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Randy Ruhlman wins pole
Randy Ruhlman, in his 144th start, won his first Motorock Trans-Am
pole Friday at Road America for Sunday's 35th Annual Trans-Am Rumble
at the Road. Driving the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet
Corvette, Ruhlman also gave Chevrolet its first pole since October
of 2002. Ruhlman, currently third in the championship, earns one
bonus point for the pole. Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Puerto
Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR), points leader Paul Gentilozzi (No. 3
Jaguar R Performance XKR and Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR)
qualified second through fourth, respectively. Johnny Miller, in his
first Trans-Am start this season, was fifth in the No. 64 Eaton
Chevrolet Corvette. Gentilozzi said changes he made to his machine
ended up slowing him down in qualifying. 'We made a mistake in the
changes we made between sessions and we slowed the car down a fair
bit,' said Gentilozzi. 'We'll have to go back and re-think those
changes. We had an awful push and overheated the front tires. You
just can do that here. You have get the car through the apex and I
couldn't do that at all. It was very frustrating to drive around,
knowing the car was faster, and not being able to get it there.
Leffler fastest on Friday at
Brickyard Jason Leffler -- running a just a one-race
deal for Haas CNC Racing -- found the right combination late Friday
afternoon and led a big field in the first practice for Sunday's
Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Leffler's
48.791-second lap bested Casey Mears' effort by six-hundredths of a
second. Like Leffler, Mears, who earned his first career Nextel Cup
Series pole last week at Pocono, ran just six laps in the session.
Both drivers posted their fastest laps on the sixth and final lap of
the two-plus hour session.
Weaver fastest in Friday practice
The Dyson Racing Team has been looking forward to the American Le
Mans Series stop at Mosport International Raceway all year, feeling
that the high-speed Canadian circuit would suit the team's race cars
very well and represented one of the team's best chances to take an
overall race win this season.
On Friday, James Weaver showed that the team's optimism had merit as
he pushed the #16 Lola EX257-AER/MG to a lap of 1:08.135, leading a
two-hour test session on the 2.459-mile circuit that kicked off this
weekend's Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport. Weaver will co-drive with
Butch Leitzinger as the Dyson team seeks its first win of 2004 in
Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute timed event.
"The car is in its element here," said Weaver. "It's very good
aerodynamically and is stunning in the fast corners. The Goodyear
tires work incredibly well in the long corners with all the download
on the car. I love the high average speed and the elevation change
here. Mosport is a unique blend of high-speed corners and elevation
change, which makes it very exciting and satisfying to drive
"This is the kind of place you don't want to go out and watch
because you realize how fast you're really going here," said
Leitzinger. "It's best to be oblivious."
Second-fastest on Friday was the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ
Lehto and Marco Werner at 1:08.615. The two will be trying for their
fifth consecutive overall race win in the ALMS this season. The
other Dyson Lola of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace was third in
Friday's test at 1:08.691.
Oliver Gavin unofficially broke his own track record in the GTS
class when he turned a lap of 1:14.293 in the Corvette Racing
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R that he will share with Olivier Beretta. In
leading the class during the session, Gavin was faster than the
record of 1:14.417 that he set in last year's Mosport event.
Sun Trust team on front row
Wayne Taylor qualified the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11
on the front row today for the start of Saturday's EMCO Mid-Ohio
Road Racing Classic event. CompUSA driver Max Papis set the fastest
time at 1:19.496 (102.254 mph), with Taylor following with a
1:19.733 (101.950). It was the fourth time in seven events that
Riley chassis cars made up the front row. 'I was a bit conservative
with qualifying because I had just put the car in the gravel in the
last practice session,' said Taylor. 'I knew we had a car for the
front row, maybe even the pole. The tires are only optimum for about
three laps. For me, the most important thing is the checkered flag.
This is my best qualifying this year. 'The racing in Grand American
is so competitive, you really have to have your act together, so we
put more effort into having a good car for the race,' added Taylor.
'Saturday's race will be at 5:30 p.m., so it will be a little
cooler, which will be nice. But we're all in the same boat.'
Observations from Mid-Ohio
Our sources report from Mid-Ohio where the Grand-Am series is racing
this weekend that there was hardly any one there, today, perhaps 500
people We hear it is doubtful that Rob Dyson will move his
team to the Grand Am series from what our sources were told, he will
stay in the ALMS. A rumor that has been making the rounds is
that Penske may be looking at entering a team in the Grand Am
Prototype series. With Ganassi being there Penske may follow suit.
Fourth The Grand Am series expects to have between 24 to 26 Daytona
Prototypes in the series next year.
No standby for Earnhardt at Indy
Richie Gilmore told Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144
that there is no plan for a stand by driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Earnhardt Jr.
plans to drive the entire race and Gilmore feels strongly that
Earnhardt Jr. will run the entire race. The #8 team had a serious
meeting this week and they are committed to racing the entire race
with Earnhardt Jr. as the driver and to step up performance as a
team. No stand by has been appointed.
NASCAR Radio 144
Car announces new Exec VPUPDATE We added a photo of Joe
Chrnelich to the right. 8/6/04 - The Champ Car World
Series today announced the hiring of former Wisconsin State Fair
Park-Milwaukee Mile CEO Joe Chrnelich to the position of Executive
Vice President of Development, Government Affairs and Planning,
effective August, 2004.
In his new position, Chrnelich will be responsible for managing
Champ Car relationships with race promoters, identifying and
investigating prospective race venues and completing the 2005 Champ
Car World Series schedule. The former two-time captain of the
University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has many years of
experience dealing with racing organizations from the promoter's
side, as part of his duties with the Wisconsin State Fair Park.
'I am very excited about the challenges of the new position,'
Chrnelich said. 'It presents a different variety and scope of
responsibilities as compared to my job at the State Fair Park. I
think this is a great fit, especially considering my years of
experience understanding the promoter's perspective and the
requirements for producing a quality event. My top priority will be
to establish and build long term relationships with our promoter
partners while providing world class racing events for the Champ Car
Chrnelich was responsible for overseeing the recent $80 million
dollar Master Plan renovation of the Wisconsin State Fair Park,
including $23 million in new improvements to the Milwaukee Mile
which sits on the fair park property. The Mile has the distinction
of having the longest-running history of any venue on the
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford
schedule. This year the venerable Mile once again hosted a very
successful Champ Car event, won by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
'I am very excited to have Joe Chrnelich as part of the Champ Car
organization,' said series CEO Dick Eidswick. 'His expertise will be
extremely valuable in helping shape the future of Champ Car and we
look forward to many successful seasons together.'
Chrnelich will be attending the series at this weekend's Champ Car
Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune. As a
former consultant in the Sports, Entertainment and Government
Affairs fields, he will draw upon all of his resources and
relationships to ensure that the series maintains its place as the
most diverse and challenging open-wheel racing series in the world.
'We need to establish open lines of communications with all our
business partners and articulate a clear vision of where Champ Car
is heading,' he said. 'We need to prioritize our short-term and
long-term target markets, reach out to our local contacts to find
out what each needs from us to be successful and then make well
informed choices of venues that complement our vision. Once we
accomplish that, I suspect we will have built a solid schedule and a
series that everyone can be proud of.'
Biffle comments on Brickyard accident
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, was
involved in an accident late in Friday's practice period at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Biffle will be forced to a backup car
for tomorrow's qualifying session. GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National
Guard/Subway Taurus - "It just got away from me. I was just way too
loose. That was our first qualifying run of the day and even though
that was a good car, they've got another good one in the truck so
we'll be alright." YOU WERE THE THIRD ONE TO FIND THE WALL TODAY. IS
THE TRACK SLICK' "This place gets slick in the afternoon, but I
don't know. Like I said, that was my first qualifying run and it
just got away from me." AT LEAST YOU HADN'T QUALIFIED YET. "Well,
we're still gonna start in the back because they don't want to use
that motor. If we used that engine, we'd be OK but the drive shaft
shoved into the back of the transmission and it broke the tail
housing and stuff, so it could hurt the flywheel or the crankshaft.
So instead of taking any chances, we'll just put a spare engine in
it and start from the back." WERE YOU DOWN ON THE WHITE LINE WHEN IT
LET LOOSE' "No, I was clear up by the wall. I just lifted on the gas
and started to turn in and spun out. Mine got away in the worst
possible spot - way early. Way early is worse than being down on the
line already because in the middle of the corner that's your slowest
Vasser fails inspection
Jimmy Vasser's #12 car failed the technical inspection after the
first qualifying session at Road America, for being underweight.
Vasser's 5th place time was disallowed.
IRL fines two drivers Two
chief mechanics were fined by the Indy Racing League and placed on
probation today for the rest of the season for violations at
Michigan International Speedway, where three crewmen were hit during
pit stops. In one of the accidents Sunday, Tomas Scheckter's
car struck his mechanic, Steve Namisnak, early in the Michigan Indy
400. Scheckter swerved to avoid the car of Tora Takagi. Namisnak
sustained a broken leg. Takagi's chief mechanic, Don Lambert,
was fined along with Mike Sales, chief mechanic for Adrian
Fernandez. His car struck that of Vitor Meira, which tripped Mike
Horvath, a crewman for Dan Wheldon. Horvath he was not seriously
hurt. In another mishap, the car of Fernandez also spun into a
crewman for Kosuke Matsuura, but no one was injured. The IRL took no
action on that accident. The IRL did not disclose the amount
of the fines.
Junqueira: Da Matta got a royal sc%#@ng
from Toyota, hopes to team up with Cristiano in the future
Bruno Junqueira is not amused with the way Toyota F1 treated his
childhood friend, Cristiano Da Matta. "Cristiano was royally
sc%&$@ed by Toyota", he stated after qualifying third on the Friday
Road America session. Junqueira, who has been friends with Da
Matta ever since their early karting days (both drivers hail from
the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte, and their fathers competed
head-to-head on the Brazilian stock-car scene), thinks Toyota's
making "yet another mistake. They keep blaming their drivers
for the poor results, when clearly that is not where their major
problems reside." Bruno wouldn't mind sharing
Newman/Haas colors with Cristiano on 2005 - perhaps on a third N/H
entry: "I do think it's one of the best options (for him)," said
Junqueira. Cassio Cortes, reporting for AutoRacing1.com
Wiggins: We'll be here next year
We quizzed Herdez boss Keith Wiggins on whether his team would still
be in Champ Car in 2005 since their primary sponsor Herdez was
leaving the sport. Wiggins said, "We'll definitely be here in
2005. New relationships are developing very nicely, both in
Mexico and in the USA." As for what the team will be called,
"we have npot decided yet," said Wiggins. Mark C.
Road America to open up the kink
According the George Bruggentheis, President of Road America, they
are looking to build a new bridge over the track from inside the
Carousel to provide fan access to a new viewing area on the outside
of the spectacular Kink on the back straight. For those of you
who don't know what the Kink is, it's one of the most spectacular
flat-in-top gear corner that takes some real bravery to get through
it without lifting. With Road America's long straights, the
teams try to run as little downforce as possible, which means the
car gets lights through the Kink...and if you look closely, the tail
of the cars stepping out. He also tells us that Road America
may do what we have been saying for years, to bring in a big
carnival company and make the Champ Car weekend like Sebring and
LeMans, a weekend affair for families throughout Wisconsin, many of
who camp out over the weekend. "We are looking at it said
Bruggentheis, if we did it we would probably set it up in the big
field outside Turn 14 where it can be seen from the road." Mark
Mario Dominguez loses rear wing at
190 MPHUPDATE We spoke to Mario
Dominguez after qualifying today and he told us his rear wing
support cracked again in qualifying, which ended his session early.
Very strange to get two failures in the same place in one day.
We jokingly told Mario he must be running too much down force,
thereby overstressing the support bracket. 8/6/04 -
Mario Dominguez had a support fail on his rear wing at Road America
this morning. The support failed at the aluminum plate that attaches
to the gearbox. The wing just laid down on the track behind the car
and did not fly through the air.
Bourdais leads Friday AM practice at
Road America Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader
1 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:42.928 141.582
2 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:44.337 139.670
3 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:44.442 139.530 224.551
4 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:45.091 138.668
223.164 2.163 0.649
5 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:45.146 138.596
223.048 2.218 0.055
6 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:45.361 138.313
222.593 2.433 0.215
7 O. Servia 11 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:45.487 138.148
222.327 2.559 0.126
8 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:46.282 137.114
220.663 3.354 0.795
9 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:46.532 136.793
220.146 3.604 0.250
10 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:46.894 136.329
219.400 3.966 0.362
11 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:46.988 136.210
219.208 4.060 0.094
12 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:47.101 136.066
218.976 4.173 0.113
13 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:47.163 135.987
218.849 4.235 0.062
14 G. Smith 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:47.371 135.724
218.426 4.443 0.208
15 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:47.854 135.116
217.448 4.926 0.483
16 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:48.020
134.908 217.113 5.092 0.166
17 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:48.151 134.745
216.851 5.223 0.131
18 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:50.665 131.684
211.924 7.737 2.514
Bridgestone/Firestone offers free
As the competition heats up for the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of
Denver, spectators can save cool cash and enjoy the hot excitement
of many race weekend activities, compliments of Bridgestone
Firestone North American Tire, LLC, presenting sponsor and exclusive
tire supplier of Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series
Powered by Ford. A free coupon book is now available for
race-related events, automotive services, and performance-oriented
products at participating Denver-area Firestone Tire and Service
Centers, Peerless Tire stores, as well as participating TiresPlus
locations. The coupon book is available while supplies last and
includes a coupon redeemable for free admission to the racetrack on
Aug. 13 and 14.
