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CENTRIX Financial extends with Rahal
Team owners Bobby Rahal and Dave Letterman announced today that Rahal
Letterman Racing will have CENTRIX Financial as the primary sponsor for the
team's No. 17 Honda-powered G-Force Indy car currently driven by Vitor Meira
for the remainder of the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series. Meira, who joined Rahal
Letterman Racing at the Japan round of the 16-race IndyCar campaign, will
remain at the wheel of the Team CENTRIX Honda G-Force as the season
progresses. Meira finished a career best second place Saturday at the
SunTrust Indy Challenge in Richmond, Va. Recent Indianapolis 500 winner
Buddy Rice, who began the 2004 season as the substitute driver for Kenny
Brack in the No. 15 Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Honda G-Force car, will drive
the No. 15 car for the remainder of the season. [Editor's Note:
CENTRIX of course sponsors the Champ Car race in Denver as well. In
fact, Champ Car had them as a sponsor first. However, don't be
surprised if the IRL plucks CENTRIX right out from under Champ Car's nose
because of their decision to televise races on SPIKE TV rather than CBS.
Putting races on CBS costs more money, but the money gained from new or
existing sponsorship more than makes up for it. Spike TV's miniscule
ratings make sponsors run for cover. We predicted that the IRL would
approach each and every Champ Car sponsor with better TV numbers and
continue to pluck the Champ Car dry of sponsors.]
Brack to continue rehab
Recent Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, who began the 2004 season as the
substitute driver for Kenny Brack in the No. 15 Pioneer/Argent Mortgage
Honda G-Force car, will drive the No. 15 car for the remainder of the
season. Brack, the 1999 Indy 500 winner and 1998 IRL champion, returned to
the driver's seat on June 5 for the first time since his near fatal crash
last October at Texas Motor Speedway when he tested for three hours at
Richmond International Speedway and recorded times under the 16-second
barrier. However, despite his impressive clockings, Brack admitted that he
needs more rehabilitation on his body to compete on a regular basis on the
IndyCar Series. Thus, Rice and Meira will be the team's regular drivers
until Brack is ready to return. Brack will announce when he is ready
to return to the IRL IndyCar series. "I finally made my way back to the
drivers seat," said Brack, who suffered fractures of his vertebra, ribs, leg
and ankles in the crash in last year's IRL season finale. "It's not as an
easy a thing as one might think. Now the next step is that I have to feel
that my body is "race-ready" for every situation."
Ecclestone to open Swiss office The
Formula One group in London is reported to be preparing to open an office in
Lausanne, Switzerland, to accommodate Michael Payne, the current director of
global broadcast and media for the International Olympics Committee who has
been headhunted by F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone [Jun 24].
Payne will quit the IOC after the Athens Olympics to become second in
command to Ecclestone at Formula One, directing much of its commercial
activity. It is understood that Payne was not ready to return to the UK,
thereby uprooting his family. He has worked for the IOC for 15 years, and
prior to that for Swiss agency ISL.
Brian France on Canada and Mexico
Q. And talk a moment about the new deal
with TSN in Canada. What does that mean to NASCAR, and does this
mean that at some point, we may see NASCAR racing maybe in a road
course configuration since there's no huge ovals up there or
something of that sort?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, we said a year ago or so that we needed to have
a thoughtful international strategy beyond distributing our events
on television, and that's what you're seeing now. You'll see more
probably as we look at Mexico, to the south, sort of what we would
call the low hanging fruit. Because already in Canada, our
television ratings, obviously it's a smaller country, but our
television ratings are the equivalent of what they are in the U.S.
So we have got a lot of fans there. And how we satisfy that fan base
and grow the fan base from there is something that our international
strategy, which this latest announcement is intended to do, and
there's all kinds of talk about an oval being built in one place or
another in Canada, a couple of the big sponsors that are Canadian
companies have indicated all kinds of positive things.
So we are going to take it one step at a time and we are going to
shore up our distribution on television. We are going to if we can
take some events and I'm not talking about NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events,
because as everyone knows, we domestically are stretched. But there
are other things we can offer and we'll be looking at those.
Q. And also, on Mexico City, for a possible Busch race next year, is
that just a matter of getting the logistics and getting that worked
out, or do you still have to make the decision on that? And if you
decide to go there, what is the commitment in growing that market
and giving it time to show some benefits of being down there?
BRIAN FRANCE: We have not formalized any plans yet and although
there is a lot of discussion asked to take some form of NASCAR to
Mexico City, and we are talking about that, but we don't have it
finalized. But whatever we do finalize will not be a one and out
scenario. It will be designed to have a number of years to get us
traction to build awareness in the market. While Mexico is in large
measure the gateway to the Hispanic race fans, here in many parts,
in many markets. So Mexico, for a lot of reasons has to be is an
important country, for a lot of reasons has to be important to us,
more so than countries that are further away.
The irony of it allUPDATE Q. Can you figure out why
beer and wine sponsors are acceptable and yet hard liquor isn't? Do
the fans recognize the difference? BRIAN FRANCE: Well,
they may or may not. What's at issue here is a long standing rule
going back into the ‘70s of a cooperation that the network
television partners would have when it comes to hard liquor and
spirits, and you know, a lot of our events, 80 percent of them, are
on network television. That's a different challenge than other
motorsports series have or other people might have. So,
we have to understand that we've got to be in step, and that's not
to say that our television partners are for or against allowing
spirits. That's one thing that we've got to understand as we go
along. Another is the hard liquor and cars have another element that
you have to consider. And timing of such a thing, we're all going
through now, the incident at the Super Bowl and other incidents
where there's a real crackdown of what's, you know, broadcast on
national television, how it's treated, how it's presented.
There's a lot we have to consider before we just throw out a 30 year
policy. And that's what we did consider. We looked at all of the
circumstances that we thought Roush could provide. They did a nice
job of laying out some things in the end. We think the timing is
just not right now, and we're going to leave it at that and we'll
review it down the road. 6/29/04
- Interesting that NASCAR says it doesn't allow any hard liquor ads,
etc, at its event or to sponsor its cars. That huge Crown Royal
banner on the grandstands today at Daytona International Speedway
must have been put up by evil alcohol elves. The France family owns
Daytona Speedway and NASCAR. Seems if the hard liquor folks
can line the France family pockets directly it is OK, but if it is
for another team it's taboo.
Brian France ready to lower hammer on
Q. I am curious as to your thoughts on the latest Tony Stewart
incident, is this a big deal in your mind?
BRIAN FRANCE: It is a big deal. We're going to see how big it is
here shortly. But his behavior at Sears Point is unacceptable. We
will be dealing with that shortly.
Tony has to work within the same rule structure and behavioral
expectations that we have for all of our drivers. And one way or the
other, we will figure that out.
Q. Have you or will you talk to Tony Stewart about his latest
incident, and with regards to that, you said there's something that
would come out shortly. Is this going to be your decision or
something you're signing off with that Mike Helton’s decided to do?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, I'll sign off on anything that is substantial.
Mike will, as he always does, make his recommendations and we'll do
that as a group.
We have talked to Tony and I'm sure we'll talk again with Tony.
That's where we are.
Q. Can you be a little more clear on the timetable, is it going to
be today or tomorrow?
BRIAN FRANCE: It will be before the Pepsi 400, that's for sure.
Look, we'll do it as fast as we can. We are still reviewing a few
details to make sure we understand exactly what occurred and then
we'll be reacting as soon as we get that completed.
Q. Because a normal reaction to something like this would be a
fine, probation, points deduction, things like that. Because this is
something of a continuing pattern, I guess, is it at least being
discussed of doing something even more harsh than that?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, Tony is not on probation now. And he is like any
other driver and we are going to look at the circumstances open
But we are on record, and I'll say it today, that his behavior at
Sears Point is not acceptable. And so just how severe the punishment
need to be to make a point that we are not going to accept that, and
punish somebody for what they did, that's something we are going to
have to work through.
Cleveland pre-race items of interest
The home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will get the volume
cranked all the way up this weekend as the 750hp turbocharged scream
machines of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series
Powered by Ford take to the runways of Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront
Airport for the 23rd time. Continuing a North Coast tradition that
began in 1982, this year’s U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand
Prix of Cleveland will roll onto the 2.106-mile airport circuit July
1-3 in an event that signals the opening stretch of a demanding
summer. Cleveland kicks off a summer run that will feature three
races in both July and August, where for the teams and drivers of
the series will find out if they have what it takes to capture the
Vanderbilt Cup. More......
Franchitti: Mark Taylor doesn't
belong here, Panther fires TaylorUPDATE After crashing out of every race
this year, and on the heels of Dario
Franchitti saying Mark Taylor is over his head, comes word that
Panther Racing will replace Mark Taylor in the No. 2 car.
Panther Racing and IRL IndyCar® Series rookie Mark Taylor announced
June 29 that they will seek other options for the remainder of the
season, effective this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Taylor, the
2003 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ champion, has competed in the
No. 2 Panther Racing Menards/Johns Manville
Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entry for the first six races of the
season with a best finish of 12th (Phoenix in March) and a best
starting position of third (June 26 at Richmond). Panther
Racing did not announce a driver for the July 4 Argent Mortgage Indy
300 at Kansas Speedway. "Mark Taylor has done everything we
have asked him to do over the past 18 months he has been part of the
Panther Racing family," team co-owner John Barnes said. "However,
due to the many pressures of professional auto racing, it is in
everyone's best interest that we look in different directions."
[Editor's Note: This underscores just how useless the IPS
series is. AJ Foyt IV was a big hero in IPS and now in the
IndyCars he's lucky to go 50 miles without crashing, and when he
doesn't crash he's so slow he can't get out of the way of the
leaders fast enough. Ditto for Mark Taylor - last year's IPS
hero, this year's IRL zero.] 6/26/04 - Dario Franchitti was thoroughly upset
after crashing out of Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge.
He blamed Mark Taylor for spinning him out again and said "this just
proves he does not belong here."
Rutherford admits IRL plan failed
IRL employee Johnny Rutherford was interviewed on SPEED Channel's
Wind Tunnel last evening. Of course you never want to badmouth
your employer so he had mostly good things to say about the IRL,
i.e. call it job security. He did however admit that the
original plan of the IRL to be a low-cost, all oval series with an
opportunity for American short track drivers failed so the IRL has
had to morph into the old CART. In essence the business plan
of the IRL was and is a complete and utter failure and now they have
essentially adopted the old CART business plan, but with a dictator,
Tony George, running the show. Meanwhile, contrary to the PR
being put out that covers up all the problems, there is unrest with
the troops...hence Roger's plea for a unification with Champ Car.
John Barnes - IRL on verge of
This Kansas City Star
article says, “I think the IRL series is on the verge of
collapse from (the affordability) standpoint. We are at a critical
pass. Which road are we going to take in the near future? I
think Tony is going to make some decisions here very quickly that
will effect our sport in the future.” John Barnes Pennzoil
Panther Racing team co-owner [Editor's Note:
When the IRL goes road racing teams will have to buy a lot of new
parts to make their cars road race ready. Yes, Tony is about
to make a decision to drive costs way up for IRL teams. They
should stick to just ovals. Road courses will put the few
remaining original IRL teams out of business even faster because
they can't compete with the road racing experienced ex-CART teams.
They will get a thorough beating and made to look like fools.
Can you understand why guys like John Barnes are not happy?]
ALMS lands big ratings on CBS while
Champ Car becomes invisible
[Editor's Note: Last year we campaigned hard for Champ
Car to put a minimum of 50% of its 2004 races on CBS or risk falling
off the map and into total obscurity. That is exactly what
happened with their Spike TV broadcasts this year, which
consistently garner a 0.2 or lower rating - a fraction of what an
infomercial would get. Meanwhile, ALMS was smart enough to put
some of their races on CBS and now they are reaping the benefits.]
Sunday's CBS Sports telecast of the American Le Mans Series sports
car race from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course scored well with viewers in
the top three television markets in the United States according to
overnight ratings numbers released Monday. The two-hour live
telecast earned a 1.9 Nielsen overnight rating in New York City,
America's largest market, as well as ratings of 1.5 in Chicago and
1.3 in Los Angeles. The national average was 1.1/3 share, a 10
percent increase from the overnight rating earned by the CBS Sports
telecast of an ALMS event from Road Atlanta on the same weekend last
year. Other major market overnight ratings included a 1.5 in
Minneapolis/St. Paul, a 1.2 in Dallas/Fort Worth and 1.1 ratings in
Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco. "We are very pleased with the
major market ratings performance of the American Le Mans Series on
CBS Sports," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. "At
a time when virtually all televised sports are experiencing
decreases in year-over-year ratings, this is a further indication of
the interest and growing following for ALMS racing."
6/29/04 Drag Racing
A tribute to Darrell Russell This
website has a nice tribute to Darrell Russell. Joe
Amato and family along with the Amato Race Team wishes to extend its
most sincere and deepest condolences and prayers to Julie Russell
and the entire Russell family on the untimely death of our driver
and friend, Darrell Russell.
Russell, 35, of Hockley, Texas, was competing in the second round of
eliminations at Gateway International Raceway when his dragster went
out of control and crashed just past the finish line. Darrell was
removed by NHRA emergency services and flown to St. Louis Medical
Center where he later died from head injuries.
Darrell was a rising star in the sport -- not only was he the 2001
Rookie of the Year and fan favorite since day one, he was also the
event's top qualifier and coming off a recent victory in Columbus,
Ohio. During his four year career he had six wins and 17 final
rounds. Darrell's positive attitude and infectious smile touched
everyone around him. He loved the race and was loved by all who met
him. Drag Racing has definitely lost one of its finest competitors.
We have received an overwhelming amount of support from Darrell's
fans, friends and sponsors. He will be genuinely missed by the Joe
Amato Racing Team and drag racing community.
A trust fund has been established for the Russell family. Donations
may be sent to Darrell Russell Memorial Fund, Partners Bank of
Texas, P.O. Box 60369, Houston, TX 77205.
Fans may also send condolences and remembrances to
firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you for joining us in paying
tribute to our beloved friend. MEMORIAL SERVICE INFORMATION VIEWING
Thursday, July 1, 5-9 p.m.
Klein Funeral Home
1400 West Main
Tomball, TX 77375 FUNERAL SERVICE
Friday, July 2 , 11 a.m.
First Baptist Church
400 West Oxford Street
Tomball, TX 77371
Pepsi 400 changes Grand Marshal
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich has been named Grand
Marshal of the 46th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race
on Saturday night, July 3 at Daytona International Speedway. Due to
a scheduling conflict, NBA All-Star guard Tracy McGrady, who was
recently named Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 400, will be unable to
attend. "I'm excited to be part of the Pepsi family and take over
the duties from Tracy," Leftwich said. "I'm looking forward to being
part of the festivities for the upcoming Pepsi 400 and giving the
starting command. Leftwich, a 2003 first-round draft choice from
Marshall University, threw for 2,819 yards and 16 touchdowns in his
rookie season for the Jaguars. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie
of the Month in December after leading the Jaguars to two home
victories. During his college career, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound
quarterback was a prolific passer for the Thundering Heard,
compiling 11,903 yards and 89 touchdowns. As a three-year starter
for one of college football's most explosive offenses, Leftwich set
Mid-American Conference records for passing yards and total offense.
20th anniversary of Petty's 200th
During pre-race ceremonies for the Pepsi 400, the 20th anniversary
of Richard Petty's 200th NASCAR victory will be celebrated with
Petty taking the checkered flag in his famous #43 Pontiac. Petty,
NASCAR's all-time wins leader, will also receive several special
gifts and awards as Daytona International Speedway recreates a
landmark moment in the history of NASCAR. Petty, driving his famous
#43 STP Pontiac, captured his 200th and final NASCAR victory in the
1984 Pepsi Firecracker 400, all with the late President Ronald
Reagan in attendance. Petty nipped Cale Yarborough at the
start/finish line to take the white flag and the yellow flag to
secure the milestone victory. DIS PR
Wyoming attorney cleared in Earnhardt
The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that a lawyer hired to sue
NASCAR for blaming a seat belt for Dale Earnhardt's death did not
commit an ethics violation. The justices did not find evidence that
Robert Horn had violated a Wyoming State Bar rule against
representing different clients in the same or related cases if they
have competing interests. The high court also affirmed that Simpson
Performance Products (SPP) of Charlotte owes Horn about $20,000 in
legal fees. SPP made the seat belt Earnhardt was wearing when he
died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. NASCAR officials blamed
Earnhardt's death in part on seat belt failure. SPP then hired Horn
to look into suing NASCAR. The company did not file suit, but
company founder Bill Simpson sued in 2002, after he left the
company. Horn represented Simpson and the company.
