Hot News

Thanks for visiting our Hot News page  Please visit our Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt.  If you have some news, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it.  User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.

Go to our forums to discuss this news.

DATE

News (chronologically)

6/5/04

Fogarty takes dominating win in Milwaukee  American driver Jon Fogarty started from the pole and led all 70 laps Saturday, winning the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic race - Round 3 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.   Fogarty, the 2002 series champion, established a new track record in qualifying on Friday and backed it up in the race leading from start to finish while looking dominant in his third career Atlantic victory.

Denmark's Ronnie Bremer finished second in the race and the rookie driver vaulted into the series championship point standings lead with his third top-four effort in three races.  Another rookie, Canadian Andrew Ranger, finished third for his second podium effort of the season. Danica Patrick finished in fourth position followed by Bryan Sellers in fifth place.

Ryan Dalziel, the Atlantic series points leader entering the weekend, was running second but became involved in an on-track incident in Turn 2 with four laps remaining that ended his day. Dalziel fell to fourth in the championship as a result of the incident, which forced the race to end under caution. Dalziel was not injured in the accident.  The Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama moves on to Portland, Oregon for Rounds 4 and 5 of the Championship at Portland International Raceway June 19-20.

6/5/04

What is Penske's real agenda?  This SPEEDTV.com article talks about the recent unification article written by Roger Penske in the NY Times.  A few quotes stand out, especially the last one by Paul Tracy - Roger Penske vows he's going to spend the next few months trying to repair the split in open wheel racing. In addition, no doubt, to helping O.J. look for Nicole's killer and getting gas prices under control.  Penske's recent editorial in the New York Times that he's decided to roll up his sleeves and save open wheel racing would almost be humorous if it wasn't so self-serving and hypocritical.

First off, it was The Captain's jumping ship to the Indy Racing League in 2002 that accelerated the unraveling of Championship Auto Racing Teams (the series he co-founded in 1979). It was a meeting in Houston in 2001 that Penske threatened to go to Tony George's all-oval series if his fellow owners didn't adopt the the IRL's engine rules (which they did despite not having any manufacturers on board).

"What took him so long?," chuckled Derrick Walker, who worked for Penske for 20 years before starting his own team. "I mean if anybody in this sport can help put this thing back together it's always been Penske. He's the guy who made CART and he's the guy who broke CART.  "I'm anxious to see where this goes. I hope this means he's going to follow through."

"There's always something behind everything with Roger but you never know what it is," said Gerald Forsythe, one of the OWRS owners who is fielding three cars this season. "I don't disagree with our sponsors and fans that one series would be stronger -- that's just a good business plan -- and it doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

"Economically it would be better for everyone and there would have to be a meeting of the minds. But when one guy (Tony George) keeps saying their business model is so much different than ours I have to wonder.

"I look at the IRL business model as one that's waving in the wind. It started out as all Americans and all ovals and now they're talking road races and street courses so how does our business model differ from theirs?"

Added Neil Mickelwright, team manager for Forsythe Racing: "Why does Roger suddenly feel the need to reunite when he's been telling us the IRL is the greatest thing since sliced bread? I'd like to know what prompted it. Maybe there's a little trouble in paradise."

Paul Gentilozzi, who met with George last year before OWRS bought CART's assets and talked about the future of open wheel racing with the IRL founder, claims there can't be intervention without good intention.

"There was a time last year when I thought I could play a pivotal part in putting things back together but I don't think that can happen," said Gentilozzi, an OWRS principal who fields a two-car team in Champ Car. "There have been agendas drafted by major manufacturers and it's still not together so what is the obstruction? Why aren't we together?

"Is it about preserving the throne of the royal family of American motorsports or is it about preserving a motorsports discipline?"

"Look, I enjoy Champ Car racing and I enjoyed competing at the Indy 500 and the split never did make any sense," said Forsythe. "It was all about one person wanting control and now he's devastated the Indy 500.

Paul Tracy, who scored 11 of his 27 wins driving for Penske, knows his former employer plays both sides of the street and is always five steps ahead of the posse.  "I'm not sure why he (Penske) suddenly feels like becoming a peacemaker," said the 2003 CART champion. "But I do know that he's one captain who won't be going down with the ship."

6/5/04

Champ Car announces replacement for Jenkins  In an ongoing effort to provide fans of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford with the finest television coverage, this season the series has utilized a rotating roster of talent to enhance its broadcasts. The effort continues for this weekend’s telecast of the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 Presented by U.S. Bank, as veteran play-by-play broadcaster Rick Benjamin will join popular color analyst Tommy Kendall in the booth for Saturday night’s race. The former host of TNN’s (now Spike TV) Raceday show that covered all forms of racing, Benjamin has broadcast races for many years ranging from short-track Saturday night stock-car show in the South to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Benjamin served as a pit reporter for the May 23 Spike TV broadcast of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey and will move into the lead chair for this week’s show at the Milwaukee Mile. Saturday night’s 250-lap Champ Car event can be seen live on HDNet as well as through the new Race Director feature on www.champcarworldseries.com, and will be seen on a tape-delayed basis Sunday at 4 p.m. on Spike TV.

6/5/04

Champ Car needs to build more 2-seaters  Yours truly went for a ride in the Champ Car 2-seater today in Milwaukee.  We will have a full story in the near future but one word best describes the experience - awesome!  Beyond a doubt this is the best marketing tool for Champ Car (ditto for the IRL) than anything else they do.  While it's great that they are giving journalists and sponsors rides, Champ Car needs to get as many fans as possible in the seat.  One ride and they'll be hooked for life...and probably tell all their friends about it.

6/5/04

Ford makes its choice  Ford -- which lost stars Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne to Hendrick Motorsports' Chevys and Evernham Motorsports' Dodges -- has launched a program to eventually place a woman driver in a full-time, high-profile NASCAR ride. Ford chose Erin Crocker, a 23-year-old Massachusetts native and 16-year racing veteran who has experience competing in quarter-midgets, mini-sprint, winged sprint cars and trucks. "You'd always hear things like, 'A girl doesn't belong in the sport,' " Crocker told the Associated Press. "But I think if you've got the skill and get the respect, you'll be fine. No woman has won a NASCAR or IRL race. But I want to compete with the Tony Stewarts and Jeff Gordons of the world." Ford will monitor Crocker's races in the World of Outlaws series before giving her another test drive. If Crocker succeeds, she could join the midget team of owner Bob East, who trained Gordon and Stewart. Two women now compete in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series -- Kelly Sutton and Tina Gordon Florida Today

6/5/04

RCR crewman wants Biffle  Crewmen at Richard Childress' shop are chomping at the bit with the possibility of acquiring Greg Biffle. "We need someone to step this operation up a notch," an RCR crewman said. "And Biffle could do that. Childress needs to get him - no matter what it costs." Winston Salem Journal

6/5/04

Badoer breaks track record at Monza  Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer set a new lap record as testing came to a close at Monza on Friday. Badoer recorded a quick lap of 1:20.145. Giancarlo Fisichella was second, a full second slower than Badoer, with Toyota and McLaren's testers Ryan Briscoe and Pedro de la Rosa third and fourth respectively. A Ferrari, driven by Andrea Bertolini, rounded off the timesheets, with the team's development driver seven seconds off Badoer's pace.
Results
1 Badoer Ferrari 1:20.145
2 Fisichella Sauber 1:21.169
3 Briscoe Toyota 1:21.870
4 de la Rosa McLaren 1:21.886
5 Bertolini Ferrari 1:28.281

6/5/04

Coca-Cola 600 defeats Indy 500 in ratings battle Sunday  2nd UPDATE The preliminary national ratings have now turned final and here are the grim results for the IRL's crown jewel event - trounced by NASCAR by a wider margin ever as the Indy 500 continues its steady decline into oblivion under IRL rule.  The NASCAR race was viewed in 31% more households than the Indy 500.

Coca-Cola 600 on FOX: 5:45 PM - 10:08 PM 5.0 Rating / 11 Share 5.39 Mil. HH
Indy 500 on ABC:  2:00 PM - 7:25 PM 4.1Rating /11 Share 4.42 Mil HH

6/3/04 - Here are more statistics on the trouncing in TV ratings  that the Coca-Cola 600 did over the Indy 500. 
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 vs. IRL Indy 500

Households Rating - +22% - (5.0 vs. 4.1)
Males 18-34 - +200% - (3.0 vs. 1.0)
Males 18-49 - +110% - (4.4 vs. 2.1)
Males 25-54 - +86% - (5.2 vs. 2.8)
Avg.Total Viewers - +38% - (8.4 mill vs. 6.1)  (2.3 million more people tuned in at any instant)

  6/2/04 - Fox today announced that it drew a 5.0 preliminary national Nielsen rating for Sunday’s broadcast of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, 22% higher than the 4.1 posted by ABC’s race coverage of the Indy 500. Fox claims the ratings difference is the widest margin of victory ever favoring the Coca-Cola 600. Additionally, the NASCAR race generated an average audience of 8.4 million, 38% more than the 6.1 million for the Indy 500.  The Indianapolis 500 experienced rain delays throughout the eight and half hours of coverage. Actual race coverage from 2:00-2:45pm and from 4:30-7:30pm ET earned a 4.6/11 overnight rating. The first rain coverage from 12:00-2:00pm drew a 3.6/9 and the second rain coverage from 2:45-4:30pm posted a 3.7/9.   The 4.1 preliminary "national" final for the Indy 500 represents a drop of 11% from last year.  THE DAILY.  [Editor's Note: Another story in the NY Times reads as follows, but the one above has later data and is a preliminary final whereas the earlier one is an overnight rating, which is what the NY Times article uses.  The overnights are only the major markets, whereas the national rating measures all markets.   NY Times article: The Indianapolis 500 defeated the Coca-Cola 600 in preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings, despite enduring lengthy rain delays Sunday. ABC's 4.7 rating for the Indy 500 fell from a 5.1 last year, but it edged out the 4.5 for Fox's Coca-Cola 600, which declined 8 percent from 2003. Usually, the Indy 500 is over by the time the Coca-Cola 600 begins, but rain delays caused them to compete for two hours. In each half-hour segment from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern, the Indy 500 won, ending with a 4.8 rating from 7 to 7:30, compared with a 4.0 for the Coca-Cola 600. Each overnight ratings point equals 754,274 television households. Viewership did not plummet during the Indy 500's rain delays, which actually pushed it into a later time period with more viewership. The two rain-delay segments, the first from noon to 2 p.m. and the second from 2:45 to 4:30, rated a 3.6 and a 3.7.  New York Times - need to register

6/5/04

Negative media follows Champ Car everywhere  No matter what market Champ Car races in the local media publishes negative article about the series in an effort to kill ticket sales and hence the race.  It happens at nearly 100% of Champ Car's races, so one can conclude the oval track cartel is behind it.  Here in Milwaukee the local newspaper the Milwaukee Journal published this article this morning - Sputtering Champ Car on wrong track.

6/4/04

NASCAR takes control of lights  NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday the sanctioning body has taken control of the switches for the caution lights away from the flagstand. The switches will only be located in the control tower during races for all of NASCAR's three major divisions. The decision comes after a mistake in the Infineon 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month where the caution lights came on and leader Carl Edwards slowed. The lights, allegedly turned on by the backup flagman, were quickly turned off, and there was no caution. Edwards ended up losing the race, and NASCAR later admitted it was wrong. The flagstand will no longer be able to turn on the caution lights but can still wave the caution flag. NASCAR.com

6/4/04

Fogarty sets lap record to take pole in Milwaukee  On Thursday during practice at The Milwaukee Mile, Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) went out and posted a quick time that would have surpassed the Toyota Atlantic Championship track record at the 1.032-mile oval. The time wasn’t considered official because it was established during practice. On Friday, Fogarty made it official. The 2002 Toyota Atlantic series champion was .001 seconds off of his time from Thursday, but his top lap of 24.675 seconds (150.599 mph) was still good enough to set a new Atlantic record at Milwaukee while earning Fogarty his fifth career pole position and a championship point for securing the pole. Saturday’s Round 3 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama – the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship race (SPEED Channel; Sunday, June 6 – 2 p.m. ET) – will take the green flag at 5:15 p.m. CT. Fogarty will be joined on the front row by his teammate Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports) as the California-based Pacific Coast squad, which expanded to a two-car team this season, enjoyed its first-ever 1-2 qualifying effort. Figge, who earned his first Atlantic victory two weeks ago in Monterrey, Mexico, owned a time of 24.915 seconds (149.115 mph).

6/4/04

Rodolfo Lavín adapting to new team  Mexican Rodolfo Lavín (pictured right) was a rookie last year on the Champ Car circuit and struggled, but this year he is with the Forsythe Team with Corona sponsorship and he is opening a lot of eyes. "This team is like night and day compared to what I have had in the past," said Lavín.  "I was just a rookie last year and I'm still learning a lot, but so far I am happy with the team, my teammates, my engineer, my sponsor and my owner.  My teammates and I share all data and we are working well together.  Corona has been with me for 10 years now and I really appreciate this opportunity they have given me."  When asked whether he can turn his third fastest practice time into a pole position tonight, Lavín said, "We still have a little understeer in the car and the weather will be much different tonight, so we will see.  We have been working on race setups too and we can run consistently in the 21 second bracket on used tires so we think we will have a good race car."    Mark C.

6/4/04

Ryan Hunter-Reay again on top in Milwaukee  American Ryan Hunter-Reay (pictured right) again topped the timesheets in Friday afternoon's practice session for tomorrow's Time Warner Road Runner 250 at The Milwaukee Mile. Hunter-Reay topped the charts in last night's practice session under the lights.  Hunter-Reay's lap of 20.972 sec. was enough to nose out Brazilian Bruno Junqueira who turned a lap of 20.913 sec.  Again the real surprise was Mexican Rodolfo Lavín who moved up to third quick with a time of 21.039 sec.  Qualifying is up next.  Mark C.

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 20.792 178.684 287.563
2 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 20.913 177.650 285.899 0.121
3 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.039 176.586 284.187 0.247 0.126
4 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.129 175.834 282.977 0.337 0.090
5 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.133 175.801 282.924 0.341 0.004
6 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.337 174.120 280.218 0.545 0.204
7 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.340 174.096 280.180 0.548 0.003
8 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.376 173.802 279.707 0.584 0.036
9 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.399 173.616 279.407 0.607 0.023
10 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.454 173.171 278.691 0.662 0.055
11 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.490 172.880 278.223 0.698 0.036
12 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.504 172.768 278.042 0.712 0.014
13 O. Servia 11 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.532 172.543 277.680 0.740 0.028
14 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.558 172.335 277.346 0.766 0.026
15 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 21.588 172.096 276.961 0.796 0.030
16 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.980 169.026 272.020 1.188 0.392
17 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 22.275 166.788 268.419 1.483 0.295
18 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 22.687 163.759 263.544 1.895 0.412

6/4/04

Canadian sensation Ranger moves to top of charts  Rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) continued to show his speed in the third full-field practice session Friday for tomorrow’s Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship Race Presented by Yokohama (SPEED Channel; Sunday, June 6 – 2 p.m. ET). Ranger, running his first-ever oval event this weekend at The Milwaukee Mile, paced the afternoon practice session today with a lap of 24.779 seconds (149.933 mph), established on his 69th lap in the session. Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports), who posted the fastest practice time this weekend during the Thursday evening session, also owned the second-fastest time this afternoon. Fogarty’s lap of 24.836 seconds (149.589 mph) was bested by Ranger but the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship Series title winner is still the only driver to post an average lap speed in excess of 150 mph, recorded Thursday evening (150.565 mph). Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports) posted the third-fastest time in today’s practice at 24.941 seconds (148.960 mph) while series points leader and defending Milwaukee champion Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works) was fourth in practice with a time of 24.971 seconds (148.781 mph). Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) owned a lap of 25.043 seconds (148.353 mph) to round out the top five. The Atlantic cars return to the 1.032-mile oval this evening for single-car qualifying beginning at 6:15 p.m CT.

