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Rolex 24: Hour 10 CITGO Chevy leads
After driving three consecutive stints in the #2 Citgo Howard-Boss
Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford, Andy Wallace turns the driving duties
back over to Dale Earnhardt Jr. The lead of the #2 Chevrolet at the
conclusion of the tenth hour is only one lap ahead of the #01 Lexus.
The #44 Orbit Porsche continues to lead the GT class. The #91 Porsche
is still the leader of the SGS class. LEADERS AT HOUR TEN -
Overall and DP - No. 2 Chevrolet (Andy Wallace, England; Tony Stewart,
Davidson, N.C.; Dale Earnhardt Jr, Cleveland, N.C.;), No. 01 Lexus
(Scott Pruett, McMinnville, Oregon; Max Papis, Italy; Jimmy Morales,
Mexico; Scott Dixon, New Zealand), No. 54 Pontiac, No. 4 Chevrolet,
No. 59 Porsche; GT - No. 44 Porsche, No. 74 Porsche, No. 22 BMW; SGS -
91 Porsche, No. 71 Porsche, No. 38 Porsche.
1/31/04 Industry News
Bob Bahre in serious condition from
article says, New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob
Bahre was in intensive care Saturday with injuries sustained when his
car went off the road 48 hours earlier in Maine. Track spokesman
Ron Meade said Bahre had a fractured vertebrae, broken ankle,
concussion and rib injuries, and has been in and out of consciousness.
"They just got him out of an MRI and they have him stabilized, but as
you can imagine all the swelling, it's pretty serious," Meade said.
A spokesman for Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, Maine, said the
76-year-old Bahre was listed in stable condition in the intensive care
unit. Bahre was making a drive of about 120 miles from the track
in Loudon to his home in Paris, Maine, when his SUV went off Route 160
in Brownfield, Maine on Thursday afternoon. The vehicle hit a tree,
Cpl. Tim Ontengco of the Oxford County Sheriff's Department said,
adding that Bahre was wearing a seat belt and shoulder harness.
Bahre apparently fell asleep coming off a curve, Ontengco said.
"I asked him what happened. He said he was kind of tired and fatigued
because he had been at the speedway all day and he was driving back,"
the investigator said.
breaks lap record at Fiorano Second
day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Fiorano
circuit. This morning Luca Badoer completed the electronics test
program begun yesterday: 23 laps to his name, with the quickest being
a 56.852. Schumacher began development work on the F2004, covering a
total of 100 laps, with a best time of 56.279, which breaks the lap
record from a year ago of 56.3. Testing continues at this track
tomorrow, again with Michael Schumacher driving.
1/31/04 Industry News
Racing chooses fe-safe
Cosworth Racing choose fe-safe as standard durability analysis
software tool. Cosworth Racing is and always has been a recognized
center of excellence for automotive engineering in the UK. In keeping
with this, Cosworth Racing has chosen fe-safe* , the most technically
advanced durability analysis software suite for FE models, as its
standard durability analysis software suite. The software will be used
by Cosworth Racing in the design and analysis of major castings, such
as cylinder heads and crankcases, as well as pistons, crankshafts and
connecting rods, for their world class engines. Hywel Thomas, Senior
Engineer, F1 Design and Development, explained:
'fe-safe* has a number of unique capabilities which are important to
us, in particular the advanced high temperature fatigue capability.
The speed of analysis and ease of use were also very important issues
which fe-safe* scored highly on as well as being very compatible with
our current design and analysis processes'.
Cosworth aims to use fe-safe* not just to increase the reliability of
its engine components but also to reduce development times and costs
in the design process. fe-safe* will be used to optimize existing
components and develop new ones.
1/31/04 Industry News
Dover Motorsports records drop in
Dover Motorsports reported a $30.7 million loss for the quarter,
compared with a $10.4 million loss in the same quarter of the prior
year. Most of that loss was due to writing down the market value of
assets associated with the Championship Auto Racing Teams series,
which is in bankruptcy proceedings.
American Charlie Kimball will race in
Championship winning Team JLR announced today the first two driver
signings for its 2004 Formula Ford title defense. Hot off his
win last week Down Under driving for Team USA, Charlie Kimball, 18
from Camarillo California continues with the British team after
some fabulous performances during the 2003 winter series. Kimball
caused quite a stir when he claimed two poles, one win and fastest lap
on his debut for Team JLR at Snetterton in November. The young
Californian is determined to be the first American to win the British
Formula Ford Zetec Championship. A determined Kimball has made the
bold decision to come to Europe despite many offers to continue racing
back home in the States. "I know Europe is where I need to be if I am
going to make my name on the World Motorsport scene". " It has been
hard to make the break from racing back home but I really feel if I
can win in Europe, I will be a more complete driver for it. The winter
series was tough and something of an eye opener for me to the ways of
racing over here but I am excited and can’t wait to get started with
Team JLR". Richard Dean commented, " Charlie was a ‘must have’ for us,
the whole team were enormously impressed with him during the winter
series and we are happy we have somebody we feel has the determination
and speed to help us retain the Championship". " This is not a
learning year for Charlie despite it being his first season in the UK,
he has set a goal of winning the title". Mareks Stolcermanis will join
Charlie Kimball in the 2004 line up. Mareks is 18 and lives in Jelgava,
Latvia. The young Latvian has a very strong karting background
finishing 7th in the 2001 European ICA karting Championships. 2002 and
2003 saw Mareks compete in the Toyota Yaris cup scoring second and
fifth positions in the Championship.
Haberfeld excited about 2004 season, to
announce team in days This
article says, Brazilian driver Mario Haberfeld is thrilled
with the sale of the CART assets to Open Wheel Racing Series. “CART is
the premier open wheel racing series in the United States and the
world, and I am happy to see it continue.” The sale also means
Haberfeld can now move forth with his own CART plans. “I can finally
start making definite decisions regarding the 2004 season, and build
upon my achievements of last season in CART”, said the Brazilian.
The fact that OWRS is headed by Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and
Gerald Forsythe, three very successful businessmen inside and outside
of the racing arena, makes Haberfeld feel good about the future of the
racing series. “These three gentleman have achieved phenomenal success
in their lives, and I am certain they will bring CART back to its
glory days of years past”, said Haberfeld. As for his immediate
plans, Haberfeld is working diligently on securing a competitive ride
for this year. “With the bidding process now behind us, and having had
time to analyze all offers for 2004, I should be able to make an
announcement regarding my team for the upcoming season within the next
few days. As they say, now it’s time to ‘put the pedal to the metal’
and get ready for the season”, concluded the Brazilian. [Editor's
Note: See Rumors page for what team Haberfeld will race for]
If IRL had killed CART, would not have
been enough engines
As it turns out, if Tony George had succeeded in killing off the Champ
Car Series this past week as he tried, the IRL's engine suppliers
would not have had enough engines to supply the Champ Car teams who
may have wanted to come over. This Indy Star
article says, Officials from Toyota, Honda and Chevrolet
confirmed there wouldn't have been enough engines to supply the
Championship Auto Racing Teams series cars that would have switched to
the IRL had Judge Frank J. Otte's ruling shut down Champ-Car racing.
As it is, there might not be enough IRL engines to meet demand in the
first four races of the season, and that includes filling the
traditional 33-car field at the Indianapolis 500, the fourth of those
races. Nineteen teams currently have engine contracts -- seven
each for Toyota and Honda and five for Chevrolet. Honda has a two-race
contract for Roger Yasukawa in Motegi, Japan, and Indianapolis.
The shortage stems from the IRL's switch to a new power-reducing
3.0-liter engine in midseason. The manufacturers have a limited number
of the current 3.5-liter engines, and they aren't building more
because they are focused on the 3.0, which becomes legal at the 500.
"We've tried to be very open with people that there could be a
shortage here," said Robert Clarke, general manager of Honda
Performance Development. "Companies like ours just don't go off and
build extra engines so we can have them. There are some spares
in the system, but giving them away now can hurt current (customers)."
Honda is in a difficult situation with its final few engines. Team
Rahal and Fernandez Racing already have single-car programs and Beck
Motorsports was a client last year. Walker Racing would like to be a
Honda customer, too. Now, it's first come first served. "We're
at theoretic capacity now," White said of Toyota's situation. "People
have to understand that it's going to be tight this year."
This guy just doesn't get it
This Arizona newspaper
article berates the CART owners for going their own way and
not letting Tony George kill their series and cherry-pick their best
races. It's clear the author doesn't understand. There are
two key issues he is overlooking. 1) Tony George wasn't trying
for a merger, but to kill off the competition. You can't merge
that way and be successful because the fans of the losing side will
revolt and never accept the winning side. There must be a "true
merger" where both sides win. 2) You can't simply kill off an
entire industry, in this case road racing. To let the oval track
cartel cherry-pick only a handful of road races would have left many
cities without races and the entire CART road racing ladder system in
shambles. As we stated below, this notion of dropping some of
IRL's ovals and some of CART's road courses and having one series is
pure folly. Too much would be lost. Our proposal would be
for the IRL to dump their dreadful crapwagons and adopt whatever the new
Champ Car spec car is going to be in 2005 or 2006 so both series can
have a common car. Then, under one company there can be a road
racing division and an oval division. Each division would crown
a 15-race champion in early September and then Open Wheel Racing would
have their version of a "playoff" (a la NASCAR and every other sport
in this world) between the two divisions. The top 10 drivers
from both divisions would start with a clean slate of points, with
first place from the regular season starting with 50 points, 2nd 45
points, etc. down to 5 points for the 10th place finisher from
season. Then there would be a 4-race playoff (2 ovals, 2 road
courses) between the 20 drivers to crown an overall champion.
The other drivers from both series can still race in the final four
events, but they could not be crowned champion. That will make
news and generate some excitement. And with the deep hatred that
has developed between the CART and IRL fans over the split, the
playoffs would generate a huge interest, something open wheel racing
so desperately needs, and some good old bragging rights and chest
beating by the overall champion. However, until Tony agrees to a
true merger, OWRS must focus on growing the Champ Car Series.
Can OWRS make the Champ Car series
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am ecstatic that OWRS
won the bid for CART. However, I remain concerned about the
future of open wheel racing in the USA because the split continues.
What does the future hold? Dan Macy, Colorado Dear
Dan, There is no question the split should have never happened, but it
did. Here is what we see happening. The IRL will continue
to try and steal whatever it can from the Champ Car series. Tony
George on Thursday in a press conference admitted such when he listed
all the street and road course races he will be after. As soon as he
tries, OWRS will file lawsuit after lawsuit against him until he stops
or runs out of money paying legal bills. OWRS will make
the Champ Car Series financially fit. How can they do that?
The economy is turning around and teams are finding more sponsors.
That means less money by OWRS to field a full grid. They
desperately need more engine manufacturers. Ford isn't able or
willing to do enough, by a very long shot. If OWRS lands more
manufacturers they will be on their way. They have some pretty
neat plans for their TV package that we think are going to work well.
They realize how important it is that the drivers are "The Stars."
Now it remains to be seen if they can put the drivers front and
center. The drivers must do their part - make time for the
media, and add a little drama. Controversy between the
personalities in any sport really engages the fans. There needs
to be some rivalries both on and off the track. Who will Tracy
fight with this year? OWRS must run a tight ship and put on
professionally run races. The push-to-pass button should help to
add excitement, as will standing starts, though we are not sure
standing starts will happen in 2004. OWRS must also reduce the
number of full course cautions that turn almost every race into a
procession behind the pace car. Local yellows must be used more
often, with full course yellows saved for only the most extreme
dangerous situations. In F1 we almost never see a full course
caution. In CART their immediate reaction is to go full yellow.
OWRS has also shown that they can make fast decisions to get things
done. Gone is the rule-by-committee-but-get-little-done approach
of the past. Mark C.
Dennis thinks 2004 Schumacher's last
year This BBC
article says, Michael Schumacher will quit Formula One at the
end of 2004, McLaren boss Ron Dennis believes. "I don't think he'll be
driving in 2005. That's what I think. I don't know," Dennis said.
"They have been out testing the temperature on some of the other
drivers. That gives you a little bit of an indication," Dennis added.
But Dennis added that he would prefer the six-time world champion to
race on. "What do we want? I want him to race until 2006 or beyond, so
that we can beat him," he said. Schumacher's eventual decision to
retire would be based on whether he continued to win in 2004, Dennis
said. Michael is fairer in some of his moves than he used to be -
there are still moments of indiscretion but they all have them. "If
there was a 50-50 chance of him retiring if he wins, I'd say there
would be 20-80 against [retiring] if he loses."
OWRS welcomed with open arms in Canada,
ticket lines booming
This Toronto Sun
article says, The organizers of the Toronto Molson Indy
launched a new partnership with the Open Wheel Racing Series
yesterday, saying it may not be perfect but it's the only game in
town. Molson Sports and Entertainment vice-president and Indy general
manager Bob Singleton said that despite some questions left over from
the financially disastrous CART season, he expects a top-notch series
to be racing on the streets of Toronto come July.
Singleton was questioned yesterday about whether Molson had
contingency plans -- such as another series running in its three
Canadian races -- if the court ruling that came down Wednesday had
gone in favor of the all-oval Indy Racing League. "Molson
is committed to bringing first-class racing to Canada," Singleton
said. "And the OWRS allows us to continue doing this."
Singleton said that he does have some concerns about whether OWRS
owners -- Paul Gentilozzi, Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven -- can
put together a TV package that will take the Molson Indys of Toronto,
Vancouver and Montreal to worldwide markets, but he said he has been
assured such a deal is in the works. "I expect OWRS to announce
a new TV package for this season in the next couple of weeks," he
said. "That's important to us."
"The owners of OWRS are successful businessmen," he said. "They are
not getting into the racing business to lose money."
The Molson Indy boss said fears are unfounded that OWRS may have
trouble fielding 18 cars come opening day in Long Beach, Calif.
"I am encouraged by the fact that there may be more than 18 cars," he
said. "I spoke with team owners Dale Coyne and Adrian Fernandez
(Wednesday) in Indianapolis and I came away with the conviction we may
have north of 18 entries."
Singleton said Molson has been "pleasantly surprised" at the number of
ticket renewals it has received, considering the mayhem that has
surrounded open wheel racing. "We are down only slightly from
last year at this time," he said. "But (yesterday) the ticket renewal
lines (were) ringing off the hook."
Bernie only has eyes for Hyderabad,
India The State Government received a shot in the-arm
when Formula One Boss Bernie Ecclestone faxed a letter to the
government revealing that the company was not holding talks with any
other party in India. Maharashra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar
Shinde had claimed that the Formula One team was in touch with him to
shift the track from Hyderabad to Mumbai. Bernie Ecclestone’s letter
put paid to Maharashtra’s hopes.
In a letter to P V Rao, Chairman, AP Infrastructure Authority, who is
dealing with the Formula One company, Bernie Ecclestone said, "This is
to confirm that at this time we have not entertained any meeting with
any other parties. I will inform you as you know we have kept our side
of the agreement. Best Wishes...” State Government sources said that
the letter has put to rest the Maharashtra’s claim that the company
was planning to shift the track to Mumbai. “Hyderabad is still the
front-runner for the Formula One track,” the sources added.
Apart from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are vying for the
prestigious project. The State government had sent a team of officials
led by Rao to hold talks with the Formula One team three times in
London. The team is expected to meet Bernie Ecclestone again in
February to discuss legal and commercial aspects.
