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Pobst gives Audi first win
Randy Pobst (Gainesville, GA) rocketed to the front at the start of
Friday’s SPEED World Challenge GT Championship race at Road Atlanta,
and held out for his first win of the season and the first win for the
new Audi RS 6. Pobst also captured the Championship point lead with
the race win, part of the Petit Le Mans weekend.
Driving the #2 Champion Racing entry, Pobst took advantage of a dry
line from his second starting position and sped away at the start from
polesitter Mike Fitzgerald who was driving a Porsche 911.
“Our pleasure is BMW’s pain. They had a rough day and we had a great
day,” Pobst said after taking his seventh-career win and first since
2002. “This team has been thrashing all year, really pulling rabbits
out of the hat and putting out fires just to keep the cars on the
track with the busy schedule. But to finally pull down a win is a
wonderful feeling and a tribute to the hard work of the Champion Audi
Michael Galati (N. Olmstead, OH) made a great jump on the standing
start, moving into second from sixth position, but slid wide in turn
one and allowed Fitzgerald to take over second. Nonetheless, Galati
reached the podium for the second time in three races. He also
received the Remus Power Move of the Race for his move at the start,
going from sixth on the grid into second.
“We’ve been having a difficult season with little problems with the
car here and there,” Galati said. “I keep telling the guys to never
give up, that the race doesn’t end until the checkered flag, and
they’ve gotten a lot of things straightened out. Now we’re in a good
position to win the Manufacturers’ Championship, and Randy has a
chance to be the Champion.”
Brack's condition upgraded Injured
driver Kenny Brack's condition has been upgraded to satisfactory
Friday at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Henry Bock, medical
director for the Indy Racing League.
Brack, driver of the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Honda Dallara, was
injured in Sunday's Chevy 500
IRL IndyCar Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Brack remains in the intensive care unit at Parkland Hospital with
injuries that included a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum
and lumbar vertebrae and fractures to both ankles. Brack had
surgery on Sunday and Monday nights to repair the damage.
"Kenny was funny and telling us jokes today," said Anita Brack,
Kenny's wife. "He was frustrated by many of the tubes in him after the
surgeries. But he was back to being the same Kenny and giving the
nurses and everyone a bad time. It was big lift for me to see him that
way. Of course, he was typical Kenny and asking lots of questions -
about the race, his injuries and the medical equipment. But I like
that. It shows he is returning to his normal self."
Anita Brack said her husband was even telling jokes to his Team Rahal
"He told the team he would have the Texas race report next week for
them," said a smiling Anita Brack. "He told them he was a little busy
this week to work on it."
Brack is expected to remain at Parkland Memorial Hospital for several
more days and will eventually be transferred to Indianapolis to begin
rehabilitation for his injuries.
"Actually the doctors here have started Kenny working on moving his
arms and legs," said Anita
Brack. "So the rehab is beginning already. We are continuing to pray
for Kenny's recovery and we hope the racing community and fans can do
the same. We thank everyone for their support." he hospital's help
Werner takes Petit LeMans pole
Marco Werner, driving the Infineon
Team Joest Audi R8, won the pole Friday for Saturday's American Le Mans Series
Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Werner and co-driver Frank Biela, both of Germany, can win the American Le Mans
Series driving championship for the LMP 900 class by finishing sixth or better in
their class in the 1,000-mile sports car endurance race. Werner's lap time of
1:11.738 beat the 1:12.450 posted by James Weaver in the Dyson Racing Lola
EX257-MG, a time which earned the outside pole overall as well as the LMP 675
class pole. Weaver will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace.
Although Prototype qualifying was held on a drying track, GTS and GT cars
qualified on a track that was wet from a rain shower that started only a few
minutes before the 2:20 p.m. start of the session.
David Brabham won the GTS class pole in the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello that he
will co-drive with Jan Magnussen and Anthony Davidson. Brabham turned a lap of
Sascha Maassen won the GT class pole with a lap of 1:29.391 in the Alex Job Racing
Porsche 911 GT3 RS that he will share with Lucas Luhr.
Kahne: Worth fighting for This
article talks about the contract Ford has with Kasey Kahne and
all the rumors he may drive for someone else.
SPEED to air Zanardi race
SPEED Channel is airing the full 2003 FIA European Touring Car
Championship (ETCC) in order this winter, with a replay of this
weekend's race featuring the return of racing great Alex Zanardi
scheduled for Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Will there be a F3000 series next year?
UPDATE This Autosport
article says that if there is a F3000 series next year, the
races might run on Sunday mornings to fill the void for the fans.
2004 Formula 3000 calendar
25 April Imola
9 May Barcelona
23 May Monaco
30 May Nürburgring
4 July Silverstone
11 July Magny-Cours
25 July Hockenheim
15 August Budapest
29 August Spa-Francorchamps
12 September Monza
10/17/03 - This Grandprix.com article
says, There are fears that there will not be a sufficient number of
entries next year to warrant an International Formula 3000
Championship. The F3000 Sporting Regulations state that an event may
be cancelled if fewer than 12 cars are available for it and thus if
the entry sinks that low the entire championship must be considered to
be in jeopardy. This year there were nine regular competitors although
not all were able to field cars in every race and on occasion the
entry dropped as low as 13 cars. Of the official entries Brand
Motorsport and Den Bla Avis both pulled out completely while Astromega
and ISR Charouz was forced to single cars on occasion. There are also
doubts about the future of Enrique Scalabroni's BCN F3000 operation.
"At the start of the season we had 20 cars in International F3000,
around 25 in the Nissan World Series, about 18 in Formula Renault V6
and about 15 in Euro 3000," said Astromega team boss Mikke Van Hool .
"You have just too many cars for the available driver/sponsor market.
All these championships can claim to be a good place from which a
driver can try to get in F1." [Editor's Note: there was a rumor that
Brand was eyeing the CART series.]
IRL revisits Brack's crashUPDATE
A reader writes, Dear AR1, For Brian Barnhart to "politicize" Brack's
survival is a moral outrage. To suggest that Brack was saved by the
Dallara Chassis is utter nonsense and shows the level of depravity
that the IRL will stoop to to justify its existence. Brack's
survival was pure "luck", to suggest anything else is sleazy and
tacky. But that is what I have come to expect from IRL. Tony George
never even acknowledged Brack during the post race histrionics.
Mordichai (Mortified) Rosen, LA, California10/17/03
- This Indy Star
article says, That race driver Kenny Brack survived last
weekend's crash at Texas Motor Speedway seems more like a miracle
The Indy Racing League confirmed Thursday that Brack's impact with a
backstretch gate post registered just under 200 Gs, a figure nearly
twice what officials have seen in other violent crashes.
"That's an incredible number," IRL senior vice president Brian
Barnhart said. "That gate post didn't give, and that's what exploded
the car. It was like a bomb going off."
Barnhart noted that the Dallara tub stayed together as designed and
the extraneous pieces flew off to dissipate energy as intended. The
combination of events likely limited Brack's injuries to fractures, a
concussion and a facial wound.
Brack is recovering from spinal surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital
in Dallas. He also fractured his sternum, right femur and both ankles.
He is expected to be transported to Indianapolis next week to begin
While Barnhart wishes track officials had chosen a different fence
design, he has no complaints with the job the barrier did. Despite the
nose of Brack's car hitting 15 feet up the fence, most of the debris
stayed on the racetrack while the rest dropped in the buffer zone
between the wall and the elevated (and unoccupied) grandstand.
[Editor's Note: why are the fence posts on trackside instead of the
outside where they belong?]
ALMS and Speed World Challenge joint operating
[Editor's Note: This is a similar plan that you will see announced
between CART, Trans-Am and Formula BMW we hear] A landmark joint operating
agreement for the betterment of road racing in North America was announced today
by the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the International Motor Sports Association
(IMSA) and SCCA Pro Racing Ltd.
The agreement was announced by Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American
Le Mans Series, and Steve Johnson, President and CEO of SCCA Pro Racing. The
American Le Mans Series is sanctioned by the International Motor Sports
Association (IMSA), while SCCA Pro Racing conducts the Speed World Challenge
"This joint operating agreement is a landmark combining of efforts," said
Atherton. "It is all in the name of providing a more successful and robust road
racing platform for manufacturers, privateers, sponsors, tracks and, most
"We are going to look at each organization's core competencies and exploit them to
the full benefit of the collective, combined effort to develop the brand of road
racing in North America," said Atherton. "We will seek out and take advantage of
every opportunity to assist and grow each series."
"Joining forces into one cohesive effort is a logical path for us in our effort to
create not only the best road racing show, but the best road racing value," said
Johnson. "The success and strength of North American road racing is contingent on
relationships such as this one, and a joint effort between the strongest, most
stable sanctioning bodies and series will only enhance our events and products."
Effective with the 2004 season, the American Le Mans Series and the Speed World
Challenge will have a common schedule of race weekends. In addition, the two
organizations will jointly apply their shared best practices to scheduling, track,
pit and paddock administration, race control, safety teams and procedures and
other administrative and operational elements of a race weekend.
The operating agreement will also include the sharing of marketing opportunities,
including the ALMS and SCCA Pro combining efforts with the growing import-tuner
motorsports scene and sharing existing relationships with Slipstream Global
Marketing, a leading agency that administrates import-tuner activities at race
There will also be the establishment of an ALMS section in "Sports Car Magazine,"
a publication that reaches 65,000 SCCA members and the linking of websites for the
"This could be compared to a joint operating agreement between two airlines," said
Atherton. "We will share assets and practices to make each other more efficient,
and we feel that this combination of efforts will result in the finest road racing
weekends in the world."
ALMS announces final schedule
A new event at historic Lime Rock Park
and returns to Portland International Raceway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course are
part of a nine-race schedule announced today for the sixth season of the American
Le Mans Series in 2004.
The series will also have a new location for its season-ending event as Mazda
Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., moves its annual American Le Mans Series
event into October to become the season finale.
The professional sports car racing series will hold its first-ever event in the
Northeastern United States with an Independence Day weekend event at Lime Rock
Park in Lakeville, Ct. And after a two-year absence, the series will return to the
Pacific Northwest with a July event at Portland.
In addition, the series' presence in the Midwest will be strengthened with a
return to Mid-Ohio, located in Lexington, Ohio, after a one-year absence.
"When you think of classic road racing venues in North America, Lime Rock Park
certainly belongs on that list," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the
American Le Mans Series. "Many of our fans have asked us when we would race at
Lime Rock, and we're very happy now to be working with Skip Barber and his staff
to bring the American Le Mans Series there next year.
"Racing in the Northeast is also very important to the manufacturers and sponsors
involved in the American Le Mans Series," said Atherton. "The Northeast corridor
represents some of the highest sales areas for Audi, Porsche, Corvette, BMW and
some of the other types of cars that race in our series. We certainly look forward
to enjoying a holiday weekend at Lime Rock.
"We are also delighted to be returning to Portland and Mid-Ohio," said Atherton.
"Those events allow us to reach two important market areas of the country that are
also home to two of the best road racing facilities in North America and some
great fans of sports car racing. Mike Nealy of Portland and Michelle
Trueman-Gajoch at Mid-Ohio are two of the most experienced road racing promoters
in the business. We are looking forward to working with them to build their ALMS
weekends into benchmark events."
The 2004 American Le Mans Series Schedule of Events
Mar. 15-20 - Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of
Sebring, 12 hours
June 25-27 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH, 2:45
July 2-5 - Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT, 2:45
July 16-18 - Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA, 2:45
July 23-25 - Portland (OR) International Raceway, 2:45
Aug. 6-8 - Mosport International Raceway, Bowmanville, ON, Can., 2:45
Aug. 20-22 - Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI, 2:45.
Sept. 22-25 - Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA, Petit Le Mans, 1,000 miles or 10 hours
Oct. 14-16 - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA, 4:00
More on Bahrain race This
Channel News Asia
article has some interesting information about the upcoming
Bahrain GP. Up to now, 52-percent of the work has been completed
at the desert site including work on the media centre, restaurants and
surroundings - however, the surface of the track is not finished yet.
"The surface of the tracks is one of the last stages in the
construction of the circuit and it will be completed in six weeks",
said Hans Geist, the track's executive director who worked on the
Austrian Grand Prix at the A1 Ring in Spielberg for eight years.
"The tracks will be ready by December." The complex, with the
5.4km F1 circuit as its centerpiece, will also have a total of six
tracks for other racing including dragsters which are very popular in
The promotion of the event is being concentrated in the Gulf and the
Middle East. "We are basing our awareness campaign on the local
region, the people in Europe are already aware of these type of
events," said Sheikh Fawaz who claimed that tickets for the race will
be the cheapest in the championship.
Bahrain is confident of attracting 70,000 people to the race.
Although that could prove a headache - the country's hotel capacity is
just 13,500 rooms.
Jordan team ordered to pay big court
costs Formula 1 Jordan Grand Prix team has been ordered to
pay £1million costs to foot the bill of its failed £150million High
Court damages case brought against mobile phone company Vodafone.
Credit Suisse renews with Sauber The
Sauber team announced today that the financial services company Credit
Suisse, will again sponsor their cars for next season. "Our
cooperation with this renowned financial services company has been
highly important for the development of our team during the past three
seasons," said team boss Peter Sauber. "We regard the continuation of
the partnership as a sign of confidence, as well as a commitment to
further improve our performance."
2004 Truck schedule Craftsman
Truck Series 2004 Schedule
Feb. 13: Florida Dodge Dealers 250, Daytona International Speedway,
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Mar. 13: Atlanta 200, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga.
Apr. 17: Martinsville 250, Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.
May 16: Ohio 250, Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, Mansfield, Ohio
May 21: Hardee's 200, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C.
June 4: MBNA America 200, Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del.
June 11: O'Reilly 400K, Texas Motor Speedway, Ft. Worth, Texas
June 19: O'Reilly 200, Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn.
June 26: GNC 200, Milwaukee Mile, Milwaukee, Wis.
July 3: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
July 10: Built Ford Tough 225 presented by Ford Dealers, Kentucky
Speedway, Sparta, Ky.
July 17: Missouri-Illinois Dodge Ram Tough 200, Gateway Int. Raceway,
St. Louis, Mo.
July 31: Michigan 200, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn,
Aug. 6: Power Stroke Diesel 200, Indianapolis Raceway Park,
Aug. 14: Toyota Tundra 200, Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, Tenn.
Aug. 25: O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline Maxlife, Bristol Motor
Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
Sept. 9: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200, Richmond Int. Raceway,
Sept. 18: New Hampshire 200, New Hampshire International Speedway,
Sept. 25: Las Vegas 350, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
Oct. 2: American Racing Wheels 200, California Speedway, Los Angeles,
Oct. 16 Silverado 350K, Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas
Oct. 23: Martinsville 200, Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.
