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DATE

News (chronologically)

9/16/03

If you can't beat them, copy them  Just to show you how far behind the Minardi team is, this article talks about the fact they took a 2-year old Arrows car that Paul Stoddart bought at a Arrows liquidation sale tested it head-to-head against their latest Minardi.  Without having any setup info for the Arrows, the Arrows almost beat the Minardi first time out.  Now the Minardi team will go back and cannibalize what they can from the 2-year old Arrows and apply it to their 2004 car. We don't know if we should laugh or cry. Mark C.

9/16/03

Entire town built around Shanghai circuit  This Eastday.com article talks about the entire auto industry that has been built in conjunction with the F1 race track 1-hour from Shanghai.  At a press conference to update the town's development, the city-backed Shanghai International Circuit Co Ltd said it has made some small changes to the layout of its Formula One circuit in hopes of one day hosting Grand Prix motorcycle racing. The sports governing body, known by the French acronym FIM, asked that the track only contain 14 turns instead of the planned 16. The circuit will, however, still look like the Chinese character "shang'"(¨¦?). "FIM officials have inspected the track and said they had no problem about the design," said Wang Ying, deputy general manager of Shanghai International Circuit. "We are still in the bidding process for hosting the motorcycle racing."  The 5.451-kilometer circuit is expected to be completed by next March at a cost of US$244 million. Shanghai will host China's first F1 Grand Prix on September 26 next year.  Read the article for the full story.

9/16/03

Tomas Enge auditions for Panther Racing  Ex-F3000 driver Tomas Enge (right) from Czech Republic tested last Thursday at Fontana for the Panther Racing team.  He was up to speed, full throttle, in three laps. He's the same Enge who's been driving the Prodrive Ferrari in the ALMS the past two years and was on the winning team in the GTS class in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Bruno Junqueira tested a G-Force car for Newman Haas.  Sebastien Bourdais ran a Champ Car for Newman Haas.  Also testing was Alex Barron, Gil de Ferran, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jimmy Vasser.

9/16/03

12 year-old Connecticut girl wins contest to design Winston Cup car UPDATE Because Cope did not qualify in Loudon, he agreed to run the paint scheme in Dover.  “This is just the right thing to do. I felt bad we missed the race at New Hampshire but I really felt bad for Seneca. She came to the track Sunday (at New Hampshire) and I know she and her family had a great time but the whole deal was having her paint scheme on the race track. So we’re going to fix the same car up, and take it to Dover - same car, same design.  This is not anything Friendly’s said I had to do or anything like that. It’s something I felt like I had to do. For some people, it’s easy to let things slide sometimes, I guess, and just try to forget your obligations. As busy as the season gets, you can get distracted pretty easily.  But Seneca (Tedford) worked hard, and she was really excited her car was going to be in a race. Our contract doesn’t call for a ‘make-good’ for Friendly’s, and they don’t expect it. But sometimes you have to go beyond a contract and just do the right thing. In my mind, this is a ‘make-good’ for Seneca Tedford, and for all of the kids who entered the contest. I owe them, and I am going to try to pay them back by getting Seneca’s design on the track at Dover this weekend.”  9/11/03 - Seneca Tedford admitted she had a little trouble sleeping Wednesday night but she was more than ready to go this morning at Lebanon Middle School.  The excited 12-year-old was guest of honor for a visit by NASCAR Winston Cup driver Derrike Cope and his #37 Friendly’s Chevrolet. The car, the actual one that will run in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway Sunday, was unloaded and shown to every student at the school.  Seneca designed the car as part of a coloring contest at Friendly’s Restaurants throughout the eastern United States, one of thousands of entries. Her design – royal blue covered with ice cream cones – will run in Sunday’s NASCAR race. 

“Yeah, it was pretty exciting. I could hardly believe it when they told me I had won,” Seneca said Thursday morning, while showing off the car. Every student at Lebanon Middle School had the chance to see the car, meet Cope and participate in a Friendly’s Ice Cream party at the front of the school.   “Hey, she did a great job with her design, and she deserved to show it off,” said Cope, a two-time NASCAR Winston Cup race winner who includes the prestigious Daytona 500 among his major victories.

Cope and his Friendly’s Chevrolet team helped Seneca do just that. The team’s huge transporter arrived at the school early Thursday morning. The team unloaded the Friendly’s Chevrolet and moved it to the front of the school. The design included a “Designed by: Seneca Tedford” logo on each side of the car.  Hundreds of children from the school flocked around the car and Cope, asking questions and offering advice.  “The car is cool but the ice cream is better,” admitted one seventh-grader.  Another offered a marketing idea to Cope for Friendly’s. “Why don’t you just smother the car in ice cream and then people could come up and grab a handful when they want it?”   Seneca has already received $100 worth of Derrike Cope gear as part of her prize package.

9/16/03

F1 week on Wind Tunnel  In preparation for its LIVE three-day coverage of the United States Grand Prix, SPEED Channel will feature "F1 Week" on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Confirmed guests for the week include:
* Monday (Sept. 22) -- Jaguar Formula One driver Mark Webber, who turned heads with his Minardi ride last year, earning a jump to Jaguar in 2003, will join Dave LIVE from New York City.

* Wednesday (Sept. 24) -- Williams F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, locked in a three-way battle for this year's World Championship will be Wednesday's guest. After winning the CART championship and the Indy 500 here in the states, Montoya took his skills to Formula One in 2001 and immediately drew raves for his aggressive and exciting driving style. He has since proven to be one of the sport's best and most popular drivers. Montoya will join us from Indianapolis Raceway Park (Note: due to scheduling issues, Montoya's interview will be taped earlier in the day).

* Thursday (Sept. 25) -- Wind Tunnel's F1 Week continues to roll as McLaren F1 driver David Coulthard, a 13-time Grand Prix winner will be Dave's guest. Coulthard has been a Formula One driver since 1994 and a McLaren mainstay for the last 8 years. He already has reached an agreement with the team to return next season. David will join us from Indianapolis as he prepares for the US Grand Prix.

Guests for the remainder of this week include NHRA team owner Darrell Gwynn (Wednesday) and IRL driver/owner Michael Andretti (Thursday). Send your e-mail questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL to be a part of the live call-in portions of the show.

9/16/03

Indy 500 mechanic Joe Granatelli dies  Joe Granatelli, Andy Granatelli’s older brother who helped fabricate the famed turbine race car that nearly won the 1967 Indianapolis 500, died Sept. 13 in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 84.

Joe and youngest Granatelli brother Vince were involved with their flamboyant brother from the time they first purchased a gas station together in Chicago and then first brought a race car to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1946.

Joe Granatelli was the chief mechanic on the Novis when Andy became involved at Indianapolis as a car owner and head of STP Corp. The elder Granatelli was listed as the entrant for Hotel Tropicana Spl. that Bobby Unser drove as a rookie in 1963.

Over the winter of 1966-67, Andy Granatelli decided to build a radical new race car powered by a turbine engine. There was a rule for such an engine in the USAC book at the time. Joe and Vince built the car in their West Coast shop at Paxton Products that the three brothers had purchased in 1958.

Parnelli Jones, 1963 Indianapolis 500 champion, was hired to drive the car. In the 1967 Indianapolis 500, Jones led 171 laps, but a $6 bearing burned out on Lap 197. The car coasted to a halt. Joe Leonard, Graham Hill and Art Pollard drove turbine-powered Lotus cars in 1968 and experienced similar misfortunes.

USAC then changed the turbine air inlet rules for 1969 and the “Whoosh Mobile” became a museum piece.

Joe Granatelli, who was with Andy at the Speedway through 1973 when Gordon Johncock won in an STP car, tested often at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He set a record of 198.9 mph in a straight-line run with the Studebaker Avanti. Granatelli also convinced Carroll Shelby to install one of the Paxton supercharger kits in his famed Cobras of the mid-1960s.

Granatelli served as president of Paxton Products for many years. It was sold two weeks before his death.

Survivors include: wife, Audrey; son, J.R.; daughter, Andrea; brothers Andy and Vince, and four grandchildren.

Cards may be sent to Audrey Granatelli at: 4531 Westchester Drive, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.

9/16/03

CART stock watch  In NYSE trading today MPH closed DOWN $0.02 p/shr to $0.62 on Volume of
365,600 shares.
NYSE UP 118.53 or 1.25% on Volume of 1.67B shares.
NASDAQ UP 41.56 or 2.25%
S&P 500 UP 14.51 or 1.43%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

9/16/03

Ralf amused by reports he may miss USGP  "I am very amused to hear and read these rumors about who will be taking my place for the final two races," said Schumacher on his website. "I can only say this: it will just remain speculation. I'm doing everything to be really fit again and of course assume that I'll be in Indianapolis. Everything else is rubbish."

9/16/03

Dale Jr. to run 24 Hours Daytona   Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run in next year's Daytona 24 hour with the Freisinger Porsche team. Earnhardt Jr., who made his debut in the sportscar classic in a factory Chevrolet Corvette in 2001, has agreed to a deal to race the German team's lead 911 GT3-RS in the Florida event next February. Freisinger team leader Stephane Ortelli will join him in the car. Team boss Manfred Freisinger said, "We have a mutual friend who contacted us about Dale. Everything has been agreed and the deal will be signed this week.  "Autoweek

9/16/03

More trouble for Brian Rose   Former Trucks Series driver Brian Rose is facing criminal charges again after a traffic stop Wednesday, according to a Bowling Green Police Department report. Police said they stopped Rose, 23, after he was seen driving erratically on U.S. 31-W By-Pass. The officer reportedly smelled alcohol and marijuana inside the vehicle. Rose was chewing on something and the officer ordered him to spit it out. The "chaw"ť as Rose described it, was marijuana, according to the report. After searching Rose and his SUV, the officer found marijuana in Rose's underwear and a handgun concealed in a Crown Royal bag. The vehicle also had expired tags. Rose was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence, expired registration and DUI. He was released from the Warren County Regional Jail on Thursday after posting a $10,000 cash bond. Rose began facing a series of problems in August 2002 after he lost his racing sponsorship; a month later his family's home burned to the ground from an undetermined cause; in April he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR; in July he was charged with first-degree alcohol intoxication, second offense, possession of marijuana, first-degree prescription in improper container, second-degree possession of an illegal substance of an unspecified origin and first-degree promoting contraband. Those charges have been sent to a grand jury. Bowling Green Daily News

9/16/03

Daytona race moves to night   Building on the popularity of exciting nighttime races, the fifth annual Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will run for the first time under the lights at historic Daytona International Speedway. The kickoff race for the Craftsman Truck Series will go green on Friday night, Feb. 13. The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 is traditionally scheduled during Speedweeks on Friday during the daytime, two days before the most prestigious race on the NASCAR circuit and the most watched motorsports event - the Daytona 500. The inaugural nighttime running of the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at the "World Center of Racing" will be televised live on SPEED Channel in prime time. The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 becomes the second race during Speedweeks to move to nighttime in the last two years. During Speedweeks 2003, the Budweiser Shootout was moved to night and televised in prime time on FOX Sports, which registered its largest rating for a prime time motorsports event - a 5.5 rating, equal to almost six million households. The Speedway lighting system was first utilized for stock cars in 1998 for the Pepsi 400. Besides the Pepsi 400 and the Budweiser Shootout, other races at the Speedway that are held under the lights include: · The Winn-Dixie 250 Presented by PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series race (July 2, 2004) · The Rolex 24 At Daytona (Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2004) · Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race (July 1, 2004). Tickets for the inaugural nighttime running of the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 and other Speedweeks 2004 events, including the Daytona 500, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. DIS PR

9/16/03

Marc Gene to focus on F1  The Spanish driver Marc Gene will no longer participate in the Superfund World Series by Nissan races, and he will be concentrating only in his activity as a test and reserve driver in Formula One. During the current Season he's been trying to harmonize his task as a test driver in the BMW.WilliamsF1 team with his presence in the Superfund World Series by Nissan within the Spanish squad Adrian Campos Motorsport, the team that saw him became the winner of the Formula Nissan Series in 1998.

Adrian Campos understands and supports the decision taken by the Spanish driver: "I'm sure that Marc could fight for the podium in this Series if he would not had spent so much effort and time in Formula One. Being the single test driver in WilliamsF1 has left him with very few opportunities to test with us. Sometimes he even arrived to the track the same Saturday, directly for the Qualifying Sessions."

Marc Gene: "Working with all the members of the Team Adrian Campos Motorsport has been a fantastic experience. Thanks to them I have stepped at the top of the podium and to keep enjoying competition. I'm glad that I decided to enter in the World Series because I do believe that the experience that I have achieved benefit the result I took recently in the last G.P. in Monza."

