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Panoz coupe ready for LeMans JML Team Panoz has completed
the final shakedown of the newly badged Panoz GTP coupe in preparation
for the forthcoming Le Mans 1000km on the Bugatti circuit on November
9. Olivier Beretta and David Saelens both got the chance to
sample the car this week which is being pressed into service for the
first time since 1998.
The car is similar to the original Panoz GTR which ran to the GT1
specifications of the time. Modifications made to the Panoz LMP-01
last year including a new lighter gearbox and paddle shift system have
been incorporated into the coupe for the first time.
Like the 1998 version, the new GTP class car will run on Michelin
tires - the brand which led every lap of the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour.
The car will be powered by a similar Elan Power Products engine as
used by the JML Team Panoz squad throughout 2003. However, it will
enjoy additional horsepower thanks to the larger restrictors used in
the GTP class.
The car will leave for France next week in preparation for the 1000km
race - a new event which acts as an opener for the new Le Mans
Endurance Series which will be raced in Europe in 2004.
CART statement on Tony Renna
From the other side of the world in Australia, the news is a bit late
in arriving sometimes - Chris Pook had this to say about the death of
Tony Renna - "Everyone in the Champ Car community was shocked and
saddened upon learning of the tragic death of Tony Renna on Wednesday.
Tony competed for six years in CART's Barber Dodge Pro Series and Indy
Lights Series from 1995 to 2000 and was primed to be one of the
sport's future stars. We would like to express our condolences to the
family, fiancée and friends of Tony Renna over this untimely loss."
Lewis fastest in 2nd round practice
Michael Lewis found the right line around the Isla Grande temporary
airport circuit, and turned in the fastest time during second-round
practice for the Puerto Rico Grand Prix Friday in San Juan. Lewis,
driving the No. 12 Westward Tools Car Available at Grainger, turned
1:06.179-minute lap at 87.307 miles per hour around the 1.6-mile
circuit. Rookie Bobby Sak (No. 10 Revolution Motorsports
Chevrolet Corvette) was second fastest, ahead of Wally Castro in the
No. 3 Puerto Rico Lotteries Jaguar XKR. Jorge Diaz, Jr. was third
fastest in the No. 8 Don Q Rum Jaguar XKR, followed by Tomy Drissi
(No. 5 Stuck on You, The Movie Jaguar XKR). “I think it’s just a
race to find grip,” said Lewis, who pilots one of two Jaguar XKRs
powered by a fuel-injected engine. “We found some grip, but the car is
constantly changing. The track gained some grip, and will probably
continue to gain grip. If it rains, we’ll just have to start over
again. I didn’t think the car was that great. I guess we were just not
as bad as everyone. “The track is still a little dirty,” added
Lewis. “Off line, it’s just horrible. You have to go off line to pass
anyone. But they’re working on it, and it should be fine on Sunday.”
Qualifying for the Puerto Rico Grand Prix is scheduled for tomorrow
(Saturday, Oct. 25) from 12:40 p.m. to 1:25 p.m. The Puerto Rico Grand
Prix will start at 2 p.m. AST on Sunday, Oct. 26 and will air LIVE on
SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. EST.
Pos. No. Name Make &
1 12 Michael Lewis Jaguar XKR 01:06.179
2 10 Bobby Sak(R) Chevrolet Corvette 01:06.608
3 3 Wally Castro Jaguar XKR 01:07.360
4 8 Jorge Diaz, Jr(R) Jaguar XKR 01:07.526
5 5 Tomy Drissi Jaguar XKR 01:07.662
6 23 Bob Ruman Chevrolet Corvette 01:07.802
7 49 Randy Ruhlman Chevrolet Corvette
8 72 Edison Lluch(R) Chevrolet Corvette
9 03 Luis Mendez(R) Chevrolet Camaro 01:08.132
10 86 John Baucom Jaguar XKR 01:08.395
11 88 Felix Serralles(R) Jaguar XKR 01:08.961
12 2 Don Sak Chevrolet Corvette 01:09.881
13 15 Jeff Emery Chevrolet Corvette 01:10.363
14 06 Joey Scarallo (R) Chevrolet Corvette
15 22 Axel Rivera(R) Ford Mustang 01:10.767
16 07 Claudio Burtin Ford Mustang 01:11.479
17 59 Simon Gregg Chevrolet Corvette 01:11.621
18 38 Juan Vento(R) Oldsmobile 01:12.101
19 43 George Nolte (R) Ford Mustang 01:12.366
20 45 Marvin Jones (R) Mangusta 01:12.549
21 36 Peter Rogal(R) Jaguar XKR 01:18.309
22 20 Garrett Kletjian (R) Chevrolet Corvette
23 7 Scott Pruett Jaguar XKR --:--:--.---
stays fast After
heavy overnight thunderstorms, it's a spectacular morning on the Gold
Coast of Queensland, Australia, currently 79°F/26°C under brilliant
blue skies. Provisional polesitter Bruno Junqueira kept the
pressure on, recording the fastest lap of the weekend in Saturday
morning's practice session in Surfers Paradise. Points leader
Paul Tracy was 5th fastest. In between were Adrian Fernández,
Alex Tagliani and Sébastien Bourdais. Next up is final qualifying.
Photo by Dan Boyd/LAT/CART
Johnson Control sales up
Johnson Controls Inc. (Alex Tagliani sponsor) on Wednesday
reported record quarterly earnings, fueled by new automotive interiors
business and stronger sales of commercial building systems. The
fourth-largest U.S. auto parts maker said its net income in the fiscal
fourth quarter rose to $220 million from $191 million a year ago. The
Milwaukee-based company, which is benefiting from a push by automakers to upgrade the quality of their vehicles' interiors, said its
fourth-quarter sales climbed to $6.0 billion from $5.2 billion.
Automotive sales increased 18 percent in the fourth quarter, driven by
new interior systems business including seating, instrument panels,
overhead, door and electronic components, with the weaker dollar
contributing one-third of the revenue gain. The company said a 7
percent rise in North American sales of interiors and batteries more
than offset the effect of a 5 percent decline in industry vehicle
production in the quarter. North American battery revenues fell
slightly due to lower demand for replacement batteries in the
aftermarket. Building controls group sales rose 8 percent, boosted
primarily by demand in the North American non-residential facilities
market. The company said its backlog of uncompleted contracts at the
end of the fiscal year was 6 percent higher than a year ago,
reflecting improved demand in the domestic education, health care and
government markets and higher orders in Europe. Johnson Controls last
week forecast 2004 sales would increase by 10 percent to 12 percent,
helped by new seating, interiors and electronics business.
Tecate sales up
Thanks to its participation in the CART series, which is hugely
popular in Mexico, the parent company of FEMSA reported a 3% domestic
and 9.2% growth in exports, mainly to the US, primarily from increased
sales of its Tecate and Dos Equis brands. This should help Adrian
Fernández find more funding for a 2nd Champ Car in 2004. We have
already reported it is going to happen.
10/24/03 Industry News
Pook, Johnson and Atherton on SEMA
motorsports marketing consultant Brian Turner will moderate a seminar
at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Representatives from the top US
road-racing sanctioning bodies will discuss opportunities for SEMA
members in the world of motorsports marketing. Turner will moderate a
panel, which includes CART CEO, Chris Pook, ALMS President and COO,
Scott Atherton and Steve Johnson President of SCCA.
The seminar is the first of a number of initiatives by SEMA, the
Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, to introduce association
members to opportunities in the motorsport community. In addition to
outlining their 2004 plans, the racing authorities will present a
number of successful case studies of aftermarket manufacturers and
distributors, who are already involved in sponsorship of the sport.
The presentations will be followed by a question and answer period.
The seminar will be held in Room N254 (North Hall) of the Las Vegas
Convention Center from 10:00 am-11:45 am on Tuesday Nov. 4. The
seminar is open to all Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIWi)
Jamie Rose taken out of MotoRock
business [Editor's Note, we heard rumblings from our
sources that Jamie Rose left a few unhappy people behind in Miami, and
were investigating reports of bounced checks, when this report came
out. Now it all makes sense.] According to the SPEED
Last month’s Grand Prix Americas was widely touted as a “proof of
concept” for MotoRock’s idea of synergizing “cars, stars and guitars”
such as the Kid Rock and Elton John concerts at the American Airlines
Arena adjacent to the downtown Miami street circuit.
The concerts were expected to be a preview of what is to come in the
2004 Champ Car season, should Open Wheel Racing Series LLC -- of which
MotoRock is a key component -- be successful in its bid to buy
financially strapped Championship Auto Racing Teams.
While the concept may be sound, apparently MotoRock creator Jamie
Rose’s business savvy was not. As a result, Rose’s role in MotoRock is
being, er, redefined. Henceforth, he will be responsible for the
creative side of the equation, leaving the nuts and bolts to a
businessman by the familiar name of TBA. “I wouldn’t say it was a
horror show,” said OWRS principal Kevin Kalkhoven of the MotoRock
concerts in Miami, “but it wasn’t exactly as we had planned.... “It’s
a classic start-up situation where you’ve got a highly creative guy
who’s not much of a business guy. So we’re happily continuing with
MotoRock. We’ve moved (Jamie) aside to be part of the creative group
and we’re bringing a business-guy in to run it.”
According to Kalkhoven, the “business-guy” has been selected and will
be announced in the near future. “We have identified (him),
it’ll be announced in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We’re just
going through some paperwork stuff.”
“You know me,” laughed Kalkhoven, “I’m so horribly Australian and
honest! He (Rose) screwed up the business side of it but the
concerts were great, we love it and we’re carrying on and there’s not
going to be any problems.” Kalkhoven also stressed the changes in the
MotoRock management will have no effect on the OWRS bid to acquire
CART, and that the process is continuing on track. “There’s no
change at all in anything, apart from Jamie moving sideways,” he said.
“(The proxy statement) is still under the SEC review. We’re expecting
their comments back shortly.
“Beyond that I really can’t say too much, because I’ve been out of touch
the last couple of days (flying to Australia). But I’ll tell you this
much: The organization down here in Surfers is magnificent. They’re
expecting record crowds and there’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for
Schrader on CNNUPDATE Ken Schrader's
interview with CNN is now scheduled to run at 3:45 p.m. (EDT).
It was taped today at Atlanta Motor Speedway but postponed a
few hours because of news coverage surrounding the fire in
Fontana, Calif. 10/23/03 - Ken
Schrader, driver of the 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge, is scheduled to appear
live on CNN at 11:45 a.m. (EDT) Friday, Oct. 24, from Atlanta Motor
10/24/03 Industry News
Mario Andretti to visit New
[On his way back from CART's Surfers Paradise race....]
Motorsport fans, petrol heads and celebrity spotters will get
the chance to see one of the world's greatest drivers when
Mario Andretti makes his first visit to New Zealand next week.
Caltex is proud to bring the international racing legend to
New Zealand to unveil the Caltex Havoline V8 Touring Car,
which will feature in this year's V8 National Series.
Andretti, the world champion driver who took the checkered
flag 111 times during his illustrious career will also make a
special guest appearance at Caltex Fanshawe service station,
on Fanshawe Street, opposite Victoria Park in Auckland city.
He will be there from 1-2pm on Thursday 30 October to meet
fans, answer questions and sign autographs.
Nine years since he officially retired from racing,
63-year-old Andretti is still very much involved in the world
of motorsport. He is the international spokesperson for
Havoline Motor Oils, one of the world's top-selling brands,
used by leading drivers around the world.
"Mario's active involvement in motorsport, his zest for life,
his charisma and the way he interacts with people of all ages,
interests and backgrounds, makes him the ideal face for us,"
says Nick Hannan, General Manager of Caltex Lubricants in New
Zealand. "He is one of the most well respected and
drivers in motorsport history. We're all very excited about
his arrival next week and can't wait to show him some of what
New Zealand has to offer."
Andretti's 14 year relationship with global parent company
ChevronTexaco is a top priority for him. Over the years he has
assumed the company's goals as his own and measures his
success by the degree to which his work furthers
ChevronTexaco's business objectives.
"Mario's involvement within us goes beyond just advertising
and promotional uses. Over the years, he has developed a keen
sense of how he can contribute to our company's goals and
objectives, particularly regarding the issue of safety in
motor racing," says Hannan. Caltex PR
No CART for Zonta, retains
Toyota test role
Toyota's Ricardo Zonta has agreed to remain in his role as
test and reserve driver for the Japanese manufacturer's
Formula 1 team in 2004, according to this week's AUTOSPORT
magazine. Former BAR racer Zonta joined the German-based team
at the start of this season following his championship success
in the Dallara Nissan World Series in 2002. It is likely that
he will drive the third car during the Friday free practice
sessions during grand prix weekends next year. "I did look a
little bit at CART," he said, "But the situation there appears
confused, so I think for me it is better to stay right here."
We have removed Zonta from our
2004 CART Silly Season Page.
First F3000 run for Lauda Jr.
Matthias Lauda, the son of three-time Formula 1 World Champion
Niki, enjoyed his first-ever run in a Formula 3000 car at
Imola in Italy today (Friday). The 24-year-old Austrian drove
for reigning F3000 International teams' champions Arden, and
he recorded 25 laps in damp conditions. He will test again
tomorrow, when he will be joined in Arden's ranks by Jaroslav
Janis. "I was quite impressed with Matthias today," said Arden
boss Christian Horner. "This year was his first real season of
car racing, yet he made no mistakes in difficult conditions.
It will be interesting to see how he goes tomorrow when we are
expecting better weather." Townsend Bell also drove for Arden
today, but only completed one flying lap in the rain. Durango
was the only other team present, with Yannick Schroeder.
Villeneuve will race in F1 in 04 and 05UPDATE This Pitpass
article says, It's been reported elsewhere that Craig
Pollock, in Australia for the penultimate round of the 2003
Champ Car series, is telling reporters that not only will
Jacques Villeneuve have a drive in 2005, but that he will be
testing with McLaren in 2004. Contacted by pitpass this
afternoon (Friday) the Woking outfit refused to dignify
Pollock's comments with any sort of official response,
preferring to remind us that when Ron Dennis was asked about
the possibility of Villeneuve joining his team in a recent
press conference he simply burst out laughing. McLaren already
has David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen under contract for 2004
along with test drivers Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa,
there simply isn't room for Villeneuve. Besides which, there
is absolutely no way that Ron Dennis could work with Pollock,
indeed there are very few, if any, in the pitlane that would
be willing to have the Scot on-board. And that's one of the
biggest problems facing JV. 10/24/03 - Craig Pollock confirmed to
GP2003.com at the Australian CART race today that former BAR
driver Jacques Villeneuve should be in a Formula One race seat for the
2004 season, however he was refusing to give away too much information
as to where the Canadian will actually be racing. On Thursday, Pollock
told a press conference that Villeneuve would be testing for McLaren
in 2004 and racing with an unnamed team in the 2005 season. When we
approached him at the Surfers Paradise venue. the penultimate round of
the 2003 CART series, Pollock confirmed that plans were well underway.
"Yes, that's the situation," he told us with a smile. "The main thing
is that we get him in a seat next season."
alternative to fencesUPDATE
Another reader responds, Dear AR1, Just to pass along, I'm
pretty sure that bulletproof glass would be cost prohibitive.