Nov. 5: Chevy Silverado 150, Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix,
Nov. 12: Darlington 200, Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C.
Nov. 19: Ford 200, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Miami, Fla.
Shocker: Bentley pulls out of LeMans
Bentley has confirmed that it will not
return to the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, despite dominating this year's running
of the round-the-clock French sportscar classic. "Le Mans is part of our
rich heritage and is very important to us," said Bentley chairman and CEO
Franz-Josef Paefgen. "It has also helped us revive the unique spirit of Bentley
and it has created a new motorsport heritage for the marque, but when we announced
our return in November 2000 we always said this would be a three-year program.
"In the past three Le Mans we have been more successful than we could have
dreamed, culminating in first and second places for the Bentley Speed 8 at this
most famous of races this year. I'm not saying we are leaving motorsport for
good, and we will certainly continue to review our position," he added. "But being
pragmatic, all our efforts need to be concentrated on the next phase of our
regeneration, and our priority is delivering a new range of Bentleys to our
rapidly expanding customer base."
Renault's RS24 will be more reliable Mission
reliability for next year's Renault engine. "Reliability will be our
number-one priority for next season," explains Léon Taillieu, project
director for the RS24 engine. "The reason behind our
choice of this new architecture is that it will be less technically
risky than its predecessor. We began working in March 2003, and the
project spec focuses not only on the vital 700km reliability target,
but also packaging, weight and power. The latter should come quite
The next engine born at Viry-Châtillon, the RS24, will use a narrower
'v' angle than its predecessor. "The decision was taken well before
the outside world knew about it," explains Mark Smith. "We have been
able to work closely with out colleagues in France from the very
beginning of the project, and we won't suffer at all in terms of
packaging or stiffness. We have had enough time to give the car
characteristics that are at least as good as the 2003 car in these
A mock-up of the 2004 engine arrived in Enstone a few weeks ago. The
chassis designers were thus able to fine-tune the cooling demands of
the engine, and take note of the mounting points. "In addition, we
have worked to ensure this engine can use an identical air intake to
last year's, in spite of the fact it is taller," reveals Léon Taillieu.
"One of our aims was to not disrupt the aerodynamic efficiency of the
Deadlines are coming thick and fast at Viry-Châtillon. "We tested the
new cylinder head on an electrical dyno three weeks ago. This
technology allows us to check all the moving parts of the engine
without firing it up," explains Taillieu. "The following week, we
conducted the first full test of the new cylinder head, although not
using the definitive crankcase."
Last week, the RS24A growled into life for the first time on a thermal
test bench. It was a major first step. Following this, key dates
follow in quick succession: "Early in November, we will make our
decision on the air intakes we will use," continues Léon Taillieu.
"Six weeks later, the gearbox and RS24 will run together for the first
time on the test bench. We expect to have achieved a solid level of
reliability by this stage." Renault F1 Team
20,000 tickets already sold for Bahrain 20,000
tickets have already been sold for the inaugural Bahrain GP in April.
85% have been bought by locals, 10% by people from surrounding
countries. "The fact that so many tickets have so far been sold
is a clear indicator of the success of the race," said Bahrain
International Circuit (BIC) chairman Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al
Khalifa, at a press conference yesterday after a visit to the track,
"and the benefits it would bring not only for Bahrain but the entire
Gulf region. We have recently conducted road shows in various
Gulf countries as part of the regional ticket sale campaigns, which
attracted a huge number of people. The BIC will utilize the
global network of Gulf Air's offices to sell tickets," he said,
"giving F1 enthusiasts all over the world a better chance of
purchasing a ticket. It's anticipated that 100,000 spectators
will attend the event.
10/17/03 Industry News
Ford profit picture improves
Ford Motor Co. sparked a rally in automotive stocks Thursday when it
released profit figures that surpassed Wall Street's expectations and
said it would end 2003 in better financial shape than it originally
projected. The Dearborn automaker still lost $25 million
during the third quarter, but that was a lot better than the $200
million it was expected to lose. Overall, Ford expects to earn
$1.8 billion for the year. The reasons: record profits at its
lending arm, Ford Credit, and big-time cost-cutting in Europe and
NASCAR diversity program floundering Bill
Lester, the only African-American driver regularly competing in any of
NASCAR's top three divisions, is out looking for a new ride. Lester
has been driving on the Craftsman Truck Series in a #8 Dodge owned by
Bobby Hamilton and sponsored through a diversity program funded by
Dodge. But Dodge is dropping the diversity program and Hamilton isn't
going to run the truck without a sponsor. Dodge spokesman Todd Goyer
said the company started the diversity program three years ago with
the hope that some other corporation would step in and pick up the
program. That never happened, although in July, General Mills put
Lester's picture on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios. "We started with a
two-year program and extended it for a year," Goyer said. "But the
bottom line is that we can't carry the flag alone." Lester has been
Dodge's minority driver for the past two seasons and has shown
promise. He runs best on superspeedways and won the pole at Charlotte
earlier this year. He's 13th in points heading into Saturday's race at
Martinsville and has an average start of 13th and an average finish of
18th (usually 36 or so drivers are in Craftsman fields). Goyer said
the failure of Dodge's diversity program shouldn't be blamed on
Lester. "Bill certainly represented us well," Goyer said. While Lester
said he's unsure where he'll be racing next year, NASCAR officials are
certain he'll be back behind the wheel of a competitive truck. "I feel
confident that Bill Lester will be competing again next year," said
NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter. Lester said he's appreciative of
what Dodge's program did for him but disappointed that other companies
didn't follow Dodge's lead. "Everybody talks about diversity but very
few step up and put their money where their mouth is," he said. "It's
unfortunate that Dodge is dropping this program, but you can't fault
their position. No one else came forward."
Crowd Figures This
article says that Formula 1's problem this year has been
filling the grandstands but the sport is still financially sound with
the Formula One group continuing to rake in huge sums of money in TV
right sales and race fees. In addition the trackside advertising and
corporate hospitality business is ticking over nicely with Allsport
Management in Geneva continuing to pick up large checks all along the
way. This is in sharp contrast to CART's financial woes this year with
the business losing piles of money as it tries to convert itself to
the F1 model of funding. Despite the problems the series is certainly
pulling in the people with a three-day attendance figure in Mexico
City last weekend of 402,413, including a massive race day crowd of
221,011. In part this was due to the fact that there were six Mexicans
racing in CART but also because ticket prices are kept reasonable. For
most of the year F1 crowds have been down by around 10% over previous
years although the events in Indianapolis and Japan bucked the trend.
It is worth noting that while the Indy Racing League seems to be going
from strength to strength in the United States, the attendance figures
are still very low although this probably helped to save the series
from a serious problem last weekend in Texas when Kenny Brack's car
cartwheeled into the debris fencing and shattered the grandstand with
wreckage. Thankfully the seats were all empty…
Dario Franchitti in Australia
Paul Gentilozzi told us in Mexico
City that Dario Franchitti would be at the CART Surfers race next weekend.
We hear he is already in Australia hanging out with Michel Jourdain Jr. who is
doing some Ford promo work.
Dyson team stays fast at night
The Dyson Racing Lola-MG remained
the fastest car and a GTS class battle raged Thursday night as American Le Mans
Series teams had two hours of night practice to prepare for Saturday’s Petit Le
Mans at Road Atlanta. James Weaver, who will share the Dyson machine with Butch
Leitzinger and Andy Wallace, turned a lap of 1:12.459 to lead the night practice
session both overall and in the LMP 675 class. Second fastest overall and leading
the LMP 900 class was the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8 of Marco Werner and Frank
Biela at 1:12.729. Johnny O’Connell, driving a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, blasted
from fourth in the GTS class to first in the waning moments of the session by
turning the fastest lap of 1:19.794. He will co-drive with Ron Fellows and Frank
Freon. Leading the GT class was the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Lucas
Luhr and Sascha Maassen with a time of 1:23.033. Official qualifying for the Petit
Le Mans will be held Friday afternoon.
Petit LeMans update
The seesaw battle at the top of the time chart between
Prototypes continued Thursday afternoon at Road Atlanta as Butch
Leitzinger set the fast time in the second official practice session for
Saturday’s American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans. Leitzinger, driving the
Dyson Racing Lola EX257-MG, turned the 2.54-mile circuit at a time of
1:12.782, beating the 1:13.120 posted by the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8
of JJ Lehto. Leitzinger, James Weaver and Andy Wallace will share the
Dyson machine, which has been battling back and forth with the Champion
machine at the top of the time chart since yesterday’s unofficial
practice. Lehto will co-drive with Johnny Herbert. In addition to being
fastest overall, the Dyson car was also fastest in the LMP 675 class,
while the Champion car led the LMP 900 class. The Infineon Team Joest Audi
R8 of Frank Biela and Marco Werner was third overall and second in LMP
900, while fourth overall and third in P900 was the Panoz LMP01 of Olivier
Beretta, Max Papis and David Saelens for JML Team Panoz. Second in LMP 675
and fifth overall was the Lola EX257-Judd of Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and
Larry Connor, while the other Dyson Lola-MG of Chris Dyson, Didier de
Radigues and Chad Block was third in P675 and sixth overall. Setting fast
time of 1:19.607 in the GTS class was the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello
of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Alain Menu. The car was repaired after being
damaged in a crash in today’s morning practice session. The Chevrolet
Corvette C5-R of Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Frank Freon was second
in the GTS class, followed by the other factory Corvette of Oliver Gavin,
Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim. The GT class fast time of 1:23.211 was set
by the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen,
with the Risi Competizione Ferrari 360 Modena of Ralf Kelleners and
Anthony Lazzaro second. Third was the other Job Porsche of Jorg
Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.
Pink slips at CART UPDATE An anonymous
tipster tells us between 11 and 19 CART employees got their pink slips
today. 10/16/03 - Today was the last day on
the job for CART's likeable Vice President of Communications, Adam Saal.
Adam came in with Chris Pook, and with Pook's departure rumored to be
soon, this was not totally unexpected. Saal is going to take some
R&R for the next week but will ultimately be back in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Short-term plans call for him to get back in the day-to-day of his
communications and promotions company Atomic Communications (Saal L.L.C.)
that his wife Lana has carried for the last two years.
Toyota to sponsor truck race Toyota
Motor Sales USA and the Nashville Superspeedway, a Dover
Motorsports Inc. facility, have reached a multi-year
sponsorship agreement in which Toyota will become the
racetrack's Official Vehicle and title sponsor of its NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series race. The "Toyota Tundra 200" race
weekend is the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event
sponsored by Toyota.
Another Washington State city
wants a track Another Snohomish County city is
having racetrack wishes and NASCAR dreams -- Monroe, WA.
Monroe Mayor Donnetta Walser and two Snohomish County
officials flew to Kansas City, Kan., a little more than a week
ago to meet International Speedway Corp. officials at one of
its racetracks, the Kansas Speedway. The Daytona Beach, Fla.,
corporation, one of the nation's leading motorsports promoters
including NASCAR, is looking to build a "major sports
facility" in the Northwest to add to the 13 others it runs
around the country, ISC spokesman David Talley said. The
nearest ISC racetrack to Snohomish County is California
Speedway, near San Bernardino, CA. "We're in the very, very
preliminary stages of trying to make something happen," Talley
said. ISC is scouting racetrack locations in Washington as
well as Oregon, he said. He could not comment on which
locations, and said there is no specific timetable. Monroe is
not the only Snohomish County city with a heightened interest
in the search for a speedway location. Darrington city
officials were set to meet with speedway representatives as
part of a regional visit late last month, but on the day of
the meeting Darrington leaders were notified that the visit
was off. This time, instead of speedway officials visiting the
county, local leaders went to them in Kansas. The possibility
of an 85,000-seat, 1-mile NASCAR-sanctioned racetrack would be
a "very large opportunity" for the area, he said. Mickey
Beadle, president of International Productions Inc., which
operates the Evergreen Speedway at the fairgrounds in Monroe,
said he's eager to find out just how serious talk of a
racetrack is. The Evergreen Speedway, which is entering into
its 50th year of racing, is a 5/8-mile track and at its
biggest events has held crowds of about 15,000. Beadle said
International Speedway Corp. is probably shopping around for
the best deal. According to promotional materials
International Speedway Corp. provided to Darrington officials,
the track could cost $150 million to build, employ 2,200
people, generate $87 million in annual revenues, and another
$58 million in state and local taxes.
10/16/03 Industry News
As can be seen from these photos, the variable banking at
Homestead from 18 to 19 to 20 degrees is not even visible to the naked
eye. You need a long straight edge to see the difference. It
should not be be a real issue for the IRL underbodies.
Starwood Team Jensen announces
sponsor renewal Starwood Team Jensen confirms that
PaySystems Corporation has renewed as feature sponsor of the
#8 racecar in the 2004 CART Atlantic championship.
The deal is significant in the marketing and motorsport
industries in Canada. This is now the largest race team
sponsorship in Canada (in monetary terms), following the end
of the hugely successful Player's racing program.
With this deal, there will be a continued Canadian team
presence at popular CART races including the Molson Indy
Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (plus the U.S. and
- an industry leader in Canadian motorsport - competes as
Starwood Team Jensen. The name is part of a brand program for
sponsor Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Starwood is one of the
world's largest hotel companies with well known brands
including Westin, Sheraton, and W Hotels.
Montreal based Jensen is now the only Canadian team competing
in the professional CART organization, running two racecars in
the CART Toyota Atlantic series.
Team owner Eric Jensen states, "We are excited to renew our
program with PaySystems. This deal is more proof that we are a
recognized property in the Canadian and international
marketing communities, and that a race team can be a viable
commercial business beyond tobacco related issues".
Based in Montreal, PaySystems Corporation offers complete
payment processing services to merchants around the world.
PaySystems is a leader in the industry, and is among the
fastest growing companies in Canada.
For details about this deal and Starwood Team Jensen, or
comments about issues in the Canadian motorsport industry such
as the disappearance of the Montreal Grand Prix; contact Eric
Jensen by phone at (905) 987.7778
Work on Bahrain track picking
up pace Work on Bahrain's Formula One racing track
has gathered pace and is now running at full throttle.
Six months remain before the hosting of the world's first
Grand Prix to be held in the desert. General
Organization for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin
Mohammed Al Khalifa said the track will be ready a month ahead
of the April 4 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Eleven
months have elapsed from the 16-month contract period, with
work still ahead of schedule. Shaikh Fawaz said weekly
meetings are being held by the BIC members and Housing and
Works Ministry officials on the status of construction on the
circuit. "We are quite confident that the circuit would
be completed on time as progress had continued through this
period non-stop - even during the Iraqi war," he remarked.