6/4/04

#99 car seeking sponsor approval   Roush Racing is seeking NASCAR's approval for a liquor company to sponsor its #99 Ford for Jeff Burton, this week's issue of NASCAR Scene reports. NASCAR officials said earlier this season that the sanctioning body had no intention of changing its policies prohibiting sponsorship from hard liquor distillers, but Roush President Geoff Smith says the proposed sponsorship has been submitted. "They've only given an indication that they are reviewing [the policy against hard liquor sponsorships]," Smith said. The story does not name the proposed sponsor for the team. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

6/4/04

Earnhardt to appear on KFC buckets   [Editor's Note:  Just another example of how NASCAR makes their drivers household names]  KFC today announced that as the company is sponsoring Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned Chance 2 Motorsports car in the NASCAR Busch Series beginning in July, Earnhardt will appear on limited-edition KFC buckets, marking the first time the buckets have featured someone other than Colonel Sanders. Additionally, Earnhardt will appear in a KFC TV ad, which debuts next Monday, June 7, with country music singer Trace Atkins

6/4/04

It's still non-stop for Indy champ Buddy Rice  Newly crowned Indianapolis 500-Mile winner Buddy Rice is still traveling at record speeds this week, just a few days after winning the 88th running of the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing" and collecting a record $1.76 million. Rahal Letterman Racing's Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Honda driver continued a whirlwind media tour in New York City Tuesday and Wednesday and also hit Washington D.C. and Richmond Thursday and Dallas-Ft. Worth on Friday before taking a few days to relax at his home in Phoenix. Rice and his race car hit Times Square on Tuesday in front of a barrage of media and a press conference at ESPNZone. That was followed up by the unique opportunities only afforded an Indy 500 champion as he was able to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall St. and then throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium for the Yankee-Oriole baseball game. Prior to his baseball throw, Rice was able to discuss cars with legendary Reggie Jackson, Yankee manager Joe Torre and various Yankee players including Derek Jeter. "That was one of the coolest things I have ever done," said a smiling Rice. "Just hanging out with Reggie and talking cars for 30 minutes was unbelievable. Then Joe Torre came out and brought a bunch of the players out to meet and take photos. They had an Indy 500 pool and the guy that won the pool was very happy to see me. There was even a player just called up from AAA and he was in Indy last week when I took batting practice with the In- dians and he was excited to see me again and chat. That was way cool." On Wednesday, Rice continued his media tour in NYC with a guest appearance on the "Regis and Kelly" Show with Jeff Gordon serving as a co-host. Buddy talked to Jeff and Kelly before Kelly then jumped in Rice's Argent/ Pioneer Honda car on stage. Rice then met the ABC Sports executives before returning to ESPNZone for more interviews. In the afternoon, Buddy toured the city for interviews at CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg studios and "Wind Tunnel" on the Speed Channel. "It's been pretty crazy after Sunday's win," Rice said. "But I'm not complaining at all. Everything is so neat and so organized that I am able to take in as much as possible. I know I'm looking forward to taking a couple of days off on the weekend. Then we are back on more tours next week before the Texas race." Rice will make an appearance Monday and Tuesday for Argent Mortgage before his appearance on his co-owner's show - "Late Show with David Letterman" - next Wednesday (June 9). Then Buddy will get back to business with racing his Indy car at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 10-12.

6/4/04

Overheard in the Milwaukee paddock  We spoke to Mark Perroni, Milwaukee promoter, who tells us we will have a good crowd on Saturday night.  Ticket sales are up a whopping 25% over last year and if the weather stays good, they think they will get a big walkup.  It's amazing what good promotion will do for an event........Kevin Kalkhoven, Dick Eidswick and others were over in Scotland and Ireland this past week playing golf.  Dick is back here in Milwaukee but Kevin stayed over there to continue his birthday celebration........Although the press release said Milwaukee, expect to see Argentinean Gaston Mazzacane in the Dale Coyne AMR car for more races this year, perhaps the entire year and into 2005.  Apparently he has some wealthy backers behind him and they are hooked into the Buenos Aires, Argentina race that Champ Car will probably run in 2005.  We also hear that the Brazil racing is looking good for 2005.......Why didn't the Road America folks invite the local media out to the Champ Car test there earlier this week to get some PR for their upcoming Champ Car race in August?  Is it because they know they will be running IRL in 2005?........Champ Car is working to perfect a lot more telemetry from all 18 cars in the race and you will soon start to see some of it on Race Director (i.e. via the web) and on TV (less than on Race Director).........The walls and roof are up for the new media center here in Milwaukee, but for now we are still working out of trailers.  The track is still undergoing significant improvements......The 2-seat Champ Car is now painted black and it looks much better.  Mark C.

6/4/04

More evidence Champ Car has significantly more fans than the IRL  We wonder if anyone has noticed the following little tidbit concerning Amazon book sales ranking of the Autocourse Champ Car 2003 Annual vs. the Autocourse Indy 500/IRL 2003 Annual that we advertise on our sidebar with the Amazon.com link. The Champ Car book rank as of today is at Number 30,985. The IRL book is ranked at 595,108. The Autocourse Formula One book ranking is at 28,096 - only slightly ahead of the Champ Car book.  The rank is an Amazon.com sales rank and Amazon is the biggest seller of books in the world.  Looks like the attendance figures aren't the only wide gap numbers at play here. 

6/4/04

Champ Car/Indy 500 thoughts  A reader writes, After reading National Speed Sport News this week, and seeing yet more letters from oval track open wheel fans who want to see front-engine Silver Crown cars featured in the Indy 500, (so they won't have to deal with those furriners with the funny names), I thought, 'Why not?'

I have felt for years that the current open-wheel Champ Car and Earl Car have outgrown ovals, and I am really pleased to see only 1 oval on Champ Car's schedule this year. Although there is a hue and cry from traditionalists about how great the series was when it featured short ovals, superspeedways, road courses, and street tracks, those days are gone. As you and I know, along with thousands of others, Americans don't give a crap about seeing modern rear-engine open wheel cars on ovals, apart from the Indy 500, which is also showing a downhill trend despite the spin-meisters. Ovals belong to NASCAR, period. The return of all the top professional open-wheel teams from CART (love 'em or hate 'em!) didn't impact the IRL or Indy 500 at all as regards to attendance, TV viewers, etc., so why would merging with Champ Car and bringing over the balance of the teams from that series?

The answer is to dissolve the IRL, run Silver Crown cars at the Indy 500, and develop Champ Car into a top-notch, worldwide open-wheel road acing series. Play to your strengths, instead of ramming something down the throats of people who don't want it.

The Indy 500 will survive as the second or third tier Indianapolis event, which it is now anyway, and will be forevermore. Tony George will have his fiefdom on the corner of 16th and Georgetown, maybe add a bike GP and a sports car race, and will have to be satisfied with that.

Champ Car will survive (and thrive) because there will no longer be any confusion for fans as to the merits of each of the two series. Concentration of sponsorship, team personnel, drivers and TV will be on the most deserving product with the largest 'true' fan base (as opposed to the aberration which is the Indy 500).  It makes so much sense to me, I know it will never happen!  A fan from Indianapolis (Name withheld by request)

6/4/04

Indianapolis fans can see Milwaukee race live  The Ale Emporium in Indianapolis is going to be showing the Milwaukee race live Saturday night on HDNet.   This link also gives you all the sports bars around the country that show HDNet.

6/4/04

Inglebright to drive AOL Chevy  Due to a conflict in driver Johnny Sauter’s NASCAR NEXTEL Series and Busch Series schedules, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team owner Richard Childress has named Southwest Series driver Jim Inglebright to pilot the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet for the June 27 Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Inglebright, 43, a regular on the NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series, has eight wins in 96 starts, including three straight victories at Infineon Raceway (2000-2002). He finished fourth in the 2003 event. He also ran a limited Craftsman Truck Series schedule during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, posting one top-ten finish in 17 starts. “We’re disappointed Johnny couldn’t run Infineon due to the Busch race weekend in Milwaukee, which is Kleenex’s, his Busch team’s sponsor’s, hometown,” said Childress. “We decided to put Jim Inglebright in the AOL Chevrolet for that race and are confident he will do a great job for us. Jim has the aggressive driving style I like and he definitely knows his way around Infineon, his track record speaks for itself.” Sauter will remain the full-time driver of the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet and will return to the seat for the July 3 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “I am honored to get the opportunity to drive the AOL Chevrolet for Richard Childress,” said Inglebright, the Fairfield, Calif., native who will also compete in the Southwest Series event at Infineon Raceway. “Driving in the Nextel Cup Series has always been a goal of mine. What better way to reach my goal than to drive for Richard Childress and AOL at Infineon Raceway.” Inglebright will test the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway Tuesday, June 8, in preparation for the Dodge-SaveMart 350. “AOL is excited to have a driver of Jim Inglebright’s status in the seat of the AOL Chevrolet for the road-course event at Infineon Raceway,” said JD Ettore, AOL Director National Promotions & Sponsorship. “Jim is a very well respected driver and with him we know we have a great shot at winning.”

6/4/04

NASCAR bombs in LA  Just some data to prove that despite efforts to “internationalize” and move NASCAR into the mainstream of American sports world, this is not yet happening. The Los Angeles Times reported that for “Los Angeles” TV viewers, the Indy 500 gathered a 4.2 rating that closely mirrors the national average of 4.1; yet the NASCAR 600 garnered only a 2.6 rating in LA – about one-half of the national average. It appears to me that NASCAR is still only a regional attraction. Glenn Tanner, Palos Verdes Estates

6/4/04

Tony, Honda, and Toyota to blame  A reader writes, As a ex-Champ Car owner for years and a CART Board member for several years my strong opinion is that there is one person and two companies responsible for the split. That would be Tony George, Honda and Toyota. None of the three should have ANYTHING to do with putting this together. Any new engine manufacturer should support the series and NOT any specific teams. Great web site, I check it two or three times a day as do many of my old racing friends. Thanks, Jim Hayhoe  Dear Jim, The conspiracy theorists insist that Honda and Toyota were asked to support the IRL in return for eventual heaven, i.e. NASCAR Nextel Cup.  We don't know about any conspiracy theories, but it's clear that Honda and Toyota are in the oval track cartel camp.  Ironically, since they joined the IRL it's been all downhill for that series in terms of attendance and TV ratings so one has to question how many hundreds of millions of dollars they will squander away before saying enough is enough.  Mark C.

6/4/04

OWRS must not be fooled by IRL/Penske trickery  UPDATE Another reader writes,  All anyone has to do is look back to the court incident where Tony supposedly was not interested in the CART assets. The IRL is filled with lies, treachery and double-talk. Peter Swanson  6/4/04 - A reader writes, Wolf!, Wolf! How many times are we going to let ourselves be caught in the unification trap? CART management went down this road several times; each time that someone -- anyone -- thought they saw an olive branch in Tony George's hand. Always, CART was left with nothing but fertilizer and a decision that had compromised its own plan. Let's not forget that Roger Penske's lobbying was largely responsible for at least one of those ill-advised decisions. I am confident that OWRS has learned from CART's good faith attempts. (There simply is no good faith on the other side.) Every decision that OWRS makes should be based solely on their vision for Champ Car racing. It's easy to see the value in unification, and why we wish it could happen. It can't -- for the foreseeable future. The possibility is merely an illusion, used by the IRL to continue their strategy to destabilize the Champ Car series. Return Champ Car racing to good health. Once that's fully done, then OWRS might consider whether any relationship with the IRL makes sense, (assuming there is still an IRL in a few years, which I doubt). Roger Wyman, Pleasant Hill, CA

6/4/04

Still more unification thoughts  A reader writes, I would agree with Mr. Mancuso's letter regarding unification. What's done is done, and we've got to find a way to move on. I will be in Milwaukee today and tomorrow night, with a group of 8 friends who have been going there together since 1993. It will be a melancholy feeling knowing that this will probably be the last time Champ Car will be there, and, in August, it will probably be the last time the Champ Cars will be at Road America in Elkhart Lake. So, for me and my friends, in order to go to the tracks here in the Midwest that we love so much, it will be a tough decision - either go to the other side (IRL), or not go at all!  We have been very interested in all of the talk surrounding Penske's article, and we really do hope that it will have a positive result. We all agree that any new series unification would have to have Tony George completely gone!! The animosity towards him goes WAAAAYYY deep. So, good luck with all of this, Mr. Penske. We will be watching. I think we are all interested in TRUE unification. It has to be true, or the fans won't buy it. I seem to remember a guy named Hitler who had certain views about unification in Europe!  Daniel Manchester, Northbrook, IL  Dear Daniel, I would not jump to conclusions about whether Champ Car will be back at Milwaukee and Road America after this year.  Mark C.

6/4/04

The future of the Indian GP  The future of the plan to host an Indian Grand Prix on a site near Hyderabad remains in the balance as the new state government begins to find its feet although last week there was a bad sign when the state sports authority called off the Asian Grand Prix athletics event which had been planned for Hyderabad, saying that it cost too much. The previous government spent lavishly to improve the sporting infrastructure in the city, planning to build the track on a 1500-acre site at Cyberabad which would include not only the race track but also hotels, a hospital, an amusement park and other necessary infrastructure. The new government says it will look at the costs for the project but has no fundamental objection to hosting a race. The previous government had several drafts of an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone and the basis of a deal was in place but we must now wait to see if the new government considers F1 an appropriate way to develop the region. It is worth noting however that the Indian international test cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has attended the last two Grands Prix in his role as an ambassador for the Indian race and between Monaco and the European GP paid a visit to the McLaren-Mercedes headquarters at Woking, having been invited to look around by Kimi Raikkonen.  Grandprix.com

6/4/04

More unification thoughts  A reader writes, I am a die hard Champ Car (CART) fan. I have written many times about the issues of the split. However, I have this to say about unification. CART was at its best when it was part of the Indy car series including the 500. Having all the teams and sponsors backing one series would scare the hell out of NASCAR. It would scare the hell out of F1 and it would put open wheel racing in the USA back on the major sports map. It's not a bad thought. How it happens is what is very important to me. It would have to be on conditions VERY favorable to OWRS and CART. Someone from the IRL has to come forward and admit the errors of their way. Someone from the IRL has to openly and publicly apologize to all the fans of open wheel racing for the misery they created by this whole fiasco. Tony George would have to tell all of us that he made a huge mistake and is very sorry for it. Because if they think that we will go to watch just because all the teams are together, they should already know, that is not going to happen. I have to say, as hard as the OWRS guys are working; it is not the same without all the best teams. I will go to races and watch races and support the series. I do miss watching the best teams and drivers compete in the best series. All the drivers from the 70's 80's and 90's were the best because of the diversity of the series and the 500. That's what CART was built on. That is what it needs to be again. Sam Mancuso, Miami, FL.  Dear Sam, Everyone agrees that there should never have been a split.  Tony George made a serious error in judgment.  Now the question remains whether too much damage has been done for the sport of Indy Car Racing to ever recover given NASCAR's monopolization of American motorsports.  How you put the two series back together is the difficult question to answer.  It's one thing to talk about unification, and quite another to make it happen.  Unless they go with our two division idea and capitalize on the rivalry's that have been created as a result of the split via a playoff type system that exists in all other sports, a lot of people are going to find themselves without jobs and a lot of venues with no race.  Mark C.

