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DATE

News (chronologically)

8/27/03

Denver track talk  The nine-turn, 1.647-mile street circuit features a long, sweeping curve back straight and a short front straight. Fernández Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch estimates top speeds of 185 - 187 mph with minimum cornering speeds in the 50 to 55 mph range. Drivers will shift 24 times per lap throughout the course of the 106-lap race, pulling a maximum G-force load of 2.3. The maximum lap interval for pit stops is set at 32 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops. Denver’s higher altitude and thinner air could present braking and cooling problems, and drivers will have to exercise patience in order not to overuse these systems. As Finch notes, the variety of challenges will make for an interesting weekend: “Denver is a slick and bumpy street circuit. All corners, except one, have a minimum speed of 50-55 mph with top speed on the back straight at 185-187 mph. Therefore, we will need to balance the car’s low speed cornering characteristics to its top speed performance.  Denver is at an altitude where the barometric pressure is reduced from 29.92 in Hg at sea level to 25.00 in Hg. Therefore, consideration must be made to engine cooling and brake cooling. This change will direct emphasis on the car’s mechanical grip because the aerodynamic performance is degraded from the altitude change.”

8/27/03

Single car qualifying  Single-car qualifying will go into effect for the race this weekend. Friday’s provisional qualifying will be a one-hour session with the qualifying order based on the reverse order of the combined practice times. Saturday’s final qualifying session order will be the reverse order of Friday’s provisional qualifying results. Drivers will be given a maximum of five laps for their qualifying run – an untimed out-lap, a maximum of three timed laps, and an untimed in-lap. Friday’s provisional polesitter will earn a championship point and is guaranteed a front row starting position.

8/27/03

Pit Windows in effect  In order to discourage fuel-economy racing and provide top-speed action for the fans, Champ Car Racing Operations will maintain the mandatory pit windows for this weekend’s event, setting them at 32 laps around the 1.647-mile circuit. While other series bemoan the fact that many of their races are decided by fuel mileage, the Champ Car World Series is the only series to have rules in place to ensure that events are decided by the fastest team and driver.

8/27/03

Team Rahal 2-car team debuts this weekend  After ten races as a single car entry in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Team Rahal will expand this week to a two car program. Rising open-wheel star Danica Patrick will continue to pilot the #24 Argent Mortgage/Toyota/Swift, but joining her this week is a familiar face to the Atlantic series, 2002 champion Jon Fogarty. Fogarty will pilot the #1 Norwalk Furniture/Toyota/Swift in the first of a two-race deal to finish the 2003 season. "Looking back we probably should have been a two-car Atlantic team this season," said Bobby Rahal, Team Rahal owner. "There is an advantage to multiple cars and that is why you see so many two-car teams. Danica has done a great job, but she has done so without the benefit of experience that a second car could have brought. That is why the addition of Jon should benefit the entire Atlantic program. Jon has a wealth of experience and he is a champion in this series. He can provide additional data and input as we try to finish the season and lay the ground work for next season." Patrick is excited about working with Fogarty. "We are going to two tracks that I have never run so any input Jon can give me will be a big help," said Patrick. "The mere presence of a second car will help us because we have more data and we in essence double our track time so we can accomplish twice as much in working towards the setup." [Editor's Note: Based on what we know, Jon Fogarty is ready for Champ Cars. We think Danica Patrick is progressing very well, but needs one more year in Atlantics. Fogarty tested very competitively against Sebastien Bourdais for Newman Haas at Sebring, with the nod going to Bourdais.  Our sources say Fogarty was just as fast when they ran during the same part of the day and with similar tires.  CART needs more Americans in Champ Cars and it would be viewed as very positive if Team Rahal added a 2nd car alongside Michel Jourdain Jr. in 2004 for the well spoken Fogarty.  The two Atlantic races he's running this year should be a good tune-up for last year's Toyota Atlantic Champion.  Let's hope Mr. Rahal and Norwalk can make it happen.]

8/27/03

Bristol TV ratings drop 10%  The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT was watched by 5,958,000 viewers, but the race's 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating was down 10 percent from last year's 4.8.  MotorsportsTV.com

8/27/03

Giaffone joins team for test at Chicagoland  Felipe Giaffone, injured in a racing accident at Kansas Speedway on July 6, returned to the cockpit of the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force, joining teammate Tora Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara today for the first of two days of testing at Chicagoland Speedway. Giaffone, who had surgery July 7 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis to repair the broken right femur and pelvis he suffered after contact with Dan Wheldon and, subsequently, the Turn 2 wall at Kansas, drove some 200 trouble-free miles today and clocked a fast lap of 25.02 seconds around the 1.5-mile high-speed tri-oval. He plans to continue testing Thursday, and then return to race weekend action here for the Sept. 5-7 Delphi Indy 300. Takagi, meanwhile, put in his first day of testing ever on a high-speed oval with the Dallara chassis he debuted at Gateway Raceway near St. Louis on Sept. 10 after racing a Panoz G Force chassis at the first 10 events in this, his first season on the IRL IndyCar Series circuit. Takagi also put in some 200 trouble-free miles and reached a fast lap of 25.1 seconds. He, too, will continue testing on Thursday. FELIPE GIAFFONE - “It feels really good to be back in the Hollywood car. I might be a little bit sore in the morning since I haven’t driven in seven and a half weeks. But today, after a couple of runs, I was back where I think I should be. When I started out this morning, the car was a little bit too neutral. My first time in, we made some changes, and then I was flat all the way around. Of course, in the beginning, you just have to go and do it and not think about all that you’ve been through. But then, after a few runs, it was back to business. I didn’t feel a thing as far as my arms and my left leg are concerned. We made a few adjustments with my seat to accommodate my right leg, so that took a little time to get used to. I think today was actually better than I expected. All the G-forces on my right leg weren’t an issue at all. We put plenty of padding there. At the end of the day, my right leg was a little bit fatigued when I was on the throttle for so long, but it wasn’t that bad. Even before the accident, I would help my right foot push on the throttle with my left foot, and I did that today. So I definitely think I’ll be alright in time for the race. We’re a couple of tenths off the pace for qualifying, but we have the car really good and comfortable for race conditions.”  Mo Nunn Racing

8/27/03

Walker racing to announce their new sponsor  On Friday Walker racing will formally announce their new sponsor for the Darren Manning car - Sportsbook.com.

8/27/03

Wood has more surgery  IRL Infiniti Pro Series driver Tom Wood is in good condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, according to Dr. Kevin Scheid, an orthopedic surgeon from OrthoIndy. Wood, from Calgary, Alberta, underwent surgery Aug. 26 to repair fractures to his left ankle and right heel. Previously he had surgery to repair his broken back. He is scheduled to begin his rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana later this week. Further updates on Wood’s condition will be provided when available. Wood was involved in an accident on Lap 52 of the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series event on Aug. 16 at Kentucky Speedway.

8/27/03
Industry News

Lewis Booth appointed Ford of Europe head  Ford Motor Company today announced that Lewis Booth has been named president and chief operating officer of Ford Europe and that John Parker has been named executive vice president and assistant to the president at Mazda Motor Corporation. Separately, Mazda's Board of Directors has elected Hisakazu Imaki as its president and chief executive officer, the details of which are being announced simultaneously. All appointments are effective immediately. Booth, 54, succeeds Martin Leach, who resigned from Ford earlier this month. Booth will report to David Thursfield, executive vice president, International Operations and Global Purchasing. Booth had been Mazda's president and chief executive officer. Parker, 55, will succeed Imaki, 60, who was executive vice president and chief engineering and manufacturing officer at Mazda. Previously, Parker was president of Ford's ASEAN Operations, based in Bangkok. "These appointments strengthen Ford's position in Europe and Asia," Thursfield said. "Lewis Booth has had broad experience in many regions across the Ford world and is no stranger to our operations in Europe. We're glad to see his return. Backed by an experienced team in Europe, many of whom he has known for years, Lewis is in a great position to address the challenges we face in Europe and to spur us back into a position of sustained profitability. Imaki-san," Thursfield continued, "brings the continuity we seek to strengthen the strong progress that Mazda has made in recent years. He will be greatly aided by John Parker, whose global experience and strong ties to Ford Motor Company will certainly benefit Mazda," Thursfield noted. "I couldn't leave Mazda in better hands," said Booth. "I have worked closely with Imaki-san and know his capabilities well. The leadership team at Mazda is very fortunate to have Imaki-san and John at the helm. But this is a homecoming for me, and I am looking forward to renewing the associations that I previously had enjoyed and valued. I know the challenges our industry is facing in Europe and in many other regions around the world. I believe my years of experience elsewhere at Ford, as well as at Mazda, a global company itself, strengthens my abilities to do the job that David has entrusted to me," Booth added. Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president, product development, and chief technical officer and a member of the Mazda Advisory Board, noted, "The Mazda global lineup has never been better, and the new team is in great shape to see the benefits from the work that has been done. We're very pleased with the progress Mazda has made."

8/27/03

Salo to make CART debut in Denver  Former Formula One racer Mika Salo of Finland will make his debut in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford this weekend as he will join the PK Racing stable at the Centric Financial Grand Prix of Denver on the Mile High City’s 1.647-mile downtown temporary street circuit. A veteran of 110 F1 starts, the 36-year-old Salo, whose eight-season F1 career most recently included rides with Ferrari (where he filled in for an injured Michael Schumacher for six races in 1999), Sauber and Toyota, will make his Champ Car debut after testing the PK racing machine two weeks ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “I am excited to have this opportunity with PK Racing,” said Salo. “I enjoyed the test at Mid-Ohio and have been getting to know the team since then - it is a good group, and I think we will work very well together. Street racing is my favorite, so I am looking forward to the upcoming events at Denver and Miami.” Salo will assume the driving responsibilities of the #27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, replacing Champ Car veteran Max Papis, with whom the team recently parted company. “This is a learning year, and following a very positive test with Mika in Mid-Ohio last Monday, both [co-owner] Kevin Kalkhoven and I have decided to bring him on board,” said Craig Pollock, co-owner of the first-year PK Racing team. Salo will join other Champ Car drivers tomorrow night in Denver at Champ Car Night, the official welcoming party of this weekend’s event, where they will meet with fans and media from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Festivities will take place on Glenarm Place between 15th and 16th streets at Marlowe's, the Paramount Café and the Hard Rock Café in the heart of the open-air, mile-long 16th Street Mall corridor, a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Call 1-888-82-SPEED for tickets to the August 29-31 Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver or log onto www.grandprixofdenver.com or www.champcarworldseries.com for more details. This weekend’s Champ Car race will air this Sunday on SPEED Channel starting with pre-race coverage at 9:00 p.m. ET.

8/27/03

Hornish is a Chevy man  UPDATE A reader writes, What Sam says is true. Defiance, Ohio is a medium sized town built around a GM plant. They produce engine blocks for most GM cars and trucks at this facility. His father, Sam Hornish Sr. happens to powder coat all the blocks that are produced there. He originally trucked them somewhere, had them coated, then returned them to the plant. But as time wore on, he skipped the middleman. This made dad a lot of money, and got Jr. the early racing money he needed. The last time I was by the Hornish house, there was a Chevy crew cab sitting out in front. Go Sam.  Eric McCraken  8/27/03 - If you get RACER magazine you need to look at the article Sam Hornish wrote in the May 2003 issue. He says among other things "I'm a GM guy.  It's what I know, It's what I drive. There's definitely a lot of truth to that and a lot of loyalty."  Wonder how he'll feel about his new Toyota?  And of course his current IRL Chevy engine is made by Ford.  Too funny.

8/27/03

Puma strikes deal with PK Racing  Sportswear giant Puma has agreed to a sponsorship deal with the PK Racing team. Puma and PK Racing formally announced a two-year partnership, naming the sportswear brand the official supplier of fireproof racewear and performance footwear to PK Racing and their driver. PK Racing, which is in its first CART Champ Car season, is co-owned by Craig Pollock who also owns the British American Racing team in the Formula 1 series. Stated Pollock: "Linking a new team to an established quality brand such as Puma means a lot. We feel that being linked to Puma is a step in the right direction, and we’re looking forward to a long-standing relationship."

8/27/03

Aussie CART race set to break all records  The 2003 Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast is expected to attract more than 300,000 people, Premier Peter Beattie announced today. Mr Beattie and the Deputy Premier, Treasurer, and Sports Minister Terry Mackenroth officially launched this year’s Lexmark Indy 300 by unveiling a sand sculpture at Broadbeach. The sculpture was developed by world champion Dennis Massoud over the past two weeks and depicts a Champ Car and V8 Supercar cutting through the ocean; it has been entitled ‘Lexmark Indy 300 emerges from the Heatwaves’. Mr Beattie said this year’s Lexmark Indy 300, which will be run on the streets of Surfers Paradise from 23-26 October was on target for another record-breaking year. “If the weather is kind to us this year, the event has the potential to draw over 300,000 people over the four days which will set a new attendance record,” Mr Beattie said. “The Lexmark Indy 300 has all of the elements to do this. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the Champ Cars and V8 Supercars going full throttle along one of the finest and highly regarded street circuits in the world. “That’s not to mention the support racing and entertainment that caters to people of all ages and interests.” Mr Beattie said preparations for the event are also expected to set a new record with construction of the track expected to take only 96 days, down from 102 days last year and 199 days in 1996. Mr Beattie praised organizers for trying something different with the launch by securing a world champion sand sculptor to carve out an Indy masterpiece. “Indy is all about color, speed, excitement and performance. This sculpture has all of those ingredients and will be a wonderful showpiece right through the event. “I congratulate Queensland’s latest world champion Dennis Massoud on the result of two weeks of toil and precision artwork,” Mr Beattie said. Mr Mackenroth said the Lexmark Indy 300 would remain a vital component of Queensland’s tourism and sport’s industries for at least another five years. “We are pleased to announce today that the V8 Supercars will be a headline act at the Lexmark Indy 300 for at least another three years, and moves are underway to guarantee an extremely exciting future for CART, the Champ Car organizers,” said Mr Mackenroth. “Crowds have consistently increased since 1995, and with that, the economic injection into the Gold Coast region has grown to more than $50 million per year. “Then there is the added benefit of broadcasting the wonders of the Gold Coast and Queensland to a potential audience of more than 93 million homes and 250 million viewers in 54 countries. That can only mean great news for tourism.” Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman John Cowley said 2003 was the start of a new chapter in the Event’s history. “We have a great new Naming Rights sponsor in Lexmark, new branding around the slogan ‘Indy Fever – Catch the Heatwaves’, a host of new Champ Car teams and drivers, Ford taking the challenge up to Holden in the V8 Supercars, the circuit being constructed in a record number of days and an extensive Off Track Events Calendar,” Mr Cowley said. Sand sculptor Dennis Massoud has been overwhelmed by the interest in his sculpture and the Indy since he began construction two weeks ago. “The preparation of the sculpture has attracted a lot of interest, and I’m sure people will be impressed by the finished work. It is the first ever created of a Champ Car and a V8 Supercar,” said Mr Massoud. “This will be a great visual reminder that it is just around the corner, and I am privileged to have played an important part this year.” Lexmark, Managing Director, Henrik Stensfeldt, said the global technology leader dedicated solely to printing solutions was anticipating a successful event in the first year of its naming rights sponsorship. “Lexmark and the Lexmark Indy 300 both represent speed and performance,” said Mr Stensfeldt. “We are both innovative and focussed on our goal to stay at the front of the field. “The Lexmark Indy 300 has all of the ingredients to maintain its growth, and we look forward to another wonderful year with all of the action and entertainment both on and off the track.” Massoud, Australia’s only full-time professional sand sculptor, won the World Sand Sculpting Championships in Denmark in June. Tickets for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 23 to 26 are on sale through Ticketek on phone 1300 303 103 or via the website www.ticketek.com. For further information on the Lexmark Indy 300 visit www.indy.com.au

8/27/03

Keep your eye on Nick Halen  Teenage kart racer Nick Halen doesn't take racing for granted. In fact, the senior at Carson City, Nev., High School can't go racing without a straight "A" report card.  This personable 17-year-old is taking college calculus in high school and he works as a mechanic in his dad Steve's auto service company after classes each day. He fits in time to work on his karts in the late evenings to stay up with his competition that sports full-time mechanics.

