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DATE

News (chronologically)

8/14/03

ThinkFirst ALMS race at Road America  Road America has teamed up with the Neville Public Museum and St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay for the ThinkFirst Bicycle Grand Prix on Wednesday, Aug. 20, with area youth participating. The ThinkFirst Grand Prix will teach children basic bicycling skills and encourage them to think first and prepare for activities with the proper safety gear. An American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race car driver will participate in the rodeo, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the museum. The Green Bay Police department will assist in the ThinkFirst Grand Prix. The ALMS series will be at Road America Aug. 21-24. ThinkFirst is the official charity for the American Le Mans Series, one of the top professional racing series in the U.S. The ThinkFirst Grand Prix will reinforce the importance of safety gear in bicycling, focusing on helmet use to prevent brain injury. The event will allow the youth a chance to practice their skills on a bicycle rodeo course. St. Vincent ThinkFirst is in its seventh year in the Greater Green Bay area. Last year the St. Vincent program reached over 6,000 students in the classroom with its “use your mind to protect your body” injury prevention message. In addition, ThinkFirst is involved in many community events.

8/13/03
Industry News

AJ Watson surgery  We hear famed car builder AJ Watson just went through a surgery by Dr. Terry Trammel for a pinched nerve in his back and is recuperating at the west side facility in Indy. From what we know, all is well.

8/13/03

Controversial mother of FIA president Max Mosley dies  Diana Mosley, mother of FIA president Max Mosley, the widow of Sir Oswald Mosley and one of the celebrated Mitford sisters, died on Monday aged 93 at her flat in Paris, surrounded by friends and family, a week after suffering a slight stroke. In a letter to a close friend 10 days ago, she said that despite her love of hot weather, she was finding the heat wave in Paris a struggle. Diana Mosley, regarded as the most beautiful of the daughters of Lord and Lady Redesdale, was also the most controversial. She left her first husband, the brewing heir Bryan Guinness, and embarked on an affair with Sir Oswald, the leader of the British Union of Fascists. They were married in Joseph Goebbels's drawing room in Berlin in 1936. Adolf Hitler gave them a silver-framed photograph of himself as a wedding present. Their high regard for the Nazis before war broke out damned the Mosleys forever in the eyes of the British public. Soon after the war they moved to a house outside Paris and remained in France for the rest of their lives, befriending, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Lady Mosley was frequently asked to recant her earlier beliefs but did so in terms which rarely satisfied her critics. She remained a vigorous defender of her husband and his views. Last year she posed for Vogue magazine with some of her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Of her five sisters and one brother, only her youngest sister, the Duchess of Devonshire, survives.

8/13/03

Ford Racing tests 2004 Taurus in wind tunnel   (DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 13, 2003) - The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus participated in a test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, and when it was over, Ford Racing officials were very happy.  "It went extremely well and pretty much according to plan," said Greg Specht, Manager, North American Racing Operations, Ford Racing Technology. "And we're very pleased that we got the track test out of the way."  The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus was built by the Wood Brothers and was driven in the test by 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett, who also was pleased by the test.  "Everything went well," said Jarrett. "The car seems to be very well balanced. They did a really good job of building the car. It looks really nice, the lines on it are good, and it did things on the race track that we think will help us to be more competitive even for next year."  Specht said today's test with the 2004 Taurus was truly a team effort, involving Wood Brothers Racing, Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing.  "I'd like to thank the Woods for allowing Dale Jarrett in their car in place of Ricky Rudd, who had a previous commitment and couldn't be here today," said Specht. "This is a great sign of cooperation between our top NASCAR teams. We had all three of our partners represented at the test here today: Dale, being the driver from Robert Yates Racing; obviously, the Wood Brothers built and brought the car here; and, we got engineering support from Roush Racing. I think that's important as well."   Jarrett said the 2004 Ford Racing Taurus seemed to have improved downforce over the current model.  "I can see where the car has potential when you get it in race trim," said Jarrett. "Something the Fords fight, and that's a little more front downforce, and it seems like this car may have that without creating a lot of drag. And I think that's something that we were interested in: Could we make something that was good for us still on the straightaways, but get us through the corners a little bit, too?"  The on-track test consisted of a series of multi-lap runs.  "They wanted to run over 10 laps at a time, and so we went out and did that, and they were looking at times," said Jarrett. "They had a certain time that they wanted to see, and I didn't even know how many laps I was going to be running, I just ran until they told me to come in, that the NASCAR folks were satisfied that that's what they were looking for."  The 2004 Taurus was tested later in the day with NASCAR at the wind tunnel at Lockheed in Marietta, Ga.

8/13/03

CART stock watch  In NYSE trading today MPH closed UP $0.06 p/shr or 3.3% to $1.88 p/shr on Volume of 82,400 shares.
Low/High of Session: $1.74/$1.89
NYSE DOWN 38.3 or 0.41% on Volume of 1.48B shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 0.42 or 0.02%
S&P 500 DOWN 6.32 or 0.64%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/13/03

Mercedes to relocate engine group  According to Autosport, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport plans to house its F1 engine program under one roof at Ilmor Engineering in Brixworth, UK, according to German media reports. The current operation in Stuttgart is to be suspended and the new structure will operate under the leadership of Ilmor founder Mario Illien, MD Hans-Ullrich Maik, former BMW F1 project leader Werner Laurenz and the current head of the Stuttgart division, Hans-Peter Kollmeier.

8/13/03

CART could lose $17 million on TV  This Long Beach Press Telegram article says, When Grand Prix Association of Long Beach founder Chris Pook took over as CART's president and CEO in December of 2001, reporters asked if he would try to pattern other events after the race he created. "You can't have a Long Beach (Grand Prix) in Mid-Ohio,' Pook said at the time, referring to the road course in Lexington, Ohio. But you can replicate a Long Beach Grand Prix on street courses in urban areas, and it appears CART will head further in that direction for the 2004 season. As part of CART's reorganization efforts detailed in its second quarter earnings report released Tuesday, the open-wheel series will have a pared down schedule running nearly exclusively on street courses. "We are encouraged by the attendance and enthusiasm of the crowds at our events as we continue to develop our urban race strategy, but we still have much work to do to bring back the corporate involvement to the levels of past years,' Pook said in the statement. With every financial release the company has put out over the past two years, CART's future grows dimmer. But in this release, CART Chief Financial Officer Tom Carter detailed some remedies including: The Entrant Support Program (ESP), which has provided a minimum of $1 million per car at the end of the season, will remain but there will be no further support beyond the $1 million given. The ESP has helped keep many of CART's 19-car field on the track this season. CART will no longer self-promote races. The series expects to lose between $10 and $11 million on six self-promoted races this season. An altered TV package for 2004. The cost to televise races on CBS and Speed Channel this year which include the purchasing of air time and production expenses is expected to reach up to $17 million, a far greater loss than CART had anticipated. Spike TV, formerly known as TNN, and other basic cable outlets could be in the mix. CBS will televise some next year, but it is unclear whether Speed Channel will. Eight street circuits will be scheduled for 2004, including the three races put on by the Grand Prix Association: Long Beach, Denver and St. Petersburg, Fla. There could be as few as 14 races, with CART's European races (the EuroSpeedway in Germany and Brands Hatch, England) off the schedule. Road America, Mid-Ohio and Fontana are questionable for next year. The Milwaukee Mile could be the series' lone oval. "People are beginning to realize that CART needs to concentrate on the areas that generate revenue for the series,' said Grand Prix Association President and CEO Jim Michaelian, who is readying for the Grand Prix of Denver on Aug. 31. "They need to find ways to cut down on costs and concentrate on areas and venues that can get them a great deal of exposure. That's what they are going to have to do to get the sponsors back.' And the route CART seems to be going is in the one Pook and Michaelian created here in the race known as "The World's Fastest Beach Party.' The Saturday concert has become a popular addition to the Long Beach weekend, with acts like Third Eye Blind, the Goo Goo Dolls and the Gin Blossoms. CART appears ready to copy that format on all of its street courses in 2004. "That makes a lot of sense,' said Stefan Johansson, who owns a two-car team. "Everything is right there for a concert. You're in the middle of the city. It's a brilliant idea.' CART is still up for sale, but it's unclear when, or if, the series will be purchased. ESPN.com recently reported Paul Gentilozzi, who fields a one-car team in CART and heads the Trans Am Series, was mentioned to be part of a group led by Team Players owner Gerry Forythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of PK Racing, that could purchase CART and take the company private any day now. The Press-Telegram could not reach Gentilozzi for comment and the Associated Press reported Tuesday night that there was no "imminent buyout of the beleaguered Champ Car series.' The next several weeks are vital to CART's future since that's when teams are expected to confirm if they will race in the series. "The clock is ticking,' said Tom Anderson, co-owner of Fernandez Racing. "Obviously, the news CART is releasing isn't positive. It's very difficult to keep our sponsors enthused."

8/13/03
Open Wheel

Sprint car driver killed  A sprint car driver died Tuesday night during at race at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. Keith Hutton, 53, of Knoxville, died when his car apparently struck the rear wheel of the car in front of him, causing his car to hit a guardrail and roll several times, racing officials said. The impact with the guardrail sheered off a portion of the car¹s protective cage, said Ralph Capitani, director of racing at the nearby Knoxville Raceway, which is hosting this week the Knoxville Nationals, sprint car racing¹s annual national competition. Hutton was pronounced dead on arrival at Mahaska County Hospital, said Bill McCroskey, a promoter of the Oskaloosa race.

8/13/03

Demonstration planned for Montreal race  A group of Montreal business people are planning a demonstration Saturday in support of saving Montreal's grand prix race which has been removed from the 2004 Formula One calendar. The group is demanding that the federal government relax tobacco advertising laws until 2006, like Europe. Spokesperson, Alain Creton, is suggesting that Ottawa and Quebec could relax tobacco advertising for six days over two years and allow racing cars to carry the ads. The group includes business people from the regions in Montreal that benefit the most from tourism associated with the race: Crescent St., Peel St, St. Laurent Blvd. and little Italy. The protest will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday August 16 at the corner of Peel St. and Réné Levesque Blvd.

8/13/03

2004 Renault already in the Wind Tunnel  Although there are still four races left to run this season, and seven months to go before Melbourne 2004, the next Renault Formula 1 car is already taking shape in the Enstone wind tunnel. Renault F1 Team Technical Director Mike Gascoyne put a radically new organization in place when he arrived at Enstone in 2001. The aim was to maximize the length of time available for designing a new car, and the design office is now reaping the rewards: two technical teams work in parallel, and each has twelve months to conceive a new car. "Tim Densham spent 2002 hard at work on the R23, which he has also developed this season," explains Mike. "In parallel, Mark Smith began work on R24, the design of which began last December. And then, while Mark is developing the new car in 2004, Tim will begin the process again with R25…" The new chassis, which incorporates the change in engine architecture for next year, is already being tested in the wind tunnel. A 50% scale model of the R24 has been on the rolling road for a number of weeks. "Strangely enough, the model is actually painted green," explains Mike. "The reasoning behind it is very simple: it doesn’t make it any faster, but means we avoid any potential confusion with models from previous years when it comes to keeping parts in Stores." Furthermore, a dark color means shadows can be seen better, allowing the team to spot quickly any possible problems in the tunnel. It is still too early to go into detail about the new car, but Mike is nonetheless confident. "The R23 is already very aerodynamically efficient," added Mike. "With the R24, we hope to make another step forward. The data we have already collected is encouraging, and there are still six months available to hone the project. We are pushing ahead at full speed." Renault F1.

8/13/03

Why the USGP date was moved  This TAG Heuer article says, After reports saying it was, then denials from Ecclestone stating it wasn't, it certainly seems that the Canadian Grand Prix will not take place in 2004. However, there could be a last minute change such as the teams agreeing to run 18 races or the Canadian legislation concerning tobacco advertising is either cancelled or the teams agree to run without Tobacco sponsorship. Looking back at the recent announcement that the USGP was going to be changed from its traditional September date on the calendar, it seems as if Bernie Ecclestone certainly knew that the Gilles Villeneuve circuit would not be taking place next season so therefore he agreed to move the USGP to June. The original changing of the Indianapolis date was justified in the reduction of travelling costs of trips for the F1 teams as just one trip to America comprising both the American and Canadian events was both logical and judicious and therefore gaining acceptance from team bosses. However that logic has been blown out of the water now with the news that Canada has been struck from the agenda and worse still, to organize the USGP for June is not really the best date for the American public, which is focused on other sports at that time of the year. In terms of motor racing, the USGP will take place shortly after the Indianapolis 500 and it is not very likely that passionate motorsport fans could afford a double visit to Indianapolis so close together. Therefore, we are left wondering just why things have unfolded the way they have. Surely things will all become clear eventually.

8/13/03

CART team owners buying CART  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Whoever buys CART should have NO ownership in any team involved in competing in the series, plain and simple. I believe it is a conflict of interest and those owners would basically run the gamut on the teams that don't have ownership interest. Maybe, we'll all be pleasantly surprised and the new owners of CART won't be directly involved, like those mentioned on your site. Paul Richards, Des Moines, IA  Dear Paul, It appears team owners will run the series, but it's going to be imperative that the management and operations of CART be given free reign to run the series without interference by the owners, who are also team owners.  The owners will probably sit on the Board of Directors, and get involved with administration and financial issues, but should be hands-off when it comes to race operations, rules, and other competition related decisions.  If not, team owners who don't own the series, or team owners coming into the series, will feel they can't get a fair shake and leave or never enter CART.  Mark C.

