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

DATE News (chronologically 05/10/00 to 05/31/00)
5/31/00
Team Target's first Indy 500 win a big one -  Indianapolis -- On a typical weekend, earning two top-ten finishes on the tricky oval in Nazareth, Pa. would be enough to satisfy a race team. But Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is not a typical team, and this was not a typical weekend. Following Saturday's fourth-place effort by Juan Montoya and a seventh-place finish by Jimmy Vasser in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, Team Target rushed to Indianapolis to partake in Sunday's Indy 500, its first since 1995. Judging by its performance, it didn't take Team Target long to get reacquainted with the 2.5-mile superspeedway. First-time Indy driver Montoya wasted little time taking over the top spot, passing polesitter Greg Ray on lap 33. From there, the 24-year-old Colombian dominated, setting an Indy 500 rookie record by leading 167 of the 200 laps en route to victory. "This was an amazing win for Team Target," said Montoya, the defending CART champion. "We had some of the best pit stops ever and my guys gave me a perfect car. Going into the weekend, I really wanted to win at least one race. After taking fourth in Nazareth, I knew that Indy would have to be the one. It didn't take too long for me to figure out the track and how to adjust to the traffic. It was very fast and very fun." Montoya took over the lead for good on lap 180 after passing Vasser, who fought a loose car the majority of the race. "I owe a lot to Jimmy," Montoya said. "He was very helpful in the weeks leading up to Indy and even during the race. This is a great win for everyone at Team Target." Vasser, who finished fourth in the 1995 Indianapolis 500, led five laps and earned his second seventh-place finish of the weekend. "Racing two-straight days was a lot of work, but to be back at Indy -- it was worth it," Vasser said. "We tried to stretch our fuel as far as possible, but we had to come in one last time. When that final yellow came out, I thought we had a chance to pull off the victory, but it wasn't quite enough. I'm very proud of Juan and of this whole team. Everyone worked so hard to make a victory possible. This was a great win for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing." That's an understatement according to team owner Chip Ganassi, who raced in the Indy 500 five times in the early 1980s. "I still can't quite describe how good this feels," Ganassi said. It's definitely the biggest win ever for Team Target. What an amazing effort by this whole team. To do what we asked them to do with two races and two totally different cars...this is such a satisfying way to finish up a phenomenal weekend. Both Jimmy and Juan had tremendous races. I couldn't be prouder of them or the whole team." 
5/31/00
Mexico track's website now live -  The new website for the Mexican Monterrey GP is now live. Looking at the latest track configuration they show, there appears to be only 1 or 2 good places to pass, somewhat typical for a race course of this nature. 
5/30/00
CART looking at new wheel tethers -  Jon Beekhius stated on RPM2Night today that CART is looking at new materials for its wheel tethers since the current ones appear to be helping, but are still breaking in many cases.  When they break, they still dissipate a lot of energy, so they are still an improvement over what was used before - nothing.  The current tethers are made of FIA recommended material.
5/30/00
Della Penna & Fontana temporarily withdraw from competition - Update - It was announced on RPM2Night today that the team will miss Milwaukee but they will be back on the CART circuit at the following race as a we begin a string of road and street courses.  5/28/00 - As as update to a story we reported at Nazareth (see below), the Della Penna team has decided to cease operations immediately due to lack of sponsorship.  Video Match apparently has reneged on their agreement to sponsor the car.  This article (in Spanish) explains more.  You can go to this page to translate it to English.
5/30/00
Inside CART debuts today  - CART fans remember to catch ESPN2 at 5:30 PM today for the 2000 debut of CART's Inside CART TV show.  Since Juan Montoya won the Indy 500 you may also want to catch the Indy 500 recap show at 7:00 PM and the Indy 500 banquet at 8:00 PM, both on ESPN2. All times Eastern.  
5/30/00