He said work on the buildings was almost complete. What
remains now is the final touches and electrical and electronic
fittings. On the track, 98 per cent of the main
earthworks have been completed and 40pc of the track
construction is also ready. The three-storey main grand
stand, which covers an area of 20,000 square meters, is 68pc
ready while work on 53pc of the pit buildings, which cover an
area of 18,000sq m, has been finished. The teams
building is also almost ready, with 31pc of the work left.
Gulf Daily News
Davidson now BAR's #1 test
driver With the promotion of Takuma Sato to a race
seat next year, Anthony Davidson finds himself as BAR’s number
one test driver with the prospect now of making an appearance
on the Fridays before a grand prix. He said: "This is a dream
come true. It is what we planned would happen and, although
some people said we were stupid to stay at BAR as second test
driver, we knew there was a chance for something like this. It
is priceless to be able to learn all the tracks that are on the
calendar and to be in the limelight for two hours on the
Friday of grand prix practice."
$10 million to reinstate the
Canadian GP Sources inside F-1 have told The Toronto
Sun that the Montreal organizers will be expected to raise
more than $10 million US to keep the event on the schedule.
That money -- $2 million per team -- will be paid to Ferrari,
McLaren, Renault, Jordan and BAR -- all of whom depend on
tobacco advertising to support their race efforts.
Canadian GP promoter Normand Legault said he was encouraged by
the news but warned it wasn't over. "We'll pursue
further discussions in the next couple of weeks with Formula
One management in order to come up with a financial deal that
will satisfy the teams affected by the anti-tobacco laws,"
Legault said in a statement. "Only with such a deal can we
guarantee the staging of the Canadian Grand Prix next June."
But there is already one F-1 executive who is questioning why
Canada should be allowed to "buy its way back into F-1.
McLaren boss Ron Dennis told Reuters news agency yesterday
that legal problems could result because the Belgium F-1 race
was let back into club only after it reversed its tobacco
legislation. Dennis said Austria has lost its F-1 race for the
same reason. To make room for the Montreal race, the San
Marino Grand Prix will now be staged April 25, once again
opening the European round of the season.
The last days of Chris Pook
article says [Excerpts], With 200,000-plus spectators and CART’s
largest grid this season, Mexico City was alive. Trouble was, the
excitement couldn’t shroud the preliminary proxy statement filed less than
a week before in advance of CART’s proposed sale to Open Wheel Racing
Series LLC. The precipitous financial decline described therein seems more
painful when it is spelled out in black and white. The woe in the proxy
statement might ultimately be blamed on Christopher R. Pook, the CEO given
carte blanche 22 months ago after he was hired by CART’s directors. In
Mexico, with his days as CEO quickly winding down, Pook was the target of
a growing undercurrent of criticism. A few have called Pook’s term a
disaster. What should we make of this revisionist movement?
What the proxy statement says is that CART burned $83 million in cash this
season just to keep operating. At year-end, short of the sale, CART will
have as little as $1.5 million in reserve. The huge drain is taken as a
symbol of Pook’s failure.
In deciding what to make of this, one point should be foremost: While he
couched his plan in corporate-friendly terms, Pook made no bones about his
intent to draw down the cash to carry CART through tough times. Pook
predicted the company would generate a profit in 2005 at the earliest. Yet
last season, with the departure of longtime CART patrons Toyota, Honda and
Fed-Ex (to name a few), it was a two- and possibly a three-year plan. As
it turns out, the series was fortunate to make it through one season with
what was once considered an impressive cash reserve.
The proxy statement cites three wounds leaving CART bleeding money. Two of
them predate Pook’s tenure; the third was probably unavoidable if CART was
to have a 2003 season at all. Television has been a cash drain. Under
previous CEO Joe Heitzler, CART’s TV package took an ugly turn: Where
ABC/ESPN once paid CART to broadcast races, CART now buys time on CBS and
Speed, and pays for production. “Race promotion” was Heitzler’s legacy,
too. Yet, partly to keep dates in important markets and partly because
he’s a race promoter by trade, Pook expanded the number of events where
CART promotes the races rather than taking a sanction fee. The cost of
staging these races has exceeded revenue produced by $8.5 million.
Finally, there is money spent supporting teams. As the 2002 season wound
to a close, a number of teams defected to the IRL. Pook channeled money to
team owners, to the tune of $47 million this season. He finished with a
full grid that met CART’s contractual guarantees to promoters and
“We underestimated the depth of negative momentum,” he says. “Immediately
after I was hired I paid a visit at Toyota [which had already given up on
CART], whom I’d done business with for 26 years [as promoter of Long
Beach]. Their immediate reaction was, ‘You’re at least a year too late. It
can’t be saved.’
“From the business plan to the product, it was clear that this outfit
could not work as a public company, except for those who reaped the
windfall in the IPO,” he says.
Pook was there to take it private again. Remaining shareholders will get
at least a little cash and a big tax write-off. And finally, Pook gave
CART and its next owners one more chance to restore the glory. Maybe
no one should have expected more.
Tire suppliers set for 2004 Grand
American Road Racing Association has announced that Hoosier
will join Goodyear and Dunlop as an official tire supplier to
the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004. Hoosier
will supply tires for the SGS class that currently competes as
Grand Sport I in the Grand-Am Cup Series. Goodyear will remain
the supplier for the Daytona Prototypes class. Dunlop will
continue supplying tires to the GT class that is expanding for
2004 with the inclusion of the GTS class and new GT specs.
***Reader Question***What's the
solution to IRL's flying cars? A reader writes, Dear AR1,
You have come down very hard on the IRL for its high rate of
injuries and all the destroyed machinery. What's the
solution short of shutting down the entire series?
Joe Santiago, Newark, NJ Dear Joe, It's not only the
drivers we are worried about. As we have seen in a
number of IRL crashes, the cars get airborne when wheels
touch. We saw how high Mario Andretti's car got at Indy.
If it wasn't for the catch fencing, which barely caught the
car, who knows when it would have come down. Our fear is
that one of these days two open wheel cars going at over 200
MPH are going to get together at the right angle and launch a
car clear over the fence and into a crowded grandstand.
We have seen wheels and other things kill fans, but when an
entire car clears the fence, we may see hundreds of spectators
killed in one fell swoop. That would be a severe blow to the
sport we all love. The solution, put fenders on the cars
so when the wheels touch it doesn't lead to a big accident in
all cases. Stock cars regularly touch and get away with
it. However, if you put fenders on them, they are no
longer open wheel cars. We suppose one solution is to
shut the series down as you suggest, or perhaps slow the cars
down to a 160 MPH average so when a car launches it hopefully
won't have enough energy to clear the catch fencing and land
in the grandstands. Thankfully no one was sitting in the
grandstands on the back straight at TMS last Sunday, because
pieces of Brack's car could have killed someone. That's
how big of a hole it ripped in the fence. Mark C.
Taste of Indy day kicks off week-long Surfers
The Lexmark Indy 300 may be a
week away but fans have the opportunity to taste the action this Sunday at the
annual Family Day being held in Duracell Pit Lane on the Gold Coast.
As the excitement builds towards Queensland's premier event, the Lexmark Indy 300
Family Day will provide a taste of the adrenaline-charged action for the local
community, Indy fans and families from 11am to 2pm on Sunday (October 19, 2003).
Fans can meet
V8 Supercar drivers David Besnard (Ford Performance Racing) and Paul Weel (Team
Brock), while Champ Car drivers Darren Manning from England and Ryan Hunter-Reay
(pictured right) from the United States will meet their many Gold Coast fans.
In addition to the driver visits, reigning Bartercard Miss Indy Lauren Lillie and
a selection of national finalists for this year will add the glamour to the Family
The international craze of extreme sports will also hit the Lexmark Indy 300
Family Day this Sunday with Metric Productions showcasing Freestyle Motocross and
Adding to the three hours of entertainment will be guided track tours; Time Zone
racing games, a Queensland remote control car display, V8 Supercar Show Cars, the
Lexmark Indy 300 Champ Car, the Holden Monaro official Acer Course Car, a Zorb
display, Main Roads Indy traffic information, VB Wheelchanger competitions, slot
car racing, Holden Performance Driving Centre displays, a mechanical surfboard,
the Dreamworld Rug Rats, Network Ten celebrities and an outside broadcast by Sea
FM's Bench Warmers, Ken and Dan.
The track tours will give fans a 'slow motion' understanding of the track
including the highlights over the 13-year history, the strategies used by drivers
in negotiating the tricky circuit and tips in spectating over the four days of
Indy. The tours will be a gold coin donation to Surf Live Saving Queensland.
Duracell Pit Lane will be transformed into a breathtaking stage incorporating
Metric Productions Freestyle Motocross Landing Truck and the newly completed huge
portable BMX four pack.
The Freestyle Motocross display will see the Metric Productions 'pilots' jump
through the air at distances over 80ft and as high as 50ft. These aerial gymnasts
will fly high pushing themselves to the limit in a show that promises to leave
Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James Ashworth said the Lexmark Indy 300 Family
Day will highlight many features that make Queensland's premier event on the Gold
Coast so popular.
"We are getting close now and the Gold Coast is alight with Indy Fever. The
Lexmark Indy 300 Family Day is a fantastic preview for what is to come next week,"
"There will be drivers, Bartercard Miss Indy girls, show cars, extreme sport
entertainment, kid's activities and interactive competitions, featuring something
The Lexmark Indy 300 Family Day is being held this Sunday October 19 from 11am to
2pm at Duracell Pit Lane on Macintosh Island. Free parking is available at the
Southport Broadwater Carpark, with free shuttle buses traveling to the event from
This year's Lexmark Indy 300 will be held on the streets of Surfers Paradise from
October 23-26, with early ticket sales indicating that the Event is set to attract
a record crowd of more than 300,000.
Tickets for the Lexmark Indy 300 are available from Ticketek on phone 1300 303 103
or www.ticketek.com . For further
information on the Lexmark Indy 300 visit
As costs rise, free engines in the IRL John
Menard told National Speed Sport News he continues to be a strong
supporter of the IRL series and expects to remain a team owner for
seasons to come. "Here I am," Menard said. "We're sixth on the grid
with Vitor Meira and I'm ready to go racing on Sunday. My son got
older and he's in the ARCA series and I've been going to a lot of his
races, which is why I haven't been around here. The IRL has changed
but I think it's improved. The interest is going up and the IRL is a
lot more exciting than it was." As stronger, better funded teams from
CART have moved over to the IRL, teams such as Menard and Hemelgarn
Racing have had trouble keeping up the pace. "It's a tough deal, a
tough thing that some of the guys that started the whole thing have
been unable to compete," Menard said. "But shame on us for not being
able to compete. The rising costs to run in the series have come with
more input from the manufacturers as well. We aren't paying anything
for the engines now and that's pretty good compared to the money I
used to spend on building engines."
What Rusty Wallace thinks about
IRL cars NASCAR
veteran Rusty Wallace was at Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday
to support Team Penske in their quest for the IRL crown, which
they ultimately lost. He was asked if he would ever get
in one of these cars (IRL IndyCars). "I wouldn't get out of an
electric chair to get in one of those things," Wallace said to
National Speed Sport News. We guess he thinks his
chances of survival in the electric chair are better than
driving an IRL car. We don't now if we should laugh or
cry over that one. After looking at yet another year of
devastation to drivers and cars in the IRL, he might be right.
Never in all our years of following motorsports (since 1965)
have we seen so many cars destroyed and drivers injured than
we have seen in the IRL since it was formed in 1996.
While other journalists may sugarcoat the situation, morally
we can't. Those who came up with this concept of 100%
throttle, wheel-to-wheel racing, on high-speed high-banked
tracks, without fenders, must someday be held accountable for
all the injuries that have befallen the drivers and cars that
have been destroyed, but until such time as the drivers say
enough is enough, and boycott, the destruction will go on.
They have a choice, and so far their decision has been to take
the risk; it's what they get paid to do. And the team
owners who left CART to go to the IRL because of all the money
that was waved in front of them are just as much to blame for
putting their drivers in such a dangerous situation. No
one forced them to do it. But when their drivers are
rushed to the hospital with severe injuries, and yet another
of their cars are destroyed in a violent wreck, don't expect
any sympathy from us. We wonder if watching Brack's
accident on Sunday will change the minds of some. Our
prayers go out to all the drivers, we fear for their safety.
ISC willing to build smaller track According
to National Speed Sport News, International Speedway Corp. continues
to search for appropriate track-building space in the Pacific
Northwest and in greater New York City. ISC’s Lee Combs recently
visited the Seattle area on an inspection tour. Reports—now that ISC
has reduced its property requirement from 1,000 acres to 500 acres —
indicate three northwestern sites are under consideration. One is in
sleepy Darrington, a rural Snohomish County hamlet, population 1,300,
not far from Seattle. The surprise facet of these searches — both in
Washington State and metro New York — is that the customary 1.5-mile
track is no longer a necessity as a smaller size track will now
suffice, says ISC’s David Talley. ISC has been exploring New Jersey’s
Meadowlands as a possible track site for three years. Latest reports,
however, indicate interest in that site is waning.
Scenes from Petit LeMans Wednesday
in dirt -- The #12 American Spirit Racing R&S MkIII-Lincoln Prototype driven
had an off-track excursion during Wednesday's American Le Mans Series test session
at Road Atlanta for Saturday's Petit Le Mans.
-- BMW Team PTG is returning to American Le Mans Series competition in the Petit
Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Hans Stuck, Boris Said and Bill Auberlen will be driving
the BMW M3 in the GT class, seeking to repeat their Petit Le Mans victory from
2 -- Andy Wallace set the fastest time of the day Wednesday as American Le
Mans Series cars tested at Road Atlanta for Saturday's Petit Le Mans. Wallace
drove the #16 Dyson Racing Lola-MG.
Battle -- A group of GT cars dices during Wednesday's American Le Mans Series
test session at Road Atlanta for Saturday's Petit Le Mans.
slide by the #1 Audi driven by Marco Werner at Road Atlanta during Wednesday's
American Le Mans Series test session for Saturday's Petit Le Mans sports car race.
The slide was the second incident of the day involving the car, which was damaged
earlier when the car's other driver, Frank Biela, went off-course. (Please credit
ALMS/Dan Boyd) .
