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DATE

News (chronologically)

8/20/03

Is there any hope for CART?   A reader writes, Dear AR1, After reading Cipolloni's latest article, do you see any scenario by which CART can survive and have a long-term future?  Things look rather bleak from where I sit.  Mordichai Rosen, LA, Calif.  Dear Mordichai, As I wrote, Jon Vannini, et al are the key to CART's future.  If he goes on the offensive and files his lawsuit, or if they reject any and all bids by Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, there is no scenario by which I see CART surviving. However, I am of the opinion that Jon Vannini, the Eatons and Thomsons know they hold the key to CART's, and in many respects, the big-time road racing's future in the USA.  They and Open Wheel Racing Series LLC know what they need to do, and I think you will understand what I am trying to tell you soon. I have made my feelings known to both sides. I wasn't kidding  when I said their wealth (as our research shows) makes Ecclestone look like a pauper.  If they decide to engage, tighten your seat belts.  As they say, "it ain't over till the Fat Lady sings," and I for one, even in this 11th hour, don't hear any singing.......and don't expect to.  Mark C.

8/20/03

Last ditch effort to save Canadian GP  According to this Globe and Mail article, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon will lead a delegation to Hungary in an attempt to save Canada's Formula One Grand Prix, he said Wednesday. He and a team of Quebec officials will lobby Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone to reverse his decision to drop the annual Montreal event from its 2004 calendar. Cauchon said he will arrive at Friday's meeting armed with plenty of arguments. "I actually can't wait to have the meeting with Mr. Ecclestone," he said. Ecclestone decided to drop the race from the 2004 calendar because of a federal ban on tobacco advertising which takes effect Oct. 1. One of Cauchon's arguments is that other countries have similar laws but they're spared the punishment being inflicted on Canada. "I want to see what he (Ecclestone) is going to say about the exemptions that exist for France, for example, for the U.K. and even for the States," Cauchon said.

8/20/03

Michigan TV rating down 7%  The GFS Marketplace 400 from Michigan International Speedway garnered a 4.9 rating on TNT on Sunday, down 7 percent from last year's 5.3 rating.  MotorsportTV.com

8/20/03

Wood undergoes surgery  UPDATE Race driver Tom Wood was in fair condition Wednesday after surgery on his broken back. The IRL Infiniti Pro Series driver was injured in a crash during the Kentucky 100 at Sparta, Ky., on Saturday. He had surgery Sunday on fractures of his right leg, right knee, right ankle and right foot and another operation on his back Tuesday night. Wood, 46, of Calgary, Alberta, was airlifted from the race track to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington and then to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. AP  8/18/03 -  [Editor's Note: this is the same track that put Jason Priestley in the hospital last year, also driving an IPS car.  Unfortunately, the carnage continues and our heart goes out to the poor drivers who suffer all these severe injuries.  As statistics have shown, CART and its ladder system, as a result of its road courses, are far safer for all drivers, and it's unfortunate that all the money is flowing in the IRL right now and the drivers are forced to go where the money is to make a living -- but at a severe price.]  IRL Infiniti Pro Series driver Tom Wood remains in serious but stable condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, according to Dr. Kevin Scheid, an orthopedic surgeon from OrthoIndy. Wood, from Calgary, Alberta, underwent surgery Aug. 17 for fractures to his right leg, right knee, right ankle and right foot. Scheid and a team of surgeons from OrthoIndy performed the procedure. Wood is scheduled to have surgery to repair fractures to his back on Aug. 19 and will have follow-up procedures to his ankles and feet later in the week. Wood was involved in an accident on Lap 52 of the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series event on Aug. 16 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. Further updates on Wood’s condition will be provided when available.

8/20/03

CART stock watch   
In NYSE trading today MPH closed DOWN $0.15 p/shr or 15.5% on the low of the session at $1.05 p/shr, a new 52 Week Low, on Volume of 90,400 shares.
Low/High of Session: $1.05/$1.19
NYSE DOWN 31.39 or 0.33% on Volume of 1.46 shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 0.57 or 0.03%
S&P 500 DOWN 2.05 or 0.20%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/20/03

Feedback on Cipolloni article   A reader writes regarding Mark Cipolloni's latest article, Dear Mark, Very good job on the article. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone on what the future might bring. I work in the series and my coworkers are also feeling the pain. Unsure – Unknown – From the best down to the worst! The sad thing about all of this is that you have people who went to the best schools that money can buy and had all the degrees in finance and logistics that are running the series and now look what they did! Of course they blame the person before them -- that is a big scapegoat. For myself I see areas that can be really good for the series and even bring in more fans and of course money, and if you even think about bringing things up you get shot down, or wonder why I should think of doing that because the upper half did not think of it. The sad thing though is that they forget we are here for the fans. Let’s start treating the fans like they should be treated. They pay the $$$ for the show why not make them feel special. Good example - the safety team. That is probably the only area that makes CART money. What do they do for the fans or the kids? Nothing because CART won’t give them anything to hand out. They do give the fans a tour of the trucks and a photo shoot that is nice, but a small 25 cent safety truck would really make a kid happy. Last year they handed out trading cards for Firestone which they had to ask them for. Very sad! Just ask the Safety Team. I’m not trying to rip on CART, but wow I feel I could do a better job and probably do the job for half the pay. I think the Board needs to put a person in the CEO position that has street skills and can talk to everybody and have an open door policy. I know, a day late, a dollar short. Sorry to get on my soapbox but I think I feel just as bad as everyone these days. We go to the track, see a good fan base, and have a great race, and then see the shit in the papers, e-mails, newspapers from people who do not even attend the race and just kick us in the dirt. And now this predicament!  Name withheld upon request

8/20/03

Is he insane?   I would like to see a commentary article written on the theory that "rubbin' is racin". On "Wind Tunnel" on Speed Channel last night they played the car to pits radio communication where Kurt Busch tells his pits that he was attempting to flatten the front tire of Jimmy Spencer. This was at full speed! On a Super Speedway!! That could've resulted in his death, not just a black eye. I cannot believe that NASCAR thinks that probation is the appropriate response to that type of action. I understand that NASCAR has a long history of "rubbin" and their accidents being marked up to one of those "racin' deals", but that is not acceptable in this day and age. Very few NASCAR drivers admit to "rattling someone's cage" on purpose, but If NASCAR were to impose a penalty for every time that they did they would happen less frequently. It is just too dangerous these days. NASCAR should officiate more in regards to on track incidents like F1, CART, and the IRL do and attempt to protect their most profitable marketing tools, the drivers. If not, go the other way, give bonus points for spinning people out 50 yards from the finish line. I bet the fans would love that! Bradley Norris Jr. Epperson, New York, NY  Dear Bradley, The penalties handed down by NASCAR to Kurt Busch were before NASCAR was made aware of Busch’s conversation with his pit crew where he discussed intentionally trying to flatten Spencer’s fender/tire. When informed of Busch's remarks Tuesday night, Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications, issued the following statement: "We will let the process run its course. … I am sure the commission will be very thorough and I am sure they will have all the pertinent information." This is most likely the reason why Kurt Busch mysteriously withdrew his appeal of the penalties brought against him. Had NASCAR had the chance to review this new information they may have taken the opportunity to hand out a stiffer penalty. If Busch wrecked Spencer at speed as he intended, he certainly would have been given a harsher penalty. Either way, both drivers should have been suspended from all NASCAR activities for a month and penalized $100,000 or more. This isn’t a rivalry, its just plain stupidity. Frank R Ryan/AR1 NASCAR Coorespondent

8/20/03

Spencer loses appeal, Busch drops appeal  This morning at Bristol NASCAR heard the appeal of Jimmy Spencer regarding the penalties imposed for his actions last week at Michigan. The following is the NASCAR Press Release. On Aug. 20, 2003, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Jimmy Spencer. The appeal pertained to a penalty issued by NASCAR following an incident in the garage at the conclusion of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 17, 2003.
The penalty assessed by NASCAR was:
- A $25,000 fine;
- Suspension from NASCAR until Aug. 26, 2003;
- Probation until Dec. 31, 2003.
In deciding the appeal, the Commission considered a number of factors.
Jimmy Spencer made a compelling argument, expressing remorse and acknowledging that his actions were wrong.
The Commission notes that NASCAR had previously forewarned Mr. Spencer and put him on notice regarding his behavior with respect to the other driver involved in the incident.
Furthermore the Commission notes that, irrespective of alleged provocation or the exact magnitude of the physical contact, an inappropriate line had been crossed in this case.
It is therefore the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalty assessed by NASCAR.
The Appellant has the right, under Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book, to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. In related news, Roush Racing has announced that Kurt Busch will not file an appeal concerning the penalty levied by NASCAR for his actions last week at Michigan. Busch made his announcement to the press, " I have decided not to appeal NASCAR's penalty. My decision is being made even though no one to our knowledge has ever been penalized for being struck while seated in a race car. I am accepting this penalty regardless of whether or not it is fair or appropriate. My motivation in accepting it is simply to demonstrate to NASCAR and to the fans my continuing commitment to race hard, my continuing commitment to race clean and my continuing commitment to obey all the rules. This penalty has not and will not affect that commitment. And, my commitment will not be affected by the outcome of Jimmy Spencer's appeal." Busch was placed on probation for the remainder of the year.

8/20/03

CART settles with Heitzler   Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. ("CART") and Joseph F. Heitzler ("Heitzler") announced today that they have amicably resolved all of their legal disputes. Heitzler is the former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of CART and is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Grand, the promoter of two CART-sanctioned races in Mexico. According to CART's President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Pook, CART looks forward to working with Heitzler and Grand in the future.

8/20/03

Schumacher appeal accepted  The FIA has denied Ralf Schumacher's appeal and say he was to blame for a German Grand Prix crash. However, they have reduced his punishment to a $50,000 fine and will not lose ten places on the starting grid for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix but he appealed against the decision. The German lost the appeal but the sport's governing body imposed a fine instead.

8/20/03

Renault keeps driver lineup  Renault has confirmed that it will keep its current driver lineup of Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli for next season. Patrick Faure, the team's chairman, said, "The atmosphere in the team is excellent, the relationship between our drivers outstanding, and the technical team works well with them," he said. "A stable environment is one of the pre-conditions for success, and this is why we believe maintaining our driver lineup is a key factor as our program builds to full competitiveness." Managing director Flavio Briatore said, "Next year will be Jarno's eighth season in Formula 1, and everybody knows he is an extremely fast, competitive racing driver. Fernando has more than justified the faith we showed in him last year, and is maturing with the team as he acquires experience at the highest level.  Our objectives for 2003 have been achieved, and in some cases exceeded. For next season, we are looking to take a further step forward, and believe these are the drivers who will enable us to do that."