It has been a great satisfaction for the Adrian Campos Motorsport Team to count with a driver with such a professional and personal value as Marc Gene. Team Adrian Campos Motorsport, Superfund World Series by Nissan

9/16/03

How do NASCAR teams pick their pit stall?  KYLE PETTY, Driver, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge  “There is actually no real strategy for a driver as to what pit stall he wants. I guess anything with an opening in front of you or behind you is going to be the best. You want something that is going to give you a direct shot into or out of the pit stall. You see a lot of guys who get to pick their pit stall first go to where there are openings. It doesn’t really matter where they are, just as long as there is an opening.  The worst thing that can happen to you on pit road is being blocked in. That’s what costs teams the most time on pit road. It’s why you see a lot of the pole winners pick the first stall, or one with an opening. It gets you out without the potential of being blocked in.”  EDDIE JONES, General Manager, #49 BAM Racing Dodge:  “When picking your pit, the very first thing you want is to be able to get into and out of your pit as easily as possible. An opening in front of you or an opening behind you, that’s your first choice. Given the choice, take the one closer to one end or the other of pit road. You continue with the process until you eliminate all the openings, and that includes the very first pit coming in and the very first pit going out.  From that point, you change your strategy.  Now you start picking a pit depending upon who you can pit beside. Some drivers do a better job of entering or exiting the pits. You use that knowledge to pick your pit. You also know some teams have a history of falling out early, and pitting beside them is usually a good thing because it will leave you an opening in and out.  The better you qualify, the more you are going to try to pick something at the first turn end of pit road. Because of the pit road speeds, you want to be able to go all the way down pit road without having to stop, if you can. If you have that very last pit, the one at the end of pit road closest to the first turn, you don’t have to worry about the drag race to the end of the pits. You are already there. And you don’t have to worry about other cars going in and coming out of their pits, because you are already past them.”
STEVEN LANE, Crew Chief, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge: “It all depends on the track as to what pit stall I am looking to pick. If it’s a short track, I want the last stall on the pit road. I want to be the first one off pit road on a short track. If it’s a big track, I want to be right behind the start/finish line. It’s all about timing and avoiding getting caught a lap down on pit road.  The short tracks, you want to get back on the track as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to be closest to the track, and that would be the last pit stall. It avoids you being blocked in, and it gets you back to racing on the track a lot faster.  A bigger track, you have to think things through a little more. I like to be right before the start/finish line in case a caution comes out while I am on pit road. If Kyle (Petty) is coming down pit road, or if I am in the process of pitting, and a caution comes out I want to drop the jack and just go feet to cross the finish line, hopefully before the leader does. You don’t want to lose a lap while pitting, and pitting near the start/finish line on most tracks is going to help your chances of that not happening.”  GARY PUTNAM, Crew Chief, #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge:  "Picking a pit stall isn’t too complicated, but I like to look for three things when picking a stall before a race. The first, I like to get an opening. Any opening, front or behind, is going to be to your advantage. You don’t want to be blocked in and it’s an easier shot in or out of your pit stall.  The second is to be near Turn One or to be near the start/finish line. I like to be near Turn One because you have an open shot right off pit road and there is no one blocking you out. The start/finish line pit stall is good because you get to complete your lap on pit road. It protects you in case the caution comes out while you’re on pit road.   The last thing I like to look for is to see where the timing of pit road speed starts. I like to be near the beginning of that or the end of that. I want to have Christian (Fittipaldi) to be able to spend the less amount of time actually driving the pit road speed. The faster I can get him in or out of pit road speed the better. Any stall close to where the pit road speed starts or ends is good because you can get back up to speed quicker or shoot in the pits faster.”

9/16/03

Canadian politicians to meet in last ditch effort to save race  UPDATE This Canadian Press article gives an update on the meeting. Health Minister Anne McLellan says she has no intention of exempting Montreal's Grand Prix auto race from the federal ban on tobacco advertising. McLellan dismissed Monday reports that the federal cabinet may reconsider its law banning tobacco logos at sports and cultural events in order to keep the lucrative race in Montreal. ``Health Canada has no intention of changing the legislation,'' McLellan said outside the Commons. ``We've been through this, we've been clear.''........Cauchon said he was waiting to hear the results of a meeting with race teams that took place over the weekend. ``I believe there is still a chance to have an unbranded race if all those people get together and put pressure on (Formula One boss Bernie) Ecclestone,'' said Cauchon. ``I am aware of the impact of the Grand Prix not only for the Montreal region but for Quebec and Canada. I will do all I can to make sure we keep the event.''.......Anti-smoking activists say that such indirect advertising has an impact on young people, and are urging that the ban be maintained. ``Formula One is the biggest single media vehicle for tobacco advertising in the world,'' said Francis Thompson of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. ``The public health case for banning tobacco advertising in general, and this kind of sponsorship in particular, is very strong.''   9/15/03 -  Quebec's federal ministers met on Monday to discuss the economic and political implications of losing the Canadian Grand Prix, and may ask the government to reconsider its stance on tobacco advertising. One option facing the Quebec government is to temporarily suspend the tobacco legislation. However, Premier Jean Charest conceded last week that his government cannot agree on the issue as some ministers feel they would be giving into blackmail from F1 if they did. Bernie Ecclestone has already told Canada that if it wants to host a race, F1 will have to be granted a permanent exemption from the law. If not, there won't be any race. "No, not at all," Ecclestone told The Globe And Mail when asked if he would reconsider his stance. "Canada is out now, and it would mean that we would have to rearrange the schedule (even if the law is changed before the deadline), so we'd have to take a look at it anyway." PlanetF1.com

9/16/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Irvine: Forget Sixth Title, Schumacher
Time Running Out For Luckless Rookie
Williams Backs JPM Over Monza Critics
Former Champ Puts Money On Montoya
Ferrari 'Forgot' How To Dominate F1
JV's Future Rests On BAR Driver 'Shoot-Out'
Villeneuve: 'No Inkling' Of F1 Future
Canada's Last Chance: The Demise Of France?
Bernie: More A-List Stars Wanted At GPs
Frank Says Ralf Might Skip Indianapolis
Raikkonen's Not Out Of It Yet: Dennis
Berger: 'No Offers Yet, But I'll Be Back'
Wirdheim Focuses Efforts On F1
New McLaren Ruled Out Of 2003 Battle
Ferrari Protest 'Worth A Shot,' Says Irvine
Da Matta Plans Belated Birthday Bash
Williams Face 'Stiff Test' To Lift F1 Spoils
Coulthard Will Move Over For Teammate

9/16/03

Motocross star to race in Porsche Cup at USGP   Motocross superstar Travis Pastrana will drive one of the two guest cars in the Porsche Michelin Supercup races Sept. 27-28 during the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, series and Speedway officials announced Sept. 15. [Editor's note: more on this story on this week's Pit Pass show with John Hammer]

Pastrana, from Annapolis, Md., will race the No. 1 Porsche 911 GT3 car fielded by the Porsche AG team. The Porsche Michelin Supercup series, the world’s fastest single-marque sports car series, will support the United States Grand Prix Formula One race for the fourth consecutive year on the 2.605-mile road course at Indianapolis.

Pastrana, 19, is one of the most exciting and diversified off-road riders in the world, excelling in both motocross racing and extreme motocross competitions.

He won the AMA Eastern Region Supercross title in 2001 with five victories in seven races and also recorded three podium finishes in the 250cc AMA Supercross series in 2002 with Team SoBe Suzuki before being sidelined by surgery. Pastrana turned pro in 2000 and won the AMA Chevy Trucks 125cc motocross championship with five victories.

Pastrana also won gold medals in the freestyle motocross competition at the Gravity Games in 1999, 2001 and 2002 and in the X Games in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Pastrana finished runner-up in the freestyle motocross competition Sept. 14 at the Gravity Games in Cleveland, hampered by a hard crash at the end of his first run.

As an amateur, Pastrana won the AMA national motocross championship in the 125cc and 250cc classes in 1999. He drew national headlines in 1999 when he jumped his bike into San Francisco Bay during the freestyle motocross competition at the X Games.

Pastrana has competed in a very limited schedule of events in 2003 for Team SoBe Suzuki due to injuries suffered in racing, training and in a traffic accident. Yet he still remains one of the most popular riders in the world, with his own action figure, a DVD of highlights and a bobblehead doll. Pastrana also has appeared on countless mainstream and sports television programs during his career, ranging from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to “Real TV.”

Porsche Michelin Supercup races are scheduled for 4 p.m. (EST) Saturday, Sept. 27 and 10:40 a.m. (EST) Sunday, Sept. 28.

9/16/03

RuSPORT still on the fence between CART or IRL  Official word from the RuSPORT team today on their plans for 2004: "We are planning a one car effort in either the IRL or CART. We have not determined if it will be a full or partial season yet. We will be continuing our Toyota Atlantic team as well."  Although our "other" inside sources say they are going to run a Champ Car effort, many people have written to ask why RuSPORT owner CARL Russo's name was not included in any of the recent press releases put out by Open Wheel Racing Series LLC.  We can only speculate that it was because he has chosen to take a backseat role in Open Wheel and not that he's decided to jump ship to the IRL as some of our readers have feared.  We have updated our 2004 CART Silly Season Page to reflect the fact that a 2nd car for RuSPORT is pure speculation at this point.

9/15/03

Irvine speaks on Ferrari's protest   "Fingers have been pointed at Ferrari for questioning the legality of the tread width of Michelin tires after the Hungarian race but why not?" Eddie Irvine told The Sun.  "It's the team's job to do everything in their power - and the rules - to win the Championship, even if their latest attempts were desperate. Obviously they were trying to destabilize Williams and McLaren and all teams do it.  Ferrari's latest ploy was worth a shot but they seem to forget the reason Michelin are so good is nothing to do with the amount of tread on the track but the compound of their tire."

9/15/03

Jeff Green to drive #43, Fittipaldi #44 at Dover  Jeff Green in the #43 at Dover; Fittipaldi in the #44: Jeff Green, who has wheeled cars this year for Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt Inc., will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of Petty Enterprises for this race. Christian Fittipaldi, who normally drives the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, will drive the #44 Bugles Dodge this weekend for the MBNA America 400 Cup race at the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway. "There isn't any doubt Jeff Green can drive a race car, and he can drive it well," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "Having the opportunity to have him behind the wheel of the #43 this week is great for Petty Enterprises, for General Mills and for our entire program. Jeff will do a super job for us." Williams Company PR

9/15/03

Move afoot to overturn Greg Moore lawsuit dismissal  This Sports canada.com article says that Greg Moore's wrongful death lawsuit will be back in a U.S. court later this year or early 2004. Lawyers representing Moore's estate filed an appeal earlier this summer arguing the wrongful death lawsuit resulting from the Maple Ridge, B.C., driver's fatal crash in 1999 should not have been dismissed. The brief, filed with the Riverside, Calif., County Court of Appeals, names Championship Auto Racing Teams and California Speedway Corp. as defendants. The appeal is an attempt to overturn an October 2002 decision by a lower court to dismiss the suit. Moore, 24, died when his car crashed into a wall on the second turn during the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway, in Fontana, Calif. Lawyers representing the Moore estate maintain the death was caused because when the car left the course, it crossed an elevated access road, skidded on grass in the track's infield and slammed into a concrete wall that was void of any energy-absorbing material. The 60-page brief argues the earlier judgment to dismiss the case suffered from "every procedural defect imaginable." Lawyers representing CART and the speedway did not immediately return calls. Ric Moore, Greg's father, refused comment when contacted by The Canadian Press. The wrongful death suit does not specify damages being sought. Prior to his death Moore had signed a three-year, $12-million US contract with Penske Racing. A three-judge panel will hear the appeal either late this year or early in 2004, then make a ruling. If the ruling is upheld the Moore estate has other avenues of appeal, including the California Supreme Court.

9/15/03

Sand sculptures mark launch of 13th Lexmark Indy 300  The 2003 Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast is expected to attract more than 300,000 people, Premier Peter Beattie announced at the official launch of the Lexmark Indy 300 at Broadbeach recently.  Mr Beattie and the Deputy Premier, Treasurer, and Sports Minister Terry Mackenroth officially launched this year's event by unveiling a sand sculpture and announcing that the V8 Supercars will be a headline act at the Lexmark Indy 300 for at least another three years.  The sand sculpture was developed by world champion Dennis Massoud and depicted a Champ Car and V8 Supercar cutting through the ocean. It was entitled 'Lexmark Indy 300 emerges from the Heatwaves'.  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 at Broadbeach Mall right through the event."  Massoud, Australia's only full-time professional sand sculptor, won the World Sand Sculpting Championships in Denmark in June.

9/15/03

Scheckter & Dixon test TMS  Close finishes in Indy Racing League IndyCar Series events at Texas Motor Speedway are a trademark. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter spent Monday testing at Texas Motor Speedway looking for an advantage that may put either in victory lane on "Championship Sunday," October 12, in the Chevy 500k. The drivers of the Target Panoz G Force/Toyotas have been at the forefront of the IRL IndyCar Series this year. Three-time winner Dixon is currently in second place in the IndyCar Series standings, just 12 points behind pacesetter Helio Castroneves. Scheckter, the polesitter for June's Bombardier 500k at Texas, is still seeking his first 2003 IndyCar Series win despite leading seven races. "The next two circuits (California and Texas) are fairly similar, we are trying to find the best combination for low drag," said Dixon. "It worked out better for us to test here today than in California last week. We are trying different variations of wings and aero items. We are looking for that little bit extra. It's going to be a tough end of the year," continued Dixon. "I can't wait to come back here to Texas. It is going to be exciting." "There are many things that we can learn testing," said Scheckter. "The next two tracks (California and Texas), although they are different in the way they are shaped, there are a lot of similarities. There are certain tests you do with the race car that equivocate to Texas and California. Believe me, if we could stay here three or four days testing, we would learn something every single day."

