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Gentilozzi speaks Paul
Gentilozzi was Dave Despain's guest on SPEED Channel's Wind
Tunnel show on Monday night. Here are some highlights of
what Gentilozzi stated. Outspoken and not worried about
always being politically correct, Gentilozzi is like a breath
of fresh air.
1. Drag Racing
- Paul started out in racing as a drag racer, but his
love for road racing eventually brought him to Trans-Am and
now to CART.
2. CART buyout -
"It's really a process determined by the government. We have
finished our proxy statement and are in the process of the
last couple of details. By the end of the week or Monday of
next week, we will send it to the Securities and Exchange
Commission for review. Now, they have complete control over it
at that point. It could come back for revisions. It could be
modified. It could take awhile. We've asked for urgency on
their part because the health of the company is critically
involved in how quick they review it. Once they review it, and
we get an acceptable document to the government, then we send
it to the stockholders, they get an opportunity to read it,
review it and ask questions about it - and then they vote on
it." 3. Las Vegas Race - "It doesn't say
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it says Las Vegas. So, we have to be
careful here. Deductive reasoning by some takes it to a place
where we don't yet have a signed deal. We want to be in Las
Vegas. We want to be at the best place for our fans. It could
be at the Speedway or certainly it could be a street race.
When we put that list of "cities" out, it was to let our teams
know where we would be going next year. ... Sometimes the
dynamic of where you have a contract and where you run the
race can change, but we needed to let people know that we were
going to have 16-18 races and we were going to be in those
cities." 4. European venues - did not sound
enthusiastic about Europe races. He made a point to say
taking series out of country may not be best thing (Editor's
Note: F1 goes out of Europe all the time, if you have a good
TV package it does NOT matter where the race is) 5. Jon Vannini - Was asked by a fan how big of a
stumbling block is Jon Vannini? Gentilozzi said Jon is a
longtime CART investor. He was
instrumental in bringing Chris Pook in as President. Paul
felt that when he sees proxy statement, he will make his own
decision what's best for him. OWRS will not vote 22.9% of CART
shares, which represent Forsythe's shares. They don't
want people to think that they won the vote. 51% of the
remaining shares must vote in favor of buyout for it to
proceed. 6. Talked about MotoRock - "I love the fact that
a few guys write something and it turns into a factual basis.
MotoRock is more than (concerts). It's about a lifestyle of
environments on race weekend. It's about changing some of the
entertainment that the fans get. Anybody can do a music
concert - well, anybody that knows how. That is not what
MotoRock is about. Everybody is in a big hurry to tell us what
the concept is. It's going to involve a lot of ambient
programming as we go forward that isn't part of every CART
event. Some events don't lend themselves to bringing in other
kinds of entertainment. Everyone needs to get off that horse
that MotoRock is just to bring the concerts to a CART day." 7. On topic of team owners still owning CART - "We are not from the Old Boys club, " stated Gentilozzi.
"We are investing in this series because we think it is a good
investment and it just needs a few things to be fixed to be
profitable. We are not just buying this series as a
hobby to have a place to go racing on weekends." 8. 2004 schedule- Was asked about Brands
Hatch. Paul stated Brands is on schedule because CART
has a contract to run there. So do others. They must
work through those and are shooting for a final 16 to 18 race schedule
(note: as early as the Mexico City race weekend) 9. Trans-Am - Needs more sophisticated
engines for manufacturers, 4-valve engines but must keep costs
in mind. Could see Trans-Am on oval if cars can be made
10. Gentilozzi on the
addition of escape hatches in NASCAR: "John Force and
everybody in the NHRA have been using escape hatches for 20
years. I don't think it's that big a deal. Those cars go over
300 mph - everyone should have them." 11. Gentilozzi on growing CART's television
ratings: "Everybody in motor sports has suffered. As
the NASCAR ratings have gone up, everybody else that gets time
on TV lost ratings. Are we thinking at this time that it is
the critical thing behind the health of CART? No. We've got to
make better programming. We've got to make something so that
people can know when they can watch it and what they are going
to see when they watch it. There's got to be a little drama.
We've got to tell a better story. ... Just regular ol'
green-to-checker programming - they can see that 24-7 on
television. They want to know about the people. People are
what interest fans. Emotion is what attracts us."
12. Closing remark
- "if we lose on CART buyout, we'll go down fighting."
Correction In the Miami race
report from Sunday, we would like to correct the following error -
"Dominguez and Moreno kept their noses clean all day and rewrote the
team record books as they earned the first-ever 1-2 sweep in the long
history of the Herdez squad. In fact, no two Herdez drivers had ever
finished in the top 10 of the same race before today" ....So far this
year, they have five previous events where both drivers have placed in
the top 10...
Gulf Air to sponsor Bahrain
race The Formula One Grand Prix to be held in
Bahrain in April 2004 will be called the Gulf Air Bahrain
At a press conference attended by HE Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed
Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit and
President of the General Organization for Youth and Sport,
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Gulf Air, and
Hans Geist, General Manager of the Bahrain International
Circuit, it was announced that Gulf Air is to be the major and
naming rights sponsor and official carrier for the 2004
Formula One Grand Prix event to be held in Bahrain.
It is an achievement for Bahrain, and is evidence of the
recognition for the Kingdom in the international community.
Commenting on the deal, Gulf Air President and Chief
Executive, James Hogan said: "Gulf Air is both honored and
delighted to be part of this milestone event in the history of
Bahrain and the region. I would like to thank our partners in
the Bahrain International Circuit and the Bahrain Motorsport
Federation for their support and endorsement during the
negotiations leading up to this agreement."
"Over the last year Gulf Air has put its weight behind a
number of initiatives designed to boost awareness of and
interest in all the things its owner states have to offer, in
particular tourism attractions," he said "The first Formula
One race in the Middle East provides an attraction of the
highest order and at the same time, unprecedented
opportunities to put Bahrain on the world map."
He added that Gulf Air will put its extensive marketing
resources behind the promotional campaign in order to attract
the maximum number of spectators and at the same time to
ensure that all the race fans visiting the Kingdom will have a
memorable experience. Bahrain GP
Attendance for USGP increases? UPDATE
article reports attendance as over 100,000. How
much over? The article also discusses some of the issues with
F1 coverage in the USA. 9/29/03 - Despite
a weak economy and rainy weather, attendance for this year's USGP was up from an estimated 120,000 in 2002 to an estimated
140,000 this year.
Tony Stewart files lawsuit
Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony
Stewart has filed a lawsuit against Gary McColgin, a
45-year-old Florida native, accusing him of selling fake
racing helmets and other non-licensed memorabilia featuring
Stewart and his Winston Cup sponsor - The Home Depot.
The lawsuit added to an already long list of charges against
McColgin. In June at his home in Woodstock, Ga., McColgin was
arrested by Detective Burt Love of the Cherokee County (Ga.)
Sheriff's Office for selling fake Rolex watches on E-bay.
Specific charges against McColgin include theft and
counterfeiting, among others.
Thanks to Stewart's lawsuit, which has been joined by Home
Depot, police and the FBI are now investigating McColgin in
connection with his alleged sale of fake racing helmets over
the Internet. Fake Tony Stewart racing helmets have reportedly
sold for over $4,000.
"We've been trying to track this guy down for a while now,"
said Stewart. "It looks like fake racing helmets weren't the
only things he was selling. The fake Rolexes were the first
things to get him in trouble, but my management group has been
gathering evidence and we've charged Mr. McColgin with selling
fake racing helmets.
"I want to be on the record in saying that selling fake racing
merchandise of any kind will not be tolerated by me or anyone
affiliated with Tony Stewart Motorsports. It's deceptive, and
it hurts race fans and teams alike - race fans because they're
not getting authentic merchandise for which they paid, and
teams who are unable to secure the royalties from racing
merchandise so they can't re-invest that money back into the
"Mr. McColgin's antics are about to stop, as are any other
persons looking to follow in his footsteps."
The specific causes of action against McColgin regarding the
sale of fake Tony Stewart racing helmets include federal
trademark infringement, federal copyright infringement,
federal false advertising, federal and state unfair
competition, and violations of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive
Trade Practices Act.
The basis for McColgin's arrest regarding the sale of fake
Rolexes are: two counts of theft by deception; two counts of
theft by taking; possession of tools for commission of a
crime; forgery in the first degree; making of a terroristic
threat; forgery/counterfeiting of registered trademarks and
copyrighted designs; and violation of Georgia RICO statute.
Georgia RICO carries up to 20 years in prison, forgery in the
first degree up to 10 years, and theft carries up to five
McColgin has not yet been indicted, therefore, a date for
trial has not been set yet, but it is likely to take place in
Cherokee County unless the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office
decide to take over the case. In the event the federal
government takes over, the case will most likely be tried in
federal court in Atlanta.
Seen at Indy Spotted
Arie Luyendyk and Townsend Bell having coffee together at the
Starbucks at the Indy airport during this weekend's USGP.
Wonder if they were talking about the IRL. Hmmmm
Seen at Miami - II Could
not help missing Dario Franchitti's agent talking to Paul
Gentilozzi this weekend in Miami. Hmmm.....
crowd for final Days of Thunder race proves Rockingham is
gaining in popularity On Sunday 28th September
31,000 people saw Ben Collins lift the 2003 Days of Thunder
drivers title, bringing the total number of visitors who have
seen the UK's fastest race series at Rockingham this year to
over 150,000. "This weekend has been a fantastic end to the
Days of Thunder season, with the large crowd creating a real
party atmosphere," said Rockingham's CEO Ashley Pover. "If you
add all the visitors who have seen Days of Thunder this year
to the crowds from BTCC, BSB, Racing Rivals Live and all the
track days, conferences, corporate events and Experience days,
over a quarter of a million people have seen and experienced
the diverse entertainment Rockingham has to offer. We have
found a formula of high speed racing action, off track
entertainment and live performances by high profile pop
artists that has successfully appealed to a wide ranging
audience." "We are now looking forward to 2004," Pover
continued. "Over the winter we have some exciting
announcements that will allow Rockingham to build on our
excellent reputation of being THE place for family
entertainment in the Midlands and beyond." The 2004 Days of
Thunder season kicks off on Sunday 2nd May at Rockingham, with
an event on the first Sunday of every month until October at
the Northamptonshire circuit. The average Days of
Thunder event gate is around 30,000 visitors, while the recent
‘Racing Rivals Live’ race meeting attracted a record 44,000,
the biggest one-day gate for a non-Formula One motor race
meeting in the UK.
wants 2nd USGP This
interview in the Indy Star with Bernie Ecclestone has
some interesting quotes about a 2nd USGP: Q: Do you think you will have a second race in the U.S.
in the near future? A: "Yes, if we find the right one." Q: Are there any on the horizon? A: "No." Q: So why has the U.S. been such an obstacle for you? A: "The difficulty we have in America is that there are so
many things happening. We have one race there and not what I'd
call super television coverage. Imagine if we had only one
race in Europe, which is the same size as America, how popular
we'd be there. Maybe if we had 10 races in America and only
one in Europe things would be reversed. It's hard to penetrate
the American market anyway." Q: What surprises you most about the U.S. market? A: "That we still with our poor television situation
get as much coverage as the other open-wheel races in America.
It surprises me how few people watch sports in the States as a
whole. There are a couple of sports that have big television
audiences, but the rest not too much." Q: The NFL certainly does, and NASCAR, too. A: "NASCAR's not much, really. What do they get, four
million people? (Actually 9 million viewers per race,
according to Fox Sports) (The) race in Italy (was) seen by 12
to 14 million people." Q: You moved the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis to
June for the 2004 season. Was that your decision, and did it
backfire somewhat when you took the Canadian Grand Prix off
the schedule due to that country's restrictions on tobacco
advertising? A: "That's where Tony (George) wanted it, and that's
OK, we've accommodated. Yes, we put it in June because it was
good logic with Canada. But I have no idea about (the future)
of Canada with us. They're being a little silly, to be honest
with you, with their attitude."
CART looking for a replacement
for Chris Pook According to this rpm.espn.com
article, Paul Gentilozzi said that they are looking
for a replacement for CART President & CEO, Chris Pook.
Las Vegas not etched in stone Lisa
Gilbert, the sports anchor on KVVU-TV (Fox 5 Las Vegas) called
Chris Powell at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today after reading the 2004
CART race schedule. She reported exclusively on the 10PM News that the
track responded with "No Comment" to the CART announcement. Apparently
the deal isn't done....yet. Powell says nothing is complete and there
are many things to agree on. He hasn't agreed to anything yet.
6-car crash sends Larry Foyt to
hospital Jeremy Mayfield blew a left rear tire nine laps into
the EA Sports 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway,
triggering a multi-car accident that sent six drivers behind
the wall and punctured the grille on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s
Mayfield was running near the rear of the field as the pack
coursed through Turns 3 and 4, when he said the tire blew,
sending his car into the car driven by rookie Larry Foyt.
Both drivers went hard into the Turn 4 wall, and in doing so
collected Johnny Benson, Tony Raines, David Green and Jimmy
"I was going into Turn 3 and it just started vibrating and
dropped down the left rear, must have run over something,"
Mayfield said. "I knew then I had a tire going down.
"It was just hang on until I went all the way around and spun
out. I hate to start a wreck like that. It was weird. Just
driving along, trying to be patient, you know. We had a good
car. I hate it for everybody else out there we tore up."
Foyt got the worst of the accident. After being checked out in
the infield medical center, he was transported to the
University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center for further
evaluation. He was awake and alert, but like Spencer was
unable to return to the event.
Valiante wins in Miami, Patrick
2nd Pole sitter AJ Allmendinger had engine trouble
(misfire) before the start and Michael Valiante jumped into
the lead from his 3rd starting spot and never looked back to
win the Toyota Atlantic race in Miami, the final event of the
season. Danica Patrick finished in 2nd place, her best
result to date. 2nd place starter Ryan Dalziel, who
wasn't happy about losing the lead at the start to Valiante,
For Valiante, the victory was his third of the season
(Monterrey, Mid-Ohio, and Miami) and the sixth of his Toyota
Atlantic career. It was also his second consecutive podium
finish and his sixth podium of the season, as well as his
eighth consecutive top four result and his 10th top four
performance in 11 starts this season. With the victory,
Valiante assured himself of third place in the final point
standings, despite the fact that he missed Round 4 at Mazda
Raceway Laguna Seca due to an illness. It was also the second
consecutive victory on the streets of Miami for Lynx Racing,
as Patrick Carpentier won from the pole driving for Lynx in
the last Miami Toyota Atlantic street race in 1995.
With a second place finish, Patrick became the second woman in
history to finish second in a CART-sanctioned event, joining
Sara Senske, who was the runner-up in a Barber Dodge Pro
Series event at Chicago Motor Speedway in 2001. It was
Patrick's second podium finish of the season, as she opened
the season with a third place result in Monterrey, and was her
second consecutive top-five result, following a fifth place
run at Denver last month. It was also Patrick's fifth top five
result of the season, and it enabled her to claim sixth place
in the final series point standings by just one marker ahead
of Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports).
2003 series champion A.J. Allmendinger was philosophical
afterwards - “Today was disappointing. Fortunately, and
unfortunately, after we fixed the car it ran the best it had
all weekend. If we could have started from our pole position
and made it cleanly through Turn 1, no one could have touched
us. I’m still thrilled though. There’s not one person in this
paddock that wouldn’t trade places with me, even though we
lost today. This season was just about perfect and the RūSPORT
team was outstanding all year. My engineer Burke Harrison just
gave me a great car every time. I’m looking forward to next
Winner Valiante, (Left
Photo). Danica Patrick (2nd) with Valiante (Right Photo)
Photos by Bob Heathcote
1. (3) Michael Valiante, Toyota/Swift, 55.
2. (5) Danica Patrick, Toyota/Swift, 55.
3. (2) Ryan Dalziel, Toyota/Swift, 55.
4. (4) Jon Fogarty, Toyota/Swift, 55.
5. (9) Jonathan Macri, Toyota/Swift, 55.
6. (7) Joey Hand, Toyota/Swift, 55.