Bremer joins Polestar for Cleveland
One of the top rookies in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented
by Yokohama is changing teams and will be in a new seat for this weekend’s Round
6 race at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport. Ronnie Bremer (#4
Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems), who raced for Brooks Associates
Racing through the first five rounds of competition this season, will join
the Polestar Racing Group for the Argent Mortgage Presents the Toyota
Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel,
Sunday, July 11 – 1 p.m. ET). Bremer will replace veteran Atlantic driver
Rocky Moran Jr. in the seat at Polestar Racing Group, headquartered in
Chardon, Ohio. Bremer, who started out the season with two
fourth-place efforts and a second-place finish at Milwaukee to claim the
championship points lead as a rookie after Round 4, had struggled to find
funding for his seat at Brooks Associates Racing and worked out a
last-minute deal to compete at Portland two weeks ago. The 25-year-old
Danish driver finished eighth and ninth in the doubleheader at Portland and
currently sits sixth in the season standings with 101 points, just 25 behind
leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports. Bremer is currently third
in the BG Products Rookie of the Year race. “We were certainly
watching Ronnie since the beginning of this year and it was a situation
where all of the timing worked out,” said Polestar team owner Jim Griffith,
who worked closely with Brooks Associates Racing team owner John Brooks to
make the switch happen for Bremer. “It got to a point where (Bremer) was
looking for a seat and we had one so we wanted to give it a try.”
Bremer will be in the #4 car for morning practice on Thursday in Cleveland
and throughout the weekend, but Griffith said no commitment has been made
beyond the Cleveland race. “We’ll see what happens from here,”
NASCAR fans trying to unload IRL tickets
A search on ebay of IRL and Kansas on ebay reveals a lot of NASCAR fans, who
are forced to buy an IRL ticket to get a Nextel Cup ticket, looking to
unload their IRL tickets for dirt cheap. If you live in the Kansas
City area, this is your chance to save big money. The best deal is two
tickets for a total of $15.50. At $7.75 per ticket how can you go
wrong? It does establish what an IRL ticket is worth these days (i.e.
almost nothing), because after only 3 bids, and with the race just days
away, the highest bid is $15.00. From what we hear, very few fans buy
IRL tickets anywhere. Most get in as part of a free giveaway or from
races such as Kansas where their NASCAR friends give them their unused IRL
tickets. Their TV ratings of around 0.4 on ESPN pretty much show how
many hardcore fans they have in the USA - about 400,000. Champ Car
fans should not snicker, Champ Car isn't any more popular in the USA.
All this is as a result of Tony George destroying the sport of Indy Car
Racing by splitting it in two in 1996.
No Canadian races planned
NASCAR now has a business home north of the border. But don't expect a
NEXTEL Cup race in Canada anytime soon. NASCAR's recent announcement
heralding the formation of NASCAR Canada, a collaboration with television
partner TSN, is aimed at opening a door for - and to - Canadian business
interests. With an office in Toronto, Canadian companies intrigued by
the NASCAR brand name will have a place to seek out marketing agreements.
At the same time, corporations already aligned with North America's most
popular racing series can now make inroads into Canada. But that
doesn't mean racing in Canada. ``It's unlikely the Nextel Cup will
ever leave the United States anytime in the near term,'' said George Pyne,
NASCAR'S chief operating officer, before offering a sliver of hope regarding
NASCAR's minor leagues running races in Canada. ``We wouldn't rule in
or out the Busch series or the truck series.'' The major issue
preventing a Canadian NASCAR race is lack of venue. There is no major oval
track in Canada that could handle NASCAR's preferred form of racing.
``NASCAR isn't in the business of building race tracks,'' said Pyne,
suggesting that if Canada does eventually get a Nextel Cup race, it would
likely be on a road course.
Bernie's tobacco scheme fizzlingUPDATE
It does indeed appear Bernie's goose is cooked. The remaining
countries who have not signed the worldwide tobacco treaty are Albania,
Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic,
Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iraq, Laos,
Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Malawi, Moldova, Nauru, Oman, St Christopher and
Nevis, St Lucia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara, Western Samoa, Zambia and
Zimbabwe. Hardly the stuff for a Formula 1 World Championship in the
future...Grandprix.com6/25/04 - Bernie
Ecclestone has made a major push to move races out of Europe where
laws prohibit tobacco ads on race cars. However, it seems
wherever he tries to go in the world, the World Health Organization
(WHO) is right there to cut the legs out from under him. Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the latest governments to
sign up for the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control. This week the total of countries signed up to the
treaty, which seeks to ban all tobacco advertising in the world,
rose to 143 of the around 200 countries. The only major countries in
the world not to have signed the treaty so far are Indonesia
(population 196m), Russia (146m), Nigeria (115m), Ukraine (51m) and
South Africa (42m). Bernie isn't going to win this battle.
F1 is going to have to accept the fact that their days are numbered
where they can count on big infusions of tobacco cash. Hence
why Max Mosley and Bernie want to push through significant cost
reductions in F1. They have given the team owners the chance
to do it on their own (agree to a new set of rules) but we all know
that egotistical team owners and their engineers are never going to
agree. Hence Max is going to force it down their throats and
they are bound to squawk, cry and threaten to leave the series.
Parts from Grandprix.com
CJ "Pappy" Hart passes away C.J.
Hart, track manager for many drag strips throughout Southern California,
passed away on June 26, 2004. He was 93, and was the founder of the Santa
Ana Drag strip, where John Wayne Airport is now located, in Orange County,
California. Although Goleta was the first drag strip of record, it was C.J.
Hart who created the very first professional drag strip and charged
admission. Young people from all over the country heard about this unique
form of racing and came out to California to watch how the races were
organized. Within months of the first drag races at the old air base, timing
associations had sprung up all over the nation, and organized drag racing on
safe and sanctioned race courses had begun. Be sure to come early, for the
church has limited space. Place: Waverley Church, 1702 Fairhaven Avenue, Santa Ana, CA
92705 714-633-1442 Funeral Service: Thursday, July 1, 2004, 11AM Visitation Day: June 30, 2004, 4-8PM, same location as Service
Internment will be at Lawn J - Lot 546 - Space E
Please do not send flowers, but Pappy requested that if you would like to
make a contribution, that he would be honored if you remembered: Drag Racing
Association of Women (DRAW), 4 Hance Drive, Charleston, IL 61920
Thank you all again! The Hart Family
Infineon TV Rating Fox's
broadcast of Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma,
Calif., drew a 4.8 overnight rating and a 10 share from Nielsen Media
Research. The figures are identical to the overnight numbers from 2003, when
the race wound up with final figures of 4.8/11.
6/28/04 Star Mazda
Cosmo storms Star Mazda at Mid-Ohio 2002
Star Mazda Series Champion Guy Cosmo revisited his roots this weekend as a
guest appearance entry in round two of the Star Mazda Series schedule at
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Saturday, June 25th. Cosmo drove the
3-Dimensional Services / American Speed Factory Formula Mazda team's spare
car with the purpose of shaking down a brand-new car delivered earlier in
Cosmo qualified on pole position at a new track record of a 1:19.219. A
technical infraction found in post-qualifying inspection disallowed the
qualifying time, and Cosmo had to start the race from the back of the pack,
in 41st position. Guy Cosmo showed the fans why they call him "Mr.
Mid-Ohio." Guy sliced through the pack to pass thirty cars during the 28-lap
green flag race to finish in 11th place.
“Talk about taking the wind out of your sails,” commented Guy. “It felt so
great to just show up and qualify that car on pole. The team had just taken
delivery of this car and was still building it when they arrived at the
track on Wednesday. The car was absolutely horrendous when it first hit
track, and the American Speed Factory boys made that car outstanding just in
time for qualifying.
"I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that many cars start in front of me before. I
can’t believe there wasn’t a single caution period to bunch the field up,
but I did my best to make up for it. It was really a lot of fun to be back
in Star Mazda and race with all my old buddies again, and that’s all thanks
to Doug Peterson and 3-Dimensional Services for letting me race this
weekend. The whole idea was to shake down Doug’s new spare car and we
figured it would be great fun to join the race, and it certainly was. John
Shapiro and the American Speed Factory boys did an outstanding job with the
car and the whole team. Today was still a great day.”
Guy Cosmo earned the nickname "Mr. Mid-Ohio” in 2002 when he out-qualified
the entire Star Mazda field by more than one second and obliterated the
competition, extending his lead by one second each lap. Cosmo also serves as
driving coach for American Speed Factory, working with series veterans Doug
Peterson and Moses Smith. Guy Cosmo PR
Fluella Ummel passes away Fluella
Ummel, longtime Recorder in CART's Race Control and the first female course
observer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway passed away last Wednesday, June
23, after a long battle with cancer. Funeral services were held in her hometown of Syracuse, Indiana on Monday. Her family wishes to thank everyone for
their messages, cards, calls and prayers. Fluella took great joy in
re-reading them time and again. Fluella chose these two charities for
Care at Home / Hospice Program of
Goshen General Hospital
200 High Park Ave.
Goshen, In 46526
Center for Cancer Care
200 High Park Ave.
Goshen, In 46562
F1 bosses say no to qualifying
changes Formula One's governing body and team bosses
have scrapped plans to change the qualifying procedures after next
Sunday's French Grand Prix. "The FIA (International Automobile
Federation) did not want to go ahead with the qualifying that is
being proposed," Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone
told Reuters on Monday. "It will stay the same as we've got
now. No change at all -- just as boring as it was before," he said
after a meeting of the FIA's Formula One commission in a hotel at
London's Heathrow airport.
The 10 teams' bosses had previously agreed unanimously to change the
controversial single lap format from the British Grand Prix on July
11 to one involving two free-for-all sessions with aggregate times
deciding the starting grid. FIA president Max Mosley said Monday's
decision came after some teams worried about how much television
exposure they might get while sponsors also expressed concern.
"There was also a feeling that the proposal wasn't much different to
what we were doing in 2002 and maybe it needed something a little
bit more radical," he said.
Mosley said the plan now was to do some market research and "ask the public
what they want -- probably through the television companies, but that's a
matter for Bernie. "I think he would prefer to change but I think he's
quite easy about it."
FIA demands speed reductions Formula
One's governing body has told teams that they have two months to
find a way to reduce speeds or changes will be imposed for safety's
sake. International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max
Mosley told Reuters after a meeting at London's Heathrow airport on
Monday he would start procedures this week to force teams' hands.
"I've told them that I'm going to ask the (FIA's) world (motorsport)
council (on Wednesday) to give formal notice to the technical
working group to come up with changes to slow the cars," he said
after meeting team bosses. "That's the immediate priority and
maybe out of that will come some ideas to make (further) changes.
They've then got two months to come up with something sensible."
Mosley has called for urgent action to curtail rising speeds,
linking that with his plans to cut costs and bring new blood into
the sport with a raft of changes from 2008 and possibly earlier.
Monday's meeting of the FIA's Formula One commission grouped all the
team bosses as well as the governing body, promoters and sponsor
representatives. Mosley said last week that recent accidents
involving Brazilian Felipe Massa and Germany's Ralf Schumacher
showed engine power needed to be reduced with cars now becoming
Mosley announced sweeping changes in April that the FIA can impose
from 2008 once an agreement between teams, commercial supremo Bernie
Ecclestone and the FIA expires.
However, the governing body wants the 10 teams to accelerate the
changes, which include reducing engine capacity from V10 three liter
units to 2.4 V8s, so that some key ones can be introduced for 2006.
The FIA can push through measures before 2008 only if they are for
reasons of safety. The engine manufacturers were given an end
of June deadline to come up with proposals. The talks have stalled,
however, with Williams' partner BMW determined to retain the V10s
but willing to make them last longer.
"I think probably it will come down to V8s," said Mosley, who also
fired a warning shot at the German carmaker. "In the end it's
a question of whether they (BMW) want to be in Formula One or not,"
he said. "I think if the majority go one way, it may be like that."
Mosley said he most wanted to move to V8 engines but the main
question was whether there should be complete freedom or restricted
technology. "If we have complete freedom, then because it is
expensive they have got to be prepared to supply the little teams,"
he said of the engine makers.
Ralf to miss French GP Ralf
Schumacher will not race at Magny-Cours on Sunday after suffering a
heavy crash at the United States GP. BBC Sport reports the BMW
Williams driver has not fully recovered from the high-speed accident
at Indianapolis. He crashed backwards into a wall on the fastest
part of the track and spent a night in hospital. He will be replaced
at the French GP by test driver Marc Gene and a decision on whether
he races at the British GP will be made after the weekend.
No cut Spoilers until 2005 NASCAR
officials have decided against cutting the rear spoiler a half-inch
at midseason and another half-inch at the end of the year, series
spokesperson Mike Zizzo said Saturday. Instead, NASCAR will cut the
rear spoiler one inch after the season. Zizzo said that NASCAR
decided not to cut the rear spoiler this season because series
officials are pleased with the competition. Also, series officials
don't want to burden teams with additional costs adjusting to the
new rear spoiler, such as more wind tunnel testing. The rear spoiler
was 6 1/4 inches at the end of the 2003 season. NASCAR cut it to 5
1/2 inches for this season. The spoiler will be 4 1/2 inches for
next season if NASCAR follows through on this plan.
Petty movie update Disney's
movie on the Petty family, once projected to be in theatres this
year, has had its script rewritten. Bill Scott, executive vice
president at Petty Enterprises, says the plan is for the movie to
begin shooting late this year or early next year. Scott said that
would lead to a release in early 2006. Scott says he's not sure if
filming will take place in North Carolina. "North Carolina has not
stepped up to the plate in terms of tax breaks for movie productions
like some of the states, even Georgia and South Carolina have,"
Scott said. "I think that's going to be an issue. If they're going
to save millions of dollars by shooting somewhere else, as much as
we at Petty Enterprises and Richard and the family want them to do
it in North Carolina, those are not calls that we make. Hopefully,
the North Carolina film commission and the legislature will do
something to really make it economically feasible to do in North
Roush wants longer road races Ford
team owner Jack Roush said he would prefer that the Nextel Cup
Series’ two annual road races were longer. “I think it would be
beneficial to hold these races for longer than 180 miles,” said
Roush. “For many years I competed in endurance racing, and it would
be a positive, I think, if we had an incentive to make these cars
durable.” The actual length of Sunday’s race was 218.9 miles. During
the 1960s and ‘70s, NASCAR held races on the road course in
Riverside, Calif., that were 500 miles. Roush suggested a length of
350 miles for the races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen.
Gaston Gazette [Editor's Note: Psst, someone
knock some sense into Jack's brain. Road racing isn't easy like
oval racing. It is physically very demanding. Jeff
Gordon, Sunday's winner, and most of the drivers interviewed after
the race, were physically spent. Making the races longer will
make for more driver mistakes and more wrecked equipment. As
it is the NASCAR road races are expensive crash fests.]
More Champ Car/IRL unification debate A
reader writes, At this juncture, what is the point of reunification
talk? The way I see it is there are two possible reasons. The
first reason is that the IRL is losing its butt (duh!) and most
probably the manufacturers are getting tired of paying extraordinary
sums to buy "name" teams to compete and totally eclipsing re: backstabbing
the IRL's original core teams. It is also quite possible that the grandson's
family has had quite enough of him wasting their family's fortune to support his over-inflated ego. The second
point is that this is all a smoke screen to hide yet another attempt
at killing of CART/Champ Car because they (IRL, et al) know they
Let me return to the former point for a moment. Does anyone remember
in 1993 or 1994 the grandson wanted a voting membership in CART? I
seem to recall that CART said yes, providing he sanctions the Indy
500 with CART. That would have meant CART boost rules, which would
have effectively made the Buick/Menard engines uncompetitive since
they were allowed a much higher boost pressure. I believe it was
forty-eight inches of boost verses 42 inches for the purpose built
racing engines. As I recall the grandson declined but was still
offered a non-voting seat on the board. This offer was also
rejected. After all, John Menard has so much money he makes even
Penske look like a "relative" pauper (although I wouldn't mind being
a pauper in the Penske mold).
Although hindsight is always 20/20, I have always maintained that
CART should have checked its own collective ego and given TG a
voting seat. After all, they could have always neutralized his voice
with their collective votes.
In my opinion, the only good thing about reunification is that I'd
like to see drivers like Tony Kanaan, Gil de Ferran and Dario
Franchitti again. They only ended up in the IRL because there were
no seats available in CART and probably only stayed because of the
amount of money being thrown at them. I don't ever recall these
guys’ bad mouthing CART (where they made their "names") or its
supporters. Unlike other drivers who shall go nameless. Right Mikey?
On the other hand, if the IRL folds we'll probably get them back
anyway. Maybe Gil would even come out of retirement. Think about it.
The IRL folds and the drivers still get paid the huge sums that
Honda and Toyota hoped would kill the series (CART) in which they
made THEIR "names" in North American racing. A nice piece of poetic
justice that. Tony Traugott, Santa Monica, CA
Dear Tony, Don't count on the IRL folding. The IRL may have
troubles, but Tony George has given no indication he is prepared to
give up the fight. Steve L.
