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IRL bid puts Canadian races in jeopardyUPDATE "unite" (Tony speak
for KILL CART) unite means some reasonable "uniting" here there is
none, taking one race of 16 races and taking away their engines does not
unite it KILLS as it is designed to do! 1/26/04 - A new bid from the Indy Racing League for selected assets of rival
CART has the Molson Indy in jeopardy. The IRL has reportedly
offered $3.3 million (U.S.) for the assets, a move designed to unite
the two open-wheel racing series.
The January 24th Indianapolis Star said the offer was double the amount
offered by the Open Wheel Racing Series last month. OWRS co-owner Paul
Gentilozzi said the main components of the IRL's bid are the Grand
Prix of Long Beach — the most successful event in CART history — and
the Ford engines used by the Champ Car racing series.
TSN reported that the IRL plans wouldn't add road and street races in
time for the upcoming season. That would mean there would be no CART
races in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal this year. In
addition, the IRL has contracts with engine manufacturers Honda,
Toyota, Chevrolet and Cosworth, a subsidiary of Ford. If the IRL
acquires the Ford engines, champ-car racing wouldn't have engines in
place in time to stage the 2004 season.
Gentilozzi said the IRL is looking to eliminate CART. "It's clear what
(the IRL's) intentions are when you look at which assets they want to
purchase," Gentilozzi said. IRL spokesperson Fred Nation
said the bid was similar to OWRS's. "We're offering more money for
less than the other folks," he told TSN's Web site.
Long Beach objection to OWRS bid
STATEMENT FROM JIM MICHAELIAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE GRAND PRIX
ASSOCIATION OF LONG BEACH: “As we’ve said before, our preference would
be to continue on with our existing relationship and run the Champ Car
race as the headline event. “The objection placed by Dover Motorsports
Inc. and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach was done as a
procedural move necessary to protect our rights and obtain certain
basic information and ‘adequate assurances’ from OWRS in the
bankruptcy proceeding. As a public company, Dover Motorsports and
GPALB have a responsibility to seek information regarding the ongoing
viability of the series. We have now received a response to the
questions we were asking and, as a result, have withdrawn our
objection to OWRS’ bid. “We await the judge’s decision on this
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Your series of articles
on why Open Wheel needs OWRS was awesome. Very true, too. If
there is anything that has been proven over the years, it is
Tony can buy the tracks, he can by the teams, he can even
buy the drivers, but he will never, ever get the fans. Matt
Grand-Am team suffers fire
The Racer's Group 53-foot race transporter, en route from
Sonoma, Calif., to Daytona, Fla., for the 2004 Rolex 24 At
Daytona, sustained heavy fire and smoke damage when an axle
failed in the rear of the transporter, causing a suspected
electrical or tire fire. The driver, Jerry Cowans, was
unhurt in the incident. Crewmembers converged on the
accident site, Gila Bend, Ariz., to assess damage and begin
transferring salvageable equipment from the damaged trailer
to a new one.
Team owner Kevin Buckler's team has won the Rolex 24 At
Daytona twice. "When we found out late Friday night, our
first reaction was disbelief, then relief when it became
apparent that Jerry wasn't hurt," said Buckler. "As he stood
on the side of the road in the middle of the desert in
Arizona, he let us know that the No. 66 and No. 67 cars were
heavily smoke damaged, but appeared to be mechanically
The immediate problem facing the team was getting the
undamaged equipment to Florida in time for this weekend's
race. Buckler started placing phone calls to acquaintances
and business contacts around the country, and within a few
hours had arranged for the purchase and pick up of a new
At 2 a.m. PT on Saturday morning, the deal was completed.
Several crewmembers flew from Los Angeles, Denver and
Sacramento to Phoenix, where they discovered that the
hydraulic systems in the trailer were not functioning,
preventing the crew from removing the cars from the trailer.
Simultaneously, a leased tractor and The Racer's Group new
trailer were en route from Los Angeles, Calif. to Arizona to
begin the process of transferring equipment from one rig to
"The thing that stands out for me from this whole event is
the response of my crew to our emergency," said Buckler.
"They had all just packed up the old trailer and sent it
down the road to Daytona. All the bins were closed, all the
tools were in place, and every sticker on the cars was
perfect. They had all gone back to their homes for one last
weekend of rest before the season started. But every last
one of them has the same determination I have - to deal with
adversity, handle the situation like professionals, and just
put their heads down and go to work. There's no way on earth
that I would bet against my crew getting us to Daytona in
time. Anybody can ride the ship when it's just cruising
along, but when something like this happens you really find
out what your team is made of. My guys reacted just as I
Pollard to join Menards
Infiniti Pro Series
Brad Pollard has signed with Kenn Hardley Racing to compete in
the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ for the
full 2004 season. The entry will be sponsored by X-Box.
Pollard, a cousin of the late Indianapolis 500 veteran Art
Pollard, made two starts on the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro
Series in 2003. He started eighth and finished 11th in the
Natural Golf/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry at Fontana,
Calif., and started and finished 15th (accident) in the
season finale at Texas in the Arrow Karts/Motorsport Ranch/SSM
1/26/04 Industry News
to supply cars for new F1-like series
Lola Cars International Ltd today confirmed the completion of
a formal agreement between the company and A1 Grand Prix, a
new winter single-seater series that has been founded by His
Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum and
businessmen, Brian Menell and Antonio Teixeira.
New cars will be developed for the A1 Grand Prix series that
is set to begin in the winter of 2005 (pending FIA
approval), involving a minimum of 24 countries. 30 single
seater cars will be built for the new series and 3.5 litre
engines will be developed by Northampton based Langford
His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, of
the ruling royal family of Dubai has himself competed in
both cars and bikes in recent years and is a passionate
Lola Cars Chairman Martin Birrane said of the announcement;
"Lola has all the credentials required for this exciting new
series from the Middle East which is one of the biggest
growth areas in global motorsport. We are looking forward to
contributing our expertise to make A1 Grand Prix a
successful venture whilst further expanding the company’s
horizons at the same time.”
A1 Grand Prix plan to unveil the prototype racing car built
by Lola at the formal launch which is due to take place at
the end of March or beginning of April 2004. The roll-out
will take place in Dubai.
Lola Cars International are the world’s oldest and most
successful manufacturer of race cars and have a continuing
success in global racing series from Formula Nippon in
Japan, Champ Car in the US and Formula 3000 in Europe. Lola
also recently announced a new generation LMP2 sportscar that
is set to hit the tracks in 2005, underlining the company’s
heritage in the category that saw an historic victory for
the Lola LMP675 car against the Audi LMP900 racer at Sears
Point last July.
Lola Cars, based in Huntingdon has a state-of-the-art
engineering infrastructure that includes a 50% rolling road wind
tunnel, commercial composites subsidiary – CTS,
comprehensive vehicle dynamics testing facilities and
turn-key race team premises. Lola has over four decades of
experience in providing logistical and technical support to
racers around the world.
Harrison and RuSPORT part ways
Burke Harrison, AJ Allmendinger's engineer at RuSPORT for last
season's Championship effort, has left the team. The
official team comments was - "Burke has left RuSPORT,
however his departure will not affect the team’s 2004 plans
to compete in the top open-wheel series. Burke was not
slated to be working on that program. We all wish him the
best in his future endeavors."
Debtor in possession gets last
and final bid
Tony George says he is prepared to up his bid significantly to
kill the Champ Car Series and unify Open Wheel Racing under
the IRL. If (yes, if) his bid is deemed responsive he
may have to do just that. This is a 13-65 (or 13-75, we
forget the exact number) bankruptcy. The debtor in
possession, in this case OWRS who is already paying CART's
bills to keep the doors open, has last and final bid.
Can OWRS dig deep enough to outbid the Hulman George family
with a final bid that will break Tony George's bank?
Yes, in fact one has to wonder if Tony has enough money to
outbid OWRS. Both Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe
are rumored to each be worth well in excess of $1 billion.
While their net worth is not totally liquid, a billion
dollars is a billion dollars. Tony George's sisters
have put Tony on notice that they are cutting off his
endless spending spree to artificially prop up the IRL.
This is probably Tony's last hurrah. If he doesn't win
this battle and the Champ Car Series continues through 2004,
his primary means of funding may have to come through the
back door from his oval track brethren. Mark C.
Must Judge Otte take the
Many people are wondering if Judge Otte must take the highest
bid in the CART bankruptcy case. The answer is
absolutely not. If this case were a bankruptcy Chapter
case to dissolve the company, the highest bid would win.
However, this is a bankruptcy chapter (11) to revive the
business. Big difference. Under federal law the
judge is obligated to rule in favor of the bid and the
business plan that has the best chance to revive the
business so people can stay employed, and debtors can be
paid off, i.e. to do what's best for the commerce of
all parties involved, from the biggest debtor to the lowest
employee. Some have also asked if the Judge can allow
the IRL to cherry-pick the Long Beach race. While the
judge can do anything, it's highly unlikely he would do
that. He is out to find the best way to revive the
business and make it financially viable and a strong and
successful argument will likely be made that if the Champ
Car Series were to lose their crown jewel race, their
ability to continue will be severely hampered. To top
it off, the IRL can't run the Long Beach race in April of
2004 and the Long Beach GP Association are already selling
tickets. The judge is probably going to pound his
gavel and reject the IRL's attempt at cherry-picking Long
Beach as irresponsible. Mark C.
Robby Gordon to drive in Rolex
It's official, the Spirit of Daytona team grew by one more really hot
shoe Saturday as Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon was added to the
team's roster for Saturday's Rolex 24 At Daytona. Gordon joins Dale
Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty and Jimmie Johnson in the
temporary leap from NASCAR to open-wheel racing for the Jan. 31-Feb. 1
endurance event at Daytona International Speedway. With five top-10
and four top-five overall finishes in the five Rolex 24 events in
which he has participated, Gordon has demonstrated an ability to drive
in a race that calls as much upon a driver's finesse as it does shear
speed. Gordon will team with the Spirit's regular driving duo of Goad
and IRL veteran Gregoire in a Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype.
Daytona Beach News Journal
CART CSI: Miami repeat
CSI:Miami is going to show
the CART-based "Grand Prix" episode again tonight (Monday). (CBS,
10:00 PM EST).
Clean sweep for American Kimball Down
reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I couldn't help but notice your
hopes for Charlie Kimball to move into CART's ladder system . . . and
as usual you are right. However, after a year in the Formula Dodge
National Championship (2002) Charlie and his father chose to compete
in the US Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship in 2003 rather than
Barber Dodge. So he has actually been in CART's ladder system but
chose to go elsewhere. His next step is unquestionably Toyota Atlantic
where his FF2000 teammate Chris Festa has secured a ride with Team
Rahal. I would put Charlie in the same league as Allmendinger and I
believe he is only 18. Beaux Barfield1/25/04 - Three weeks of
fluctuating emotions for the Team USA Scholarship drivers ended on a
spectacular note today at Ruapuna Park Raceway as Charlie Kimball and
Ryan Millen finished first and second in the final 18-lap race. The
result ensured a clean sweep of all three races this weekend for
Kimball and was enough to clinch the Talley's International Formula
Ford Challenge Series crown. Kimball also established a new Formula
Ford lap record almost a full second inside the previous mark. More....
Surfers promoter files objection to IRL
In a counter to the Long Beach promoter objections to the OWRS bid, in
this court filing
by the Surfers race promoter Gold Coast Motor Events Company object to
the IRL bid for CART assets on the following grounds:
OWRS' bid is offering to continue the entire CART series, whereas the IRL's
bid is just to buy certain assets. Imagine the loss of jobs
OWRS' bid will assume all existing contracts
bid will assume only one contract, leaving all of the other contracts liable
to claim contract damages, in Gold Coast's case $13 million for this one
Coast believes that the judge should take into account the economical
damages to the local communities if the IRL's bid is approved and the CART
season cancelled. Queensland has estimated that the loss to its local
economy will be $35 million per year. Multiply that times 16 to 17
other venues and you are looking at some major losses.
other parties will claim contract damages, which will raise the level of
unsecured claims exponentially from $6.3 million to as much as $63.0 million
(actually, we have been told it's over $70 million).
Editor's Note: By killing the CART series (which his bid does by
taking the CART engines) Tony George will be causing losses of hundreds of
millions of dollars to many people and businesses. We suspect this will
weigh heavily on the judge's decision. We suspect Tony George and his
lawyers will get the same reaction from the judge on his bid that 88 Corp got
with their claims - he slammed his gavel and walked away before they could
Tony George ready to bid up the price
for CARTUPDATE A reader responds to
the Tony George letter - In response to TG's statement that "based on
the heritage of the Indianapolis 500" I must state yes it "HAD"
heritage but with his guidance open wheel Indy 500 has become a 2nd to
NASCAR 400 there. TG states "From a modest beginning, the League is
now regarded by impartial observers as the premier American open-wheel
series." I don't know what planet he lives on but just look at the TV
ratings and in person attendance, free giveaway tickets and MUST buy
IRL with NASCAR tickets. Bribes, bribes and more bribes to try and
fill the stands and it's still not working. "Backed by the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a wide array of sponsors, teams,
drivers and fans, is the sanctioning body best positioned to offer
leadership in open-wheel racing." Most have been taken from the CART
series and yet CART is still ahead of the IRL. Yes he cherry-picked
some but you can not take those with the heart and souls of the
"LOYAL" CART owners, drivers and fans. OWRS founders have the BEST
interest to keep TRUE open wheel going and with the best drivers in
the world. Best of Luck and I'm 100% behind you Paul, Gerry and Kevin
and ALL those supporting OWRS. Just my opinion. Joe Steber,
Albrightsville, PA1/25/04 - This Indy Star
article says, Indy Racing League president Tony George said
Saturday that his $3.3 million bid for control of open-wheel racing
likely won't be his final offer. "The auction is Wednesday," he
said, referring to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing.
In his first interview since deciding to bid for selected assets of
his chief rival, the bankrupt Championship Auto Racing Teams series,
George emphasized that he is willing to do what it takes to unify the
divided sport. If that means increasing his bid significantly at
the court hearing in Indianapolis, so be it. The hearing is set
to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Last week, Gentilozzi argued that the resolve of the OWRS founders is
at least as great as George's, if not more so. "We are all
successful businessmen and all you have to do is look at our business
plan going forward to know we mean business here," he said.