Who is the best driver in the world right now?  - Cast your vote on our new poll listed on our main page.
Juan Montoya - seems invincible right now
Michael Schumacher - the reigning 'best driver' king
Mika Hakkinen - defending F-1 champion
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - hotter than heck in NASCAR
Paul Tracy - the CART point leader
Also  - click here to see the results of our previous poll(s).
5/30/00
Jarno Trulli to compete in NY Marathon  - Jarno Trulli will compete in the New York City Marathon in November.  He said he just wants to give a Marathon a try.
5/29/00
Ganassi team confiscates film - A photographer was caught taking pictures of the Ganassi team's Toyota engines at Motegi.  A team member grabbed the camera and removed the film.  We are told it also contained pictures of the Mercedes and Ford engines.  A Honda spy, or just an overzealous fan?
5/28/00
European GP photos now up  - Our F-1 Photo Page now has a few pictures from the recent European GP.
5/28/00
Jeff Gordon Dupont contract worth $15 million per year - The 5-year deal that the Rick Hendrick/Jeff Gordon Team signed recently is worth an average of $15 million per year over the 5 years.
5/28/00
Update - UPS Considers sponsorship of Robert Yates Team - There are further reports this weekend that UPS will be on the Jarrett car next year.  5/10/00 - Robert Yates admits that he has had talks with UPS about sponsoring his Dale Jarrett Winston Cup team.  His biggest dilemma - how to make UPS's brown colors match with the blue of Ford Quality Care and Ford Credit.
5/27/00
Penske confirms 2001 Indy 500 effort - Roger Penske confirmed at Nazareth today that he will run his CART drivers in the 2001 Indy 500.  Tim Cindric will manage the effort and will be in the pits at Indy tomorrow to learn all he can for next year.  When we quizzed him about the cost he said it was about $1 million per car to run the one race.  He said he expects the CART schedule to be left open for the Indy 500 again next year so more CART teams can compete if they choose.
5/27/00
Heard at Nazareth
  • The Della Penna team has lost their Video Match sponsor from Argentina

  • Carl Hogan was seen in the Penske pit and told AutoRacing1 he looks forward to fielding a car again later this year

  • The Ganassi team is running barge boards again

  • Norberto Fontana is the only driver in the field wearing the HANS device in the race.  We believe this is the first time the device has been used by a Champ car driver in actual competition.

  • The Mayor's of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton have declared today "Mario Andretti Day" in the Lehigh Valley.  He will be recognized in Winners Circle before the race.

5/27/00
Seen at Nazareth - III


Alexandre Tagliani (L).  Luiz Garcia Jr. (R)
Photos copyright Mark Cipolloni and AutoRacing1.com

5/27/00
Seen at Nazareth - II


Fittipaldi before (L).  Fittipaldi after - sans wiskers (R)
Photos copyright Mark Cipolloni and AutoRacing1.com

5/27/00
Seen at Nazareth - I


Adrian Fernandez's wife (L).  Patrick Carpentier is back (R)
Patrick was still complaining of some wrist soreness and was seen with his wrist in an ice pack after the morning practice session.  Patrick told us he has been playing golf and driving his go-kart to get the wrist back in shape.
Photos copyright Mark Cipolloni and AutoRacing1.com

5/26/00
Lausitzring Update


Construction on the Lausitzring continues.  
These photos are the view from the large main straight grandstand