8/13/03

Childress to do lap in #3  Car owner Richard Childress will drive the late Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 Chevrolet in a pre-race ceremony at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Childress unveiled the car he will drive alongside Jeff Gordon during the parade laps before the Oct. 11 race at Lowe's. The promotion is part of NASCAR's "Victory Lap" tribute to longtime series sponsor R.J. Reynolds' contributions to the sport. RJR is ending its sponsorship at the end of the year. "It will be emotional," said Childress, who teamed with Earnhardt to win six of the drivers' seven Winston Cup championships.

8/13/03

Canadian government gets involved to save F1 race  This Canadian Press article says, The federal government will join lobby efforts to save the Canadian Grand Prix but won't repeal a law banning tobacco advertising, Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Tuesday. A federal representative will be appointed to a Quebec-led committee planning to lobby Formula One teams and officials to keep the lucrative motor race in Montreal. But representative Marc Lafreniere, a deputy minister for the Economic Development Agency of Canada, will not yield to demands that Canada ease its anti-tobacco restrictions. "Like the (Quebec) provincial government said, there is no question of changing the law," Chretien said in Ottawa after a cabinet meeting. "If a contractual arrangement can be reached, all the better. "The law is the law. What do you want me to tell you?" On Monday, the Quebec government announced plans to form a committee with representatives from the federal and provincial governments as well as Montreal's tourism bureau and chamber of commerce to try to save the race, which brings thousands of tourists and an estimated $80 million into Montreal each year. The governments want Formula One to exempt it from a rule requiring races to allow tobacco advertising. A similar exemption has been given to the French and British events. Both Ottawa and Quebec City, meanwhile, have refused to exempt the race from a ban on tobacco sponsorships due to take effect on Oct. 1. Formula One is expected to bring back the Belgian Grand Prix in Montreal's place now that Brussels relaxed its anti-tobacco laws. Ottawa will lobby Formula One officials to add an 18th race to its calendar, meaning Belgium and Canada could both be on the schedule. "If there's an 18th race it will be Montreal," International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said. "We will do everything to save the Grand Prix - but we will respect the Canadian tobacco law."

8/13/03
STRANA Trucks

New Elan STRANA Super Trucks to debut  Elan Motorsports Technologies is set to unveil its biggest racing project yet this weekend at the Toronto Grand Prix at Mosport - the latest round of the 2003 American Le Mans Series. Designed and built by EMT in Georgia, the first of the new STRANA Super Truck racers had its initial shake-down at Road Atlanta last week with STRANA Executive Director Brian Till, a former IndyCar driver and Toyota Atlantic Champion behind the wheel. "It's a giant, long-awaited step in the development of the Tonka Super Truck Racing Series to have trucks on the track," Till said. "Considering the ground we've covered in such a short amount of time, it's pretty amazing. "Anytime you can take high-speed laps in a 10,000-pound vehicle on a race track, it's pretty cool." Three of the EMT built machines will take part in the first demonstration event of the Tonka Super Truck Series this weekend at Mosport with a fourth truck also taking part the following weekend at Road America. "This is an extremely important project for Elan Motorsports Technologies because it highlights the diversity of our motorsport engineering skills and capabilities," EMT Chief Executive Officer, David Bowes. "We have worked hand in hand with STRANA to design and build the trucks to provide a safe and fast race vehicle that is kept within a reasonable budget. "American race fans are going to be in for a real treat with this championship - the action is going to be very spectacular." The debut of the new STRANA Super Truck racer marks another significant milestone for Elan Motorsports Technologies for 2003. The Panoz G Force IRL IndyCar Series chassis built by EMT won this year's Indianapolis 500 with Gil de Ferran and construction is about to commence on the new Star Mazda racer - the first carbon fiber chassis to be introduced into that series.

8/13/03

Fan sentenced  An angry NASCAR fan who flooded Fox Entertainment with e-mails after a Boston Red Sox game pre-empted an auto race has been sentenced to six months of home detention. The fan paid $36,000 in restitution before his sentencing and also will have to pay a $2,000 fine. He pleaded guilty in May to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system. He admitted he wrote a computer program that fired off more than a half-million e-mail messages to WFXT-TV 25 in Boston after a Red Sox game was aired instead of a NASCAR race in 2001. The e-mail messages were automatically forwarded to Fox-25's Los Angeles parent company, Fox Entertainment. The network, thinking it was a hacker attack, shut down Internet communications with the affiliate and was forced to spend about $36,000 to clean up the site. Sporting News

8/13/03

Ford troubles could affect F1  Ford Europe has reported that its President Martin Leach is leaving the company following recent reports of major losses - estimated at $525m for the three months ending in June - he will be replaced in the short term by David Thursfield, executive vice president of Ford. In a statement issued last night, Thursfield said: "Martin contributed to our growth in Europe under challenging conditions," said Thursfield in a statement. "As we move forward, we will build upon that foundation. The Ford of Europe team remains committed to improving our financial results and to delivering outstanding products." Leach was responsible for the Jordan-Ford deal and it remains to be seen whether his departure - or indeed Ford's financial crisis - will have an effect on the partnership.  Suffice it to say that some pundits are predicting Ford will eventually file for bankruptcy.

8/13/03

CART could have a buyer  This Toronto Star article says, CART could have new owners as early as today. [AR1 has already reported it won't be today.] According to reports, Gerry Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Newman have banded together to purchase the financially-troubled, publicly-owned racing series and return it to private ownership. All four are owners or part-owners of current teams in the series. The series has been up for sale since it hired New York-based investment banking firm, Bear Stearns & Co., in June to find ways of attracting more financing or alternative strategies (read, sell) to lift the series out of its financial quagmire. "I understand there's going to be an announcement (today) regarding some sort of restructuring," said a source familiar with the CART scene. CART vice president of communications, Adam Saal, said he has not been told of any impending announcement. If an announcement was coming from a new ownership group, though, it would not necessarily involve CART personnel.

8/13/03

Watkins Glen ratings up  Sunday's coverage of the Winston Cup race from Watkins Glen on NBC turned in a solid overnights of a 5.0 rating and 12 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, as reported in Sports Business Daily. It was easily the #1 rated sports broadcast for the weekend. This is up 6% from last year's 4.7 overnight. The 2001 race also had a 4.7 overnight. Last year's contest had a solid small market bump to finish at 5.3. How big has the NASCAR TV monster become? The pre-race show was the #2 rated sports broadcast with overnights of a 2.9 rating and 7 share. In third place was final round coverage of golf's The International. MotorsportsTV.com

8/13/03
F-3000

F3000 to add pitstops  The last two F3000 races of this year will feature pitstops.  Look for them to be mandatory at every race starting in 2004

8/13/03

Put away those stupid 'Road to Indy' hats   We don't know if seeing the Midwest short trackers wearing their Road to Indy hats is comical or sad.  As this RPM.ESPN.com article points out, there are no opportunities for American short trackers in the IRL, as its brightest star, JJ Yelly, heads south to NASCAR following those before him.  Driving a front-engine car fast on dirt or pavement gives a driver zero experience needed for CART or the IRL.  CART was always criticized for not hiring a lot more American drivers, yet if the IRL does it the critics are silent.  They should hand out "Not the Road to Indy" hats to those short trackers, because clearly, the Road to Indy (where the only successful drivers are road racers) is through the superior CART ladder system. -- J.J. Yeley -- leading all three of the United States Auto Club's highly-competitive open-wheel divisions and is trying to duplicate Tony Stewart's triple crown of 1995, recently broke a USAC record set by A.J. Foyt in 1961. His work ethic is right out of Foyt's era as he takes care of his sprint car and knows as much about a chassis and engine as any mechanic. At 26, he's very clever, handsome, articulate and marketable. Yeley is the ideal American oval-track racer and the perfect peg for the puzzle that has become Tony George's Indy Racing League, which was supposedly formed to restore deserving USAC drivers to Indy-car prominence. A series now dominated by road racers, foreign drivers and Japanese engines is crying out for a Heartland Hero from Indy's grass roots heritage like Yeley. But, unless one of the IRL's owners suddenly wises up and notices this kid's pedigree, he's headed south to join Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jason Leffler and Stewart. Yeley will be yet another USAC star swallowed up by NASCAR's vortex because nobody in the all-oval IRL is paying attention. "I haven't heard from anyone in the IRL all year but several NASCAR teams have called me," said Yeley, who qualified for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 at age 21 but has only been employed to drive the IRL's two-seater around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since that May. "There's nothing I can do about who's interested and who isn't. I don't have anyone chasing me in the IRL right now and that's fine by me. I've got some things happening in NASCARland and you know that's where the racers are going right now. There's nothing available in the IRL for us USAC guys. Our future is in NASCAR."

8/13/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

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8/12/03
Fran-Am V6

Fran-Am V6 coming to North America in 2004  [Editor's Note:  At 50% of the cost, and a car with far greater performance in all aspects (handling, HP, braking, etc), it's everything the Toyota Atlantic Series should be but isn't.]  FRAN AM Sport today announced the introduction of the FRAN AM V6 Formula to the North America racing scene. This ultra-modern, high performance open wheel car becomes the highest level of development racing in the FRAN AM Sport family and indeed in the North American market. "I am very proud to make this announcement and bring this new series to North America for the 2004 season," stated Thierry Burckhart, President and CEO of FRAN AM Sport. "This car and this series respond to the needs and requests of teams, drivers and event organizers by providing high horsepower, high tech, big event and reasonable cost racing to North America." The FRAN AM V6 is a cousin of the Formula Renault V6 which debuted this year in the Eurocup series. The FRAN AM V6 will share technical specs with the Eurocup car creating a stable world class. The car is evolving and when the North American series begins in April 2004 the car will be even more developed than that which now competes in Europe. Technical specs include a 3.5 liter engine creating 415 HP, 6 speed semi automatic sequential gearbox controlled by steering wheel paddles, carbon fiber tub meeting F3000 safety standards, an advanced aero package, Michelin tires, Magneti Marelli electronics, Magneti Marelli Data Acquisition and Brembo brakes. The car has proven itself in Europe this year but will pack more power and more advances for its North American debut with a dramatically improved engine sound similar to F1. "The FRAN AM Sport concept of high tech formula cars has proven itself in North America, growing in just one year to fields of over 30 cars in the FRAN AM 2000 series," continued Burckhart. "I expect a similar reaction and response from pro teams for the V6 program, some Teams have already ordered the FRAN AM V6. These two series complement each other so well for FRAN AM Sport Teams and the V6 completes the FRAN AM Sport ladder of development. Our V6 series retains standing starts and some events will introduce tire changing pit stops to further the training of teams and drivers. We provide the best, most modern, and now most powerful group of cars which will take a young driver from karting to FRAN AM 1600, FRAN AM 2000, and now FRAN AM V6, before we graduate our drivers to the highest levels of racing." The FRAN AM Sport formula for cost containment is evident in the V6 program. The initial cost for a car, including engine, data acquisition, wheels and tires, ready for the track, and including shipping and taxes, is an astounding $165,000. Season long budgets are estimated in the range of $550,000-$650,000 US, a fraction of competing formulas. Remaining consistent with European rules, engine will run the full season without rebuild, testing will be restricted, locked ECU after events and testing, as well as other limitations to reduce costs and equalize opportunities. The 2004 FRAN AM V6 season will begin in April and consist of 13 races on 12 weekends and will operate in conjunction with the established FRAN AM 2000 series. The specific schedule including prize fund will be announced in September. The 2003 schedule includes CART, Grand-Am Rolex and other prominent events and the 2004 schedule is expected to be even stronger with TV coverage and with major events in Canada, the United States and Mexico. "I want to join in this announcement and add my enthusiasm," stated FRAN AM Sport COO Arden Weatherford. "We are in position to deliver cars in November of this year and look forward to full fields for the coming season with a superb car, fully developed and compatible with our European cousin series." Further information is available at www.fran-am.com or by reaching FRAN AM Sport at (970) 920 7650 or Paul Grosjean (paul@fran-am.com) at (503) 760-0817.

8/12/03

Carl Russo bio  Carl Russo is rumored to be one of the buyers of CART and a full-time Champ Car owner in 2004.  Here is a bio on him.

8/12/03

CART stock watch (final)  NYSE trading today MPH closed DOWN $0.35 p/shr or 16.1% on Volume of 152,300 shares. Profit taking, helped presumably by last night's release of CART’s Q2 financials, began pushing the share price down right from the open.
Low/High of Session: $1.81/$2.15
NYSE UP 92.71 or 1.01% on Volume of 1.38B shares.
NASDAQ UP 25.5 or 1.53%
S&P 500 UP 9.76 or 1.0%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/12/03

CART announces 2004 Toyota Atlantic cost reductions  In an effort to maintain a high level of competition while reducing teams' operating costs, CART Toyota Atlantic Championship officials today announced plans to implement several new regulations that will take effect for the 2004 racing season in the areas of testing and technical specifications. Within the next month, the series will identify off-season testing rules for teams in the series, and will limit the number of days that teams will be allowed to test during the off-season. This will be the first time that off-season testing will be limited by the series. Once the 2004 season schedule is available, the series will announce in-season testing rules, and by limiting in-season and off-season testing, teams should realize a significant savings to their operating budgets. On the technical side, the series is moving forward with plans for a single engine builder for the 2004 season. This will provide an opportunity to prepare all engines with an eye toward equality and prevent changes in configuration during the season. The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) will also look to reduce costs by working with the engine builder to improve mileage between engine rebuilds. Likewise, the series is investigating the possibility of using specified components such as shocks and limited slip differentials. Announcements identifying the single engine builder and specified component providers will be made after agreements are finalized. In addition to lowering costs for the teams, another goal of the new regulations is to maintain parity on the racetrack. "One of the biggest challenges every racing team faces -- no matter what series they choose to compete in -- is putting together a proper budget to compete in a season," said CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President Vicki O'Connor. "While racing is inherently expensive, we have listened to our teams in their requests for assistance in reducing their budgets, and these new regulations are a direct response to their concerns. We feel that these regulations will provide balance to our fields and make it significantly easier for all teams to compete on relatively equal footing in 2004 and beyond."