Gentilozzi agreed that Wednesday's hearing will eventually become an
auction in the truest sense. That means OWRS' bid of $1.6 million
isn't its final offer. Gentilozzi predicted the bidding won't get
serious until it reaches $14 million. "It's an auction and you
better be there to bid," he said. "It's not a one-time deal. The
judge's job is to get the most money for the creditors. "It'll
be over Wednesday unless the bidding goes into the night."
George declined to discuss the IRL's bidding plan, but he said the
exchanges will be worth watching. "I expect it will be
interesting and maybe even intense," he said. "I hope it doesn't get
to a frenzied level, but it might. But it should be well
George said he isn't concerned about how he is being perceived by the
fans of the sport because he knows time will separate the winners from
the losers. He and Gentilozzi both said they had alternative
plans if the judge rules against them. "We're not going
to convince everybody that we have the best intentions for open-wheel
racing at heart," George said. "There will always be those (fans) who
won't be dragged along without kicking and screaming. "But our
actions will speak for themselves, and in two or three years that will
be obvious to any reasonable person." [Editor's Note: Tony
George has now gone on record that he doesn't care what the CART fans
think about him as he attempts to kill their series. He wants to
win at all costs, hell with the customer. And you wonder
why Toyota thinks NASCAR is the future?]
Kravitz: Open Wheel needs win by IRLUPDATE Readers respond to
this article, I just wanted to respond to the "Kravitz: Open Wheel
Needs Win By IRL" article. I wonder how much Tony George paid them to
put that article in the paper. If he really is an open wheel fan or
writer he would have seen what the fans really like to see. The fans
were behind CART all year. Even though there was a lot of negative
publicity put out by the IRL on Cart, the fans showed especially this
year who they are behind. CART outdrew the IRL by having twice and
sometimes three times as many fans at their races. The writers think
they know what's best without even looking at the numbers or maybe
they just don't want to believe what the numbers say. I have been a
loyal fan to CART since day 1. I'll be honest, I don't dislike the
IRL, yet. I will never forgive them if the Judge rules in their favor.
I can also tell you this much. Not because I'm a cart fan but a racing
fan. If the IRL does race in Long Beach it will be a flop. It will
NEVER!!! outdraw a CART race there. Rod De Almeida, Orlando
Another writes, Just thought I'd share with you what I've just written
Bob Kravitz in response to his column: I can't believe what you've
written!!! Tony wants to unite the series? - he is responsible for the
division in the first place! Every single reason he
gave for the split - to "protect the integrity of oval track racing"
(whatever that means), the 25-8 configuration for the Indy 500, too
many foreign drivers, too many 'big money" people involved, to name a
few - every single reason has fallen by the wayside. I've thought all
along, and it has now been confirmed, that it was never about any of
that - it was only about gaining control. The only real difference
between what the IRL might become, should the judge rule in its favor,
and the way things were before 1995, is that Tony - really, the people
who are behind him - would now be in control. So everything he said at
the IRL's inception was an outright lie. Meanwhile, NASCAR has wildly
gained in popularity, the Indy 500 is a mere shadow of what it once
was, overall attendance is down in open-wheel racing (and what there
is at IRL races is often artificially propped up), TV ratings are
down, etc. Tony asked for the IRL - I say let him have it! - let him
keep trying to make it the dream he once laid out - let him show some
of that integrity he first spoke of and stick to his original concept,
keep pouring his money into it, and see if he can make a go of it. And
let Champ Car racing be what it is. If Tony (& his minions) succeed
Wednesday, he's certainly no hero for bringing it back together - he's
just another power-playing, opportunistic, untrustworthy liar.
Elaine Cleveland1/25/04 - This Indy Star IRL
propaganda piece says, This is open-wheel racing's greatest
chance yet to save itself, to prop itself up, to put itself in a
position to compete -- or begin to compete -- with NASCAR.
As things now stand, open-wheel racing is boxing on methane. Unless
you're a hard-core fan who counts either Tony George or Chris Pook as
the Antichrist, all this CART and IRL nonsense might as well be like
boxing's alphabet-soup conglomeration of ruling commissions.
The sport needs all of its best drivers, owners, promoters and, most
of all, thinkers, under one tent, all working toward the same goal:
reviving open-wheel racing. Because as long as this remains a house
divided, it's going to spin its wheels, and, worse yet, suck NASCAR's
In the great IRL-CART war, it's pretty clear -- and it's been clear
for some time -- that the IRL has won. But open-wheel racing has
lost. Just come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a practice day
in May. There are plenty of good sections still available. So much
money and energy has been put into this inane Hatfield-and-McCoy
rivalry, and yet the real enemy is down the road, driving those
reconstituted taxicabs and promoting personalities like it was
This should not be viewed as the demise of CART. It should be
viewed as a chance to revive open-wheel racing. At least as long
as the IRL prevails this week when a judge auctions off what's left of
the old circuit.
Nobody questions that the Open Wheel Racing Series folks have good
intentions, and it's clear they are passionate about maintaining
what's left of the old CART crew while sticking it to George. If they
prevail this week and put on a 2004 season, the more power to them.
But it's ultimately bad for the sport. What good does it do
open-wheel racing if there continues to be a rival league, especially
one starting the race seven laps behind? Can't anybody in that sport
see the big picture? Or is everybody simply too blinded by the hatred
they have for George and his organization?
One of the great criticisms of the IRL has been its love of ovals.
Well, now the IRL is planning to add road and street courses. The IRL
is taking on some of the best characteristics of CART. What's the
As usual, George is taking a beating for all of this because, well,
that's what George does. For the 15 percent of Americans who care
about open-wheel racing, he's the most polarizing figure in the sport.
The knock now is that George is bidding on CART's assets with the idea
of killing off the rival series and picking its bones clean. Well . .
What's he supposed to do? Let OWRS grab the assets so they can try to
compete with his IRL? Did the NFL bankroll the USFL so the rival
league could stay alive? How about the NBA and ABA? The NHL and WHA?
Some of us only passed Indiana University's Kelley School of Business
on the way to Nick's, but it seems to me, if you have a chance to bury
your competitor and make yourself stronger, that's what you do.
Here's the best thing that can happen for open-wheel racing this week:
The IRL gets what's left of CART. The OWRS group ends up a footnote in
the history of the great IRL-CART war. And open-wheel racing starts
all over again, fresh, stronger and presumably smarter, everybody
under the same giant roof.
***Reader Feedback***Recent articles
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just read your two most
recent articles and they both hit a bull's-eye on this OWRS/IRL battle
for CART. The first by Steven Levinson, CART/IRL Armageddon, 2004
does an excellent job of recapping the evil forces that OWRS is up
against in taking control of CART. The second, by Jim Allen, Open Wheel Racing needs
a win by OWRS - Part 1 hits the proverbial nail right on the
head. CART fans despise everything about the IRL and will never,
and I mean never, support Anton George and his IRL series. I
know at least 50, maybe 60 CART fans, and every one of them, to a man
(or women) refuse to have anything to do with the man and the series
that ruined the sport of Open Wheel Racing in this country. I can't
wait for Part 2. Thanks for the articles, AutoRacing1.com is the best
motorsports publication in the world. It's the only one that
isn't afraid to expose the lies and tell the truth. Robert
Jeffers, Dallas, Texas
CART files Form 8-K amendment
CART recently filed this
Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Section 2.04 is amended to read as follows: SECTION 2.04. Assumption
of Liabilities. Sub agrees to assume as of the Closing only the
following liabilities (the "Assumed Liabilities"): The obligations of
performance of the Sellers under the Assumed Contracts arising on and
after the Closing Date; except for the Assumed Liabilities, Sub shall
not assume and shall not be liable for any of the debts, obligations,
responsibilities, undertakings or liabilities, whether matured or
unmatured, fixed or contingent, secured or unsecured, accrued,
absolute or other of any Seller and all such liabilities will remain
the responsibility of the Sellers and shall be retained, paid
performed and discharged by the Sellers. Notwithstanding the foregoing
if and to the extent Sub and/or Parent or any Affiliate of either of
them acquires any claim or otherwise satisfies any claim that might be
asserted against CART, Championship or as a "claim" (as defined in 11
U.S.C. Section 101(5)) in the Chapter 11 Case (any of which is an
"Acquired Claim"), then Sub and Parent agree that any such Claim shall
be released and shall not be asserted against Championship, CART or in
the Chapter 11 Case.
2. Section 2.05(a)is amended to read as follows:
SECTION 2.05. Consideration. (a) At the Closing, as consideration for
the sale, conveyance, transfer and assignment of the Acquired Assets,
the Sub will deliver, and Parent will cause to be delivered, by wire
transfer of immediately available funds to an account specified by
CART an amount in cash equal to $1,630,000 (the "Purchase Price").
3. A new section 3.13 shall be added that reads as follows: "Attached
as Schedule 3.13 is a true and accurate listing of the amounts of
unpaid (after lawful and appropriate setoff) year-end prize money
payable by CART to teams participating in CART's racing series for the
2003 series (other than teams controlled by Affiliates of Parent)."
SCHEDULE 3.13 Payouts Total
Newman/Haas Racing $ 700,000.00
Team Rahal, Inc. 300,000.00
Herdez Competition 140,000.00
Fernandez Racing 120,000.00
Walker Racing 110,000.00 GRAND TOTAL $ 1,370,000.00
Jordan leaves door open on drivers
Everyone is wondering who Eddie Jordan will choose as his two drivers
for 2004. Eddie Jordan confirmed recently….“Of course it's
possible Ralph Firman might drive for us again,” he said. “We tested
Nick Heidfeld and he went well and is a possibility. Maybe Mark Gene,
he was strong in the Williams last year. I have always been an admirer
of Allan McNish and both he and Alex Wurz could fit the bill."
Jos Verstappen is also out there, waiting in limbo with some big
money. With just six weeks left until the start of the new
season and ten days until they launch their new contender, the EJ14 at
the Silverstone circuit in England, one has to assume that we should
know who the drivers will be soon.
CART bankruptcy leaves several motors
This St. Petersburg Times
article says, Tim Ramsberger met with representatives of a
ticket distribution service Friday, hashing out details for an
open-wheel race through downtown streets May 16.
It could be Champ Cars contesting the second Grand Prix of St.
Petersburg. Or Indy Racing League cars. Or no cars, and no race. The
worst part is there is nothing the race general manager can do except
hope he has something for which to sell tickets.
Ramsberger's plight is not unique. As the bones of Championship Auto
Racing Teams are picked clean in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Jan. 28 in
Indianapolis, municipalities, promoters and the prospective buyers of
Open Wheel Racing Series are waiting for Judge Frank Otte's decision
on where those assets go.
"You have to wonder what happens if there is no race and no one wants
it here in the foreseeable future," Ramsberger said. "We're working
under that cloud."
This was once a simple transition in which Open Wheel - made up of
CART team owners Gerald Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi
- proposed to buy the vestiges of CART for roughly $1.6-million in
bankruptcy court and race as Champ Car World Series. A day before
Friday's deadline for bids, the rival Indy Racing League confirmed a
week of speculation by opting to bid on some of CART's assets.
Gentilozzi told the Indianapolis Star in Friday's editions that his
group would increase its bid. He said creditor issues could push the
winning bid for all of CART's assets beyond $14-million if Open Wheel
is not chosen. Otte has no obligation to accept the highest bid, but
he must find for the greater interest of creditors.
"I think we remain optimistic that Open Wheel will be the eventual
successor to CART," Ramsberger said. While Open Wheel's owners
call IRL's move a deplorable attempt to kill their series, the IRL
deemed it strictly business, a move to unite the open-wheel series.
Confidentiality agreements cloak who bid on what. International
Speedway Corporation spokesman David Talley said his parent company
and its subsidiaries, Grand American Road Racing Association and 88
Corp, did not bid. ISC owns several tracks, including Daytona
International Speedway, while 88 Corp owns California Speedway, which
is suing CART for a $2.5-million sanctioning fee lost when its race
was canceled because of California wildfires.
Among the assets up for bid are sanctioning rights for races that
would make up Open Wheel's possible 15-17 race schedule. The IRL could
kill off Open Wheel by picking off more valuable races, particularly
the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which is scheduled to start the Open
Wheel season April 18 and is promoted by Dover Motorsports.
"Absolutely, the sanctioning agreements are one of the valued assets
in the estate," said Jerry Miraglia, executive vice president of race
promoter Dover Motorsports. "The judge could make a decision to sell
all the sanctioning agreements to a single buyer, or they could be
Despite confidentiality agreements, an Open Wheel release on Friday
strongly suggested the IRL had bid on the Long Beach contract and CART
Dover Motorsports also promotes IRL races at its Nashville speedway.
Miraglia said Dover has discussed a possible Long Beach switch to the
IRL but nothing "confidential or inappropriate."
IRL's interest in CART races could go beyond destroying a competitor.
The league has expressed a desire to add street courses by 2005, and
Long Beach is one of the most important. CART races in Monterrey,
Mexico, Mexico City, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal also are popular
As a second-year race, and with an IRL event established at
Homestead-Miami Speedway (on Feb. 29), St. Petersburg may not be what
the IRL seeks. Or it could be a less-expensive alternative, this year
Manufacturers Dallara Automobili and Panoz G Force have been told to
have new chassis capable of making right and left turns ready for
2005, but Dallara U.S. technical liaison Sam Garrett said "given
enough time, pressure and money, we could make something happen" for
"The IRL has told us it's very unlikely to go road racing in 2004 but
almost certain to in 2005," he said. "We're sitting on the edge of our
seats to see what will happen. Things change so much so fast it's hard
to say what is an absolute."
Budweiser Shootout history No
driver knew how to win at Daytona International Speedway quite like
Dale Earnhardt, so it should come as no surprise that "The
Intimidator" won more Budweiser Shootouts than any other driver. In
fact, it's not even close. The Budweiser Shootout (formerly
named the Busch Clash from 1979-97 and the Bud Shootout from
1998-2000) pits Bud Pole winners from the previous year and former
Shootout champions against each other in a 70-lap all-star race.
Earnhardt won the race six times (1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995).
The only other drivers that can boast multiple wins are Dale Jarrett,
Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader, and Neil Bonnett, each with
two victories apiece. More....
joins celebrity hockey game in Montreal
Rocketsports Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani (Photos right by Westin
Resort Tremblant) will join the Réseau des Sports (RDS) celebrity
hockey team for a friendly game of “hockey bottine” at the Fête de
Neige (Festival of Snow) on Sunday, Jan. 25 at Place des Nations at
Jean-Drapeau Park in Montréal. This is the first of three consecutive
weekends for the winter festival, which is free to the public. The
celebrity game will start at 11:45 a.m. just prior to the Montreal
Canadians first public outdoor practice. Hockey bottine is played with
a puck and boots, specifically designed to grip the ice.