A Boeing 767 front windshield which is approx 3" thick and
approx 2.5' tall and 3' wide costs in the neighborhood of
$42,000. This is high velocity material and we're talking about
race cars not hockey. Perhaps in the future I'm sure something
will be invented by the aerospace industry and they'll be the
first to use it. Until then the IRL should limit HP to 500
max. or say enough is enough and shut down. Tina Erstad10/24/03 - A reader writes, The
excitement of open wheel racing has always included the
dreaded 'touching of wheels' that launches a car. In light of
the recent incidents (My condolences to Tony Renna's fiancée,
family and friends and God-speed to you Tony. Also best wishes
on a healthy recovery to Kenny Brack) there has been every
type of lashing out at the open wheel series (some of it is
quite justly due) at needing to make adjustments. I
believe that the upper limits of reasonable speed have been
found and I think everyone- Car owners, drivers, series
officials, designers and engineers, and the fans- is accepting
and cognizant of this point. It appears that Tony Renna's
accident much like Mario Andretti's back in May signals an
urgent need to find a method of foiling the air that gets
underneath these cars in order to keep them grounded. There
are many intelligent, creative and resourceful people in this
world so there is no excuse for failing in this task. My
greatest personal concern involves what we call "the catch
fence". These primitive forms of constraint are nothing short
of a shredding device. Most people fail to note or reference
one of the most vicious events in our recent racing history
involving the 'catch fence' as Geoff Bodine's wreck at
Daytona. This to me is the defining incident. If
something should be altered to improve safety at the track, it
is this fence element. My solution (though I am not an
engineer nor do I have the resources to test this theory,
(believe me if I could I would) is to implement the use of
"bullet proof glass" in some form of construction that mounts
to existing catch fence structures between eight and twelve
feet above current retaining walls. The existing catch fencing
would lend resistive support to the glass panel. Yes, these
open wheel cars weigh +/-1500 pounds but they also do not get
up into these upper fence regions at the full 200mph ranges.
They are glancing blows so to speak. The cars would fall back
to the track without getting torn apart by the fencing and
debris would be greatly prohibited from getting into spectator
areas. Tear offs could be employed to help maintain the panels
clarity over time. This panel system could potentially be
portable to fit each racing venue. It is just my idea,
but I believe Tony might still be with us if this type of
system existed in turn three at IMS. Gary J. Bouchard
Los Angeles Ca.
Queensland officials confident
in CART's future
article says, Late yesterday, Queensland Government
and Gold Coast Indy officials met representatives of a
high-powered US consortium which has stepped in to rescue the
sport's governing body, Championship Auto Racing Teams.
The consortium, involving billionaire race team owners Gerry
Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven, has moved to
buy the financially crippled CART.......Earlier this year,
CART signed a new five-year deal with the State Government and
sports marketers the International Management Group, which
jointly own the Gold Coast Indy. But CART hit the skids soon
after, throwing the future of the event into doubt.
After meeting Mr. Gentilozzi and Mr. Kalkhoven yesterday, Sports
Minister Terry Mackenroth said he was confident the Indy would
continue on the streets of Surfers until at least 2008. He
said the businessman had described the Gold Coast Indy as "the
best motor racing event in the world". "I think we're
looking very strong," Mr. Mackenroth said. "The new
company which is moving to take over CART is looking to create
a great future for the Indy car race. They're substantial
people and they describe this race as the jewel in the crown
of their series."
Indy drivers said they were confident the CART bail-out would
go ahead and Indy's future would be assured. "This is one of
the key events of our series," said Canadian driver Paul
Tracy, who has family on the Gold Coast and acts as an
international ambassador for the Surfers Paradise race. "It's
a great race and everyone really loves coming down here."
Vasser thinks Champ Cars are
In Australia, Jimmy Vasser was quoted in this
article, essentially saying he stands by the safety of
the current Champ Cars, over the IRL cars. - Jimmy
Vasser yesterday defended the safety of Champ Cars following
the death of driver Tony Renna in the rival Indy Racing League
at Indianapolis. Renna, a 26-year-old American, was killed
during a tire test session when his car slammed into the outer
concrete wall at the track yesterday. Vasser, a top chance in
the Lexmark Indy 300 at the Gold Coast this weekend, indicated
that Champ Cars were built to strict safety standards and went
through stringent wind tunnel testing. The Champ Cars, while
similar to IRL cars which race exclusively in the US (except
for Motegi, Japan) on oval
tracks, are aerodynamically designed to reduce the possibility
of the cars lifting and taking flight in a high-speed
accident. "The IRL cars are flat bottom cars and while I
haven't seen the accident at Indianapolis I believe it took
off in the air," Vasser said. "Our Champ Cars go through all
sorts of tests so that they don't take off. But really that's
not the issue right now. It's a terrible thing that's happened
and I just want to offer my condolences to Tony's family."
Hornish changes helmet colors
Penske racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. sports his new helmet
Photos by Ron McQueeney/IMS
Lavín never turns a wheel in
A gear selection problem in the first two laps of Friday
morning’s first practice session resulted in gearbox damage to
the #5 Corona car. CART’s rules regarding the restricted use
of the back-up car eliminated the team’s option to switch cars
as the primary #5 machine was repairable; however time was
insufficient to fix the gearbox. As a result Lavín only turned
two laps during the morning sessions. The Corona crew did
change the complete gearbox assembly to eliminate any doubt in
the reliability of the gearbox in time for the qualifying
warm-up session. Lavín circled the track just two laps during
the short session to insure the gearbox functioned properly.
As Lavín did not have enough time to learn the circuit, the #5
car did not take to the track during qualifying as to not
interfere with others’ qualifying efforts. “It’s a
disappointing way to start the weekend, but I think we made
the right decision. I simply did not have enough laps to learn
the track. I don’t know the braking zones, the apexes or how
the car was going to handle. Rather than try to learn the
track during qualifying, hopefully the car will be OK
mechanically and we can start fresh tomorrow.”
Blunt force killed Renna
This Indy Star
article says, Race car driver Tony Renna could not have
survived his crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, based on
information released Thursday by the Marion County coroner's office
and the Indy Racing League. Renna, 26, died Wednesday morning of blunt
force injuries to his head and chest, coroner John McGoff said. The
injuries occurred when Renna's cockpit split open on contact
with the fence in turn three, IRL spokesman John Griffin
confirmed. Griffin said it was "impossible to describe"
the extensive damage done to the tub of the G Force chassis
prepared by Indianapolis-based Ganassi Racing. "And you could
never imagine it," he said.
Griffin said the IRL will not begin its investigation of the crash
until next week because so many key officials are in Orlando, Fla.,
preparing for the league's season-ending banquet Saturday night at
Walt Disney World. The IRL decided Thursday to continue with its
awards ceremony at the request of Renna's family, which wanted fellow
Ganassi driver Scott Dixon honored for winning his first league
championship. "Scott deserves his time in the spotlight, as much
of a spotlight as he can have under the circumstances," said Mark
Coughlin, Renna's manager. "We know this is tough on Scott, too, but
that's what Tony would have wanted."
A public memorial service for Renna, an Indianapolis resident since
last winter, will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at St. John's Catholic
Church, 126 W. Georgia St. A visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Sunday
at Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Home, 1305 E. Broad Ripple Ave.
The Renna family will have a private burial, Coughlin said.
McGoff said an autopsy will be done and results released in the next
six weeks only to Renna's family, per code. McGoff compared the crash
to the horrific fence-climbing ride that Kenny Brack took at Texas
Motor Speedway on Oct. 12.
McGoff said Renna's car got into the fence above the 4-foot-high wall
"and disintegrated." "You can imagine going 220 mph into a
fence," McGoff said. "It's almost like (being) in a plane crash with
those kind of injuries."
Griffin said Renna's car and the debris are being stored in the
league's office across the street from the Speedway. Ganassi Racing
managing director Mike Hull said the team does not know what caused
the accident because it has not had access to its onboard computer.
"We weren't able to download any information from it," he said.
Most of Renna's family arrived in Indianapolis late Wednesday.
Coughlin said the reality of the situation was only being absorbed
Thursday afternoon. "It's one of those things that's always in
back of everybody's minds," he said of fatalities. "Yesterday was a
shock; it's sinking in today."
Hull spent several hours with the family Wednesday night at Methodist
Hospital. He said Joe Renna told him the IRL's show, and life, must go
"If you'd spend a few minutes with Tony's dad, you'd be inspired by
him," Hull said. "He said something like, 'You know we're a racing
family and we want you to continue to do the things that you do best.
That's what Tony would do.' "That meant a lot to us."
Ganassi's team, which has won five series championships since 1996,
had never lost a driver in a crash. That's part of what makes this
situation more difficult, Hull said. "Our (drivers) crash from
time to time, and we just expect them to come back to drive the car,"
he said. "We never expect them not to come back. We never expect this
kind of reality." Contributions to the Tony Renna Memorial Fund,
which will benefit Cure Autism Now, can be made through the mail at
9201 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 204, Beverly Hills, Calif., 90210.
Friday attendance at Surfers 60,874
Brazil's Champ Car star Bruno Junqueira and V8 Supercar champion Mark
Skaife dominated their respective qualifying sessions in front of a
record day two crowd of 60,874. Friday saw 53,287 come
through the gates. Today's crowd of 60,874 took the two-day
total to 114,161 well on track to eclipse the 300,000 mark over the
***Reader Question***Why are IRL cars
getting airborne? Two readers (both named Shaw) write, Dear
AR1, I have been a race fan since I could talk. I attend
5-6 CART races, 1 F1 race, and 1 IRL race (the Indy 500) every year.
The last few weeks the IRL have raised some questions in my mind about
the safety of even the spectators. The drivers I understand they take
that risk every time they strap in, no matter which series they drive
for. Thankfully, the last two crashes in the IRL have both occurred
without any spectators in the stands. What would have been said today
if there were. I want to know what the IRL is going to do about both
the safety of the drivers and the fans. It is only a matter of time. I
want to wish the family of Tony Renna my condolences. Keep up the good
work on your site. Tim Shaw, Naperville, IL Another
writes, It is sad that the IRL and its team owners refuse to
recognize the inherent danger of this form of racing. I am sad for
Tony's family. The question I have is why do these cars seems to be so
susceptible to getting airborne? I have never, in all my years of
watching open wheel racing, seen a series that has its cars constantly
flying through the air. Mario got pretty high on his crash. What's the
deal? James Shaw Dear James, There are several theories.
Remember the Rutherford Pennzoil Car taking flight at Phoenix years
ago? It's not a new phenomenon. The fact of the matter is
that once air gets under an Indy Car, it's like a sail in the wind.
CART Champ Cars have underbody tunnels that help keep them on the
ground. The IRL car is pretty much flat bottomed (bad idea on
high speed ovals) and rely on huge wings for their downforce.
Because the wings are so big, when air gets under them, the car takes
off like a fighter jet with its afterburners ablaze. Couple that
with the fact that, because of the high downforce, the IRL cars have
very high turn speeds. Since most accidents happen in the turns,
the crashes are that much more violent. This is why when we hear
rumors of possible commonality between Indy Cars and Champ Cars we
cringe. The Champ Car is superior in every aspect, and if CART
were to agree to dumb down its cars to that of an Indy Car, it would
be a huge mistake. A Champ Car is already suitable for all
circuits (chassis, brakes, suspension, engine and transmission), and
so there is absolutely no reason for a Champ Car to take a big step
backward. If the two series want to merge in the future, it's
the Indy Car that must morph into a Champ Car, not the other way
around. Mark C.
Scott Riggs to drive the #10 MBV
Motorsports announced today that Scott Riggs has signed a multi-year
agreement to drive the #10 Valvoline Pontiac in the NASCAR Nextel Cup
Series, beginning with the 2004 season-opening Daytona 500. The
announcement was made by James Rocco, designated team owner and senior
vice president of The Valvoline Company. Riggs replaces Johnny Benson,
who will complete the 2003 season in the #10 car. "Johnny Benson is a
tough, talented driver with a lot of heart," said Rocco. "He gave the
team its first win and is a good ambassador for Valvoline Racing. We
wish him the best. Scott Riggs is a winner," Rocco said. "He is a
hard-charger who has excelled in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and
the NASCAR Busch Series. He has the talent to compete at the NASCAR
Nextel Cup level and continue Valvoline's winning legacy. I've been
blessed to have had some great rides in my racing career and some
great people helping me along the way," Riggs said. "I explored
several excellent NASCAR Nextel Cup opportunities as well as offers to
remain in the Busch Series and I decided the Valvoline Pontiac was the
best place for me to be at this stage of my career. I appreciate the
confidence Valvoline and MBV Motorsports have placed in me," Riggs
explained. "I'm going to work with the team to get everything I can
out of the cars and hope to reward them with some wins."
2nd practice in
Australia Mexican Adrian Fernández topped the timing
charts in the 2nd practice session for the Champ Cars down under.
His lap of 1:34.836 sec was 2.5 seconds faster than Paul Tracy's time
set in the first session. As the track gets rubbered in, the
times are tumbling. Alex Tagliani posted the second best time
with his final lap
the session, a 1:35.136 (105.764mph). Oriol Servia was third fastest
at 1:35.366 (105.509mph), with Bruno Junqueira fourth quick at
1:35.730 (105.108mph). Rookie Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top
five at 1:36.037 (104.649mph), just ahead of Paul Tracy who set a time
of 1:36.150 (104.649) despite only doing three laps in the session.
"The car was quick right out of the box, and we set our fastest lap of
the first session very early,'' said points leader Tracy. ''The track
was three seconds faster and again I posted my fastest time on lap
three. Unfortunately, I hit the cement wall on the following circuit
coming out of turn 2, and damaged the left front suspension. It's
disappointing, but the team will be able to fix it up in time for
qualifying, even though there is a lot of work to do.'' Next up
- first round qualifying.
Tracy leads opening practice in
Australia Paul Tracy led opening practice for Sunday's
CART race in Surfers Paradise, Australia. Tracy turned a lap of
1:37.283 sec to nip Bruno Junqueira at 1:37.986 sec. Adrian
Fernández was third.
10/23/03 Industry News
Homestead-Miami construction complete
The most technologically advanced track reconfiguration project in the
history of motorsports is now complete. The reconfiguration of
Homestead-Miami Speedway with 20-degree, variable banking in the turns
as well as the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier was
completed Thursday. The NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway, designed through
advanced computer technology never before available to build a
racetrack, becomes the first high-banked racetrack to have the SAFER
Barrier on its turns.
The NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway will officially open with a
ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 am on Saturday, Oct. 25. Following the
ceremony, race fans will actually be the first to drive on the new
Speedway during Fans First Weekend, Oct. 25-26. The racing debut of
the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway will be at the 2003 Ford Championship
Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and
Craftsman Truck Series, Nov. 13-16.
"We're thrilled to announce the completion of the NEW Homestead-Miami
Speedway with its computer-designed, 20-degree variable banking and
the SAFER barrier," said Speedway President Curtis Gray. "Race fans
have some very unique opportunities in the next couple weeks beginning
with Fans First and culminating in November with Ford Championship
The Homestead-Miami Speedway track reconfiguration project, with costs
in excess of $10 million, involved increasing the track's banking to a
maximum of 20 degrees in the turns through an innovative
variable-degree banking system. With the variable banking system, the
degree of banking increases progressively from the bottom to the top
of each turn. At the midpoint of each turn, there is 18 degrees
banking at the bottom, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the
top. The variable banking system is designed to create three
competitive racing grooves around the track.