"My dad used to race karts and he told my brother and I that if we don't do well in school and get all A's that the karts are going to be parked," said Halen, the rookie ICC class driver that has been the surprise of the 2003 Western Division Stars of Tomorrow karting series. "That is always my incentive to do well in school and on the track. I want to major in business in college. But I want to race too. I'd like to race cars in the future."

Racing has been in Halen's blood since he began at age seven in the Outlaw karts on the dirt. He has a roomful of trophies from his earlier karting days to prove that he is a talented racer.  "I have worked my way up through the various karts from dirt to small pavement karts," said Halen, who won the ICC Stars main event at Colorado this summer and currently ranks third in the Western Division points. "Last year I raced in 80cc Junior shifter and we jumped to ICC (125cc shifter) in 2003. It's been a good season for us but we're racing on a limited budget compared to some of the top ICC teams."

Driving a Birel chassis, Halen had a chance to win four ICC mains in a row but tough racing luck has kept him out of the winner's circle recently.  "I lost a motor late in the second Colorado main event while I was leading," explained Halen, who competes on Sept. 12-14 at Chilliwack, B.C., Canada, in the fourth and final Western Division Stars of Tomorrow event. "Then at Infineon Raceway at Sears Point, I was second to Tom Dyer in the first main and was leading in the second main but got hit and knocked out of the race."

Halen is battling drivers with more ICC experience and a much bigger budget and holding his own.  "We know we are going against some very tough competition in the Stars of Tomorrow series," Halen said. "But the series is good and the television exposure will help get sponsorship. That is what we need now. We are spending $200 for a set of tires and some teams put on new tires for every race and qualifying. That is tough for us to do with our small budget. But we are trying to hang in there and stay up front. We get help from Billy Scyphers, Three S Racing and some local sponsors. They keep us going."

Halen has proven that his limited budget isn't holding him back as he continues to impress karting insiders around the nation. Halen has traveled east to race on a few occasions but he has been limited to local competition lately.  "I have raced a little in the east and it is competitive too," Halen explains. "I'm trying to gain as much experience as possible. We have racing pretty much locally in the west due to finances. We ran a selected group of races last year. But we have raced against some of the best young racers too like Alan Scuito."

Halen believes he can open some eyes to the high budget teams that may give him the opportunity to reach his dreams - racing cars professionally.  "I'm going to stay close to home for my first two years of college," said Halen, who hopes to make his mark in the Stars of Tomorrow Championships on Nov. 1-2 at California Speedway. "That is so I can concentrate on racing too. I hope to move into cars in the near future and see if my driving career will grow. If I have the talent to make it (into car racing), I have to try and go for it. But I still want to get my college degree."  Nick Halen has opened a lot of eyes already this year and another victory in Stars of Tomorrow could put the teenage phenom in his trek to the next level of racing as part of the Champ Car Ladder System.

8/27/03

Hearn to test for Menard The Indy Star reports - Four-time Indianapolis 500 starter Richie Hearn is scheduled to be in Team Menard's car today as part of the IRL's two-day test at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Team Menard lost its regular driver, Vitor Meira, to a broken right wrist in an Aug. 16 accident at Kentucky Speedway. Jaques Lazier crashed the team's car in practice Aug. 22 at Nazareth Speedway. Also scheduled to test today is Felipe Giaffone, who broke his right leg and pelvis in the IRL's July 6 race at Kansas Speedway. The league will race at Chicagoland on Sept. 7.

8/27/03

Hungarian GP, Alonso won but Juan fastest   Fernando Alonso may have driven a superb race at the Hungaroring on Sunday afternoon that netted him his first ever Formula One victory, but once again, the BMW WilliamsF1 duo of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher were fastest.
Fastest laps of the race:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya 1.22.095 (37th lap)
2. Ralf Schumacher 1.22.319 (55th lap)
3. Kimi Raikkonen 1.22.372 (66th lap)
4. Fernando Alonso 1.22.565 (47th lap)
5. Cristiano da Matta 1.23.040 (36th lap)
6. Mark Webber 1.23.156 (49th lap)
7. David Coulthard 1.23.193 (40th lap)
8. Michael Schumacher 1.23.207 (38th lap)
9. Jenson Button 1.23.376 (65th lap)
10. Jarno Trulli 1.24.100 (34th lap)
11. Nick Heidfeld 1.24.267 (54th lap)
12. Olivier Panis 1.24.414 (30th lap)
13. H-H Frentzen 1.24.450 (45th lap)
14. Rubens Barrichello 1.24.583 (13th lap)
15. Justin Wilson 1.24.936 (26th lap)
16. Giancarlo Fisichella 1.25.081 (13th lap)
17. Jacques Villeneuve 1.25.278 (13th lap)
18. Zsolt Baumgartner 1.26.464 (22nd lap)
19. Jos Verstappen 1.26.559 (60th lap)
20. Nicolas Kiesa 1.27.641 (47th lap)

8/27/03

The Grand Pit of Denver stalls out  UPDATE Many readers have written on this news item, here are but a few.  Hi Woody, I am getting on a plane here in Dallas in the morning and flying to Denver to attend the CART race. Amazing as it sounds .....I read your article today. I called a couple of friends in your fine city today and asked about you and your reputation as an actual sports journalist. You seem to have a following because of your continuing comic negativity. I do hope that is your gimmick. I came to Denver last year for the inaugural race and fully enjoyed myself. I have been to four other inaugural CART races in Canada, the US, and Mexico during the last few years and felt last year's Denver show was amazing for a first year effort. The facilities and layout are superb. Even with the documented problems from last year (and their repairs/fixes), you do a great disservice in not comparing Denver's course to any other temporary street courses on CART's schedule. But then, I gather, you haven't been to any other street course than Monaco. God Forbid I get to (in some other life) compare any and all street courses to Monaco. What was every bit as good as the race was the hospitality of your city, as well as the absolute beauty and climate of the area. I am only a fan. I try to go to three or four races a year out of my own pocket. I tend to return to venues that really excite and satisfy. As a result, here I am again. I am sure my email is far back in a response list that must be scathing. Your reporting is biased, uninformed, and probably influenced by venues south of you as well as a well known track back East. Of course, that is only my opinion. I could be wrong. In any case, I will be in town tomorrow for the race, the city, the people, and to spend a ton of money. From your article, I see that you are not even taking advantage of free (sports journalist) admission (this year or last), to actually experience the event. What a shame. I would love to see the locals recognize you. Scott Pierce North Richland Hills, Texas More hack journalism from reporters pulled off the rodeo and bankrupt farm auction beat to cover motorsports! More “press kit” journalism from reporters more interested in preserving their “Press” credentials for the 2004 Indy 500 (if they can pull one more off) than providing fair and balanced (can Fox sue me for saying that?) coverage of two TOTALLY divergent forms of motorsport. Obviously you can only relate to the parades that turn left all day long. If you had the most basic understanding of road racing you would recognize that passing on a road course is inherently much more difficult than on ovals. It’s hard ON PURPOSE because it takes REAL TALENT to be a road racer! Parades? Why don’t you write about the parades in the full throttle, high down force, hell Helio’s Mother could run 200 mph in the IRL (where I understand Penske installed CD players and cup holders to occupy his drivers time during “races”) or the "let’s-see-how-much-damage-we-can-inflict-on-our-fellow-competitors-within-the-spirit-of-the-rules” taxi cab parades that NASCAR passes off as “racin’.” Your ignorance of our sport shines through. Yet all I can feel for you is pity seeing as the best your writing talents can produce is a gig in Denver! J.N. Anderson, Chicago (Home Of Real Newspapers), Illinois  8/26/03 - Because Champ Cars don't have a push-to-pass button to enable any overtaking on its many street circuits, they paint a bulls eye on their backs and, therefore, are prime targets for articles like this one today (The Grand Pit of Denver) in the Denver Post which is a total hack-job and goes a long way toward making the CART race become a complete and utter failure.  They, like we, call them parades with a capital P, yet still no button.  The Denver Post had very negative articles about the race last year.  This year it continues, leading one to conclude one of CART's many adversaries has the ear of the Denver Post.  Didn't CART see this coming? 

8/27/03

Latest F1 news items 

Andersson 'Looks Outside' To Boost Toyota
Bernie Wants Canadian Government To Cave
Minardi To Test Old Arrows Racer
BMW Charge For First World Title Scrap
Todt Exonerates Bridgestone Of Sole Blame
Renault CEO Lauds First Alonso Victory
Toyota Look To Re-Discover Points Form
F1's Future Gains Momentum, Says BMW Boss
Rubens Refuses To Admit Ferrari Defeat
Webber Denies 'Speed Up' Speculation
Title Chase Too Close To Call: Todt
Renault Write Off Victory Repeat In Monza
Turkey Says 'No' To F1's Tobacco Adverts
Montoya On Pole For F1 Title, Says Lauda
McLaren Focus Efforts On 'Old' Car
F1 Aces Vow To Fight As 'Hard As Ever'

8/26/03
Industry News

RPM gone after 2003  After almost three full seasons of being on the outside looking in at NASCAR events, ESPN has decided not to renew RPM 2Night next season. "As a result of low ratings, RPM will not return next year," ESPN spokesman Mike Humes tells MotorsportsTV.com. However, it will finish out its run this year. NASCAR might be pleased with another decision from the Disney network. Humes says that "starting with next year's Daytona 500, ESPN will accept credentials" to NASCAR events. Currently, ESPN's Mike Massaro and a producer have standard media credentials to talk to people and search for news inside the track, but ESPN does not shoot any footage inside the track. The conflict between NASCAR and ESPN has festered since February of 2001. NASCAR wouldn't grant ESPN a credential to shoot footage for RPM or use actual race footage because the sanctioning body classifies RPM as a feature show. In turn, ESPN said that it would not seek a credential for any video crews for its news outlets and shows. MotorsportsTV.com

8/26/03

V8 Super Cars

V8 Super Cars assert themselves at Surfers  This Crikey.com.au article says, As CART the governing body that runs the now financially ruinous CHAMP series that includes October’s Gold Coast Indy 300 continues to implode, the local Indy Car organization has finally come to its senses after a weekend of crisis negotiations with V8 Super Car governing body AVESCO. While in recent weeks Indy chairman John Cowley first tried and failed to pretend everything was hunky-dory with the future of CART, and even now tried to make some assurances that Indy will continue no matter what – he’s also had to furiously retrieve the participation of the V8’s beyond this year after AVESCO chairman Tony Cochrane was ready to pull the V8 spark plug. On Friday afternoon media was alerted that the AVESCO boss was holding a news conference at 11am yesterday to make a major announcement. Given AVESCO has been locking horns with the Indy Car board over getting a bigger slice of the overall event pie; and believing it was not being treated equitably comparative to its integral contribution to the viability of the four day major event, Cowley’s team suddenly realized Cochrane was not playing his version of blind man’s bluff. So no sooner were the media advised to front up Monday – than the Indy board’s negotiating team and AVESCO’S representatives were back in harness locked in furious talks that went all day Saturday and most of Sunday, before the Queensland Government could breathe easy that AVESCO was back in the Indy fold. Considering the Beattie Government pumps something like upwards of $24 million into Queensland’s biggest annual sporting event and AVESCO was probably only getting around $500,000 for its V8 Super Cars, while the failing CART gets almost $12 million for its race - guess who was being short changed? Market research and host broadcaster Channel 10 knows that the majority of fans at the Indy are there for the Super Cars and CART is more and more a sideshow attraction – and a ridiculously expensive one! Most auto fans would struggle to name just a few drivers in CART but could recite whole team manifestos in V8 Super Cars. So now that Cowley and his board have averted one catastrophe when Beattie reveal details of a likely three year deal, the Indy Board can again turn their attention to wondering when CART (already on life support) is to be either sold off at bargain basement price or has to maybe take other drastic action? CART might yet need to limp into Chapter 11 to protect itself from bankruptcy even before the October race to see it over the line, but its future despite Cowley’s misplaced assertion that “CART will continue in one form or another” beyond this year, has to be pure bravado. It beats the hell out of me why anybody would want to buy out CART and attempt to prop up a dead duck? Its cash burn means without either massive new investment or selling it to someone with very deep pockets and a degree of optimism that defies any current viable business plan – CART is surely finished in its battle to beat off the Tony George led-rival IRL series. He won’t save it and neither will his good mate - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. With no 2004 CART in prospect and no guarantee of any other international series taking its place, the V8 Super Cars basically ensure the October carnival continues albeit with the emphasis and focus very much on the Aussie series [Editor's note: we suspect CART and its fans will have something to say about that].

8/26/03
Industry News

As predicted, TRAC stillborn  Team Sports Entertainment [TRAC] announced today, effective immediately, it has discontinued its efforts to develop, own, operate and sanction an automotive racing league. As previously discussed, the Company's business plan provided that its ability to continue to pursue the creation of a racing league and begin racing in May 2004 would depend upon its successfully selling operating rights for six teams and sufficient league sponsorship packages by September 30, 2003. Following extensive and ongoing discussions between management and the Company's various consultants, the Company's Board of Directors has concluded that such sales are not possible within the necessary time period. See full story on the TRAC Site

8/26/03

Papis & PK Racing part company  Champ Car veteran Max Papis and PK Racing have reached a mutual decision to part company for the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Papis, 33, joined PK Racing in Portland for the eighth race of the season. The native of Italy competed in seven events and placed in the points in five of his starts with the team. In the last four races, he finished in the top-10 each time, highlighted by a fourth-place showing at Elkhart Lake, WI on August 3. Papis has started 113 CART events, earning 11 podium finishes and three victories. The resident of Miami, Florida will compete in the 2003 Petit Le Mans for JML Team Panoz and drive in the Grand Am race in Mont Tremblant for Brumos Motorsports in September. "I know Max is involved with other motorsports endeavors at this time," remarked team Co-Owner Kevin Kalkhoven, "and on behalf of Co-Owner Craig Pollock and Team Manager Russell Cameron, I would like to wish him the utmost success as he continues in his career." "I would like to thank PK Racing, Mr. Pollock and Mr. Kalkhoven, and the crew for the chance to race the last seven events in the CART series," Papis said. "I very much enjoyed my time with the team and I think we had some good results. We didn't start racing together until the eighth race of the season, but we made a lot of progress in a very short time. I think our results in the last four races showed we could be competitive and hopefully, the team can build on that for the future. I wish them all the best for the rest of the season."

8/26/03

Newman/Haas to enter 2004 Indy 500  Newman/Haas Racing announced today that they are in the process of finalizing details for an upcoming Indy car test with the hope of competing in the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 2004. "If the logistics, sponsorship and engineering components can be put together, the team will attempt to qualify for the 2004 Indianapolis 500," said Carl A. Haas, who along with Paul Newman are co-owners of Newman/Haas Racing. "We need some test time and don't want to take on this challenge without adequate preparation." The team is still finalizing the specifics of the racing package as well as the location of the test but it would likely be The California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., as it is a Superspeedway like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newman/Haas Racing driver Bruno Junqueira, polesitter for the 2002 Indianapolis 500, would handle testing duties.