Champ Car weighs deal with Portland
This Portland Oregonian
article says, Champ Car's future in Portland might be
determined this weekend at the Road America racetrack in Elkhart
Lake, Wis. The three owners of Champ Car -- Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald
Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven -- will discuss the 2005 schedule and
the issue of where Portland fits after the city was wooed, then
dropped, by the rival Indy Racing League.
Champ Car president Dick Eidswick appears confident a deal can be
worked out when he meets Aug. 20 with Portland Commissioner Jim
Francesconi. He said he thinks he can present the three owners "a
proposal that makes sense," assuming there are no surprises from
Francesconi. However, a key sticking point might be the length of
contract. Francesconi, wary of Champ Car's long-term viability, has
said he wants to keep his options open for 2006 -- presumably in the
event the IRL re-enters the picture. But Tim Ramsberger, Champ Car's
vice president for race promotions, said Wednesday, "If we sign a
contract at all, our desire is to do a multiyear deal."
Champ Car pulled its three-year offer off the table after
Francesconi stuck with his desire for IRL promoter Peter Jacobsen
Productions and Champ Car to answer a request for proposal. "They
were effectively asking us if the three owners wanted to bid on
whether or not they would continue spending millions of dollars of
their own money on Portland," Ramsberger said.
The IRL couldn't find a spot for Portland on its 2005 schedule.
Ramsberger said Portland's June dates still are available on Champ
Car's prospective 2005 schedule, which should come out early in
September. "We're keeping a very positive attitude towards
everything," Ramsberger said. "That doesn't mean we're bound to come
there. Somebody asked me what the odds were that we would come back.
I don't even know what kind of odds to put on that. We're interested
in hearing what the city is proposing," Ramsberger said. "A
three-year deal is still a possibility, but we'll see how it goes.
We still have some flexibility with our schedule."
Ramsberger said he understands that Francesconi is trying to make
the best possible deal for the city. He said he also thinks
Francesconi, and the city, put too much faith in the IRL and not
enough faith in Champ Car, which has been coming to Portland
International Raceway for 21 years. "I think Jim may have been
misguided," Ramsberger said. Will all be forgiven' "We'll see what
happens," Ramsberger said.
Monday deadline for Button says BAR
B*A*R has issued an ultimatum to Jenson Button's management company,
Essentially Sport, requiring them to arrange a face to face meeting
between Button and B*A*R executives by close of business on Monday
or face immediate action to enforce B*A*R's contract with Button.
"We have been trying to talk to Jenson for days," said David
Richards, B*A*R Team Principal. "He has a clear duty to all of those
who've worked with him for the last two years to explain to them
what is going on. We have complete confidence in the strength of our
contractual rights," said David Richards "and in the option that we
have exercised for 2005." The option was approved at a board meeting
of B*A*R on 20th July. Jenson and his management team were informed
of this in writing well before the end of the option period on 31st
July, a fact acknowledged by Essentially Sport. Notice of exercise
of the option had also been lodged with F1's Contract Recognition
Board in Switzerland. If people make commitments they should keep
them - and I will use every means available to me to make sure that
all the requirements of our contract are met," said Richards. "If we
do not have a meeting with Jenson by Monday night to sort this out,
the processes to enforce our rights under the contract will commence
without further notice."
Smith grabs career lifeline
Former Le Mans winner Guy Smith (Photo right by Mark
Scheuern/AutoRacing1.com) is grasping his single-seater
lifeline this weekend at Elkhart Lake. Smith, who had been
racing for Audi in sportscars this season, is keen to take the
opportunity to prove he has what it takes in open wheel cars.
He said: "This has been a long time coming so I'm over the moon
about the opportunity Rocketsports Racing has given me. I did
Indy Lights a few years ago with the intention to move up the
ladder, but at the time the openings weren't there. I fell into
sports cars and had a fantastic few years, not least with the win at
Le Mans. That win though, also served to fire me up again as I
had reached the pinnacle of sportscar racing, so it was time for a
new challenge. It feels great to do something new and,
although I know it will be tough in such a competitive series, I
can't wait to get stuck in."
Chinese driver aims to make F1 grid
China's next big sports star could be a 21-year-old with a Dutch
passport who doesn't even speak Chinese that well. But Tung Ho-pin
happens to drive a racecar really fast, and many are eyeing him to
be the first ethnic Chinese driver to make the Formula One (F1)
circuit - the top level of international motor sports. Last year he
dominated the Formula BMW Asia racing series, something of a minor
league for F1, and as a reward from BMW, he got the rare honor of
test-driving an F1 car. In Jerez, Spain, in front of dozens of
racing journalists and one of his boyhood idols, Colombian driver
Juan Pablo Montoya, Tung made 42 giddy laps before they could pull
him out of the driver's seat.
Tagliani has big wreck
Alex Tagliani just had a big accident at Turn 7 at Road America. Tag
ended up on top of the tire wall at the right hand Turn 7. He is ok
but the car has major damage.
8/6/04 Industry News
IMG may be sold
The Mercury News reported as follows: Sports marketing and
management giant IMG is in talks with several potential investors
who are looking to buy all or part of the company. Speculation
about the company's future has existed since May 2003, when IMG's
founder and chairman, Mark McCormack, died from complications after
surgery. IMG co-chief executive Bob Kain said the company is
in talks with investors and expects a decision by the end of the
year. Last month IMG said it was looking for financing
partners to help expand its business and to provide cash to
McCormack's three children, all of whom work for IMG, and his widow,
former tennis pro Betsy Nagelsen. The company also said it had hired
Rothschild North America to seek investors. Kain said
welcoming investors would help the company grow. He expects the IMG
board to choose an investor that will be a partner, not a destroyer.
And www.cleveland.com reported: This week, mergermarket, an
online mergers and acquisitions information service in New York,
reported that four major investment firms are bidding for IMG, the
world's largest sports management company, with corporate
headquarters on East Ninth Street. The report, citing
unnamed sources, said bidders include KKR and Forstmann Little &
Co., which perfected the hostile takeover during the 1980s. The
report also said bidders need to offer about $600 million to be
considered. The two other bidders reportedly are the
Blackstone Group and Evercore Partners.
Road America key to N/H duo's success
Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, first; Brazilian teammate Bruno
Junqueira, second. Then look at the finishing order for the race
last year at Road America: Junqueira, first; Bourdais, second.
Guess who sat atop the chart when most of the series' teams tested
at the track earlier this summer in preparation for the Grand Prix
of Road America this weekend. Yep. The two Newman / Haas drivers.
Any thoughts on which racetrack has provided Newman / Haas with more
successes than any other' Oh, yeah. Think these guys might be
excited about this weekend and the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road
America on Sunday'" "I love Road America," he said. "Road
America is a track I always drive my best, and I think I'm going to
win. "Of course, Bourdais may have something to say about
Allmendinger teams up with LAF
The RuSPORT racing team is showing its support for the Lance
Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and honoring Lance Armstrong's historic
6th straight Tour de France victory by running the #10 Champ Car in
all yellow with LAF and 'Live Strong' logos during this weekend's
Grand Prix of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The RuSPORT team, in its first year in the Bridgestone Presents the
Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, posted second and third
place finishes two weeks ago in the Molson Indy Vancouver. Driver
A.J. Allmendinger hopes to again run at the front during this
weekend's grand prix to build awareness of the LAF's mission to help
people with cancer 'live strong.'
'This is actually a pretty big honor for me to have the #10 car
carry the banner for Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation,' said
Allmendinger. 'Lance has been such a great role model and
inspiration for so many people that I hope I can do my part and
deliver the great results this weekend that they deserve. Hopefully,
together with Champ Car, we can reach more people and raise even
more awareness for this great cause and provide some positive energy
for those people living with cancer.'
The team's support of the LAF caps off a weekend of fundraising
activities for the foundation. On Saturday, Allmendinger and fellow
Champ Car drivers will take to the track on bicycles during the Tour
de Road America. They will cycle the 4-mile track with team members,
fans, and local cyclists to reach the goal of raising $25,000 for
Volunteers for the LAF will also sell 1,000 'Live Strong' wristbands
during the Grand Prix of Road America weekend. Fans are encouraged
to stop by the LAF booth to make a donation and sign a banner
congratulating Lance on his victory at the Tour de France. All
proceeds benefit LAF programs that help young people with cancer
BAR Honda claims they have Button
Following reports yesterday that Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's lead
driver Jenson Button is leaving to join the Williams team in 2005,
B*A*R Team Principal David Richards has made the following
"We are absolutely astounded to hear that Jenson thinks that he is
leaving B*A*R for Williams next season. Neither myself, nor any
other member of the B*A*R team, has been contacted by Jenson to
discuss this matter.
Jenson is under contract with B*A*R for 2005, since we took up an
option on his services only last month. At no time during the last
few months has Jenson expressed anything other than his desire to
continue working with B*A*R to achieve our collective goal of
winning the World Championship". Jenson joined B.A.R in 2003 from
Renault and has seen his career transformed as a result. During the
four and a half seasons of his F1 career he has scored 106 points,
of which 78 have been in the last year and a half with B.A.R. In
2004 Jenson took his first F1 podium and he is currently lying third
in the drivers' championship.
At the German Grand Prix, 23 July 2004, Honda confirmed their
long-term commitment to B*A*R announcing the extension of their
existing contract to at least 2007, with an even greater commitment
of engineering resources. Their track record of 11 F1 World
Championships clearly places them in an outstanding position to
provide the resources to take the team and Jenson to the very top.
David continues: "It is our intention to enforce our current
contractual position with Jenson. My duty is to the 400-strong
workforce which has worked tirelessly over the past two seasons to
give Jenson the car he has today; and to our partners, whose
unfailing support and commitment to the team has contributed to the
solid structure we now have in place.
Unfortunately this is now a matter for the lawyers and I have every
confidence that the legal process will confirm that yesterday's
announcement has not only been premature but also invalid".
Trans-Am will see bigger fields going forward
Look for 22 cars to start the next two Trans-Am races at Road America and
Denver, up from 15 and 16 recently. Our inside sources tell us they
have big plans for the series in the future.
Guy Smith passes with flying colors
We hear that Guy Smith was quite impressive in his FIA evaluation test
Tuesday driving the Rocketsports Champ Car that he will pilot this weekend
in his debut at Road America. He will be in the car the rest of the year.
Special pit pass rules for night race at
California Speedway recently announced enhancements to its NASCAR Pit Pass
which will go into effect for the Inaugural “Finish Under the Lights” Pop
Secret 500 weekend. Access is limited to Pit only for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series event weekend, as there will be no garage/paddock access on this
The biggest change involves the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race day on
September 5. Pit road will be open to everyone, regardless of age, on race
day Sunday. Guests can peruse the pits dressed for the warm weather in
shorts, tank tops and sandals as the dress code has been relaxed for Sunday.
Gates open at 11 a.m. and pit road will close approximately 60 minutes (2:30
p.m.) prior to the start of the Pop Secret 500. On Sunday, while pit road is
open, the grass adjacent to pit road and the start/finish line will be open
for guests to relax and have lunch on. “We encourage race goers to
come dressed for the warm Southern California weather that is expected for
the Pop Secret 500,” California Speedway President Bill Miller said. “It’s
not only a great opportunity for hard core race fans but this adds to the
tremendous family atmosphere of California Speedway.”
Weekend pit passes are $45 and can only be used in conjunction with either a
grandstand ticket or infield wristband. Tickets are still available for the
Inaugural “Finish Under the Lights” Pop Secret 500. Friday’s tickets are
general admission and cost $10 and include access to the infield for SPEED
Channel’s Trackside Live. Saturday’s Target House 300 tickets are $40 for
lower level and $50 for upper level seating and include access into the
infield following the race for the Miller Lite Rock ’n Racing Concert.
Sunday’s “Finish Under the Lights” Pop Secret 500 tickets are $65 for lower
level and $105 for upper level seating. For ticket and event information,
call 800-944-RACE  or log onto
More NASCAR races in Mexico
In a telephone interview made to
Reforma, Robbie Weiss NASCAR International Director
said that NASCAR is interested in all of the Hispanic markets, and
will use Mexico as their trampoline. He also said that NASCAR
is not interested in having only one race a year in Mexico. “Neither
the series or the new Mexico office is interested in having only one
race,” said Weiss. He said that they are getting into the
Mexican project for the long haul and would like to see Mexican
drivers in the future. Monterrey for 2006 anyone' José de
Jesús Arrambide reporting from Mexico
Better hope it doesn't rain Sunday
Because Champ Car does not allow a hard intermediate as well as a soft
full-wet rain tire, Bridgestone is once again forced to bring their hardest
rain tire to Road America this weekend. The tire is made very hard to
hold up during drying conditions on the high speed road course, meaning it's
not sticky enough during full wet conditions to give the drivers the comfort
they need. Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone
Motorsport: “Road America is quite different from any other course we run,
and it presents some unique challenges for us. The length of the course and
speeds run here require us to provide a harder compound than what we use at
most venues – in fact, this is the hardest road-course compound we use in
Champ Car competition. As road courses go, Road America is certainly the
toughest one for us a tire manufacturer, but we’ve brought what we believe
is a tire that will hold up well here. It’s a specification unique to this
track that we won’t use anywhere else this season.”