8/12/03

The new CART  This Autoweek article pretty much says the same thing as the Robin Miller article, and it agrees with what we hear too.  However, look for Motorock to do more than just concerts.  They will be involved with an entire lifestyle/image change.

8/12/03

CART stock watch  UPDATE The profit taking continues as MPH retraces yesterday’s solid gain to find itself DOWN $0.29 p/shr or 13.4% to $1.88 p/shr on Volume of 117,800 as of 12:18PM EDST.  8/12/03 - Profit taking on the open has taken back $0.21 p/shr and pushed MPH down to $1.96 on Volume of 29,700 shares as of 9:49AM EDST.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/12/03

CART's top 10  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Your website is the best racing news source I have ever subscribed to, hands down.  Since you seem to be in tune with CART, what is your top 10 to-do items for the new CART administration?  Dave Lepore, Boston, MA.  Dear Dave, you asked, here it is, in no particular order:

 1.  Badge existing 2.65 L Turbo Cosworth engine with up to five manufacturers forever.  Without more car manufacturers with deep pockets immediately, CART won't survive.

2.  Implement standing starts at St. Pete, Cleveland and Portland - all with wide start straights

3.  Implement the push-to-pass button - the parades must stop

4.  Implement single-car, single-lap qualifying - will help to mix up the starting grid, and create more passing in the race

5.  Restructure CART such that the team owners have zero say with respect to technical and competition issues.  The owners should only concern themselves with the commercial viability of the series - management, administration, finance, marketing, promotion and sales.

6.  Get some of the wealthy team owners to take a financial position in Road America and Mid-Ohio to bring those tracks up to current standards - Jumbotron's, proper garages with corporate suites, widening, etc.

7.  Implement a soft rain tire and a harder intermediate rain tire - CART must be able to race in the rain

8.  Eliminate at least 50% of the full-course cautions.  They are far too long and too numerous.  Whatever happened to the local yellow?

9.  Fix the rolling starts.  If the drivers can't line up in perfect formation, those out of line should be black flagged after the start for a stop and go penalty.  Once a driver is penalized for being out of line, they will quickly learn to do it right. The ladder series drivers can drive in the rain and line up properly on the starts, yet the so-called superior Champ Car drivers can't?

10. Aim for 75% of the races to be on network TV in 2005.

 8/12/03

Hardcore fans will probably keep CART at Mid-Ohio  There is still hope that CART and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course can reach some kind of agreement for 2004 and beyond. A lot of the optimism is based in fact, some on conjecture, but the feeling coming out of this past weekend is much better than it was going in when neither side was talking to the other about the future. CART and its drivers laid the saving of future races at the feet of the fans. If the fans want it, they'll show up. CART doesn't care if 2,700 signed a trackside petition, the only numbers they wanted to count were butts through the gate. Saturday's crowd was okay, but nothing special. Mid-Ohio officials wondered if this was the year the Honda Super Cycle Weekend would overtake the venerable open-wheel race that dates back to 1980. Based on early ticket sales it certainly seemed that way, as the Superbikes reportedly did something like 2-to-1 in presales compared to CART. Sunday morning gave a glimmer of hope when the weather was absolutely perfect for a summer day. As the race neared its 2 p.m. start, it was obvious the public responded to its call. The Esses was full. The paddock was busy. The area outside the track along Thunder Valley and the Carousel had more than a few people sitting on the hillsides. While they never release attendance figures, it was one of the best walkup crowds in Mid-Ohio history.  As we said, these road courses attract CART's hardest core fans, unlike street races which attract fans of the "event."  CART would be wise to not turn its back on Mid-Ohio and Road America, and to help rebuild them.  Portions provides by Mansfield News Journal

8/12/03

Formula Ford 2000

Is this American destined for Champ Cars?  Here is an update on a very talented young American racer on the rise ... Jonathan Bomarito, one of the original 5 CART Stars of Tomorrow who tested the Champ Car for Team Rahal in 2000, along with AJ Allmendinger, current points leader in the Toyota Atlantic Championship ... For those teams who are lamenting that they missed on AJ, Jonathan is clearly that caliber, a rare combination of talent and speed, not to mention a very well liked and respected driver out of the race car as well ... At 20 years old from Monterey, California, as a rookie, Bomarito has gone on a tear in this season's F2000 Zetec Championship ... Along with the East Series Championship wins, the most recent being this past weekend where he doubled up at Mid Ohio with the added pressure of all the Atlantic and Champ Car teams in attendance, he also doubled with two wins at Phoenix in the West Coast opener against Westley Barber, last year's dominant British F2000 Zetec Series Champion and this season's USF2000 Zetec points leader together with the rest of the formidable and more experienced Cape Motorsports team ... Right now, each driver has three wins on the season, five for Bomarito if you count the Phoenix event ... However, as the Zetec series allows each driver to "throw out" two races, Barber gets to throw out a 23rd while Jonathan is forced to throw out his worst finish of the year, a 7th ... after that, each driver is throwing away a top five finish! This certainly points to a very interesting Championship showdown at Road Atlanta in October when the Zetec Series completes it Championship with the final two rounds during the Petit Le Mans weekend. Whatever the outcome, it is apparent Jonathan Bomarito, much like AJ Allmendinger this season, will be the one to tab as the next young American to make the jump to Atlantics in winning style. Mark C.

8/12/03
Industry News

China gets into the car craze  So you think mainland China is populated by peasant farmers and straw huts?  While that may be partially true in the suburbs, but the big cities, are quite different.  The number of vehicles on Beijing's roads has reached two million, meaning there is one car-owner for every four residents in the capital. The statistic from the Beijing traffic authorities has been met with mixed feelings in the city. While some see it as a sign of progress and modernization, activists are worried about the impact on the environment, pollution and worsening traffic congestion. The Beijing Evening Post said it was a sign that Beijing had "entered a genuinely motorized society". Of the number of vehicles in the capital, 1.28 million, or 64 per cent, are privately owned, with 800,000 of them saloon cars, the newspaper reported. "There is one driver for every four residents [in Beijing]," the paper said. "This is a meaningful milestone in the capital's transport development." The number of vehicles in Beijing rose from 2,300 in 1949 to a million in 1997. But in the past six years, the number has doubled - to eight times the total of 1986. Last year, there was an increase of 276,000 vehicles from the previous year, while there were 190,000 more vehicles on the city's roads in the first seven months of this year, a monthly increase of 27,000, the newspaper said. The situation in Beijing is a reflection of the nation's trend: the number of private cars on the mainland rose 26 per cent last year to 9.69 million. Still a small percentage for a country of 1.6 billion people, but you can understand why car manufactures are scrambling to get into the market.  The future potential is enormous.

8/12/03

Reader pans Chris Pook  UPDATE Another reader responds, Dear AR1, I for one, think Chris Pook has done an exemplary job as CEO of CART and wholeheartedly disagree with your other reader. Mr. Pook is the reason that this series is still around, and the reason it has a fighting chance of being here next year and the year after. Sure, he's made some bad moves, but he's human - he's entitled to a few of them. Your reader needs to get his facts straight. Toyota had pretty much made up their mind to leave for the IRL before CP came into the picture. The Players/Paul Tracy story was blown out of proportion, and your reader talks as if landing Bernie Ecclestone as CART's savior was some small feat. I think that the vast majority of the CART community is proud of the job that Mr. Pook has done, and I, for one, would like to thank him for his efforts. A fan, Dennis Szot - Dallas, TX.  8/12/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, I just read the 2nd quarter financial statement put out by CART.  Based on the financial performance by CART this year, I think it's safe to say that Chris Pook may be one the worse managers of all time.  He's bleeding the company to death, has not signed up even one new major sponsor, hasn't signed even one new manufacturer, spent all that money to support teams and didn't insist they run more American drivers, every race his management team co-promoted lost a lot of money, he's pissed off Player's, Paul Tracy, Toyota, some of the team owners, and he couldn't land Bernie Ecclestone to buy into CART.  He's unequivocally a complete and utter failure and should be run out of racing forever for destroying the series I love.  Paul Lashinsky, Brooklyn, NY  Dear Paul, Tell us how you really feel.  Mark C.

8/12/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

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8/11/03

IRL TV ratings continue to tank   Last year the IRL Gateway race pulled a final 0.75 rating on cable (ESPN).  This year the overnight rating on network TV (ABC) was a 0.8.  The final rating, as always, is expected to be lower.  Historically CART and IRL network TV ratings are significantly above their cable TV ratings.  With the possibility that the final Gateway rating on ABC may come in lower than last year's cable TV rating, the IRL front office, and all the big name sponsors, drivers and teams, must be scratching their head on where they went wrong.  We can answer that.  By creating the IRL, and splitting the sport of Indy Car racing in two (instead of funding 8 Americans in CART each year for 25% of what he spent on the IRL, at a time when CART was at its peak in 1995 and getting NASCAR-like TV ratings.  Imagine how big Indy Car racing would be now.) Tony George has succeeded in severely damaging open wheel racing, allowing NASCAR to become essentially a monopoly in the USA. Stick a fork in Indy Car racing.  It's done.  Mark C.

IRL TV Ratings Trend

2002:
Homestead (ABC) 1.5
Phoenix (ABC) 1.2
California (ESPN) 0.5
Nazareth (ABC) 1.3
Indy (ABC) 4.8
Texas (ESPN) 0.6
Pike's Peak (ABC) 1.0
Richmond (ESPN) 0.6
Kansas (ABC) 1.3
Nashville (ESPN2) 0.5
Michigan (ABC) 1.2
Kentucky (ABC) 0.9
Gateway (ESPN) 0.8
Chicagoland (ABC) 1.1
Texas (ABC) 0.9
Gateway (ESPN) 0.75
2003:
Homestead (ABC) 1.8  (Up 20%)
Phoenix (ABC) 0.9  (Down 25%)
Japan (ABC) 0.9 (First Time Event, but down from a 1.0 for CART on ABC in 2001)
Indy (ABC) 4.6  (Down 4.1%)
Texas (ESPN) 0.4 (Down 33%)
Pike's Peak (ABC) 0.7 (Down 30%)

Richmond (ESPN) 0.48 (Down 20%)

Kansas (ABC) 1.2 (Down 7.7%)

Nashville (ESPN2) 0.3 (Down 40%)

Michigan (ABC) 1.0 (Down 16.7%)

Gateway (ABC) TBD (Down TBD%)

TBD = Final rating to be determined

8/11/03

Montreal radio station interviews Bernie Ecclestone  Go to this site. It is a Montreal radio station. Listen a few seconds and the recording will turn to English.  The guy doing the interview is a sly fox, he even got the Queen of England on the phone in the past - this time he plays Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien - you will hear Bernie Ecclestone talking to him and thinking he is actually talking to the Prime Minister. Tobacco is the problem with the Canadian GP - period. Bernie is trying to turn the screws tight. Could this be the first time Bernie was ever duped?  Mark C.

8/11/03

Paul Newman finishes 8th  CART team owner and movie legend Paul Newman competed in yesterday's Grand-Am race at Watkins Glen. The 78 year old competed for charity as a guest of Gunnar Racing and finished eighth.

8/11/03

CART stock watch 

In NYSE trading today MPH closed UP $0.41 p/shr or 23.3% breaking back through $2.00 on the way to closing at $2.17 p/shr on Volume of 194,900 shares. Strong buying developed in the last 45 minutes of the session pushing MPH to a high for the session of $2.28 p/shr.
High/Low of Session: $1.78/$2.28 $1.55 Bid/$2.55 Asked on the close.
NYSE UP 26.26 or 0.29% on the lightest daily volume of the year, 1.23B shares.
NASDAQ UP 17.48 or 1.06%
S&P 500 UP 3.00 or 0.31%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/11/03

Bill France speaks on TV and night racing  Bill France gave an extensive interview in USA Today, and said on a TV-related topic: "Everybody talks about TV ratings, and that's important, but what's more important to me is how many people are watching in the household. How many eyeballs have we got watching the events? ... One of our commissioners years ago was (GM design chief) Harley Earl. He mentioned to my father years ago that he needed to put in foundations for triple decking (at the race tracks), because one of these days you're going to have that kind of audience. Now, we've got about 19 of the top 20 (live gate) sporting events in the United States. And I'm not talking about the infield crowd. This is just reserved seating, and not counting the suites and all of that. The Indianapolis 500 is in there with us. They're probably the leader, No. 1. Daytona has over 160,000 seats, Talladega has 130,000-some. When you look at all other sports events, with the exception of a few soccer games down in South America, we're sitting there at the top of the mountain. We just don't want to get shoved off." Also, on the subject of night racing: "It's kind of up to the broadcasters to decide what they want to do. .. I'm okay with it, but we need to balance it out with the live audience. They've got to go home. If it's a Sunday night, they've got to get up and go to work the next morning. If they're driving from 300 miles away and they get home at 4 in the morning and have to go to work at 7, that's a hardship on the live gate."

8/11/03

Mari Hulman George surveys Champ Car action  While waiting for the final round of qualifying on Saturday by the Goodyear tower we observed Tony George's Mom, Mari Hulman George observing the Champ Car action. She stood there for about 10 or 15 minutes watching the cars go out on to the track and then she was looking around at all the people that were there to watch.  We only saw one person go up to her to have a picture taken with them. We know she was there to watch her grandson Kyle Krisiloff  in the Atlantics, but one has to wonder what she was thinking as she was standing there taking it all in?  Was she learning in preparation for the IRL going road racing, or someday even racing at Mid-Ohio, or was she just killing time?