Tagliani will be playing alongside RDS network personalities; Norman
Flynn, Carlo Blanchard, Claudine Douville, Micher Fervac-Larose,
Renaud Lavoie, Rodger Brulotte and Martin Gauthier. The lineup also
includes France St-Louis from the Canadian Women’s Hockey team who won
the gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, auto-racing
commentator Bertrand Godin, Seattle Seahawks Center Jean-Philippe
Darche, and from the hit TV series Lance et Compte; Éric Hoziel, Carl
Marotte, Louis-Philippe Dandenault and Alexandre Dandeneault. The
celebrity team will also feature comedians and former Montreal
Canadians hockey players.
route back home to Montreal, Tagliani, and wife Bronte, made a stop at
the Rocketsports Racing shop to complete a custom seat for the No. 33
Johnson Controls Lola. The couple spent the past week at Mont
Tremblant, snowboarding and enjoying the Quebec winter. (Photo right
courtesy of Rocketsports)
Tony George letter explaining why they
bid on CART
letter from Tony George explains to IRL teams and fans the
motives behind his bid for certain CART assets. Although he
doesn't say it directly, he admits the real motivation behind the bid
is to kill off CART once and for all so he can have complete control
of open wheel racing in the USA, he calls it a unified series (psst,
quick someone tell him a unified series is when two sides merge, not
when one side kills off the other). Why is he bidding to buy all
the CART engines? It's certainly not because he plans to use
them in his IRL cars. No, it is to prevent the Champ Car series
from racing in 2004.
Why ISC/Grand-Am didn't bid on CART
Some may wonder why 88 Corp/ISC nor its sister company, Grand-Am, did
not bid on CART's assets as was rumored. You should know that
Judge Otte now understands Tony George's, ISC's and the rest of the
oval track cartel's motive - to put CART out of business, and he's
having none of it. At the last hearing the Judge pressured the
88 Corp. lawyers as to what their real motives were and they finally
admitted it was to put CART out of business. This so infuriated
Otte that he slammed his gavel and walked away before the 88 Corp
lawyers could finish what they were saying. He has no patience
for what the Oval Track Cartel is up to and we are sure he is going to
view the IRL's bid to buy the CART engines, thereby, preventing them
from having a series in 2004, as another attempt to undermine CART and
OWRS. As Paul Gentilozzi put it, the IRL is entering the race
with one lap to go and they are already a lap down. Knowing that
Otte has seen right through their hidden motives, ISC/88 Corp
/Grand-Am probably felt it best they not bother bidding.
OWRS Subpoenas Tony George, IRL objects
This court document
filed by the IRL explains that OWRS subpoenaed Tony George to provide
a deposition on Monday January 26th and the IRL objected on various
grounds. Their main objection was not enough advance notice was
given. It's apparent that OWRS wants to get more information
from Tony George as to what his plan is for the bid the IRL submitted.
On the surface it appears non-responsive.
Security tight for Bahrain GP
A state-of-the art security headquarters has been set up at the
Bahrain Formula One Circuit, it was revealed yesterday. The HQ houses
the latest telecommunications equipment in an attempt to ensure the
security and safety of the spectators, said Cabinet Affairs Minister
Mohammed Al Mutawa. He was replying to a question raised by MP
Mohammed Al Dosary about ongoing F1 preparations. Two airfields
had been constructed to accommodate Formula One passengers, with
special helicopters flying them directly from Bahrain International
Airport to the site of the race. Special lanes would be arranged
to transport VIP delegations, Mr. Al Mutawa revealed.
1/24/04 Industry News
Toyota bumps Ford out of #2 Toyota
has most likely surpassed Ford as the world's No. 2 automaker behind
General Motors, a change that reflects the steady erosion of U.S.
companies' dominance of the industry. Preliminary figures released by
Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday showed worldwide sales for 2003 reached
6.78 million vehicles, up 9.9 percent from 6.17 million the previous
year. On Thursday, Ford Motor Co. said its 2003 sales slipped to 6.72
million vehicles, down 3.6 percent from 6.97 million. General Motors
Corp. and Ford were the front-runners for decades, virtually since
mass production of cars began. GM maintained its hold as the largest
automaker by selling 8.6 million vehicles in 2003.
1/24/04 Team USA
American Kimball wins down under
[Editor's Note: One would hope this guy makes it into
CART's ladder system this year] Charlie Kimball stormed to a
magnificent victory this evening in the first of three Talley's
International Formula Ford Challenge Series races at Ruapuna Park
Raceway. Kimball, who qualified fourth, took the lead from polesitter
Tim Edgell in opportunistic style midway through the 10-lap race
(which started a little after 7 p.m. in gloriously sunny conditions)
and quickly asserted his superiority before taking the checkered flag
1.608 seconds ahead of his rival. Team USA Scholarship teammate Ryan
Millen posted a similarly strong charge to finish the race tucked
underneath Edgell's gearbox in third place. More....
Schumacher wary of Kimi
Kimi Raikkonen finished runner-up to Michael Schumacher in last year’s
campaign, although the McLaren driver did manage to take the fight to
the wire. Speaking at Barcelona where he was testing on Thursday
and Friday, Schumacher was asked by Autosport if the pace shown by the
new Williams FW26 in testing worried him. He responded by saying: "The
dangerous one is not here. He's testing somewhere else." That
‘dangerous one’ can only be Raikkonen who spent the week testing in
private for McLaren at Valencia.
IRL doubles OWRS bid
This Indy Star
article says, The Indy Racing League offered $3.3 million for
selected assets of bankrupt rival Championship Auto Racing Teams,
according to several sources with knowledge of the bid.
The offer was double the amount offered by the Open Wheel Racing
Series group last month, the only other bidder to emerge before
Judge Frank J. Otte is scheduled to choose between the offers
Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis. The hearing is set
for 9:30 a.m.
IRL spokesman Fred Nation said the assets on which league president
Tony George bid were similar to those bid on by OWRS. The difference
was the IRL is seeking only one of CART's races, the Grand Prix of
Long Beach, the most successful event in series history. Nation said
the IRL is confident it can acquire some of CART's other races on its
"The hard items we bid on were the same (as OWRS) to make it easier
for the judge to compare apples and apples," Nation said.
No other bids were received by Friday morning's deadline. The Grand
American Road Racing Series had considered a bid, but its officials
opted to pass.
OWRS co-owner Paul Gentilozzi said the primary items in the IRL's bid
are the Long Beach race and the Ford engines used by the Champ-Car
The latter is significant because the IRL has contracts with engine
manufacturers Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet and Cosworth, a wholly owned
subsidiary of Ford. If the IRL prevails, Champ-Car racing wouldn't
have engines in place in time to stage the 2004 season.
Long Beach officials were one of three creditors to officially file an
objection with the bankruptcy court Friday. The others were 88 Corp.,
a company owned by the International Speedway Corp., and the promoter
of CART's race in Australia.
Both the IRL and OWRS will have the opportunity to revise their bids
before Wednesday's hearing.
"It's clear what (the IRL's) intentions are when you look at which
assets they want to purchase," Gentilozzi said. "They just want to
kill the series by taking the engines and cherry-pick Long Beach.
"If you can do that and take away your competition, I guess you try to
do that. But it won't work."
George declined to comment Friday, but he faxed a statement to IRL
teams, sponsors and promoters to highlight his reasons for pursuing
key assets of CART, which last month filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"If we are successful with our bid, our intention is to work quickly
and effectively to create a unified, market-driven North American
open-wheel series," he wrote. "We believe there is a window of
opportunity right now to accomplish this."
The IRL's offer seemed low, according to one of Gentilozzi's partners,
"Not so much the dollar amount, but because the offer doesn't take
into account any of the liabilities, which will run in the tens of
millions of dollars (if the series doesn't continue)," Kalkhoven said.
"Those are critical concerns, so it doesn't matter how much money you
put up if it all disappears in liabilities."
The IRL's bid will be reviewed by members of CART's creditors'
committee. Walker, a race team owner and member of the committee, said
it will meet this weekend to discuss the two bids. He said the judge
will have the option to make his own selection.
"Either way, I'm personally disappointed by what's happened," said
Walker, who was one of CART's board of directors when the company lost
$78 million through the first three quarters of 2003. "This (auction)
doesn't really help anybody in the long run. I guess the judge
is going to decide if we're going to have one series or two series."
Otte declined comment through a representative Friday.
China auto demand to reach 20 million
China's demand for automobiles in 2020 is expected to reach 20.74
million units per year, including 20.43 million sedans, and the total
number of cars in China by then will top 156 million, reported
Tuesday's China Automobile News. The paper quoted the
Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, China's
cabinet, as saying that the forecast was given on the basis of an
eight percent GDP growth rate. China will keep a
sustainable, steady and rapid growth of sedan demand within the next
20 years or even longer, and household cars will become the most
important pulling force for China's sedan sector and the mainstay of
China's auto industry, the DRC predicted.
Dowe joins Workman
Jason Workman did more than just receive the endorsement of veteran
motorsport engineer and team manager, Tony Dowe. His performance and
abilities led the highly regarded Dowe to join Workman’s team effort
and use his expertise to help guide and refine the young driver’s
career reach the upper plateaus of professional motorsport.
"I worked with Jason in last year’s LMP675 campaign," said Dowe. "He
showed me great potential as a driver. He raced in Europe and learned
their style of competition and has blended that perfectly with his
American experience. He is a very aggressive driver yet easy on
equipment. He has the best combination of talents to take him to the
highest levels of motorsport. I can help him refine his talents, help
engineer the equipment and bring him to the attention of the sport.
The final step to the top will be all his. I am confident that this
young American driver has what it takes to race competitively in any
Over the years, Tony Dowe has seen numerous drivers at the highest
levels of professional motorsport. His experience encompasses
extensive work history both in the United States and Europe. He has
served as the Director of Arrows Grand Prix and Ligier Formula One
teams in the World Championship F1 Series as well as Managing Director
of both the TWR Jaguar and Panoz Motorsports programs here in the
Workman is reviewing several options for 2004. He looks forward to
working with Dowe again this coming season. "Having Tony Dowe on my
team is the most significant addition of my career. His input and
expertise simply adds the dimension needed to compete effectively. His
expertise last year was a major reason why we were able to take a less
than competitive engine/car package and campaign it effectively all
season. With his help, we were able to stay in the hunt to win the
LMP675 championship -- all the way to the final race of the season. It
was an extraordinary effort and I’m extremely happy to have his
talents on my side again for 2004."
Hand joins BMW Team PTG for 2004
Following three years competing in the CART Toyota Atlantic
Championship, one of America’s most talented open-wheel drivers is
making the move to full bodied racing machines in 2004. Joey Hand will
join BMW Team PTG in its inaugural season competing in the Rolex
Sports Car Series of the Grand American Road Racing Association.
BMW Team PTG, which is based in Winchester, Va., will start its season
on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway at the famous
Rolex 24 at Daytona in February. Hand will join an already talented
crop of drivers including Bill Auberlen, Boris Said, and Justin Marks.
Stated PTG team owner Tom Milner, "Everybody at PTG is excited to have
Joey Hand on board to partner with Justin Marks in 2004. We believe
they will be a top contender and are going to make Bill & Boris work
for it. The Daytona Test turned out very well and Joey, very quickly,
got a handle on a car that he was not familiar with."
"I am looking forward to the opportunity that BMW and PTG Motorsports
have given me,” said Hand, 24, who originally hails from Sacramento,
Ca. “I'm very excited to be a part of a team like BMW. It will be a
whole new challenge for me that I look forward to. It will be a lot
different from my days in Atlantic, as the races are much longer with
pit stops and driver changes involved. I think that BMW and PTG have
put together a great lineup of drivers with Bill Auberlen, Boris
Said, Justin Marks and myself. We should be a tough combination to
beat. I am very thankful to Tom Milner and his team for believing in
me and my abilities. I plan to do my best for this team by winning
races and championships. The Grand-Am series looks great. There are a
lot of cars entered and should make for some great races."
Hand competed three seasons in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship
driving for DSTP Motorsports, which was based in Chesterland, Ohio,
not far from Hand’s current residence of Concord Township, Ohio. When
DSTP ceased operations at the conclusion of the 2003 season, it
brought an end to Hand’s Atlantic stint.
Hand earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2001 along with third place
in the overall Championship that same season. Hand entered 2002 as one
of the favorites to win the Championship, but that season was
drastically sidetracked after a testing accident at the Milwaukee
Mile put Hand out of action for five races. The final year in Atlantic
for Hand produced a strange season of bad luck, which signaled Hand
that it was time for a change.
“I will miss the people, the racing, and the race tracks,” said Hand.
“It is a great series, and it has been good to me. Some of the
greatest races in my career, such as Cleveland and Monterrey, Mexico
in the rain, will forever be great memories. I am also very thankful
to Dede Rogers who gave me the opportunity for the past three years
driving her yellow and purple DSTP machines. She is one of the most
well-known owners in this country and one of the most outstanding
people you will ever meet. I am proud to say that I drove for her and
Hand has already been busy testing with the team in Daytona and is
excited about the new opportunity that has been laid in front of him.
The change of series and teams might be just what the doctor ordered
for Hand to return to the type of success he has been accustomed too.
1/24/04 Industry News
Wind Tunnel is back
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain is back for a new season and SPEED is
kicking things off with John Force as the first guest of 2004. Force
is one of the most popular, outspoken and energetic personalities in
all of motor sports, and he'll be on-board for Wind Tunnel's return to
the airways on Monday Jan. 26th. The 12-time NHRA Funny
Car champ is coming off another championship season - this time as a
car owner for teammate Tony Pedregon. Pedregon's title marked the 11th
consecutive year that Force Racing had taken the Funny Car honors.
Now, Pedregon has left the team to form his own, setting up a dramatic
story line for the new season. Will Force wrestle the title away from
his former protégé? Will Pedregon beat his former boss and break the
Force Racing stranglehold? Will Pedregon's replacement, rookie driver
Eric Medlen, step up and become a contender?
OWRS responds to late IRL bid
The Indy Racing League’s (“IRL”) submission of a bid for
selected assets of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc.