The Formula One Company had sent a set of draft agreements covering
various aspects including allotment of 1,300 acre site, financial
tie-up for the project, promoters, legal issues and others to the
Rao said that the government was going through the draft agreement,
which required a thorough perusal, before going back to the company.
He, however, pleaded ignorance about the claims of Maharashtra
Government. Sources said that Ecclestone has already inked an
agreement with the State with a lock-in period for negotiations. It is
only after the lock-in period that the F1 race would be free to open
negotiations with others. The State has already declared the F1 a Mega
Jordan laughs off predictions of team's
demise Eddie Jordan,
has laughed off speculation that his team is going to fold.
“We'll survive and survive well," he told the Telegraph. "We'll have a
bloody good year. We'll have a better engine from Cosworth and a very
good driver line-up. It's a fashionable thing to write about, that
Jordan are in trouble. Well Jordan are not in trouble." Eddie
has also indicated that there is a place available for a British
driver. “I have certainly not ruled out having a British driver
in the team. Ralph drove for us last season and he is a super guy,” he
told the Sun. “And there’s also Allan and Justin, who have both shown
what they are capable of.”
Schumacher gives 2004 car first run First
day of testing this year for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Fiorano
circuit. This morning Michael Schumacher gave the F2004 its track
debut, while Luca Badoer carried out an electronics program at the
wheel of an F2003-GA. Schumacher covered a total of 34 laps,
with the best time of 56.835 sec. Badoer completed 79 laps, the quickest
in 57.311 sec. Testing continues at this track tomorrow, again with
Schumacher and Badoer driving an F2004 and an F2003-GA respectively.
'I am quite happy with the first testing day of our new car. I
immediately had a feeling for it. The F2004 was handling very well
straight out of the box and we achieved good and consistent lap times.
Personally I find it nice to have such good news and see such good
mood on the birthday of our president's daughter Maria.'
Photos by Ferrari
OWRS buyout already reaping huge
The buyout of the CART series by OWRS is already reaping huge
dividends for the Champ Car Series. In a number of newspapers
around the world, in markets where the Champ Car series races, the
story has been front page headlines (not just sports page headlines).
In racing publications and on internet messages boards it has been
"The Story." It is now important that OWRS keep that momentum
going by announcing details for 2004 and beyond.
Dixon to drive Lexus in Rolex 24
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will move from ovals back
to the road course as he joins Chip Ganassi Racing's Lexus prototype
effort at this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. The 23-year-old Dixon
will team with Scott Pruett, Max Papis and Jimmy Morales in the
CompUSA Lexus. On Thursday, Pruett won the pole for the
twice-around-the-clock spectacular in Lexus' debut in the series. "I
had a chance to drive the car for the first time last (Thursday) night
and I really had a fun time driving it," said Dixon, who's heading
into his fourth season of driving Toyota-powered open wheel cars,
including last year's IndyCar Series championship run. "It was nice to
be able to turn right again. My background is road racing, but I
haven't done much endurance racing so this will be a new experience.
I've been getting plenty of pointers from Scott (Pruett) and Max
(Papis) on what to expect. I'm looking forward to extending my
relationship with Toyota and Lexus."
Toyota defends NASCAR participation
This San Antonio
article says, The national motorsports manager for Toyota
Motor Sales, U.S.A., defended the company Thursday in the wake of
inflammatory comments made against it by veteran NASCAR driver Jimmy
Spencer the day before.
"The investment of Toyota in plants and associated businesses in this
country is in the billions of dollars," Les Unger said from
Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida, where testing for several
NASCAR series is taking place this week. "We think we're great
corporate citizens as far as this country is concerned."
When Spencer, 46, was asked at Texas Motor Speedway what he thought
about Toyota, a Japan-based firm, competing in this year's Craftsman
Truck Series schedule, he brought up the bombing of Pearl Harbor as
part of a rambling response on the development.
Spencer, well-known on the NASCAR circuit for his opinionated, biting
sound bites and sometimes off-color humor, later attempted to clarify
his statement, stressing he was referring to how international
business relationships have evolved in the years since World War II.
"If Toyota didn't do that (add new racing teams), the truck series
would've been a dying breed," said Spencer, who drove a Dodge truck to
one series victory last year. "Toyota's going to be good." Dodge
is owned by DaimlerChrysler, a company based in Germany.
Bridgestone signs on to supply spec
tires for Stars karting series The Snap-on Stars of
Karting announced today an agreement with Bridgestone Tire
Company, and Grand Products, Inc. to become the spec tire and supplier
for all of its national classes at all 9 national events in 2004. “We
are always looking at ways we can improve,” said Paul Zalud of Stars.
“Bridgestone has always been a huge supporter of Karting and we are
very pleased to get them involved with our series. Bridgestone Tire
Company, and Grand Products Inc. are great companies to be partnered
with, and we are looking forward to this ongoing relationship.”
Kevin Hunley from Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC added,
“Bridgestone is excited about our new relationship with the Snap-On
Stars of Karting series. With the class structure, Stars of Karting
has adopted, and the venues on the National schedule, the competition
will be extremely close on the spec tires. The proven Bridgestone spec
tires will help level the playing field for all competitors and
emphasize driver skill.” Grand Products will be the exclusive
supplier of Bridgestone specific tires at all of Stars events. “Grand
Products is very excited about working with a first class organization
like the Stars of Karting. I look forward to working with the Stars
personnel at the venues, and I’m anticipating an exhilarating 2004
season” said Mike Tetreault, president of Grand Products Inc.
The following will define the specific tire requirements for each
Stars of Karting national class as well as the protocol and
distribution for the 2004 season. The following are the specified and
only acceptable slick tires for use in the national classes for the
Stars of Karting series: Intercontinental C - Bridgestone YHB, sizes 4.50 x10 - 5 front
and 7.10x11 - 5 rear. Intercontinental A - Bridgestone YHB, sizes 4.50 x10 - 5 front
and 7.10x11 - 5 rear. 80cc Shifter Junior - Bridgestone YHC, sizes 4.50 x10 - 5 front
and 7.10x11 - 5 rear. Intercontinental A/Junior - Bridgestone YHC, sizes 4.50 x10 - 5
front and 6.00x11 - 5 rear. Cadet - Bridgestone YHC, sizes 4.50 x10 - 5 or 6.00x11 – 5,
either size front or rear.
Rain tire for all classes is the Bridgestone YHP; sizes 4.5 x 10.0-5
front and 6.0 x 11.0-5 rear for all classes. Optional rear rain tire
size for Cadet class: 4.5x10–5. Additional information will be
included in the updated Technical and Competition regulations at
Bell is working hard to land F1 seat This
article says, When we first showed up at his
father-in-law’s house, where Townsend Bell is living while working day
and night on the next big stage in his life, Bell was working the
phone. He has been working the phone nonstop since the end of last
year’s racing season, indeed, he’s been working it pretty much the
last few years of his life. You could look at this as a pivotal point
in Bell’s career, a make-it-or-break-it point where he either rises to
Formula One or retreats to something like the ALMS forever, but Bell
does this mad scrambling all the time. He has to.
Greg Ray withdraws
IRL IndyCar Series team owner/driver Greg Ray, scheduled to drive for
the Risi Competizione sports car team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan.
31-Feb. 1, has withdrawn from the race. "This is a case where my
position as an IRL IndyCar Series team owner forces me to look at
things through a much broader scope of partnerships and business
implications other than just the driver in me who really wanted to
experience the Daytona 24-hour race with a team that's capable of
winning," said Ray, whose Access Motorsports team will participate in
open testing Jan. 28-29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I feel bad
having to withdraw my participation, but my IndyCar effort and
partners and related business must take precedence. The offer to drive
for Giuseppe (Risi) has been extended for several years now, and
hopefully a situation in the future will allow that to happen." IRL
IndyCar Series team owner/driver Greg Ray, scheduled to drive for the
Risi Competizione sports car team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan.
31-Feb. 1, has withdrawn from the race.
Trans-Am Series to team with Champ Cars at
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has confirmed the Motorock Trans-Am Tour
will be part of the Grand Prix of Monterey Champ Car World Series
weekend, Sept. 10-12 at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course. The event
will mark the return of Trans-Am racing to the Monterey Peninsula
after a two-year hiatus. “Trans-Am racing has a history at Laguna Seca
dating back to 1969, and we’re excited to return to one of America’s
preeminent permanent road courses,” said Motorock Trans-Am Tour
Executive Director John Clagett. “From the famous Corkscrew to the
Andretti Hairpin, Mazda Raceway will pose a unique challenge to our
competitors, giving the fans quite a show.” “We’ve had many requests
from our fans to bring Trans-Am back, so we’re obviously delighted to
include it on our Grand Prix of Monterey weekend,” said Mazda Raceway
Laguna Seca General Manager Gill Campbell.
CART Stars karting draws over 600,000
More than 600,000 households viewed the wild and exciting competition
of the Snap-On Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presenting by RACER this
year on the SPEED CHANNEL.
Some of the best wheel-to-wheel racing action on the network was
watched by 626,000 households with three hours of original programming
and six hours of re-airs in the months of November and December last
year on one of the fastest growing cable networks.
Produced by Brian Lockwood Productions of Huntington Beach, Calif.,
the three one-hour telecasts featured two 60-minute highlight shows
from the Bridgestone Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.,
and a one-hour program that featured the best action from the Stars
Karting Championships at Moran Raceway in Beaumont, Calif. The
telecasts focused on the ICC (125cc shifter) and ICA (100cc direct
drive) divisions with many of North America’s best karting stars in
action as well as European, South American and Australian racers.
Announcers Leigh Diffey and Tommy Kendall hosted the Stars SPEED
telecasts in 2003 with David Stanfield reporting from the pit area and
A special presentation of the three one-shows will be repeated on
Thursday, Feb. 12, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EST) on the SPEED
CHANNEL. The ICA race from Sonoma will air at 12:30 p.m. followed by
the ICC race from Sonoma at 1:30 p.m. and the ICA and ICC action from
Moran Raceway at 2:30 p.m.
“The Snap-on Stars of Tomorrow racing was very spectacular racing for
the viewers of the SPEED CHANNEL,” said Bobby Rahal, a principal in
the Stars program. “I can say that the viewers won’t see this kind of
wheel-to-wheel action on the SPEED CHANNEL on a regular basis. They
were able to watch some of North America’s best young racing talent
battling in tight quarters and swapping positions on every lap. The
Stars series produces some of the best racing you will see in North
America. We’re pleased to bring the Stars series to the SPEED CHANNEL.
It is a great vehicle for the karting sponsors whether it is the
series or the racer’s sponsorship.”
Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow TV Viewers in 2003: Sunday November
23rd, ICA from Sonoma (82,000 Households); Monday November 24th, ICA
from Sonoma (9,000 Households); Sunday November 30th, ICC from Sonoma
(49,000 Households); Monday December 1st, ICC from Sonoma (80,000
Households); Sunday December 7th, ICA & ICC from Moran (86,000
Households); Monday December 8th; ICA & ICC from Moran (17,000
Households); Sunday December 28th, ICA from Sonoma -- (104,00
Households); Sunday, December 28th, ICC from Sonoma – (109,000
Households); Sunday, December 28th 2 p.m. Eastern ICA & ICC from Moran
– (89,000 Households). TOTAL – 626, 000 Households
Toyota Atlantic Series part of
As part of Wednesday's decision in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
Indianapolis in which Judge Frank J. Otte awarded assets of
CART, Inc. to Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC (OWRS), OWRS
partners, Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven, and Gerald
Forsythe have agreed to purchase Pro-Motion Agency, Ltd.,
which operates the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by
"I am delighted that OWRS has shown a strong commitment to
Toyota Atlantic, and I am very pleased that OWRS has agreed
to purchase the series," said Vicki O'Connor, Toyota
Atlantic president. "Likewise, I am pleased that Judge Otte
provided the opportunity for the series to live on in good
health under OWRS. Everyone associated with the Toyota
Atlantic Championship-from the series staff to our drivers
and teams-has a strong belief in the series and its ability
to develop championship-caliber open-wheel racing drivers."
The Toyota Atlantic Championship celebrated its 30th
anniversary in 2003, and is widely regarded as the premier
open-wheel driver development series in North America. Of
the 27 drivers who competed in 2003 Champ Car World Series
events, nine had some previous experience in Atlantic
competition. In addition, 66 of the 300 drivers who have
driven in Champ Car races from 1979 through 2003 had
previous Atlantic experience. The series has also produced
two Formula 1 World Champions, as well as race- and
championship-winning drivers in various other levels of auto
"Toyota Atlantic is an extremely important part of our plans
moving forward," said Gentilozzi. "We're well aware of the
series' history of success, and we're committed to seeing
the series continue to succeed for many years to come.
Toyota Atlantic races will continue to be an integral part
of our race weekends, along with Champ Car World Series and
Trans-Am racing among other events. The series provides good
entertainment and great racing for our fans."
Added Kalkhoven: "This past year, we were reminded once
again of Toyota Atlantic's many contributions to our series'
talent pool when Ryan Hunter-Reay won at Surfers Paradise. I
can assure you that there is a lot more talent where Ryan
came from, and we fully intend to have more Toyota Atlantic
drivers graduate to Champ Car competition. Likewise, we will
continue to promote Toyota Atlantic as a place for talented
young racers to develop their skills for many years to
Fernández gears up for Champ
Following Wednesday’s announcement that Open Wheel Racing
Series (OWRS) will take over operations of the Champ Car
World Series, Fernandez Racing Co-Owner/Driver Adrian
Fernandez wasted no time in getting down to business in
preparation for his 12th season of Champ Car competition.
Fernandez and Co-Owner/Managing Director Tom Anderson today
confirmed that Fernandez Racing will return for its fourth
season of Champ Car competition with Fernandez piloting the
#51 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate
Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. The familiar red, white and
green machine will also sport the “Visit Mexico” tourism
logo this year.
“It has been a long off-season this time around," said
Fernandez, “and an emotional rollercoaster for a lot of
people. I want to thank Quaker State, Telmex and Tecate for
their patience and continued support. I am more than ready
to move ahead and focus on our goals for this season, which
include challenging for the championship and winning in
"It will be great to kick off the season in Long Beach, a
race that has become a tradition for us and where the fan
support has always been fantastic. I can’t wait to get back
behind the wheel and start the year off right with a great
show in California.”
Fernandez is coming off his best season to date in Champ Car
competition since forming Fernandez Racing in the fall of
2000. The Mexican native recorded his eighth career win at
Portland last year – his first as an owner/driver – and
finished the season with a 13-race point-scoring streak to
close the year eighth in the final championship standings.
“I know the #51 team is anxious to get back at it full
steam,” added Anderson. “We have a lot of work to do between
now and April but will be right on schedule for the first
“Now that we have a direction to focus on, we can begin our
efforts on a program to field a second car this year.”
Fernandez Racing has experienced minimal personnel change
over the winter break, and will once again be led by Team
Manager Gustavo del Campo. The team plans to begin its 2004
testing program at Sebring International Raceway in Florida
the first week of February.
IRL drivers not happy with new
This Miami Herald
article says, During the Ford Championship Weekend
in November, it was almost impossible to find a NASCAR
driver in Winston Cup, Busch or Craftsman Truck who did not
welcome the new variable 20-degree banking in the corners.
But this week during the IRL's first open test of the
season, the majority of drivers said they preferred the
1.5-mile oval when its corners had only 6-degree banking.