8/26/03

Toyota wins IRL crown first year  On the strength of 10 wins in the season’s first 13 races, Toyota officially clinched its first Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series Engine Manufacturer’s Championship when Helio Castroneves took the checkered flag this past weekend at the Firestone Indy 225 in Nazareth, Pa.  The manufacturer’s title is the second in two seasons for Toyota in major open-wheel racing, having won last year’s CART title over Honda and Ford. “We’re thrilled to clinch Toyota’s first IndyCar Series Manufacturer’s Championship,” said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. “We established five goals for our first season in the IndyCar Series, and we’ve now accomplished four of the five: winning the Indianapolis 500, winning the Manufacturer’s Championship, winning our first race, and winning at Motegi. Everyone will enjoy this for a few days and then get back to work toward helping a Toyota-powered driver win the 2003 Driver’s Championship.”  Victories have become a staple of the Toyota program with 20 open-wheel wins in 32 races over the past two seasons. This year’s Toyota dominance extends even further as the manufacturer leads the IndyCar Series in virtually every statistical category. To date this season, Toyota has more than doubled the combined totals for its fellow manufacturers in wins, top-three finishes, poles and laps led. With three races remaining in the 2003 season, Toyota-powered drivers occupy three of the top four places in the standings with Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran currently first and second, and Scott Dixon in fourth. Success extends throughout the program with six different Toyota drivers winning races this season, and nine different drivers having earned at least one top-three finish. “One of the keys to our success this year has been the depth of our program,” Aust said. “We don’t have one or two good teams running our engines, we have five. We believe that’s largely due to the fact that any team that runs Toyota engines knows they’re receiving the same service and quality as everyone else with Toyota power.”  IRL IndyCar Series Engine Manufacturer’s Statistics for 2003.

Category

Toyota

Honda

Chevrolet

Points

121

89

76

Wins

10

2

1

Top-three Finishes

27

9

3

Poles

10

2

1

Laps Led

1,955

390

311

8/26/03

Schumacher in mini-slump   Michael Schumacher dominated last season and earned a record 11 victories en route to winning a record-tying fifth World Championship. He’s won four times this season, but his last victory was in the Canadian Grand Prix. Schumacher now has driven in five consecutive races without a victory. The last time that happened was in 2000, when he went winless from the French through the Belgian Grands Prix. .

8/26/03

Testing resumes   F1’s six-week testing ban ends Sept. 1. All the teams will take part in a test session at Monza that begins Sept. 2. This will be one on the final major test sessions before the teams head to Indianapolis and Japan for the final two races of the season.

8/26/03

A day of firsts   With his victory in Hungary, Fernando Alonso became the first Spaniard to win a Grand Prix in the modern F1 era that began in 1950. The win also marked a number of first for the Renault team. It was the first victory for a Renault chassis and engine combination since Alain Prost won the 1983 Austrian Grand Prix. It was the first victory for a Renault engine since Jacques Villeneuve won the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix at Germany’s Nurburgring driving a Williams-Renault. And it was the first victory for the former Benetton team (now owned by Renault) since Gerhard Berger won the 1997 German Grand Prix driving a Benetton-Renault.

8/26/03

More winners in 2003   Fernando Alonso became the eighth different winner this season. The other winners have been David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. The last time there were eight winners in a season was in 1985: Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Elio de Angelis, Michele Alboreto, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell. The 1982 season saw a record 11 different winners.

8/26/03

Lehto in must-win situation  JJ Lehto knows that time is running out and that he is in a "must-win" scenario in the battle for the American Le Mans Series driving championship. The Finnish driver scored his second win of the 2003 season with partner Johnny Herbert in this past weekend's Road America 500. The two drivers of the ADT Champion Racing Audi won the race in convincing fashion, allowing Lehto to whittle away some of the points deficit he is in to LMP 900 class co-leaders Frank Biela and Marco Werner, drivers of the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8. Biela and Werner, who have won the LMP 900 class in four of the six races held this season for the American Le Mans Series, lead the class driver standings with 115. Lehto is third with 104, while Herbert is fourth with 101. Herbert drove for another team in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March and scored fewer points than Lehto, thus the difference. Three races remain in the season, the finale being the Oct. 18 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The 1,000-mile endurance event will carry extra points because of its added length. If Lehto and Herbert win all three races, and Biela and Werner finish second each time, the championship will belong to Lehto by one point. "The fight is on," said Lehto. "It will be a tough fight the next three races; these last three races we have to win all the time basically. The car is getting better and better and the team is getting better and better. If you want to win championships, you need to have everything 110 percent."

8/26/03

USGP to add infield seating  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will offer Formula One fans up-close seating for the 2004 United States Grand Prix with new bleacher seating located in the infield of the 2.605-mile road course. The new reserved-seat bleachers will be placed in two locations: outside Turn 6 at the north end of the facility, and between Turns 10 and 11, directly behind the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. For 2004, the United States Grand Prix is taking place on a new weekend: June 18-20. USGP spectators who purchase an infield bleacher seat for 2004 will have one of the closest views among all F1 venues worldwide of Formula One’s exotic cars and skilled drivers at work. The front of the Turn 6 bleachers will be approximately 50 yards from the edge of the track, and the Turn 10 bleachers will be closer. The Speedway’s grass-covered infield viewing mounds, which provide a general-admission, standing-room-only view during the United States Grand Prix, have been a big hit with fans due to their close proximity to the track. According to Joie Chitwood, senior vice president of business affairs for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track is adding bleachers beginning in 2004 to meet customer demand and provide the public with more seating options. “Our new bleacher seats are for the fans who prefer the luxury of reserved seats over the standing-room-only format of the viewing mounds,” Chitwood said. “Given the fantastic view available from the seats, we are confident that they will be a big hit.” The north-end bleacher seating will provide fans with a spectacular view as cars negotiate Turns 1 through 7 before entering the high-speed backstretch, and the seating adjacent to Turn 10 will allow fans to watch the cars decelerate rapidly from the backstretch, negotiate the tricky “S” consisting of Turns 8, 9 and 10, pick up speed through Turn 11 and then put the throttle to the floor for the oval portion of the road course. Chitwood stressed the new seating will not impede the sightlines for fans enjoying USGP activities from the existing viewing mounds. A reserved infield bleacher seat for the 2004 United States Grand Prix will cost $85. Fans seeking information on United States Grand Prix tickets can log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or contact the Speedway’s ticket office at (800) 822-INDY. Local and international callers should call (317) 492-6700.

8/26/03

Sam will be the man  A reader writes, Dear AR1, The more I look at this deal (Hornish to Penske) the more I'm convinced it is part of a plan, between Tony George and Roger Penske, conceived to boost the interest of the IRL within the American public. The IRL is in a clear dive, their races are empty and the TV audience is minimal. I don't think the sponsors and the manufacturers will tolerate this situation any longer. So here they come, Tony George and Roger Penske, to the rescue. The IRL was supposed to be an All American series for the All American drivers. Well, the IRL today is not precisely an All American series, but it can still be the plateau on which the All American drivers can shine. Hornish fits that profile perfectly all he needed was an All American winning team. Penske fits that profile perfectly; but it looks like he didn't have the money to run three cars (like when Al Unser Jr, Emmo and Paul Tracy were on that team); but Gil was considering his retirement so all Penske needed was a little chat with him and here we go...all the pieces are in place for next year. If managed racing was bad this year in the IRL, next year is going to be even worse. Hornish and his brand new team are going to be all over the place. Wait to see team orders, there will be no more "Spider Man" (it was played too much already any way), Helio will be ordered to move over if necessary, debris yellow flags, etc. I expect to see Hornish totally dominating the IRL in 2004. That will be the greatest scam in Open-Wheel history. Regards, Roberto Reyes  Dear Roberto, Drastic times require drastic measures, and certainly that's not lost on Messrs. Penske and George.  With that said, Sam Hornish is one heck of a good oval track driver and that can't be taken away from him. He will win races on merit alone.  Will the IRL make Hornish their poster boy, their new American hero?  You probably would if you were in their shoes, but to suggest anyone would rig races so he wins regularly, we would hope they are above that. What we could never figure out is how Hornish went from being very mediocre in CART's ladder series to being super quick in the IRL.  We believe because ovals are something he just happens to excel at and most of CART's ladder series races are run on road courses. Mark C.

8/26/03

Jourdain on Wind Tunnel  Montreal race winner Michel Jourdain Jr. will be Dave Despain's guest on Wind Tunnel Wednesday night on SPEED Channel at 9:00 PM.

8/26/03

Canadian government won't bend law for F1  This Canadian Press article says, The federal government played hardball with Formula One officials Monday, refusing to bend its anti-tobacco law to save the Canadian Grand Prix. The Prime Minister's Office dismissed reports that Ottawa is considering a loophole in the legislation to please race organizers. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has said the Montreal race won't be held next year unless he receives a permanent exemption from a law banning cigarette ads. But Ottawa replied Monday that its cigarette ban won't be repealed, leaving the sides at an apparent impasse. "The government has no intention whatsoever of amending the law," said Steven Hogue, a spokesman for Prime Minister Jean Chretien. "At the present time, there is no question of changing this legislation." Justice Minister Martin Cauchon returned Saturday from the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he led a Canadian lobby effort to save the race. He denied any concession was in the works. "Granting the Grand Prix an exemption to the tobacco law is not at all on our radar screen," Cauchon said in an interview.

8/26/03

CART can return to Europe, but will it?  A lot of our readers have contacted us wanting to know if there is any truth to the rumors that CART may not go back to Europe in 2004 because the races lost so much money.  While that decision has yet to be made we suspect, we can share with you what we know and what we think should happen.  However, in the end it may be The Big Little Man that determines CART's future in Europe. Story

8/26/03

Latest F1 news items 

Raikkonen Drives For Improved McLaren
Frentzen Eyes Return To Old Jordan Team
Fernando's Dad Contains Tears Of Joy
Alonso Kindles Heart Of Spanish Press
Canada Unveil 'Plan B' To Save F1 Race?
Fisi 'Very 'Appy' With Sauber Move
Trulli: Next Time, Fernando, It's My Turn
Boss Urges Fernando's Return To Earth
Firman Relies On Better Jordan Budget
Ralf Corrects Critics By Passing Brother
Williams Must Improve To Win World Title
Schu Relishes Prospect Of Title Fight
President Demands Return To Winning Form
Montoya Urges End To 'Anchor' Starts
Ralf Needs A 'Miracle' For F1 Title
Williams Chief Targets FIA 'Inconsistency'

8/25/03

More on de Ferran/Hornish/Penske deal  This Indy Star article about Gil de Ferran retiring and Sam Hornish taking his place at Team Penske reveals some interesting tidbits - 1) Hornish described signing with Team Penske as something close to a thrill of a lifetime. He grew up idolizing Rick Mears, who won four 500s and three championships with the team. Posters of Mears hang in what once was the Hornish family race shop behind their home in Defiance, Ohio.  "I remember having a dream when I first started racing go-karts that I met with Danny Sullivan, Rick Mears and Roger Penske about driving for them," Hornish said Monday. "I never really told anybody about that because I thought it was the craziest thing that could ever happen.  "But when Roger called it was like talking to the (U.S.) president. It was a great opportunity." 2)  There had been speculation Hornish might sign with Penske's NASCAR program. But Hornish, who said he might one day compete in NASCAR on a limited basis, insisted he is focused on the IRL and winning the 500.  "I don't foresee doing anything like that (NASCAR) in the future," he said. IRL president Tony George was impressed with how Hornish kept a month's worth of negotiations quiet.  "Don't ever play poker with (Hornish)," George said. (sure sounds like Tony George was right in the thick of the negotiations.  We wonder if he is helping to pay Sam's salary like he did of Al Unser Jr. and others?)   3)  De Ferran, 35, said he capped his career by winning the Indy 500 in May. He won the Championship Auto Racing Teams series titles in 2000 and 2001, but he also suffered a pair of concussions in the past year and wants to end his driving while he's still competitive.  "The thought of retiring has been bouncing in my head since the (Christmas) holidays," de Ferran said. "Roger and I talked before the season started, and I wanted to continue. But I guess I also knew I had to make a call about the future for the sake of everyone."  De Ferran made his decision to retire in early July but didn't tell Castroneves until Sunday night. De Ferran has only one regret in a 21-year career that includes seven Indy-car victories.  "I did not get to compete in a Formula One championship," he said. "But everything else I was fortunate to achieve."  4) De Ferran, who is married with two young children, said he expects to have a second career in motorsports, perhaps as a team owner or manager. But that decision is some time away, he said.

8/25/03

Wells Fargo renews with Petty  Wells Fargo Financial announced today it has renewed and extended its sponsorship of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty and his #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge for the 2004 season. Wells Fargo Financial, the North American consumer finance subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, is continuing the sponsorship as a result of their highly successful partnership with Petty Enterprises. Petty Enterprises is unique in its ability to bring added value to a Winston Cup sponsorship. “We are very happy with our relationship with Kyle and the entire Petty Enterprises team. Wells Fargo Financial is excited to be involved with one of the most celebrated names in all of NASCAR and in the fastest growing spectator sport in America,” said Tom Gibbons, Director of Corporate Sponsorships. “We’re very proud to have Wells Fargo Financial continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “We believe they are an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Georgia-Pacific and Coca-Cola, and are the premier financial services company in the U.S.”

8/25/03

1,000 HP Turbo powers fastest street car ever  [An exotic car, yes!  But just another example of turbos gaining a wider acceptance]  At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Bugatti staged the official public debut of the Bugatti Veyron 16·4, and visitors to the Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca witnessed the Veyron 16.4 in motion for the first time when it completed several flying laps at leading the field of 40 historic Bugatti race cars to the green flag. As the Veyron exited turn eleven and the quad-turbos spooled up for the first blast down the straight, the photographers who were standing at the pit wall felt as if the air was being sucked out of them when the Veyron shot past. A worthy successor to the elegant and powerful Bugattis of the past, the Veyron 16·4 is powered by a 1001-horsepower W16 quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter engine with all-wheel drive. Bugatti claims this new super car will reach a speed of 252 mph. Acceleration is also impressive–the Veyron can reach 180 mph in just 14 seconds!  That should get your attention.  MSN.com

8/25/03

Forsythe to keep Tracy  CART team owner Gerry Forsythe yesterday poured cold water on speculation that Toronto's Paul Tracy will race in NASCAR Winston Cup next season. Tracy has been wooed by Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress to race with his three-car effort that would have him join Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon in the RCR garage. Forsythe said that Tracy and Player's/Forsythe Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier are under contract to him through the end of the Champ Car World Series 2004 season. But with talk that the series may not return next year or that if it survives it will be in some other form, speculation was that Tracy would be in demand in NASCAR or in the Indy Racing League. "CART will not fail," said Forsythe, who is part of a partnership group that has made a bid to buy the series. "So any question of Tracy going anywhere is moot." Tracy, however, told The Toronto Sun that he has to keep all his options open and that he was flattered, but not surprised, by the interest shown in him by Childress. Toronto Sun

8/25/03

ESPN bounces IRL around the dial  Sunday's broadcast of the IndyCar race at Nazareth saw a new first in racing. The race was scheduled to be aired on ESPN, but the Little League World Series game was running over. They switched the race to ESPN 2, but that didn't last long. The Cheerleading competition is a critical part of the program schedule on 'ESPN2, so the IRL race was bounced back to ESPN.  Next time keep that TV remote handy - just in case they get bounced again.

8/25/03

De Ferran retires, Hornish to replace him  UPDATE De Ferran will be on Wind Tunnel tonight with Dave Despain at 9:00 PM EST - SPEED Channel.  8/25/03 - Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile race winner and two-time National Champion Gil de Ferran will retire at season’s end. Two-time IRL Series Champion Sam Hornish, Jr. has signed a multi-year deal to drive for the team beginning in 2004. More......

