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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)
6/30/00

Near sellout crowd expected for Sunday's race  Reports here in Cleveland say that ticket sales have been strong for this years CART race and a near sellout is expected.  There are 58,000 grandstand seats available.  Friday's crowd appeared as large or larger than normal. 

6/30/00

We Have ignition interruption, or do we?  How have the CART engineers designed the cars to allow for shifting without using the clutch? By the sounds of the upshifts you would have to assume they are using an ignition interrupter to unload the gears in the transmission, allowing for gear changes without clutching. By the sound of things on the track it seems some teams can make the shift with barely a perceptible engine misfire while others seem to miss 2 beats. Does this affect vehicle performance? Over the course of the race it would seem a possibility. We would like to know how this system is designed. Does it utilize a micro switch activated by a rocker on the shift linkage?" Does the switch interrupt the ignitions primary circuit momentarily shutting down voltage to the plugs? When the engine misfires does it cause additional fuel consumption or do the fuel injectors shut down also? So many questions - so little time. Maybe some of the CART mechanics and engineers can explain to everyone how this is done. 

6/30/00

Galaxy Latin America Signs DIRECTV™ as Della Penna Motorsports Primary Sponsor   Galaxy Latin America, LLC ("GLA"), the company which exclusively provides the DIRECTV™ service to Latin America and the Caribbean, has signed on to have DIRECTV as the new primary sponsor for Della Penna Motorsports' #10 Champ Car, piloted by Argentine rookie Norberto Fontana in the FedEx Championship Series.  Primary sponsorship on Fontana's #10 Champ Car expands the company's involvement in CART as well. DIRECTV serves as a sponsor for the Rio 200 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and broadcasts the CART events live on DIRECTV in Brazil and to other countries in Latin America through ESPN International.

6/30/00

Newman Haas trick nose is back - As can be seen from this photo, the Newman Haas team is again running their trick nose on their Lola.  They were 1st and 2nd in this morning's practice so maybe it does help in some way.  We initially thought Newman Haas was playing around with various wheelbase lengths in pre-season testing, and the extended nose enabled them to stay within the rules with regard to front wing placement.  It's a bit surprising to see it reappear mid-season on a race weekend.

6/30/00

Coulthard and Hakkinen to again be teammates - David Coulthard will again partner Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren/Mercedes team line-up next season.  "Continuity is a huge advantage in this highly competitive field, and to be moving into my sixth season with the team is, I believe, extremely beneficial for my future," said Coulthard.  Added McLaren chairman Ron Dennis; "Everybody at McLaren is pleased that so early in the season we have the confidence to commit to our future driver line-up."

6/30/00

Some drivers against HP reduction on road courses - At the CART manufacturers forum at Cleveland today we asked Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Moreno and Gil de Ferran if they were in favor of the reported reduction in HP that CART is contemplating for next season.  All said yes for the ovals, but all felt that the cars do NOT have too much HP on road and street circuits, seeming to feel that the abundance of HP helps separate the great drivers from the mediocre ones.  Jimmy Vasser said one thing he enjoys about the Champ Cars over the IRL cars he drove at Indy was the extra HP.  Although he did not say it, one got the feeling he was politely stating that the IRL cars were too easy to drive.

6/30/00

Tony  Kanaan on the mend - Tony Kanaan was his jovial old self in Cleveland this morning.  He told us he remembers nothing of the accident until he awoke in the hospital.  The doctors put 14 screws in his arm and several steel plates.  Tony hopes to be back at Michigan.


