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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 07/07/00 to 07/05/00)
7/5/00

Look for DSTP Toyota Atlantic team in Champ Cars  The DSTP team with driver Buddy Rice has had great success in its first year in the CART Toyota Atlantic series.  The goal of the team is to move into Champ Cars in 2 years or so.  Make no mistake about it, this team, owned by DeDe Rogers, is well funded, well managed and has a great race engineer in Joe Griffith.  In case you were wondering what DSTP stand for - Don't Spend The Principal.

7/5/00

Tom Kristensen in another F-1 tire test, this time for Jaguar  Tom Kristensen will, according to the newspaper B.T. and Danish television, have another test in Formula One later this month. Once again it is the French tire-maker Michelin who wants to use the skills of the Danish Le mans-winner.  B.T. has spoken to Michelin-bosses at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours and writes that the test will be for Jaguar, not with Williams, with whom Tom has tested twice this year. The test car will be a 1999 Stewart racer, and if so it will be the fifth Formula One racer, Tom will be driving. In 1997 and 1998 he tested a Minardi, later in 1998 he tested a Tyrrell, last year he tested a Williams-Supertec, and this year he has already tested a BMW-Williams.  "It is correct I am still speaking with Michelin, as we have had a great cooperation so far" said Tom today to German television.  "However I am not aware of all the details for further tests, so it will not be right of me to comment more on the matter, until I have spoken to Michelin and my manager Werner Heinz."

7/5/00

Andretti's witness marriage proposal of CART fans  Patrick Loquasto, an avid Michael Andretti fan, proposed to the future Mrs. Loquasto, Julie Turillo, this past weekend at the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline transporter. Pat Loquasto contacted the team one month ago and stated his intention to ask Julie, his girlfriend of two-and-one-half years to be his wife and asked if Andretti could be present while he "popped the question." The couple, who watch all CART races on TV and attend many, are from Nazareth, Pa., Andretti's hometown. "I had no idea he was planning to ask me to marry him today. I was wondering why he was running to the transporter this morning," said Julie Turillo. "Michael is our favorite driver so when I knew we were coming to the race I contacted the team to see if there was any way we could meet Michael and have him present when I asked Julie to marry me," said Loquasto. "I couldn't believe it when they said 'sure.' She was totally surprised. We both love CART racing and Michael is our favorite so I thought it would be special if I could propose in front of him." The couple had breakfast in the Newman/Haas hospitality area after Turillo called many of her family members from the team transporter to share the news. The track PA announcer reported the engagement throughout the day. 

7/5/00

Big Road America test scheduled  Although it's not an official open CART test, according to sources at the track today, 18 and as many as 22 Champ cars will test at Road America on 8/1 and 8/2, right after the Chicago race.  Road America is not far from Chicago and most teams will just load up the transporter and head north to Elkhart Lake.

7/5/00

Formula 1 teams test at Silverstone  Eddie Irvine put his Jaguar R1 at the top of the time sheets today in testing at Silverstone. First day pacesetter Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished in sixth place, after testing a radical new Jordan.  Most of the Formula 1 teams were testing today at four different circuits around Europe. The biggest test was at Silverstone with five teams present while the duel between the top two teams, McLaren and Ferrari, continued at Ferrari’s home track Mugello. The Williams team began a 3-day test at Estoril with Jenson Button at the wheel.  They will soon be joined by BAR.  Giorgio Vinella made his debut as Minardi test driver at the Varano circuit after the Italian team missed the official test at Magny-Cours due to their trucks being caught in an Italian strike.  F-1 testing has become almost non-stop.  And they wonder why their costs are so high.

7/4/00

Did you know?  Champ cars use wood skid plates on the bottom of their cars (click on photo to right as it is clearly visible on the underside of this Ganassi Lola), hence you seldom see sparks from the underside of the car.  Jon Beekhius made a point on RPM2Night to say that at one time F1 cars used Magnesium skid pads that threw up lots of sparks.  However, Magnesium was banned when it was found that the hot embers it emitted burned holes through the driver's helmet visor of the car directly behind.

7/4/00

Formula 1 teams hiring  The Jordan team is looking for a Fabricator/Welder to weld aluminum and stainless steel to very high standards, and the Williams team is looking for a Detail Designer to help design composite components.

7/4/00

New F-1 rules approved  Next year's F-1 rules package has been approved by the FIA.  Included among the changes are 1) the front wings must be mounted 50mm higher than present to reduce downforce, 2) the roll bar must be able to withstand lateral loads 4 times greater than present, 3) two wheel tether cables per wheel will be mandatory rather than one, 4) the cockpit opening has been enlarged and moved back further from the front wheels, 5) the drivers legs will be protected by 25 mm of foam padding and the overall dimensions of the cockpit enlarged.  The drivers will be required to wear the HANS device at all venues.

7/4/00

Did you know?  Some F-1 teams are using carbon fiber suspension components, including the wishbones.  To keep costs in check, CART does not permit composite suspension components.

7/4/00

Is Zanardi ready for comeback?  After much success in CART in 1997 and 1998, Alex had a hard time getting accustomed to the unforgiving grooved tires in F-1 (shown here locking his brakes).  This coming weekend in Sebring Alex will get his first chance to drive a Champ car in almost 2 years.  Will being out of the car that long affect him?  Will he find he has to unlearn his F-1 driving style to run competitive times or will he find it just like old times?  We shall soon find out.


Click on image to see larger picture

7/4/00

Prost to lose Mugen Honda deal  The Prost team was counting on using Mugen Honda engines next year.  However, Mugen, a semi-Honda works engine company, has decided to leave F1 after this year since Honda itself will now supply two teams in 2001, Prost not being one of them.  The team is now left scrambling to find an engine supplier.