8/11/03

Gateway pit lane too narrow   Will Gateway lose its IRL race too?  That's the rumor.  With regard to this weekend's pit lane accident at Gateway, the Autoweek article says, IRL chief steward Brian Barnhart said future tracks must have wider pit roads. Gateway’s pit road is only about 36 feet wide, the narrowest on the IRL schedule. Indy’s pit road came under fire for being only a touch over 50 feet, about the same configuration as when the track debuted with the first 500 in 1911. Gateway held its first race in 1997. IRL driver Vitor Meira said Gateway’s pit road barely has room to put three cars side by side. Tomas Scheckter called it “a mess” when 21 cars all try to pit at the same time. “One of the guys brakes in front of you and so you brake, too,” he said. “It all happens so fast. People get nose to tail, and the people in the back aren’t ready for it. It’s hard to see.”

8/11/03

Drivers at odds with NASCAR over safety team  Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, commented over the weekend with respect to NASCAR not having a traveling safety team. Helton implied the NASCAR system works as is, with the track owners taking the full responsibility for the first response safety teams. The response of the NASCAR drivers interviewed for the same segment all implied there was a need for a full time traveling safety team such as CART uses.

8/11/03

Miami GP Americas race news  46 DAYS TO GO! The Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com is only 46 days away! This year’s race promises to be as exciting as ever as the Toyota Atlantics, the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford and the American Le Mans Series bring together a perfect trifecta of auto racing. The cars will be zooming down the streets of Biscayne Boulevard and Bayfront Park at speeds of almost 180MPH. This year’s events will also include a FanFest at Bayside Marketplace, the Magic in Miami Charity Ball, and the Coconut Grove Street Festival. You can buy your tickets online at www.miamirace.com or by calling 305-373-3333. All tickets are good for 3 days!  You Can Bet It’s Going to be a Great Event! Sportsbook.com has signed on to be the presenting sponsor for the Grand Prix Americas. This sponsorship marks the rare partnership of an on-line gaming company with a major motor-racing event.  “Sportsbook.com is excited to begin a long term relationship with CART and the Grand Prix Americas,” said Jeff Gilroy, spokesperson, Sportsbook.com. “This is a key element of our auto racing program and I believe you will see more pro sports leagues and organizations working with Sportsbook.com in the near future.” Sportsbook.com, a progressive online gaming company, was founded in 1997 from a base in the Caribbean and has since grown to become the industry leader. Sportsbook.com, now based in London, is publicly traded as part of the Sportingbet PLC Group, the largest online gaming company in the world. For more information on Sportsbook.com visit www.sportsbook.com. The Club presented by THE COLLECTION  THE COLLECTION, South Florida’s foremost luxury automotive dealership, has signed on as presenting sponsor of The Club, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com. The Club will now be known as The Club presented by THE COLLECTION. Join the distinguished list of corporations that entertain clients, associates and guests at their private reserved tables. Located trackside, The Club presented by THE COLLECTION offers the most luxurious way to view the race in the ultimate Miami style.
M E M B E R  B E N E F I T S  I N C L U D E:
• Admission to the Grand Prix Americas
• Access to The Club, track and paddock areas
• Sumptuous breakfast and luncheon buffets
• Premium open-bar
• Private parking
• Extra-comfortable, reserved grandstand, chair seating
• Closed-circuit television
• Free Cigar Bar
For membership information call 305.533.1033 or email at info@miamirace.com or click on the following link: http://www.miamirace.com/HTML/Hospitality/Club/index.php  Miss Grand Prix Americas Hits Ft. Lauderdale  The second heat of the Miss Grand Prix Americas hits Ft. Lauderdale this Wednesday, August 13th from 10PM to midnight at Café Iguana Pines, as some of South Florida’s most beautiful models compete to advance to the finals of the Miss Grand Prix Americas Pageant for a chance to win top prizes including a trip for two on Spirit Airlines via Spirit Plus, a stay at any InterContinental Hotel in the US, Coach Bags, courtesy of Bloomingdale’s and more. Café Iguana Pines is located at 8358 Pines Boulevard. Exit Hollywood Blvd on either I-95 or the Turnpike and head west. For more info click on the following link: http://www.miamirace.com/HTML/EventInfo/MissGPA/index.php

8/11/03

More on F1 Montreal story  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I live in Montreal where there has been much talk obviously about the Grand Prix's future. Over the weekend, it essentially came to a showdown between Legault saying he'd gotten a letter saying we're off the 2004 calendar and Ecclestone saying that he has no idea where Legault got that idea -- the schedule hasn't been finalized. I guess Legault doesn't like to have his integrity called into question because he gave Montreal's La Press newspaper the letter he received from FOM. Here, the Montreal Gazette reports in English on the matter. Basically: A letter written on behalf of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says Montreal has been dropped for the time being from the 2004 race schedule, Montreal La Presse reported Monday. The letter was written by F1's legal department for Ecclestone and is dated June 12. A photocopy of the letter was reprinted by the newspaper. The letter says, "We write to advise you that the Canadian Grand Prix will not be included on the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championships calendar pending the outcome of various issues. In the event that the Canadian Grand Prix is not included in the calendar for next year the provisions of clause 26.2 of the promoters agreement will apply.'' The two-paragraph letter does not elaborate. Normand Legault, Canada's Grand Prix promoter, has said he received a letter from Ecclestone but wouldn't release its contents for legal and contractual agreements. Jonathan Carroll, Montreal, Canada

8/11/03

Ryan Hunter-Reay proves himself  This Mansfield News Journal article talks about how Ryan Hunter-Reay proved he belongs in Champ Cars this weekend.

8/11/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

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Canadian Racers Saddened By GP Loss
Silverstone To Get Its Cash Boost?
Jordan Leaves Door Open For Heidfeld
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Theissen And Schumacher Go To Church
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8/10/03

Keep your eye on Marco Andretti  AR1 was at the Mid-Ohio track late Saturday evening finishing up the days reports.  We had the time to talk with Matt Cleary of the Barber Dodge Series.  We asked him how 16-year old Marco Andretti was doing in the regional Barber Dodge Series.  He told us Marco appears to be the real deal.  Not only is he winning races, but when they purposely start him in the back, he comes right up through the field to win.  At the end of the race weekends they usually have a half-distance race where even the instructors participate.  He beats them too.  The cars in that series are strictly "spec" and the driver can't even make setup adjustments.  They try to take the equipment out of the equation and focus on driver ability.  So far the young Andretti is coming up all aces.  Don't be surprised if he moves up to the Barber Dodge Pro Series next year.  Most recently Marco Andretti seized the spotlight at last weekend’s race in Mont Tremblant, Canada. With father, Michael, there to witness, the youngest Andretti driver performed impressively around the 2.47 mile track – again and again. The showdown was between Marco and a skilled Mexican driver, Salvador Duran. The two went head-to-head throughout the weekend and the competition was tight. Andretti started the race weekend from the back in 14th position due to an off road excursion during qualifying. But the race, itself, was a different story. Andretti battled his way through 12 other cars to the front of the pack and finished the day in 2nd place, just behind Salvador Duran. Despite Duran’s win, Marco set the fastest lap of the race - .004 of a second over Duran. The second day of racing was even better than the first. From the stands, Marco appeared to have the confidence of a seasoned driver, not a sixteen-year-old boy. He started on the outside of row 1. Contending for the lead, Marco made numerous passing attempts on Duran. At last, with the right opportunity, Marco moved up to the front and charged ahead. With incredible speed, Marco finished the race with an 8 second victory. Jeff Andretti (Marco’s coach): “Overall performance for Marco this weekend was very impressive. Marco faced adversity and showed maturity in intimidating his competition and flat-out smoked them!”  Mark C.

8/10/03

CART officials are not out to get Tracy   This Arizona Republic article talks about Paul Tracy and the fact that it may appear CART is playing hardball with him, in fact they are just enforcing the rules.

8/10/03

Rahal has high hopes for CART's future   In this AP article, Bobby Rahal says, "At this point, we're going ahead as though CART will continue next year," he said Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "I'd say the chances are 50-50 that the series will be back, based on what I know. I know that's a little nebulous, but I'm not on the inside anymore." CART announced last month that it won't be able to run a full season in 2004 unless it raises more money. There has been speculation that the publicly owned company will be sold and taken private, by either a group of team owners from within the series or Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. Rahal said he has no plans to join any potential investment group.  I already gave, obviously in my personal time and with the racing team," he said. Rahal was acting president of CART from mid-June to early December in 2000 and helped stabilize the series during turmoil after Andrew Craig's resignation from the top job. "What's going on currently in CART is a reflection on the economy as much as anything," he said. "This series is hurting no more than others in that respect. It's tough for anyone in auto racing to find sponsors right now."

8/10/03

IRL medical update   Anton Julian, left-rear tire changer for Al Unser Jr.’s No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, is in fair condition after a pit-road accident on Lap 40 of the 200-lap Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway. Julian, from Auckland, New Zealand, was transferred by air to St. Louis University Hospital. According Dr. Henry Bock, medical services director for the Indy Racing League, Julian has a concussion, a right-knee injury and will be admitted overnight for further evaluation.

8/10/03

CART needs to go one more step for the Reynards   Now that American Spirit Team Johansson has shown that the Reynards can be more competitive with the Reynske front wings, it's time for CART to take the next step and allow the Reynske underbody as well.  While they were competitive this weekend at Mid-Ohio, the underbody is still needed because the car is much more sensitive to chassis setup and on most weekends, they still are not fast enough to race for the lead.  Meanwhile, the Lolas, with their higher underbody downforce, are right at the front every weekend.  IRL officials are smart enough to allow Chevy to do an entire engine change mid-season to make the Chevy teams competitive, and were able to keep Honda and Toyota quiet about it (both would have complained vehemently if that was allowed by CART when they were in the series.  Look at the stink that was made when CART tried to fix the pop-off valve fiasco...yet now both manufacturers are biting their tongue in the IRL).  CART must allow the Reynard teams to use the Reynske underbodies.  And if the Lola teams complain, they should tell them to shut up (yes, we said shut up) and race, just as Toyota and Honda are doing in the IRL.  For teams to land sponsorship they must be competitive week in and week out!  Lola teams say they paid more so they should be faster.  BS.  Once the Reynard teams finish buying all the Reynske pieces, they will have paid as much as the Lola teams.  This is the problem with CART, the team owners are running the asylum.  When are they going to learn that they must give up all control of the rules to the competition team? Mark C.

8/10/03

Forsythe: Canada will lose CART race too   2nd UPDATE Another reader writes, First off, thanks to AutoRacing1.com - by far the most informative racing site on the web!  What do you think of Mr. Forsythe's strong words after Team Player's Mid-Ohio first and second place finishes? I know you've mentioned that it doesn't look like Mr. Ecclestone will be involved in a potential CART privatization, but is this a sign that the two series (F1 and CART) could potentially work together in some sort of formal or informal partnership to help each other with regard to certain important issues down the road (engine suppliers, driver development or other important matters)? Maybe I'm reading too much into this but I was very surprised with what I heard - Canadian voters ousting anti-tobacco politicians and the like and CART race(s) to disappear from Canada. Maybe Elkhart Lake could absorb the passionate, intelligent and rather numerous Canadian fans when the Great White North races go bye-bye. What do you think - Are F1 and CART working together to strong-arm the anti-tobacco countries that host races? It seemed to work (at least temporarily) in Belgium. Or is this more of a ploy aimed specifically at Canadian officials to allow Players to continue auto racing sponsorship for another couple years. Take care, "Name Withheld" please, Newport Beach, CA  Dear No Name, Yes, it appears CART and F1 are working together, at least unofficially. However, CART is not in a strong enough position to cancel one of its successful Canadian races, especially since the IRL would be more than willing to take it over.   Mark C.  8/10/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, After hearing Forsythe's post race tirade, it will be good to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. So we will have a bunch of egomaniac team owners running a private shop rather than egomaniac team owners running a public shop.  I believe he is targeting the Montreal race specifically because a) The organizers of the Montreal Champ Car race have been far from supportive in the last weeks with leaks to the media that they felt the series was no help and was done for, b) he and Legault rub each other the wrong way and he blames him for Bernie's backing out of the CART deal (Legault was reported as having advised FOM to keep out of the deal in Hockenheim last week....ironic considering he got in the rear from Bernie a few days later) and c) he wants to hurt the Canadian government for pulling the plug on his sponsorship by pulling the plug on one of the 3 lucrative Canadian races. So who loses again in all this politicking? The fans of course. The irony of it all being that when the CART contract is renegotiated for any of the Canadian races, no Canadian, American or foreign cigarette companies will be in the series anyhow. That is unless Penske and his Marlboro money come running back, which we all know won't happen.  James Dahan, Canada   8/10/03 - CART team owner Gerald Forsythe and soon to be one of the series owners, said today at Mid-Ohio after the Players drivers finished 1-2 that they once again represented the country of Canada well and that Player's will no longer be able to sponsor the team after October 1st due to Canadian tobacco laws.  Forsythe also said, "Restrictions on tobacco advertising in Canada which take effect Oct. 1 mean Player's no longer can sponsor the team. Forsythe says it will go out of existence as a result. "I can't wait for the next election so the politicians can be voted out," he said. "Player's has represented Canada extremely well for many years and it's unfortunate they can no longer sponsor a race team.  Canada lost their F1 race this past week because of their tobacco laws and I can guarantee you that when it comes time to renegotiate their CART contract they will lose that race too if they don't change the laws."  He didn't specify if he meant just the Montreal race or all three CART Canadian races.  Mark C.