8/20/03

NASCAR ticked at Wally  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that "at least one official blew a gasket over Wally Dallenbach's report for NBC/TNT before the Watkins Glen race 10 days ago on the different philosophies of on-track medical care." "That was about as biased a piece as I have ever seen," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter told AJC motorsports writer, Rick Minter. "They sat down with Mike Helton and did a long interview, and they edited out everything that he said about the way we do things and talked about how great the traveling medical team with CART is," Hunter said. "Well, it happens to be Wally Dallenbach's father who was instrumental in starting that medical team with CART. I can understand Wally thinking his father's deal is better than somebody else's, but that was poor journalism." As for Hunter's charge that too many of Helton's remarks were cut, Dallenbach said, "That's 100 percent b.s." He said Helton made his point on-air and declined an invitation to expound on his defense. "If the CART people told their story better, it's not my fault."  Atlanta Journal Constitution

8/20/03

Montreal Track Talk   The 13-turn permanent road course provides plenty of challenges for engineers to create a well-balanced setup. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch notes: “The style of the Montreal circuit requires a car that can brake deep, turn sharp and aggressive, ride the curbs well and put the power down with minimal wheel spin.  The track is fast with four straights that will have speeds in excess of 170 mph. The straights are coupled together with chicanes that will average minimum speeds from 50 to 80 mph. Geographically, the track is relatively flat but is FIA-homologated and the curbs are FIA-style meaning, in general, the largest curbs we normally see.”  Drivers will shift 42 times per lap throughout the course of the 75-lap race, pulling a maximum G-force load of 2.9. The maximum lap interval for pit stops is set at 20 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops. Fernández Racing

8/20/03

Latest F1 news items 

Russian Billionaire Eyes Formula One
Toyota To Struggle On Twisty Hungaroring
'Home' Grand Prix For F1's Flying Finn
No-One To Blame For Crash: Ralf In Paris
'Breach Of Procedure' To Get Ralf Off Hook?
Fernando Alonso: Spain's National Hero
Trulli Organizes Special Fitness Camp
Hungary Struggles To Fill F1 Circuit
Firman Hopes For Second Chance At Jordan
Hopeful Schumacher Making No Predictions
Stuck: Ralf's Penalty Makes No Sense
Wilson Well Prepared For Hungarian Race
Jordan Talks Up Spirits Of Embattled Team
Baumgartner's Back For F1 Test Session
Football Schu Mixes Business With Pleasure

8/20/03

Thank you AutoRacing1.com   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read with interest Mark Cipolloni's latest article on CART's predicament, For CART, time is of the essence. Thanks for putting it all in perspective.  Although Mr. Cipolloni didn't go so far as to say it, it's clear to me that CART's future lies in the hands of one Jon Vannini.  As a fan of CART, I pray he can pull together a team to take over CART, because as Mark points out, the bidders who have come forward, although they mean well, are too conflicted.  Henry Perkins, Long Island, NY.

8/19/03

Hungary ticket sales decline  This Grandprix.com article says, After a drop in tourism, the organizers of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix will hope at best to match last year's attendance of 160,000 fans. "A month ago, we were 35 percent behind last year's ticket sales but we've since made up much of that," Peter Gerstl, head of the ticketing agent Ostermann Formula One, told Reuters. "We still hope we can match last year's figure." The Formula One race is the single largest tourist event in a country that relies heavily on the revenues from the venue. Hotels in and around Budapest still have rooms available as two years ago there were no vacancy within a 60 mile radius of the Hungaroring. Gerstl says the decline in tourism since the September 2001 attacks on the United States was partly to blame for the drop in ticket sales. He also hinted that the results of the qualifying could attract more last minute fans to attend. "A few years ago, if (Michael) Schumacher won pole position, we could count on getting another 20,000 German fans coming up for the race," Gerstl said.

8/19/03

Vasser loses Engineer   In yesterday's CART press conference Jimmy Vasser stated that it looks like his Engineer, Ed Nathman, had left the team, but that he was trying to coax him back.

8/19/03

Walker steps down from CART Board   Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH - News) announced today that team owner Derrick Walker has relinquished his position as a member of the Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. Board of Directors, effective immediately. In making his decision, Mr. Walker cited that he was sensitive to the potential for an appearance of a conflict of interest in connection with decisions regarding the future of the company, and that he felt his resignation was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. Chris Pook, CART's President and CEO, offered his thanks to Mr. Walker for the contributions he made as a Board member. "Mr. Walker has provided the CART Board of Directors with useful insight and expertise during his tenure and will be missed," Pook said. "We appreciate the time and effort he has devoted to CART, his wise counsel and his support of the series."

8/19/03

Spirit Airlines joins Grand Prix Americas   Spirit Airlines has come aboard as a partner with the Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. Spirit Airlines will be the exclusive airline of the Grand Prix Americas. “We are thrilled to have Spirit Airlines join our growing list of sponsors for this year’s event,” said Martinez. “We hope to form a strong relationship with Spirit Airlines that can grow into a long-term alliance.” Spirit Airlines will also be part of the Grand Prix Americas’ new honorary Pit Crew Member contest where a lucky fan will win a chance to be part of the pit crew for the American Le Mans Series with ADT Champion Racing and another for the Champ Car World Series with Walker Racing. "We are excited to partner with a great event such as the Grand Prix Americas,” said Lynne Koreman, director of marketing and communications at Spirit Airlines. “We feel this will be a great platform to promote our Spirit Plus category.” With a fleet of modern aircraft for scheduled and charter service, Spirit brings low fares and friendly service to Atlantic City, N.J., Chicago/O’Hare, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Myrtle Beach, S.C., New York/LaGuardia, San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and seasonal service to West Palm Beach. Spirit’s website is www.spiritair.com. Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com is a week-long festival featuring various social events such as the FanFest at Bayside, Grand Prix Americas Street Festival in Coconut Grove and the Grand Prix Americas Foundation Charity Ball and culminates with two of North America’s premier racing series. On September 26-28, 2003 Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will join the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) promoting a “dual-headline” that makes the Grand Prix Americas one of the foremost motorsports weekends of the year. This Blast by the Bay will be held in Downtown Miami at Bayfront Park in agreement with the City of Miami, the Bayfront Park Management Trust and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority. For information call 305.533.1033.

8/19/03

CART stock watch    UPDATE In NYSE trading today MPH closed DOWN $0.10 p/shr or 7.69% to $1.20 p/shr, a new 52 Week Low, on Volume of 184,500 shares.
Low/High of Session: $1.11/$1.26
NYSE UP 16.45 or 0.17% on Volume of 1.58B shares.
NASDAQ UP 21.50 or 1.24%
S&P 500 UP 2.59 or 0.26%
 8/19/03 - In NYSE trading at Noon EDST MPH is DOWN $0.12 p/shr or 9.23% to $1.18 p/shr, a new 52 Week Low, on Volume of 117,300 shares. Two (2) trades over 10k shares. courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/19/03

Too many open wheel whiners    A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, It's no wonder the downward trend in open wheel exists today. Everybody is a whiner. If it's not the CART drivers/owners whining because somebody is blocking, it's the IRL drivers/owners crying about an engine change mid-season. If it had all worked out, and both series would have had 3.5 L, normally aspirated engines this season, Toyota and Honda would still be getting their butts kicked by the Fordvrolet engine. I'm happy to see someone like Sam Hornish do good, but it was better when he wasn't lapping the field and it was his good driving skills and the team's superior setup skills, compared to the rest of the GM teams, that placed him in contention at a few races earlier in the season. Suddenly, Toyota has competition! Watch out NASCAR!!!!! If they aren't winning they're whining. I'm not saying that NASCAR doesn't have its share of whiners (Tony Stewart recently comes to mind), but the whining that goes on in the open wheel ranks is ridiculous. No wonder the fan base has dwindled.... Paul Richards, Des Moines, Iowa  Dear Paul, Open Wheel racing was alive and well in the USA until 1995.  Then Tony George created the IRL, split the sport in half, and has pretty much killed it.  It has nothing to do with whiners, because in America's managed racing environment you must whine to get rules changed to help you catch up because the restrictive rules don't allow you to make changes to do it yourself.  It happens constantly in NASCAR. Mark C.

8/19/03

Hunter-Reay and Jimmy Spencer on Wind Tunnel tonight    Coming off the most successful weekend of his Champ Car career, rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay will be a guest in studio, on tonight’s edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, live on SPEED channel at 9:00 pm ET. Just 13 races into his Champ Car career, Hunter-Reay became the first American Rookie to podium in Champ Car since 1990. Hunter-Reay started the Champ Car Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio from the front row alongside series points leader Paul Tracy. Hunter-Reay’s qualifying and race results were the best to date for the first year American Spirit Team Johansson. The 22-year old Florida resident is CART’s Ladder System success story. A six time National and three-time Grand National WKA karting champion, he is the first karting scholarship driver to make it to Champ Cars. Ryan is a proven American talent, from becoming the first 2.0 liter National Champion to Rookie of the Year in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series, to a three-time race winner and the “Fastest Driver” honors in his first year in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Jimmy Spencer is scheduled to tell Dave Despain his side of the story [the altercation with Busch, the punch, the fine and suspension - see next few stories here], on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel show tonight [August 19th] at 9:00pm/et. Viewers will have the chance to call in tonight and ask Spencer their questions about last weekends events surrounding the Michigan NASCAR Winston Cup race.

8/19/03

CART needs a balance    This SPEED TV article talks about the need for CART to have a balance between natural terrain road courses and street circuits, something we could not agree with more.  For Michelle Trueman Gajoch, while freely admitting the obvious—that she has a vested interest in Champ Cars continuing to run on road courses—believes an all-street circuit schedule is seriously, perhaps fatally, flawed. “I told (David Clare) what my perspective was, ‘You either need to be a sport or you need to be an entertainment vehicle. I’m in the motor-sports business. If in fact you define yourself as an entertainment vehicle going forward, I can surely understand that we probably aren’t going to fit that equation.’ “And he quickly said, ‘Don’t you think there needs to be a balance?’ “And I do believe there needs to be a balance because, I think what’s been lost in all this speculation is the fact that the fans come for the sport. And the fans are enthusiasts of the sport. And it’s been proven time and time again at permanent facilities, road courses and ovals, that you can bring in all these bells and whistles and put on carnivals and put on concerts, and at the end of the day, the racing fans are not here to see it. They’re here to watch cars go around the racetrack and be involved in that. “In my opinion, (at) festival/entertainment based-events…the racing becomes totally secondary. “I would argue that the race fans and the sport of it have to be the foundation that drives the other. And I think that the entertainment side of it certainly brings new people to it, but they’re not the loyal people who are going to travel from racetrack to racetrack and who the sponsors, more importantly, want to be influenced by their products.” Nor, she notes, do they go home from a festival event and watch the next race on television. “They’re casual consumers, that’s the way I look at it,” she says. “And as a product distributor—which is how I look at what we do with CART and our relationship with any other sanctioning body, for that matter—we need a product we can distribute.”

8/19/03

FIA hears Schumacher appeal  This AP article says, Looking over videos and graphs, the appeals board of motorsport's governing body studied Tuesday whether Ralf Schumacher caused a crash at the German Grand Prix and should be punished. At stake is whether Schumacher, currently fourth in the tight Formula One championship, will be penalized by being made to start 10 places back in the next race in Hungary. That would be a setback for his championship campaign. Schumacher, his boss Frank Williams, and rivals Rubens Barrichello of Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren attended the hearing of the FIA's International Court of Appeal in Paris. Schumacher, Barrichello and Raikkonen collided heading into the first corner of the Aug. 3 German Grand Prix. Their cars were too damaged to continue. At Tuesday's hearing, Schumacher, the other drivers and appeal board members watched videos and studied graphs in an attempt to determine whether the German driver was to blame - as race stewards alleged. A representative for Schumacher, Andrew Hunter, argued that the BMW-Williams driver did not know that Raikkonen was speeding up on his left-hand side to overtake him and Barrichello. Asked by Hunter whether he could see Raikkonen, Schumacher replied, "No.  It was a normal racing accident that could happen anytime and I don't feel culpable of causing it," Schumacher told German television after the hearing. The appeals board will issue its ruling Wednesday.