9/15/03

CART stock watch  

In NYSE trading today MPH closed UNCHANGED at $0.69 p/shr on Volume of 288,800 shares.
Low/High of Session: $0.69/$0.71
Multiple trades in excess of 40,000 shares.
NYSE DOWN 22.74 or 0.24% on Volume of 1.35B shares.
NASDAQ DOWN 9.33 or 0.47%
S&P 500 DOWN 3.82 or 0.32%
courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

9/15/03

F3000

Horner predicts Bell can be F3000 champ in 2004   Arden team boss Christian Horner is confident that American Townsend Bell can compete for the F3000 crown next season.  "Townsend can be content with an impressive rookie season," said Horner. "With the benefit of continuity over the winter, I'm sure he will be a title contender next season."

9/15/03

F3000 Champ seeks F1 ride   Newly crowned F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim has pledged to focus his attention on finding a Formula 1 seat for next season.  The Swede tested for the Jordan team at Monza recently, and is due to run for them in the Friday morning test session in the next race at Indianapolis. Wirdheim is also scheduled to test for BAR this month as they look for a possible replacement for Jacques Villeneuve.  "This season has been unbelievable and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole Arden team who have done a fantastic job over the past two seasons," said Wirdheim. "I would however like to dedicate this win to Anna Lindh who tragically lost her life this week. I will now focus all my efforts on securing an F1 seat for next year." Arden boss Christian Horner said: "In the two years that Bjorn has driven for the team he has been a pleasure to work with and must be one of the most successful drivers to compete in F3000. He has been truly outstanding this season finishing nine out of 10 races in either first or second position. He has a great future ahead of him and is totally deserving of a race seat in F1 next year."

9/15/03

Mixed views on young France in NASCAR garage  This Winston-Salem Journal article talks about some of the perceived many weaknesses of Brian France, NASCAR's new Chairman and CEO, the NASCAR garage.

9/15/03

New NASCAR Chief on Wind Tunnel tonight  New NASCAR CEO Brian France will be the featured guest on SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight at 9 p.m. ET ... Other guests this week include Darrell Gwynn (Wednesday) and Michael Andretti (Thursday) ...

9/15/03

Seen at Monza   UPDATE According to this New Zealand newspaper article, Scott Dixon will stay in the IRL in 2004 because it's not until 2005 that F1 seats will open up.  9/14/03 - Former CART driver and current IRL driver Scott Dixon is wandering the pit lane at Monza with manager Stefan Johansson.  Dixon has F1 aspirations and Johansson is trying to arrange a test drive for him.

9/15/03
F3000

Wirdheim wins, Bell spins in Monza  UPDATE We have added a more complete report of the Monza F3000 race. 9/13/03 - Townsend Bell finished his rookie FIA F3000 season with a disappointing retirement at Monza after being pushed off the road on the third lap. However, there was some joy for the Arden team as Bjorn Wirdheim scored his third victory of the season.

Townsend started the race from seventh on the grid and held his own on a frantic first lap that saw several drivers taking to the grass. He was still seventh when he was hit by Durango driver Raffaele Giammaria on the way into the high speed Parabolica turn. Townsend spun off and hit the tire barrier, while the Italian returned to the pits to retire with accident damage.

“It was pretty messy at the first chicane, and it looked like there was going to be contact, so I short cutted it,” said Townsend. “Then I kind of settled in, but we were really getting killed on the straights. We changed gearing and it was a mistake, because we just could not stay with the guys in front of us, and I was getting attacked from behind big time.

“But going into Parabolica Giammaria started making a run up the inside, but he wasn’t even close to being alongside us. It was kind of a desperate move so early in the race, and it slammed me big time and I did a big 360 in the gravel and hit the barrier. I thought I was going to go upside down for a second, because at the speed it can catch in the gravel and flip you. It was a bummer. He should have waited until the next corner and he might have had a lot better chance.”

Wirdheim dropped to third at the start but passed Patrick Friesacher at the second chicane and then took leader Giorgio Pantano on lap 33. Bjorn was already leading comfortably when Pantano, his only real challenger, retired with an electronic problem. Bjorn was the last serious contender to make his mandatory pit stop and maintained a comfortable lead to the flag.

The result means that he has won or finished second in every race except the Nurburgring, where he was involved in a first lap incident. There was some concern after the race when the car was found to be missing one of the wheel clips which has to be replaced after the pit stop. However video evidence showed that it had fallen off leaving the pits and the team had made a genuine attempt to fit it and gained no advantage. He will test for BAR at Jerez next week, and is also due to have another run with Jordan.

Townsend finishes the season in ninth place in the FIA standings, having scored 17 points, but he was frustrated to end the season off the road.

“I always look forward to a little time off, but it’s been a nice, solid season. I’ve learned all the circuits and I think we’ve accomplished a lot of what we set out to do in terms of establishing ourselves in Europe, and getting some interest from the right kind of people, so I’m reasonably happy with the way things have gone. I just want to build from here and continue to improve.”

Arden team boss Christian Horner has been impressed by Bell’s rookie year: “He can view it as a positive year. He’s learned enormously and he’s shown good pace throughout the year, and he’s been unfortunate in some of the races. But I think he’s marked himself out as a serious contender for next year, and with some testing over the winter and the continuity with the team I’m sure you’ll see him right there next year.”
Results
1. B Wirdheim…44m01.863s
2. P Friesacher…44m10.379s
3. R Sperafico…44m11.895s
4. V Liuzzi…44m38.884s
5. J Van Hooydonk…44m39.972s
6. T Schmidt…44m40.787s
7. J Janis…44m41.044s
8. E Toccacelo…44m42.844s
Ret: T Bell – 2 laps

9/15/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

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Ferrari's Moment Of Horror In Monza

9/15/03

Monza was fastest F1 race ever  Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix WAS the fastest F1 race of all time. Michael Schumacher’s average speed over the course of the 53-lap race was 154.74mph, beating the previous record of 151.6mph. That milestone dates back to the 1971 Italian GP, which was won by BRM’s Peter Gethin.

9/15/03

Mario Andretti says....  RPM2Night ran a special on Mario Andretti's world driving championship that was clinched 25 years ago this weekend. They showed video of Mario's pass of Gilles Villeneuve at Monza that we described below.   Part of the special was a live interview with Mario.  Q.  Who's the greatest talent in racing right now?  Mario: Juan Montoya.  Q: Out of all of the series you raced in and races you won, what was the toughest challenge to your skills?  Mario:  CART for sure.  The diversity of tracks is the ultimate challenge.

9/14/03

Da Matta impresses at Monza, where past CART champions have excelled  2nd UPDATE This article by Robin Miller on CART.com is a nice tribute to Mario Andretti's World Championship and discusses the same Monza race we talked about below.  It gives a bit more detail on how Mario passed Gilles Villeneuve.  9/12/03 - We are reminded that two other CART champions have done well at Monza in the past in F1 cars.  Michael Andretti had his one and only F1 podium finish at Monza, but was then immediately fired by the McLaren team after a disastrous season driving alongside Ayrton Senna. He never got a fair shake, but to the outside world Michael Andretti's firing was well deserved, especially when his replacement, Mika Hakkinen put the car on pole the very next race.  His great father Mario, also had some great outings at Monza.  Two come to mind.  In 1977 he made a memorable pass around the outside of the Parabolica to pass Jody Scheckter for the lead and went on to trounce the competition in his Lotus 78 to win the Italian GP and fulfill a childhood dream.  The following year in 1978, he and the late great Gilles Villeneuve had one of the best battles of all-time in F1.  With Mario on


The great Gilles Villeneuve gets the jump on Mario Andretti at Monza in 1978.  It was to be one of the epic battles in F1 history, with Mario coming out on top.

pole in his Lotus 79, 2nd place starter Gilles got the jump in his Ferrari at the start (actually he jumped the start big time) and the two ran nose-to-tail the entire way. With six laps to go in the race, Mario outbraked Gilles going into the Parabolica and they ran Mario-Gilles 1-2 to the finish, or so they thought.  Both were penalized for jumping the start and the win was handed to Niki Lauda who was miles behind the leading duo.  Because the history books will never show the battle as that for the win, it never got the recognition it deserved.  The death of Mario's teammate Ronnie Peterson at the start of the race that year also cast a shadow on the epic battle.  Two of the world's greatest drivers ever, hammer-and-tong from start to end....a race I'll never forget.  Mark Cipolloni  9/12/03 - Last year's CART champion, and F1 rookie Cristiano da Matta impressed the F1 Paddock and the Toyota team by taking 4th place on the provisional grid for Sunday's Italian GP at Monza.  "I am very happy with my qualifying time," said da Matta. "Since the first few laps this morning we have been more confident than we were at the test last week. I want to thank the engineers, who have all done a good job over the weekend to study the data from last week and to make the car stronger.   It makes a difference to have driven the three days last week, because I have not had to spend time learning the track this morning and I have been able to get a good feeling with the car. Fourth place is certainly a good way to start the weekend."  Another CART champion and F1 title contender, Juan Montoya, sits on pole position so far.

9/14/03

Patrick Racing auditions new rookies, Hunter-Reay tests Fontana  UPDATE We have added a photo of Robbie Kerr (fooling around with a devious smile), a former British F3 champion. Here is a related article on Kerr's Champ Car test. Also, Jimmy Vasser tested on Thursday and Hunter-Reay on Friday at Fontana.  Previously it was reported that only Hunter-Reay tested.  9/12/03 -  The short course at Sebring International Raceway, site of CART Champ Car's Spring Training in 2003, saw Patrick Racing and Fernandez Racing turning laps on Tuesday and Wednesday, while American Spirit Team Johansson headed for California Speedway in Fontana.

Patrick Racing tested a pair of rookies on the short course over the two days, putting Porsche Supercup driver Pierre Kaffer and British F3 pilot Robbie Kerr in its Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Oriol Servia, who is currently sixth in the Champ Car points, was on hand to help establish a baseline for the car prior to the rookie test.

"Both drivers did a good job considering that they had no experience in these cars and with this much power," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We're pleased with the job they both did and they both ran fairly competitive times."

American Spirit tested on the two-mile California Speedway oval in preparation for the 2003 season finale November 2nd, with rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay running the team's Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone.

"After all of the road and street courses we've been running, you have to come out to the ovals and recalibrate yourself," Hunter-Reay said. "I feel like I've done that now. It's amazing because the tiniest changes you make on the car here can really be felt on the track. I think we have a chance to do well here in November."  CART

9/14/03

Cope lands sponsor for 2004  Former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope has seen the realization of a years-long dream come to fruition. The two-time NASCAR Winston Cup race winner, who put his own team together two years ago, will have primary sponsorship from Paramount Hospitality Management LLC (PHM) for the 2004 season. "This is something we have been working on since late last year,” said Cope, who owns Quest Motor Racing, which will field the #37 PHM Chevrolet. Since we started this race team a couple of years ago we have been working hard to get a solid, quality primary sponsor,” Cope said. “Paramount Hospitality Management LLC is on board for the full 2004 season, but has also given us leeway for additional sponsorship and cross-promotional opportunities. For Quest Motor Racing, this is a great, great day." Paramount Hospitality Management LLC is a South San Francisco-based international corporation which owns or manages 56 lodging properties in the United States, and is one of the top hospitality, lodging and resort consulting companies in the world with over 200 hotel clients. “PHM is an established company that is growing rapidly,” said David Lane, corporate president. “To have the opportunity to work as a sponsorship partner with Derrike Cope and Quest Motor Racing, also established names that are growing within their industry, is a tremendous opportunity. We are very excited to be a part of Derrike’s future and the success we know he and his race team are going to enjoy.” PHM will utilize sponsorship of the car for branding, not only of its current activities and logo but also a unique new reservations product that will become available in 2004. “This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long-term relationship,” Lane said. “All of us at PHM have a tremendous amount of respect for Derrike, not just as a driver but as a great person as well. He will be a wonderful representative of the quality we offer our customers and clients in the hospitality industry.”

9/14/03
ASCAR

Collins wins at EuroSpeedway for 3rd straight  Ben Collins (right) won his third Days of Thunder race in a row and his fourth win of the season after a gripping opening race at the two-mile tri-oval at EuroSpeedway Lausitz, near Dresden. (Please credit photo www.gforceimages.co.uk)

At the flag Collins finished 1.3 seconds ahead of White and McKellar Jr, with Swan, Mickel and Proctor rounding out the top six. Collins major threat in the championship, Michael Vergers, could only finish eleventh after going a lap down after a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. The Dutchman had also suffered from understeer in the first half of the race, and was never able to stay with the leaders.

“It was cool,” said Collins after his victory. “I had to drive flat out all the way, as there wasn’t much in it between me and the two behind me, but once I had pulled clear I was able to control the race.”

DAYS OF THUNDER ROUND 10 RESULT
1 Ben Collins TA Deuce Racing RML Chevrolet 50mins 47.194s
2 Colin White CWS Racing Chevrolet +1.3s
3 Ian McKellar Jr dsi AnyDoc/Torquespeed Chevrolet +2.0s
4 Anthony Swan LEGO Racers Deuce Racing RML Pontiac +2.5s
5 John Mickel Torquespeed/dsi AnyDoc Chevrolet +5.2s
6 Mark Proctor Fast-Tec Pontiac +7.0s
7 Oliver Playle Reebok/Torquespeed Chevrolet +10.8s
8 Kevin Clarke Intersport Racing Pontiac +11.8s
9 Roland Rehfeld Team HTML Pontiac +14.3s
10 Andrew Kirkaldy Acorn Racing with Xcel Motorsport Pontiac +30.7s
11 Michael Vergers Chicago Pneumatic Racing Pontiac +1 lap
12 Andy Smith CWS Racing Chevrolet +5 laps
13 John Steward Stewart Racing Ford +14 laps
14 Phil Weaver Team Catchpole Chevrolet +37 laps
15 Shaun Richardson Kidd-Richardson Racing Chevrolet +49 laps
Fastest lap: Ben Collins (Lap 12) 49.026 secs

9/14/03

Papis joins Brumos Porsche for Mt. Tremblant  "Mad Max" Papis is preparing to step back into a sports car next week, when he will compete in the #59 Brumos Porsche Daytona Prototype for the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant race. This is a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series sanctioned event on September 19-21 in Quebec, Canada.