8/10/03

Valiante wins in Mid-Ohio  A bump between Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) and points leader A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) on the first green flag lap left Allmendinger out of the race, but Valiante was able to continue and went on to lead the remainder of the race en route to his second win of the season and the fifth win of his Toyota Atlantic career in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. After a yellow start due to improper field alignment, the field took the green flag on Lap 2 and Allmendinger, who started from the pole, led cleanly into the first turn. Meanwhile, Valiante got the jump on third place starter Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) and outside polesitter Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) to move into second in the first turn and closed in on Allmendinger heading into the second turn. Valiante moved to the inside of Allmendinger in the turn and his right front wing and tire made contact with the left rear of Allmendinger's car, sending the RuSPORT machine off course and into the tire barrier. Valiante was able to continue in the lead despite the contact, but Allmendinger's car was terminally damaged and he was out of the race almost as soon as it began. Allmendinger was not injured in the incident.
1. (4) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 30.
2. (3) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 30.
3. (2) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 30.
4. (7) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 30.
5. (5) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 30.
6. (6) Bryan Sellers, Toyota/Swift, 30.
7. (8) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 30.
8. (9) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 30.
9. (10) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 30.
10. (11) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 30.
11. (13) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 30.
12. (14) Marc Breuers, Toyota/Swift, 30.
13. (15) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 30.
14. (16) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 29.
15. (17) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift, 23.
16. (12) Stephan C. Roy, Toyota/Swift, 15, mechanical.
17. (1) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 1, contact.
Time of Race: 41:50.941.
Average Speed: 95.734 mph.
Margin of victory: 0.672 seconds.
Lap leaders: Allmendinger, 1; Valiante, 2-30.
Caution Flags: two for four laps.
Championship standings: 1. Allmendinger, 150; 2. Dalziel, 130; 3. Macri, 114; 4. Valiante, 111; 5. Justus, 97; 6. Hand, 80; 7. Patrick, 73; 8. Figge, 69; 9. Diaz, 68; 10. Krisiloff, 57.

8/10/03

Hunter-Reay shows the way   This Mansfield news Journal article  says, Ryan Hunter-Reay is the poster boy for CART's ladder program. Starting out in karts, he moved on to the Skip Barber programs before landing in Toyota Atlantics last year. Today he is at the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, garnering a spot in the Champ Car World Series. "It's been faster than I anticipated, but I think that's what has helped me grow, not waiting too long," the 22-year-old Texan said. "It gets too stale if you wait too long, then you don't learn fast enough. "It's been real rapid. Two years ago, I was (at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and now in Champ Car, so that's as quick as it goes." Hunter-Reay began as a 15-year-old champ, winning eight categories and three Gold Cup titles in the WKA National karting championships. The following year, he won WKA's Competitor of the Year Award. From there, he moved on to the Skip Barber program, winning one of four scholarships offered. By 1999 he was a genuine prospect, winning Barber's Big Scholarship after earning the Formula Dodge National Championship. He also co-drove a Ferrari with road racing vet Boris Said in a six-hour endurance race in Florida. In 2000, Hunter-Reay used the scholarship to win the Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year trophy and finished fifth in points. The next year, he won two Barber Dodge races with three more podiums to finish fifth. It was good enough to move up to Triple-A racing, the Toyota Atlantic Championship. "Going from Barber Dodge to Atlantics was good because the Barber Dodge cars don't handle as well as the Atlantics, so it was like swinging two bats before going into a baseball game," he said. He adapted quickly, winning on an oval (Chicago), road course (Laguna Seca) and temporary track (Cleveland). He led a series-high 160 laps and finished sixth in the title hunt. While each rung had its learning curve, it was nothing like stepping into a high-powered Champ Car the first time. "No traction control (and) 800 horsepower on city streets with no rubber on them doesn't get much tougher," he said. He joined former CART champ Jimmy Vasser in the lineup for startup American Spirit Team Johansson. The team formed late, so Hunter-Reay didn't get a lot of laps in before it was time to go racing. "It's been tough, but it's been a great learning experience," he said. "That makes you tougher and it makes you a better competitor when you're forced into a difficult situation." At times he's struggled to keep up. During one four-race stretch, he qualified no better than 15th, and through the first eight races, he only cracked the top 10 finishers once. "I've never experienced going through the hardships of a new team," he said. At other times he's looked racy. He battled all night to finish ninth at Cleveland. He was seventh in Long Beach, and at Vancouver had his best showing yet with a sixth-place finish. "It's inconsistent because we're still growing. Some weekends you just tell yourself to drive within the capabilities of the car and not push too hard," he said. As he's proven, Hunter-Reay is a fast learner, which means soon he'll be a fast racer.

8/10/03

Mario learned a lot form LeMans   This Mansfield news Journal article  says, Mario Andretti wasn't always America's greatest auto racer. Like anyone else, he had to learn his craft from someone, someplace. The person was the late Bruce McLaren. The place was Le Mans, France, in the mid-'60s. "I remember the technique I needed to learn was not high-speed corners. It was hairpins," Andretti said. By following McLaren around, he picked up some tricks. By speaking with him, he learned even more. "He was always quickest in the slowest corner. I learned a lot from him and we became good friends," Andretti said. "I would ask him the pertinent questions and he would always be honest with me which is very different. (He) was a prince of a guy." If not for the Ford GT and its endurance road racing program back then, who knows what would have came of Andretti's career. He got all the seat time he wanted testing the cars for Ford. "We were doing simulated 24-hour runs and a lot of drivers would say they would do a couple of hours. I said I would be there for the duration. I wanted to do all the tests," he said. "That program was a godsend because I wanted to do Formula One in the worst way and where else could I have gotten seat time." Champ Car was just starting to go road racing in the mid- to late-'60s, but the cars were bulky and not very conducive to the constant turning and shifting needed in navigating the roads. "I needed to get in a proper road racing car," he said. In 1966, he was part of the Ford GT team that finished 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fast forward 37 years and Andretti found himself in the driver's seat of the new Ford GT which is due out in 2005 as a high-end production car. Before taking it out as the pace car for the Cleveland Grand Prix, Andretti marveled at how advanced the originals were. Incredibly, a lot of the cutting edge technology of the mid-'60s is still relevant today. "I love the pace car program," he said. "They really let me just let hair down and ring the hell out of the car," the now 63-year-old icon said with a laugh. "I tell them I'll buy the tires. I get them free from Firestone."   More...

8/10/03

Ladder to what?   This Mansfield news Journal article  talks about how good American drivers are being passed up for rides to foreign drivers who bring money.  Hasn't racing always been that way? It's an expensive sport.

8/10/03

Michelle Trueman interview   This Mansfield news Journal article says, Michelle Trueman Gajoch has been around auto racing all her life.  As the daughter of Red Roof Inns founder Jim Trueman, it was hard to avoid since he raced sports cars, owned teams, promoted events and bought Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. When he died of cancer in 1986, her mother Barbara and herself took over the TrueSports empire.   Since the fall of 1995, Trueman Gajoch has served as president, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the world-renowned permanent road course. In her time she has started the Mid-Ohio School, secured the Valvoline Runoffs, established the two motorcycles events as the best of their kind in the country and has continued to host the Champ Car World Series for more than 20 years.  In a rare interview in mid-July, Trueman Gajoch spoke on a variety of topics concerning Mid-Ohio and open-wheel racing.   On CART's place in the Mid-Ohio business model:  "We're always looking down the road and hopefully weighing and having a clear vision of the ups and downs of each series we work with. Hopefully we create a balance that doesn't leave us in a situation where one series leaving here is catastrophic. Yes, in the case of an event the size of the CART race, it certainly makes you sit back and re-evaluate the things you might be doing."  On what happens to Mid-Ohio if CART leaves:  "As a business, it's not going to be damaging at all. Financially, it will not be damaging to us at all. Where the public is concerned, that's going to be our biggest challenge, making people understand that perhaps it's not our decision."   On how business is for Mid-Ohio overall:  "We do so many things here that support our bottom line every day between the school and the track rentals and the club events. People get very myopic when they look at these race tracks. They think if one event goes away, it's one-sixth of our business, and it's certainly not. We braced when the economy started to change and Sept. 11th occurred. We really expected to see those club events and track rentals and the school suffer because you're looking at the weekend warrior types and teams cutting back on testing. We've seen just the opposite. I can't explain it. We're fully booked and already people are lined up to book dates for next year. We've got new customers wanting in. The number of participants in club events and regional and national events that go on here have not declined." On CART CEO Chris Pook:   "Chris gets a lot of credit for understanding (the plight of the promoters) right out of the box. That's really important. I think he underestimated taking the job. As we all hoped naively, we were continuing to underestimate the task at hand, the magnitude of the changes that probably needed to take place, and the challenges they were facing. Under Chris Pook's leadership a lot of business models, the relationships with the teams and the sanctioning body and the tracks and the sanctioning body changed dramatically from an equitability standpoint. Those were all great changes, but I don't know if it has proven to be as productive as CART wanted it to be as far as rebuilding."  On the future of road courses in CART:   "If CART stands up and says what they've been hinting at, 'This is our future and we don't see ourselves at the road courses,' then that's the way they want to redefine their product. They've been going through this redefinition process for a long time. I think what they've tried to do is stabilize it from the rules to their business practices. Everything is all sort of melding together. As far as the venues, it's true they would be turning their back on the road courses if they choose to do that. Do I dislike that? Sure, I dislike that, but to this point I haven't been able to have any productive conversations to understand why they think this is important."  On the possibility of IRL coming to Mid-Ohio:  "I have no doubt they are going to go road racing. We have made no plans to go road racing with the IRL. I stay focused on what I'm doing and I make (my staff) do the same thing. If we get bogged down in all this, hearing one thing in one ear and something else in the other, it just slows everything down here and you get off task and unfocused. I get 10 to 15 e-mails from fans per week asking those very questions. It sounds so strange that I can't give them an answer on both fronts: What's going on with CART and have you done a deal with the IRL?"   On working with CART to put on the 2003 Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio as co-promoters:  "The most positive thing that's going on right now in our relationship with (CART) is that they have an extremely strong management and operations group right now. Despite all this negativity and speculation about Mid-Ohio, we have worked with them more cohesively than we ever have in the past ... Chris has assembled a very strong group of people."  On Mid-Ohio's future:   "Whether it's open-wheel racing, sports car racing or motorcycle racing, we will continue to do what's in our best interest. That's a safe bet going forward."

8/10/03

Newcomer Breuers ready for first race  Despite a weekend of hiccups, Marc Breuers is optimistic about his prospects in his CART Toyota Atlantic debut today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "I would be really excited to get into the top 10," Breuers said after Saturday qualifying. "I didn't get a chance to see what I have for a car. I think it's going to be up there with the big pack of people. I'd like to make some initial passes just off the first lap or two and sort of stick with the pack. If I can just be in there and give me a chance to race with some of them, I'll be real happy." A broken gearbox on the opening lap of Friday's practice session left Breuers with essentially no track time heading into first-round qualifying. The crew worked feverishly to get the gearbox put back together for qualifying and Marc posted a lap time of 1:19.675, good enough for 14th on the starting grid. The car improved in Saturday's morning practice session and Marc knocked nearly 7/10s off of his Friday fast lap. The team made changes to the setup for final qualifying. Unfortunately, just minutes into the session, the skies over Central Ohio opened up and rain prevented Marc from running enough laps to see how well the changes worked. "We haven't had a chance to shine, really, as much as we could," Breuers said. "We made some really good changes to the car in the last practice session and didn't really get a chance to put it down because we didn't put the (new) tires on until a little bit too late. We were really a little bit better than we showed on the time sheets." "Marc hasn't put a wheel wrong all weekend," team owner John Brooks said. "He's been doing a great job with feedback, with his performance behind the wheel. We're just playing a lot of catch up. Everybody has been out for eight races doing data gathering on these new tires and everything like that. We're definitely behind. But with Marc behind the wheel and all of us working hard, we're confident we're going to make improvements."

8/10/03

In-car camera too heavy says Earnhardt  Dale Earnhardt Jr. received permission Saturday from his team's sponsor, Budweiser, to have the in-car camera system it had paid for removed from his car. Each week several teams' cars are equipped with the in-car systems. The systems are generally paid for by one or more of a team's sponsors. With the system removed, Earnhardt Jr.'s team had to add 30 pounds of weight to offset the difference. Earnhardt Jr. sought the change following Saturday's final 45-minute practice session. He said the in-car system's weight was throwing off the balance of his car on the road course. "It was enough to kind of offset the balance of the car compared to when they were here testing," said team publicist Jade Gurss. "They did have two test dates up here. The team was excited. Junior's excited. "After they put the camera system in before practice, the weight differential was enough that he didn't feel like it was balanced quite like it was before." Earnhardt Jr. qualified sixth for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. He was 12th fastest in Saturday's first practice and third fastest in the final practice. Gurss said Budweiser did not have a problem with the request. "The executives at Budweiser have always told the team that performance is the key," Gurss said. ThatsRacin.com

8/10/03

80% chance of rain could mean rain tires  The forecast for today's Sirius at The Glen was calling for an 80 percent chance of rain, and the chance that NASCAR would conduct its first-ever race using Goodyear's rain tires became a possibility. "It could be historic," said Rick Heinrich, marketing manager for Goodyear. "That's why we bring 'em. We want to be ready." A torrential downpour forced the Busch North series race to be called after 41 of 62 laps Saturday, giving Ted Christopher the victory. Heinrich said Goodyear shipped 1,200 rain tires to Watkins Glen. He added that NASCAR indicated it would not like to begin the race on the tires, which cost $394 apiece and have a tread depth of 6/32nds. "They want to have the option to use them under the right circumstance in order to get the race in," Heinrich said. If the tires are used, pit strategy could become critical. Heinrich said that under extremely wet conditions cars could run the whole race on one set of tires. Mike Skinner won an exhibition race in Suzuka, Japan in 1999 on rain tires, and Mark Martin, Terry Labonte and Robby Gordon are among a handful of drivers who have tested in the rain at The Glen. NASCAR said a decision will be made at race time. If it rains, one windshield wiper and one brake light in the rear window would be added to each car. ESPN/AP

8/9/03

Benihana to sponsor American Spirit Racing   American Spirit Racing announced today that Benihana Inc. has signed as an associate sponsor of the team for this year’s Grand Prix Americas in Miami. Benihana, an international Japanese restaurant chain, sponsored American Spirit Racing’s Trans-Am operation in 2002, and will return as sponsor of the Team’s #12 AmeriSuites LMP900 entry in the American Le Mans Series.  “I am very excited that Benihana returned with us this year,” stated American Spirit Racing President, Jon Lewis. “Benihana has been a leader in the restaurant industry since it began. The correlation between our primary sponsor, AmeriSuites who are the leaders in mid-priced, non-food service hotels and Benihana is a perfect fit.” More than 20 years ago, after a near fatal speed boating accident and a record setting hot air balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean, Benihana founder and sportsman Rocky Aoki embarked on his next adventure and got the Company involved in auto racing. Since that time Benihana has participated in a variety of grand prix events, including the Grand Prix Americas. “We are proud to extend the Benihana racing tradition by being a part of the Grand Prix Americas,” said Kevin Aoki vice president, marketing for Benihana. “It will be a great opportunity for us to share in the fun of the sport with customers and fellow racing enthusiasts here in our hometown of Miami.” The Grand Prix Americas is run through the downtown streets of Miami near Bayside Marketplace and the American Airlines Arena. With the picturesque setting of the bay of Miami in the background, the Grand Prix projects an international flair with Miami’s Latin influence. The Grand Prix Americas will be held Sept. 25-28. The American Le Mans Series race will take place on Sept. 27 at 4:00 p.m., with live flag-to-flag television coverage provided by the SPEED Channel Network.