Who should be CART's next President? 3rd
UPDATE The opinions keep rolling in. At some point this item
will become too large for the Hot News page. 10/15/03 - We have
added some additional comments, marked as
10/14/04 - With Chris Pook reported to be stepping down when Open Wheel Racing
Series LLC takes ownership, Mark Cipolloni
asked the question who should be CART's next President in this article today. He
suggested Peter Ueberroth but asked for readers opinions. Here are some of
the responses received so far:
Note: This is the 2nd letter from Mr. Skinner on this topic] Mark you had
better give Peter a call. I wonder if he and Pook know each other. The
84 Olympics was not limited to LA. Another part of the success generated by
Peter was the wide range of locations. As I recall, there were several events
in Long Beach. If we can say “Other than his many successes” the key to Peter
is that he would come in with a “press” audience – adding tremendous
credibility to the series – worldwide. Mario is much better reserved as a
“promoter-PR-fixit-man”. Paul Newman loves the sport, but heading up the
series is not his bag. He could do more to promote the series – but maybe
(i.e. McDonald’s, Gentilozzi) already is doing a whole lot. Which leads me to
wonder why Letterman hasn’t done more – but maybe CBS wouldn’t have been
available without some Letterman behind the scenes help. Sometimes we just
don’t see what “quiet” people do. And one last guy – Tommy Kendall – has shown
he has some good business and racing smarts – not for president – buy maybe
some position in setting direction. He is much more than simply an outspoken
TV commentator! Congratulations on starting this thought provoking topic.
Jeff Skinner, Northridge, CA .
nominate Jon Vannini for the position of next CART President. J.N.
Anderson, Chicago, Illinois
great. It is wholly unimportant that CART’s new president be
“knowledgeable about racing.” The ownership is knowledgeable about racing,
so that base is covered. CART’s new president needs only a few qualities:
1) He (or she) must be well-known to the public. 2) He must be skilled in
the art and science of making things happen. 3) He must be passionate. And
4) He must be relentless. The importance of qualities 2-4 is obvious, but
many may ask “what does being well-known have to do w/ anything?” CART
needs, more than anything, e-x-p-o-s-u-r-e. CART needs a leader who
generates his own press resulting from his accomplishments, regardless of
the arena. Precious few New Yorkers know who Bill France is, even fewer
have ever heard of Tony George (hate to burst your bubble, Tony). I think
Mario Andretti would make a great president for CART, (he would likely
rather have a root-canal ‘sans’ anesthesia, and who could blame him) but
not because of his racing background. Mario is passionate, relentless, and
smart (no doubt one reason he and Paul Newman are so close). The ‘what’ of
turning CART around is obvious and has been discussed ad infinitum on this
and other forums. We just need somebody with the will and passion to DO
IT! Get somebody well-known, relentless, and smart. Educate them about the
series and its history, and they’ll become passionate. Mission
accomplished. (bye Bill; bye Bernie; bye Tony… buh-bye… I said buh-bye!
Christopher Jennings, Nashville, TN
Peter Ueberroth. Very good choice. Are you the
only one who has thought of this? Has anyone thought of talking to him about it or
is it more of a pipe dream? I always thought Mario Andretti would make a good
President. Maybe Paul Newman. Someone with a good name and knows about the series.
I really thought your article about CART hitting a grand slam was great. I do
believe that Mexico, Canada and good USA races are key. How long before Tony, Roger, and Chip finally realize that the fans aren't buying this Nascarization of
Indy cars? Keep up the great work. Doug Ferguson, Florida
Mario Andretti Isn’t he The American Driver of the
Century? Isn’t he the only man who is able to rejoin the sides of the war? Isn’t
he the only man who T.G. respects in CART? We need just one series and he’s the
man! Octávio Augusto Burgos, Colombo, Brazil
I agree with the crux of your opinion, as it would be
ideal for someone of the caliber of Ueberroth to take the helm at CART. The only
other CEO that comes to mind to head CART, might be Steve Case of AOL fame. Case
has at least two other high profile ventures under his belt besides AOL, that were
non Internet related and very successful. David Smith, Louisville, KY
How about Mr. Alan Rothenberg? He was the president of
U.S.A. World Cup '94. A very successful event in the good old U.S.A. The largest
crowds in all world cups up to date in a country where most people don't follow
"The Beautiful Game". I believe the "World Cup" is bigger than the Olympics but
the point here is the credentials of Mr. Rothenberg. Jorge Custodio, Fontana,
Brilliant! Ueberroth would be the perfect guy,
Keith Hylton, Brentwood, CA
Are you kidding? Peter Ueberroth? What does he know
about racing? NOTHING. CART already went down that road with Joe Schmo and others.
Besides what makes you think he is interested? Anthony Nastasi, Wellington, FL
Peter! Peter! Peter Ueberroth! 100% agree!
Peter could be the man for the job. AND when he dropped out of the Governor’s race
he did NOT endorse Arnold! And McDonald’s would love the guy. Great
article. Interesting thoughts about potential “rumbles in the jungles” like Ali
and whoever back in the 60’s. Everyone wants to be on the map. Every country has
some people who can buy the good seats. And all countries have people who can buy
the GA’s. Jeff Skinner, Northridge, CA
After reading some of the names mentioned, here is my
take: 1. Paul Newman would be great, but I would hate to see his love for this
series spoiled by the constant politics! Besides, let him continue to be the model
team owner, businessman, actor and occasional auto racer! 2. Mario Andretti would
be fabulous, but only if his wisdom is seriously listened to by everyone that
thinks they know better! He is a great statesman for this sport and a great
businessman as well. 3. Dan Gurney would also be fantastic and has the same
passion, wisdom and experience as Mario. He is also a great businessman, race car
constructor, and industrial innovator! Thanks! David Siller, Sunnyvale, CA
Who should be the next President of CART? A complex
question for the ages. One fraught with many pitfalls. Mr. Ueberroth is no doubt
qualified but shouldn’t the President of CART be a car guy to SOME degree? I don’t
see Peter being a “car guy.” Do we know what Peter drives (a Volvo probably)? I
could offer a long list of who the President of CART should NOT be (insert the
name of any team owner except Rahal). While I doubt he would serve if asked I
would like to see Joe Heitzler’s name on CART/OWRS’s short list. He is, after all,
the architect of the tremendously successful Mexico events (Look out Tony! We’re comin’ to get ya!). But more to the point, Joe Heitzler was dealt a massively raw
deal by the CART owner cabal. He was positioned to be the fall guy for the MANY
bad decisions made by the owners (interesting how all but one of those owners
bolted to the IRL) from the get-go. His reputation was besmirched and tarnished.
He was set-up to fail by the owners from the day he was hired and deserves, at the
very least, to have his good name rehabilitated by nomination for the position if
not a comprehensive “set the record straight” interview with the leader in
motorsports coverage, AutoRacing1.Com. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois
I like the Ueberroth
suggestion just for its "think outside the box" mentality, but I still believe you
need a racer at the helm...someone who feels a passion for the sport in his/her
bones. As a real dark horse: I'd see what Stefan Johansson thinks about
moving out of car ownership and into running the entire series. He's a businessman
with vast racing experience - global experience to boot. Also - while he'd never
do it, the one person with [a] multi-series racing experience as an
ultra-successful owner, [b] ego to believe that he could do it, and [c] the
demonstrated acumen to run a large business? Chip Ganassi. Daniel
Love the website!
Re: Ueberroth - I think some current/former baseball owners may have a differing
opinion of Ubie's talents - he put the owners on the hook for a monstrous
collusion settlement - and ensured that salaries would continue to skyrocket in
baseball. I often hear people talk about the baseball owners' with regard to why
they pay huge salaries and say "why do they do it - nobody put a gun to their head
and made them pay a .200 hitting second baseman $4 million/year". In reality, the
collusion settlement is a bazooka pointed at the owners heads and Ubie put it
squarely in the players' hands! Ubie has a decent track record, but like most all
of us, it's not without its blemishes - and this blemish is a rather large one!
[Editor's Note: Not from the players perspective!] Greg Kendall - St.
I noticed there
was some input for a new recommendation for a new president of CART. Personally
I think Mr.
Pook has done a great job, however if he is prepared to leave I would like to
nominate the following people, if they might be interested. Steve Horne-
Former champ team owner and very knowledgeable, with assistance from André Ribeiro,
( trust me these guys were good together) and his accolades date back to Trueman,
Rahal, Pruett days, very astute businessmen) just ask Scott. Al
Arciero - the son of Frank and a team owner and franchise holder in CART, who
in previous years has experience unparalleled in this series. Ralph Sanchez
- Just look at his track record, the man is a visionary and competent (not
sure how that would equate to his Ganassi involvement) but knows his open and
closed wheel programs well. Bernard Jourdain- In this family they know
racing, and are still involved and have never strayed from the principals of CART,
he would need assistance and I hope that former driver/entrepreneur Mr. Stuart
Crowe would lend a hand. Although there are many others who would be qualified to
run a company, I think CART needs a former breed of ownership/team involvement or
driver businessman with assistance to put this "NEW ERA OF RACING" back in the
limelight. Bobby Brooks, American IndyCar Series
10/15/03 Industry News
Intel sales boom in China
Robust demand from mainland China
has helped drive Intel Corp's third-quarter Asia-Pacific sales past the US$3
billion mark for the first time.
"Consumption has increased across the board for all our product lines," Mr Antone
said, Intel vice-president and general manager of Asia-Pacific operations. "This
was because of the rise in design and manufacturing activities in China and across
the region. "China and other emerging economies in Asia have shown steady growth
over the last three years, while other markets have slowed down."
He said demand for Intel microprocessors - used to run personal computers - was
higher in Asia by several basis points, compared with a worldwide average
estimated by Intel to be "from the low to mid-80 per cent range". Mr Antone said
the mainland was already the world's No 2 market for personal computers, behind
the United States. He expected mainland demand to surpass the US by the end of
Gartner Hong Kong analyst Dorothy Lai said the results in Asia justified Intel's
continued infrastructure investments in China. Intel recently announced plans for
a US$375 million chip assembly and test plant to be built in Chengdu, in Sichuan
province, by 2005. It already has a plant in Shanghai. Gartner estimates show that
Intel's total mainland sales last year reached US$3.19 billion, up from $2.33
billion in 2001.
Question about Dario A
reader writes, Dear AR1, Just a question about the future of
Dario...Could it be possible that Dario may race next year for
Andretti Green and also in CART? Could Michael have Mario be the
captain of a satellite Andretti Green team in CART with Dario at the
wheel? This would 1.) make Michael and Mario a father-son team with
both sides covered 2.) keep Dario and keep him happy 3.) start to mend
fences that Michael tore down when he left CART 4.) use the Newman
Haas team as their partners in racing, keeping that relation close.
Don't know if this would happen but it does look good on paper...what
do you think? Thanks, great site, Dennis Barbour Dear
Dennis. That will never happen. Michael Andretti was very
vocal about the drivers never getting any of the stock when CART went
public. That left a very bad taste in his mouth and we don't
think he ever got over that, feeling the drivers got screwed by the
team owners. Based on that, and based on his full endorsement of
the IRL, we doubt he has any desire whatsoever to participate in CART.
Fernández rejects Honda's efforts for them to leave
National Speed Sport News reports
that Adrian Fernández revealed at Mexico City it is unlikely that his Fernandez
Racing operation will make a full-scale switch to the Indy Racing League in 2004.
The 40-year old Mexican star, who is CART's only owner-driver, campaigns an IRL
effort with Honda support for rookie Roger Yasukawa and Honda has reportedly made
an effort to entice Fernandez to shut down his CART team to concentrate fully on
the IRL [Editor's note: our Honda sources say this is not true]. Instead,
Fernández will likely expand their CART effort to two cars. Based on recent
comments in the media by folks in the IRL paddock, many are desperate to break
into the Mexican and Canadian markets and it's likely that they think if they can
steal CART's Mexican drivers away, they can then go and race in Mexico with great
success. Ditto for the Canadian market with Canadian drivers. The fact
that CART is still alive certainly was not in their business plan.
New 604 HP
turbo Mercedes set to debut
The proliferation of turbochargers and superchargers on passenger
cars and on trucks continues. The mighty 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V12 produces
a whopping 604 hp, giving the Mercedes CL65 supercar performance. The engine
is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission, with an automanual system
Mercedes calls Speedshift. It includes steering wheel mounted shift buttons.
Clutch pack discs and driveshafts have been beefed up to handle the increased
power and torque, but believe it or not, the engine is detuned. The 6.0-liter is
capable of an astonishing 700 hp and 885 lb-ft of torque, but AMG engineers
figure the five-speed auto would scatter itself like a grenade if all that oomph
went through it. Mercedes recently showed a seven-speed automatic under
development that is designed to handle these kinds of power and torque levels.
Try doing that with a 6.0 liter normally aspirated passenger car engine. Imagine if CART's next engine was a 1.5 L V10 turbo.
Why a V10 instead of a V8? Because 1) the V10 has been made popular by F1,
2) you can turn it at higher RPM and get the same longevity because the
reciprocating mass of each piston, rod, etc is lower, 3) It will give CART a more
exotic image and clearly differentiate it from the dumbed-down NASCARization of
motorsports in the USA, be it NASCAR, the IRL or the Grand-Am. CART needs to
clearly differentiate itself and get back to the image of America's version of F1,
even if costs are far lower by tightening up the rules. Does it have to be a
turbo? No. But turbos and superchargers are proliferating on passenger cars
and will be on an increasingly number of cars over time.
Brack recovery update
Severely injured IRL IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack continues to
improve at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas from injuries suffered
in the Chevy 500, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services
for the Indy Racing League. Brack, the 1999 Indianapolis
500 winner and 1998 IndyCar Series champion, remains in serious but
stable condition, Bock said.
Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum, fractured
lumbar vertebrae and fractures to both ankles in an accident on Lap
188 of the Chevy 500 on Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, the final
race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season. He underwent
successful surgery on his right femur and both ankles Oct. 12, and
successful surgery on his back Oct. 13. Anita Brack, Kenny’s wife, met
with the media Oct. 15 in Dallas.
“We are having good news every day,” Anita Brack said. “That’s been
very uplifting for myself, Kenny’s friends and family, and our Team
Rahal crew. Sure, it has been tough for us after seeing Kenny in
such an amazing crash. When I was able to talk to him at the track
care center, that was a big relief. He was joking with us at the
hospital and talked to Michael (Andretti), Bryan (Herta), Dario
(Franchitti) and Bobby (Rahal) before going into surgery Sunday night.
I was more relieved then. I don't know if he will race again.
That is up to Kenny. If he wants to race, I will be behind him. I love
racing too. My instinct says he will want to race. But we know he has
a long recovery period ahead. All of the C.T. scans show everything is
good including his head. So I think he will be the same Kenny when he
is well again. That's all I want right now."
Team owner Bobby Rahal echoed Anita Brack’s statements. “The
doctors are very optimistic,” Rahal said. “We are thankful for the
great efforts of the doctors in the surgeries and the IRL safety crew
at the track. Thank goodness the Dallara chassis was so strong in that
kind of crash. “It has been so heartwarming for Anita and
all of Team Rahal to receive so many calls of concern and for best
wishes on Kenny’s condition. We thank everyone for their support.”
Persons wishing to send a get-well message to Brack can do so at
www.rahal.com or by sending cards
or letters to:
4601 Lyman Drive
Hilliard, OH 43026
Further updates on Brack’s condition will be provided when available.