7. (6) Aaron Justus, Toyota/Swift, 54.
8. (13) Alex Figge, Toyota/Swift, 54.
9. (8) Luis Diaz, Toyota/Swift, 53.
10. (15) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift, 52.
11. (1) A.J. Allmendinger, Toyota/Swift, 52.
12. (11) Kyle Krisiloff, Toyota/Swift, 20, mechanical.
13. (12) Alex Garcia, Toyota/Swift, 16, contact.
14. (10) Marc Breuers, Toyota/Swift, 7, contact.
15. (14) Philip Fayer, Toyota/Swift, 1, contact.
Time of Race: 48:05.360.
Average Speed: 78.916 mph.
Margin of victory: 1.209 seconds.
Lap leaders: Valiante, 1-55.
Caution Flags: 3 for 7 laps.
NASCAR 8th most hated sport According to this AP
article, NASCAR is the 8th most hated sport in the
USA. People see NASCAR as red, white and blue -- or as
some see it, redneck, white skin, and
blue collar -- even if it has broadened its appeal to
millions who don't fit that description.
No Sunday qualifying
article says, After a meeting involving Formula 1 team
principals at Indianapolis, it was revealed that Sunday
qualifying has been rejected as a format change for next year.
The suggestion, aimed at spicing up the Sunday on-circuit
action ahead of the grand prix itself, met with opposition
from the better-funded teams who like to use their drivers for
sponsor commitments in the Paddock Club on race day. The
schedule would also have been squeezed by fitting in a
qualifying session on race day, as well as imposing even
heavier demands on race team personnel.
The precise format of the 2004 F1 schedule is still to be
decided, as are moves to reduce testing to go hand-in-hand
with the single engine rule in curtailing costs. More
discussion will be held before the October FIA World Council
BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said: "The main aim if
you look at the one engine rule and testing restrictions, is
to reduce cost. Both approaches offer potential to do that
significantly if they are applied in the right way. We are
prepared to design and develop an engine for next year that is
capable of doing double mileage and now it's important to fix
next year's regulations in a way that it really happens,
otherwise you won't save money at all.
"We do more testing today than is healthy to the sport. The
only issue is that I would prefer every team to be on the same
testing scheme. If there is a restriction and everybody has to
cope with it, it is a sporting issue and we would go for it.
We would support it."
Tony George eyes 2005 for
Mexico race Tony George
was on the pubic address system at the Indy Speedway yesterday
during a break in the F1 action. When talking about the
IRL he brought up the fact that he is hoping to have an IRL
race in Mexico in 2005. We shall see.... Mark
***Reader Opinion***Is this
where CART is headed? A reader writes, Dear AR1,
Since this is the model of future CART events, I was surprised
when looking at the Saturday photos (from Miami) that there
wasn't any photos of what must of been a massive crowd
watching the qualifications. I didn't get to watch the quals
on TV yesterday but I'm sure the main grandstands must of been
packed with the 100,000 people expected this weekend. AR1
always has pictures of the grandstands during IRL events. What
a great opportunity this weekend to show again where CART is
headed. Please put up a photo of the HUGE crowd at yesterday's
qualifications for those of us who weren't there and couldn't
see it on TV. Thanks, Mike Brown, Indiana Dear
Mike, The heat is so oppressive in Miami this time of year and
the humidity so high, it's nearly impossible to sit in the
grandstands for more than 15 minutes at a time. This
race needs to move to become CART's finale in late October or
early November when it's cooler. We shall see how the
attendance is today, but historically, CART promoted races are
not well attended. CART itself needs to get out of the
race promotion business and leave that to the experts like
Dover Downs. Mark C.
CART buyout progressing UPDATE
Some analysis of what was reported in the Autosport story from
an attorney who does this sort of work all the time -
"We have the final draft and within a week or so we'll send
that proxy statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission
for their review," Gentilozzi revealed. "That could take a
week or it could take a month because they are a governmental
entity. Then that package, in its entirety, goes to the
stockholders for review and approval. "
Generally, this is correct, but he is way too optimistic on
the timing. The "final draft" he is talking about is really
the FIRST version filed with the SEC. From the SEC's
perspective, this is the FIRST draft. They look at it and give
the company comments and require them to file a revised draft.
Then they give more comments, etc. The idea that this process
could take a week is pure fantasy. A merger proxy statement
like this usually takes 2-3 months to clear the SEC review and
comment process. Since this is somewhat of a suspicious
looking transaction, the guess is that the review and comment
process will take longer than expected. Name withheld by
request Dear No Name, we spoke to Kevin Kalkhoven
about this who said that the SEC will expedite their review in
cases where a company's survival hinges on their timely
review. Mark C. 9/27/03 - This
article says, Another crucial step in Open Wheel
Racing Series' attempt to acquire CART is set to unfold in the
next seven to 10 days, according to Paul Gentilozzi, one of
three principals in the group.
Gentilozzi said Saturday at Miami that the proxy statement
being drafted by OWRS to send to CART shareholders is in its
final stage of approval. OWRS has offered 56 cents (31p) per
outstanding share of stock.
"We have the final draft and within a week or so we'll send
that proxy statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission
for their review," Gentilozzi revealed. "That could take a
week or it could take a month because they are a governmental
entity. Then that package, in its entirety, goes to the
stockholders for review and approval.
"That will include all of the disclosure of the company's
current status and year-end projection. In it are also two
‘fairness opinions' from Ernst & Young and Bear Stearns that
are independent companies paid to give their view of the value
of the stock."
Gentilozzi added that the stockholder vote could come as early
as Halloween and as late as Thanksgiving. The vote will come
in two stages – to enable and to approve the deal. In the
second vote, the 22.9 percent of CART shares owned by OWRS
through partner Gerald Forsythe will be removed from the
"For the second vote, we're not going to vote Gerry's shares
so it doesn't appear in any way that there is a thumb on the
scale trying to make this deal happen," Gentilozzi said.
Meantime, sources confirmed that CART will issue a tentative
2004 schedule on Sunday in Miami that will contain 15
confirmed venues and five other potential venues but no
specific dates. From that list, the definitive race schedule
will be capped at 16 to 18 races. Gentilozzi added that he is
confident that the revived Champ Car series will attract at
least 18 cars.
Ecclestone & Gentilozzi on Wind
Tunnel Monday Monday night's SPEED Channel Wind Tunnel
show with Dave Despain is not one you want to miss. Guests
will include F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone (taped interview)
and Trans-Am and soon-to-be CART series owner Paul Gentilozzi.
Stewart falls out of favor with Goodyear? More on
the growing Goodyear tire controversy, following Tony
Stewart's angry complaints after losing at Dover. Goodyear
officials fanned the debate when they again refused to respond
to numerous questions about the issues: Was Stewart correct in
claiming that a problem with the freshness of his tires cost
him the race? Was crew chief Greg Zipadelli correct that the
age of the tires used this season is a significant problem on
the Winston Cup tour? Is Goodyear wrong to have special
sponsorship deals with some of the top teams? Is NASCAR wrong
to give Goodyear a monopoly and then allow Goodyear to make
those special deals? Goodyear also declined to respond to
complaints by some crews that the top six or seven teams are
provided secret technological information unavailable to the
other teams. NASCAR stayed on the sideline, but did fine
Stewart $5,000 for using foul language on TV. Goodyear is
expected to cancel Stewart's tire deal. After a similar
tirade, Stewart lost his Goodyear sponsorship for 2002, making
him the first to win a Winston Cup championship without a
Goodyear deal. Goodyear will return to its 'Born-on' tire
dating next season, but Goodyear appears unlikely to reveal
its current secret dating codes this fall. Goodyear yesterday
was offered the opportunity to confirm or deny Greg Zipadelli's complaint that its Dover tires came from different
batches, but the company declined. Goodyear sells on a
no-return policy, and NASCAR selects tires at random for each
team. So there is an underground economy among Winston Cup
crew chiefs who trade tires with each other, trying to match
Winston Salem Journal.
Judge awards Earnhardt doctor Dr. Stephen Bohannon,
who tended to Dale Earnhardt at Halifax Medical Center
immediately after the crash at Daytona in Feb 2001, was back
in court Friday seeking fees from the Gainesville-based
Independent Florida Alligator for the time he spent preparing
for and giving what his attorney described as "expert"
testimony at depositions and at trial. Circuit Judge Joseph
Will agreed and ruled Bohannon should receive fees to be
determined later. Bohannon testified in a civil trial in June
2001 about the value of autopsy photos, while Earnhardt's
widow, Teresa, tried to stave off media requests for access to
her husband's photos. see full story at the
Daytona Beach News Journal
Fittipaldi opens Cigar Club in
Emerson Fittipaldi, the legendary former race car driver
and current co-owner of a Champ Car Series team, premiered a
new concept in entertainment in the celebrated Porcão
restaurant in Miami (Florida): the Fittipaldi Cigar Club.
This new venue offers cigar lovers a place to get together to
sample some of the finest and most famous brands in the world,
including the former Formula One World Champion's brand,
"I am pleased to introduce this new concept," said Fittipaldi.
"True cigar lovers can come to Porcão and find a pleasant
place to enjoy our products. It is a place where club members,
as well as non-members who want to visit us, can share their
knowledge of fine tobacco, have a good time, and even make
business with their associates."
Fittipaldi said that his first encounter with fine cigars was
following the birth of his grandson, Pietro, when he was
offered one to celebrate the occasion. For the man who
dominated the world's most recognized tracks, the tobacco
industry quickly became a new challenge.
The Fittipaldi Cigar Club will be open regularly from 1:00 to
5:00 PM, and then from 6:00 to 11:00 PM in a designated area
at the Porcão restaurant, a popular spot for lovers of gourmet
"We hope this new space created together between Porcao and
Fittipaldi Cigar Club could bring to our clients the unique
opportunity of matching a good meal and a selection of premium
cigars in the same place."
For those interested, the Fittipaldi Cigar Club offers an
annual membership. Members will receive invitations to
exclusive samplings and events, discounts on Club merchandise,
and a chance to have a personal locker for their cigars.
Fittipaldi Cigar Club members will be able to enjoy brands
such as Fittipaldi Series, Córdoba, Navegador, Artz Reyes, One
Eye Pete, Capricho Cubano, S.T. Dupont and Patoro among other
top quality cigars.
The line of first class cigars bearing the name of Fittipaldi
is produced by the experienced and renowned manufacturing
family of Augusto Reyes in the Dominican Republic, and the
union has resulted in the creation of a line of cigars that is
sure to be appreciated by even the most demanding cigar
Jaguar announces new Wind
Tunnel Jaguar Racing is today pleased to
announce the addition of a new major wind tunnel facility. The
DERA wind tunnel (Bedford, UK), formerly used by the Ministry
of Defense for aircraft development, will be upgraded over an
18 month period into the latest specification model scale wind
tunnel and will make a significant contribution towards the
team's 2006 challenger - the Jaguar R7. The team's half-scale
wind tunnel in Bicester (UK) which was opened in spring 2002
will continue to function alongside the new facility. Richard
Parry-Jones, Group Vice President and Head of Formula One
Operations, Ford Motor Company said: "Under the leadership of
Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth and integrated support from
Cosworth Racing and Pi Research, Jaguar Racing has made clear
progress this season and this investment we are making will
help cement progress further up the grid. This latest
investment will take Jaguar Racing's engineering and
aerodynamic capabilities to the next level." Jaguar
Racing has acquired a 123 year lease of the DERA wind tunnel
which was constructed in 1954, by the Ministry of Defense
(MOD), for the purpose of aerodynamic testing of missiles and
military aircraft. The tunnel is located on a site of 15,000
m2, forming part of what was a much larger MOD estate near
Bedford, 30 minutes drive from Milton Keynes. The wind tunnel
itself covers some 1,600 Sq. Meters and there is an attached
four-storey office and workshop of 1,400m2 David Pitchforth,
Managing Director, Jaguar Racing said: "Once upgraded to the
latest specification, the DERA wind tunnel will be used
primarily for model scale work and our plans to utilize a
third full scale wind tunnel will be announced in the not too
Champ Cars grossly overweightUPDATE Mr.
Hughes writes again, To reiterate, now what does it say that
the 250hp Toyota Atlantic cars are capable of actually
qualifying within the Champ Car field? Allmendinger's pole
would put him just inside the Champ Car grid. How can this be?
A Champ Car has 500 more horsepower, yet a good driver in an
Atlantic car can qualify on the Champ Car grid? I know the
circuit has something to do with it, but come on, this is
becoming an embarrassment with all this dumbed down "IRL-like"
equipment. I understand the need to cut costs, but to me, this
is a sure indication that the Champ Car formula needs to
reduce some dimensions and weight. It lumbers around a circuit
with 500hp more than an Atlantic car, yet the Atlantic car is
much more nimble, more "F1-like," and can actually out-qualify
some Champ Cars. I guess I just miss the days of the late 90's
where even F1 feared the mighty performance of the Champ Car,
but the weight still needs to be reduced.
Derek Hughes, Florida9/27/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, Was the racing surface wet for the
Champ Cars and dry for ALMS? What is up with the 2.5 second
difference between ALMS pole and Champ Car pole? If they were
both in the dry, that is pretty sad, we desperately need
something closer to F1 size cars and MORE HP!
Derek Hughes, Florida Dear Derek, First the Champ
Cars were not slower. However, CART doesn't have
tire warmers (dumb) and hence with only two laps to qualify,
the drivers never got heat in their tires. We have been
saying for quite sometime now that if CART is going to focus
on major metropolitan street circuits, Champ Cars are too big
and grossly overweight. Hopefully in 2005 CART will open
up their chassis rules so new cars can be built by the likes
of Lola, Menard, Dallara and G-Force and CART will 1) Make the
cars at least 200 pounds lighter by eliminating ovals from the
schedule and by 2) Making the cars smaller (F1 size), 3)
Switch to a gasoline V-10 or a small turbo engine, and 4)
Adopt F1 style tires with their small diameter wheels.
CART must carve out its niche in North America as this
continent's version of F1 but do it at low cost by putting
restrictions in the rules that limit how much the car and
engine costs the teams. CART was at its height when it
was thought to be a "relatively" high-tech series with fast
cars. The IRL has chosen to try and mimic NASCAR with
its IndyCar series, but that is not what Champ Cars are and
what they ever should be. CART would be wise to let the
IRL have their niche (ovals) while making their niche (North
America's version of F1) Mark C.
in Miami - I Miami resident and former CART driver Tony
Kanaan was hanging around the CART paddock this weekend in
Miami. Kanaan is in contention to win the IRL
championship. Photo of Kanaan talking to Jimmy Vasser by
Allmendinger grabs pole in
Miami In a dramatic final qualifying session for
Sunday's 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by
Yokohama season finale, RuSPORT rookie A.J. Allmendinger (#4
RuSPORT) jumped from third on the provisional grid and put his
car on the pole position for the Argent Mortgage Toyota
Atlantic 100k (SPEED Channel, 12:00 p.m. ET). The pole was
Allmendinger's ninth of the season, tying Gilles Villeneuve's
1976 record for most pole positions in a single season.
After placing third in provisional qualifying on Friday,
Allmendinger and his RuSPORT teammates made several changes to
the car overnight. The changes continued throughout the final
qualifying session, and with fewer than five minutes
remaining, the 2003 champion clocked a best lap of 47.717
seconds (86.762 mph). That would be enough for Allmendinger to
usurp Friday's provisional polesitter Ryan Dalziel (#28
Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) and Michael Valiante
(#19 Lynx Racing) and put himself on the inside of the front
row for the race. In addition to it being the ninth pole of
the season for Allmendinger, the rookie also maintained his
perfect record of qualifying inside the top three for every
race this year.
Allmendinger's late flyer relegated Dalziel to the outside of
the front row, as he was guaranteed a front row starting
position owing to his provisional pole winning performance on
Friday. However, Dalziel would have qualified second based on
speed anyway, as he was second quickest today with a best lap
of 47.760 sec. (86.683 mph). It is the Scot's best starting
position since he qualified on the pole for Round 5 at
Portland, and is his third front row starting position of the
Valiante starts third after logging a best qualifying lap of
47.868 sec. (86.488 mph), for his third consecutive top three
qualifying performance. It is also the eighth consecutive race
that the Canadian has qualified inside the top five, and he
has gone on to finish inside the top four in each of those
events. It is Valiante's ninth top-five qualifying performance
in 11 races this season.