8/25/03

Nazareth race deemed a snooze-fest  There was only one lead change in yesterday's IRL race at Nazareth, and that came on a pit stop.  The IRL faithful always criticize CART for its follow-the-leader races, but the IRL has had several races this year with little passing.  The fact of the matter is that a lot has to do with the type of track.  Nazareth is a lot like CART's road and street circuits, i.e. hard to pass.  Hence, since CART has so many of these hard to pass circuits, the only real solution for CART is a push-to-pass button.  The IRL runs on a lot of high-banked tracks that are conducive to drafting and passing, but they are of course very dangerous and destroy a lot of cars and drivers body parts.

8/25/03

Expensive F1 engines  This RPM.ESPN.com article says that Ford Cosworth wants to charge the Jordan team with engines for around $20 million per year and Eddie is trying to get a number closer to $11 million (A Euro is about equal to 110% of a US Dollar).  Either way, that's a pretty expensive bill.

8/25/03

Hornish not enamored with Helio's blocking tactics  This IndyStar article talks about Helio Castroneves' blocking tactics to keep Sam Hornish Jr. behind him yesterday in Nazareth.  Castroneves called it defensive driving on the tight 1-mile oval track to protect his position late in the Firestone Indy 225. Hornish didn't accuse Castroneves of illegally protecting his position, but his responses to reporters suggested it played a role in the outcome. "I certainly wasn't making anything easy for him," Castroneves said. "He was coming from both sides." Castroneves said his experience in the International Race of Champions helped him. "In IROC you normally look in your mirror," he said. "Today it was pretty much like that, racing, looking in the mirror." The Brazilian won by 0.16 seconds, the third-closest finish of the IRL's season. Hornish, when questioned about the officiating, referred the inquiries to the IRL. Chief steward Brian Barnhart said he would review the race videotapes this week but stated Castroneves will remain the winner. "But I'm not head-over-heels thrilled with what he was doing, although we've probably seen worse," Barnhart said.

8/25/03

Latest F1 news items 

Barrichello Slams Hungaroring Officials
Schu Won't Retire Early, Manager Insists
Firman 'All Clear' For Monza F1 Return
McNish Eyes Jordan, Firman Wants To Stay
Michelin's Clean Sweep At Hungaroring
Montoya Got No Favors From Feisty Teammate
Royal Praise For Spain's New F1 Winner
Abramovich F1 Talks Premature?
Mercedes Dismiss Claims Of 'Price-Fixing'
Williams Steal Team's Chase From Ferrari
Ferrari: 'No Idea' What Caused Failure
Youngest Winner Targets F1 Championship
Ferrari Losing Its Way, Says Niki Lauda
Delegation To Ask For Further Grace Period?
Montoya Questions Schu's Race Tactics
Minardi Boss Lauds Alonso's F1 Triumph

8/24/03

CART attendance down but big in Montreal while IRL reels  The Montreal Molson Indy drew a total of 148,000 spectators for three days of racing, a drop of 24,000 from the inaugural event last year, race organizer Jean-Paul Blais said Sunday. The race on Sunday was watched by 58,000, down from 64,000 last year when CART racing was a novelty to fans in a city whose first love is its annual Formula One race in June. Blais said 36,000 turned out for the first day of qualifying on Friday and 54,000 for the second qualifying session on Saturday. Still, grandstands were full for the race. ``The reason we don't call it a sellout is because there were a lot of general admission places still available,'' said Blais. He said gloom over F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's announcement that the Canadian Grand Prix would be pulled from the 2004 calendar due to Canada's ban on tobacco advertising, and fear that the struggling CART series was on its last legs, did not affect attendance. ``The first year, it was like a demonstration event,'' said Blais. ``The fact that we had 148,000 this year shows we have a really good base to build on for the future.''  When asked if he thought there would be a CART series next year, Blais said he was optimistic. Canadian Press.  Meanwhile in Nazareth, the attendance appeared to be less than 15,000, though no official figures have been released yet.  This despite Michael Andretti's valiant, but futile, efforts to heavily promote the race in his hometown. 

8/24/03

CART announces continued negotiations with Open Wheel group  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) announced today that its Board of Directors has instructed Management to continue negotiating with Open Wheel Racing Series LLC with respect to all terms related to a possible acquisition of CART. As previously disclosed, last week CART received a proposal from Open Wheel Racing Series of $0.50 a share for all outstanding shares of the company. Open Wheel Racing Series is a newly formed holding company owned indirectly by a group of investors including Gerald R. Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Gentilozzi, Carl Russo and Motorock LLC. Open Wheel Racing Series and the group of investors currently have beneficial ownership of 3,377,400 shares of CART common stock, all of which shares are held by Mr. Forsythe or entities owned or controlled by him. Such shares constitute approximately 22.9% of the outstanding shares of CART common stock. CART previously amended its shareholder rights agreement to provide that the formation of a group that makes an acquisition proposal at the invitation of CART, such as this group that made the proposal received by CART, will not be covered by the shareholder rights agreement unless CART has advised such group that it no longer wishes to consider a proposal from it. “At an all day meeting of CART’s Board of Directors on Saturday, Management was given very clear direction to continue its negotiations with Open Wheel Racing Series and seek to conclude those negotiations as quickly as possible so that everyone clearly understands the future direction of the company” stated CART’s President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. There cannot be any assurance that the discussions with the group of investors described above will result in any transaction or as to the terms and conditions of any transaction that may be proposed to or pursued by CART, including whether the terms and conditions of any such proposal will be materially improved from the terms of the proposal already received by CART. As previously announced, CART has retained the investment banking firm of Bear, Stearns & Co. to assist it in exploring the availability of needed financing and other strategic alternatives. A copy of the proposal received by CART is available from the SEC in a filing made by the group of investors described above and is also available by CART in its filings with the SEC.

8/24/03

What's going to happen to CART?  A reader writes, Dear AR1, What you have published to date leads me to believe that Open Wheel Racing Series LLC and Jon Vannini and Co. are not seeing eye-to-eye on the CART buyout.  What is really going on?  I'm afraid this controversy could kill the deal and the entire series.  Susanne Smith, Philadelphia, PA  Dear Susanne, Yes, you read correctly, the two sides have yet to come to an agreement.  I must be careful what I say with regard to where the negotiations are, but I can share with you my perspective with what I think needs to happen, given what I learned over the weekend speaking to most of the players involved one-on-one.  Clearly, both sides want to see CART survive.  Messrs. Kalkhoven, Gentilozzi, Russo and Forsythe absolutely are doing the right thing in what is clearly a very bad situation.  While they won't share with me their business plan to turn CART profitable just yet, what little bits of information I was able to pry out of various people in the paddock has me much more excited that the series could indeed have a very bright future. It is my hope that the two sides can reach an amicable agreement in the coming days, such that this deal can move forward quickly, though I make no assurances that it will.  Time is of the essence as we all know.  The good news is that the two sides are still talking, and will continue to do so this coming week. CART has a lot going for it, and as they say, united we stand, divided we fall.  If these two groups come together, collectively CART will emerge stronger than it has in a long time, and with some very smart businessmen and racers running the show. From what I hear, the business model of Open Wheel Racing Series LLC is sound, and from what I was told, some of the concerns I had over conflicts of interest (i.e. them being team owners and series owners) are being dealt with by completely isolating the management of race operations from the ownership, such that all competitors will feel no one is getting a raw deal.  CART is too good a series to let it die.  The IRL isn't the answer because clearly they are struggling, and don't have much room in their schedule to pick up many CART venues should they fold.  Hopefully we can report some really good news in the coming days.  Stay tuned..... Mark C.

8/24/03

Sarah Fisher crashes, airlifted to hospital  3rd UPDATE Sarah Fisher has been released from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. Fisher has a severe back contusion and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis to determine when she will be cleared to drive.   8/24/03 - We hear through Dr. Steve Olvey that Fisher's X-Rays did not show any breaks in her back, but she is in a lot of pain and she is going for an MRI to see if they find anything.  8/24/03 - According to this Indy Star News article, Fisher apparently escaped serious injury Saturday when she crashed hard in the second turn at Nazareth Speedway. Initial tests showed no damage to Fisher's sore back and knee. She was in good condition after being airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., where she was to be held Saturday night for further evaluation. However, Fisher, 22, of Commercial Point, Ohio, is expected to miss today's Firestone Indy 225. A decision on whether to run the car with another driver will be made today, an official for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing said. The team has no backup car.  The impact with the left rear of the Dallara/Chevrolet measured "just under 70 Gs," according to IRL chief steward Brian Barnhart. "She was still getting up to speed, and there were no complaints with the car," said Mike O'Gara, an engineer with the Indianapolis-based team. "It's hard to say what happened. We're all still scratching our heads." O'Gara said the accident could have been caused by Fisher passing over the bumps in the uniquely banked corner. "If you just get a wheel width different with your line, either higher or lower, the car will behave differently," O'Gara said. "That, combined with the tire pressures still coming up, could have been the problem for her."  8/23/03 - Sarah Fisher is awake and alert after an accident during the final practice for the Firestone Indy 225 IRL IndyCar Series event at Nazareth Speedway. She was transported via air to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa. for evaluation of back pain, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. Fisher, 22, driver of the No. 23 GMAC/AOL/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, spun to the left in Turn 3 and hit the outside retaining wall with the left rear of the car with approximately 10 minutes remaining in the final practice session. The car suffered heavy damage to the rear and moderate damage to the front wing and suspension. Further update on Fisher’s condition will be provided when available.

8/24/03

Rojas goes flag-to-flag in Montreal   Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, led every lap of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race in Montréal today to take his
second win of the season. 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion Leo Maia finished in second place with Colin Fleming of North Hills, California taking third. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, took his fourth top-five finish of the season in fourth place ahead of Mexico's Salvador Duran. Ben Freudenberg scored sixth place with Chris Green of nearby Beaconsfield,
Quebec, finishing in seventh in his return to the Pro Series. Scott Poirier brought his Reynard home in eighth position, ahead of St. Hilaire, Quebec's Didier Schraenen while Mike Richardson scored another top-ten finish.
Pos # Driver Hometown Time MPH
1/1/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/21/$13,000/23/Running
2/2/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./18/$8,750/23/Running
3/5/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./14/$6,500/23/Running
4/9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/12/$4,500/23/Running
5/7/82/Salvador Duran/Cuernavaca, Mexico/11/$2,500/23/Running
6/16/17/Ben Freudenberg/North Bend, Oregon/10/$1,500/23/Running
7/15/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/9/$1,250/23/Running
8/13/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/8/$1,250/23/Running
9/19/94/Didier Schraenen/St. Hilaire, Quebec/7/$1,250/23/Running
10/17/34/Mike Richardson/Kelowna, B.C., Canada/6/$1,250/22/Running
11/6/23/Ward Imrie/Winnipeg, Manitoba/5/$1,000/22/Running
12/8/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/4/$1,000/20/Contact
13/12/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/3/$1,000/20/Contact
14/3/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/2/$1,000/19/Mechanical
15/14/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/1/$1,000/17/Contact
16/18/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/$750/17/Contact
17/4/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/$750/13/Contact
18/10/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./$750/0/Contact
19/11/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/$750/0/Contact

8/24/03

Pruett wins Trans-Am race  Scott Pruett continued his dominating run toward his third Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship, recording his sixth victory the 2003 season Sunday at Road America. In the process, the driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR allowed Jaguar to clinch its third Manufacturers’ Championship. The British carmaker previously won the manufacturers’ crown in 1978 and 2001. Pruett’s closest pursuer in the championship, Johnny Miller, finished second in the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, ahead of Michael Lewis, driving the No. 12 Westward Tools/The Crank Jaguar XKR. Justin Bell, making his first start this season in the No. 59 Ultama Swimwear Chevrolet Corvette, drove through the field to finish fourth, followed by Stu Hayner, who battled a severe vibration throughout the event, to finish fifth in the No. 2 GMAC Commercial Finance/Trenton Forging Chevrolet Corvette. Pruett took the lead at the start, and never gave it up during the 25-lap contest, which ended under caution. For his efforts, Pruett won the BFGoodrich Tires Take Control Award for leading the most laps and set the fastest race lap of 2:09.558 at an average speed of 112.481 miles per hour. Pruett was one of two drivers running BFGoodrich Tires’ 75 (hard compound) tire on the left-rear wheel of his Jaguar. Pruett said this was part of his conservative approach to the event at the 4.048-mile road course. “I was in a situation, where I had to drive harder than Johnny,” said Pruett. “I was sliding. He could catch me in turns one and two. I was a little better in a couple areas like the Carousel, because I could afford to run a little bit harder. That was the choice we had to make. We knew we could go green to checkered, so we had to play it conservative. It worked out for us.” With the victory, Pruett padded his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. “This year has been awesome,” said Pruett, who returned to the Trans-Am Series this year after an eight-year hiatus, during which he competed in the Champ Car World Series and NASCAR. “I’ve come full circle this year. When I raced in the Series before, I was using it as a stepping stone. Now, I’m here because I love to drive and it’s where I want to be. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m with a great program at Rocketsports.”

8/24/03

McGee believes in Franchises  We had the opportunity to chat with Patrick Racing's Jim McGee about CART's future.  McGee said, "In the right hands CART has a bright future.  Events like this here in Montreal are just fabulous."  He went on to say that CART should reinstate the Franchise system where the teams have a vested interest in the series.  This ensures they are committed to the series and are guaranteed a future.  He used the example of the IRL and NASCAR, where teams have no vested interest in the series and are totally beholden of the series ownership and their whims.  Look what happened in the IRL when the CART teams moved in; the IRL teams were left out in the cold with nothing, essentially out of business. Those teams helped the IRL to have a series and now they feel betrayed and have no recourse.  Mark C.

8/24/03

IRL grid to equal CART's 19 cars  Brian Barnhart predicted before this year that the IRL might be starting 34 cars and they didn't know how they could fit them all in the pits.  With Fisher and Lazier out of today's Nazareth race, it looks like the IRL will be starting 19 cars in Nazareth on Sunday, the same number CART will be starting in Montreal.  If CART's dying, the IRL is on its death bed as well.

8/24/03

Ranger wins Fran-Am race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve  Quebecois Andrew Ranger won today’s 17-lap Fran-Am race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal with a best lap time of 1:40.858. Fellow Canadian Dan McMullen finished second, 2.758 seconds behind. Robert Bell who qualified seventh, finished third, 4.166 seconds behind. Nineteen of the 26 starters finished the race. Paul Josephson

8/24/03

CART Board meeting news  As reported on Friday, yesterday a CART Board meeting was held in NY City.  Several of the Board members arrived here in Montreal this morning, but none of them are willing to talk about what was discussed and would only say it was a positive, upbeat meeting.  The general consensus in the paddock is that the players in the buyout are going to have to deal with Jon Vannini & Co. or there will be no sale and there will be no CART before long.  Although Vannini was not responsible for driving the series into the ground and leaving it headed for bankruptcy, there are those in the paddock who are trying to paint him as the bad guy.   Mark C.

8/24/03

Ranger takes the pole for Fran-Am race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve  16-year old sensation Andrew Ranger, driving car number 27 for AIM Autosport, qualified first for today’s Fran-Am series race at 1:39.490 (98.024 mph). Juan Martin Ponte finished second, driving the number 50 car for Eurointernational at 1:39.968 (97.555 mph). Sean McIntosh took the third spot, driving car number 24 for Quantum Autosports at 1:39.971 (97.552 mph). Qualifying lap times between these three drivers was less than .5 seconds. Their times were about 1.5 seconds quicker than the Barber Dodge Series qualifying held earlier on Saturday. You can visit the Fran Am website at www.fran-am.com.

8/24/03

Allmendinger put the hammer down  We spoke to AJ Allmendinger after yesterday's CART Toyota Atlantic race in Montreal, which he won.  He told us he was saving a little bit in reserve, and at the end he pulled away, turning lap times 0.8 sec faster than his pole time.