On Monday, September 8th, Max was at Brumos Racing's shop in Jacksonville for a seat fitting and to meet the engineers and team members.

This will mark Papis' first Grand-Am race in the new Daytona Prototype class. He competed earlier this season in the famous 24 Hours of Daytona race, the season-opening Grand-Am race in February. Papis' co-drivers for the Canadian endurance race will be Hurley Haywood and J.C. France.

"Max has revived the tradition of the great 'all-arounders', racers like Sterling Moss and Dan Gurney: brilliant drivers who can win any kind of race in any kind of car," said Brumos Team Owner Bob Snodgrass. "Naturally, we're very happy to have Max aboard for the 6 Heures de Circuit Mont-Tremblant. His presence in the team can do nothing but further improve performance and boost team morale."

"This is a very exciting opportunity for me," said the 33-year-old Italian. "Racing at a historic circuit like Mont-Tremblant, with a renowned sports car team, Brumos Racing, and with endurance legend Hurley Haywood as my co-driver is a perfect fit. When opportunities like this present themselves to you, you accept them, because they are special in your life."

9/14/03

Race dawns bright, sunny   Traditionally the F1 circus is greeted to sunny and pleasant weather the second week in September in northern Italy and today is nothing different.  Race day has dawned with clear blue skies and bright sunshine, although there is an early autumn chill in the air.

For the past few years, the championships had already been decided in favor of Ferrari by the time the F1 circus came to Italy and a relaxed atmosphere prevailed in the paddock. However, today there is tension in the air, specifically in the top three teams still fighting for the championship - Ferrari, BMW-WilliamsF1 and McLaren Mercedes.   The devout Italian fans are streaming through the gates of the Monza circuit,  which is hidden in a large park in Monza, Italy.  The tifosi as they're known, are already blowing their air horns in support of their Ferrari team.

While all eyes are focused on the front row of today’s grid in Italy where title rivals Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will line up side by side, there is a third contender ready to pounce and claim victory for himself, and that is none other than McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen.

"People are saying that I can use the lack of hype around me and be like a silent assassin," Kimi said in the People. "No one is really talking about me winning the championship. I am only two points away from leading the championship again and I think that I can win. The only thing that I can do is try and beat everyone else and do my best and if that is not good enough then at least I know I put everything into it. I never even expected to be challenging for the title at this late stage. We knew the car was good, but not this good."

"It has always been my dream to win the world championship and have the number one on my car. But it is too early to start talking about which number I'm going to have next season because anything can happen. I'll be going flat out in the next three races to win them all, but I also have to think about consistency because finishing second is better than pushing for first and crashing out."   It should be one heck of a race.

9/14/03

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9/14/03


Good media turnout for Miami  AutoRacing1.com has learned that the Grand Prix Americas PR department has already approved over 400 media credentials for the upcoming race.  With all the controversy surrounding last years off-again, on-again race, attendance and media attention was a bit soft because marketing for the race started late.  The bad news is that it's very hot in Miami right now. Last year the heat was unbearable, which held attendance down.  We will be shocked if the 2004 CART schedule doesn't have Miami as the season finale in early November.  We really don't expect CART to be back at Fontana given the lack of commitment for this year's race by ISC.  CART is already in the LA market at Long Beach.  Fontana isn't the most desirable of locations, though it was the site of some great races.

9/13/03

Ralf Schumacher could miss USGP  Ralf Schumacher could miss the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis on September 28, according to Williams team boss Frank Williams due to injuries suffered  in a Monza testing crash.    Williams, who will want to have Schumacher fit for the last two races of the 2003 season, said: "I saw Ralf after qualifying and I said 'Ralf, you look like death, please go to bed by 5pm at the latest'.

"There is a concern he might not have recovered by Indianapolis. It is frustrating but we will just have to live with it if it happens."

His brother, Michael Schumacher, believes that the Williams driver had no choice other than to pull out of the race at Monza.  The 34-year-old Ferrari race ace said: "I was quite surprised when I heard the news because we were playing football together last Thursday and he was feeling quite well.  But this just shows how tough Formula One is. When you get into an F1 car it is a different story and it has completely different effects on you so I do understand his situation.  I have not spoken to Ralf yet although I did hear last night that he was not feeling well. I think he has made the absolutely correct decision.  When you have had an accident like he has had then you need a certain time to recover."

9/13/03

Blaney spins and hits wall  Dave Blaney, driver of the No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus, spun and hit the wall during Saturday morning's first practice session. Blaney, who was in the process of making his first lap on the track, will be forced to a backup car after sustaining damage to the nose of his car.  DAVE BLANEY - No. 77 Jasper Engines Taurus - "I hit something and I'm gonna say it was oil because it felt slicker than water. The car just shot around on me. I had just come out of the pits and wasn't even up to speed yet, but I know everybody else came out of the pits and went through there, so I don't know. It definitely just shot around too quick like there was oil, but there was something on the track. That, combined with cold tires, made me spin around. There was still something there from the 32 wrecking. Whether he ran through it as well or left it down, I don't know." THE CAR WAS HURT ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU GO TO A BACKUP. "Yeah, I think it was just quicker for them to go to a backup and make sure we get some practice this next time. It wasn't really hurt that bad at all, but just enough."

9/13/03

Montoya has Schumacher's number  It's becoming clearer by the day that former CART champion Juan Montoya is the next Michael Schumacher.  The Colombian appears to be the only driver in the F1 paddock who can pass Schumacher on a regular basis the past couple of years.  And every time he does, he appears to fluster Schumacher so much he forces the German into a mistake, clearly having won the battle of head games.  During a battle of who's faster this morning in practice he blew past Schumacher's Ferrari on the front straight at Monza and led him into turn 1.  However, Schumacher missed his braking point and ran over the curbs and some safety cones.  Some consider Montoya arrogant and not afraid of anyone.  He's certainly not afraid of Schumacher and whenever he gets the chance he shows the German driver who's better.  Mark C.

9/13/03

Montoya fastest in Saturday AM practice #3

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIRE TIME
1. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA Colombia Williams-BMW M 1:21.468
2. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Germany Ferrari B 1:21.586
3. KIMI RAIKKONEN Finland McLaren-Mercedes M 1:22.091
4. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Brazil Ferrari B 1:22.108
5. DAVID COULTHARD Britain McLaren-Mercedes M 1:22.194
6. MARC GENE Spain Williams-BMW M 1:22.271
7. OLIVIER PANIS France Toyota M 1:22.321
8. JARNO TRULLI Italy Renault M 1:22.333
9. JENSON BUTTON Britain BAR-Honda B 1:22.378
10. FERNANDO ALONSO Spain Renault M 1:22.399
11. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Canada BAR-Honda B 1:22.906
12. CRISTIANO DA MATTA Brazil Toyota M 1:23.195
13. MARK WEBBER Australia Jaguar-Cosworth M 1:23.294
14. HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN Germany Sauber-Petronas B 1:23.461
15. NICK HEIDFELD Germany Sauber-Petronas B 1:23.846
16. JUSTIN WILSON Britain Jaguar-Cosworth M 1:23.955
17. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Italy Jordan-Ford B 1:24.688
18. JOS VERSTAPPEN Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth B 1:25.749
19. NICOLAS KIESA Denmark Minardi-Cosworth B 1:25.870
20. ZSOLT BAUMGARTNER Hungary Jordan-Ford B 1:25.916

9/13/03

Schumacher fastest in Saturday AM practice #2

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m21.623s
2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m22.146s
3 David Coulthard McLaren 1m22.552s
4 Jenson Button BAR 1m22.642s
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m22.646s
6 Marc Gene Williams 1m22.685s
7 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m22.718s
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m22.731s
9 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m22.735s
10 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m23.120s
11 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m23.312s
12 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m23.572s
13 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m23.955s
14 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m24.134s
15 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m24.454s
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m25.194s
17 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m25.870s
18 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m25.934s
19 Zsolt Baumgartner Jordan 1m26.295s
20 Olivier Panis Toyota

9/13/03

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9/13/03

Dizzy Ralf pulls out of Italian GP  Ralf Schumacher has pulled out of the Italian Grand Prix and will be replaced, as of Saturday, by BMW-Williams' tester Marc Gene.

The 28-year-old German barrel-rolled his FW25 in private testing last week but was cleared to race by FIA doctor Sid Watkins in a Thursday medical check.

But still suffering from headaches and dizziness, Schumacher informed his team that he did not feel well enough to contest final qualifying or the race.

Marc Gene, a Spaniard, last raced in Formula One three years ago in a back-of-the-grid Minardi but clocks up regular (testing) miles in the Williams car.

Ralf's qualifying time on Friday at Monza was disallowed because he locked up the brakes and went straight-on at a chicane.

'My lap was compromised by a mistake I made just before the chicane,' he said. 'I simply braked too late and went straight on, which was my fault.'

9/12/03

Earnhardt to re-sign with DEI  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to sit down with car owner Teresa Earnhardt next week and Dale Jr. expects he'll have a contract worked out with DEI. The only reason he says he has yet to sign a contract is that he and Teresa haven't had time to do so. Dale Jr. says there are no disagreements, it's just they need about four solid hours to get it done and both are so busy they haven't had the time, not a minute to do it. Earnhardt Jr. says, "When me and Teresa have our meeting we'll definitely have a clear, direct path once we're finished. Me and her really work well together and when we sit down and we're hashing out something we always have been able to come to a decision very easily. She's a classic businesswoman, she does a great job making those decisions and telling you and showing you certain reasons for this and certain reasons for that, and she's very compromising too. I don't have any doubt in my mind that I'll be able to walk out of there very satisfied with my end of the deal." PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show

9/12/03
World Rally

Colin McRae loses World Rally ride  Citroen Sport announced that Colin McRae will not drive for them in 2004, having opted to keep Carlos Sainz. Citroen were left with a choice between either McRae or Sainz, following changes to regulations that mean only two cars entered per manufacturer will be eligible to score points next year.  Three cars were fielded by the French team this season, with Sebastien Loeb racing alongside McRae and Sainz.   Loeb was re-signed back in July, which meant only one seat remained following alterations to the format of the WRC.  Guy Frequelin, Citroen's team boss, told BBC Sport Online: "This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make in my career.  "The qualities of one or the other were never in doubt. In an ideal world, we would want to be able to keep both of them."

9/12/03

Indy Legends to race at TMS  Jim McElreath climbs into one of the Thunder Roadsters that will be used for the October 12 Firestone Heroes of Indy race at Texas Motor Speedway. Fellow Texans and Indy 500 veterans Lloyd Ruby (center) and Johnny Rutherford look on. Ten of the greatest drivers in Indianapolis 500 history will compete prior to the Chevy 500k IRL IndyCar Series season finale. Psst, someone tell Jim the car is pointed in the wrong direction. (Image courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway)

9/12/03

Portland race remains in limbo  This Portland Oregonian article talks about the status of the CART race in Portland under the prospective new owners of CART.  Here are some excerpts: A pessimist would say it's over. There is no chance -- not a prayer -- that the Champ Cars are coming back to Portland.  The G.I. Joe's 200 is dead. After 20 years. But Mike Nealy, the Portland race's co-promoter, sees millions of fans, a rich tradition, $160 million in economic benefits and a race track that ranks among the most accessible and most beautiful in the world. And he asks, "Why don't we rally around this thing and try to resurrect it as opposed to burying it?"

If there is a series, Nealy said, there will be a race in June. In Portland. And there is the rub. Will Championship Auto Racing Teams, awash in red ink, be merged into the rival Indy Racing League, remain a separate body or simply be put out of its misery? "I fully expect the race will be back," Nealy said this week, just hours before CART accepted a purchase offer of 56 cents a share from a group headed by Champ Car team owner Gerald Forsythe.

"I have been reassured by a number of different people in CART that Portland is very much on their radar screen," Nealy said, "and we've actually been talking about TV dates."

But the city erred, according to former race chairman Bill Hildick, when it announced a verbal agreement with CART for 2004 through 2006 but didn't get anything in writing.

"There are so many unknowns from Portland's point of view," said Hildick, who was race director for 15 years. "Somebody made a huge mistake in not signing so at least they would be on the books as having a (2004) date."

"But we have not had any indications from CART they are not coming back in June," Wigginton said. "It seems like (the sale announcement) can't be anything but a positive thing. CART was running out of money. Something had to change. I really am encouraged for the future now."

"You need a very, very strong leadership group to revitalize CART," Hildick said, "and I don't see it. Team owners trying to run sanctioning bodies doesn't work. I'm among those who feel the future of open-wheel racing in this country has to be under one sanctioning body."