Champ Car Hot Topics
The Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune
(HDNet, 3 p.m. Eastern Time, August 8; Spike TV, 4 p.m.
Eastern/Pacific Time, August 8), is Round 8 of the 2004 Bridgestone
Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a
current round-up of the latest Champ Car news, trends to follow,
names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing
heads to the 4.048-mile permanent road course at Road America in
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. More....
It's official: Pizzonia to replace
"I am obviously very pleased to be racing again and I thank the team
for trusting me again," said Pizzonia. "I went back to Brazil after the German Grand
Prix to see my family and friends and had really a good time. In Manaus, I trained a lot in the heat, usually at lunchtime, when the
temperature goes up to 35°C, in order to prepare for Hungary's hot
weather conditions. I feel fit and am looking forward to hopefully
scoring some more points for the team. I like the Hungaroring, as
it's quite a different track from the rest of the Formula One
circuits. It's a bit tricky, with a lot of slow speed corners, and
is extremely dirty, mostly on Friday and Saturday. Budapest is a
great city so, all in all, I am really looking forward to the next
Kyle Krisiloff moves to stock cars
Chalk up yet another American open wheel driver going to stock car
land. Kyle Krisiloff will make three Automobile Racing Club of
America (ARCA) starts in 2004 as a part of Hendrick Motorsports'
driver development program, team owner Rick Hendrick announced
Thursday. Making his ARCA debut, Krisiloff will enter this
weekend's event at Lake Erie (Pa.) Speedway in the No. 5 ditech.com
Monte Carlo, followed by appearances at Nashville (Tenn.)
Superspeedway on Aug. 14 and Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 11.
Krisiloff, 18, will pilot the Chevrolets of Bobby Gerhart Racing (BGR),
a developmental ally of Hendrick Motorsports. The Hendrick-BGR
program has been successful in 2004 with one victory and six top-10
finishes in six races with drivers Blake Feese and Boston Reid.
An Indianapolis native, Krisiloff is also running a full schedule in
the American Speed Association (ASA) this season through Hendrick's
relationship with SS Racing.
Lack of consumer-based sponsors haunt
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I'm up at Elkhart (not for
the race) for the PGA Championship next weekend and the General
Manager of the American Club said that this weekend's booking rate is
an all time low for a Champ Car weekend. I wonder how bad
ticket sales are' Not one sign driving into Elkhart
about it being a race weekend. Over the years they had the signs up
Monday of the event weekend, not just track signs I'm talking about
the Motorola Racing signs, Team Penske, Miller, Bud, all the great
sponsors that made Elkhart what it is, are gone. Who cares from a
fan standpoint about JCI, Gulfstream, Cummins or Nextel's Corporate
Company NII, they do nothing to market to the consumer. Off the top
of my head I can think of only three cars that are sponsored toward
the fan, Corona, Herdez and the sponsor for Trans-Am driver Drissi.
I wish we could hold an election and put Mark Cipolloni in charge of
Open Wheel Racing with Robin Miller as Dir. of PR and Marketing.
Roger Dear Roger, Thanks for the vote of confidence.
You make a good point and it's a problem that has haunted Champ Car
for the past several years - most of the sponsors are in the Champ
Car paddock because of business-to-business deals, hence they do
almost no marketing to consumers and fans to help grow the series,
especially the TV viewership. Until such time as Champ Car's
marketing department and that of the teams are focused on landing
sponsors who market to consumers, Champ Car will remain largely
invisible. You forgot to mention McDonald's, they are a consumer
focused company, but I see them doing little in the way of promotion
of Champ Car and/or Sebastien Bourdais their driver so far.
How do teams land new sponsors focused on consumers when Champ Car's
TV reaches so few consumers' What comes first, the chicken or
the egg - TV or sponsors' With regard to room bookings - If that
were indeed true then we would not have such a hard time trying to
find a room in the Manitowoc, Plymouth, Sheboygan or Fond du Lac
area as we had! It could possibly be true for The American Club for
those willing to spend the stratospheric rates that they normally
charge. Mark C.
Younger drivers hoarding all the
article talks about the struggles of the Veteran Nextel Cup
drivers to find sponsorship while all the big deals are going to the
Waltrip predicts Toyota will soon be
Darrell Waltrip said any resentment over Toyota's presence in
NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series has subsided, and he predicted that
the Japanese automaker eventually will advance into the Nextel Cup
Series. ''I don't have any inside information, but that's always
been the assumption, that at some point we'll see Toyota in the Cup
series,'' Waltrip said.
Rice and Manning to X Games Indianapolis
500 winner Buddy Rice and IndyCar Series driver Darren Manning will
be among the fans attending the X Games this weekend in Los Angeles.
Rice, who started his racing career in elementary school by riding
in Bicycle Motocross, said he is looking forward to watching many of
his friends in the SuperMoto division, Freestyle Motorcycles and
Bicycle Motocross events at the 10th action sports event. "I have a
lot of buddies that will be in action, including Ben and Eric
Bostrom in the SuperMoto," Rice said. "One of my sponsors, Red Bull,
has a lot of athletes competing in a variety of events, so it will
be fun to kick back and watch those guys and gals this time. After
three races in a row, I can use a little time to relax with my
friends." Manning, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, will support several
Target-sponsored participants, including skateboarder Shaun White,
who met Manning at a go-karting event before the Indianapolis 500.
In addition, the Pennzoil IndyCar Series showcar and the IRL Fan
Experience war wagon, which features four IndyCar Series video game
stations, will appear at the California Speedway booth.
Rice gets new car A
trip to the X Games wasn't the only reason Buddy Rice was looking
forward to this off weekend. A supercharged 1949 Mercury hot rod, a
gift from team sponsor Argent Mortgage, was delivered to his Phoenix
home while he was racing at Michigan International Speedway. "Wayne
Lee at Argent said he would buy me any car I wanted after winning
Indy," said Rice, who also owns a '57 Chevy, '65 Nova and '67
Lincoln Continental. "He thought I would want a Ferrari, or Porsche,
or something like that. I said, 'No, I want a '49 Merc.' Wayne
laughed at first, but I explained how I grew up in a drag racing
family, and I love the big hot rods. I guess I am 'Old School' when
it comes to cars." Pioneer, which shares primary sponsorship of the
No. 15 Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone with Argent Mortgage, will
outfit the interior of Rice's new car. "I'm very excited about that
and want to thank Argent and Pioneer for their gifts," Rice said.
"They're great sponsors."
Busch teams worried about expense of
JAY ROBINSON, Owner, Jay Robinson Racing
(#49 Advil Ford; #39 Yahoo! Ford): “On the surface, I think this is
a good step forward for our sport, and especially for the NASCAR
Busch Series. Every team is looking to companies to become more
involved in our sport, and enabling us to talk with companies which
have international sales as one of their priorities. If we are going
international, Mexico and Canada are the obvious places to go
because we can drive there. Now, this kind of race is going to add
more travel, more travel time and more expense to the race teams.
That’s something I don’t think NASCAR is going to take lightly.
Working together, we can make this work logistically and make it
work financially for the race teams.
TRAVIS GEISLER, Driver, #36 National City Bank/DCT Motorsports
Chevrolet: “My only concern is the expense of getting the teams and
equipment to Mexico and back, and making the schedule work so it
makes sense. It’s going to be difficult for some teams. Now I don’t
think it is a bad thing for the sport in general. This will only
help expand our audience, which is good for everyone. The more
people we bring in, the better it is for us all. And people tend to
really like what they see with NASCAR racing. For many, it will be
one of their first chances to see stock cars.”
TINA GORDON, Driver, #39 Yahoo! Ford: “My sponsor is worldwide, so
taking the series to a new country is a pretty big deal. I’m really
excited we will be able to open up to millions of people in another
country, and to give them an opportunity to not only see some great
racing but an opportunity to see Yahoo! and Vasarette and Microtel
and our other sponsors. It works for the fans, it works for the race
teams and it works for the sponsors. Expenses are going to be a
major factor, and it’s going to be expensive to do. But I am sure
NASCAR is doing everything they can to make sure it’s a worthwhile
trip for the teams and the track.”
Robby Gordon gets new Engineer
Greg Erwin has been named team engineer for Richard Childress
Racing’s (RCR) No. 31 Cingular Wireless program for the remainder of
the 2004 NASCAR season. Erwin first joined RCR in December 2002 as a
multi-team engineer. He has enjoyed his short tenure at RCR and
looks forward to working with Robby Gordon and the Cingular Wireless
racing crew. “My responsibilities will pretty much continue to be
the same as they always have, except instead of spending one-third
of my week working on the No. 31 team, I will be able to devote 100
percent to that team’s efforts,” said Erwin, who earned a Bachelor
of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in
1992. Chris Andrews, Team Cingular’s crew chief, views the addition
of Erwin as a positive step in the team’s continuing progress. “Greg
has already done a lot this year for the No. 31 team specifically,
and all three RCR Cup teams, in general,” Andrews said. “He has done
a lot with the seven-post rig and simulator this year helping all of
us in the research and development of our racing programs. “Although
Greg hasn’t been at the track as much as the rest of us, he has
still helped us out a lot more than others realize. I know he has
spent many Friday nights and Saturday mornings doing research for us
while we are on the road. Now, he’ll be a little bit easier for me
to get a hold of.” Before coming to RCR, Erwin, of Mooresville,
N.C., worked with Ganassi Racing, Team Sabco, and Diamond Ridge
Motorsports. Team PR
Big weekend for Rocketsports
Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani heads to the Grand Prix of Road America
Presented by the Chicago Tribune with his new teammate, 2003 Le Man 24 Hours
winner, Guy Smith. Tagliani and Smith will meet at the picturesque 4.048
mile road course for Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car
World Series Powered By Ford. The Champ Car duo will join Rocketsports
Trans-Am drivers, Tommy Kendall and Tomy Drissi, on Saturday evening for the
Tour de Road America, bicycling fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong
NASCAR getting ready to turn cars into bricks
article says, If all goes according to NASCAR's plan, sometime late
next season Nextel Cup drivers will begin racing ``a brick.'' Not one made
of clay, of course, but a big, bulky, aerodynamically challenged car. NASCAR
wants something slower, safer for the drivers and less costly for team
owners while still producing close, competitive racing. ``Some people do
call it a brick,'' said Gary Nelson, who runs NASCAR's Research and
Development Center. ``We call it `the Car of Tomorrow.''' Nelson said the
car probably will be worked into competition over two or three years,
beginning at Daytona and Talladega, the longest and fastest tracks, where
horsepower-sapping carburetor restrictor plates slow the cars. He said road
courses and short tracks would probably be next, followed by 1- and 2-mile
ovals that comprise the majority of the venues. ``The trick is you can't run
this car on the track with the current car,'' Nelson said. ``They won't mix
in competition. It's not as aerodynamic, so it would be disadvantaged as far
as running against the current car.''
Overnight Pocono ratings up 2%
TNT reported that its airing of Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 Nextel Cup race at
Pocono Raceway earned a 4.7 national cable rating/3.8 US rating (4.1 million
households). The figures represent a 2 percent increase over last year's 4.6
national cable rating/3.7 US rating (4 million households). The cable
station said the NBC/TNT pairing is averaging a 4.5 US rating through three
Nextel Cup races, which is up 7 percent from last year's 4.2 US rating
through the same three races.
NASCAR Scene Daily
Ganassi extends McMurray's contract
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have
exercised their option to extend Jamie McMurray's driver agreement into the
future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. "We
are excited about having Jamie (McMurray) as part of the team into the
future," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "With the way the #42 Texaco/Havoline
team has been running up front, we are in position to start winning races
soon." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR
getting in bed with OCESA, to announce Busch race2nd UPDATE This AP
article is reporting that the Busch Series will indeed race in
Mexico City next year. If you read Autoracing1.com you already know
this, and you know the date too. We await Friday's official
announcement. 8/4/04 - In an AutoRacing1.com
exclusive, we now know why OCESA and NASCAR are having the NASCAR 3D
IMAX show. They are planning to announce the first NASCAR race
in Mexico on that day.
The race will be held on March 5th at the Autodromo de los Hermanos
Rodríguez in Mexico City, and the race will be part of the Busch
Series (i.e. points paying). We hear OCESA has informed
different teams that they have already invited Adrian Fernandez and
Michel Jourdain Jr. to race in that particular race, and they expect
the Mexican Jimmy Morales to receive an invitation next week.