Tony Kanaan shows Christian his cast (R).  He was his usually jovial self (R)

6/29/00
No mechanical failure found in Rodriquez accident - The National Transportation Safety Board released it's report on the Gonzalo Rodriquez accident at Laguna Seca last September.  The report states that Gonzalo got out of the throttle later on that lap than any other, braked 100 feet later, and he released the brakes momentarily when they locked, causing him to be unable to negotiate the turn.  The report says he impacted the wall head-on at 71 g's and the car was traveling over 70 mph when it impacted the wall.  The fatal injury was the result of his helmeted head essentially pulling his head off his neck as he had a ring/hinge fracture of the skull at the junction of the medulla and cervical spinal cord.  With its tethers between the helmet and the drivers body, the HANS device, not available at the time, may have saved his life.
6/29/00
Swift hiring - Swift engineering is looking for Race Car Assemblers/Trainees for their Champ Car and Toyota Atlantic car program in their San Clemente, CA headquarters.  They are also courting ex-Prost Technical Director Alan Jenkins.
6/29/00
Ganassi to announce at Brickyard 400 - Word is that Chip Ganassi will likely officially announce his Winston Cup team, in association with Sabco,  at this year's Brickyard 400.
6/29/00
Jaguar racing boss to retire - Look for Jaguar's racing boss, Neil Ressler to retire after the 2001 season.
6/29/00
UPS Considers sponsorship of Robert Yates Team - 3rd UPDATE -  RPM 2Night reports that UPS will begin serving as an associate sponsor on the #28 Texaco Ford driven by Ricky Rudd. The sponsorship begins as of Thursday night qualifying at Daytona for the Pepsi 400. Speculation is that UPS will become the #88 team primary sponsor in 2001 on the Yates Fords driven by Dale Jarrett.  5/28/00 -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.
6/29/00
CART makes communication changes - CART Chief Steward Kirk Russell announced an implementation of new measures for race communication among officials as a result of an erroneous black-flag penalty given to Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti during Sunday’s race at Portland International Raceway. CART competition officials met post-race to identify the problem and rectify it in the future by requesting remote officials to identify themselves at all times of communication, ensure they have a full understanding of the regulations and coordinate the efforts with the race teams. “This is not to say it has not been done in the past, but it has not been done vigorously enough to know how to respond in the light of certain rules,” Russell said. “It was an unfortunate incident for Dario and Team KOOL Green that occurred due to communication shortfalls.” The error occurred on the opening lap when Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) was collected in a multi-car incident in the Festival Curves. Franchitti was restarted by CART safety workers and then received approval to proceed by a remote official. Shortly thereafter, however, Franchitti received a black-flag penalty for shortcutting the course due to the communication error among the officials. “We were told after the event by officials that Dario would not have been able to stop safely and keep the engine running by moving him back to the proper area,” Russell said. “This complicated the situation and it was not communicated fully until after the race concluded.” Franchitti served a drive-through penalty, which moved him to the rear of the field, but he rebounded to finish ninth. He gained four points for the position, but believed he could have finished much higher without the penalty. Franchitti is 10th in the FedEx Championship Series championship with 44 points. “I’m really disappointed because the season has been difficult enough and with it being so competitive you can’t afford to lose points because of an incorrect call,” said Franchitti, a 1999 CART All-Star who finished second to Juan Montoya in last year’s championship by virtue of a tiebreaker. “Without that penalty, we would have been in position to score a lot more points and after last year’s championship every point counts. Kirk has a difficult job and needs more people to assist him. We need to step up the level of commitment and I think with Bobby [Rahal, CART’s interim President and CEO] in charge you will see this happen.” 
6/28/00
Little and Roush to split Chad Little will not be back with the number 97 Jack Roush Racing Ford Taurus for next season.  A new driver will be named.
6/28/00