6/4/04

Another IRL puppet rag  A reader writes, Road and Track is another propaganda garbage magazine that I will be writing tomorrow and canceling due to their latest article about Sam Hornish Jr and the Indy Racing League's struggling but gaining in popularity Indy Racing League.  If you can find the stomach to read the article it tells about OWRS and its certain demise. I am writing them to tell them about the demise of my subscription to their rag and let them know about all the stats of the IRL and Champ Car.  I hope that all your subscribers know that Road and Track is another puppet of the IRL and to not buy it. Doug Ferguson

6/4/04

Unification thoughts  A reader writes, Hi, thanks for all the hard work on AutoRacing1.com, it's my number one fix for motor-racing info.   I've been a Champ Car/IndyCar fan since 1993. I consider myself a Champ Car fan first, but also watch the IRL on TV. I fully agree that Tony George's egotistical split has ruined the sport, but aren't the recent comments in Hot News from fellow Champ Car fans that "we will never accept unification" a little shortsighted? For me it's this sort of stubbornness that got us all (both series and the fans) into this mess in the first place. If a GENUINE opportunity for both series to combine and grow stronger (and perhaps regain the ground lost since the split) exists, then surely it would be folly not to pursue it.  Yes CART was burned once before by unification talks, but both sides still have something the other needs - the IRL has the Indy 500 (still arguably the most recognizable race in American racing), some of America's most famous racing teams and open-wheel drivers, multiple manufacturers, and a network TV deal - Champ Car has some hugely successful road/street races, passionate new teams, versatile cars, and significant and loyal fan support. Surely combining the best aspects of the two would make for a much stronger series. Isn't the Indycar World Series of pre-1996 what most of us would like to see again? Neither the IRL or Champ Car are likely to become that on their own.   As in many conflicts, eventually the time must come where the mistakes and grievances of the past must be set aside for the common good. Surely if we can't do this we're no better than 'the other guys', whichever side they're on.  Thanks again to everyone at AutoRacing1.com for all your efforts.  Mark Gill, Leeds, England  Dear Mark, Certainly what you say makes a lot of sense.  However, there are many in Champ Car who will never forget when Tony George met with Champ Car leaders about a unification years ago.  The talks were going well until he got his ABC TV deal re-signed.  He then proceeded immediately to end all talks saying he was no longer interested.  Many feel that Roger is talking unification now so he can get Honda, Toyota and Chevy to commit to a contract extension by August (i.e. use Champ Car to make it look like there will be one series) and then pull the rug out from under them again.  Roger recently went on record saying a unified series would be ovals with only a few road courses.  Clearly, he is a key player in the oval track cartel who cares first and foremost about maximizing profits on the many oval tracks they own.  So, many simply don't trust him.  Mark C.

6/4/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Berger to drive F2003-GA in China
Zonta, Fisichella, escape Monza scares
'I'm not coming back' - Mika Hakkinen
Red Bull to buy Jaguar ... ?
Davidson to meet with Sir Frank Williams
Raikkonen happy with 'B spec' McLaren
Webber and Toyota
Chinese GP to be 'tobacco-free' zone
'Gives Jacques another shot' - Lauda to Williams
F1 must 'think carefully' about qualifying shake-up
'I drive better than the rest' - Schumacher
Webber breaks Silverstone lap record
Honda find 'counter measure' for Sato blow-up
Sato - Japan's first world champion ... ?
F1 'needs an American driver' - Stewart

6/4/04

Jessica Simpson sues Motorock affiliate  UPDATE Four Dog was never related to Motorock. They were an independent producer that worked their own deal. Kevin Kalkhoven nor I never heard the name until people made a connection that didn't exist. Motorock never had anything to do with this. Paul Gentilozzi   6/3/04 - Jessica Simpson, who famously sang that she "never felt so beautiful" with "nothing but a T-shirt on," has had second thoughts about the T-shirt. Simpson, the star of MTV's "Newlyweds," has filed suit for $140,000 claiming she wore a T-shirt with a promotional logo in the video for her single "With You" but was never paid by the promotion company that arranged for the deal. In the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and made public on Wednesday, Simpson claims that she wore a T-shirt promoting the auto racing company Motorock but then had a related concert scrapped and was never paid. Simpson also has asked the New Jersey company, 4 Dog Productions, LLC., to pay her damages and interest to be determined at trial. The complaint, originally filed in federal court in April, claims that Simpson agreed to sing at the Grand Prix auto race of Puerto Rico in October last year. The contract had called for Simpson to be paid $14,000 by Oct. 8, 2003 and $126,000 before Oct. 22. But on Oct. 10, the lawsuit says that 4 Dog Productions "unilaterally canceled" plans for her auto race performance without the consent of Simpson or her agency. "The lawsuit is baseless," Mike Zaccaro, owner of 4 Dog Productions and the defendant in the lawsuit, told Reuters. Simpson's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.  Reuters

6/3/04

Zonta hits tire barrier at 200 MPH  Toyota's Formula One reserve driver Ricardo Zonta ended testing a day early after escaping unhurt from a 200mph crash at Monza Thursday. The team said that the Brazilian careered into the tire barriers at the exit to the Italian circuit's Parabolica curve and the car was too badly damaged for him to continue as scheduled Friday. Zonta's was the second big accident in two days at Monza, with the Brazilian Felipe Massa's Sauber-Petronas suffering a left rear suspension failure as his car approached the first chicane at high speed on Wednesday.

6/3/04

Marty Roth eyes IRL full-time in 2005 “We’re looking at running at Michigan (International Speedway) and Fontana (California Speedway) in 2004” Marty Roth said. “We’re not sure yet about Chicagoland (Speedway) and the second Texas (Motor Speedway) race.” Michigan and California are both 2-mile tracks while Chicagoland and Texas feature 1.5-mile ovals. "We don’t have the wing configuration for the short tracks,” Roth said. “We have to rebuild the car and we want to put it together for the bigger speedways.” The team is also seeking time to pore over all the data it acquired from running more than 1,800 miles at Indianapolis during May. “Indianapolis was the best place to make this transition,” said Roth, whose team took delivery of a new Dallara chassis on March 25 and had it on the track for the Rookie Orientation Program on April 26. “We were probably one of the only teams there to never have seen the inside of a wind tunnel. We’d like to put it through a wind tunnel, and now we’ve got the luxury to sit back, go through things, analyze it and see what the car is really like.” "We want to do a bit of homework before we go back out there.” Roth would also like to run a full season in the IndyCar Series in 2005, especially if the series adds road courses. “I want to be among the first to get the road course configuration,” Roth said. “We’ll be at all the tests and do all the road courses next year. Hopefully, we’ll be in a position to do a full season.”  IRL

6/3/04

Fogarty fastest in Friday practice  Toyota Atlantic 2002 series champion Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) knew that he had a quick car from the moment his crew unloaded his Atlantic machine at The Milwaukee Mile on Thursday. He used his speed and experience on the 1.032-mile legendary oval to post the fastest practice time for Saturday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic race (SPEED Channel; Sunday, June 6 - 2 p.m. ET) - Round 3 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. Fogarty's quick lap of 24.675 seconds (150.565 mph), set in the evening practice session, actually topped the official Atlantic course qualifying record at Milwaukee. The record is held by current Champ Car driver Ryan Hunter Reay who recorded a lap of 24.762 seconds (150.036 mph) during Atlantic qualifying in 2002. Fogarty's time is not considered official because it was set during practice. "We have a good car and a good car certainly makes it easier (on an oval)," said Fogarty. "Hopefully, we'll be able to fine tune everything (on Friday) and we'll have a car that's fast out of the gate." With two previous career starts at the only oval on the Atlantic series schedule, Fogarty is one of the more experienced drivers in the field at making left turns only, which is the case at Milwaukee. If he wants to maintain the pace he established on Thursday, he'll need to outduel another driver whose proven that he knows something about oval racing as well. Series points leader Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works) carded the second-fastest time on Thursday at 24.889 seconds (149.211 mph), also established in the evening session. Dalziel is the defending champion at Milwaukee and he led from wire-to-wire last season for his first Atlantic victory. When asked if he got everything out of the car on Thursday, Dalziel carefully considered his answer before responding. "We're at about 95 percent," said the Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver.  Proving that he's a quick study in oval racing, rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) could also figure in the shootout for the pole. Ranger, Dalziel's teammate, owned the third-fastest time on Thursday with a best lap of 24.902 seconds (149.193 mph) despite racing on an oval for the first time in his young career.

6/3/04

Pepsi 400 Grand Marshal  Orlando Magic NBA All-Star guard and Florida native Tracy McGrady will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 46th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday, July 3 at historic Daytona International Speedway. The 25-year-old McGrady will give the starting command for the 160-lap, 400-mile mid-summer classic. We're thrilled to have Tracy McGrady join us for the excitement and pageantry of the Pepsi 400, Speedway President Robin Braig said. He's one of the top players in the NBA and we're excited to have him help start the Pepsi 400 one of the premier events in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. One of the most potent scorers in the NBA, McGrady has captured numerous honors since joining the Orlando Magic in 2000. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound guard is a four-time NBA All-Star and has captured the NBA scoring title in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.

6/3/04

Hurry and renew?  Fans are encouraged to send their ticket renewals, upgrades and orders for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, scheduled for May 29, 2005, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as soon as possible. The deadline for renewals, which give fans the opportunity to guarantee the same seating assignment, is June 14. To purchase tickets, camping or parking, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.  [Editor's Note:  With all the free ticket giveaways this year, we are willing to bet a lot of people will choose not to renew their tickets and wait for a freebie instead.  Historically ticket giveaways kill the market.]

6/3/04

Hornish to marry Saturday  The 24 year-old Defiance, Ohio, native will be married to Crystal Liechty on June 5 in Indianapolis. After the wedding and reception, the couple will return to their new home in Ohio for a few days before Hornish heads to Texas Motor Speedway to compete in the Bombardier 500. After the June 12 night race, the couple will fly to Las Vegas for a few days to celebrate.

6/3/04

Stagger-Effect in play in Milwaukee  This being the lone oval event on the current Champ Car World Series schedule, it means the Bridgestone Potenza race tires will employ the concept of "stagger" for the only time this season. Stagger is achieved when the diameter of the right-rear tire is purposely made slightly greater than that of the left-rear tire. This effect helps the Champ Cars turn more smoothly and naturally on ovals, much the way a Styrofoam coffee cup will naturally roll in a tight circle (with the smaller base end of the cup always remaining on the inside of the circle) when placed on its side. The diameter differential in the Potenza oval tires (0.42 inches) is not nearly as much as that of the coffee cup, but the effect is very similar.

6/3/04

Coyne signs Mazzacane  Dale Coyne Racing announces the signing of Gaston Mazzacane to pilot one of its Lola entries for the Milwaukee Time Warner Road Runner 250. Argentine driver Gaston Mazzacane will be racing in the Milwaukee event driving the #19 American Medical Response Lola. “I am very pleased with this opportunity to finally get back into a single-seater,” commented the 29-year old South American. “Since my departure from Formula 1, Champ Car has been my goal where all the cars are more equal. I am grateful to Mr. Coyne for giving me this opportunity.” Mazzacane comes to Champ Car with an impressive resume. He drove for Minardi, Prost and was scheduled to drive for the Phoenix Formula 1 teams in F1. His best finish at Minardi was an 8th place at Germany in the highly competitive field of Formula 1. Gaston’s season at Minardi was also highlighted by several good qualifying showings out ranking his teammate Marc Gene 4 times and Jenson Button at Melbourne with his Minardi chassis and two-year-old Ford/Cosworth engine. The La Plata, Argentina native started his racing career in 1989 Karting in Argentina. He would progress up the ladder through South American F3 and Italian F3 in the early and mid 90’s before progressing to Formula 3000 where he prepared for his F1 testing debut in 1999. In October of 2003 Mazzacane tested a Sam Schmidt IRL car at Kentucky Speedway topping out at 218 MPH. Dale Coyne Racing has recently concluded testing at Putnam Park and Road America in preparation for Gaston’s debut at the Milwaukee Mile. “First, I would like to thank Tarso Marques and restate that we believe in his abilities as a driver and hope that we can offer him opportunities in the years to come,” reported team owner Dale Coyne. “There are many circumstances surrounding this change of drivers. We are confident in the fact that Gaston, once he has some more miles and races under his belt, will be in a very competitive form as he has exhibited in the past.” The team now prepares for the season’s first oval event at the famed Milwaukee Mile.

6/3/04

Finally, some Champ Car promotion  Not only has there been good promotion in Milwaukee for the Champ Car race this year, this email (see image at right) is going out to all Time Warner Cable or Road Runner customers promoting the G.P. of Milwaukee.....this is what Champ Car needs more of these types of promotions directly to consumers.

6/3/04

Carpentier leads opening practice in Milwaukee  Canadian Patrick Carpentier just nosed out American Ryan Hunter-Reay for the top speed in the first practice session for Saturday night's Time Warner 250 at the famous Milwaukee Mile.  Bruno Junqueira, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top 5.  The opening practice was essentially a rubbering in and track cleaning session.  Expect speeds to rise as the weekend progresses.

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.233 174.973 281.591
2 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.270 174.669 281.102 0.037
3 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.462 173.106 278.586 0.229 0.192
4 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.495 172.840 278.158 0.262 0.033
5 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.606 171.952 276.729 0.373 0.111
6 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.626 171.793 276.473 0.393 0.020
7 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.746 170.845 274.948 0.513 0.120
8 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.828 170.203 273.914 0.595 0.082
9 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.859 169.962 273.527 0.626 0.031
10 O. Servia 11 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.871 169.869 273.377 0.638 0.012
11 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 21.921 169.481 272.753 0.688 0.050
12 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 22.270 166.825 268.478 1.037 0.349
13 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 22.308 166.541 268.021 1.075 0.038
14 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 22.336 166.332 267.685 1.103 0.028
15 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 22.755 163.270 262.757 1.522 0.419
16 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 22.758 163.248 262.722 1.525 0.003
17 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 22.955 161.847 260.467 1.722 0.197
18 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 23.082 160.957 259.035 1.849 0.127

6/3/04

Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500 TV trivia  Which three markets appear in the ten highest-rated TV markets for both the Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500?