''I like it, but I liked it the way it was a little bit
better because it was a track you had to set up and drive,''
Marlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish Jr. said. ``You
really had to be on the edge and have the car handling well.
``The big thing now is drafting and getting it to the right
place and being able to make your move at the right point
Trans-Am Series and SCCA reach
agreement over name
Trans-Am Racing, LLC (“TAR”), a wholly owned subsidiary of
Open Wheel Racing Series (“OWRS”), has agreed to a licensing
arrangement with Sports Car Club of America (“SCCA®”) to
continue its use of the Trans-Am® name in the promotion of
the Motorock Trans-Am Tour. The naming agreement extends the
licensing of Trans-Am’s marketing and promotional rights
initiated in 2003. The new contract takes affect
immediately. OWRS also owns and operates the Champ Car World
“We are excited to carry forward the Motorock Trans-Am Tour,
America’s oldest and most historic sports car racing
series,” said Trans-Am Executive Director John Clagett.
“This agreement is key to our plans for this season, and
into the future. We’re privileged to write another page in
the rich history of Trans-Am racing in North America.”
“I have been a part of the Trans-Am Tour as a competitor and
team owner since 1987, and I’m eager to continue the
Trans-Am legacy,” said OWRS partner Paul Gentilozzi.
“We are dedicated to restoring Trans-Am to its rightful
place as North America’s top sports car championship,” added
the three-time Trans-Am Drivers’ Champion.
"Trans-Am is not only a part of SCCA's heritage, but a major
name in the American automotive industry," said SCCA
President and CEO Steve Johnson. "We're happy to have
reached an agreement with OWRS, which means the Trans-Am
name will carry on with its 39th season in 2004.
"Paul (Gentilozzi) has been an SCCA Champion, member and
valued partner for years, and we look forward to continuing
our relationship in many areas in the future."
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.
Sunoco signs long-term deal
Grand American Road Racing Association and Sunoco have
announced an agreement that makes Sunoco Race Fuel the
official gasoline of Grand American Road Racing for the next
10 years. Under the agreement, Sunoco, the world's largest
manufacturer of premium racing gasoline, will provide racing
gasoline for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and
Grand-Am Cup Series. "This long term commitment by
Sunoco is coming at the perfect time," noted Grand American
President Roger Edmondson. "With the emergence of Daytona
Prototypes as the long-term vision for sports car racing in
America, having a multiyear commitment from our fuel partner
is another sign that the direction of the Rolex Sports Car
Series and its North American Road Racing Championship is
being supported by competitors and suppliers alike."
Trans-Am Series to highlight
The Motorock Trans-Am Tour will return to the streets of
Trois-Rivières, Quebec the weekend of July 31 to headline
the 35th anniversary Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. The
race will mark the 21st time Trans-Am sports cars have
competed at the 1.52-mile temporary circuit, making it the
longest running temporary event in Trans-Am history.
The first Trois-Rivières Trans-Am race was held in 1976. The
Tour returned in 1979 and continued to hold a race each
season through 1985. Trans-Am visited Trois-Rivières again
in 1990 and staged an event there every year from 1990
through 1999. The series returned last year after a two-year
“Trois-Rivières has been a part of Trans-Am’s history for
nearly 30 years, and it has long been a favorite among fans
and competitors, alike,” said Motorock Trans-Am Tour
Executive Director John Clagett. “The ambiance and energy of
the city of Trois-Rivières is just incredible. French
Canadians are among the most avid motorsports fans in the
world, and they have welcomed us with open arms every year.”
Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières was revived this year by
former journalist Jacques Deshaies, after the promoter of
last year’s event decided not to continue running the race.
“The return of the Trans-Am Tour is very good news for the
city of Trois-Rivières,” said Le Grand Prix de
Trois-Rivières President Jacques Deshaies. “When the former
owner of the Grand Prix left, we spoke with the mayor of
Trois-Rivières, who said there had to be a race this year.
So I put together this organization, and we’re looking
forward to an exciting 2004 event.
“Trans-Am puts on a great show,” added Deshaies “The people
of Quebec love Trans-Am racing. Plus, we’re looking forward
to welcoming some Canadian drivers to compete here.”
Heidfeld signs with Jordan Nick
Heidfeld has signed to drive for Jordan-Ford in the 2004
Formula 1 World Championship. “I am very happy to sign a
deal with Jordan-Ford,” said Heidfeld. “It was a strange
experience doing the tests, especially the last one in
Barcelona, without officially being part of the team,
because I really felt like I was already a part of Jordan.
“The last couple of weeks and months have been quite
difficult for me so not only am I happy to be signing with
Jordan, I'm also relieved.
“It's nice to work with all the people here and I'm looking
forward to this season very much. It will be exciting to
take the new EJ14 car out next week, after spending today at
the factory to do my seat fitting and seeing the 2004 car
coming together for the first time.”
“I am carefully putting together a strong driver pairing to
complement our 2004 package and sponsorship portfolio and
signing Nick is the first part of that,” Eddie Jordan said.
“I am optimistic that we have the tools to mount a
reasonable contest against the midfield teams this year.
Nick is a very quick driver with the talent and experience
we need in order to grab every opportunity we can this
George says schedule precluded
This Indy Star
article says, Indy Racing League president Tony
George described on Thursday the helpless feeling he
experienced Wednesday when a host of race promoters told a
federal judge in Indianapolis they couldn't afford to miss
staging their races in 2004. George knew his IRL
schedule was set for the season, and only as many as a
half-dozen of the former Championship Auto Racing Teams
series events could be added in 2005. That's when he
knew his chance to win the bid for bankrupt CART's assets
was finished. "It didn't matter how much we offered,"
said George, who eventually bid $13.5 million and said he
was prepared to offer more. "It would have taken an insane
amount of money to prevail. "We came willing to spend,
but we couldn't have done that (level of spending)."
George admitted the IRL was blindsided by the news that
CART's parent company loaned the racing division $62 million
and wasn't willing to forgive the debt if the bid of the
upstart Open Wheel Racing Series group wasn't accepted.
"That drove the cost out of sight for us," George said.
George holds slim hope for
Newman/Haas at Indy 500
This Indy Star
article says, Tony George put the odds of CART team
owner Carl Haas fielding a car in this year's Indy 500 at 30
percent. George doesn't expect CART runner-up Bruno
Junqueira to be the driver if it happens.
OWRS was well representedUPDATE Interesting
footnote: Ice Miller the firm that represented the IRL is in
the same building. TG had this to say about his legal
eagles: "It was disappointing that we didn't really
understand the process." 1/30/04 - The two legal eagles who were instrumental in winning the CART
bankruptcy battle for OWRS over the IRL are Jon Polak and Jim Moloy,
two EXCEPTIONAL young attorneys with the law firm of Dann Pecar Newman
& Kleiman. If CART fans would like to thank them for saving the sport
they love, their address is One American Square, Suite 2300,
Indianapolis, IN 46282.
1/30/04 Industry News
Three motorsports greats to be inducted
NASCAR executive Bill France Jr., road racing and Indy car champion
Bobby Rahal and drag racing legend Joe Amato will lead a class of
seven racing greats into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when
the organization stages its 16th annual induction ceremony on
Thursday, July 29, 2004 at the State Theatre in Detroit.
These three, along with Los Angeles Times racing reporter Shav Glick,
multi-class sports car champion Geoff Brabham, driver-designer-builder
Don Vesco and 1950 Indy 500 winner Johnnie Parsons will join the 138
racers already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame.
“From top to bottom, the Class of 2004 is one of the finest we’ve
had,” says Ron Watson, President of the Hall of Fame. “Combined, they
represent more than 15 major championships, more than 120 major race
wins, several land speed records, journalistic excellence and NASCAR’s
rise to prominence.” Tickets for the induction ceremony can be
purchased by calling 1-800-RACE (7223).
2004 could be Drissi's year
After finishing the 2003 Motorock Trans-Am Tour on the podium veteran
road racer Tomy Drissi will be driving the No. 23 Unitech Racing
Nissan 350Z in his 2004 debut during this weekend’s Grand-Am Cup
Daytona 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 250 which
will kick off Daytona and Drissi’s racing season will be contested
Friday January 30 at 2:30 pm. Drissi will have his hands full this
season, in addition to participating in select Grand-Am events Drissi
plans to once again compete in both the Trans-Am Series and the ALMS
Series full time. “This is going to be a real learning experience for
me this weekend. I consider this my spring training which helps give
me get a leg up on my Trans-Am competition this season,” added Drissi,
who will also be looking to make his 24 Hour of LeMans debut this
season with his ALMS teammate Michael Lewis. “I love racing on road
courses, left turns, right turns, elevation changes, hairpins, long
straights, short straights, just about everything that challenges a
driver's abilities.” Since coming to the Trans-Am series in 1999 Drissi
has made a name for himself as a solid competitor. Being awarded
Rookie of The Year, winning the Long Beach Grand Prix in 2000 are just
a couple of the achievements Drissi has achieved in his young career
and 2004 will only be a better and brighter year for him.
Ruling rescues Molson Indy
This Toronto Star
article says that the scream of high-powered race cars will
pierce the air at Exhibition Place this summer, after all. Organizers
of the Molson Indy can now rev up their preparations for the 19th
running of the popular event after a U.S. bankruptcy court judge in
Indianapolis yesterday awarded the assets of the financially ruined
CART circuit to Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS). The group, headed by
CART team owners Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven,
plans to carry on with a series largely made up of road courses. Had
the rival Indy Racing League, which runs all of its events on ovals,
gained the bid none of the CART events would have taken place this
year. The IRL said it would have added three or four non-oval races to
its schedule in 2005 and that Toronto likely would have had one of
those events. "I'm obviously very happy that the tradition of Molson
Indy racing will continue in Canada," said Molson Indy general manager
Bob Singleton, who addressed yesterday's hearing. "Now we have to make
it the best year ever."
Busch to help with rebuilding project
For three homeowners in Houston, the most anticipated kickoff of this
year’s Super Bowl week will take place two days before the game gets
underway. Those homeowners look forward to the ninth annual Kickoff to
Rebuild, when Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie / IRWIN Ford
Taurus will join with a team of NFL players, celebrities and IRWIN
Industrial Tool Company volunteers on Friday, Jan. 30, 2004 to
rehabilitate three houses in the city’s historic Row House District of
Ward III. The event is a joint effort of Rebuilding Together, the NFL,
and IRWIN, a global manufacturer and distributor of professional grade
hand tools and power tool accessories co-sponsoring Kurt Busch for 18
races during the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. More than 8,000
low-income families around the country will be warm, safe and dry in
2004 thanks to these volunteer efforts.
Elliott big part of Budweiser Shootout
How much is Bill Elliott a part of Budweiser Shootout history? It's
simple. Out of 25 Shootouts, the tall, red-head driver from
Dawsonville, Ga., has competed in all but seven of them, and he has
missed only four since making his debut in 1982, the year mullets were
cool, Pac Man was hot, and E.T. was becoming America's favorite
In nine days, the quiet man known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville
will be making his 19th start in the Budweiser Shootout, the most of
any driver. He holds the distinction of being one of only three
drivers to win the Shootout from the pole (1987). Elliott also holds
Budweiser Shootout records in the following categories: most miles
completed (1,182.5), most laps completed (515) and fastest average
speed (197.802 mph in 1987).
The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be the first race of a
part-time schedule for Elliott in 2004. He announced in the off-season
that he would return only on a part-time basis, running a limited
slate of races in the No. 91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge. Elliott hopes
to compete in 15 events this year, but sponsorship will decide that.
As of now, the only confirmed races he'll drive are the Budweiser
Shootout at Daytona and the events at Las Vegas and Texas.
"I feel like I can contribute by running in the Budweiser Shootout and
be a part of that, and then I'll help (Evernham Motorsports drivers)
Jeremy (Mayfield) and Kasey (Kahne) through the Twin 125s and the
Daytona 500" Elliott said. "My first goal is to take care of Ray
Evernham, and make sure I can contribute whatever I can from my side,
and then move on. It's still been very hectic, but when I walked into
Daytona for testing, it seemed like I had a whole different mindset
towards the season. It's like, Man, I can go out and do different
things now. I can look at things differently than I ever had before."
Elliott In the Budweiser Shootout: (Shootout finish in parenthesis)
1982 -- #9 Ford (10)
1983 -- #9 Ford (3)
1985 -- #9 Ford (3)
1986 -- #9 Ford (2)
1987 -- #9 Ford (1)
1988 -- #9 Ford (5)
1989 -- #9 Ford (12)
1990 -- #9 Ford (5)
1991 -- #9 Ford (4)
1992 -- #9 Ford (7)
1993 -- #11 Ford (9)
1994 -- #11 Ford (7)
1995 -- #94 Ford (3)
1996 -- #94 Ford (8)
1998 -- #94 Ford (3)
2001 -- #9 Dodge (12)
2002 -- #9 Dodge (18)
2003 -- #9 Dodge (16)
Doran-Lista to qualify Friday
A miscommunication between Grand American Road Racing Association
officials and team managers caused nine cars to be disqualified from
the first round of Rolex 24 qualifying at Daytona International
Speedway Thursday afternoon. One SGS car, seven GT cars and one
Daytona Prototype, the latter being the Doran-Lista Racing entry, were
disqualified from the session for failing to meet the deadline for
nominations of the qualifying driver. The top 30 positions were set
for this weekend's race in the first round of qualifying, so when the
Doran-Lista team attempts to qualify tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. during the
second qualifying session it will be able to do no better than 31st in
the final starting lineup. "We lost our chance for the pole, and now
we can start no better than 31st," said Kevin Doran, the team owner.
"In a 24-hour race that can be made up, but the chances of being
involved in an accident increase exponentially the further back in the
field you start," he noted. "We protested the situation but were
denied," he added.
Concern over noise levels
A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I wrote a while back when CART
was contemplating going to a normally aspirated engine. Then I said
they would be too loud. I can't believe that any city, like Long Beach,
would have allowed the noise that those cars make. For that matter,
even some of the road courses in the country would be wary of them
because of the noise ordinance in effect. Just a random thought.
Brett Crabtree Dear Brett, A valid concern. However, the
sound of a screaming F1 V10 is so incredible, even non-race fans get
chills running down their spine. We have not heard of any race
venue ever having noise issues with a F1 race that could not be
mitigated. For those few people who don't like the noise, you
can usually offer them a 3-day mini vacation out of the area to a
destination of their choice in the USA. Unless the person is
homebound for some reason, most people like the idea of a free
vacation. Others may accept free race tickets and enjoy the
festivities. As we have said repeatedly, a Champ Car has to
excite the senses and that starts with an Oh My God What Was That
sound. Mark C.
Reader thinks one series is needed
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am overjoyed that OWRS was
able to turn back the attempted power play of Our Good Friend Tony
George. The judge used excellent judgment and stayed neutral in
rendering a very just decision.
Here's my take on why OWRS won: The Champ Car fans. Despite all the
hype and media blitz that supported the IRL, the fact is that the fan
base is much stronger with the Champ Cars. The IRL can't draw fans
beyond Indy and Texas (Fontana being particularly pathetic), whereas
Champ Cars still brings in fans virtually wherever they go. When the
judge looked at that, plus at how the local economies, jobs-both at
the venues and race teams plus organizational structure-would be
affected, plus potential litigation over cancelled venues Tony G. had
no intention of going to, this was a slam dunk for OWRS. Tony G.
didn't have a prayer. That old adage really pays off here, FOLLOW THE
MONEY. With the IRL, that money would dry up; with OWRS, that money
will keep Champ Car going for 2004 and beyond.