8/19/03

Unfair advantage? Not everybody is thrilled with Chevy’s new Ford IRL engine   This Autoweek article says, Members of Scott Dixon’s Ganassi Racing crew couldn’t let the moment pass Sunday at Kentucky Speedway: As they pushed their second-place car past a crowd of happy Sam Hornish Jr. fans, they pointed out that the race winner is powered by a Ford, not a Chevrolet. The Indy Racing League is something of an uneasy paddock at the moment. Some of the participants on the Toyota and Honda side are miffed that IRL officials permitted General Motors to slide a new Cosworth engine into competition in mid-season. That Hornish, who announced he is leaving the Panther team at the end of the season, has led 307 of a possible 400 laps in two races with the Gen IV engine is salt in the wounds. Hornish only lost the Michigan race July 27 by about four feet. He got that distance (and more) back Sunday in dominating the Belterra Casino Indy 300, lapping everyone but Dixon and leading 181 of 200 laps. Yes, the margin of victory was a mere 1.17 seconds, but Hornish was on cruise all day. No one challenged him for the lead and Dixon trailed by as much as 16 seconds, the equivalent of about a mile, until a late caution flag came. The win put Hornish in the championship hunt, and with three of the final four races of the season on tracks where Hornish, Panther Racing and the new Chevy should excel. Let the ire flow. Count Dixon, teammate Tomas Scheckter and their car owner Chip Ganassi among those who have seen enough of this Chevy. Others feel that way, too, but refuse to talk publicly for fear of rocking the IRL’s otherwise fairly stable boat. Kentucky was Chevy’s full-scale rollout, with Hornish grabbing the pole and four Chevy drivers qualifying in the top-10. “There’s no way his car was superior in handling,” Dixon said of Hornish. “If you’re Toyota and Honda, you’d be pretty pissed. Someone at Chevy obviously dropped the ball, and I don’t see why [the other manufacturers] should be disadvantaged.” Bryan Herta said he was stunned when his Andretti Green Racing crew told him Hornish was about to lap him on the 76th circuit. But Herta, the race winner at the similarly shaped Kansas track last month, was baffled when Hornish blew past him like John Force. “That was a little disheartening,” Herta said. “I think that’s a little scary for the rest of the season.” Robert Clarke, the general manager of Honda Performance Development, continues to think the IRL didn’t do itself a favor by allowing the new Ford to run, no matter how much Chevy needed it. Of course, IRL officials say it did what had to be done to keep GM and its defeated teams in the series. Besides, like NASCAR, the IRL insists it has the right to do what has to be done to keep the racing competitive—each of the three engine manufacturers had a podium finish Sunday. “The rules allow you to make changes to your existing engine, which suggests some flexibility [from the league office],” Clarke said. “But I don’t think a new engine is at all in the spirit of the rules. I don’t think it’s what the [IRL] had in mind.”

8/19/03

CART rejects lowball offer    This Indy Star article says, The board of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. on Monday rejected a tender offer for the financially troubled series but said it will continue to negotiate with a group headed by team owner Gerald Forsythe. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Forsythe's group -- which includes fellow team owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi and is called Open Wheel Racing Series -- offered 50 cents a share, or $7.4 million. The CART board exercised its right to reject the offer without submitting it to shareholders. The announcement of the lowball bid had an immediate effect on Wall Street. CART stock closed Monday at $1.30 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, down 53 cents -- or nearly 30 percent -- from its close Friday. In a news release announcing the rejected offer, CART said that while it "declined to sign the letter of intent, it is engaged in negotiations regarding a possible transaction." The CART board can present a counteroffer to Forsythe's group or wait for them to sweeten the pot. Meanwhile, the search will continue for other potential buyers. Before any sale can be completed, pending lawsuits must be settled, including those filed by former CEO Joe Heitzler and major shareholder Jon Vannini. Other lawsuits could be forthcoming if shareholders come to believe the company was mismanaged or its pessimistic financial reports the past few months were an overt attempt to drive down the stock price.

8/19/03

As Montreal race nears, clouds loom   This Canadian Press article says, Despite the cloud hanging over Canadian motor racing, driver Patrick Carpentier of Joliette, Que., was optimistic Monday that he will be back on the CART series next year. Carpentier and teammate Paul Tracy of Toronto will race in the blue-and-white colors of the Player's team in Canada for the last time at the Montreal Molson Indy on the weekend, with the future of both the team and the CART series in doubt. Player's must end its sponsorship of CART's leading team when federal legislation banning tobacco advertising takes effect on Oct. 1. And with CART awash in red ink, there is no guarantee the series will survive, although a bid led by Player's team co-owner Gerry Forsythe was made Monday to buy the publicly traded circuit and run it as a privately-owned championship. ``I think the series will be back next year, but after that, I don't know,'' said Carpentier. ``There may be fewer races, but I think we'll be back in the major spots like Long Beach, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico where they fill up the grandstands.'' Carpentier and Tracy arrived for a news conference in a city still in shock at losing its annual Formula One race for 2004, which organizers said was due to the anti-tobacco legislation. Carpentier and Tracy each are under contract to Forsythe, rather than Player's, for 2004 but still don't know where or if they will be racing. ``We know we'll get paid, but we don't know if we'll have a ride,'' said Carpentier. ``We'll see what happens. ``Gerry made an offer and I think he'll pull it off, so most likely, we'll be back here next year.'' Player's president and COO Bob Bexon said his company is trying to line up a new sponsor for the team. ``We have some strong leads, but in motor sports, that doesn't mean much until the deal is signed,'' said Bexon. ``That should be clearer once the status of the series gets a little clearer.''  Tracy refuses to be drawn into speculation about the future of CART, saying he is concentrating only on winning his first driver's championship. But he acknowledged his interest in moving to NASCAR next year if CART fails. ``You have to keep your options open,'' said Tracy, who is reportedly being courted by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress. ``We don't know what's going to happen next year with CART. ``There's interest from that (NASCAR) side and you can't wait forever. When the music stops, you have to make sure you have a chair to sit on. My first choice is CART, but you have to have options.'' When CART racing first came to Montreal, debate over which was better raged between fans of the slick, glamorous Formula One and fan-friendly CART. Now there's fear that neither will be there next year. Tracy and Carpentier were both saddened by the loss of the Canadian Grand Prix, as well as the support races that went with it. ``I'm pretty disappointed,'' said Carpentier. ``Especially for the kids that are trying to move up. ``Montreal is one of the most important dates on the schedule in terms of visibility for getting sponsors and getting a chance to show what they can do. It's going to make auto racing in Canada a bit more difficult.''

8/19/03

Bernie withdraws bid for CART   Many people denied Bernie Ecclestone was ever interested in CART despite the continued rumors.  Bernie Ecclestone will not buy into the United States' ailing CART series, according to reports in the British press.  The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, in an article written by the highly regarded Alan Henry, that Bernie, 72-year-old head of Formula One Management, has withdrawn a bid to buy a stake in the series. While we don't know for sure, if this report is correct, it leads AR1 to speculate that Chris Pook has been paid back by Bernie for kicking F1 out of Long Beach years ago.  It sounds like Bernie strung Pook along for months making him think he was going to buy into CART and give the series the credibility it needs, possibly having him burn through all the company's money, and then backing out of the deal at the last minute, knowing that such a move would likely be the final nail in CART's coffin by leaving the ailing company's pockets nearly dry. If this is what happened, and we stress the word "if", then how could Pook be so naive as to not get a letter of intent in writing?  Or is this another report meant to drive the price of stock down to pennies so the company can be taken private for almost nothing?  We suspect we'll never know the truth unless shareholder Jon Vannini follows through with his threatened lawsuit and puts them all on the witness stand where they must testify under oath. We also suspect that CART fans, most of who are also F1 fans, upon hearing Bernie yanked the rug out from under CART, will completely reject his F1 series and not buy tickets to the USGP, thus eventually dooming that race to failure.  Mark C.

8/19/03

Latest F1 news items 

Raikkonen Vows To Keep On Fighting
Heidfeld's Scraps With JPM And Sly
Trulli Fighting Fit For Next F1 Challenge
Struggling Bridgestone Vow To Fight Back
More To Come From New Ferrari Racer: Brawn
Frentzen Enjoys Handful Of Horsepower
Alonso To Push For Hungarian Podium
BMW-Williams: Ralf Hasn't Re-Signed - Yet
Date Reserved For Spa's 2004 F1 Return
Mixed Opinions Over Revised F1 Circuit
Williams Team Prepares For Paris Appeal

8/18/03

ALMS race gets 0.9 overnight   Sunday's ALMS race on NBC from Mosport garnered a 0.9 overnight rating and 2 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, as reported by Sports Business Daily.

8/18/03

Wood undergoes surgery   [Editor's Note: this is the same track that put Jason Priestley in the hospital last year, also driving an IPS car.  Unfortunately, the carnage continues and our heart goes out to the poor drivers who suffer all these severe injuries.  As statistics have shown, CART and its ladder system, as a result of its road courses, are far safer for all drivers, and it's unfortunate that all the money is flowing in the IRL right now and the drivers are forced to go where the money is to make a living -- but at a severe price.]  IRL Infiniti Pro Series driver Tom Wood remains in serious but stable condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, according to Dr. Kevin Scheid, an orthopedic surgeon from OrthoIndy. Wood, from Calgary, Alberta, underwent surgery Aug. 17 for fractures to his right leg, right knee, right ankle and right foot. Scheid and a team of surgeons from OrthoIndy performed the procedure. Wood is scheduled to have surgery to repair fractures to his back on Aug. 19 and will have follow-up procedures to his ankles and feet later in the week. Wood was involved in an accident on Lap 52 of the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series event on Aug. 16 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. Further updates on Wood’s condition will be provided when available.

8/18/03

Spencer responds  The following is a statement from Jimmy Spencer in response to his suspension by NASCAR, which was announced today by news release: "I will always protect myself and my race team. We are going to appeal the penalty, and we are going to do so in accordance to the NASCAR rulebook."

8/18/03

Busch medical update  Upon completion of his medical examination this afternoon, Kurt Busch issued the following regarding the extent of the injury he received from Jimmy Spencer. "I have swelling on the left side of my face that is not expected to heal for three months. My breathing has been affected, and although it will not affect my ability to race, it will make breathing with a helmet on more uncomfortable. I have been told that there is some tissue damage, and that there is a 15% chance that I will require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. That assessment will not be made until the swelling dissipates."

8/18/03

Low-bid causes CART stock to tank   UPDATE In NYSE trading today MPH was crushed, closing DOWN $0.53 p/shr or 28.96% to $1.30 p/shr, a new 52 Week Low, on Volume of 450,100 shares.
Low/High of Session: $1.22/$1.73
NYSE UP 90.76 or 0.97% on Volume of 1.4B shares.
NASDAQ UP 37.48 or 2.2%
S&P 500 UP 9.07 or 0.92%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com  8/18/03 - The low-bid put in today for $0.50 per share to buy CART has caused CART's stock to tank, down 30% as of 12:30 PM EST. Mark C.

8/18/03

Hornish, Panther Racing split   Two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and Panther Racing, the team he won the championships with in 2001 and 2002, will part ways at the conclusion of the 2003 season. Hornish joined the team in 2001 and has since earned nine victories. His nine career wins is an IndyCar Series record. The latest victory came in dominating fashion Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway when Hornish led 181 of the 200 laps en route to a victory in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. “To leave Panther Racing at the end of this year is the hardest decision that I have ever made,” Hornish said. “Panther Racing is a great team with great people and tremendous partners. I am extremely proud of the success that we have been able to achieve together and truly appreciate the chance that I was given to demonstrate my talents on the track. I would like to leave Panther with a third consecutive IRL championship and that is where my focus will be from now until season's end.” Panther Racing officials said Hornish will make his future driving intentions known by the end of August. “We have had a magical ride since Sam joined Panther Racing in 2001, and we hope to secure a third championship this season,” said team co-owner John Barnes. “It was clear yesterday, when we won Kentucky, that this combination is the toughest in open-wheel racing today. But things change and sometimes people need to step out of a comfort zone and stretch a bit. We wish Sam the best in whatever he decides to pursue.” Hornish and Panther Racing are fifth in the IndyCar Series point standings with 308 points. He is 77 points behind leader Tony Kanaan, who has 385. Officials from Panther Racing, which has a record 12 wins in the IndyCar Series, will begin compiling a short list of drivers to fill the vacancy left by Hornish. “There are a lot of talented drivers who have expressed an interest in driving for Panther Racing,” Barnes said. “We will begin our search immediately to determine what direction Panther Racing will take for 2004.”