8/24/03

Latest F1 news items 

Firman Plans To Watch Hungarian Race
Baumgartner Shunts Into F1 Dream
Jordan Farewells Star Driver Fisichella
Heidfeld To Lose Sauber Seat?
2004: Coulthard's Last Chance To Shine
Ralph Raring To Get Back Racing
Top-Three Drivers Sad To Farewell Canada
Ralf Tells Juan To Forget Team Orders
F1 Manufacturers Keen On Canadian Solution
Canada's Future 'Not Up To Us': Villeneuve
Baumgartner Hopes For Full-Time Ride
Alonso In Good Shape For Budapest Race
No Heroics As Montoya Plays Title Safe
Webber Vows To Fight Title Contenders
Outclassed Bridgestone Eye Improved Race Pace

8/23/03

Denver race to generate $17M for city  This Rocky Mountain News article says, The teams of the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver will start racing around the track Aug. 29, which could mean up to $17 million in economic benefits for the metro area, if the 2002 race can be used as a barometer. Last year's Grand Prix of Denver over Labor Day weekend generated about $26.5 million in economic impact for the metro area, according to figures released Thursday by the Mayor's Office of Economic Development. About $9.5 million of last year's calculated benefits were one-time capital expenditures, most of which were associated with the construction of the race's 1.65-mile nine-turn circuit around the Pepsi Center. "From the city's point of view . . . the inconveniences from the race are minimal compared to benefits we gain as a city," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "The Grand Prix is attracting not only people from around the region, but from out of state." Included in the city's 2002 economic impact estimate was more than $8 million in race expenses paid to Denver companies, $6 million in attendee spending at the event, $2.6 million in race team expenditures and about $300,000 in sales and lodging tax revenues. The current races are unlike the Grand Prix races in 1990 and 1991, which ended in bankruptcy and caused millions of dollars in losses. "We're not spending any money on it, so any revenue it generates is positive for us," said Kevin Magner, Denver public works special projects coordinator. Magner acknowledged it's difficult to gauge the full economic impact of the race, because three high- profile events were going on simultaneously last year: the Grand Prix, the Taste of Colorado and the University of Colorado-Colorado State University football game. "We can't separate some of those numbers out because hotels don't ask people why they are staying there," he said. It will be hard to estimate again this year, because those three events - plus a Broncos game - will be going on. The downtown Labor Day craziness is just what Denver's new business-minded mayor likes to see. "They're talking about 250,000 people being downtown that weekend - that's great!" Hickenlooper said.

8/23/03

Miller beats Pruett for pole  Johnny Miller kept the championship chase in sight, and won the pole Saturday for Sunday’s Trans-Am 100, Round 8 of the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship at Road America. Miller, driver of the No. 64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, turned in a 2:08.143-minute lap around the 4.038-mile road course at an average speed of 113.723 miles per hour. In the process Miller, who sits second in the title chase, earned two bonus championship points. Miller also won the Jaguar Pole Award, a performance-based initiative that rewards drivers who win the pole at each of the Trans-Am Series’ events this season. Polesitters will receive a key—regardless of what type of car they race—which, at the culmination of the season, they will use to attempt to open the door to a 2004 Jaguar XK8, during a formal ceremony. The driver whose key opens the vehicle will win a one-year lease on the car. Scott Pruett qualified second with a time of 2:08.485 in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR and earned one bonus point for his efforts. Jorge Diaz, who turned a 2:08.846-minute lap in the No. 8 Don Q Rum Jaguar XKR, timed third, but was disqualified in post-qualifying technical inspection. Diaz’s car violated Rule 2.10 in the 2003 Trans-Am Series General Regulations & Technical Specifications: “Ground Clearance.” Diaz will therefore forfeit his time and will start 19th, ahead of Glenn Andrew and Dan Furey. Diaz also forfeits one bonus point awarded for qualifying third. As a result of Diaz’s penalty, Stu Hayner (No. 2 GMAC Commercial Finance Chevrolet Corvette) will start third on the grid, ahead of Bobby Sak (No. 10 Chevrolet Corvette) and Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products/COYOTE Closures Chevrolet Corvette).
1. Johnny Miller, Jaguar XKR, 02:08.143, 6, 113.723.
2. Scott Pruett, Jaguar XKR, 02:08.485, 7, 113.420.
3. Stu Hayner, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:09.401, 6, 112.617.
4. Bobby Sak(R), Chevrolet Corvette, 02:09.590, 5, 112.453.
5. Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:09.657, 8, 112.395.
6. Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, 02:09.683, 4, 112.372.
7. Justin Bell, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:10.327, 4, 111.817.
8. Michael Lewis, Jaguar XKR, 02:10.347, 8, 111.800.
9. Paul Menard, Jaguar XKR, 02:10.672, 7, 111.522.
10. Greg Pickett, Jaguar XKR, 02:10.868, 4, 111.355.
11. John Baucom, Jaguar XKR, 02:10.874, 7, 111.350.
12. Max Lagod, Chevrolet Camaro, 02:11.068, 4, 111.185.
13. Cliff Ebben, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:11.709, 4, 110.644.
14. Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:13.292, 4, 109.330.
15. Tim Cowen, Ford Mustang, 02:13.355, 3, 109.278.
16. John Schaller, Chevrolet Camaro, 02:14.227, 4, 108.568.
17. Brian Kubinski, Chevrolet Corvette, 02:15.347, 4, 107.670.
18. Joey Scarallo (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 02:16.238, 4, 106.966.
19. Jorge Diaz, Jr(R)*, Jaguar XKR, 02:08.846, 8, 113.102.
20. Glenn Andrew, Chevrolet Camaro, 02:24.074, 4, 101.148.
21. Dan Furey, Chevrolet Corvette, No Time.
*Timed third, but was time was disallowed in post-qualifying technical inspection, Rule 2.10: “Ride Height.”

8/23/03

Pickett's time excluded  Greg Pickett, who timed 10th on Saturday for Sunday’s Trans-Am 100, Round 8 of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship at Road America, will start 19th due to a four-tire change in his No. 6 Cytomax Exercise and Recovery Drink Jaguar XKR. Pickett was cited under Rule 1.7.10.2: “Tire Declaration Form” in the 2003 Trans-Am Series General Regulations & Technical Specifications, which states: “…four tires will be used for all qualifying sessions, and to start the race. If a team is unable to start the race on at least three of their marked tires, they will forfeit their starting position…” The Trans-Am 100 is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow. The race will air on same-day, tape-delayed basis at 11:30 a.m. CDT on SPEED. Final Trans-Am practice will follow today’s SPEED World Challenge Touring Car event.

8/23/03

Mexico City ticket sales ahead of last year  A spokesperson for Grand told AR1 today that ticket sales for this year's CART race in Mexico City are ahead of last year's race at this same period.  When quizzed why then did they put up less bleacher seats this year than last, the answer we got was that they were going to have a lot more infield festivities for the fans and the general admission cost will be lower (less bleachers to build) meaning even more people will attend this year than last.

8/23/03
F3000

Bell finishes 3rd in Hungary  UPDATE A reader writes, Besides T Bell's podium in todays F3000 race in Hungary, when was the last time an American finished on the podium in an F3000 race? I know I keep bugging you about this, but I find it amazing that Bell is finally starting to make good on all that talent he has. Hopefully he can get a 2nd year in F3000 (or F2). Maybe then, he can get the results to catch either Champ Car or F1 teams attention. Chad Larimer, Rochester MN   8/23/03 - Townsend Bell took a superb third place in an exciting penultimate round of the FIA F3000 Championship in Hungary. Townsend finished right behind teammate Bjorn Wirdheim after running near the front throughout a race that was enlivened by the new mandatory pit stop rules. Good pit work by the Arden team helped to get both cars in the top three, although the race was won by the Red Bull entry of first timer winner Patrick Friesacher, whose car was kinder to its tires. Townsend became the first American to climb onto the F3000 podium since the series was inaugurated in 1985. The last time an American driver took a podium in an actual Grand Prix was when Michael Andretti finished third at Monza in 1993. This was also Townsend’s first podium visit since his Indy Lights days. After the race he made his first appearance at an FIA press conference, in front of the world’s media. Many F1 journalists who had not previously met Townsend in person were thus able to get their first impressions of him. Townsend qualified fourth, but got away well and ran third in the early stages of the race. After the first stops were made from lap 8 onwards it became hard to judge the true order as the last stops weren’t made until lap 20. Thanks perhaps to a slight delay at the stop when the real picture emerged he had dropped to fourth, behind Wirdheim, Friesacher and Giorgio Pantano. As Bjorn’s tires faded, Friesacher was able to pass him to take the lead. Meanwhile Bell was briefly passed by pole man Vitantonio Liuzzi – delayed by a bad stop – but the Italian then spun. The Red Bull man made another effort to get by on the last lap, but having done so ran into Pantano. Townsend dodged past the chaos to take third, right on Bjorn’s gearbox. “It was a good race for us. It’s great to be on the podium – it’s been a while since my last visit! So it’s a bit of a relief. It’s really interesting when the race starts and you’re following the guys that qualified quicker. I had a really good look at Patrick and Vitantonio’s cars. There are some bumps around the circuit in critical places, and I have to say they did an excellent job with their set-up, because they really seemed to have the mechanical ‘soak’ for the bumps in the critical spots. I think that’s where Bjorn and I struggled a bit, especially when the tires went off. Having said that after the pit stop everything went to plan, as far as the strategy and when we were going to pit is concerned. “I’ve got the benefit from having run at Monterrey, Mexico in CART and Indy Lights. It’s a circuit like this one where there’s one groove that gets rubbered in, and off line it’s really dusty. I knew to be patient. I had a couple of looks at Giorgio [Pantano] but the difference in grip off line and on is so big that even if you get up next to the guy it’s really hard to get slowed down to make the turn, so I was just going to make it difficult on Liuzzi behind me. At the end I made him go up the inside and thought he’ll slide past the apex, and he did, and collected Pantano. So it worked out well for us. All in all it’s a good result for me. As an American in Hungary you feel miles from California. It’s a long way from home!” The new pit stops worked well and helped to produce an exciting race. Bell agrees that the stops are a welcome novelty: “I’m very happy because the mechanics can participate in the pit stops, and they can contribute to the weekend a lot more, and it also strains the drivers on their in laps and out laps and strategy. But on the other hand F3000 is meant to be a showcase for driver talent to the F1 community, and it might dilute a bit the purity of showing who was fastest on that day. Somebody could fumble a wheel nut and you could lose 10 seconds, and the F1 team owners just see that you went from P3 to P9, but it’s probably a good thing to do if we want F3000 to be a true feeder series.” Townsend now has 17 points and has moved up to ninth in the standings with just Monza to come.
Results – 35 laps
1. P Friesacher…58m02.294s
2. B Wirdheim…58m26.040s
3. T Bell…58m26.600s
4. G Pantano…58m28.734s
5. J Janis…58m29.375s
6. R Giammaria…58m34.383s
7. E Toccacelo…58m39.794s
8. T Schmidt…58m42.257s
9. V Liuzzi…58m53.593s (fourth on road, penalised 25s for causing last lap accident)

8/23/03

Allmendinger wins in Montreal  A bump between Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) and points leader A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) on the first green flag ended the day for CART Toyota Atlantic Championship points leader Allmendinger one race ago at Mid-Ohio but the diminutive Californian rebounded in a big way Saturday, rolling from the pole to claim a modern-era rookie record sixth victory. After the first attempt to start the race was waved off, the field took the green on the second pass with Allmendinger storming into the lead while Valiante and Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) took up the chase behind him. Allmendinger earned the right to start on pole with a blistering final qualifying run on Saturday, bouncing back after a mechanical failure kept him from running in Friday’s first round of qualifying. . Photo by Paul Josephson/AR1 More to follow.....

8/23/03

Rojas sets new rack record to take pole in Montreal   Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico broke the track record set last year by 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion A.J. Allmendinger to take the pole position in final qualifying for Sunday's race with a lap of 1:40.189 seconds on the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion Leo Maia of Oakland, California, will start alongside Rojas in the final race of the Barber Dodge season after he came up just short in his last lap bid to reclaim the pole. Dan Di Leo improved one position from Friday's qualifying to take third on the provisional grid next to David Martinez. Colin Fleming recovered from a difficult morning practice session to take fifth on the grid, with Ward Imrie putting in another strong qualifying effort to take sixth in just his third Pro Series start. Mexican Salvador Duran, who is also making just his third start, will take the green flag tomorrow in seventh position alongside countryman German Quiroga. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, will start in the fifth row next to Newport Beach, California's Ryan Millen.
Pos # Driver Hometown Time MPH
1/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/01:40.189/97.340
2/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./01:40.430/97.106
3/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:40.580/96.962
4/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/01:40.913/96.642
5/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./01:40.983/96.575
6/23/Ward Imrie/Winnipeg, Manitoba/01:41.058/96.503
7/82/Salvador Duran/Cuernavaca, Mexico/01:41.137/96.428
8/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/01:41.252/96.318
9/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/01:41.359/96.216
10/39/Ryan Millen/Newport Beach, Calif./01:41.388/96.189
11/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/01:41.409/96.169
12/24/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/01:41.535/96.050
13/67/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/01:41.729/95.866
14/31/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/01:41.937/95.671
15/96/Chris Green/Beaconsfield, Quebec/01:42.100/95.518
16/17/Ben Freudenberg/North Bend, Oregon/01:42.508/95.138
17/34/Mike Richardson/Kelowna, B.C., Canada/01:43.142/94.553
18/11/Chris Baker/Houston, Texas/01:43.488/94.237
19/94/Didier Schraenen/St. Hilaire, Quebec/01:43.743/94.005
Track Length: 2.709
NEW Qualifying Record: 01:40.189 (97.340 mph) Memo Rojas

8/23/03

Pollock slams past team owners   According to this Gazette article, PK Racing co-owner Craig Pollock says greed on the part of team owners in the past has contributed to CART's uncertain future. "It's had a lot to do with the ego of team owners trying to get the maximum out of the sport as a business, a financial concern, as opposed to being in the sport for the good of the longevity of the sport," Pollock said. "That's a bad decision to make.  So yes, in the past there has been a lot of greed, but I think today's reality is that the people who are in are racers and they want to be there.  They want true open-wheel racing and they're willing to invest prior to actually getting money out of it. They see it as a long-term plan. What's happened in the past is just about criminal," Pollock added. After seeing a number of big-name teams and, more importantly, several big-name sponsors defect to the Indy Racing League after last season, Championship Auto Racing Teams and its Champ Car World Series appears to be facing financial ruin. CART recently announced it had lost $43 million U.S. in the first six months of this year and that it needed additional capital to complete the 2004 season. It added that projections beyond next season were "highly speculative.  This week, Open Wheel Racing Series, a new group, made an offer to buy all remaining CART shares. The group is led by Gerald Forsythe, the co-owner of Player's/Forsythe Racing who also owns approximately 23 per cent of the outstanding shares in CART's common stock. The group also includes Paul Gentilozzi of Rocketsports Racing and Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of PK Racing with Pollock......"I'm a principal stakeholder in the group, more of a stakeholder than a shareholder," he explained. "Stakeholder means what I've done is that I've tried to put the group together initially to make sure the right people were going to be involved in the series in the future and that the financial clout of the people involved would be strong enough to finance Champ Car's future.  This is a serious investment by a serious group of investors," Pollock added. "We can only hope that this actually goes through and that the current shareholders of Champ Car clearly understand the situation.  Oddly, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said Thursday that he had withdrawn his bid to buy the series after learning Forsythe had joined the group. Ecclestone's announcement caught many by surprise because it's believed he never actually submitted an offer. Pollock believes that part of CART's problems are the result of the exodus of teams, drivers and sponsors to the IRL.  It contributed a lot," he said. "But I think you also have to understand why the teams had to make a change. They were under pressure from the sponsors, because sponsors wanted to be at the Indy 500. That is a huge trump card and it's very sad that that trump card had to played by the sponsors.  The long-term reality for Champ Car is to have absolute clarity in where we're going in the future, and I think that would certainly come out with the group of businessmen who are trying to take over. "They have a long-term vision and a long-term business plan. The faster they can get that out, the better things will be."

