi. As a result, Allmendinger has guaranteed himself a front-row starting position for Sunday's race and also earned a championship point to extend his lead in the point standings to 28 over Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record). Qualifying second on the provisional grid was defending race champion Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing), who posted a best lap of 59.905 seconds (91.405 mph). Valiante heads into Saturday's final qualifying session looking for his second career pole position (his first came at Trois-Rivieres last year) and also to extend his streak of consecutive top-three starting spots to three races, dating to a second place qualifying performance at Cleveland. Third on the provisional grid was rookie Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortage Company), who clocked a best lap of 1:00.052 (91.181 mph). If Patrick is able to maintain or improve her position in Saturday's final round of qualifying, it will be her best career starting position, topping a previous best start of fifth at the season-opening Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. In that race, Patrick went on to finish third and became the first woman in series history to finish on the podium.
1. (4) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 59.296, 92.343 mph.
2. (19) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 59.905, 91.405 mph.
3. (24) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.052, 91.181 mph.
4. (3) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.132, 91.060 mph.
5. (28) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.202, 90.954 mph.
6. (84) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.211, 90.940 mph.
7. (33) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.515, 90.483 mph.
8. (69) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.763, 90.114 mph.
9. (27) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 1:00.782, 90.086 mph.
10. (7) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.369, 89.224 mph.
11. (16) Stephan C. Roy, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.467, 89.082 mph.
12. (2) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 1:01.994, 88.325 mph.
13. (8) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 1:02.048, 88.248 mph.
14. (9) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 1:02.237, 87.980 mph.
15. (17) Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, Toyota/Swift, 1:02.458, 87.669 mph.

8/1/03

CART puts two drivers on probation for blocking  CART Champ Car Stewards have taken action against two Champ Car World Series drivers in a response to actions during last weekend’s Molson Indy Vancouver. Tiago Monteiro (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were placed on probation following last weekend’s Vancouver event, as a result of incidents that took place while the drivers were a lap down and involved lead-lap cars. The probations for Monteiro and Dominguez will go into effect only in the event that they become lapped cars during an event and their conduct concerning lead-lap competitors will be monitored carefully by CART Champ Car Stewards. The pair will need to be aware of lead-lap cars and make every effort possible not to interfere with those cars on the lead lap. The length of the probation has yet to be determined and any violations of this probation will result in added penalties up to and including the loss of championship points pursuant to Chapter 10 of the CART Rule Book.

8/1/03

Lavín celebrates birthday  Rodolfo Lavín spent his birthday, 30 July, like so many other days during the busy summer months of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series – traveling from one race venue to the next. The Mexican rookie spent his 26th birthday flying from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for this weekend’s Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America. While making a Corona sponsor appearance at Siebkens, a local restaurant and bar, on Thursday, 31 July, members of the #5 Corona Walker Racing crew took the opportunity to help the young driver celebrate his birthday presenting him with a cake.  Photo: Lavín with members of #5 Corona Walker Racing team: (left to right) Derek Higgins, crew chief Les Channen, Robert Gue, Rodolfo Lavín, Ryan Negron, Herbie Williams, Matt Schuett, Gavin Hamilton and Toni Calderone. Photo credit Dan R. Photography.

8/1/03

Ford extends contracts with three teams   Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, announced five-year contract extensions today with Robert Yates Racing, Roush Racing and the Wood Brothers. The announcement was made today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway prior to practice for Sunday's Brickyard 400. "We wanted to send a strong message to everyone that we're committed to NASCAR racing long-term, and continuing our association with these three teams does that," said Davis. "We feel the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will undergo even more changes over the next few years, and we wanted to ensure that the continuity and chemistry we've developed with these three organizations would continue." All three teams have been synonymous with Ford since becoming involved in the sport. The Wood Brothers, led by the legendary Glen Wood, began their racing relationship with NASCAR in 1953 and have driven nothing but Ford products in that time. The team, which is now led by Glen's sons - Eddie and Len - have amassed 97 series victories, which includes at least one win in five straight decades. Roush Racing has posted 65 NASCAR Winston Cup Series triumphs since beginning competition in 1988 with driver Mark Martin. The organization boasts a series-high five teams, including that of current points leader Matt Kenseth. Robert Yates Racing became a NASCAR Winston Cup owner after purchasing the team from Harry Ranier in 1989 and has won 54 races. Recognized as one of the top engine builders in the sport, Yates led Ford to only its third driver's championship in the modern era (1972-present) when Dale Jarrett won the title in 1999. "We couldn't be prouder to have these three organizations represent Ford," Davis said. "We're grateful for their loyalty to Ford, and we feel this is a way of showing how much we appreciate that loyalty. These teams are the teams we are going to go forward with in the future, and we wanted to publicly state that fact." In addition to continuing its relationship with current programs, Davis also emphasized that Ford remains open to expanding its roster. He noted the days of one manufacturer having as many as 20 cars in a field on any given Sunday are likely over. "The sport of NASCAR is continually changing and we're looking to position ourselves so we'll be able to adapt to those changes," said Davis. "As we look toward long-term development and long-term projects, we know who we will be working with, and we know there's a level of trust there from both sides. "We've picked our dance partners for the future. And now it's time to dance."