Our OCESA sources said that the announcement took so long because
they were looking for a weekend with no Nextel Cup action so it
would be possible to have some of the Nextel Cup drivers
participate. José de Jesús Arrambide reporting from Mexico8/3/04
- As NASCAR attempts to break into Mexico, they have gone right to the
promoter of the two Champ Car races in Mexico, OCESA, and is now clearly
doing business with them, which will eventually lead to a NASCAR race in
Mexico. We received this invitation today from OCESA that says
Mexico" (notice the new NASCAR Mexico logo) and OCESA invite you to meet a
new and impacting way of living the auto racing experience. As part of the
celebration we invite you to a private screening of the movie NASCAR 3D on
an Imax screen. Thursday August the 5th 11:30 am. We would appreciate your
punctual assistance as we will have a cocktail party. This is a personal and
nontransferable invitation. This is their first step of many as
NASCAR attempts to get a foothold in Mexico. As we know, NASCAR doesn't do
anything 2nd rate. Mark C.
replaces da Matta Panasonic
Toyota Racing has today announced that its third driver Ricardo Zonta
(pictured right) will be promoted to the role of race driver
effective with the upcoming Grand Prix of Hungary. Zonta will replace Cristiano da
Matta and race alongside Olivier Panis.
The team's test driver Ryan Briscoe will in turn assume Zonta's role during
the race weekend, running the third car during Friday's free practice
Cristiano da Matta will continue to be employed as a Toyota driver for the
remainder of the year and could consequently still be called upon to partake
in any driving or marketing-related activities for the Panasonic Toyota
Team Principal of Panasonic Toyota Racing, Tsutomu Tomita said: "We revised
our original plans after we reviewed the results of the last three Grands
Prix. Ricardo Zonta consistently performed very well, as indeed he also did
in the first half of the 2004 season. We believe it is fair to offer Ricardo
the chance to show his potential in full race conditions, before we enter
into the final step of our driver evaluation for the 2005 season. We decided
to retain Olivier Panis as a race driver for the rest of this season, based
on the fact that he is the driver who has secured the team's best race
result of the year so far (5th in Indianapolis) and has collected the higher
number of championship points (5). Cristiano da Matta will remain a
Panasonic Toyota Racing driver until the end of 2004 and could still be
called upon to undertake activities accordingly."
Ralf cancels Hungary comeback Ralf
Schumacher has been forced to call off his plans to make a comeback from
injury at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The German told Bild newspaper
that the spinal fractures he suffered in a 200mph crash at the US GP in June
had not healed sufficiently. Schumacher's manager Willi Weber said: "The two
vertebrae are not yet as hardened as is normally the case. "Another accident
like the one in Indianapolis and Ralf could be made a paraplegic. Nobody
could accept that." Schumacher said: "I feel good, but it's no doubt better
for me to listen to the doctors." Bild said Schumacher's Williams team would
announce on Friday who would stand in for him.
Ferrari freezes work on 2004 car This
article says, Michael Schumacher will have better tires for the
Hungarian Grand Prix but say his car will not improve before the end of the
season, Ferrari say. Technical director Ross Brawn said the team had stopped
developing the chassis to concentrate on their 2005 car. "The chassis is
probably frozen for the rest of the season," Brawn said. "There are small
bits on the engine but most of the performance gain for the rest of the year
will come from the work we are doing with the tires." The German has been in
devastating form this year winning 11 of the 12 races this season. However,
he has had to fight harder for his wins in recent races as the likes of
Renault and McLaren have reaped the rewards of their development programs.
Kurt Busch to appear on McEnroe tonight
Kurt Busch has his sights set on the 11th running of the Brickyard 400 this
weekend. On Thursday he’ll take the opportunity to get an advantage on the
competition by visiting with a legend from another sport to see if he has
any words of wisdom to share on performing under pressure, as he visits
tennis legend John McEnroe on his new prime-time talk show “McEnroe.”
“Mac was certainly a colorful character throughout his career on the tennis
court, so it’s not a surprise at all to see him hosting his own talk show,”
noted Busch. “He turned pro the year I was born, so I grew up watching him
in his prime at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He certainly knows a lot about
performing when it counts, so maybe I can learn a thing or two from him. But
I’ll have to make it clear that climbing out of the car to head up to the
flag stand isn’t really an option in our sport.” Debuting last month,
McEnroe hosts CNBC's "McEnroe," bringing his deeply imbedded passion for
news, music, entertainment and sports to viewers. Also appearing on
Thursday’s telecast are Oscar-winning actor Kevin Kline and Olympic track
and field legend Edwin Moses. "McEnroe" airs on CNBC weeknights at 10
p.m., re-airing at 1:00 a.m. ET. McEnroe is joined by sidekick John
Fugelsang and an ensemble cast of contributors that will serve up insight
and information in all areas of pop culture, entertainment, comedy, music,
news and sports.
The ultimate driving experience This
article talks about what it's like for a journalist to drive a F1
car, courtesy of Michelin.
Indy 500 loses its #1 status For
years the Indy 500 was said to be the #1 sporting event in the world, i.e.
drawing the largest one-day attendance of any sporting event. Now it's
no better than #2 and will soon drop lower than that. When Lance
Armstrong smoked the competition and won the time trial stage up L'Alpe
d'Huez in this year's Tour de France, the estimated total crowd on site for
that race was between 800 and 900 thousand spectators. The amount of people
on the side of the road was enormous. The climbing portion itself
(13.5K) was wall to wall, five to ten deep, the whole way! Now that we
know Indy has less than 300,000 on race day, it would need to triple in size
to regain its #1 status, something we don't see happening for decades or
more. Mark C.
Will the Champ Car fans support the
reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It comes as no surprise that the IRL,
in their move to finalize their transformation into CART2, have decided to
add the road racing venues in Sonoma and Watkins Glen to their schedule for
next year. What does amaze me however, is that they are proceeding
with these plans and other grandiose statements of possibilities with venues
such as Long Beach or Road America without batting an eyelash as to the one
question begging to be asked. "Where will the fans come from'"
There seems to be some underlying assumption that all of these Champ Car
fans, who are currently boycotting and ignoring the IRL (with many extending
their personal boycott to include the F1 race at Indianapolis as well)
because of their visionary leader, will somehow now seem to forgive all past
sins and flock to see the IRL race at road racing venues.
I would like to shake the hand of the corporate marketing genius that inks a
sponsorship deal based on these assumptions. Even more amazing
to me is the fact that the mainstream national motorsports "media" not once
asks these same questions. They seem to be part of the frantic lemming and
Chicken Little groups who have shrilled about the IRL and Tony's "Visions"
for all of these past years. Is there something wrong here in the USA
that has not yet infected the open wheel fans in Canada and Mexico'
Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin Dear Werner, We learned long
ago in life, when in doubt, follow the money. There have been rumors for
years that the France family and Hulman George family secretly own many
media outlets (radio, newspapers and magazines) and they dictate what is
written, both positive or negative about a series or its drivers. We
have no knowledge as to whether there is any truth to those rumors. We do
know, however, that the media outlets survive on advertisers, so when the
oval track cartel sends a lot of advertisers your way, you tend to say nice
things about them. Our customers should note that AutoRacing1.com is funded
by you our subscribers and not a lot of advertisers, hence we are more at
liberty to tell it like we see it and not how others want us to see it for
fear of hurting their revenue. Mark C.
Gentilozzi to make run at history
Road America has the longest-standing relationship with the Motorock
Trans-Am Series, and that relationship continues this weekend as
America’s longest permanent road course will again witness the
rumble of V-8 racing engines. This year’s 35th Annual Rumble at the
Road, Round 7 of the 2004 Trans-Am Series Championship, is part of
the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America weekend.
No other venue on this year’s schedule has played a bigger role in
the history of the Trans-Am Series than Road America. The 4.048-mile
road course has been a part of the Trans-Am Series legend since
1970, having hosted 35 events, including two in 1977, the most of
any venue, active or inactive, on which the Series has competed.
Paul Gentilozzi could make Trans-Am and Road America history this
weekend as the driver of the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR could
tie the win record held by late Trans-Am legend Mark Donohue.
Gentilozzi, who earned his 28th Series victory last weekend in
Trois-Rivières, could mark off the magic number 29 at Road America.
Gentilozzi, who has two career Road America Trans-Am victories, led
a sweep of the podium by Rocketsports Jaguars at Trois-Rivières,
with Tomy Drissi (No. 5 TAXI – The Movie Jaguar XKR) and Tommy
Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR) finishing second and
third, respectively. The Rocketsports sweep was the first for the
Lansing, Mich.-based team since 1991, when Darin Brassfield led Irv
Hoerr and Gentilozzi to the checkered flag at Infineon Raceway. It
also marked only the third time in Trans-Am history a team has swept
the podium. The only other team to do it was Roush Racing, which
swept the top five in 1986 at St. Petersburg.
Just Al returns to Toyota Atlantic Brooks
Associates Racing announced today that Al Unser, son of legendary
racer Al Unser Jr. and grandson of racing icon Al Unser, will
compete for the team at two upcoming races in the Toyota Atlantic
Championship Presented by Yokohama. Unser, who’s come to be known as
“Just Al,” will test for the Brooks squad on Wednesday, August 4 at
the 4.048-mile Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The 21-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico will then pilot
the #10 car during this weekend’s Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic
Championship of Road America, Round 9 of 12 on the 2004 Atlantic
schedule. Unser will also drive for the Brooks team later this month
at the Molson Indy Montreal Toyota Atlantic race, August 27-29, at
the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course. Unser, who made his
Toyota Atlantic debut in the season-opening race at Long Beach this
year, will join teammate Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK
ind./TMI/Redline Oil) on the Brooks Associates Racing team this
weekend as Kasemets returns to the track for his first action since
Cleveland in July. “Having an unexpected seat open mid-season, the
discussions with Al and his family have just continued and it’s
really been more about balancing his schedule than ‘when’ he’d come
on board. This move simply lets Al gain some experience in another
formula,” said team owner, John Brooks. “Clearly, this Road America
deal is last minute, so our goals for Al will be a bit different.
Learning the track, making the transition back into Atlantic and a
solid run in preparation for Montreal is our focus. I need to
recognize my team also for their incredible patience – we’ve missed
a couple races and it’s been a bit hard on everyone and I appreciate
their continued support and first class effort.” Unser has never
competed on the legendary Road America track, but he remembers many
of his father’s Champ Car races on the circuit and he knows what
he’s in for. “It’s one of the toughest road courses around and it
will be a brutal test for me,” said Unser. “I’m looking forward to
(running an Atlantic car). At my level of experience, I think this
will help me grow immensely as a driver. I’m a racer and I want to
race anything I can.”
track changes for Denver GP In further pursuit
of fan enjoyment and on-track competition, the management team of
the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver today announced four
changes to the track layout. Please see accompanying track map for
additional clarification. “Denver’s first turn will now be one
of the most action packed corners in Champ Car’s season. I expect
the changes to produce more passing opportunities for the drivers
and more enjoyment for the fans,” said Martyn Thake, director of
operations for the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver. More....
8/4/04 Industry News
Tax changes to boost sports
franchises The US Congress could boost the value of
pro sports teams by millions of dollars under a revision of
corporate tax laws. Profitable franchises could find their values
enhanced because under the proposed legislation, they would be able
to write off far more in taxes than they can today when they sell
their teams. The revised legislation would let owners deduct
the entire value of their sports franchises - including broadcasting
contracts, players' contracts and concessions - from their income
tax over a 15-year period. Under current law, only
players’ contracts can be written off, but only up to half a
franchise’s value and only for the duration of those contracts,
generally just a few years. “At the end of the day,
there is no doubt it raises franchise values,” said Robert Willens,
managing director of the investment bank Lehman Brothers.
Willens said the provision could add five per cent to the value of
many sports teams. Aaron Barman, who heads the sports finance group
of Raymond James & Associates, said profitable National Football
League teams could see their value rise by five to six per cent.
Major League Baseball has been among the strongest advocates
lobbying for the change, congressional aides said.
Will IRL make Champ Car redundant'UPDATE
Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I feel the need to
respond to this article. I think Champ Car is in the driver's seat.
I agree with you that it depends upon the direction of the '06
formula. If Champ Car goes with lighter, smaller cars with V10
engines that produce about 800 HP then they will definitely
distinguish themselves from the IRL. Champ Car should then release a
new formula for the Toyota Atlantics. The TA cars should be the same
size and weight as the new Champ Cars and run about 600 HP. I think
this would be a huge blow to the IRL, since the feeder series for
Champ Car would be much faster that their cars. Speed has always
been the drawing factor for open wheel racing. As for oval racing, I
think the excitement is gone from open wheel oval racing and I don't
think it's solely because of NASCAR. Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's
the fans would go to Indy qualifying to see how fast the drivers
were going to lap the circuit. The speed brought the excitement.
Seeing the drivers go out on the track and raise the bar from year
to year as to who is the fastest man. I remember watching Rick Mears
several times go out and turn laps that were amazing because he was
able to push the limit that much further than his competitors. But
during the 90's the racecar technology exceeded that of the safety
technology. The cars were slowed down and with it the records didn't
fall as frequently. This is why NASCAR became successful because
they traded speed for rubbin' and bangin'. The days of open wheeled
oval racing are all but gone. That is why the IRL has been a
miserable failure. The only reason it's still in existence is
because of the deep pockets of a few. It won't last forever. One day
the IRL will implode from as you stated it's "false economy." Thanks
for doing a great job! Joe Yack Dear Joe, 800 HP would
be too much for a Champ Car. If they go with a lighter car and
have 700 HP that would be plenty. HP costs money. Even
F1 is shooting for 700 HP with their new engines. Of course F1
cars will still be about 200 pounds lighter than a '06 Champ Car,
even if Champ Cars lose 200 pounds, hence F1 cars will still be
faster (should keep Bernie happy). Champ Car can get 1,200 miles
from a 700 HP 3.5 liter V10 that costs less than the current
Cosworth Turbo. That's where they need to be. As for the
Toyota Atlantic cars, a full-size car would be too expensive.