8/18/03

Spencer suspended, Busch fined for altercation  Drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch were issued penalties for their roles in a post-race altercation that occurred in the garage area of Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Spencer is suspended from any NASCAR-sanctioned competition until Aug. 26. He also received a $25,000 fine and was placed on probation until Dec. 31. The suspension will cause him to miss this weekend’s NASCAR national series triple-header at Bristol Motor Speedway. Spencer was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) and 12-4-F (Fighting) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book. Busch has been placed on probation until Dec. 31 for his actions. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book. “This was a very unfortunate situation,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Emotions are a part of every sport, NASCAR Winston Cup racing included. However, there is a fine line. In this instance, that fine line was crossed."

8/18/03

Belgian GP goes back to traditional date Serge Kubla, a Belgian politician says that the Belgian GP race will be back on the calendar with an August 29 date. Kubla is the Finance Minister for the Walloon region. Kubla added that the new contract runs until 2010.

8/18/03

Supermodel Niki Taylor named Grand Marshal in Miami The Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com has named Niki Taylor as the Grand Marshal for the 2003 event, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. As Grand Marshal, Niki Taylor will be involved in race week activities and various events during the Grand Prix Americas September 26-28. “We are thrilled to have one of the world’s top supermodels as the Grand Marshal of this year’s event,” said Martinez. “Niki Taylor replicates the beauty and passion of South Florida and the Grand Prix Americas.” Niki became a successful model while still in her mid-teens and has now managed to appear in nearly 300 magazine covers from all over the globe. She has been the face of fashion and beauty for 10 years in America as well as an international and national spokesperson.

8/18/03

Gentilozzi team bids $0.50 per share for CART  UPDATE It should be noted that Gentilozzi, Kalkhoven, et al have bought into the Forsythe shares, and their combined 22.9% of the shares can't be used to vote for or against their bid.  With that said, from where we sit Jon Vannini and company are completely in control of CART's future because they control a large majority of the remaining 77.1% of the shares. We hear through the grapevine that this group will not accept the $0.50 per share bid price, deeming it ridiculous.  All of this delays settling CART's future, which severely jeopardizes CART's ability to survive. Teams and sponsors have to know soon whether CART will be around next year, and a bid this low simply undermines the process (by delaying the ultimate outcome) because the shareholders simply won't accept it. Mark C.  8/18/03 - As revealed in this Schedule 13D SEC filing Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe, Carl Russo and Motorock LLC have formed Open Wheel Racing LLC and  have bid a ridiculously low price of $0.50 per share for CART.  We do not expect this bid to be accepted, and we are willing to bet they are lowballing the bid in an effort to buy it for $1.00 per share.  If you look at "all" the current assets of CART, the company can be liquidated today for around $2.00 per share and the shareholders will be better served.  Perhaps Vannini and company will step in, outbid the Gentilozzi/Kalkhoven/Forsythe/Carl Russo/Motorock team and run CART as non-conflicted owners who will do what's right for the entire series. The bidders are proposing a new management team and Board of Directors. Here is the first bidders letter to CART.  Let the bidding wars begin.  CART acknowledges receipt of bid in this press release. Mark C.

8/18/03

RuSport personnel scope out possible IRL effort   AR1 has confirmed with a RuSport spokesperson that CART Toyota Atlantic team owner Carl Russo, George Tamayo, Jeremy Dale, Steve Wulff and Gerald Tyler were all at the IRL race in Kentucky to learn more about IRL operations. All along they have said that their goal is to compete in the senior most open wheel series in North America. This weekend was part of the discovery process. It's interesting that Carl Russo is also part of the group that has bid $0.50 per share to buy the CART series.  This is part of the concern AR1 has, if team owners buy CART they would be conflicted, and if they also run a team in the IRL, they would be further conflicted.  This is why we feel it would be best if Jon Vannini and company, who have far deeper pockets, make a successful bid to buy CART and run it as a complete neutral party.  They would also be free to run it as a dictatorship, as every successful racing series is. (See Rumors page for a better understanding just how wealthy is Vannini and company.)  Mark C.

8/18/03

Vote for Most Popular Driver  For the fifth consecutive season, fans of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford can show their allegiances to their favorite driver by voting for the MCI Most Popular Driver Award - and by doing so are automatically entered into a sweepstakes where one lucky fan will win a trip to present the award to the winning driver at the 2003 CART Champ Car Awards Banquet. The voting takes place through October 11 and recognizes the fan's choice as the most popular driver in the series, with the winner earning a trophy as well as a check for $25,000 that is donated to their favorite charity. Current series points leader Paul Tracy was the recipient of last year's award, and donated his prize to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. In addition to helping fans reward their favorite driver, the contest also gives one fan a chance to attend the season-ending 500-mile race at California Speedway as well as the series awards banquet in Palm Springs, California where the winning fan will join the driver on stage to present the MCI Most Popular Driver Award. Once the award winner is determined, every fan that voted for that driver will be entered into a random drawing with one Grand Prize Winner selected. MCI, which serves as the Official Internet Service Provider, Official Local, Long Distance and Prepaid Telephone Service and Official Prepaid Calling Card Company of the Champ Car World Series, is in its fifth year of sponsoring the Most Popular Driver Award. It has been won previously by Juan Montoya (1999, 2000) and Michael Andretti (2001) along with Tracy. Fans can submit their votes for their favorite CART Champ Car driver beginning August 14, submitting their votes either via the series' official website www.champcarworldseries.com, by turning in an official entry ballot at participating Champ Car World Series race circuits or by printing the entrant's name, address, phone number with area code, date of birth and the name of the driver on a 3x5 card and submitting it to: Most Popular Champ Car Driver Sweepstakes, Attn: Entries, PO Box 501426, Indianapolis, IN 46250. Entries are limited to one per person, complete rules are available on the series website.

8/18/03
Industry News

A new Riverside to be built  UPDATE We have added a proposed track layout, which resembles the old Riverside.  8/16/03 - Riverside Motorsports Park, LLC (RMP) announces that it has secured 1200 acres adjacent to Castle Airport in California's Merced County, assembled an experienced management, engineering and construction team, and is well underway in the permit and entitlement process leading to the development of a world-class motorsports and family recreation center.  With plans to feature eight different racetracks in one landscaped, fully equipped, park-like setting, Riverside Motorsports Park intends to present a complete package of motorsports events to West Coast race fans and to support club-based and professional motorsports sanctioning organizations across the United States. With picnic grounds, family and themed restaurants and other amenities, such as RV facilities, it also promises to be a recreation destination for the more than 9 million Northern California residents who live within a 100-mile radius of the park's Merced County location. The president of the City of Atwater's Chamber of Commerce, Roy Torres, added, "We anticipate that Riverside Motorsports Park will bring tremendous value and recognition to our community. We're very excited about this project, and we've told Riverside Motorsports Park that they can count on the support of Atwater's business community. We've been looking for the right focal point to help Atwater grow, and with the automobile and motorcycle races, a summer concert series and the other family entertainment and recreational activities that Riverside Motorsports Park will provide, we see nothing but generous benefits for Atwater's local businesses, our residents, our youth and the business community throughout the entire region."   "There isn't a motorsports facility like this anywhere in the country," commented RMP Founder and CEO John Condren. "We've invested two and a half years of market research, design, engineering, and planning in this project, and we're gratified by the reception we're receiving from Merced County; from local city and district officials, residents and business owners; and, especially, from the local, national and international motorsports communities. With a diverse and growing motorsports base in California, and with the rich racing heritage of the Central Valley, the Merced County location for Riverside Motorsports Park is most appropriate."   The number one spectator sport in the world, motorsports has become the fastest growing sport in the United States -- second to NFL football in total spectator attendance, but exceeding the NFL in per-event attendance. RMP's plans call for its eight tracks to support virtually every type of world-class professional and amateur motorsports, including:

  • 3.0-mile road course for sports cars, endurance and open-wheel racing

  • 1/4-mile (5,000-foot total length) drag strip

  • Integrated 1/3- and 1/2-mile, banked paved oval tracks for stock cars and sprint cars

  • 3/8-mile dirt oval track for motorcycle, stock car, sprint and midget racing

  • 3/4-mile karting courses (sprint and shifter karts)

  • Motocross and BMX courses

  • And, Northern California's first world-class oval speedway (length: 7/8-mile) for major stock car and open-wheel racing series

The positive results of a preliminary environmental impact assessment, completed in 2002, led to RMP's purchase of the 1200-acre site directly adjacent to Merced County's Castle airport (the decommissioned Castle Air Force Base). RMP is currently undergoing a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to study and develop mitigation plans for environmental sensitivities, including traffic and noise. The company has retained a complement of the best traffic engineering, traffic management, acoustic energy (noise) and environmental consultants in the State, and it has developed an impressive management team of motorsports and business professionals. RMP's development schedule calls for the completion of the EIR and entitlement process so that groundbreaking can begin during the first half of 2004.  For California, a new racing facility has been a necessity for a long time, as older facilities have closed in the face of residential or commercial encroachment. Since 1970, California has realized the development of only one world-class racing facility (California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., which opened in 1997), and many motorsports organizations are competing for a limited number of available event dates.

8/18/03

Spencer-Busch fight not good for NASCAR  "When it comes to the rivalry between Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer, it's almost like the Hatfields and McCoys. They've been threatening one another a lot since last year. I'm not totally surprised that Spencer allegedly attacked Busch. When I heard that there had been a fight at the track, Spencer and Busch were the first two people to come to mind.  NASCAR and the authorities in Michigan are going to have to step in and see whether or not it was assault and decide what they're going to do. This is not good for the sport." -- Jeff Hammond/Fox Sports

8/18/03

NASCAR considers new rules for Dega  NASCAR is considering new rules for the tour's October Talladega race: raising the rear spoiler with stiffer rear springs (425 pounds, instead of 350) and opening up the engine restrictor plate holes by one-32nd of an inch. That should give drivers another 15 horsepower for more throttle response, without adding any speed. Winston Salem Journal

8/18/03

NASCAR says no to new Chevy engine, no trucks for DEI  General Motors' Winston Cup teams have been stunned by NASCAR's reversal on GM's new R-99 engine project, approved in June but just shot down by Daytona. The decision, according to sources, was made by Bill France Jr. Race teams say they don't understand the reasoning, and GM officials say several Cup teams planning to expand with a Truck team are killing those projects. Dale Earnhardt Inc., for example, has scrapped all its Truck plans. NASCAR has offered no explanation for the change. GM men, calling the NASCAR decision 'a double standard,' say the only reason they can think of is that NASCAR is trying to entice teams to consider running for Toyota. Already, GM executives are taking a hard look at the various Winston Cup teams they have that might decide eventually to jump to Toyota.  Winston Salem Journal

8/18/03

No Toyota for Cal Wells Car owner Cal Wells is making it clear to GM executives he has no plans to field a Toyota Truck, and he says he's willing to put it into his new contract. Wells spent several years as one of Toyota's top men in CART. Winston Salem Journal