8/1/03

CART drivers to visit President Fox  Mexican newspaper La Reforma reports that after Elkhart Lake this weekend, all four Mexican drivers, Michel Jourdain Jr., Adrián Fernández, Mario Domínguez and Rodolfo Lavín will travel to Mexico City and on Tuesday they will be received by Mexican President, Vicente Fox at the official residence known as Los Pinos. The drivers will personally invite the Mexican leader to attend the CART race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this coming October.

8/1/03
F3000

Sperafico takes pole in Germany, American Bell 6th  American Townsend Bell will start Saturday’s FIA F3000 race at Hockenheim from sixth place on the grid, three spots behind Arden teammate and championship leader Bjorn Wirdheim. As usual Bell had to spend the practice and qualifying sessions learning a new circuit, and he was beaten only by four drivers with at least a season of F3000 behind them, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who knows Hockenheim well from his time in German F3.   Pole went to Brazil’s Ricardo Sperafico, ahead of Liuzzi, Wirdheim, Patrick Friesacher, Giorgio Pantano and Townsend. The closely packed grid and the nature of the track – with several big braking areas – means that the race could be rather more exciting than the last two events in France and Britain. Townsend was relatively pleased to make the top six again, given the difficulties of learning the track in such a short time. “I think my position is not terrible, not fantastic, just kind of average,” said Bell. “It reminds me of the infield road course on an oval. It has that feel about it. I’m sure after the race tomorrow I’ll be able to say, ‘I can see where I can get a little more time here, a little more time there.’” It’s definitely not an easy track to learn: “Into Turn One you definitely get a big appetite, and go for it, although I don’t know whether it’s worth a whole lot of time. I think the time is in a couple of the braking zones. It’s tricky, because if you lock a tire or slide a bit too much it’s like falling down a hole. You really have to be very precise but aggressive at the same time when the tires are just right. It’s a track where you get one lap that’s good. It looks like a place where you might be able to pass a little bit more. There’s a slow corner leading to a long straight and another slow corner. That’s a good combination. I’m sure it’ll be chaos as usual!” Wirdheim was squeezed off the front row for the first time this season, and indeed for the first time since the race at Spa last year. He was not too unhappy as he will start on the ‘clean’ side of the track and feels that he will have an advantage going into Turn One. “I outbraked myself into the second corner,” he said. “I don’t know how much time I lost, but it was really tight.” Despite losing the front row streak, team boss Christian Horner was happy with progress: “Bjorn felt that he made a small mistake at Turn Two on both the laps within the window, and just ran a little bit wide down there. That cost him the tenth or so that he’s away. We had a cloud come over that we could see was coming and we waited for that. The temperature dropped two degrees, but the problem was that Sperafico and Liuzzi were out there at the same time. “But third place is OK. The guys ahead of Townsend have got the experience, and Liuzzi has got the advantage of being here and knowing it inside out. I think it’s a very respectable performance from him. It could be an interesting race, and I’ll be pleased if we come home with plenty of points and two cars intact!” In other news Nick Kiesa has moved up to the Minardi F1 team, leaving the second seat at Super Nova to British driver Sam Hancock. Meanwhile Coloni’s Zsolt Baumgartner took part in the Friday morning F1 session in a third Jordan.
Times
1. R Sperafico…1m29.829s
2. V Liuzzi…1m29.916s
3. B Wirdheim…1m29.953s
4. P Friesacher…1m30.012s
5. G Pantano…1m30.297s
6. T Bell…1m30.389s
7. E Toccacelo…1m30.667s
8. J Janis…1m30.937s
9. Z Baumgartner…1m31.068s
10. T Schmidt…1m31.109s