(“CART”) has only reinforced the Open Wheel Racing Series,
LLC (“OWRS”) commitment to preserve the future of open-wheel
racing through the continuation of the Champ Car World
Any competing bid had to be submitted no later than 9:30
a.m. today. On Jan. 28, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Otte
will render a final decision on the disposition of the CART
“We stand by what we’ve said previously,” said OWRS partner
Paul Gentilozzi. “We will do whatever it takes to save the
Champ Car series and ensure its success into the future.
Last-minute posturing and provocation by (Tony) George and
his organization only serve to strengthen our commitment and
dedication to do what’s right for motorsports. To coin a
phase, ‘failure is not an option.’
“We have teams representing more than 18 cars, a creative
television package, and a great race schedule all ready to
go,” continued Gentilozzi. “Our plan calls for a win-win
situation for the teams, creditors, sponsors, promoters, and
the fans – a fact that will not go unnoticed in the
courtroom next week.
“It’s clear what the IRL’s intentions are when you look at
which assets they want to purchase,” said Gentilozzi
referring to the Long Beach contract and the CART engines,
among other equipment. “They want to kill the series, yet
they hide that fact under the pretext of ‘unification.’
They’re not fooling anyone.”
OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven explained, “The IRL bid
specifically excludes the teams and their employees.
Furthermore, it excludes the other races and promoters which
reached more than 2 million fans. Their bid does not take
into account the tens of millions of dollars of future
liabilities that would be accepted by OWRS. We intend to
preserve the teams and sponsors.
“No amount of posturing by the IRL will determine the
ultimate fate of the Champ Car series. The issue will be
decided in a court of law, based on the facts presented,”
British bring variety to
Variety in race cars has always been enjoyed by enthusiastic
fans of sports car racing and several British racing teams
are contributing to the variety that will be on display
during the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the
opening race of the 2004 American Le Mans Series season Mar.
Entries for America's oldest sports car race have been
submitted by Rollcentre Racing and the Morgan works race
team, both planning to race at Sebring with cars that are
unique to their racing teams.
Rollcentre Racing, owned by veteran British sports car racer
Martin Short, has entered a Dallara chassis with Judd power
in the LMP1 class, the top Prototype class in the American
Le Mans Series. The car was developed as a joint effort
between Italian chassis builder Dallara and the French ORECA
race team and performed well in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It
is one of the few built and is expected to be the only one
of its kind racing at Sebring.
Short will co-drive at Sebring with fellow countryman Rob
Barff and Portugal's Joao Barbosa.
Certainly one of the most unique-looking cars at Sebring
will be the Morgan Aero 8 LMGT, entered as a factory effort
in the event by the Morgan Motor Company of England. Morgan
recently started an American marketing program by unveiling
a road-going Aero 8 at the Los Angeles Auto Show and racing
at Sebring is an extension of the program. If the car
qualifies for Sebring, it will become the first Morgan to
compete in an American Le Mans Series race.
Slated to drive the Morgan, which will compete in the GT
class, are British pilots Keith Ahlers and Adam Sharpe along
with Neil Cunningham of New Zealand.
The American Le Mans Series features four classes of race
cars competing at the same time for both class wins and the
overall race win. Up to 60 cars will start the 12-hour timed
event on the 3.7-mile Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the
green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be
televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The
American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage
online at www.americanlemans.com.
Williams BMW testing summary
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team concluded their five day test at
Barcelona today having covered over 4,000 kilometers and
topped the timesheets on three days. Both Ralf Schumacher
and Juan Pablo Montoya were on hand to perform testing
duties, as well as the team's official test driver, Marc
Gené. German driver, Nico Rosberg, also joined the team for
two of the days to assist with the extensive schedule.
Over the test the team combined mechanical and aero
development work of the FW26 with tire compound evaluations
for Michelin, further progressing the understanding and
development of the new car in preparation for its race debut
in Melbourne on March 7th.
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1): This
week we ran two FW26 cars for the first time, with all the
running performed in race conditions in order to test a
number of different set-ups on each car, as well as to check
sensitivity to tire degradation on longer runs. A number of
minor transmission problems were encountered which we expect
to overcome prior to the next test. Nico Rosberg assisted on
two days of the test and performed very well in the 2003
specification FW25, as his lap times demonstrate.
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): Following our
productive test in Jerez last week, we also managed to work
through to a heavy program at this week's test in Barcelona.
For the first time, two FW26s were running with the new BMW
P84 engine. Obviously the focus of the test was on set-up
work with the new chassis, but we also completed another
race simulation and were able to record an extensive amount
of data for the engine set-up.
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team will travel to Valencia next week
for a three day test commencing on Tuesday 27th February.
Martin to run Oscar Mayer car For
the third year in a row Roush Racing's Mark Martin will run
a special Kraft Foods paint scheme in the Budweiser
Shootout. Martin will make a record 16th straight start in
the all-star event. For the second straight year, the
Shootout is slated as a night race and will be run on the
evening of Feb. 7, 2003. "The shootout is always a fun
event," said Martin. "We'll be driving the Oscar Mayer/Team
Kraft car again this year and it's always fun for the fans
to run different paint schemes and stuff. "As for the race
you just never know in the Shootout. Basically you go out
and look to win an event like the Shootout. Last year we
gambled a bit to get up front and in the end it didn't pay
off. But the bottom line is that second place is no better
than 17 or 18 in the Shootout, so it's not uncommon to see
teams go for it all. This year we are going to go out and
try and win it again like we did in '99. Hopefully we can
have those type of results. You just never know in that
No other bids received
AutoRacing1.com has been told that no other bids were received
for CART today by the 9:30 AM deadline. It looks to be
a showdown between Tony George and OWRS next Wednesday in
Alonso fastest on Friday
Fernando Alonso emerged with the fastest time on the final day
of this week's test at Barcelona today (Friday), outpacing
the Ferrari duo of Luca Badoer and Michael Schumacher. The
Spaniard set a fastest time of 1m15.433s driving the new
Renault R24, and managed to complete 74 laps in the new
machine. Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m15.433s 74*
2 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m16.016s 87
3 Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m16.182s 99
4 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m16.190s 74*
5 Juan-Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m16.300s 60*
6 Nico Rosberg Williams-BMW M 1m16.486s 81
7 Franck Montagny Renault M 1m16.539s 84
8 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m16.816s 121*
9 Nick Heidfeld Jordan-Ford B 1m16.877s 82
10 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m17.041s 28
11 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m17.079s 68
12 Giancarlo Fisichella Sauber-Petronas B 1m17.248s 77*
13 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m18.147s 114
PK Racing reschedules first
Due to a scheduling conflict, PK Racing today announced that
they have pushed back by one week their first test in
preparation for an assault on the 2004 Champ Car World
Series title. The previously-announced test at Mazda Raceway
at Laguna Seca on January 26-27, has been changed to Sebring
International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, on February 3-4.
"We are excited to have an aggressive testing program lined
up this year," remarked General Manager Russell Cameron. "We
are planning to run two cars at our first test, and the
Sebring dates presented us with a better opportunity to
potentially evaluate an up-and-coming young driver."
Feedback on CART Spring Training venueUPDATE Another reader
writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The real problem with Road
Atlanta's turn 12 is not its width as some have suggested.
Although it is downhill, it is the widest part of the track
at 75 feet. There would be room for a temporary chicane
which Conquest devised when they tested there last year
(although I would hate to see this.) More tires in such a
high speed, obtuse turn would be disastrous (the cause for
so many flips as one reader pointed out.) The turn needs to
be changed ala Silverstone's last turn in the early 80's. It
needs to turn earlier and then make a more gradual left and
right onto the original front straight. This would reduce
speed earlier and take the wall out of play (which has
already been moved as far back as possible.) An underlying
lack of motivation on Road Atlanta's behalf is that the
current modifications were put in place upon the
recommendation of former CART employees and have proven
ineffective. I'd love to see Champ Cars at my home track,
but I believe the track would require considerable
convincing to undertake yet another extremely expensive
project. Regards, Beaux Barfield, CART Steward, Panoz
Racing School Instructor Dear Beaux, For Spring Training
one would think the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Chicane you
mention would do. More permanent changes could be made
if there is ever an actual race. 1/23/04 - In reaction to our suggestion that CART hold its Spring Training at
Road Atlanta this year - Dear AutoRacing1.com, I ABSOLUTELY
agree that Road Atlanta would be ideal for spring training for the
Champ Cars, let alone a race! It is probably, besides Road America,
the best and most rewarding road course in the United States.....3
distinct passing areas, high speed straights and a high "pucker"
factor that separates the good drivers from the great drivers....truly
what real racing, real sport, and REAL road racing is all about. I
will say though, the infamous turn 12 everyone speaks about so much,
has to be one of the greatest turns in racing, on par with the "kink"
at Road America except with a 65foot drop into it at probably 165mph
in a Champ Car AND it's OFF CAMBER!! Yet, to disregard it with a
chicane would be similar to doing the same in front of the kink at
Road America, truly dishonorable...put in more tires is the only
answer, because moving the walls
back would cost millions at that point on the circuit.....how far away
is the wall at the kink at Road America anyway? Derek Hughes,
Florida Dear Derek, The difference at Road Atlanta is the
impact with the wall at Road Atlanta is more head-on. Mark C.
Another writes, A chicane before the last turn at Road Atlanta? Isn’t
there a long downhill right before the final turn? Are you suggesting
that they put a chicane on the downhill straight? With the new pit in
on one side and the old (support) pit in on the other, there isn’t
much room even if one were to try to add a chicane to a downhill
portion of the track. The only real option is to push back the wall or
maybe bank the final turn. As it is, there is usually at least one car
that ends up on its roof at that corner during any event and sometimes more. These are with cars that go considerably slower than Champ
Cars. I love the track and would love to see Champ Cars racing
there, but that final corner is pretty scary. A downhill that leads to
a sharp right, backed by a concrete wall with very limited room for
run-off and tire barriers is a terrible combination when you mix in
the high speed and open-cockpit design of the Champ Car. Coniah
Chuang Dear Coniah, See figure above for suggested change.
The straight before that final turn (Turn 12) although downhill, is
not long and the cars will not be at full speed approaching the turn
in question. Instead of the chicane, if CART were to fill that entire
sand trap up with a deep tire wall, any car going off is never going
to reach that concrete wall. The tires would need a facing
material, perhaps like they used at Rio years ago. Also, note
how sharp Turn 10b is. The cars exit there at a slow speed so
their speed at Turn 12 is limited. Mark C.
Adrian Fernández opposes IRL
Although Fernández Racing fields cars in both CART and the
IRL, he lets everyone know which side of this civil war he
really stands. On the top of his
website is a link to sign a petition to support OWRS'
bid to takeover the CART series.
article sheds more light on the fact that traction
control devices can be made so small it's almost impossible
to detect them. 1/19/04 -
Here is Davis Technologies'
website. It looks like the TM-2000 is an entry level
unit. The more expensive models are advertised "Very Small (about the
size of a pocket lighter)" 1/18/04 - Found this ad on
eBay. We wonder how many of these have slipped by NASCAR
inspectors? Practically Brand New Davis Technologies TM-2000 MSD
6AL Traction Control Unit with Self-Learning Upgrade.. The Unit has
only been ran in 3 Late Model races and the reason for the sale is to
upgrade. Comes with owners manual and is guaranteed to make you faster
and running up front or YOUR MONEY BACK. I have ran several of Davis'
units and there is no doubt they do work and help you win. We won
enough in 8 races to pay for 2 units! Big money races, Saturday night
bullrings, worn out asphalt, are no problem with this baby. For you
Dirt Racers, this unit is unbelievable....imagine 100% Throttle
control and all you have to do is bury the throttle in the middle of
the corner and let the Traction Control do the rest! This is a no
reserve auction and the highest bidder will win. Key Features are:
UNDETECTABLE, it does not affect the sound of the engine, No External
Sensors unlike other units, Can Easily be moved to another car, Better
Lap Times and Lower Tire Tems. Self-Learning model requires NO user
configuring, this system simply plugs in to where your other MSD box
was and you are ready to go. There are no extra wires coming out of
the unit and it looks no different than any other MSD you have seen.
This unit new costs $5400 but it will be sold at the highest bid. If
you have any questions please e-mail me.
Nelson wants to get rid of
Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of competition, says
he'd like to get rid of the plates, which officials use to
control speeds at Daytona International Speedway and
Talladega Superspeedway, but NASCAR has yet to find an
alternative. The plates reduce engine horsepower by slowing
down air as it flows into an engine. The cars end up racing
in large, tight packs at Talladega and Daytona — thrilling
for fans, but just short of terrifying for drivers. "I'm
still trying, but we haven't found anything better," Nelson
said. The plates also lead to conspiracy theories in the
garage; some teams believe NASCAR officials show favoritism
in handing out less-restrictive plates to their rivals.
Nelson says the officials take the responsibility of making
all the plates equal "very seriously."
Grand-Am also bidding on CART
In addition to the IRL, the
Indy Star is reporting that Roger Edmondson, the
president of the Grand American Road Racing Series, is
considering a bid for CART's assets.
George, also the president of the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, declined to comment through his spokesman, Fred
Nation would not elaborate on his description of the bid as
"substantial." But he said the offer was for only "some of
the assets." Among the assets are CART's race contracts and
equipment, such as a portable hospital (SPEEDTV reports the
bid includes buying all the CART's engines and putting the
series out of business).
Gentilozzi and partners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven,
all team owners in CART last season, last month offered $1.6
million in cash. Their group has the opportunity to revise
its bid before Judge Frank J. Otte rules Wednesday.
Gentilozzi said OWRS will increase its offer, although he
wouldn't say by how much.
Gentilozzi predicted the winning bid for all of CART's
assets and liabilities will be in excess of $14 million. He
based that on the $2.6 million in prize money CART owes
teams from 2003, and another $10 million that could go to
creditors who might see their contracts dissolved in
bankruptcy court if OWRS is not the owner.
The latter figure hasn't been confirmed by Otte, however.
"But what looked like a decent deal (to George) isn't a deal
anymore," Gentilozzi said. "What he's looking for is a CART
funeral, and all of a sudden it's a real expensive funeral."
All outside bids are due by 9:30 a.m. today. There might be
Roger Edmondson, the president of the Grand American Road
Racing Series, told The Star on Thursday that his group is
considering a last-minute bid.
Grand Am could be a serious contender, too, because it is
owned by International Speedway Corp., which also owns
Edmondson said Grand Am officials have signed the necessary
confidentiality paperwork with CART. He declined to say if a
deal would come before the deadline.