Wood Bros/Roush Alliance starts The Wood Brothers recently announced an expanded program with Roush Racing. The program includes the supply of motors, chassis and bodies to the team during the 2000 season. The official debut of this newly formed alliance takes place this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The Wood Brothers have retained sole ownership of the No. 21 CITGO Ford (Cox Marketing)
6/28/00
Jaguar looking for more power - Ford Cosworth will have a new engine for the team starting with the German GP.  Since this year's engine has been somewhat of a disappointment, the new engine is said to be a modification of the 99 engine, said to make around 30 more hp.
6/28/00
Portland attendance figures - Although the Portland Rose Festival does not announce official attendance figures, our sources in Portland tell us around 80,000 fans were in attendance last Sunday and the 3-day crowd was estimated at 150,000 to 175,000.
6/28/00
Murray Walker suffers hip injury - The voice of F-1 racing, Murray Walker (age 75) will miss the French Grand Prix this Sunday due to a hip injury. It marks his first F-1 absence in over 50 years.
6/28/00
Indianapolis booked for USGP - Just five years ago at the Indy 500, spectators had to travel some 150 to 200 miles away for a hotel room. Restaurants were packed for two weeks and 16th and Georgetown streets looked like the local midway at a county fair. It looks like the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix on Sept. 24 will have a similar scene. According to Indy Star racing expect Robin Miller, hotel rooms (at $500 a night and up) are booked all the way to Cincinnati and Ft. Wayne for the Sept. 21-24 weekend and restaurants like famed St. Elmo, Morton's and Ruth Chris Steak House are reserved for the entire weekend. Plus popular night stops like the Slippery Noodle, Ike & Jonesy's and Rock Bottom will host private parties. Needless to say, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and its businesses are very high on the Formula One race coming to Indianapolis. With the USGP and the Brickyard 400 (Aug. 5) already huge successes, is it possible that the Indy 500 is the third largest event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway now?
6/28/00
McLaren looking to regroup - After Ferrari's 1-2 finish two weeks ago in Montreal, the Prancing Horse's top competition, Team McLaren, has set its sights on the Magny-Cours circuit for this Sunday's French Grand Prix. But the McLaren pair (Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard) must regroup for a strong Ferrari record on the France landscape. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who holds a 22-point lead over Coulthard, has four wins in France in eight starts, while the McLaren duo have scored no wins and just 15 points in their combined 13 appearances to Schumacher's 46 markers. The McLaren faction is hoping recent testing (where they were quicker than the Ferrari pair of Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello) will translate into a winning performance this Sunday
6/27/00
Did you know? - did you know that 41-year old Roberto Moreno drives go-karts regularly to keep his reflexes sharp against all the young competition in CART.  There is a go-kart track near his home and he can be seen there on a regular basis.
6/27/00
Moreno thinks he might have beat de Ferran - Although we will never know, Roberto Moreno has told us that he feels he was faster than Gil de Ferran at the end of Sunday's race in Portland, and had Patrick Carpentier not blocked him, the outcome may have been different.
6/27/00
JUDD Racing Engines in CART - well not exactly, although they did produce a CART engine years ago.  However, did you know that JUDD does produce prototype and small quantity batches of engine parts and assemblies for clients in CART?
6/27/00
Sauber team also hiring - The Sauber Petronas F1 team is looking for a Senior Aerodynamicist, Design Engineers and Systems Engineers.
6/27/00
Benetton Renault F1 team gears up - With Renault coming back to F1 next year with the Renault team, they have the following positions open in their Enstone, Oxfordshire England headquarters - Stress Analyst, Mechanical Design Engineer, Composite Design Engineer, Model Maker, Aerodynamicists, Wind Tunnel Technician, Instrumentation technician, Research and Development Technician, Production Project Planners, Production coordinators and Parts Coordinator.
6/27/00
Johnny Herbert turns 36 - Rumored to possibly be CART bound next season, Johnny Herbert turned 36 years old this past Sunday.
6/27/00