8/1/03

Will CART's stock price be driven down further?  Since we are hearing of a possible Aug 7th date for something to be announced with regard to CART, and we know CART would likely choose to release Q2 earnings before any deal is announced and is additionally bound by an Aug 15th SEC deadline for filing their second quarter financial statements, we decided to do a little further analysis. Given that CART issued two earnings warnings in the span of weeks and given that they clearly burned through a fair amount of cash in the second quarter, we expect a pretty bleak earnings release for Q2. We phoned major CART shareholder Jon Vannini to see if he would comment on the situation. Vannini said, "In my judgment, Chris Pook appears to me to be doing everything that is humanly possible to talk down the stock price of CART. Therefore, I would expect the second quarter earnings release to be cast in as negative a light as CART's seemingly comatose Board will allow. Given what they have allowed to date, I imagine he will have pretty wide latitude to paint an ugly picture and I expect him to exploit that. It's pretty obvious Pook has an agenda and in my opinion that agenda has nothing to do with fulfilling his fiduciary duties to the shareholders...at least the current ones. I expect that to be made clear in the coming days."

8/1/03

No shorter Pocono races   Ryan Newman's bumper-to-bumper duel with Kurt Busch during Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was riveting. Newman's victory woke up many in the crowd of more than 100,000 who had been lulled nearly to sleep by the lack of passing for the lead. The race lasted almost 4 hours, again prompting the thought that Pocono should trim its two annual races to 400 miles. As expected, the suggestion triggered a loud response from Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono's board chairman and founder. "I've been getting this question for 20 years, and I'm getting fed up with it," Mattioli boomed over the phone Tuesday. Mattioli's research shows that some of Pocono's 500-milers don't last as long as races at shorter distances at such tracks as New Hampshire and Martinsville. Mattioli said that 90 percent of fans polled during a Fox telecast of a Pocono race want 500-milers at the 2.5-mile Mount Mattioli track. The former Philadelphia dentist also insists that NASCAR never has pressured him to shorten races. - The Philadelphia Daily News

8/1/03

NBC to use 79 cameras   NBC will deploy 79 cameras including cameras unique to Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Squash-Cam, Wall-Cams and the "Eye-Full Tower Cam." An extra bank of 11 monitors will be added to the NBC Sports production truck to accommodate the additional cameras for the Brickyard 400. "Squash-Cam" is a lipstick-size camera buried in the grass just inside Turn 1. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being "squashed," especially on starts and restarts. "Wall-Cam" is a lipstick-size camera embedded inside the outside wall of Turn 2 and Turn 4. The cameras shoot cars in Turns 1 and 3 respectively and give the viewer the sense of speed of the cars when they drive past the cameras. The "Eye-Full Tower-Cam" is a robotic camera atop the scoring pylon 92-feet in the air overlooking the infield and providing viewers a sense of the magnificent spectacle of Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its "Canyon of Fans" in the grandstands on either side of the racetrack's frontstretch. "We always have a 'fan-cam' shooting fans in the stands. But the Brickyard is so much more - it deserves a unique camera," said Mike Wells, director, NASCAR on NBC & TNT. "It's the only track we go to where there are these huge grandstands on both sides of the frontstretch. The grandstands create this canyon of fans surrounding the pits - there are so many people it really blows you away. This track is so big you can't cover it with one camera, the entire scene at Indy is just an eyeful." NBC Sports Press Release

8/1/03

Villeneuve: Damage to career has been done  According to this Fox Sports article, JACQUES VILLENEUVE admitted here today that the damage done to his reputation by the management at his BAR-Honda team could force him out of Formula One at the end of the year. Villeneuve, speaking ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix, appeared downbeat after putting up with constant jibes against him throughout what has been his toughest year in Formula One. The Canadian former world champion has been out of favour since current boss David Richards ousted his manager Craig Pollock as team principal at the start of last season. Villeneuve admitted: "There has been a lot of negative undercurrents and I have been living with that for a while now. The damage has been done so there is no need for it any more." Asked if the damage was terminal, Villeneuve pondered cautiously before adding: "No, it is just that my reputation has been damaged by it all and I will just have to pay the price for it."