Scheckter tests for Panther at
Milwaukee Just three days
after Scott Dixon won the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series championship, the
quest for the 2004 title began with Tomas Scheckter and Panther Racing
testing Oct. 15 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
Panther Racing announced Oct. 11 that Scheckter would replace two-time
IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who now drives for Marlboro
The team wasted little time getting ready for 2004, testing at “The
Mile,” which will play host to an IndyCar Series event for the first
time July 25, 2004. The testing conditions were sunny and windy, with
a high temperature of only 52 degrees.
“Milwaukee is new to the IRL schedule in 2004, and we know that it is
important to test here quickly before the weather has something to say
about testing,” Scheckter said. “Today was still a bit cool, and we
quit early because the winds were so strong, but it was a great chance
for me to start communicating with Andy Brown (engineer), Simon Morley
(chief mechanic) and all the Pennzoil Panther guys. This is a great
organization, and I really appreciate how they have made me feel so
John Barnes, co-owner of Panther Racing, was impressed with
Scheckter’s first test with the team.
“Obviously we have known that Tomas is a very fast race car driver,”
Barnes said. “Now we know how good he is with technical feedback, and
we have an opportunity to start building a communication relationship
that will be the foundation to success in 2004.
“Tomas’ knowledge of the car and the IRL formula should allow us to
take the very strong race platform we have developed with this car
over the last year and take it to the next level. I am very
The test marked the first time in more than a year that Scheckter had
driven a Dallara chassis or a car equipped with a Chevrolet engine. In
2003, he drove a Panoz G Force/Toyota combination for Target Chip
“I really enjoy racing in the IRL, and I am really looking forward to
2004 with Pennzoil Panther Racing,” Scheckter said. “I was pleased
with the Chevrolet power today, and the transition to the Dallara
chassis has been pretty smooth. We will come back out here tomorrow
for a bit more work and then head back to Indianapolis to begin
preparing for our next test later this month.”
Final Lowe's ratings down The
move to prime time didn't yield stronger results for Winston Cup
racing from Lowe's Motor Speedway. Saturday night's final numbers
yielded a 4.3 rating and 8 share, according to Nielsen Media Research.
This is down 14% from last year's 5.0 rating. NASCAR faced tough
competition from the Cubs-Marlins game, which had a 7.3 rating and 14
share. The race finished ranked #69 in the ratings last week, drawing
7.5 million viewers.
Opening Petit LeMans practice times
speeds, showing drivers, type car (class) and lap time (Partial List):
1. Andy Wallace, Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver; Lola EX257-MG (P675),
2. JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert; Audi R8 (P900), 1:12.520.
3. Olivier Beretta, David Saelens and Max Papis; Panoz LMP01 (P900),
4. Frank Biela and Marco Werner; Audi R8 (P900), 1:13.218.
5. Chris Dyson, Didier de Radigues and Chad Block; Lola EX257-MG (P675),
6. Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Larry Connor; Lola EX257-Judd (P675),
7. Clint Field, Michael Durand and Larry Oberto; R&S MkIIIC-Elan (P900),
8. Michael Lewis, Tomy Drissi and Melanie Paterson; R&S MkIIIC-Lincoln
9. Jan Magnussen, David Brabham and Anthony Davidson; Ferrari 550
Maranello (GTS), 1:19.820.
10. Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim; Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
11. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Franck Freon; Chevrolet Corvette
C5-R (GTS), 1:20.010.
12. Peter Kox, Tomas Enge and Alain Menu; Ferrari 550 Maranello (GTS),
Big names to race in Brazilian karting
Below are some of the
race stars who will be in São Paulo in November to contest The Granja
Viana 500 miles Kart Race: F1: Rubens Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya, Felipe Massa, Luciano
Burti, Antonio Pizzonia IRL: Felipe Giaffone, Tony Kanaan CART: Jimmy Vasser, Oriol Servia, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario
Haberfeld. Marco Andretti NASCAR: Christian Fittipaldi BTCC: Alexandro Zanardi
The list is still growing!
CART attendance surpasses 2 million again
Mexican open-wheel racing
fans are among the most passionate on the planet and it appears that very
few of them missed their chance to see the cars and stars of the
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford when the
series invaded Mexico City last weekend. The Mexican fans set a new
all-time Champ Car attendance record last season when 351,972 of them
visited the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the 2002 event, but this
year's crowd for the Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa eclipsed
last year's record by more than 50,000. The three-day attendance for the
CART Champ Car weekend was a staggering 402,413, with a massive crowd of
221,011 streaming through the gates on race day. Both figures set new
series records and the three-day attendance mark is the largest for a
road-racing event run in North America in 2003. The figure pushed the
season-long attendance figure to 2,091,287, which marks the 11th
consecutive season in which CART Champ Car has drawn over two million
fans. With two races yet to run, the series is on track to surpass 2.4
million fans for the sixth consecutive season. "We knew that interest
would be piqued by the fact that six Mexican drivers were competing in the
race," said series President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "But the fans
responded even more enthusiastically than anyone could have expected and
our drivers and teams gave them a great race to watch. The fact that we
have drawn more than two million fans again this year shows our sponsors,
promoters and teams that Champ Car racing continues to have great value."
Darlington to get lights
The most tangible sign of lights coming to Darlington Raceway
is the removal of the roof of the Brasington Grandstand, the
second-oldest covered grandstand in Winston Cup racing behind
one at Indianapolis. The roof was removed last week, and a
crane has been brought in to take down the roof support. Musco
Lighting, the Iowa company doing the work, had to remove the
roof to ensure even lighting of the track. "The roof is so
close to the racetrack that Musco cannot get light on the
track from the outside," said track superintendent Sammie
Yarborough, cousin to three-time Winston Cup champion Cale.
"You've got to have light balanced from both sides. They tried
everything they could figure and couldn't do it, so we didn't
have any choice." The track will eventually be ringed by 74
light poles, including 47 exterior poles ranging from 90 to
120 feet high, and 27 more that will rise 30 to 40 feet above
the grandstands. Running along the inside of the track will be
212 reflectors that will direct light onto the racing surface.
It's the same setup Musco has used to light a number of other
Winston Cup venues, including those in Daytona Beach and
Charlotte. On Oct. 27, 22 tractor-trailers will deliver the
light poles, which will assembled on the ground. Cranes will
then lift them into the foundations, where the tapered poles
will lock into place. Although the sponsorship agreements
announced Tuesday extend into 2006 and 2008, there's no
guarantee Darlington will have a spring race beyond next
season. Gurtis said the realignment issue did come up during
Charleston Post and Courier
18-race final 2004 f1 schedule,
The Canadian Grand Prix has been reinstated on the 2004
Formula One calendar at a meeting of the governing body's
World Motor Sport Council. The governing International
Automobile Federation (FIA) issued a revised calendar on
Wednesday with Montreal included as an additional 18th race,
to be held on June 13th before the U.S. Grand Prix at
Indianapolis on June 20. The date is provisional, subject to a
satisfactory financial agreement with competing teams for
running without tobacco sponsorship.
March 7, Grand Prix of Australia
March 21, Grand Prix of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
April 4 **, Grand Prix of Bahrain (Bahrain)
April 25, Grand Prix of San Marino (Imola)
May 9, Grand Prix of Spain (Barcelona)
May 23, Grand Prix of Monaco (Monaco)
May 30, Grand Prix of Europe (Nurburgring)
June 13***, Grand Prix of Canada (Montreal)
June 20, Grand Prix of USA (Indianapolis)
July 4, Grand Prix of Great Britain (Silverstone)
July 11 *, Grand Prix of France (Magny-Cours)
July 25, Grand Prix of Germany (Hockenheim)
August 15, Grand Prix of Hungary (Budapest)
August 29, Grand Prix of Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
September 12, Grand Prix of Italy (Monza)
September 26 **, Grand Prix of China (Shanghai)
October 10, Grand Prix of Japan (Suzuka)
October 24, Grand Prix of Brazil (Sao Paulo) *, **, ***
= provisional until all requirements met
The new timetable will be as
Free practice – 11:00-12:00
Free practice – 2:00-3:00 Saturday
Free practice – 10:00-10:45
Free practice – 11:15-12:00
Qualifying – 2:00 Sunday
Race – 2:00 (or at other times according to relevant schedule)
Taco to sponsor CART Fontana race
The November 1-2, 2003, race
events at California Speedway will be sponsored by King Taco. The CART
Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event and
the NASCAR Winston West Series event will be named the King Taco 500 and
King Taco 200, respectively.
California Speedway President Bill Miller and King Taco Restaurants, Inc.
Vice-President Luis Martinez made the announcement today.
Today's agreement with the speedway continues a four-year relationship
between the restaurant and California Speedway. Since 2000, King Taco has
been the official Mexican restaurant of the speedway, which has included
King Taco's permanent location in the infield between turns 3 and 4. King
Taco has been involved in and a proud supporter of motorsports for more
than 10 years.
Founded in 1974 by the Martinez family, King Taco began its operations
from a converted ice cream truck. The Mexican restaurant has since
expanded to more than 19 locations throughout Los Angeles County. King
Taco has been repeatedly placed within the top 100 of Hispanic Business
Magazine's "Top 500 Hispanic Businesses."
Cathy Freeman named Surfers Grand Marshal
Olympic gold medalist and former Australian of the Year,
Cathy Freeman, has been named Grand Marshal of this year's Lexmark Indy
300 to be held on Queensland's Gold Coast from October 23 to 26.
The recently retired athletics champion will return home to Queensland for
the state's premier event to carry out the duties of the Grand Marshal on
Sunday October 26 including leading the Corvette Driver's Parade Lap with
Premier Peter Beattie.
Freeman adds to a diverse list that have been past Lexmark Indy 300 Grand
Marshals including rugby great John Eales, five-time 500cc world champion
Mick Doohan, Olympic 1500m swimming gold medallist Grant Hackett and
three-time F1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham.
Last year the Mann family of Chinchilla in Central Queensland was selected
as Grand Marshals as a tribute to the 'Year of the Outback' and to bring
more attention to the plight of Australia's farmers during the drought.
Earlier this year Freeman announced her retirement from competitive
athletics after an illustrious career at the elite level which began with
Commonwealth Games gold in 1990 and concluded 13 years later with her 13th
national senior title after winning the 400m at the Australian
Career highlights have included:
- Commonwealth Games gold medal 1990 - 4x100m; 1994 - 200m, 400m; 2002 -
- Olympic Games gold medal 2000 - 400m; silver medal 1996 - 400m
- World Championships gold medal 1997 - 400m, 1999 - 400m; bronze medal
1995 - 4x400m
- 13-time Australian Champion (across 400m, 200m, 100m, 100 yards)
"I am really looking forward to attending this year's Lexmark Indy 300 as
the Grand Marshal especially as it is Queensland's largest sporting event
and such a significant tourism driver for the state," said Freeman.
"Queensland is my home state and I have so many fond memories of my
childhood and schooling years in this part of the country. It is important
to me that I support the state where it all began for me, and this is one
small way of giving something back.
"Plus it is such a fun event and speed has been a passion of mine for some
time. I can't wait to see the Champ Cars and V8 Supercars reach incredible
speed around the Surfers Paradise circuit on the Sunday."
Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James Ashworth paid tribute to Freeman as
a great ambassador for Australian sport and to the state of Queensland.
"There will never be another Cathy Freeman and we are incredibly grateful
to Cathy for accepting the invitation to be Grand Marshal of this year's
Lexmark Indy 300," said Ashworth.
"Cathy has had such a tremendous impact on all Australians both on and off
the athletics track, and being named Grand Marshal is an opportunity for
Queensland to acknowledge her contribution." Lexmark 300 PR
Toyota signs Gascoyne
Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne has joined Toyota,
the two Formula One teams announced on Wednesday.
Toyota said in their statement that a mutual agreement had
been reached with Renault and Gascoyne to allow the Englishman
to start work with Toyota as chassis technical director from
"Mike Gascoyne will be in charge of the technical aspects of
the chassis at the factory in Cologne and also at races and
tests," said Toyota Motorsport vice-president Toshiro Kurusu
in a statement.
"Luca Marmorini will assume the position of Technical Director
Engine. I am sure that Mike will work very well together with
our chief designer Gustav Brunner as a team."
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Mike Gascoyne had left
Renault for Toyota, and Flavio Briatore has moved quickly to
fill the gap. Bob Bell is considered the natural
successor to Gascoyne having been the Rottweiler’s deputy
"We thank Mike for his excellent work, his contribution to our
success so far and wish him well for the future," Briatore
said. “We are delighted to offer Bob Bell the role of
"The entire technical team has done an outstanding job
developing our car over the past two years, and we have made
impressive progress. Our program has been built up carefully,
putting the right people in place, and I have every confidence
that Bob's technical experience and managerial skills will be
a major asset for the future."
10/15/03 Industry News
Jaguar smashes sales records
Jaguar is celebrating its highest-ever sales total in a month
with 15,613 cars sold worldwide in the course of September.
This is the best result in the 83-year history of Jaguar.
Sales were particularly strong in Jaguar's market target in
the United States where September sales reached 4,222, up 40%
from last year. It was the 14th consecutive month of record
sales for Jaguar with the S-Type and X-Type both doing well
and the dealers keen to get their hands on the new XJ which
was unveiled recently in Paris. Although Jaguar sales in
Europe remain weak they are still up 19% although Jaguar's
third largest market, Italy, has accounted for sales of only
4,612 cars so far this year. The company biggest gains are in
Asia where sales in Japan jumped 77% to 3,823 and in Australia
where sales jumped 125% (although this amounted to only 291
cars). The F1 program is thought to still be needed.
Chris Amon thinks Dixon is F1 material
Chris Amon believes New Zealand driver Scott Dixon possesses all the
qualities required to be a success on the Formula One circuit.
Dixon's career reached a new high Sunday when he won the Indy
Racing League series in his rookie season on the major oval-track
competition in the United States after finishing second behind Gil de
Ferran in a dramatic Chevy 500 at Fort Worth, Texas.
The championship win took twenty-three-year-old Dixon a step closer to
his ambition of making a career in Formula One, something Amon
believes is within his grasp.
Dixon had won two other series titles since he started racing in the
United States five years ago - the Indy Light series in 2000 and
Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) rookie of the year in 2001.
"He has the talent to be extremely successful in Formula One," said
Amon, the last New Zealander to compete regularly on the Formula One
circuit in a 13-year career that ended in 1976.
Amon ranks Dixon's accomplishment as the biggest achievement by a New
Zealander in single-seater motor-racing since the late Denny Hulme won
the Formula One world championship crown 36 years ago.
The fact Dixon secured the IRL title powered by a Toyota engine could
have spin-offs, according to Amon. "Toyota will be very aware of him.