Surfers schedule (all times Eastern)
2.795 mile street
Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
Schedule (all times ET)
Practice 1 Oct 23 8:00 pm
Practice 2 Oct 23 9:40 pm
Practice 3 Oct 24 1:00 am
Qualifying 1 Oct 24 1:20 am
Practice 4 Oct 24 8:00 pm
Practice 5 Oct 24 11:45 pm
Qualifying 2 Oct 25 12:05 am (Live on SPEED Channel)
Warm-Up Oct 25 8:45 pm
Race Oct 26 12:35 am (Live on SPEED Channel)
Spectators are at risk on ovals [Editor's
Note: This article sums up the danger of racing open wheel Indy Cars
on high speed ovals, not only to the drivers, but to the spectators.
It underscores why AR1 has long maintained that CART should focus on
being the premier road racing series in North America.] This
article says, Reality is this: Indy cars aren't supposed to
fly. Not like Mario Andretti did last April at the Speedway and
not like Renna, who sailed over his main chance for survival -- the
revolutionary SAFER Barrier at IMS -- before being killed. Kenny
Brack's spectacular flip two weeks ago at Texas was different because
he ran over another competitor's wheel, much like Helio Castroneves
did earlier this season at Richmond, Va.
Still, as cruel as it was for Renna and as awful as it was for Brack,
one of the most troubling aspects of these accidents is the impending
danger for spectators -- who don't typically go to races with the
knowledge that maybe they could be killed.
Violent crashes and
flying cars like this one in Atlanta in 2001 are not uncommon for the IRL
Open wheel racing on superspeedways,
specifically the Indy Racing League brand, has become a ticking time
bomb for the paying customers and that's totally unacceptable for fans
to be at such high risk. True, nothing has happened since 1998
when flying debris from crashes killed three spectators at an IRL race
in Charlotte and three more fans at a CART race in Michigan.
However, luck and timing may be the only things preventing more
calamity this year in the all-oval IRL.
Andretti's aerial act, caused when he ran over a small piece of
debris, set an IMS altitude record as his car took off like an
airplane. Fortunately for the 63-year-old legend, the top of the catch
fence knocked him back onto the track and he landed rightside up with
only a minor cut.
Fortunately for the Speedway, it wasn't qualifying or race day, and
the south chute grandstand was empty when it was showered with pieces
of carbon fiber bodywork from Andretti's car. Bottom line? He was only
a couple feet from landing in the South Vista and nobody wants to
envision that during May.
Brack's frightening flight, which ripped his car apart and left the
37-year-old veteran with a broken back, sternum, right leg and two
fractured ankles, came during the closing stages of the IRL finale but
luckily took place on the backstretch where there were no spectators.
The fence was destroyed and there was a report his gearbox and
right-rear suspension made it into those empty seats at Texas Motor
The aftermath of Renna's devastating ride was captured by local
television helicopters and showed how the IMS catch fence, the
strongest in all of motorsports, had been decimated. Debris made it to
the grandstand walkway in the North Vista, which of course wasn't
occupied on this private test day. Track officials are denying that
any major pieces made it through the fence.
It certainly appears the IRL cars have a problem when air gets under
the nose on flat tracks like Indy. In order to get maximum performance
on Indy's long straightaways, the front of the car is raised
noticeably to reduce the drag. IRL rules mandate high downforce, which
also creates high drag, so raising the nose reduces this drag and
increases straightaway speed.
As for the 1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals, where the cars are packed
together at more than 215 mph, the big fear is that contact like Brack
and Tomas Scheckter had at Texas will catapult a car over the fence
and into the crowd.
Which is not to say there's any less trepidation when CART races at
California Speedway next month. It's the lone American superspeedway
left on the Champ Car schedule, but drivers and teams always hold
their breath at the oval which claimed Greg Moore in a 1999 crash.
The fans cannot be in the line of fire like they are now and it's only
going to take one catastrophe, like 1955 when a car cartwheeled into
the crowd at Le Mans and killed 83, to shut everything down.
After the Le Mans catastrophe -- where driver Pierre Levegh also died
after catapulting into the fans -- the Swiss government was so
horrified by what happened in France that it banned auto racing
completely, and there has not been a Switzerland Grand Prix held in
that country since.
Some IRL officials act like any criticism directed toward them is
unfounded, despite the fact their series has seen 77 drivers suffer
significant injuries -- including two fatalities -- in an 87-race span
since 1996. But their arrogance can't blind the view and what they
should have seen this season is way too many near disasters and now, a
The fact is that Indy cars must be slowed down drastically because
nobody cares about track records anymore and qualifying is a non-event
everywhere. The IRL can put on a good show at 40 mph less than it's
running today and it's also a good opportunity to reduce aerodynamics
to make the cars more challenging, if not safer, to drive.
Drivers should be steering race cars, not rockets. We've got
Cape Canaveral for launches, not the famous track at 16th &
More signs of F3000 trouble Team
Astromega, the outfit that helped Formula 1 ace Fernando
Alonso make his name in Formula 3000, is quitting the
category, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. The
Belgian squad, which is owned by former racer Mikke van Hool,
has struggled to field two cars in the series this year
because of a lack of drivers with full budgets. "For Astromega
there will be no F3000 unless something really dramatic
happens," said team manager Sam Boyle. "The team is actively
looking for a buyer for the cars. There are one or two
contacts." Boyle and two of the team's mechanics have already
joined the new German outfit that is being set up by Formula
Renault team boss Marian Hamprecht, who has bought the cars
and equipment from another defunct F3000 squad, Den Bla Avis.
Indy doctors happy with Brack's
progress Injured IRL IndyCar Series driver
Kenny Brack was moved from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis
to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana Thursday. On
Tuesday, Brack was evaluated by Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr.
Kevin Scheid after his arrival to Methodist Hospital.
Brack, the 1998 IRL champion and 1999 Indy 500 winner, remains
in satisfactory condition and will begin a rehabilitation
program for his injuries sustained in the Oct. 12 Chevy 500
IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, said Dr. Scheid.
Brack, driver of the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Honda Dallara
for Team Rahal, suffered a variety of injuries including a
fractured right femur, a fractured sternum, a fractured lumbar
(L-3) vertebrae and fractures to both ankles. Brack had
surgery on Oct. 12 (femur and ankles) and Oct. 13 (vertebrae)
at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital.
"I'm starting to feel better each day," said Brack, the Sweden
native who lives in Upper Arlington, Ohio. "I feel good about
going to the rehab center now. I know the rehab will be a long
process but I plan to work hard and get back to my old self."
Brack and Team Rahal released a statement on the death of
driver Tony Renna: "I would like to send my deepest sympathies
to his fiancée Deb, Tony's family, friends and to the Target
Chip Ganassi Racing Team," said Brack. "Tony was an up and
coming star in the IndyCar Series and it is a shame to lose
such a talent. He will be greatly missed." "Team Rahal is
saddened by the loss of Tony Renna and we send our prayers and
support to his family, friends, fans and racing team," said
Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Team Rahal. "Tony was a bright, young
racer with a tremendous future in motor racing. We will miss
him." Team Rahal
A sad reminder of the real risk
involved Following the death of Tony Renna
Wednesday, this Indy Star
article talks about the risks involved in motorsports.
What the article fails to mention is the fact that the rate of
injury in the IRL is far higher than any other top auto racing
series in the world (see related article)
leading one to conclude that the entire series needs a major
re-think. Although Wednesday's accident occurred without
anyone around Renna, the overwhelming majority of accidents
in the IRL are caused because the sanctioning body has
artificially created close racing with 100% throttle,
rev-limited, high-downforce race cars. Much like
restrictor plate racing in NASCAR, the cars run in packs,
wide-open. Wheel-to-wheel at high speeds with cars that
have fenders is one thing, but wheel-to-wheel, rubber
tire-to-rubber tire racing in open wheel cars, where the
slightest touch means an almost certain major crash, is
nothing short of pure lunacy. Every team owner in the
IRL knows the grim statistics, as do the drivers, and they
must live each day knowing the possible consequences, not only
the driver injury, but the massive amount of destroyed race
cars, which has made racing in the IRL an extremely expensive
New tires for 2004 Goodyear
plans to produce an entirely new line of tires for the 2004
season, company officials revealed Tuesday, in response to
NASCAR's trim of the rear spoilers on the cars. The intent of
the new car spec is to reduce reliance on aerodynamic grip and
increase the utility of mechanical grip, thus, in theory,
putting the racing more in control of drivers and teams.
NASCAR and Goodyear have worked closely on the project since
early this year. There had been speculation that Goodyear
could accommodate most of the change by shuffling some of its
current tire codes, but Rick Campbell, Goodyear's lead
engineer in NASCAR, said the company will offer a clean sweep
of the D-codes, which designate left- and right-side tires at
each race. The changes are not major in most cases, Campbell
said, with recompounding in most cases to produce a softer,
grippier tire. For the past three seasons, in response to
immense aerodynamic downforce developed by teams and
manufacturers, Goodyear had hardened the tires until they had
virtually no give-up at all. The change offered by NASCAR is a
3/4-inch reduction of the rear spoiler height. NASCAR
estimates that the change could take away 75 to 100 pounds of
rear downforce, which the teams likely will recover in time.
NASCAR says it will consider further cuts. The main change for
Goodyear will be in its left-side sets. That, Campbell said,
will help with the loose feel in the cars as a result of
diminished rear downforce. However, he added, "We will not
carry over one single code into next year. This is a new
construction package that's been under development the last
year or so," Campbell explained. "It gives a driver a very
progressive, very easy to drive kind of feel, not a knife-edge
situation where you're constantly jumping back and forth
between loose and tight." The first group of the new tires
will be tested on the new surface at Homestead, Fla., next
Tuesday and Wednesday, likely with teams not involved in the
points race. If all goes as planned, the new tires will be
used in the Homestead races Nov. 14-16.
CART Stars karting race at Fontana
The 2003 Snap-on.com Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER
Magazine national karting series comes to a dramatic conclusion on
Nov. 1-2 at California Speedway as part of the Champ Car racing
finale. The “Stars Karting Championships” will bring some 200 young
racers to the infield of the popular racing facility as part of the
final event on the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series
powered by Ford. These gifted young drivers will be battling on a
specially prepared seven-tenths of a mile circuit on the parking
portion of the California Speedway infield with champions being
crowned in the ICC (125 cc Shifter), ICA (100cc direct drive), 80cc
Junior Shifter, Junior Super Can (100cc Clutch), Senior Class of Rotax
(125cc Clutch) and the Grand Products Cadet divisions. Youngsters
seeking to become the next Paul Tracy or even A.J. Allmendinger will
converge on California Speedway starting with practice on Thursday
(Oct. 30) followed by qualifications on Friday (Oct. 31), racing on
Saturday (Nov. 1) and ICC and ICA main events set for Sunday morning
(Nov. 2) prior to the 500-mile Champ Car race. Sunday’s features will
be at 10 a.m. for the ICA main and 10:40 a.m. for the ICC finale. “We
are expecting one of the finest fields in Stars history at California
Speedway,” said Bobby Rahal, the three-time Champ Car champion and
principal of the Stars of Tomorrow. “The racing in this championship
will be fierce and some of the best wheel-to-wheel action seen all
year in North American racing. Fans will get to see the future North
American motor racing stars up close in this event. Plus there is a
lot of racing awards and scholarships up for grabs as well as national
titles in the Stars Championships.” The Champ Car 'Stars
of Tomorrow' presenting by RACER karting series is the official first
level in CART's driver development system and an officially sanctioned
series of WKA/SCCA Pro Racing. Founded by racing star Bryan Herta and
now owned in conjunction with a group of racing veterans, including
three-time CART champion and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, the Stars of
Tomorrow serves as the first step for the CART driver development
Thursday attendance at Surfers 53,287
If today's record day one crowd figure of 53,287 is anything to go by,
the Lexmark Indy 300 will surpass all expectations as organizers gear
up for a Spring-time sizzler on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Although the Champ Cars don't take to the track until Friday, there
was no shortage of on-track excitement to keep the crowds attention
throughout the day Thursday and many drivers were able to master the
4.47 km circuit and collect early honors in the support classes.
Peter Brock showed his well-mastered wares once again to reign supreme
in Nations Cup, collecting checkered flag honors ahead of Paul Stokell
and Peter Hackett. Grant Denyer turned in a comprehensive performance
to edge himself ahead of Glen Barnes and Damien White in Kanga Loaders
V8 BRutes, while Wayne Boatwright, Peter Floyd and John Falk filled
the podium on GT Performance. A drama packed Carrera Cup opening race
saw another of the veteran drivers stand tall as Jim Richards took top
spot ahead of Charlie O'Brien and Marcus Marshall. Today's crowd
figure of 53,287 was up from the previous record day one crowd set
last year of 53,096 with more set to stream through the gates
Salo does not miss Formula One Former Toyota, Sauber
and Ferrari driver Mika Salo doesn't miss Formula One, the Finn
reported as he landed for this weekend's Indy 300 in Australia.
In Sydney prior to the Champ Car race on the Gold Coast, 36-year-old
Salo likened the grand prix grind to a bird being trapped in a cage.
He told the country's Daily Telegraph: 'In Formula One last year I
spent just 20 days at home.'
But too young to retire, Mika accepted an offer mid-season by Kevin
Kalkhoven and ex-BAR boss Craig Pollock to change into Champ Car
(CART) overalls. Salo might have crashed out of his first race
in Denver, but he finished third in Miami and fifth in Mexico.
Furthermore, the affable Finn will likely race full-time in the series
next year and re-locate his family from Switzerland to the United
Salo said he was enjoying Champ Car racing more than he expected
because everyone on the grid 'has a chance' of victory. 'In F1,'
he said, 'probably only three teams, probably only four drivers and
probably only one combination can actually win on any one day.'
In contrast, he said 'there is no [predetermined] destiny' in the CART
series. See related
Production starts on Petty movie According
to this AP article,
Director Callie Khouri says preproduction is well under way for a
movie telling the story of NASCAR's Petty family. Lee Petty was
a pioneer in the stock car sport, while his son, Richard, became a
seven-time champion and the sport's greatest driver; his grandson,
Kyle, is a longtime driving star; and grandson Adam was well on the
way to stardom before being killed in a crash in 2000.
Khouri was at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. She called the Petty
saga ``a very emotional story.'' She says they'll have all four generations
of Pettys in the script. Khouri, a longtime screenwriter, won an
Academy Award for her original screenplay ``Thelma and Louise'' in
1991. She made her debut as a director last year in ``Divine Secrets
of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.'' The still untitled Petty family
movie, which will be made by Walt Disney Studios, is scheduled to star
Dennis Quaid as Richard Petty. Khouri said the next steps will be to
complete casting and select locations for shooting. She said the
movie could be released as early as February 2005.
NASCAR news tidbits Tony Stewart,
Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield and Christian Fittipaldi
are scheduled to appear on the game show "Pyramid" next month. The
show, hosted by Donny Osmond, will match the drivers with regular
contestants. The NASCAR-themed shows are scheduled to be aired Nov.