Answer:  Louisville, Nashville and Orlando

6/3/04

Webber leads final day at Silverstone 

 1. M. Webber – Jaguar - 1:17.638 - 116 laps
2. J. Button – BAR - 1:17.862 - 108 laps
3. R. Barrichello – Ferrari - 1:18.041 - 90 laps
4. J.P Montoya – Williams - 1:18.124 - 85 laps
5. K. Raikkonen – McLaren - 1:18.208 – 103 laps
6. J. Trulli – Renault - 1:18.260 - 69 laps
7. F. Alonso – Renault - 1:18.281 - 99 laps
8. C. da Matta - Toyota - 1:18.540 - 98 laps
9. A. Pizzonia – Williams - 1:19.264 - 14 laps
10. G. Pantano – Jordan - 1:19.651 - 44 laps
11. N. Heidfeld – Jordan - 1:20.935 - 71 laps

6/3/04

The King is dead, Long love the King  A reader writes, Thank you for that pleasant and truthful article by Anderson.....I truly enjoyed and couldn't agree with it more. The press pumping by Mr. Penske leads me to believe that the IRL is in trouble and in need of some positive publicity. I have never seen the IRL/IMS take as much negative press as they have this past week (the week of their biggest race).  People are starting to wake up that " IT'S THE FANS STUPID!!!!"  Yes it's all about the fans.

And I will never ever support anything that involves the IRL or Tony George even if a merger's to happen between Champ Car and the IRL. I have invested too much time, money, emotions and effort as a fan into Champ Car's survival that along with that strong love (for Champ Car) I have developed the same amount of hate toward the IRL. If Open Wheel decides to merge, it better be the IRL'ers coming over to Champ Car, not vice versa. These guys don't get it, they alienated the true fans to the point of no return.  I don't know exactly at what point my hate toward the IRL grew the most, whether it be the Penske betrayal, the Andretti switch or the Bankruptcy proceedings. I remember the last time Roger Penske was speaking so positively of a series, it was right before he stuck the knife in the back of Champ Car. Could this be Mr. Penske panicking prior to jumping ship if the automakers leave the IRL? At some point, someone at Honda has to stop and ask: what are we getting out of our involvement with the IRL?

As a fan, since turning 18 my first car was a Camry, traded it in for a newer Camry 3 years later because of Toyota's involvement with Champ Car in the 90's, then leased a 4-Runner along with that Camry all from the same dealership. When my lease was up, the dealer contacted me in late 2002 to get a newer model, I walked into the dealer handed them the keys signed the proper paperwork told them I only owned Toyota due to their involvement in Champ Car. I said that I was going to FORD, went to a Lincoln got a Navigator and then traded the CAMRY for a Taurus. I made sure I told the manager why I was buying the FORD. Now I own an Explorer and a Taurus. Toyota repeatedly sends me test driving letters wanting me back as a customer and I always write back and mention my disgust with their support for the IRL. The point of this story is: This split has driven a wedge in the true fans' hearts and we will stop at nothing in our support of Champ Car. Let's see how they like to hear that in the boardrooms of all the IRL supporting corporations. Ray Jaber, Florida

6/3/04

Champ Car/IRL Unification?  No thank you!  A reader writes, With regard to Roger Penske's recent letter in the NY Times saying he was going to work on unification of Champ Car and the IRL -- Absolutely Not! Thanks to the heroic efforts of OWRS, Champ Car is making a remarkable recovery. With continued hard work and dedication, Champ Car could even surpass the phenomenal success CART had in its heyday before Tony George's insane vision. As a member of Champ Car's family, it repulses me to consider unification with the disloyal, greedy traitors who joined the IRL. They made their decision, let them live with it. Roger recognizes the downward spiral of the IRL, and wants to bail before it becomes terminal. One can only imagine how much healthier Champ Car would be right now if he never left. Penske, Ganassi, Rahal, and the other key players who bolted for the IRL deserve what is happening to them. Let them disappear from open wheel racing along with Tony George. The loyal Champ Car fans do not want anything to do with these heartless, shameful traitors.  Name Withheld By Request

6/3/04

Indy 500 could crash and burn  There is talk of moving the traditional Indy 500 start time from 11:00 AM CDT to 1:00 PM CDT or later.  If this happens, they will destroy yet another 500 tradition, but worse yet, with the fickle weather in Indy in May, they risk not getting the race in before dark if it rains at all.  That coupled with the fact that the end of the race might run into the start of the more popular Nextel Cup race at Lowe's on TV could result in the Indy 500 crashing and burning into oblivion.  It did this year and the Nextel Cup race stepped all over the Indy 500.  The national Indy 500 TV rating of 4.1 is a massive 11% drop from last year and continues the downward plummet we have seen since the IRL was formed and CART kicked out.  The Nextel Cup race is now 22% more popular and pulling away.  In other words, under the IRL, the Indy 500 is in a freefall and the crash landing isn't going to be pretty.

6/3/04

Aussie doctor cleared  An appeals tribunal of Victoria's Medical Complaints Board has ruled that a doctor involved in the Formula 1 accident there in 2001 did not act unprofessionally when he ordered doctors to continue attempts to revive track marshal Graham Beveridge, despite the fact that Beveridge has already been declared dead.  Dr Anthony Vissenga was ruled to have committed an "error of judgment" but had not acted unprofessionally.

6/3/04

Toyota joins hunt for Webber  Japanese car giant Toyota has joined the battle for the services of highly-rated Australian Mark Webber as it searches for a Formula 1 partner for Ralf Schumacher in 2005, according to this week's Autosport magazine. Webber has long been linked with a switch from his current team Jaguar to Williams-BMW next year, but Autosport understands that Toyota has already held talks with Webber's manager, Renault team boss Flavio Briatore. Given Williams past record on driver salaries, it is unlikely to get dragged into a bidding war for Webber's services. Toyota, meanwhile, is believed to have one of the biggest budgets in F1, although team chiefs are quick to play that down. Webber said: "I'm not 22 any more and I have got to make the right decisions for my future. The next decision is important for me. Formula 1 is a phenomenally fickle business."

6/3/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Sun shines on Silverstone session
Renault to unveil engine step
Fisichella should 'stay at Sauber' - boss
F1 doctor found 'not guilty' - report
Davidson debuts new Honda - Monza
All efforts on 'B spec' Toyota car
Surtees' concern amid Trulli speculation
Brands Hatch and Colin Chapman
Honda's 'secret' engine development plan
Ferrari has 'new aero package' - source
UK government pressured on Brit GP future
McLaren to 'split efforts' on updated car
Williams would build own test track
Fisichella to race Maserati ... ?
BMW asked Williams 'for a plan' - Sir Frank 

6/3/04

Trio test at TMS  Defending Bombardier 500k champion Al Unser Jr. along with Tomas Scheckter and Felipe Giaffone completed an incident-free day of testing Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway preparing for the June 12 running of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race. The trio participated in the Chevrolet test on the 1.5-mile superspeedway getting ready for this year’s Bombardier 500k, the final on-track action prior to race weekend. All three wheeled Dallara/Chevrolet configurations around “The Great American Speedway,” Unser for Patrick Racing, Scheckter in the Pennzoil Panther Racing mount and Giaffone aboard the Team Purex creation. Approaching thunderstorms shortened the afternoon and evening test 45 minutes. Unser will be starting his second race for the Patrick Racing team in the Bombardier 500k. The defending Texas race winner and famed car owner Pat Patrick debuted at the Indianapolis 500. Scheckter won the pole position for the Bombardier 500k in 2002 and 2003. Giaffone was the runner-up in the June, 2001 Texas IRL IndyCar Series event. Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice will be seeking his initial triumph at Texas Motor Speedway as will Indy Racing League IndyCar Series point leaders Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan. Two-time Texas IndyCar Series winner Sam Hornish Jr. will be in the field along with Helio Castroneves, the 2001 and 2002 Indy 500 victor.

6/2/04

NASCAR drivers to roast Helton  NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon and Jimmy Spencer, as well as team owner Richard Childress, will roast NASCAR President Mike Helton at 6:00pm ET at Greensboro’s Koury Convention Center at the MS Dinner of Champions ROANOKE TIMES

6/2/04

Toyota Atlantic Series implements cost savings measures  Officials from the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama announced several rule changes today that will result in curbing the costs associated with competing in the top open-wheel driver development series in North America.

The most significant changes announced relate directly to limiting and conserving the amount of Yokohama tires used during a race weekend and a reconfiguration of the RPM limiter intended to help increase the life of the Toyota-powered engines.

"We were able to work closely with our team owners and our technology staff, led by (Toyota Atlantic Technical Director) Don Preston and (Champ Car Manager of Technology) Steve Sewell to achieve some significant cost-cutting measures," said Vicki O'Connor, Managing Director of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. "We believe that all of the changes announced today will further help in cutting the costs of operating a successful Atlantic program while still maintaining the high level of safety and competition that we've all grown to appreciate in this series."

The rules changes were approved at the most recent meeting of the Toyota Atlantic team owners held in Monterrey, Mexico two weeks ago. Effective immediately under the new guidelines, the maximum allotment of new Yokohama tires that each competitor may use on a road course will be reduced from twelve (12) to eight (8) at each event. Teams will now also have the option of using one additional set of marked tires from the previous event on road courses only. The used tires may only be used in practice sessions during a race weekend. All cars must still be equipped with new tires supplied at the event for both qualifying and the race. The tire allotment for oval races, which will be in effect at Milwaukee this weekend, remains at twelve (12) for each competitor and new tires must be used during all practice, qualifying and race sessions on ovals.

The series also introduced an RPM "soft limiter" which is designed to prevent the Toyota engines from reaching its hard limit. In Milwaukee, the soft limiter will be set at 9600 RPM in an effort to reduce the loading on the engines.

In addition to the tire allotment and RPM limiter rule changes, series officials have also limited the amount of crew members that are allowed to work on an individual car to six people during practice, qualifying and race conditions. The series also announced further restrictions to the Hewland Powerflow differential used in Atlantic competition.

6/2/04

F1 test times - Monza  Davidson and BAR Honda on top

Name Team Tires Laps Time Gap
Davidson BAR M 113 1:20.611 160.754 mph
Badoer Ferrari B 120 1:20.716 0.105
R Schumacher WilliamsF1 M 82 1:21.492 0.881
Zonta Toyota M 96 1:21.597 0.986
Panis Toyota M 95 1:22.317 1.706
Coulthard McLaren M 117 1:22.984 2.373
Massa Sauber B 17 1:23.229 2.618

6/2/04

F1 test times - Silverstone  Sato and BAR Honda on top

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m18.091s 67
2 Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m18.148s 124
3 Michael Schumacher Ferrari B 1m18.290s 76
4 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m18.454s 66
5 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m18.509s 34
6 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m18.650s 86
7 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m19.090 126
8 Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m19.143s 80
9 Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW M 1m19.292s 43
10 Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m20.557s M 104
11 Giorgio Pantano Jordan-Ford M 1m21.104 85
12 Nick Heidfeld Jordan-Ford M 1m21.411s 59

6/2/04

Feud of the week, does Indy matter anymore?  [Editor's note:  We predicted year's ago Tony would kill the sport by creating the IRL and now everyone pretty much agrees he has.  Even the crown jewel of American racing is being destroyed.  The IRL should be dissolved effective the 2005 season and Tony and his family should focus all their attention and money on rebuilding the Indy 500.  Turn the clock back to 1995 when things were going great and let Champ Car run the series and sanction the events.]  This CBS Sportsline article says, The Indy 500: As American as mom and apple pie, right? While the media still covers it as if it's still among the pantheon of great American sports events, does it really deserve to be on that pedestal anymore? Who's watching? Who's reading? Who cares? More people might remember who sang the national anthem than who won the race at Indy. The Indy 500 drew a 4.6 rating last year. That's less than every single Nextel Cup event that has appeared on Fox this season. Unless they're a big fan of the IRL, most people have no clue who any of these drivers are. Maybe Helio Castroneves as a two-time Indy 500 winner. But that's a HUGE maybe. Buddy Rice? Forget about it. His name didn't appear on the scene until he captured this year's pole, and even then there was a collective "Buddy who?" followed with a shrug. The victory should bring him another 15 minutes of fame, but that's about it. The making of an Indy legend? Not a chance. Those days are over. It's doubtful there'll be another hero behind the wheel of an Indy car in the mold of a Mario Andretti or A.J. Foyt anytime soon. Today's drivers are forgettable. Not because they lack talent, but because the league has lost touch with any semblance of a major fan base. Andretti told the AP the speedway has never recovered from the IRL-CART split that divided open-wheel racing in 1996. "It goes back to the political situation. It did not need to happen, and I think the split of the two leagues caused some emotions among the fans that hurt both sides. That's the part I hate to see. ... This was an event that should never have been compromised by anything and it was."

6/2/04
Formula GP2

Eurointernational plans GP2 assault  The EuroInternational Formula Renault V6 squad has revealed its intention to enter the new GP2 Formula 1 support series in 2005.   EuroInternational, which grew out of the US-based Euromotorsports Champ Car and sportscar team, looks certain to graduate to the grand prix support series with Giorgio Mondini, who is a race winner in the V6 Eurocup this year. The team wants to field an experienced Formula 3000 or ex-F1 driver in the second car.   Team owner Antonio Ferrari said: “I want to take the team forward and a series that goes together with F1 makes sense for us.”  Eurointernational joins fellow V6 Eurocup frontrunners DAMS, Jenzer and David Price Racing in announcing GP2 plans for next year.  Autosport Magazine

6/2/04

New high-speed camera  A new high-speed camera designed to revolutionize television coverage of F1 races made its debut at last weekend’s European GP. The pit mounted camera – which can get from 0 to 60mph in 2.4 seconds – could accelerate alongside the grid to give an unprecedented view of the opening moments of the race.  Autosport Magazine

6/2/04

Bourdais on Wind Tunnel tonight  Sebastien Bourdais will be a guest on Wind Tunnel Wednesday June 2nd. Bourdais currently drives in the Champ Car World Series for Newman/Haas Racing where he has collected 5 poles and 3 wins in his short career. But this month, his focus will be split as he will be driving in his fourth 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

6/2/04

Big Champ Car promotion in Milwaukee  A reader writes, With billboards, full page ads in the Sunday paper, cable TV and radio advertisement as well as free ticket giveaways if you put a bumper sticker of a popular radio station on your car. It's now or never for the future of Champ Car racing at the Milwaukee Mile. I can only pray it works out. I saw my first race at the Mile with Gordon Johncock winning. I've been in love with these cars ever since. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI  Dear Arno, If they can't get a big turnout with all that promotion, then it will prove once and for all that Americans have little interest in open wheel cars on ovals now that NASCAR has monopolized oval track racing in the USA.  Mark C.