Jon Fogarty (#1 Norwalk Furniture) had the biggest improvement
from provisional to final qualifying, as he vaulted himself
from 10th on Friday to fourth on Saturday after clocking a
best lap of 47.943 sec. (86.353 mph). It will be the third
consecutive race that Fogarty has started fourth, as the 2002
Toyota Atlantic champion qualified fourth in his return to the
series last month in Denver, and also qualified fourth at
Denver to finish out the '02 season. It is the 11th
consecutive event in which Fogarty has qualified inside the
top four, and is his 13th top-four qualifying performance in
14 career appearances.
Fogarty's Team Rahal teammate Danica Patrick (#24 Argent
Mortgage Company) fills out the top five on the starting grid
after turning in a best lap of 48.052 sec. (86.157 mph). For
Patrick, the qualifying performance represents the third time
in the past five races that she has qualified inside the top
five positions, and is her fourth top five starting spot of
The Miami bump is still an
As can be seen in these photos by our Scott Morris and Bob
Heathcote, the bump in the Miami chicane is still there and
really not much better.
team gets crashed car ready to race
With a helping hand from another team and some mechanical
ingenuity, the Intersport team has miraculously effected
repairs on the #37 Lola EX257-MG that was heavily damaged in a
crash during Friday’s American Le Mans Series qualifying
session for today’s Grand Prix Americas. The car will race in
the event on the Miami Downtown Street Circuit. Drivers Jon
Field and Duncan Dayton are in a tight battle for the LMP 675
class driving championship in the ALMS and their participation
in today’s race is vital to their cause. The team was able to
reassemble most of the car overnight but had a serious problem
with the car’s radiator system due to a shortage of parts.
Using ingenuity, team members fabricated some carbon fiber
pieces for the radiator assembly from the team’s pitboard
sign. Then, they were able to fit and install a radiator that
was loaned to them by JML Team Panoz. “We really appreciate
what the Panoz guys did to help us,” said Clint Field, team
manager for Intersport and driver of the team’s #30 entry. Please credit ALMS/Rick Dole.
New Engineer for Ryan
Hunter-Reay David Brown has taken over as Race
Engineer for Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31). Brown was most
recently with Panther Racing (not to be confused with Andy
Brown) and before that had over 10 years experience in F1 with
teams like Williams. The guy is really switched on.
CART team owners meeting Open
Wheel Racing Series principals Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul
Gentilozzi held a meeting with the CART team owners this
morning in Miami. We spoke to Kalkhoven afterwards who
said, "We had a very positive meeting. We will have no
problem with car count next year." He also mentioned
that they have not decided whether to keep the current Ford
Turbo through 2005, but a normally aspirated V8 is being
pushed by some. If they are going to go with normally
aspirated, they would be wise to make it a V10, not a V8.
The V10 will sound better, but more importantly it will
differentiate CART from everything else in North America.
The worse thing it could do would be to adopt the same 3.5 L
IRL V8. Should they do that, it will be clear they don't
understand their place/niche in the world. The meeting
was also a chance for OWRS to answer questions from the team
bosses and give them assurances CART will be there next year
so they can complete their sponsorship deals. Mark C.
Barrichello fast in Saturday AM
Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m11.112s
2 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m11.124s
3 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m11.139s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m11.232s
5 David Coulthard McLaren 1m11.355s
6 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m11.493s
7 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m11.758s
8 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m11.800s
9 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m12.060s
10 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m12.135s
11 Jenson Button BAR 1m12.186s
12 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m12.380s
13 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m12.671s
14 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m12.680s
15 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m12.931s
16 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m13.275s
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m13.458s
18 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m13.749s
19 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m14.335s
20 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m14.781s
Corvette crashes, will miss
Factory Corvette driver Kelly Collins had a hard crash at the
end of the morning warm-up session for this afternoon’s
American Le Mans Series Grand Prix Americas presented by
Sportsbook.com. Because of heavy damage suffered in the
accident, the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R that Collins shares
with Oliver Gavin will not start the race on the Miami
Downtown Street Circuit. Gavin had set the fastest GTS class
time of the morning warm-up, turning a lap of 51.692 seconds,
prior to the team making a driver change halfway through the
30-minute session. The car crashed in turn 12 and came to rest
with the left side against a wall. Although Collins was moving
around inside the car, he had to exit from the right side. He
was examined and released from the track medical facility. “We
had been bottoming out on that bump all weekend, so I was
trying to find a different line on it and I squared up to it.
When I came down I brushed the right side of the car on the
wall. It must have spun me and then I hit hard on the front
left.” Collins was examined and released from the track
medical facility. “The team installed a composite crash box
earlier this season in the roll bars on the left-side door and
I can attribute that to why I’m in good shape now,” he said.
Please credit ALMS/Rick Dole.
a bird. It's a plane. It's a Champ Car!UPDATE
The bump was ground down last night and it is not as severe
today, but it's still there. Mark C.9/26/03
snapped this photo of Patrick Carpentier getting all 4-wheels
off the ground in Miami while qualifying today. The bump
in the chicane is that severe. All three of the top
qualifiers said the track is not conducive to Champ Cars.
Mika Salo said, "If it was F1, they would pack up and go home.
The track is too narrow, too bumpy and the rubber off line
from the other series here is bad. There are so many
beautiful places in Miami, I'm sure they can build a better
track somewhere else." He compared it to a rally race he
drove one time. Bruno Junqueira said that if they don't
fix the bump the cars tub will probably be cracked when the
race is over. "For sure there will be crashes or broken
gearboxes Sunday if they don't fix it." Track officials
told AR1 that the bump will be ground down tonight.
Photo by Mark Cipolloni.
Waltrip only one to have hatch It was Michael
Waltrip who helped test the new roof escape hatch system
NASCAR has been working on for the last six month or so and it
was Waltrip's car that gets to test it out first under race
conditions. The #15 is the only car equipped with the new
device this weekend at Talladega. Everyone in the garage area
gathered around it at one point before inspection to get a
look to see how it worked. The hatch, which measures
approximately 24 inches by 24 inches on the driver's side
roof, is controlled by steel cable pull cords in the cockpit
that are connected to a latch system. By pulling on one cable,
it will allow the driver to open the exit to the front or rear
of the car. By pulling on both cables, it will allow the
driver to completely remove the piece. The system is
controlled by the driver, but safety crews also will be able
to release the system as well, if needed. Jack Roush said
their teams had no immediate interest in installing the
devices unless NASCAR made it mandatory or if one of his
drivers requested one. "We want to see what the hatch will do
in actual conditions before we even consider it," said Roush.
The kits will be available through independent vendors, will
cost approximately $150.00 and will take the teams about 15
hours to install. Gary Nelson displayed the device on TV a
couple of weeks ago and the one he demonstrated showed the
hatch opening from side to side but the one on the No. 15 car
clearly opened from front to back, or back to front. The
escape hatch will allow drivers an additional exit through the
top of the vehicle should they be unable to utilize the
traditional window exit.
Former American/Japanese F1 BAR
test driver seeks CART ride We
Ryo Fukuda Friday in Miami. Fukuda is a 24-year
old former BAR F1 test driver (2002) and he won the French F3
championship in 2001 beating current CART rookie Tiago
Monteiro who finished 2nd. That year he won an
impressive 7 out of 11 races. He's
raced since he was 16, and when racing in France learned to
speak a third language, French. His father is Japanese
and his mother is American so he speaks English very well.
He even went to school in Ohio for one year.
Unfortunately a F1 seat was hard to come by and with Takuma
Sato waiting in the wings to take over if Jacques Villeneuve
is released from BAR, his chances of landing an F1 seat were
slim, at least right now. Hence Fukuda is seeking a ride
elsewhere, and that elsewhere is Champ cars.
Unfortunately there are no Japanese manufacturers in CART
right now to help him land a seat. He's here just trying
to get a test ride with one of the Champ Car teams where he
feels his time testing for BAR will allow him to shine.
We asked him about the IRL where Honda or Toyota might be
willing to help him but he told us he's a road racer and feels
ovals are too dangerous. Being 50% American may help
open up a few doors for him, but also being Japanese could
help CART should they return to Asia as rumored. Last
year the Newman/Haas team tested a slew of drivers in a
head-to-head competition before settling on Bourdais..
Chip Ganassi has employed that tactic as well with great
success. As CART teams settle on their lineup for 2004,
perhaps other teams will realize that the only way to find out
if a driver is fast is in a head-to-head tryout. Fukuda
is hoping some teams will give him a chance to show his stuff.
Unknown to many in the paddock he may open more than a few
eyes, just like Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Montoya and other
unknowns have in the past.
Jaguar unleashes new engine
Rocketsports team owner and Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the
BFGoodrich Tires Cup principal Paul Gentilozzi, along with
two-time Tour champion Scott Pruett, tested Jaguar’s new
32-valve, overhead cam, fuel-injected 4.5-liter AJ-V8, at a
special ceremony held yesterday at Putnam Park Road Course in
Brownsburg, Ind. The car took several laps around the
permanent circuit there as part of an event held by Jaguar in
conjunction with the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Although the engine was tested successfully at Putnam Park, it
will not race in Sunday’s Motorock Miami 100. However, it is
expected to run in race trim at the season finale, Oct. 26 at
the Puerto Rico Grand Prix, under the hood of Pruett’s No. 7
The engine uses the stock aluminum block and alloy heads from
the Jaguar XKR road car. In fact, other than the connecting
rods, crankshaft, pistons, injector hat, and ignition system,
the engine is completely stock. The engine’s stroke has been
shortened, and its bore was widened, raising the stock
displacement from 4.2 liters to 4.5 liters for the race
engine. The engine weighs approximately 100 pounds less than
the current corporate pushrod V8 used in the Jaguar XKR and
uses an all-new ignition system developed by Rocketsports and
Bosch. It will rev to 9,000 rpms, up from 8,200 in the current
engine. It also uses a dry-sump oil system.
“This is the future of the Trans-Am Tour,” said Gentilozzi, a
three-time Drivers’ Champion himself. “To be able to make this
engine viable, it has to competitive. This is not an exercise
in engineering. We know that the current 311-cubic-inch spec
will not work in the future. We’re the only racing series that
uses it, and it really isn’t what the car companies are
developing. No production car is made with a carburetor any
more. This engine uses a stock block and heads, and parts are
readily available. Plus, Jaguar has a huge history that gets
lost a little bit with the current corporate pushrod V8.
“Other manufacturers are interested in this program and that’s
really what we’re doing here, looking for manufacturer
support,” added Gentilozzi. “This is being done to get more
manufacturer involvement. That’s what we’re trying to do here.
If you can get two or more competing marques, then you have
“It ran really smooth, had a flat torque curve and wasn’t
peaky,” said Pruett, who turned laps yesterday at Putnam Park.
“It really was pretty impressive considering this was its
first outing, and we were being very conservative. As we put
more time and more miles on this engine, it will get more and
more competitive. We all remember the late 1980s and early
1990s, when the manufacturer involvement in the Trans-Am Tour
was strong, and we had huge car counts. This engine is the
start of the Series opening back up, and will bring back the
manufacturers. This really is the future of where the Trans-Am
Tour needs to be.”
Qualifying is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The
Motorock Miami 100 is scheduled to start at approximately 4
p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28. The race will air on a tape-delayed
basis on SPEED on Friday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
to Racer Magazine
Dear AR1, The following is a copy of a letter sent to the
Editors of “Racer” magazine in response to the article “Soul
Proprietor” written by Jeff Olson appearing in the November
issue. While more balanced than most “the IRL won” pieces Mr.
Olson does assert the battle has been won by a Segway riding
Tony George and his IRL.
To the Editors – RACER Magazine,
Doesn't ANYONE read Jeff Olson's stuff before it's transmitted
to the typesetter (or what ever Intel powered equipment
actually does such work in these modern times)? My God! We all
know CART had a tough year but to declare Tony George and the
IRL “The Winners” given their 2003 PAID event attendance and
abysmal ratings, on NETWORK television no less, with all those
alleged “Stars” from CART, is pure motorsports sacrilege!
CART isn’t dead yet and the major reason why is CART enjoys a
fan base that’s willing to fight for it's survival whereas the
IRL has no fan base, ‘cept maybe some NASCAR fans FORCED to
buy IRL tickets, ‘cause the growing fan base the IRL had
bailed after Tony robbed Paul Tracy of his rightful 500 win.
That’s when the motorsports world saw Tony for what he and his
vision stand for and that was the day the IRL began it’s
agonizingly slow slide (maybe Honda, Toyota, Target and Philip
Morris will speed things up a bit at the conclusion of this
season) toward bankruptcy.
The only thing The * Grandson and his Crapwagons control is a
motor race that has been leveraged into irrelevance since the
formation of the IRL which itself has been bastardized into
another version of the CART they hated so much. Who do Jeff,
“Racer”, the IRL and most importantly Tony George think
they’re fooling. The IRL is nothing but a motor sports
embarrassment and no true fan of professional motorsports will
ever support it. Respectfully, J.N. Anderson,
Dalziel takes Friday
provisional pole Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28
Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) threw down a blistering
lap of 47.895 seconds (86.439 miles per hour)-a speed that
would have placed him 16th on the provisional Champ Car
grid-and claimed the provisional pole position for Sunday's
Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k at the Grand Prix
Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com (SPEED Channel, Sunday,
12:00 p.m. ET).
As a result of his performance, Dalziel has guaranteed himself
a front row starting position, and perhaps more importantly,
moved him a step closer to clinching second place in the 2003
CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama point
standings. Dalziel has already earned his best starting
position since taking the pole position for Round 5 at
Portland-a race he would go on to win-and if he maintains his
position in Saturday's final round of qualifying, it will be
his first pole since that race and the fourth of his Toyota
A familiar face was in the second spot at the end of
provisional qualifying, as Canadian Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx
Racing) was the day's runner-up with a best lap of 47.946 sec.
(86.347 mph). Valiante has started second in each of the last
two races, and he has qualified inside the top five in the
past seven consecutive races. Topped by his second win of the
season in Round 9 at Mid-Ohio, Valiante has not failed to
finish outside the top four in any of those events.
2003 Toyota Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT)
occupied the third spot on the provisional grid after turning
in a best lap of 47.949 sec. (86.342 mph).
McNish eyes the IRL
In an interview in today's Daily Telegraph, ex-F1 driver Allan
McNish stated, "It has always been an ambition of mine to race
in the Indianapolis 500 in front of half a million
spectators," he said. "I've won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I've
raced in the Monaco Grand Prix, and the Indy 500 is the last
of the great theatres I have yet to appear in. That said, I
feel I have some unfinished business in Formula 1."
"I would like to stay in F1 but only if the circumstances are
right," he said. "You can choose to be there simply for the
sake of being there even if you're not competitive, but I race
to win, not because I find it fun to drive fast. I'd prefer to
win in another category of racing rather than stay in F1 just
for the glamour or whatever.
"Also, at this stage of my career I would be taking a big risk
joining Minardi, for example, with the possibility of not
moving up from there. There is no point being at the back of
the grid just so you can say you're an F1 driver."