Jimmy Johnson wins 2nd quarter DOY
voting Driving in championship form, Jimmie Johnson
demolished the competition in voting for the SPEED Channel DRIVER OF
THE YEAR, second quarter, 2004. Johnson, who jumped to the top of
the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings after last week's DHL 400 in
Michigan, had two victories including a win from the pole at in the
Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and a win at the Pocono 500 in the
#48 Lowe's Chevrolet. He had a virtually unblemished second quarter with
only one finish out of the top-four. Despite his fine record, Johnson was
surprised when he learned of his award. "I couldn't believe it when someone
told, me," he said. "I'm completely honored to win this award." Perhaps it's
a tradition for his team. The 28 year-old drives under the Hendricks
Motorsports banner in a car owned by Jeff Gordon, a four-time DRIVER OF THE
YEAR. "When you look at the people who have won it before it's pretty amazing
company," he explained. "They're some of the best racers in the
world." In the voting he took 12 first-place SPEED Channel DRIVER OF
THE YEAR votes, and a vote on every ballot with none lower than
third place. As a result, he scored 144 points. Indy 500 winner
Buddy Rice finished in second with 91 points and three first-place
votes. Rice also won the pole and led the most laps at the Brickyard
in the Pioneer Argent/Mortgage Rahal-Letterman G Force/Honda. Martin Truex, Jr., a protégé of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was third with 52
points. Driving the Dale Earnhardt Inc. owned Ritz Crackers
Chevrolet, Truex notched three wins and one runner-up finish and
continues to lead the points in NASCAR's Busch series. A total of 18
drivers scored points in the second quarter voting, including fourth
place Greg Anderson (with three first-place votes) from the PowerAde
Pro Stock division, fifth place Sebastien Bourdais, points leader in
the Champ Car series, and IRL's points leader Tony Kanaan was sixth.
Noteworthy; Jeff Gordon won the fan vote, with Earnhardt Jr. second,
and Johnson third. More than 40,000 fans clicked their votes on the
Mansell tests for Jordan Nigel
Mansell has today tested for Jordan at Silverstone, ahead of his
participation for the team at the forthcoming Regents Street F1
Ironman Vasser set to make 188th
straight start PKV Racing pilot and 1996 Series
Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream
Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is scheduled to make his 188th
consecutive Champ Car start this Saturday afternoon when the Green
Flag drops on the U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of
Cleveland, Round 5 of the Champ Car World Series. Vasser, known for
being one of the most durable drivers in the paddock over an
impressive 13-year Champ Car career, is rapidly closing in on former
Champ Car competitor Al Unser Jr., who is perched atop the Most
Consecutive Starts list with 192. The Champ Car ironman will be
searching for his first win this weekend at Burke Lakefront Airport–
the one-of-a-kind 2.106-mile airport runway circuit where he holds
the track qualifying mark.
In Cal Ripken Jr.-like fashion, Vasser is scheduled to pass Unser
Jr. with consecutive start number 193 later this season in Round 10
at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Cleveland
will mark his 188th straight start, with the current streak dating
back to his 22nd career start at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (1993).
Vasser’s first Champ Car start was recorded in Surfers Paradise,
Australia in 1992.
The Las Vegas resident has a penchant for speed on the lakefront
layout in Cleveland, having authored two poles (1996, ’98) and
setting a track qualifying mark in 1998 that still stands at 56.417
seconds (134.385 mph). But in 11 career appearances, Vasser’s mantle
still has a spot open for the Cleveland trophy, after recording two
top fives and six top 10s, with a best finish of third coming in the
The California native is also scheduled to move into fifth position
on the Champ Car Career Starts List [Modern Era, 1979- Present] with
his 209th career start in Cleveland, and comes to the North Coast
11th in the championship hunt with 52 markers.
“Cleveland has always been a great track for the fans, and a
favorite of the drivers,” said Vasser. “Fans can see the entire
track from the grandstand, which is a great amenity for a temporary
circuit. PKV Racing has been making some significant gains as far as
performance goes, and I’m optimistic because the team is continually
getting better. We're looking forward to improving on the results
we've had so far this season in Cleveland.”
SPEED Channel XM partnership XM
Satellite Radio, America's leading satellite radio service, today
announced that NASCAR Radio (XM Channel 144) is adding programming
from the popular cable network SPEED Channel to its premier schedule
of live NASCAR races, exclusive interviews, and call-in shows.
NASCAR Radio, one of the most-listened-to channels on XM, now
carries 11 programs produced by SPEED Channel, one of the nation's
fastest-growing sports cable networks. The SPEED programming on
NASCAR Radio includes NASCAR This Morning, Totally NASCAR, Pit Bull,
NASCAR Victory Lane, NBS 24/7, Inside Nextel Cup, Trackside, NASCAR
Edition Speed News, NASCAR Fast Forward, and Men Behind the
As part of this new partnership, XM will be the presenting sponsor
of the highly-rated SPEED program Pit Bull, which can be seen on
SPEED and heard on XM every Saturday preceding a NASCAR Nextel Cup
Series race at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The SPEED Channel programs join NASCAR Radio's stellar line-up,
which includes exclusive XM shows such as Dialed In, the enormously
popular call-in program hosted by Charlotte-based reporter Claire B.
Lang. Dialed In receives tens of thousands of calls each month as
fans heat up the phone lines to talk about the latest NASCAR
happenings. NASCAR Radio also carries every live race broadcast from
Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN),
every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying session and race, every
NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, and
series and specials that you can only hear on XM.
"SPEED Channel and NASCAR Radio on XM is a terrific partnership for
racing fans," said Tim Farley, Program Director for NASCAR Radio.
"NASCAR Radio has become the national water cooler for fans to find
out what's happening in the sport, hear the latest racing action,
and voice their opinions on the air. Now listeners can enjoy some of
their favorite SPEED programs on NASCAR Radio from coast to coast."
"Partnering with XM Satellite Radio is a great opportunity for SPEED
Channel to extend its brand, putting our exclusive NASCAR TV
properties in front of XM's two million subscribers," said Kevin
Annison, SPEED Channel VP Business Operations & Finance. "SPEED's
strategic initiatives look to team the network with industry
leaders, and XM Satellite Radio certainly fits that criteria."
"This deal threads together two very important media partners," said
Jeffrey Pollack, managing director of broadcasting and new media,
NASCAR Digital Entertainment. "XM gets quality programming and SPEED
Channel gets in front of a powerful audience. Together they will
reinforce the access and exposure NASCAR Radio and NASCAR TV create
for our fans and industry. This is a classic win-win." NASCAR Radio,
available exclusively on XM, is the first and only 24-hour radio
channel dedicated to a single sport. SPEED TV
Shock rule for Chicago, no green flag
finish at Daytona On Sunday's NASCAR This Morning
from trackside at Sonoma, Calif. and the show's Charlotte studio,
Winston Kelley reported a new rule change that will take effect in
two weeks at Chicagoland Speedway, and Bill Ingle responded to the
latest addition in a changing rule book.
On the NASCAR front, a couple of rules situations — one that's not
going to change and one that is. The green-green-white-checkered
that's been rumored for the Nextel Cup Series will not happen in
Daytona, but NASCAR officials continue to evaluate that situation.
The rule that will change? There will be a rule to regulate the gas
pressure in shock absorbers, starting at Chicago in a couple of
weeks and that regulates the travel on the cars. This morning we
heard that NASCAR will start regulating the gas pressure in our
shock absorbers. Shouldn't NASCAR just give us spring rules, valance
height rules, spoiler rules, gear rules and quit adding something
every other week?
Everybody is trying to get the cars down on the ground to get them
more aerodynamic. This is NASCAR's big thing this year. The theme
has been aerodynamic reduction. Well, when they take something away,
the teams are going to work hard to try to overcome that deficit,
and we've done that by getting the attitude of the car down. It
looks like a wedge, therefore, it's putting more downforce on the
car. It makes the cars go faster going through the corners down on
If NASCAR doesn't want that, they need to come out with a spring
rule or a gear rule, slow down these cars, get them where they'll
race and you can pass. That's what racing needs right now is more
passing. If they'll get the front of those cars up, it'll happen.
Castroneves moved back to 3rd over
confusion On Lap
246 of the SunTrust Indy Challenge, Ed Carpenter and Greg Ray made
contact on the backstretch, resulting in a yellow flag. As the
drivers circled the oval at reduced speeds, officials signaled that
action would go under green for a final one-lap shootout. It was a
decision the spectator-starved IRL had to make, because nothing
makes a race fan's blood boil like ending an event under caution. On
the restart, Helio Castroneves made a quick dart outside and passed
Vitor Meira for second place. Castroneves then bit at Dan Wheldon's
tail only to come up just short of the race winner.
The ease with which Castroneves passed Meira was astounding. It was
almost as if Meira had laid off the throttle. Turned out, that's
exactly what he'd done. The yellow caution lights on Turn 1--which
are manually operated by a switch in the flag stand--were not turned
off at the time of the restart. Meira noticed that, and momentarily
let up on the gas. "After they dropped the white and green flags, I
saw the yellow lights keep blinking," Meira said. "Well, the last
lap is not a lap that you think a lot. I was thinking too much."
Castroneves was unofficially declared the second-place finisher. But
an hour after the race, IRL officials announced that since the
caution lights had not gone off in time, the race had ended under
caution. This decision pushed Castroneves to third. Also, series
points leader Tony Kanaan's late pass of Brian Herta for fourth
place was nullified. Essentially, the IRL froze the field on Lap 249
to decide the finishing order.
NASCAR rejects hard liquor sponsor This
article says, NASCAR has rejected Roush Racing's bid to sign
a hard liquor company as primary sponsor for Jeff Burton's No. 99
Ford. Though beer and malt liquor sponsors are allowed by NASCAR,
spirits advertising is not permitted at any of its events or as team
sponsors Roush had negotiated a deal with British liquor giant
Diageo, but it was contingent on NASCAR changing its policy that
began in the days when many counties in the South were dry.
``Although we understand the sponsorship situation with the No. 99
entry, it is very unlikely at this time that we would change such a
long-standing policy for this instance,'' NASCAR president Mike
Helton told The Associated Press on Friday. However, he said the
sanctioning organization will continue internal discussions about
the hard liquor ban. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, said he
was disappointed but not surprised by the decision. ``We've been
working together with them to assess all the historical and current
reasons why that policy exists and see if there were any reasons why
it should be revised,'' Smith said. ``My personal opinion is that 95
per cent of their objection was just that - history.''
A decision by TV networks years ago to also ban hard liquor ads
reinforced NASCAR's policy even as fewer counties remained dry. But
with the growth of cable, more TV channels are starting to air such
ads. NASCAR's position, however, remains unchanged. Smith said he
believes the general public does not make a distinction between beer
and distilled spirits. He said the team's relationship will continue
with Diageo, whose Smirnoff Ice malt beverage sponsors Roush driver
Matt Kenseth. Diageo manufacturers a number of brands of hard
liquor, including Johnnie Walker, J&B and Jose Cuervo. Jim Beam
sponsors a car in the IRL and Crown Royal is the series sponsor for
IROC, which includes NASCAR drivers.
Max Mosley to bring the hammer down
today Today when the FIA F1 Commission meets FIA
President Max Mosley will invoke for the first time measures aimed
at “reducing costs and increasing safety” across F1. The F1
Commission will meet today, and team officials will be “given 60
days to come up with plans of their own. Should they fail to reach
agreement in that period, they will be offered three options by the
FIA and a further 45 days in which to make up their minds or have
change imposed without their consent” The F1 Commission
is the body that ultimately decides the rules of Grand Prix racing
although its decisions must be verified by the FIA World Motor Sport
Driver dies in NHRA race NHRA
drag racer Darrell Russell died Sunday night from injuries suffered in a
violent crash during the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International
Raceway in Madison, Ill. Russell, a 35-year-old native of
Hockley, Texas, had just lost to Scott Kalitta in the second round of
eliminations when his Top Fuel dragster crashed while running about 300 mph
at the end of the quarter-mile strip at Gateway International Raceway.
Russell is the first participant to be killed in competition at an NHRA
national event since Blaine Johnson died in a crash during a qualifying run
at the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1996. Sunday's
event continued after about a 45-minute delay. NHRA officials informed the
media of Russell's death about two hours after the crash. No announcement
was made to crowd of about 25,000.
"The event continues," said Graham Light, NHRA vice president of racing
operations. "I think Darrell would have wanted that. We're not going to
announce it to the crowd at this point. I don't think there's anything to be
gained by doing that."
Russell's car went out of control just past the finish line. It appeared to
shred a tire after Russell activated his parachute to slow his 2,200-pound
car. The car went sideways as it lost control and wound up going back
against the concrete wall to the left of the lane in which Russell had been
racing. The NHRA safety crew was rolling toward it immediately and quickly
extinguished a small fire that erupted around the remains of the car.
Dan Brickey, director of emergency medical services for the NHRA, said the
driver's compartment was intact when the rescue team arrived. The workers
cut away the roll cage, immobilized Russell's spine and then took off his
helmet and the required head-and-neck restraint device before loading him
onto a backboard and taking him to the ambulance. Brickey said Russell
was unconscious but breathing when he was taken by helicopter to St. Louis
University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about two hours
Stewart goes after Vickers Tony
Stewart again finds himself in the middle of controversy, this time involved
in an alleged physical confrontation with rookie #25-Brian Vickers.
Following Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Stewart brought
his #20 Chevrolet to a rest on pit road, exited his car and hurried quickly
to Vicker's car. Witnesses said the two engaged in what appeared to be an
amicable conversation at first, with Stewart leaning over the driver's-side
window of Vicker's car. After a few moments, Stewart became quite animated,
began reaching into the car and tried to pull Vickers out, witnesses said.
Members of Vicker's team quickly grabbed Stewart and hustled him away from
the car. Stewart and Vickers both made a trip to the NASCAR hauler after the
race. Late Sunday, NASCAR President Mike Helton said the sanctioning body
was still gathering information about the incident. Vickers, who remained at
the track well after Sunday's race while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff
Gordon celebrated the win, said he had no idea why Stewart was upset. "He
hit me earlier in the race and then he wrecked us in Turn 11 and that's why
we spun there. Then after the race he came over to the car and then it just
went from there. "I was still strapped in the car with my helmet off. He
came after me in the car. He reached for me and knocked the breath out of
me. It was not a fist and he didn't hit me in the face." Vickers said he
laughed when Stewart yelled at him because he had no idea why Stewart was so
angry. "He said that I laughed about the situation and when I laughed I
pissed him off and that's why he did it. I'm not going to lie to him and say
that I didn't smile about it," Vickers said. "Somebody is upset at me
because they wrecked me and I thought it was funny."ThatsRacin.com
More: AND from a Raybestos ROTY report/PR: BRIAN VICKERS, #22 GMAC
NOTES: Vickers finished 22nd and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors
for the fourth time this season.
WHAT WAS TONY STEWART SO UPSET ABOUT?
"To be honest with you, I have no idea why he is upset. He hit me earlier in
the race and then he wrecked us in turn 11 and that's why we spun there.
Then after the race he came over to the car and then it just went from
YOU WERE STILL SITTING IN THE CAR?
"I was still strapped in the car with my helmet off."
WAS HE YELLING AT YOU?
"At first it was a discussion about why he hit me and I thought it was kind
of funny. I was trying to figure out why he was coming to me, mad at me,
when he hit me. I was a little confused there and I thought it was kind of
funny and that's when he came in the car after me."
WHAT DID NASCAR SAY ABOUT ALL THAT?
"You'll have to ask them for that. That's a question that you will have to
WHAT PREVENTED IT FROM GETTING OUT OF HAND?
"My team grabbed him off and pulled him off of me. He came after me in the
car. He reached for me and knocked the breath out of me. Here's the deal: it
was not a fist and he did not hit me in the face. He hit the armrest and he
reached in the car and he grabbed me in the chest and when he did he hit me.
It was kind of open-palm, grabbed my shirt. It was hard enough to knock the
breath out of me and then he tried to pull me out of the car and that's when
my guys grabbed me."
DID STEWART APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU GUYS MET WITH NASCAR AFTER THE RACE?
"He said that I laughed about the situation and when I laughed it pissed him
off and that's why he did it. I said 'Yeah, I did laugh. I thought it was
funny that you were mad at me because you wrecked me.' I thought it was
funny. I'm not going to lie to him and say that I didn't smile about it.
That's how I was raised. This is not a situation that I'm going to make a
big deal out of. Somebody is upset at me because they wrecked me and I
thought it was funny. He was always behind me. I never passed him, I was
never behind him."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH TONY BEFORE TODAY?
"No, actually Tony and I get along. Well, we used to [laughs]. We used to get
along fine, actually, I guess as well as can be."
ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT THINGS WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT?