6/2/04

Who threw the ice bag?  A driver in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 was apparently attempting to cause an intentional caution when a bag of ice hit several cars on Lap 349 of 400, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said. Darby said the bag of ice came from a car in the field, but that the car could not be identified with certainty from video replay of the incident. The ploy worked, as NASCAR threw the caution. Causing an intentional caution is prohibited by NASCAR rules. ThatsRacin.com

6/2/04

Ganassi being sued  NASCAR and IRL Team[s] owner Chip Ganassi was accused in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday of failing to pay his share of a $35 million debt linked to the construction of the Chicago Motor Speedway. The multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the Chicago-based National Jockey Club alleged that Ganassi failed to adequately fund the project and was trying to duck his share of the debt, according to a statement from the club. Ganassi could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. CBS Sportsline/AP

6/2/04

Cope out, Wallace in  Team owner Don Arnold of Naples said late Tuesday afternoon that he will replace driver Derrike Cope with Mike Wallace for Sunday's MBNA 400 at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. Wallace through the 2004 season has been piloting the #4 Geico/Sportclips Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series. "I think you know where I'm going with this," said Arnold, whose Nextel Cup Series team has struggled to find consistent corporate sponsorship since it debuted last summer in a Brickyard 400 qualifying attempt in Indianapolis. In the recent Nextel Open race in Charlotte, Arnold had the Geico sponsorship on the hood of the car driven by Cope and changed the overall paint scheme from gold and red to all-red. Geico will sponsor the car this weekend. "We've decided not to use Derrike at this point," Arnold went on. "We may go back to him, but right now we're going to try some options on drivers. Derrike has done an awful lot to help us progress and bring our group forward. He brought the program a long way." Arnold said he made the decision to change drivers along with crew chief Mike Hillman, who had a previous association with Wallace for A.J. Foyt Racing two years ago. In addition to giving Wallace a chance behind the wheel, Arnold said he would have P.J. Jones drive the #50 Dodge at Pocono on June 13 after earlier lining up Jones to handle the upcoming road course event at Sonoma on June 27. "Certainly I am not pleased. This wasn't something I anticipated," a disappointed Cope said Tuesday night. "I haven't talked to Don yet. He wasn't the one who told me. So it's difficult to comment. He owns the race team and he has to do what he thinks is best for his team. That's just the way this sport goes sometimes. There are no hard feelings," Cope added. "Some things happen for a reason. I'll talk to Don (today) and go pick up a couple of my racecars I have in his shop." Cope, who managed his own Cup team a year ago, said he wouldn't try to qualify on his own this weekend at Dover. "I wouldn't want to do that," he said. "I want to be proficient and that's putting a lot on your plate." Naples Daily News

6/2/04

Scott Wimmer found guilty  NASCAR driver Scott Wimmer was convicted Tuesday of drunk driving after a single-vehicle accident in January. Wimmer, 28, was sentenced to one year of probation and 24 hours of community service after he was also found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident. He was given a 60-day suspended prison term, served only if he violates probation, and will lose his driver's license for one year. He has already undergone an alcohol assessment, satisfying the last term of the sentence. Chuck Alexander, Wimmer's Winston-Salem-based attorney, said he will appeal the decision of a District Court judge, meaning Wimmer can keep his license until the appeal is resolved. Wimmer was arrested Jan. 31 for driving while impaired after wrecking a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck owned by Bill Davis Racing. Wimmer drives for the High Point-based racing team in NASCAR'S top-level Nextel Cup series. His wife, Judy Ambrose, was found innocent of charges that she impeded the investigation by lying to police. CNNSI/AP

6/2/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Rubens' the only 'amateur' - Sato
Raikkonen debuts new McLaren
Silverstone, Monza, host F1 tests
Unhappy at Panis
Schu on lookout for 'new management group'
Williams finds new sponsor
Crash 'shouldn't have happened' - Ralf
HSBC 'are unhappy' - Jaguar's Purnell
Magnussen stakes claim on Williams seat
'Montoya makes mistakes' - Niki Lauda
Fiat names new Chief Executive
Ferrari sponsor backs Canadian GP
Schu thief loses legal battle
Reliability is 'hurting' BAR - Willis
'B spec' McLaren sports 'same engine'  

6/1/04

Japanese driver named ROY at Indy  Kosuke Matsuura was selected by a panel of media and race officials as the Bank One Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration held last evening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Matsuura, who started ninth and finished 11th aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone, posted the highest qualifying and finishing positions among eight rookies competing in the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 held Sunday. “I am very happy to receive this great award,” said Matsuura. “I was lucky because most of the other rookie drivers retired during the race, but I think I did my best on the track. We had a couple of unlucky things during the race, like the [malfunctioning] refueling system, but we did a good job the whole month and many times we were the fastest. We had a good qualifying time and the car was good in the race as well, and I am very happy to work with the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team. It was a good party last night and I enjoyed it a lot.” Stark & Wetzel, an Indianapolis-based meatpacking firm, initiated the Rookie of the Year award in 1952. It was taken over by American Fletcher National Bank in 1980 and became the Bank One award in 1989 following an ownership change. In addition to being part of a long, distinguished list of former recipients – including Mario and Michael Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya – Matsuura received a $25,000 bonus.  Fernández Racing

6/1/04

Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA observations  I attended the races at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day and have to say I was very impressed by the Formula BMW USA series. BMW seems to be putting a lot behind this. Their paddock setup was first rate and everyone was professionally decked out. The drivers are between 15 and 23 and are seem be getting extremely high quality instruction. This shows on the very consistent lines nearly everyone was driving. The series itself is a compressed 14 races and the dates are set as to not conflict with school! They've brought in pros like Yannick Dalmas to help out, as well as some European drivers with several years experience in the cars to give the newer drivers a benchmark - Andreas Wirth being one of these. The 15th place, one lap down for Jonathan Summerton doesn't tell his story. He's one of the 15 year-olds and was leading the race when he spun out exiting Big Bend and got himself high sided. As for the cars, they are extremely impressive - and fast - even though this is a development series, they were the fastest cars at Lime Rock over the weekend! By Saturday, they were in 52 seconds a lap, which at LRP is amazing. The really neat thing is that on the track they look like 5/8 scale F1 cars! I think this is great that BMW is putting in this effort. Gary Gudinkas, West Suffield, CT.  Dear Gary, OWRS hit a home run when they chose to sanction Formula BMW USA.  They just need to keep hitting home runs.  Mark C.

6/1/04

NASCAR leaves IRL in its exhaust  This Daytona News Journal Online article says, Being a former Hoosier, it saddens me to say the Indy 500 is no longer racing's greatest spectacle. It probably won't even be the greatest racing spectacle Sunday. The NASCAR race will likely generate bigger TV ratings. NASCAR has been looking at the Indy Racing League in its rear-view mirror for a long time now. The level of interest is so pronounced in NASCAR's favor that the good ol' boys can't even see the open-wheeled drivers in their mirrors anymore; they have to have their spotters with high-powered binoculars do it...........The Indy 500 used to mean something. That was before Tony George ran off most of the top drivers by changing the racing league's rules. It was also before NASCAR's popularity mushroomed. Sunday's Indy 500 winner will likely be as anonymous to us as the French Open men's champion. Sunday's winner will down a cold quart of milk in Victory Lane, which is a pretty cool tradition, but outdated, just like the race.

6/1/04

Roger must be sick of it all  A reader writes, Roger Penske has to be asking himself "What the Hell Happened" to a once proud 500 and Champ Car Series. Mr. Penske himself along with Gurney, Hall & Patrick started CART back in 1979, yes, 25 years ago, and although they initially struggled with it (noting that at that time there was not the media exposure that we currently have) CART became a success. Over the years I have such fond memories e.g. Emerson Fittipaldi winning his first Champ Car Race at MIS, Eddie Cheever in the rain at Mid-Ohio and how cool it was seeing Nigel Mansell sitting on his Lola's tire at Belle Isle before the race talking to reporters and fans alike. Big crowds everywhere, fan appreciation for drivers like Zanardi and just a good feeling all the way around. Mr. Penske was there growing with the series....then the IRL. Now one has to wonder what Mr. Penske is really thinking. All the hard work he personally put into the sport to see it grow to 1995 levels and then to see it in today's decline has to make him sick, especially since he has been contributing to the IRL's game plan. When Mr. Penske left CART in 2001 for the IRL he was quoted as saying that in three years there would only be one open wheel series in the US....one bets that he never envisioned the fortitude of the Champ Car owners, drivers and fans and the disdain for Tony George & the IRL...... John Mylenek, Howell, MI  Dear John, Roger has predicted one series on a number of occasions.  Once he predicted it would be one series in 12 months, and another time in 18 months and still another in 3 years.  We suspect the falling TV ratings and attendance for the 500, coupled with all the negative media heaped upon the IRL during the month of May have made Roger realize that the crown jewel of open wheel racing, the Indy 500, is in serious disrepair and if he doesn't find a way to repair the deep wounds created when Tony split the sport in half, it may eventually be curtains for Indy Car Racing.  Our concern is that the damage that has been done is irreversible.  Let's hope we're wrong.  Mark C.

6/1/04

More on what Roger could mean  A reader writes, With regard to Roger's article, just a thought on Roger and his desire to unify the series. AutoRacing1.com had a rumor awhile ago about how the engine manufacturers were being asked to make another commitment to the IRL and they haven't yet. Could it be possible that RP knows that they are going to leave and he is trying to unify the series, so all people who jumped don't end up with egg on their faces when the series fails? Also, in the article he is expressing his opinions about the IRL with what ifs and maybes . The fans of Champ Car didn't follow Roger when he left CART. Why should we listen to him now? Brad Dunlop, Toronto Canada  See also, analysis of Penske article.

6/1/04

Tagliani tops Road America test times  There were an abundance of clouds invading the 4.048-mile Road America layout during Tuesday’s Champ Car testing, and a few appeared at first glance to be hovering directly over the Rocketsports hauler on a day when 15 cars from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford took to the test track.

But the clouds that followed the second-year Champ Car team from Michigan had a silver lining as the team ended the session atop the time charts with veteran Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) turning in a top lap of 1:44.54 according to times provided by Cosworth engineers. The team suffered through a day that saw one of its cars shelved after one lap, having a crew member bring out the ambulance with a gashed leg, and even seeing Tagliani’s car come in on the tow rope at the end of the day, but were still able to find more speed than anyone else that turned laps at Elkhart Lake Tuesday.

Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), whose whirlwind tour of the last four weeks comes to an end this weekend in Milwaukee, was second on the speed sheets with a best effort of 1:44.56. Junqueira is no stranger to going fast at Road America, having taken victory in each of the last two Champ Car visits to the Wisconsin road course.

“I love to test on this track, I wish we had five more days,” Junqueira said. “Out of the box we were really fast on our first set of tires so then we were able to try a lot of different things. My expectations when I come to this track are always very high. This is the best track on our schedule by far.”

Defending series champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was third on the charts after turning more than 80 laps around the interminable Road America course. Tracy and the rest of the Forsythe Championship Racing squad ramped up the number of laps on Tuesday after losing Monday when strong rains came through the area and washed out testing.

“We lost a day of testing and I’m not very happy about that but we did almost two race distances today,” Tracy said. “We’re not where we want to be yet but we made a lot of changes and used up all our tires so we definitely got some work done.”

Tracy’s engineer Todd Malloy agreed. “We tried a lot of stuff today, some worked well, some wasn’t so good,” he said. “I think we’re a lot closer to where we want to be now than we were last year.”

Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were the only other drivers to crack into the 1:44 range, although Dale Coyne Racing’s Oriol Servia (#11 yokeTV.com Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was a scant .02 seconds away from joining that group. Servia had a new stablemate to test with today as the team gave former Formula 1 driver Gaston Mazzacane (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) another test after he performed well in his debut test last week at Putnam Park.

“This was my first real test and I am pleasantly surprised at how fast and quick this car is,” Mazzacane said. “The potential in this car is very high. The track here is very good, it has a lot of very technical parts to it. I am very happy to have gotten this opportunity to test with Dale and hope to get more time in the car soon.”

 

The teams will now pack up and drive an hour south as they prepare for the June 3-5 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 at the Milwaukee Mile oval. The event will feature the Champ Car season’s only night race on Saturday, which can be seen on Spike TV and HDNet as well as on the official website of the series, www.champcarworldseries.com. The unofficial top times of the day are listed below.
1) Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:44.54
2) Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:44.56
3) Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:44.81
4) Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:44.86
5) Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:44.92
6) Oriol Servia (#11 yokeTV.com Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:45.02
7) Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:45.28
8) Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:45.63
9) Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:45.68
10) Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:45.78
11) Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) – 1:45.88
12) Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:46.68
13) Gaston Mazzacane (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 1:48.46
14) Alex Sperafico (#14 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) – 1:49.64
15) Nelson Philippe (#17 LeasePlan Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – No Time

6/1/04

Disturbed by Roger Penske  A reader writes, For many of us who prefer to have our world be a series of logic based events, the news on Roger Penske is a bit disturbing. For some time now I have felt that RP is looking to put himself into the role of the American "Bernie Ecclestone." The NY Times article seems to signal a shift in the tide and must have the blessings of the Powers that Be in the IRL. I truly believe that we are seeing a distancing and separation going on between the Big Players and Tony George. I also expect as early as later this year to hear the announcement that the IRL has been sold to RP and cohorts. Here's the possible scenario: If I were RP at that moment, I would mount a full blown peace campaign to regain all of the Champ Car car fans with an outright admission of error about the direction that the IRL had taken ("we have heard you, the fans...") and - in the spirit of reunification - make the comment that he and cohorts agreed that the original CART model had been the correct one and that the IRL (now to be renamed, of course...) was going to return to that course. This would probably be a real tough tactic for OWRS to counter now that they have committed to a road course only series. With the Villain removed from the picture, Captain Clean could chart a whole new course. Think about it. If there were one way to achieve this route, it would happen like that wouldn't it? The Villain of course, would retain ownership of the IMS, but his life would be a lot less complicated than it is now. So Captain Clean neatly and deftly checkmates the Champ Car camp. What remains to be seen is how does the fan base relate to this? Like the old adage always said, "Be careful for what you wish for, it just may come true." Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin

6/1/04

Indy 500 attendance estimate  Today's Indianapolis Star estimated attendance for Sunday's Indy 500 was just 250,000, way down from estimates of years gone by of 400,000.  Given there are now a confirmed 257,000 seats (including suites), and given that the empty ones about equaled the infield crowd, an estimate of 250,000 appears about right.