8/18/03

Latest F1 news items 

Montoya's Focus On Race, Not World Title
Ralf: Expectations Muted Pending Appeal
BMW Lukewarm To Engine Rules Overhaul
Few Turn Out To Save Canadian Grand Prix
Ralf's Appeal To Be Televised Live
Changes To Hungaroring Circuit Layout
Montoya Speaking To 'Many Teams' About '05
Ralf Signs New BMW-Williams Contract?
Women Starting Too Late For F1?
Button Looks On Brighter Sides
Schu's Still Number One, Says BMW Boss
Nimble Renault Aims For Podium Finish
Former Champ Says Modern F1 Is 'Boring'
Bell And Wirdheim Get BAR-Honda Test
Schu's Not The Best In F1: Flying Finn
DC And JPM Enjoy F1's Summer Break
Skepticism At Revised Hungaroring Layout

8/17/03

Complaining begins with Hornish win   This RPM.ESPN.com article talks about the complaining in the IRL paddock after Sam Hornish was once again the dominate car with his new Ford Cosworth (is it a Chevy?) engine. In managed racing, which the IRL certainly is, it's now up to the sanctioning body to tinker with the rules, sometimes on a weekly basis, so everyone is happy....NASCAR style.  "The IRL was worried about keeping General Motors," said White. "Maybe they should worry about keeping Toyota in the series."  Barnhart needs to remember that Honda and Toyota dumped CART because they got tired of an ever-changing rulebook and its shoddy enforcement.  " Sam's always had a good car but how fair is the game for allowing a new engine halfway through the season? Somebody sits there for six months, sees everybody's weakness and builds a new engine? I don't want to complain but Honda and Toyota should. " — Tony Kanaan

8/17/03

Spencer punches out Kurt Busch, could face charges  UPDATE Jimmy Spencer could face assault charges after a confrontation with competitor #97-Kurt Busch following Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400. As the drivers came onto pit lane at Michigan International Speedway following the checkered flag, Spencer drove into the rear of Busch's car and spun it around. Witnesses said Spencer then got out of his car, raced up to Busch's car and punched Busch several times in the face. Sheriff's deputies pulled Spencer away and took him to the NASCAR hauler. The witnesses said Busch, who finished 18th, was holding a bloody towel to his face when he entered the track medical facility. Jeff Patterson, spokesman for the Lenawee County Sheriff's Dept., confirmed to The Associated Press that his department was investigating an assault charge against Spencer, who finished 26th. Both drivers left the track without comment. "NASCAR spoke with both drivers about the incident that occurred today. If we should take any actions, we'll announce it at an appropriate time," NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said. "They spoke with NASCAR inside (the hauler) and (NASCAR officials) are going over the incident right now." Jeff Miles, the transport driver for Spencer, said, "I know he tried to put Jimmy in the fence on the straightaway." #31-Robby Gordon, another Winston Cup driver, offered to pay Spencer's fine and said Busch "had it coming for a while." ThatsRacin.com/AP 8/17/03 - AND The feud between Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch flared up again in the garage area at Michigan International Speedway after Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400, with Spencer allegedly punching Busch while Busch sat in his race car. Busch's car ran out of fuel, crew chief Jimmy Fennig said, as he tried to drive it back to his hauler after the race. It stopped, interestingly, in front of Spencer's transporter. Spencer then rammed Busch's rear bumper, causing the bumper to buckle. Spencer got out of his car and approached Busch, reaching through the window and allegedly punching Busch. By the time Busch crawled out, crewmen from Spencer's team had surrounded the #97. Busch waved and yelled at Spencer, and then walked to the NASCAR hauler. He did not appear to be bloodied. There were no other punches thrown. Almost immediately, however, Fennig went to NASCAR officials. "I want Spencer here right now," Fennig said angrily. "We're going to have a fight here." Roush told Speed TV that Spencer broke Busch's nose. Busch went to the track's infield care center after he left NASCAR's office trailer and a Roush Racing spokesperson said Busch would get his nose looked at when he got home. NASCAR.com

8/17/03
Industry News

New TV race schedule website launches  A new online service, TVRacer.com, has been created recently that provides racing enthusiasts with a source to receive current television listings for major racing series. These listings include schedules for car, drag and motorcycle racing. TVRacer.com is updated every 24-hours, making it one of the most accurate television guides for racing in the United States. “It’s the weekend and the search for racing on television can be a difficult one,” said Stephens. “The TV guides are not always up to date, sometimes they show the race on another network than scheduled or sometimes the race is left out of the guide altogether.” Each racing series schedule is located, then verified against each network listing for each race for every series cataloged. Currently all the schedules are for U.S. based programming, but a second TVRacer.com webpage is already planned for the Canadian race fan covering all the Canadian networks. “It is very important to us to provide each race fan with a better and faster way to locate their choice of motorsports on television,” said Stephens. “We are already getting fantastic feedback from the public and we will continually expand this medium of information based on this and future user feedback.” TVRacer.com has also added some visual pleasure, working with a number of motorsports photographers to showcase a different racing photo each week. Racing enthusiasts can go online to www.TVRacer.com to obtain more information or search for specific racing television listings.

8/17/03

Fiery wrecks mar Michigan race  The fortunes of six drivers changed dramatically in three separate incidents near the midway point of Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. First, Todd Bodine and Kenny Wallace were eliminated in a hard crash off Turn 2. Five laps after the race went green again, Ricky Craven bounced off the wall in about the same spot, and as the field sped past, Casey Mears clipped Craven's car and shot toward against the outside wall. As the leaders headed to pit road, Rusty Wallace decided to dart back on to the track. But he slammed into the left-front of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car, causing both to do lazy spins through the tri-oval grass. NASCAR.com

8/17/03

Why aren't Honda and Toyota crying?   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Can anyone tell me why Honda and Toyota aren't pitching a fit about what Chevy was allowed to do in mid-season (replace their underpowered engine with a Ford Cosworth)? As we all know they threw a fit in CART, and only about the pop-off valve! Kelly O'Connor, Altoona, Iowa While no one will ever know for certain, we suspect it's one of two things, 1) They had already made up their minds to leave CART and used the pop-off incident to make a big stink, or 2) if they want entry into heaven (Winston Cup) they have been told to play the game of managed racing and bite their tongue, lick their wounds and wait for the IRL to tweak the rules to level the field.

8/17/03

Hornish vs. Vasser   UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, That's funny, ABC Bob Jenkins called it "the fastest auto race on a closed circuit," not the second fastest...He also said there was a huge crowd on hand and I saw about 1/2 the seats empty in a place that seats 66,000.....propaganda and lies! Ramon Breton  8/17/03 - Sam Hornish averaged 197.897 mph to win today's 300-mile race in Kentucky.  That speed almost beat Jimmy Vasser's race winning average of 197.995 mph at Fontana last year, the fastest 500-mile race in history.  Granted, Hornish did it in only 300 miles, and the chance for another caution was high had the race been a full 200-miles longer, and Vasser was running a Handford Device to slow the Champ Cars down, but an interesting comparison nonetheless. We suspect it won't be long before an IRL race runs caution free and the average breaks the 200 mph barrier.   Mark C.

8/17/03

Interesting Fisher comment   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Interesting to note Sarah Fisher's quote after qualifying at Kentucky, about Chevy being able to give them all the horsepower they want... of course, she can't say they had to go to Ford, cap-in-hand, to get it!!! But once again, under-budgeted Cosworth beats the financial giants of Honda and TRD!  David Laufer  Dear David, As you rightly point out, Cosworth has always held its own with Honda and Toyota on a budget that was 1/2 to 1/3 (from Ford) that of the other two giants.  Cosworth has always been strong at 100% throttle tracks in CART, so it's no surprise to see them right there in the IRL where most of the racing is at 100% throttle.  They know how to make top-end HP on a low budget.  Mark C.

8/17/03

2nd IRL driver in same day suffers severe injuries   UPDATE Tom Wood has been transferred from University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Ky. to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Wood, from Calgary, Alberta, underwent surgery Saturday evening to stabilize injuries suffered in an accident at the Kentucky 100. He has fractures to his middle back, right knee, right foot and both ankles. Further updates on Wood's condition will be provided when available.  8/16/03 - Rookie Jeff Simmons won the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series race. The race was slowed once due to caution when 46 year old Tom Wood, driver of the No. 9 Trailblazer Drilling/Savanna Energy Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, and Brandon Erwin, driver of the No. 99 Raymond James & Associates/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, made contact on Lap 52 while battling for second [Editor's note, Erwin took out race leader Mark Taylor last weekend too]. Wood made heavy impact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 3. Wood, from Calgary, Alberta, was transferred by air to University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Ky. According to Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League, Wood is in stable condition and has fractures to his middle back, right knee, right foot and both ankles. He has full feeling in his extremities and will undergo surgery this evening for stabilization. Further updates on Wood’s condition will be provided when available..  See this article for a summary of injuries since the IRL was created. This table gives you the detailed statistics.

8/17/03
Industry News

ChevronTexaco recovers Havoline rights   San Ramon oil and gas giant ChevronTexaco Corp. recovered rights to market Havoline and Texaco Xpress Lube brands worldwide in an effort to expand its product portfolio. Havoline, which is celebrating its 99th anniversary this year, was able to control the rights to Havoline and Texaco Lubricants after a licensing agreement with Equilon Enterprises LLC and Motiva Enterprises LLC expired Aug. 13. Since its merger with Texaco in 2001, ChevronTexaco has owned the Havoline brand, but has had to share certain rights of use in the U.S. In addition to marketing programs for mass merchandisers and auto parts stores, ChevronTexaco plans to push Havoline and Texaco Lubricants in a sponsorship with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in NASCAR racing; sponsoring the U.S. Olympic Baseball and Soccer teams; and using Mario Andretti as the Havoline spokesman. ChevronTexaco markets brands including Chevron, Texaco and Caltex, Havoline, Delo, Ursa, Revtex Texaco Xpress Lube.

8/17/03

Bumpy track surface has IRL drivers worried   Already two drivers have been injured this weekend, and some of the IRL drivers are worried that the bumpy Kentucky Motor Speedway (KMS) track surface may lead to more crashes in today's race.  Even after grinding some of the bumps down, the track is still bumpy.  You may recall that in the past several years the racing surface at KY Motor Speedway has come under scrutiny, because the surface has needed repeated attention for open wheel cars to race safely there.  During an interview with Tomas Scheckter this past Friday evening, he implied that the surface was rough at KMS, and was generally concerned about close racing.  One little bobble by one of the cars running close together, and wheels touch, sending the cars hard into the outside retaining wall, and usually the driver to the hospital to be repaired.

8/17/03

IRL teams told to be ready for 18 races in 2004 if CART drops some   It looks lie the IRL is ready to pick up any road race CART drops in 2004.  Strategically for CART, they would be wise to only drop oval races, and perhaps Brands Hatch.  Tony George recently said the IRL would not be road racing until 2005.  How fast they changed their tune.  According to this Indy Star article, The Indy Racing League announced a 16-race schedule for the 2004 season Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. But league officials acknowledged that up to two races could be added and another removed. In jeopardy is the season-opening race in Homestead, Fla., on Feb. 29. The track is being reconfigured with varying degrees of banking -- 18 degrees on the bottom of the track, 19 in the middle and 20 on top -- and that has the attention of Brian Barnhart, the IRL's senior vice president of racing operations. Barnhart is concerned the downforce created by Indy cars will be broken as drivers move across the varying banking. "You don't want to break that seal," Barnhart said. "The hard part now is the unknown. Am I concerned? Yes. But we won't know until we get down there and run on it." A compatibility test is expected in late October. The IRL's 2004 schedule includes weekends in the spring and fall in which new races could be added. League officials have their eye on a couple of venues that currently host Championship Auto Racing Teams events, but they will not "poach" the races, according to Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs. But should financially strapped CART trim its schedule or cease operations, the IRL could add races to its 2004 schedule as late as January, Barnhart said. Those races figure to be road- or street-course events in locations such as Long Beach, Calif., Mexico City or Montreal. "We've told our teams to be ready for up to 18 races," Barnhart said. Eighteen events is the maximum for next season, he said.