USGP Friday AM practice -
Trulli on top in mixed conditions
Position/Driver Team Fastest Lap
1 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m11.153s
2 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m11.339s
3 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m11.338s
4 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m11.499s
5 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m11.656s
6 Fernando Alonso Renault 1m11.692s
7 Mark Webber Jaguar 1m11.794s
8 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m11.842s
9 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1m11.876s
10 David Coulthard McLaren 1m11.967s
11 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1m12.084s
12 Jenson Button BAR 1m12.331s
13 Justin Wilson Jaguar 1m12.387s
14 Jacques Villeneuve BAR 1m12.656s
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 1m12.849s
16 Ralph Firman Jordan 1m13.167s
17 Nicolas Kiesa Minardi 1m13.537s
18 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m13.601s
19 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m13.881s
20 Jos Verstappen Minardi 1m18.700s
Tobacco legislation to be
challenged in Canada According to this RDS.ca
two Québecers are going to court and are due to be heard on
Monday, maintaining that both fed and province anti-tobacco
laws are unconstitutional and is against freedom of speech and
all. We're sure CART and F1 are rooting for their
A&E to do Biography on Mario
Andretti Adam Friedman of Traveling Light Media announced
today in Miami a deal with A&E Channel to do a 1-hour
biography on racing legend Mario Andretti. This is only
the third sports figure that A&E has ever done a documentary
on. The first two being legends Muhammad Ali and Babe
Ruth. That puts Mario in some pretty lofty company and
places into perspective what a legend Mario Andretti is,
transcending all other American drivers, both past and
present. The show will air starting in February in the
USA and be shown in every free country in the world. The
show will tell the story of Mario's rise from an immigration
camp in Italy during World War II to an American icon - a true
American story. The show will be about the life of Mario
and CART will be a big part of the telecast, because CART has
been such a big part of Mario's life. Actor Paul Newman
will narrate the biography as only Paul Newman can. For
those of you who saw the SuperSpeedway IMAX film about the
Andretti's and CART, you may not have realized that it was
Paul's voice you heard. Friedman said, "I have been a
fan of Mario and of CART for a long time, and I am glad to be
able to give something back now." One interesting tidbit
about Friedman, his mother, Marie Torre, was the first
journalist to go to jail because she refused to reveal her
sources on a controversial story to the FBI. After
getting out of jail she became the Editor of a NY magazine and
rose to fame in journalism.
CART Press Release:
One of the living legends of Champ Car racing will break new
ground on the award-winning Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E)
as former CART champion Mario Andretti becomes the first race
driver to be profiled on the network’s successful BIOGRAPHY
The former champion will be profiled in an episode to be
produced by Adam Friedman and Traveling Light Media, with
filming and interviews to begin at this weekend’s Grand Prix
Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com. The winner of 67 Champ
Car poles, 52 races and four championships as well as the
Formula 1 World Championship in 1979, Andretti will join such
legends as Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth as one of
the few sports figures to be profiled on the network.
“The sports figures we have profiled are true icons,
recognizable to people all over the world, even those that
don’t follow sports. Mario is in the same league,” said
BIOGRAPHY Vice-President Deirdre O’ Hearn. “We’re also very
pleased that Adam Friedman and his team are producing Mario’s
Biography. Mario Andretti deserves the best effort we can give
and that’s why we’ve asked Adam and Traveling Light to produce
Andretti has maintained a major presence in the CART Champ Car
World Series in recent seasons, previously holding a seat on
the Board of Directors and most recently serving as a liaison
to help get this year’s Champ Car event at Road America back
on the schedule. He was honored for his successful efforts in
restoring the race, as the event was renamed as the Mario
Andretti Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Briggs &
fastest as Tracy & Junqueira crash The first practice
session for the Champ Cars had everything… Light rain to keep
the drivers honest, and six red flags. But as rookies took the
top three spots, two of the drivers to make contact with the
unforgiving Miami walls were Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira:
the main two title contenders. Perhaps the pressure is
starting to show! Photo by Bob Heathcote/AR1.
Sebastien Bourdais was fastest in the opening practice session
in Miami. Despite light drizzle throughout the session, the
Frenchman clocked the quickest time of 56.186s (73.684mph).
The Newman/Haas Racing Lola-Cosworth driver was the first of
three rookies on the time sheets, with Darren Manning in
second on 56.466s (73.318mph) in the Walker Racing Reynard-Cosowrth
and Mika Salo, in only his second Champ Car event, in third in
the PK Racing Lola-Cosworth.
Fourth quick was Michel Jourdain, one of the outside
contenders for the title, and another to cause a red flag 23
minutes into the session. The Mexican's best was 56.868s
(72.800mph). Adrian Fernandez completed the top five with
57.029s (72.595mph), but had a late session spin legacy of
some mechanical problems.
As for the title contenders... Junqueira ended the session in
16th position having hit the inside wall hard enough to break
his front suspension, but also to move the wall which had to
be repositioned by the course workers.
Tracy, the championship leader, completed only eight laps
before getting sideways while trying to pass Oriol Servia, and
hitting the wall pretty hard, ending his session.
With the Miami race using single qualifying rules, Tracy will
be at a major disadvantage, although his only consolation is
that Junqueira's qualifying run comes two cars after his own.
With the weather as unpredictable as it is, conditions will at
least be similar for the pair.
Friday AM testing at Indy
POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT
1. JARNO TRULLI Italy Renault M 1:10.986
2. FERNANDO ALONSO Spain Renault M 1:10.987
3. ALLAN MCNISH Britain Renault M 1:11.253
4. MARK WEBBER Australia Jaguar-Cosworth M 1:11.586
5. JUSTIN WILSON Britain Jaguar-Cosworth M 1:12.142
6. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Italy Jordan-Ford B 1:12.263
7. RALPH FIRMAN Britain Jordan-Ford B 1:12.762
8. GIANMARIA BRUNI Italy Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.129
9. JOS VERSTAPPEN Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.196
10. NICOLAS KIESA Denmark Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.655
11. BJORN WIRDHEIM Sweden Jordan-Ford B 1:13.678
Home Depot extends with Joe Gibbs Racing The Home
Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, has
extended its contract with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) through 2009
as primary sponsor of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet driven by
reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.
Home Depot's extension parallels Stewart's new contract with
JGR, ensuring Home Depot's involvement with JGR and Stewart
well into what will soon become the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
"Home Depot is pleased to extend its relationship with a
partner that mirrors our culture. Winning 16 races and a
national championship requires a team that has a passion for
leadership, performance, and attention to detail. On behalf of
our 315,000 Home Depot associates, we look forward to six more
years of a great partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Tony
Stewart," said John Costello, executive vice president for
merchandising and marketing of The Home Depot.
"The growth and success of our race team wouldn't have been
possible without the support of The Home Depot," said Gibbs,
who formed his race team more than 11 years ago. "Home Depot's
drive to win is just as strong as ours, which is why there's
so much pride built into those orange and black race cars. Our
relationship with Home Depot allows us to perform at our best
week in and week out, something that will continue for many
years to come."
"In my 23 years of racing I can honestly say that Home Depot
has been the best sponsor I've ever had," said Stewart. "The
support they've given to our race team has been excellent, and
it's great to know that Home Depot will continue to be a part
of our efforts to win more races and another championship."
race for Players LogoUPDATE
In the 42 years that it has been involved in motor-racing,
Player's Ltd., has always wanted to make the fans feel they
were an integral part of the program's success. Racing fans
are about to see tangible evidence of this sentiment as Team
Player's runs its final races on the 2003 Champ Car World
"We wanted to find an original way to thank the fans for their
support, and we have decided to convey our appreciation by
allowing them to inscribe their name on the cars of Paul Tracy
and Patrick Carpentier," said Michael Bonelli, Sponsorship
Associate for Team Player's.
With three races left on the schedule in which Team Player's
will be going without its traditional logo because of the
October 1 legislation banning tobacco sponsorships, fans will
be invited to sign up on the lastlap.ca web site for an
opportunity to be among those literally aboard one of the Team
Player's cars for races in Australia and Fontana.
"This initiative will be officially launched on the weekend of
the race in Mexico, where the only major graphic element on
the car will be the lastlap.ca web site address," explained
Bonelli. "We encourage people to sign up as early as possible
since space is limited, but we estimate about 1,200 fans (600
per car) will see their names go on one of our cars."
Along with the names of racing fans, the cars will have other
graphics, such as "Thanks" and "Merci" messages on the
sidepods of the cars and "Good-bye" and "Au revoir" on the
The drivers and crew will also be sporting new suits and
shirts bearing the words "Racing Excellence" to highlight the
tradition of excellence of the Player's racing program since
its debut in 1961.
9/26/03 - It's been four weeks between Champ
Car World Series races for Team Players drivers Paul Tracy and
Patrick Carpentier but the month-long break in the action
hasn't dulled their intensity leading into Sunday's 135-lap
Grand Prix Americas on the 1.314-mile Miami street course.
The Miami race is highly significant in the history of Team
Players because it is the last time the familiar blue and
white Team Players cars will bear the Players logo. The full
extent of Canadian government legislation banning tobacco
sponsorship comes into effect on October 1, and Players, which
is ending its sponsorship following the 2003 season, will be
running without the Players logo for the last three races.
Team Players will announce shortly what design features it is
planning for its cars for the final three events.
Friday morning results
The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto
led the way Friday morning as American Le Mans Series teams
had their first practice session on the Miami Downtown Street
Circuit for Saturday’s Grand Prix Americas presented by
Sportsbook.com. Meanwhile, JML Team Panoz suffered a double
setback when both of its cars were damaged in separate
incidents. The #11 Panoz LMP01 driven by Gunnar Jeannette
received the most damage when it spun and impacted a barrier
in turn four, while the #10 car’s rear wing had minor damage
from an on-track altercation. Herbert was in the Champion Audi
when it was clocked at 50.731 seconds around the 1.15-mile
temporary circuit that includes portions of Bayfront Park and
Biscayne Boulevard. His fast lap was just ahead of the 50.748
turned by the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Frank Biela and
Marco Werner. Third fastest overall and in the LMP 900 class
was the #10 Panoz of Olivier Beretta and David Saelens at
52.412. Leading the LMP 675 class was the Dyson Racing Lola
EX257-MG of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger at 53.012,
fourth overall. Second-fastest in class was the Dyson team car
driven by Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace at 53.875, followed by
the Intersport Lola-MG of Jon Field and Duncan Dayton at
55.301. Fastest in the GTS class was the Chevrolet Corvette
C5-R of Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins at 53.318, followed by
the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of Tomas Enge and Peter Kox
at 53.851. The Team Olive Garden Ferrari of Mimmo
Schiattarella and Emanuele Naspetti was third in class at
54.045. The GT class was led by the Alex Job Racing Porsche
911 GT3 RS of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen at 54.979,
followed by the Orbit Racing Porsche of Peter Baron and Marc
Lieb at 55.246. Third in class was the Risi Competizione
Ferrari 360 Modena of Ralf Kelleners and Anthony Lazzaro at
transition We were observing the ALMS cars racing through
the new chicane in Miami that leads onto the main straight and
noticed the severe transition in pavement as the cars cross
over from one side of Biscayne Blvd. to the other. It's
so severe that the cars are getting all four wheels off the
ground and landing with sparks flying. What makes it
particularly hairy is the fact that the cars are turning right
just as they land. Can you say broken half shafts or an
accident begging to happen? It's wet for the Champ Cars right
now so they are going slower, meaning the transition is not as
much a factor....yet. Photo of car landing, back wheels first,
by Mark Cipolloni.
Wet track in Miami Its been
raining here in Miami for all the morning Champ Car practice
and there are a lot of standing puddles on the track.
Paul Tracy just hit the concrete barriers in the chicane
leading onto the main straight. He's OK, but the car is
not. Visibility is limited, but they are on track and running.
The forecast is for rain off and on all weekend.
Pearl Vodka Partners with
Pacific Coast Motorsports Pearl Spirits, Inc.
maker of Pearl Vodka, has announced a team sponsorship with
Pacific Coast Motorsports and driver Alex Figge who competes
in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series. In a move designed to
broaden Pearl Vodka’s reach to the vast Motorsports audience,
the Pearl Vodka brand will adorn Pacific Coast Motorsports
Toyota Atlantic entry commencing at the CART / Toyota Atlantic
event in Miami September 28th. The partnership deal
begins immediately and will see the Pearl Vodka brand
emblazoned on Alex Figge’s Toyota Atlantic Swift.
“This is quite an honor for our race team,” states Tyler
Tadevic, Pacific Coast Motorsports President. “Pearl
represents an ultra premium Vodka and has a Fast Track
marketing campaign we are proud to display their logo. The
fact that this deal blankets our program is very rewarding. To
compete at the championship level you need partners like
Pearl”. Eric Hall, Pearl Vodka’s CFO states, “We’re
excited to form a business partnership with Pacific Coast
Motorsports and driver Alex Figge, the Atlantic series also
represents a number of fine companies and we feel at home
joining the likes of Toyota and CART . We see many marketing
and promotional opportunities with the Toyota Atlantic series,
Pacific Coast Motorsports and the markets in which they
compete”. Toyota Atlantic pilot Alex Figge agrees.
“We’re thrilled to add the Pearl Vodka brand to our race
team”. Said Figge. “This series provides a great opportunity
for a company like Pearl Vodka to expose their brand to the
growing markets Atlantic competes in and we’re excited about
creating a long term relationship”. Pearl Spirits, Inc.
and Pearl Vodka a Mill Valley, CA based incorporation. Pearl’s
mission of being the world’s best tasting and purest Vodka.
Since its introduction in 1999 Pearl Vodka has garnered praise
and industry acclaim and can be found at the finest
restaurants and retail liquor outlets.
Indy walkabout draws big crowdUPDATE A reader writes,
Dear AR1, I believe there were more people who attended the
pit tour than attended pole day this year. There was more
traffic and more people milling around the speedway on
Thursday( a work day) than I saw on pole day for the Indy 500.
Scott Peper, Indianapolis, IN. Dear Scott, That's not
surprising, because of the damage that has been done to the
Indy 500 by the creation of the IRL. Mark C.
9/25/03 - This Indystar.com
article says, The first U.S. Grand Prix "walkabout"
received generally high marks Thursday even though a
larger-than-expected turnout created more waiting than
walking. Early-morning traffic getting into the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway was jammed up and the situation didn't improve
much once inside as fans jostled for a look at the stars and
cars of Formula One. "Ferrari put on a good show, but you
couldn't see any of it," said Karen Beckley, who with her
husband, Rob, moved their flight from Reno, Nev., up a day
specifically to attend the walkabout. Added her husband with a
grin: "It was like being in a European crowd. You just had to
be a little pushy to get up front." The pit area was open from
8 a.m. to noon. Doors were up on the majority of team garages,
and fans -- most armed with cameras -- gathered along a metal
fence about 25 feet away to view what they could of the
activity inside. Team officials and crewmen seemed to enjoy
the attention and many interacted with the fans. Several
drivers, including marquee stars Michael Schumacher and Juan
Pablo Montoya, spent a few minutes signing autographs.
Schumacher's Ferrari team was the star attraction, but the
Beckleys said Toyota did the best job entertaining its guests.
"Ferrari is still No. 1," Karen Beckley said, "but Toyota is
the next team we'll root for from now on. They showed a lot of
respect for the people there." Clarence Yancey and Murray
Elliott of Springfield, Ill., came a day earlier than planned.
Both expressed surprise at the turnout. "I'm a little
disappointed that it's so crowded," Elliott said, "but this is
the closest I'm ever going to get to these cars." Many were
hoping to get closer. Roger Copas of Indianapolis and Ron
Rumble of Speedway said they would like to have seen the teams
provide show cars. Rumble also lamented the fact that
concession and souvenir areas were closed. But both still
found the visit worthwhile. "I'm tickled to death they opened
it up as much as they did," Rumble said. Speedway spokesman
Ron Green didn't have a crowd count but conceded it was larger
than anticipated. Since it was a first-time event, no one knew
what to expect. "If allowed to do it again, we'll be better
prepared to handle this kind of crowd," Green said. "But
drawing this well on a Thursday, that's a good problem to
More . . . , including Michael Schumacher in Las
Vegas, the French Grand Prix that could be dropped, and Juan
Pablo Montoya racing against John Force in an exhibition.
Dover final TV rating The Winston Cup race
from Dover on NBC garnered final numbers of a solid 4.2 rating
and 10 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The race
drew 4,591,000 households, which is 27% higher than last
year's household reach on TNT. The race peaked with a 5.2
rating and 12 share from 4:30-5 p.m.
Of course, however, year-to-year comparisons are
apples-to-oranges because of the move from cable to broadcast
for Dover. Last year's two comparable races on NBC were New
Hampshire and Kansas City, which garnered a 3.7 and 4.4,
The ratings strength is shown by the fact that NASCAR lost out
in the numbers game only to four NFL broadcasts, but beat all
of the college football telecasts for the weekend.