5/26/00
Andretti buys into hockey team - Adding to his already diverse business portfolio, Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti announced today a partnership with the Lehigh Valley Extreme hockey team which competes in the United Hockey League. Andretti's other business interest include the following: 
  • Owner of Michael Andretti's Power Sports which has three locations to date: In Phillipsburg, NJ, as well as Scranton and Reading, Pa. 
  • Spokesperson for Omega watches. 
  • Co-ownership of "Race Rock," a racing-themed restaurant in Orlando and Las Vegas with partners Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, John Force, Rusty Wallace, Don Prudhomme, restaurateur Bobby Moore and more. 
  • Partner with father in Andretti Toyota (in Pa.) and Andretti Petroleum which opened the first of many Texaco-branded Andretti SpeedMart's in January 1999 in San Francisco. A Burger King and Starbucks are in the facility. 
  • Also a partner in three car washes and a distributorship for car wash equipment. 
  • Joined forces with No Fear in 1998 to develop racing shoes and gloves as well as an all-new Andretti line of apparel. 
5/26/00
Armed Forces Network and CART Radio join forces - The Armed Forces Network Radio will join forces with the CART Radio Network this weekend, providing flag-to-flag coverage of the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota, live from Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, PA.  Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) has been a longtime partner of the FedEx Championship Series, broadcasting races on television to service personnel for years. Saturday's broadcast, however, marks the first-ever non-Indy 500 radio coverage of a CART-sanctioned race on AFRTS.  "It's a special opportunity for Armed Forces Radio and Television to be able to broadcast one of the most exciting series in auto racing to our men and women in uniform around the world," said AFRTS Sports Director Tim Mattox. "CART racing has been a staple on our television side for many years, but additional coverage now on Armed Forces Network Radio allows us to reach even our remote troops. On behalf of all of our service members who will enjoy the superior race coverage, thank you for allowing us a day at the races."   "Adding AFN Radio as an affiliate to the CART Radio Network allows us the unique opportunity to bring our exciting brand of racing to all corners of the world," said CART Vice President of Broadcasting Keith Allo. "We're looking forward to building this relationship in the future."   CART is working to expand the broadcasting schedule with AFN Radio in 2000. Armed Forces Network Radio, along with all other CART Radio Network affiliates, will begin pre-race coverage from Nazareth on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. EDT.
5/26/00
CART Charities announces partnership with Comerica Securities - CART Charities announced today a partnership with Comerica Securities to sponsor the CART Charities Paddock Pennies program.  The Paddock Pennies partnership agreement includes a donation of $2,500 from Comerica Securities to CART Charities. In addition, Comerica Securities will supply cloth bags for transportation of the pennies, and, without charge, will count and deposit collected funds into the CART Charities account. 
5/25/00
Walker racing to field 2nd car for Jeff Andretti starting in Atlanta - CART team owner Derrick Walker is expending his IRL operation.  Today it was announced he will field a 2nd car for Jeff Andretti, Michael Andretti's brother, in the IRL starting with the Atlanta race. 
5/25/00
Observation from Indy Pole qualifying - Update - not surprisingly Juan Montoya was fastest on Carburetion Day at Indy today when everyone got to run in equal conditions.  To make matters worse for his competitors, he only ran 13 laps and then parked it.  Earlier today - One reader writes - "Greg Ray was beside himself for beating CART driver Juan Montoya for the Indy pole, but Ray was actually slower in the heat of the day when Montoya made his run.  Ray had to wait until the track cooled down later in the day to bump Montoya from the pole.  The race between the two on those opening laps should be interesting, Montoya clearly more talented than Greg Ray, but Ray has more experience at Indy.  Should make for great intrigue."
5/25/00
Construction begins on the Marconi GP of Cleveland Presented by Firstar
IMG Motorsports, owner and operator of the 19th Annual Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, has begun construction on the racetrack at Burke Lakefront Airport. The nine-week project is in preparation for the yearly CART FedEx Championship Series race - set for June 30-July 2.  The track construction will be 65 percent complete prior to IMG Motorsports' temporary acquisition of the airport at 6:00 a.m. on the Friday of race weekend. Planes will continue to take off and land at Burke Lakefront Airport right up until that time. Once IMG takes complete control of the airport, the remaining 35 percent of the track will be finished in just four hours prior to the first race car taking the circuit at 10:30 a.m.  To construct the 2.106-mile temporary road course, the track will require the following materials to be installed/removed: 
  • 38,000 feet or over 7.2 miles of fence. 
  • Over 30,000 feet or over 5.7 miles of cable. 
  • 1,400 concrete barriers (equivalent of 3.2 miles) for a collective weight of over 11,200,000 pounds which is equal to over 5,600 tons. 
  • 100,000 grandstand seats. 

"While it's a three-day special event, the whole construction project really lasts 12 weeks. Construction began on May 1 and teardown of the site won't be completed until the week of July 17," stated Graham Hearns, Vice President of Operations for IMG Motorsports. "Over 75 different vendors will assist in coordinating this transformation of Burke Lakefront Airport. Without the support of these vendors, Mayor White and the entire City of Cleveland, IMG could not put on such a successful event."