8/1/03

2004 USGP will run in June  UPDATE Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One Management (FOM) officials have agreed to a change on the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship schedule that will move the United States Grand Prix from its traditional September date to Sunday, June 20 next year. The change is subject to the approval of the National Sporting Authority, the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS), the FIA Formula One Commission and the FIA World Motor Sport Council. Though the fourth running of the United States Grand Prix is two months away, Speedway officials wanted to make the 2004 date change official due to the event’s significant impact. “This is exciting news for race fans, for IMS and for the city of Indianapolis,” said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This new summer date will be good for travelers, both U.S. and international. If the FIA keeps its other traditional dates, this will set up a North American swing for F1.” The FIA and FOM have released a 2004 schedule with only dates. Locations of the other events have not been confirmed. In June 2003, the Canadian Grand Prix was June 15, and it traditionally follows the Monaco Grand Prix by two weeks. The city of Indianapolis and IMS will now play host to three of the largest sporting events in the world in less than three months. “Next summer will be extremely exciting as Indianapolis becomes the worldwide center of attention three times in three months,” Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson said. “This new timing will bring a fresh new look to Indianapolis, and we look forward to making next year’s United States Grand Prix a continuing success.” Speedway officials admit that changing the facility from an oval circuit to a road course and then back to an oval will present challenges, but they have equal concern for city leaders preparing for the new date. “It was important for the Speedway to announce this date change as soon as it became official,” George said. “The United States Grand Prix is an international sporting event that not only has a prominent place on the world motorsports calendar, it is major event here in the state of Indiana. This change could impact several events regionally, so we wanted to make it official immediately.” Other city leaders see the benefit of the new date and expect a June United States Grand Prix to augment the Indianapolis summer calendar of events. “Welcoming the Grand Prix into our summer lineup presents many exciting opportunities for visitors,” said Bob Bedell, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. “The hospitality community appreciates the continued commitment to our city by both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One.” Officials believe the shift to the June date will also increase the visibility of the United States Grand Prix and Formula One in America because the event will not compete for media coverage with the National Football League or American college football.  8/1/03 - According to this Indy Star article, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will hold its 2004 Formula One race on June 20, track president Tony George confirmed Thursday. George received the news from F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in a telephone call Wednesday. George said it was Ecclestone's decision to move the U.S. Grand Prix from its usual late-September weekend. This year's fourth annual USGP is Sept. 28. Next year's event will be three weeks after the Indy 500, which is set for May 30. Ecclestone, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, will pair F-1's two North American races together. The Canadian Grand Prix, held in Montreal, is expected to be June 6. F-1 typically places a week between its events to allow teams to test. "I'm happy with that," George said of the new F-1 date. George's staff will be placed in high gear next summer, with less than three weeks to convert the historic oval track into a road-racing circuit. Then, the Speedway is expected to host its 11th NASCAR race, the Brickyard 400, during the first week of August. That's just seven weeks after the USGP, requiring officials to sell about 750,000 tickets for three major races within a three-month period. "We hope that people will have their money in early anyway," George said.

8/1/03

CART race also on FOX  For those of you who get FOX Sports Espanol, you can watch the race live, unlike the rest of the USA which must watch it on HD Net, if they can get it.

8/1/03

Bristol a fan favorite   A majority of more than 96,000 fans reaffirmed on Wednesday that the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is the hottest ticket in Winston Cup racing. NASCAR Online polled site visitors asking them, "If you could attend just one Winston Cup race, which would it be?" In addition to the Sharpie 500, choices included the Daytona 500 (Daytona International Speedway), the Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and the Coca-Cola 600 (Lowe's Motor Speedway). A total of 96,081 NASCAR Online visitors voted. Numbers provided to BMS by NASCAR.com show that the Sharpie 500 collected 50,043 votes (52%), placing the August night race classic at the top of the list. The Daytona 500 followed with 30,191 votes (31%). The sport's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 placed third with 9,369 votes (10%). The Brickyard 400 picked up 6,478 votes (7%) in the poll.