Gentilozzi fears ISC and the IRL are working together to
thwart the efforts of OWRS, whose officials have vowed to
continue the Champ Car series this season with a full
schedule, a television package and at least 18 competitors.
"That's the 300-pound gorilla," Gentilozzi said of the IRL's
established relationship with ISC (Editor's Note: it's called the oval
track cartel Paul).
Edmondson said Grand Am would bid by itself, and would not
try to help George's IRL, which expects to be road racing by
"I don't have a dog in that fight, and I don't want to be
perceived as having one, either," Edmondson said. "We don't
run in those circles, so to speak."
Gentilozzi criticized George's motives. He said OWRS wants
to rebuild CART, not bury it. "His vision is clear: He wants
to oval race on NASCAR's tracks with a couple of road course
races thrown in to satisfy a few sponsors," Gentilozzi said
of George. "That's not our vision at all. We want to make
CART great again."
Tony George has one goal - to kill CARTUPDATE A reader
responds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, With this move Tony
George has managed to make himself the #1 most hated man in
motorsports. Sorry, he already held that title. Even
if he were to succeed, which I doubt he will, does he really
think his series will gain any new fans now? No way
Jose. The oval track cartel must be stopped and I
believe they will be on the 28th. Godspeed OWRS, and
may the man above shine on you next Wednesday and put Tony
The Devil George in his rightful place. Hector
Gonzalez, LA Calif.1/23/04 - According to this article,
SPEEDTV.COM has learned that George is only bidding on the Long Beach
Grand Prix, CART's engine lease program and possibly some equipment.
By buying CART's engines, and nothing else (trying to buy LB is not
material here), George would leave the CART series powerless and
essentially shut it down and put it out of business. If this
report is true, we suspect the Judge will throw Tony George and his
bid out of the courthouse. It now becomes clear that George's
motives all along have been to kill off the CART series. Fred
Nation, vice president of corporate communications for IMS/IRL and
George's spokesman, claimed the bid was "substantial" but refused to
give any details. OWRS has the opportunity to increase its
earlier bid of $1.6 million prior to Wednesday's hearing and Forsythe
said his group has Plans "A through D" ready. But one CART
owner, who requested anonymity, cautioned that "We may not be prepared
for the amount of money Tony will spend to try and kill us."
Regional plan for Bahrain GP
Radical SR3 sportscar to feature in Bahrain-based pan-Gulf
Race Series London 21st January 2004, The Bahrain
International Circuit, in association with the Bahrain Motor
Federation announced plans today to develop a one-make
regional race series to be operated by Bahrain-based Radical
Sportscar distributor, GulfSport. More....
NASCAR Mobil game
Mobil 1, the "Official Motor Oil of NASCAR(R)" and the world's
most popular synthetic motor oil, is launching Mobil 1
Million -- a consumer promotion where one lucky fan can win
a total of $1 million by predicting the winners of all 36
NASCAR(R) NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2004. The promotion,
which splits the 2004 NASCAR(R) NEXTEL Cup Series into four
quarters, with nine races in each quarter, provides
consumers with a chance to win $250,000 per quarter. If a
consumer correctly picks all of the winning drivers, that
person could win $1 Million. Also, the top two performers in
each quarter will win VIP trips-for-two to a 2005 NASCAR(R)
NEXTEL Cup Series race of their choice. "I am excited to see
a program that generates excitement and increases the bond
between race fans and NASCAR(R)," said Ryan Newman, driver
of the Alltel/Mobil 1 Penske Racing Dodge, who with eight
wins in 2003, was voted Speed Channel Driver of the Year.
"And, I hope a lot of the fans bring the Penske team luck
this year by picking me as one of their Mobil 1 Million
selections." To play, NASCAR(R) fans can obtain a game code
on specially-marked quart bottles of Mobil 1 5W30, 10W30 and
15W50, at in-store displays or on the Website at
www.mobil1million.com. After obtaining a code, participants
must then register in order to play. The winners of each
quarter will be announced at the conclusion of that period.
Consumers may visit www.mobil1million.com for additional
details. The www.mobil1million.com Website goes live
mid-January. "Last year was the first year with Mobil 1 as
"The Official Motor Oil of NASCAR(R)" and more than 70
percent of the races were won by a car lubricated with and
protected by Mobil 1," said Henrik Hansen, America's
marketing manager, ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties.
"If that trend continues this year, NASCAR(R) fans will have
to take a close look at which teams are running with Mobil 1
if they want a shot at the Mobil 1 Million."
entry for 12-Hours of Sebring
Drivers Danny Sullivan (left) and John Bosch present the first
official entry for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to
Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans
Series, outside of the Automobile Club of France in Paris.
Sullivan, a former winner of the Indianapolis 500, will come
out of retirement to drive a factory-built Ferrari 575 GTC
with Bosch at Sebring Mar. 17-20.
The other bids, who cares.......
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, This past couple of months have
been some of the bleakest in US racing history. Now word comes of the
inevitable counteroffer by Anton the Destroyer. I am dumbfounded by
the hostility generated by some members of the Oval Track Cartel.
If these racers (sic) are so sure of the value of their product and
mission then why do they have to kill off every other form of the
sport? No, their war-like stance surely indicates a very fundamental
fact....they are scared! If they cannot beat CART/ALMS etc. on
merit and truth alone then they lie, cheat and if possible destroy
them. What is it about these megalomaniacs that gives them the self
appointed right to deny over half of the racing world a product they
so obviously want and enjoy.
Michael Andretti's comments sickened me to the core. What lies, what
treachery and what downright ungratefulness for almost everything he
now has in his life. He especially insults his honorable family name
and the support of his many fans who have loudly stated their feelings
towards the split. Hey, do what you want Mike, but don't trash the
people who helped make you what you are.
So what now? If Michael is right..and the Left turners
prevail...then Anton gets a whole bunch of used equipment and cherry-picks some races (Long Beach, Cleveland, Mexico, Canada?). Meanwhile
further depleting the family coffers. (Or is this one being sponsored
by your friendly neighborhood Honda and Toyota dealers?)
Either way......so what! It seems that unlike the knee-jerking Anton, OWRS has more than done its homework. Hey what would you expect from
these three guys! For sure, they must have had some very positive
talks with all of the promoters who appear to be standing firmly
behind the 2004 Champ Car schedule. Hats off to all those
organizations....let's make sure to support them when the time comes.
Of course, aside from Fontana.
What's to stop OWRS just picking up with these promoters/tracks,
adding the 2 or 3 more races which I believe they could (Las Vegas,
Houston, Road Atlanta?) and getting on with business? Nothing I can
So, while I have spent the past 3 days dreading the news of the IRL
bid, on reflection I believe that Messrs. Gentilozzi, Kalkhoven and
Forsythe have this situation completely under control. They would not
have ignored the possibility of this attempted coup-de-gras by The
Hammer Man and taken all necessary steps to ensure his complete
failure. I believe there will be a Champ Car season in 2004 and it
will rock the damn house! And just for the hell of it....don't
withhold my name! Aloha.......Ray Masters, Hawaii
1/22/04 Formula BMW
16-year old wins Formula BMW
16 year-old Oakville, ON resident James Hinchcliffe recently completed
the Formula BMW (FBMW) licensing program in Valencia, Spain. The
program, which took place January 8-10th, brought 24 drivers from
North America to the legendary Formula One circuit in Spain to assess
talent and skill level of North American drivers. The top six
competitors in the program would then be awarded with a $40,000
scholarship towards competition in the FBMW series in North America in
With the scholarship announcement being delayed for over a week, the
multi-time Canadian karting champion was forced to wait for news on
the scholarship winners. “This is a dream come true for me and will be
a great start in launching my formula car career. I am extremely
excited for this opportunity and look forward to getting in the seat
of my own Formula BMW machine.” Hinchcliffe was informed of the news
via e-mail on Tuesday evening and is eagerly awaiting the finalized
schedule to see which different series that the FBMW program will run
in conjunction with. Check online at
for more news on Hinchcliffe and his Formula BMW program as it becomes
available in the weeks to come.
More SAFER Barriers for NASCAR tracks
NASCAR officials hope to have SAFER Barriers installed at most of its
Nextel Cup tracks by 2005, and Daytona International Speedway and
Talladega Superspeedway will be the next to add the so-called "soft
Robin Braig, president of the Daytona track, and Rick Humphrey,
vice-president and general manager of Talladega, both told The
Associated Press on Thursday their plans to add SAFER Barriers during
the 2004 season.
Braig said the barriers, which absorb impact and reduce G Forces to
the drivers in a crash, cannot be installed at the 2.5-mile oval in
time for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, but will be in place for the
Pepsi 400 on July 3.
Talladega previously installed the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction
system on the inside retaining wall of its 2.66-mile oval, extending
from the exit of Turn 4, along the main straightaway and trioval and
into the first turn - a distance of about 3,000 feet.
Talladega will add the barriers to the outside walls in all four turns
in time for the Aaron's 499 on April 25.
"We're exited about doing this and, hopefully, it'll do what NASCAR
wants it to do and add a comfort level for the drivers," Humphrey
"We'd like to see the SAFER Barriers installed by January 2005 at all
the tracks at which the experts in Nebraska feel they will work and
can be engineered," said Gary Nelson, managing director of NASCAR's
research and development facility in Concord.
NASCAR hires full-time EMT...finally
NASCAR hired an emergency medical technician to oversee and monitor
the care given drivers and crewmen during the Nextel Cup Series
events. The EMT will ride in the quick-response safety car
used since midway through the 2003 season, but will not be a
"hands-on" medical person, NASCAR president Mike Helton said Thursday.
"Our use of the EMT is to supervise ... monitor and help us with the
requirements and standards that we ask the tracks to provide," Helton
said. Each track is required to provide medical personnel
and rescue workers for its race weekends. NASCAR did not
release the name of the EMT. The hiring of the full-time
EMT, in combination with the addition of the safety car and the
decision late last season to eliminate the long-criticized rule
allowing cars to race back to the flagstand after a caution flag is
displayed, is expected to improve accident response.
Like we said.... As has been
stated here over the past several months, it's imperative that the
oval track cartel not take control of open wheel racing in the USA
because the only thing they really care about is making sure the oval
tracks they own prosper while road and street racing is pushed aside.
Roger Penske, one of the biggest movers and shakers in the oval track
cartel, had this to say in this
article, "What I'd really like to see in the IRL is a
predominant schedule of oval style open-wheel racing with a mixture of
four or five road course races. I think that would be the best for
racing." It's clear the oval track cartel favor the ovals
(remember, when in doubt, follow the money....) And what happens
to road racing in the USA and CART's complete ladder system of road
racing from karting to Barber Dodge (various levels) Toyota Atlantic
and Champ Cars, plus all the other road and street circuit venues?
Road racing is the best training ground for any driver. Road
racers have mopped up the short track oval racers who have tried their
hand at Indy Car racing. We're sorry, but driving around in
circles has almost nothing to do with talent and everything to do with
car setup. Silly Americans. We are the only country in the
world who thinks racing means droning around in circles at 100%
throttle and smashing against concrete walls. A sad commentary
IRL submits bid for CART assets
Local Indy Station WTHR Channel 13 INDY.... just reported IRL has
submitted a bid for the assets of the BANKRUPTED CART series.
FRIDAY....will be interesting to see....and find out how much the bid
was for. This Indy Star
article says, The Indy Racing League filed its bid this
afternoon to purchase selected assets of bankrupt Championship Auto
Racing Teams, an IRL spokesman confirmed. The spokesman did not
disclose what the IRL sought in the proceedings, but he said it was
assets that did not have legal entanglement. "We're confident, based
on our research, that there is no entanglement on what we are bidding
on," Fred Nation said. Nation called Tony George's offer
"substantial." He did not elaborate. Bids are due to CART on Friday.
There is at least one other bidder in addition to the Open Wheel
Racing Series that has already made a $1.6 million offer. An OWRS
principal told The Star today that his group will prevail and keep the
Champ Car series alive for the 2004 season and beyond.
Team Rahal signs 2nd Atlantic
Team Rahal, one of the leading open-wheel racing teams in
North America, announced today the signing of 18-year-old
Chris Festa as the second driver for the team's 2004 Toyota
Atlantic Championship program. Festa will join 2003 rookie
sensation Danica Patrick to comprise Team Rahal's two-car
full-season entry in the historic Atlantic series.
Festa, a native of Atlanta, Ga., has extensive karting
experience, having run over 250 events and having collected
60 victories. Since 2001 Festa has run as a factory driver
for Paul Tracy Karting, the same karting team that launched
the career of 2003 Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year and
champion A.J. Allmendinger. Festa and Allmendinger were both
involved in the inaugural season of the Stars of Tomorrow
competition in 2000. Festa further diversified his driving
experience by competing in the 2003 Fran Am 2000 Winter
Series and by running the US Formula Ford Zetec Championship
for PR1 Motorsports the championship winning team in 2003.
The second Team Rahal entry will be sponsored by Mestek,
Inc. of Westfield, Mass and CareCentric an Atlanta, Ga.
based company that sponsored Festa in his Formula 2000
program last season. Mestek is a family of 35 manufacturing
companies providing heating and air conditioning systems
components to the major manufacturers and distributors in
the worldwide HVAC industry. CareCentric has been providing
software and processing solutions for over 30 years to the
home medical care markets and is a pioneer in automation of
clinical and medical processing services.
The Team Rahal Atlantic car to be driven by Danica Patrick
will once again be sponsored by the Argent Mortgage Company.
"We spent the majority of the 2003 season as a single car
team, and we saw the competitive advantage of being a two
car team," said Bobby Rahal, Team Rahal co-owner. "To add a
second car is important, but you need to add a quality
driver, and I think we have done both with the addition of
Chris. The quality personnel that we have in place with our
Atlantic program and the opportunity to work with a driver
of Danica's caliber makes this an ideal situation for a
young driver like Chris."
"The opportunity to drive for Bobby Rahal in the Toyota
Atlantic Championship will lay the foundation for the rest
of my career," said Festa. "To join a front running team
with the experience and talent of Team Rahal is a dream come
true for a young driver."