8/23/03

Fisichella To Sauber    Sauber announced on Saturday that Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella would pilot a Swiss-made car in 2004 after he signed a two-year contract.  'We've been in contact with Giancarlo before, and I'm very happy that, now, we've been able to sign him for our team,' said Peter Sauber.   'This team seems to have a lot of potential and the will to be successful,' said Fisichella, 30.  'I'm looking forward to my new challenge.'

8/23/03

Tracy mulls NASCAR option   According to this Toronto Star article, Paul Tracy of Toronto wants to stay in CART, but with the future of the open-wheel series in the air, he hasn't closed the door on stock car racing for NASCAR. "There's an option (to go to NASCAR) if I want it," Tracy said Friday. "I'd like to stay in CART, but we'll have to see. By the end of September, we'd like to know what's going to happen." Publicly traded CART has been bleeding money this year and may not be able to run a full slate of races in 2004. However, a group headed by Gerald Forsythe, the co-owner of Tracy's Player's-Forsythe team, is seeking to buy the series, take it private and try to revive it with an infusion of cash. "They've been talking about it for six months," said Tracy. "I don't have six months to wait and see if there's going to be a series."

8/23/03
F3000

Bell outqualifies Wirdheim in Hungary  Townsend Bell matched his best performance of the season by qualifying fourth for Saturday’s F3000 race in Hungary. He also outqualified teammate Bjorn Wirdheim for the first time this year, and was just 0.058s away from second place and a front row slot. Vitantonio Liuzzi took his first pole, ahead of Giorgio Pantano, Patrick Friesacher, Townsend and Wirdheim. The race promises to be interesting as pit stops are compulsory for the first time. Drivers must come in sometime after the eighth lap and change all four tires. Only four crew members are allowed to take part. However, budget problems at various teams have dropped the field size to just 14 cars. Townsend was happy with his day’s work: “We were fourth in Austria, but we’ re closer to being second here. It’s pretty tight. I got blocked by Jaroslav Janis. As usual he came out of the pits on cold tires and crawled on the racing line. It’s happened five times this year, and luckily other people saw it this time. “I’m reasonably happy though. In the first session I was a little out of adjustment – this track is a tricky deal. I don’t think it’s one of my favorites, but it’s OK. I had time to think about it and come back, and it worked out well in qualifying. I’ve been working on my starts, but we’re on the dirty side of the track. I think it could be a sketchy first corner, because everyone will be running up the inside, and there will be no grip. It’s really dirty there. Everyone’s got to be careful there, but I’m sure not everyone will be! Now we’ve got pit stops, so the whole thing is thrown wide open.” Townsend admits that his Champcar experience could be useful: “I think it helps a little bit. Just the technicalities of coming into the pitlane and getting down to the speed limit. We don’t have a limiter button so it’s going to be tricky. You’ve got to control it with your foot and look at your dash! In these cars you can go to 55 to 75kph scratching your toe against the pedal… The out lap on cold tires is pretty important, and I’m generally good there.” Meanwhile he is greatly looking forward to his first F1 test outing with BAR early next month. “I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity and it’s very interesting how much closer I am to an F1 opportunity by being here than I was last year in Champcars. It’s hammered home the point that I did the right thing by coming here. F3000 is a great series for exposure. The BAR test is a small step but it’s a helluva lot closer than we’ve been. I’m really looking forward to it.” New champion Wirdheim’s final run was spoiled by traffic on his vital first lap. When he pushed harder on his third lap to try and get a time he went off the track, and was thus unable to improve. However, he is confident of a good run on Saturday. “I just pushed a little bit too hard,” he said. “I didn’t get the most out of the car. We only did four laps to keep the tires fresh for the race. I know that we are better prepared for the pit stops than a lot of other teams, because I’ve never seen them practice. We always do pit stop practice on the Thursday evenings of GP weekends because it can always rain.” Wirdheim also has the benefit of being on the cleaner outside line at the start. Times
1. V Liuzzi…1m36.092s
2. G Pantano…1m36.563s
3. P Friesacher…1m36.614s
4. T Bell…1m36.621s
5. B Wirdheim…1m36.649s
6. R Sperafico…1m36.655s
7. J Janis…1m36.656s
8. E Toccacelo…1m36.879s
9. Z Baumgartner…1m36.881s
10. T Schmidt…1m37.272s

8/23/03

Team Cheever struggling, may be at crossroads  According to this Indy Star article, The changing of the Indy Racing League's driver lineup started this week when Sam Hornish Jr. announced he would leave Panther Racing at the end of the season. Next to change cars? Maybe Buddy Rice at Cheever Racing. While Rice said Friday that he knew of no imminent plans to move on, team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. said a shakeup at the struggling team will be made if things don't go well in Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway. Cheever is under pressure to keep Red Bull as a sponsor, and Rice continued to struggle on short tracks Friday. He was 20th among 21 cars at 157.593 mph, quicker only than Jaques Lazier, who crashed without injury seven laps into the morning session. Tomas Scheckter was quickest at 169.888 mph with Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, CART's winner here in 2000, second at 167.635. Qualifying is today. "We've got a knot between our engineering staff and our driver," Cheever said. "We're going to have to make a pretty dramatic change if it doesn't get better in this race." Cheever said Rice had the third-fastest car in last week's race at Kentucky Speedway, but Rice finished 11th. Rice said the Dallara/Chevrolet was a handful in the St. Louis race on Aug. 10. He finished 14th, seven laps behind. "I had the (steering) wheel completely crossed up," Rice said. "I just kept saying, 'Ohhhhh.' Rice refused to argue with Cheever in the media. "Obviously, we all feel we should be running better," he said. "It's been one of those trying years."

8/23/03

Firman injured in big shunt, Baumgartner to replace him   UPDATE According to this Autosport article, Zsolt Baumgartner will make a surprise appearance for Jordan in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, after the Formula 1 Commission approved a super license for the driver to replace Ralph Firman, who was injured in a high-speed practice crash this morning. Firman has suffered a cracked heel bone in the crash, caused when the rear wing fell off his Jordan, and has been ruled out of participating in the race. This clears the way for the Hungarian Formula 3000 star to make his debut, despite the fact that he does not currently hold an F1 super license. The Permanent Bureau of the Formula 1 Commission has approved the application for a Super License for Baumgartner and the stewards of the meeting, under the circumstances, have chosen to waive the 14-day application rule. As well as his heel injury, Firman suffered a concussion in the accident, which could obviously have implications for his continued tenure of the second Jordan for the remaining three races after Hungary. Describing the crash, Firman said: "All I remember is suddenly I could tell something had happened - the car sped up and felt different but I didn't know why and then almost instantly I was spearing off the track. I can't really remember anything between that and then being in the ambulance but more of it is starting to come back. I feel absolutely great in the circumstances and I'm just disappointed for the team and for myself that I'm missing this race." Team boss Eddie Jordan said: "Ralph is going to stay in the hospital under observation for 24 hours, which is perfectly routine. Sid Watkins, the FIA medical delegate, reported that Ralph made a very quick recovery."  8/23/03 - Autosport reports, Jordan rookie Ralph Firman suffered a huge crash in the first Saturday practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, bringing out the red flags after just 15 minutes.  The huge accident occurred when the rear wing failed on the Briton's car on the straight before turn five, a fourth gear left-hander preceded by a flat-out kink to the right, taken at roughly 175mph. As Firman turned into the kink, his wing-less Jordan snapped right, where it skated backwards across the grass verge at the side of the turn four gravel trap, dissipating little of its speed.  Firman's machine then spun sideways on before it slammed with massive force into the barriers. A measure of the impact was that the crash barrier was bent out of shape in the incident, and a number of nearby photographers had a lucky escape as tyres and the barrier awning flew in all directions.  The rookie then waited in his wrecked Jordan until a medical team arrived, who assisted him out of the car. Looking understandably shaken, Firman was able to walk to a stretcher, where he was checked by members of the FIA medical team.   More....

8/23/03

Final Hungary practice - It's Ralf  
Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m21.939s
2 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m22.313s
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m22.467s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m22.494s
5 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m22.848s
6 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m22.876s
7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m22.902s
8 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m23.074s
9 David Coulthard McLaren 1m23.293s
10 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m23.789s
11 Jenson Button BAR 1m23.805s
12 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m23.838s
13 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m23.853s
14 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m24.006s
15 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m24.154s
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m24.343s
17 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m24.401s
18 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m26.498s
19 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m27.295s
20 Ralph Firman Jordan

8/23/03

Latest F1 news items  Click here

McLaren Confirm Coulthard, Raikkonen
BAR Agree To Race In Canada Without Logos
Canadian F1 Delegation Making Progress
Wurz Withdraws From 'Silly Season' '04
Jacques Still In Running For BAR Seat
Jordan Linked To Russian Billionaire
Kimi, Rubens, Escape German Crash Penalty
Montoya's Coming, But DC Still Unruffled
Wilson Tops Long List For Jaguar Seat
Irvine Says FIA 'Reeks' Of Manipulation
Mixed Review For Hungary's New F1 Layout
Jordan Vows Campaign For Cheaper F1 Engine
Richards Eyes Personal Stake In BAR Team
Jordan Takes Back Seat On 'Silly-Season' 

8/23/03

Quick word in Hungary paddock   F1 driver JENSON BUTTON stepped into his BAR-Honda on Friday wearing a huge smile.  Instead of his name on the cockpit cowling, the sticker read 'Louise's Boyfriend.'  The Englishman wore a badge with the aforementioned tag when his girlfriend appeared on a BBC music talent show recently.

Minardi newcomer GIANMARIA BRUNI is enjoying his time in the Formula One limelight.  The Italian again drove the PS03 in Hungarian morning testing on Friday.  'It went very well,' he said.  'My times were okay, especially as I don't know the circuit and we had only soft tyres available.'  Bruni will drive again at Monza, and also at the pre-GP tests, also at the Autodromo.

Bridgestone technical manager HISAO SUGANUMA admits that all partner teams 'suffered with track conditions' in Hungary on Friday.  'I think it will be better in the race but we've yet to see in Saturday's practices.'  Ferrari's ROSS BRAWN said neither driver had a 'nice balance' for first qualifying.

Four COSWORTH V10 engines, two for Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella, blew up on the first day of this Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.  Tony Purnell, Ford's F1 boss, said 'I've received no technical reports, but without doubt we had a number of problems this morning and it is not the kind of performance that any engine manufacturer would be proud of.'  Eddie Jordan, who pays up to $20m a year for the powerplants, added: 'It's disappointing to say the least.'

8/22/03

Waltrip wins Food City 250   Making good on a promise, Michael Waltrip did his best to stand on his head after winning the Food City 250 Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night. Waltrip survived the headstand and the competition as the 250-lap event was slowed by 13 cautions for 73 laps. Ron Hornaday finished second, 1.501 seconds back followed by Ted Musgrave, Shane Hmiel and Kevin Harvick. Scott Riggs stretched his lead in the yearlong point battle to 28 over second place David Green. Riggs finished ninth while Green struggled early, finishing 17th, the first car one lap down.  Stan Creekmore

8/22/03

Correction   In speaking to one of Kevin Kalkhoven's business partners today, Pierre Wildman, he wanted us to relay the message that the CART Board had not rejected Open Wheel Racing Series LLC's offer of $0.50 per share for CART stock. The CART Board did not accept it, yet, and they are in negotiations with the bidders, but they definitely did not reject it.

8/22/03

Maia takes provisional pole   2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion Leo Maia had to dig deep to take the provisional pole position in first qualifying as he bested Memo Rojas in a duel with a lap time of 1.42.204 seconds on the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. David Martinez and Dan Di Leo demonstrated how tightly matched the Barber Dodge Pro Series cars are as they scored the exact same time with a 1:42.631 second lap. Martinez earned the third position over Di Leo as his second fastest lap was faster than Di Leo's second fastest lap. Nelson Philippe scored fifth on the provisional grid, with Ward Imrie impressing with his sixth place effort. Mid-Ohio podium finisher Antoine Bessette took seventh as German Quiroga took eighth. Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine racer Salvador Duran qualified ninth, with Rookie of the Year contender Colin Fleming taking tenth. The top ten qualifiers were separated by less than one second.  Top 10:
1/6/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, Calif./01:42.204/95.421
2/15/Memo Rojas/Mexico City, Mexico/01:42.304/95.328
3/47/David Martinez L./Monterrey, Mexico/01:42.631/95.024
4/19/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario, Canada/01:42.631/95.024
5/26/Nelson Philippe/Valence, France/01:42.864/94.809
6/23/Ward Imrie/Winnipeg, Manitoba/01:42.981/94.701
7/16/Antoine Bessette/St. Bruno, Quebec/01:43.068/94.621
8/33/German Quiroga/Mexico City, Mexico/01:43.076/94.614
9/82/Salvador Duran/Cuernavaca, Mexico/01:43.092/94.599
10/28/Colin Fleming/North Hills, Calif./01:43.159/94.538

8/22/03

Model exposes Jeff Gordon in Playboy   This Atlanta Journal Constitution article says, Jeff Gordon thought he had put the tabloid-aspect of his personal life behind him. Suddenly, it has reappeared in his rear-view mirror. The woman who allegedly had an affair with Gordon that led to a breakup of the driver's storybook marriage is telling all -- and showing all -- in the October issue of Playboy, which hits news stands today. Deanna Merryman, who says she first met Gordon while working at a Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach, Fla., in 2000, told the magazine she didn't recognize the NASCAR star at first, though her friends did. "I said, 'What's going on? He's this short little dude," she told the magazine. Merryman, who also poses nude in the magazine, said she at first declined Gordon's invitations to lunch, but a year later they began an 11-month affair. She said Gordon, who previously had a straight-laced image, "became a wild man." "He got married when he was 23 and has been on the race track since he was a kid," she said in the interview. "He used to tell me all the time that he never had a chance to have fun." Gordon's public relations agent declined to comment, but said the driver would be available for interviews today. Merryman, who once worked as an exotic dancer and had small roles on "Baywatch" and "Veronica's Closet," said Gordon left her for another model. "Right before my birthday, I found out he was meeting her at the beach," she said. For years Jeff and Brooke Gordon were the "first couple" of the Winston Cup circuit. They met in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway, where Gordon was a rookie driver and she was a "Miss Winston." They were married in 1994, and were almost inseparable until their split early last year. Court papers filed by Brooke said the marriage was "irretrievably broken as a result of the husband's marital misconduct." Their divorce was finalized in June.