10-14 in national syndication. ........Robert Underwood probably never
figured he could take the place of nationally-known comedian Carrot
Top. But the native of South Elgin, Ill., located just outside of
Chicago, will do just that this weekend at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor
Speedway. His face will adorn the hood of the #49 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge
of driver Ken Schrader and his BAM Racing team. Underwood won a
nationwide consumer promotion by 1 800 CALL ATT, and will have his
face on the hood of the car where Carrot Top's has been. Underwood
will also be at the NASCAR Winston Cup race this weekend as guest of 1
800 CALL ATT and BAM Racing. "This is probably going to be
culture shock for Mr. Underwood," laughed Schrader, who is coming off
a top-10 run this past weekend at Martinsville, Va., that was
sidetracked only with tire problems right at the end of the race. He
is going to be at the fastest speedway in our series with his face of
the hood of a car going almost 200 miles per hour," Schrader said.
"We're going to have to do everything we can to make sure he gets a
good ride on this 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge." The winner was chosen
at random last week from amongst the hundreds of thousands of callers
who placed collect calls using 1 800 CALL ATT during the promotion,
which began right after Labor Day. "Atlanta makes a lot more
sense than, say, Martinsville for using Mr. Underwood's photo on the
car," Schrader said. "At Martinsville, a lot of hoods look pretty used
up at the end of the day. Have a good day at Atlanta and we can wipe
the hood down and he will look good as new. Well, we might have to
wipe a few bugs out of his teeth or something. We're going to give Mr.
Underwood's likeness the best ride we can, and we're pretty excited
about what we can do at Atlanta," Schrader said. "But no matter what,
he is going to have the time of his life." (Editor's Note:
anything would be better than having to see Carrot Top on that
car).......Almost two weeks ago, the Third Annual Joe Gibbs Racing
Fall Fan Fest took place at the home of Joe Gibbs Racing in
Huntersville. What started as a simple way to give back to the
community has turned into a true festival that has grown beyond
anyone's imagination. With a crowd estimated at close to 5,000, the
Fan Fest was by far the largest yet. With race fans camping out in
front of the shop since four o'clock in the morning on the day of the
Fan Fest, their enthusiasm was as clear as the Carolina blue sky.
There were numerous activities both inside and outside the race shop
to keep everyone occupied, however the main attraction of the day was
of course the autograph sessions by Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and
Joe Gibbs, as well as Coy Gibbs, Mike Bliss and Kyle Petty, who was
also on hand with his wife Patty to accept a donation on behalf of the
Victory Junction Gang Camp. "When we started this Fan Fest three years
ago, we wanted to create a way for our team, drivers, and sponsors to
say "thank you" to our fans," explained Dave Alpern, Vice President of
Marketing for Joe Gibbs Racing. "In the process, we decided it should
all revolve around kids' charities. It's overwhelming to see how the
community has rallied around this, and to think of how many toys we
collected and how much money will go to Victory Junction, just makes
you smile. Racing is great and all, but it's helping others that
really makes a difference." And make a difference they have. The
2003 version of the Fan Fest raised a total of $25,791.25 for Victory
Junction Gang Camp and Toys for Tots. In addition, 805 toys were
donated by race fans that will eventually be distributed to various
charities throughout the greater Charlotte area.
Reader letters on Tony Renna accident [Editor's
Note: These letters are an outpouring of emotion regarding the
death of Tony Renna and the concern they have for the future
of the sport. This is a democratization of opinion from
those who are concerned about the future of the sport (Indy
car racing - both CART and IRL) because the sport is in danger
if the trend continues. Some of it may be perceived as
anti-IRL . Certainly many who wrote in are bitter about
the creation of the IRL and have jumped on this opportunity to
badmouth the IRL when they are down. We have been accused of
using this opportunity to bash the IRL as well. The
bottom line - we stand by the facts, all the injuries in the
IRL is an important issue that must be addressed, especially
now that debris is entering spectator areas. We have
already witnessed the tragedy at Michigan and Charlotte.
This can't continue. AR1 will continue to stand up for
the safety of the drivers and spectators.]
had the pleasure of having worked with Tony while he lived in Las
Vegas. During that time he impressed me with his devotion, focus, and
tenacity at which he approached the goals he wished to achieve in his
career and his personal life. As of October 22, 2003 he had
accomplished at the age of 26 what most could only wish to in a
lifetime. His new ride with Ganassi was indeed his shot at proving
just what he could do. I thank Chip Ganassi for giving him the
opportunity of a lifetime as I know Tony was extremely excited and
looking forward to the 2004 season. Tony passed on doing exactly what
he loved to do, driving racecars as hard as he could. His passion and
enthusiasm touched the lives of many and was a contagious motivator.
From all of us in the Las Vegas motorsport community, I wish his
fiancée' Debbie Savini, his family, and those who were close to him
the deepest of condolences. Open wheel racing has lost a true shining
star. I will truly miss him. Ernie Beckwith Las Vegas, NV
AR1.Com, We all knew this was going to happen eventually. It was not a
matter of “if” but “when.” The history of the IRL is littered with
injuries and far too many close calls. It’s befitting this occurred on
Mr. George’s property. This will be a perpetual reminder to The *
Grandson of the pure folly that is the IRL and the price that so many
have paid to further “his vision.” A senseless tragedy. I’m sure
I speak for all who love this sport in extending my deepest sympathies
to Tony’s loved ones. Most Respectfully, J.N. Anderson, Chicago,
With today's loss of Tony Renna and the several other airborne IRL
cars this year (Mario Andretti and Kenny Brack to name two others) I
am wondering if there is some problem with the IRL chassis
aerodynamics and high speeds? In the past, the only time that a car
went airborne was when wheels touched. I don't know if this is a
coincidence or a major problem? Mike Seidenman Dear Mike, the
IRL cars run very high downforce, which means the turn speeds are very
high. When they crash, they crash at very high speeds and the results
are devastating. Mark C.
I grew up in DeLand and used to go to Gators sports bar that Tony's
parents are owners of. There was always posters and racing items
on the wall on the way to the rest rooms with Michael Andretti as the
most noticeable. Tony always wanted to race in the CART series
and I was so sorry to see him take the IRL route. I knew all
along that this wasn't what he wanted. Now look what happened.
Tony George's statement was a bunch of monotone what am I supposed to
say BS. This series needs to be shut down right away. Doug
Dear AR1, I understand that details of the crash are still
forthcoming, however I have to question one safety aspect of the
Speedway. As the story is right now, Tony's car got airborne, hit the
wall then hit the catch fence, a crash not unlike Greg Moore's. If
it's true that he hit the wall first, what happened to the SAFER
barrier? Did the SAFER barrier cause the car to flip into the fence,
or was the SAFER barrier not installed at the point of impact? I would
imagine that the SAFER barrier would have absorbed the energy of the
car greatly reducing the force with which the car then hit the fence.
This post is not meant as a political jab at the IRL and the Speedway,
as Tony's loss is a great loss to motorsports. Thanks. J.
Gonzalez, San Dimas, CA Sorry we do not have enough evidence to
comment. Mark C.
Dear AR1, We all saw something like this happening sooner than later
in the IRL. It is sad that Anton George's only interest is the "Show"
and total negligence in reviewing and fixing what is wrong with his
car/engine formula, claimed the life of one of his drivers. The
warning went out twice and he did nothing. Now that the bullet found
its target I would expect the IRL to come to a halt and do a deep
analysis on what happened and I would expect Anton George to speak to
the racing community and say that a full investigation would be
conducted and strict measures would be taken ASAP to avoid this kind
of accident in the future. Unfortunately I don't see him doing that.
All I can hope is for the IRL current drivers to review their
contracts and try to get out of that carnage alive and in one piece.
Regards Roberto Reyes
One more thought on the Tony Renna accident. I live about an hour from
Indy. My computer right now reads 48 degrees. I know it can be cold in
May when the 500 is run, but why would they be testing tires on a fast
flat track in this temperature? Eric McCracken, Dear Eric, The
Ganassi team uses tire warmers so it should not be an issue. Mark C.
I was at Indy this year and he came in 7th. He just got a big break with
Ganassi. What a shame. A few years back Mercedes sports cars started
flipping at Le Mans and they shut the whole program down. Here,
including Mario, cars are flipping like burgers at the concessions and
these guys just continue on like nothing is happening. This is a
bad problem, and a lot of people are going to die in the stands if one
of these cars ever makes it through a fence. I live in Phoenix, have PIR season tickets. During the NASCAR race, you are shooed away from
the fence if you happen to linger there too long. Like, at all. During
the IRL race, there are no attendants until race day and you can
position yourself directly against the fence at the entrance of turn
1. Drivers take a little jink to prepare themselves for the entry to
the corner. That racing line is right at that fence point, and the
cars are literally a foot from the wall. The shrapnel alone would kill
someone. Thank God my seats are on the top row. I'm not sure I'm going
to either event now in '04. Because after being in Toronto for
Krosnoff and Fontana for Moore, I'm not sure I can take it. God bless
Kenny Brack. Andrew Semple
I recently sent you an e-mail stating that auto racing is a dangerous
sport, that the drivers know the risks etc. etc. I just read your
story about Tony Renna. It is probably the emotions of the moment, but
I think you may have a valid point. I think I need to rethink my
position. There have been too many injuries this year. In think of
Gil, Kenny, Dario, Airton, Mario and now Tony. I think you are correct
when you say something has to be done. A devoted IRL fan. Tom E.
It is simply amazing to me the things that money will buy. Once again,
this month I turn to AR1 to read a headline that literally, LITERALLY,
takes my breath away. Another young life, and an absolutely promising
career gone. Period. Over . Like that. At some point, Honda, GM, (and yes,
even YOU Cosworth), and Toyota will have to wake up and say to themselves,
"...is this really a situation I want to be involved with?" The
drivers are at fault too. Reading last night that Dario has resigned
with the AGR team, because as Gentilozzi stated "The money was
just too good...". It's sad. How many more headlines like this will it
take before someone, anyone, does something, speaks out, says
something, anything about the dangers involved with the IRL cars, and
the series in general. Tony, the silence is now louder than a 747 jet
engine. My condolences to the Renna family. I am truly, truly,
saddened by your loss, by our loss, the loss of open wheel fans
everywhere. Bill Thomas, Saint Charles, IL
Dear AR1, I for one am not an IRL fan. There are many
reasons but the biggest is that things like this happen all to much.
The formula that they have mixing high downforce and now they are
adding horsepower to the cars. In 2002 it was 650 horsepower this year
700, what is next year going to be 700+? They just can't run with all
that downforce, and the increasing horsepower makes it more dangerous.
This is not isolated, look at what happened to Mario. When air gets
under these cars they will just skyrocket. They need to do a few
things to decrease the downforce, decrease the horsepower, and shut this
series down before another life is lost. The next time you know it
will be worse, it will happen at a sold out race (meaning INDY)
and fans will be involved. Everybody involved with this series needs
to take a hard look at themselves and ask is it worth it? If they
answer honestly with the exception of TG, I think it would be no.
Christoph Phipps, Columbia, Mo.
Tracy wants championship to cap career
Paul Tracy enters this next-to-last race on the Champ
Car World Series schedule with a 29-point (226-197) lead over his closest rival
Bruno Junqueira of Brazil. If Tracy should clinch the title in Australia he would
become the first Canadian to win a CART championship since Jacques Villeneuve in
"Winning the championship would be the fulfillment of a goal that I've had since I
first started racing," remarked Tracy. "I've won 26 CART races and basically
achieved all of the individual goals I've set for myself. But that doesn't mean as
much as a championship for the team. That's what I'm striving for."
Tracy has a history of success on the fast street course in this splendid
Australian setting. He won the Surfers event in 1995 and returned to the podium
last year, with a third-place finish, just behind his current PF Racing teammate
Patrick Carpentier, in a chaotic, rain-shortened race. The tricky Australian
circuit has yielded 12 different winners in its 12-year history.
"We're going to try to do what we've been consistent in doing for much of the
season, and that is being competitive right out of the chute and doing well in
qualifying," explained Tracy. "The six times that we've won a spot on the front
row, we've finished on the podium in five of the races. That's a formula were
going to try to follow in Australia."
A statement from Ganassi Racing on
Renna death Family, friends and the Target Chip
Ganassi Racing team are mourning the loss of Tony Renna
following an accident during testing at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. After the accident, Renna was immediately taken to
Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He was pronounced dead on
arrival. The exact cause of death has not been determined.
26-year old Tony Renna was making his debut with Target Chip
Ganassi Racing during the test. He was named Oct. 1 to drive
the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G
Force/Toyota/Firestone in the 2004 season as teammate to 2003
IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. Renna and Dixon were
teammates in Indy Lights in 2000 when Dixon won the
championship and Renna finished fifth. “Obviously, we’re
mourning the loss of our driver, friend and colleague,” said
team owner Chip Ganassi. “On behalf of our whole team, we send
our sincere condolences and prayers to the family and friends
of Tony Renna.” Information regarding funeral arrangements and
memorials is pending at this time.
A statement from Las Vegas Motor
Renna death “All of us here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are
saddened by the death of Tony Renna. Tony competed in several events
at the Bullring in 2002 and was one of the young drivers whose career
we followed closely. Tony was well respected by track officials and
his fellow competitors, and he seemed destined for stardom in the Indy
Racing League. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Tony Renna moved to Las Vegas in 2001 and worked for the Derek Daly
Academy. He competed in four NASCAR Late Model events at the Bullring
in 2002, driving for car owner Dick Cobb. Renna’s teammate, Thane
Alderman, won the speedway’s track championship in 2002. Renna’s best
finish at the Bullring was a fourth on April 20, 2002.
A statement from Derek Daly on
Renna death My heart goes out to the family, friends, teammates
and all who knew Tony Renna. I was first introduced to Tony through
our driver development program in 1996. Prior to his IRL career, Tony
worked for the Derek Daly Driving Academy as an instructor. Tony was
always striving to not only become a better driver, but more
importantly a better person. As a fellow driver in the world of
motorsports I know how unpredictable and uncertain racing can be, but
you are never prepared for news like this. I will miss Tony and all
that he brought to our sport.
A statement from Firestone on
Renna death Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone
Racing: "We were incredibly saddened to learn that Tony Renna
lost his life today during a testing session at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and his
fiancé, to his team, and to his many friends and fans. Our thoughts
and prayers are with them and everyone who has been touched by Tony's
life. Times like these are always difficult, and this loss
in particular will be felt deeply by the Firestone family. Tony was a
good friend to Firestone and had spent many hours attending events and
volunteering his time on our behalf. He was always willing to give of
himself or lend a hand when we called upon him, and his unselfish and
giving nature makes this tragedy all the harder to bear. He was a
talented driver who will be long remembered by all who knew him or had
the privilege of working with him."
A statement from Tony George on
Renna death A statement from Tony George,
president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, about IRL IndyCar Series driver Tony Renna,
who suffered fatal injuries in a crash during Firestone tire
testing Oct. 22 at the Speedway: “Tony Renna was a
rising star in IndyCar Series racing. All of us involved in
racing feel a great loss. On behalf of my family and the staff
of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League,
our prayers and best wishes go out to his family, friends,
team and fans.”
Tony Renna killed in Speedway
accident Tony Renna was tragically killed at
9:20 AM today in a test at the Indy Speedway driving a Target
Chip Ganassi IRL car. See story on our home page.
10/22/03 Industry News
Watkins Glen personnel change
Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust recently
announced the promotions of Jon Beckman to Director of
Business Development and Steve Ely to Track Operations Manager
for the historic road course.