Kanaan and Hornish transcript
This week's guests on the IRL weekly teleconference were
championship contenders Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
and Sam Hornish Jr. (Panther Racing). Transcript
F1 still spinning wheels in the
USA This St. Petersburg Times
article says, The Indy 500 draws 250,000-plus and
generates $336.6-million annually, according to an Indy
Partnership study. The Brickyard 400, attracting more than
250,000, is worth $219.5-million annually. The Grand Prix drew
about 125,000 last year and is worth an estimated
$170.8-million, but the estimated 2002 crowd was well less
than the 200,000 who saw the race in 2000 when it returned to
the United States for the first time since 1991. Still, the
2002 attendance figure put the Indianapolis event among the F1
circuit's top draws. The question is whether the Grand Prix is
financially worth keeping for IMS' owners, Hulman & Co., even
though it financed a 2.6-mile road course specifically for
Formula One. Promoters pay a sanctioning fee to host F1 races,
estimated between $7-million and $12-million by the
Indianapolis Star, and are responsible for travel costs
incurred by the 10 European teams. NASCAR Winston Cup events
command just a $5-million fee, the Indy Racing League
$1.5-million, and those circuits pay their travel costs.
Bernie Ecclestone, who owns the rights to market Formula One,
typically has signed five-year deals with tracks. The race
this weekend would be the fourth at IMS. George would not
comment on the length of the contract.
Zanardi back on track
This Toronto Star AP
article says, MONZA, Italy — Alex Zanardi returned to
the track again Thursday, two years after losing both legs in
a crash. Driving a specially modified BMW 320i touring car,
Zanardi completed 20 practice laps at the Monza Formula One
circuit. Thursday's practice laps came in preparation for the
Oct. 19 FIA European Touring Car Championship race in Monza.
Zanardi announced last week he plans to enter the race. The
Italian driver lost both legs in a horrific crash with
Canadian Alex Tagliani during a CART series race in Germany on
Sept. 15, 2001. "I don't feel like a professional driver,"
Zanardi said after the session, which concluded when his car
suffered motor problems. ``I'm racing here, then that's it."
Zanardi, whose car has its accelerator and clutch attached to
the steering wheel, ran times consistent with other drivers in
the touring series. "It's a great feeling to race again at
Monza," said Zanardi, whose last race at this circuit just
outside Milan was for the Williams team in the 1999 Italian
Grand Prix. "It takes more time in a touring car than a
Formula One car though." Dr. Claudio Costa, who has overseen
Zanardi's rehabilitation since the accident, said Zanardi was
letting "all the people in his condition know what they can
do. His example sends a message to humanity," Costa said.
Zanardi was not unhappy when he declared that "this is my last
race." "There are plenty of things I do now beyond the track,"
the 26-year-old said. "I'm able to do all the things that
normal people do. I put my son Nicolo up on my shoulders. I
feel like a normal person." Asked if he had any worries about
racing again, Zanardi replied: ``I race because I enjoy it.
And I know I could never have another accident like the one I
had. I can't break both of my legs again. I don't have any
Last years USGP finish an
article says, Five-time Formula One champion Michael
Schumacher says the end of last year's U.S. Grand Prix was an
accident. The race leader insists he did not intend for
Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello to pass him just ahead of
the finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But after
Barrichello won by 0.011 seconds, Schumacher accepted it as
payback. In the sixth race of the season, in Austria,
Barrichello pulled over at the end upon orders from the team
so Schumacher could earn the extra four points for winning.
Barrichello finished second. Both sequences created a backlash
from passionate and casual F-1 fans alike. "I can understand
there is confusion (about the U.S. finish) because it simply
was confusing," Schumacher said. "But there was nothing done
on purpose then. I just wanted Rubens to come beside me and us
cross the line together. But I have to admit that when it
happened that Rubens came in before me, I personally was not
so unhappy about it as I felt I owed him something after
Austria." Schumacher said he does not believe he tainted F-1
or future USGPs. During the off-season, F-1 instituted a rule
prohibiting teams from altering the outcome of finishes. "I
think people who follow Formula One had some understanding for
it," he said. Include Barrichello among them, although the
Brazilian was not initially sure what Schumacher was doing as
he slowed dramatically on the front straightaway. The drivers
didn't discuss it after the race and haven't since. "I saw
Michael backing off like he was trying to let me by, but I
wasn't certain that's what he was doing, so I backed off a
little more," Barrichello said. "Then I thought he was giving
me (the position) because of Austria. It was as simple as
that. I was going to ask him, but when we got out of the car
it seemed very clear."
Fellows to drive hurt As professional athletes
have to do in many other sports, Ron Fellows will have to
“play hurt” in Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race in
Miami as the popular Canadian racer seeks to clinch his second
consecutive GTS class driving title. Fellows, driver for
the factory Chevrolet Corvette team, suffered a separated left
shoulder in a rock climbing accident last weekend. He was
treated during the week in Indianapolis by noted orthopedic
surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell and hopes to be able to race in
Saturday’s two-hour, 45-minute event on the Miami Downtown
street circuit. As a precaution, the Corvette team has brought
in veteran sports car racer Andy Pilgrim and added him as a
third driver to the car for the race. Fellows and
regular co-driver Johnny O’Connell can clinch the GTS driving
title together if they finish ahead of their team Corvette
driven by Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins. Pilgrim, one of the
original drivers when the factory Corvette team was formed,
has raced in only long-distance events this year while
traveling the world as a spokesman for the 50th anniversary of
Corvette. American Le Mans Series teams will have practice and
qualifying Friday, with the Grand Prix Americas presented by
Sportsbook.com event to start at 4 p.m. (EDT) Saturday.
Biffle staying at Roush "Take me out of the
rumor mill," says Greg Biffle. "I have won two championships
and two rookie titles with Roush Racing and for Grainger, and
my hope is simply to stay here to try and win more
championships for Grainger and for Jack Roush." With that
statement Biffle hopes to end "silly season" speculation about
his future. "I have time remaining on my current contract and
we've begun negotiations for an extension," added Biffle. "At
this point in the season, the rumors start to fly about which
driver is doing what for next season even when he's under a
contract that he intends to honor. It's way too easy to start
a rumor these days. I've had a few calls about going other
places, but I'm just not interested in doing so. It's very
flattering to have big name teams calling me at this point in
my career, but I'm driving for one of the biggest names in the
industry that has a team of racing and marketing people
committed to helping further my career and reach my
Roush Racing PR
USGP Thursday Press Conference
Drivers: Fernando Alonso (Renault)
Cristiano da Matta (Toyota)
Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams)
Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) Transcript
Stewart to be honored at USGP
Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart will be honored Sunday,
Sept. 28 by driving ceremonial laps around the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway’s road course shortly before the start of the
United States Grand Prix.
Stewart will drive the high-performance Ford GT concept car at
11:30 a.m. (EST, -5 GMT) on the 2.605-mile road course – just
90 minutes before the start of the United States Grand Prix.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Stewart’s retirement
from competitive driving. The fourth running of the United
States Grand Prix at Indianapolis starts at 1 p.m.
Stewart, a native of Dumbarton, Scotland, competed in Formula
One from 1965-73 and was World Champion in 1969, 1971 and
1973. He started 99 Grands Prix and scored 27 victories and 17
His driving prowess earned him the nickname, “The Flying
Stewart also competed in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race twice,
in 1966 and 1967. In his rookie “500,” Stewart led 40 laps
toward the end of the race but was relegated to a sixth-place
finish due to mechanical problems. His impressive drive earned
him Rookie of the Year honors.
He has maintained one of the highest profiles in international
motorsports since retiring by serving as a television
commentator, motorsports safety promoter and Formula One team
owner with Stewart Grand Prix from 1997-99. The
Ford Motor Company purchased the team from Stewart and
re-branded it Jaguar Racing before the start of the 2000 F1
Panis Sr. arrested in France
Olivier Panis's father Philippe has been arrested, along with
13 others, on charges of being involved in a ring selling
stolen cars. Panis was arrested at his garage in Grenoble on
Tuesday by investigators from Marseilles. He was charged on
Wednesday. The prosecutors are claiming that Panis was part of
a group selling Mercedes-Benz 4x4 vehicles stolen in
Andretti Green to announce 2004
plans Andretti Green Racing will announce their 2004
7-Eleven race team plans on Sunday morning October 12th at
Texas Motor Speedway.
IRL overnight TV rating tanks
at 0.6UPDATE As expected the
final rating for the IRL race at Fontana dropped from the
overnight. The IRL race from California on ABC finished
with a 0.6 rating and 1 share, according to Nielsen Media
Research. These numbers represent 705,000 TV households. The
race was the lowest-rated sporting event of the weekend,
finishing behind the Women's World Cup soccer match (0.9) and
the Gravity Games (1.9). The only good news for the IRL, if
you can call it good news, is that the rating was up 0.1 from
last year's race, but that was on ESPN not on network TV as it
was this year. 9/22/03 - The Indy Racing League contest from California on ABC garnered
overnights of a 0.7 rating and 2 share, according to Nielsen
Media Research, as reported in Sports Business Daily. It was
the lowest-rated sporting event of the weekend, with the 1.3
turned in by the Women's World Cup as the next event in line.
MotorsportsTV.com. [Editor's Note: Like we said, all
the hype in the world about close racing, and all the star
drivers and manufacturers won't get people tuned in to Indy
Car racing. The split has turned off the Indy Car fans
and we doubt they are coming back. We could be looking
at a 0.5 or 0.6 final rating, which for network TV is not good
and may send sponsors scurrying for the door. If they
were holding steady or rising, there would be some hope, but
the plunge in ratings is not good. Would a CART and the
IRL merger solve the problem? Somewhat, but all
indications are that's not going to happen because one side
doesn't want it.]
IRL TV Ratings Trend
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
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%)
California (ABC) 0.6 (Up 20% -
ESPN last year)
Jeff Burton discusses hot topics in NASCAR The
NASCAR Winston Cup season is drawing to a close but there are
still plenty of “hot topics” being discussed in the garage.
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Ford, and one of
NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers took some time to discuss
several of these issues. Here’s a look at some “hot topics”
through the eyes of Burton.
Talladega Rule Changes – NASCAR has called for
the height of the spoilers to be increased *” and the
restrictor plates will also be larger. How will this affect
“I don't understand why they made the change. Supposedly it's
to make passing easier but until they separate the cars into
smaller packs it won't be. You have to make handling easier
and the way to do that is to take one pack of 43 cars and make
several smaller packs. Then we would be able to pass which in
turn would make for a better race.”
New Caution Rule – NASCAR has eliminated racing back to
the yellow flag. They have also put in the caveat that the
first car one lap down would get a lap back. What are your
feelings about this now that there is one race under your belt
with the new rules in place?
“It was obvious the gentleman’s agreement hadn’t been working.
NASCAR is the only one who could do anything to fix it. I
applaud them for recognizing we had a problem and stepping in
to do something about it. I think the rule made for a safer
race at Dover. That being said, I knew there was eventually
going to be a problem with getting a lap back but I didn’t
think it would happen that soon. I think it’s obvious that
it’s not the right thing to do. It was a little frustrating to
be quite honest. There were drivers one lap down who got
their lap back by doing nothing. It’s our own fault though. We
wouldn’t abide by the gentleman’s agreement so this is what we
Safety and Safe Barriers – With the addition of
the safe walls at tracks like Richmond and New Hampshire, can
you describe what this means to the overall safety of the
sport? Do you think it’s progressing at a rapid enough pace?
“It means a lot. In the initial stages the focus was around
the driver, seats, head restraining systems, helmets, and
those kinds of things. This is the first major thing that
we’ve seen done at racetracks with regard to safety in quite a
while. Racecars, racecar seats and helmets have been
continually evolving over the last several years but
racetracks have not. Until now the racetrack technology has
not been progressing like racecar technology with regards to
safety. I think installing the safe barriers sends a message
to everyone that whatever it is that you’re doing, to whatever
extent you participate in this sport, you need to look at how
to make it better on your end, not just wait for someone to
make it better on their end.”
Points Championship – Your teammate Matt
Kenseth is currently leading the points battle. What are your
thoughts on this?
“Of course I’d rather it be me. But seriously I think it’s
great. Matt (Kenseth), Robbie (Reiser, crew chief) and the
entire No. 17 team have worked extremely hard to get where
they are today. Some people like to talk about the fact that
they’ve only won one race this year and Ryan (Newman) has won
like seven I think, but the fact of the matter is they’ve been
consistent. They’ve consistently run in the top 10 and
finished in the top 15 week after week. I think someone told
me Matt’s completed all but two laps this year and that’s
incredible. I’m really proud of Matt and I think it’s great
that they are doing so well. I hope they can hold on for these
last few races.”
Bruton Smith on Wind Tunnel Bruton Smith, Chairman and
CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., will be Dave Despain's guest
Tuesday (Sept. 30) at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED Channel's Wind
Tunnel. Monday's guest will be Paul Gentilozzi, a key
player in the future of CART and Trans-Am. Send your
e-mail questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL
to be a part of the live call-in portions of the show.
Gentilozzi to appear on Wind
Tunnel Paul Gentilozzi is scheduled to be on
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Monday (9/29). Could there be
an announcement this weekend regarding the future of CART?
This sounds interesting because Dave has said before, that
they were trying to line up the people purchasing CART to be
on the show, but they couldn't appear because of the
purchasing of CART was still on going. Perhaps something may
be up, but more likely Paul will use the opportunity to
explain the goals of the new CART owners. We will see!
MotoRock to add other
activities MotoRock hopes to add paintball and
robot wars and other activities to at least a dozen races or
so to appeal to a younger generation that follows extreme
sports, MotoRock President Jamie Rose said.
Rose doesn't see the added activities as detracting from
racing but rather enhancing it. He said the concept starts
with the racing and its colorful drivers, but the extra
activities add some spice that will be the only attraction for
some and for others, just an additional one.
Rose compares the concept to a polo match.
"People who go to a polo match, more than half of the audience
doesn't pay attention to the match," Rose said. "You've got to
get them in the door the first time. It's our feeling if it's
music or paintball wars that attract first-time onlookers, the
audience is going to come for the excitement. If it takes
music to get them in there, so be it."
And Clagett assures, for true race fans there will be just as
much practicing, qualifying and high-end racing.
"What street racing has always been is more of your event-goer.
It is going down to check out the sights, the scene, the
people-watching, the ambience of an event and the racing. I've
been to many, many Long Beach Grand Prix, and I'm constantly
amazed, how few people are actually watching the racing," he
said. "That's what MotoRock is, and it's taking it to a new
level, giving it all those components that today's fan is
NASCAR signs Video & DVD deal NASCAR announced that they
have signed a multi-year distribution deal for NASCAR DVDs and
home videos. The deal is in conjunction with Los
Angeles-based Melee Entertainment, and DreamWorks Records, to
market and distribute NASCAR Images DVDs and video.
The official NASCAR DVDs and videos will be widely available
through major retailers. The first release is a two-disc
set - NASCAR Winston Cup 2002 - a round-up of last season and
on sale next month. NASCAR Images president Jay Abraham
stated: "This agreement between NASCAR Images and Melee
Entertainment represents a major opportunity for the
broad-scale distribution of NASCAR entertainment products.
By partnering with Melee, NASCAR and NASCAR Images will be
able to reach both the hardcore and casual fans of the sport
at the most convenient locations." Look for 4 to 6
videos to be put out each year as NASCAR solidifies its
monopoly on the USA motorsports scene.
More celebrities added to Indy
Shop Tour Formula One Medical Director
Professor Sid Watkins, M.D., and Speed Channel Formula One
announcer Rick DeBruhl will join former F1
and IRL IndyCar Series driver Eddie Cheever as guest speakers in the CARA Charities’
“Indy Shop Tour,” a special CARA Charities racing event Sept. 26.
Open-wheel racing fans will have a unique opportunity during Indianapolis’ U.S. Grand
Prix Week to visit the headquarters of two of the IndyCar Series’ top teams – 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.”