8/1/03

Stewart takes Lauer for a lap   Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart gave NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer a ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his signature #20 Home Depot Chevrolet. The two then swapped seats, with Lauer showcasing his driving skills as Stewart rode shotgun. The segment for "Today" was taped and will air today during the three-hour morning show. When asked if the experience was what he had expected, Lauer responded, "When I was driving, it was about what I expected. But when Tony was driving, it wasn't even close to what I expected. The straightaways didn't kill me because they were just kind of a blur, but when he would start heading into the turns my whole body would tighten up. And then I watched him working the wheel through the corners, constantly adjusting, and it was just amazing to me the speed we carried into those turns and through them with the fact that he was on the gas for half the corner." Lauer, who had flown to Indianapolis after completing Thursday morning's edition of "Today," arrived at the historic 2.5-mile oval shortly after 12 p.m. CDT. Taping wrapped two hours later, and Lauer was soon back on an airplane en route to New York City. "The cab drivers in New York are nothing now," said Lauer, shortly after climbing from the two-seat Home Depot Chevrolet, made available by the Richard Petty Driving Experience. "You know what's great - you go fast in your own car without the skills of a race car driver and it's completely nerve-wracking. You go fast in a car with a guy of Tony's skills, and it calms you down a lot. It still scares the hell out of you, but you know he has the skills to handle whatever he sees. That makes a huge difference."

8/1/03

Coulthard fastest in opening practice  David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli were 1-2 in opening practice for the German GP at Hockenheim today.  Fernando Alonso was 3rd fastest, both drivers benefiting from Friday morning testing.  The Renault team was fastest in the Friday AM test session.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1  David Coulthard McLaren 1m15.523s
2 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m15.617s
3 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m15.797s
4 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m15.799s
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m15.890s
6 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m16.109s
7 Jenson Button BAR 1m16.187s
8 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m16.401s
9 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m16.568s
10 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m16.602s
11 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m16.814s
12 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m16.945s
13 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m17.137s
14 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m17.284s
15 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m17.361s
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m17.507s
17 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m17.842s
18 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m18.121s
19 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m18.791s
20 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m19.030s

8/1/03

IRL will not poach CART races  Tony George says in this Indy Star article that the IRL will not poach road races from CART, but if CART folds, they will be there to pick up the pieces.  He says the IRL will never run more than 3 or 4 road races in a given year, so if CART folds, a lot of existing CART venues will be without a race.  As it stands right now, if CART survives, the only existing races of CART's that the IRL will get are the rejects, i.e. those races that don't draw very well.  Chris Pook maintains CART must race in urban locales only, so as long as he is President (there are rumors Pook will step aside if the company is sold), races such as Mid-Ohio and Road America are in jeopardy.  While we here at AR1 understand why Pook wants to stay in urban environments (they draw huge crowds),  it's important that CART does not lose sight of its heritage, for to know where you're going, one must know from where one came.  CART should work as hard, or harder, to make great circuits like Road America a success, as they work to make the urban street races a success.  NASCAR has not dropped all their short track races and replaced them with Superspeedways, even though the big tracks can seat more paying customers.  NASCAR understands its heritage, and the importance of its history.  Mark C.

8/1/03

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8/1/03

IRL team testing update  Buddy Rice and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team tested the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engine July 30-31 at Gateway International Raceway.  The engine made its debut in the Firestone Indy 400 July 27 with Sam Hornish Jr. Hornish led 126 laps and finished second, .0121 of a second behind Alex Barron.  Per the IRL ruling on July 19, Hornish and Panther Racing will use the Gen III engine at Gateway, while Red Bull Cheever Racing, the Chevy team with the second most points, will use the new engine during the Emerson Indy 250 Aug. 10 at GIR.   Story

8/1/03

The real Craig Pollock   This UK Press and Journal article is an interesting life story about CART team owner Craig Pollock.  You will never believe how he got involved in racing.

8/1/03

Canadians having all the luck with Road America  Canadians seem to be having all the luck on this one. First, regular TV coverage of the race will be provided by TSN and now Bell Expressvu, the major satellite provider in Canada, has announced that they will be showing all practice and qualifying sessions as well as the race in High Definition.

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