6/1/04

Coca-Cola 600 overnight TV Rating down  Fox’ broadcast of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 Sunday evening posted a 4.5/9 overnight, down 8% from the 4.9/10 overnight the race drew last year. THE DAILY

6/1/04

Indy 500 TV Ratings continue to plummet  ABC’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday drew a 4.6/11 overnight for live racing from 2:00-2:45pm ET and 4:30-7:30pm ET. The rating was down 10% from the 5.1/13 earned during last year’s race. THE DAILY

6/1/04

More observations from Indy  Another reader writes, I went to the Indy 500 again and the damage and feeling gets worse every year. The race and month are a shadow of its former self. I decided after last year's race not to renew my Penthouse tickets. This year my friends and I paid a total of $20 for 3 tickets from a scalper($40 face value). The seats were actually for the first turn bleachers. However, I walked into the Penthouse($150 face value ticket) and watched the start of the race since there wasn't anyone checking tickets. There were several people, "scalpers and non scalpers" selling tickets. I noticed several of the tickets had a hole punched in the ticket and also the admission stub. I asked several people why they were punched. Each time I was told they were complimentary tickets. One person told me their brother-in-law was in the national guard and was given the tickets for free. I guess the race has reached such levels that they can't get anyone to go for free. I suspect they have given away thousands of tickets to give the appearance of a sellout.   Before the race was stopped on lap 26 for rain I noticed that the first 5 five rows of every section in the Tower Terrace were empty. I also noticed several rows in the paddock that had only a few people in them. During the rain delay I walked over to the 3rd turn and watched the rest of the race from the Northeast Vista. The race itself probably looked better on TV than it was The only passing was during the restart and first lap or two afterwards.   It's really a shame what has happened to the 500. I remember going to practice and not being able to find anywhere to sit in the Tower Terrace because of the huge crowds. I would bet prior to the split the crowd for the last practice day before the first day of qualifying was more than the total crowd during the entire month of May, up to and including qualifying.  Michael Crane

6/1/04

IRL vision revision  A reader writes, To have Roger Penske (RP) coming out in print to show the IRL in the leader position of open wheel racing in light of the recent writings in the press (see Hot News items on Penske article in NY Times) on Tony George's mismanagement of the IRL is a good sign the league is a failure. RP has been very low key in the past and now he is taking the lead of promotion for damage control and switch to a Champ Car format.  Michael Andretti and Adrian Fernández are useless puppets that have lost a great deal of respect and greatly reduced their audience in open wheel racing. Puppets / mouthpieces that show no signs of personal intelligence or self esteem provide a poor example of why real professional racing teams should switch to the open wheel circle jerks of the IRL.  If the Japanese car companies were really Japanese, the leaders responsible for the IRL support debacle would be committing suicide for the great disgrace they brought to their companies.  Why in the world would seemly intelligent people like RP, Toyota and Honda dance to the changing vision of a person without the simple functionalities to REALLY lead any business? The only reason I can think of is that there is an underlying power grab that would put their interests for leadership to the top.  The 'sandbox' of open wheel racing's spoiled child is crumbling and it should be time for the IRL teams and major string pullers to abandon ship for a better planned and implemented series. Champ Cars is the real future and if RP, Toyota and Honda can't see that, then it means they have an underlying plan to control the IRL.  I do not purchase any products from Honda, Toyota, Penske or any other IRL sponsors.  G. Waugh   Dear Mr. Waugh, It should get interesting in the next several months, but rest assured that OWRS will not just stoop over and agree to Roger's overtures of unification without having a major role in a restructured company.  They have spent a great deal of time and money to take control of Champ Car and we really don't see putting the two series together a simple matter because both sides have a very different view about what open wheel racing should be.  Mark C.

6/1/04

Indy 500 0fficial Results  Results May 30 from the Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned. Race stopped after 450 miles due to rain:
1. (1) Buddy Rice, G Force-Honda, 180, $1,761,740
2. (5) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 180, $659,240
3. (2) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 180, $533,040
4. (23) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 180, $366,440
5. (4) Bruno Junqueira, G Force-Honda, 180, $296,240
6. (7) Vitor Meira, G Force-Honda, 180, $301,240
7. (6) Adrian Fernandez, G Force-Honda, 180, $294,740
8. (13) Scott Dixon, G Force-Toyota, 180, $283,740
9. (8) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 180, $311,990
10. (12) Roger Yasukawa, G Force-Honda, 180, $261,740
11. (9) Kosuke Matsuura, G Force-Honda, 180, $294,740
12. (24) Alex Barron, Dallara-Chevrolet, 180, $269,240
13. (20) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Toyota, 180, $253,900
14. (3) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 180, $255,740
15. (25) Felipe Giaffone, Dallara-Chevrolet, 179, $249,490
16. (29) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Toyota, 179, $224,990
17. (17) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Chevrolet, 179, $220,740
18. (10) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 179, $234,240
19. (26) Tora Takagi, Dallara-Toyota, 179, $230,740
20. (30) Richie Hearn, G Force-Toyota, 178, $207,740
21. (19) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Toyota, 177, $208,740
22. (33) Robby McGehee, Dallara-Chevrolet, 177, $202,740
23. (28) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 164, fuel system, $212,240
24. (32) Marty Roth, Dallara-Toyota, 128, accident, $203,990
25. (15) Darren Manning, G Force-Toyota, 104, accident, $227,490
26. (11) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 104, accident, $223,240
27. (27) Greg Ray, G Force-Honda, 98, accident, $239,735
28. (31) PJ Jones, Dallara-Chevrolet, 92, accident. $195,490
29. (18) x-Robby Gordon/Jaques Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 88, mechanical, $192,420
30. (14) Mark Taylor, Dallara-Chevrolet, 62, accident, $211,990
31. (16) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 62, accident, $212,485
32. (22) Larry Foyt, G Force-Toyota, 54, accident, $192,485
33. (21) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 26, handling, $215,735
x-Lazier relieved starter Gordon after 27 laps.
Race Statistics
Time of Race: 3 hours, 14 minutes, 55.2395 seconds.
Margin of Victory: Under caution.
Winner's Average Speed: 138.518 mph
Caution Flags: Eight for 56 laps.
Lead Changes: 17 among nine drivers.
Lap Leaders: Rice 1-12; Barron 13-15; Herta 16; Wheldon 17-33; Rice 34-49; Hornish 50-58; Rice 59-97; Wheldon 98-103; Kanaan 104-116; Wheldon 117-119; Kanaan 120-133; Franchitti 134; Junqueira 135-150; Kanaan 151; Rice 152-166; Herta 167-168; Fernandez 169-171; Rice 172-180.
Point standings: Wheldon 158, Kanaan 157, Rice 129, Castroneves 128, Dixon 106, Manning 100, Herta 91, Takagi 88, Hornish 87, Barron 82.

6/1/04

Observations from Indy  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just back from the Indy 500 and here are my observations.  There was a lot of empty seats.  I noticed this from my Penthouse Paddock seat section 6 row A.  When I first sat down, I scanned the crowd. Remember I'm pretty high up, level with the suites. There were a lot of seats empty. The tower terrace was very barren, the south end was directly across from me. Low seats in turn four were empty, and below me the deck style chairs where also very spotty. With looking glasses peering into suites, the south end suites where at minimal population, something that I could not believe. Spying on suites with my field glasses, NONE of them had a very big crowd, and a couple had less that 10 people in them.......During the first red flag, EVERYONE worked on their cars. Brian Herta  got a free pit stop out of the deal, as his car was fueled. (another guys was as well, #55 for sure, possibly Hornish) The teams changed tires, removed engine covers and messed with items under there, Herta got a wing adjustment!......The racing had to take place within three laps of a restart. After that, they became static. I think the aero package had something to do with this......Bruno almost won the freakin' race, missed it by about 11 minutes......Rice (a Champ Car ladder series trained road racer)  was a deserving winner.  He had the dominate car, but after stalling the engine on his first pit, it took him forever to regain 5th place.......Tom Sneva sort of goofed up spotting for Mark Taylor.  He was busy coaching him, and forgot to tell him there were a couple of cars under him on a restart.  Hank Taylor

6/1/04

New McLaren hits Silverstone  A new M4-19B is out on the track this morning at Silverstone in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen.  The track is wet.  The team hopes the new interim car fixes many of the problems inherent in the old car.

6/1/04

The mystery of Tony George  This Forth Wayne, Indiana Journal article is a rare look into the person called Tony George, the man that has brought Indy Car Racing to its knees.  It's a very interesting read into this person who is very quiet and difficult to read - but most importantly it helps us understand how Tony was pretty much forced into becoming the President of the Indy Speedway at 29-years old when his father was killed in a shootout with his mother's lover and his grandfather died a year later.  He was the only male left in a family of him, his mother and three sisters. It reveals his use of cocaine and marijuana and the fact that he barely got by in college with a 2.0 grade point average.  In many respects he was ill-prepared to run the racing institution called the Indy 500.  Yet, depending on where you sit, he is either the greatest thing to ever happen to Indy Car racing, or the worse. Perhaps the end of the article best describes this mystery man - he (Tony) takes a deliberate step back into the shadows, becomes a shadow himself.  Ah. "That's better," writes the author.  Although he prefers to lurk in the shadows, unfortunately for the sport he decided to step out of the shadow in 1995 when he created the IRL, split the sport in two, and essentially destroyed it.  He probably would have stayed in the shadow had it not been for some people around him urging him to create a breakaway series.  One of those people was AJ Foyt, who didn't like losing in CART, though it's ironic that with all the CART teams now in the IRL, his team is right back where it was then - at the back of the grid.  In a nutshell, we don't think Tony fully understood what consequences his actions would have, nor did he have the business acumen and racing experience to understand.  Perhaps recognizing his weaknesses, he relied on the ill-advice of those around him.  Now, as we read below in the NY Times article written by Roger Penske, Penske himself may step forward and try to put Indy Car Racing back together again.

6/1/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Schu 'broke the rules' - rumor
Montezemolo as Fiat chairman
F1's Leaping Cat on ninth life ... ?
Williams would prefer 'experienced' driver
'Mika's not returning' - Ron Dennis 
Is BMW buying a Williams stake ... ?
Cricket legend at the Nurburgring
Schumacher heads to Silverstone
Michelin want Canadian comeback
Williams 'wants second' - Theissen
Rubens' no 'slow coach' - Todt
F1 'needs Takuma Sato' - BAR's Richards
Ferrari to win the rest - Dupasquier
Alonso bemoans 'blocked' Renault steering
'B spec' McLaren debuts in England
FIA delays Safety Car revisions
F1's Italian future 'in doubt' - government
Ferrari fears winning 'dip' - Brawn
Ford 'not interested' in spending race
Sam Michael used to 'sweep floors'  More to follow.....

5/31/04

Formula BMW

Wirth makes it 2-for-2 at Lime Rock  Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) became the first double winner in the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship with a second win in today's Round 2 contest at Lime Rock Park. He covered 21 laps in the 18- minute contest, finishing .502 seconds ahead of the second place car of the weekend's double-pole winner Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica). Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) finished third. Rounds 3 and 4 of the Formula BMW USA Championship will take place in support of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 11-13.
Race 2 - Results - 21 laps
1. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 18:28.424
2. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 18.28.926
3. Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) 18:31.289
4. Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport) 18:32.860
5. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 18:33.144
6. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 18:36.702
7. Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport) 18:37.408
8. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 18:37.840
9. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 18:47.901
10. Alan Sciuto (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 18:48.025
11. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 18:50.619
12. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 19:02.649
13. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 19:10.350
14. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 19:16.082
15. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) 18:38.777 - one lap
16. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 19:25.678 -five laps
Fastest race lap: Jonathan Summerton, 51.515 new race record

5/31/04

IRL/Champ Car unification close?  Don't think so?  Consider this - Tonight's Indy 500 Banquet on Channel 13 in Indy was co-hosted by Champ Car announcer Derek Daly and the ceremonies were hosted by Champ Car Anchor Bob Jenkins.  Most Champ Car fans find it unconscionable to allow your on-air talent to work for a competing series. Like letting Tom Brokaw host a program on ABC. When it comes to TV they have no clue.  Mark C.

5/31/04

Champ Car TV analysis  The Champ Car TV package has gone from decent to bad. We still shake our heads over the fact Champ Car is not on CBS this year.  According to a CART 10K, the 1994-2001 ESPN and CART deal had a revenue sharing agreement that called for at least 50% of the CART Championship to be shown on a major broadcasting network in the U.S. From '98-01, all CART events were on either ABC or ESPN, and then re-aired on ESPN or ESPN2. Qualifying sessions and pre-race shows are on ESPN2. CART's contract also contained an escalating guarantee minimum revenue provision.  In 2000, CART generated $5.5M in television revenue. That figure also includes non-material revenue from the selling of broadcast rights in Brazil, Australia, and Canada.

Then CART did a deal with FOX (SPEED Channel) and CBS.  The CBS deal for 2002-2004 called for CART to buy 7 races per year (time-buy) on CBS at a cost of  $235,000-$550,000 per race.  The Fox Cable 2002-2004 CART deal was such that CART was to receive 70% of Fox' net income related to all broadcasts.   Fox was to produce the CBS races, and sell the advertising for CBS and Fox.  Speedvision (nee SPEED Channel) was to air live practice coverage on the first day of a race weekend, and provide two hours of live coverage of qualifying on Saturday and the race. Additionally, Fox Cable and Speedvision produced 24 30-minute shows called "This Week in CART."

The details of the new Spike TV deal are not known, but we do know it's a time-buy, but not as costly as the CBS time-buy deal.  Let's analyze CBS vs. Spike.  As can be seen below, the cost is probably about the same per viewer, but overall about 5 times less costly to OWRS for Spike.  However, it delivers 1/5 the viewers making it difficult to land new sponsors for the teams or the series.  To put all 16 races on CBS would have cost OWRS about $8 million in 2004, however, the question that has to be asked is whether, in total, could the teams have won more than $8 million in sponsorship deals?
Network Avg. Viewers Watching each race Time-Buy Cost per race Cost per viewer
CBS 1,800,000 Say $500,000 $3.60
Spike 350,000 Say $100,000 $3.50

 Note:  Data for this analysis obtained from Sports Business Daily

5/31/04

Indy 500 needs Champ Car  This Toledo Blade article says, Tony George hedges all this now, claiming, for one thing, that he never said the series would be exclusively ovals. Yet in a letter to the Indianapolis Star dated Oct. 24, 1995, George wrote that "the purpose of the IRL is to provide growth, stability and opportunity for open-wheel, oval track racing." So does his original vision still live, in any sense?  There's a very familiar trend here for those with pre-1996 recollections. We remember that the Indy 500, under the auspices of the IRL, is nothing more, and probably something less, than what it used to be when Tony George said it had to be something else.  Television ratings have dropped from 9.4 a few years ago to a record low 4.6 last year.  The article essentially mocks the original intentions of the IRL and Tony George now that it has morphed into CART to survive.

5/31/04

Penske will work to unify two series  Roger Penske wrote this article that the NY Times published, wherein he once again says that there needs to be one Indy Car Series.  Of course he predicts that more teams will migrate from Champ Car to the IRL probably because the IRL has engine manufacturer support and Champ Car has none.  Hence, big money will continue to be offered to Champ Car teams until they eventually go over.  Without manufacturer support Champ Car has a rough road ahead of it.  Or is Roger now coming forward to discuss unification because he knows the IRL is in deep trouble under the covers?  With that said, Roger is right in that there should be one series (there should never have been a split Tony) but the only problem is that he is deeply entrenched in the oval cartel and they make their money from oval races.  However, oval races are very expensive (destruction of both cars and human body parts) and the high-speed carnage has driven costs through the roof.  The cost to run a front line IRL car in now $8 to $10 million per year per car.  The damage that Tony George has done to Indy Car Racing in the USA may be irreversible.  It's nice to talk about unification Roger, and if you can find a way to do it, more power to you.  Unfortunately what you and Tony envision for Indy Style Racing isn't what the fans are interested in buying.  Huge gaping holes were evident in the overhead TV shots at Indy on Sunday, unheard before Tony did his damage.  The customers have left the house and they ain't coming back.  In fact it's getting worse every year.  NASCAR has pretty much monopolized racing in the USA and the only real hope for open wheel racing is Champ Car's vision of a strong global series with a smattering of races in the USA where the market can support it.  Unfortunately that is not your vision or Tony's vision.  It would be easy to support your vision if attendance was high and TV ratings were booming.  However, quite the opposite is happening hence any talk of unification centered around the IRL model is a recipe for certain failure. The only model that might work is the two division model we proposed in this article. It was written three years ago almost to the day, and while some of the proposed venues would be different now, the concept would still apply.  Ironically what I wrote three years ago Roger is exactly what you may finally be doing - "Roger Penske is the one person who may have all the right qualities to pull the two sides together, and do for CART and the IRL what he has done for all the businesses he has touched - turned them golden." Mark C.