Ditto for the 600 HP engine. Assuming Toyota drops back to
just being a race sponsor and doing track signage after 2005 (we
don't know that for a fact), Champ Car should look to replace the
cars with something the size and HP of the Renault V6 cars. The
struggle for OWRS will be to keep costs low enough (both series) so
that teams can afford the new equipment, and at the same time roll
out a formula that would establish its niche and give the fans
something to be excited about again. Mark C.8/4/04 - A
reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I have always been a Champ Car fan and
I think road racing drivers are the best in the world. History pretty
much supports that point. I have nothing against the IRL going road
racing. What took them so long' However, being a Champ Car fan I am
worried that the casual fans will now be even more confused between what
Champ Car is and what IRL IndyCar is. Face it, IndyCar is a branded
name so when you mention it to someone, they know what you mean.
Whenever I mention Champ Car the person goes huh, what's that' To the
casual fan what is there to differentiate Champ Car from IndyCar and isn't
Champ Car at risk of losing its unique identity now' Sean Murphy,
Dublin Dear Sean, If Champ Car switches to a normally aspirated V8
and keeps their heavy car, absolutely nothing. We have beaten this
dead horse enough. Either Champ Car is going to become very F1-like in
terms of the sound and nimbleness of their cars (i.e. shed 200 pounds) so
that to even the casual observer there is no question which is which, or
they risk being forced into obscurity by a series with a branded name and
huge money behind it, namely the IRL. We are not saying that the IRL
is growing in leaps and bounds, certainly not, because their still
plummeting TV ratings say otherwise. However, all their cars are
sponsored, they have three times the staff to get things done, and they have
the Indy 500. Unfortunately some within Champ Car want to keep ovals
on the schedule for no other reason but to counter the IRL (just as the IRL
counters them now with their road courses) because financially those races
are losers. As long as Champ Car wants to race on ovals, their cars
must be strong and, therefore, heavy. Although ovals are a very small part
of their business plan, the fact that they have even one means their car has
to be severely compromised for the other 90% of their races. So for
90% of their events (road and street circuits), their cars will look slow
and lethargic, because of the other 10%. Seems to us a bit backwards,
opens the door for the IRL to offer the promoter an almost exact
replacement, and is preventing Champ Car from making their product unique in
North America and exciting as a F1 alternative worldwide. At least the
IRL has got it right - their car is strong and heavy for 90% of their races
(ovals), and compromised on only 10% (road courses). Letting go of the
ovals is the ongoing debate within Champ Car that is preventing it from
growing from an Indy Car series to a F1-Type Series. Some of their
non-USA races are still called "Indy" so it's clear they are not losing the
"Indy Car" baggage anytime soon. Guess we really are beating a dead
horse. We'll see what the next gen Champ Car ends up sounding and looking
like. Mark C.
Micklewright: Lavín has been a
revelation This week's Autosport Magazine has a
feature story on Paul Tracy and Neil Micklewright. In the
interview Micklewright says that adding a third car this year for
Rodolfo Lavín has been a healthy move for the Forsythe operation.
“The team was very happy to be able to go to three cars because it
meant we could keep Patrick Carpentier in one of our cars,”
Micklewright says. “Obviously he has a very long history with us and
we all think highly of him. As for Rodolfo, well, he has been a
little bit of a revelation. He’s definitely a lot better than we
thought. There’s still a great deal of experience he needs to gain
to make the most out of it all, but he’s doing very well.
I think the team has adapted well going to three cars, and Jerry
[Forsythe] has made the necessary funding available to us. There
have been some challenges but everybody on this team is so gung-ho
about Champ Car and wanting to see it continue and thrive that I
think everybody’s been giving 110 per cent in their own personal
efforts to make that happen.”
Forsythe team misses Tony Cicale
This week's Autosport Magazine has a feature story on Paul Tracy and
Neil Micklewright. In the interview Micklewright says, “We’ve
had a little bit of a problem coming to terms with the tires we’re
using at some of the venues this year,” Micklewright adds.
“They’re great tires, absolutely phenomenal in fact, but the sweet
spot doesn’t last very long. To get the most out of them, you’ve got
to be good right from the get-go. Now we’ve made a lot of progress
in getting a good set-up for any given track from the moment the car
comes off the trailer, and that’s why we’re feeling optimistic about
the rest of the season.” Micklewright admits the loss of
the team’s engineering chief, Tony Cicale, pre-season has been a
blow to the squad. “Without Tony on board, there has been something
of a void which I don’t think anybody but Tony can fill, ”he says.
“We miss him and we hope that at some point in the future we’ll be
able to get ourselves well enough funded that we’ll be able to have
him back. But Paul has been very good – he understands the
situation. And he has remained a staunch supporter of Champ Car and
the Forsythe team.”
Tracy is equally frank about Cicale’s departure, although he’s
entirely happy with his race engineer, Todd Malloy, who worked with
Tracy in his Team Green days and joined Forsythe last year. “It’s
been a little bit frustrating but we just didn’t have the budget to
hire Tony,” Paul says. “I think it’s set the team back a little bit
but we’re starting to rebound. Todd Malloy doesn’t have the
experience of Tony watching over his shoulder. Maybe that has hurt
us a bit. But at some point you’ve got to give a young guy a chance
to do it on his own. For the most part I think we’ve been pretty
good: we got the car right in Cleveland, Toronto and again in
Euro 3000 and F3000 merger of assets
EURO 3000 looks set to be opened up to the redundant car from the
Formula 3000 International Championship next year. The
organizers of the second-string series, which is contested by
1999-2001-specification F3000 cars, want to allow in the
next-generation Lola chassis when they become available after the
demise of the International F3000 series at the end of this season.
These cars could either replace the existing machinery or form the
top class of a two-tier championship. Frederico Corbari, son
of Euro 3000 founder Pierluigi, said: “We are discussing the options
with our teams. We could stay as we are or switch to the later car.
But the favored option, and the most likely, is to run both together
and have A and B classes in our series. “We believe it makes
sense, because some of the later cars will come onto the market and
some of the existing teams will want to move over to us.”
Corbari explained that by running two classes, Euro 3000 could
dramatically expand from its present grid size of about 15 cars. “We
would like to have 26 cars and we believe it’s possible,” he said.
Arden International boss Christian Horner said: “Euro 3000 needs to
upgrade and the most sensible and cost-effective way of doing it
would be to use the existing F3000 cars. We’d look at it seriously
if they go through with their plan.” Autosport Magazine
Blaney keeps Childress ride
Dave Blaney will drive a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the
Nextel Cup for the remainder of the season. Johnny Sauter piloted
the car from the start of the year until Blaney took over in June,
originally on a temporary basis.
Guy Smith didn't bring money
This week's Autosport Magazine reports that “I didn’t have to bring
any money to the Rocketsports deal,” said Guy Smith. “Paul
follows sports cars and kept an eye out for me. He said he didn’t
want to repeat the mistake of taking a pay driver like Philippe.
I’m going up against a good teammate with a lot more experience, but
hopefully I’ll be able to beat him by the end of the year,” he said.
Gentilozzi claims that Gidley, who qualified fifth at Vancouver last
weekend, was released due to his clashing program in the Speed
Touring Car Series. “This isn’t a knock on Memo – he did
a great job for us,” said Gentilozzi. “But he has conflicts and I
needed somebody for the remainder of the year.” [Editor's
Note: If Smith didn't bring money, then Gentilozzi could
have hired the talented Canadian Michael Valiante as well.
Could this be a signal that Champ Car will indeed race in England
(Manchester) in 2005 and Smith, along with Justin Wilson, will give
the Brits something to cheer about' Hmm......]
BMW doubts Mika will return BMW
Motorsport boss Mario Theissen says “I think it would be difficult
(to come back), especially if you have achieved so much,” said
Theissen. “He certainly has all the ability and the
driving talent that you need. The question is would he still take
the risks and be as motivated as he was when he went for his first
championship'” “Nick Heidfeld is in the frame, like several
others, but not because he is a German,” he said. “We really don’t
look at this. It’s only in Germany where we would benefit from his
nationality. Basically there’s just one major criteria – he has to
be fast. It’s not about marketing. Of course you would like to have
a guy that’s good at everything, but the first thing is to be
successful. If the driver is not quick, forget about it.
If you look at a quick fix in a difficult situation, you might go
for an experienced driver who’s just available. If you look
for the future, you would try to build up a young guy who joins F1.
If you want to be strong next season, you need a guy who’s really
right at that point.” The target will be to have the second
driver confirmed by the end of the season in order to have him in
the car in the November tests,” he said.
Bruni stays says Stoddart Paul
Stoddart says that he has no intention of changing his driver lineup
for the rest of the year. Gianmaria Bruni’s place in the team was
said to be under threat when he parked a drivable car at
Indianapolis last month. Belgian Bas Leinders, the team’s Friday
tester, has been linked with a race debut for his home round of the
World Championship at Spa-Francorchamps on August 29.
Brickyard 400 honeymoon over'
Many tickets unsold
article says, The novelty of the Brickyard 400 has worn off
for Michael Davis and his wife, Sharon. The local couple
traveled to Indianapolis for each of the 10 previous Brickyard 400s
through last year. But this weekend, they will be home, watching the
race on television and saving a couple of hundred dollars.
They decided to sell their Turn 3 tickets to a ticket broker this
season at a “slightly reduced” rate from the $75 face value.
“It is so difficult to see much of the race from those seats, and
that’s true of a lot of seats (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway),”
Michael Davis said. “We will probably renew next season but this
year, we’ll just stay home and do something else with that money.”
Apparently the Davises aren’t alone. A search of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket Web site on Monday showed
thousands of seats, including blocks of more than 100 together,
still available for Sunday’s race.
Wilson told there's no way back to F1 This
article says, JAGUAR have ruled out bringing Northampton ace
Justin Wilson back to Formula One next season. The Cosworth-powered
outfit are looking for a driver after Mark Webber announced he was
moving to Williams next season. And they could be looking for two
drivers with Christian Klien's future far from certain. Jaguar
dumped Wilson for Klien and his £5m of sponsorship from Austrian
drinks firm Red Bull. Klien has failed to impress in his first
season, but managing director David Pitchforth ruled out going back
to Wilson, who is now racing in the US Champ Car series. Reports
suggest Jaguar are after a top British driver to raise the Milton
Keynes-based team's profile with McLaren-Mercedes Ilmor's David
Coulthard and BAR test driver Anthony Davidson at the top of their
list. But when Pitchforth was asked if Wilson was on the list he
said: "This is not an option for us." The news will be a blow to
Wilson who still harbours hopes of returning to F1 after losing his
seat after just five races with the Big Cat following his switch
from Minardi last season. Wilson sits 10th in the Champ Car
championship table and is second in the rookie standings.
Massive ticket giveaways will haunt IRL We
have received many emails asking why the IRL's TV ratings are so poor yet
their race attendance appears to be up this year, Indy not withstanding.
The reason is simple, massive free ticket giveaways. We know
personally someone who went to Milwaukee for the Silver Crown race and was
handed 4 free tickets for the IRL race. Then he went to his motel and
was given two more. Then he was given two tickets for the Michigan IRL race.
Also, his other friend 2 years ago signed up for Marlboro Cigarettes at a
race, and was put on a mailing list and was sent 2 tickets for Kentucky with
"LUNCH" and two hats. The whole thing is a give-a-way and this will
eventually come back to haunt the IRL. Once you give tickets away in a
market, fans won't pay for them in the future. They are creating a
false economy and hence why their TV ratings are so poor - i.e. the "free
loader fans" at the track don't bother to watch on TV because they are not
true fans. The number of fans wearing free red Marlboro hats in the
IRL grandstands this year has been astonishing. Perhaps Marlboro is
making one last big push before sports tobacco advertising comes to a
grinding haunt because of tobacco legislation.
Blockbuster panel for Champ Car Fan Forum The
Fan Forum in Elkhart Lake, WI has been set for Saturday from 12:00-1:00 PM.
The location is the Media Tent on the outside of the Media Center. Panel
So Far: Paul Gentilozzi, Jimmy Vasser, Bruno Junqueira (12:15-12:45)
John Lopes and possibly Danica Patrick from Toyota Atlantics. The
panel is subject to change (often does right up until the last moment
because of racing commitments). Please attend. We will have some
great prizes including fast laps (pace car rides), Speedgear merchandise,
hats, suite passes, etc. You don't have to be an Inner Circle Fan Club
member to attend....but look at the fan club sign up on the Champ Car web
site...something you might be interested in. Dave Wood, Champ Car
Carpentier a free agentUPDATE
This Canadian Press
article says, Veteran Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier said
Tuesday he won't accept second-fiddle status on the Forsythe Racing team and
will likely seek another ride next season. The 32-year-old native of
Joliette, Que., told a news conference he has had a difficult time racing in
the shadow of featured driver Paul Tracy of Toronto. Carpentier is in
the final year of a two-year contract with Forsythe and was allowed to speak
with other teams as of last Sunday. ``I don't think I'll return to
Forsythe next year,'' Carpentier told reporters at a news conference to
promote the Aug. 29 Montreal Molson Indy. ``A change would definitely
be beneficial for him (team owner Gerald Forsythe) as well as myself.