"I'm sure NASCAR will do the right thing. I'm sure they will handle the
situation. They'll take care of it. If this happened at a restaurant, it
would be my problem to handle. This happened at their racetrack and they're
running the deal. It's their problem to handle and I'm sure they'll do the
right thing. Right now, I'm looking forward to next weekend. What happens
down the road happens. Am I happy with the guy right now? No, not really but
I'm not going to make a big deal out of it. That's NASCAR's job to penalize
people for things like that, not mine. Whatever NASCAR decides is their
decision and I'll support them in whatever they do." Camp and Assoc
After his visit to the NASCAR hauler Sunday, Stewart left without comment.
But he and Vickers did speak afterward. see another story at
Said to drive more NASCAR Boris
Said told Insider Racing News that he will drive a minimum of three more
races in NASCAR Nextel Cup this season and possibly more will come out of
the meeting this week. Currently it looks like Watkins Glen, Brickyard 400
at Indy and Fontana with the MB2/MBV Motorsports team and teammates Scott
Riggs & Joe Nemechek. The sponsor will continue to be CENTRIX Financial,
LLC, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR . Said, stated that if not
with him, he was sure CENTRIX would be around the sport for some time to
Insider Racing News
Global appeal hits NASCARUPDATE
A reader responds - Although I agree that NASCAR will eventually be a global
series with large numbers of fans worldwide, I cannot believe that NASCAR
can surpass F1 in terms of total fans and TV viewership, at least not with
its current package, the world craves high tech - high speed series. To
illustrate my point, as a fan of motorsports and road racing, I watched the
race today, but was amazed that their support series (TRANS-AM) at
Sonoma would have
claimed the top 5 spots in qualifying. I admit NASCAR has a nice show, but
for good racing at high speed, they weren't even the top act out there.
Colin Holden, Atlanta, GA Dear Colin, NASCAR is a far better show
for the race fan than any race series out there and everything they touch
these days turns golden. One has to look no further than Canada, where
NASCAR currently has zero races and zero drivers, yet its TV Ratings dwarf
that of Champ Car already. Yes, F1 is much bigger now, but they had better
start looking over their shoulder because the steamroller called NASCAR is
coming. Mark C.6/27/04 -
[Editor's Note: In our War of the Worlds article,
we predicted that NASCAR and the oval track cartel will make an assault on
the world market. Since Bernie Ecclestone did not buy Champ Car to
work F1 and Champ Car together to strengthen the road racing cartel's
position in the world market, we predict that in 10 years time, perhaps 20,
NASCAR will rule the world. It was very unusual for Bernie Ecclestone
to be so shortsighted. He will eventually regret his mistake.]
This St. Petersburg Times
article says, Klaus Graf could be the point man, the poster child,
for the kind of international growth NASCAR so craves. All he wants is to be
just another full-time Nextel Cup driver, but he would always be more.
The 32-year-old becomes the first German to start a Nextel Cup race Sunday
on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., for which he qualified 38th. Any
success could lure more Europeans to the spotlight and rewards of North
America's most successful circuit. Increased international appeal could
fulfill the long-term dream of NASCAR CEO Brian France and seed interest in
races all over the world.
"There will be a lot of attention and a lot of guys watching me," said Graf,
a veteran road racer and the 1997 Porsche Carrera Cup rookie of the year.
"I'm glad that things worked out. I think a lot of people expect me to be a
good road racer, but my goal is to finally be a good oval racer, too, and
maybe a full-time Cup driver as well. This will, hopefully, just be an
introduction into NASCAR Nextel Cup, and hopefully this is a good starting
point and we can move on from here."
That would make Graf's introduction to NASCAR much more broad than as a
specialist in the two Nextel Cup road races. NASCAR International,
which has helped secure broadcast contracts in 151 countries in 21
languages, has identified Brazil, Canada (where it just opened a Toronto
office this week), England, Germany, Japan and Mexico as its key new
markets, and having a driver from one of those countries would be a
Graf earned approval for a NASCAR road-racing license within two weeks, and
he plans to run the Aug. 15 road race at Watkins Glen. But BAM immediately
started preparing him to race on ovals. Graf tested at Virginia
International Speedway in January, convincing Jones to field an ARCA car for
him in a Nashville race April 9. Graf led five laps and finished third.
Jones said Graf will run the October ARCA race at Talladega and hopes to
have him approved for as many as six oval races this season if Graf's sports
car backers agree to sponsor the effort.
"We haven't asked (NASCAR) to race him on any ovals yet, but they know it's
coming," Jones said. "I told them it was one of our goals, and they'll
submit to us a list of tracks they will approve him to try on."
Though the highly technical cars of Formula One and road racing are much
more sophisticated than stock cars, Graf said European peers respect NASCAR
"I think the way NASCAR is, and the level of competition we see here,
everybody knows that this is a very high level," Graf said. "All the drivers
in NASCAR could do very well in any other type of racing. I am very
convinced about that. I've seen the "Trading Paint' film with Jeff Gordon
and (Juan Pablo) Montoya, and without knowing Jeff Gordon, he did an awesome
job driving the Formula One car. He did very competitive lap times and was
very comfortable, and that shows you professionalism and education they have
is very high. These guys are just as good as any other drivers in the
Though sports cars, F1 cars and stock cars are all markedly different, the
skills needed to drive each is basically the same. Once the engine fires,
it's driving, Graf said. "At the end of the day, stock cars are still
a race car," he said. "They still have four wheels, an engine and a steering
wheel." But this steering wheel could turn NASCAR toward its future.
Boris Said wins at Infineon
It appeared as if the third time, or in this case the third race,
was a charm for Boris Said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Said,
competing in his third event of the weekend, won the Trans-Am 100,
Round 3 of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series championship.
Said, fresh off finishing sixth in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race
earlier Sunday, led every lap of the Trans-Am race from the pole.
Said had also competed in the NASCAR Southwest Tour race on
Saturday. Tommy Kendall was second, ahead of Randy Ruhlman. Rookie
GT-1 competitor Ross Murray was fourth in just his second Trans-Am
start, while Joey Scarallo completed the top five, recording his
second top-five finish in as many races.
“I’m just hungry,” said Said (No. 33 Applied Computer Solutions/GE
Access Ford Mustang. “I like driving and I like winning races. It
was just a blast this weekend running all three races. We ran really
strong in the Cup race today, coming from 19th to eighth. I just
barely made it to the Trans-Am car before the engine started. The
car was unbelievable today.
“Joe Huffaker’s shops are right here (at Infineon Raceway),” added
Said, whose 13th Trans-Am victory ties him with the legendary George
Follmer for 10th on the all-time Trans-Am win list. “He built me an
unbelievable motor. I’ve never had that kind of advantage in
Tommy Kendall finished second, earning his first Trans-Am podium
since September of 1997. Kendall, driving the No. 11 Jaguar R
Performance XKR, also gave Jaguar’s new production-based,
overhead-cam, fuel-injected engine its first top-three finish.
“This is rewarding,” said Kendall. “We’ve had three races where we
really worked hard. To get the first podium for this engine is
special. It’s been a long time. I’d really like to thank the folks
at Jaguar and (team owner) Paul Gentilozzi for giving me a shot.
Jaguar makes us feel like the F-1 guys. They really support the
whole effort, and I think it brings quite a bit of prestige to the
“We’ve taken a few punches in the gut this year,” added Kendall.
“But the team never gives up. We’re going to win some races this
FP SP # Driver Make/Model LC Time Mph Lag
1 1 33 Boris Said Ford/Mustang 51 1:12:55.061 82.587 0.000 Active
2 2 11 Tommy Kendall Jaguar/XKR 51 1:12:55.948 82.571 0.887 Active
3 5 49 Randy Ruhlman Chevrolet/Corvette 51 1:13:05.687 82.387 10.626 Active
4 6 1 Ross Murray (R) GT-1 Dodge/Viper 51 1:13:14.396 82.224 19.335 Active
5 8 6 Joey Scarallo Chevrolet/Corvette 51 1:13:22.173 82.079 27.112 Active
6 14 99 Brandon Davis (R) Ford/Mustang 51 1:13:24.928 82.027 29.867 Active
7 11 10 Mike Davis Ford/Mustang 51 1:13:25.220 82.022 30.159 Active
8 7 8 Jorge Diaz, Jr. Jaguar/XKR 51 1:13:40.587 81.737 45.526 Active
9 10 75 Tim Cowen Ford/Mustang 50 1:13:36.225 80.213 1 Lap Active
10 9 86 John Baucom Ford/Mustang 49 1:10:55.624 81.576 30.788 Off Course
11 4 6 Greg Pickett Jaguar/XKR 49 1:13:04.894 79.171 2 Laps Active
12 12 24 Philip Simms (R) Chevrolet/Corvette 49 1:13:49.736 78.369 2 Laps
13 13 83 Max Lagod Chevrolet/Corvette 28 44:20.301 74.568 4 Laps Contact
14 15 78 Moneca Kolvyn (R) GT-1 Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 25 40:39.215 72.614 5
15 3 5 Tomy Drissi Jaguar/XKR 19 24:30.060 91.569 27.788 Mechanical
Time of race: 1:12:55.061
Margin of victory: .887 seconds.
Winner's average speed: 82.587mph.
Caution flags: 2 for 8 laps.
Lead changes: 0.
Lap leader: Said 1-51.
1, Kendall 66. 2, Paul Gentilozzi 65. 3, Pickett 63. 4, Diaz 61. 5.
Baucom 59. 6, Said 58. 7, Scarallo 58. 8, Ruhlman 55. 9, M. Davis
52. 10, Drissi 51. 11, Lagod 51.
Rossi outsmarts Gibernau to win in Assen
Italian superstar Valentino Rossi scored his third straight victory and his
fourth for the season in another tense “cat and mouse” game with Spaniard
Sete Gibernau at the “Cathedral” of motorcycle racing in Assen.
The pair are now equal on world championship points at 126 apiece, but Rossi
has assumed the lead by virtue of his fours wins this season compared to
It was Rossi’s teammate, Carlos Checa, who got the hole shot at the start,
but it was all backwards from there for the Spaniard as he was sucked back
in to the field. Rossi and Gibernau forged an early lead and were joined
briefly by Brazilian Alex Barros, who snatched second place from Rossi
before crashing out shortly after.
Gibernau looked to have eked out a winning gap over Rossi, but the Italian
pulled a brave overtaking maneuver on the final lap. The Honda’s front wheel
clipped the rear of the Yamaha’s after Rossi made his move, damaging
Gibernau’s front mud-guard, and giving Rossi enough of an advantage to keep
the lead to the checkered flag.
“I stayed quite easily behind Sete at the start, but after the tires started
sliding it was not so easy,” Rossi said. “There were points where I was a
little bit faster and it made for a great, great battle.
“I think Sete will be a little bit angry but it was a great race between
Italian Marco Melandri out rode compatriot Max Biaggi to finish third,
almost 10 seconds behind. It was Melandri’s second podium in a row and came
just days after a successful operation for “arm pump” in his right arm.
American Nicky Hayden rode a storming race from 16 th on the grid to fifth,
with his countryman and Honda colleague, Colin Edwards, less than a second
behind in sixth.
Troy Bayliss was headed for a top-10 finish until a gear box failure on his
Ducati put him out of the race just two laps from the end.
“It’s a real shame we had a problem because there wasn’t long to go,”
Bayliss said. “The engine went quite well, the feeling I had with it was
good and I was going okay. But after all the rain in practice we were
missing something in the set-up and we had a little chatter. Anyway, we
learned a few things this weekend and we go to Rio aiming to get a result.”
The next round of the MotoGP world championship is at Rio in Brazil on July
Racing Champ Car First Quarter Review: Nelson Philippe While
the long-haired seventeen year-old may look like your average teenage
skater-type, Nelson Philippe has taken on an extraordinary challenge and has
lived up to the demands of a full-time drive in the Bridgestone Presents the
Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. With four solid finishes in his
rookie season in the Champ Car World Series, Nelson’s maturity, commitment
and progress are evident. More....
Penske talks reunification between IRL and
Champ Car This AP article
says, Roger Penske would prefer one American open-wheel racing circuit and
might try to broker a deal between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League.
"I don't think there's any magic deadline," IRL spokesman Fred Nation said.
"We have a very open mind, and we always have, to parties with reasonable
Champ Car president Dick Eidswick said Friday that Penske met this week with
Champ Car principals Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven.
Eidswick was not at the discussion and would not discuss details.
But if the two rival series are to reunite, it probably won't happen soon. Both
are midway through their 2004 schedules, and Eidswick said he hopes to
announce Champ Car's 2005 schedule next month.
Eidswick said Friday the series could continue losing money for up to three
years. When reports of a possible reunification emerged this
week, Eidswick responded with an e-mail to Champ Car's employees that
explained the league was still working within the framework of a long-term
plan. "Everyone wants the dream result, to get back to the way
it was," Eidswick said. "But that's not in our plans. I think it's important
that Champ Car offers the best motor racing product to our fans, at the
track and on TV. Getting back together isn't a priority."
The biggest appeal to the IRL appears to be scheduling. When George bid
$13.5 million to purchase CART in January, it was believed he wanted to add
several North American road races to the schedule. Nation said that would be
attractive to the IRL. "There would be a benefit in working
together," he explained. "An end to the perceived war in open-wheel racing
would be good, but it's less important to us now than it was five years ago.
"That won't mean we won't listen and we, obviously, have a high regard for
SPEEDTV.com article: Unification article
This SPEEDTV.com article
has more quotes from Roger Penske and others in the IRL paddock about the
possible unification of Champ Car and the IRL. The bottom line is that
although everyone thinks the two series must get back together, no one has
the foggiest idea how to accomplish it. There are so many hurdles to
clear that it will be next to impossible. The only solution as far as
we are concerned is our proposal to unify the two series under one umbrella
with two divisions, common rules, and a stick-and-ball type playoff series of
races, or as a minimum, a triple crown of joint races. All stick-and-ball
sports have divisions and playoffs, and although separate, they work
together under one umbrella organization for the overall good of the sport.
Hornaday wins Busch race
While young guns David Stremme and Shane Hmiel fiercely battled for their
first NASCAR Busch Series victory, veteran Ron Hornaday Jr. used patience
and experience to snag away the win in the “Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by
Forest County Potawatomi Racing” Saturday night at the Milwaukee Mile.
Stremme, 27, and Hmiel, 24, swapped the lead numerous times and dominated
for most of the event while Hornaday, 47, quietly kept them within sight,
saving his equipment to make a late charge. He cleanly swept past Hmiel for
the lead with five laps to go. Once out front, Hornaday, drove away to a
1.272 seconds victory over Stremme, while Hmiel fell to a fourth place
finish after a last lap tangle with Jason Keller, the defending race winner.
“Those kids (Stremme and Hmiel) were running their guts out and I thought I
could catch them, but (my crew chief) Butch Hylton said to just save your
stuff and sure enough the more I saved it the more I rolled up into the
middle of the corner and gave them more pressure to start racing each other
harder and that’s when they started to loosen each other up and start
spinning their tires,” a visibly excited Hornaday explained after scoring
his first series win since May of 2003. “In the end it gave us fresher
Hornaday’s night ended in a celebratory “Kulwicki Polish Victory Lap” in
front of an enthusiastic crowd of 44,238 race fanatics at race end, but the
start of the race was no indication to the potency of his Richard
Childress-owned car. With a long green flag run at the race’s outset, the
handling on his AC/Delco Chevrolet was not quite right, resulting in an
early pit stop for adjustments which nearly put him a lap down.
A near-capacity crowd of 44,286 saw 14 lead changes among eight drivers in
the “Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing” event.
The race was slowed four times by caution flags and was completed in two
hours twenty seven minutes at an average speed of 102.038 mph.
Chasing Hornaday, Stremme and Keller across the finish line were Hmiel in
4th and Bobby Hamilton, Jr in 5th. Completing the top-10 were Mike Bliss,
double-dipping Greg Biffle, David Green, Martin Truex, Jr and Clint Bowyer.
ESPN.com article: Unification needed, but
don't count on it
In this ESPN.com
article, Roger Penske says, "Following the New York Times article,
Paul Gentilozzi called," Penske explained. "They saw the article and
expressed interest in hearing what I had to say. I knew Paul and Gerry
Forsythe, but I had never met (Kevin) Kalkhoven. So we had a conference
call, decided to meet face-to-face and they came to Detroit. I wasn't sent
by anyone. They called me, quite honestly."
Since then, so has everyone else. Suddenly Penske was seen as the savior of
open-wheel racing, the only man with the common sense and the clout to bring
the two warring factions together. Penske's cars have often seemed
invincible on track, but 'The Captain' laughed at the notion that he has the
power to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. Instead, he expressed
surprise about the impact his NYT piece obviously made on the racing
"(The story) came out of the gun and it made a bigger bang than we
intended," he said. "It evolved into what it is. I didn't realize that many
people read the New York Times!"
Still, it's undeniably good news that the sport's most famous and successful
team owner has gone public with his belief that Champ Car and the IRL must
unite for open-wheel racing to start moving forward again after losing
immeasurable ground to NASCAR over the last decade. Penske said he hopes to
meet with IRL founder Tony George in the next week to determine if there is
enough common ground to continue talks with both sides.