5/31/04

Tornadoes forecast for Indy 500  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I, for one, did not see this Hot News item or know anything about the pending severe storms in Indy....My fault, I should have checked. I think that Tony George, et al, made a terrible mistake by letting the race run on with the severe storms approaching. When we left the track, we ended up right at 65 and Harding as the tornado was crossing the road. A car was already upside down in the ditch. One-half hour earlier, the storm could have taken out the track. It is a miracle that hundreds, or more, race fans were not killed or hurt. The 500 attracts many from out of town who do not have a clue as to where they are going. We didn't have a chance to avoid the storm. Yes, it was a great race. But, the race could easily have been run safely today. Max Samuelson  5/29/04 - [Editor's Note:  We urge all fans to take caution and if the skies look that bad on Sunday, stay home.  There's always another race next weekend, your safety is more important.]  This WishTV forecast for the Indy 500 Sunday says, A vigorous upper-level storm will be pulling out of the northwest today, spawning a major outbreak of tornadoes in the Plains. This storm will blow into the Ohio Valley tomorrow, and severe storms will be likely for us Sunday afternoon & Sunday night. Thundershowers will develop after midnight, along a warm front, and linger through early Sunday morning. It's difficult to time the ending of the early morning rain & the beginning of the next round of thunderstorms at this point. If the cloud deck lingers into the afternoon this may allow for enough dry-time to get the race in. If the cloud deck breaks early, strong storms will rapidly develop in very warm, humid air tomorrow afternoon. Scattered storms may produce tornadoes before they cluster into a squall-line tomorrow night....with damaging wind likely.

5/31/04

Quote of the week   Overheard on the radio during the Indy 500: AJ Foyt Jr. to Foyt IV: "This is what I've been telling you all month, you gotta accelerate when you get out there and not jack around. Now what's the car doing?" A.J. IV: "I can't really tell you what the car's doing because there are cars all around the racetrack." Foyt: "The best thing to do is just park it because for some reason you just jack around out there."  Indy Star

5/31/04

Goodyear tests new tire  Goodyear conducted a tire test last week at Daytona to determine what tire compound NASCAR will use for next year's Daytona 500. "We wanted to improve the wear of the tire for Daytona," says Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing. "It may be a little softer than what we're using now, but we're going to wait and see what the rules are for 2005, and we'll react after discussing it with NASCAR. A new tire also could be introduced for Darlington and Bristol next year. FoxSports/Sporting News

5/31/04

The most competitive field in history?   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Have you seen this? From the AP, and Yahoo Sports, "Indy director of operations Brian Barnhart outlined the race schedule and finished the drivers meeting Saturday with his annual plea for safety. "He called it 'one of the most competitive fields' in Indy 500 history and stressed the importance of a safe start." So..... if you manage to find enough fools to finally fill the field of 33, and no one who shows up is considered too slow to do so, then you have a competitive field. George Orwell has been reborn in Indianapolis! Love is hate, war is peace, and a no-bump field is more competitive than the greatest races in history! I'm going to spend my Sunday watching practice for the Baja 500! Better to watch PRACTICE (trackside) for it, than to watch that circus that the Indy "race" has become. David Laufer  Dear David, You are correct that the IRL is more show than racing, but at least those field fillers finished ahead of both Foyts who finished dead last as expected, both crashing out.  Foyt IV said,  "First, I hit the wall coming out of Turn 4. I thought everything was OK, but when I got into (Turn) 1, I found out it wasn't. It was pretty stupid on my part. We could not really get anything going out there. I was in the way every lap."  Larry Foyt said, "I just got up in the marbles. My car was bad all day and got under me in (Turn) 2, and that took me into the fence." (How does a "car get under me"?)  "He (the elder Foyt) didn't really say much," Larry Foyt said. "He said it's been a bad day for us, but we already knew that." Mark C.

5/31/04

Fiat chief resigns  Fiat SpA chief executive Giuseppe Morchio handed in his resignation Sunday, shortly after the auto conglomerate announced it had named Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo its new chairman. Morchio also had been considered a candidate for the chairman's position. The Italian news agency ANSA said it had received a statement from Morchio attributing his resignation to ``the changed conditions coming from the decisions taken today by the company's board of directors.'' The statement said Morchio regretted not being able to participate in the struggling automaker's restructuring plan, which he had led and that had begun to show ``its first positive results after 15 months of total dedication and intense work at the side of Umberto Agnelli,'' according to ANSA.  The shakeup came three days after the death of Umberto Agnelli, the last of the company's old guard. He died of cancer at age 69 on Thursday night, little more than a year after taking over Fiat Group from his elder brother Giovanni ``Gianni'' Agnelli, who passed away in January 2003.  AP

5/31/04

Latest F1 News from Nürburgring 

Schu leaves champagne corked
Brawn as Ferrari principal?
Sato rejects Rubens' 'amateur' label
Webber defiant after Schu slam
'Brave' Briton on the Button
'Thanks, Kimi' - Schumacher
Why does Sato drive the unlucky Honda?
What's happened to Barrichello?
Button gives McLaren a 'helping hand'
Less fans at the Nurburgring
McLaren authored new qualifying format
Carmakers 'don't agree' on V8 formula - report
FIA shakes up 'Safety Car' rules

5/30/04

Ralf definitely leaving Williams  Ralf Schumacher will definitely leave BMW-Williams at the end of 2004.  A television presenter for Channel 10 (Australia) said at the Nurburgring that he spoke 'face to face' with Frank Williams in the minutes prior to the race.  ''He said Ralf's leaving ... and going somewhere further down the pitlane,'' according to Bill Woods, who stood with former 500cc world champion Mick Doohan.

5/30/04

Silverstone test starts Tuesday  A big Formula One test kicks off at Silverstone this week.  Set at the old Northamptonshire airfield, it'll get going on Tuesday and is to feature the track debut of McLaren's revised and re-homologated 'B spec' MP4-19.  Jaguar will test 'several test parts' over four days, while BAR-Honda and BMW-Williams - with Antonio Pizzonia to be on duty all test - are also confirmed.  Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, will head to Monza (Italy) for a three-day session.

5/30/04

Gigante Racing website back online   After Team Rahal moved to the IRL, the Gigante Racing webpage displayed a "we are redesigning" sign.  As of yesterday the Gigante Racing web page is back again. Go to www.giganteracing.com.mx, and there is also an English version for the non-speaking Spanish fans. If you go to the store section you will see the official team shirts are sold out, proving Michel is still the Mexican favorite. It seems fans don't care this may be a very bad year for Michel, because he is with a new team, he is the man in Mexico.  Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

5/30/04

Fernández office the official IRL office in Mexico   "Promotora Fernandez Racing" which is the PR office of Fernandez Racing in Mexico has announced that they will be the official IRL PR office in Mexico.  Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

5/30/04

Feds looking for fugitive at Lowe's  This AP article says, Federal authorities have been looking for a Maine woman for three years and they have a hunch she might be in the Charlotte area this weekend. Jacqueline Lizotte is a federal fugitive and a huge NASCAR fan. U.S. Marshal William Marr says authorities know she's traveled the Eastern seaboard to NASCAR races before. Marr hopes someone will spot the 55-year-old Lizotte among the 180,000 fans expected in Concord Sunday when the Coca-Cola 600 is run at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The suspect is accused of embezzling more than $160,000 from a Lewiston, Maine, insurance company where she worked as bookkeeper. She's also charged with fleeing the state to avoid prosecution. Lizotte is listed on Maine's Most Wanted list. She's described as a four-foot-eleven, 130-pound white woman with blonde hair, hazel eyes and bad teeth.

5/30/04

NASCAR drivers question Lowe's practice times  Nextel Cup drivers are questioning why all their practice at Lowe's takes place during the warm daytime hours when the 600-mile race is run at night when track temperatures are much lower.  The cars handle much differently when the track cools.  "It's the crew chief's call and I'll do what he says, but it is pretty crazy to be practicing when we're practicing," Ryan Newman said. "We'd be better off not practicing."

5/30/04

Latest F1 News from Nürburgring 

New qualifying 'subject' to consent
Bruni's qualifying time 'deleted'
Abramovich 'not buying' BAR - Richards
'You won't beat Schu, Taku' - Button
Mercedes chief leaves F1 - Haug
Want to ride in Schu's Ferrari?
Ralf to decide future 'by July 11'
Hakkinen 'not coming back' - Dennis
Villeneuve 'due to test' a Williams
Williams 'wants to sell team' to BMW
Schu 'might have won' Monaco - Brawn
Bernie throws dinner for veteran media
Stoddart wants one-lap qualifying retained
Trulli to use 'Morse code' in Grand Prix
Renault rule out Monaco repeat
Rain to stay away on Sunday - source 

5/30/04

Ecclestone honors media    Bernie Ecclestone held a special dinner on Saturday at the Nürburgring in honor of those media members who have attended 500 or more F1 races.  One of Bernie's secrets to his success in F1 was taking care of the media.  During his reign, many times he would fly key media members to races all over the globe to be certain his races always received the proper media coverage.

5/30/04

New Nextel commercials to feature drivers  Nextel Communications Inc. announced today that the second phase of its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series advertising will launch Sunday, May 30, during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. The two television spots feature series champions Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth and their No. 24 and No. 17 racing teams, respectively. Gordon and Kenseth have won a combined five races during the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.

"Integrating the NASCAR sponsorship into our advertising campaign has been one of our key priorities and a highly visible way to broaden awareness of the sport," said Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing for Nextel. "We began our campaign in January by consciously paying tribute to the history and heritage of the sport. From there, we placed the stars of NASCAR in light-hearted situations where audiences can see that we have a sense of humor and that we are fans, too. With these new spots we continue to include the drivers and show how our technology can help NASCAR drivers and teams get things done."

This phase of Nextel's NASCAR advertising campaign is an extension of the company's Done. brand campaign and core strategy. The spots are targeted to the NASCAR fan base and demonstrate Nextel's support of the sport, its drivers, the race teams and Nextel technology as tools for solving problems.

The Gordon spot, titled "Highway Star," portrays the driver as genuine and human, with a sense of humor. The spot puts Gordon in a situation that the audience (both race fans and non-fans) can identify with -- running out of fuel. Stranded, Gordon has to use the digital walkie-talkie Direct Connect(R) service on his Nextel(R) phone to instantly contact 'Rooster', the gas man for Gordon's No. 24 team, which leads to humorous banter between the two.

The Kenseth spot, titled "Robot," illustrates that the driver and his crew work together like a well-oiled machine. This is demonstrated by their quick response to an "emergency" during a Victory Lane celebration. The champagne spray begins to make Kenseth short-circuit. The crew then uses Nextel's Direct Connect(R) walkie-talkie service to communicate with other team members who pull another 'Kenseth' out of a truck full of 'Kenseths' and return him to the Victory Lane festivities. Kenseth is portrayed as calculated and precise on the track -- as proven by his win at the recent NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

5/30/04

Interest in Indy 500 running on empty   This Milwaukee News-Journal article says, In case you've forgotten, the Indianapolis 500 was once this country's biggest race. The combination of two Indy-car series banging heads for the past eight years and NASCAR's stock-car steamroller have made the Indy 500 a preliminary for the 600-mile event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  A co-worker asked earlier this week who I thought would win the Indy classic.   Without thinking, I blurted, "Does anyone care?" .......Sadly, the 88th running of the Indy 500 at the fabled Brickyard -- where around 300,000 will attend [Try 250,000] -- seems to be just another Indy Racing League event, becoming a smaller blip on racing's radar screen with each passing year.   It's just no longer happening outside of Indiana.

5/30/04

Lowe's will toss out drunken Bubbas  [Editor's Note:  Psst, someone tell Humpy that the race will be over by the time a drunken Bubba will throw a can, so tossing them out won't do much good.] Lowe's Motor Speedway's Humpy Wheeler said that security will be tight this weekend to prevent any problems such as occurred at Talladega. "We've got our security stepped up quite a bit," Wheeler says. "Anybody who throws anything here is gone." Winston Salem Journal

5/30/04
Formula Renault

American Speed hammers Europeans again  Red Bull Junior Team racer Scott Speed is launching his name onto everyone’s lips as he has established himself as a threat to win in Formula Renault competition every time he tightens his belts. Speed is staging dual campaigns in both the Eurocup and German Formula Renault Championships.

Speed used the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic as his launch pad as he netted the pole position for both of the weekend's races, and was easily able to convert them into wins to take his six and seventh of the season. Now, Speed has assumed the lead in the Eurocup Championship after taking top spot in the German Championship last weekend.

After taking the lead at the start of the first race, the only challenge Speed felt he faced in the opening race was the track, as the slippery conditions threatened to derail his leading effort, but the young American kept his head and kept the lead for the win.

The second race saw Speed pursued by France’s Simon Pagenaud, who had held the points lead in advance of the weekend, and was pushing hard to get it back, but Speed once again controlled the pace of the race to cruise across the line a full two seconds ahead of Pagenaud, further improving his lead in the points.

Speed, who has been the lightning rod of the program this season, was naturally enthused to score everything possible on the race weekend.  "This was a perfect day - two races, two victories, the lead in the championship... There's not more to win than that!,” Speed said. “It is a great feeling to have the lead in both championships now!"

His Red Bull Junior Team teammates have nothing to be ashamed of either, as Colin Fleming continued his competitive form and netted fourth place in the first race before backing that up with another podium finish for the young Californian with a third place result.

Fellow Californian Dominique Claessens was frustrated with his qualifying effort, which saw him take the start of the races in eleventh and tenth, but he was able to fight his way into the points in both races, a difficult feat given the difficulty most of the field had finding room to pass on the twisty Czech circuit.