8/22/03

Toyota's top Friday practice at Nazareth  Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon led IndyCar Series practice session Aug. 22 at Nazareth Speedway. Scheckter posted the fastest lap in his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone at 19.8131 seconds, 169.888 mph. Dixon was second fastest at 19.9223, 168.956 mph in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

8/22/03

Werner fastest at Road America  The Infineon Team Joest Audi continued its recent roll of success in the American Le Mans Series Friday by setting the fastest time of the day in unofficial testing for Sunday’s Road America 500. Marco Werner, making his first appearance at the four-mile circuit, turned a lap of 1:54.298 in the Audi R8 he will share with fellow German driver Frank Biela. The two drivers have taken the overall win in the past two ALMS races and took the LMP 900 class win in the third most recent event. Setting the second-fastest time overall, and leading the LMP 675 class, was the Intersport Lola EX257-MG of Duncan Dayton, who was clocked at 1:55.374. Dayton will co-drive in the event with Jon Field. "It's a great track with some very interesting and fast corners,” said Werner. “I like this kind of road courses. I never drove at Road America before, but I never have problems to learn a new track. It usually takes me four or five laps, then I'm there. Every lap I found something where I could improve, and I did it the next lap. It was nice to be faster every lap, setting the fastest lap in my last timed lap." “The Intersport car is good,” said Dayton. “We have a slight push in some of the corners, and if we can dial that out, it will be terrific. But we’re there. After the problems we had at the last race, it’s great to be second overall.” Third-fastest overall and second in LMP 900 was the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto at 1:55.391, followed by the Dyson Racing Lola-MG of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger at 1:56.361. The Dyson entry was also second-fastest in the P675 class. Rounding out the top five in the unofficial session was the Panoz LMP01 of Gunnar Jeannette and Benjamin Leuenberger for JML Team Panoz at . The production-based GTS and GT classes were very fast during the two-hour session, with the fastest driver in each class setting an unofficial track record. Ron Fellows turned a lap of 2:03.421 in the factory Chevrolet Corvette C5-R at the end of the session to lead the GTS class, the lap unofficially breaking the track GTS record of 2:03.812 that Fellows set last year in the inaugural ALMS event at Road America. He and co-driver Johnny O’Connell will be seeking their fourth class win of the season in Sunday’s race. “This is a track that I’ve always liked,” said Fellows, who won at Road America during his Trans-Am career. “We’re working really hard to be ready to race on Sunday. It’s going to be a tough battle between us and the Ferraris.”   ALMS

8/22/03

Menard withdraws from Nazareth  The carnage continues.  Jaques Lazier hit the wall in practice at Nazareth today and John Menard told the team to pack up and go home for the weekend.  The expense of running in the IRL, both in terms of injured drivers and damaged cars continues to mount, and when a wealthy owner like Menard calls it quits again, you know even he is getting tired of opening his wallet. 

8/22/03

CART stock watch  In NYSE trading today MPH closed UP $0.11 p/shr or 9.82% to $1.23 p/shr on Volume of 225,900 shares.
More than half the total volume traded in the last 40 minutes of the session.
Low/High of Session: $1.10/$1.29
NYSE DOWN 74.81 or 0.79% on Volume of 1.56B shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 12.24 or 0.69%
S&P 500 DOWN 10.22 or 1.02%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/22/03

Valiante takes provisional pole  Lynx driver Michael Valiante took provisional pole for this weekend's Toyota Atlantic race in Montreal.  RuSport driver Aaron Justice was 2nd and Danica Patrick 3rd, one of her best efforts of the year.
Pos Driver Car# Team Lap Time
1 Michael Valiante 19 Lynx Racing 1:33.225
2 Aaron Justus 3 RuSPORT 1:33.781
3 Danica Patrick 24 Team Rahal 1:33.870
4 Luis Diaz 33 Dorricott Racing 1:33.972
5 Ryan Dalziel 28 Sierra Sierra Enterprises 1:34.162
6 Joey Hand 27 DSTP Motorsports 1:34.231
7 Alex Figge 69 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:34.468
8 Kyle Krisiloff 7 Sierra Sierra Enterprises 1:34.522
9 Jonathan Macri 84 Polestar Atlantic LLC 1:34.622
10 Stephan C. Roy 16 P-1 Racing 1:34.956
11 Alex Garcia 9 Transnet Racing 1:35.886
12 Bryan Sellers 17 Lynx Racing 1:36.023
13 Eric Jensen 2 Starwood Team Jensen 1:37.009

8/22/03

ALMS = IRL in TV ratings  Both on network TV in the same time slot last Sunday, ALMS on NBC at Mosport and IRL on ABC at Kentucky. One would have thought that the ALMS could not equal the IRL in TV ratings given all the IRL PR.   Both came in with identical 0.8 final ratings.  For the IRL the 0.8 represents a drop of 11.1% and continues their drop in ratings all year long.  The series certainly is NOT growing, and if anything, is in serious decline.

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%)

Kentucky (ABC) 0.8 (Down 11.1%)

8/22/03

CART Board to meet   AR1 has learned that the CART Board will hold a special session tomorrow (in NY City we hear) and we can only assume the topic of conversation will be the continued negotiations with Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, or perhaps another bid was received.   We have to wonder if all the recent Board member resignations have something to do with it. Robert Biggs resigned citing 'personal circumstances'. The senior accountant's decision to quit will raise eyebrows due to his close involvement with the finances of CART and will pour further fuel on the fire which suggests a CART takeover bid may fail reports Sportsbusiness.com. It comes just one day after Derrick Walker quit, claiming concerns over a conflict of interest. It was Walker who brought Biggs in. Said one source to sportbusiness.com about Biggs' decision to quit: "Given his accounting and finance background and his experience with public companies it would appear to be a significant development. Looks like he came, he saw and he fled."   Hmm.....

8/22/03

Busch angers media at press conference   Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie Ford, started his press conference Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway apologizing from the events of last weekend at Michigan Int’l Speedway involving himself and fellow driver Jimmy Spencer. He finished the conference in a smug manner after blaming the media for a year of negative publicity culminating in the Michigan affair. “I hate it that Jimmy (Spencer) is not here this weekend,” said Busch. “He’s a tough competitor just like I am. I hate it for the Spencer fans and for my fans, for both our sponsors and teams that Jimmy and I finished the day like we did last Sunday. Those kinds of situations are not good for our sport and send the wrong kind of message about what kind of people we are.” Then Busch proceeded to show what kind of person he is, at least within the racing arena. “I’d like to say something about racing now because it’s clear that not everyone knows what happens on the race track every week. There isn’t a race that goes by where someone doesn’t employ a racing tactic like Jimmy and I did to one another last week at Michigan. At a super speedway, you might try to take a guy’s air off his spoiler or loosen him up, or you might try to knock his fender in and make his car push."  Full story by Stan Creekmore/AR1

8/22/03

Norwalk Furniture & Team Rahal to run Fogarty   Team Rahal, a leading open-wheel racing team in North America, and Norwalk Furniture Company, a leading manufacturer of premium home furnishings, announced a partnership today for Norwalk to be the primary sponsor for a second car in the Team Rahal Toyota Atlantic program for the final two races of the 2003 season. Jon Fogarty, the champion of the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship season, will return to the series and run the #1 Norwalk Furniture/Toyota Swift for Team Rahal.   More....

8/22/03

Time is running out   A reader writes, Dear Friends at AR1, Every day that goes by without any more information either good or bad regarding the future ownership prospects, I feel that time is indeed running out. With the lowball initial offer from Open Wheel Racing Series LLC (OWR), there has not been anymore movement from any of the interested parties. The time to secure sponsorship is now and I am afraid that by the time that when any further offers and/or acceptance of an offer occur, there may not be any sponsor dollars left to go around. There seems to be a fuse lit somewhere that is quickly burning that will lead to an ultimate explosion of the racing series that I so love. Will a white knight ride in to clip the fuse at the last minute and save the day, or is it all too late? I hope that CART does survive and prosper, but with each passing minute, the fuse keeps burning closer to the end. Dan Wilk, Grosse Pointe Park, MI  Dear Dan, Although the folks at CART may not like what I wrote recently, time is indeed of the essence.  Mark C.

8/22/03

Busy week for Fittipaldi   Even with his extensive CART and Formula One experience, #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driver Christian Fittipaldi has been through a challenging week. He completed two days of testing at the demanding 1.33-mile Darlington (S.C.) Raceway earlier this week, and begins racing the high banks of the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway – where he tested last week – this afternoon. Fittipaldi, a rookie on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, is completing two consecutive weeks of testing and racing. He entered the week having never driven a lap at Darlington and heads into this weekend’s event having never raced at Bristol. He does have two days of testing under his belt at Bristol. The thoughts of Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driver Christian Fittipaldi heading into this weekend: “Everyone has been very busy here at Petty Enterprises, but especially with this Cheerios team. I think anytime you drive a car that has a yellow stripe on the rear you need to get as much time on the track as possible. The last two weeks we’ve tested at two tracks (Darlington and Bristol) that are very new to me. Now we are ready to take what we’ve learned and apply it, starting here at Bristol.  This is not mission impossible. Sure, I had never driven at Darlington and this will be my first race at Bristol, but the last two weeks have been nothing but planning for what’s coming up. It was important for me to get to these tracks and test before I had to race them. It was really important that we had good tests, and we did have two good ones. I think it would be a different story if we didn’t get a chance to test these tracks. They are both challenging tracks, but we left Bristol last week feeling good about our progress. The same holds true earlier this week at Darlington. We learned a lot and are looking forward to next week.  I have learned a lot the past two weeks and that learning process isn’t going to stop. I am going to keep learning today and tomorrow night. I will be learning more at Darlington. I think the tests are great, but racing against the competition is the best way to learn. I’ve grown up in open wheel racing and have had to learn to adjust, but this is different. In open wheel racing maybe you had one or two teams that could put you in the top five each week. In NASCAR every team is competitive and anyone can be up front on any given week. Petty Enterprises is doing everything they can to give this team the resources we need to win. Gary (crew chief Gary Putnam) and the guys on this team have been just as busy as I have been, if not more so. We haven’t had any off weekends lately. They have been doing double-duty preparing cars for the races and then cars to go test. We haven’t been home much. The guys who go to the track each weekend are the same ones who have been going testing. Everyone has done an awesome job the past couple of weeks helping to get us prepared for these tough tracks. We’ve all been working together and have been moving forward. It has made things a lot easier when everyone is working together as a group.  I have had busy weeks in my career in the past, but these last two weeks have really, really been busy. I think we’re ready to reap some of the rewards that we’ve been working so hard for. The guys deserve it, but they also know that there is more work ahead as well. It's part of the game and the way it is here in NASCAR. It’s different, but it’s important that we work as hard as we can to get to the front.”

8/22/03

CART fans optimistic in Montreal   This Canadian Press article says, Motor racing fans will have one eye on the Montreal Molson Indy and the other trained across the Atlantic to the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. While Canadian drivers Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani take to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the first qualifying session for the CART's Molson Indy on Friday, a Canadian delegation will be lobbying Formula One officials to try to save the Canadian Grand Prix. Last year, the Grand Prix drew more than 300,000 spectators, nearly twice the attendance at the inaugural Montreal Molson Indy on the same track. But it is the glamorous F1 race that is in danger. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone struck the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2004 calendar due to a federal ban on tobacco advertising that would bar five of the 10 teams from showing their sponsors' logos........... A group headed by Player's team co-owner Gerry Forsythe has offered to buy the publicly traded series and make it a private company, with new financing and new determination to make open-wheel street racing succeed in the U.S., where NASCAR rules. The new owners, if they succeed, are expected to drop the least popular races and concentrate on the most successful ones, which include the Molson Indys in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. ``CART is in a good situation now,'' said Tagliani, whose team owner Paul Gentilozzi is part of the Forsythe group. ``If people want to invest in it, it's because they know it's not going down. ``Paul and the others want to invest in it because they know the potential is there. All the races we'll have next year, I can guarantee you, will be the ones where we have full stands and that's important.'' Craig Pollock, the man of many hats, played a part in bringing together the partners looking to buy the CART series. Pollock and Forsythe are part owners of the BAR Formula One team, which has Jacques Villeneuve of Iberville, Que., as its lead driver. Pollock is also co-owner of the CART team PK Racing with Kevin Kalkhoven, another member of the group. ``There's definitely a need and a niche for open-wheel racing in North America,'' said Pollock, who is also Villeneuve's manager and co-owns a Montreal restaurant with Villeneuve called Newtown. ``The Indy Racing League has a brand that concentrates on oval (tracks). ``Champ Car (CART) still wants a mix of road, street and oval tracks. It has worked in the past and there's no reason that, with the right direction and funding, it can't work in the future. ``I think these people want it to survive and they're confident they can make that happen. They're top businessmen and they have a vision of the future.'' Montreal has the only circuit on which F1 and CART races compete on an identical track. At the first Montreal Molson Indy last year, CART cars, lacking the expensive gearing and braking systems of the F1 machines, were about six seconds per lap slower. Still, the race drew more than 170,000 spectators for three days of racing. As he did last year, race organizer Jean-Paul Blais refused to say how many tickets have been sold, saying that attendance would only be announced after the race on Sunday. The CART event does not fill the city's hotels with American, Asian and European tourists quite like the Grand Prix, and the downtown streets and bars aren't awash in team colours. A public news conference on a downtown street corner Thursday featuring Tagliani and a handful of other drivers drew only a smattering a fans. But good weather is forecast and attendance is expected to be strong. ``It's my first year at a CART race in Montreal, but already I see a big difference,'' said Pollock. ``There's a Formula One frenzy and I don't feel a CART frenzy. ``I think there'll be a lot of people out for the race, but there isn't the same fever about it.''

8/22/03

Hungary practice 1 - Toyota draws first blood Olivier Panis and Toyota shook up the Formula 1 establishment today with a stunning lap time that was over half a second clear of everyone, including the heavily-tipped Renaults, at the Hungaroring. Jarno Trulli was second fastest for the French team, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams. Michael Schumacher was only ninth.

8/22/03

Thursday Press Conference from Hungary DRIVERS: Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS) and Mark WEBBER (JAGUAR)  Transcript

8/22/03

Latest F1 news items 

Schumacher Thanks FIA's Court Of Appeal
Massa On Cusp Of Formula One Return
Turkey 'Guaranteed' Formula One Race
Trulli Loses Virus, Gains New F1 Contract
Canada's 5 Percent Chance Of F1 Race
Kimi And Rubens Face Stewards On Friday
Schu Pipes In On German Crash Saga
Michael's Rivals In Fighting Mood For Spoils
Webber Predicts 'Tough' Finish To Season
Ford To Stumble Out F1's Back Door?
F1 Aces Defensive Over Ringmaster's Criticism
Teammate 'Doesn't Need Help,' Says Ralf
F1 Should Ban Rear Mirrors, Says Jacques
Schu: No Panic Despite Waning Chances

8/21/03

Robby Gordon to field IRL entry in Indy 500  In this Sports Illustrated Q&A session, NASCAR driver Robby Gordon says he will enter a car himself in the 2004 Indy 500 and also run the Coca Cola 600 on the same day.  Robby, congratulations on winning your third Winston Cup event. I am really proud of the way you have moved up the ranks this year. Question: Do you think you will eventually consider moving back into open-wheel, IRL style racing in the future? Do you believe you are still the one to beat each year at Indy? --Randy Wingert I don't know. Probably not as a driver, not the way my Winston Cup career is going at the current time. However, you really never know. Stranger things have happened. I am going to do the double again next year, running both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600. I am planning to run Indy as a driver and owner.  Robby Gordon

8/21/03

Why are CART Board members resigning?   A reader writes, Dear AR1, Mario Andretti and another Board member (His name I forget) resigned from the CART Board in July.  This week Derrick Walker resigned and today Robert Biggs resigned after just joining the Board in May.  What does this all mean?  Julie Hooper, New Brunswick, NJ  Dear Julie, At first blush, one might think they are leaving because new owners are coming in and they will appoint an all new Board.  However, when a company is being sold, typically the Board members stick around to work through the deal. With them all jumping ship, it probably means they are running scared from something, most likely a potential shareholder lawsuit.  Notice in today's press release, there was not the typical Thank You from the President, CEO and Board Chairman, Chris Pook, meaning he probably left on not so friendly terms.  However, if something was done that was illegal while he/they were there, they are still going to be held accountable, but at least they won't be party to the final buyout agreement, which in itself could be a liability. CART has insurance to cover Board members and management for lawsuits against the company, however, if illegal actions were done, the insurance policy becomes void and does not cover the guilty parties.  It's difficult to pierce the corporate veil and tap into the personal assets of all the defendants, but that is getting easier in this post-Enron era.  If the shareholder lawsuit becomes a class-action suit, a lot of personal wealth can change hands before it's all over. Another reason for a resignation might be a possible conflict of interest.  For example, if Derrick Walker has decided to run, say a Chevy effort, in the IRL next year, that would be deemed a conflict of interest by the Board, so perhaps he has decided to do something like that and is getting off the Board now before he makes the announcement. Mark C.