7/3/00

Did you ever wonder?  OK CART fans, did you ever wonder what rookie drivers Tarso Marques and Oriol Servia sounded like?  How about what Tony Kanaan has to say about his Detroit accident?  For these and many other interviews from both Detroit and Cleveland, please visit our interviews page.  A link to get a free copy of Real Player is also included.

7/3/00

Leo Mehl visits CART in Cleveland  One unexpected spectator in Cleveland this weekend was Leo Mehl, the former executive director of the Indy Racing League who helped IMG devise a plan for an oval track at Cleveland. That plan never came to fruition as CART and IMG ultimately renewed their contract. Mehl has since retired.

7/3/00

CART Rockingham race date conflicts with Italian GP  UPDATE We spoke with 2 people from CART yesterday who assured us they will avoid a conflict with a F1 race in Europe.  They also said the European races will likely be on a Saturday, with Sunday as a rain date. Bobby Rahal also stated that the preliminary schedule that was floating around in Portland had a lot of errors in it.  7/1/00 - The preliminary race date for CART's first race in Europe is on the same day as the Italian GP.  We view this as a possible big mistake by CART as the majority of motorsports journalists will be in Europe, as will many of the race fans.  We intend to bring up this topic with CART for an official response.

7/3/00

Cleveland attendance increases   The race promoter, yesterday announced a crowd of 69,571, an increase of about 10,000 from last year. The weekend’s three-day attendance was 165,071, up about 23,000 (click on picture at right).  Even Saturday's qualifying attendance was good, with over 50,000 announced.  These numbers bode well for the GP and should help secure CART's future in Cleveland for a long time.

7/3/00

Herta loves CART, considering NASCAR   According to this article in the Columbus dispatch, Bryan Herta is keeping his options open on all fronts for next season.   That includes possibly considering a ride in NASCAR next year.  As he explains in this article, he was shocked at what he saw at the World 600, i.e. just how popular NASCAR is.  We had the chance to talk to Bryan in Cleveland.  This is what he had to say. 
Listen (Real Audio 1:43 min.)  Go to our interviews page for more interviews from Cleveland

7/3/00

Mercedes finds more power   In the post qualifying press conference Mauricio Gugelmin let it be known that he had a special qualifying engine from Mercedes in his car which helped his to his 3rd place start.  He explained that Mercedes had found more HP in dyno testing recently, but is only ready to use it in qualifying at the moment.  Mercedes only had one of these engines ready for Cleveland so all the Mercedes teams agreed that whoever had the fastest practice time would get to use the engine for qualifying.  Big Mo did and he put it to good use. 

7/2/00

Mo Nunn confirms Zanardi test   To confirm published reports, two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi will test the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard next weekend at Sebring, Fla., in a private session that will not be open to the press. “The door has been open for Alex to come test with us all season long,” said co-owner Morris Nunn, who engineered Zanardi’s 1997-98 championships at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. “There are some very specific things that we need to take a look at in an effort to keep this program rolling along, and our regular driver (Tony Kanaan) is not available right now. Having worked with Alex in the past, I really am interested in his feedback on our engine and chassis package. Also, looking to the future in hopes of growing this team, we would like to keep Alex in the family in hopes that we’ll run a second car beginning next year. If all goes well next weekend, and Alex is totally comfortable and agrees to it, we just might see him before Tony is fit to resume as our full-time driver.” 

7/2/00

Design changes for Rockingham track   Ron Dickson, who is busy overseeing the design and construction of the Monterrey, Mexico race track, has been over to England to help with some design changes to the Rockingham track (see our previous report on Rockingham).  He recommended that the banking in the turns be reduced to a maximum of  7.6 degrees for safety reasons.  The 4-turn nature of the Rockingham oval means the drivers face a wall head-on four times per race.  Reducing turn speeds will also reduce straight speeds and, hence, overall safety.  We spoke to Ron in Detroit where he told us the Mexico track is ahead of schedule.

7/2/00

Ganassi team mimics Newman Haas trick nose   
UPDATE - Only the Montoya car has the trick nose. Vasser's car is running the standard Lola nose.  Earlier today - The Ganassi Lola's sprouted a Newman Haas trick nose (see picture below on 6/30/00) at Cleveland this morning.  It appears that both teams are using it to extend the wheelbase of the Lola, perhaps to better accommodate the bumpy runways of Burke Lakefront airport.

7/2/00

Reynard not for sale   Contrary to reports you may have read elsewhere, a quick check with Reynard folks this morning in Cleveland says this information may not be correct.  They told AutoRacing1.com that they don't know where such information came from.

7/1/00

CART to bring TV production in-house?   In our interview today with Bobby Rahal, he revealed that CART is considering bringing the production of their TV programs in-house where they can control in better.

7/1/00

Rockingham Motor Speedway update (All photos courtesy Rockingham Motor Speedway)


Walls take shape


Latest Plan View

Local advertising has begun

Tunnel section

Tunnel section
7/1/00

Highlights from today's Bobby Rahal Press Conference 
1. CART has hired SFX  to renegotiate their new TV contract
2. He has not yet had a face-to-face meeting with Tony George
3. He did meet with ISC and had a very good meeting about future races
4. Preliminary 2001 race schedule that has been going around is not totally accurate
5. In favor of reducing testing and adding races
6. Look for changes in Spring Training format.  It's possible cars won't be run during that event
7. Oval track race weekends will not be shortened as rumored, but weekend schedule may

Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.

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