Beckman, formerly WGI's Manager of Business Development, will
oversee the sales team for both The Glen and Nazareth
Speedway, whose efforts are focused against developing new
business partners, creating new sponsorship opportunities at
both facilities and working to deliver the best possible
experience for our many corporate clients. Beckman joined the
staff in 2002 from the International Motor Racing Research
Center. He is a native of Bath, NY, and holds a political
science degree from SUNY Brockport.
Ely has been with The Glen since 1989 and takes over as Track
Operations Manager from his former position as Utilities
Operations Manager at both Watkins Glen and Nazareth. In this
new position, Ely will focus primarily on all aspects of
on-track activity, including the training of safety personnel,
and will serve as the primary contact for all sanctioning
bodies. Ely, a native of Watkins Glen who currently resides in
Dundee, NY, is well trained for this new position, having
spent ten years with the Schuyler County Ambulance and more
than 28 years with the Watkins Glen Fire Department.
"I am very pleased to announce the promotion of two
outstanding employees like Jon and Steve," Rust said. "Jon has
proven that he can lead our sales efforts to reach new levels
and Steve's extensive knowledge and work with track safety is
a tremendous asset to both facilities."
Penske forces Hornish to come
clean The photo in this Indy Star
article shows Sam Hornish sans his silly goatee.
Roger Penske always expects his personnel to make a clean
professional appearance and the goatee was downright ugly.
to follow CART into South KoreaUPDATE This Autosport
article talks more about this race.
- As AR1 reported
exclusively this past weekend, CART will be racing in Seoul,
South Korea starting in October, 2004. Now comes word
(from Korea Times)
that F1 will likely follow CART into South Korea five years later.
The South Kyongsang (spelled Gyeongsang on map to right)
Province government has signed a memorandum of understanding
with Formula One Management (FOM) for the hosting of the Korea
Formula One Grand Prix World Championship in the town of
Chinhae in October 2009. The Province Governor Kim Hyuk-kyu
reached the deal with Bernie Ecclestone, FOM president, in
London on Oct. 17. The contract for the hosting is planned to
be completed in South Korea within six months.
South Kyongsang is on the opposite end of South Korea from
Seoul where CART will race, so the two should not interfere
with each other. The town of Chinhae
is just the the west of Pusan (spelled Busan on map to right).
Meanwhile, the 5th International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix
will be held in Changwon, South Kyongsang (Gyeongsang) Province, from Nov.
18 to 23. of this year.
Skinner signs to drive trucks
in 2004 Bang Racing announced today NASCAR
Champion Mike Skinner will drive the No. 3 truck in the NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series for the 2004 through 2006 seasons.
“Mike [Skinner] is a driver we know has the ability and the
drive to win the championship for Bang Racing,” said Larry
McReynolds, renowned NASCAR crew chief, FOX Sports analyst and
most recently chief racing architect for Bang Racing. “He was
deliberately hand-picked to be the winning edge, and we are
anticipating a lot of action and excitement when Mike is on
Loss of loyalty costs vets jobs This
Fox Sports News
article talks about how the Good "Old" boys are
getting pushed aside by the younger, more talented drivers
coming into NASCAR. NASCAR used to be an old mans
(veterans) game, but that has changed in recent years.
2004 CAR count looks weak for the IRL While
CART's car count for 2004 looks very strong, it looks like Tony George
may have to open his wallet again and continue to prop up the IRL, at
least according to this Indy Star Q&A
article. Question: With 2004 being the
second year of the current (new) chassis and engine formula, do you
see the same scramble to fill the Indy field or will there be a lot
more cars available to compete? (Dick from Indianapolis)
Answer: I think there will be the same sort of scramble
to fill the Indy field in 2004, especially if CART fields a series. As
I write, two teams have reduced their staff to one-car operations
(Kelley Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing). Hemelgarn Racing must be
considered 50-50 as should Access Motorsports and PDM Racing.
Eddie Cheever isn't committing to two cars. Panther officials say two
cars, but there are no guarantees even though they have talked about a
third. The latter likely would be acquiring Team Menard's one-car
On the other side, I don't see a big list of teams wanting to return
to the IRL, like Conquest or Walker, or join as newcomers, except
maybe Carl Haas. A couple perhaps. I would expect 22-24 cars per race
and maybe only 33 again at Indy. But remember, it's only October, and
so many things can change before the season opens Feb. 29 in
Change at Cosworth
Tony Purnell, CEO of the Premier Performance Division of Ford Motor
Company, which includes Cosworth Racing, today announced a range of
changes at Cosworth Racing. This follows a five-month study during
which he gained an understanding of the business, which he described
as “complex and in many aspects truly impressive, but now faces the
harsh realities of a significant downturn in the economy and
particularly in, Formula One”.
Tim Routsis will be taking the reins as the new Managing Director of
Cosworth Racing with immediate effect. Tim is well known within the
PPD, having previously been the Managing Director of the Pi Group.
Less well known is that Tim comes from both an engineering and a
business background. He started and successfully ran his own software
Company (Protechnic), sold this and established an aircraft
restoration concern (Historic Flying Ltd.) which he sold just before
he started with Pi, heading up the development of the Sigma family of
control and logging systems. Tim quickly became Director of
Engineering at Pi and then was invited to be Managing Director of the
Pi Group a year after Ford took over in Cambridge.
Routsis will take the helm of a new structure at Cosworth Racing,
which will see the confusing two-MD system dismantled. He has been
asked to undertake the role because he has the ability and experience
to handle both engineering and commercial issues. The move is made
possible by the fact that Brendan Connor has left the Company to
pursue other interests, while Nick Hayes becomes Technical Director
and will report directly to Tim.
Commenting, Purnell said; “Cosworth Racing is a stronger Company today
because of Brendan's direction and effort over the last two years.
Many of his initiatives are to be admired and have made the company
notably more efficient than when he started.”
Routsis will preside over a new management team at Cosworth, which
will feature some new faces. Details will be announced in due course
but one change is that Dr Adrian Chambers will join Cosworth
immediately as the new Head of Manufacturing. Adrian comes from Jaguar
Racing, where he has only been in post a few months, but prior to this
he worked at Rolls-Royce aero engines. He brings to Cosworth
impressive experience and know-how in manufacturing and has solid
engineering knowledge. The present structure for manufacturing will
remain in place for the present, with Adrian taking the place of
Brendan Connor in directing the manufacturing effort.
In addition, Graeme Hughes and Martin Stephenson will swap roles as
Finance Directors of Cosworth and Pi respectively. This will not be
fully in place until early in 2004 and they will work together in the
interim. Graeme and Martin already have a close working relationship,
built up over a number of years and the move will bring a fresh
approach to each business, as well as helping the two Companies work
together in the future.
Summarizing, Purnell said; “Cosworth has a long tradition of being the
absolute best in terms of mechanical engineering achievement. The new
appointments are in line with this tradition, and are the start of a
road map to keep the Company at the forefront in its field.”
Q&A with Purnell
What led to the decision to replace
Brendan Connor with Tim Routsis and re-title Nick Hayes Technical
The strategy of having two managing directors at Cosworth Racing,
Brendan operationally and Nick from an engineering perspective, did
not work and they both recognized that fact. The work that Brendan
carried out while he was at Cosworth did a lot of good and the company
is stronger as a result of that work. Change to the status quo was
What is Tim Routsis’ background?
Tim has a rare blend of technical and commercial ability, which means
he’s been successful at whatever he has been involved with. He started
a successful software company from school, which he then sold and
began an aeronautical restoration business. He ran this successfully
before joining Pi Research as Engineering Director, where he went on
to become Managing Director.
What makes Tim Routsis the right man for this job?
Tim’s blend of technical and commercial abilities means he can relate
to complex engineering problems and find solutions just as easily as
he can for complex commercial, financial and business problems. Moving
forward, we felt it important to have someone who’s experience spanned
both disciplines. Tim is also well respected among the Ford Directors
involved with Cosworth.
Could this move be construed as a vote of no confidence in Nick Hayes’
engineering leadership qualities?
I don’t think it should be. Nick led the company through five years of
producing successful Formula One engines. However, the company
possibly suffered for diverting his focus from the F1 program, in
particular, across other duties. We have chosen to turn back the clock
Is this the beginning of a return to success for Cosworth in Formula
We wouldn’t be following this route if we didn’t think that our
Formula One program would be enhanced. However, it’s important to
stress that I feel the other motorsport programs are in good hands and
have been a great success. I feel that the 2003 F1 season was
difficult, especially with the Jordan team but the four previous to
that were really pretty successful.
Was this course of action decided upon solely by you, from a PPD
perspective, or was there pressure from higher up?
Since April 2003 I have been making sense of the situation at Cosworth
Racing. This was my own decision but is of a kind that is rarely made
Will this have any further implications for the Cosworth Racing
There may well be changes that Tim wants to implement to the way the
business is run but I wouldn’t imagine they would be too dramatic. I
see this as a time to build on the work that has been carried out in
the last two years, much of which is successful and leaves us with
Has Brendan Connor been offered an alternative position elsewhere
Brendan is a very capable individual and we are exploring possible
opportunities at the moment. Cosworth
Servia having best year yet
Oriol Servia has established a number of
personal CART career records already this season. Among the marks he has set are
career high second place showings at Milwaukee and Montreal, a single season high
nine top-10 placements, a single season high seven top-five showings and a single
season high three podium finishes including consecutive podium performances
(Montreal, second and Denver, third) for the first time in his career. The
resident of Miami, Florida has also set personal CART career records for
consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top-10 showings, seven and points paying
performances, eight. In addition, he has earned career high qualifying positions
at Montreal and Denver where he started second, qualified in the top-10 a CART
career high 16 consecutive times, earned a single season high 16 top-10 starting
positions and a single season high seven top-five starting positions. Servia has
finished in the points in 11 of the 17 races this season and placed in the top-six
in nine of his last 14 events.
10/22/03 Industry News
2004 TMS tickets on sale
Tickets to 2004 individual races at Texas Motor Speedway go on sale
Saturday, October 25 at 9 a.m. (CDT). The good news for fans is that
individual ticket prices for the six major events in the NASCAR Nextel
Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series and the Indy Racing League
IndyCar Series will remain unchanged from 2003.
Tickets can be purchased in person at the speedway or by calling (817)
215-8500 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets will also be available online at
or at Ticketmaster locations after 9 a.m. (CDT) Saturday. Additional
ticket-selling stations will be set up at the Dirt Track parking lot
Saturday with a 20-ticket limit per purchase in effect for fans
acquiring tickets in person.
Individual tickets for the 2004 races will be on sale Saturday:
Saturday, April 3 O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series
Sunday, April 4 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup
Friday, June 11 O’Reilly 400k NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Saturday, June 12 Bombardier 500k Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
Saturday, Oct. 16 Silverado 350k NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Sunday, Oct. 17 Chevy 500k Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
“It is important that there will be no increase for 2004 individual
race tickets at Texas Motor Speedway,” said speedway general manager
Eddie Gossage. “Our fans’ enthusiasm for the 2004 season is higher
than ever and this is one way we can say thanks – to hold the line on
increases to the events they want to see.”
Season tickets for 2004 at the “Home of the Brave” are currently on
sale and include the same frontstretch seat to every major event along
with a ticket to Fandango3, the season-ticket only party on Thursday,
April 1 during the Samsung/RadioShack 500 week. Fandango3 will feature
Nextel Cup stars Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader, FOX Sports’ Mike Joy
and many special guests.
BAR has more money with Villeneuve gone
BAR chief David Richards has said that the money he will save
following the departure of Jacques Villeneuve from the team will allow
his squad to spend more on its 2004 challenger.
Villeneuve was reputedly earning just under £9million in the final
season of his five years with the team. Richards says that the money
he will save by employing Japanese youngster Takuma Sato will be
ploughed into the development of next year's effort.
"That goes back in the team now, it's part of the overall budget,"
said Richards. "We've got more money to spend on the engineering side
next year, quite clearly. We've got a very clear plan now and Geoff
Willis is very happy with the proposals we've put to him and the
availability of funds he's got for next year."
Richards insisted that an offer was made to Villeneuve's manager Craig
Pollock to retain the former world champion's services for 2004, but
that this was refused.
"Craig and I exchanged correspondence on an indicative proposal," said
Richards. "Clearly when you're discussing these things you go through
a series of discussions. It was more a case of this is where I'm
coming from, this is what I'm going to put on the table, is that
acceptable to you before I go back and sit down and discuss it. It
wasn't a frivolous bit of negotiation, it was a sensible discussion
back and forwards of what the offers were."
Surfers Track Talk Fernandez
Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch estimates a top speed of 185 mph and a minimum
speed of 44 mph around the scenic 12-turn, 2.795-mile temporary circuit on the
streets of Surfers Paradise. Drivers will shift 40 times per lap throughout the
course of the 65-lap race. The maximum lap interval for pit stops is set at 19
laps, requiring a minimum of three stops.
The street circuit has its own style with long straights punctuated by chicanes
with large curbing, which drivers seeking the ultimate lap will have to use to the
fullest extent. Finch points out the keys to success this weekend: “Surfers is an
atypical street circuit. Long straights are coupled by slow to mid-speed chicanes.
Depending on circuit design this year, the chicanes can be relatively smooth like
last year or incorporate the large curbing as seen in prior years. The car needs
to exhibit good power down so as to achieve the top speed required on the
straights. If the curbing is more pronounced than last year, then the car needs to
jump the curbs well with a good landing after.”
Champ Car On-Track Activities (All times local)
Friday, October 24
Practice 10:00 am – 10:50 am
Practice 11:40 am – 12:30 pm
Qualifying 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Saturday, October 25
Practice 10:00 am – 11:15 am
Qualifying 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm
Sunday, October 26
Warm Up 10:45 am – 11:15 am
Race 2:35 pm
NASCAR fines NASCAR has
issued the following penalties for various infractions that occurred
during last weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Martinsville
Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. The following were
fined accordingly: Todd Berrier, crew chief for the #29 NASCAR Winston
Cup Series car of Kevin Harvick, was fined $5,000 for violation of
Section 12-4-A: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and Section
9-4-A: The crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his
team members. Infraction occurred during pre-race. Marc Smith, crew
member for the #29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series car of Kevin Harvick, was
suspended until Oct. 29, 2003. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A:
Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Attempting to circumvent a
NASCAR inspection process. Infraction occurred during pre-race.
Unser Jr. seriously hurt in ATV
UPDATE Unser has been upgraded to satisfactory
condition. 10/20/03 - Unser has several fractures of the pelvic area but was not scheduled
for surgery and was expected to be released from the University of New
Mexico Hospital before the end of the week. "He’s in a lot of
pain but he’s going to be OK,” said a spokesperson. 10/20/03
- This AP
article says, Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr.
was hospitalized in serious condition today after being
injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. He was riding the
ATV alone in the woods Sunday when he went over an embankment
and broke his pelvis, his father, four-time Indy winner Al
Unser Sr., told KOAT-TV on Monday. Unser said his son called
for help for about an hour before some boys heard him. A
spokeswoman at the University of New Mexico Hospital confirmed
Unser, 41, was in serious condition but she wouldn't release
any details of his injuries.
Brack moved to Indy Injured
IRL IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack was transferred to Methodist
Hospital in Indianapolis Tuesday via medical plane and remains in
Brack, the 1998 IRL champion and 1999 Indy 500 winner, is in
satisfactory condition and was admitted to Methodist Hospital under
the care of Dr. Kevin Scheid, said Dr. Henry Bock, medical director
for the Indy Racing League.