8/9/03

Dave Despain pans idea of IRL going road racing   In this SPEED TV article, Dave Despain cuts holes in the idea of the IRL going road racing.  He suggests the IRL stay focused on oval racing.  A few questions for the IRL's Tony George: First, are the fans telling you something the rest of us are missing? "Hey, Tony, these things are great on an oval. We can't wait to see 'em at Road America." Or are you just positioning yourself, hoping you can encourage CART road courses to defect? Tell me this. If there really is a huge demand for a combined oval-and-road-racing open wheel series, why is CART in such trouble? From here, IRL road racing looks like the answer to a question nobody asked. Does this turn-right notion comes from your car owners? Well, if it's your new best friends whispering in your ear, you might want to reflect on their contributions to CART's current troubles. Are Honda and Toyota crying out for road racing? If so, just say no! And while you're at it, suggest they find ways to lower the cost of their engine packages. For what it's worth, I was one of the first talking heads to support your original IRL vision. Years later, right here on Speed Channel, I repeated that support FOR THE ORIGINAL VISION, not necessarily for what the IRL has become, or threatens to become.

8/9/03

Danica Patrick & "Zero to Sixty" on Spike TV Air Times 

- Premiere Day, 3 different episodes
- Monday 8/11
- Noon (Episode 3)
- 4:00p (Episode 4)
- 7:00p (Episode 5)
Then, for the next 10 weeks, we will air on weekends only:
- Saturdays, beginning 8/16 at 11:00a, 1:00p and 4:00p
- Sundays, beginning 8/17 at Noon, 2:00p and 5:00p

8/9/03
Formula Ford

Cooper Tire sponsors Formula Ford 2000 series  Cooper Tire and Rubber company has announced a new five-year agreement with Formula Motorsports, Inc. (FMI) to create the Cooper Tire Championship Series. This Series will be the new home of the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec racing program, which boasts alumni including Indy Car stars Alex Barron (Mo Nunn Racing), Sam Hornish (Panther Racing), Buddy Rice (Red Bull Cheever), Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing) and Greg Ray (Access Motorsports).  More.....

8/9/03

Maia wins, completes weekend domination Leo Maia of Oakland, California led every lap of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Mid Ohio in wet conditions to take his sixth win of the season. Dan Di Leo finished in second place for his fourth podium of the season as Antoine Bessette of St. Bruno, Quebec, made his first appearance on the Barber Dodge Pro Series podium with his third place finish. Nelson Philippe backed up his Vancouver round podium finish with fourth, with Ben Freudenberg showing himself to be a talented runner in the rain as he finished fifth after having started in fourteenth. Memo Rojas took sixth place in his Telmex machine, with Burt Frisselle taking seventh, putting him atop the points standings in the Rookie of the Year battle. Ryan Millen also had a fine showing in the rain, moving from fifteenth on the grid to finish in eighth position. David Martinez took ninth, with fellow Mexican Salvador Duran taking tenth in just his first Barber Dodge Pro Series race finish.

8/9/03

Late crash hands Simmons win in IPS at Gateway   Jeff Simmons scored his first career Infiniti Pro Series victory today at Gateway International Raceway. Simmons led only two laps, but he led the ones that counted -- the last two. Mark Taylor led the first 78 laps of the event, but crashed in Turn 2 on the second to last lap while battling with second-place Brandon Erwin. Neither driver was injured. A four car wreck in practice before the start saw only 11 cars start the race. It was another expensive day of oval track racing in the IRL.
1. (3) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 80
2. (6) Cory Witherill, Dallara-Infiniti, 80
3. (7) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 80
4. (5) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 80
5. (2) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 80
6. (9) Aaron Fike, Dallara-Infiniti, 80
7. (10) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 79
8. (8) G.J. Mennen, Dallara-Infiniti, 79
9. (4) Mark Taylor, Dallara-Infiniti, 78, Accident
10. (1) Brandon Erwin, Dallara-Infiniti, 78, Accident
11. (11) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 43, Fuel Pressure
12. (DNS) Gary Peterson, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Did not start
13. (DNS) Moses Smith, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Did not start

8/9/03

Open wheel Ambassador Andretti interview   This Mansfield news Journal article talks about open wheel racing's biggest ambassador Mario Andretti and reports his views on various topics.

8/9/03

M-O fans go to bat for CART race   This Mansfield news Journal article talks about what fans are doing to help save the CART race at Mid-Ohio.

8/9/03

Rain ensures Allmendinger retains pole  Not even rain could prevent A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) from extending his lead in the championship standings in final qualifying as he gained another point in a rain-soaked session and will roll off the starting grid from the inside of the front row for the sixth time this season in Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (SPEED Channel, 12:30 p.m. ET). Just as the field prepared to leave pit lane to begin final qualifying, raindrops began falling around the 2.258-mile permanent road course, leaving teams and drivers with little time to claim a guaranteed front row starting spot and a championship point. The competitors knew that conditions would deteriorate quickly and all made their best efforts to turn in the quickest speed, but it was Allmendinger who would turn the quickest lap, as the rookie posted a best lap of 1:17.376 (105.056 mph) before the skies opened up and effectively brought the session to a conclusion after little more than five minutes. A handful of drivers continued to run laps in the wet conditions, but nobody was able to come close to topping Allmendinger's time, allowing Allmendinger to extend his lead in the championship standings to 36 points over Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record). He will start from the pole position based on his track record speed of 1:15.668 (107.427 mph) established in Friday's provisional qualifying session, and his Saturday performance was the eighth consecutive time that he has been the quickest at the end of a qualifying session.

8/9/03

Vannini speaks again- a star is born?   Dear AR1, A Star Is Born? I believe that today at Mid-Ohio, we may well have witnessed the emergence of the next American star in American road racing....22 year old Ryan Hunter-Reay...RHR, as he will come to be known. With only 11 laps in a Champ Car at Mid-Ohio prior to yesterday's first qualifying session, Ryan has shocked many with a lap time only 16/1000's of a second off of the hugely talented Paul Tracy's pole time and ahead of the equally sensational French rookie Sebastien Bourdais. Of course, what makes this all the more impressive is that it was done in a 2 year old Reynard chassis fielded by one of the more modestly funded teams on the grid. While a comparison to Minardi in F-1 may be overstating the case in magnitude, it is certainly directionally correct. In my judgment, the current crop of front running Champ Car team owners should view Ryan's performance in the same light as Renault and Jaguar viewed the exploits of Messrs. Alonso and Webber while driving for Minardi...the equivalent of "Just imagine what he could do in one of our cars!"  Lest the naysayers attribute this to luck or circumstance, we should remember that Hunter-Reay has fewer test days in a Champ Car than at least 95% of the field. Moreover, close scrutiny of lap times throughout the season inexorably led one to the conclusion that this performance was destined to happen...and soon! The momentum was clearly building and was obvious to anyone paying close attention. Recall that Ryan was off pole in preliminary qualifying at Portland this year before his car was found to be 3 lbs. underweight during tech inspection. Moreover, a pole lap time was scuttled by Mr. Tracy in the final sector. Of note is the fact that Ryan's Portland performance was done without the aid of the Reynske parts that ALL of the other Reynard drivers were utilizing by that time. Similarly, in Road America last weekend, Ryan had a P3 qualifying run ruined by the spinning Gualter Salles in the final turn of his last available lap. One should realize that final qualifying at RA was the first time this season RHR has been on an equal footing with the other Reynard drivers in that this was the first time he ran with ANY of the Reynske modifications. Hopefully CART and the front-running team owners will realize what a boon to the series it would be to have RHR driving for a top tier team. Credit also goes to Jimmy Vasser. We have seen time and time again the steadying and positive effect Jimmy's tutelage has provided to his teammates. RHR is but the latest to benefit from this. Ryan has been effusive in his praise on this score and well he should be. Kudos also to Dan Benton and Chris James for funding a team to highlight American road racing talent. They get far too little, if any, acknowledgment and praise on that score. This should also quiet all of those folks who have concluded that the Toyota Atlantic series provides inadequate preparation to run at the front in ChampCar. Let's hope this opens eyes to the talents of the likes of Jon Fogarty, Rocky Moran, Michael Valiante (he's almost American isn't he?) et al. Nothing would help ChampCar's relevance to the American fan more than having a gaggle of these young guns slugging it out for Champagne-spraying rights. Jon Vannini, California

8/9/03

All drivers calling for single-car qualifying   Almost all the CART Champ Car drivers are now calling for single-car, single-lap qualifying in CART.  Either CART would add tire warmers so drivers would only have to do one warm-up lap and then go for it, i.e. a single lap.  If CART does not allow tire warmers, then drivers will need up to three laps to get heat in the tires.  Not only will this eliminate claims of blocking, it will mix up the grid a bit as it has done in F1.  This AP article quotes Patrick Carpentier on the topic.

8/9/03

Newman furious with NASCAR safety crews   UPDATE We have added a photo of Newman's car after the crash. (Photo by CIA Stock Photo)  8/9/03 - This is more evidence of why NASCAR will be forced to adopt a CART dedicated and trained safety crew.  Look for an NBC special on that tomorrow on NBC before the Cup race.  Ryan Newman qualified 13th for Sunday's Sirius at The Glen in a backup Dodge after crashing his primary car in practice Friday morning. Newman, who wound up with his car turned sideways sitting on the driver's side after it slammed thick foam barriers guarding a tire barrier off Turn 9 of the Watkins Glen course, was uninjured in the crash. Still, he was critical of the way the track's emergency team handled the crash. "I hit a rock with my helmet getting out of my car because the safety crew was about 10 minutes late getting there," he said. "It was pretty ridiculous. When they got there they didn't know what they were doing" ThatsRacin.com

8/9/03

Roush sponsorship news  According to this Ford Racing article, Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president, is very bullish on the prospects of getting Jeff Burton's Ford sponsored for the 2004 season and beyond. In fact, Smith hopes to have something to announce soon. "We're in discussion with sponsors,"  the executive told TFR. "I hope that one of the prospects will have a deal within 30 days." Asked about the difficulty placing sponsors, Smith said, "We're having a really good selling year. We've had three companies sign with us that could have gone away." Plus, he is speaking with four potential parties for Burton's car.

8/9/03

CART shuffles Steward responsibilities   The CART Champ Car World Series announced a revision today to its Competition Department organization and to its panel of competition stewards, shuffling the duties among the current staff in order to capitalize on the strengths of the individuals in the paddock and in Race Control. The shuffle of the lineup more accurately describes the race-day duties of CART's officials into the categories of Race Director, Clerk of Course and Stewards. Director of Competition Chris Kniefel will serve in the new position of Race Director, and will be responsible for calling the race as well as any procedural issues. John Anderson will move from pit lane to the tower and will join Beaux Barfield, Jim Swintal and Tony Kester as stewards responsible for judgmental officiating calls. The stewards will also act on any observed violations. Jim Swintal will be responsible for giving all direction to the course marshals during an event as Clerk of Course. The stewards will oversee all CART series and all changes are to go into effect immediately. In addition, the restructuring of the staff means that the position of Chief Steward no longer exists. "After putting a new team together, this is the next logical step in building a strong unit to officiate our events," Kniefel said. "Having a veteran guy like John Anderson that has been on the team side of things for many years, helps balance out our team and gives us a fuller perspective over what happens on the track." Veteran Billy Kamphausen will assume control of pit lane while Anderson will remain in charge of both pre- and post-session technical inspections. Kniefel and Anderson will be in charge of the driver meetings and Anderson will also oversee any post-event meetings that may be necessary. Effective immediately, all drivers involved in any race incident that requires the attention of the stewards will be required to report to the CART stewards after the event, and shall remain at the circuit until dismissed by CART stewards.  