"I thought it was a good conversation, but I don't have anything to report,"
Penske said of his meeting with the Champ Car trio. "We basically talked
philosophy and about the good things each group had to offer. We didn't
discuss concessions. The spirit of the discussion was to come up with
something where no one loses and everyone wins -- drivers, teams, fans.
"There are two strong groups," Penske added. "They (Kalkhoven et al) put the
money down to sustain the open-wheel series. Tony has kept his course. I've
worked with Tony for four years; I see a good product and I see progress.
Most important is that we all agreed that everyone would be better off with
one series and I intend to do everything I can do to support unification."
article gives quotes from others in the IRL paddock and talks about
the obstacles to unification. It's a good read, but bottom line -
unless Roger Penske gives Tony George the ultimatum as outlined on our
rumors page, it's never going to happen.
More unification talk
We continue to be flooded with letters from readers who have an opinion
about a possible Champ Car/IRL unification. Here are some
representative ones. Dear Autoracing1.com, I am concerned about the
merger talk between IRL & Champ Car. It is great to see Roger looking out
for Roger. Did he have the sponsors, engine manufacturers and teams in mind
when he tried to destroy Champ Car? No, just looking out for Roger. Is he
now looking out for his great friend and open wheel visionary T.G.? Why
would he even suggest a 10 oval\ 10 road course schedule? Has he forgotten
that oval attendance has been in decline since the mid nineties while
ChampCar was at their pinnacle in both attendance and T.V. ratings? Has he
forgotten that the ChampCar fans did not follow him (or any other former
ChampCar team) to the IRL or their ovals nor have they gained any fans since
the split driving circles? It is interesting that all this has started since
TRD stated they would not look beyond 2006 with the IRL if there were not
people in the stands. I think Team Penske uses Toyotas. I am a diehard
ChampCar & F1 fan, I live 15 minutes from the Pikes Peak track, yet I have
purchased my tickets already (went last year as well) to The Denver Grand
Prix. Anyway, glad to see Roger is looking out for what’s best in open wheel racing
like he did when he helped try and destroy it. Unification would be great
for Champ Car fans, sponsors, teams (although not all) and engine
manufactures if Roger were not in power. Brian Kellione, Colorado
Springs, CO. Another writes, If Roger Penske really wants to merge
the IRL with Champ Car and the manufacturers would really follow
then why doesn't he just leave? He could do the opposite of what Tony "Brick
Wall" George did at the bankruptcy hearings. Leave the IRL, go back to Champ
Car, the manufacturers follow, money quickly starts to run out, other teams
quickly follow, and without any real fan support in eight years of running
this series the bottom falls out. It would then seem to me that Tony, unless
he decides to cut off his nose to spite his face, would then approach Champ
Car to run Indy so that he doesn't lose his second biggest race (Indy 500).
OWRS remains in control so we don't lose our great owners and have some
ridiculous board to mismanage Champ Car again, and even though some people
are asking for a change in car, the Champ Car has been and will always be
better, faster, safer, and sexier, than the IRL tank (the really are hideous
looking and sounding), and the beautiful sound of the turbo v8 will remain
until Paul, Kevin, and Gerry come up with the right formula for the next
Champ Car. At the same time we don't have to worry about ten ovals-ten road
courses and have a more proper number of around 5-7 of the best selling
ovals that are safer, competitive, and not ninety miles from civilized life.
Brian Defreese Still another writes, Roger Penske doesn't
attempt anything that doesn't have the end result of benefiting Roger
Penske. I feel that his "unification effort" is nothing more that a smoke
screen perpetrated by Tony George, the destroyer of open wheel motorsports
in the USA, to hamper Champ Car in their effort to secure sponsorship and
finalize a schedule for 2005. I feel confident that the owners of OWRS will
see through this and continue to advance the greatest open wheel series in
the world. Please do not publish my name as there is a possibility of
NASCAR rules ovals, USA
We could not help but notice the near sell-out crowd for the NASCAR Busch
Grand National race at The Milwaukee Mile Saturday night. This was in
stark contrast to the recent Champ Car race at The Milwaukee Mile where they
were lucky if the place was 50% full, and the IRL race at Richmond where the
grandstands were completely empty 2/3 of the way around the track and the
1/3 that had people in them was perhaps 50% populated. For open-wheel
racing stick a fork in the ovals, they're done. NASCAR has won the
war, pretty much everywhere in the USA, but especially on the ovals.
While the IRL can continue to beat its head against a wall trying to fight
NASCAR's monopolization of the ovals, Champ Car must continue to bring the
racing to the people in urban markets, but more importantly it must fill the
voids on the world market that F1 can't fill. Should they adopt an IRL
engine formula however, they will fall flat on their face and soon go out of
business. The countries/cities that want a F1 race but can't get one,
and more importantly the fans around the world who know and love F1, are not
going to accept some low-revving American bucket of bolts open wheel
formula. Champ Car is going to have to look and smell like F1, but at
a much lower cost through standardization, for it to be accepted as a
suitable F1 substitute. Hence you must understand why we have been
calling for a screaming V10 engine, a lighter chassis, and F1 size wheels
and tires on the next generation Champ Car. When we read reports that
say OWRS in principal agreed with Roger Penske that the IRL engine formula
might work for both sides in a merger of IRL and Champ Car, it runs chills
down our spine. The day something like that gets approved, will be the
day we will begin to make the funeral arrangements and order the flowers for
the sport. The IRL formula has already been rejected and ridiculed in
the USA, on the world market it would be become the laughing stock of
motorsports. Mark C.
Ed Carpenter fumes over Greg Ray's
driving Ed Carpenter was on the lead lap and headed for
a top 10 or better finish until Greg Ray decided to make it
three-wide forcing Carpenter high and into the wall.
Afterward, a visibly upset Carpenter said "Greg Ray has been driving
like that ever since he has been racing in this league," insinuating
Ray was a reckless driver. "It was a stupid move that Greg Ray tried
to pull. He was five laps down and should have just parked his car instead
of taking me out of the race. He was driving recklessly and gave me a
16th-place finish when I had a car good enough to finish in seventh."
Overheard at Mid-Ohio
Tidbits overheard today at Mid-Ohio - ALMS President Scott Atherton
said that the ALMS would like to add one more race next year to
bring the schedule up to 10 races. He said they would like to race
somewhere in southern California but can't say at this time where the 10th
race will be........The ALMS race in Washington D C is dead due to
the noise. The special interest groups yanked the rug out from
the promoter so no more DC race.........Atherton said look for
diesel powered cars to explode in the US. The cars are so much
better than they used to be.......JJ Lehto said that a diesel
powered prototype that raced at Le Mans this year leaked diesel oil
which made the track very slippery so they still have work yet to
do. Diesel oil is heaver than gasoline and a diesel engine
weighs a lot more so the engine manufactures would have to figure
out how to take weight out of the engine but keep the reliability.
JJ said he would not be surprised to see diesel powered cars racing
in the US one of these days.......Atherton said that an owners
meeting was held and a cost committee was formed to look at the cost
racing in the ALMS to see where cost can be controlled without
taking the technology out of racing.
Manning leads warm-up in Richmond
Pos Driver Diff Time Speed Lap C/E/T Status
1 Darren Manning (10) 16.1471 167.213 57 G/T/F Pit
2 Adrian Fernandez (5) 0.0554 16.2025 166.641 60 G/H/F Pit
3 Scott Dixon (1) 0.1330 16.2801 165.847 47 G/T/F Pit
4 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.1854 16.3325 165.315 34 G/H/F Pit
5 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.1995 16.3466 165.172 38 D/H/F Pit
6 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.2041 16.3512 165.125 45 D/T/F Pit
7 Tomas Scheckter (4) 0.2145 16.3616 165.021 45 D/C/F Pit
8 Alex Barron (51) 0.2158 16.3629 165.007 55 D/C/F Pit
9 Vitor Meira (17) 0.2327 16.3798 164.837 49 G/H/F Pit
10 Sam Hornish Jr. (6) 0.2419 16.3890 164.745 42 D/T/F Pit
11 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.2429 16.3900 164.735 58 D/H/F Pit
12 Dan Wheldon (26) 0.2629 16.4100 164.534 64 D/H/F Pit
13 Greg Ray (13) 0.2632 16.4103 164.531 38 G/H/F Pit
14 Ed Carpenter (52) 0.3442 16.4913 163.723 36 D/C/F Pit
15 A.J. Foyt IV (14) 0.3462 16.4933 163.703 59 D/T/F Pit
16 Buddy Rice (15) 0.4015 16.5486 163.156 44 G/H/F Pit
17 Scott Sharp (8) 0.4271 16.5742 162.904 38 D/T/F Pit
18 Tora Takagi (12) 0.4419 16.5890 162.758 32 D/T/F Pit
19 Bryan Herta (7) 0.4673 16.6144 162.510 25 D/H/F Pit
20 Felipe Giaffone (24) 0.5050 16.6521 162.142 19 D/C/F Pit
21 Mark Taylor (2) 0.6016 16.7487 161.207 19 D/C/F Pit
22 Al Unser Jr. (20) 0.6433 16.7904 160.806 49 D/C/F Pit
Champion Audi leads Saturday morning practice
A close race at the front of the field is shaping up at Mid-Ohio Sports Car
Course as American Le Mans Series racing teams prepare for tomorrow's
American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio event. Teams will have another hour of practice
at 1:15 p.m. and then qualifying will begin at 2:25 p.m. The American Le
Mans Series Radio Web will be broadcasting live for qualifying at
www.americanlemans.com. The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 set the fastest time
Saturday morning as teams had their first official practice session on the
2.25-mile, 13-turn road racing circuit. However, the lap time of 1.12.830
posted by JJ Lehto and Marco Werner in the Audi was very closely followed by
a time of 1:12.970 set by the Dyson Racing Lola EX257-AER/MG of James Weaver
and Butch Leitzinger. The other Dyson entry of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson
was third overall and third in the LMP1 class at 1:13.319. The LMP2 class
was also very close, with the Miracle Motorsports Lola B2K/40-Nissan of John
Macaluso, Ian James and James Gue leading the way with a time of 1.21.587.
The Intersport Racing Lola-Judd of Clint Field and Robin Liddell was second
at 1:22.085 with the Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam MP91 third at 1:22.857.
Corvette Racing was first and second in the GTS class, with the #4 Chevrolet
Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta first at 1:19.797. Ron
Fellows and Johnny O'Connell were second in their Corvette at 1:20.122,
followed by the ACEMCO Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Johnn Mowlem at
1:20.522. The GT class was led by the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911
GT3 RSR of Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law at 1:23.258, with the Alex
Job Racing Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard second at 1:23.588.
The J3 Racing Porsche of Tim Sugden and Justin Jackson was third at
1:24.161. Sunday's race starts at 1 p.m. (Eastern) and will be televised in
North America by CBS Sports from 2-4 p.m. The race will be live in Europe on
MotorsTV and the ALMS Radio Web will have live coverage online.
Foes turn out in force to oppose racetrack
This Marysville, Washington state newspaper
article talks about the opposition that is mounting to block a
NASCAR track from being built in Washington State.
6/26/04 German DTM
Jean Alesi takes pole Norisring
DTM qualifying (Saturday) Pos Driver Car Time
1 Jean Alesi, Mercedes C-Class, 48.609s
2 Gary Paffett, Mercedes C-Class, 48.720s
3 Christijan Albers, Mercedes C-Class, 48.820s
4 Timo Scheider, Opel Vectra GTS, 48.855s
5 Bernd Schneider, Mercedes C-Class, 49.036s
6 Tom Kristensen, Audi A4, 49.060s
7 Stefan Mucke, Mercedes CLK, 49.107s
8 Christian Abt, Audi A4, 49.511s
9 Mattias Ekstrom, Audi A4, 49.524s
10 Markus Winkelhock, Mercedes CLK, 49.731s
What is Eddie Cheever smoking?
In his latest
column on ESPN.com, IRL team owner and fulltime IRL shill Eddie
Cheever waxes on about how NASCAR fans love the IRL. How soon he
forgets about all the NASCAR race tracks that have rejected the IRL.
The fans spoke with their wallets and rejected the IRL. Race tracks
that no longer host the IRL include Dover, Charlotte, New Hampshire,
Atlanta, Nazareth (after 2004) and Las Vegas. And let's not forget
Fontana where just 10,000 show up, if that. And we wonder why all
those NASCAR fans are not tuning in to watch the IRL races on TV if they
love the IRL so much? A 0.4 rating for the IRL's 2nd biggest race of the
year (Texas) speaks volumes. We don't know what Eddie is smoking, but it
certainly has destroyed his ability to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Gaughan and PR rep escape injury
Nextel Cup rookie Brendan Gaughan and his public relations representative,
Terry Jarrell, escaped injury Thursday night in a head-on collision in San
Francisco. After the wreck, the other driver attempted to drive away,
striking other cars, Gaughan said. "He got blocked in, the police got him,
no one got hurt and the good guys prevailed," he said. Gaughan was on his
way to a media appearance. "We figure we got the crash out of the way," he
said. "We can let that be the crash of the weekend and let Avis take care of
if they raced and no one showed up? The image to the right
depicts the massive crowd that showed up to watch the IRL practice and
qualifying at Richmond today. Of course we are being sarcastic, but
why bother to waste all that money to run around a race track when the
customers have zero interest in watching. They might as well make
their events 1-day affairs with practice, qualifying and the race all in the
Magnum RT Featured as Chicagoland Speedway Pace Car When
the field for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts their engines for the July
11, 2004 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, they will be led to the
green flag by the 2005 Dodge Magnum RT - the Official Pace Car of
Chicagoland Speedway. The 2005 Dodge Magnum, which debuted this spring,
returns with HEMI® power and rear-wheel-drive. Magnum is the first
rear-wheel drive car for the Dodge brand in nearly 20 years. The legendary
engine that powered Dodge's muscle cars of the 1960’s has been re-engineered
and reborn as a modern, high-performance, fuel-efficient and durable
powerplant known as the all-new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. The Chicagoland Dodge
Dealers Association is the official vehicle partner of Chicagoland Speedway
and is using the July 11, 2004 Tropicana 400 to showcase the return of the
Dodge muscle car.
“Dodge has been a tremendous partner of Chicagoland Speedway and we are
excited to have the new 2005 Magnum RT as the Official Pace Car for our July
Tropicana NASCAR weekend,” said Matthew Alexander, vice president and
general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. “As one of the premiere sporting
facilities and events in the Chicago market we are an extremely valuable
resource for companies looking to market new products. The new 2005 Dodge
Magnum RT leading the NASCAR field to the green flag to start our races is a
powerful way to reach the consumers.” The Dodge Magnum RT Pace Car will have
20" wheels and Competition Graphics. It is powered by the HEMI engine, which
has 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque and can go from zero to 60 mph
in just 6.3 seconds.
The HEMI-powered 2005 Dodge Magnum RT features an industry-first cylinder
deactivation system which saves fuel while retaining HEMI power. The
Chrysler Group Multiple Displacement System (MDS) seamlessly turns off the
fuel consumption in four cylinders of the 5.7-liter HEMI engine when V-8
power is not needed. This provides a combination of world-class performance
and fuel economy. Chrysler Group has developed and is the first to offer MDS
on a modern, large-volume vehicle in North America. “We’re thrilled to see
the all-new Dodge Magnum featured as the Pace Car at this year’s race. The
timing is perfect since Magnum is just entering Dodge showrooms. It’s sure
to grab a lot of attention,” said Bill Gustaveson, president of the
Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Advertising Association.