Brack, driver of the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Honda Dallara for Team
Rahal, suffered massive injuries on Sunday (Oct. 12) in the Chevy 500
IndyCar Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Brack was airlifted
to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas from the track and remained at
Parkland before today's transfer.
Brack suffered a variety of injuries including a fractured right
femur, a fractured sternum, a fractured lumbar (L-3) vertebrae and
fractures to both ankles. Brack had surgery on Oct. 12 (femur and
ankles) and Oct. 13 (vertebrae) at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
On Monday, Brack was able to write this message to his family, friends
"I am propped up in my Dallas hospital bed trying to write you a race
report. Unfortunately it will be a short one since I do not have the
strength or the imagination just yet. Perhaps it does not matter so
much because I do not remember anything from the race anyway!
In any case, I felt I needed to write a note to all of you who have
sent several thousand prayers via email to my team, the newspapers, me
and my wife. I never knew I had that much support but I will tell you
that it has certainly helped me to get through this accident the best
I have not seen the actual accident but I have heard about it. It
certainly opens your eyes about higher powers because I am sure that
God has everything to do with me still being in this world. If I would
have had individual accidents breaking all the bones I broke and
healing during this accident, I would not have had much time to be a
I broke 5 major bones and most of them are complicated, back, ankles
etc. The Dallas crew of doctors and nurses worked about 15 hours to
put it back together. They did a great job and they think I have a
good chance to get back to normal. I know it will take time, several
months but give me half a chance and I will do it. Now I will rest a
little bit but I will see you soon!"
10/21/03 Nissan Superfund World Series
Racing Engineering tests 2
drivers at Valencia
Ricardo Mauricio (BRA), Racing Engineering’s Spanish F3
driver, and Christian Klien (AUT), second in the F3 Euroseries,
have marked the fastest lap times with Racing Engineering’s
Nissan V6 at the Monday driver test at the circuit of
Christian Klien, the talented Red Bull/Mercedes driver delivered an
impressive performance at the circuit of
Valencia. Not only was it the first time Christian drove on
this technically demanding track, but also the most powerful
single seater he has driven so far. Very quickly Christian
adapted to the track and car as well as the team and working
with him was a pleasure for Racing Engineering. Christian
marked the second fastest lap time of the day at 1’24.066.
After his 89 laps on the 4.005km track Christian said, “It was
a good experience for me to drive such a powerful car. Due to
the high down-force you can go through corners much faster
than you think. My lap times were ok and I got along well with
the team as everyone was very nice with me. Generally
everything was great.”
Ricardo Mauricio, leader of the Spanish F3 Championship, has
recorded the fastest lap time (1’23.789) of the day. Racing
Engineering like always enjoyed working with this professional
and fast driver as not only the driver learned a lot, but also
the team gained interesting insights, which could be useful
for the last round of the Superfund World Series by Nissan
taking place at the end of November in Jarama. After this
profound performance with Racing Engineering’s Nissan V6 the
team is convinced that Ricardo has the best chances to win the
Spanish F3 Championship at the race weekend in Barcelona.
At the end of the test day Ricardo commented, “In reality this
has been my first real test with this car. Last year in Brazil
the engine was different as well as the tires. I am happy
about the lap time and feel really good to be able to work
with a team as professional as Racing Engineering.”
Alfonso de Orleans, Team Owner, commented “ Christian really
surprised me. I saw him race a few times before and knew he
was going to be quick, but I have to admit that he adapted
faster than I thought. He has a natural talent to be quickly
on the pace. I have seen that rarely in drivers. As for
Ricardo, no introduction here. His talent speaks for itself
and that is the reason why he is the team’s third driver,
although today is his first real test with us. But look at the
results, top of the list! Every car I put Ricardo in, he is
always at the top. I leave the circuit with a smile. Well done
to the whole team.
1 Ricardo Mauricio Racing Engineering 1.27.789
2 Christian Klien Racing Engineering 1.24.066
3 Guy Smith Zele Racing 1.24.076
4 Juan Alvarez Gabord Competicion 1.24.291
5 Pedro Lamy Tata Team Carlin 1.24.786
6 Matthias Lauda Gabord Competitcion 1.24.954
7 Pablo Donoso Vergani Formula 1.25.024
8 Roldan Rodriguez KTR 1.25.201
9 Mark Asmer Saulnier Racing 1.25.621
10 Marc Goossens KTR 1.25.922
11 Milka Duno Vergani Formula 1.27.386
Renault makes history in Russia
Last Saturday, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team made history in
Russia, becoming the first team to run a modern Grand Prix
car, and the first ever Formula 1 car, on Russian soil. Jarno,
Fernando and fifty thousand new friends turned out to enjoy
Saturday dawned damp and overcast, but for fifty thousand
fans, it didn’t matter. Crowds packed the
specially-constructed street circuit in the grounds of Moscow
University to see the Renault F1 R23B in full flight, the
first ever Formula 1 car to run in Russia.
The operation, organised with the
assistance of the Moscow city government, Renault Russia and
the team’s primary partners, was the latest in a series of
city-centre demonstrations that included a spectacular event
on Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana in May. “What a fantastic
day!” enthused Fernando Alonso. “We have had a long season,
but this is the perfect way to round it off. At a race
weekend, we are quite a long way from the fans, but this lets
us have some real contact with them. Their enthusiasm is just
amazing!” Team-mate Jarno Trulli echoed his sentiments: “I am
proud to be part of this event, and to be able to show the
Russian fans a little bit of what Formula 1 is all about. A
big thank you to Renault, Mild Seven and the City of Moscow
for making it happen.”
Trulli and Alonso thrilled the crowds with demonstration runs
in the latest R23B, but didn’t stop there. The latest Clio V6
performed a high-speed demonstration run, including a
selection of doughnuts, while Renault’s Heritage department
showed off the recent concept car Koleos as well as historic
road cars from the early 1900s. The F1 experience was even
concluded with an ‘authentic’ champagne shower for the
Guests during the day including 150 international media and
Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov. The final words, though, go to
team Chairman Patrick Faure: “I am pleased that our team has
taken this important step, and even more so because Renault
has strong historical links with Russia. We know the Russian
people are big Formula 1 fans, and it was a privilege to
organize this event for them.” A privilege that the crowds
lining the circuit most definitely appreciated.
Championship contenders thin
out NASCAR Winston Cup drivers in 8th place in
the standings or lower are officially eliminated from the
championship after last week's Martinsville race. Drivers in
25th place or lower are eliminated from the top ten. Here are
the details: Drivers who can still win title
1 Matt Kenseth 4548
2 Kevin Harvick 4308
3 Dale Jr. 4265
4 Ryan Newman 4248
5 Jimmie Johnson 4242
6 Jeff Gordon 4202
7 Tony Stewart 3971 Eliminated From Championship Hunt
8 Bobby Labonte 3840
9 Terry Labonte 3775
10 Bill Elliott 3685
11 Kurt Busch 3666
12 Michael Waltrip 3638
13 Jeff Burton 3606
14 Rusty Wallace 3587
15 Jamie McMurray 3524
16 Robby Gordon 3513
17 Mark Martin 3485
18 Greg Biffle 3329
19 Sterling Marlin 3232
20 Jeremy Mayfield 3231
21 Ward Burton 3230
22 Ricky Rudd 3226
23 Elliott Sadler 3105
24 Ricky Craven 3100 Eliminated From Top 10
25 Joe Nemechek 3022
26 Dale Jarrett 3021
27 Johnny Benson 3016
28 Dave Blaney 2890
29 Jimmy Spencer 2790
30 Kenny Wallace 2733
31 Steve Park 2655
32 Todd Bodine 2597
33 Jeff Green 2455
Overnight Martinsville TV
ratings NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Subway 500
from Martinsville Speedway drew an overnight 3.5 rating and 8
share from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business
Daily reports. The race trailed two World Series baseball
games, as well as NFL and college football contests. Last
year, the Martinsville race earned final figures of 4.4/11.
Winston Cup Scene Daily
NASCAR funding frenzy This
article talks about how teams in NASCAR compete
against one another for the same sponsors. It's a
Trucks to race in Ohio Mansfield
Motorsports Speedway and NASCAR have reached an agreement that
will bring a national touring NASCAR series back to the State
of Ohio for the first time in fifty years. The NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series will visit the facility for the
Inaugural Ohio 250, which is scheduled for Sunday May 16. The
event will be the first nationally sanctioned NASCAR event in
Ohio since May 24, 1953 when Herb Thomas won a 100-mile Grand
National (now Winston Cup) Series event at the Ohio State
Fairgrounds in Columbus. In all, there were eleven Grand
National Series events in Ohio at tracks in Columbus, Dayton,
Toledo, and Canfield. There has not been a NASCAR Busch Series
or Craftsman Truck Series event in the state, until now. The
Inaugural Ohio 250 will be the fourth race of the 25-race
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule in 2004. Tickets are
now available for the Inaugural Ohio 250 by calling the track
office at (419) 525-RACE (7223) or visit their website at
www.mansfield-speedway.com. Liberty Sports Management PR
F111 dump and burn to captivate audience
Lexmark Indy 300 fans will once again be captivated by the Sea FM Air Show
from October 23 to 26 with the exhilarating speed, breathtaking noise and awesome
sight of the F111 'dump and burn'.
The Sea FM Air Show is an annual highlight of the entertainment extravaganza at
the Lexmark Indy 300, and this year will feature, courtesy of the Australian
- RAAF F111 flyovers on Saturday and Sunday
- RAAF Roulette High Shows
- Royal Australian Navy Seeking helicopter flyovers.
The F111s are Australia's premier strike aircraft based at RAAF Amberley with
flight speeds up to 2400kph, twice the speed of sound. They can carry a 12 ton
bomb/missile payload and can fly as low as 50 feet using terrain-following radar.
Accompanying the speed and sound of the F111s on the program will be the amazing
aerobatic displays of the Roulettes.
Since the first year of Indy on the Gold Coast in 1991, the RAAF Roulettes have
thrilled spectators with precision flying during their High Show.
This is a 15-minute program of formation aerobatic maneuvers plus daring
head-to-head passes by the main formation and a synchronized pair.
Maneuvers are flown from 500 feet above ground level up to 5000 feet at the top of
loops and barrel rolls. Fly-pasts down the main straight at the Lexmark Indy 300
are conducted at only 200 feet (60 meters) and whilst in formation, the aircraft
are hand-flown at about three meters from the other aircraft. They also fly
between three to five meters during the head-to-head passes.
The Royal Australian Navy Sea King flyovers will also be an amazing spectacle as
the 28m-long, 9500kg helicopters cruise at 185kph and reach a top speed of 250kph.
The Sea Kings entered RAN service in 1976 and are ideal for moving people and
military provisions and carrying water-bombing buckets for fire-fighting.
Their primary role is for search and destroy missions and search and rescue
Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James Ashworth said the F111 'dump and burn',
Roulette High Shows and Sea King flyovers will demonstrate the awesome flying
ability of Australia's Defense Force pilots.
"The show that these pilots put on is truly amazing and adds another breathtaking
feature to Queensland's premier event," said Ashworth.
"It is a great sight whether you are on-track or situated in one of Surfers
Paradise high-rises. You feel that the aircraft are closer than they actually are
which just adds to the atmosphere.
"The Sea FM Air Show is an intense and highly professional element of the whole
Lexmark Indy 300 carnival."
Newman/Haas pre-Surfers report [Excerpts]
Only two more races remain in the 2003 Champ Car World Series and
Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) is planning on making the most of their opportunity to
earn back-to-back Series titles and keep the coveted No. 1 on the race car of
PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira. In addition to attempting to earn their fifth
CART title, they are aiming for a third place finish with Lilly driver Sebastien
Bourdais, who has already wrapped up the 2003 Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year honor
and currently stands in fourth overall. Both drivers need a strong finish in this
weekend's 65-lap Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfer's Paradise, Australia.
Junqueira's seventh place finish in Mexico City coupled with Tracy's win from pole
and subsequent 22 points enabled the Canadian to accrue a 29-point advantage with
two races remaining.
With 23 points available this weekend and 22 points available in the season ending
500-mile race at The California Speedway, Junqueira must depart Australia with no
greater than a 22 point deficit to Tracy in order to have an outside shot at the
title. He narrowly lost the pole in the 2002 race here to NHR's Cristiano da Matta
and stood a chance to run well had rain not effected the outcome of the event.
Junqueira and the PacifiCare team are seasoned veterans who know that anything can
happen in the final two events and that the title chase is far from over.
"Last year I was on pole on Friday and lost the pole by 1/100ths of a second to
Cristiano on Saturday," said Junqueira. "I led the race last year after Cristiano
made an early pit stop. Then they put out the yellow flag. I went from leading the
race to a 14th place finish when they shortened the event because of the rain. It
was very frustrating the way things happened but I hope we are going to have sun
all weekend this year and that the PacifiCare car will win the race. I want to win
the Championship very bad and I know I need to win the race and have Paul (Tracy)
not score many points to have a chance."
The 2.795-mile course along the ocean in Surfer's Paradise, Queensland, Australia
is the final street course of the season and all of the veterans enjoy the layout.
"I like the Surfers Paradise street course and I really like to go to Australia,"
said Junqueira. "I think it is a good street course. It is a very long street
course. There are a lot of fast straightaways and we are going to reach speeds
close to 200 mph. It is a pretty fast track for a street course and there are good
chicanes. It is a very difficult track. It is a very physical track when it is hot
in Australia but I think the PacifiCare car will be really fast there and we can
have a shot at winning the race."
The Champ Car World Series is hot off of an all-time record setting weekend in
Mexico City after 400,000-plus race fans came out to support the series including
a race day crowd of more than 221,000. The mark bettered the record-setting
attendance of 2002 and is the largest crowd for a road racing event in North
America. The event in Australia is also popular and a large crowd is expected to
witness a three-way title battle between points leader Paul Tracy (226), Junqueira
(197) and Michel Jourdain (183).
Junqueira's teammate Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais, 24, has been a top contender
this season despite being a rookie. In the 17 races to date, he led in eight and
ran in the top five in all of them although events out of his control led to his
retirement in five events and reduced his points-earning capability. He is
currently ranked fourth with 158 points and is 25 back from third place ranked
Michel Jourdain (183) and 22 points ahead of fifth place Patrick Carpentier (136)
with 45 maximum points left in the season. He may be out of the hunt for the
overall championship but he clinched the 2003 Rookie of the Year honors with his
second place finish in Mexico City and has now devoted his full attention to a new
"Now that we have clinched the Rookie of the Year award, we are completely focused
on finishing on the final podium (third place) in the Championship," said
Bourdais. "We need to have a good result from Australia and also in Fontana."
"I have never been in Australia or even that far away and I am looking forward to
it," said Bourdais. "It is a pretty neat race track because most street courses
are pretty short and this one is a minute, 30 seconds for one lap. I think I will
like the track. Based on the races that I have seen on TV from there, it's going to
be very exciting."
The Lexmark Indy 300 will take place on Sunday, October 26 and will be televised
LIVE on Speed Channel at 12:30 a.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. the same day. All times
Canada needs money by October 31st
According to this Grandprix.com article,
The Canadian Grand Prix has until the end of the month to come up with
a financial package necessary to keep the race on the Formula 1
Race promoter Normand Legault has to find money to convince the
Formula 1 teams to return to Canada without tobacco backing but the
teams are demanding $2m apiece to expand the calendar to 18 races.
the FIA has put the race back on its provisional calendar for 2004 but
that is subject to the money being found and an agreement being struck
between the teams and Legault.