Vicki O'Connor, President of the CART Toyota Atlantic
Championship was thrilled by the news. "I've watched Chris'
career for a number of years, and I know that he is ready to
step into the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by
Yokohama. I'm pleased that Bobby and Team Rahal are giving
Chris an opportunity to team with Danica next year, and I
expect them to be a formidable team throughout the 2004
Mi-Jack Conquest tests Nelson
We reported this yesterday, but 17 year-old phenom Nelson
Philippe successfully completed a two-day test of a Mi-Jack
Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard Champ Car at Sebring
International Raceway on January 19 and 20. “It was an
excellent test, and this young man is an exceptional
talent”, commented team owner Eric Bachelart, under whose
watchful eye the test was conducted. “Nelson completed over
400 miles in two days, and never put a foot wrong. His
feedback to the engineers was surprisingly detailed and
useful, given that he has so little experience in these
cars.” Nelson is believed to be the youngest driver ever to
test a Champ Car. A native of Valence, France, the Miami
resident is a veteran of years of karting. Nelson competed
in 2003 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He had four top-five
finishes, including a strong season-ending run of a third
and two fourth place finishes in the last three races. “I’m
grateful for the opportunity provided by Mi-Jack Conquest
Racing,” Nelson said. “After my short experience at Sebring
last fall, this was a good opportunity to further enhance my
knowledge of these cars. I loved working with this team. The
car handled great, and everyone was very professional. I’m
very much looking forward to driving these cars more often.”
It was accompanied at the test by his longtime coach and
mentor, Christian Boudon. “We thought Nelson was ready for
this, and we were right,” commented Mr. Boudon, “He is
mature beyond his years. This is a testament to the
preparation available in high-level karting, and to the
Barber Dodge Pro Series, as well.” About the team’s 2004
plans, Bachelart was not ready to make any announcements.
“It was good for our team to be out on the track again, and
I feel good about that. We have some solid opportunities
that we are working on, and hope to be able to make our
announcements in the very near future.”
IRL rides NASCAR coattails to
another Kansas sellout Tickets for the IRL IndyCar Series
Kansas Indy 300 and Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro
Series events on July 4 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City,
Kan., have sold out. [Editor's Note: All
tickets at Kansas are sold as a package deal so you get an
IRL ticket when you buy a Nextel Cup ticket.]
Las Vegas test open to fans
Testing schedule for next week's NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las
Vegas. The test is open to the public and there is no charge
for race fans to watch from the grandstands. Monday, Jan. 26-Tuesday, Jan. 27
NNC – Kasey Kahne, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Lepage, Ken
Schrader, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Johnny Sauter, Robby
Gordon, Kyle Petty, Jeff Green.
NBS – David Reutimann, Matt Kenseth, Ron Hornaday, Paul
Wolfe, Mark McFarland, Michael Waltrip. Tuesday, Jan. 27-Wednesday, Jan. 28
NNC – Ward Burton, Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Jeff
Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers, Ricky Craven, Bobby
Labonte, Tony Stewart, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, Scott
NBS – Jason Leffler, J.J. Yeley, Mike Bliss, Casey Atwood,
Tim Fedewa, David Green, Jason Keller. Wednesday, Jan. 28-Thursday, Jan. 29
NNC – Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin,
Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd, Elliott
Sadler, Brendan Gaughan.
NBS – Ashton Lewis Jr., Robert Pressley, Billy Parker,
Johnny Sauter, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch. TBA
NBS – Martin Truex Jr.
1/22/04 Industry News
Skip Barber announces high
performance driving school
Reacting to rising interest from its customer base, Skip
Barber Racing School LLC announced the creation of the new
DODGE/SKIP BARBER HIGH PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL. The HIGH
PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL, an offshoot of the Dodge/Skip
Barber Driving School, emphasizes a curriculum aimed at
performance-oriented drivers. These drivers, the majority of
whom own high-performance cars, are savvy autophiles who
want to learn driving skills that can afford them a more
rewarding ownership experience.
“While the Driving School will continue to educate and
inform, we wanted to reward customers who've asked for a
more performance-based curriculum -- they want to learn
skills that will help them better communicate with their
vehicles," said Stu Upson, Senior V.P. Sales and Marketing
for Skip Barber.
“This program really grew out of student interest,”
continued Upson. “Many of our Driving School customers
couldn't get enough time in the Dodge Viper. They embrace
the safety messages found in our Driving School but want a
more aggressive program, one with more emphasis on driving a
car at its limit.”
The Vehicle Dynamics talk, long a part of the Dodge/Skip
Barber Driving School, still plays a relevant part as
students are briefed on car control and performance car
characteristics. On the autocross or infield, students
receive two days of Viper training time, substantially more
than in the core program. The 500-HP Dodge Viper SRT-10
serves as a rolling classroom where students build
proficiencies in autocrossing, driving under g-load and
aggressive braking techniques. Additionally, drills such as
champagne slalom, a timed figure-8 exercise and power slides
have been integrated into the curriculum. Like all Skip
Barber courses, the HIGH PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL is
taught by racing and driving professionals, experts in
The HIGH PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL rolled out as a pilot
offering at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on January 17-18,
2004. Additional dates follow on February 14-15, March 14-15
and April 3-4. The program shifts East when Lime Rock Park
hosts its first dates; May 18-19 and later June 21-22. Road
America, Skip Barber's Wisconsin base location, hosts the
new program on July 3-4. The introductory price is $1295
retail. The HIGH PEFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL will eventually
be offered at all base locations including Sebring
International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway.
Dates for these tracks have not yet been announced.
Mosley fires back at EU
FIA President Max Mosley responded on Thursday to the
suggestion from a European Commission spokesman that the
sport had only belatedly grasped the importance of new EU-wide
regulations relating to fatal accidents on the track. Pietro
Petrucci, a spokesman for EU justice commissioner Antonio
Vitorino, said this week that "Mr Mosley is not above the
law and the European arrest warrant applies to all citizens"
and added that "Formula One chiefs are waking up too late."
In a letter to Vitorino, of which AFP obtained a copy,
Mosley said: "Both allegations are unacceptable. The one
implies that I wish to be above the law, which is untrue and
libellous. The other is false, in that the teams and their
representatives have had innumerable meetings with
Commission officials on the European Arrest Warrant,
culminating in a meeting on 7 July, 2003 with the
Director-General of your directorate, Mr Jonathan Faull,
together with a member of your cabinet." The warrant, which
took force across the EU on January 1, replaces extradition
proceedings between the bloc's member states. It is designed
to tackle serious offences ranging from drug trafficking to
terrorism. But Formula One team bosses are worried their
staff could be targeted as the result of a fatal accident at
a Grand Prix. Mosley has said the prospect of arrest under
the new warrant for team principals, mechanics and
technicians was "a real menace."
Button shatters Barcelona lap
BAR's Jenson Button set a new lap record in testing at
Barcelona today (Thursday). Driving the interim
Honda-powered car, he became the first man to lap the
altered circuit in under 75 seconds. The Briton went a
second quicker than anybody has done this week.
Barcelona testing day 4: Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1 Jenson Button (BAR-Honda) 1m14.607s 85
2 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m15.410s 95
3 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1m15.505s 102*
4 Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) 1m15.736s 63*
5 Luca Badoer (Ferrari) 1m15.767s 86
6 Marc Gene (Williams-BMW) 1m15.820s 46
7 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) 1m16.251s 97*
8 Olivier Panis (Toyota) 1m16.507s 98*
9 Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber-Petronas) 1m16.529s 66*
10 Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda) 1m16.560s 90
11 Mark Webber (Jaguar) 1m17.173s 144
12 Franck Montagny (Renault) 1m17.447s 130
13 Nick Heidfeld (Jordan-Ford) 1m17.530s 49
14 Christian Klien (Jaguar) 1m18.029s 46*
15 Ryan Briscoe (Toyota) 1m18.106s 62
16 Timo Glock (Jordan-Ford) 1m18.236s 36
Earnhardt to run limited schedule for RCR
Kerry Earnhardt will get a chance to prove himself in NASCAR's
top stock car series with Richard Childress Racing, the team
that gave his late father six of his seven Winston Cup
championships. Earnhardt will drive a black No. 33
Chevrolet this year in a limited schedule of Nextel Cup
races and help RCR test and develop cars for full-time Cup
drivers Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon and Johnny Sauter.
``We're going to have an Earnhardt back in a Richard
Childress Racing car,'' the team owner said Wednesday. ``It
gives me chills just to say that.'' Kerry, the
oldest son of Dale Earnhardt and half brother of current Cup
star Dale Jr., will drive in five races for RCR, beginning
with the event at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25.
The 34-year-old Earnhardt lost his Busch Series ride with
FitzBradshaw Racing midway through last season. ``I've
been working with Richard for the last three years trying to
do something,'' Earnhardt said. ``Richard has told me in the
past he wanted to do something with me and was just waiting
for the right time. ... Now, we're just getting some seat
time testing and getting back in the groove again.''
Fan calls for IRL's demise, not
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read with complete
and utter disgust over Michael Andretti's call for CART's
demise so everyone can unite under Anton George's IRL
banner. Over my dead body. You Michael Andretti
are a traitor of the worse kind, trying to justify your
idiotic move to the blood and guts IRL where drivers are
maimed, mangled and sometimes killed at an alarming rate.
Poor Kenny Brack was the latest in a long line of IRL
drivers that have been mutilated since the IRlLs inception
in 1996. The IRL is a failure of the worse kind and
Anton George must be stopped. It has all the big
names, sponsors and manufacturers, yet the TV ratings
plummet and it needs to be propped up with Toyota, Honda and
Anton's money to survive. Why on earth should open
wheel unite under something that is failing? As
another reader put it, the IRL has one foot in the grave and
they are backfilling the soil. I hope they don't bury
too many more bodies before the backfilling is complete.
I submit that it is the IRL that must go away, and the
sooner the better. The sport has taken a nosedive
since the IRL's inception. It is time to terminate
Anton's little folly and unite under the OWRS banner.
I call on Toyota, Honda, Chevy and all the IRL sponsors to
dump Anton's failed concept of what Indy Car Racing should
be and let's get back to CART's model when the sport was in
its heyday pre-1996, that of mostly street and road circuits
with as few ovals as soon as possible to reduce driver injury and
the pulverizing of expensive equipment against concrete
lined ovals week in and week out. I submit that Honda
and Toyota are supporting Anton's failed folly to get in the
good graces of the Oval Track Cartel's Grand Poo-Pah, Bill
France Jr. and eventually gain entrance into the Nextel Cup
series. That is what both companies are after.
Supporting the blood and guts IRL is just a means of paying
their dues before being granted entry into heaven (Nextel
Cup Series). No IRL and Grand-Am support, no entry
into heaven. Paul Mozier, Irvine, CA Dear
Paul, As we have stated on numerous occasions, if Tony had
used all that money he has wasted on the IRL since 1996 and
invested it in running teams in CART dedicated to developing
American drivers, CART would still be in its heyday, and
rivaling NASCAR in popularity. He took a successful
series that had good TV ratings, a lot of sponsors, good
attendance and even made Bernie Ecclestone nervous that it
could threaten F1, and ruined everything for the sport and
for the fans. Instead of working harder to improve
CART's faults and building upon something that was already
successful, he threw it all away. Why? When in
doubt, follow the money. Tony owns an oval track(s).
It made more sense for him to form an alliance with NASCAR,
also in the oval track business, to form the oval track
cartel. They are in business to further oval track
racing because that is where they make their money.
CART was becoming predominantly a road racing series and
that did not fit their business model. As they say,
hindsight is 20-20, and we now see that running open wheel
cars on concrete wall lined oval tracks is a very bad thing
and now we are left with a sport that is divided and weak.
FIA-GT looking at another China race According
to Autosport Magazine, China is on course to host two rounds of the
FIA GT and European Touring Car championships in 2005. FIA
GTs will return to Zhuhai this year and both series are expected to
visit the Shanghai track the season after. The ETCC is likely
to undergo a name change if plans for up to four non-Europe
races materialize. The plan has always been to keep
races outside Europe.
2004 Sauber a duplicate of 2003 Ferrari
This week's Autosport Magazine has a feature article that talks about
what appears to be a 2004 Sauber that is an exact duplicate of last
year's Ferrari. They show the two cars in side view and you
can't see any difference whatsoever. Sauber uses a Ferrari
engine and gearbox and now it appears the car too. Claims that
Sauber's impressive new C23 is a direct copy of Ferrari's F2003-GA
have been rejected outright by motor racing's governing body, the FIA.
In the wake of suggestions from rival teams that Sauber's 2004
contender is merely a repainted Ferrari, and is therefore against
Formula 1's technical regulations, the FIA has insisted that there are
no grounds for complaints.
A high-level source within the FIA told AUTOSPORT that it had been
consulted during the entire design process of the C23, and that the
paperwork, designs and manufacturing were all fully legal. The
source said: "Everything is above board. The car is not the same as
the Ferrari, but it is very similar."
Question marks over the design of the Sauber emerged almost as soon as
it hit the track for testing at Valencia in Spain last week. Giancarlo
Fisichella managed to lap in an impressive 1m10.530s - just half a
second off David Coulthard's record in the McLaren MP4-19 - after
completing a mammoth 113 laps over two days of running.
Fisichella said after the test: "I am very happy. Usually it is
difficult to do a lot of laps with a new car as there are often some
problems, but this was not the case today."
Paddock insiders who are convinced of the similarities between the
Sauber and last year's Ferrari also point to the fact that the C23
tested with a front wing that bore a striking resemblance to that
which the world champion team used at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix,
rather than the wings displayed at the new Sauber's launch two weeks
The only major differences between the design of the F2003-GA and the
C23 are the roll hoop, which is more triangular on the Sauber, and the
suspension uprights [Editor's Note: We smell a rat].
One source told AUTOSPORT: "We believe the car is more than a Ferrari
copy: it's exactly the same, in which case there is reason to be
Despite the controversy, it is unlikely that teams will waste time
trying to get further clarification from the FIA. There is also the
difficult task of being able to prove that the C23 is an actual 'copy'
of the F2003-GA rather than just being similar to it.
In F1 you must design and build your own car. Has Sauber
violated the rule1s?
Homestead to host NASCAR final playoff
Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the final event of the inaugural
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series "Chase for the Championship" with this year's
running of the Ford 400 on Sunday, November 21. The new championship
structure, announced Tuesday, virtually guarantees a multi-car
shootout for the championship on an annual basis at the season-ending
Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. More.....