The popular event, hosted by ABC-TV and ESPN-TV’s Bob Jenkins, will begin at 4 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 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. Proceeds benefit CARA Charities. Call CARA
Charities at (317) 299-2277 or e-mail at Carachar@aol.com for reservations.
Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased
online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700
or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also
can be obtained through the ticket office.
Wirdheim to test Jordan today
Newly crowned FIA International Formula 3000 champion Björn
Wirdheim will drive a third car for the Jordan-Ford team in the two-hour test session
Friday morning Sept. 26, which is the opening day of practice for the United States
Jordan-Ford, Mild Seven Renault, Jaguar Racing and European Minardi-Cosworth are allowed
to take part in the two-hour session because they have agreed to limit their private
testing during the rest of the season. The four teams are permitted to run extra cars
during the session.
“I’m delighted to give Björn this opportunity,” team principal Eddie Jordan said. “He
did a good job for us testing in Monza earlier this month, and it’s great to see top
talent from the junior motorsport series proving themselves in Formula One.
“The last Swedish F1 driver, Stefan Johansson, was my teammate many years ago, and I’ve
always had links with Sweden, which is why I’m particularly pleased that we are able to
work with Björn at this event.”
Mario thinks USGP belongs at
Indy Mario Andretti, the only American to win
the Indianapolis 500 and Formula One World Championship, is a
strong supporter of the United States Grand Prix taking place
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“To me, it’s a total positive,” Andretti said. “I just love the idea that Indianapolis
could host the only Formula One race in this country. To be honest with you, it’s
perfect. It’s a perfect scenario. Indianapolis represents the Mecca of open-wheel
racing, it always has. And to have Formula One there I think just fits.
“And quite honestly, I don’t think that any other venue in this day and age would really
work for Formula One in the United States. I think it found a perfect home.”
Andretti won the 1969 Indianapolis 500 and the 1978 Formula One World Championship.
Firestone heroes of Indy update
The Firestone Heroes of Indy driver lineup gained a driver
and a flag man for the historic race set for Oct. 12 at Texas
Motor Speedway. The race will feature 10 of the greatest
drivers in the history of the Indianapolis 500 in a 25-lap
showdown driving identically-prepared Thunder Roadsters on a
quarter-mile paved oval prior to the IRL IndyCar Series
season-ending Chevy 500.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk is the eighth driver named to race. He
won the “500” in 1990 and 1997. His 1990 average speed of 185.981 mph still stands as
the race record. Luyendyk is one of only seven drivers to win three poles at the Indy
500, doing so in 1993, 1997 and 1999.
Luyendyk joins legends Johnny Rutherford, Gordon Johncock, Parnelli Jones, Pancho
Carter, Bill Vukovich II, Lloyd Ruby and Jim McElreath as drivers of the Thunder
Rick Mears will serve as the event’s flagman, working closely with pace car driver Al
Unser and grand marshal A.J. Foyt. The three men are the only drivers to win the
Indianapolis 500 four times.
In addition to his four victories, Mears hold Indianapolis 500 records for most poles
(six), wins from the pole (three), front-row starts (11), consecutive front-row starts
(six, 1986-91) and consecutive races led (six, 1979-84). He also holds the record for
most times setting the four-lap track record, doing so five times.
“The addition of Luyendyk and Mears to the already stellar field will make the Firestone
Heroes of Indy even more of a treat for the fans,” said Eddie Gossage, Texas Motor
Speedway general manager. “Arie has Texas ties having won the first ever IndyCar Series
race at the speedway in 1997. Rick’s accomplishments at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
during his career are nothing short of remarkable.”
The remaining drivers will be announced in the near future.
The Thunder Roadsters are produced by 600 Racing and resemble the roadsters that
dominated the Indianapolis 500 and Indy-style racing through the 1950s and 1960s. The
cars are powered by a 1250cc Yamaha engine and will be sporting special Firestone
Firehawk tires for the event.
The Firestone Heroes of Indy race will include a full weekend of activities celebrating
the accomplishments of drivers who established much of the history of the Indianapolis
500. In addition to practice and qualifying for the race, the participants will
participate in autograph sessions open to the public and a special Heroes reception
featuring “Mom” Unser’s fabled chili, a longtime tradition with participants at the
Lucky fan could win Corvette
One lucky race fan will drive home in a 2003 Corvette
following the Oct. 12 Chevy 500k at Texas Motor Speedway.
The “Race, Ride and Win” scratch-and-win game gives fans the chance to win one of over
8,000 prizes including the grand prize Chevrolet Corvette, tickets to the Indy Racing
League IndyCar Series season finale Chevy 500 or the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Silverado 350k, a pair of 2004 Texas Motor Speedway Season and Chevy racing gear.
Race fans 18 years and older can visit their local participating Chevrolet dealer
through Sept. 28 to obtain a “Race, Ride and Win” scratch-and-win game card, while
Participating Chevrolet dealerships are in cities across Texas (Abilene, Amarillo,
Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, Tyler, and Wichita Falls) and
Oklahoma (Oklahoma City and Tulsa).
Fifty finalists will be Chevrolet’s guests at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 12.
Five of the 50 will then be eligible to win the Corvette during pre-race activities for
the Chevy 500.
Rain in Indy? Although
Friday should stay dry, there is a decent chance of rain both Saturday
and Sunday in Indy for the USGP. The best chance of rain is
Saturday afternoon, just in time for crucial qualifying.
fans are hardcore NASCAR fans are a dedicated bunch.
They wear their driver's apparel, they paste their car number in the
rear car, van or truck window, and they watch their hero week in and
week out. Some spend all their leisure dollars for the entire
family on NASCAR. NASCAR is their life and they would
follow their sport right off the end of the earth. Now even
we've seen it all. A NASCAR fan that wears his favorite driver's
number on his hairy back - a real bubba, and a sight to behold. Photo
source - unknown.
Luis Diaz to race in Mexico CityUPDATE
The official press release - Three leading brands in technology unite
with a young talent in Mexican racing to compete in the next CART
series Gran Premio to be held in Mexico City.
Sun Microsystems, the worldwide leader of net computing solutions
provider for companies, government and institutions, Telcel, the
leading wireless carrier in Mexico, and Motorola, the leading provider
in communication solutions, have joined together to support and
promote racing in Mexico, an exciting sporting event that calls
thousands of followers into the race tracks to live the intensity and
adrenaline of high speed.
All three brands trust Luis Diaz’s professionalism, commitment and
determination to get into the first positions. “Chapulin” is a Mexican
promising young talent in international racing that the sponsors have
not hesitated to select for competition.
“I appreciate very much the trust and support of Sun, Telcel and
Motorola to participate as their driver for this new racing team, this
will certainly allow me to be in touch with the Mexican public that
has always encouraged me. The race will be very tough and the track
surely demanding, as it would be very competitive among all the
drivers that want to win, but with intelligence and speed we will
raise the results that are expected,” concluded the Aztec driver
certainly very motivated on the challenge that faces him.
Sun-Telcel-Motorola race team car, that will be driven for the CART
series by Diaz with great skills and bravery, it’s a Reynard chassis
with Ford-Cosworth XFE engine with 700 horsepower; weights 1550 lbs.,
has a length of 195 inches and a width of 78 inches. The car will be
tested during training sessions at Sebring, Florida, on the 29th and
30th to give Luis time to polish his driving. 9/24/05 -
Mexican driver Luis Diaz will drive a third car for Walker Racing in
this year's CART race in Mexico City. "I am very happy to have
another chance to race at this track," stated Diaz. "It is a circuit
that fits my style of driving, and of course I am very excited to run
in Mexico." He will compete in the final Toyota Atlantic race
this weekend in Miami and then it's off to Sebring with Walker Racing
for two days of testing a Champ Car before heading to Mexico City for
the October 12th race. As reported in La Reforma
CART's Long Beach 2005 dateUPDATE LBGP 2005: Ugh, again
opposite the Masters (I believe) which creates TV issues at CBS. They
definitely do not have this problem in 2004 so CBS is carrying LB.
Miami vs. USGP this Sunday: Well, for those of us on AR1, this is a
brutal Sunday as the two big races go opposite one another in a season
where the F1 race has more on the line for a change. Oh well, thank
God for F1 replays on Speed twice each Sunday night. John Costello,
Los Alamitos, CA9/23/03 - Yesterday we published the announcement for next year's CART race at
Long beach, including the date of the race, April 16-18, 2004.
In an AR1 exclusive we can tell you that the 2005 date is already set
between CART, Dover Motorsports (the promoter) and the City of Long
Beach as well, that being April 8-10, 2005. Mark those calendars.
SPEED cancels some CART
talked to a spokesperson with SPEED Channel and it was a mutual
agreement between both sides to cancel the coverage. SPEED went
to CART and told them they were going to be over their budget for the
year, what do you want to do? The decision by CART was to cancel
this coverage. Mark C.9/24/03 - This motorsportstv.com news
brief says that the Speed Channel telecasts of CART qualifying
from Mexico City and Australia have been canceled, as has the
pre-race show from Australia. On October 11, CART qualifying
will be replaced by an encore of Formula 1 qualifying from
Japan. The Friday, October 24 schedule has been reworked to
include a late night replay of that afternoon's Busch
Earnhardt cleared to drive NASCAR
has approved Dale Earnhardt Jr. to compete in this weekend’s
EA Sports 500 at Talladega, Ala., where he has won a record
four consecutive races. Earnhardt Jr. suffered a minor
concussion and a sprained right foot in a crash during last
Sunday’s race at Dover, Del. He was examined Monday afternoon
by Dr. Jerry Petty, and based upon the results of that exam,
has been cleared medically to compete.
Dale Jr. Quotes:
“My foot gets a lot better every day. I usually use all of
this ice to keep the Budweiser cold, but I’ve stayed off my
feet, kept ice on it, and the swelling and soreness is much
less than it was on Monday. It would take a heckuva lot more
than this to keep me out of the race. Plus, Talladega is about
intense mental focus - it’s not a physical track like Bristol
or Martinsville where your body takes a beating. I drove a
Busch Series race with only one arm (he suffered a broken
collarbone in practice at Milwaukee, Wis., but drove the
following day to a third-place finish in July, 1999), so I’m
sure once I get in the car, this won’t have an impact on me.
I’ve been to the shop a few times, and the guys are making
sure I’m comfortable in the car, so we will be ready to go.”
“I love going to Talladega, and I’ve had the luxury to wheel a
really, really fast car there every time. Our success shows
the strength of the entire Dale Earnhardt Inc. organization.
We have always focused on the restrictor-plate races, from
Richie Gilmore’s engines to the guys who work on the bodies
hour-after-hour in the wind tunnel and in the shop, and it’s a
“It’s very, very simple: get to the front and stay there. You
don’t worry about all of the action behind you if you’re ahead
of them. Because we changed an engine in April, we started at
the back. Being involved in the early crash (on lap four),
even slightly, was more evidence to prove that strategy. It
didn’t look too good, but my guys worked on the car until it
was competitive again. It may have been my most gratifying
Talladega win. It was very satisfying, because it took the
entire team to get me into a position to drive that car to the
Menard Champ Car plan Following
a split with Eddie Cheever, Menard Competition Technologies (MCT)
took sole ownership of the TWR engineering group they bought
back in March. Now MCT, run by veteran Champ Car
engineer Bruce Ashmore, plans to expand its USA motorsports
involvement. Ashmore told Autosport magazine, "We would
like to build a CART car as soon as the rules open up.
We'll see what CART's business plan is. They have got to
pick the most sensible year to allow manufacturers back in,
either 2005 or 2006. Lola will be there and I hope we
will be too." Ashmore said the CART plans for MCT will
not affect Team Menards IRL involvement
***Reader Question***Will CART race at
Road America again?UPDATE
Another reader writes, I absolutely cannot believe that CART
(or RA for that matter) would look at attendance at this
year's race as an indicator. First, they changed the date from
the traditional mid-August date that RA and CART have had for
90% of the last 10 years. Then, the date that is picked goes
head-to-head with the nearby Oshkosh Fly-In that attracts huge
crowds. Those who tried to reserve hotels 9-10 months before
the race would have had HUGE problems. Of course, the final
straw was that the race was CANCELLED and tickets were
REFUNDED. Hello!!!!! CART!!!! Anyone listening???? Of course
attendance will stink if tickets were refunded - did they
really think they would get 100% of the fans back after the
tickets were refunded? Heck no!! Of course, once the race was
cancelled and put back on, then some hotels were available.
Bottom-line is that there is no way CART and Road America
should be looking at this year's horrible attendance as an
indicator for the future - the cancellation and original
refunding of tickets I am sure put a dent in the
attendance...only the true die-hard fans ended up re-ordering
tickets again. Thanks, Mark Bette, Chicago, IL
9/24/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, I am very
concerned about CART's future at Road America. Will there be
another Mario Andretti Grand Prix in 2004 because I know the
attendance for the race is not what it used to be. Gregory
Hines, Shipbottom, PA Dear Gregory, This year the Road
America race went head-to-head on the same weekend with two other
races, one being the Brickyard 400. Not a smart thing since a
lot of people from Chicago go to both Indy and Road America.
Road America has one more year on their CART contract, and our
understanding is, at this point, CART will be there Aug. 5-8, 2004
along with Trans-Am, the Toyota Atlantics, Zytec Formula Ford 2000 and
the Barber Dodge Series. Road America President George Bruggenthies is
in contact with CART and OWRS, but until the sale is complete,
assuming it goes through, we have no way of knowing how the new owners
want to shape their first year of operations. Unfortunately that
weekend puts the race up against the Brickyard 400 again. Common
sense will tell you the date needs to shift a week or so, and if it
isn't, both sides are asking for failure. We expect to see a
tentative 2004 CART schedule this coming weekend, so we'll have a
better idea then. Motorock is going to have to come up with the
right concert act for that part of the USA to get the fans to want to
drive to Road America, the USA's greatest road course. CART
can't abandon its roots that easily, and must find a way to make that
event work. We have said for years that a big week-long carnival
like the 24-Hours of LeMans has, with the race the culmination on
Sunday, will bring people from all over Wisconsin to the festivities
at Road America each year, and it would also give those camping at
Road America something to do at night at the track with their
families. To date that has fallen on deaf ears and attendance
has fallen steadily with CART's decline and with people having so many
other demands on their leisure dollars. It's obvious the old way
isn't working, and we have confidence in OWRS, and Paul Gentilozzi is
just the kind of guy who might go in there and shake some sense into
the establishment. Mark C.
Petty Enterprises safe with
Dodge DaimlerChrysler officials denied reports
that Petty Enterprises was losing its top-tier status with
Dodge. Although there have been concerns regarding the
performance of the Nos. 43 and 45 cars this season, Dodge is
committed to honoring the remaining years on Petty's contract.
Dispelling a Shane Hmiel rumor Call
this investigative journalism or call it too much time on our hands,
but we wanted to squelch something we heard going around the other
day. Some people are saying they saw a picture of Shane Hmiel
with that maryjane plant (marijuana) on the bottom of his driver's
suit legs on TV - specifically on the NASCAR Edition of Speed News
Sunday on Speed Channel. They did a fast pan of his legs, and
there it was. If you weren't paying attention you missed it.
this is true, one could leap to all sorts of conclusions regarding the
extent of Shane's substance abuse. We made a point of recording
the final rebroadcast on our DVR, which we just reviewed. The
footage in question is from Shane's unsuccessful attempt at qualifying
the #43 Berry Burst Cheerios Dodge (this fact is significant) for the
Pepsi 400. What looks like a marijuana plant at a glance is,
upon freeze frame, actually the pedals of a strawberry, with the rest
of the berry concealed within his pants leg.
Miami track tidbits The 15-turn,
1.15-mile temporary street circuit has been modified from its original
design last year – the first year of Champ Car World Series racing
action on the streets of downtown Miami since 1995. Fernandez Racing
Race Engineer Chris Finch estimates top speeds of 167 mph with minimum
cornering speeds around 32 mph. Drivers will shift 20 times per lap
throughout the course of the 135-lap race. The maximum interval for
pit stops is set at 50 laps, requiring a minimum of two stops.