8/9/03

CART holds off renewing Cleveland GP with IMG   This Cleveland Plain Dealer article says, The uncertain status of the Championship Auto Racing Teams series has hit Cleveland-based race promoter IMG and left a cloud over the 22-year-old Cleveland Grand Prix. CART's contract with IMG Motorsports ended Aug. 1 and it has not been renewed. This has led to some layoffs at IMG, although the possibility exists CART and IMG will join again in the near future. Still, this news, combined with the recent report that CART will not be able to exist beyond this season unless the company is sold, does not paint a rosy picture for the future. Since CART owns the Cleveland race, the Grand Prix becomes part of the purchase if and when a deal is done. Until then, the business adage of "lean and mean" seems to apply as CART tries to get its affairs in order. "We're going to re-evaluate then come back with a decision [to renew or not] in October," said Adam Saal, CART's vice president of communications. "The race is on; we have our contract with the city. This is essentially a summer hiatus. We are going forward. We look forward to many more successful races in Cleveland, as our current agreement with the city extends through 2007." It is understood that while the race, held at night this year for the first time, was an artistic success, it remains a financial drain on both the promoters and CART. A logical replacement for IMG would appear to be the Cleveland Sports Commission, but commission President Dave Gilbert said that would not necessarily be the case. "Certainly we would have an interest in a race being in Cleveland," Gilbert said. "It has proven that it can be a big driver for our economy. But from what we know over the past several years the race has lost a tremendous amount of money. As a small, non-profit organization, we are not in a position to get involved, as with any company, with something where we know we are going to lose money. "[But] would I discount the Sports Commission getting involved in some form? Certainly not," Gilbert added. "I think that is something we would have to look at to see what our role would be in having a major sporting event like the race in Cleveland." Throughout the history of the race, the cost of putting on the event at Burke Lakefront Airport has challenged a list of race promoters, including C.K. Newcomb, Roger Penske, IMG when it ran the race alone and now CART. While the event has been popular with race fans, it has not been a mainstay for big business. And that keeps the race in jeopardy. "A lot of it revolves around sponsorship," Gilbert said. "This is certainly a tough climate everywhere around the country for sponsorship right now. Major events are so dependent on sponsorship revenue to break even, much less to make money. I am certain the race is no exception to that. There are very few events that can operate on gate alone." If and when CART solidifies its future, IMG officials say they are ready, if asked, to work with that organization to put on the Cleveland race just as in the past. "Sure, and they know that," IMG Motorsports President Bud Stanner said. "CART owns the race and they will determine what happens. They are the ones who are driving this. In terms of the race, everything is in CART's hand. They are the boss, we are just waiting to hear from them." 

8/9/03

Owners rallying around Gentilozzi   It is becoming clearer to us each day that the CART buyout plan is being led by Paul Gentilozzi.  Gentilozzi can walk into a room, let everyone have their say, then stand up and speak and immediately command a presence.  Not only does he understand racing, from being a fierce competitor and team owner for many years, he has the business acumen as well as the contacts necessary.  Gentilozzi is a no-bullshit kind of guy, yet can work a crowd as well as anyone we have seen.  From what we can tell, the other team owners who are buying into the series, all successful and powerful businessmen in their own right, have been willing to cede the lead in this deal to Gentilozzi.  Whether Bernie Ecclestone was ever part of the CART buyout deal, or whether that was just a smokescreen to hide behind, at the end of the day it will be the new team owners (Gentilozzi, Kalkhoven, Pollock and Russo (perhaps Russo)) who will have stepped up and saved the day.  Sure Gerald Forsythe and Paul Newman are key, but without the new guys on the block, there might have not been a 2004 for CART.   It will all become clearer in the coming weeks. 

8/9/03

Goodyear won't return  ITV-F1 reports, Goodyear do not intend to return to F1 despite a former employee from the F1 team being spotted in the paddock at Hockenheim. Tony Shakespeare, Goodyear’s former F1 organizer, insisted he was merely on holiday and that his presence was not a sign of the tire company’s return to the sport. He said: "Don't read anything into it. "I am here on holiday with my kids. There is almost no-one left from the old Goodyear F1 team nowadays and there is no sign of anything happening."

8/9/03

Ecclestone ruthless at negotiating table  This Toronto Star article is an interesting read on how F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone operates and will operate when it come to the Montreal F1 race.

8/9/03

Shanghai circuit to be problematic  We here at AR1 will predict right now that the Shanghai circuit being built by famous F1 circuit builder Herman Tilke is going to always have problems with an uneven track surface.  The track is being built in marshland (read that swamp) and as such is being built on 1-meter thick polystyrene blocks so it floats on the wet ground as necessary.  They are using so much polystyrene to cover over 350 square kilometers that they have created a shortage of the stuff in China.  Depending on the wetness in one area vs. an adjacent area over time, we see problems with an uneven track surface over time.  It's hard enough to keep a road surface smooth on properly drained subsurface let alone a wet swamp one.

8/8/03

IPS qualifying from Gateway   Qualifying Friday for the Gateway 100 IRL Infiniti Pro Series event on the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway, with starting position, car number in parenthesis, driver and chassis-engine:
1. (99) Brandon Erwin, Dallara-Infiniti, 152.312
2. (9) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 150.125
3. (20) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 150.059
4. (4) Mark Taylor, Dallara-Infiniti, 149.35
5. (14) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 148.949
6. (92) Cory Witherill, Dallara-Infiniti, 147.674
7. (5) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 145.876
8. (27) Gary Peterson, Dallara-Infiniti, 144.814
9. (25) G.J. Mennen, Dallara-Infiniti, 144.659
10. (91) Aaron Fike, Dallara-Infiniti, 144.545
11. (24) Moses Smith, Dallara-Infiniti, 144.442
12. (33) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 143.627
13. (36) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed

8/8/03

Loss of F1 race will be a boon to CART   It won't have an affect this year, but next year it is expected that CART's Montreal race will see a big jump in attendance because of the city's loss of its F1 race.  Promoter Normand Legault will have more time to focus on the CART event and the Montreal fans will be more hungry for their one remaining race.  Mark C.

8/8/03

Allmendinger takes provisional pole  Can he be stopped?  A.J. Allmendinger's (#4 RuSPORT) recent qualifying and race performances are beginning to sound like a broken record to followers of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, and in first-round qualifying for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (SPEED Channel, 12:30 p.m. ET), Allmendinger broke a track record that has been in place for 10 years to put his car on the provisional pole. For the seventh consecutive qualifying session, Allmendinger placed his car atop the time charts with a best lap of 1:15.668 (107.427 mph) to shatter the existing one-lap track record of 1:16.319 (106.13 mph) established by Jacques Villeneuve in 1993. In the process, Allmendinger extended his lead in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship standings by another marker and now leads Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) by 35 points. He also assured himself of a front-row starting position, and has not yet failed to qualify inside the top-three in his nine-race Toyota Atlantic career. Allmendinger is joined on the provisional front row by his teammate, Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT), who turned a best lap of 1:15.841 (107.182 mph) in his similarly-colored bright yellow Toyota-powered Swift. Justus has already started inside the top-five positions in six of eight starts thus far in 2003, and is looking to rebound from a disappointing 14th place result in last weekend's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Following his only other finish outside the top-five this season (a 13th place performance at Cleveland), Justus rebounded to start and finish second in the Molson Indy Toronto. His performance on Friday puts him in position to duplicate or exceed that performance this weekend. Dalziel qualified third provisionally with a best lap of 1:15.853 (107.165 mph), and heads into Saturday's final round of qualifying looking to continue a streak of consecutive top-four starting positions. The Scot has placed his car inside the first two rows in each of the past seven events, dating to a third place qualifying result for the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Qualifying fourth on the provisional grid was Canadian Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing), who clocked a best lap of 1:15.927 (107.061 mph), and has qualified inside the top-five positions for the past four races. He has also finished on the podium twice and been inside the top-four in four consecutive events, which enabled him to move into fourth place in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship point standings.
1. (4) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 1:15.668, 107.427 mph.
2. (3) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 1:15.841, 107.182 mph.
3. (28) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 1:15.853, 107.165 mph.
4. (19) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 1:15.927, 107.061 mph.
5. (84) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.074, 106.854 mph.
6. (17) Bryan Sellers, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.324, 106.504 mph.
7. (27) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.393, 106.408 mph.
8. (33) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.422, 106.367 mph.
9. (69) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.486, 106.278 mph.
10. (7) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.730, 105.940 mph.
11. (24) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.891, 105.718 mph.
12. (16) Stephan C. Roy, Toyota/Swift, 1:17.193, 105.305 mph.
13. (9) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 1:17.764, 104.532 mph.
14. (12) Marc Breuers, Toyota/Swift, 1:19.675, 102.024 mph.
15. (2) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 1:19.951, 101.672 mph.
16. (8) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 1:20.095, 101.489 mph.
17. (49) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift, 1:20.150, 101.420 mph

8/8/03

IRL or CART, you be the judge   [Editor's Note: If this article doesn't make CART realize they need some passing in the series because their #1 competition has it, they are asleep at the wheel.  CART needs the push-to-pass button ASAP].  The Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times article says, When I tune in to catch a couple of laps of an Indy Racing League Series race every now and then, I'm captivated by the fact that cars are driving side-by-side and are competitively passing each other on a regular basis. While the CART Champ Car Series has changed its aerodynamic package to improve competition and achieve the same type of racing, fans have not seen much competitive passing on ovals, particularly at The Milwaukee Mile, in CART for several years. So the announcement Wednesday that the eight-year-old IRL Series will compete next season at The Milwaukee Mile should be welcome news for open-wheel fans. Now fans will get the opportunity to compare the two styles of open-wheel racing and judge for themselves which they prefer.   More...

8/8/03

Vannini speaks   CART's 2nd largest shareholder writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Race after race we are seeing the close competition that the current engine formula is promoting. Hats off to a highly competent Cosworth on that front. If anyone wanted evidence that your idea of having a standard engine formula (I would stick with the turbo format for development cost, heritage and ease of regulation reasons), badged by multiple manufacturers is the way to go, they need look no further than today's preliminary grid. Throw in your "Boost On Demand" idea and the racing side of the ledger would be pretty much set in my opinion. Paul Tracy appears to be in a class of his own right now, no doubt spurred by a desire to rub Christopher Pook's nose in the dirt for his hapless meddling in issues beyond his scope of understanding and authority (further delusions of Ecclestone I wonder?). Behind him is nothing short of guerilla warfare. P3 - 6 are separated by about a 1/10 of a second while P7 - P12 are separated by about 2/10's of a second. Special note should go to Paul Gentilozzi's Team Rocketsports. They have jumped in the deep end on very short notice with a staff notably lacking in Champ Car experience and a driver heretofore characterized by many as fast but fickle and has made it work to impressive effect. As one of the rumored buyers of CART, let the sportsman in us all hope that he can run CART as well as he has his own team...I would say better than the current Captain of CART's ship but that would a bar set so shockingly low that Mini-Me would have little trouble clearing it with both legs tied together. Also of note is the recent form of the American Spirit team, particularly Ryan Hunter-Reay. Study of photographs from recent events suggest he has only recently (read: As of RA) been availed of the benefits of some of the Reynske bits others have put to such good use of late. Today's P9, less than 3/10's off of Carpentier's P3, attests to this. Let's hope that this underfunded team eventually finds the resources necessary to run Lolas. Then, CART may find the young American sensation they are so desperately in need of. Throw in a couple of genuinely quick young Yanks that are already out there (Fogarty, Moran, Allmendinger, Gidley, etc.) and CART may have something the American audience can identify with. If America can be convinced to get behind Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France ( I'm a BIG fan of this guy, by the way), young American road racers should be an easy sell. Sadly, apparently no one in the CART front office grasps this very simple concept...or if they do, they are doing an effective job of keeping it a secret. But given all the apparently baseless rumors emanating from that particular geography over the last 18 months, one has to conclude that discretion is not a trait that exist in any abundance with that crew. Jon Vannini, California

8/8/03

Tracy comments on CART venues   My feelings, we talked about this last night, and I heard Bobby Rahal say some interesting things. It's not really my feelings that count. Sure, I'd like to stay here. Sure, I'd like to stay at Elkhart Lake. But it's up to the fans to make that happen. You know, it's not our responsibility. I mean, Elkhart Lake got put back on the schedule, and the fans didn't show up to support it that said they'd be there. That just put the nail in the coffin for Elkhart Lake. You know, sure, if you ask any racing driver, we'd love to race at Elkhart Lake. But when there's nobody there, then you can't afford to be there. It's the same for this venue. We all love to be here, but it's up to the fans to show up at the gate to make it a viable race. When you go to a street race and you get 180,000, 200,000 people for the weekend, you know, financially it's a much more viable product to put on than what happened at Elkhart.

8/8/03

Will CART keep Mid-Ohio?   We quizzed Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, whether she thought CART would return to Mid-Ohio.  "We had some dialogue recently with David Clare, but clearly CART is in a holding pattern until the sale of the company gets finalized."  She said ticket sales have been surprisingly good in the last 10 days, and she's hopeful the attendance will be as good this year as last. "Corporate sales are down, but ticket sales have been pretty steady the last couple of years," stated Michelle.  When asked if the CART weekend was profitable for the track she would not comment, but did admit it was always profitable until recently when corporate sales dropped off.  CART and Mid-Ohio are sharing in the risk of this year's race, so she could not comment.

8/8/03

Mid-Ohio fans appreciated   This Mansfield News Journal article talks about the loyal Mid-Ohio CART fans.

8/8/03

Chris Pook interview   Chris Pook had some interesting comments in this Mansfield News Journal interview. Clearly the biggest challenge before him is the sale of the company.

8/8/03

Carpentier penalized but keeps 3rd   CART penalized Patrick Carpentier for blocking Max Papis during qualifying today costing him his fastest lap.  However, his 2nd fastest lap was good enough for him to retain 3rd fast time for the day.