Mark (pun intended) my words, and you heard it here first, the lack of
fans at non-Indy IRL events will catch up with George sooner or later.
Sooner or later, Toyota and Honda will tire of displaying their
technology in front of partially filled stands and anemic TV ratings.
The IRL (hell, Champ Cars, too, but this will get better) is having
trouble now keeping teams in the game right now. Tony G., by virtue of
his three headline events at IMS, can afford to keep the IRL afloat
for quite some time, but if nobody comes save for Indy, just how
important will he be in open wheel racing? Even Indy didn't sell out
until race day, unheard of just a few years ago.
My other prediction is that open wheel will continue to lag behind
NASCAR to the point where Tony G. will finally realize he can't have
absolute control of American open wheel racing, and that he'll have to
work something to get it all under one roof. Make no mistake, he
wanted absolute control, and to put his fingerprints on CART's death.
He'll get neither. If he wants to "protect Indy", he'll have to come
to the table and work out an equitable agreement. That remains the
only way to save open wheel racing. Mark J. Chavous
Dear Mark, We agree it would make sense to merge the two companies
into one at some point. However, this notion of dropping some of
IRL's ovals and some of CART's road courses and having one series is
pure folly. Too much would be lost. Our proposal would be
for the IRL to dump their dreadful crapwagons and adopt whatever the new
Champ Car spec car is going to be in 2005 or 2006 so both series can
have a common car. Then, under one company there can be a road
racing division and an oval division. Each division would crown
a 15-race champion in early September and then Open Wheel Racing would
have their version of a "playoff" (a la NASCAR and every other sport
in this world) between the two divisions. The top 10 drivers
from both divisions would start with a clean slate of points, with
first place from the Regular season starting with 50 points, 2nd 45
points, etc. down to 5 points for the 10th place finisher from
season. Then there would be a 4-race playoff (2 ovals, 2 road
courses) between the 20 drivers to crown an overall champion.
The other drivers from both series can still race in the final four
events, but they could not be crowned champion. That will make
news and generate some excitement. And with the deep hatred that
has developed between the CART and IRL fans over the split, the
playoffs would generate a huge interest, something open wheel racing
so desperately needs, and some good old bragging rights and chest
beating by the overall champion. Mark C.
Uncertainty over Long Beach television
This Long Beach Press Telegram
article says, The 2004 Grand Prix will take the same form as
last year's race. The five races the Champ Car World Series, Toyota
Atlantic Championship, Trans-Am Series, Toyota Pro Celebrity Race and
Historic Grand Prix will all be back. But it was unclear Wednesday
whether the race would be televised. "A number of things need to be
addressed in a very short timeframe,' Michaelian said. "We are
prepared to help them spread the word that Champ Car is back.'
Pizzonia breaks lap record at Valencia Antonio
Pizzonia beat Juan Pablo Montoya's day-old unofficial lap record at
Valencia on the final day of testing today, setting a record time in
last year's Williams FW25.
The Brazilian, who is rumored to land the role of second test driver
with the team, smashed Montoya's time from yesterday by 0.193s,
lowering the record time to 1m09.123s. Pizzonia set his time in the
FW25, although he also drove Williams' 2004 machine after Ralf
Schumacher returned home to Austria early with abdominal pain.
"It's not bad," Pizzonia told autosport.com regarding his stunning
lap. "Now we have a problem because we have to make the new car faster
than the old one! It was a shame that I couldn't do more laps in the
new car, but I had a differential problem."
Valencia test times day three (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW M 1m09.123s 60
2 Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m09.407s 93
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m10.440s 89*
4 Giancarlo Fisichella Sauber-Petronas B 1m10.469s 59*
5 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m10.473s 92
6 Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m10.897s 101*
7 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m11.301s 89*
8 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m11.715s 98
9 Zsolt Baumgartner Minardi-Cosworth B 1m13.317s 103
Pruett gives Toyota pole for Rolex 24
Scott Pruett put the No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing
on the pole for the 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Pruett set a new Daytona Prototype track record with his 1:45.783 lap
at 121.154 mph, shaving more than four seconds off the previous record
held by David Donohue. More......
Saving Champ Car saved 100's of jobs
In this Autosport.com article,
"Now we can stop worrying about all that and go racing," said OWRS
co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven, who hosted a celebration party Thursday
night at CART headquarters on Indianapolis' northwest side.
Judge Otte stated that in his own research, he determined that between
300 and 460 industry jobs would be lost aside from the 45 people
employed by CART. Outside sources believe the overall number of jobs
lost would be closer to 1,000.
"Kevin did his part to keep CART afloat," said Russell Cameron, team
manager for Kalkhoven's PK Racing. "If those 18 teams blew up, maybe
four CART cars would have gone to the IRL. All along he seemed very
confident that OWRS had the best solution for everyone involved. It's
good that the judge saw it that way because there are a lot of people
who believe in Champ Car racing.
"Thank God there are people like Kevin," Cameron added. "Look back to
the '70s at why CART was formed. It was a group of enthusiastic team
owners who wanted a better way. It's a good product, top-level racing
with a lot of diversity. Kevin and his group have a rough road in
front of them. It's a complex business, but he wants to see it
Tony George admits they were not
prepared in court
In this Autosport.com article,
Tony George says, "It would have taken an insane amount of money for
us to prevail," said George. "That wasn't totally apparent to us until
very late in the process. The creditors probably got the best deal
that they could get. At least there was someone there to bid to cause
them to offer more than they originally did. Now they've got a whole
new set of issues to deal with. Sometimes you've got to be careful
what you wish for; it just might come true."
In his first extensive public discussion about Wednesday's case in an
Indianapolis federal court, George said he still believes open-wheel
racing will come under one banner. He also reiterated the IRL's intent
to hold 20 races in 2005, indicating the four new races will be on
road or street courses.
George said he went into court expecting to outbid the OWRS leaders -
Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven - for CART's
assets. However, when Otte took into consideration that CART would
waive a $62million loan if the judge awarded the assets to OWRS,
George realized that he would have to spend more than expected to
"It was disappointing that we didn't really understand the process,"
George said. "I don't know if it was intentional or unintentional, but
I don't think we knew the parameters of what we were dealing with.
Some of the things that were thrown up as impediments in the last 24
to 36 hours were clearly not good signs. We had to see the thing
through to the end. We were willing to spend a sizable amount of
money, but it didn't matter how much money we had."
George insisted he was attempting to unify the genre, not destroy one
side. "I don't think we did more damage," he said. "CART was bankrupt.
The judge, looking out for the creditors, wanted another bidder. It
was a pre-packaged deal. There no doubt that eventually open-wheel
racing will be run under one banner. That would make sense. I can
speak for everyone in this [the IRL] paddock in saying that this is in
the best interest. I can't speak for everybody in CART. We tried to
make the argument that there would be opportunity for the teams,
sponsors and promoters here."
Cheever predicts OWRS demise
IRL team owner Eddie Cheever is at it again. This Autosport article
says, Eddie Cheever has predicted that the Champ Car World Series will
continue to struggle under new owner OWRS, and that the eventual
demise of the series is "inevitable." Cheever predicted an early
end for OWRS, stating: "I believe that it's inevitable. I'm sure a lot
of fans of either side or people on their teams will say that it's
arrogant for me to say it's inevitable. But I don't really see how you
can compete against the IRL. And, in many ways, against NASCAR.
"I feel like all they've really done is to prolong the agony of
watching them flounder around for another 12 or 24 months or however
long it takes. Everybody was looking forward to the fact that there
was going to be one series. It looks like it might take a little more
time than we thought." [Editor's Note: Eddie's been
saying this since 1995. Now, 9 years later and the Champ Car
Series is still in business and outdrawing the IRL series he touts at
the box office and on network TV]
Milwaukee Mile issues statement
"The ruling in favor of the Open Wheel Racing Series yesterday
regarding the CART assets means it is status quo in The Milwaukee
Mile's efforts to promote world-class open wheel racing.
"We contemplated and discussed various scenarios preparing for the
outcome. We now move forward with a renewed enthusiasm, knowing for
certain The Milwaukee Mile will renew the tradition started one year
ago of hosting Champ Car World Series racing events at night.
"With great anticipation, The Milwaukee Mile is very pleased to be a
racing venue offering its fans the ability to witness both the
exciting competition of the Champ Car World Series June 3-5 and the
stars of the Indy 500 competing in the IRL IndyCar Series July 23-25."
Sebring ticket sales on record
pace Advance sales for the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve
Hours of Sebring are up more than 21 percent from last year
and are on course to break the event's all-time attendance
mark that was set for the 50th anniversary race in 2002,
track officials have announced. The event will open the 2004
season for the American Le Mans Series.
"We've been delighted with advance sales for the Mobil 1
Twelve Hours of Sebring," said Tres Stephenson, President of
Sebring International Raceway. "With special prices in
place, more people are taking advantage and buying early."
Advance prices will be in effect until February 29,
"We are also seeing a lot of first-time buyers," he said.
"That's a good indication of the growing popularity of the
American Le Mans Series and the international stature of
Sebring. These people have heard about the event or have
seen it on TV and want to experience Sebring for themselves.
"As always at Sebring, there are so many items of interest
for the fans," Stephenson said. "The return of Danny
Sullivan, the All-Female racing team, the new and
interesting cars and drivers … plus the fun atmosphere that
is Sebring. All of those things have created more interest
in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring."
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the
green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20. Ticket
information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or
by calling (863) 655-1442 (toll-free 800-626-RACE).
Ralf cleared to drive after
scare Germany's Ralf Schumacher will resume Formula One
testing with Williams in Spain next week despite being taken
to hospital on Thursday suffering from a stomach problem.
A team spokesman said the driver, younger brother of
Ferrari's six times world champion Michael, had returned
home to Salzburg in Austria after seeing doctors in
Valencia. "He has seen his own doctors now and it's
his lower stomach," he said. "He's been given something for
it and he will be in the car again in Barcelona on Monday
Champ Car community voices its
The open-wheel racing world received a
shot of stability Wednesday afternoon with the ruling from the
Honorable Frank J. Otte in U.S. Bankruptcy Court which awarded the
assets of the Champ Car World Series, including race contracts for
the upcoming season, to the owners of Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS).
That ruling ensured that Champ Car will continue competition in 2004
and beyond, bringing its unique brand of turbocharged open-wheel
racing to its multitudes of fans around the globe. The members of
the Champ Car community, including drivers, team owners, sponsors
and promoters, voiced their support of the decision on Thursday and
what follows are quotes from many of those involved in the series.
Few highlights from OWRS
OWRS principals Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven held a
teleconference today with the media. Here are a few
Feb 12th closing date for transaction to
take control of assets. Then will put out TV and race schedule right after
Champ Car World Series will be official
name -- will amplify on that name
18 cars - teams are now finalizing deals.
Will be racing in less than 90 days
Tony spoke to Paul midday yesterday and
spoke to both Paul and Kevin after hearing
5-year plan no plan to merge, but to
Believe will be able to operate within
budget in 5-year plan - including TV and prize monies.
Forsythe has been part of all planning
process, though absent from public events
Want to be on a consistent network at a
consistent time. Live or as close to live as possible. Focus
marketing effort on new fans. Looking at creative programming with
creative ideas. Deal with a TV partner and does not look at us as a
Take a macro view. Conflict and drama
among people. Need partners who can portray conflicts between
people. NASCAR has done a great job of making drivers stars -
conflicts and personality
$7 to 8 million people watching worldwide
Champ Car each race.
Guaranteed prize money to teams, no
subsidies. Economy is improving and new sponsors coming onboard.
Discussions have been hot and heavy all day long, including new ones.
Major media and testing Spring Training at least 6 weeks
before LB. Four series - Champ Car, Toyota Atlantic, Trans-Am and one other
support series (Formula BMW).
Kalkhoven spoke to Pollock yesterday
No race in Miami of course. Florida race
will probably be St. Pete.
Champ Cars have not done good job of
exposing personalities. Every race is a story and every story needs
characters stated Kevin.
St. Pete move back to earlier in spring
OWRS will control TV production
Europe - not closing the door on Europe
Tony George a gracious loserUPDATE A reader
writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, First, I want to let you know
that I read your site about twice or three times a day. You
do a very good job with it. Now, let me get to the point.
How can someone be called a gracious loser when in the same
day you have the following comments from him? "I wish them
well," George said while surrounded by media on the front
steps of the courthouse. "They're going to have a big job. .
. . It wasn't our day. Today, it was their day."....."I felt
we had an opportunity to unite open wheel racing," he said.
"But I'm not interested in any kind of merger now that
they've got those assets. I'm not interested in giving up
the equity we've got in the IRL." So what? It's either me at
the top or who cares about open wheel racing?
Roberto Jourdain1/28/04 - This Indy Star
article says, Moments after Otte rendered his verdict, evoking
cheers from many in the audience of about 90 [Try 200], George
approached Paul Gentilozzi, one of three partners in the Open Wheel
Racing Series group whose bid was accepted, and offered his
congratulations. "I wish them well," George said while surrounded by
media on the front steps of the courthouse. "They're going to have a
big job. . . . It wasn't our day. Today, it was their day." [Editor's
Note: If Tony had not started the IRL CART would still be
right up there challenging NASCAR and getting stronger. If Tony
had used 25% of the money he has spent so far on the IRL to own and
field 6 or so Champ Cars each year for American drivers, we would not
be where we are today. There is one major difference that keeps
the two sides apart - one side feels "Indy Car" racing should be run
on ovals and the other side road courses. Ovals have proven to
be inhumane to the drivers (numerous serious injuries), but everyone
has the right to choose, and now they can - IRL or Champ Cars, ovals
or road courses.]
Surfers race back on track This
article says, QUEENSLAND Deputy Premier Terry
Mackenroth has welcomed the decision of a US bankruptcy
judge which has secured the future of the Gold Coast Indy
car race. Rival consortiums were competing for the assets of
the defunct CART series but an Indianapolis court ruled in
favour of the Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) bid. OWRS was
committed to maintaining the series which features the Gold
Coast race while the rival bid would have seen many of the
races cancelled. "This is great news for the Gold Coast and
great news for Queensland," said Mackenroth. "The owners of
OWRS have declared the Gold Coast Indy the 'jewel in the
crown' of the series and are strongly committed to the
future of this successful event." He said planning for the
2004 Gold Coast Indy is now back on track.
Jimmy Spencer speaks, slams
ToyotaUPDATE This San Antonio
article sheds more light on Spencer's anti-Toyota
comments. 1/28/04 - Jimmy Spencer is a self-admitted God-fearing, flag waving, patriotic
good ole boy who isn’t about to succumb to an attitude of political
correctness. Asked to comment during the Texas Motor Speedway Media Day
on the addition of Toyota to competition on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series Spencer replied, “Don’t forget those %#& bombed Pearl
Harbor.”). Spencer, driving the #7 Dodge owned by Jim
Smith, is facing a year of uncertainty while the team tries to secure
sponsorship. “We’re planning to run the bigger paying races,”
said Spencer, “We’ll run Daytona, Indy, Las Vegas, Texas and Bristol,
because I love to race there. We won’t go to the low paying races
because we won’t be able to commit to a run for the championship.”