The tight, twisty circuit will present its share of challenges as
Finch notes: “The revised street circuit makes the course distance
shorter by 0.2 miles from last year [1.379 miles to 1.15 miles in
length]. The sealed parking section has been removed, so this should
enable the track to be more consistent as it will build grip more
evenly. Similar to Denver, the driver must exhibit patience and let
the circuit come to him as more rubber is laid down on the race track.
Being too aggressive on the first day could yield a high level of
frustration for both engineer and driver. The initial car setup will
be to maximize grip while maintaining good rear-end stability through
the corners leading to the fountain on the back stretch.”
Single-car qualifying will again go into effect for the race this
weekend. Friday’s provisional qualifying will be a one-hour session
with the qualifying order based on the reverse order of the combined
practice times. Saturday’s final qualifying session order will be the
reverse order of Friday’s provisional qualifying results. Drivers will
be given a maximum of five laps for their qualifying run – an untimed
out-lap, a maximum of three timed laps, and an untimed in-lap.
Friday’s provisional polesitter will earn a championship point and is
guaranteed a front row starting position. Fernández Racing
Where's Craig Pollock?UPDATE We want to be clear with
our readers that AR1 did not write this article about Pollock, which
paints him in a negative light. Pollock is at work heavy with
Bernie in the re-structuring of the Kirsch portfolio to appease the
manufacturers. Pollock is at the front of the line right now for
a couple of MAJOR moves in F1. Whether or not they all
fall into place is unknown, but he is certainly earning his keep and
is in the right circle to navigate Jacques a F1 seat if anyone can.
His fallback for Jacques could always be PK Racing we suppose.
Certainly Richards and Pollock do not send one another Christmas
cards, but there are two very strong forces influencing the future of
BAR and while both are pretty neutral on Richards one is VERY keen on
Pollock... the penny will drop, it is only a question of on which side
of the fence.
He has the track record of having put teams together (BAR) and he drew
on that experience when putting together PK Racing. Anyone that
knows the facts knows that when he put the investors (BAT) and the
manufacturer (HONDA) together for BAR it was the biggest deal in the
last decade or so, and he was not supposed to have anything to do with
the operations of the team. That was supposed to be Adrian
Reynard, but he failed to hold up his end of the bargain at all,
forcing Pollock to attempt to put in place the technical people that
Reynard was charged with doing. Pollock mucked that part
up. In his defense he was never supposed to have that obligation
and never advised anyone he had those abilities. It was not easy
putting a major F1 team together, and running the commercial side was
especially important. That in itself is a fulltime job.
On the driver rep side of the business, Jacques is the 2nd highest
earning driver in the world when you take into account his driver
salary and souvenir sales, second only to Michael Schumacher, so
clearly Pollock has done the commercial side quite well. Jacques
driving career is past its prime, so going forward he won't earn what
he does today, but that's to be expected.
Pollock is nobody's fool, is very well connected, and has proven he
can put things together for himself and his driver time and time
again. Partners with Forsythe and Kalkhoven these men do not have
business relationships with Pollock for anything other than business
reasons. Don't forget Pollock still owns a third of BAR (as does
Forsythe own a piece. BAT owns the rest) and David Richards is
hired help. Jacques is a F1 World Champion, CART Champion, Indy 500
Champion (when it meant something and all the best were competing),
and the pairing of driver and teams did not happen by osmosis.
Mark C.9/23/03 - This Pitpass.com article
says that as the Jacques Villeneuve saga continues, with (seemingly) a
new twist almost every hour, the question is where is the Canadian's
manager Craig Pollock? When a Scottish newspaper yesterday claimed
that Takuma Sato had revealed he was to replace Villeneuve at Suzuka,
the Japanese star's manager Andrew Gilbert Scott, wasted no time in
denying the story. However during the recent talk of 'shoot-outs',
'Fame Academy' and indeed the Suzuka story, Pollock has been
conspicuous by his absence. Some claim that the current (?) situation
at BAR is basically an issue between Villeneuve and team boss David
Richards while others see Honda as being the prime movers behind the
situation and others that parent company British American Tobacco is
helping to 'stir the pot'. Surely at a time when the Canadian readily
admits that there are no prospects out there, this is exactly when
Pollock should be earning his (large) percentage. Naturally Pollock
will claim that he is doing his bit for his star client, then there's
his commitment to his CART team, PK Racing, which recently signed
former F1 star Mika Salo. However surely Pollock should be doing a
little bit more for the man who in many respects got him where he is
today, from ski instructor to F1 and CART team owner. Just a thought.
Laguna Seca CART event up in the air This
article says, For anyone who cares about the future of
top-tier, open-wheel racing -- and one of its mainstay events held
annually at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca -- the next several weeks may be
key to its future. And the south state's California Speedway is
serving as a battleground. The $120-plus million racing palace here in
San Bernardino County on Sunday hosted the Indy Racing League's
next-to-last event of the year. Nearly 50,000 fans were treated to the
fastest closed-course race in auto history, as two-time IRL champ Sam
Hornish Jr., starting 10th, was the first to go 400 miles with an
average speed of 207 mph. When the all-oval IRL held its initial race
in Fontana last year, barely 10,000 fans showed up. Contributing to
the larger crowd last weekend is a tight points race and improved
marketing. The IRL will be here to stay. By comparison, on Nov. 2, the
rival Championship Auto Racing Teams series, which has visited Laguna
Seca's world famous road course for 20 years, will hold its season
finale at California Speedway -- and some fear it may be the finale
for the series. CART has raced at California Speedway annually since
Roger Penske opened the track in 1997. Initially, attendance was an
impressive 110,000, but it has steadily dropped to almost half that.
Underlying that drop are a host of problems, personalities and
political adventures that prompted Tony George, owner of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to launch the IRL in 1996. Since then,
CART teams have slowly but steadily moved to the IRL to the point that
CART now is on the sales block, and reportedly does not have enough
money to complete a 2004 season. If a pending sale is successful, the
series is expected to return to Laguna Seca in June. If not, and CART
is reconfigured, it is unclear what the series will look like or where
it will race. Ironically, when the IRL's Hornish set that speed record
Sunday, he eclipsed one held by 1996 CART champ Jimmy Vasser, formerly
of Morgan Hill, who won CART's 500-mile finale there last November at
an average speed of 197 mph.
On the tube, CART & IRL can't keep up
with NASCAR There have been more than a few events in
open-wheel racing this summer that have drawn more fans to the track
than viewers in the national television audience.
This weekend's Indy Racing League Toyota Indy 400 in Fontana, Calif.
isn't expected be one of them because of low ticket sales at the
Unfortunately, any success ABC sees in the ratings this weekend is
masking the viewing public's waning interest in racing without fenders
and a roof.
ABC and ESPN have combined to air the IRL races since its inception in
1996 with little rating success. In its nine races broadcast thus far,
ABC has pulled in a 1.0 rating/3 share (1,050,000 households) down
from a 1.1 rating/3 share. The IRL's rival in open-wheel racing, CART,
has had similarly poor television numbers on CBS and Speed Channel.
There's one culprit for these declines - NASCAR. Fox, FX, NBC and TNT,
the four networks in their third season combining to broadcast
NASCAR's premier racing division, have averaged a 5.0 rating so far
this year, up slightly from last year.
"NASCAR is a combination of sport and entertainment," said Speed
Channel president Jim Liberatore. "There are guys you're rooting for,
guys you're rooting against, and there's fighting in the pits. In
open-wheel, its really about the car and less about the driver. In
Europe, that's great, but here, the drivers are the stars."
The IRL's TV contract with ABC and ESPN runs through 2007. CART, which
hasn't had a solid TV deal since it was founded in 1979 - will spend
millions to get its races on CBS and Speed Channel this year.
Liberatore said that IRL and CART are going to have to rethink how to
pull in viewers.
" I would consider running part of my season when NASCAR ends or
consider a Monday night race for more exposure," he said. "It's tough
because they're going head-to-head. They're obviously not winning the
battle with NASCAR."
Evansville Courier & Press
Scheckter leads most laps again
At this past weekend's Toyota Indy 400 Target Chip Ganassi driver
Tomas Scheckter led the most laps, for the second consecutive and
third overall time this season. Scheckter earned two extra points for
leading 112 of the race's 200 laps and is currently in seventh place
in the IRL Championship point standings with 341 points. For his
efforts, Scheckter will be presented with his Marlboro Lap Leader
Award check for $7,500 during the pre-race ceremonies at the Chevy 500
at Texas Motor Speedway on October 12th.
9/23/03 Industry News
Penske to be honored Roger
Penske will be honored on Tuesday, September 30th at the Eighteenth
Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York
City. The Great Sports Legends Dinner pledges to bring the Miami
Project to Cure Paralysis more than one million dollars closer to a
cure. Over the past seventeen years, more than $20,000,000 has been
raised at the Sports Legends Dinners, making it the cornerstone of the
Miami Project's annual budget. The Sports Legends Dinner has gained a
reputation for uniting individuals from the worlds of sports, business
and entertainment. Over 1,300 people attend this gala event each year,
which honors Great Sports Legends from different athletic categories.
National Anchor Tom Brokaw will be serving as the Master of Ceremonies
at the event. In addition, legendary journalist Walter Cronkite will
be receiving the "Great American Icon Award" and Gloria Estefan will
be the recipient of "The Buoniconti Fund Humanitarian Award." Penske
honored along with other sports legends including Cal Ripken Jr.,
David Robinson, Oscar de la Hoya, Jim Brown, Dorothy Hamill, Bruce
Fleisher, Michael Johnson and Laffit Pincay, Jr.
Minor changes to USGP schedule Minor
changes have been made to the Formula One schedule for the United
States Grand Prix on Saturday, Sept. 27 to better accommodate
worldwide television viewers. Formula One free practice sessions will
take place from 8-8:45 a.m. and 9:15-10 a.m. Saturday, one hour
earlier than previously scheduled. The qualifying warm-up will take
place from 12:30-12:45 p.m., with the second, single-lap qualifying
session from 1-2 p.m., both sessions one hour earlier than previously
9/23/03 Industry News
Ford to triple production in China Ford
Motor will triple production in China to 150,000 units a year, as it
scrambles to catch up with more established overseas rivals such as
General Motors and Honda Motor. Ford's joint-venture factory in
Chongqing, Sichuan province, which began production in January, was
designed with an initial annual production capacity of 50,000 Mondeo
and Fiesta cars. "The market here is expanding incredibly fast, so we
need to bring in as many products as soon as we can to take advantage
of the growth," said Dale Jones, marketing vice-president for Ford
Motor (China). Vehicle sales in China are expected to triple to 5.8
million units by 2010. "Every carmaker is expanding in China because
the car market grows at an average 50 per cent every month," said Gu
Qun, who tracks carmakers at consultancy Automotive Resources Asia.
General Motors said in July it would invest $200 million with Shanghai
Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) to quadruple production to 400,000
units by 2007. Volkswagen, which also has a joint venture with SAIC
and counts China as its biggest market after Germany, said it would
invest $6.6 Billion in the next five years to double production to 1.6
million units. [Editor's Note: F1 is going to China next year.
What about CART?] Bloomberg
Flawed part caused Allison's
helicopter crash? Birmingham attorney Jim
Thompson was the lead attorney in a lawsuit filed on behalf of
the Davey Allison estate that claimed a flawed part called a
collective yoke - not pilot error as the National
Transportation Safety Board ruled - caused the July 1993 crash
at Talladega Superspeedway that took Allison's life and
injured his Hueytown neighbor, Red Farmer. McDonnell-Douglas,
the California-based aircraft manufacturer that owns Hughes
Aircraft, which built the helicopter, settled the suit for an
undisclosed sum in 1996 without admitting fault. "We deny that
any defective condition contributed to the accident," George
S. McCall, the attorney for McDonnell-Douglas, said last week.
Both McCall and Thompson say they are prohibited by the court
to discuss the settlement in the case. Both the Allison estate
and Farmer were part of that settlement. Thompson, who has
tried numerous air-crash cases, said he has declined numerous
cases when it was evident that pilot error was the cause. He
said he agreed to take the Allison case after his
investigation concluded that a failed part caused Allison's
accident. "Tommy Allison (Davey's cousin and the executor of
the Allison estate) said that he couldn't believe Davey made a
mistake, because he was such an excellent pilot," said
Thompson, outlining what triggered the investigation and
finally the lawsuit. "He said Davey was accustomed to running
200 mph. He said Davey didn't make a mistake at 10 mph." The
NTSB ruled in 1994 that pilot inexperience was the cause of
the crash. The report said Allison had just 2.8 hours of
flight instruction on the Hughes 369HS helicopter and had not
practiced downwind landings like the one he was attempting in
the media center parking lot of the racetrack infield. The
report said Allison had 54 hours of helicopter flight time at
the time of the crash, but 45 of those hours were in a
less-demanding Robinson R-22 helicopter.
A flight instructor who trained Allison testified before the
board that Allison had "average" flight skills and tended to
make his approaches too fast and too shallow as a result of
having trained on the smaller and slower Robinson R-22.
Witnesses to the crash said Allison was hovering just a few
feet off the ground when the helicopter suddenly shot straight
up, stalled and fell back on its tail. When the main rotor
struck the asphalt, the helicopter spun and the left side of
the cockpit slammed onto the parking lot. Allison suffered
fatal head injuries when his head struck either the inside of
the cockpit or the asphalt. The eyewitness accounts pointed to
something failing in the control apparatus of the helicopter,
Thompson said. Investigators hired by Thompson dismantled the
helicopter and found that the collective yoke, the device that
controls the pitch of the rotor blades, was broken. "We
knew McDonnell-Douglas would argue that it was broken in the
crash," Thompson said. "The helicopter wasn't that badly
damaged in the crash and the yoke was located between the
seats in an area that had no damage at all. The cables going
to the yoke and hydraulic lines in the area showed no signs of
damage." Thompson said he hired a retired Hughes Aircraft test
pilot to recreate a failure of the yoke. With a backup system
in place to prevent a crash, the yoke was disconnected,
Thompson said. "The helicopter did exactly what Davey's did,"
Thompson said. The broken part was sent to a metallurgist in
Florida. He testified that a dissection of the part found that
the cast metal contained air pockets that made it fail,
according to Thompson. Paint like that found on the outside of
the yoke was found inside the part during dissection, he said.
"That meant the part was defective the day it left the
factory," Thompson said. The attorney believes metal fatigue
finally caused the part to fracture and that occurred just as
Allison was about to put the helicopter down.
Earnhardt knocked out, sent to
hospital 3rd UPDATE
As of Tuesday morning, Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
had yet to be cleared by NASCAR for competition this weekend
following a follow-up doctor visit in the Charlotte area on
Monday. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Tuesday morning the
sanctioning body had not cleared Earnhardt Jr. for competition
and was waiting further information from the driver's doctor
visit. He is using crutches and has been told by doctors to
stay off his feet, according to team officials. He had to
cancel a planned appearance at a news conference Tuesday
afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Dale
Earnhardt Inc. officials still believe Earnhardt Jr. will be
able to compete in Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega (Ala.)
Superspeedway, where the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet has won
the past four Cup races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was examined today (Monday) by Dr. Jerry Petty as
follow-up to his crash yesterday at Dover. Dale Jr. suffered a minor
concussion and a right foot sprain in the crash. NASCAR must approve
his return to competition, and as of 5:30 pm ET today, that process
was underway. When approval is given, we will follow-up with more
details and a full update on the extent of his injuries. Despite
initial reports and rumors to the contrary, Dale Jr. was unconscious
for only a brief time after yesterday's crash, and was awake and alert
while being removed from the race car. DEI press release9/21/03 -
Dale Earnhardt Jr has been examined and released from Bay Health
Hospital in Dover, Delaware. His injuries were listed as a minor
concussion and a bruised right foot. Dale Jr. will be re-examined
tomorrow by Dr. Jerry Petty. Any further updates will be released
Monday. 9/21/03 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. went high
between turns 1 & 2 at Dover today trying to keep from going
a lap behind the leader on lap 363 when the car spun and slid hard
into the turn two wall, making contact with the driver's side of the
car. Dale Jr. was removed from the car and taken to the infield care
center. The crash relegated Dale Jr. to 37th position for the
afternoon, and drops him two positions to fourth place in the Winston
Cup point standings with eight races remaining. However, the
enough to knock Earnhardt Jr. out for a couple of minutes.