``I won't rule out a return, but it would really surprise me.''
Carpentier's future with Forsythe Racing appeared in doubt prior to the
season when he was the odd man out after the team announced it had signed
Rodolfo Lavin of Mexico. But Forsythe instead added a third car for
the 2004 Champ Car World Series, formerly known as CART. Carpentier's
agent, Alan Labrosse, said Tuesday he'll sit down with Forsythe this weekend
to begin preliminary contract talks. Labrosse, who is also the
promoter of the Montreal race, said Carpentier wants to join a competitive
team ``where his salary will be in line with his experience.''
8/2/04 - According
to this LCN
article, as of August 1st a clause in his contract allows
Patrick Carpentier to talk to other teams to negotiate a ride for
his services and that he won't be back with Forsythe next season.
The article also says he was not happy in Vancouver that he was
ordered to help his teammate Paul Tracy, who won the race.
8/4/04 Industry News
NY City to salute Mario Andretti
Winning Race Cars to Make Once-in-a-Lifetime Appearance on Fifth Avenue and
at Andretti Exhibition in Grand Central Station Legendary race
car driver Mario Andretti has accepted the invitation to be the Grand
Marshal of New York City's 60th Columbus Day Parade, announced Lawrence
Auriana, President the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which produces the
annual event. The Parade will be held on October 11 from 11:45 AM to
approximately 3:00 PM. More....
to drive Zytek in LMES
Chris Dyson will drive the Zytek 04S prototype sportscar at the Silverstone
round of the Le Mans Endurance Series [LMES], August 13-15. The
announcement was made today in Banbury by Zytek Motorsports' Trevor Foster.
"We've been watching Chris's development as a sportscar driver," Foster
said. "His LMP675 championship last year in the American Le Mans Series was
very impressive, and then we watched how he went at Le Mans in June.
"He showed good form there, and since then we've been keeping track of his
performance in the ALMS. Certainly his duel the weekend before last with JJ
Lehto at Portland was remarkable. So we asked if he'd be interested in
driving with us at Silverstone later this month."
Penske Racing quotes on IRL going road racing
“I’m excited to be racing on road courses again,” said Castroneves. “When I
competed in the CART Series, I found a lot of success on the road and street
circuits, so I’m thrilled and I’m sure that a lot of our fans, teams and
drivers share this same sentiment. I’ve never been to Infineon Raceway, but
I know from what I’ve watched on TV that it will be a lot of fun going
through the hills of Sonoma. Watkins Glen is steeped in tradition so I also
think that will be a strong addition to next year’s schedule. I can’t wait
to turn right again. I’m looking forward to testing the new road course
package as soon as we can get the chance.”
While Marlboro Team Penske teammate, Sam Hornish Jr. may not have any Indy
car experience on road/street courses, he has his fair share of experience
on them as he competed in the Toyota Atlantic and Formula Ford Series before
being called up to the IndyCar Series in 2000. While racing in the Toyota
Atlantic Series in 1999, Hornish Jr. competed on several road/street courses
and was named Rookie of the Year. In addition, Hornish Jr. also drove in the
U.S. F2000 Championships from 1996-1998 where he competed in several
road/street course including top-ten finishes at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio.
“I’m excited to see how the Indy Racing League package works on road
courses,” said Hornish Jr. “I think racing on road courses will play to my
strengths as it will be important to keep up your momentum and time your
passes. They will be very challenging for the drivers, and if you make a
mistake on these types of circuits it is really amplified. What most people
don’t realize is that before joining the IRL I did most of my racing on road
courses, and I actually raced at Watkins Glen.”
“Watkins Glen is a fun race track,” said Marlboro Team Penske Advisor Rick
Mears. “It has a good combination of high speed and low speed corners, long
straightaways and there are opportunities for passing. It also is a track
with a lot of history. I ran Indy cars there (Mears won the last Indy car
race at Watkins Glen in 1981), an endurance race and the Toyota Celebrity
Race. I remember having a great battle with Parnelli Jones during one of the
Toyota Celebrity events - there wasn’t a straight corner left on either car
by the end.”
“What stands out most about the win was that when we were taking the car in
for the tech inspection after Victory Circle, the car came to a grinding
halt,” explains Howell, who was a mechanic for Mears at the time. “A piece
of the gear box had come loose and jammed up the rear end of the car and we
had to put it on the jack and drag it over for inspection. I’m looking
forward to going back to Watkins Glen next season - the track is very
challenging and it will be nice to compete there once again.”
“I think it is great that the Indy Racing League is adding road courses to
its schedule,” continued Mears. “From a driver’s standpoint, one of the
things I always enjoyed about racing Indy cars was the variety of tracks
including short ovals, superspeedways, road and street courses. The drivers
really needed to be well-rounded and versatile to win the Championship.”
“Road Racing will add another dimension to what it takes to be an IRL
champion,” added Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, Inc.
The IRL's plans for Portland/Northwest
Q. 16 races on the schedule right now. Could that go up before next year'
KEN UNGAR: This is the schedule as it stands now. We've had instances in the
past where we've added races after the original schedule was released. As
Tony mentioned, in the case of St. Petersburg or any other possible
opportunity, we'll just have to wait and see what other opportunities are
presented to us.
Q. Ken, I spoke to you about six weeks ago. It sounded like you were
pretty eager to try to make Portland a part of the schedule and get
up into the Northwest market, which is relatively untapped by major
racing. I'm curious how close Portland actually came to being on the
schedule. Does the league see any urgency in getting out to a market
that is pretty under-served'
KEN UNGAR: Well, we had very good conversations with both people at the City
of Portland, the people at Portland International Raceway, as well as the
promoter that we had been engaged in dialogue with, PJP, Peter Jacobsen
Productions. We worked long and hard to try to create all the factors that
needed to come together in order to make an event. As it turned out, really
it was our schedule that could not accommodate a race at Portland.
The Pacific Northwest continues to be a priority for us. Just the other
night, meeting at a social event in our paddock at Michigan, a number of
competitors, teams and sponsors expressed interest and possible excitement
about being at Portland in the future. Even though it's not on
our 2005 schedule, it's not something where the doors have closed. It's just
we were not able to make all the stars align in 2005.
Q. With ISC announcing plans to build a track out there at the end
of the decade, to have some big-time NASCAR racing, do you see it as
an opportunity to get out there maybe before even NASCAR does and
tap into things'
KEN UNGAR: Well, ISC has expressed an interest in building a track in the
state of Washington. They have made us aware of their plans. Certainly if
they do, that's one opportunity that may present itself. That may be the way
that we choose to serve our fans in the Pacific Northwest. Full Transcript
of Press Conference.
Brian Barnhart on IRL at Long Beach
Q. Champ Car's contract with the Long Beach Grand Prix is up after
next year. Is that something where we might see you guys be
interested in for 2006'
BRIAN BARNHART: From my standpoint, Long Beach has a storied history. If an
opportunity to race there was presented to us, I think we'd certainly have
to take a look at adding it to our schedule. Full Transcript
of Press Conference.
Tony George on possible IRL St.
Petersburg race Q. I have a couple Florida related
questions for Tony. I see that Homestead is number one on the
schedule again. Obviously, you must be pleased with that market.
Also is there any possibly of adding a street course at St.
TONY GEORGE: Well, the Miami market has been good so far for us. It's shown
improvement and growth. Certainly I think (Homestead-Miami Speedway
President) Curtis (Gray) has done a very good job for us down there. We
continue to look forward to opening our season down there. But
with regard to the rumor of St. Petersburg, you know, it is something that
is a rumor. Usually where there's a rumor there's some smoke. Whether or not
there's any fire, I don't know. I think we'll have to wait and see as to
whether or not an opportunity presents itself.
Q. Would there be any possibility of next season or are we looking
TONY GEORGE: Anything's possible. Certainly by announcing our schedule
today, it's not something that we were compelled to hold up our announcement
of what we knew to be firm and ready to go. Our teams, our sponsors, all of
our stakeholders are looking to us to make our plans for 2005 known. I
think if it comes about, it will be a bonus. I think it's a good market.
It's a good venue, from what I recall, having seen on television when they
ran there last year. Certainly it is a market and a venue with a lot of
potential. Its future on our schedule is not known at this
Transcript of Press Conference.
IRL schedule to top out at 20 races
Whereas Champ Car is looking to keep its schedule at a maximum of 16
races per year, the IRL's Ken Ungar said on today's IRL media
teleconference that they are looking to max out at 20 races per year
when their schedule is fully mature, 6 of which could be road
courses (i.e. 6 max). With regard to St. Petersburg, Tony
George stated that "it's only a rumor, but where there's a rumor
there's smoke, however, whether it becomes a fire remains to be
seen." With regard to Portland, the door is not closed there,
they just could not make it work for this year. AutoRacing1's
betting that the IRL is waiting for ISC to build their track in the
Seattle area and will race there instead. When asked about the
month of May schedule, Tony George refused to speculate as to
whether there would be a change. He said they would announce
that in early autumn. When asked if the IRL would be
interested in Long Beach after Champ Car's contract expires in 2005,
Brian Barnhart answered that Long Beach has a rich history of open
wheel racing and if an opportunity presents itself for them to race
there they would take a serious look at it. When asked about
Road America, Mid-Ohio and other road courses, Ken Ungar
acknowledged that they are examining all possibilities. Full Transcript
of Press Conference.
to run on modified Infineon track
To address the safety concerns addressed on these pages, the IRL
will run on a modified Infineon Raceway track as shown on the
diagram to the right. We don't see any passing opportunities,
but it is definitely safer.
St. Pete ponders new race partner
This St. Petersburg Times
article says, The organizers of the Indianapolis 500
are trying to secure a deal to hold one of its first-ever street
races in downtown St. Petersburg. The Indy Racing League,
North America's dominant open-wheel racing organization, said Monday
they are talking with city officials for an April 1 race.
"We need more warm-weather facilities," said Fred Nation, IRL's vice
president of corporate communications. "It is a separate market from
our other Florida venue in Homestead-Miami, and it should be an
attractive venue for our sponsor and partners."Mayor Rick Baker
confirmed the city is talking with IRL, but said it also has reached
out to the sponsor of 2003's race, now known as Champ Car. "My
desire continues to be to bring a Grand Prix race back to St.
Petersburg," Baker said. While the 2003 Grand Prix generated
positive publicity for the city, a deal with IRL could be
significantly more advantageous. The league is more financially
stable than rival Champ Car and has more high profile sponsors and
drivers, including two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio
Castroneves. "It's the granddaddy of auto racing," said City
Council Chairman Bill Foster. "To have an IRL event in St. Pete,
that's like a Super Bowl or a Final Four. The economic impact would
While no formal negotiations have occurred with either group, IRL
has been seriously considering St. Petersburg since a promoter began
facilitating a deal between the racing league and the city, Nation
said. "Before that point, there have been a lot of venues we
have been interested in, but that does not mean there was the chance
there of making it happen," said Nation, who declined to identify
He (Baker) said a deal to bring a race here would likely be
finalized within a few weeks. "The event Champ Car had there
was a good event," Nation said. The 2003 race also drew about
50,000 racing fans to the downtown waterfront, but lost a reported
$1.3-million and plans for a 2004 race ran into obstacles.
While Champ Car expressed interest in returning to the market for
2005, the slow pace of recent discussions with the city had prompted
the league to postpone plans.
Champ Car president Dick Eidswick said he would not blame the city
if it was seeking a more profitable deal. And if the IRL is willing
to take a chance on an immature but potentially prosperous market,
he said, so be it. "It's a free world out there and if they're
willing to pay for it, it's up to them," Eidswick said. "It's pretty
clear that it is going to take an investment to get that race where
it wants to be, to get it established as a marquee event and get
local business behind it and get people to come."
Denis McGlynn, CEO of Dover Motorsports, which promoted the 2003
race, said St. Petersburg remains a viable market if fan interest
can be rekindled after what would be a two-year absence of racing.
"They might have to grow it a little bit, but I think they could
make it work," he said. "It depends on the date." Last year,
Dover pulled out of preparations for the 2004 race, leaving it in
the hands of cash-strapped Championship Auto Racing Team. CART
officials then announced they were filing for bankruptcy and
postponed the race indefinitely. The future of the race also has
been entangled in a financial dispute between the former local
general manager of the race, Tom Begley, and Champ Car.
The city recently received a big bargaining chip that may help lure
the IRL. At its July 15 meeting, the City Council voted to accept
$1.5-million worth of equipment, including concrete barriers and
ramps, a donation from Dover Motorsports. As a city with its
own racing equipment, St. Petersburg could become an even more
attractive site for a race, Foster said.
"I think that could be very important," he said. "We're not an
Indianapolis. ... We have to work a little bit harder to make a
deal. But we'll get there."