Spencer admits the team has some prospects that satisfy the guidance
set down by NASCAR. NASCAR has in the past, and still does, restrict
certain products and/or companies from gracing the sheet metal of a
racecar. In the meantime, Spencer will try to resurrect his
Busch Series team, help his son run some short track events in the
local area and shoot out the one-liners like no one else on the
Safer Walls - The greatest invention to
happen in NASCAR racing. I hit the (SAFER) wall in Richmond and didn’t
even realize it.
“Chase for the Championship” – If Dale
senior was alive he’d win 12 straight championships. The point system
the last couple of years was boring. This is a good thing. The next
step is to change the schedule to cover all regions of the country
over the last ten races. Who wants to go to Darlington in November?
Hitting Kurt Busch – What I did at
Michigan was wrong. I apologize. Next question.
NASCAR – This chair is crooked!
Road Races – What I did when I was younger
and running from the cops.
Brian France – The future of our sport. A
visionary just like his father.
His biggest pet peeve in the garage – My
biggest problem is with drivers who won’t give the media time. I am
upset that writers have to schedule time to get an interview. You need
to respect the media. Stan Creekmore
Canuck drivers elated by OWRS
article says, All of a sudden the off-season sacrifices
and training made sense yesterday for Patrick Carpentier.
Carpentier, who is in the final year of a contract with
Forsythe Racing, said he had questioned whether his
preparations for the 2004 CART season meant anything as the
series was locked in a war for its very existence with Tony
George and the IRL.
"I was training on the bike (yesterday) and I asked myself
'Am I training for something or for nothing?' " Carpentier
said from his Las Vegas home.
Carpentier, a native of Joliette, Que., wasn't all that
confident the Open Wheel Racing Series bid would be enough
to convince a judge to allow CART to survive. "When (George)
made the bid for $13.5 million US it didn't look very good,"
Carpentier said. "I think it was a shame he was bidding to
close the series. I am going to have wine with dinner (last
night) to celebrate this victory."
Toronto's Paul Tracy -- Carpentier's teammate at Forsythe --
will now be able to defend both his season championship and
his win at the 2003 Toronto Molson Indy. Tracy had told his
agent that if the IRL had won the court-ordered auction, he
would not have raced in the series this season.
Canada's third driver in the series -- Alex Tagliani of
Montreal -- was jumping for joy at the news yesterday.
"Champ Car has come out on top where it belongs," Tagliani
said. "So when do we go testing?"
Co-Sponsors for Roush team
Roush Racing today announced that Sharpie’ Markers and IRWIN’
Industrial Tools will be "co-primary" sponsors of its #97
Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL
Cup Series. Both Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools are
brands of Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), which has been a
supporter of the team since 2001. Sharpie and IRWIN
Industrial Tools will split time on the car throughout the
season. The new black and metallic colors of Sharpie will
adorn the car for 18 of the season's 36 races, beginning in
the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 15. The blue and
yellow IRWIN Industrial Tools car will compete in 18 events,
beginning at North Carolina Speedway on February 22. IRWIN
will also sponsor the car in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge
event in May. "We've got two bold new looks and a brand new
attitude for '04," says Busch, who has won eight races over
the last two seasons. "We're focused on the job at hand and
hope to take two great sponsors - Sharpie and IRWIN - to our
Goody's renews with NASCAR
Headache power brand Goody’s has renewed its sponsorship deal
with NASCAR. The firm will continue to be the ‘official pain
reliever’ of the sport – a deal it has had in place for the
past 27 years, making it the longest serving non-automotive
sponsor of NASCAR. Said Darren Singer, vice president of
marketing for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, maker of
Goody's: "The action-packed sport with its emphasis on close
competition and fast cars is a perfect fit for Goody's, a
brand that is all about speed.”
Despite troubles, CART remained
more popular than IRL This LA Times
article says, The contentious relationship between
Indy-style racing's sanctioning bodies will continue with
apparently little chance for a unified series anytime soon.
A United States bankruptcy judge in Indianapolis on
Wednesday awarded assets of Championship Auto Racing Teams
to an upstart group of owners trying to keep the series
alive......The decision was a setback to Tony George,
president of the Indy Racing League Indycar Series, whose
bid on some of CART's assets might have finally killed off
the series and given the U.S. only one major Indy-style form
of racing..........Had Otte sided with the IRL, the CART
series would have been dead and the IRL would have won the
open wheel war that began in 1996 when George formed his
Instead, CART has new life under the leadership of
Gentilozzi, who told The Times on Wednesday that he expects
to announce a television package within about seven days,
announce a new team with an American driver — probably Carl
Russo's team with driver A.J. Allmendinger — within two
weeks, and also announce at least two new international
races. A likely candidate for one of those races is Korea.
"That really is our angle of attack as we move forward,"
Gentilozzi said. "We're going to be a good multinational
series." He added that there definitely would be 18 cars on
the grid, a 16-race schedule, and that there will be
championships within the championship, such as crowning
series champions for the respective Mexican, Canadian and
Gentilozzi added, "I have zero interest in going to
Fontana," which has been the site of CART's season
finale............George's insistence in 1996 on reserving
25 spots for IRL drivers in the 33-car field of the
Indianapolis 500 created a wide rift with CART. Most
established teams remained in CART, where the champion is
crowned after competing in road, street and oval courses.
Two years ago, team owner Roger Penske left CART for the
IRL, and last year Chip Ganassi and Michael Andretti
followed. In the race for corporate sponsorship, the IRL had
taken a hefty lead.
But CART, created in 1979, remained more popular at the
turnstiles — except for the Indy 500 — and enjoyed
successful followings in Canada, Mexico and Australia. It
became a publicly traded firm in 1998. [Editor's Note:
CART also remained more popular on Network TV, with it's CBS
ratings last year better than the IRL's on ABC]
OWRS win good news for Denver
GP This Denver Post
article says, An Indianapolis bankruptcy judge's
ruling Wednesday gave Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) its
first checkered flag, a ruling that likely will ensure the
Grand Prix of Denver will be run in August. Judge Frank J.
Otte accepted OWRS' bid of about $3 million to continue the
Champ Car World Series. The Indy Racing League had a $3.3
million proposal, which would have picked from CART's most
attractive assets and returned elite-level North American
open-wheel racing to a single series.
"We will immediately ask the City and County of Denver to
approve OWRS as our new sanctioning body and to approve our
new race date (Aug. 13-15)," Grand Prix of Denver general
manager John Frew said in a statement. "Once done, we will
initiate ticket sales and get on with the business of
staging a great race weekend." If the IRL had won, the Grand
Prix of Denver would have died because the IRL said it would
not consider racing twice in Colorado. The IRL, which only
bid on one CART race contract (Long Beach, Calif.), has
competed at Pikes Peak International Raceway since 1997.
After a two-year run (1990-91), the Denver Grand Prix, which
was a CART event run on streets near the state capitol,
ended because of promoter bankruptcy. The newer CART race
has seemingly escaped bankruptcy from its sanctioning body
and is tentatively scheduled to take place for the third
consecutive year around the Pepsi Center.
OWRS partner Paul Gentilozzi said his group, made up of
three CART car owners, will begin racing in Long Beach in
April and will honor all existing contracts.
OWRS is expected to appoint a CEO and rename its
organization, but keep the "Champ Car World Series," a name
that was developed before the 2003 season. "We are all
acutely aware of the responsibility we now bear for the
Champ Car community and we, along with everyone else in the
series, will strive to exceed our expectations every day,"
OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven said.
IRL won't get chance to pull
plug on CART This Indy Star
article says, Tony George's bid to put his main
competitor out of business failed Wednesday when a U.S.
Bankruptcy Court judge approved the sale of bankrupt
Championship Auto Racing Teams to a group intent on keeping
the series alive.
George began the day hoping to make his Indy Racing League
the only game in town. He ended it a gracious loser after
his $13.5 million bid was rejected by Judge Frank J. Otte at
the end of a daylong hearing in a packed courtroom at the
Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. Moments
after Otte rendered his verdict to cheers from many in the
audience of about 90, George approached Paul Gentilozzi, one
of three partners in the Open Wheel Racing Series group
whose $3.2 million cash bid was accepted, and offered his
"I wish them well," George said while surrounded by media on
the front steps of the courthouse. "They're going to have a
big job. . . . It wasn't our day. Today, it was their day."
Gentilozzi was confident throughout the process that his
group would prevail. "It was a tough deal. We knew all along
what we believed," Gentilozzi said. "It keeps this alive,
and it shows the series has significant value."
Reaction from IRL paddock on
OWRS win This Indy Star
article gives the reaction from the IRL paddock
where the series is holding a preseason test down in
Homestead, Florida. As you can imagine, most were not happy
because they expected Tony George to prevail and then
cherry-pick CART's best races. We predicted that would not
happen. Roger Penske said it best, "just get on with it."
Reader feedback on OWRS win
over IRL We
received so many emails from readers, mostly CART fans,
expressing their happiness that Open Wheel Racing Series,
LLC won the bid yesterday to take over the Champ Car World
Series. Comments ranged from "good won over evil," "the Good
Guys won today," "thanks for all the great coverage today,"
"when I opened AutoRacing1.com and saw the news it was the
happiest day of my life." A few emails did say they were
sorry to not see a unified series but realized it was
impossible to achieve given the two distinct visions of what
open wheel racing should be. One in particular stood
out - Many thanks for your great coverage of yesterday's
courtroom showdown - one very relieved CART fan here... What
makes me laugh is how Tony George and his fellow clowns
spoke at great length about unification, lost the bid and
then told any journalist within earshot that "any
chance of unification was killed off last night". George
himself is today quoted in numerous press releases saying
that he "felt we had an opportunity to unite open wheel
racing but I'm not interested in any kind of merger now that
they've got those assets." Surely journalists at the
Indianapolis Star, among others, must realize that his
intention was never for unification, especially after a
quote like that. I would have thought that the details of
the IRL's bid would make it clear that closing Champ Cars
down was the IRL's only interest. If Tony was so intent on
unification, what's now stopping him from knocking on OWRS's
door for a chat... Anyone who's followed the sorry IRL saga
can see that Tony has always wanted to be the only game in
town. What the IRL and their allies still fail to realize is
that most Champ Car fans don't want unification, merely for
Champ Cars to be left in peace and without interference from
Tony. I love Champ Cars because I get to watch talented
drivers battle each other on some great circuits. I don't
get turned on by oval racing. I cringe when I hear a rookie
driver - who's visiting Indy for the first time - say that
the speedway is "easy flat" and that he had no trouble
getting a good time. Motorsport is not supposed to be like
that - it's supposed to be challenging and, while it's
always going to be dangerous, it's not supposed to be a
meat-wringer where drivers are continually ending up in the
emergency room. I salute the members of OWRS and thank them
for saving the world's greatest open-wheel series. I hope
that they have a fantastic '04 season. I don't watch the
IRL's races so I don't really care what sort of season they
have - I only hope that most of their drivers manage to
avoid a visit to the hospital...Many thanks, Andrew Crean
NEXTEL, which is sponsoring pre-race revelry leading up to the
prestigious Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, unveiled the logo for
its world-class, first-of-its-kind pre-race show at Daytona
International Speedway. The NEXTEL-sponsored pre-race
extravaganza, the culmination of events leading up to
NASCAR's most prestigious race, will be entitled the Nextel
Tribute to America and will feature nearly 4,000 cast
members on the Speedway's historic five acre tri-oval grass.
The show's finale will feature Grammy Award Winning
Musician, Lee Greenwood singing his marquee track, "God
Bless the USA". The NEXTEL Tribute to America logo is
decorated with stars and stripes as well as the 2004 Daytona
500 logo and the logo for NBC Sports, which is televising
both the pre-race show and the 46th annual Daytona 500.
Additional performers and dynamic special effects will give
the show a Super Bowl halftime-type atmosphere with an
NBC-produced video montage of Great American Icons
throughout history. The show, produced by Q&A Entertainment
will arguably include a larger cast than any show of its
kind at any sporting event. The pre-race spectacle will be
followed by Hollywood actor, director and writer Ben Affleck
giving the most famous command in motorsports, "Gentlemen
start your engines."
projects underway at Bristol
A variety of ongoing construction projects geared toward
enhancing fans' Bristol experience, continues to keep
workers busy as the venue's 2004 season rapidly approaches.
Projects include a new building complete with ticket office,
gift shop, Fan Zone and banquet facilities. Also, a new
infield video and scoring tower and a fan care center with
handicap-accessible restrooms make the project list. In
addition to office space, the 36,000 sq. ft. building will
see the entire first floor constructed with fans chief in
mind. Covering 17,336 sq. ft., the first floor will feature
a lobby area, guest services center, new ticket office and
souvenir shop with four times the square footage as the
current store. Also, the interactive Fan Zone will provide
visitors the opportunity to learn more about Bristol Motor
Speedway, the Dragway and the history of motorsports as it
relates to Bristol. The Fan Zone, open year-round, will
feature touch screen video and audio kiosks, a motorsports
art gallery, show cars, driving simulators and much more.
The third floor will consist of an indoor (7,251 sq. ft.)
banquet and meeting room as well as an outdoor terrace
(2,272 sq. ft.) for community activities. Officials expect a
July completion on the building. Ready for the upcoming
March race weekend, a new 120-ft. tall video and scoring
tower will grace the Speedway infield. Topped with four 20'
x 27' jumbo screens, fans will see every dramatic replay
from on-track action as well as pre-race activities and
victory lane celebrations. The tower,
a four-sided state-of-the-art LED lighting system, also will
track the top-twelve running positions, with two additional
spots that will scroll through the remainder of the race's
running order. "Construction simply has become a way of life
during the off-season here at Bristol," said BMS Operations
Vice President Scott Hatcher. "We continue to strive to
improve our facility for our fans and 2004 will be witness
to several such projects." Located just outside the
Kulwicki Grandstand and near the souvenir vending area, fans
will find new Fan Care Center with handicap-accessible
restrooms. "We've needed such a structure in this
high-traffic area for some time," said Hatcher. "Plenty of
fans have voiced their desire for permanent restrooms near
the souvenir vendors and with this project, we've been able
to provide this convenience for them." Other construction
projects in the works include a new ticket booth at Gate 8,
re-routing power lines in the display area, a new bridge in
Hospitality Village and new gate signage, some of which will
be in place for the March race weekend. Fans also can look
for a new Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway marquee sign at
the venue's main entrance later this year. Additionally,
construction will reach beyond the fans with the addition of
a new infield hospital in 2004. Later this year Bristol
Dragway will see new grandstands constructed for the Thunder
Valley Club in addition to the new concrete pad on the
dragway's starting line, which now is in place. "A
tremendous amount of money has been re-invested into Bristol
Motor Speedway and Dragway since Speedway Motorsports, Inc.,
purchased the facilities," said BMS President Jeff Byrd. "We
will continue to take the necessary steps to better our
facility and increase the quality of our fans' experience.
"Our fans have been so supportive of our efforts over the
years and they deserve the finest facilities at both the
Speedway and the Dragway," said Byrd. "Many of our
construction projects are a result of our fans telling us
specifically what they want and we encourage our fans to
continue helping us help them."