In 2005 they'll probably be looking to change at least one of their
Formula One drivers so that's a possible opening."
New Zealand Herald
10/15/03 Industry News
Dell aims to triple sales in China
[Editor's Note: Bernie Ecclestone is a very smart businessman and sees
the value in going to China with F1. The Dallara Nissan World
Series will be racing in China in a big way in 2004 and beyond.
Unfortunately CART has been unable to land a race deal in China and
will someday live to regret that. The timing is perfect because
people in China who never owned a car before are now buying them in
record numbers. Automobile manufacturers are all ramping up
their production of cars in China, and even American companies like
Dell are selling a lot of product in China. CART simply doesn't
have a marketing manager who understands the global economy. In
fact, right now they have no marketing manager, with COO David Clare
picking up the duties. CART has decided to retreat to North
America and focus on that market. Unfortunately for them, NASCAR
has so monopolized the USA market it's almost impossible for any other
racing series to thrive.] Made-to-order computer giant Dell aims
to triple sales in China to US$6 billion within the next several
years, state press reported on Tuesday. "Given the local market
size, we are aiming to increase our annual sales in China to US$6
billion over the next few years," the China Business Weekly quoted
Dell president Kevin Rollins as saying.
US-based Dell earned US$2.1 billion in revenues last year in China,
accounting for 6 per cent of the company's global sales.
With US$35 billion in global sales in fiscal 2003, the world's top PC
maker aimed to nearly double that in the coming years and was relying
on the tremendous growth potential in China to achieve the target, Mr.
"China's booming economy is intensifying our confidence [in
attaining this goal]," he said. "As our fourth-largest market,
China is, and will continue to be, instructive to Dell's global
Currently Dell controls a 7.8 per cent share of China's PC market,
which compares with less than 1 per cent five years ago, and it
continued to provide for major growth opportunities, according to Mr.
Rollins. Yet despite Dell's aggressive price strategy, Chinese
computer maker Lonovo, formally know as Legend, holds the upper hand,
producing one third of China's computers.
Brack wreck video A reader
writes, Dear AR1, In case you want to post it on your site, here's a
link to a video of the Brack wreck.
http://www.geardownlock.com/FR/Brack.mpg It has
several different angles, but no sound. From the head-on view, it
appears that Brack moved down to the inside of the track onto
Scheckter. Anyway, thank God he's alive and will apparently recover.
CART definitely did the right thing in canceling their race, in spite
of the major black eye that they took for it. Of course, the 'righter'
thing would have been to do more testing beforehand, and not even sign
the contract to race there. Alan Saliwanchik
wins CART Rookie of Year Award
Sebastien Bourdais came to the
CART Champ Car World Series with impressive credentials, having won the FIA
International F3000 championship in 2002, served notice from the first day of the
2003 season that he would be the man to beat in one of the biggest rookie fields
in series history.
Bourdais scored the pole for his first two Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car
World Series Powered by Ford races and became the first driver to ever lead the
opening lap of his Champ Car career by pacing the opener at St. Petersburg. His
qualifying went better than his race days in those first three races but he soon
corrected that problem, taking wins in Brands Hatch and at EuroSpeedway Lausitz as
well as a victory from the pole in Cleveland.
The Newman/Haas pilot went on a tear after the Cleveland race, using the North
Coast win to spark a run of five consecutive top-five finishes - a series record
for rookies - that would give him command of the series Rookie-of-the-Year
standings. He then took a runner-up finish in Denver to close on the title and
cemented the honor with a second-place run in Mexico City, becoming the first
French driver to win the CART Champ Car Rookie-of-the-Year crown.
"Earning the Rookie-of-the-Year title was the main target of the year," Bourdais
said. "I think it is very good, obviously, to get it two races before the end.
Obviously we knew that we were in pretty good shape. We had a big advantage over
Darren (Manning) and were looking very strong here in Mexico. We got very
important points and these next two races are going to be very difficult and I
just hope to be up there."
Bourdais became the first rookie since Juan Montoya in 1999 to win multiple races
in his first year in the series, and has also strung together an all-time rookie
record by qualifying in the top six for the last 11 races. He has earned three
wins and four poles and has amassed seven podium finishes in the year's 17 races,
all of which are the best by a Champ Car rookie since 1999.
Bruno Junqueira and Paul Tracy Teleconference
Today on a special CART media teleconference were the two title
contenders for the 2003 Vanderbilt Cup, as we come to the end of the Bridgestone
Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. There are two races to go -- the
Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia which comes up in two weeks
followed by the King Taco 500 at California Speedway. And then CART will have
crowned a champion, and it very well could be points leader Paul Tracy and 2nd
place contender Bruno Junqueira.
Brack wreck was a long time
article says exactly what we have been saying for two
years now - The fact Brack's car climbed the wheel of
another's at 220 mph, catapulted into the fence and
disintegrated was simply long overdue. Because every time the
IRL competes at Texas it elicits the same two emotions from
everyone watching: Titillation and trepidation.
It's riveting to watch in person or on television. But it's
also plenty scary -- at least for the drivers and anyone who
understands the dynamics. "It's (bad) for the drivers but
great for the fans," said Scott Dixon after capturing the 2003
IRL title with a second place finish. Dixon is a smart young
man who realizes that running wide open in such close
proximity for two hours is a recipe for disaster. "It's like
Russian Roulette," said one veteran following Sunday's show.
"Sooner or later your time is coming."
It's amazing the IRL has never had a 20-car pileup, especially
at Texas, with all the wheel banging and insane driving (Eddie
Cheever's words after one night show at TMS) and one shudders
to think how many spectators would have perished had Brack's
crash taken place on the other side of the track. Because his
engine and several other pieces were launched into the empty
grandstands on the backstretch after the fence caved in.
From video replays, it also appears the fencing at Texas is
still backwards. In other words, there is a post (which
pulverized Davey Hamilton's feet in 2001), a cable and then
the fence. Just the opposite of the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, which has a fence/post/cable to support things (it
kept Mario Andretti from sailing into the grandstands last
April in his test flight at Indy).
Tony George wanted his own niche and he's got it with an
And the safety measures taken by CART and IRL have thankfully
made death a rarity instead of a certainty like it was in the
Ovals remain the best show for television, yet they are also
the worst place to have an accident. The IRL has dodged a lot
of big bullets since '96 but it needs to seriously address its
aero package, speeds, cars and propensity for carnage on its
action tracks. Maybe Humpy Wheeler is right. Maybe it's time
While endlessly patting itself on the back for re-inventing
racing, the IRL brass would probably just as soon we forget
all of those drivers who've been maimed these past eight
years. During his post-race interview Sunday on ESPN, George
praised Dixon and thanked the fans but neglected to mention
his hopes and prayers for the 1999 Indy winner, who lay broken
and battered a few hundred yards away in the infield hospital.
It's no coincidence Michael Andretti retired before Texas this
year. And Scott Dixon's agent wants to get him out of the IRL
and into Formula One before he joins the "Orthopedic Surgery
Club." Dario Franchitti wants to go back to CART but hasn't
been able to secure a deal. When asked how much he'd enjoyed
the three-car bump and grind to the photo finish at Chicago
earlier this season, Bryan Herta replied: "That wasn't fun."
Brack, one of the truly good guys in all of motorsports who
has won in both IRL and CART, mentioned a few days before
Texas that open wheel had to get back under one roof with a
mix of ovals, road courses and street circuits. The
37-year-old Swede wasn't complaining, just making sense.
Of course the PR spin is that all the drivers think the IRL is
the greatest series in motorsports history. Under oath, the
majority of them would admit they hate tempting fate 16 times
a year in the asphalt jungle. These guys know the risks of
open wheel and are as brave as almost any generation of
racers, they just don't fancy being sacrificed for the good of
That's why the only person happier than Gil de Ferran last
Sunday night was Angela de Ferran. He'll never have to drive
in the Kamikaze Circuit again and his wife will never again
have to run to the emergency room.
Like Anita Brack, who is seven months pregnant and so very
thankful she isn't a widow today.
FIA World Council set to ratify
The Formula One Commission laid out a series of changes to the
format of a Grand Prix weekend. These were accepted and now
have to go before the FIA World Motor Sport Council. It is
expected that these changes will be passed and put into place
for the 2004 season.
"The World Council is likely to accept the Formula One
Commission's recommendations," an FIA spokesperson said.
"There is unlikely to be any surprises from the meeting."
The changes to the existing format include:
a. The three-day weekend will remain.
b. Abandoning of the Friday qualifying session. Drivers will
now have two one-lap qualifying attempts on Saturday.
Qualifying will be an hour-and-a-half session, allowing
drivers to complete the necessary two runs. The starting order
will be based on the previous race result rather than
The second run will then take place in reverse order with the
slowest first on track.
c. Private testing on Friday will be replaced with two
hour-long practice sessions. The bottom six teams will be
permitted to run a third car in practice.
Brack undergoes successful back
IRL IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack underwent successful
surgery on his back Oct. 13 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in
Dallas, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of medical services for
the Indy Racing League.
Dr. Kevin Morrill, chief neurologist at Parkland, oversaw the
procedure, which involved an open fixation on the spinal
fracture and a spinal fusion of the L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae.
"Last night, we performed an open fixation on the spinal
fracture - L-3 vertebra - and a spinal fusion of the L-2, L-3
and L-4 vertebra," said Morrill. "He was moving his legs and
toes. Now we'll monitor his status for the next few days.
There is no doubt that Kenny's great physical condition helped
him in this surgery."
Brack remains in serious, but stable condition, Bock said.
Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum
and lumbar and fractures to both ankles in an accident on Lap
188 of the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the final race
of the 2003 IndyCar Series season.
Persons wishing to send a get-well message to Brack can do so
at www.rahal.com or
by sending cards or letters to:
4601 Lyman Dr.
Hilliard, Ohio 43026
Further updates on Brack’s condition will be provided when
accident reminiscent of Sneva's
Dear AR1, Seeing Kenny Brack’s accident on videotape and in
slow motion is a stark reminder of Tom Sneva’s crash in 1975
in Turn Two at Indy. While passing Eldon Rasmussen, Sneva’s
right rear tires touched Rasmussen’s left front and sent Sneva
catapulting up into the air and into the fence right at the
Turn Two suites. (I have the accident on Super 8 film right in
front of me where I was standing against the inside fence at
the apex.) Sneva’s #68 Norton Spirit snagged on the fence
collecting his rear gearbox and a wheel/tire assembly (which
were still hanging up in the fence afterward) while continuing
to pinwheel down the track. Played back in slow motion you can
see his Offy rolling, bouncing down the track by itself. Tom
finally came to a rest in nothing but the bent-up cockpit and
obvious, though invisible flames around him. A fire/rescue
crew was on top of Tom in a matter of seconds, maybe the
fastest response I’ve ever seen. And I have the film to prove
it. The huge difference in this accident was the speed. Tom
was probably traveling 175-180 when he crashed, compared to
Brack’s 220. A major difference and the reason Tom was able to
climb out of his car and Kenny was not. Tom’s only burns were
where his sponsor patches were sewed into his fire-retardant
driver’s suit. Maury Williams, Dayton, Ohio [Editor's
Note: That and the fact that the fence posts at IMS are not
trackside, they are on the proper side - the outside]
track impresses F1 contingent It's rare that
rival Formula One racing teams agree on anything.
But as drivers and officials from different F1 teams visited
the Shanghai International Circuit, where construction work is
in full swing, they seemed to agree that the circuit will help
make next year's inaugural China Grand Prix one of the most
exciting races on the F1 tour.
After visiting the circuit in the city's Anting town (see
map for location of Anting - west of downtown Shanghai
on the highlighted road) yesterday afternoon, David Richards,
the CEO of BAR Honda F1, said he was astounded.
"We were told there were 7,000 people working on the site,"
said Richards. "I've never seen a circuit of such scale and
the efforts and technologies put into the construction are
just like what we applied to a Formula One car itself."
Jenson Button, who finished ninth in the drivers' Championship
this season, found the latest leg on the F1 calendar a
paradise for passing. "I think it's a very fast track
and looks very good for overtaking, even more exciting than
Hockenheim, which is known for its fast track," said the
Ralf Schumacher experienced the circuit in a different way.
The BMW Williams racer had a virtual drive on the Shanghai
track using a simulator at a press conference yesterday
"What I got to understand from the simulation drive is that
this is among the most challenging races on the F1 tour," said
the younger brother of Michael Schumacher, the reigning
title-holder in the drivers Championship. "With a tough
combination of high-speed and low-speed corners, it poses a
real test to the ability of the racers." The inaugural
China Grand Prix is scheduled to be held on September 26th,
Shanghai Daily News
Atlanta wants a night race
As Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark watched the
Winston Cup cars circle Lowe's Motor Speedway under the lights
Saturday night, he couldn't help but think about how much he'd
like to see his own facility host a night race. But he says
his current dates, in early spring and late October, tend to
be too cool for spectator comfort at night. "What I would like
to see is the spring event moved later in the year and run at
night," Clark said. But to get the early June date he'd like
would mean disrupting some other track's schedule. He knows
that would be unfair. "But I talk to NASCAR about it every
three or four months to let them know that if they're changing
dates around anyway to keep us in mind," he said.
Kenny Brack update - A lot to be thankful for
This IndyStar article
gives the most detail about the condition of Kenny Brack. Notice the tear
in the fencing as Brack's car rips through it. Brack's progress was measured
in small doses Monday. Parkland orthopedic surgeon Charles Reinert told team
officials Brack should need three months to recover from the leg and ankle
surgeries. Reinert inserted plates and screws in both ankles, using a bone from
Brack's hip to stabilize the right ankle.
The right ankle was presumed to have suffered the most damage immediately after
the accident, but there was reason for optimism Monday.
"There was less damage than they initially thought," team press officer Tom
Blattler said at Parkland. "His back could take some time (to heal), but Reinert
and (IRL doctor) Henry Bock both said they anticipate him making a full recovery."
Blattler said he was encouraged by seeing Brack wiggle all of his swollen toes.
Brack was not made available to the media.
The gash over Brack's left eye and his broken sternum suggest he was thrown into
the car's steering column during the accident. Blattler said the top half of the
steering wheel was bent, but there were no signs of a serious head injury or other
reverse fence system at TMS severely injure another driver?
This Las Vegas Review Journal
article talks about the reverse fence system at Texas Motor
Speedway that Davey Hamilton blames for his crippling injuries.