8/21/03

Watkins Glen keeps eye on IRL  This Star Gazette article says, Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust has made that appeal to the Indy Racing League (IRL) ever since he took over the reigns of the Schuyler County facility in March of 2002. "I told them it's a good fit for them, especially with the history of the track," Rust said. One snag in a possible partnership is that the IRL competes exclusively on oval tracks. That was the philosophy of series founder Tony George when he initiated the series in 1996. But changes are ahead, and IRL officials said last month they are making preliminary plans to add road course races to the schedule, perhaps as early as 2005. "It's great news," Rust said. "Even before that announcement was made I had said to the IRL I'd like them to visit the facility and tell us what we would need to do to host a race, in preparation if they ever make the decision to go road racing." Rust said he asked Brian Barnhart, who's vice president of operations for the IRL, or someone else from the organization to come to the Glen. "They have committed to visiting the Glen and to come up and take a look around," said Rust, who said that might happen this fall. Before that, Rust's fact-finding mission and sales pitch will kick into gear when he meets with IRL officials during the series' event at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway this weekend. The Glen and Nazareth, which are both owned by International Speedway Corp., share the same marketing staff. Rust is president of the Pennsylvania oval track. "The Watkins Glen management have a relationship with the IRL because of our Nazareth ties," Rust said. "I'll talk to them then and I'll try to gauge what they are looking to do with road courses." While Rust was excited about the IRL's intention to go road racing, he is aware that the Glen is still going to be a tough sell because the series has many other road-racing opportunities at other tracks. "There have been no promises they would race here," Rust said. "I just want the facility to be ready for when they make that decision to add road races. We'll do what we need to do to get the place ready. They could make that decision (to add road races) and decide Watkins Glen is not right for them." Former WGI President Bryan Sperber spent several years trying to lure Championship Auto Racing Teams to the Glen. Officials from that series visited the track at least twice in the late 1990s. Nothing developed from those discussions, partly because CART's first priority was to add races at temporary street courses. Also, the Glen would have needed significant upgrades to meet CART's criteria for hosting a race.

8/21/03

Hard rain tires for Montreal   Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 592 dry-condition and 324 wet-condition Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per Champ Car World Series regulations, Bridgestone brings a single dry-tire specification and a single wet-tire spec, allowing every driver equal footing on the racetrack.  * Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives seven sets of slicks (28 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport engineers have chosen their most popular road-course tire specification for this weekend. It contains the compound formula with the most grip (i.e., "softest") and was previously run this season at Brands Hatch, Laguna Seca, Portland and Mid-Ohio. The same compound/construction combination also was utilized last year at Montreal. * Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone has two rain-tire specifications at its disposal, one for the faster permanent road circuits and another for the slower, tighter street courses. The road-course rain tire (i.e. the hard one, the same ones the drivers were afraid to race with in the rain at Road America) is available this weekend if needed.

8/21/03

Turkish GP track groundbreaking  According to this Grandprix.com article, The Turkish authorities were due to start work on the construction of an F1 track in July but the groundbreaking ceremony was delayed. That has now been rescheduled for September 10 and it is anticipated that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be present. The Turkish government has confirmed its support for the program and a deal for a race in 2005 is due to be signed later this month.

8/21/03

Mercedes-Benz to house engine program at Ilmor  According to this Autoweek article, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport plans to house its F1 engine program under one roof at Ilmor Engineering in Brixworth, U.K. Rumor has it the DaimlerChrysler brand is about to assume 100 percent ownership of Ilmor, which is expected to be renamed, and operations in Stuttgart will then be disbanded. The move is seen as an attempt to achieve closer integration of the chassis, engine and electronic departments serving the McLaren Mercedes F1 team. McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh will now have more overall responsibility. The new structure will operate under the leadership of Ilmor founder Mario Illien, managing director Hans-Ullrich Maik, former BMW F1 project leader Werner Laurenz, and the head of the Stuttgart division, Hans-Peter Kollmeier.

8/21/03

Announcement coming from Team Rahal   Team Rahal has scheduled a press conference for this Friday at 12:15 PM in Montreal to make a key announcement.  AR1 will be there to cover it for you.

8/21/03

CART Stock Watch    In NYSE trading today MPH closed UP $0.07 p/shr or 6.67% at $1.12 p/shr on Volume of 50,900 shares.
Low/High of Session: $1.00/$1.15
NYSE UP 26.17 or 0.28% on Volume of 1.69B shares.
NASDAQ UP 17.01 or 0.97%
S&P 500 UP 0.92 or 0.09%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

8/21/03

Sharpie renews thru 2008  Sharpie®, the popular brand of permanent markers, today announced at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) that the brand is extending its sponsorship of the NASCAR Winston Cup night race held in August, the Sharpie 500, through 2008. The announcement comes just two days before the running of the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 23, the third-year of the sponsorship. The race is considered by many to be the premiere NASCAR Winston Cup event on the 36-race schedule and features the short track excitement that Bristol consistently delivers, all under the lights. "Our commitment to Bristol and the millions of race fans across the country and around the world means more than just a sponsorship extension," said Bob Parker, president of the Sharpie Group. Speedway Motorsports, Inc. purchased BMS and nearly tripled the seating capacity to its current 160,000 since 1996. The Speedway added 150 suites, new restroom, concession and souvenir buildings, and more elevators than any other property in the state of Tennessee. Despite the growth, demand for tickets to the Sharpie 500 remains higher than for any other event on the NASCAR tour.

8/21/03

Barrichello & Raikkonen summoned  After reviewing data related to the Ralf Schumacher appeal, Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen have been summoned by German race officials.  Apparently some of the blame for the accident may shift to one or both of these two drivers.

8/21/03

More on Bernie withdraws bid for CART    This Toronto Sun article is further proof that Bernie Ecclestone pulled the rug out from under CART.  Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has withdrawn his bid to buy the troubled CART Champ Car World Series. As first reported in The Toronto Sun at the end of the 2002 season, Ecclestone had approached CART team owners Gerry Forsythe, Craig Pollock and series CEO Chris Pook with a deal to take control of the North American open wheel racing group and turn it into a feeder system for F-1. Ecclestone has been involved in negotiations with those principals and others ever since in an effort to gain majority interest in CART. But when Forsythe joined with other investors this week to make an offer for the series, Ecclestone's interest waned. "I have withdrawn my offer to buy the series," Ecclestone said from Britain. The new bid by the Forsythe group put the value of CART at a mere $7.4 million US and although the series has sufficient funding to survive the rest of this season, it is unlikely to carry on into 2004 unless organizers borrow money from outside sources. Forsythe partners -- Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Gentilozzi and Carl Russo -- all have deep enough pockets to keep CART going for 2004 and beyond. They are offering to buy all the outstanding shares in the company for 50 cents a share. CART shares closed yesterday at $1.05 on the New York Stock Exchange, down 12.5% from Tuesday. Forsythe has turned his 22.9% share of the series over to the group -- calling itself Open Wheel Racing Series LLC. They have agreed to provide $15 million in capital as soon as the deal is approved by shareholders. Based on the success of the Toronto Molson Indy and its Canadian cousins in Vancouver and Montreal, the group has indicated it intends to increase the number of street races. If the takeover goes ahead the series will be run by a "board of managers" consisting of Forsythe, Kalkhoven and Gentilozzi. CART is in Montreal this weekend for the final of its three Canadian stops this season. Toronto's Paul Tracy, who has won both the Toronto and Vancouver events this year, is hoping to become the first Canadian triple crown winner.

8/21/03

Montreal looks at IRL & NASCAR  NASCAR and the IRL IndyCar Series could become the keynote events at Canada's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve if it loses its Formula 1 and Champ Car race meetings. In an exclusive interview in this week's AUTOSPORT magazine, Montreal circuit boss Normand Legault vowed to find other attractions to ensure the track's survival if the grand prix is lost. The Canadian Grand Prix seems almost certain to be axed given the Ottawa government's unwillingness to compromise on anti-tobacco advertising laws. The legislation is also expected to affect the circuit's Champ Car race. Legault said: “There are various alternatives. We could look at bikes or maybe the IRL – should it decide to do road courses. We could even try to convince NASCAR to come here. They have road races on their calendar, so who knows?”

8/21/03
Industry News

Allow tobacco advertising to continue  UPDATE A reader responds, Dear AR1, I thought I would comment on the note J.N. Anderson of Chicago, Illinois made, at the same time thank you for regularly providing clarity out of a relatively complicated situation. Regarding J.N.'s comments about Canada and its democratic nature and lobby groups. Of course Canada is democratic as shown by the overwhelming lack of support for the US led attack on Iraq (I don't know how to soften the idea that the US attacked Iraq sorry - yes I know Saddam was a dangerous evil man). Canadian politicians did not follow the US and Britain because the people of Canada made it clear they did not agree with what was happening. When it comes to the racing world J.N. must understand something. It is a numbers game. I am a huge racing fan (primarily CART and F1). However, of my close friends, none of them can understand my (and my wife's) love for the sport. That said. The population just doesn't care about racing. Sure there is great support for the individual races but it is not a cultural phenomena like NASCAR. Canada is anti-smoking not anti-racing. The general public just don't get racing. They do however get that tobacco kills. So why would they care that Players is going to have to close its racing doors. It is that simple. As you stated this is not a surprise to the tobacco industry. For years (I think 5) they knew this day was coming. The same will happen in F1 as well. They have known about the impending tobacco ban yet F1 continually is seen to be chasing tobacco sponsorship. Props to Williams for taking the road less traveled. Dan Thomson, Canada  8/21/03 -  Dear AR1.Com, In rebuttal to your position on allowing tobacco advertising in racing, I agree completely that tobacco is evil stuff, in all its forms, and the tobacco industry has pulled some very shady antics over the years to increase its addictive qualities and thereby its consumption. They deserve to have their wings clipped and their abilities to attract new victims SEVERELY limited. Yet since all these ad and promotional bans went into effect, teen consumption, especially with young women, continues to rise even as the price per pack skyrockets. I seriously doubt the reason for this lies in motorsports sponsorship . . . . .Since whenever-it-was that “WARNING: THIS STUFF WILL KILL YOU” went on every pack the only people that can be blamed for tobacco related deaths and illness are the same people who put ‘em in their mouths and light ‘em up. We must of course excuse those tobacco users either too young or too feeble of intellect not to be able to read the warning. These will be the next class action suits against the industry (“Your Honor, the warning should have also been offered in Braille”). I paid my personal price for a pack a day habit that began when I was a teen by joining the Zipper Chest Club five years ago. But I don’t blame R.J. Reynolds. I did the deed knowing fully the risks I was taking. I accept full responsibility for my (stupidity) actions. Yet I still enjoy a good cigar or two each month, with a few fingers of VSOP on the side, with other like-minded adults that realize life must be lived and relish the simple pleasures (which are the only ones we can afford ‘cause we all have kids, non of whom smoke thankfully). Speaking of which, alcohol abuse (not to mention all the other recreational abuses our societies seem to adore) claims lives and stresses the health care AND legal systems in much the same way tobacco does.  But Miller Brewing isn’t being legislated out of existence by tree-hugging government do-gooders that just can’t resist protecting us from ourselves. Tobacco, beer, wine and distilled spirits are still legal products for adult consumption in this country and Canada. If these governments truly want to protect us from the evils of tobacco why don’t they just make it illegal (see: Prohibition)? Because these same governments make too much money off the stuff! The Canadian government will not allow BAT to put Players on the side of a race car because someone with the legal right and self determination to do so might actually want to try the product! But this very same government has no difficulty collecting massive taxes from the sale of the very product they openly discourage us from buying! This is hypocrisy of the highest order and it is wrong. It is wrong for “We The People” to accept this hypocrisy from our elected officials both here in the U.S. and the Great White North. We have the power to be heard and the power to facilitate change. Yet we do nothing. We get the government we deserve. Freedom & Whiskey, J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois

8/21/03

Another CART Board member resigns    Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH - News) confirmed today that Robert D. Biggs has resigned from CART's Board of Directors, effective August 20, 2003. In making his decision, Mr. Biggs cited personal circumstances.

8/21/03

New paint scheme for #49  Motorsports' most unique paint scheme sits after receiving final touchups at the BAM Racing Shops in Charlotte, N.C. The #49 Dodge of driver Ken Schrader will carry the colors of SEM Products and Color Horizons in Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The paint scheme was designed by nationally-known artist Ron Fleenor of Knoxville, Tenn. "This is going to be the most recognizable car on the track at Bristol," Schrader said. "You will be able to see this car even if the lights go out."

8/21/03

Lazier to replace Meira  Jaques Lazier will replace the injured Vitor Meira in Team Menard's Dallara/Chevrolet this weekend at Nazareth Speedway. Meira broke his right wrist in an accident Sunday at Kentucky Speedway and is expected to miss at least two races. Lazier broke his back in a crash at Nazareth last year while driving for Menard.  He was also fired by Menard earlier this year. One injured driver replacing another.   The IRL, the most dangerous form of open wheel racing (see statistics), is like a revolving door of wounded drivers. 

8/21/03

200 starts for Vasser   This Las Vegas Sun article says, Jimmy Vasser isn't getting overly emotional about making his 200th career Champ Car start in Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal. "It's just a number, right?" Vasser said when asked about the significance of making 200 starts. "I had my 199th last weekend; it didn't seem that big of a deal. "But I guess it means I'm getting old, right?" Vasser, the 1996 CART champion and a Las Vegas resident, conceded that the milestone was "a cool thing," although he said he hasn't been counting races since he made his CART debut in 1992 with team owner Jim Hayhoe. "When I started, you don't think you're going to race that many races," Vasser said. "When I first started, my first few years in Champ Car, I thought, 'Man, if I could have a 10-year career, that would be fantastic.'  A couple years ago, after I achieved that, I didn't really think about the numbers so much." If the prospect of making his 200th start doesn't have Vasser excited about this weekend's race, his recent performance in the American Spirit Team Johansson Ford/Reynard does. Vasser charged from 14th to fourth at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 10 days ago before he ran off course and hit a tire barrier 10 laps from the end of the race. Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was third and earned the first-year team's first podium finish. "The car was fantastic up until the point where I made a mistake ... lost control and threw it away," Vasser said. "That was kind of a drag. But certainly, I thought that it showed well for the team. Obviously, with Ryan, he ran a good race and brought it home on the podium, which is a good thing for the team. "Certainly, last weekend I think was a booster for the team. It's going to be interesting to see if that momentum gain from Mid-Ohio is something that the team can feed off of. You know, sometimes they can and sometimes they can't. It's going to be up to the team. While we wish that's the case, it remains to be seen." Vasser heads to Montreal with 10 victories and eight poles in his 12-year Champ Car career. He finished fifth in last year's inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a 2.709-mile road course.

8/21/03

Latest F1 news items 

Delighted' Ralf's Grid Demotion Overturned
Toyota F1 Car Development Nearly Stalled
Could Formula One Handle Another Montoya?
Renault Retain Trulli And Alonso For '04
Michelin Aims To Maintain Dominance
Stoddart To Billionaire: Want To Buy Minardi?
Canada 'Can't Wait' To Confront F1 Tsar
Schumacher Denies 'B-Spec' Ferrari Design
Rubens And Kimi May Be Penalized For Crash
Da Matta Has Adapted To Formula One

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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