Nealy pointed to the next event on the CART schedule, the Sept. 28 race in Miami, and said it could be a blueprint for future races.

The Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com features racing on Friday, a KID ROCK concert Friday night, racing on Saturday followed by an Elton John concert, then racing on Sunday. Fans can get a reserved seat for the John concert and a general admission ticket for the Champ Car event for $89. It's called MotoRock.

"I'm excited by the concept; it's pretty cool," said Nealy, who once promoted the likes of Alice Cooper and Grand Funk Railroad when he lived in Detroit. "We probably could do only one night of a major concert, but that would be a very strong objective. We'd like to do something Saturday night on the inside of the racetrack."

Is he dreaming?

"The story has yet to play out," Hildick said.

9/12/03

Fernández tests Sebring  Adrian Fernandez is in the midst of his best season as an owner/driver in the CART Champ Car World Series, standing seventh in the points with a win in Portland to his credit. The veteran ran nearly 200 miles on the short course at Sebring and was pleased with his team's progress. "It was a very positive test. We ran a lot of miles and we went through a lot of the things we needed to do. We learned a lot of good things," Fernandez said.   CART

9/12/03

Miami Pit & Paddock suites sold out   For the second year in a row, the Pit and Paddock Suites have all been sold, announced Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. Corporate clients who wish to entertain can still purchase Bayfront Suites or a table at The Club presented by The Collection. “The fact that we have sold out our Paddock and Pit suites solidifies our view that the Grand Prix Americas is a great vehicle to entertain clients,” said Martinez. Bayfront Suites are still available at $22,500 plus catering and The Club presented by The Collection, is available at $6,000 for a reserved table or $500 per ticket. For more information on suites or The Club presented by The Collection you can call 305.373.3333.

9/12/03

CART stock watch   Another big volume day for MPH shares

Price $0.64 @ market close
Change +$0.02
Volume 603,400 shares
Trades 190
Day Low $0.63
Day High $0.70
52 Week Low $0.60
52 Week High $5.28

9/12/03

Brawn under fire as tire row reignites  This UK Independent article says, After Juan Pablo Montoya's BMW Williams just beat the two Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher to the fastest qualifying lap at Monza, the teams' technical directors went head-to-head off the track as well.

Schumacher might have complained that being the championship leader (just barely) and therefore the first man to run made him everyone else's track cleaner, but the real heat came when his technical supremo Ross Brawn came under fire, in company with rivals Patrick Head, of Williams, Ron Dennis, of McLaren and Flavio Briatore, of Renault, to justify Ferrari's role in the Michelin tire argument. The organizers should have sold tickets to that instead.

Ferrari maintained that, when worn, Michelin's front tires exceed the regulation width, even though they complied with it when they were new. They sought clarification from the FIA, the sport's ruling body. Head, Dennis and Briatore, as Michelin runners, all remain adamant that the French tire company's products have always been in compliance with the regulations at all times and that they would never knowingly contravene them; they were at a loss to explain why the same basic type of tire had been passed without demur for the past 38 races, and had suddenly been deemed worthy of change.

9/12/03

2004 CART opener in St. Pete on CBS   This St. Petersburg Times article says, enthusiasm is picking up for CART's season opener in St. Petersburg, FL. as news spreads that the race will be nationally televised by CBS.  Word of the CBS telecast "is slowly getting out," he said. "People are realizing this has not only a regional factor to it ... but national and international."

9/12/03

Another good news article for St. Pete race   This St. Petersburg Times article says, A bailout of the troubled Championship Auto Racing Teams circuit is giving a high-octane boost to the first race on CART's 2004 season: the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. CART is the sanctioning body for the St. Petersburg race, not an organizer, financial backer or promoter of the event. For months the organizers of the race have sought to reassure potential sponsors that the second annual event could go on even if CART fizzled.

Nonetheless, race organizers were elated to learn late Wednesday that a group of investors called Open Wheel Racing Series have agreed to buy CART, ensuring that its 2004 season will go on. Open Wheel includes several racing team owners who are big investors in CART. Grand Prix spokeswoman Lisa Brock said the deal is a plus in sponsor negotiations because it takes off the table the issue of who will sanction St. Petersburg's race. "I think this will have a direct positive impact" on increasing sponsorships, added Tim Ramsberger, general manager of the Grand Prix, which is slated to wind its way through the streets of downtown in February.

Despite CART's uncertain future, Ramsberger said he is anxious to sit down with CART's new management team to talk about charting the St. Petersburg race in 2005 and beyond. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker said he was relieved. Like Ramsberger, he added, "I have remained confident in the race because of the support of (promoter) Dover Motorsports. They really are the key . . . They're the financial backer."

Open Wheel Racing Series is buying CART for about $8-million, or 56 cents a share. That's far short of the company's recent market value, but the ailing auto racing company said it had little choice. It considered liquidating the company but determined there would be less left for shareholders after paying debts than there would be through Open Wheel's buyout, CART said in a statement.

The deal may take up to three months to close, and some minority shareholders already have vowed to oppose it. Plus, Open Wheel can back out of the purchase without consequences by Sept. 18 if its due diligence turns up any problems. CART chief financial officer Thomas Carter called the agreement "very, very good news" for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "St. Petersburg is a very important event for us," he added. "It opens our season."

The inaugural race in St. Petersburg held seven months ago was heralded by local leaders as popular but not profitable. Organizers lost about $1.3-million, with the shortfall blamed in part on the lack of a title sponsor. Ramsberger plans to announce new sponsorships at the end of the month. Organizers are in talks with some potential title sponsors. The Grand Prix manager said he has widened the net for potential backers, contacting companies on both sides of the bay and as far away as Sarasota. A slow economy makes the battle for dollars tough.

9/12/03

CART sale good news for St. Pete race   This Tampa Bay Tribune article says, CART's pending sale to a group of investors still has to clear major obstacles, but news of an agreement was well received at Grand Prix of St. Petersburg headquarters Thursday. The second Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is scheduled for Feb. 20-22. The event is again supposed to feature CART's high-powered Champ Cars. With CART's future in doubt, the race has created little buzz. The pending sale could create local momentum. ``We view it as a very positive development in terms of where CART is going in 2004,'' GPSP General Manager Tim Ramsberger said. ``We look forward to sitting down with the [new ownership] to talk specifics about the series, especially as they apply to St. Petersburg.'' CART agreed Wednesday to sell its stock for $0.56 per share to Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, headed by team owners Gerald Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi. But Open Wheel can back out of the buyout through next Thursday if it determines the transaction is inadvisable. And the sale must be approved by a majority of ``non-interested`` stockholders. Forsythe is CART's leading shareholder with 22.9 percent ownership, and he has agreed to contribute his shares to Open Wheel rather than exchange them for cash. He'll face some resistance in completing the transaction. Jon Vannini, CART's No. 2 shareholder, is reportedly furious over the transaction fire-sale stock price. CART stock has traded for as much as $5.28 within the past year. ``In my judgment, this buyout proposal is pure fantasy,'' Vannini was quoted as saying on AutoRacing1.com. ``I simply don't see the majority of shareholders voting in favor of this deal. I know I won't.'' .......Encouraging for the GPSP is that Open Wheel is made up of people who care about racing and want to continue with CART's mix of street courses, road courses and ovals. Also encouraging is that the event is operated by Dover Motorsports, a stable and competent company. If CART goes under, Dover could secure another racing series. If Open Wheel completes the buyout, it may pair CART races with prominent concert acts. Jamie Rose of Motorock is one of Open Wheel's investors.

9/12/03
F3000

Wirdheim wins pole at Monza   Newly crowned F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim will start from pole for tomorrow's F3000 finale.  Townsend Bell will start the final race of his rookie FIA F3000 from seventh place on the grid, while teammate and champion Bjorn Wirdheim is on pole position once again. The Arden team is hoping to end the season on a high, as for the second time the F3000 runners experience compulsory pit stops. Bell was satisfied with his performance on his first sight of the Italian circuit, and was frustratingly close to the cars in front. He was also the quickest F3000 rookie, helped by the fact that local star Tonio Liuzzi spun off, and had to settle for a lowly 12th. “It’s not too bad really,” said Townsend. “We’re a tenth from fourth place, but Bjorn and Giorgio Pantano are just way up there. Clearly we’ve got some things to learn. But I expect that. I’ve never been around this place, and there’s a lot to cram in. I did the best I could, and we’re right there with guys that have been here plenty of times and run at the front in this series. “I’m not too disappointed, especially now that pit stops have mixed things up, and anything can happen tomorrow. We’re just looking for a good strong race, and try to finish the season on a high, scoring points.”

Although comprised mainly of straights and chicanes, Monza is not an easy track to adapt to, as Townsend found out. “I think it’s a little more difficult than it looks, just in the sense that it’s hard to see some of the corners as you approach, because there’s so much shade from the trees, there are leaves on the track, and there’s a bit of a mirage effect with the sun going down. It looks like water almost, so it’s a little hard to reference it. But I’m reasonably happy, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Meanwhile Wirdheim is keen to finish his F3000 career with a win at the venue where he scored his maiden victory last season. “This is the race after Monaco that I really want to win this year,” said the Swede, “because I had a good result last year. And now I’m in a good position to manage that. On the last set of tires it seemed like we had a fuel pressure problem and the engine was not running well, so I decided to stop early, so that means we have two sets of really good tires for the race.”

On Thursday night Townsend and Bjorn joined the rest of the F3000 circus at an awards ceremony named in honor of Gonzalo Rodriguez, the F3000 ace who was killed in a Champ Car crash at Laguna Seca in 1999. Juan Pablo Montoya and Cristiano da Matta were among the prize presenters, while former Olympic hero Ed Moses was another star guest.
Qualifying Times
1. B Wirdheim…1m38.457s
2. G Pantano…1m38.672s
3. R Sperafico…1m39.381s
4. P Friesacher…1m39.752s
5. E Toccacelo...1m39.782s
6. J Van Hooydonk…1m39.834s
7. T Bell…1m39.864s
8. R Giammaria…1m39.881s
9. C Montanari…1m39.908s
10. T Schmidt…1m39.924s

9/12/03

Escape Hatch close to being finalized  Gary Nelson was in his Concord, N.C., office Thursday putting the finishing touches on a technical bulletin which will allow competitors to use a roof escape hatch. "My goal is to get this bulletin out by the first of next week," Nelson said. "This will be optional this year, at least, that's the direction we're headed." The first use of the hatch in competition will likely be the EA Sports 500 at Talladega, scheduled Sept. 28. Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of competition, said the hatch design passed two critical tests over the last two weeks. Nelson and his engineering staff at NASCAR's Research and Development Center have spent a year designing and testing the hatch. A stock car outfitted with the escape door was crash-tested at the University of Nebraska two weeks ago and the hatch retained its integrity. "The car flipped six times and the escape door worked just fine after the car came to a stop," Nelson said. The final test was performed by driver Michael Waltrip and his #15 NAPA/Coca Cola/RitzKlaussner Chevy during a two-day tire test at Daytona International Speedway earlier this week. "We wanted to do a high-speed track test and see if the aerodynamic forces caused it to flutter or leak air into the car or anything like that," Nelson said. "The report we got back from the team was it was steady. It didn't move at all. To me that was a key test." Nelson said he was scheduled to meet with engineers at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for a final debriefing to "make sure they didn't find any negatives.  In an early conversation with them, they had no negatives," Nelson said. "They were all very high on the design. We're getting very close." Waltrip, who stands 6-foot-5, is one of the drivers eager to have an alternative escape route from the cockpit of his car. This will be the fifth major safety improvement introduced to NASCAR competitors this season. Other safety measures include the placement of a fire extinguisher near the fuel cell; stronger tether supports on hood; an extra air deflector to keep cars from going airborne; and the recent installation of SAFER barriers at Richmond and New Hampshire. Daytona Beach News Journal

9/12/03

Junqueira to make appearance in Miami this weekend   Champ Car star and South Florida resident Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing will make an appearance this Sunday, September 14th from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET to meets fans and sign autographs at the Bridgestone Tire and Service Center located at 2250 SW 87th Avenue in Miami, Florida. The most recent winner on the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford tour will be appear at the service center along with Grand Prix Americas racing simulators and show cars. The Bridgestone-themed event will run from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in preparation for the second annual Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com, September 26-28 in downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park. Miami’s WRTO Salsa 98.3 FM will also be onsite with the station’s prize van providing giveaways on Sunday. Fans can also come in and get free Friday vouchers at the service center which will get them in to see all the Champ Car action during Friday’s practice and provisional qualifying on the downtown Miami street circuit. Junqueira leads the rest of the Champ Car World Series drivers into Miami after his second straight victory in Denver on August 31 where he spearheaded a one-two finish for Newman/Haas Racing in the team’s 350th Champ Car start. The Brazilian pilot remains just 18 points behind championship points leader Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Forsythe Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing with four rounds remaining. Call 1-888-248-7223 or (305) 373-3333 for ticket information to Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com or log onto www.miamirace.com or www.champcarworldseries.com for more details.

9/12/03

Kneifel to attend FIA meetings   CART Champ Car Race Director Chris Kneifel was invited to attend meetings of the FIA Circuits Commission by Commission President Roger Peart and this week, in Paris, attended his first meeting, where advances in safety, circuit building, rules and event planning were discussed. Kneifel participates as the only representative of a US-based series and brings not only his perspective as Race Director of Champ Car but also his experience as a championship race driver.  More....