This issue was pointed out extensively here on AR1 back then, and to
the best of our knowledge, has not been corrected. The way Kenny
Brack's car tore apart Sunday when it hit the fence may be the result
of once again the posts and cable supports of the fencing ripping the
car to shreds and causing more injury to the driver. It has been
speculated that the front of Kenny Brack's car was ripped away by
one of these posts thereby breaking his leg and ankles, but we have no info at this time to substantiate
this. It is possible Kenny's car actually penetrated the fencing, ripping
out a sizeable portion of fencing completely. This may have allowed
the car to contact the vertical posts, which may have done the
majority of damage to the chassis. We also note that the steel
horizontal reinforcing cabling is mounted outside as well. If
the posts are indeed trackside, let's hope that reconstruction that will be starting any day now
tearing down all that fencing and putting the posts on the spectator
side. There should be no exposed fence posts for a car to get
snagged on. It should be smooth chain-link fencing all the way around the
track. Safety must be #1, but in high-speed open wheel racing,
it's almost impossible to prevent catastrophic accidents. When the cars get
airborne they are like projectiles. CART won't race there and they did
what was right to protect its drivers by canceling its race in 2001 at
the last minute because speeds were too high, which cost CART a
multi-million dollar lawsuit. However, CART did it because they care
about their drivers and proved it that day. The IRL has raced
there for years with the fencing reversed, yet have never demanded it
be fixed. The show must go on as they say. Will Brack's injuries
be swept under the rug again, or will the IRL demand something finally
be done? Ask former IRL driver, and now partially crippled,
Davey Hamilton what he thinks?
***Reader Opinion***More feedback on
Just rechecked the IRL web page and guess what? Little to no info on
the Brack crash. What are they trying to hide? I'm sure he has many
fans who would want updated info on his condition. Hope "THE HAMMER"
is happy to have another of his drivers listed on YOUR Infamous Injury
list. What will it take to stop it? AR1 is the only one where you can
keep up on all the racing news for all types of racing. Keep up the
great work. Hey IRL drivers get back to racing in CART, your life
depends on it. Joe Steber, Albrightsville, PA. Dear
AR1, Racing is a dangerous business even for the fans but IRL's rate
of big crashes, broken bones and broken backs is ridiculous. What is
Tony George waiting for? to get someone killed? How come the owners
have not gone public expressing their concerns about the safety of
this series? Two drivers were almost killed this year driving one of
those cars; doesn't this tell something to anyone in the IRL? Mario
Andretti was lucky his car landed upright but Kenny well, the Lord was
with him yesterday. In other words they survived because they were
LUCKY not because the chassis are safe. There is nothing to praise on
those cars. Someone MUST stop this carnage called the IRL. Regards,
Emotional wreckUPDATE A reader responds to this
article, Dear Mr. Whitt, The IRL is nothing more than the blood
sport of the 60s revisited. The carnage of the 50s and 60s was the
very thing that stunted the growth of professional motorsports in this
country. Particularly the open-wheel genre. It was not until the sport
finally figured out how to keep their drivers alive and in one piece
that we saw major non-automotive corporate sponsors consider the sport
safe enough to put their names on racing cars and thereby fuel the
phenomenal growth seen in motorsports since the late 60s. Sponsors
want to be associated with winning. Not the weekly funerals of race
Under CART’s management and, in my opinion, due mostly to tougher
vehicle construction standards than found in the IRL, the death toll
plummeted even while speeds escalated to levels unimaginable during
the USAC managed years ( hundred year old men managing a 200 mile per
hours sport ). Yet when we look at the numbers of drivers seriously
injured in the IRL vs. CART, and even NASCAR, we find the number
disproportionately higher for the IRL. Why? This is certainly the
question many fans would like to see the mainstream press, members
like yourself, ask the IRL and Tony George. But it seems this is just
one of the many questions (lack of paid attendance, lack of TV viewers
even on ABC and permitting the influx of CART traitors who muscled out
the very teams that founded Tony’s “vision” being a couple others)
that are swept under the IRL carpet for fear of angering Prince Tony.
Every time a newspaper like yours publish the factually inaccurate,
highly spun, blatantly misleading propaganda that spews from the IRL
press kit without asking some of the hard questions, you help to
perpetuate the very environment that has injured so many drivers in
the IRL, and damn near killed Kenny Brack. Maybe now some of the hard
questions will be asked and the IRL myth debunked and shown for what
it is: one big support race for the Indy 500. Respectfully, J.N.
Anderson, Chicago, Illinois10/13/03 - This
Dallas Fort Worth
article pretty much sums up what most of us thought on
Sunday - Admit it, you thought he was dead. We all did.
In the stands, there were 105,000 70,000
hushed voices and held breaths. In his native Sweden, Internet
users up past midnight posted 88 frantic queries on a Web site
forum. And in the eerily quiet infield, I pondered the grim
reality of transforming a sports column into an obituary.
Fortunately, after a horrific, haunting accident that cast a
chilling pall over Texas Motor Speedway, Kenny Brack is alive.
If not well. In serious condition at the Level 1 Trauma
Center in Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital, he has a
concussion. He has multiple injuries to his extremities. And,
amazingly, he has a pulse. With 12 laps to go in
Sunday's Chevy 500 IRL season finale, fans were excitedly on
the edge of their seats. The race, and the series' season
title, were up in the air. Then suddenly, shockingly, so was Brack's car. Just like that, a victory party almost
became a funeral.
Brack's first surgery a success
IRL IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack underwent successful
surgery on his right femur and both ankles Oct. 12 at Parkland
Memorial Hospital in Dallas, said Dr. Henry Bock, director of
medical services for the Indy Racing League. Dr. Brian
Estridge, a trauma surgeon, and Dr. Charles Reinert, an
orthopedic surgeon, performed the surgery. Brack remains in
serious, but stable condition and is awake and alert, Bock
said. Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured
sternum and lumbar and fractures to both ankles in an accident
on Lap 188 of the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the final
race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season. More surgery is
coming. "We are very happy to see how Kenny was in such
good condition after the surgery on Sunday," said Rahal, the
1986 Indy 500 winner. "He came through with flying colors. The
doctors are very optimistic. We are thankful for the great
efforts of the doctors in the surgery and the IRL safety crew
at the track. Thank goodness the Dallara chassis was so strong
in that kind of crash. It has been so heartwarming for Anita
and all of Team Rahal to receive so many calls of concern and
for best wishes on Kenny's condition. We thank everyone for
their support." Further updates on Brack's condition will be
provided when available.
CART should race on Vegas
streets, not oval This Las Vegas Review Journal
article says, Motorsports growth in Southern Nevada
cannot be dependent on the ebb and flow at the speedway. Our
racing world needs to diversify. This is a special-events
town. That's why Gentilozzi should pass on racing at the
speedway's oval and instead work to secure a suitable venue
adjacent the Strip for a temporary street circuit. The
speedway then can focus on bringing the IRL back to the
1.5-mile tri-oval in 2005 for the first time since 2000 and
have both races in Las Vegas on the same weekend. Toss in
CART's and the IRL's developmental series. Have Trans Am run
as a CART support race and maybe put the Supermodified Racing
League and USAC series on the speedway's Bullring. Create an
open-wheel racing festival for 2005, a four-day weekend that
could attract visitors and give each series something to
shock the sports-business and racing worlds. It would be a
monumental project. It will take something extreme to get
open-wheel racing back on the front page.
Vickers to drive final 4 races
Brian Vickers will drive the No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet in
the final four NASCAR Winston Cup Series races of 2003 it was
announced today by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.
Vickers will succeed Joe Nemechek, who was named driver of the
No. 01 Winston Cup entry this afternoon. Nemechek, 40, will
compete at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in the No. 25 Chevy
before moving full-time to MB2 Motorsports the following week
at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"This opportunity affords both Brian and Joe the chance to get
a jump on next season with their new teams," Hendrick said.
"It's something that we all feel is mutually beneficial for
the drivers and organizations alike.
"Joe led the No. 25 team back to Victory Lane and handled
himself like a genuine professional from Day One. We truly
appreciate everything he's done for Hendrick Motorsports, both
on the race track and off."
Originally scheduled to drive the No. 01 car in the final four
Winston Cup events of 2003, Vickers will pilot the No. 25
Chevy at Atlanta, Phoenix, Rockingham, N.C., and the season
finale at Homestead, Fla. He will drive the car full-time next
season with primary sponsorship from GMAC Financial Services.
Vickers, who will turn 20 on Oct. 24, made his Winston Cup
debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday, starting 20th and
finishing 33rd in the No. 60 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. With
five races remaining in 2003, the Thomasville, N.C., native is
currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series championship
standings with three victories and 18 top-10 finishes.
Lowe's TV rating
The Winston Cup race from Lowe's Motor Speedway turned in fast
national numbers of a 4.5 rating and 8 share, good enough for
third place behind FOX (6.7/12) and CBS (5.8/11). The tough
competition on FOX was the fourth game of the Cubs-Marlins
National League Championship Series.
***Reader Opinion***OSHA should
shut down the IRL
respond - Dear AR1, While I agree wholeheartedly with
everything posted here regarding the IRL and the horrible
safety history they've had, let's not overlook the fact that
Kenny survived probably the worst crash most of us have ever
seen. I, too, was watching the CART race, but was flipping to
the IRL race during commercials. I did see the accident
happen, and my immediate reaction was that whoever it was
would not survive. I think those involved in the general
safety matters involved in ALL of open wheel racing need to be
commended. I can't help but think that the HANS device, the
relatively new concept of cockpit surrounds for the driver's
head, and the lessons learned by the chassis manufacturers
over the last few years by pounding their cars against walls
(repeatedly, in the cases of Dallara and G-Force) - a lot of
people are responsible for Kenny making it through that
hideous accident. While I don't like their series, and I don't
get to enjoy watching them work much anymore, I do genuinely
like a lot of the drivers in that other series. It's good to
know that they've been given a pretty good chance to survive
the inevitable catastrophic accidents inherent to running
those speeds at those tracks. Let's hope Dr. Trammell can work
his magic with Kenny. Tony Olufson, St. Paul, MN
Another reader writes, The fact that Kenny is alive attests to
the protection given to the drivers by the cars. It’s the fans
that are at risk – more at some tracks than at others. Long
Beach and California Speedway seem to have adequate double
fence protection. But I was amazed at the minimum
amount/height of the fencing at Portland International. The
fences are low along the straight-away. And there is no
fencing in front of the stands at the final turn: A disaster
waiting to happen. And the last thing open wheel racing needs
is to get the government involved. I saw a show about the
design and construction of the Boeing 777. They said Boeing
reviewed every air plane accident that ever happened and then
built the 777 so as to withstand whatever caused those
previous accidents. Track promoters need to watch the tape of
every prior race car accident, and ask what would happen if
those accidents had happened at their track. In the meantime,
race fans should choose their seats with safety in mind. I do.
At Portland I moved our group away from the great seats we had
at the final turn. Jeff Skinner, California
10/13/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, Referencing Bill Thomas’
letter concerning the horrific injury rate suffered by drivers
in the IRL, I can’t help but wonder what OSHA might think if
they were suddenly inundated with letters from motorsports
fans complaining about the “unsafe” working conditions THESE
employees must put up with each time THEY go to work! Yes, I
understand this is a high risk sport were talking about not
your average 9 – 5 grind at the local plant, mill, grocery
store or office complex. But those race cars and the race
tracks they run on ARE those driver’s offices and if the
safety of those offices is not up to par with that in F1 or
CART then Tony’s little side show should be shut down until
they are. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois Dear
JN, Imagine if that accident had occurred on the front
straight where all the people were seated? The accident
tore a big hole in the backstraight/Turn 3 fence and sent
parts flying everywhere. A lot of fans could have been
injured if they were seated near the accident. It
reminds us of Bobby Allison's accident at Talladega years ago
that tore down the catch fencing in the tri-oval. NASCAR
took immediate action to slow the cars down. Although
OSHA would be very concerned about the safety of the drivers,
we would think the insurance companies, in seeing once again
how horrific the crashes can be on high-speed ovals with non-fendered
open-wheel cars, would either significantly raise the track's
insurance premiums or not offer a policy at all until the
problem is fixed. As a sport we can't be injuring fans.
Unfortunately, the only real fix may be to shut the entire
series down, forcing the IRL to add fenders to the cars so
they can safely run wheel-to-wheel on these high-banked
tracks. The IRL likes to tout wheel-to-wheel racing, and
100% throttle racing certainly leads to close finishes. The
down side of course is the alarming injury rate and
the destruction of very expensive race cars. Imagine the
medical bills to fix Brack's badly broken body, and do you think
Team Rahal has to buy an entire new car now?
TV money helping ISC
In the most recent quarterly earning release from
International Speedway Corp., company president Lesa France
Kennedy said, "We are pleased to report another quarter of
record results on a comparable basis. Higher broadcast and media rights fees remained a key driver
of revenue growth, and we continued to draw large crowds for
our events highlighted by seven sold-out major events during
the quarter. Spending by our corporate partners also increased
for the quarter, and we expect growth in this category for the
remainder of 2003."
She added, "As we look forward to 2004, we are excited about
several opportunities to grow our business. From a media
perspective, NASCAR domestic television broadcast rights fees
are expected to increase 21 percent over 2003. On the
sponsorship side, only three of our Nextel Cup race
entitlements remain open compared to six open Cup entitlements
at this time last year. Recently signed major entitlement
renewals have been reached with Subway at North Carolina and
Carolina Dodge Dealers at Darlington.
Clear says Villeneuve will be
back This Autosport.com
article says, The man closest to Jacques Villeneuve
since he came into Formula 1, race engineer Jock Clear, thinks
the 1997 World Champion has not finished with F1.
One suggestion in Suzuka was that Villeneuve's non-appearance
in the final race of the season had its root in mentor Craig
Pollock's knowledge of Jacques' psyche. Jacques father,
Gilles, went to Zolder in 1982 carrying the emotional baggage
of what he considered to be a betrayal from team mate Didier
Pironi a fortnight earlier. He was determined to humiliate
Pironi in Zolder, took a risk in qualifying, and was killed.
Villeneuve is the same age as his father was then and, Pollock
knew, upset at having been dropped by BAR in favour of Takuma
"I've never thought of it exactly that way," Clear said on
Sunday night, "but Jacques did say to me: 'my heart's not in
it, I'm not focused and that's when you get hurt.' Those were
his words. He's the kind of man who's big enough to take all
the flak that missing this weekend is going to throw at him.
He'll lie in bed and think: I'm still alive and I didn't take
the risk that I didn't need to."
Clear thinks he will be back. "Absolutely. People are saying
to me that it's so sad for him to go this way but in his mind
that isn't the end. He'll be back and he should be back."
BAR inspired by Jacques
departure Takuma Sato only received notice that he
would be racing at Suzuka on Tuesday when an angry Villeneuve
pulled out of the race after being told that his BAR contract
wouldn’t be renewed.
"Taku didn't put a foot wrong," David Richards told AFP.