Network TV to again lose money
article states that Network TV will lose $110M on
NASCAR this year, along with reams of more money on stick
and ball sports. Before long, even NASCAR could be
doing time buys on TV a la CART...or as a minimum, see a big
reduction in TV money it receives when its contract is up
$10 million for primary Cup car sponsor
Sports Business Journal reports that Home Depot and Interstate
Batteries each pay $10 million annually for sponsorship of Joe Gibbs
NASCAR team cars. It also revealed Gibbs’s racing organization is
owned 49 percent each by his sons, 34-year-old J.D. and 31 year-old
Coy, with Joe and his wife Pat each owning one percent.
Why it's a new game now
Many have questioned how OWRS can make the Champ Car Series successful
when others before them failed and when there remains the split
between IRL and Champ Cars. Before CART was ruled by committee,
a Franchise Board and an Executive Board (Delaware Board). It
was hard to reach agreement on anything. However, with just
Forsythe, Kalkhoven and Gentilozzi calling the shots, already we are
seeing swift and decisive action. Long Beach objected to the
OWRS bid, it was fixed in two days. Laguna Seca and Road America
were in limbo, they settled tonight in little more than an hour and
both will have a race, just like that. Emerson Fittipaldi needed
a shop and cars, Kalkhoven bought him the entire Pat Patrick
operation! The IRL defeated CART in all prior battles, stealing teams,
sponsors, drivers and races. They almost plucked the CART paddock dry.
Today they suffered their first real defeat at the hands of some very
wealthy, intelligent and shrewd businessmen. It's a new game now. Mark C.
Tony George admits future will be a
struggle This SPEEDTV article
says, In the end it wasn't about cash money, long-term business plans,
the ability to produce 18 cars or what was good for the future of open
wheel racing in the United States. It simply came down to choosing
life instead of death.
Despite a bid of $13.5 million from Indy Racing League founder Tony
George to buy out his rival, Judge Frank Otte decided that Open Wheel
Racing Series (OWRS) could give the creditors of Championship Auto
Racing Teams a better deal. And the drivers, mechanics and
employees of CART were, in turn, spared from going on the unemployment
"I realize there are no guarantees here and I also recognize there are
second chances and that's what we're about," said Judge Frank Otte
after ruling that Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) had won the bid over
the Indy Racing League to buy the assets of Championship Auto Racing
Teams and continue the series in 2004. "It's the survival of an entity
vs. the end of it, that's the issue.
"Based on the information I've heard and, knowing full well we have
another side in this matter, I feel like the best business judgment is
to approve the sale and asset transfer to OWRS.
"These men feel like they can breathe new life into this series and
they can compete with the IRL. The IRL doesn't believe they can do
that. Hopefully, they can have a new grade of life." George,
whose all-oval track series begins its ninth season next month at
Homestead, Fla., was after CART's top American venue, the Long Beach
Grand Prix, and its other physical assets -- including its Cosworth
"Obviously, we're disappointed," said the president of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We were prepared to make a winning bid
and we knew it would take a lot of money so we brought our checkbook.
"But in the end we didn't have the right currency. Today was about
creditors and the money owed by CART."
George contended it was a missed opportunity.
"I felt we had an opportunity to unite open wheel racing," he said.
"But I'm not interested in any kind of merger now that they've got
those assets. I'm not interested in giving up the equity we've got in
"With the economy it's going to be tough to have two series in open
wheel racing and by us not being successful today our work will
continue to be a challenge but we're up to it. And we still intend to
go road racing in the future." [Editor's Note: Why
go road racing Tony? Stick to the ovals and let OWRS stick to
the road courses. Stay out of each other's hair and coexist
Road America and CART reach agreement
Road America and the Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) reached an
agreement this evening to hold the 23rd consecutive Champ Car race at
the historic race track the weekend of Aug. 5-8, 2004 during the Grand
Prix of Road America., according to George Bruggenthies, president and
general manager. "We've reached an agreement for the 2004 Champ Car
race," said George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. "We're
delighted that fans can start making summer racing plans that include
both Road America and Champ Cars in August." Terms of the one-year
contract were not disclosed. Other series slated to compete during the
Grand Prix weekend include Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BF Goodrich
Cup, Toyota Atlantic, a Barber Dodge Pro Series Doubleheader and
Formula BMW. Road America had objected to CART selling its contract in
violation of the stipulation that said neither party could sell or
transfer the document. "Our position has never been against hosting a
Champ Car race," said Bruggenthies. "Our concern was the uncertainty
about the event because of CART's bankruptcy. "We're very happy to be
a part of Champ Car's 2004 schedule and look forward to seeing the
teams and drivers at Road America in August." OWRS acquired the assets
of the bankrupt series during proceedings held in the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division earlier
today. Season Tickets for the race track are $250, and include 30 race
days of the public weekends at Road America. The Grand Prix of Road
America tickets are $115 in advance for the four-day weekend, or the
daily rate after July 28, 2004. For more information or to order
tickets online, visit
www.roadamerica.com or call 1.800.365.7223 between 8:30 a.m. and
4:30 p.m. central time zone.
Elise to debut at Sebring
One of the most revered and successful automotive marques in racing
history, Lotus, will debut on the American Le Mans Series in 2004 as
Team Elite fields a Lotus Elise in a full season of competition in the
professional sports car racing series. The full-bodied,
green-and-yellow Lotus Elise will compete in the LMP 1 class of the
American Le Mans Series beginning with the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve
Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway Mar. 17-20.
Three Canada Champ Car races saved
Canada's three Molson Indys appear to be saved. A bankruptcy judge
rejected a bid by the Indy Racing League on Wednesday in favour of an
offer by CART team owners to bring the open-wheel series out of
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Had the judge ruled in favor of IRL,
races in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal could have been cancelled
since the IRL was expected to keep only some of the CART races, with
no guarantee the Canadian events would be among them.
The Toronto Molson Indy drew a total of 167,352 spectators to its
three days of racing last summer, while 162,000 attended the Vancouver
event and 148,000 turned out in Montreal, putting them among the
series' best-attended races.
Judge Frank Otte acknowledged that IRL's revised bid of $13.5 million
was greater than the $3.2 million offer from the CART team owners'
Open Wheel Racing Series LLC. However, the judge said
IRL's offer, could have resulted in costly litigation from the
sponsors of those races.
Open Wheel has agreed to accept contractual responsibilities for the
CART racing season and run a full slate of races, thus avoiding legal
claims race sponsors would have likely filed over any cancelled races.
Open Wheel had estimated that race sponsors could have filed legal
claim ranging from $10 million to $30 million if the races were
"We do know for certain there would be litigation and there would be
damages," Otte said. The judge warned that such litigation could
have caused delays and further hurt the financial situation for
Open Wheel Racing Series LLC said Wednesday morning during the hearing
that they would up their cash offer for all of CART's assets to $3.2
million, plus assuming some liabilities, including 2003 prize money
owed to teams, and ongoing contracts. In response, in the
afternoon the IRL in turn increased its cash offer from $3.2 in cash
to $13.5 million.
Gentilozzi says Laguna Seca and Road
America deals settled
Paul Gentilozzi stated on Wind Tunnel tonight that after the court
hearing today OWRS reached agreement with both Laguna Seca and Road
America. Champ Cars will be at both tracks in 2004. He
also hinted Champ Cars will be a bit more international.
Gentilozzi on Wind Tunnel tonight
Paul Gentilozzi will be on Wind Tunnel tonight at 9:00 PM EST with
Dave Despain to talk about the OWRS victory today over the IRL to take
over the Champ Car Series
Report from Indy Courtroom on
CART bid6th UPDATE In
a major defeat of Tony George and the IRL, Judge Otte ruled
in favor of Open Wheel Racing Series in Indianapolis court
today after a long drawn out battle that in the end wasn't
even close as OWRS clearly had the superior bid. The
only outstanding issues are the status of the Laguna Seca
and Elkhart Lake races and that may be finalized tonight.
The objections the IRL put up were that OWRS does not have a
TV contract, not enough cars, etc. The Judge, having
access to the OWRS business plan and letters of interest
shot them right down. More......
1/28/04 - Things are swinging the way of OWRS. The IRL bid was for $13.5
million for select races and it has not gone any higher. The feeling
is the IRL side is sensing defeat. The judge called The
Milwaukee Mile, and Queensland, Australia promoters to the stand and
they have testified to the damages to their race if the IRL wins the
bid. The Milwaukee Mile promoter said not much, the Australia
promoter threw out big numbers. They are on a 15-minute break.
Joe Heitzler is up next to talk about damages to Mexico City if the
IRL prevails. 1/28/04 - Although not public, scuttlebutt is that the IRL have put in
a bid of $13.5 million which includes the offer to run
Monterrey (Mexico), Mexico City (Mexico), Toronto (Canada)
and Long Beach for the next three years! What
about the rest of the races Tony? As Gentilozzi said,
the real bidding won't start until $14 million. 1/28/04
- When the court reconvened at 1:30 p.m., the IRL submitted
a new bid. The amount was not made public. The judge ordered
another break so CART's creditors could study the bid.
First win for OWRS - IRL has withdrawn its bid for the
Cosworth engines, which would have crippled the series.
So you know, Cosworth had the right to buy back the engines
for $10 each so their technology did not fall into anyone
else's hands. They would have exercised that clause if
the IRL did win the bid for the engines. Tony George
would have taken a financial bath on that one. Under
its revised plan as of this morning, the OWRS plan boasts a
best-case scenario of 100 percent payback for CART's
creditors (and a worst case of 62 percent), while the IRL's
best-case scenario was 4.7 percent (worst case 4.3 percent).
1/28/04 - The court broke for lunch after further
testimony by the unsecured creditors committee. The
committee did a thorough job of analyzing the bids and right
now the OWRS is coming up significantly superior.
However, the auction begins after lunch. Tony George
is going to have to increase his bid significantly to win.
We shall see how bad he wants it. 1/28/04 - The court has taken its first recess.
the 200 gathered, we spotted Tony George and his legion.
On the OWRS/CART side - Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven, Chris Pook, David Clare,
John Lopes, Emerson Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne, Joe Heitzler,
Adrian Fernandez, suppliers, promoters, etc. The
unsecured creditors committee gave their report. Some
big news - the parent company of CART gave a loan of $63
million to the operating company that is being bankrupted.
The parent company is willing to forfeit that loan if OWRS
gets the bid, but not if the IRL gets the bid. Joe
Heitzler, representing Grand (Mexico races) filed a
complaint stating they are going to come after the IRL for
large sums of money if they win the bid. Other claims if the
IRL wins the bid are estimated at $150 million from the
promoters and another $10 to $30 million for other broken
contracts. OWRS has put up a $500,000 indemnity to offset
the 88 Corp Fontana claim. Laguna Seca and Road
America objected to the OWRS bid. OWRS offered to up their
bid to make all creditors whole, but the judge said not yet.
Bidding will begin after the recess. The judge told
both parties, after all of the discussions with the
creditors committee; "I have two rooms, one for each of you.
Come back when one of you are ready to buy this company."
The judge wants this case resolved today. More to
Montoya and Schumacher break lap recordUPDATE Juan Montoya has
gone even faster, beating Schumacher's time from this
morning. 1/28/04 - Michael
Schumacher broke the Valencia lap record in testing on
Wednesday morning. The world champion plus Williams
duo Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher all bettered
David Coulthard’s mark in perfect conditions at the Spanish
circuit. Schumacher’s time of 1m09.429s was
around two-tenths faster than Coulthard’s previous record,
set last week in a McLaren MP4-19. The German was
driving last year’s F2003-GA, although the car was carrying
a number of components from the team’s new F2004.
Pos Driver Car-Engine Time Laps
1 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) 1m09.316s 58
2 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m09.433s 83
3 Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) 1m09.681s 83
4 Antonio Pizzonia (Williams-BMW) 1m10.153s 86
5 Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m10.349s 89
6 Jenson Button (BAR-Honda) 1m10.362s 82
7 Olivier Panis (Toyota) 1m10.456s 88
8 Jarno Trulli (Renault) 1m10.479s 84
9 Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas) 1m10.638s 51
10 Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda) 1m11.092s 100
11 Franck Montagny (Renault) 1m11.282s 111
12 Mark Webber (Jaguar) 1m11.389s 51
13 Bjorn Wirdheim (Jaguar) 1m11.802s 102
14 Gianmaria Bruni (Minardi) 1m12.468s 21
15 Zsolt Baumgartner (Minardi) 1m22.232s 5
Don't look for NASCAR in
Europe, but maybe Canada
According to this Winston-Salem Journal
article, Brian France has been looking at Europe as
a possible market for NASCAR, not Nextel Cup races but
perhaps a NASCAR-branded series, to help pump up TV ratings
Roger Penske is an international businessman. What does
Penske see for NASCAR in Europe? "I think we'd be
making a big mistake if we said we're now going to move into
a global business," Penske says. "We're at the end of our
line, as far as numbers of races. If they wanted to take
some races away, and go overseas ... but that would escalate
"And most of the sponsors we have in the sport right now
want to be North American-bound. You can talk about Canada
and Mexico, but when you start talking about Europe I'm not
sure you could get the fan base fast enough. And we're on
such a roll here."
A NASCAR-branded series in Europe? "But that would take a
business venture with someone starting it from scratch, and
there is hardly enough time in the week as it is, to do what
we have to do," Penske says.
So what about Vancouver or Montreal, to attract Canadian
businesses as sponsors? "Vancouver and Montreal have
been very successful open-wheel tracks," Penske says. "If
there is more road racing in NASCAR, they could be venues
that could be terrific. But Vancouver would be tough
because you're in the streets, and the Olympics is coming
up. However, Montreal is a purpose-built track that would be
great. We'd like to see a few more road-course races.
Our guys would like to see more. But TV is not as exciting
on a road course as on an oval."
Of course, Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon would beg to
differ. And the prospect of attracting Canadian
business shouldn't be overlooked, Penske says. "That would
draw sponsors, like Molson, (which) has really backed
sports," Penske says.
SPEED Coverage of Rolex 24
SPEED Channel's coverage of the 42nd Rolex 24 at Daytona
begins Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. ET. After eight hours of live
coverage on Saturday, SPEED will return to the track at 6
a.m. ET on Sunday for another seven and a half hours from
the classic American endurance race.
"The Rolex 24 is a great way to open the sports car season,"
said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. "The growing
car count, especially in the Daytona Prototype category, is
an indicator of the health of the series and we expect to
see some exceptional racing."
Veteran motor sports broadcaster Bob Varsha will host SPEED
Channel's coverage, with Leigh Diffey offering play-by-play.
Dorsey Schroeder and David Hobbs will contribute color
commentary, with Calvin Fish, Brian Till and Chris Neville
working the pits.
"One of the attractions for me has always been the driver
lineup for the Rolex 24," Varsha said. "I mean, where else
are you going to see NASCAR drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr.,
Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart drive heads up against great
open-wheel drivers like Scott Sharp and Max Papis, road
racing specialists like Boris Said or sports car legends
like Hurley Haywood.
"And the challenge is that they not only race each other,
but they must work as a team," Varsha added. "Some of these
guys aren't used to sharing their car with other drivers."
Tracy is no Tony George fan
This Toronto Sun
article says, If Indy Racing League boss Tony George wins the
auction today for the bankrupt CART series and holds a race in
Toronto, don't count homegrown star Paul Tracy as a participant.
Tracy has a contract with Forsythe Racing to drive in CART for 2004.