9/12/03

Ferrari dominates first Monza practice session  Ferrari drew first blood in the crucial Italian Grand Prix at Monza as Rubens Barrichello headed Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari one-two in Friday AM practice. Barrichello set a fast time of 1m21.001s. Ferrari teammate Schumacher recovered after going off at the Parabolica on his first flying lap to set the second fastest time at 1m21.152s. Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd at 0.317secs back from Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya, was fourth fastest in his Williams-BMW.

Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m21.001s
2 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m21.152s
3 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m21.318s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m21.556s
5 David Coulthard McLaren 1m21.675s
6 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m21.881s
7 Jenson Button BAR 1m21.913s
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m22.100s
9 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m22.312s
10 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m22.335s
11 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m22.368s
12 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m22.584s
13 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m22.821s
14 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m22.929s
15 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m23.151s
16 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m23.478s
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m23.794s
18 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m24.652s
19 Zsolt Baumgartner Jordan 1m24.891s
20 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m26.903s

9/12/03

Renault 1-2-3 in Friday testing at Monza  

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired
1 7 Jarno Trulli Renault 1:22.083 *
2 8 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:22.507 *
3 34 Allan McNish Renault 1:22.533 *
4 14 Mark Webber Jaguar -Cosworth 1:23.191 *
5 15 Justin Wilson Jaguar -Cosworth 1:23.541 *
6 19 Jos Verstappen Minardi-Cosworth 1:23.999 *
7 11 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford 1:24.026 *
8 39 Gianmaria Bruni Minardi-Cosworth 1:24.318 *
9 36 Zsolt Baumgartner Jordan-Ford 1:25.210 *
10 18 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi-Cosworth 1:26.296 *
* Provisional Results

9/12/03

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9/11/03

ALMS gets highest TV rating in 2 years  The NBC Sports telecast of Sunday’s American Le Mans Series race from Monterey, Calif., earned a final rating of 1.1, the highest-rated network telecast for the series in two years, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research, Inc. The telecast, which aired from 4-6 p.m., earned a 3 share and was seen in more than 1.2 million households. The rating, which grew from the 0.9 overnight figure announced Monday, represents a 64 percent increase from the network telecast of the same event last year from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“To achieve an audience such as that on the opening weekend of the NFL season, and in today’s highly-competitive sports on television environment, is very gratifying, and is a testimony to the quality of our on-track and on-air product,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series.

“We are still a relatively new racing series,” said Atherton of the ALMS, which started in 1999, “and it is also very encouraging that network telecasts of American Le Mans Series races continue to consistently attract audiences that are comparable to, and in this case greater than, television audiences of some of the more-established racing series in America. For our series to draw a larger TV audience than the Indy Racing League on the same day is a victory for our series, as well as our race teams, manufacturers and sponsors.” The IRL race from Joliet, Ill., on the ABC network had a final rating of 0.8/2 share.

The telecast from Laguna Seca was the third ALMS race this season televised by NBC Sports and the fourth time this season that the series has appeared on network television. CBS televised a race from Road Atlanta in June. ALMS events have been appearing on NBC Sports since the inaugural year of the series. The final two races of the 2003 season will be televised by SPEED Channel, including the Grand Prix Americas in Miami on Sept. 27 and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 18. “We are fortunate to have three prominent and respected television outlets such as NBC Sports, CBS and SPEED Channel associated with our series,” said Atherton. “Television has played a major role in the growth our series has experienced and is a major part of our plans for the future.”  ALMS

9/11/03

AR1 accused of trying to kill CART deal  UPDATE A final word on this issue since some feel we have not told Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) side of the story as thoroughly as perhaps we have portrayed Mr. Vannini's side. Because of SEC requirements, the principals of OWRS have always said to us, "Sorry we can't comment now.  Someday, when we can, we will be glad to tell you the whole story."  In fact that is what Paul Gentilozzi said to me in Denver.  It's because of their inability to speak about the topic in public, for fear of affecting the stock price and having the SEC come down hard on them, that has restricted our ability to tell their full side of the story.  When they can talk freely about it, we'll be glad to report it.  Mark C.    9/11/03 - Statement from AutoRacing1.com President:  We have received several e-mails from readers accusing us of trying to undermine the deal between CART and Open Wheel Racing Series LLC because we have questioned whether the deal has any chance of being approved by the shareholders.  Let us assure everyone that we, like most of you, hope that CART can be sold to Open Wheel Racing Series LLC and have a bright future. If CART fails it will leave a terrible void in American motorsports, and cost a lot of people their jobs.  However, we feel just publishing a press release put out by CART on the agreement is not why most of you subscribe to AR1. We do our best to analyze the data and present both views and all possible scenarios with regard to any situation.  If we raise questions about whether a deal has merit, it is because as journalists we have a duty to dig deep into an issue so everyone involved can form their own opinion after hearing all the facts (at least all that we can find or relevant opinions we can render), and not be blindsided by something unforeseen later on.  We have been accused of being owned by Jon Vannini, which is completely incorrect.  He is quoted on AR1 because he happens to be CART's 2nd largest shareholder and what he thinks or says is newsworthy in our opinion. You must also know that because of SEC requirements, the principals involved with OWRS have not been able to say much to the media, hence we have been unable to get their full side of the story. What we are NOT, is CART's PR Department or their mouthpiece.  That's Adam Saal's (and his staff) job.  Mark Cipolloni

9/11/03

CART stock watch  2nd UPDATE MPH closed down today at $0.62 on a heavy volume of 2,305,100 shares traded.  It was down 29.55% from an opening of $0.87.  Low for the day was 0.60.  So who bought all the shares?  Did a major player increase their position?  9/11/03 - Very heavy trading volume of CART MPH shares today with over $2 million shares traded already at 3:20 PM EST.  Stock is down 0.26 to $0.62.  9/11/03
Last Trade 1:49 PM ET - Sep 11, 2003
Price $0.67
Change $0.21 Down
Volume 1,178,600
Trades 238
Day Low $0.60
Day High $0.87
52 Week Low $0.83
52 Week High $5.28

9/11/03

Ralph Firman NOT cleared to drive   British Formula 1 rookie Ralph Firman has failed his medical and will not compete in the Italian Grand Prix for Jordan-Ford as he had hoped. The team has yet to reveal who will replace him alongside Giancarlo Fisichella this weekend. Firman was injured in a high-speed crash in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, but was expected to recover in time for the Italian race. He had a meeting with FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins in Monza when the problem was discovered. "It's frustrating," said Firman. "I feel absolutely fine, it's just like a little bit of vertigo when you sit up quickly sometimes, but I've been training and I have absolutely no problem driving a road car. Sid, however, has said that with any hint of a balance problem I cannot race. I have to respect that. When you think about driving a race car at 200mph plus, especially at a place like Monza, I could be a danger to myself and everyone else. "I am still 100 percent behind the team and determined to be in the car for the final two races of the season."

9/11/03

Ralf Schumacher cleared to drive   Ralf Schumacher has been given the go-ahead to take part in the Italian Grand Prix following his heavy accident in testing at the Monza circuit last week. Schumacher underwent a brain scan and a series of tests in Salzburg before leaving for Italy and is confident that he has no lasting ill effects after the shunt, which was caused by suspension failure. “I had headaches for a couple of days after the accident,” he said, “but then I was able to start training fully and there is no problem.”

9/11/03

Why Chevy engine not approved   Doug Duchardt, GM's new racing boss, said that NASCAR's decision not to legalize the new R-99 engine for truck racing next season will put Chevrolet teams at a disadvantage to newcomer Toyota. 'We want to be on an equal footing when we race against Toyota, and the thing we're most disappointed in is we think we'll be put at a technical disadvantage right off the bat, and we're not comfortable with that and don't like it,' Duchardt said. Duchardt said he doesn't know why NASCAR is barring the R-99, an engine under development since 1999. 'They were comfortable where we were with the dimensions. But it was never officially approved for competition. Jack Roush said we were, but he doesn't make that decision.' GM resubmitted the R-99 a few weeks ago, in machine-cast versions, to give NASCAR the opportunity to OK it if Toyota's V-8 blows away the competition. Duchardt denied the report that NASCAR's decision to kill the R-99 engine was made when GM wouldn't agree to supply the engines to all truck teams next season. Winston Salem Journal

9/11/03

IRL TV ratings continue to plummet, ALMS outdraws IRL  2nd UPDATE Score a victory for the American LeMans Series. The race from Monterey on NBC on Sunday from 4 - 6 p.m. scored a 1.1 final rating and 3 share, averaging 1,205,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research. The IRL race on ABC from Chicagoland from 2- 4 p.m. registered a final 0.8 rating and 2 share, averaging 831,000 households. MotorsportsTV.com 9/10/03 - We finally got the final TV rating for the IRL's race at Nazareth, and it's lower than we thought - a 0.6 with 517,000 households. That means the Nazareth rating was down 54% over the previous year. We await the final rating for Chicagoland tomorrow. 9/5/03 - Last year's IRL race from Nazareth received a 1.3 final rating on ABC.  This year's race was under a 0.8.  The TV Ratings report that AR1 has access to shows the top 18 rated sports shows for that week and the lowest listed was a 0.8 rating.  Therefore, the Nazareth race received less than that.  Using a 0.7, for lack of a better number right now, the ratings drop was at least 46%, perhaps higher. To top it off, the race was attended by only 15,000 (estimated) meaning the sponsors didn't get a very big bang for their buck for that event.

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%)

Nazareth (ESPN) 0.6  (Down 54%)

Chicagoland (ABC) 0.8 (Down 27%)

9/11/03

CART balance sheet  This is related to other items below with regard to CART's current net worth.  Here is a link to their latest published balance sheet.  Note that in March of this year their net tangible assets were $93.345 million.  Now the bid is to buy the company for $8 million less than 6 months later, meaning they would have burned through $87 million in 5+ months. Note the rate of drop in prior reports.  This is why it is raising so many questions and doubts.   Mark C.

9/11/03

Tragic News   ThatsRacin.com reports - The wife of NASCAR driver [#88] Dale Jarrett's crew chief and her two sisters were killed late Wednesday when a pickup struck their limousine after they left the Fleetwood Mac concert. Tara Howell Parker, 29, of Cornelieus, N.C., the wife of crew chief Shawn Parker, died about 11:30 p.m. on Interstate 40 near Vanstory Street, Greensboro police said. Other victims were Megan Elizabeth Howell, 16, of Mr. Henry Road in Mocksville, and Mysti Howell Poplin, 24, of Short Road in Mocksville, said the Greensboro police report. One of the women is Parker's stepsister and one is a half-sister, although investigators didn't know which was which Thursday morning. The pickup truck's driver, Jeffrey Niles McFayden, of 4107 Chateau Drive in Greensboro, was charged with three counts of second-degree murder driving while impaired, police stated. He was held in the Guilford County jail. The 1998 Lincoln Town Car limousine was stopped on I-40 west due to congestion from road construction when it was hit by a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by McFayden, rupturing the limousine's gas tank and causing it to explode, police said. The limousine's driver, James Cannady, 42, of New Ellenton, S.C., escaped the flames. A third car, a 1997 Ford Escort, also was struck in the collision. The driver and passenger in that car were not injured.

9/11/03

IRL testing at TMS  We are just one month away from the Sunday, Oct. 12 Chevy 500k - the final race of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. Three teams have booked dates so far.
ALL TEST SESSIONS ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
Monday, Sept. 15
Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Drivers scheduled to test include Scott Dixon who is second in points and teammate Tomas Scheckter

Thursday, Sept. 25 and Friday, Sept. 26
Andretti Green Racing
Andretti Green driver Bryan Herta will test.
Tuesday, Sept. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 1
Pennzoil Panther Racing

9/11/03

Vannini throws cold water on buyout announcement  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, I saw the announcement of the $.56 per share deal. As someone with a little experience with merger deals, I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like this. It is so mind-boggling I had to mention this to you in view of our prior correspondence. This company has about $43 million in net current assets (current assets minus current liabilities) and no long-term debt based on its most recently published balance sheet. To sell this company for about $8 million is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. Basically, the buyout isn't costing OWRS a penny. They will just take a portion of the money MPH has in the bank and pay it to the stockholders and walk away with the company and its remaining cash. It will be fascinating to read the proxy statement because I cannot figure out how the board can possibly justify this. I find it hard to believe that liquidation would not have produced more money for the stockholders. No wonder the second largest shareholder is irate.  Name withheld by request  Dear No Name, Open Wheel has done its Due Diligence and feels there are liabilities there, hidden or otherwise, that make it worth only $0.56.  But you like Vannini see the most recently published balance sheet and the numbers just don't add up. Hence why we feel for certain the shareholders will either ask to liquidate or at least ask for an independent appraisal to be done. And, as the agreement announced late yesterday says, if more than 16% of the shares (shareholders) ask for an appraisal, they can back out of the deal. Why would they do that if there is nothing to hide?  Like we stated, there's more here than meets the eye.  Mark C.  9/10/03 - CART announced today that they negotiated a deal with Open Wheel Racing Series to buy CART for $0.56 per share. AutoRacing1.com telephoned Jon Vannini this evening to get his take on the press release.  Vannini told AutoRacing1.com, "In my judgment, this buyout proposal is pure fantasy. I simply don't see the majority of shareholders voting in favor of this deal. I know I certainly won't. What's more, it seems highly unlikely to me that all, or even most, of the conditions that they (OWRS) have placed on this deal will be met."  AR1's take - if we go to the end of December before all the votes are counted (even the press release says the deal won't be concluded until the end of 2003, and we estimated it would take that long two days ago), and the deal is not approved by a majority of the shareholders, the deal is off, it will be too late for the 2004 season, and with no other buyers in the wings, it's curtains for CART.  The only savior may be Bernie Ecclestone, and we really don't know if there's anything to our speculation that Bernie will swoop in to save CART in the 11th hour when he can, i.e. when he gets out of his non-compete clause with Kirch later this month. Why would OWRS risk such a low bid knowing that the likelihood of it not being accepted later this year would be higher?  Is this a stall tactic waiting for Bernie to be ready and able, or are we reading too much into the situation?  All the facts and logic just don't appear to make sense.  Mark C.