Weaver smashes record in Mid-Ohio test
James Weaver unofficially smashed the existing American Le Mans Series track
record as he led Friday's test session for Sunday's American Le Mans at
Mid-Ohio race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Weaver, driving the Dyson
Racing Lola EX257-AER/MG that he will share with Butch Leitzinger, turned
the 2.25-mile circuit in a time of 1:13.448, faster than the official ALMS
track record of 1:14.169 set by Frank Biela the last time the series raced
at Mid-Ohio in 2002. Drivers will try to officially break the record in
qualifying that will be held Saturday. Only .199 second behind and also
faster than the record was the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and
Marco Werner at 1:13.647, followed by the second Dyson entry of Chris Dyson
and Andy Wallace at 1:14.686. The Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette
C5-R of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta was the fastest car in the GTS
class during the test session with a lap of 1:20.017, also faster than the
existing track record of 1:21.401 set in 2001 by Terry Borcheller. The other
Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell was second in GTS at 1:21.232,
followed by Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem in the ACEMCO Saleen S7R at
1:21.245. The two-hour testing session ended 10 minutes early due to a
crash between turns nine and 10 involving the GTS class Krohn-Barbour Racing
Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT of Tracy Krohn and the GT class Flying Lizard
Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Lonnie Pechnik. Though neither driver was
injured, the session was brought to a halt due to the time required to pick
up the cars and the debris from the crash. The Flying Lizard car was damaged
beyond repair and the team will replace it for this race with a 2003 Porsche
911 GT3 RS, while the Lamborghini team was still trying to effect repairs.
Glen race on Speed Channel
SPEED Channel will broadcast the Grand-Am Cup Series The Glen 250
this Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. ET. The show will feature teams in
the two classes going head-to-head at Watkins Glen International in
a 250-mile race on the historic 3.4-mile track
First Richmond practice sees speed
jump All three
engine manufacturers bettered the Richmond International Raceway
unofficial track record after 30 minutes of practice June 25 for the
SunTrust Indy Challenge. Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice,
in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Argent Pioneer Panoz G
Force/Honda/Firestone, led the way with a fast lap of 15.8820
seconds (170.004 mph) on the 0.75-mile high-banked oval. Tony
Kanaan, who won the Bombardier 500k two weeks ago at Texas Motor
Speedway, was second (15.8882; 169.937) and Sam Hornish Jr. had a
fast lap of 15.9380 seconds (169.406 mph) in a Toyota-powered
Dallara. Helio Castroneves (15.9740; 169.025) and the
Chevrolet-powered Dallara of Alex Barron (15.9887; 168.869) also
were lower than the record. Gil de Ferran holds the track
record (16.0043 seconds; 168.705 mph) in qualifying in 2002. Rain
has interrupted the practice session for the second group. MBNA Pole
Qualifying is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. (EDT).
Is Penske up to no good?
A concerned reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I smell a rat.
I having a hunch that Roger Penske is making this big commotion
about unification so that he creates uncertainty and delays in any
Champ Car deals currently in the works, such that the other party
says, we will wait until this whole unification thing runs its
course. Isn't it funny that all this unification talk came up
just when Champ Car is trying to complete all the necessary deals
for its 2005 schedule. The people associated with the IRL are
despicable. I would not trust anything they do. The best
thing OWRS can do is come out in a very public way that there will
be no unification and that they are moving forward with business as
usual. Forget unification. Tony George and his IRL
cronies started this war, and Champ Car fans are not going to be
satisfied until the plague (the IRL) that has destroyed open wheel
racing dies its inevitable slow and painful death. Jonathan
Andrews, Buffalo, NY
In race for fans, NASCAR buries IRL
As a result of Tony George's creation of the IRL, and the resulting
destruction of open wheel racing in the USA, NASCAR is way out in
front. This Hampton Roads.com
article says, Three days after Buddy Rice won the
Indianapolis 500, he appeared on “Live with Regis and Kelly,” part
of a media blitz to spotlight Rice as American open-wheel racing’s
latest wunderkind. There to greet him was the show’s guest
host: Jeff Gordon. The irony provided a glimpse of
today’s American motorsports hierarchy. Which is to say, wherever
open-wheel racing goes, NASCAR arrives one step ahead.
In the 10 years since American open-wheel racing split into dueling
factions — the Indy Racing League and CART (now the Champ Car World
Series) — NASCAR has crushed open-wheel in TV ratings, attendance
and national recognition. Even this year’s Indy 500, the IRL’s
touchstone race, had lower ratings than the same day’s NASCAR
Coca-Cola 600 — for the third consecutive time.
While NASCAR has expanded onto the national sports scene over the
past decade with its down-home drivers and weekly hero-villain story
lines, the IRL has struggled for attention. Some fans were confused
by the split with CART. Others found it hard to relate to the IRL’s
cast of foreign drivers. Can the IRL come back?
“We will have our turn,” said Helio Castroneves, a Brazilian who won
the Indy 500 in 2001 and 2002. “America does have space for two
kinds of series.”
“People who are NASCAR fans are NASCAR fans for a reason,” said Ken
Ungar, IRL senior vice president of business affairs. “It’ll be a
long day for us to try to convert.” The numbers show
they’re just too far behind.
The IRL’s TV ratings are consistently lower than even those of
NASCAR’s second-tier Busch Grand National series. The first NASCAR
Craftsman Truck series race of 2004 had a rating almost twice that
of the first IRL race. Though Ungar said IRL attendance increased 11
percent last year, NASCAR’s Nextel Cup races still draw more fans
than the IRL at six of the eight tracks where both series race .
(Both series sell out Kansas Speedway, which makes fans buy a season
ticket for all events if they want a NASCAR ticket.)
So why are fewer people watching? IRL drivers say open-wheel
racing’s decline began in 1994, when Indianapolis Motor Speedway
president Tony George split from CART and formed the IRL.
“It’s been killing it from the day it started,” driver Scott Dixon
said of the split.
Dixon, last year’s IRL points champion, said the most important
thing that needs to happen is for the two sides to merge and get
“one solid series that everybody can concentrate on.”
One of the reasons for the identity crisis the IRL is suffering is
that its drivers don’t resemble the average fan.
Fourteen of the IRL’s 29 drivers are foreign, while all 45 Nextel
Cup regulars are American. The IRL’s most popular driver
is Sarah Fisher, an American who rides only part-time this year.
“When you’re selling tickets or trying to get ratings, your whole
life depends on the guy who lives on the south side of St. Louis
who’s sitting there drinking a beer on a Sunday afternoon,” said
Humpy Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which runs
six major racetracks. “He’s run a backhoe all week. He
wants people he can associate with. Guys that’ll get in the mud.
Guys with big heads and big hands and big feet.” Guys,
Wheeler said, like A.J. Foyt, an open-wheel star in the 1960s and
’70s. NASCAR has built its empire on those home-grown drivers.
Four years ago, NASCAR found through a survey that avid fans felt
emotionally attached to their favorite drivers, said Roger
VanDerSnick, NASCAR’s director of brand marketing.
Jim Liberatore saw this loyalty first-hand before the 2002 Daytona
500. Liberatore is the president of Speed Channel, a
motorsports-only cable channel that stopped airing IRL and CART
races this year. He remembers strolling through an airport and
seeing a man in a Dale Jarrett T-shirt walk up to a stranger in a
Dale Earnhardt Jr. T-shirt and congratulate the man on Earnhardt’s
“They feel like if they saw this guy in a bar, they could chit-chat
with him, have a beer and maybe invite him over to their house to
hang out,” Liberatore said. “Can you imagine someone saying, 'Hey,
Helio Castroneves, he’s my man!’ ”
Said NASCAR fan Bill Stokley of Virginia Beach: IRL drivers “all
seem like they’re kinda prima donnas.” Open-wheel racing has also
seen its share of potential future stars opt for NASCAR over IRL or
CART. Promising sprint-car drivers like Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne
could have chosen open-wheel racing as their careers began to
blossom but instead went to stock cars. Tony Stewart won an IRL
points championship before jumping to NASCAR. No wonder,
then, that Americans rushed to watch their boys in NASCAR, honorable
men who, as fans came to see it, also happened to drive race cars.
The IRL has struggled in NASCAR’s core area, failing with races in
Atlanta and Charlotte. Richmond and Nashville remain its Southern
stops . The Richmond race drew 40,000 fans to the 107,097-seat
raceway in 2001, its first year; 35,000 its second year and 40,000
“We’d like to think we can get to 107,000 and sell out,” said Doug
Fritz, president of RIR. “Not this year or next year, but maybe in
But, as 2003 Indy 500 champion Gil de Ferran said, “I don’t think
there’s a magic wand you can wave and — boom! — half of the U.S. is
watching Indy-car racing.”
“They’re way too careful,” said Cheever, who now owns Red Bull
Cheever Racing. “They’re afraid of what their mommies are gonna say
when they watch them on television. There’s just a little bit
too much, 'Yes, I had a very nice race’ when they should say, 'Yeah,
I grabbed that guy around the neck and went after him!’ ”
Ratings are down for three of this year’s first four IRL races.
Waltrip announces "Racing Experience"
can't run you into a wall at 180 miles an hour, but I can run you
right up to it. I can make you think you're going to hit it." That's
NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip's description of the sensation
he wants to deliver at Darrell Waltrip's Racing Experience, a $5
million attraction announced for the Belle Island Village
development in Pigeon Forge. The three-time NASCAR Winston Cup
champion and current FOX Sports analyst is behind the wheel of the
multi-sensory attraction targeted to open next spring. It will be
the neighbor to another major attraction opening at the same time,
the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Museum.
The Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience will feature an interactive
theatre, competition radio-controlled cars, pit crew area and an
arcade--in addition to Waltrip's almost-crashing-into-a-wall racecar
simulator. Numerous stock cars, including some of Waltrip's winning
rides, will be displayed. Also in the plan are a restaurant, retail
space and a broadcast booth where fans can call a race. "You think
that's easy?" Waltrip quipped about the challenge of broadcasting a
race. Waltrip, NASCAR's "Driver of the Decade" for the 1980s, said
he wants his attraction to produce an "at-the-track experience." In
addition to permanent interactive attractions and rotating displays,
Waltrip said he will invite various drivers and other racing figures
to make appearances.
Cancun F1 complex to include ovals2nd
We have a bit more information for you on this project. The
governor said that for the moment he couldn't name names but assured
everyone that no government money would be used, and that a group of
Mexican and international investors will put all the money up.
Again, the government participation will be only the land. What has
us baffled at the moment is who or what series will use the ovals?
We remember that the governor said a few months ago that Cancun was
interested in F1 not IRL. He said they need an event capable of
getting 80% or more of the attendees to come from outside the state
(Quintana Roo doesn't have a lot of citizens, and many are poor),
and he doubted IRL was capable of doing that. One has to question
whether NASCAR could either. They are shooting for the first
race in 2006. 6/25/04 -
Hermann Tilke (race track designer) has been contacted by the
Quintana Roo government. They are planning to do a project that will
cost $150 million. The land chosen for the project belongs to the
state government and until recently it was a quarry. The $150
million will come from private funds. The government will only
donate the land, but no money. The idea is to have a complex with
the capacity to have 3 different types of tracks depending on the
event, including 2 different type of ovals, but the F1 circuit will
be the principal track. The complex will also have tennis courts,
basketball courts, swimming pools, and a gym. There will also be a
shopping center and a theater. This info comes from Joaquin
Hendricks governor of Quintana Roo. It will remain to be seen
who races on the ovals, but NASCAR and the IRL immediately come to
mind. Gerald Forsythe says he is working on a third Champ Car
race in Mexico - one choice being Cancún. For more on that,
see Rumors page. We suspect Forsythe will work to keep the IRL
out of Mexico, or at least any of its major markets. 6/25/04 - Wednesday the project for a
Cancún, Mexico race track was announced. They are planning on a
track with 3 different configurations - a grand prix circuit, a
short oval and a superspeedway. We will have more details as
we get them. José de Jesús Arrambide reporting from Mexico
Champ Car hands out Portland
penalties The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car
World Series Powered by Ford announced fines and penalties today
resulting from actions by drivers both during and after last week’s
Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. Bruno Junqueira and Paul Tracy
were each fined $10,000 for violation of Champ Car rule 2.8.8 which
concerns criticism of officials and personal demeanor. Both drivers
will also have 10 championship points held in abeyance for the
remainder of the 2004 season pending no further related infractions.
Tracy was also fined $5,000 for violation of Champ Car rule 2.8.4
concerning objectionable gestures. Alex Tagliani was penalized two
(2) championship points effective immediately for the violation of
Champ Car rule 2.8.5 concerning the failure to follow the
instructions of race officials. The deduction drops Tagliani’s
season total from 63 to 61 points and leaves him in eighth place in
Champ Car trio to visit Goodwood The
past, present and future of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car
World Series Powered by Ford will find themselves totally immersed
in the long and fabled history of auto racing this weekend at the
historic Goodwood Festival of Speed. Former Champ Car and
Formula 1 series champion, and 2003 Champ Car team owner, Emerson
Fittipaldi, Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and
former Formula 1 driver and current Champ Car World Series rookie
points leader Justin Wilson will attend the prestigious gathering of
legendary race cars and drivers as they journey to England for the
Goodwood Festival on June 26.
The trio of Champ Car figures will be attending the Festival and
speaking with the press concerning the recent transformation of the
series into its present form with the new ownership of Kalkhoven,
Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi. Fittipaldi will relive tales of
his days as a championship driver as well as some of his goals for
the future surrounding the Champ Car series while Kalkhoven will
discuss his visions for North America’s most-challenging open-wheel
Fittipaldi is a man that needs no introduction to Goodwood
attendees. The Brazilian was the youngest F1 champion in history
when he scored his first title in 1972 with Colin Chapman’s Lotus
team, then finished as the series runner-up in ’73 before moving to
McLaren where he won the 1975 championship. Retired from driving in
1982 only to resurface in North America where he joined the Champ
Car World Series. Fittipaldi would go on to win 22 races and 17
poles in his Champ Car career, capping that with the 1989 series
championship. Joined the series as a team owner last year, when he
campaigned a car co-owned by Jamie Dingman.
Kevin Kalkhoven amassed a fortune in the venture capital world,
primarily through his deft leadership of Uniphase Corporation, which
later merged with JDS FITEL to become JDS Uniphase. The
Australian-born executive has been named as one of the top 50 CEO’s
in the nation and joined the Champ Car World Series in 2003 as the
co-owner of PK Racing (later PKV Racing). He then joined with
Forsythe and Gentilozzi to purchase the assets of Champ Car, saving
the series from bankruptcy and preserving it as the top level of
open-wheel racing in the United States.
Justin Wilson joins the Champ Car World Series for 2004 after a year
of Formula 1 competition with Jaguar and Minardi. Wilson set records
that still stand in winning the competitive FIA International FIA
Championship in 2001 including most points scored and most podium
finishes. One of the top young stars in the world of racing, Wilson
has had success in his first four races with Champ Car, scoring
top-six finishes in three of his four starts.
Zsolt ready to bolt Zsolt
Baumgartner has set his sights on a new team in 2005. The Hungarian
is so determined to work his way up the F1 grid that he already has
his manager Tamas Frank talking with other teams about the
possibility of a drive in 2005. "We'd definitely like to keep him in
F1 next season," said Frank, who is keen for Baumgartner to "test
for another team" in the near future. The Hungarian's manager also
claimed that discussions were already taking place but that
"everything tends to be decided at the last minute. We of course
hope he can progress to a higher-level team (next season)."
Busch Series fires worry officials NASCAR
officials are looking into why fire-extinguishing devices mounted near the
fuel cells failed to deploy in a pair of fiery crashes during Saturday
night's Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Cars driven by Blake
Feese and Buckshot Jones erupted into flames after making hard contact with
the outside wall in separate accidents and in both cases the flames were not
extinguished until the track's safety workers arrived on the scene.
Both drivers escaped their cars without suffering any serious injuries,
although Jones received treatment at the track for smoke inhalation.
Last August, NASCAR mandated that all cars and trucks in its three top
series install a heat-activated fire-extinguishing device designed to
contain fires in the fuel-cell area. The action was taken after Cup drivers
Ken Schrader, Ryan Newman, Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte were involved in
separate fiery crashes early last season. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo
said that the device should have deployed in both accidents Saturday night
and that technicians at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord,
N.C., would investigate. "We brought some components back from those
fuel cells," Zizzo said. "We've already seen that both fuel cells have
maintained their integrity, so we're looking at some of the (other)
components involved." The incidents during the Busch race at Kentucky
were the first apparent failures of the fire-extinguishing device in any of
the three series since NASCAR mandated their use.
Las Vegas Sun
Canada Cup announced
North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship officials announced the
“Canada Cup Championship Challenge” today, which will be a ‘Championship
within a Championship’ for the series as it powers through three consecutive
rounds of racing North of the border. The Canada Cup will be comprised of
the two Molson Indy events in conjunction with Champ Car, first in Toronto
on July 9-11, and then onto Vancouver on the weekend of July 23-25, and will
hold the final round at the Three Rivers event on the weekend of July
30-August 1st. The Formula Renault 2000 Championship has a prize fund
worth $315,000 in total, and the Canada Cup will feature an additional prize
fund of $35,000 for the three events, with the top five finishers in the
Canada Cup points race taking home the cash. The points will be awarded as
per the FR2000 Championship finishing positions, and the Canada Cup will be
open to all Formula Renault 2000 cars, including those that have the 2004
Mosley prepared to force through F1 changes
FIA president Max Mosley is prepared to give Formula One teams two months to
agree to their own set of cost-cutting proposals otherwise he is prepared to
force through the necessary changes in time for 2005. Mosley says he
is prepared to invoke Article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement which gives him
the right to make any changes to the sport on the grounds of safety. The
article was added to the sporting code following the death of Ayrton Senna
in 1994. "I expect dissent," he tells the Daily Telegraph. "Article
7.5 is a way of applying pressure. If the teams can't come up with the
required changes, we will."