There were suggestions at the weekend that the involvement of the
Molson brewery in an attempt to save the race had resulted in the
price being hiked but Legault says that getting Molson involved helped
to get the race put back on the calendar and will make it easier to
find the extra cash needed by "the end of October deadline".
All the teams must agree to return to Canada and thus it is safe to
assume that all the teams want an extra $2m. This means that Legault
has to find $20m in addition to whatever deal he had worked out with
Formula One Management. The normal fees for an F1 race are around $15m
a year although some races are paying as much as $40m next year.
Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of FOM, is keen to have Canada on the
calendar but it is unlikely that he will settle for less than $10m,
giving Legault a target of $30m to find.
Stars go-kart events to air on SPEED
The Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER national
karting series has announced its television dates for the 2003 SPEED CHANNEL
A total of nine hours of Stars karting action will be produced for SPEED and the
telecasts will feature the Bridgestone Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma,
Calif., and the Stars Karting Championships at California Speedway in Fontana,
The one-hour telecasts will be produced by Brian Lockwood Productions of
Huntington Beach, Calif. and hosted by Leigh Diffey and Tommy Kendall. Brian
Lockwood Productions’ other 2003 racing projects include Champ Car television on
CBS-TV and SPEED CHANNEL and NASCAR telecasts on Fox-TV and SPEED.
The Bridgestone Grand Prix will be televised on November 23-24 (ICA Class) and
November 30-December 1 (ICC Class) with the original broadcasts on Sundays and
replays on Mondays.
The Stars Karting Championships will air on December 7-8 (both ICA and ICA
Classes) with the original on Sunday (Dec. 7) and the replay on Monday (Dec. 8). A
three-hour highlights show with back-to-back programs of the Stars of Tomorrow
shows will air on Sunday, Dec. 28, at 12 p.m. (EST).
“We are very pleased to bring out exciting Snap-on Stars of Tomorrow action to the
viewers of the SPEED CHANNEL,” said Bobby Rahal, a principal in the Stars program.
“We believe the racing fans who watch the SPEED CHANNEL will be very entertained
by this spectacular competition. They will get to watch some of North America’s
best young racing talent battling wheel-to-wheel. The Stars series produces some
of the best racing on this continent. We invite everyone to witness the next stars
of North American motorsports.”
2003 STARS OF TOMORROW SPEED CHANNEL DATES AND TIMES
Sunday November 23rd 4:00pm Eastern ICA from Sonoma
Monday November 24th 5:00pm Eastern ICA from Sonoma (replay)
Sunday November 30th 4:00pm Eastern ICC from Sonoma
Monday December 1st 5:00pm Eastern ICC from Sonoma (replay)
Sunday December 7th 4:00pm Eastern ICA & ICC from Fontana
Monday December 8th 5:00pm Eastern ICA & ICC from Fontana (replay)
Sunday December 28th 12:00pm Eastern 3 hours of re-cap, all shows back to back
Actor to emcee Awards Banquet Actor
Jason Priestley will be the master of ceremonies at the Indy Racing
League's awards program Saturday at the Walt Disney World Resort in
Florida. Priestley was a commentator for ABC and ESPN coverage of the
2001 IRL series and last year competed in the league's Infiniti Pro
Series until he was seriously injured in a crash at Kentucky Speedway.
"We are thrilled to have Jason join us at our 2003 Indy Racing League
celebration," IRL president Tony George said today. "His love for
motorsports and involvement in the IRL have made Jason a member of our
IRL racing family."
Mears back in #41 Ganassi
Racing G.M. Andy Graves confirmed that Casey Mears, who is 34th in
points, will return to the #41 Target Dodge next year. "The sponsor
(Target) loves him," Graves says. "He's young, good looking,
articulate and can get the car into the show. If you asked 70 percent
of the owners in the garage, they would tell you that that's what
they're looking for when scouting for new drivers."
10/20/03 Industry News
TMS track under scrutiny after Brack crash
This Los Angeles Daily
article says [Excerpts], It was just a few weeks ago when the Indy
Racing League celebrated the fastest race ever. For the first time in any
auto racing event, Sam Hornish Jr. won a race with an average speed of
more than 200 mph at California Speedway in Fontana. This week, the IRL is
holding its collective breath as driver Kenny Brack, a former series
champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, recovers from injuries suffered in a
crash at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last Sunday.......Brack's
condition is improving daily. But the future of his racing career is in
doubt. The recovery time will be long, though no timetable has been given.
In the meantime, a couple of drivers are questioning the safety of Texas
Motor Speedway, where cars bump wheels at speeds in excess of 200
mph......."It's really exciting for the fans, but it's what the Winston
Cup guys probably feel about racing at Daytona and Talladega," said Bryan
Herta, driver for Andretti Green Racing. "On the IRL schedule, races at
Texas are my least favorite. The results there have less to do with
driver's ability because of the banking." This isn't the first time Texas
Motor Speedway has been dubbed too dangerous. A few years ago, the CART
Champ Car series canceled a race hours before the start because drivers
were complaining of dizziness and vertigo. Herta was part of that
contingent and says the CART decision was the right one. But it's not so
much the speed of the track that makes Texas dangerous. The high-banked
track creates dangerous situations for drivers. Roger Yasukawa, driver for
Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, agreed with Herta that the banking at Texas
makes for exciting, but risky racing. "Texas is almost one of the worst of
the 1 1/2 -mile speedways," said Yasukawa. "The biggest problem is the
banking. Yes, it's a fun track to race, but from a safety standpoint, I'm
not sure if it's a safe place to race. All in all, Texas is a challenging
track, but I prefer other 1 1/2 -mile tracks, like Chicago and Kansas. A
lot of drivers underestimate the safety.".......No one is arguing that
auto racing is an inherently dangerous sport. But Brack's crash is a
disturbing reminder of how much is at stake when these drivers take the
track......Indy Racing League drivers won't go so far as to say races at
Texas should be avoided. But maybe they should start. At the least,
Yasukawa said he would like to see the cars' handling improve to make
racing at Texas safer. "To have better racing, you have to have a better
car that can hold the line," he said [Editor's Note: read that even more
downforce to the already 100% throttle cars]. Until that day comes, maybe
racing Indy cars at Texas isn't such a good idea. [Editor's note: This
article fails to raise the issue of the fence mesh being on the wrong side
of the fence posts.]
Michael Andretti: Call him 'Coach'
American open-wheel racing star Michael Andretti will be a
guest coach and instructor for rounds five and six of the Skip Barber
2.0-liter Formula Dodge Southern Race Series championship Dec. 6-7 at
Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Andretti will work
side-by-side with the regular Skip Barber coaching staff, providing
feedback, instruction and coaching to the 40 or so drivers entered in the
A "meet-and-greet" dinner is also planned for the evening of the 6th.
Earlier this month, Michael's son Marco, 16, won the championship in the
Skip Barber 2.0-liter Formula Dodge Eastern Race Series.
After nineteen years as one of the world's most accomplished and
recognized drivers, Andretti retired from the cockpit following the 2003
Indy 500 and devoted the rest of this season to running his recently
formed organization, Andretti Green Racing.
The Andretti family has a long history with Skip Barber Racing. All the
sons of twin brothers Mario and Aldo who've gone racing - Mario's Jeff and
Michael, and Aldo's John and Adam - are graduates of the Skip Barber
Racing School. Michael's brother Jeff won the Skip Barber Formula Ford
Eastern Series title in 1983, and Michael himself won an SCCA Formula Ford
championship in a car prepared and run by Skip Barber Racing in the early
NOTES: A celebrity of another kind is stepping into the cockpit of a Skip
Barber Formula Dodge, beginning today. Christopher Kennedy Masterson, 23,
the actor who plays Francis on Fox TV's "Malcolm in the Middle" (and
brother of Danny, 22, who plays Steve Hyde on "That '70s Show," also a Fox
property), is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., attending
a Skip Barber Three-Day Competition Course. Skip Barber
CART drops its most exciting race
By far the most exciting race of the 2003 CART season won't be back
in 2004. AutoRacing1.com has learned that
CART will not race at EuroSpeedway in 2004 where Mario Dominguez and
Sebastian Bourdais put on a memorable duel this past May. CART raced at EuroSpeedway for two years
without a single German driver in the series to help the race succeed and sell
tickets, and still the race drew CART's biggest oval track crowd by a wide margin.
Now that it
looks like the series will have a German driver (Kaffer), CART will not be racing
there, which befuddles many. To make matters worse, the track has
been unable to have a race continuously, and continuity helps build fan
equity. CART raced there in 2001, but then the race was cancelled in
2002 because of financial troubles at the track. CART returned in
2003, but won't in 2004, so it's been an on-off-on-off event Apparently OWRS wanted $1 million more per year from the German
promoter than what they offered in their 5-year deal to CART, and they
wanted the promoter to be responsible for getting its own German TV deal.
Well they waited so long that now it's too late to land a live TV deal
Without a live TV deal the extra $1 million was not
acceptable to EuroSpeedway so the deal is dead. It remains to be seen now
whether EuroSpeedway does a deal with the IRL instead (recall Hans-Jörg Fischer
was at the IRL Fontana race talking to IRL officials), or whether they wait a year
and try to do a new deal with CART for 2005. We now expect the final 2004 CART
schedule to be released this week with zero European races listed. Mark
Penske heads up Detroit's Super Bowl
2006 committee This
article says, The 66-year-old Roger Penske faces one of his
riskiest repair jobs yet: Preparing Detroit to host Super Bowl XL at
Ford Field on Feb. 5, 2006. "The eyes of the world will be on Detroit
during the Super Bowl, and it's not like we can take a mulligan," said
Penske, borrowing the golf term for a do-over. "We have one chance to
get it right." The annual extravaganza, which draws 100,000 people,
thousands of journalists and 800 million TV viewers, will put Detroit
and its claims of a renaissance under an unforgiving microscope. To
pull it off, he'll have to overcome a downtown sorely lacking the
amenities to host a major sporting event. He's confronting abandoned
buildings, crumbing sidewalks, lax building code enforcement and a
municipal bureaucracy with a sketchy track record working with
business and meeting deadlines. Some say the seemingly tireless and
detail-focused Penske may have taken on mission impossible. Even a
dressed-up Detroit, they fear, could be ridiculed by the national
media and star-studded Super Bowl attendees.
Zanardi 7th in return Italian
Alex Zanardi, making his return to motor racing after losing both his
legs in an horrific crash, finished seventh on Sunday in the final
race of the FIA European Touring Car championship at Monza.
Zanardi was back on a race track just over two years after his
high-speed crash in a CART race at the Lausitzring in September 2001,
which resulted in him losing both his legs and two liters of blood.
For days the 36-year-old former Formula One driver was fighting for
his life. On Sunday Zanardi, driving a specially adjusted BMW
320i, slid out in the first race of the day and started eighth on the
grid, eventually finishing seventh, 15 seconds behind winner Jorg
Muller also driving a BMW. "I did well and it is good to see
what I can achieve at this stage after all this time. It would have
been even better to see where I could have arrived with a bit of
training" said Zanardi. "But today was a wonderful day for me,"
he said. Reuters
NASCAR rated most favorite with
sponsors, IRL & CART least When it comes to making a sponsor
happy, no other sport does it better than NASCAR, according to a study
from Sports Business Journal. The magazine talked with national
sponsors that are involved in professional sports throughout the
country and found NASCAR sponsors have more satisfaction with the way
they're being represented by race teams than any other sport. Overall,
NASCAR, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and the NHRA drag-racing series
ranked as favorites among sponsors who spend billions a year in
advertising, the magazine said. The IRL IndyCar Series, CART Champ Car
World Series and the WNBA were ranked as the least-favorites.
McCarthy turns hobby into job with
NASCAR Mike McCarthy has turned his hobby, a popular Web site
devoted to motor sports and the media who cover it, into a full-time
job in sports. McCarthy said he will put his MotorsportsTV.com
Web site on permanent hiatus Oct. 25 after taking a job with NASCAR in
its public relations department. For McCarthy, getting a job
with the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based sanctioning body is a dream come
"I've been a sports nut since I was a little kid. Like a lot of
people, you dream of working in professional sports," he said. "It's
neat. It's a lot of fun going from a fan to working in sports."
McCarthy will manage NASCAR's new media Web site, which will cater to
journalists covering the ever-growing sport.
"NASCAR, like most television networks and professional sports
leagues, are building a Web site for media use," he said. "They expect
me to develop it and build it."
McCarthy launched MotorsportsTV.com in May 2000 after being unhappy
with the amount of NASCAR coverage available on the Internet.
The site offers up the latest news about the media covering NASCAR,
including a breakdown of each week's broadcast and a tongue-in-cheek
commentary about the sponsor-laden victory lane celebrations.
The site also provides news about media coverage of other racing
The 37-year-old said he contacted NASCAR last year in hopes of landing
a position there. After interviewing for the job, he was offered the
job. McCarthy said that since he did all the work on his site,
which averages around 130,000 visits per month, he's hesitant to let
someone take over for him. "I think I'm just going to let the
site go on permanent hiatus," he said. "There's too much personally
invested in it for me to feel comfortable turning it over to someone
else." McCarthy said he will formally announce his plans for his
Web site next week. Daily Herald
Spencer wants to get rid Winners
Circle plan Jimmy Spencer thinks NASCAR's "winners' circle" plan,
which distributes money each race to teams that have won in previous
years, has outlived its usefulness. "They need to find another way to
disperse the money to the car owners," Spencer said. "A lot of car
owners are struggling right now, and without sponsorship money they're
in trouble. NASCAR isn't going to change the winner's circle, but it's
the biggest joke there is right now," Spencer said. "Even if I were on
it, it would be a joke. The money goes to certain car owners, and it
should be spread out to other owners that are 20th on back. Those are
the guys who're hurting."
Spirit Team news - Vasser to surprise
Zanardi UPDATE The Italian was
11th fastest in qualifying for the FIA European Touring Car Championship finale at
Monza at the wheel of a specially modified BMW. Zanardi, 36, was 1.15secs off the best
time set by BMW team-mate Jorg Muller. Zanardi said: "I enjoyed it, although it's
a tough battle to drive in this kind of race." Two races are scheduled
on Sunday with the race two starting grid decided by Race One placings.
Jimmy Vasser and Tony Kanaan flew from the States to support Alex Zanardi on his
racing comeback. “He’s such a good friend of mine,” said Kanaan, who was
classified fourth in the 2003 IRL series. “I did not want to miss this important
day for him. And this was also the occasion for me to visit the Tatuus people, who
are based near Monza and with whom I started my racing career in the Italian F3
Championship ten years ago. But the main reason was to see Alex back to racing. I
was not surprised when I was told he had decided to race in Monza, because I knew
he had this idea in mind. I found him in fantastic shape, and his eyes are
bright. I’m so happy for him.” Vasser, who was Zanardi’s team mate at Chip Ganassi
Racing in the Formula CART years, was also pleased. “You should have seen Alex’s
face when we showed up today. He couldn’t believe it, and was almost weeping.
Three weeks ago he told me he was going to race again, and I wanted to make him a
big surprise coming along. I would not have missed it. I’m not surprised he’s back.