9/11/03

Da Matta looking for podium for now   This AP article talks about CART champion Cristiano da Matta's first year in F1 and his hopes for the remainder of this season and next.  He's not expecting any wins before 2004, nor is Toyota, but for a 2-year old outfit, they are holding their own.

9/11/03

****READER QUESTION****Where's the 2004 CART schedule?  Dear AR1, I see that the IRL, NASCAR and now F1 have all released their 2004 race schedules.  As usual CART is last.  Are they asleep at the wheel?  Tierrie Reynolds, Tallahassee, FL.  Dear Tierrie, How can CART release its 2004 schedule when there's no guarantee there will even be a 2004 season until December sometime when the Open Wheel buyout is finalized?  That's what's so perplexing to us about the low bid Open Wheel has made for CART. They are playing with fire.  They may think it's only worth $0.56 per share, but there are going to be a lot of shareholders who will risk liquidating the company in the hope of getting more money than to take the $0.56.  What have they got to lose?  They have already lost just about everything.  A bid substantially higher would almost ensure the shareholder vote would be a slam dunk to pass.  As it is now, it's almost a slam dunk to fail, so to release a 2004 schedule would be meaningless.  If you were a race promoter, would you be comfortable saying you were holding a CART race in 2004 knowing there might not be a CART? If you're a race fan, do you buy tickets or make travel plans for the 2004 season knowing the uncertainty?  That's why we think there's more than meets the eye here, and right now, we can only speculate that perhaps Bernie Ecclestone is waiting in the wings to announce a deal in late September/Early October that will ensure everyone 2004 will happen (see our reasoning on our Rumors page). Short of that, we simply don't see how this thing is going to fly.....but let's hope we're wrong; but hope we're right about Bernie or some other magical silver bullet.  Mark C.

9/11/03

Provisional 2004 F1 schedule   There are a few surprises in the provisional 2004 F1 schedule released today.  Bahrain takes Imola's old date, Imola moves to June, Spa is back to its old date, and China is earlier than expected.  The USGP at Indy moves to June, but there's no Canadian race to pair up with it to save transportation costs, so moving it accomplishes almost nothing.  The final schedule will be released in October.

March 7 Australian GP, Melbourne;

March 21 Malaysian GP, Sepang;

April 4 Bahrain GP, Bahrain;

April 25 European GP, Nürburgring, Germany;

May 9 Spanish GP, Barcelona;

May 23 Monaco GP, Monaco;

June 6 San Marino GP, Imola;

June 20 U.S. GP, Indianapolis.
July 4 British GP, Silverstone;

July 11 French GP, Magny-Cours;

July 25 German GP, Hockenheim;

August 15 Hungarian GP, Budapest;

August 29 Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps;

September 12 Italian GP, Monza;

September 26 Chinese GP, Shanghai;

October 10 Japanese GP, Suzuka;

October 24 Brazilian GP, Sao Paulo.

9/11/03

Yu-Gi-Oh! means another new Petty Paint scheme   Bringing the excitement of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the popular animated TV show and trading card game, to NASCAR, Cheerios/Betty Crocker Racing has partnered with Petty Enterprises and 4Kids Entertainment to create a special Yu-Gi-Oh! paint scheme for the No. 43 Dodge. The No. 43 Yu-Gi-Oh Cheerios Dodge is scheduled to race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sept. 28.

"As the Yu-Gi-Oh! craze continues to sweep the nation, Cheerios/Betty Crocker Racing is happy to be the first to share its magic with race fans," said Laurie Greeno, vice president of Motorsports at General Mills. "In addition to our special paint scheme, General Mills has a great lineup of Yu-Gi-Oh! products and promotions happening through the fall. From the limited edition Yu-Gi-Oh! Cereal to special Fruit Gushers fruit snacks and Go-GURT portable yogurt, Yu-Gi-Oh! lovers will find their favorite characters and monsters everywhere."

"We're pleased to expand our relationship with General Mills and team with Petty Enterprises," said Alfred R. Kahn, chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. "The special paint scheme on the No. 43 Dodge will enable Yu-Gi-Oh! to speed its way onto the exciting NASCAR circuit and capture the attention of thousands of racing fans."

The Yu-Gi-Oh! paint scheme, created by celebrated motorsports designer Sam Bass, will look dramatically different than the yellow and "Petty blue" paint scheme typically seen on the No. 43 Dodge. The special design features a blue background that covers the entire car with the main character from Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Yugi, and the well-known Yu-Gi-Oh! logo displayed prominently on the hood. The rear quarter panel on the driver's side features one of Yami Yugi's main Duel Monster rivals, Kaiba, with the other rear quarter panel featuring Yami Yugi himself. The back of the car features the phrase known to Yu-Gi-Oh! enthusiasts nationwide, "Let's Duel!" [Editor's Note:  Petty Enterprises comes up with all these neat paint schemes, but they're all show and no go.]

9/11/03

New NASCAR Canada TV deal   NASCAR has signed a new Canadian TV contract with privately held broadcaster Craig Media.  The two-year deal will begin with live coverage of the 2004 Daytona 500 in February, and will feature all of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series telecasts on NBC (2nd half of year).  Craig Media will broadcast the series in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba. Relationships with existing Canadian broadcast partners will continue as NASCAR strives to reach a greater audience within the country.   Said Craig Media vice president, programming, Michael Taylor: “NASCAR is the number one rated motorsport in Canada, so we are pleased to add the NBC network telecasts including the Daytona 500 to our already high profile lineup of US network simulcast sports programming, which includes ABC's Monday Night Football and The World Series on Fox.” 

9/11/03

Schumacher is a special driver   This VodaphoneRacing.com article says, Michael Schumacher certainly makes the difference behind the wheel of a Formula One contender, the German ace not only managing to extract 100% out of his car, but his regularity in doing this is exceptional, hence the secret to his success.

Michael’s driving is not rational, thought about or achieved by thorough exercise. Just like several other drivers on the grid, it comes naturally, a matter of instinct.

“Every driver is trying to find the limit,” he says. “Beyond that, it is understeer, oversteer, loss of time and tire-degradation. It is also the risk of flying off the track. At each turn, I go to the limit, I feel it. That said, in order to find it exactly, I enter the turn faster than what a priori seems possible. It is, for me, the only way I can find out how far I can go.”

It is this, a resume of the Schumacher method: the difference that takes place when entering the turn. But what about the exit? It is helped and managed by the use of traction control. Yes, the world champion brakes late, but he has a whole range of options to go along with that: most of the time, he plays the accelerator and brakes simultaneously. The Goal: slow down the car sufficiently, of course, but most importantly stabilize it in order to gain speed. Limit the transfer of longitudinal masse in order to benefit from the best possible balance. That characteristic is unique: in fact, 18 of 20 drivers use the left foot to brake, but only Schumacher knows how to make this such a sensitive stability control. Even to the point of sometimes surprising his team.

“Pushing the envelope, that’s what makes this sport interesting,” he continues. “The 2002 Suzuka qualifications are a good example of exactly that. Achieving a good lap on that track will provide you with an indescribable feeling. You have to excel yourself: at that moment you feel … alive. Last season, I gave my maximum and, when I crossed the line, the chronometer showed 1’32’’484 : that was 0.8” faster than our simulations had indicated. That is the type of result that gives you a kick.”

In order to achieve a result such as this, Michael needs a car that is set-up to his liking. The most important thing for him is that his F2003-GA is precise and efficient in the front.

“I can handle a slightly oversteering contender at the entrance of the turn,” he explains. “In return I need to know that at the moment I turn the wheels, the car will take to the trajectory that I want it to, without drifting off.”  More at VodaphoneRacing.com

9/11/03

Beleaguered CART gets some good news This RPM.ESPN.com article talks about the CART buyout offer from Open Wheel Racing Series LLC.  Most people view this step as a positive one, but there's still some difficult hurdles to clear before the deal is consummated.

9/11/03

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9/10/03

IRL Fontana weekend to feature CARA event in infield  Race fans from around North America would pay some big money to see Al Unser Jr. dressed as Elvis or Tony George as James Dean.

Well, on Thursday, Sept. 18, the fans will get that chance when the IRL IndyCar Series© hospitality area transforms into a 1950s version of Route 66 at California Speedway, only a few miles from the real Route 66.

In a special charity event to benefit Special Olympics Southern California and CARA Charities, the most popular stops on Route 66 will be highlighted in the “Raceway Rendezvous” spectacular set on the infield of the popular two-mile high-banked superspeedway as a kickoff for the Toyota Indy 400 Weekend, the 15th race on the IRL IndyCar Series.

Many of the top drivers and personalities in the IRL IndyCar Series will take a page from the original “Route 66” television show in a scene at Raceway Rendezvous that will include a spectacular food spread – “Cruisine Down Route 66,” a silent auction, carnival games and live entertainment.

Legendary drivers like Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser Sr., Rick Mears and Michael Andretti will join many current IRL competitors in the charity event that will be culinary delights from the teams’ and sponsors’ hospitality coaches that transform into restaurants from the cities on the real Route 66.

Many of the drivers will participate in a variety of events including “Which driver has enough air to blow the biggest bubble?”; “Which one is cool as James Dean?”; “Which one has enough hip action to keep a hula-hoop going?” and “How many people can they stuff into a Toyota Echo?”

Live entertainment will come from Pioneer driver Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers rock band. Brack brings his new band to Raceway Rendezvous after releasing a live CD from the band’s Nashville Superspeedway performance. The 12-song CD set is available to race fans with all proceeds going to CARA Charities. In addition, driver Bryan Herta is scheduled to appear with Brack and the Subwoofers at Raceway Rendezvous.

Tickets for the new charity event are available at $100 each and can be purchased by contacting Special Olympics Southern California at (310) 215-8380, ext. 104, or CARA Charities at (317) 299-2277. Reserved tables also are available at $1,000 for a table of ten and sponsorship packages are included for the event. Tickets also will be available at California Speedway the day of the event.

9/10/03

F1 experts to participate in special CARA fan shop tour   Formula One Medical Director Professor Sid Watkins, M.D., and SPEED Channel Formula One announcer Rick DeBruhl have been added with former F-1 and Indy Car driver Eddie Cheever as guest speakers in the Sept. 26 CARA Charities’ “Indy Shop Tour,” a special CARA Charities racing event.

Open-wheel racing fans will have a unique opportunity on Friday, Sept. 26, during Indianapolis’ U.S. Grand Prix Week to visit two of the Indy Car racing’s top teams headquarters – Pennzoil Panther Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The two racing operations will open their shops to a selected group of racing enthusiasts for a special tour followed by presentations, cocktails and dinner as part of the “Indy Shop Tour.”

Professor Watkins, the head of Formula One Safety and Medical for more than two decades, is known worldwide as a racing expert in safety and has written a book about his experiences, Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One. Watkins will give his interesting perspective of Formula One racing from behind the scenes.

DeBruhl, host of the 16-race Formula One Championship for the SPEED Channel, is a veteran auto racing announcer who can explain how the F-1 telecasts are translated to the United States viewers.

Cheever, the 1998 Indy 500 champion and veteran F-1 driver, will talk about the differences in the two fastest forms of close-course motorsports in the world.

“We are honored and delighted to have Professor Watkins and Rick DeBruhl join Eddie as speakers for our annual Indy Shop Tour,” said Mary Lou Bogner, national director for CARA Charities. “All three will give a different view of Formula One racing and their presentations will be an outstanding finish to a great evening for the fans.”

The popular event, hosted by ABC-TV and ESPN-TV’s Bob Jenkins, will begin at 4:00 p.m. (EST) at the famed Columbia Club on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Private buses will transport the guests to the racing shops with special tours and question and answer periods. The guests will return to the Columbia Club for a cocktail party, buffet dinner and presentations by Cheever, Watkins and DeBruhl

Tickets for the special “Open Wheel Shop Tour” are now on sale at $150 per ticket and include the custom coach transportation, the shop tours, the cocktail party and dinner and the special racing presentation. Call CARA Charities at (317) 299-2277 or e-mail at Carachar@aol.com for reservations.