"Formula One's technical working group has been saying for more than two
years that engine power needs to be reduced. We have seen with (Felipe)
Massa and Ralf Schumacher that speeds in F1 are dangerously fast. We have to
act now." BMW is the only one of the manufacturers to reject changes
to the engine formula, from 3.0 liter V10 to 2.4 liter V8. Company officials
admit if the changes are approved, they will have to re-examine their role
within Formula One. Mercedes and Ferrari are also said to be reluctant to
reduce the size of the powerplant.
Mosley says the new regulations will cut horsepower from 900-plus to around
700. In 1994, when engines went from 3.5 liter to the current 3.0 liter
format, the horsepower output was approximately 650.
"No one benefits by all this money spent on engine development," Mosley
said. "It is the domain of a tiny priesthood of experts. They spend billions
on researching and testing ultra-expensive components that no one sees and
of which the public are completely unaware.
"People have no idea that someone has managed at huge expense to reduce the
weight of a piston by three grams, made a hollow connecting rod of some
ultra-sophisticated alloy or devised an extremely ingenious moveable inlet
system. What is more, they do not care."
ALMS to hit the streets of Manhattan American
Le Mans Series race cars will hit the streets of New York City on Wednesday,
June 30, as the inaugural American Le Mans Series "Festival of Speed" takes
place at the World Financial Center-Winter Garden in lower Manhattan. ALMS
racing teams and drivers will be in the New York area in advance of the July
2-5 New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in nearby Lakeville, Conn.
Sharing Justin Wilson
story on Justin Wilson talks about his career and the struggles he
has had to endure to get where he is today. He's on his way to
becoming Champ Car rookie of the year. Keep your eye on this lad, he
looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
6/24/04 Industry News
SAFER Barrier goes up at Chicagoland
The SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) wall technology is currently
being installed at Chicagoland Speedway by Jack K. Elrod Co., Inc. and will
be completed in time for the July 9-11 NASCAR weekend. "The safety of our
guests, as well as competitors at Chicagoland Speedway, is extremely
important to us and we are proud to able be to enhance our safety measures
with the SAFER wall technology," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and
general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. "The University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, Indy Racing League and NASCAR have done a tremendous job
developing the SAFER wall technology." The SAFER Barrier, which consists of
rectangular tubing backed by foam blocks that is installed in front of the
track's traditional cement walls, is designed to reduce forces incurred by a
car in an accident and increase driver safety. It was developed at the
Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and
was first installed in May 2002 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The
SAFER Barrier was created in collaboration between the Indy Racing League
and UN-L that began in 1998. NASCAR joined the effort in September 2000. The
SAFER Barrier at Chicagoland Speedway will run continuously for 2,289 feet
from the entrance to Turn 1 through the exit of Turn 2 and 2,289 feet from
the entrance to Turn 3 through the exit of turn 4. Additional SAFER Barrier
with a length of nearly 1,169 feet will run along the front stretch tri-oval
New Champ Car team to debut at Road
America2nd UPDATE It looks like Condor
Motorsports, driver Marc Hynes and Autoracing1.com may have been a victim of
a scam artist using a name Josh Wallace. He had us all believing that
he had the financial backing for a Champ Car team. However, when we tried to
reach him via telephone again tonight his number was no longer in service.
The red flags should have gone up when we could not find any information on
the Payton Tapp Watkins guy. You should know that we spoke to Wallace,
Carlos Bobeda (owner of Condor Motorsports) and Marc Hynes about this deal
yesterday, and this Wallace character made it sound pretty real. In
fact other journalists were contacted by the Watkins character as well
yesterday. Perhaps the telephone being out of service was just a
coincidence, but at this point we have grave doubts that there is anything
to this deal, even though Wallace offered to send Carlos money to get
started and Carlos told him to wait because he was not ready. If so, it's
too bad for Marc Hynes and for Carlos, who both had their hopes up that this
deal was real. And if it was a scam, we apologize to our readers. At
no time did we intend to mislead you. Hopefully we will be proven
wrong and Wallace will come through with his deal. 6/23/04
- We finally tracked down
the team owner for Condor Motorsports, Argentinean Carlos Bobeda,
who said, "yes, it is true that we are moving up to Champ Car.
We have wanted to do it for awhile and when the opportunity
presented itself, we jumped on it. It was all very hush-hush,
I am surprised you found out about it. We have a few things to
still iron out and then we will make the big announcement."
When asked about test dates he said, "that is one of the items still
to be ironed out." 6/23/04 -
Autoracing1.com has learned that a deal has been signed and Toyota
Atlantic Team Condor
Motorsports will be moving up to Champ Car with a 2-car team
starting at Road America. The drivers are African American
Payton Tapp Watkins (raced largely in F3 in Australia and South
America) and 26-year old British driver
Hynes (1999 British F3 champion). The deal was signed for
two years with a 3rd option year. The Bloomington, CA based
team is backed by some big name celebrities and sponsors that will
be revealed with the official announcement from the team. 2004
will be a learning year so the team will run Reynards, moving to
Lolas starting in 2005. Watkins recently signed a personal
sponsorship deal with American Express and a commercial with Tiger
Woods will begin airing soon. Both drivers bring a lot to the
Champ Car Series. Watkins is the first African American to
race in Champ Cars since Willy T Ribbs, and Marc Hynes is one of the
biggest young talents in Europe. Walker Racing and Dale Coyne
were approached to run these drivers, but the sponsors wanted to
keep them together and neither could accommodate both drivers this
year. Hence it was decided to build a new Champ Car team going
forward and starting with Condor Motorsports, who already has the
facilities, made a lot of sense. AutoRacing1.com will feature
an interview with both drivers in the coming days. Since
Watkins is a big unknown in the USA, it will be interesting to find
out his background. The team plans on one or two tests before Road
America. Mark C.
Nextel launches exclusive NASCAR wireless
service Nextel Communications Inc., the title sponsor of the
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series™, announced today the launch of Nextel FanScan
In-Car Audio – an exclusive, first-of-its-kind wireless service that allows
NASCAR fans to listen on any Nextel® phone to live radio communications
between drivers and their teams during races. Now when fans are not at the
track on race day and from anywhere on Nextel’s all-digital network, fans
can access thrilling firsthand accounts from drivers, crew chiefs, owners,
spotters and other team members. Fans can hear how cars are handling, pit
stop strategies, track conditions and celebratory banter throughout the race
to the checkered flag. Nextel FanScan In-Car Audio is powered by SportsCom
Fans will still use traditional short-range “scanners” exclusively at the
track, but when they can’t attend a race, FanScan provides them with a
service that is similar in quality to a scanner but with a reach of
thousands of miles instead of hundreds of feet. FanScan is the perfect
complement to tuning into NASCAR TV and radio coverage, providing a more
in-depth and interactive experience. No other sport allows fans to hear the
inside strategy of teams like FanScan offers. For example, pitching or
sideline coaches never share their discussions during games.
FanScan subscribers can choose to hear audio from nine featured driver teams
for every race. These nine featured teams may vary from week to week. For
example, for this weekend’s race in Sonoma, these driver teams will be
#2 Rusty Wallace
#6 Mark Martin
#8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
#12 Ryan Newman
#15 Michael Waltrip
#24 Jeff Gordon
#29 Kevin Harvick
#48 Jimmie Johnson
#88 Dale Jarrett
From the nine featured teams, FanScan subscribers can change which one to
hear throughout the race. They can also choose the “All-Scan” option, which
automatically scans conversations from the nine featured teams – plus an
additional 15 other top-driver teams. Listeners will hear the car number of
the team communication prior to listening to their actual correspondence.
Nextel customers can sign up for FanScan via their computer at
www.nextel.com/fanscan or via their phone on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series™ section of Nextel Online®. They can subscribe for a promotional
price of $4.99 for a race and $9.99 for all the races in a month.* The
FanScan service is accessed solely as a phone call. Nextel Online service is
not required to subscribe or access the FanScan service.
NASCAR fans can choose from a variety of
motor-sport-themed products, wireless services and applications from Nextel
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series i736 mobile phones,
which feature the number, signature and unique design and colors of ten
different drivers, including Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.;
NASCAR.COM Mobile, a wireless website with
NASCAR.COM news and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series content;
NASCAR.COM Alerts, which automatically sends
text messages with breaking NASCAR news;
NASCAR.COM To Go, a JAVA™ application which
provides NASCAR news, driver information, qualifying and race results and a
live leader board;
NASCAR-themed wallpapers and ring tones, which
allow fans to customize their mobile phones with race sights and sounds.
Michigan TV ratings plungeUPDATE
The final TV rating for the Michigan race last Sunday was a 4.5/13
Share, up from the overnight of 4.0, however, it was down 17% from
last year's final rating of 5.4/16 Share. We have seen a
pretty consistent trend of downward ratings for NASCAR this year
indicating the series appears to have reached its peak and will have
to branch outside the USA to pick up many new customers.
6/22/04 - Fox's
broadcast of Sunday's DHL 400 Nextel Cup race from Michigan International
Speedway drew an overnight rating of 4.0 and a 10 share from Nielsen Media
Business Daily reports. The rating represents a drop of 11.1 percent
from the 2003 race, which drew a 4.5/11 overnight and a final 5.4/16. This
year's race trailed both the third and fourth rounds of the U.S. Open golf
championship on NBC in the ratings from the nation's largest television
markets. NASCAR Scene
Daily Newsletter Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Pocono 500 at
Pocono Raceway earned a 5.2 national rating and a 14 share from Nielsen
Media Research, down 1.9 percent from last year's 5.3/14. Sports Business
Daily figures show Fox averaging a 5.8/14 through 11 races, down 1.7 percent
from the 11 comparable races in 2003. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter.
And the MBNA America 400 at Dover on FX earned a 3.4
cable rating, down 6% from the comparable race in '03. This year's race drew
3,681,000 HHs, off 3% from 3,807,000 HHs Has NASCAR peaked?
IOC confirms rumors of Payne to F1
The IOC today announced that Dir of Global Broadcast & Media Rights
Michael Payne will step down from his post on August 31, following
the conclusion of the Athens Olympics. Payne will join F1 as a
special advisor to F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone.
6/24/04 Industry News
GM to move Asian headquarters to
Shanghai General Motors Corp. said today it will move its
Asia-Pacific head office to Shanghai to be closer to the world's
fastest growing car market and build a $250 million testing ground
in the city. The world's largest carmaker, which two weeks ago
unveiled a plan to invest $3 billion in China, will shift its main
office from Singapore, Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner told a
press briefing in Shanghai. The facility for testing safety and road
handling will be the company's largest, outside Michigan.
"Establishing our regional headquarters in Shanghai recognizes how
important China has become to our plans," Wagoner said. "Having a
strong presence in this dynamic and growing market is not an option
anymore; it's a necessity." GM, Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and
Toyota Motor Corp. have announced plans in the past eight months to
invest about $10 billion in China, the world's fastest-growing
automotive market. GM's first- quarter profit in the Asia-Pacific
region almost quadrupled to $275 million, contributing 21 percent of
its total global income.
New Penske shop
Penske Racing South said Tuesday it will remain in Mooresville,
moving its three NASCAR teams to the vacant Matsushita Compressor
Corp. of America building in the Mooresville Business Park. "I
absolutely did not want to leave Mooresville," said Don Miller,
president of Penske Racing. The team is currently located in
Lakeside Park at Exit 36, and is one of the original racing tenants
there. The decision to stay in Mooresville came in the face of
pressure from nearby cities to relocate Penske's operations.
Concord, which recently lured Chip Ganassi Racing from Mooresville,
lobbied especially hard, Miller said. Penske has already placed a
down payment on the Matsushita facility, and is awaiting final
approval from banks and the Environmental Protection Agency to
renovate and move in. In buying the 400,000-square-foot building,
nearly as large as eight football fields, Penske is taking over a
facility that has been vacant since 2001. "We're excited that it's
not a vacant building (any longer)," said Melanie O'Connell
Underwood, director of economic development for the
Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce, and manager of the
Mooresville Business Park. "(Penske Racing) is one of the first race
shops in town, so they have career employees," Underwood said,
commenting on the difficulty of relocation for employees. "That
(Penske is) staying shows their belief in their employees, and Don
Miller's belief that he wanted to be near the sport that he grew."
Penske Racing South, which fields teams for drivers #2-Rusty
Wallace, #12-Ryan Newman and rookie #77-Brendan Gaughan, has been in
Mooresville since 1991. About 200 employees will work at the new
facility. Penske Racing South plans to continue operations at the
Auto Research Center wind tunnel facility at Lakeside Park, and at
Penske-Jasper Engines in Concord. As for making changes to the
Matsushita building, Miller said it would be the "finest facility in
racing." He added that a 300-foot walk would be built above the shop
area so fans can see the operations in action. Those operations will
comprise about 227,000 square feet, he said. The rest will be
leased, perhaps to another race-related business.
Pit rule amended
NASCAR amended a pit-road rule. Pit road will open the second time
the leader reaches the pit entrance while behind the pace car. The
rule debuted at Pocono but didn't specify if the leader had to be
behind the pace car. A NASCAR official signaled that pit road was
open a lap early at Pocono, leading series officials to later
apologize for the mistake.
Paul Menard gets Busch ride with DEI
Dale Earnhardt Inc. will field a second Busch series car for Paul
Menard beginning July 24 in Loudon, N.H. Menard will drive a DEI
Chevrolet for the last 15 races of the Busch season and will run the
full schedule in 2005, DEI said Wednesday. The new team will be
sponsored by Menards Super Home Centers, the company owned by John
Menard, Paul's father and a longtime team owner in the Indy Racing
Injury halts Klien's testing
Jaguar Racing driver Christian Klien has had to cancel his F1 testing
duties at Barcelona after seriously injuring his finger in a freak
accident. The Austrian driver got his finger caught in a fan while
trying to cool himself down in the pits and sliced the top of his
finger which left a deep gash. Autosport.com
Regis attacks Mosley
Jacques Regis, the President of the Federation Francaise du Sport
Automobile and an FIA Vice-President, has launched an stinging
attack on the way in which Max Mosley runs the international
automobile federation. In an interview with the French magazine
Autohedbo, Regis says - "Mosley does not consult me and I have the
impression that I am not alone in this respect," he says. "He lives
in his glass bubble and makes decisions by himself and with his
staff, they are certainly of a high level but they ignore all those
on the ground. A federation is an association of clubs and this
federation must defend the interests of those clubs. Today we are
faced with a federation which imposes its decisions on the clubs and
defends its own interests. That is the root of the problem. Its
international policies are decided without the clubs. For me the FIA
should represent the national clubs and its role must be to develop
the sport in these countries and not simply concentrate its energies
on the international circuses which features 20 F1 cars and 10 rally
"I am not alone in thinking this, but perhaps I am the only one who
is saying anything. One day the people will have a voice. It is too
early to talk of an opposition, or of different factions. The FFSA
is not satisified by the way in which world motor sport is run and
it is not alone in that. Max Mosley needs to change his policies. If
not we will change the president."
"He completely forgets the problems faced by the race organizers,"
Regis argues. "No-one talks about that. When one sees the way in
which the F1 teams are run, certain factories and the staff, it
makes me laugh when I hear about the worries about. Are they making
any savings? Do they even want to do that? Private jets and gigantic
yachts are not just the toys of the drivers but also of the team
bosses and even the technical directors. The principal objective
should not be cost-cutting but rather creating a better show for
those who pay, because if tomorrow we have races without spectators
there won't be any race organizers left."
Superbikes to support Champ Cars in
Montreal This year’s Champ Car event at the Circuit
Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal will include a round of the Canadian
national Superbike series. The Aug. 29 race will mark the first time
Champ Car has been supported by a motorcycle race, and the first
time in 17 years bikes have raced on that track. Race promoters say
ticket sales are ahead of last year’s race, reported by organizers
at 150,000 for the weekend.