Kellogg's extends Hendrick deal Hendrick
Motorsports and Kellogg Company have extended one of stock-car
racing's most enduring relationships, today announcing a multi-year
agreement that secures the Michigan-based cereal maker as primary
sponsor of the No. 5 Chevrolet Monte Carlos in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Back behind the wheel of the Kellogg's Chevrolets in 2004 will be
two-time Cup Series champion Terry Labonte, who also has signed a
contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports.
Labonte and Kellogg's debuted with the No. 5 team in 1994, two years
before winning the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series title together.
"We're excited about extending our longstanding relationship with both
Kellogg's and Terry Labonte," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "This
team is capable of great things, so we're all looking forward to
seeing what happens when the season begins next month."
Entering its 15th year as a NASCAR team sponsor, Kellogg's has been an
Official Status Partner with the sanctioning body since 1995 and is
the "Official Breakfast Food of NASCAR."
"Everyone at Kellogg Company was thrilled with the team's turnaround
last season and we're looking forward to more success in 2004," said
Robert Grainger, marketing services director, Kellogg Company. "We
hope to help Hendrick Motorsports celebrate its 20th anniversary in
NASCAR by putting Terry Labonte and the No. 5 Chevrolet back in
What's wrong with Open Wheel Racing
First off I am by no way a complete supporter of the IRL or trying to
justify its inception, but over the course of reading Autoracing1.com
from the free site to the now monthly fee I have to say that open
wheel racing is not in trouble because of Tony George. The main reason
open wheel racing is in trouble is because up until 1996 open wheel
racing only had seen 3 champions that were not American. 1. Nigel
Mansell, 2. Emmo 3. Jacques Villeneuve if I recall correctly.
Americans want to see Americans race, and win championships. Since
1996 CART has seen no American drivers take home the championship. Now
for the IRL. Outside of Eddie Cheever an American Driver has not won
the Indy 500 since 1996, although Sam Hornish has won the IRL
championship not many people follow the IRL or open wheel racing
outside of the Indy 500. In return CART, IRL, and open wheel racing
has seen attendance and TV viewership decrease with the lack of
American drivers since 1996. A racing series that features majority of
its drivers from other countries is doomed to fail within the US
borders, this is plain and simple. I don't care what kind of great
plan OWRS has for CART, without American drivers NO ONE CARES! And
Tony, he has to be getting sick of pissing away his money on the IRL.
Coming together as one series and adding American drivers should be
the 2 priorities for these two companies. This is why CART and the IRL
are hurting and NASCAR is thriving. Even F1 is not catching on here in
the states because of the lack of American drivers. I don't believe
open wheel racing will return to its glory days of the early 90's
until we see a huge increase of American drivers behind the wheel,
and American drivers winning the Indy 500. Like it or not the Indy 500
is the only stage for open wheel racing at this time. Open wheel
racing has a tough task keeping great drivers wanting to stay in open
wheel cars. With the loss of Kasey Kahne to NASCAR and Toyota
Atlantic's driver Kyle Krisiloff to ARCA we are losing great young
American open wheel stars to stock cars at an alarming rate. PS
AUTORACING1 Thanks for all the great inside info and articles! Name
Withheld Dear No Name, Sam Hornish is American right?
He won the IRL championship two years in a row and the IRL TV ratings
plummeted thereafter. Yes, Americans are important, but Alex
Zanardi was Italian and Americans fell in love with him. He was the
most popular "Indy Car" champion since Mario Andretti, another
Italian. End of that story. NASCAR has monopolized racing in the
USA. Any series butting heads for sponsorship or TV ratings with
NASCAR is going to get crushed. Champ Car racing must be a mix
of international events, with the USA as a base, much like Europe is a
base to F1. CART is a known quantity outside the USA. No it's
not as big as F1, but it's something OWRS can capitalize on if they
position it correctly. Mark C.
1/21/04 Industry News
Feeding frenzy for China's wealthy This
article says, Chairman Mao might have turned in his grave had
he seen the convoy of Ferraris parade by Tiananmen Square, swing under
his huge image overhanging the entry to the Forbidden City and roar
right past his mausoleum.
In defiance of Mao's old slogan, "simple living and hard struggle,"
many Chinese are amassing so much wealth that nearly one hundred
mainland Chinese can afford a brand new Italian sports car.
"The number is growing," says Richard Lee from Beijing's Italian
Motors. So who, exactly, is buying these much desired autos?
"There are people involved in, of course, investment, building up
their own business and there are people from like, the entertainment
circle. Actors, singers ... you know," Lee explains.
They are China's new elite, who aren't afraid to splash around their
hard earned yuan in a booming economy. According to Lee, they have one
thing in common. "They appreciate the fine things in life,
and they are not shy to show the case," he says.
Boris Said to drive in Bud Shootout
2002 Motorock Trans-Am Tour Drivers’ Champion Boris Said will compete
in the Budweiser Shootout NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Daytona
Int’l Speedway on Feb. 7. Said, who won one race and earned three
runner-up finishes in four 2003 Trans-Am Tour starts, will drive the
No. 01 Chevrolet Monte Carlo fielded by MB2 Motorsports in the
non-points, all-star race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Said earned the right to compete in the Shootout, an event open to
2003 NEXTEL Cup pole winners and former Shootout victors, by winning
the pole, his first in NASCAR competition, at Infineon Raceway last
June. Interestingly, Said led a trio of Trans-Am graduates in the
top-three qualifying positions at Infineon. Robby Gordon qualified
second, while Ron Fellows started third.
“Driving on a superspeedway is probably the most different thing I’ve
ever done,” said Said. “Last month I went down and tested at Daytona,
ran in the draft, and it was really cool. I’m really excited.
“I hope to run in Trans-Am this year,” added Said. “Trans-Am cars are
my favorite cars to drive and it would be a shame if I couldn’t
compete there this year.”
The Budweiser Shootout will be held under the lights at Daytona, and
kicks off the 2004 NEXTEL Cup Series season.
The Motorock Trans-Am Tour features closed-fendered, production-based,
V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and
temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The
Trans-Am Tour is America’s oldest continuously running road racing
series and celebrates its 39th anniversary in 2004.
Motorock is the creation of a popular culture brand that blends the
enthusiast markets of cars, stars and guitars. It is a yearly series
of destination live events that showcases the excitement of
motorsports, music and lifestyle while delivering a unique new form of
broadcast entertainment programming.
IRL founding principles: Overview &
Fan Rebuttal2nd UPDATE Bravo to J.N.
Anderson. He took the words right out of my mouth! I'm just waiting
for the EDITOR'S NOTE: to be added to this ridiculous re-writing of
history all to save face with the damage Tony and his cronies have
caused. When Mark....When will you be adding your EDITOR'S NOTE:? You
should be doing this after every ridiculous chapter of this trash is
put up on YOUR website. We all know this all complete fantasy writing.
I'm just aghast that you guys are putting this trash up on your site.
I put you guys above everyone else because you publish the FACTS. This
is not supposed to be a fiction writing website! James Shaw1/20/04 - A reader writes, Dear
Referencing the Invisible Racing League's latest need to apply spin control to overcome
the negative press they have generated ( "IRL to buy CART to kill it!" ) please permit
me the opportunity to address several of the points in the IRL's latest attempt to
rewrite history and once again try and remove their founder's foot from his mouth. More....1/20/04 - Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, let the
world in on his vision for a new open-wheel racing series on March 11,
1994. This is the first in a six-part series put out by the IRL
examining how the Indy Racing League has adhered to the principles
laid out by its founder according to the IRL. More....
1/21/04 Industry News
Most popular race in southern Florida Perhaps
too small a poll to be statistically significant, South Florida
Motorsports recently ran a poll on their website. The results were
quite interesting. Just to let you know, this past year they gave
equal coverage to the IRL as they did to CART and much more in
comparison to ALMS so the 1 vote IRL received is quite telling. What
really surprised us was the 2 votes that NASCAR got. What was South Florida's best Racing event in 2003?
IndyCars at Homestead(1) 1%
Grand-Am at Homestead(6) 5%
CART in Downtown Miami(36) 29%
American LeMans in Downtown Miami(43) 35%
NASCAR at Homestead(2) 2%
Local Action at Hialeah(36) 29%
124 total votes since 12/20/03
Poll ended: 01/14/04
Mosley plans race return According
to Autosport, FIA boss Max Mosley is set to make his Formula
1 debut 35 years after he abandoned his career as a racing
driver. The 63-year-old president of the FIA as
accepted a challenge from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to race
his friend’s unique Brabham BT44B in the historic Grand Prix
of Monaco, which takes place on May 16th, a week before the
contemporary race is to be held. Mosley last
raced in 1969, when he crashed out of his only Formula 2
start of the year. Before then he had been a useful
amateur Clubmans competitor, graduating to F2, where he
raced in the 1968 European series in a 1600cc FVA-powered
Brabham BT23C. The car Mosley will drive is one of Gordon
Murray’s classic Cosworth DFV-powered designs. The sole
survivor of four, Carlos Pace took it to victory in the 1975
Philippe tests for Conquest Frenchman
Nelson Philippe tested for Conquest Racing at Sebring
earlier this week (below). It was the 19-year-old’s second
Champ Car test, his first being last year with
IRL founding principles: Part 2
Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, let
the world in on his vision for a new open-wheel racing
series on March 11, 1994. This is the second in a six-part
series examining how the Indy Racing League has adhered to
the principles laid out by its founder. Part 2:
Barcelona Wednesday - Williams
FW26 tops test times again More later.....
Pos Driver Chassis-Engine Tire
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m15.620s 64*
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m15.659s*
3 Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m15.718s
4 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m16.026s 67
5 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m16.621s 87
6 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m16.951s 76
7 Nico Rosberg Williams-BMW M 1m17.469s
8 Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas B 1m17.539s*
9 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m17.696 79*
10 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m17.785s 67*
11 Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m17.895s 52
12 Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m18.087s 55*
13 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m18.507s 79
14 Bas Leinders Jordan-Ford B 1m21.841s 16
Fans start petition to save
CART from IRL CART
fans have started this
petition to Judge Otte to rule in favor of the OWRS
bid over any other bids that may come in from the IRL or ISC.
Heidfeld to test Jordan
Bas Leinders took to the track for the second day of
Jordan's four day test in Barcelona. However, the rookie
left the track on the installation lap, damaging the car.
The team rebuilt the second chassis, allowing Bas to get a
few more laps. "Bas Leinders was at the wheel on
our second day of this test and again it was the driver’s
first F1 test although Bas has driven at Barcelona before."
Said James Robinson. "Unfortunately he had an accident on
the installation lap and we had to build the second chassis.
Although this allowed us to return to the track, it took
several hours to achieve which left about an hour of running
at the end. Three red flags in this last period further
reduced track time, allowing Bas to get four short runs (18
laps) before the final flag. The mechanics did another
excellent job today building the car from a tub and the car
ran faultlessly once we got out, a credit to good teamwork."
Jordan have confirmed that Timo Glock will be testing again
tomorrow morning and will be replaced by Nick Heidfeld who
will complete the day and the rest of the week for the team.
1/21/04 Formula GP2
V8, not V10 for GP2, but
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I do not understand
why you are so stuck on V-10s. In the US there are very few
production cars with a V-10 (Viper and Ferrari are the
exception). Why not let it be the current formula or a
supercharged V-8. I am seeing many more manufacturers going
to supercharged cars. Peter Swanson
Dear Peter, A number of people have questioned us on this,
the same way they questioned us three years ago when we said
CART should be in China. Now they are behind the
eightball trying to get there. V8's are common in the
USA, too common. They are in almost every North
American racing series. CART needs to position itself
as the "premier" series with something "above" the norm with
engines that scream. When a USA race fan goes to a
Champ Car race one of the things that must stimulate them is
an "oh my god, I have chills down my spine" sensation you
only get with the scream of a F1 V10. Ditto for when CART
races overseas. Sure they can stick with a Turbo, or a
Supercharger, but these engines are meant to portray
something above and beyond what you can buy in a passenger
car. Open wheel cars are not stock cars and if you try
to position them in the market as such, you fail, much like
the IRL has failed with its dumbed-down open wheel formula.
CART was at its peak when it was "special." These
engines won't use production based parts at all, no matter
if V8 or V10, so a supplier is going to have to build a
purpose built race engine anyway. Technology developed on a
V10 engine in racing can be applicable to a V8 production
engine in the future. CART does NOT need a V8 engine.
If the rules are written right, Champ Cars can have an
economical V10 formula that sets it apart from anything else
in America. Will they be a bit loud? You bet.
Mark C.1/21/04 - The
single-spec Dallara chassis for the new Formula GP2 series
will be powered by a four-liter V8 engine built by Renault
engine partner Mecachrome, not a V10 as first thought.
This opens the door for the CART Champ Cars to differentiate
themselves and put their series higher on the world pecking
order with a V10 engine making 750 HP....but in the same
size and same weight chassis (give or take 100 pounds).
It is key that OWRS position their cars just below F1 so the
series can be marketed and sold as a top level series.
If they fall below GP2 they will be in serious trouble.
Both GP2 and the IRL cars will be making 600 HP. F1
cars have 900+ HP. Champ Cars should fall right in the
middle at 750 to 800 HP (max.). If the new Champ Cars
weigh in the neighborhood of a Formula GP2 car, which will
weigh much less than today's overweight Champ Cars, the
combination of light weight and 150 extra HP will result in
a Champ Car outperforming an IRL car in every conceivable
category by a wide margin, ensuring Champ Cars are the
premier road racing series in North America, regardless
whether the IRL tries to add some road races to their
schedule. Mark C.
Ganassi: Level of competition
higher in NASCAR Chip Ganassi, who also
competes in open-wheel racing, conceded that the level of
competition is higher in the stock cars. “This is a
little more challenging, maybe because I was in open-wheel
racing for so long,” he said. “I enjoy them both. There is a
lot more depth here. There are a lot more good teams, so
it’s a challenge I accept. I’m not going to turn my back on
it.” [Editor's Note: If Tony George didn't
split Indy Car racing in half and create a 2nd series,
thereby almost making Indy Car racing extinct, perhaps Mr.
Ganassi would find the level of competition much higher than
what he has seen the last 8 years]
Ganassi: NASCAR has fixed what
wasn't broken Chip Ganassi, whose team fields
Dodges for Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears,
suggested that the so-called new NASCAR playoff system — a
term disputed by NASCAR officials — might not necessarily be
permanent. “I don’t know what was wrong with the system we
had, but having said that, I applaud NASCAR for trying to
bring up some kind of playoff system,” said Ganassi. “No
other sanctioning body has ever done that. The good news is,
if NASCAR feels that it’s not working, I’m sure they’re not
afraid to go back on the decision. It wouldn’t be the first
time. I look forward to it, I guess.”