9/10/03

IRL weekly media teleconference  This week's guest on the weekly IRL media teleconference was rookie Dan Wheldon and Roger Yasukawa.  Transcript

9/10/03

Richmond rating down 8%   The Chevrolet Rock and Roll 400 from Richmond on Saturday night finished eighth in the basic cable ratings last week, registering a 3.0 national rating (still awaiting cable rating), drawing 3,300,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research. Last year's race pulled in 3,611,000 households, yielding an 8% decline in this year's ratings. MotorsportsTV

9/10/03

Tony George denies any CART/IRL merger talks  This Autoweek article says, Tony George isn’t keen on responding to any Carl Russo merger talks, mostly because George isn’t sure Russo is the one who should be speaking for the Open Wheel Racing group trying to buy CART. “I see that [the media] has anointed this guy this week and that guy last week,” George told AutoWeek. “It was Kevin Kalkhoven one week and [Paul] Gentilozzi another week, and they all seem to be saying different things. If these are the guys coming together to possibly acquire CART, it seems they all want to be spokesmen. I haven’t talked to any of them individually or collectively.” George said he did not meet with Russo at the IRL’s race at Kentucky in August, despite what Russo indicated recently at CART’s race in Denver. Rather, Russo met with IRL executives Ken Ungar and Brian Barnhart, but Ungar emphasized that the subject was Russo’s interest in forming an IRL team, not merging CART with the IRL. [Editor's Note:  Carl Russo never said that he had any talks with the IRL about a merger.  What he said was that we must find a way to get the sport back together again and that his group's aim was to make CART strong again so there was no doubt in the IRL's mind that CART was here to stay.  At that point Tony George would have to decide whether he wanted to continue a long, drawn out war, or sit down at the table and talk.  With CART being so weak right now, there's no reason for Tony George to sit down and talk.  He probably figures it will die all by itself.  We could not help but notice Tony's statement that Open Wheel Racing Series LLC (OWRS) appears to have no leader and spokesperson, instead each appear to speak independently.  This is of course cause of great concern by many, that OWRS will be run by people with different agendas, which was the criticism of CART for years. While they are probably all on one page, outwardly it does not appear that way.  And the silence on the buyout has people thinking the worse. CART really needs to be run by one chief, one dictator so-to-speak, with one voice.  We are not enamored with the prospect of team owners owning CART, but what other choice is there right now?  Where's Bernie when CART needs him most?]

9/10/03

Formula One 'blackmailers' threaten global tobacco treaty     Deborah Arnott, Director of the anti-tobacco campaigning group ASH, said:  "Formula One's grubby rulers are clearly determined to see tobacco money continue to flow into their sport. "Glamour" advertising of this kind encourages young people in particular to smoke, and smoking kills. Apparently the FIA could not care less about the misery the tobacco industry causes to millions all over the world.  We applaud the Canadian Government's resistance to the FIA's crude blackmail attempts. We urge all countries, particularly those being pressurized into hosting Formula One races, to ensure that tobacco money is kept out of the sport and that effective advertising bans are put in place as soon as possible. Under global and regional agreements, tobacco sponsorship is being phased out and it is therefore in the interests of all sports to sever their ties with the tobacco barons at the earliest opportunity."  Tobacco.org

9/10/03

Turkey looking at August 2005    Turkey on Wednesday said they are planning for their first F1 in August, 2005, in a ceremony attended by government officials and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "We are expecting substantial revenues from Formula One for which we have allocated 27 million dollars" from a state-run publicity fund, Erdogan told the gathering.  Even if two in a thousand of the 1.5 billion people watching the race on television choose to come to Turkey for a vacation, it would mean three million tourists," he added. In late August, Turkey signed a seven-year contract to hold Formula One races starting in 2005.

9/10/03

Rudd's damaged #21 ready for New Hampshire   It didn’t take long for the Wood Brothers Racing team to get a handle on the damage done to the #21-Motorcraft Ford following Saturday night’s Rock and Roll 400. The damage, while limited to small areas of the car, will require repair in the body shop. TFR spoke with Len Wood Sunday afternoon and learned that the hood and cowl needed to be replaced and that the right, front fender needed repair before the car could be prepared for the upcoming New Hampshire International Speedway event. The damage, which Wood described as “no big deal,” was incurred when team members from Kevin Harvick’s team decided that the Motorcraft Ford would make a better doormat than race car. “It didn’t need to happen,” said Wood, disappointment clear in his voice, “What happened after the race didn't need to happen.” Wood said the car was getting attention Sunday and would go to the body shop Monday. He hoped to have it back in the shop Tuesday morning so he could have it ready to leave for the long trip to New Hampshire. Not letting the post-race folly take away from his team’s accomplishment Wood remained happy with the on-track results. “We were catching the leader at the end of the race,” said Wood. “I ’m not saying we had anything for him [Ryan Newman], but we were closing the distance to him. We were coming on strong right there at the end. That’s what’s more important.” After thinking a moment, Wood added, “It's unfortunate. In this day and time there's more expected from us than that. This is a major sport with major TV coverage and we just don’t need to be doing stuff like that.”

9/10/03
Industry News

Future DirecTV Boss Says Company to Focus on DVRs, HDTV  UPDATE A reader responds, DVRs and HDTV have been around for years. DirecTV have had them both for over three years, they are just now combining them into a single box.  I've watched every CART race on my Tivo DVR for almost four years now. Nothing new. Love skipping the commercials. Works great with my Time Warner Cable (which has several HD channels by the way, ABC-HD, CBS-HD, NBC-HD, PBS-HD, Discovery-HD, HBO-HD, and Showtime-HD).  FYI, anybody with a DVR that was not home for the Road America race would have missed it. DVRs are not aware of issues like lengthy rain delays. If a last-minute problem causes a race to run later than its scheduled timeslot, the DVR is unaware and will not record the actual race. Mike St. Clair  9/10/03 - The potential future CEO of Hughes Electronics told a crowd at Merrill Lynch's Media and Entertainment Conference that the company and its DirecTV unit plan to be a leader in bringing emerging technologies into the television space, including Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and HDTV.

Chase Carey, picked by News Corp. to lead Hughes and DirecTV once the media giant completes its proposed takeover of the businesses, told the conference audience Monday that DVRs will be "a major part of the television household of tomorrow." He added, "I have never seen a device which is as valued, even worshipped, by every consumer who uses it."  Cable already has it with TiVO, ReplayTV, and UltimateTV.

Carey said DVR technology will help DirecTV compete with cable. "The DVR is not just our answer to cable's Video-On-Demand (VOD), but we believe it will become the true VOD experience that allows for greater control of all content. This article explains how DVRs work.

"We expect to have the best DVR in the market and our global scale provides the resources and expertise to achieve that goal," Carey said. He added that in addition to typical DVR functionality, such as rewind/replay and recording capabilities, the service can also deliver DVR-tailored content.  What does this have to do with CART?  CART has already toyed with HDTV broadcasts, and many people who saw the Road America HDTV broadcast saw it via HDNet on DirecTV.  The ability to record races in HDTV on DVRs in the future (as HDTV becomes more mainstream) will enable race fans to watch a race whenever they want, regardless of what time zone the race is in.

9/10/03

Last one left turn out the headlights  The Indy Star continues to play up how great the IRL is and continues to predict CART's demise.  This article about Sam Hornish, says  the IRL has not yet delivered on its promise of an American-dominated, grass-roots-driven all-oval series. The league has clearly overtaken CART -- last one left, turn out the headlights -- but it's miles behind NASCAR, and it isn't likely to catch up soon..  Mark C.

9/10/03

Karting titles on the line in Canada  The Western Division Series of the 2003 Snap-on.com Champ Car "Stars of Tomorrow" presented by RACER Magazine national karting campaign comes to an exciting conclusion this weekend (Sept. 12-14) when an outstanding field hit the CARTBC track outside of Vancouver.  Point championships will be on the line in the two-race weekend on the excellent karting facility.

The "Stars" Western series has seen a variety of talent drivers - from wily veterans like Jason Bowles and Kevin Glover to gifted teenagers like Alan Sciuto, Nick Halen and Billy Scyphers III - in some of the finest wheel-to-wheel action seen in any West Coast motorsports competition this year.

The Western Canada competition marks the fourth and final Stars of Tomorrow karting event for the Western Division this year with the seventh and eighth main events of the region definitely securing the coveted point titles. The top point finishers also gain positions for the Stars of Tomorrow national championships set for Nov. 1-2 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in conjunction with the California 500 Champ Car race.

This weekend's action will have six separate classes including the international categories ICC (125cc Shifters) and ICA (100cc direct drive). In addition, the other categories include the Senior Class of Rotax (125cc Clutch), 80cc Junior Shifter, Junior Super Can (100cc Clutch) and the Grand Products Cadet class (for youngsters 8-12 years of age). A special Junior ICC (100cc direct drive) exhibition race will also be on the program.

"There are many titles still on the line this weekend," said Bobby Rahal, president of the Stars of Tomorrow karting series. "So we expected some pretty wild racing as the karters go for wins, championship points and invitations to the national championship at California Speedway in November. This year's Stars racing has been as good as any motor racing in this country. These drivers are the future of our sport and they are learning quickly. Look at a driver like A.J. Allmendinger. He was in karting two years ago and now he is one of the hottest properties in open-wheel racing in North America. We could be seeing the next A.J. this weekend."

9/10/03

Lamborghini returns to racing  UPDATE Our sources tell us the Lamborghini will be racing next year in ALMS with VICI racing. This team is run by Ron Meixner out of Miami. In fact we hear he will be the Lamborghini Racing Factory rep for the USA.   9/9/03 - Today at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, Lamborghini unveiled the Murciélago R-GT, a new race car derived from its acclaimed super sports car, the Lamborghini Murciélago.  The Murciélago R-GT, developed jointly with renowned race engineering company Reiter Engineering in Germany, and parent company Audi’s sports division Audi Sport, will offer Lamborghini clients a highly competitive car with which to participate in global professional motorsport.  Built to the specification of FIA and ACO regulations, the R-GT will be equipped with a Lamborghini air restricted 6 liter V12 engine, developing a highly competitive power output. The drive train, converted from the Murciélago permanent 4WD to RWD, as per the FIA/ACO regulations, will sport a sequential gearbox. The total weight will be contained within the relevant class specification of 1100 kg.   The Murciélago R-GT has been developed by the ‘House of the raging bull’, as a result of increasing customer demand for a high-specification Lamborghini race car at a competitive price. The R-GT will be supported by the Lamborghini Customer Sports Program that takes care not only of race car sales but will also offer trackside assistance.  The Murciélago R-GT will be eligible for entry in national and international race events such as the European FIA GT Championship and the American Le Mans Series, competing in the GT category of these two major championships. Vehicles for customers will be available by 2004 at a selling price below 500.000 Euro.  Following the official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Reiter Engineering will undertake a test and development program, entering a Murciélago R-GT in the FIA GT races at Estoril, 5 October and at Monza on October 19, 2003. Reiter Engineering plans to shakedown the first car in late September and undertake a test session prior to the Estoril race weekend. For this test and race program, the car will be driven by professional drivers Peter Kox and Oliver Gavin.  Dr. Werner Mischke, Chairman and President of Automobili Lamborghini, says of the Murciélago launch, “There is already substantial demand for the Murciélago R-GT, from motorsport teams and drivers alike: we anticipate this new race car becoming one of the special attractions in GT motorsport. The presence of this new racing Lamborghini at international sports car events will be a perfect opportunity to showcase the competitive and performance advantages of the Murciélago.”   Prospective customers requiring further information should e-mail racinginfo@lamborghini.com, or contact Manfred Fitzgerald directly at manfred.fitzgerald@lamborghini.com.

9/10/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

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9/10/03

Martin to make 500th consecutive start   Mark Martin will make his 500th consecutive Winston Cup start this week at Loudon. The run is the third longest current streak in Winston Cup and the seventh longest of all-time.

Martin ran his first Winston Cup race in 1981, when he ran five races, while winning two poles. The following year he ran a full season in 1982. Failing to find adequate sponsorship, Martin ran only a handful of races from 1983-87, before hooking up with Jack Roush in 1988 to form what would become one of the most successful teams in NASCAR.

MARK MARTIN ON HIS 500th CONSECUTIVE START

"I'm really thankful for what I have and the time that I've had and the success that I've had. The fact that I've been able to do this, actually says a lot about the people around me over the years that worked really hard to make that possible. Jack (Roush) basically gave me a second chance and the opportunity to pursue my dreams, and we have been doing that ever since.

"It's (the steak) a pretty good accomplishment. It would be a lot longer if I had stayed in from the beginning. I started in 1981 and then ran a full season in 1982. I missed '83-87, but if I had kept a job at that time I would have had a really large number. Still it has been really rewarding and I've experienced so much.

"As far as the streak, I've been really fortunate about not having to miss a race, or even need relief in that period of time. Thankfully I've been able to drive my car every week since it all started.

"I've realized a dream and not a lot of people get to do that. Growing up in Arkansas, NASCAR racing was the ultimate to me. To have had the opportunity to drive on a competitive level and the good fortune to have experienced a lot of success and win a lot of races, that is more than I could have asked for.

TIME LINE ON THE STREAK
1st race - Daytona - February 14 1988 - Started 38, Finished 41, President - Ronald Reagan
56th race-1st win - Rockingham - October 22, 1989 - Started 7th, Finished 1st
100th race - Pocono June 16, 1991 Started: 1, Finished: 3, President - George Bush
200th Race - Dover, September 18, 1994 Started: 4, Finished: 19 (Accident), President Clinton
300th Race -- Atlanta, November 16, 1997 Started: 9, Finished: 3, President -Bill Clinton
400th race -- Homestead, November 12, 2000, Started: 11, Finished 3 , President - Bill Clinton
500th race - Loudon, September 13, 2003, President  George W. Bush

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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