He may have lost his legs, but he did not lose his spirit and his love for motor
racing. I won’t be surprised to see him on the front either.” In the picture:
Zanardi between Vasser and Kanaan, inside the BMW hospitality suite in Monza.
ETCC Site10/17/03 - Jimmy Vasser is in Milan, Italy this weekend
watching his good friend Alex Zanardi make his racing comeback in a BMW 321i in
the FIA European Touring Car Championship at the historic Monza racetrack. Zanardi
and Vasser have been close friends since 1996 when they became teammates at Target
Chip Ganassi Racing. Zanardi surprised Vasser earlier this year, when he wrote and
sang a song “Oh Jimmy” for Jimmy at his surprise 200th race start celebration.
Vasser returned the surprise this weekend as Zanardi had no idea his former
teammate would be in Italy to cheer him on.
Vasser’s World Tour: Mexico City last weekend was the first stop of many on
Vasser’s world tour. He will spend this weekend in Italy, return to the United
States on Monday just in time to catch the Champ Car charter flight that will take
him to Australia for the Lexmark 300 Australian Grand Prix at Surfers Paradise. He
will return to the States on Monday October the 27th for a week of promotional
appearances as the defending champion of the California 500 which takes place
October 31st – November 2nd; the weekend after Australia. Following the California
500 and his season finale, Vasser heads to Brazil for the wedding of a good
friend. The weekend after, he will travel to Colombia to participate in “Formula
Smiles,” a charity karting event organized by another former TCGR teammate, Juan
Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie. Following “Formula Smiles,” Vasser will
celebrate his birthday in the deserts of Mexico as he prepares for the Baja 1000.
For the second consecutive year, he is teaming up with lifelong friends Mike and
Robbi Groff to drive the Northwest Excavating JIMCO Class 1 Buggy on the 22nd and
23rd of November. Vasser’s co-driver will be his former Crew Chief from Team
Rahal, Bharat Naran. His world tour will wrap up just in time for Thanksgiving
with his family in California. No rest for the weary, the 2004 Champ Car World
series is just around the corner.
Hunter-Reay Down Under: Ryan Hunter-Reay is in Australia making promotional
appearances for Ford. Hunter-Reay is spending the day today at the Sydney Auto
Show before heading to Surfers Paradise for his Australian debut. When not racing
his 750 horsepower Champ Car, Hunter-Reay’s heart is at the beach. An avid surfer
and jet-skier, Hunter-Reay is in paradise on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Johansson at Road Atlanta: Stefan Johansson is in Atlanta this weekend at the
Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta. Johansson will be there to support his team
Champion Motorsports and teammates JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert as they fight for
the championship. Johansson drove with the fellow Formula One veterans for
Champion Motorsports in the Audi R8 earlier this year at the 12 Hours of Sebring
and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Most popular driver contest update With
one month remaining in the nationwide fan voting, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
continues to lead the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver
Award balloting. More than 2.5 million votes have been cast this
season. Voting will continue through 11:59 a.m. CST on Monday,
November 17, 2003 - the day after the final NASCAR Winston Cup race of
the season. Earnhardt Jr., who finished second in the 2002 Most
Popular Driver Voting to 16-time Most Popular Driver Award winner Bill
Elliott, has led since voting began in February. Four-time NASCAR
Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon is second, followed closely by Kevin
Harvick. Steve Park is fourth in the voting, followed by Tony Stewart,
Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Bobby
Labonte. The official Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver
of the Year Award trophy will be presented to the winning driver, as
voted by fans, during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards festivities
10/19/03 F-Ford Zetec
Keep your eye on this kidUPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned
that Bomarito has been approached by two separate Atlantic teams where
funding seems to not be an issue, as amazing as that is....we guess
what Allmendinger did to everyone and the instant marketability and
credibility it gave his RuSPORT team has made others realize it's time
to focus on performance and winning, instead of getting checkbook
drivers to sustain for one season after another...There are another
three teams that would love to run him, if they had the money. He will
test for three different teams in the next several weeks and then he
and his managers will have some tough decisions to make. Right now
he's just enjoying his Zetec Championship. 10/17/03 -
Jonathan Bomarito, a 20 year old Northern California native, is poised
to hit the 2004 Atlantic Series with all the promise and expectation
of AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Hunter-Reay before him ... Thursday's Road
Atlanta win was Jonathan's third straight in the 2003 Zetec
Today Jonathan Bomarito "rolled the table" and took the 2003 US Zetec
Championship by winning today's final round at Road Atlanta for his
second straight "double" ... The other was being at Mid Ohio when they
joined CART/Atlantics in August ... Nice way to win a Championship,
having it come down to the final race and needing to win to claim the
top prize, shows what this kid is all about ... True rookie, beats
the formidable 2002 British F2000 Zetec Champion and does it in
dominating style with today's victory by over 7 seconds in an 18 lap
Bomarito is the next in line of a series of extremely talented
American racers who, along with AJ and Ryan as predecessors, are set
to let the world know that the best drivers in the world come from
North America (at right he tests a Team Rahal Champ Car) ... Look out
CART, look out F1 ... Here they come ... After all, it is last year's
veteran, the factory development driver for Van Diemen, British F2000
Zetec Champion that Jonathan, as a rookie in formula cars, beat out
for the US F2000 Zetec Championship by dominating the last four rounds
with the Championship up for grabs until the final lap of the season
Next stop, Toyota Atlantics ... Although, we have it on good authority
that after many will miss AJ and Ryan in Atlantics, the entire world
will be paying attention to Jonathan Bomarito ...This young American
talent plans to move into the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2004 and
light it on fire. Keep your eyes open, he is the real deal and
he's coming. He will go head-to-head with another promising
American in Atlantics next year, Leo Maia, this year's dominating
Barber Dodge Pro Series champion. It should be quite interesting.
All of a sudden we are beginning to see emerge a number of very
talented Americans, exactly what the CART series and F1 need. We
suspect Ryan Hunter-Reay may very well be the next American in F1.
We hear things...
10/18/03 Industry News
warns of stolen goods
Following a break-in at its
Northampton, UK, headquarters during the night of Monday 13th October, Cosworth
Racing warns that motorsport memorabilia fans should be aware of items stolen and
now potentially being offered for sale. Three very distinctive signed crash
helmets were stolen from the company in the early hours of the morning and are the
type of item that would find favor with motorsport and memorabilia fans around the
world. The first is a crash helmet signed by Michael Andretti, painted
predominantly silver and featuring the Texaco and Kmart branding. The second is
signed by Max Papis and is painted in his usual design, with a blue bottom
section, red middle and white top. The third and final helmet was again signed by
its owner, Scott Pruett and is decorated in day-glo orange and yellow. All three
drivers donated their helmets to Cosworth as a thank you for providing successful
engine power during the course of various IndyCar seasons. Motorsport
memorabilia fans should be aware that if these items are offered for sale through
any motorsport media or over the internet, then they will be the items stolen from
Cosworth Racing and they should contact their local police to deal with the
matter. Cosworth PR
Biela, Werner, Dyson win ALMS crowns at Petit
Frank Biela and Marco Werner won the American Le Mans Series LMP 900
class driving championship and Chris Dyson won the LMP 675 title as all did what
they had to do in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Biela and Werner,
co-drivers of the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8, entered the race with a large
enough advantage in the driver point standings that they only had to finish sixth
in class and complete 276 laps (70 percent of the 1,000-mile race distance).
Despite numerous problems during the race, including a crash when Biela was forced
off the track by a lapped car, the car completed its 276th lap at 6:40 p.m. and
the two German drivers were champions. Dyson also needed to complete 276 laps and
did so at 8:02 p.m., just about an hour from the end of the race. His car had also
been repaired after a crash when co-driver Chad Block lost control in turn two
earlier in the day. Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell had already won the GTS class
driving title, the second consecutive for Fellows, and Lucas Luhr and Sascha
Maassen had already clinched their second consecutive GT title.
Bodine crashes in Happy Hour Todd
Bodine, driver of the No. 54 National Guard/Subway Taurus, was
involved in an accident during happy hour practice Saturday. "I went
into one and I hit the brake pedal. It was there for a split second
and then it went to the floor. You've got to have brakes at
Martinsville. The car went sideways and I gave it some throttle to try
to keep it down and out of the wall, but you're going so fast here
that momentum is going to carry you straight. These corners are so
sharp and that's what happened. It's a shame because we made wholesale
changes between practices and the car was really, really good right
there. I was really happy with it. It was still a little tight in the
middle, but it was night and day from the first practice. That was
only our third lap and we had already posted a decent lap. We'll just
start from the back now and do the best we can."
Early images from Petit LeMans
(Left) The field gets the green flag to start the
Petit Le Mans. (Center) The #1 Audi of Marco Werner sparks as part of it drags the
race track. (Right) The #38 ADT Champion Audi of JJ Lehto leads the #1
Infineon Team Joest Audi of Marco Werner in the early laps.
Teams to test at Indy Scott Dixon
and new Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. will
take part in private tire tests Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. They are getting a jump on the 2004 Indy 500.
Brack's broken back details Injured
driver Kenny Brack had an 8-hour long surgery on his broken back, that
is how bad it was. The back surgery was successful. They had to
fuse the L-2, L-3 and L-4 vertebrae together since Kenny's L-3
was smashed. They added some rods and screws too. His
right ankle was badly broken and although the doctors say he will
recover, one has to wonder if his road racing days are over, i.e. will
he ever regain full flexibility needed to drive road courses.
This of course assumes he comes back to racing, or at the age of 37,
decides to retire. Let's hope he returns. We are surprised
Scott Dixon will stay in the IRL another year. He has F1
aspirations. Racing wheel-to-wheel at over 200 MPH in an open
wheel car every race dramatically increases the chances of Dixon being
in a similar violent wreck, one that could possibly put an end to any
thought of road racing again. He already broke his wrist and
hand earlier this year at Motegi and was one of 10 IRL drivers (10 of
avg. 22 starters or 45% of the drivers) who broke something this past
year. Those certainly are not odds we would want to risk.
IRL drivers are a brave bunch, willing to risk severe injury (45%
chance each year - some years have been even worse) to their bodies to
help the IRL further their concept of open wheel oval racing.
Maybe fenders or nerf bars are needed, so when they touch wheels at
those speeds they don't launch a car into the grandstand someday and
kill 100's of fans in one fell swoop, which is many times worse than
injuring a driver. A couple of wrecks this year (Andretti at Indy and
Brack at TMS) prove that an IRL car takes off like an airplane when
air gets under it. That would be a terrible blow to the
sport we all love. It could drive the final nail in Indy Car
Gil de Ferran
Concussion & Fractured Vertebrae
Back Pain, kept overnight
Broken lower back
Unspecified injuries to back - ended
Broken hip, pelvis, leg and arm
Broken pelvis & right thigh
Tom Wood (IPS)
Broken middle back, right knee, right foot
& both ankles
Airlifted, Contusion of the back
Broken back, femur, both ankles, sternum
Zero injuries to date
8 from ALMS pre-qualify for 2004 LeMans
American Le Mans Series competitors
have been allowed up to eight pre-selections for the 2004 running of 24 Hours of
Le Mans, including four that will be earned in Saturday’s running of the Petit Le
Mans. The American Le Mans Series is based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans and operates
on an agreement with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizer of event. The
ACO selects the 50 race teams that compete in the annual running of the world’s
most famous endurance race. Because of the relationship that exists between the
American Le Mans Series and the ACO, race teams that regularly compete in ALMS
events receive special consideration in the selection process. The entrant of the
winning Petit Le Mans car in each of the four classes of competition within the
American Le Mans Series will be pre-selected for the 2004 running of the 24 Hours
of Le Mans. The classes include LMP 900, LMP 675, GTS and GT. In addition, the
entrant of the 2003 American Le Mans Series Team Championship in each class will
be pre-selected for the 2004 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. If the entrant of
the winning 2003 Petit Le Mans car in a category is the same as the 2003 ALMS
champion, the second pre-selected entry may be awarded to another team of the
category in accordance with the ACO and ALMS. The wording of the FIA Entrant’s
License and the make of car must remain the same as for the 2003 Petit Le Mans
race. To be eligible for pre-selection, cars must be in full compliance with the
2003 ACO regulations. All pre-selected competitors must compulsorily take part in
the 2004 preliminary practice sessions at Le Mans in late April.
CART stock re-listed
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., (formerly NYSE: MPH) announced that
effective Wednesday, October 15, 2003, its common stock will be quoted on the OTC
Bulletin Board (OTCBB) under the ticker symbol CPNT.OB. As previously reported,
the Company had fallen below the NYSE continued listing criteria and as a result
intended to pursue having its common stock quoted on the OTCBB.
***Reader Comment***CART on the rebound
A reader writes, Dear AR1, The
Rahal news is great... not someone I'm familiar with but sounds very talented like
Bourdais. Now if we can get a couple old pros (J Villeneuve, J Herbert) and
a cross-back with huge talent (Dario), the sun may begin to turn toward CART and
away from the ambulance series! Not that I've ever been a fan nor is
he anywhere near prime now, but it sure wouldn't hurt for the Little Al farewell
tour to come home... for media and fan purposes all year. Any chance Patrick can
find the $$? Love your site. John Costello, Long Beach, CA.
Dear John, CART is going to make a big comeback in 2004 with or without those
drivers you mention. As for Unser, we do know he approached some CART teams,
and we do know that Tony George probably does not want to pay his salary yet
another year. It would be good for Al to race in CART so that he can be
there for his son Al Unser III who is racing in the CART ladder system. His
mother Shelly is there every race, but the kid really needs his father there week
in and week out, not only for moral support, but for advice in setting the car up
and race strategy. For the kid's sake we hope it happens.....and it would be
good for Al Jr. too. We would like to see him end his career in one piece and the
injury rate in the IRL is so high you never know who will be next.
10/18/03 Industry News
Ford to expand in China
[Editor's Note: It's clear that CART will eventually want to be racing
in China, but it won't happen in 2004. Why do we say this?
Because with such an expansion, and with such a huge population, every
major sponsor is going to be wanting to do business in China]
Ford Motor, which makes 50 per cent fewer cars in China than General
Motors (GM), plans to spend as much as US$1.5 billion to expand
production and boost market share in the world's fastest-growing car
Ford would build a second plant and expand its factory in Chongqing,
Sichuan province, that made Mondeo and Fiesta cars, chief executive
William Clay Ford said in Beijing.
The Michigan-based company would also build an engine-making plant in
Ford, GM, Volkswagen and Toyota Motor are expanding local production
to meet rising demand from increasingly wealthy Chinese urban
Car sales may expand by 25 per cent this year, compared with a 4.3 per
cent drop in western Europe and a 3 per cent slump in North America,
according to London-based World Markets Research Centre.
Mei Luwu, an analyst at Penhua Fund Management in Shenzhen, said:
"They need to expand to catch up with other carmakers.
"But they had better bring in more up-to-date models, as General
Motors has done, instead of introducing old ones."
The world's second-biggest carmaker said it wanted to boost production
to capture vehicle sales in China, which are forecast to triple to 5.8
million units by 2010, according to McKinsey & Co.
The announcement came as the mainland government reported its economy,
the sixth-largest in the world, grew 9.1 per cent in the third
quarter, a faster pace than its 6.7 per cent expansion in the second
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