Montreal honors Champ Car legends
The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford
will make its third visit to Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on
August 29 for the Molson Indy Montreal, for a race that has quickly
joined similar events in Toronto and Vancouver as being one of the
most successful stops on the Champ Car schedule. This year as the
cars and stars of the Champ Car World Series flash by packed
grandstands at top speed, they will do so with the knowledge that
the people in those grandstands are not only there to see the
current generation do battle, they are there honoring past legends
as well. The Molson Indy Montreal organizers announced that they
would rename seven of the grandstands around the 2.709-mile road
course to honor some of the great personalities of the series. The
VIP grandstand has fittingly been named the Villeneuve Grandstand,
honoring the 1995 series champion Jacques Villeneuve. Jacques is the
son of the late Formula 1 hero Gilles Villeneuve, for whom the track
is named. Two-time series champion Alex Zanardi, Michael and Mario
Andretti, long-time racer, legendary actor and current team owner
Paul Newman, 1989 series champ Emerson Fittipaldi and 1999 title
winner Juan Montoya are also being recognized with grandstands named
in their honor. In addition, Canadian racing hero Greg Moore, who
lost his life in a crash at California Speedway in 1999, will also
be honored with a special grandstand. Tickets for the Greg Moore
Grandstand are priced at $99, in memorial to his car number, which
is the only number to be officially retired by Champ Car. A portion
of the sales from these tickets will be donated to the Greg Moore
Foundation. The Molson Indy Montreal has also devised a plan to help
cultivate the next generation of Champ Car fans, allowing general
admission ticket holders to bring two children, 13 years or younger,
to the event at no charge. Tickets are now available by calling
(514) 397- INDY (4639) or via the web site
No Crapwagons please! A
reader writes, You know, I'm all for unification and stuff. I think
it is best for open-wheel racing. But I STRONGLY dislike the IRL's
formula (no Crapwagons please). Going from a possible F1-like V10
engine to an IRL engine (gee, sounds like a couple of years ago) or
a Champ Car V8 to the IRL engine is just plain insulting. I'm
already biting my lips every time I see the current generation
750-hp Champ Car struggle down the straights. I only keep telling
myself "just another year or two." Now, I have accepted the 750hp
engine only because I know a much lighter chassis is in the mix
(thank God!). I remember the days of 900hp Champ Cars in 1999 and
2000 when F1 arrived at Indy for the US GP only to find they did NOT
have the highest hp engines. Now, through unification, we get an
even slower car and engine?!!! I'm all about unification, but this
sounds more like a joke than anything. I sure hope they don't give
the Atlantics anymore hp if that is the case, they will be faster
than the unification cars! Also, 10 ovals?! Why? Where is the
support for that? Maybe Indy, Texas, and Nashville or Kentucky, but
that is it. Derek Hughes, Florida Dear Derek, Open
wheel racing in the USA has been set back 40 years by the split
initiated by Tony George. NASCAR now has a 5 lap lead and
there is just one lap left in the race. Open Wheel Racing may
never recovery to the status it enjoyed under CART pre-1996, at
least not for many years. There is no magic wand that anyone
is going to wave that will overnight fix what Tony George has
destroyed. OWRS is on the right track with its future plans.
A new exciting formula (yes, Indy Car Racing needs a major refresh)
that will excite people. It doesn't have to cost a lot of
money, it just needs to be high-tech using standardized pieces so
competition doesn't run costs through the roof. Champ Car also
has some new venues coming onboard that are exciting.
Most of them are overseas. Since NASCAR has monopolized the
USA market, the only new markets for open wheel racing right now are
outside the USA borders. Since F1 can't satisfy the world
needs, that is an area that Champ Car should continue to focus on.
Then, when the world begins to take notice and the series starts to
get more attention in the USA, they can pick and choose which USA
markets to add. In other words, what is unification really
going to do for the sport? If OWRS stays the course, the
future is theirs. The IRL will either stay in business in the
USA and continue to be a mere shadow to NASCAR, or they will whither
and die away. If they want to unify, they need to keep two
divisions with the existing Champ Car teams in the International
Division and the existing IRL teams in the National Division with
some sort of playoff system to determine an overall champion.
Both divisions would get lighter cars with paddle shifters and a new
V10 engine in 2006. The engines should be exciting V10 engines
that scream, with a spec engine badged by multiple companies (equal
HP, low cost for everyone). Whichever companies want to play
in this new "smart" way to go racing can, those who don't can piss
away millions of dollars trying to pound each other into the ground
in, say, F1. The story of Jaguar getting out of F1 should send
a message to all those manufacturers that think head-to-head R&D,
with never ending runaway HP competition is good for racing. Our
proposed scenario gives the sport the best chance to succeed.
With two divisions working together as one, they keep their toes in
the USA market while capitalizing on the opportunities abroad.
Bill France spotted
Bill France Jr. is in the Bahamas this week and his boat is berthed
at the Atlantis. He is on board with friends. His power generator
says NASCAR - Turn LEFT and his boat name is High Banx. Mark C.
Lamborghini at Mid-Ohio A legend in
world sports car racing is returning to the American Le Mans Series this
weekend after a two-year absence, and he's bringing a legendary sports car
marque with him. Dick Barbour, one of the sport's winningest drivers and
team owners, is returning to competition as manager of Krohn-Barbour Racing,
a new team that's going to give US race fans their first sight of the
glamorous Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT.
Barbour established Krohn-Barbour Racing earlier this year with Texan
businessman Tracy Krohn. The team will run two Lamborghinis in all eight
remaining rounds of the nine-race ALMS, starting at Mid-Ohio Sports Car
Course on June 25-27. One Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT will be driven by
Australian David Brabham and Dutchman Peter Kox, the other by Krohn and
Canadian Scott Maxwell.
The Lamborghini race cars are entered in the GTS (Grand Touring Sport) class
for cars that are production-based but highly modified. Because these 200mph
racers are readily identifiable with their road going counterparts, they're
a favorite with the crowds. Competition in the GTS class comes from a broad
mix of exotic machinery, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari 550
Maranello, Saleen S7R and Dodge Viper.
6/24/04 Industry News
Tobacco money out of racing soon The
last few days have seen a rush of 14 countries signing up with the World
Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, bringing the
total of signatories to 138 out of around 200 countries in the world.
Further signatories are expected this week before the treaty closes for
signature on June 29. After that date countries can still become parties to
the agreement but it becomes more complicated. It is also worth noting that
21 countries have now ratified the agreement which means that the WHO is
halfway to getting the treaty enforced. The convention will become
international law on the 90th day after the 40th county ratifies the treaty
although each country committed to the convention will then have to
introduce its own tobacco legislation. The only major countries (in
terms of population) not to have signed the deal are Nigeria, Indonesia and
Russia and they may sign the agreement in the course of the next few days.
Frustrated over all the CART/IRL unification
talk After reading all of the recent snippets about the possible
attempts at unification, and Roger and the others trying to remove the egg
from their faces, I'm trying to understand why OWRS/Champ Car would even
consider going through with it.
Okay so are you kidding me? A unified series with Ten Ovals and Ten Road
Courses? Hey Mr. Penske here's a news flash- Nobody cares about open wheel
cars racing on ovals anymore. Can't you guy's see that? The drivers
certainly don't like it! I know you and many others have invested a lot of
cash in your oval tracks but leave them for the NASCAR guys! The sport of
open wheel racing in North America has evolved in the last ten years! It's
called Road and Street Course racing. Just like they do everywhere else in
So with that being said why would the guys at OWRS/ Champ Car want to even
consider it? Obviously the IRL has manufacturer's support, but both Honda
and Toyota seemed destined to go to NASCAR. I'm sure that the management at
OWRS/ Champ Car are currently talking to manufacturers who want to be in
Champ Car in 2006 and beyond. OK so the IRL has a TV package w/ABC and ESPN.
A decent TV package is something that Champ Car can certainly obtain next
season (a must). Due to the court debacle, thanks again to Mr. George, I
think OWRS took what they could get just to get their product on television
this season. OK so what about the cars? The IRL cars are dangerous and
without a doubt some of the ugliest pieces of machinery on the planet, not
to mention they sound horrible. I think the Abrams M1 tank is sexier! Champ
Cars are a hell of a lot more exciting to watch. Let's just hope all the
rumors are true about the future Champ car-an F1 type chassis with a V10
motor package. What about the venues? The only race on the IRL calendar that
even has any significance is Indy. The other IRL races are pathetic and have
no market value. I'm sorry but unifying open wheel racing isn't going to
draw a huge crowd to tracks like Nashville or Kentucky Speedway! Nobody
wants to see it! Especially when the current IRL crowd is made up of
"Freebie Ticket" giveaways!
It certainly appears that the IRL and those involved are finally realizing
they are losing the war and are in worse shape than they could've imagined.
But hey- they only have themselves to blame. They remind me of a bunch of
old codgers in their own little country club who are stuck in the past, with
no real care or concept of what the future holds! And even after all the
spin they created in the media including making a large deposit on the
doorstep at Haymarket Publishing for their mags such as Autosport and Racer,
not to mention their Indycar rag, all the IRL hype can't turn or sway the
So here's what I'd like to see happen. The only unification I would even
consider would be sticking with the Champ Car game plan for 2005 and beyond
(chassis, tires, & venues) and add the Indy 500 into the mix. Have it be one
week instead of the whole month of May, and have it be the only current IRL
oval on the circuit. If they don't like it, well- move on! Champ Car doesn't
need them- just a better TV package and some factory support!!! Champ Car is
Alive and Kicking- the IRL is only dying a slow death!
It baffles me with all the doom and gloom they were spreading in the media
just a couple weeks ago, they now want to unify open wheel racing. What
happened? What about your vision guys? What a bunch of Hypocrites! Hey
Michael Andretti- do you still like the direction Tony is taking you now?
The recent Champ Car races at Long Beach, Monterrey, Milwaukee, and Portland
must have been a nice wake-up call to reality! I can't wait to see their
reaction after Cleveland and the Canadian races.
I hope OWRS/Champ Car stays the course and doesn't buy into their schemes.
How many times has there been talk of a reunification only to have Tony
George and the IRL make the guys at CART look like a bunch of fools? Too many
to count! Champ Car racing can survive and grow even stronger without the
Indy 500 and the hypocrisy of the IRL. I appreciate you letting me
vent my frustration. Thanks again for your "No Spin" racing coverage. Keep
up the great work. T. Rose, Orange County, CA.
More details on Penske/OWRS meeting This SPEEDTV.com
article says, - A
face to face meeting Tuesday between Roger Penske and the three men keeping
Champ Car alive produced some positive dialogue and possibilities but
nothing approaching a definitive plan to unify open wheel racing, according
to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe. "Yes, we did meet and we all
agreed there is a great deal of value in a united series," said Kalkhoven,
who along with Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi are the principals of Open Wheel
Racing Series, formerly known as Championship Auto Racing Teams. "But
there are some substantial obstacles that make it impossible to get it
done at the present time." A report in Autoweek stated that
Penske would make a proposal to Indy Racing League founder Tony George in
the next 100 hours to put everybody back under one roof but Kalkhoven said
that was erroneous. "We haven't got a plan," said the owner of
PKV Racing, who joined CART in 2003. "We agreed there was value in a
united series but it got no further than that." During the
two-hour meeting in Pontiac, Mich., an 8-man board of directors was
discussed (four from each side) as well as a schedule (10 ovals and 10
road/street courses) that combined each series strongest venues and
retaining the IRL's normally-aspirated engine formula. "If it would
happen, everybody would win -- sponsors, fans, teams -- and I would
certainly like to see it happen and go to the next level," said Forsythe,
who has fielded Champ Cars on and off since 1982 and now operates a
three-car team. "But, at the end of the day, if there isn't a meeting
of the minds and you run into a brick wall, you've got to turn left."
Neither Kalkhoven or Forsythe would disclose the obstacles and Penske could
not be reached for comment. Asked about the sense of urgency on
Penske's part to get things back together after an eight-year war that has
decimated television ratings, discouraged sponsors and alienated fans,
Kalkhoven replied: "They (the IRL) are so enthusiastic to do
something with us it's almost frightening." Added Forsythe:
"Roger seemed very sincere and I appreciate him stepping forward. But we'll
do whatever we can to make it happen and I think he conveyed that to Tony."
As for the next schedule meeting? "There is no timetable to meet
again," responded Kalkhoven. "We all just said we'll be in touch." [Editor's
Note: The IRL is in serious trouble, that much is clear based on
the urgency of the IRL/Penske to get something done now all of a sudden,
after years of trying to kill CART/Champ Car. Perhaps the
manufacturers have told them they are leaving if they can't get the series
pulled together. We feel they are better off running the two groups
under one umbrella organization for now - two divisions with some sort of
playoff system to get the fans interested in the rivalries. If in the
distant future it makes sense to merge into one division, that can happen,
but divisions and playoffs work for all other sports, and it can work for
racing in a very positive way as long as both sides are united under one
ownership umbrella and not fighting to put each other out of business.
If no two divisions, 12 track owners will lose their race - they have
contracts that would need to be broken. There is one big obstacle
right there. What about the teams that can't race because the pits
can't hold anymore cars?]
New McLaren stays fastest
1. P. de la Rosa – McLaren - 1:17.098 - 112 laps
2. M. Gene – Williams - 1:18.035 – 91 laps
3. A. Wurz – McLaren - 1:18.167 – 106 laps
4. T. Sato – BAR - 1:18.608 – 55 laps
5. R. Zonta – Toyota - 1:18.763 – 54 laps
6. A. Davidson – BAR – 1:18.832 – 34 laps
7. A. Pizzonia - Williams - 1:19.894 – 69 laps
8. Cristiano da Matta – Toyota – no time – 1 lap
FOX News running Champ Car ads Champ
Car TV ads for the upcoming Cleveland GP have been running during FOX News
broadcasts in the Midwest. Radio ads have been numerous as well.
Looks like a push is on to build the event. Radio Ads for the Toronto
race are also airing in the Midwest. The ESPN radio station in
Columbus, 1460 The Fan has their traffic report at lunch sponsored
by the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland. "The only Grand Prix in
Ohio". This radio station can be herd in most of central Ohio.
#49 fails lap belt inspection Confiscated
from Ken Schrader's #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge at Michigan
International Speedway was a Crotch Belt. The belt in violation, as it had
surpassed the two year manufacturer's date, stamped on the belt. Evidently
the rest of the belt met requirements. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief
Scott Eggleston has been fined $500 for a driver restraint equipment
infraction that occurred this past weekend at Michigan International
Speedway. Eggleston - crew chief for the No. 49 Dodge driven by Ken Schrader
- was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car
racing) and Section 20-17.2C (anti-submarine belt - expired manufacturer's
date) in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. The infraction was
discovered by NASCAR officials during last Friday's initial inspection
process. NASCAR PR
F-15 smokes IRL car 2nd UPDATE
article says, Which is faster - an IndyCar or an F-15 fighter jet?
That's just what the folks at Langley Air Force Base and Richmond
International Raceway wanted to know. So they pitted Maj. Bret "Slam"
Anderson, a veteran fighter pilot, against IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and
held a drag race at Langley on Tuesday afternoon. If you had placed your
money on the IndyCar ... well, you would've lost. Anderson's F-15 smoked
Wheldon's IndyCar (similar to what a Champ Car would do to an IRL car) in
the 17-second race, crossing the finish line yards ahead of the car before
taking flight. Here is a
video to watch as well...smoke him he did.
CART/IRL peace at hand? 2nd
UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I read the
Autosport article. Interesting. However, I can't get over my jaded, "don't
go down the same road" feeling with regards to the IRL's destabilization
strategies of the past. If there is one thing to be said about the IRL it is
that they have brilliant people working for them, strategizing for them, and
creating unbelievable PR from the most minor events. They are able to do so
much to CART/OWRS/ChampCar with one letter. In this vein ChampCar is non
Roger Penske wrote a letter to a newspaper and the world is ready for
unification. The proof will be in the pudding. I say get rid of Tony George
completely. He should be nothing more than a track owner in the future of
the IRL/ChampCar. Tony has done so much negative to the sport that any
involvement on his part will be looked at negatively by the ChampCar fans
(the bulk of the fan base of the 2 series.) His involvement will give the
series a kangaroo court feel as people will undoubtedly recall the non
decision between Paul and Helio in 2002..
Here is what I would like to see. The ChampCar with the majority of the
power in the new group. After all, they have the bulk of the fan base
support and the better venues. Even if it is 5 out of 9 board members. In no
way should Tony be a part of that group. Parts of me agree that Brian
Barnhart should run the new series. He has done so much on a daily/weekly
basis to make the IRL seem legitimate, he clearly has that ability to get
I must go back to the whole reunification "let's knight Roger for him taking
this step". Roger Penske does not do anything for other people unless he is
going to be richly rewarded. He sees the writing on the wall. I am not
trying to say that ChampCar has won anything in this "war." However, Roger
Penske realizes that he will have nowhere to play in the open wheel world
unless he gets things repaired. He will lose more money and credibility than
anyone else from the split. He has seen the devastation called the Indy 500.
I will gladly bet you the Brickyard 400 will have 10 to 15% far more
attendance than the hallowed Indy 500.
I say this to the ChampCar boys. Be careful. Make your plans. Move forward
on your plans. Do not wait for Roger to call you. Keep up the good work.
Keep control. To Roger, Chip, Michael, Adrian, Bobby and Tony I say
"SCREW YOU." You will not be a welcome part of any reunification plan.
To AJ Foyt I laugh out loud. Tony has screwed you and the rest of the
IRL visionaries. But you can't see it, or don't want to believe it.
Dan Thomson PS. I love the Autoracing1 site. I am on it many
times a day. If you make it to Vancouver for this year's race I would love
to buy you guys a drink. You call it as you see it. Keep it up. Dan6/23/04 - Here is another
article from Autoweek on further developments in the peace process
that make it sound a bit more believable. 6/23/04 - This
article puts a realistic spin on the current situation of a
possible CART/IRL peace plan orchestrated by Roger Penske.
Having been burnt twice by Tony George in the past, and with some
big plans by OWRS in the works, peace proposals are being taken with
a grain of salt by OWRS. How does the saying go? Fool me
once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!
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