8/17/03

Poor turnout for Canadian GP rally  A rally organized to help save the Canadian Grand Prix had a very disappointing turnout on Saturday with less than two hundred people turning out to protest the Montreal event’s exclusion from the 2004 Formula One calendar. Stick a fork in that race, it's dead for 2004.  "I don't think Montrealers have given up whether they are here or not," Normand Legault, chief executive of the Montreal Grand Prix said.  Related article.

8/16/03

Weaver wins pole for Toronto GP at Mosport  UPDATE We have added images from Friday and Saturday below.  8/16/03 - James Weaver led a Dyson Racing sweep of the front row starting positions in Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s American Le Mans Series Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway. Weaver won the overall pole for the race with a lap of 1:07.906 in the Dyson Racing Lola-MG that he will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger in Sunday’s sports car race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit. The second Dyson car, qualified by Andy Wallace, was second-fastest overall and in the LMP 675 class. Wallace will co-drive with Chris Dyson. "We've been working hard all year,” said Weaver, who teamed with Leitzinger to win when the ALMS raced at Sonoma, Calif., in July. “I'm not really surprised, but I'm tickled pink. I thought I might get into the (1:09) 75's, but the track started getting slippery and I thought it was best not to push car into trouble. The car is getting faster and faster every lap. The team is fine-tuning the tire pressures and the engine is running perfectly. I think the car will be even faster (Sunday)." For the second time this year in the ALMS, cars from the Prototype 675 class outqualified cars from the Prototype 900 class, which includes larger and more-powerful cars. JJ Lehto won the LMP 900 pole and qualified third overall in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 that he will co-drive with Johnny Herbert, while Frank Biela qualified second in the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 shared with Marco Werner. “We're just not fast enough,” said Lehto, who was disappointed to not win the overall pole. “We'll see (Sunday). Maybe with new tires, but we're just not fast here. It's a great track, one of the most challenging around. We'll see, but it's just a lack of power, really. The new smaller engine restrictions this year really hurt us, we're down 10 percent. (Sunday) is a new day, we'll try. Anything can happen."
Dysonfrontrowinterviews_75.jpg Biela1.jpg Scenic1.jpg Weaver1.jpg Fellowsandflag.jpg
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8/16/03

Bodily injuries continue in the IRL   UPDATE Rather than replace Meira with another driver, Team Menard opted to write the weekend off, load up and head back to Indy.  8/16/03 - Vitor Meira slammed the outside retaining wall between turns 1 & 2 today driving with the new Gen IV Chevy Cosworth behind him.  Not only did he pretty much wipe out an expensive car, he became the latest sacrificial lamb.  He broke his wrist and is out for the weekend.  See this article for a summary of injuries since the IRL was created. This table gives you the detailed statistics.

8/16/03

Bill France to give deposition  NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. is expected to give a deposition Tuesday in the lawsuit over a second Winston Cup date for Texas Motor Speedway. Plano, TX resident Francis Ferko and Highland Village resident Rusty Vaughn are shareholders of Speedway Motorsports Inc., the parent company of TMS. Ferko and Vaughn are suing NASCAR over failing to deliver on an alleged promise to provide a second annual Winston Cup race at TMS. The suit also alleges federal anti-trust violations in NASCAR's relationship with International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 facilities where Winston Cup events are held. The France family owns NASCAR and has a controlling interest in ISC. France will be deposed in Daytona Beach, Fla., where NASCAR is headquartered, by attorneys for Ferko and Vaughn. Dallas Morning News

8/16/03

NASCAR adds a chase vehicle  NASCAR added a "chase vehicle" to its repertoire of emergency vehicles last season, designed to add an extra layer of communication and safety in case of accidents during Winston Cup races. NASCAR president Mike Helton said the chase vehicle is not specifically an extra emergency vehicle to serve in a medical capacity, but it is to help give some familiarity to drivers involved in accidents. "We have a vehicle on the racetrack that we put into play last year that will respond to a scene," Helton said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "It is a NASCAR official, a person that the drivers will be familiar with, a face that the drivers will be familiar with." Last weekend at Watkins Glen International, drivers Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon criticized emergency workers for their slow response to getting to wrecked cars. NASCAR employs local emergency personnel to staff tracks, and Helton said the sanctioning body wouldn't swerve from that policy. Helton said there is only one chase vehicle at the racetrack, but road courses like Watkins Glen makes it difficult for one vehicle to cover the entire circuit. Helton said adding extra chase cars for road courses probably won't happen. But Helton said NASCAR would be open to change. The NASCAR official who mans the chase vehicle drives to the scene of the accident as soon as possible, but stays away from the immediate area to let the safety crew work. If the driver chooses not to ride in the ambulance, the chase vehicle takes the driver to the infield care center.

8/16/03

Investor acquires more than 5% of CART  UPDATE We have moved the updates to this to the rumors page where it belongs.  The plot really thickens....  8/15/03 - Weatons Holdings, Ltd. of Canada has acquired 920,900 shares, or 6.2%, of CART stock as revealed in this Schedule 13G SEC filing.

8/16/03

Frisselle wins 2nd half of doubleheader   Brian Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, took his first Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine win at Lime Rock Park today as he made a bold move in the early stages of the race to take the lead, and then held off the pressure from Salvador Duran and Rafael Matos to take the win. Duran finished in second place ahead of Matos as the two championship contenders each collected their second podium visits for the weekend. Barber Champ Car Scholarship racer Joe D'Agostino raced to fourth place after starting in seventh, with John Angelone taking his best ever finish in Formula Dodge National Championship competition in fifth place. Ricky Schmidt finished in sixth ahead of Zilvinas Oskutis, who fought his way up the order after starting in eleventh position. Abraham Zimroth finished in eighth ahead of Ben Freudenberg and Dominique Claessens. The battling behind the lead three was intense, as shown by the fact that positions six through eleven crossed the line just over two seconds from one another.

8/16/03

Simmons wins IPS race   In a real snoozer, Jeff Simmons won his second consecutive Infiniti Pro Series event. He won the Aug. 9 event at Gateway. Simmons has two career Infiniti Pro Series victories. Simmons led all 67 laps of the Kentucky 100, marking the fourth time in series history that a driver has led every lap. Ryan Hampton led all 80 laps at Gateway in 2002 and Mark Taylor led all 100 laps at Phoenix and all 77 laps at Nashville in 2003.  Results Saturday of the Kentucky 100 IRL Infiniti Pro Series event at Kentucky Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
2. (7) Cory Witherill, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
3. (4) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 67,
4. (9) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 67
5. (8) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
6. (5) Aaron Fike, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
7. (11) Gary Peterson, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
8. (10) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
9. (2) Brandon Erwin, Dallara-Infiniti, 58, Accident
10. (3) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 51, Accident
11. (12) G.J. Mennen, Dallara-Infiniti, 37, Handling
12. (6) Billy Roe, Dallara-Infiniti, 9, Electrical
13. (DNS) Mark Taylor, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Did Not Start

Kentucky 100 pole sitter and IRL Infiniti Pro Series points leader Mark Taylor did not compete in the Kentucky 100. According to team officials, Taylor was suffering from dehydration as a result of possible food poisoning. Taylor received fluids in the infield medical center.
Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 142.432 mph.
Time of race: 00:41:46.2837.
Margin of victory: 0.1119.
Cautions: 1 for 10 laps.
Lead changes: none.
Lap leaders: Simmons 1-67.
Point Standings: Taylor 364, Simmons 308, Medeiros 265, Carpenter 263, Witherill 251, Fike 240, Wood 235, Luyendyk 228, Erwin 213, Dana 201, Urlin 166, Peterson 158, Beardsley 144, Mennen 72, Roth 69, Johncox 62, Fonferko 52, Ave 35, Roe 34, Cioci 22, Quintanilla 20, Steele 19, Harrington 18, Smith 17, Mack 14, Dollansky 13.

8/16/03

Jaskol wins Barber Dodge National race   Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Matt Jaskol of Las Vegas, Nevada, won the first of two Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine races at Lime Rock Park today after emerging in the lead on the second lap and holding off the field to power to a two-second win over Mexican Salvador Duran. Raphael Matos crossed the line with just a .005 second gap ahead of Brian Frisselle to take the final spot on the podium. The top three finishers are also the top three in the championship points battle which continues to tighten, with only three races remaining in the season. Ben Freudenberg finished in fifth position, with polesitter Dominique Claessens holding on to cross the finish line in sixth. David Jurca took seventh, with Zilvinas Oskutis scoring eighth. Abraham Zimroth finished in ninth position ahead of Gerardo Bonilla, who took tenth. Jaskol took the lead on the second lap, and never looked back, building up a comfortable two second lead, an eternity in Formula Dodge National Championship competition, as he lead every lap but the first. The race behind Jaskol was far from boring, though, as Matos got the bit between his teeth and began to make passes from his sixth starting position. Dominique Claessens, was hoping to convert his pole position into a win, but was dealing with a poor-handling car right from the start of the race.

8/16/03

IRL announces 16-race 2004 schedule, add Milwaukee, drop Gateway   Indy Racing League officials announced a 16-race schedule for the 2004 season, highlighted by the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and a new event at The Milwaukee Mile. The 2004 season marks the ninth year of competition for the IRL IndyCar Series. The 16-race schedule, featuring all ovals, equals the 2003 season for the largest number of events on an IRL IndyCar Series season schedule. All 16 events will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, including six consecutive ABC telecasts from July 25 to Sept. 12. All races also will be broadcast by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. For the third consecutive year, Homestead-Miami Speedway will play host to the season opener, the Toyota Indy 300, with ESPN televising the event scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 29. The season will end with an ABC-televised race, the Chevy 500 on Sunday, Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. TMS has played host to the IRL season finale since 1999. “Entering our ninth season in 2004, the IRL IndyCar Series schedule continues to evolve, as it offers one of the most competitive motorsports environments in the world,” said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the Indy Racing League. “We appreciate the input of our teams and thank the tracks for their efforts to grow the IndyCar Series.” The 88th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 and will be broadcast for the 40th consecutive year by ABC. The relationship is the second-longest running partnership by a sporting event and a network.  Though most of the events remain near their traditional dates, there have been a few date changes. The Milwaukee Mile will play host to its first IndyCar Series race on July 25, while the Pikes Peak event has been moved from June to Aug. 22. The IndyCar Series’ lone date outside of the United States, the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, will be announced in the near future. For the first time in series history, there will be two consecutive night races, with the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway taking place back-to-back on June 12 and June 26, respectively. The other night race, the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, is scheduled for July 17. 2004 Schedule:

Date Event Television Network
Feb. 29 Homestead-Miami Speedway Toyota Indy 300 ESPN
March 21 Phoenix International Raceway TBA ABC
TBA Twin Ring Motegi Indy Japan 300 ESPN2
May 30 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race ABC
June 12* Texas Motor Speedway Bombardier 500 ESPN
June 26* Richmond International Raceway SunTrust Indy Challenge ESPN2
July 4 Kansas Speedway TBA ABC
July 17* Nashville Superspeedway Firestone Indy 200 ESPN
July 25 The Milwaukee Mile TBA ABC
Aug. 1 Michigan International Speedway Firestone Indy 400 ABC
Aug. 15 Kentucky Speedway Belterra Casino Indy 300 ABC
Aug. 22 Pikes Peak International Raceway Honda Indy 225 ABC
Aug. 29 Nazareth Speedway Firestone Indy 225 ABC
Sept. 12 Chicagoland Speedway Delphi Indy 300 ABC
Oct. 3 California Speedway Toyota Indy 400 ESPN
Oct. 17 Texas Motor Speedway Chevy 500 ABC
* -- night race

8/16/03

Tracks thirst for coveted Winston Cup date  This Atlanta Journal-Constitution article talks about all the tracks that run IRL, Busch and Truck races, but it's really a Winston Cup race they covet.