5/29/04

Formula BMW

Scenes from Lime Rock - Saturday   

P1010259.jpg P1010237.jpg P1010245.jpg P1010009.jpg

Photos by Monty Mathisen

5/29/04

Formula BMW

Jaskol takes pole for round 2 of Formula BMW weekend    Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) scored his second pole of the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship in today's qualifying session for Round 2. He recorded a new Formula BMW qualifying record of 51.685 seconds around the 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park circuit and will share the front row with Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport). Race 1 winner Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) will start third. "I don't think we have identified the problem that came up in Race 1, but I have been extremely impressed with all the help from BMW," said Jaskol. "We changed as much as we could between the race and this qualifying session. I was fast enough for the pole, but we won't find out if we have eliminated our problem until Monday's race. Today's pole was about getting lucky and finding a clear lap." "It feels great to qualify second," said Summerton. "We did not get the tire pressures exactly right in Race 1 earlier today, but we have it figured out now. I had one quick lap before I caught traffic so I think there is more left in the car." Wirth added, "My car was good from the very beginning of the session. As I was overtaking a competitor I hit him and upset the alignment. There was a little understeer after that so I could not improve my position. I am happy with third, just three-tenths from Matt." Round 2 of the Formula BMW USA Championship is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. Monday, May 31.
Qualifying: Race 2
1. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 51.685
2. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 51.850
3. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 51.902
4. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 52.021
5. Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport) 52.076
6. Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport) 52.158
7. Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) 52.340
8. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 52.751
9. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 52.987
10. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 53.123
11. Alan Sciuto (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 53.300
12. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 53.804
13. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 54.249
14. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 54.628
15. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 58.619
16. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) no time

5/29/04

Formula BMW

Andreas Wirth wins round 1 of Formula BMW weekend    Andreas Wirth became the first winner in the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship with a win in today's Round 1 contest at Lime Rock Park. He covered 21 laps in the 22-minute contest, finishing .443 seconds ahead of the second place car of James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport). Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport) finished third after starting from the back of the field. The exciting race got underway with pole sitter Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) leading the field into turn one. With 15 eager competitors behind him, Jaskol began to pull out a substantial lead as the race unfolded. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport), Hinchcliffe, Wirth and Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport) fought amongst themselves in the top-five. Alexis Fenton (Team Autotecnica) drove off the track in the downhill and brought about the race's only caution period on lap 11, changing the outcome of the contest. Under the yellow, leader Jaskol's car stalled on lap 15 and he was forced to watch the field pass him. He rejoined the race, but at the end of the pack. On the lap 18 restart Wirth passed Hinchcliffe under braking for turn one and held on to take the victory three laps later. Hand, who had moved into fifth before the yellow, moved up three more places in the final laps of the race. "I am very happy to have won my first race in the United States," said Wirth. "It was difficult at the beginning, but after 10 laps the car felt very good so I began to move up. When I saw Jaskol on the side of the track I knew it was my chance." Hinchcliffe added, "These Formula BMW machines are great to drive and AIM Autosport has done a great job in preparing my FB2. I had a clean race, kept my head down, and moved up one car at a time. I focused on getting a good run down the hill, popping out of line going into turn one, and getting my passes done under braking." Team PTG Motorsport driver Hand said, "I had hoped to be able to pass one car per lap. I picked turn one as the place and was able to move up. It was tough getting past my teammates so all the Team PTG Motorsport cars are making progress. I am glad that I have been given the chance to help the program." "What an exciting race to start Formula BMW USA," said Alex Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Manager. "Our congratulations to Andreas and HBR Motorsport and to everyone of our competitors. If this first race is any indication of what to expect from our season we will have a very exciting year." The top-three finishing rookies were second-place Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport), fourth-place Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) and eighth-place Tom Milner (Team PTG Motorsport).
Race 1 - Results - 21 laps
1. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport)
2. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport)
3. Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport)
4. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport)
5. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport)
6. Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team)
7. Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport)
8. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport)
9. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team)
10. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing)
11. Alan Sciuto (R) (Jensen Motorsport)
12. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica)
13. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport)
14. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team)
15. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team)
16. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica)

5/29/04

Engine manufacturers agree to 2.4L V8    Autosport reports that Formula 1's major engine manufacturers have reached agreement in principle about the future format of the sport's engine regulations in a meeting today at the Nurburgring. Subject to ratification, F1 cars will run 2.4-litre V8 engines as from the 2006 season. Power reduction and cost saving are the key motives behind the change from the current 3-litre V10 engines, which have seen power outputs climb in excess of 900bhp.

5/29/04

F3000

Toccacelo topples Liuzzi    Points leader Vitantonio Liuzzi had a disastrous Nurburgring race, which was won by title rival Enrico Toccacelo. Liuzzi made a poor start from pole and was passed by Toccacelo and Jeffrey van Hooydonk at the first corner. Liuzzi suffered tire damage that required him to pit on lap two, dropping him to the tail of the field. Van Hooydonk led the race until the pitstops, but once out front, Toccacelo ran away with it. The Italian won by 9.9secs.

5/29/04

Braun to take bigger role in Ferrari team    According to Grandprix.com, Ross Brawn is to take a bigger role in the running of the Ferrari Formula 1 as Jean Todt changes his role to be more involved in the running of the Ferrari company. Brawn attended yesterday's team principals meeting with Todt and the implication is that he will be replacing the Frenchman on occasion in the future.

5/29/04

Billionaire will not buy into F1    Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich is not about to buy into Formula One despite an interest in the sport, BAR boss David Richards says. "I have been told, from other quarters, that Abramovich will not be getting himself involved in Formula One for a variety of political reasons," Richards told Reuters at the European Grand Prix on Saturday.

5/29/04

Dixon has issues with F1    This Toronto Sun article talks about some of the issues preventing Scott Dixon from landing a seat on the Williams F1 team.  Fact of the matter is that he's an oval racer now and will almost certainly be overlooked in favor of a good road racer.

5/29/04

Formula BMW

Jaskol takes first ever Formula BMW USA pole    Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica), of Las Vegas, Nevada, will start at the front of the 16-car field for Round 1 of the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship. The 19-year old recorded a time of 52.098 seconds around the 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park circuit and will share the front row with Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport). Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) will start third, the fastest Rookie in the field. "I love it," said Jaskol. "Everything went as planned and we are on the pole. I appreciate everything Red Bull has done for me. I am delighted to be racing here in the US and in the Formula BMW USA Championship." "With the first seven cars within one second, it's terrific to see such depth and such competitiveness in our inaugural weekend," said Alex Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Manager. Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) and Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport) were the second and third fastest drivers in the 20-minute session, but were moved to the rear of the field following post-qualifying inspection. Formula BMW USA "I am now on the second row and will be right up there for the start," said 16-year- old Summerton. "We were a bit high with our tire pressures in qualifying so we may be able to find a few more tenths in the race, but I am pleased with our effort. I'll be on the inside of the second row for the start and I think that will be a good place to be." "Like they say, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good so I am quite happy to move up to the front row," said Bonilla. "I have driven this track before, but yesterday was my very first time in a Formula BMW FB2. The car is great fun to drive, very responsive and forgiving. This afternoon will be my first standing-start in a formula car and I am really looking forward to it." Round 1 of the Formula BMW USA Championship is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. today.
Qualifying: Race 1
1. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 52.098
2. Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport) 52.445
3. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 52.545
4. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 52.745
5. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 52.781
6. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 52.786
7. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 53.046
8. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 53.163
9. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 53.181
10. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 53.648
11. Alan Sciuto (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 54.315
12. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 56.131
13. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 56.446
14. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:02.074
Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) no time
Joey Hand (Team PTG Motorsport) no time

5/29/04

Latest F1 News from Nürburgring 

Webber in trouble with FIA
Pantano wasn't 'on it'
Minardi 'worked like crazy'
Williams 'hasn't developed' - Ralf
Kimi's satisfied
Schu's fiftieth Ferrari pole
First Japanese on front row
Bridgestone solves 'first lap' syndrome
Tunnel gaffe aids Schu pole
One lap qualifying 'not dead yet' - racers

5/29/04

Sarah Fisher no longer believes in IRL   Even the IRL's 'most popular driver' doesn't believe in the vision anymore.  This AP article says,  'Still only 23, Fisher hasn't lost hope that she'll get things back on track. But the frustration in her voice is unmistakable when she discusses her inability to line up a major sponsorship deal, or the direction the IRL has taken with an influx of foreign drivers and big-money car owners such as Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi. The opportunity isn't there anymore for the short-track driver,'' Fisher said. "Just look around." What a joke. Can't believe it took her so long to notice.

5/29/04

5.jpgNew lap record for Button  The lap times tumbled this morning at the Nurburgring as the teams and drivers prepared for this afternoon’s all-important qualifying runs. Jenson Button was fastest in his BAR Honda as the British star stopped the clocks in 1:28.827s around the 5.148km circuit – a new lap record.

Free Practice 4

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tyres Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'28"827 208.639 Km/h 13
2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'29"064 + 0'00"237 15
3. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'29"127 + 0'00"300 15
4. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'29"354 + 0'00"527 12
5. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'29"545 + 0'00"718 13
6. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'29"555 + 0'00"728 13
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'29"955 + 0'01"128 14
8. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'30"176 + 0'01"349 9
9. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'30"277 + 0'01"450 14
10. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'30"316 + 0'01"489 16
11. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'30"519 + 0'01"692 13
12. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'30"867 + 0'02"040 18
13. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'30"986 + 0'02"159 11
14. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'31"061 + 0'02"234 15
15. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'31"504 + 0'02"677 11
16. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'31"956 + 0'03"129 12
17. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'32"753 + 0'03"926 15
18. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'32"894 + 0'04"067 15
19. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'33"383 + 0'04"556 13

Free Practice 3

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'29"485 207.105 Km/h 11
2. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'30"192 + 0'00"707 7
3. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'30"261 + 0'00"776 7
4. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'30"369 + 0'00"884 11
5. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'30"418 + 0'00"933 10
6. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'30"532 + 0'01"047 5
7. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'30"551 + 0'01"066 5
8. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'30"600 + 0'01"115 5
9. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'30"681 + 0'01"196 5
10. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'31"248 + 0'01"763 11
11. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'31"814 + 0'02"329 11
12. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'31"816 + 0'02"331 9
13. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'32"206 + 0'02"721 10
14. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'32"596 + 0'03"111 5
15. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'32"690 + 0'03"205 13
16. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'32"898 + 0'03"413 14
17. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'33"226 + 0'03"741 12
18. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'33"499 + 0'04"014 9
19. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'33"917 + 0'04"432 16 

5/29/04

RCR launches new website  Richard Childress Racing announced Thursday the launch of a new website for the team along with a new contest and several special paint schemes for all three of RCR’s Nextel Cup cars to celebrate RCR’s 35th Anniversary. The “Ride With Richard” promotion will give one lucky fan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with team owner Richard Childress. The winner will get round trip airfare for two and a three night stay in Charlotte, N.C. for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 16 and VIP access to the race. The winner will also get to “Ride with Richard” around the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway in a specially painted 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. RCR also unveiled three special paint schemes for all three of RCR’s Nextel Cup cars to commemorate RCR’s 35th Anniversary. The #29 will feature a yellow and blue paint scheme resembling the Wrangler car that the late Dale Earnhardt drove to a championship in 1986 and 1987; the #30 will wear red, white and blue colors made famous when Piedmont Airlines sponsored Ricky Rudd in the #3; and the #31 will have the famous “Quicksilver” paint scheme Dale Earnhardt drove in the 1995 Winston All Star race..  Photo courtesy of Lowe's Motor Speedway

5/29/04

Special paint scheme for Marlin  NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, along with officials from Prilosec OTC and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, unveiled a new paint scheme for Marlin’s #40 Dodge on Thursday. The car's purple and black paint job adorned with gold numbers and white letters, was selected from among three paint schemes by fans voting on the Prilosec web site. The car is scheduled to run in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 16. “We let the fans vote for the paint scheme they wanted and I think they did a good job,” Marlin said. “It’s pretty wild looking. I think the last time someone won in a purple race car was Marty Robbins at Nashville. We hope to put this car in victory lane when we come back here for the fall race.”  Photo courtesy of Lowe's Motor Speedway

5/29/04

SpongeBob Squarepants  SpongeBob Squarepants will make a big splash on the NASCAR scene this fall when the NASCAR Busch Series returns to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 15. To promote the debut of the famous yellow sponge on the big screen, Lowe’s Improvement Warehouse plans to turn the race into the most family friendly race in NASCAR history. “The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie”, set to premiere on Nov. 19, will be the title sponsor for the event, which will be known as the “Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie 300.” Lowe’s will present special race tickets to families, give away special SpongeBob merchandise, set up kids activities before the race, provide a designated fan section, and will have a special kids menu set up at concession stands at the track. Children attending the race will be able to listen in to a special radio broadcast of the event.  Lowe’s also unveiled two special paint schemes for the event on the Lowe’s sponsored #5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch and the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, who will attempt to make his first Busch Series start since 2001.  Photo courtesy of Lowe's Motor Speedway

5/29/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Single-lap qualifying scrapped
Bruni has a cold
Button backs Indy starter
Raikkonen's light on fuel ... ?
China's F1 track ready to race
'No sense' to run third car - Sauber
Williams has 'short term plan' - Michael
Montoya move was 'stupid' - Ross Brawn
'Overalls' halt Fisi's Ferrari run
F1 should 'open up the airwaves'
F1 should impose 'harder tires' - Michael
Renault car 'makes perfect starts' - report
Webber 'will leave Jaguar' in 2005
Sponsor HSBC to leave Jaguar
'Box-Cam' wins Nurburgring pole 
Fans enjoy 'taxi ride' at Nurburgring
'B spec' McLaren 'ready to test' - source
Jaguar 'amazed' at lost diamond fuss
Renault has 'lightweight fuel' - Elf
Schu in a Safety Car ... ? 

5/29/04

What the locals are saying about Indy   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I live 60 miles from Indy & our local paper used to have a 500 special edition that was a wonderful detailed publication [30-40 pages at least] of the upcoming race. Today's copy was 12 pages that had a full page of car & driver pictures, 3/4 page about Roger Penske, 1/2 page on Scheckter, 1/3 page on Rick Mears, 1/4 page about Rahal/Letterman, & everything else was ads. What TG has done to such a ONCE great race is sinful. To get free tickets from a local radio station you had to know who was the pace car driver.  Our motels & restaurants used to be so busy that we wouldn't even try to eat out 2 days before the race but it was no problem tonight. Thank goodness for the fine people & fans working to get Champ Car back to where it should be as the BEST Open Wheel Racing Series. SHAME on the ones without enough pride or integrity to say NO to the $$$$$. Fantastic job AR1 for providing the real truth and insight, keep up the good work.  Jerry Mull, A Champ Car Fan from Lafayette, IN

5/29/04

Indy 500 poll tells all   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, This yahoo sports poll (Bottom right corner of page) demonstrates just how far the Indy 500 has fallen. Up until 1996, very few motorsports fans in the world would have said that the Indy 500 lacks relevance. Gone are the days when the best Formula1 racers would cross the Atlantic to race equally talented American counterparts (such as Mears, Sullivan, Unser, and Andretti). The prestige of winning the Indy 500 has been completely eroded by Mr. George and his band of puppets. It's sad that the biggest names and best-run American teams in racing (Penske, Rahal, Andretti) refuse to admit that the rich, glorious heritage of Indy has been squandered by Mr. George in the name of absolute power. Their complete denial and/or feigned ignorance of the facts (reduced attendance, pathetic ratings, disinterest by public) is disingenuous at best, delusional at worst. The reality is that the IRL is going nowhere fast, while the Indy 500 makes a slower, more painful-to-watch left turn towards irrelevance.  Steve Buck

  Much More...click on 2004 archives button below
3

Hot News Archives

2000 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006 2007

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Nextel, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2004, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ

Banner 10000012