5/25/00
Nazareth Schedule - Can Montoya and Vasser make history at Nazareth & Indy?
Time Event
8:00 a.m. Gates open
9:00-10:00 a.m. Practice and warm up
10:15-10:45 a.m. On track pace car activities
11:30- Noon On track pace car activities
Noon- 12:15 p.m. Aerial acrobatic display by Matt Chapman
12:15 p.m. Grid CART cars
1:00 p.m.  Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota 
5/23/00
CART drivers and ex-CART drivers seen at Indy 500


Memo Gidley (L, DNQ) and Juan Montoya (R) are two of many 
CART drivers and ex-CART drivers at Indy this year
Photos courtesy of Trubritz

5/23/00
Helio Castro-Neves loses the dash - Henceforth, Helio Castro-Neves wants to be known as Helio Castroneves, his last name being all one word. 
5/23/00
Testing at Sebring - Both PacWest Racing and Mo Nunn Racing were testing their road course setups at Sebring both yesterday and today.  No test times were available. 
5/23/00
Baywatch Babes at NASCAR races? - Baywatch has signed a 3-year deal to sponsor Bobby Hamilton' Jr.'s BGN car.  There are rumors circulating that father Bobby wants to see his son move up to Winston Cup next season.  Will Baywatch come with them?
5/23/00
Inside CART show to air again - 'Inside CART,' a magazine-style television show offering a behind-the-scenes look at the stories and personalities that make up the CART FedEx Championship Series, makes its season debut May 23rd on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. 'Tomorrow evening's season-debut, shot on location a few weeks ago at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will feature a review of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season, an overview of the first four races of the 2000 campaign and a profile of Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy, the winner at Long Beach and the current series points leader. The inaugural 2000 'Inside CART' broadcast also will feature a technical segment examining the four engine manufacturers that compete in the FedEx Championship Series. CART's Dayton Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic Championships will be profiled on Tuesday's show as well.  'Inside CART' will air in the 6-6:30 p.m. ET time slot for 16 weeks during the 2000 season and will be broadcast for nine weeks in the 5:30-6 p.m. ET slot on ESPN2. 
5/21/00
Low ticket prices helped ensure Rio sellout - All 52,000 grandstand seats were sold this year in Rio at prices ranging from $12 to $30 - a range the locals can afford.  7,000 pit passes were also sold.  Feedback from the CART teams is that everyone was happy with the improvement in the facilities over past years.  Our kudos to Emerson Fittipaldi.
5/21/00
CART to takeover timing and scoring starting with Nazareth - It seems Swiss Timing may have done their last race for CART.  CART will takeover those duties starting with the Nazareth race.
5/21/00
Wurz to stay with Benetton for remainder of year  - It seems Benetton boss Flavio Briatore has finally confirmed that Alexander Wurz will remain with the Benetton Supertec team for the rest of the season.  "He will definitely be with us until the end of the season," said Briatore today. "I donít know where all these stories have come from."
5/20/00
Saturday crowd at Motegi was best ever - As can be seen from this photo of the crowd at Motegi that waited for the track to dry on a wet Saturday, the grandstands were relatively full despite the terrible conditions.  Sunday's crowd was announced at 52,000, Saturday 65,000.
5/18/00
Construction of Monaco circuit - Courtesy of Gale Force F1, click on these links to see construction of the Monaco circuit as it readies for its GP.  May 5th, May15th, May 18th
5/14/00
Williams won't release Montoya to Toyota F-1 Team - According to Frank Williams, he won't release Juan Montoya which means that he cannot join the Toyota team. Montoya left to join Ganassi for the 1999 season, but only on loan. Montoya is highly regarded by Williams. He was test driver for the team until the end of 1998, but went on to claim the CART title in his first year of trying in í99. His impressive pace and controlled aggression has impressed many in all walks of motorsport. "Toyota couldn't use him unless they negotiated with Williams," said Frank Williams. "The contract recognition board knows that." 
5/10/00
CART board now has good sponsor representation - The addition of MCI's Bert Roberts and Motorola's executive Frederick Tucker, to the newly expanded CART board, is a good move by CART.  They join retired Textron Chairman and CEO, James Hardymon and the other nine CART team owners on the board.  The three non-CART team owners give the board some much needed versatility.

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