8/16/03

Miller extends NASCAR sponsorship  Miller Brewing Company announced today that it will extend the 100th anniversary celebration of its High Life brand by sponsoring a car in six additional NASCAR Grand National races. The company returned to its roots in racing to commemorate the brand’s anniversary when the High Life Dodge debuted in the June Grand National series race at the Milwaukee Mile. This new agreement makes High Life the primary sponsor of Jesel Racing and driver Chad Blount in six additional races beginning with this weekend’s Cabela’s 250 at Michigan International Speedway. “Both High Life and stock car racing are authentic, classic and uniquely American,” said Carl Cahill, High Life senior associate brand manager. “The June race in Milwaukee was the perfect way to launch the celebration of High Life’s 100th anniversary. We realized, however, that this occasion was too important to commemorate in one weekend. Therefore, we decided to extend High Life’s 100th anniversary celebration to include six more races during the 2003 season.” High Life’s rich history in racing plays a prominent role in this partnership, as Blount’s car will feature a design honoring the brand’s 100th anniversary and a paint scheme that resembles Bobby Allison’s 1983 championship-winning stock car. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Allison driving a High Life car to the first -- and only -- NASCAR Winston Cup title of his 25-year racing career. Along with this Saturday’s race at Michigan International Speedway, High Life will sponsor the Jesel Racing team and Blount in Grand National events at Richmond International Raceway; Kansas Speedway; Lowe’s (Charlotte) Motor Speedway; Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. At all these events, the No. 26 car will continue to recognize High Life’s 100th anniversary and feature a vintage paint scheme resembling Allison’s 1983 car. “High Life represents the timeless, traditional values of hard work, pride and resourcefulness – the same traits found in a championship-winning race team,” said Cahill. “Returning to our roots through involvement in a sport that mirrors High Life’s rich tradition is an ideal way to commemorate High Life’s 100th anniversary, and we are excited to extend the celebration.”.

8/15/03
World of Outlaws

World of Outlaws Series sold  Boundless Motor Sports Racing, Inc. (Boundless, OTCBB: BMSR) and World of Outlaws, Inc., announced today that Boundless has entered into an agreement to purchase World Of Outlaws, Inc. Through the agreement Boundless will acquire all the stock of World Of Outlaws, Inc. This acquisition follows an announcement earlier today by Boundless that it has also entered into an agreement to purchase the stock of DIRT Motorsports, Inc. The two acquisitions, part of the company’s business strategy, will make Boundless the largest dirt track racing sanctioning body in the country covering Sprint, Modified, Super Modified and Sportsman Classes. World of Outlaws has held the position as the premier name in Sprint Car Racing for the past 25 years. This year alone, World Of Outlaws will hold 101 sanctioned races at 51 dirt tracks in the United States and has plans in the works for four races in Australia this winter. “The combination of bringing both World Of Outlaws and DIRT Motor Sports Racing together under one company will create tremendous value to both the individual brands as well as racing in general,” said Paul A.Kruger, Chairman of Boundless Motorsports Racing, Inc. “By building on the strengths of these leading names, Boundless will be able to expand even more on the current success of dirt track racing.” The recent acquisition of DIRT, which includes its own in-house television production company, brings national broadcast coverage on Speed Vision, Time Warner Cable, the Empire TV Network, as well as Cyber broadcast coverage to both racing bodies. Both series will also receive full racing season coverage on Rush Hour on Dirt and This Week on DIRT, both productions of DIRT television. “During my 25 years with the World Of Outlaws we’ve built a great series with the help of our dedicated fans and outstanding drivers,” said Ted Johnson, founder of World Of Outlaws. “Now, as part of Boundless, we’ll have the support to take the World Of Outlaws to a whole new level of exposure.”

8/15/03

Papis joins Brumos team for Mont-Treblant  Veteran Champ Car and sports car racer Max Papis is the latest addition to the Brumos Racing team for the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant, a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event September 19-21 in Quebec, Canada. Papis, a three-time winner in CART Champ Car competition and the overall winner of the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona, will join two-time 2003 Rolex Series winners Hurley Haywood and J.C. France in the No. 59 Porsche FABCAR in the premier Daytona Prototypes class for the six-hour race. "After winning The Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2002 and finishing fifth for JML Team Panoz at the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours, I am looking forward to this new challenge," said Papis. "I am especially looking forward to sharing the car with one of the greatest legends of sports car racing, Hurley Haywood. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to race at Mont-Tremblant. I'm told it is a great circuit, and an old-time friend, Lawrence Stroll, who sponsored Team Lotus in Formula One while I was the test driver for my good friends Alex Zanardi and Johnny Herbert, owns it. With the upcoming CART race in Montreal, I will be visiting the Montreal area twice in a short period to time. "I have to thank Brumos for this opportunity, and my CART team, PKR, for allowing me to take part in this event," Papis added. Papis becomes the second renowned driver to join the two-car Brumos effort for Mont-Tremblant. Recently, Porsche factory driver and Le Mans 24 Hour class winner Sascha Maassen was announced to join David Donohue and Mike Borkowski in the No. 58 Red Bull Porsche in the premier Daytona Prototypes class for the six-hour event on the scenic 2.65-mile circuit. "Having two drivers of the quality of Max and Sascha to help on the Brumos team for the Six Hours indicates the strength of the series," said Brumos Racing President Bob Snodgrass. "Max and I have been friends since the first time he came to Daytona for the Rolex 24 in 1996. He was very respectful of Hurley and his position in international competition. Max is an excellent driver, and I've always wanted to have him on our team. Now, this is like a dream come true to finally put Max together to co-drive with Hurley."

8/15/03

Weaver fastest at Mosport  James Weaver drove the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG to the fastest time of the day Friday as American Le Mans Series teams began testing for Sunday’s Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway. There was a surprise in the GT class as the Risi Competizione Ferrari set the fastest time of the day, beating the series-leading and undefeated Alex Job Racing Porsches. Anthony Lazzaro and Ralf Kelleners drove the Risi car, a Ferrari 360 Modena that has shown steady improvement in the past several races and finished second in the most recent event. Weaver was a part of history earlier this year when he and co-driver Butch Leitzinger won the ALMS event held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., the first win in the series for a car from the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes. The victory was also the first in the series for Dyson Racing. “The car is running fabulously,” said Weaver, from England, whose best lap time was 1:09.471, an unofficial record for the P675 class. “It ran well when we tested here in May and it’s still going. This circuit really suits us well,” he said of the 2.459-mile, 10-turn Mosport circuit. The Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Marco Werner was second-fastest overall in Friday’s unofficial testing, as well as the fastest in the LMP 900 class for larger, more powerful Prototypes, with a lap of 1:09.830. The Joest team took the overall win in the most recent ALMS event at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, two weeks ago. The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert was third-fastest overall and second in LMP 900 on Friday at 1:10.174, followed by the Panoz LMP01 of JML Team Panoz and drivers Olivier Beretta and David Saelens at 1:10.806, third in P900. The other Dyson entry of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson was second in P675 and fifth overall at 1:11.345. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

8/15/03

Qualifying delayed at MIS  Bud pole qualifying at Michigan International Speedway has been delayed today due to rain showers.  Stay tuned for further updates...

8/15/03

Richards in no hurry to announce 2004 drivers  David Richards admitted to be talking with many drivers, including McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz, for 2004. "Alex worked for me at Benetton and I have a great respect for him," mentioned Richards to the Daily Telegraph. "I think he is a very intelligent, mature driver and would be a great complement to the team. That said, we are not rushing into any decisions at this moment. It will happen over the next couple of months." However, it does seems more and more likely that Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button are going to stay at BAR for 2004.

8/15/03
F3000

Townsend Bell and Björn Wirdheim to get F1 test  The Lucky Strike BAR Honda team have today further demonstrated their commitment to evaluating and nurturing new F1 talent, with the announcement that opportunities are to be made available to test up-and-coming drivers during the autumn testing season. BAR’s close relationship with Arden International means that the first two drivers to benefit from this opportunity will be current Formula 3000 teammates, Townsend Bell and Björn Wirdheim. Bell, a 28-year-old American and 2001 CART Indy Lights Champion, and 23-year-old Swede, Wirdheim, the newly crowned 2003 F3000 Champion, will both drive the BAR Honda 005 F1 car during tests in September.

8/15/03

Despite power outage, all events on for MIS  All track activities for August 15, 16 and 17 will go on as scheduled at Michigan International Speedway. Michigan International Speedway has electricity and track facilities are running smoothly. AAA Pole Day track activity starts this morning with NASCAR Busch Series practice from 8:45 –10:50 A.M. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars will be on track for their practice from 11:00 – 12:55 P.M. followed by NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying at 1:05 P.M. for Saturday’s Cabela’s 250. NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying will follow the Busch Series at 3:05 P.M.

8/15/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Test Ban Came At 'Wrong Time' For Ferrari
Raikkonen Rejects Montoya-McLaren Talk
Bernie Confirms Montreal Race Scrapped
BMW Intends To Power Back Dominance
Ralf Still Feeling Innocent Over Crash
No Ferrari Race Dream For Badoer
Girl-Racer Climbs Ladder To Formula One
McLaren Undecided Over MP4-18 Debut
BAR Attack Hungary With Special Racers
We Can Still Win The Title, Says McLaren
Bridgestone Aces Worry About Hungarian Heat
Mercedes Chief Defends 'Unlucky' Racers

8/15/03

CART fan does not like what he is hearing  UPDATE Another reader responds, I don't think there is any need to invest the money for permanent Jumbotrons at places like Mid-Ohio or Road America. Instead the new CART owners should invest in a portable system to take EVERYWHERE they race. I seem to remember a portable system set up at Mid-Ohio several years ago. (I can't remember the series. It might have been the old IMSA days. I'm not really sure it was even Mid-Ohio, maybe the old Columbus street race, Road America or even Sebring.) It was crude but effective. The new systems today are awesome. Beyond that and maybe widening the track at Mid-Ohio I can't think of anything else I'd change about the place. Yes I am biased as I've been going there every year since 1967. Gary Shell  Another responds, This fan should realize this is business; in troubled times the first priority is survive to fight another day. The people running this show are very sophisticated business/investor types whose hobby is motor sports. They appear to be structuring the new entity as a venture capital start-up. If they succeed everyone might be very pleasantly surprised, and for many seasons thereafter.  Richard Bowden  8/15/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, Well, I definitely don't like the other part of that story. 14 race schedule, cutting most if not all of the oval races, focusing on these stupid street circuits, possible loss of Mid-Ohio, Road America, and Fontana, and dropping the whole European leg (Brands Hatch, Lausitz). If all of this ends up coming true then that's it I'm out! I won't watch or follow CART anymore. The loss of Mid-Ohio after the fans turned out would be a slap in the face to those fans. Losing Road America would just be plain stupid. So much for all the hard work Mario did. This would be a colossal mistake and would only help to fragment the diehard fans that KEEP sticking with CART through all this B.S. I also think canceling Brands Hatch and Germany would be a huge mistake. We're never going to build a fan base -- anywhere, because we can't get any damn stability to it. They lost what, 8 million on the European leg. Gerry or Paul could sneeze 8 million dollars. What's 8 million to these BILLIONAIRES, to invest in what WAS the greatest series in the world? You guys said it right when you suggested some of these billionaire team owners should invest some money in RA and Mid-Ohio to bring it up to acceptable standards. I had no idea that RA doesn't have Jumbotron's!  That's ridiculous, especially on a circuit that big. These team owners need to invest in CART and most important its roots. That's DIVERSITY! And that means ovals. I can't state more clearly that CART needs it's ovals. Look, the IRL doesn't pull in huge crowds except for a few. Texas, Kansas (only because their part of the NASCAR package and the ever failing Indy 500. We may never be able to "pack them in" on the ovals. But that doesn't mean we should give up on an important aspect of what Champ Cars were built on. I could go on forever about the importance of ovals but I won't.  Everybody knows how important they are.......if they know CART. Which I really don't think Pook does. I hope most of this doesn't come true, but if it does, then I'll just give up on CART and focus on F1 and the ALMS. This new Big Rig truck racing should be a hoot also. But I will NOT watch the IRL even if it does go road racing. That's the one thing Roger, Tony, and Michael don't get. I won't switch to your series.   I just won't watch either. James Shaw, a disgruntled and IGNORED CART fan.