"We had discussions on the radio for him to pick up the pace
when we saw him dropping off a little bit and he picked it up
to exactly the time we asked him to. Towards the end we were
telling him to take it down a little bit, and race engineer
Jock Clear was there absolutely marveling at him. He really
couldn't believe the race the guy was driving."
Villeneuve, with whom Clear has worked for the past seven
years, will not be particularly happy when he hears that. Nor
could Richards resist suggesting that the result at Suzuka had
vindicated the 1997 World’s Champion axing – and even claimed
that it was inspired by Villeneuve’s departure.
"I think the team rallied round very well and if you sense the
atmosphere you'll see that the team looked at it in an
extraordinarily positive light as an opportunity to show that
it is not a team built around one individual,” said the BAR
Team Principal. "I think the new start is now very clear for
everybody and anyone who questioned the ability of our new
driver line-up or the potential of all the ingredients we've
got, those doubts have been dispelled."
SPEED Channel to broadcast
The SPEED Channel will have seven hours of live coverage from
Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the season-ending
event for the American Le Mans Series. The professional sports
car racing series will close its 2003 campaign with an
endurance race that covers 1,000 miles, or 10 hours, whichever
comes first on the 2.54-mile road racing circuit located in
the Georgia hills north of Atlanta. Both driver and
manufacturer championships are on the line and will be
determined in the event. The race starts in late morning and
ends well after darkness, creating the effects of flaming
exhaust, glowing brakes and glaring headlights that sports car
racing fans love. With the length of the race, SPEED Channel
is beefing up its normal crew of announcers for American Le
Mans Series racing, with sports car racing anchor Leigh Diffey
joined by Bob Varsha for play-by-play. Also joining the
telecast will be David Hobbs, who normally works on SPEED’s
Formula One telecasts as an analyst, supplementing SPEED road
racing analyst Bill Adam. Covering the action in the pits will
be Calvin Fish, Martin Haven, Andrew Marriott and Brian Till.
SPEED’s coverage begins with a pre-race show at 11 a.m. (ET),
with the race getting underway at 11:30 a.m. SPEED will leave
Road Atlanta at 12:30 p.m., but will return at 3 p.m. for
three hours of coverage. After leaving at 6 p.m., the cable
network will return at 7 p.m. and will be on the air until
9:30 p.m., covering the finish of the race as well as
CART attendance in Mexico smashes
records We told you it was a complete sellout didn't we? The
Mexico City Grand Prix set a three-day CART attendance record of
402,413, breaking the previous mark of 351,970 set last year at the
event. Joseph Heitzler, president of the organizing company GRAND,
said 221,011 people attended the race Sunday, 113,081 during
Saturday's qualifying and 68,321 on Friday. Sunday's figure was also a
race-day CART record. With those figures, he said the race has become
"one of the world's largest motor racing events." Heitzler said
he had no immediate figures on how many of those tickets had been
unpaid gifts, but estimated it would be about 1 percent. [Editor's
Note: 402,413 for the weekend is probably more than the Indy 500 gets
the entire month of May.]
***Reader Opinion***Has the IRL
destroyed the face of open wheel racing?
A reader writes, Dear AR1, I cannot be as civilized as the last
reader regarding injuries in auto racing, and in particular the IRL.
It's amazing to me how the IRL has managed to completely destroy the
face of open wheel racing in America. Now most would say this is an old
argument, but there are many facets of this argument that haven't been
explored. When this period of racing is looked back upon by
historians, one of the things they will see is how the injuries caused
by unsafe racing in the IRL changed the face of availability of
drivers, and destroyed the careers of several young and/or promising
All forms of racing see accidents, injuries and deaths, but will there
ever be a period that was considered a 'modern time' (meaning carbon
fiber tubs, and ultra-safe cars) that history will look back on and
see so much carnage other then this period in the IRL? No wonder
Gil is retiring with a few good years left in him. It's the safest
thing he can do. Bill Thomas
Kenny Brack update 2 - Broken back,
IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack is in serious and
stable condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, said Dr.
Henry Bock, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League.
Brack suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum and lumbar
and fractures to both ankles in an accident on Lap 188 of the Chevy
500 Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway. Brack suffered fractures
of the L-3 spinal vertebra, right femur (leg), both ankles and
the sternum and was in surgery on Sunday night to repair the
femur and both ankles. Surgery is scheduled on the vertebra in
the next few days. He is awake and alert and will
undergo surgery on the femur and both ankles tonight. Prior to Sunday
night's surgery at Parkland Hospital, Brack talked to his team owner
Bobby Rahal, fellow racers Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta and Dario
Franchitti as well as several of the Team Rahal team members. "He kept
asking me, 'what happened,'" said Anita Brack. "He was happy to see
his friends and Team Rahal family. Now we have to make sure he gets
well." The next medical
update will be available Oct. 13. [Editor's Note:
We have updated our driver
injury list since the IRL was created. Alarming isn't
it? Now you know why most drivers would prefer to be in CART.]
***Reader Opinion***Wake-up call to any
A reader writes, Dear AR1, I was comfortably nestled on my sofa
this afternoon watching the CART race from the venerable Autodromo
Hermanos Rodriguez, when I got a frantic phone call from a friend. The
shaken voice on the other end of the line said in hushed and somber
urgency to turn to the IRL race because of a horrific accident
involving Kenny Brack. When I saw the massive hole in the backstretch
fence, no sign of Brack's car, and heard Bob Jenkins very emotionally
rattled voice, I feared for the worse.
Then I saw pictures of the emergency crew working over Brack. It
reminded me of Imola, May 1, 1994 and Ayrton Senna. Then I saw a
re-play of the accident and felt somewhat relieved because I knew that
ESPN would not replay a "fatal" accident. The accident was a
combination of Alessandro Zampedri's 1996 Indy 500 crash and
Krosnoff's accident at Toronto '96. Still I was concerned.
I like Kenny Brack because of his low key anti-political style. He
never bashed CART going out the door like Andretti, or became a PR
clown like Helio. Several thoughts came to my mind: (1) What would
have happened if this accident had occurred on the front straightaway
where the 35,000 or so spectators were sitting?; (2) Racing cars at
this track is stupid. It's already crippled Davey Hamilton and cut off
Sam Schmidt's toe (before his big accident at Walt Disney World).
It is simply dodging bullets or better yet, a fatal accident waiting
to happen. And today it nearly happened! We are lucky Kenny survived.
The injury toll for IRL in 2003 includes serious concussions and
broken bones to Gil de Ferran, Roger Yasakawa, Tony Kanaan, Scott
Dixon, Craig Dollansky, Arie Luyendyk, Airton Daire, Felipe Giaffone,
Vitor Miera, Tom Wood (IPS), and now Kenny Brack! I can only wonder what Dario Franchitti and his
lovely and talented wife are thinking as he ponders a return to
Andretti Green Racing? I have a strong feeling about what Mrs. Brack
is now thinking! This is ABSOLUTE MADNESS. Silly and downright
dangerous. Let's hope Dario comes to his senses and Kenny Brack fully
recovers and retires. Mordichai Rosen, LA, California
Kenny Brack update 1
This Sportsline.com article
shows photos of Bracks violent crash and says, race winner Gil de
Ferran and new IRL champion Scott Dixon had subdued celebrations as
they awaited word about seriously injured Kenny Brack. Brack suffered
multiple fractures at the season-ending race at Texas Motor Speedway
when his car was hit from behind and pinwheeled into the air. The car
broke apart when it slammed into the 12-foot steel catchfence
at the top of the 39-inch concrete wall on the backstretch. De
Ferran, driving in his final race, was working hard to hold
off the tenacious Dixon when the crash came with 12 laps left
in the Chevy 500. The race proceeded under a caution for seven
laps and ended five laps before its scheduled 200-lap finish.
Brack was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital after being
removed from what was left of his car, which was hit by Tomas
Scheckter. Brack was in serious but stable condition;
Scheckter was uninjured.
7-Eleven renews with
Officials with 7-Eleven announced Sunday that they had
renewed their sponsorship agreement with Andretti-Green Racing
for 2004. 7-Eleven will again serve as the primary
sponsor on the No. 11 Tony Kanaan car.
Salo tops morning warm-up in
Mexico PK Racing's Mika Salo was fastest in this
morning's warm-up in Mexico City. Title rivals Tracy,
Junqueira and Jourdain were 4th, 5th and 9th. Darren Manning
and Patrick Carpentier were 2nd & 3rd. Mark C.
Audi teams ready for title
fight at Road Atlanta
The 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta ("Petit Le Mans") will
decide the outcome of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS)
championship battle this coming Saturday. The Audi customer
teams Infineon Team Joest and ADT Champion Racing fight for
the Drivers´ and Teams´ titles with their Audi R8 sportscars
at the ninth and final race of the 2003 season. Audi has
already prematurely wrapped up the American Le Mans
With their 14-point advantage, the two Germans Frank Biela and
Marco Werner, start the final round of the title fight as
favorites. Following five victories this season, a brace of
second places and a third position, the two Infineon Team
Joest drivers must reach the checkered flag - or complete at
least 70 percent of the race distance, to be classified in the
results. In this case, Biela/Werner would still be champions
even if JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert win.
It is however, much more easily said than done. "We know that
in such a long race a great deal can happen," said Frank Biela.
"And nothing untoward should happen." In addition, Team
Director Reinhold Joest has issued clear instructions:
"Driving just to finish is absolutely out of the question for
us. We want to welcome the Winter break with a victory."
That is why Frank Biela and Marco Werner have elected not to
take any unnecessary risks during the opening stages of the
race. "As soon as we have completed 70 percent of the race
distance, we go on the attack," explained Marco Werner.
"Anyhow, the moment of truth normally occurs during the last
couple of hours in this race."
The situation for Team ADT Champion Racing is completely
different: The three time winners this season must win the
race in order to preserve their title chances. "Our chances
are, however, rather small because we can only become
champions if Frank and Marco don’t finish the race," said
His team colleague Johnny Herbert only has a mathematical
chance of winning the championship. The Briton has three
points less than the Finn does, as he competed for another
team at the opening race of the season at Sebring. "It would
therefore be nice to win one of the ‘big’ sportscar races this
year", said Herbert.
A total of 40 sport prototypes and GT sportscars have entered
the season finale. The race starts on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
local time. In the past years, the Audi works team has won the
"Petit Le Mans" race three times in succession.
A lap around Road Atlanta
The American Le Mans Series will complete its 2003 season with
the sixth annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Oct. 15-18. In
this first-person narrative, JML Team Panoz driver Gunnar
Jeannette of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., describes how he drives
a lap of the 2.54-mile circuit in the Panoz LMP01 Prototype.
The Panoz team is headquartered at Road Atlanta and Jeannette
has driven many laps of the circuit in both racing and
Reynards to the front
Not only did Tiago Monteiro qualify fastest on Saturday,
another rookie, Ryan Hunter-Reay was 2nd fastest, also in a
Reynard. Why are the Reynards competitive here in
Mexico? Three reasons - 1) They have less drag which
helps them down the very long main straight, 2) The Lola is
usually faster because it generates more downforce from its
underbody. Here in the thin air of Mexico City, the
underbody is less effective, putting more premium on
mechanical grip, 3) Because the track is bumpy, the seal of
the underbody is being disturbed and because the Lola relies
heavily on this, it is affected more. Mark C.
News tidbits from Mexico City
So far the weather looks good, but there is a slight threat of
a shower. Temperatures will be in the 70's.
Resurrecting a tradition that harkens back to the late, great
Mark Donohue and the early 1970s, the CART Champ Car World
Series will see today's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented
by Banamex/Visa wrapped up by a checkered flag being waved
trackside along with another set of checkers waving from the
customary starter's stand.
Former CART starter and current series Clerk of Course Jim
Swintal will signal the end of Sunday's 70-lap race by waving
the checkered flag from pit wall, ending the race in
conjunction with the flag being waved by current starter J.D.
Wilbur. This marks the first time that a CART event has been
flagged from trackside, and is the first time that a Champ Car
race has seen a trackside flag since Mark Donohue won the 1971
Today's event, which will be led to the green flag by current
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by
Ford points leader Paul Tracy, begins at 3 p.m. local time (4
p.m. Eastern) and can be seen live on SPEED Channel in the
The post-race ceremonies are going to be spectacular.
They rehearsed for hours last night. Look for the
world's largest Mexican flag to be unfurled.
They opened up a few thousand more super General Admission
tickets yesterday and they sold within minutes. That's
it. The grandstands are sold out and there are not even
any more G/A tickets left according to one Grand employee we
talked to. It's quite possible we could see around
200,000 in attendance today, up from 175,000+ last year.
This race is destined to become one of the biggest races in
the world. Why? Because the drivers are the stars
Paddock News from Suzuka
PETER SAUBER has backed fellow F1 chief David Richards'
decision not to force Jacques Villeneuve into his BAR-Honda
cockpit this weekend. 'A highly motivated [Takuma] Sato will
definitely be faster in Japan,' he told Blick, 'than a
Villeneuve in a bad mood.'
Mercedes' NORBERT HAUG reckons it will be 'unacceptable' if
the bad weather of final qualifying ruins Kimi Raikkonen's
chances of becoming F1's youngest-ever world champion. 'It's a
pity when the weather decides the order of the grid,' the
German said of the 23-year-old's 8th on Saturday.
Is JARNO TRULLI the unluckiest man in Formula One? Renault's
director of engineering, Pat Symonds, thinks so. 'What can I
say?' said the Briton after Friday's fastest was forced to
abandon his qualifying lap in the rain and will start the
Japanese GP from the rear of the grid. 'We just called him in
after his out-lap to save fuel for the race.'
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA smiled that there are 'no guarantees' that
he won't - again - crash into his Ferrari pal Rubens
Barrichello at the start of today's Japanese Grand Prix. 'Now
it's my chance to put him off,' laughed Barrichello, on pole
and one position ahead of the Colombian. 'I'll wait for him at
the first corner and then steer into him!'
Paddock News from Suzuka
In the last sector of DAVID COULTHARD's final qualifying lap
yesterday, good enough for 7th (ahead of team-mate Kimi
Raikkonen), a piece flew off the Scot's McLaren racer. 'It was
a bit of deflector,' said the 32-year-old, 'but it didn't
affect my time at all.'
KIMI RAIKKONEN, who needs to win today's grand prix to become
world champion, looked on the bright side of qualifying just
eighth in Japan. 'At least Michael is not on pole,' the Finn
smiled of Schumacher's 14th.
Jordan's technical head GARY ANDERSON was also forced to look
on the bright side of a dismal showing for his runners in
Suzuka - 15th and 16th on the grid. Both cars (Ralph Firman
and Giancarlo Fisichella) are directly behind probable world
champion Michael Schumacher. 'At least we can expect a bit of
TV coverage on the grid and at the start,' said the Irishman.
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