Siemens extends deal with
McLaren Siemens and the Team McLaren Mercedes
Formula One racing team have extended their partnership, as
specified in the sponsorship agreement recently signed by
Rudi Lamprecht, member of the managing board at Siemens AG,
and Ron Dennis, CEO and Chairman of the McLaren Group.
Siemens remains a Technology Partner of the Team McLaren
Mercedes team and will receive extensive advertising and
hospitality rights. The branding on the racing cars and the
drivers' suits will be changed from 'Siemens mobile' to
'Siemens'. The sponsoring partnership between Siemens
and the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One racing team has
existed uninterrupted since 1998. Siemens remains one of the
team's Technology Partners and one of its largest sponsors.
Changing the branding from 'Siemens mobile' to 'Siemens'
opens up the sponsorship with its extensive advertising and
marketing programs and hospitality activities to all parts
of Siemens. The new MP4-19 racing car will carry Siemens
logos on the sides of the chassis and on its nose, making
them clearly visible for the TV cameras. Drivers David
Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la
Rosa will sport the logo on the front of their racing
overalls and on their helmets. All Team McLaren Mercedes
team members will also have the logo on their clothing.
Rudi Lamprecht, member of the managing board at Siemens AG,
said: "Formula One is one of our most important sports
marketing activities with a global effect. In the future,
all Siemens Operating Groups will be able to benefit from
our very successful partnership with the Team McLaren
Mercedes team. The expansion of the Grand Prix series with
races in China and Bahrain puts us into growth markets that
are very important to us and will continue to advance our
profile and brand image." Ron Dennis, CEO and Chairman
of the McLaren Group said: "We are delighted that an
important partner like Siemens is extending their
relationship with the team. The 2004 Formula One season will
be exciting and competitive, and Siemens's continued
commitment and support is important in order for us to
achieve our objective of winning races and World
Smith wants costs cut Bruton
Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., remains
convinced that cutting costs will be the key to stock-car
racing's future. "The one thing I'd be impressed with would
be if NASCAR could cut the cost," he said. "Until they cut
the cost, I'm not very impressed. As far as changing the
points, that doesn't mean a thing to me because it's not
helping to cut the cost. One thing that will help our
attendance for the October race (in Charlotte) will be if
they cut the speeds, so we can have a full field of cars.
Now we see a lot of guys pull in after 10 or 15 laps and say
they blew up or something. When you look at somebody like
Jeff Burton that doesn't have a sponsor, it's a concern
because we're going to see a lot more of it."
Elliott wants to run 15 races Bill
Elliott was recently asked about his schedule for the
upcoming 2004 Nextel Cup season: "We've pretty much
confirmed Vegas and Texas. After that, we're looking for
sponsorship. Ideally we're looking at 15 races. I'd like to
run Atlanta, but I don't think it'll happen for the first
race, maybe in the fall. We've got a lot of things going on.
One side of me says I'm going to miss running all of the
races and the other side of me says.. If things aren't going
right and you can't get anything going, you get halfway into
the season, there's nothing more miserable than that. At
least what we're doing now, I can help Kasey and Jeremy."
NASCAR tracks comment on new
points systemChicagoland Speedway
Comments on New Nextel Cup Points System - Matthew
Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland
Speedway, reacts to today's announcement about the new
NEXTEL Cup Series point system: "Obviously, there has
been a lot of discussion generated from the rumors and now
the official news that NASCAR is adjusting their point
system for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Anytime
change is made, especially a significant change to a sport
that millions of people are dedicated to, predominately
people's first natural reaction will be one of skepticism.
However, from an objective standpoint, the system has great
potential to increase the competition and excitement for
NASCAR. For instance, Chicagoland Speedway's July 11
Tropicana 400 will be nine races from the start of the
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup "Chase for the Championship," which will
in turn make teams on the cusp of making the 'Chase' to be
more aggressive to try and gain valuable points to earn a
spot in the coveted "NASCAR Top 10." Conversely, it will
force the teams in the "NASCAR Top 10" to continue with an
aggressive approach to maintain their potential 'Chase'
status. The end result of the new point system is that the
importance of scoring points at Chicagoland Speedway will
increase and therefore the significance and excitement of
the race will increase. I'm confident with the
continual maturation of our track and the new NASCAR NEXTEL
Cup Series point system, the race fans of Chicagoland
Speedway will once again walk away from the 2004 season
thrilled with their racing experience." Dover International Speedway Comments on new
Nextel Cup Points System - With the news that NASCAR plans
to institute a revised points race system for the 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship battle, Dover
International Speedway becomes a major focal point in the
grand scheme of things by being one of the 10 tracks hosting
a championship chase race. Thus, the September 26 MBNA
America 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race has taken on even
more importance and the Monster Mile will be a focal point
for racers and race fans alike. "Obviously, the races
leading up to the final 10 championship chase events also
will take on more importance, so we feel that both of our
NASCAR tripleheader weekends will be of great value to our
fans," said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover
Motorsports, Inc. "Nonetheless, having our September race as
part of the final championship run will certainly mean that
we'll be the equal of any other major sporting event in the
country that weekend and will raise the bar for race fans to
make sure they are here for the action." The
June race weekend will feature the top three series in
NASCAR racing, with the MBNA America 400 NEXTEL Cup Series
race highlighting the weekend on June 6. Since the June 6
race will be the 13th of the NEXTEL Cup Series season, the
race will firmly be on for teams to qualify for the top
echelon eligible for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase for the
Championship. The last race prior to the final segment of
the championship chase will be at Richmond in early
September. The first of the actual championship chase races
will be in New Hampshire, then Dover is up next. The
fever-pitch excitement of that race weekend will no doubt be
high and will add even more to the pressure race teams face
when they take on the one-mile concrete track known as The
Monster Mile. Martinsville Speedway Comments on New Nextel
Cup Points System - Martinsville Speedway president
Clay Campbell has always believed change can be a good
thing. That's certainly the way he feels about the "Chase
For The Championship," unveiled today for the 2004 NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series. "Change is important. If you don't
change and tweak your product, it's easy to get left
behind," said Campbell. "I think the Chase For The
Championship will help keep our sport headed in the same,
positive direction it has for many years. It's going
to make the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series more exciting and
that's going to be the big payoff for the fans. The
Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville is the eighth race of
the season, but even that early in the season every driver
will need to keep the points leader in sight. And the
SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville Speedway will be a key cog in the
10-race Chase For The Championship. The Oct. 24 event will
be the sixth race of those final 10 and will be the only
short-track stop down the stretch. It's no secret that
short-track racing is incredibly exciting. Throw the Chase
For The Championship into the mix and it can only get
better," said Campbell.
Verstappen one step closer to
Jordan seat Jos Verstappen’s manager Raymond
Vermeulen has once again denied that there will be an
announcement today informing everyone that the Dutchman has
joined Jordan. “We feel that we are another step
closer to a contract,” Vermeulen told Verstappen’s website.
“It was a very good dialog where both parties clarified
their wishes. All options have been brought to the table,
now we have to evaluate these with the other sponsors. We
assume that we will meet again this week.”
Bahrain promotion begins A
NEW marketing campaign has been launched to promote the
forthcoming Formula 1 event in Bahrain.
The Bahrain Airport Services (BAS) is the launch platform
for the official National Formula 1 campaign - The Winning
All BAS vehicles at the Bahrain International Airport are
being dressed in high-resolution graphics featuring F1 team
drivers and BAS staff, creating a highly visible welcome to
Grand Prix spectators arriving at the airport.
The Middle East's first Formula One Grand Prix takes place
at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 4.
The campaign, endorsed by Formula 1 supremo Bernie
Ecclestone is, according to a BAS spokesman "specifically
geared to increase awareness of the Bahrain Grand Prix,
whilst at the same time promoting Bahrain as a developing
BAS provides catering, cargo, engineering and ground support
services to Bahrain International Airport and is in the
"front-line" as Bahrain prepares to welcome an expected over
100,000 visitors to the event, from April 2 to 4.
The campaign has been created and managed by branding
specialists ITE Group-Bahrain in association with KHP
Consulting - London.
Open Wheel must never unify
under the IRL
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am aghast with all
this talk from people like Michael Andretti that open wheel
racing must unite under the IRL. What is he smoking?
Why the IRL must never gain full control of open wheel
racing in the USA:
The IRL is part of the oval track
cartel. Hence they will never run but a few road races each
year. There are far too many good road and street circuit
venues that would lose out big time.
The IRL is far too expensive.
Every time they have an accident the cars smash into the hard
concrete walls resulting in significant expensive damage. Road
racing is far less expensive and most accidents result in minor car
Racing on high banked ovals has resulted
in so many driver injuries, many very serious, that it is downright
negligent to continue the oval track cartel's all, or mostly all,
The IRL's TV ratings have plummeted
underscoring that it is a failed formula. CART's ratings on
network TV last year were higher than the IRL's and CART was almost
dead. If an almost dead series is more popular than the IRL, I
submit to you that the IRL has one foot in the grave and they're
backfilling the soil. They have no fans. If they did
their TV ratings would be rising, not plummeting. The
attendance you see at IRL races are either 2 for 1 NASCAR packages
or free giveaways from Honda, Toyota, etc. It's a false
economy. Some fans may attend to see the accidents and the
blood. The IRL has plenty of that, so yes, it is #1 in
All of CART's support series, all the
way down to karting, are road race based. This country needs a
top-level road racing series, not the IRL's concept of a "few" road
races a year. We can't let the oval track cartel take control
of road racing and slowly kill it. Look at their Grand-Am
Series. Talk about ridiculous.
Except in the USA, oval track racing is
nothing in the rest of the world. Only silly American fans,
who have been brainwashed into thinking driving in circles at full
throttle is racing watch the stuff. In the rest of the world
road racing rules. Silly, stupid Americans.
If the USA is ever again going to
produce a World Driving Champion we must have a top-level road
racing series and the complete ladder system of road racing that
CART currently has.
If somehow the IRL or ISC prevail on
January 28th, it will be the bleakest day in American motorsports
history. The IRL and its oval track cartel cohorts must never
take over road racing in America. Never. David Brown,
Borla to back Luyendyk
Borla Performance Industries, Oxnard, Calif., has committed to a
personal sponsorship of Indy Racing League driver, Arie Luyendyk Jr.,
for 2004. Borla Performance Industries is best known for manufacturing
high-end exhaust systems for street, off-road and racing applications.
The new partnership between Arie Jr. and Borla will commence with his
first race of 2004, the Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance race, January
31-February 1. “I am very pleased to be partnering with Borla
Performance Industries,” stated Arie Jr. “I have always been impressed
with their products. I have used Borla exhaust systems in
almost all of my cars since I was 16-years-old. It will be exciting to work
with Borla in 2004, as I know I am fortunate enough to be partnering
with a great company and a product I can stand behind.” David Borla,
Marketing Manager of Borla Performance Industries, is equally excited
about working with Arie Jr. in the coming year. "Borla Performance
Exhaust is pleased to announce the sponsorship of Arie Luyendyk Jr.
for the 2004 racing season,” Borla announced this week. “We are
excited to bring Arie Jr. on board as a spokesperson and we look
forward to a long-standing relationship with him. Arie's work ethic,
marketability and potential for success make him a perfect fit for
Borla's promotional needs and we welcome all he has to offer our
growing company. Luyendyk is a world-class name that speaks
performance, and we feel that pairing him with Borla, a world-class
exhaust designer, will benefit both parties for years to come. Borla
has always been an innovative and cutting-edge exhaust company and, as
a result, we are especially pleased to partner with a young,
up-and-coming racer such as Arie Jr."
Andretti calls for series unity
This Speed article
says that as open-wheel racing teams await news of the future of CART,
Michael Andretti knows what he wants to see. One series, and one
series only. And that one series is the one in which he's currently
involved, not the one in which he won 42 races during 19 years. "My
hope is that CART goes away and we become one series," said Andretti,
co-owner of Andretti Green Racing, which will begin its second season
in the Indy Racing League next month. "That's what I hope. If
open-wheel racing is going to start going where we want it to go,
that's what's going to have to happen. If CART continues on, it's just
going to drag all of open-wheel racing down. It would be a shame for
that to happen. I'm hoping that things are going on that
we don't know about," said Andretti. "Obviously it's going to come to
a head quickly. I think Tony would like to see one series. He knows
it. I'm sure he's going to do everything he can to try to make it
happen." [Editor's Note: Michael, since when exactly has the
IRL been such as resounding success?] More . .
Evernham Motorsports media tour
comments "Our journey started at ground zero and our goal was to build one
of the most competitive and premier motorsports teams in NASCAR," Stated Ray Evernham. "We
wanted to take the shortest, straightest, fastest possible way we could
possibly get there. If you take a long journey, you want wide, flat roads
with a high speed limit and very little traffic. You have checkpoints
along the way so you can monitor whether or not you're on schedule.
You lay a race team out the same way. You have good cars, good sponsors,
good people and good drivers. You get running, get running good and start
running consistently. When you start your trip sometimes you find
detours. Sometimes the road you want to take might be closed by the
NASCAR police. Sometimes a short cut ends up costing you a little more
time. Sometimes you have to change bus drivers, and sometimes your bus
driver doesn't want to run the whole route. You keep your goals and
monitor your progress and you know whether or not you're on
schedule. " More.....
Leinders crashes Jordan F1
hopeful Bas Leinders crashed his Jordan EJ13 on cold tires in very
cold conditions at Barcelona this morning and took off the left front
wheel before any other drivers could make it onto the track.
Sam Schmidt hires crew chief
Sam Schmidt Motorsports has taken on veteran crew chief Chris Griffis
to oversee its Menards Infiniti Pro Series team for the forthcoming
season, and hopes that some of his winning magic will rub off.
Griffis acted as crew chief for Panther Racing's Mark Taylor in the
series last season, winning seven races and four pole positions en
route to winning the drivers' championship. "We were quite
successful in 2003 with drivers Tom Wood and Brandon Erwin, but we are
always striving to improve our program," said Schmidt, who earlier
this month announced that 21-year old Brazilian Thiago Medeiros would
pilot one of the team's cars, "Obviously, our goal for 2004 is to win
races and the championship, and I think Chris will complement an
already good team and allow us to accomplish those goals."
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