8/14/03

Non-Traditional TV markets show increases  UPDATE The Sirius At The Glen on NBC finished with final numbers of a solid 5.6 rating and 15 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is a 5 percent increase over last year's race, and the numbers represent 5,926,000 households. Sunday's race was the second highest rated sports broadcast for the week, finishing behind the NFL Hall of Fame Game, which garnered a 7.4 rating and 13 share in prime time on ABC. The NASCAR pre-race show finished in 3rd place with a 2.7 rating and 7 share.  8/11/03 - Overnight television ratings for the Sirius at The Glen showed some interesting trends. In several cities considered “non-traditional” racing markets, where the sport has not historically been followed as closely as other in geographic areas, increases in the average number of households tuned in to the NBC broadcast suggest that NASCAR Winston Cup racing seems to be attracting new fans in cities across the nation. In Boston, an average of 83,000 households tuned in, a 48% increase over 2002. Likewise, 41% more households tuned in to watch the race in Baltimore and 38% more households watched in New Orleans. An average of 185,000 Los Angeles households watched the race, an 11% increase compared to the same broadcast a year earlier. Overall, among the 55 Local Metered Markets monitored for the Nielsen overnight ratings, the average number of households tuned in for the Sirius at The Glen was up 3%. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research)

8/14/03

Bernie confirms Montreal axed    Bernie Ecclestone has finally confirmed that the Canadian Grand Prix has been axed from the Formula 1 schedule for 2004 because of new Canadian anti-tobacco legislation. "I can confirm that a letter was written to the Canadian race promoter following a meeting I had with him when I informed him the Canadian round of the FIA Formula 1 Championship would not be included in the 2004 calendar," read the statement. The reason for this is that the Canadian government has brought into effect a total prohibition on tobacco-related sponsorship. There is a provision in our contract with the race promoter that should this become effective, we have the right not to include their event in the calendar for the relevant year. Our problem is quite simple. The F1 teams with tobacco-related sponsorship lose part of their revenue when a certain percentage of the events ban tobacco sponsorship. This was the reason the Belgian Grand Prix was not included in the 2003 calendar. "One thing is for sure – everyone is sorry to lose the Canadian race as we all love Montreal and the warm support the city has always given Formula 1."

8/14/03

IRL TV ratings continue to tank   UPDATE The final rating for the Gateway IRL race on ABC was a 0.7, down from last year's 0.75, and that was on cable mind you. The Winston cup race was up 5%, so it's not the economy.  8/11/03 - 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) 0.70 (Down 6.7%)

TBD = Final rating to be determined

8/14/03
Announcement

Technical difficulties  The major power outage in the NE and other server technical difficulties has caused our server to go up and down all day today.  We are working to restore service as most of our staff was stranded in Manhattan due to the power outage.  It was and still is total gridlock and pandemonium.

8/14/03

Martinsville to host Virginia motorsports initiative  Governor Mark R. Warner announced this morning the launch of the Virginia Motorsports Initiative at Martinsville Speedway. The statewide initiative, comprised of public and private sector partners, will promote and support motorsports activities in Virginia as a means for economic development. "Virginia has a strong cluster of racing venues and motorsports businesses," said Warner. "Our new initiative will build on these existing assets to promote the growth of the motorsports industry and racing venues. "Our aim is to attract and grow in Virginia a dynamic motorsports industry that sees the Commonwealth as the preferred location for engine builders, component makers, race car teams, and other businesses in the fast growing motorsports world." The Virginia Motorsports Initiative has three main components: recruit companies to Virginia involved in the motorsports business that will provide well-paid, year-round employment; support Virginia's 37 different racing venues, from the Winston Cup circuit to local dirt tracks and drag strips; nurture research and development and workforce training in Virginia's motorsports industry. "It's no secret how hard our area has been hit in the last few years," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell, referring to the more than 10,000 jobs lost in Martinsville and Henry County over the past decade. "Any step like this, any step that can bring in new jobs to our community is a good step. Martinsville Speedway will certainly do anything in its power to help make the Virginia Motorsports Initiative a success, in our area and across the Commonwealth." As a private sector partner, the newly formed Virginia Motorsports coalition represents Virginia's varied racing venues and will promote motorsports in the Commonwealth. "Motorsports are some of the most popular spectator sports in the country and their fan base continues to grow," said Joe Mattioli III, president of South Boston Speedway and also president of the Virginia Motorsports coalition. "Virginia has a great tradition in the field of motorsports, and I look forward to working with the members of the Virginia Motorsports Coalition to promote all types of motorsports in the Commonwealth. We appreciate the support of Governor Warner in getting the coalition off the starting line." The Virginia Motorsports Initiative represents a new approach to economic development in the Commonwealth. By identifying an industry cluster in which Virginia is already strong, the commonwealth can build on the existing industry infrastructure and expand the opportunities for growth into support industries.

8/14/03

Fittipaldi to run truck race  Petty Enterprises has announced that Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Fittipaldi will drive the #9 Bugles/Wells Fargo Financial Ford for Ballew Motorsports. He is in his first season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and will be seeking to gain experience on the high-banked short track that will transfer to his #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for the Winston Cup Event. Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty suggested the idea to help Fittipaldi gain race experience on the track before the Winston Cup race three nights later. "Bristol is a tough place to race," said Petty. "Christian is in his first season with us and this will be his first time going to Bristol. The #43 team tested last week at Bristol and had a great test. But testing and racing at Bristol are two different things."

8/14/03

CART implements single-car qualifying  [Editor's Note: Hopefully a precursor to all races in 2004, but unfortunately CART missed the most important element, that being single-lap qualifying to mix the grid up]  Responding to the challenges of providing competitive full-field qualifying sessions on the tight street courses in Denver and Miami, the CART Champ Car World Series announced Thursday that it has implemented single-car qualifying for both events. The drivers and teams of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will run both first-round and final qualifying for the August 31 Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver and the September 28 Grand Prix Americas in single-car fashion, eliminating concerns over traffic and enhancing safety for competitors and fans. "These changes will not only provide a better and safer racing environment for our teams," said CART Director of Technology Lee Dykstra. "It will also give our fans a truer look at the performances of our teams and drivers during qualifying sessions." The unique format, which will be in effect only for the aforementioned races, will debut in Denver with first-round qualifying on Friday, August 29. Saturday's final round of qualifying in the single-car format, which is believed to be the first of its kind for major open-wheel racing in the United States, will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. First-round qualifying order will be run in reverse order of Friday practice times for both events, while the order for final qualifying will run in reverse of the first-round results. Each competitor will run one untimed out lap, followed by three qualifying laps. The best single lap of the three will count as the driver's official time. A driver that returns to the pits before taking the green flag will have a chance to run again after all other competitors have qualified, but a driver that runs at least one green flag lap will not be allowed to make another qualifying effort. The timing line will be located near the entrance to the pits in both Denver and Miami, meaning that each driver will run one untimed in-lap segment after his third qualifying circuit. In an effort to ensure that every driver gets the opportunity to run unimpeded, CART Champ Car Stewards will take away a driver's fastest lap if, on their in-lap segment, they are found to have blocked the following competitor's out lap.

8/14/03

New Ferrari team to debut  A new Canadian-owned and sponsored racing team will make its American Le Mans Series debut in this weekend’s Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway. Ferri Competizione and Ferrari Maserati of Ontario will campaign a Ferrari 360 Modena in the GT class in the annual American Le Mans Series event at the historic Mosport circuit. “This entry marks a historic beginning for Ferri Competizione and Ferrari Maserati of Ontario and we are very excited to participate in a prestigious race with the finest brand in the world, Ferrari,” said Remo Ferri, Team Owner and President of Ferrari Maserati of Ontario. “Our participation is even more special because we are aiming for the top with a Ferrari and a strong driver lineup.”    Veteran drivers Mauro Baldi and Andrea Bertolini will pilot the #32 entry in the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport. Both have a extensive racing experience at world class racing events, with Baldi a former overall winner of the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring. The team includes technicians from Ferrari Maserati of Ontario along with engineers and technicians who have come over from Michelotto and Ferrari S.P.A. in Italy. “This race presents us with a unique opportunity to raise our profile among Ontarians who appreciate the artistry and tradition of fine handmade automobiles,” said Ferri. “Ferrari Maserati is a living legend in world class racing and our participation in Ontario is the beginning of a new era.”

8/14/03

Williams has made significant improvements to FW25    Since the beginning of the season, the Williams FW25 has gained 4-seconds per lap. From two seconds per lap too slow in early season testing, it lapped around the Hockenheim circuit last weekend from time to time two seconds per lap faster than the rest of the field.  But where did those added four seconds come from? There are three reasons.  1) the wider Michelin front tires with a special construction work perfectly with the FW25, and the Michelins are really good in the heat, and it was hot in Germany last weekend.  2) the team now understand the car, which was a rather radical departure, a lot better. Now the engineers find the perfect setup very quickly on Fridays, whereas in the first few races they rarely had a good setup by Sunday. A lot is in weight distribution, damper settings and tire pressures. 3) the aerodynamics have greatly improved, once Williams, with the help of BMW, sorted out their problems with the wind tunnel as it was producing wrong or imprecise data. Since then the improvement in aerodynamic efficiency was almost 15 percent. “Aerodynamically,“ says Montoya, “we are as good as Ferrari now“.  For Hockenheim Williams also modified the front wing and the winglets in front of the rear tires.   Because the Michelin tires are better than the Bridgestones in the heat, and because Budapest, Hungary is expected to be hot next weekend, the Williams team may have another dominating weekend.  Not only is the Michelin tire better in hot conditions, it also gives a clear advantage in slow corners, and Budapest has plenty of those. Ferrari lost up to 0.7 seconds in the second sector at Hockenheim, which includes one long straight and two hairpins.  As there is a testing ban at the moment, Bridgestone cannot react before Monza meaning that Budapest might be another tough race for all teams on the Japanese rubber.

8/14/03

$20 million ad budget  Advertising Age magazine estimates NASCAR’s annual advertising budget at $20 million - that's just NASCAR and does not include all the sponsor's ads. NASCAR recently changed advertising agencies, awarding its account to the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. and leaving Y&R Chicago.

8/14/03

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President Quits Ford After Massive Losses
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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.

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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