8/8/03

Tagliani's Cosworth fractures   The Ford Cosworth engine everyone is using this year in CART has been very reliable.  However, when Alex Tagliani put his car in gear and pulled out of the pits this morning in practice there was a large pop. The engine block had split wide open, spilling oil on pitlane.  The team had to pull him back to his pit box.  Tagliani had to switch to his backup car.

8/8/03

Maia looking to move up to Toyota Atlantics  We spoke to Barber Dodge Pro Series standout Leo Maia today at Mid-Ohio.  We quizzed him about his plans for next year.  "I hope to move up to the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2004," said Maia.  He is lining up test drivers with several Atlantic teams and is guaranteed a test with leading Atlantic team RuSport.  Maia has been almost as dominate as AJ Allmendinger was last year and we see how well points leader Allmendinger is doing this year in the Atlantic Series.

8/8/03

Maia wins provisional pole The Leo Maia train kept on rolling in Mid-Ohio today as 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion scored the provisional pole position with a lap time of 1.25.157 seconds on the 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio. Maia was followed closely by Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario with a lap time just .062 seconds behind but quick enough for second position on the provisional grid. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, took third on the grid ahead of Mexico's Memo Rojas. David Martinez and Colin Fleming qualified fifth and sixth respectively, with German Quiroga and Scott Poirier taking spots on the provisional fourth row. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France scored his first podium finish at the last round in Vancouver and qualified ninth, with Chris Baker continuing to come back up to speed as he recovers from a hand injury as he took tenth spot on the grid. The half-hour qualifying session ran under green conditions as five different drivers sat atop the pole before Colin Fleming brought out the red flag with six minutes to go. The track was cleared quickly, but none of the drivers who returned to the track were able to improve on their times with the limited laps available.

Pos/car #/Driver/Hometown/Fastest Lap/MPH
1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./01:25.157/95.457
2/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:25.219/95.387
3/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/01:25.413/95.171
4/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/01:25.413/95.171
5/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/01:25.624/94.936
6/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./01:25.763/94.782
7/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/01:25.852/94.684
8/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/01:25.923/94.606
9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/01:25.938/94.589
10/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/01:25.959/94.566
11/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/01:25.969/94.555
12/49/Luis Pelayo/Mexico City, Mexico/01:25.995/94.526
13/17/Ben Freudenberg/North Bend, Oregon/01:26.032/94.486
14/82/Salvador Duran/Cuernavaca, Mexico/01:26.080/94.433
15/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./01:26.179/94.325
16/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/01:26.555/93.915

8/8/03

Bill Davis Racing offers to terminate Ward Burton Ward Burton said Bill Davis Racing has offered to terminate his contract with the team for next season, but Burton isn't prepared to sign it yet. Burton told reporters last week at Indianapolis that he was exploring his options for 2004, but he wants to be honorable in how he handles a possible split with the team. And he expects the team to do the same. "I'm looking for other options," Burton said. "So is the car owner. The reason it happened last week is because I received a notice that said we ought to be looking for other options. We've had success before. Some of the things that are going on may not be good for them or me.  It's an option to terminate our agreement for '04, Nov. 30. Obviously, I'm not going to sign it until I have an agreement with someone else." Burton has talked to other car owners but declined to name any.

8/8/03

Newman OK after flip Ryan Newman was only 30th fastest on the practice sheet, but he escaped injury in a crash that left him trapped inside his car. Newman wrecked in the right-hand Turn 8 and slammed the foam barrier off the race track. The No. 12 Dodge ended up on its driver side, leaving Newman trapped inside. "Just got loose going into the carousel, had to correct and got it up into the stuff," Newman said. "Thankfully, this is one of the few places that's got soft walls." Newman spent an extended period of time in the car before safety workers were able to prop it up enough to let Newman crawl out of the driver's-side window. Newman walked on his own to a nearby ambulance. "It's pretty ridiculous," Newman said. "I sat there a good 40 seconds before anybody even came. And once they got there, they asked me if I had the power turned off. It's like, 'Hello, anybody home?' It's kind of ridiculous. I hope something gets done about it pretty soon."

8/8/03

CART stock watch - II  In NYSE trading today MPH leapt from near its 52 Week Low on the open and never looked back, posting one of its most impressive single day gains of the summer closing UP $0.31 p/shr. or 21.38% at $1.76 p/shr. on strong Volume of 206,600 shares. Individual trade volume was not available until late in the session but there were trades in excess of 20,000 shares. MPH traded to a High for the session of $1.85, a solid gain of 27.6%, before profit taking in the final minutes produced today’s settlement of $1.76 p.shr.
High/Low of Session: $1.85/$1.45 $2.11 Asked, $1.14 Bid on the Close.
NYSE UP 64.64 or 0.71% on Volume of 1.26B shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 8.15 or 0.49%
S&P 500 UP 3.47 or 0.36%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/8/03

CART stock watch- I   MPH UP  26.21% or $0.38 p/shr. on Volume of 167,200 shares as of 2:30PM EDST.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/8/03

ALMS to return to Mid-Ohio   The American Le Mans Series, the world's premier sports car racing championship, will return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 under a new, three-year agreement. The joint announcement was made Friday by Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, Inc., owner and operator of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. Mid-Ohio will host the American Le Mans Series for a nationally-televised event June 25-27, 2004, on what has traditionally been the 2.258-mile circuit's sports car racing weekend. Race teams will be coming to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course straight from France and the June 12-13 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race and the event upon which the ALMS is based. "It's with great anticipation and enthusiasm that we're able to announce that the American Le Mans Series will be a part of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course's 2004 schedule," said Gajoch. "The 2002 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio was highly successful, which made this year's scheduling conflict very unfortunate. The numerous e-mails and phone calls from the dedicated road racing fans near Mid-Ohio made it clear that this was an event that we absolutely had to make work in 2004." The American Le Mans Series held races at Mid-Ohio in 2001 and 2002, but an event was not held in 2003 due to schedule and TV contract conflicts that prevented the confirmation of a date. "It was a top priority for us to be able to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 and for years to come," said Atherton. "We're very pleased that we were able to make it happen, and we know that our competitors and fans will also be pleased to hear this good news.  Mid-Ohio is a track that is very suited for sports car racing and the two events we have held here have been fantastic and competitive races," he said. "Mid-Ohio has everything we are looking for in a venue to host our races." The news of the return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 was well-received by drivers in the American Le Mans Series. "I think it's great news that the series is going back to Mid-Ohio," said David Brabham, the Australian who was on the overall winning Panoz team in the inaugural ALMS event at Mid-Ohio in 2001 and is now driving for the Prodrive Ferrari team. "I have lots of fond memories of racing there and it's a great American road racing circuit. It's very challenging and I think all of the teams will be excited about going back."  Scott Atherton said the full 2004 schedule will be announced on Friday October 17th at the Petite LeMans race at Road Atlanta.

8/8/03

CART owners meet   CART's John Lopes called a team owners meeting for 12:45 today and we are waiting to hear what was discussed. All indications are that the meeting was about technical issues related to next year and/or 2005 and beyond.

8/8/03

Martinsville signs sponsor  Martinsville Speedway and Advance Auto Parts announced this morning that Advance Auto Parts will be the title sponsor for the spring NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. The Advance Auto Parts 500 is scheduled for April 18, 2004. The companies have agreed to a two-year contract with an option for a third year. Financial details were not released. While it is the first NASCAR Nextel Cup endeavor for Advance Auto Parts, the Roanoke-based company and Martinsville Speedway have enjoyed a long history together. Most recently, Advance Auto Parts has been the title sponsor for the two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Martinsville. “This is an exciting day for Advance Auto Parts. For the first time in our 70 year history, we have the privilege to be the title sponsor of the Spring 2004 Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway,” said Paul Klasing, Executive Vice President, Merchandising/Marketing of Advance Auto Parts. “A large number of our customers share our excitement and commitment to NASCAR and we look forward to sharing this race with them.”

8/8/03

Gold Coast Indy under threat   This FOX Sports article says, THE future of the Gold Coast Indy race will be up in the air after this year's event unless a buyer emerges to bail out US organizers. A recent notice released by Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc (CART) to the US stock exchange said the organization would not get through the 2004 season unless it found more money. "Due to the continuing downward trend in several of its critical revenue streams ... and a lowering of expectations regarding the 2004 year, management now expects that it will raise additional capital to complete the 2004 season," CART said in the statement. "Projections beyond 2004 are, in management's view, very speculative." Queensland deputy premier Terry Mackenroth said this year's event was assured and expressed confidence CART would be able to sort out its future. "The week before last a CART vice-president (Tim Mayer) came out and met me and assured me the event will continue," Mackenroth said. The Queensland government kicks in $10.8 million a year to run the event, which it co-owns with sports management group IMG and has a contract to run the race until 2008. It is thought to be one of CART's most profitable events.

8/8/03

2004 Canadian GP cancelled  UPDATE Now this is getting silly.  The promoter Legault says the race is cancelled and in this article, Ecclestone denies it.  8/7/03 - At a press conference in Montréal which started at 3:30 PM, Normand Legault has announced the Canadian GP will not be held in 2004 because of the anti-tobacco laws taking effect in Canada by then. The date has already been awarded to the Belgium GP. Legault said he would not appeal the government to revise their law, that they knew since 1997 that those laws were coming and they were half-expecting this to happen. You can confirm this by going on Le Réseau des Sports' website at www.rds.ca 

8/8/03

Fernandez personnel changes   Fernandez Racing has restructured its engineering department with the departure of Race Engineer David Watson earlier this week. The changes will take effect with this weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, Round 13 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The engineering staff will be led by Chris Finch, race engineer, who is in his third season with Fernandez Racing. Finch will be supported by the team’s existing engineering staff of Dan Grabski, assistant race engineer, Matt Huth, data acquisition engineer, and Ivan Koldsgaard, data/shock engineer. “It was felt that a change of direction was needed regarding our CART engineering program,” said Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director. “Adrian will work with our existing engineering staff with Chris assuming the role of Adrian’s engineer.” Finch, 36, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has worked as a both an assistant and race engineer with Adrian Fernandez. Finch came to Fernandez Racing from Riley & Scott where he spent four years as project engineer on the company’s IRL program prior to assuming the role of assistant aerodynamicist in the Cadillac Sportscar and IRL programs. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor and Masters of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. “This is a tough business and sometimes you have to make tough decisions unfortunately,” said Fernandez. “Chris has been with the team since the beginning as have Matt and Ivan, with Dan joining us full time last year. We have a core engineering group, and we will all work to make the most out of the seven races remaining this year.”

8/8/03

CART stock watch   A brisk start for MPH this morning! MPH up $0.07 p/shr. or 4.83% to $1.52 on early Volume of 122,100 shares as of 10:52AM EDST. courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago
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8/8/03

CART Mid-Ohio fan fest   A reader writes, What a great show. CART rules. These are a few pictures from the fan fest. Tiago playing to the crowd, Patrick jamming on the drums and Paul telling the facts......I love your site keep up the good work!!! Ken

8/8/03

Brickyard 400 TV ratings #1 but down 5%  The Brickyard 400 on NBC finished as the #1 ranked sports broadcast for last week, turning in a 6.0 rating and 15 share, representing 6,415,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research This is down 5% from last year's 6.3 final rating. The closest competitor to the race from Indy was the ABC primetime Battle of the Bridges with Tiger Woods, garnering a 4.6 rating and 8 share.  It also beats the Indy easily three years running.  MotorsportsTV.com

  BY 400 Indy 500
2003 6.0    4.6
2002 6.3    4.8
2001 6.2    5.8

8/8/03

Latest F1 Hot News Items  

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Walkinshaw Blamed For Failed Russian GP
Ecclestone Cancels Canadian Grand Prix
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8/8/03

CART on the brink of extinction   Everyone had such high hopes Chris Pook would save CART.  Is this what people thought Chris Pook would lead CART to, the brink of extinction?  That's what this Dallas Morning News writer says - Believe it of not, there was a time not long ago when CART was the most popular racing series in America. NASCAR was just something those good-old boys did at mostly rural areas in the South. The IRL didn't exist. It was CART that had the glitz, the glamour and the celebrity names like Foyt, Unser, Mears, Rutherford and Andretti. It's a glorious past for a series that may not have a future. After 25 years as an open-wheel sanctioning body, CART is teetering on extinction. No one knows if CART will continue as a series in 2004. At the moment, the money isn't there to operate a full schedule next year.....so will Chris Pook go down in history as a failure who could not save CART, or will he pull together a last minute blockbuster deal?  Time certainly is not on his side.  The clock is ticking.....

8/8/03

Hungary ticket sales down  Advance ticket sales for the Hungarian Grand Prix held at the Hungaroring on August 24 are down by as much as 35% on last year, according to the race organizers. Péter Gerstl, director of Ostermann Forma-1 Kft, partner in charge of entrance control and ticket sales for Hungaroring Sport Rt (the state owned company that runs the Hungaroring), said, "This is no big disappointment as Formula 1 ticket sales have dropped on a global scale." He added that while ticket sales are expected to be down this year, television viewing audiences for the race are expected to rise by at least 20-25% year-on-year.  Modifications to the Hungaroring have just been completed, a few weeks ahead of schedule, and the circuit is now being made ready to host the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 24. Since the Hungaroring was completed in 1986, only one significant modification had been made to the track. In 1989 one of the two S-bends, just after the start-finish straight, were removed to allow for greater speed. In 1997 the pit lanes were extended but the modifications did not affect the track layout. This year's changes will come as welcome news to critics of the Hungaroring who have long since bemoaned the circuit for its lack of overtaking opportunities. Many Formula One drivers have also said they disliked the Hungaroring because it was too slow. Nevertheless, Bernie Ecclestone, who holds the commercial rights for Formula One, has been very appreciative of the circuit over the years, once even stating, "The Hungaroring is the best circuit in the world."

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