The deal includes a clause, however, allowing the team to pick up an
option on the Scarborough native if the team chooses to enter another
series. "He has a contract to drive in CART or whatever series
succeeds it," Dave Stevenson, Tracy's California-based agent, told the
Toronto Sun yesterday.
But that doesn't mean the defending CART champion is likely to move to
the IRL -- even if it races in Toronto. "In the event there is
no CART series, Paul's contract stipulates he can accept or reject any
deal (Forsythe) might put together in another series," Stevenson said.
"The idea of racing in the IRL is not something Paul intends to do. He
still has pretty hard feelings about what happened to him in 2002."
Stevenson was referring to George's call to take away Tracy's Indy 500
win over Helio Castroneves, claiming the Canadian passed for the lead
under a yellow flag on the final lap of the race. "But you can
never say never," Stevenson said. Tracy is scheduled to earn $5
million this season whether he races or not and Stevenson said he
still has an open invitation to test for a ride with Richard Childress
Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series.
Philosophies to clash in courtroom
[Editor's Note: Philosophies? This case is all about the
survival of open wheel road racing in the USA against the Oval Track
Cartel who want it dead] This Indy Star
article says, Since 1996, the Indy Racing League and
Championship Auto Racing Teams series have gone head-to-head in the
court of public opinion. Today, the scene shifts to a court of law,
with potential long-term ramifications for U.S. open-wheel racing.
The immediate futures of both series are in the hands of U.S.
Bankruptcy Court Judge Frank J. Otte, who is scheduled to begin
hearing arguments at 9:30 a.m. at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and
A number of issues are before the court, including objections filed by
ancillary parties. But eventually, Otte will preside over an auction
of CART's assets between two bidders: a group of current CART team
owners intent on keeping the series alive, and IRL president Tony
George, who is intent on shutting it down.
Both sides have said they will do whatever is necessary to win.
Unclear is exactly what it will take. Legal experts say Otte is
obligated to do what is best for the creditors, employees and
shareholders, in that order, but he has a great deal of discretion in
determining that. CART and its creditor committee can only make
recommendations on the bids.
"(Otte) has got to do what's best for the organization," said Nick
Preda, a Chicago-based consultant for BBK Ltd., a management
consulting firm that specializes in bankruptcy cases.
"It's conceivable that if the IRL's bid is the highest in cash but the
(owners' group successfully) argues their offer is in the best
interest of the company, they could get it."
NASCAR looks like IROC to me
talks about NASCAR's move toward standardizing everything, essentially
making their cars IROC cars with different paint schemes. If you
think about it, this concept isn't too different than our suggestion
CART bring in many manufacturers to the series by running a spec V10
with different engines badges. NASCAR is successful in
everything they do, so.........
1/28/04 Industry News
Goodyear seeks loan to meet demands
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will add a $300 million term loan to its
$1.3 billion credit line as it looks to meet a provision in its union
contract and continue its turnaround plan. The Akron company's
labor agreement with the United Steelworkers of America, reached last
September, calls for Goodyear to raise $250 million in debt and $75
million in new securities by the end of December 2003. But that
deadline was not met, and the union reserves its right to strike.
Minardi 2-seater deal shelved for now Paul
Stoddart's plans for a Pro-Celebrity Grand Prix series featuring all
the current teams have collapsed, but he may still resurrect the idea
with a smaller field reports Autosport Magazine. Only four rival
outfits agreed to join up, forcing Stoddart to change his plans.
He said: "It's sad that such a strong idea didn't receive the respect,
or support, it deserves. We put considerable thought, time and effort
into the proposal and feel that it fulfils the desired criteria of
increasing the amount of on-track action during weekends, particularly
on Sunday mornings, while giving something back to F1 fans."
RuSPORT prepared to switch to IRL
RuSPORT and driver AJ Allmendinger are ready to switch to the IRL
IndyCar Series for 2004 if the Open Wheel Racing Series bid for CART's
assets fails according to Autosport Magazine.
Allmendinger, who won the Toyota Atlantic title last year with RuSPORT
in his and the team's rookie season, said: "My heart is with
open-wheel road racing, especially Champ Car, but whatever the plan
that RuSPORT wants, that's where I'll go. We'll be at Long Beach [for
round one] if there's a Champ Car series, but if not, and if that
means moving over to IRL, then that's what we do." RuSPORT
president Jeremy Dale said: "We've got a Champ Car [which Allmendinger
has tested], but things are quite unstable. We're aware of the options
and what we'd need to do in that event [of the OWRS bid failing]."
Oval Track Cartel run IROC shuns Paul
The IROC Series is another version of NASCAR with different bodies.
It is controlled by the Oval Track Cartel. There have been zero
CART drivers in the series for 2 years and again in 2004, not even an
invite to series champion Paul Tracy. Yet, Scott Sharp, who
isn't fit to tie Tracy's bootstraps, gets invited. We hear Paul
is livid over the situation. We here at AutoRacing1.com have
said for a long time that the Road Racing Cartel must start their own
IROC series and invite drivers from around the world and make it a
true "international" race of champions instead of the farce that IROC
has become. They need to change the name to AROC - American Race
of Oval Champions
Reader Feedback on CART/IRL
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Its really been great that all
of you at Autoracing1 have let so many people know what's really going
on in the racing world. Before I had to rely on ESPN the local
paper and a lot of people who really don't know what's going on. What
a lot of people haven't figured out yet is that when and if the idiot
grandson ever does stage a road race that the attendance will probably
be about the same as a Grand-Am race. Pathetic. Speaking of pathetic,
next month Homestead speedway is gonna be showcasing a weekend that
could be called Dumbed down racing weekend with the IRL and the
Grand-Am sharing the weekend. I see lots and lots of empty
grandstands to that farce. Keep up the great work guys! Patty
Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It seems most open wheel racing
fans favor CART or the IRL depending on how much emphasis they feel
should be placed on oval tracks. Some people want 100% ovals, others
70%, or 50%, or 30%, or fewer. I personally prefer less than 50%
CART did not fail because of the type of tracks on which it raced. It
failed because it went public and because it was poorly managed before
and after it went public. If the IRL was public, I think it would also
be failing. Open wheel racing needs to unite so that it can be more
successful; but, I do not think that it should unite under Tony
George. I do not think he deserves to control it.
I feel that OWRS can successful manage the former CART series. At the
point when OWRS is as successful or more successful than the IRL, the
two series may be able to unite. In fact, I believe that some of the
IRL teams and drivers may actually want to move to OWRS if it is
If OWRS drops super speedways or ovals completely and moves to a car
that is more like an F2 car, a united series may be more difficult
since a common formula will not be possible. However, if the IRL
remains all oval and OWRS drops all ovals, there is no reason that
they cannot merge into one organization in order to promote open wheel
racing. The top OWRS drivers could even race in the Indy 500 and the
top IRL drivers could race in a few non-oval races in the non-oval
league. This type of unification could maybe even evolve into a single
league with a mixture of tracks rather than two leagues.
If the IRL begin to add non-oval races and OWRS continue to race on a
small number of ovals, the two series will be competing for much of
the same fan base, tracks, advertisers, etc. The only difference will
be the percent of oval tracks they have. This will likely increase the
need for a unified series since the IRL and OWRS will both suffer
without unification and both benefit from unification. Fortunately, in
this case, the two series would find it easier to agree on a common
chassis and engine formula. At this point, the IRL and the OWRS owners
would share control of a single series which I think would be better
for open wheel racing. Mike Luczak
Toronto braces for hard hit if IRL wins
[Editor's Note: Yet another example of the destruction and
despair Tony George will leave in his wake should he prevail in court
today. Ditto for many other cities. The Champ Car series
must continue.] This Toronto Star
article says that The city's economy faces a $40 million hit
and the jobs of up to 5,000 people are at risk if the Indy Racing
League succeeds in buying the assets of the bankrupt CART series and
cancels the Molson Indy. Also at risk is hundreds of thousands of
dollars in donations to children's charities raised each year through
IndyFest events in Toronto and Vancouver. At a time when Toronto is
trying to revive its flagging tourism industry, the prospect of losing
a sure bet like the three-day Indy, which attracted more than 167,000
people last year, is grim. "If we lose the Molson Indy it will create
a big hole in our events calendar," Brian Ashton, chair of the city's
economic development committee, said yesterday.
Gidley lands a ride
The United States Air Force Reserve announced its 2004 racing program,
moving to the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car
Championship with open wheel racing star Memo Gidley piloting its
Techsport Racing Technology-prepared Ford Focus. It also announced,
with SCCA Pro Racing, the 2004 Air Force Reserve Pole Position Award
for SPEED Touring Car.
“We are very excited about joining the SPEED World Challenge Touring
Car Series for 2004 both as a participant and a series sponsor,” said
Lt. Col. Jerry Herbel, chief, Advertising and Information Systems for
Air Force Reserve Command. “The venues and television package are
fantastic. Demographically, racing fans are just the kind of people we
are trying to attract and we think this is an excellent opportunity to
educate the public on the opportunities available to them in the Air
Gidley, a motocross and karting champion, went from witnessing his
first automobile race to racing in the ChampCar World Series in just
seven years, scoring major success in the Russell Championship Series,
Formula Ford 2000 National Championship and Toyota Atlantic along the
way. Gidley finished second and third in the Atlantic Championship and
ran in 36 CART races between 1999-2001, with an average finish of
seventh, with no testing program. He finished fourth driving Paul
Gentilozzi’s RocketSports Jag in Trans-Am at Sears Point Raceway last
"I am really excited to get back out there and race with a team that
is totally dedicated to winning,” said Gidley, who is best known for
his run with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2001 ChampCar season
where he recorded three podium and four top five finishes. “Watching
SPEED World Challenge on television, it is clear that there are a lot
of competitive cars out there and it’s good, hard racing."
In addition to the team’s entry, the Air Force Reserve will sponsor
the 2004 Pole Position Award for SPEED Touring Car. Each pole position
winner will receive a $1,000 bonus, with the driver recording the most
pole positions winning an additional $5,000 a year’s end.
“We’re thrilled to have Air Force Reserve involved in our 2004 SPEED
Touring Car program, bringing not only a great team with a
high-profile driver, but the added incentive for all of our teams with
the Air Force Reserve Pole Position Award,” said Mitch Wright, SCCA
Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager.
Live updates from Indy on Wednesday
As we can, AutoRacing1.com will provide periodic updates from the Indy
courtroom on Wednesday where OWRS will be bidding to save the Champ
Car Series from being killed by Anton Hulman George who will be
bidding to kill the Champ Car series once and for all.
Readers do NOT want an IRL win
Two readers write, Dear AutoRacng1.com, A statement on the fall of
open wheel racing in the U.S. Except for the fact that I read
Autoracing1 every day, I'd never know that there was a huge court
hearing tomorrow regarding the state of open wheel racing in the U.S.
I've not seen anything on ESPN TV, nor much mention on their website.
I guess NASCAR really has grabbed all the spotlight. I've seen more
coverage of a new points system than of the future of road racing as
we know it!!! As a devoted CART fan, I will NEVER watch the IRL,
whether they win or not. Tony George may unify the open wheel racers
into one series, but he will never UNIFY true open wheel fans. Long
live CART, the 3 Horsemen, and REAL RACING!!!! Sam Chamberlin,
Bravo! As a struggling, self-sponsored professional race car
driver moving through the ranks of karting, sports car and
formula racing for the past twenty some years I applaud you on your OWRS
vs. IRL article. You have put down in writing what every true "road racing"
enthusiast and aspiring drivers have been talking about for the past
eight years. If I had the means I would buy a full page ad in USA
Today showcasing your article. We are past due for a knock down, drag
out question and answer session. The first question should be, WHY? As
you pointed out, it can't be for the money. The IRL's bottom line will
dispel that myth. Prestige? Filling 15,000 seats at an event that holds
80,000 spectators does not seem very prestigious. Could it be ego? That
is the only plausible answer I can come up with for the split in the
first place. I am continually shocked and dumbfounded by the defectors
moving to the IRL. These team owners are incredibly intelligent, savvy
businessmen. But them moving to the IRL is like investing your life
savings into penny stocks because your neighbor Tony says it's a good
idea. Roger Penske's move to the IRL was a knife in the back for all
road racers. I am sure he was pushed by his main sponsor to do so.
They wanted to keep their advertising money in the states and the
exposure of the Indy 500 was a major enticement. What is the point for
spending your sponsorship budget in the IRL if there is no one there
to see it? If Team Penske's primary sponsor wants a real bang for the
buck they should pull their IRL sponsorship and move to OWRS. The
publicity alone would far outweigh the exposure with the IRL.
Michael Andretti was probably handed everything on a silver platter
from the manufacturers. Ok, I can't argue that too much. Still, Mario
should have kicked him in the ass. I hope that Bobby Rahal can stick
it out and see the light. Kudos to his Toyota Atlantic effort. NASCAR
is a force in itself. Road racers can recognize and respect the series
for what it is. A marketing machine with some racing. Let the NASCAR
groupies have that. But for those of us that don't drive a Monte Carlo
with a number 3 painted on the bonnet, let us have our road racing.
These two groups are distinctly different demographics and that should
be an advantage to teams, promoters and sponsors alike. The OWRS headed
by Gentilozzi, Kalkhoven and crew seem to be the right mix to make
things happen. Their unquestionable business sense, in-your-face-attitude and seeming desire to bring road racing back on track in the
states as it was in the early nineties, is what we need. Streamline
the ladder system. Take the racing to the fans. And make certain the
cars will still steer to the right. Thank you for letting me add my
two cents. Chad Melnik
Official Release: Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast Motorsports and driver Alex Figge, #69, who competes in
the CART Toyota Atlantic Series will expand to a two car effort in
2004. Pacific Coast president Tyler Tadevic announced the addition of
2002 Toyota Atlantic Champion Jon Fogarty to pilot a second Pacific
Coast Toyota/Swift #96 in 2004. To further broaden the race teams
reach for the Toyota Championship, Tadevic also hired Burke Harrison
(Allmendinger ’03, Fogarty ’02) and Tim Lewis (Sellers ’03, Ryley ’02)
to engineer Pacific’s 2004 Atlantic effort. The two car team will kick
off a three day test at Sebring this week. More.....
1/26/04 - See rumors page for more
information on the team's expansion. 1/20/04 - Pacific Coast Motorsports will again compete in the 2004 Toyota
Atlantic series and will expand to a two car team commencing with
pre-season testing heading into the Toyota Atlantic series opener in
Long Beach, CA. Pacific Coast President Tyler Tadedvic states "Current
Atlantic standout Alex Figge will return to pilot the #69 Atlantic
entry and a second car #96 will be added with a driver to be announced
within the next few days". Tadedvic also said: "We are delighted to
expand to two cars for next year (2004). This off season gave us the
opportunity to review all our objectives. We feel strongly that a two
car effort helps the entire package and are extremely excited about
our driver lineup, which I will announce next week." Alex Figge had
this to say: "It's great to have a teammate. I'm looking forward to
getting back in the car and testing. I've been driving go-karts
over the winter and feel good about my conditioning and our chances
for this year, the second car represents additional data and will
assist our team and the Toyota series overall." More to follow.
OWRS once again responds to IRL's
assertions According to a recent published report, Indy
Racing League (“IRL”) president, Tony George, stated his commitment to
open-wheel racing while suggesting that his appreciation for the sport
surpassed that of the Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC (“OWRS”) partners,
“Tony (George) has a funny way of demonstrating his commitment to
open-wheel racing,” explained OWRS partner Paul Gentilozzi. “His
willingness to split from CART several years ago to form the IRL is
largely responsible for the tenuous state of open-wheel racing today.