Adam Andretti wins F3 race - UPDATE Adam was driving a Dallara-Volkswagen run by Keith Duesenberg.  The driver who was fastest in both races was Stuart Crow who was driving the new Ralt fielded by Teddy Pilette. Earlier today - Adam Andretti, younger brother of John Andretti, cousin of Michael Andretti, nephew of Mario Andretti, won the inaugural United States Formula 3 race at the Hallet Motor Speedway near Tulsa Oklahoma on Sunday.  F3 is a great road course training series.  How long before we see another Andretti racing in CART?
6/27/00
CART hires new VP of Legal Affairs - CART announced today that Deborah Schneider has been named to the newly-created position of Vice President of Legal Affairs for the open-wheel racing organization. She will act as general counsel for the company.  "Deb is CART's most recent addition to the senior management team," said Randy Dzierzawski, CART Executive Vice President and CFO. "Prior to joining CART, she worked on several legal projects for our company. She understands our business and brings a broad range of experience and knowledge that will benefit our organization."
6/27/00
CHAMPS News - UPDATE Burt Reynolds role as Carl Henry will have the nickname "The Hummer".  Stallone (Tantos) will drive Mauricio Gugelmin's car, Padue (Blye) will drive Mark Blundell's car and Schweiger (Brandenberg) will be an ex-F1 champ returning to CART and driving Juan Montoya's car.  6/21/00 - from what we understand, the names of the characters in the movie CHAMPS will be as follows:  Stallone will play the part of 43-year-old Tantos.  Burt Reynolds will take on the role of Carl Henry a wheelchair bound car owner. Kip Padue plays Blye, the young good-guy, challenging the incumbent champion.  Til Schweiger will play the role of Formula 1 or CART World Champion Beau Brandenberg. Model Estella Warren plays Sophia, the woman bringing problems to Blye’s life away from the track.  Flemish actor Monk de Wally de Honk and Canadian soap star Cochese Wind are also said to have major parts.
6/27/00
Montoya featured, Alex Zanardi's return - Defending CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Montoya of Target Chip Ganassi Racing is the featured FedEx Championship Series driver on this week’s “Inside CART,” airing Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.  Also on this edition, Robin Miller’s “Around the Paddock” segment zeroes in on the possibilities of a return to CART competition for two-time series champ Alex Zanardi, Bill Adam takes a thorough look at the Champ Car cockpit, and a fan goes one-on-one with Player’s Forsythe Racing driver Patrick Carpentier.
6/27/00
Brands Hatch moves closer to F-1 race - UPDATEBrands Hatch cleared another major hurdle in its bid to bring the 2002 British Grand Prix back to the track when its planning application was approved by Sevenoaks District Council Monday. The committee voted 12 to six in favor of allowing modifications to the layout of the existing Grand Prix circuit and to build a new pit complex, media center and several new grandstands to meet the requirements of the FIA. 6/25/00 - Brands Hatch's application for planning permission goes before the Sevenoaks council on Monday.  Last Monday, Brands Hatch received the backing of Kent County Council.  Brands Hatch has obtained the rights to host the British Grand Prix for 2002, but must first make major modifications to the existing Grand Prix circuit, including a completely new and repositioned pits complex, to meet the standards of the FIA.
6/26/00
Doug Hewett on Kyle Petty's car again - Dog Hewett will again serve as Crew Chief on Kyle Petty's car as the series moves to Daytona for this weekend's Pepsi 400 on Saturday night.
6/26/00
Carpentier penalized - Patrick Carpentier was penalized $10,000 by CART for not abiding by the blue move over flags late in the race when the leaders were trying to lap him.  He potentially altered the outcome of the race.
6/26/00
CART renews contract with Portland - Over the weekend CART renewed its contract with Portland International Raceway through the 2003 season.
6/25/00


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6/24/00
Bobby Rahal's first 9 days as sheriff - According to this article:
1.  Bobby Rahal has already spoken to Tony George.  Just to say I'm the new sheriff if you want to talk.
2.  3 weeks, instead of the 2 this year, may be left open on the 2001 CART schedule in May for the Indy 500
3.  The 2001 schedule will be released soon.  AutoRacing1.com has been told it will contain 22 races
4.  Bobby wants to renew CART's FedEx contract that expires this year.  Bobby wants FedEx to be more involved.
5.  Bobby has met with ABC's Howard Katz to mend fences in preparation for CART's TV contract renewal negotiations that begin in a couple of weeks
6.  Bobby wants to see testing reduced further and races increased, something our Mark Cipolloni has pushed for in numerous articles.
7.  Rahal sees 24 races per year in CART's future schedule

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