He was transported to Bay Health Hospital (Kent General)
in Dover via helicopter following the completion of the MBNA
400 for further evaluation and tests. Earnhardt was reported
to be conscious at the time of transport. Mark C.
McNish replaced by Renault Allan
McNish's F1 dreams took a severe blow after Renault announced
that they have replaced the Scot with Franck Montagny to
be their test driver for 2004. "I'm obviously disappointed
that I won't be with the team next year, particularly having
seen the results of all our hard work with Fernando's first
win in Hungary, but I wish Alonso, Jarno, Franck, Flavio and
the whole team the very best of luck for the future," McNish
said. "I am in the fortunate position of having a number of
options open to me and my management team and I are assessing
which path to take at the moment. I don't want to rush into
anything but I am more determined than ever to succeed, and
ultimately I will make the choice that gives me the best
chance of success." Team boss Flavio Briatore stated, "In
recent years, the third driver has become increasingly
important to a team's success, and our decision to promote
Franck to this key role is a direct reflection of the work he
has accomplished for us this year. He has worked hard behind
the scenes testing for the F1 team, and he has put in
accomplished race performances in the Nissan series. He has a
bright future ahead of him."
GP Americas Noteworthy tidbits
Alex Sperafico…of Brazil replaces fellow countryman Gualter Salles
in Miami this weekend in the #19 Dale Coyne Racing entry. Sperafico
will make his second career Champ Car start after finishing 18th in
his debut in Toronto earlier this year.
The Sunshine State…will be well represented for this weekend’s
Grand Prix Americas presented by Sportsbook.com, with no less than
eight of the 19 Champ Car drivers residing in Florida. Miami residents
include Bruno Junqueira, Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Tiago
Monteiro (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing
Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) and Alex Sperafico. Other
Floridians include Herdez Competition’s Roberto Moreno (#4 Herdez
Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Weston, American rookie Ryan
Hunter-Reay (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of
Boca Raton, and Mario Haberfeld of Key Biscayne.
Kid Rock To Perform at Motorock Miami 100…Motorock, the new
cutting-edge motorsports and entertainment company, and title sponsor
for the Trans-Am Tour—announced recently that Kid Rock will perform at
the American Airlines Arena on Friday, September 27, 2003 as part of
the Motorock Miami 100. As previously announced, Elton John will be
performing on Saturday, September 27, 2003…Also, Motorock is an
acquisition partner of proposed buyout of the Champ Car World Series.
Tickets for Kid Rock will go on sale Saturday, September 20, 2003, at
all Ticketmaster outlets. Concert and race ticket packages will be
By the numbers: 14,000 - tires lashed together for the 2003
Grand Prix Americas…65,000 - feet of fencing throughout track…140 -
countries watching the race (through CART and ALMS television
broadcasts)…1,732 - tires used by teams during race weekend…1,700 -
times a driver will shift gears during the race…135 - race
transporters on site…13,500 - gallons of fuel consumed during race
weekend…8,000 - cups of beer consumed during 2002 Grand Prix
Americas…6 - Giant vision boards for full-circuit television coverage
for the fans in the grandstands…5,800 - feet of sponsorship
signage…527 - number of media credentials requested for 2002 GPA…1,370
- number of articles written during race weekend for the 2002 GPA.
Martinsville to offer free tickets
Martinsville Speedway officials announced today that all workers who
lost their jobs when the Pillowtex plant in Fieldale closed earlier
this year will have the opportunity to attend two events free of
charge this fall at Martinsville Speedway. Displaced Pillowtex workers
will have the chance to receive two tickets each to the SUBWAY 500
NASCAR Winston Cup race on October 19 and the Taco Bell 300 Late Model
Stock Car race on October 5. “We know that many of these folks who
have lost their jobs at Pillowtex have been strong supporters of
Martinsville Speedway over the years and this is a way we can give
back and say ‘thanks’ for their loyalty over the years,” said
Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. “This is an idea we’ve
kicked around since the announcement of Pillowtex’s closing. We knew
we wanted to do something to help. We realized in a staff meeting late
last week that our Winston Cup ticket sales were at a point that if we
didn’t act on this quickly, we wouldn’t have enough seats left to meet
the need. That got the ball rolling.” The Fieldale Pillowtex workers
will have two chances to pick up their tickets at Martinsville
Speedway’s ticket office. The first pick-up date is Tuesday, September
30, and the second is Thursday, October 2. These are the only two
times the tickets will be available. The ticket office is open from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m. Proof of Fieldale Pillowtex employment must be shown
when tickets are picked up. A company ID is preferred, but other
methods will be accepted along with a picture ID.
3 CART teams to be featured on CSI:
Miami As rookie teams in the Champ Car World Series,
American Spirit Team Johansson, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and
Rocketsports Racing have had a few moments in the bright sun this
year, but this weekend's Grand Prix Americas Presented by
Sportsbook.com will see that sun temporarily enhanced by the bright
lights of Hollywood. The teams will play key roles in the episode of
the popular CBS crime-solving drama CSI: Miami that is to be filmed at
this weekend's Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered
by Ford event in Miami, an episode that will be centered around a
crime involving a crew member that takes place at the racetrack.
American Spirit Team Johansson will be the featured team with the #12
Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone serving as the mount for the main
character in the show. The plot encompasses the American Spirit team
as the CSI: Miami detectives use their skills to determine who
committed the crime. The Mi-Jack/Conquest squad will also participate
in a pit-stop segment that will provide a key element to the show
while the Rocketsports Racing team will also be featured in the show.
Other footage shot in and around the racetrack and paddock areas may
incorporate the other teams and drivers of the Champ Car World Series
for the episode that is slated to air in mid-November.
Magnussen out, Turner if for Miami
article says that British driver Darren Turner, who drove for
the Prodrive team earlier this year at Sebring and Le Mans, will
substitute for Jan Magnussen at Miami and co-drive with David Brabham.
Magnussen and Brabham are on a two-race winning streak in the GTS
class in American Le Mans Series competition. Magnussen will be racing
in the Danish Touring Car Championship during the Miami weekend but
will be back in the Prodrive Ferrari for the season finale Petit Le
Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 18.
Recent test times from Sebring
Here are test times from the last two weeks at Sebring that
52.2 Adrian Fernandez Fernandez Racing
2. 52.7 Mika Salo PK
3. 53.0 Alex
Sperafico Dale Coyne Racing
4. 53.3 Oriol Servia
5. 53.4 Pierre Kaffer
Patrick Racing (Porsche Supercup driver)
6. 53.7 Robbie
Kerr Patrick Racing (British F3 driver)
Johansson warns against "dumbing-down"
CART too far In this CART.com article,
CART team owner Stefan Johansson says, Johansson shares Vasser’s hopes
for a brighter future. “I don’t know where it’s going to go from here
but I’m obviously hopeful and positive that this new group will take
it over and push it forward,” Stefan said.
“One thing we have is fantastic venues. We have probably the best
venues overall. All the city races we go to just develop and get
bigger every year. There’s a great atmosphere with 150,000 people over
the weekend at most races we go to, and that’s a very positive thing.
And the racing is good. It’s competitive and pretty good quality.
“Obviously the commercial side needs to be sorted out pretty darn
quick for everybody to move forward. It’s getting very late in the day
for sponsors to commit.”
Johansson believes that in the struggle to find effective ways of
controlling costs Champ Car must not lose sight of the true economic
realities of racing. “They’ve been working on cost measures but
there’s only so much you can do,” Stefan observed. “It’s still going
to be an expensive series to run no matter how you twist and turn it,
and so it should be.
“The bottom line is the cost of running a team is in direct relation
to how competitive the series is. There’s always going to be one or
two teams that are prepared to crank it up another notch or two and it
doesn’t really matter what rules you put in.
“And that’s not a negative. That’s the way it should be. It’s a free
market. It’s about who can do a better job than anybody else and most
of the time it’s in direct relation to how much work they’ve done, how
much effort they’ve put in. There’s no magic in this business. It’s
all about hard work.”
[Editor's Note: We remind our readers that the two most expensive
racing series in the world, F1 and NASCAR, are the two most
successful, even in these hard economic times, and the weakest, most
unsuccessful racing series are the "dumbed-down" low cost ones.
Coincidence? We think not. Mediocrity breeds mediocrity in
today's high-tech, dog-eat-dog world we now live in. Look at the
IRL for example - close racing, dumbed-down cars = plunging TV ratings
and complete fan apathy. CART needs to be North America's
version of F1, state-of-the-art as it was in its heydays, drawing the
best talent and best drivers from around the world. Open Wheel
cars are NOT stock cars and fans don't expect them to be. They
have always been, and shall always be purpose built race cars made for
ultimate performance. Trying to make an open wheel car like a "stock
car" under a managed racing concept is doomed for failure as we have
seen with the IRL. Leave "stock cars" to NASCAR.]
Sutherland signs deal for NASCAR IMAX
film Actor Kiefer Sutherland will narrate the first 3D NASCAR
IMAX film. The new IMAX 3D film is scheduled to open on March 12
next year. Sutherland stated: "With The IMAX Experience
putting you in the driver's seat at a series of exciting NASCAR races,
you can virtually feel the speed of the cars and the thunder of the
engines, and that's why this film lends itself perfectly to the
technology that IMAX provides."
Should there be guaranteed green-flag
finishes? NASCAR drivers respond to the question whether fans
should be guaranteed a green-flag finish. CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Driver, #43 Bugles Dodge:
“I believe each situation is different, but NASCAR is very safety
conscious. In order to prevent having a one or two-lap shootout in
which you end up with a lot of wrecked cars, I believe it’s necessary
sometimes to have races end under caution.
“Fans enjoy excellent racing all day long, so if the last three laps
are run under caution, it shouldn’t be a big deal because the best car
probably won anyway. There are a very small percentage of races that
end under caution because of an accident; a small enough percentage
not to change the current ruling.”
“In CART it wasn’t as wild of racing. The cars were spaced further
apart. Plus, by the end of the race, there are a lot of cars either
out of the race or not on the lead lap. But I did see a last lap
restart cost Michael Andretti a race at Fontana (Calif.) last season,
so it can change things.”
BRANDON WHITT, Driver, #38 Moen Faucets/McMillin Chevrolet Truck:
“The Truck Series has always had a ‘green-white-checkered’ rule, so
all of our races end under green. That’s just the way the series
works. But it’s probably a little easier to do that with a 200-mile
race than it is a 500-mile race. We just don’t have that many
“Still, your opinion on the rule is always going to be situational. If
I’m leading the race, yeah, we should be able to end the race under
caution. If I’m in second, then ending it with a guaranteed green flag
is the way to go. The main thing is everybody knows what the deal is
before the race starts, so if the situation comes up, everybody knows
“For the fans, it’s a better deal. For pure racing, it’s a better
deal. In the long run, yeah, a guaranteed green-flag finish is the
best way to go. But, again, a lot of that depends on where you are at
CHRISTI PASSMORE, Driver, #91 G.A.P. Roofing/Royal Trading Dodge:
“Every race fan wants to see the race end under green, and every
driver does too. It just seems to be the fairest way to determine a
winner. The thing is it’s not always possible and I don’t know that it
is always the wise thing to do.
“There have been these last-lap ‘shootouts’ at Talladega (site of this
week’s ARCA and NASCAR Winston Cup races) before and the results have
been pretty scary. With restrictor plates and the fact it takes a
couple of laps to get the car to full speed, a green-white-checkered
finish could lead to a whole lot of torn-up race cars.
“I think setting a limit, saying, ‘OK, we’re not putting the green
flag out with just a couple of laps to go,’ is a good idea. That
number is going to change depending on where you are. Four laps to go
at Talladega, for example, is probably not enough time. Four laps to
go at South Boston, where we were last week, might be plenty of time.
“The idea ARCA and NASCAR has right now is the best. Work as hard and
as fast as you can to get a green-flag finish every time but be
safety-conscious first and realize it’s not going to always happen.”
KYLE PETTY, Driver, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge:
“I don’t think NASCAR needs to make a rule so that all races finish
under the green flag. There are no guarantees in racing. There is no
guarantee that when you buy a ticket to a race that you are going to
see a green flag finish. It’s like the weather. There is no
controlling the weather on race day, and there is no controlling the
outcome of a race.
“A fan buys a ticket to a baseball game, but is he guaranteed to see
nine innings played? If it rains the game could be stopped after six,
but the game is over. That’s the same thing we have in racing. If the
caution flag comes out at the end of the race, whether it be for a
wreck or whatever, the race should finish under the yellow flag.
That’s the way it is. There are no promises from NASCAR or the tracks
that you are going to see a green flag finish.”
JOHN ANDRETTI, NASCAR Winston Cup driver:
“Race distance is race distance, and I think that’s the way we should
continue to look at it. The standards NASCAR has gone by is the most
fair for the competitors, and most fair for the fans too. Now, when
the yellow comes out after a certain point late in the race – and
everybody knows what that point is before the race starts – that’s the
end of it.
“It doesn’t mean the wrong guy won by any stretch. A Winston Cup race
is tough enough to lead at any point. If you have the lead with five
laps to go, you’ve pretty much earned the win. To extend the race
distance when everything is on the line from fuel mileage to other
circumstances, that would be unfair. That would change who should win
the race, and that would not be fair. After four hours of racing, a
green-white-checkered is no better way to determine a winner than what
four hours of racing have already done.”
Malaysia to sign anti-smoking treaty
today Malaysia will today sign the World Health Organization's
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the United Nations in New
York. The signature of Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng will mean
that Malaysia will commit itself to establish stringent controls on
tobacco products, including a ban on tobacco advertising.
The FIA supports the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but
Formula 1 tobacco companies are putting pressure on F1 teams to
boycott countries which will not allow tobacco sponsorship.
In theory the Malaysian government has an agreement with F1 for racing
until 2010 but as the contract is not a public document it is
difficult to say whether it includes clauses related to tobacco
Grandprix.com [Editor's Note: It appears F1 is losing the
battle against restrictions being placed on tobacco sponsors, despite
Bernie Ecclestone's strong-arm tactics. It will be interesting
to see what Bernie does with the Canadian race.]
USGP's future at Indy unsure This
article talks about the future of the F1 race at the Indy
Motor Speedway. Remarks by Ecclestone appear to indicate he will
keep the race at Indy when the current contract expires, but a lot
will depend on attendance at this year's event.
But grand prix team owner Frank Williams said the future of the event
won't be based on intentions. Money will determine it, he said.
"Whether Tony George can afford it, or not, I just don't know,"
Williams said. "It will come down to (financial) numbers."
Ecclestone said the Speedway remains his best platform to showcase F-1
in the United States, and he continues to have a strong personal
relationship with George. That's why he's optimistic F-1 can remain in
"It's good for us because there are very few places where you go in
America where the cities are instantly recognizable to the people of
the world," Ecclestone said. "If you say Indianapolis anywhere, people
think motor racing. That's why I went there.
"I'm very happy with Tony and the way he built a circuit for Formula
One. I pushed him to make a much better Indy for everyone else. It's
beautiful what he did.
"Hopefully we are and can continue to repay him for that."
Ecclestone isn't as concerned about the attendance for Sunday's race,
in part because that is the primary money-maker for track owners.
Attendance has dropped from about 200,000 in 2000 to about 125,000
Even at 125,000, the USGP is one of the best-attended F-1 races. The
European Grand Prix in Germany is considered the leader this season at
123,000 spectators. Australia had 116,700. Only five of the 14 races
have exceeded 100,000.
"Don't forget that we had a race just after Sept. 11 (in 2001),"
Ecclestone said. "There were fallouts that have carried forward for a
few years. You have to build it back up, and that takes work. We'll
get there." [Editor's Note: There had been rumors the race might
move back to Long Beach, but that was denied by Long Beach officials
recently, despite some inside info we had uncovered.]
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