Petty unveils new website
Petty Enterprises has unveiled its newly-designed Internet web site
Animink, Inc., which has created websites, cartoon animation and 3D
animation for almost six years, designed and is handling the new web
site. The company is now based in Huntersville, N.C., and has
designed sites for other NASCAR drivers, the Richard Petty Driving
Experience, and the John Boy and Billy nationally-syndicated radio
show. “We’re really pleased with Animink and the new design of
www.pettyracing.com,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises.
“They have done a tremendous job, and I know the fans are going to
love it.” The Petty Racing site was recreated to better connect with
race fans, and cater to those who already have a passion for
motorsports and the Petty family. There are dialup and broadband
versions. Both versions have audio and video clips, galleries and
other downloadable features. The broadband version includes full
motion-video, as well as music that changes as the user surfs the
site. The motion and flow of the site is as unique as it is
attractive. “Our continuous vision for Animink is to create
animation and websites that are incredibly dynamic, and draw people
in. I believe that the new Petty website does just that,” said
Markus Alison, Animink Vice President. “We did things in the
creation of this site that we have never done before. Users will
experience something completely different.”
Feedback on "This isn't about the
CART/IRL split" article Some feedback on our article
about taking underprivileged kids to see their first auto race.
A reader writes, Tim, What a great opportunity you gave those
kids!!! Reading your article brought a smile to my face and reminded
me of my youth, going to races with my dad. His love and involvement
in auto racing was passed on to me and eventually led me to my
current job....in auto racing. I now take my daughter to races when
I can and am hoping that the racing genes didn't skip a generation!
Again....kudos to you for sharing your passion with these kids!
Maybe it can become an annual event' Dianne Patty
Another reader writes, Tim, I wanted to let you know how much I
enjoyed reading your article on AutoRacing1.com about the group of
kids you took to the Michigan Indy 400 race last weekend. That was
such a nice thing for you to do! It sounds like you had some great
help with Kay from the YMCA, too. Those kids and their families must
have thoroughly enjoyed their day at the speedway. We lived in
Michigan for 25 years when my husband worked for General Motors, and
I saw firsthand some of the dire circumstances some of the
disadvantaged kids came from, whether from the inner city or some of
the suburbs like Pontiac. Those kids must have been thrilled to see
their first live race and experience all the sounds and excitement
of an open wheel race. MIS is in such a beautiful part of Michigan.
(I spent many enjoyable times visiting the antique shops in the
quaint towns out in the country around the speedway.) It sounds like
everyone had a wonderful time at the race, but I know it must have
taken a lot of work and patience on your part, too. It's wonderful
that people like you and Kay give their time to share an event like
this with these kids. I'm sure that was a day they'll never forget!
Sincerely, Jenell Matthews
Whatever happened to the NASCAR
Last year the stock car roof escape hatch was developed and tested,
eventually being used by Michael Waltrip during his victory
celebration. Since then, the hatch has not been made mandatory by
NASCAR. Drivers recently commented on the escape hatch and NASCAR
GREG SACKS, Driver, #13 ARC Dehooker/Vita Coca Dodge: “The
escape hatch is a good idea, but it’s not something that needs to be
mandatory. We can all get out of these cars through the windows
pretty quickly. The bigger and taller guys, yeah, it’s probably
better for them. They might have a tough time maneuvering through
the side window if they are in a hurry. In that case, the escape
hatch is better for them. “I am an average-sized driver, and
like a lot of these guys out here, we always are jumping out the
window. It’s not hard and I think we are pretty comfortable going
that way. If the escape hatch was the only way to get out of the car
we would all use it, but for the longest time all we had was the
side window. That’s what you’ll see most of the guys use.”
JEFF GREEN, Driver, #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge: “Last y ear we
all saw Michael (Waltrip) jump out of the escape hatch after winning
Talladega, but then what' We really haven’t heard too much about it
after that. There was a lot of attention paid to it when the idea
first came about, and it made some news when we first saw it work,
but lately it hasn’t been an issue. “I think it’s a pretty
good idea. As our seats get bigger and our cars are getting smaller
we need to have another option of getting out of the car. The escape
hatch is great when we are pinned against the wall. It’s pretty easy
to get out of. It can be something that is mandatory, and I don’t
think you’ll hear anyone complain. It’s a great safety aspect for
TRAVIS GEISLER, Driver, #36 National City Bank Chevrolet (Busch
Series): “The greater the size of the driver, the more important the
escape hatch. For a taller guy or a heavier guy, it might be more
important to have a different way of getting out of the car in a
hurry. As the side window gets smaller, it gets tougher. And if the
driver’s side is blocked, you might really need the escape hatch as
opposed to the right side window, especially if you need to get out
quickly. “Ninety-five percent of the time, maybe more, it
probably would never be used and wouldn’t be a factor. Those few
times it would be might make it worthwhile. It depends. The first
time you are sitting against the wall on the driver’s side and have
to get out in a hurry, that would be the time you would consider it
one of the best ideas in the history of the sport.”
KEN SCHRADER, Driver #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge: “Right now,
it’s OK to have it, but it’s not mandatory. I don’t know if it
should be mandatory. Could it be a good thing if it was mandatory'
Yeah. I think it’s a good option to have for everyone, and right
now, we all have that option. “If you’re up against the wall,
driver side, and need to get out really quick, it would be really
handy. Other than that, you’re not seeing guys going out the escape
hatch because that’s not the quickest way you learned to get out of
the car. Growing up racing, we all learned to climb out the side
window. After a few hundred times of doing just that, well, you get
pretty good at it. That’s the quickest way for most. I can see,
however, how the escape hatch can be a good idea if that isn’t an
KYLE PETTY, Driver #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge: “The
escape hatch is a good thing to have. It’s a good idea for everyone.
Right now, it’s still the individual team’s decision, but maybe it
should be mandatory. It’s a good, viable, way to quickly get out the
car. “Guys like myself, Michael (Waltrip), and some of the
other taller guys in the garage really should use it. It’s really
better for us when we have to get out. To not have to struggle going
through the side of the car is easier for us when we are in a hurry.
The escape hatch is a good way to solve that problem.”
Guy Smith/Rocketsports press release Guy
Smith, winner of the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours, will make an exciting
return to open-wheel racing with Rocketsports Racing. The
28-year-old Englishman will join the Michigan-based team, owned by
Paul Gentilozzi, in Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents the
Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford at Road America on August 8,
2004 to drive the No. 17 Rocketsports
“This has been a long time coming so I’m over the moon about the
opportunity Rocketsports Racing has given me”, commented a delighted
Smith. “I did Indy Lights a few years ago with the intention to move
up the ladder, but at the time the openings weren’t there. I fell
into sports cars and had a fantastic few years, not least with the
win at Le Mans. That win though, also served to fire me up again as
I had reached the pinnacle of sports car racing, so it was time for
a new challenge. It feels great to do something new and, although I
know it will be tough in such a competitive series, I can’t wait to
get stuck in.”
Rocketsports Team Owner, Paul Gentilozzi, commented: “I’m happy to
welcome Guy Smith to the Rocketsports team to drive the No.17 car. I
was impressed when I first met Smith in the 2002 Daytona 24 Hours,
where he finished second overall. He earned his first Le Mans 24
Hours win in 2003, and I watched as he finished on the podium in Le
Mans again this year.
“Smith has demonstrated his stamina and skill as a driver in diverse
categories and series,” added Gentilozzi. “He’s fast and has started
from pole many times in his career. He produced competitive results
in the Indy Lights Championship, where he won Rookie of the Year
(1998), and was recognized and invited to test Champ Cars in 1999.
He’ll have a solid, dedicated crew behind him and we’re excited to
have him join us at Road America.”
Smith began his motor racing career in karting as a boy. By 1995 he
was well-established in single-seater racing and dominated that
year’s competitive Formula Renault Sport Championship, winning the
title and a test with the Williams F1 team. Two seasons in the
British F3 Championship followed and Smith won his first ever F3
race from pole position.
Smith then headed across the Atlantic to the Indy Lights series in
the United States where he finished third in the 1998 Championship
and lifted the coveted “Rookie of the Year” title. Smith remained in
Indy Lights in 1999 in order to make the progression up to what was
then called the CART series. In his time with Indy Lights, Smith
drove for Tasman Motorsport, the team that spawned such driving
greats as Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Cristiano da Matta.
In 2000 Smith decided to make a change and moved into sports car
racing in the American Le Mans Championship with Johansson Matthews
Racing. He also had his first taste of the Le Mans 24 Hour race that
year and claimed another Rookie of the Year award.
At that time, Team Bentley were about to embark on a three-year
program to win Le Mans, and Smith was snapped up to join the squad.
The rest is history as Smith won the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours, arguably
the world’s most prestigious race, alongside the Indy 500 and the
Monaco Grand Prix.
2005 IRL Schedule
March 6: Homestead-Miami Speedway,
Homestead, Fla., 1 1/2-mile oval
March 19*: Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, 1-mile oval
April 30*: Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi, Japan, 1 1/2-mile oval
May 29: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, 2 1/2-mile oval
June 11*: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas, 1 1/2-mile oval
June 25*: Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va., 3/4-mile
July 3: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan., 1 1/2-mile tri-oval
July 16*: Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn., 1 1/3-mile oval
July 24: The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis., 1-mile oval
July 31: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich., 2-mile
Aug. 14: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky., 1 1/2-mile oval
Aug. 21: Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo., 1-mile
Aug. 28: Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif., 10-turn, 1.99-mile road
Sept. 11: Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill., 1 1/2-mile D-shaped
Sept. 25: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y., 11-turn,
3.4-mile road course
Oct. 16: California Speedway, Fontana, Calif., 2-mile D-shaped oval
Schedule subject to change;
IRL is out, Champ Car may be inUPDATE
This and Portland Oregonian
article says,Paul Gentilozzi, one of Champ Car's
three owners, said he will discuss the Portland situation with
partners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven during Champ Car's Road
America event this weekend. When told that IRL would not
race at Portland in 2005, Gentilozzi said, "Oh darn. Who would have
thought that' Honestly, I'm disappointed for the race fans of
Portland. But they probably would have been disappointed with the
IRL show anyway."
Eidswick was diplomatic about Portland's situation. He is resisting
the urge to say, "I told you so" to Francesconi. "I
would never do that," Eidswick said. "He's a key person in a market
we're interested in. The last thing we want to do is make life
difficult for him. "What we want is his full support and
the full support of the business community to make this race really
successful. . . . I told him we wanted to come back. With his
support, and the support of the business community, who not come
Gentilozzi said, "I think Dick may be reaching to say there's a good
chance. You have my assurance, this is not a sure thing."
Said Eidswick, "Paul tends to be a little explosive at times. He
didn't say it was off, did he'"
Francesconi said he is not forgetting that the last three Portland
Champ Car races have lost money and drawn fewer fans each year. The
other pressing issue is finding a source of the $10 million to $15
million needed to pay for improvements to PIR. This year's race went
without a title sponsor.
"There have been some issues with the Champ Car races," Gentilozzi
said. "Aside from the money issue, and how we're going to (finance)
track improvements, there is the whole issue of how we're going to
promote this race. It has to be better promoted. And the business
community needs to do more."
Francesconi said the future of the Champ Car series also is an
issue. "The part that concerns me is the question, are
they going to be around for three years'" he said. "The viability of
the organization is a legitimate concern. There has to be
performance measurements in the contract at some point. So if they
are unable to perform, we're able to do something else."
8/3/04 - [Editor's Note:
With Champ Car wanting to limit its schedule to 16 races, quite
frankly we do not see how Portland will fit on the 2005 schedule
unless the rumored overseas races do not materialize. We
believe a Champ Car race in Portland is very doubtful for 2005.]
article says, The Indy Racing League and promoter Peter Jacobsen
Productions could not agree on a race date for 2005, meaning the city of
Portland will have to settle its differences with the Champ Car World Series
if it wants an open-wheel race next year, according to a published report.
The Indy Racing League appeared to be a lock for a Portland race after city
officials asked the rival circuits to each submit a "request for proposal"
to stage a race next summer. Champ Car officials, feeling they
shouldn't be placed in a bidding situation because of their 21-year history
with Portland, declined to submit one, leaving the IRL as the apparent
But Portland will not be on the IRL's 2005 schedule, The Oregonian reported
in its Tuesday editions. Larry Blackmar, vice president of sales for
Peter Jacobsen Productions, said the IRL could not accommodate the
promoter's window for a late July or early August date.
So it looks like Champ Car, or nothing at all for Portland. Champ Car officials wanted to sign a new, three-year contract
immediately after this year's race. But city Commissioner Jim Francesconi
angered them by asking for the proposal.
Now, 16 days after Champ Car took its offer off the table, Portland wants
back in. Champ Car president Dick Eidswick will meet with Francesconi
later this month. Francesconi and Eidswick spoke on the Monday, with
Francesconi saying the conversation went "better than I would have
Although his bargaining position would seem to be limited, Francesconi said
he won't sign off on a Champ Car race until a few details are settled. He
said he does not apologize for his handling of the situation. "My
responsibility is the track," he said. "If we could have gotten a better
deal (from the IRL), then it's my duty to do it. It's a public track."