His only commitment is to buy the assets to keep Champ Car from
racing. Our commitment is to rebuild what he, in essence, has
“He claims to have an appreciation for open-wheel racing,” continued
Gentilozzi, referencing George’s comments in the Jan. 25 edition of
the Indianapolis Star. “But in the end, his intentions have nothing to
do with the future of open-wheel competition, but rather the future
and profitability of his IRL series. He has every right to bid on the
assets, but we take issue with his audacity to veil his intentions
under the guise of unification. To challenge our appreciation and
commitment to open-wheel racing is a direct assault on our integrity.”
OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven reiterated that in addition to commitment
and a plan for the future, it will take more than just upfront cash to
be awarded the assets. “We will continue the operation of the Champ
Car World Series and what could better benefit the creditors, teams,
and sponsors,” said Kalkhoven. “We aren’t just buying the assets, but
we’re also assuming the liabilities which could amount to tens of
millions of dollars.
“In order to adequately compare the two bids, the Court will look at
which bid will ultimately deliver the highest distribution to the
creditors and which is in the best interest of the estate,” explained
Kalkhoven. “The judge will assess the elements of each bid to
determine how they influence the total amount of the unsecured claims.
Since the IRL bid is purported not to assume the majority of the
liabilities, the other promoter contacts would become unsecured
claims. The damages suffered would be very real, very significant, and
“In the end, approval of the IRL bid could dramatically increase the
amount of unsecured claims which certainly is not in the best interest
of the creditors,” concluded Kalkhoven.
The IRL submitted a last-minute bid for selected CART assets late
Thursday, Jan. 22, just hours before the legal deadline. OWRS had
previously been approved as a qualified bidder. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
Frank J. Otte will render a final decision on the disposition of the
CART assets in an auction set to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan.
28 in Indianapolis.
Shoreline to sponsor team in two series
Shoreline Communications, the specialist in enterprise IP voice
systems(TM), today announced it is sponsoring Flying Lizard
Motorsports, a new racing team which will be racing in both the Grand
American and American Le Mans (ALMS) road racing series. The company
will host hospitality events at various races throughout the season
for resellers and customers. "Racing is a perfect metaphor for how we
work with our resellers and run our business," said Janet Gregory,
Shoreline's vice president of worldwide sales. "We work in a
fast-paced environment where commitment, teamwork and execution are
essential! This program fosters our spirit of partnership and reflects
our commitment to win." Flying Lizard Motorsports makes its official
Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series debut January 29 - February 1
in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, at the Daytona International Speedway in
Florida. Both road racing series will be televised live -- Grand Am
series on Speed TV (channel 408 on digital cable) and ALMS on CBS, NBC
and Speed. For schedules and locations, visit:
http://www.americanlemans.com/schedule/schedule.asp. "The Team
Shoreline race car series reflects the committed relationship between
Shoreline and its partners," said Jim Lewis, president of PlanIT
Solutions. "We depend on each other to deliver to our customers an IP
voice communication system that is unequaled in its simplicity,
scalability and value with dial tone reliability."
Riggins to replace injured Goodyear
Brumos Racing of Jacksonville, Fla., announced today that Tommy
Riggins will replace Scott Goodyear in the No. 59 Porsche Fabcar at
this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. Goodyear will be forced to sit out
the race due to broken ribs he sustained while playing hockey on
Monday. Riggins will partner with five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley
Haywood, JC France and former-IRL champion Scott Sharp. "It's a shame
that Scott won't be able to make the race, but I am honored to be
asked by Brumos to join their team," said Riggins. "Brumos is a great
team with super guys. We pitted beside them at several races last
year, and I really gained a lot of respect for their program."
Dodge Dealers extend NASCAR race
A group of Dodge dealers in California has extended its sponsorship of
the annual NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma,
Calif., by five years. Charlotte's Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns the
track. The price of the deal was not disclosed. Dodge will continue as
a sponsor of the NASCAR event, which is known as the Dodge/Save Mart
350. Dodge will also have the title of "official vehicles of Infineon
Raceway." "Our relationship with the Dodge dealers got off to a
roaring start three years ago, and it continues to grow and improve,"
says Steve Page, president and general manager at Infineon Raceway.
"The promotional energy they put behind the NASCAR event has been
remarkable, and we look forward to a continued great partnership."
If IRL wins bid, expect major
This Toronto Sun
article says, There has been speculation that if the
IRL bid coming from series owner Tony George is successful,
Toronto could lose its race. Bob Singleton,
vice-president and general manager of Molson Sports and
Entertainment, told The Toronto Sun yesterday he fully
expects to have a race this July. "It is a moot point
at this stage to think we won't have a race," Singleton
said. "Our race fans know that we have gone through the
renewal process in Toronto and Vancouver and we are close to
launching our public ticket sales the first week of
February." Mayor David Miller said it would be "very
unfortunate" if Toronto were to lose the Molson Indy.
"Molson Indy is a very good event for Toronto," Miller said.
"We get a lot of attention in the United States with it.
It's fun, it's a fixture on our calendar and I think
everyone would hate to see it go." Singleton said
he'll be more than just an interested party when the judge's
gavel signals the bidding war. He said Molson has a
financial stake in making sure whatever happens is in the
best interests of his races. "I have kept abreast of
the bankruptcy court proceedings and I have advised our
legal counsel here," he said. "All I can say is that there
has been communication with a U.S. law firm." [Editor's
Note: i.e. to protect their investments and sue as
necessary] Singleton said that even if the IRL wins,
there is room on its 2004 schedule for Toronto, but not for
Vancouver or Montreal. There is no IRL race on the
July 9-11 weekend, the traditional Toronto Molson Indy date.
As for logistical problems of having IRL run five
consecutive weekends if Toronto is picked up, Singleton said
that NASCAR Nextel Cup races 24 consecutive weekends, so he
foresaw no problem. Still, Singleton said he was
throwing Molson's support behind the OWRS bid of Paul
Gentilozzi, Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven. "The
OWRS bid is status quo for our three races in Canada," he
said. "We are supporting the OWRS bid at this time." A
win by the Gentilozzi group means all three Canadian race go
ahead this season. "That's our plan right now,"
Singleton said. "And we'll keep that schedule until someone
tells us different." 1/27/04 - Bob Singleton
from Molstar was on every Canadian TV station Monday,
telling all that it is Champ Cars or nothing for the three
Canadian races, with major lawsuits to follow. Many
other promoters will file similar lawsuits. This can
end up costing Tony George several hundred million dollars
before it's all over. He's going to have to dig deep,
Interview with Marc Gene
During pre-season testing the foundation for a successful
season is laid down. BMW WilliamsF1 Team test driver, Marc
Gené, explains more about his responsibilities. More....
Morales to join Ganassi for
Rolex Jimmy Morales has confirmed that he will
join Chip Ganassi Racing for this weekend's Rolex 24 At
Daytona, January 31 - February 1. The Mexican racer will
partner with Scott Pruett and Max Papis in the No. 01
CompUSA Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype. "I feel very
optimistic about the opportunity to participate in the Rolex
24 At Daytona. The team's professionalism increased my
performance during training. I have adapted quickly and have
achieved my timing goals on every lap. Scott and Max are
talented, hard working drivers, and I feel confident that we
will be very successful," said Morales. Morales recently
traveled to Phoenix where he tested with the team, adapting
to the new Daytona Prototype and developing his driving
techniques. Luis "Chapulín" Díaz accompanied Morales to the
Petty and Paul Newman to team
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Kyle Petty and Academy
Award-winner Paul Newman will team with Michael Brockman and
Gunnar Jeannette for the 42nd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At
Daytona, January 31-February 1. The foursome will share
driving duties in the Gunnar Racing No. 45 Porsche Fabcar
Daytona Prototype, which will be sponsored by Disney
presents a Pixar film Cars. "We are very excited to have an
all-star lineup in the car and a great sponsor like Disney/Pixar's
Cars on the car for this year's Rolex 24," said team owner
Kevin Jeannette. The Rolex 24 At Daytona will be the second
time Newman and Petty have teamed in a Grand American Rolex
Sports Car Series race, as the two partnered with
21-year-old Gunnar Jeannette last summer for an eighth-place
finish overall at Watkins Glen International. Newman, who
has competed in Rolex 24 four times already, will be one of
the voices in Disney/Pixar's Cars, schedule for a holiday
release in 2005. The animated film from the makers of box
office hits Toy Story (1995), Monsters, Inc. (2001) and
Finding Nemo (2003), has been described by the studio as a
high-octane adventure about a collection of classic
automobiles-turned-'toons revving things up on historic
Route 66." This year's Rolex 24 will be the ninth start in
North America's most grueling sports car race for Brockman,
the fifth appearance for Petty and fourth for Jeannette.
"There are so many people that have helped us put this
effort together, and we really want to bring home a victory
for them," said Kevin Jeannette. In addition to Disney/Pixar's
Cars, Porsche has been a great supporter of ours both this
year and in season's past. It would be great if we could put
our No. 45 Porsche Daytona Prototype in Victory Lane as a
welcoming present to new Porsche Motorsports North America
President Uwe Brettel and a farewell gift to
retiring-President Alwin Springer."
Dixon to carry #1
Indy Racing League champion Scott Dixon will run with the #1
on his Target Chip Ganassi entry this season.
Perhaps it is because Dixon is a Kiwi rather than an
American, but he obviously hopes the aura of driving the #1
will accompany him at the 16 stops on the 2004 schedule.
The 23-year-old will unveil the new number – he ran the #9
on his Panoz G-Force-Toyota last season – during open
testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which starts tomorrow
[28 January]. Trepidation or superstition about sporting the
#1 won't follow Dixon on the circuit, but will remind him of
the hard work put in that resulted in the championship - and
what he'll need to do to for an encore.
“It's kind of cool actually to run the #1 car,” he says,
“You don't have that opportunity often. “I think
you always have a certain amount of pressure just to perform
and make sure you do well. Even being with such a good team
like Team Target, I kind of like the pressure. It pushes
Though some might see Dixon as wearing a large bull's-eye,
he's comfortable with his abilities and confident in the
team. “We set a very high standard in how fast
we were at every circuit,” he continues, “I think as the
season progresses you pick up sort of four, five guys that
you need to watch and try and beat. So I think it's the same
[as last year]. It's not going to be just one person that
everybody is going to try and beat. It is going to be a good
four, five people that they have to watch out for.”
Ganassi teams won four consecutive CART championships
between 1996-99, and the #1 was on the car the next season.
However, Sam Hornish Jr, who won the championship in 2001
and 2002 for Pennzoil Panther Racing, competed in the #4 car
in the seasons following his titles. “Historically, the #1
has been held out for the champion of the series,” Ganassi
explains, “It's an instant identifier as to your
accomplishments the previous year.”
team for Sebring 12 Hours
The history of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has
highlighted many interesting and different racing teams and
the 52nd running of America's oldest sports car race will
see the American debut of an All-Female driving team that
has gained popularity in Europe in a very short amount of
The team known as "Les Femmes Pour Le Mans" has entered the
season-opening event for the American Le Mans Series,
featuring racer/broadcaster Amanda Stretton of England and
American Liz Halliday. A third female driver will be named
to complete the team. More...
to sponsor Milka Duno
As a key element of an aggressive new Hispanic marketing initiative,
CITGO Petroleum Corporation announced today that the company is
sponsoring Latin racing star Milka Duno and her Rolex Series racing
team in 2004.
Duno and the team's No. 09 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype
will kick off their 2004 campaign January 31 - February 1 at the Rolex
24 At Daytona, teaming with NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, Stephane
Gregoire and car owner Doug Goad. CITGO will also outfit the No. 2
Chevrolet Crawford Daytona Prototype, manned by three-time Rolex 24
winner Andy Wallace, as well as NASCAR superstars Tony Stewart and
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"The sponsorship of race driver Milka Duno in the Rolex Series will
play an integral role in putting CITGO on the map with the Hispanic
community," said Don Rucks, CITGO brand development manager. "The
rapidly changing ethnic landscape in the U.S. provides a perfect
opportunity for CITGO to employ a highly concentrated effort to reach
the Hispanic consumer, and the championship program we have put
together for Milka in the Rolex Series this season will be a major
tool in that effort."
"We are delighted to have CITGO and Milka join us in Rolex Sports Car
Series," said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger
Edmondson. "This announcement corresponds with an initiative that
Grand American is currently working on to increase our fan base within
the Hispanic community. We feel that the addition of Milka as one of
our Daytona Prototype drivers with CITGO's support will help us in
achieving both of our goals."
After Daytona, Duno and co-pilot Wallace along with the CITGO racing
team will hit the track running at the 11 remaining Rolex Series races
in the CITGO Pontiac Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype. The U.S. race
venues are located in a number of high-density Hispanic markets such
as Phoenix, Ariz., Homestead, Fla., and Fontana, Calif., as well as
other markets with large concentrations of CITGO branded outlets.
Boris Said finally gets his chance at
Let's be honest. There is much more riding on this year's Budweiser
Shootout than just trophies and prize earnings, for an age-old
question is about to be answered: How would a road-course specialist
fare on an oval? It's for that reason many NASCAR fans are
eagerly awaiting the Feb. 7 all-star event. When road-racer/hired gun
Boris Said won the pole at Infineon Raceway last June, he did more
than just give his team a front-row starting spot in the Dodge/Save
Mart 350. He also qualified himself for a race that -- dare we say --
takes place on an oval. More......
First laps at LVMS for Kyle Busch
The first day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas gave 18-year old
Las Vegan Kyle Busch his first laps in a NASCAR Nextel Cup car at his
hometown track. It would be fair to say the Durango High School
graduate was in awe. “I guess overwhelmed, unreal, any other
word that matches that,” Busch said. “But I have to realize that this
is another race track, and we have a lot of work to do.” Busch his set
to make his Nextel Cup Series debut in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at
Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7. The younger brother of NASCAR
star Kurt Busch also will compete in the March 6 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR
Busch Series race. Monday, Busch joined nine other Nextel Cup teams
and five Busch Series teams taking part in the open test session. At
day’s end, Busch was unofficially listed second among the Nextel Cup
cars with a best lap of 31.82 seconds and 169.447 miles per hour.
Though no official speeds were kept, Jeremy Mayfield had the fastest
known time of 31.70 seconds and 170.347 miles per hour.
In addition to Busch and Mayfield, Nextel Cup drivers Kevin Harvick,
Robby Gordon, Johnny Sauter, Kasey Kahne, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty,
Jeff Green and Kevin Lepage participated in the test. Six NASCAR Busch
Series teams tested Monday as well. Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup
champion Matt Kenseth tested his Busch car along with Michael Waltrip,
Ron Hornaday, Mark MacFarland, Eric McClure and David Reutimann. There
were no incidents on track during the test. NASCAR Preseason Thunder
Las Vegas will continue through Thursday. On Tuesday, 17 more teams
including Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Brian
Vickers, Gibbs drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte and Ganassi
drivers Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray will join the test. Testing
is open to the public free of charge.
CART vs. IRL driving
John Hammer (pictured right) brings you this week's Pit Pass show,
brought to you by the Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy. In
this week's show John talks about the merits of driving on road
courses vs. ovals, CART vs. the IRL. Audio Page
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