Eidswick was diplomatic about the situation, refusing to gloat over the turn
of events. "I would never do that," he said. "He's a key person in a
market we're interested in. The last thing we want to do is make life
difficult for him. "What we want is his full support and the full
support of the business community to make this race really successful."
IRL teams up with Target and General
Added photos. 8/1/04 - Scott Dixon,
the reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion, will be featured on boxes
of Wheaties, marking the first time an IndyCar Series driver has
graced a cereal box cover. Dixon, the driver of the No. 1
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota, appears with the IndyCar Series
championship trophy on the Wheaties box covers. The cereal boxes
will be available exclusively in Target stores nationwide beginning
In addition, Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Darren
Manning will be featured together on boxes of Cheerios and Cinnamon
Toast Crunch cereals. The cereal boxes will also feature information
on the IndyCar Series, along with additional photos of both Dixon
and Manning on the back of the boxes. The promotion,
coordinated through the Indy Racing League marketing department and
General Mills, features an IndyCar Series CD-ROM which has been
inserted into the 800,000 packages of Wheaties, Cheerios and
Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
The CD-ROM feature a demo version of the IndyCar Series video game
for the PC and will provide a link to the Indy Racing League website
providing greater exposure to the sport of IndyCar Series racing and
the League's drivers. The promotion runs through Sept. 15 and also
will be featured in Target circulars. Additionally, cereal boxes
will be displayed on end-caps (end of aisles) and on checkout
displays, both prime shopping space in Target.
"This is one example of the League's driver marketing initiatives to
create fans for our drivers and our sport," said Bill Long, Indy
Racing League vice president for marketing. "General Mills and
Target were perfect promotional partners to feature the reigning
2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi
Racing and his teammate Darren Manning.
Dixon said he is excited to see his likeness grace the cover of
cereal boxes. "With all of the great athletes from
various sports that have graced the cover of the Wheaties boxes over
the years, it really is a nice honor to be among them," Dixon said.
"It is pretty prestigious, and I think it's huge for Target Chip
Ganassi Racing and the IndyCar Series as well. It helps introduce a
whole new generation of fans to the sport we love. I've already got
my whole family putting in orders for the three different cereal
boxes but I'm having the hardest time getting Darren to sign a box
for me. We are both getting a fair amount of teasing from our crew
guys about how it is better to have us on a cereal box than on a
milk carton, but I think they are just jealous."
Manning is also looking forward to having his face adorn the General
Mills products. "I knew that joining a first-class team
like Target Chip Ganassi Racing was going to give me the chance of a
lifetime but making it onto a cereal box, now I know I've hit the
big time," Manning said. "Seriously, it's such a great opportunity
for a guy like me, especially as a newcomer to the IndyCar series.
It really is very exciting and it's going to be really cool to see
my mug on the Target store shelves and know I will be buying quite a
few boxes just based on the requests I am getting from friends back
home in England. I think it's a nice way to reach out to new fans
and celebrate Scott Dixon and the Target team's 2003 championship."
Calgary courts Champ Car
Two competing entities in Calgary want a Champ Car race. This
Calgary Sun newspaper
article says, From horses to horsepower, the Calgary
Stampede Board may shift into a new gear. The CSB has
submitted a proposal to the Molson Indy to host a Champ Car race in
Calgary, Hilary Dolhaine, communications manager with the CSB,
confirmed yesterday. She could not reveal details of the
proposal but sources say the race would be run completely on the
Stampede grounds or down parts of Macleod Trail and through Victoria
Molson Indy GM Bob Singleton, who has said Calgary would be "a very
attractive market," visited the city two weeks ago to look at venues
but would not comment on his findings when contacted yesterday.
Molson Indy already runs Champ Car races in Toronto, Vancouver and
Race City Motorsport Park vice-president Ray Kuntz said Singleton
contacted him and toured the facility while he was in town.
Mayor David Bronconnier couldn't be reached for comment on the
city's position in regards to a downtown race.
Alderman Madeleine King -- whose riding encompasses the Stampede
grounds and Victoria Park -- said yesterday she has heard rumblings
about a Molson Indy race being staged downtown but insisted "nothing
has been approved ... It's all in the discussion phase."
A significant amount of government funding -- both municipal and
provincial -- likely would be needed to stage such an event anywhere
in Calgary. While sources have said Molson Indy
officials are keen on running any potential Calgary event downtown,
Kuntz said Race City is still actively courting the Molson Indy.
"The money you'd spend to improve the site, you'd save that versus a
temporary circuit that ties up traffic. You'd have costs every year
for fencing and what-not, where here you spend it once," said Kuntz.
"I believe we can host it here with some upgrades ... from my point
and my outlook, why put provincial money into creating a temporary
venue when you have a venue that you could put the money (in) and
upgrade it and have a permanent asset to the province'"
IRL Michigan TV rating tanks Despite
numerous ads in the USA Today and other newspapers last week letting
everyone know when the Michigan 400 would be on TV, the overnight TV
Rating on ABC dropped a massive 20% in one year form a 1.2/3 share
in 2003 to a 1.0/2 share this year. The more money Honda,
Toyota, Firestone, Marlboro and Tony George pump into the IRL, the
faster the TV ratings plummet. The final rating is expected to drop
further. Last year's final rating was a 1.0 and the year
before was a 1.2 so if the downward trend continues, we expect a 0.8
or a 0.9 final rating.
Intersport back to full strength Jon
Field wants to be part of the "dogfight," and he feels that he and co-driver
Duncan Dayton will be back in the thick of the action this weekend when the
American Le Mans Series makes its annual visit to Canada's Mosport
International Raceway for the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport.
Intersport Racing will be back to full strength this weekend with the team's
Lola B160-Judd Prototype returning to action after missing the past two ALMS
events due to a cracked chassis. "I think we'll be right up
there with them running at the front," said Field, team owner/driver. "We
want to be in that dogfight for the overall win." The team's LMP1
entry had not performed as well as normal in the races leading up to the
Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma, held July 18 at Sonoma, Calif. Field had been
on the track at Infineon Raceway for practice and was sitting in the car on
pit road when the chassis cracked. "We thought that maybe the chassis had
been going soft," said Field. "The setups weren't working on the car in the
three or four races before that and it had been miserable to drive. We
couldn't figure out why, but then we found out at Sonoma. "It wasn't
that big of a deal, but luckily it happened in the pits and not on the
track," he said.
Guy Smith to drive rest of year for
Rocketsports Guy Smith has told AutoRacing1.com - "Yes, I
will be in the #17 car for the rest of the season, really looking forward to
it, although I realize it will be a steep learning curve with such little
track time before the first couple of races. I have not been to either
circuit but I feel very confident with the guys on the team and I am sure
they will be a big help."
Like many other top racing drivers, Guy Smith began his racing career in
karts at the tender age of 12. His first car race came just 9 weeks after
his 17th birthday. Following four very successful years in the lower
formulae of Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall, the "Autosport Young Kartist"
and "Autosport Young Driver of the Year" finalist graduated to the Formula
Renault Sport Championship with Manor Motorsport. Guy totally
dominated the 1995 season, taking the championship title with no less than 9
race wins and 11 pole positions.
This performance was enough to prompt Williams F1 to invite Guy to test
Damon Hill's Williams-Renault F1 car at Silverstone, where he quickly
settled into producing some stunningly quick lap times. Guy followed
his Formula Renault success by winning his debut race in the 1996 British
Formula 3 Championship with a flag-to-flag victory; an amazing feat by
anybody’s standards especially as his teammate was none other than a certain
Juan Pablo Montoya and his team's engines were the unloved Mitsubishi units.
Guy finished sixth in the F3 championship that season and, after a partial
season of Formula 3 the following year; he was invited to join Johansson
Motorsport to contest the 1998 Indy Lights series in the USA. Guy
finished the season third overall after winning two races from pole position
(Portland and Toronto) and was awarded CART's "Rookie of the Year" title.
For the following season, Guy joined the championship-winning Tasman
Motorsport Team as teammate to Brazilian Airton Dare. Sadly the team was
sold in the early part of the season to Forsythe Racing and this caused the
team's engineering continuity to break down. The anticipated
Championship-winning success was not forthcoming but a highlight of the year
was achieving pole position at Laguna Seca, finishing on the podium at
Portland and Chicago and subsequently being invited to test a Reynard
ChampCar for Walker Motorsports.
The following season Guy decided on a change of career path and was one of
three drivers invited to pilot the brand-new Reynard 2KQ-LM Sports Prototype
of Johansson Matthews Racing, alongside ex-Formula 1 driver and Le Mans
winner Stefan Johansson and team owner Jim Matthews. The team competed
in the 2000 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in addition to the Le Mans 24
Hours race, in which Guy claimed another "Rookie of the Year" award. However
Reynard's first foray into the world of Sports Car Racing was not a success
as the car proved woefully unreliable; the highlight of the season being a
4th -place finish at the Daytona 24Hrs race.
Guy also passed his Indianapolis 500 "Rookie Orientation Test" aboard a
Dallara IRL car.
However all was not lost as Guy's talent and speed were immediately
recognized by Team Bentley who were putting together a 3-year program to win
Le Mans. Guy was offered a race seat for 2001 alongside teammates Martin
Brundle and Stephane Ortelli and was lying 3rd at Le Mans when the car broke
down. He also contested the 2001 European Le Mans Series with Stefan
Johansson in the Gulf-sponsored Audi R8, notching up 3 top four finishes.
Guy was also invited to drive the Reynard-Judd LMP900 car for the Monza
1000kms where he gained pole position and led the race until the brakes
failed with 10 laps to go.
Bentley decided to reduce their racing program to one car for 2002 and Guy
was retained as the full-time test driver for the program. Bentley agreed to
release him for limited other races and he gained podium positions at the
2002 Daytona 24Hrs (2nd ) and Sebring 12Hrs (3rd ) driving the works' Riley
& Scott Mk.111.
For 2003 Guy was a central figure for Team Bentley's attack on both the
Sebring 12hrs and the Le Mans 24hrs. He is partnered with four time Le Mans
winner Tom Kristensen and last year's pole-position winner 'Dindo' Capello.
After finishing 4th at Sebring in January, the trio swept all before them at
Le Mans in June to capture pole position and 1st place in the world-famous
24 Hours race. Guy was selected to pilot the car across the finish line at
the end of the historic 71st running of the event to mark an emotional sixth
win for Bentley.
Finally an article panning NASCAR announcers
Although it does not specifically say so, this SPEED TV
is pointed directly at NASCAR announcers who many times come off as
uneducated hicks for the way they butcher the English language.
Hearing the phrases "done blowed up" or "boogedy
boogedy boogedy" is
enough to make grown men cringe. It's a black mark for the sport of
auto racing in general and should be stopped.
Foyt pans IRL road races AJ
Foyt was interviewed by SPEED TV and he's steaming hot about the IRL going
road racing next year. Said Foyt, "They (Infineon and Watkins Glen)
are the two worse road courses we could possibly run on, they are dangerous
and we (AJ Foyt Racing) probably won't run them." Autoracing1.com has
said for quite some time now that neither of those tracks are safe enough
for Indy Cars. Yes, IRL cars are slow, and will probably be only as
fast as a Toyota Atlantic Car (simulations say slower), but those tracks
simply do not have enough runoff area in some places for open wheel cars and
we are concerned for the drivers safety. Mark C.
Gascoyne defends hiring Ralf "The
British press like to give Ralf a hard time," Toyota's Mike Gascoyne told
the Sunday Times. "It ain't easy being Michael's brother, and
(Juan-Pablo) Montoya ain't the easiest teammate, but you have to say that
considering Montoya's supposed to be the dog's b******s, there's been
several weekends when Ralf has absolutely blitzed him. The key for us is to
make this the right environment for him to be consistently fast."
"The example I'd give is that it's a similar situation to when Heinz-Harald
Frentzen left Williams, with pretty much the same reputation: moody,
arrogant, inconsistent, all that bull. He came to Jordan and nearly won the
World Championship, which shows what sort of difference being in the right
environment can make."
"We're very much aware of that when it comes to choosing a second driver. We
need someone quick enough to push him without being political," the Toyota
technical director said.
"Maybe a younger guy, maybe one of our current drivers. After all, Olivier
got on with Jacques Villeneuve at BAR, which says something. Jarno Trulli' -
could be." However, he added that "having signed Ralf, we won't be
rushing into a decision."
FIA to hear BAR appeal next week According
to this Reuters
article, BAR's appeal over a cornering device they were banned from
using at the German Grand Prix last month will be heard by the FIA next
week, Formula One's governing body said on Monday. The software-controlled
device would have allowed quicker and smoother cornering but was banned by
stewards at Hockenheim when it was found installed on BAR's spare car after
Friday practice. A statement released by the International Automobile
Federation (FIA) on Monday said the appeal would be heard on August 9 with a
decision expected the next day. The FIA Press Release: Motor
Sports Association (the National Sporting Authority for the UK): Appeal on
behalf of license-holder British American Racing GP Ltd against decision
N°16 made by the Stewards of the Meeting on July 24, 2004. The appeal
concerns an “electro hydraulic software controlled device which connects the
front wheels via drive shafts and allows controlled torque transfer from a
faster wheel to a slower wheel even under braking” on the T car of the team.
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