[Old_MainStuff/menu_hotnews.htm]

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 7/6/00 to 7/10/00)
7/10/00

NASCAR 'looks' successful    This picture from this past weekend at New Hampshire illustrates just how popular NASCAR is at every venue.  CART and the IRL struggled there.  The picture of full grandstands goes a long way toward making NASCAR appear as successful as it is.  CART and the IRL on the other hand, suffer an image problem from trying to race at many of the same venues NASCAR does, to half empty seats.  CART is finally starting to get the point, as they are beginning to drop weaker venues in favor of ones where their product tends to be successful.  In fact CART draws 150,000 to over 200,000 for their street course race weekends, i.e. NASCAR territory.  CART - can you say M-O-N-T-R-E-A-L, N-E-W Y-O-R-K, or S-A-N F-R-A-N-C-I-S-C-O?

7/10/00

Yates and Roush afraid of Cosworth competition    According to this article, Robert Yates and Roush racing, two long time suppliers of Ford engines in NASCAR Winston Cup, are afraid Cosworth Engineering is going to rain on their parade....or shall we say golden nest egg.  Cosworth has been designing and building the sophisticated CART and F-1 engines for Ford for many years, far more sophisticated than a Winston Cup engine.  Cosworth, has some of the best engine designers in the world, a product of the less restrictive rules in CART and NASCAR.  Over time, that free-spirit, free-thinking, environment may come up with ways to make more HP from a Winston Cup engine than Yates or Roush are able to provide their customers, in effect, possibly putting them out of business over night.  We suspect we haven't heard the last of their protests, as they are already asking mother NASCAR for protection.

7/10/00

Blundell - I'd choose Montoya    Champ Car ace Mark Blundell would choose Juan Pablo Montoya to race for the Williams Formula 1 team next year, ahead of current driver Jenson Button.   Reigning CART FedEx Series champion Montoya is set to replace Button for 2001, as exclusively reported in Autosport magazine (June 8th), and Blundell, who is a former Williams F1 test driver, says that based on form and credentials, that is the only decision team boss Frank Williams can realistically make.   “I think Montoya’s exceptionally good,” said Blundell, “and if I was Frank Williams and I had the choice of retaining Button or taking Montoya, then my choice would be Montoya – no question.   “If you look at Montoya’s credentials, they far outweigh Button’s, and if you look at his performances, he’s had some exceptional performances and his future looks very strong.”   But Blundell was also quick to praise the job Button has done for Williams so far: “They’ve chucked him in at the deep end and he’s been exceptional,” he said. “He’s had an opportunity and he’s made the best of it so far. He still has half a season to make even more of it, but the problem for him is that the pressure’s on and he has to keep delivering – it’s not easy and I don’t relish that prospect for him.”   Speculation at the French Grand Prix was that Frank Williams and Montoya’s current team boss Chip Ganassi have now finalized arrangements to release the Colombian from his Ganassi Racing contract at the end of the season. However, both parties are remaining tight-lipped, while Button’s management say they have yet to hear anything regarding 2001.  Potential drives for Button next season include Arrows and Prost, with Jaguar a possibility should hot favorite Dario Franchitti move out of the frame.  Source: Autosport

7/10/00

Mo Nunn post-Zanardi test quote  “As Alex said, he came over here as a favor to help us confirm data that we’ve been gathering so far this season so we could evaluate where we are. He helped us a lot in two solid days of testing, and we accomplished our goals satisfactorily. It was great to have his feedback. We always worked well together and that seems to still be the case. It was nice to see him and spend time with him, as always.”

7/10/00

Vote for your favorite race series  CBS online has a poll for you to vote for your favorite race series.  Poll is down left-hand side

7/9/00

Michigan Speedway News  Michigan Speedway has built a new 10,800-seat grandstand in turn three for the 2000 racing season. The new construction brings seating capacity for Michigan Speedway – which has the largest seating capacity of any sports facility in the state of Michigan – to 136,384 people (seating capacity for the inaugural 1968 season was 25,983). In addition, the new grandstand features a new first aid station, restrooms, and merchandise and concession stands. New buildings have also been built under the main grandstands to accommodate a first aid station, restrooms, and merchandise and concession stands.  Seven CART teams recently tested at the track including Newman Haas, Team Penske, Patrick Racing and Team Rahal.  The photo (courtesy of Michigan Speedway) at right shows Christian Fittipaldi wearing the HANS Device.  Don't be surprised if several drivers wear it for the upcoming race.

7/9/00

Road America News  The new bridge over the turns 4 kink is complete at Road America.  It will be called the Sargento Bridge, with signage in the shape of a Sargento semi-trailer truck placed on the side of the bridge.  The Sargento Bridge is one of several capital improvements made to the track this year.  This so-called 'South Paddock Bridge' over the kink (turn 4) has been replaced with a parallel bridge located slightly south (left) of the existing bridge.  The new bridge straightens the alignment of the roadway to the west side of the bridge.  For reference purposes, the new bridge is the one shown behind the paddock in the illustration below. Turn 1 is where the '3' is on the map, turn 3 is where the '4' is on the map,  the turn 4 kink is at the new bridge.  There are a total of 14 turns, the last being at the start of the pit straight.  This engineering drawing shows more turn numbers and track elevations.

There are several new ticket options for 2000.  For the first time ever, overnight camping will be permitted at the track.  Over one hundred 20' x 40' spaces have been set aside for RV's/Motor Home's and an area for pup-up tents on the inside of the carousel.  We understand the demand for RV spaces is high.  New showers and washrooms have been built nearby at turn 8.  The Motor Home areas are:

  • On the outside of the main straight at around the start of the braking zone for turn 1
  • On the outside of the track around the start of the braking zone for turn 3
  • Two area's along the straight between turns 3 and 5.  One as the cars exit turn 3 and one about half way down the straight.
  • On both sides of the downhill straight between turns 7 and 8 just before the braking zone for turn 8.

New VIP chair seating grandstands were constructed at turns 5, 13 and 14. Track personnel tell us that 1999 attendance was over 80,000 on race day and well over 80,000 fans are expected for this years race.  With overnight camping now allowed, the 3-day event is likely to draw in excess of 150,000 fans.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-365-7223 or online at Road America's websiteAll photos courtesy of Road America.

7/9/00

Bettenhausen team quotes from Chicago  Michel Jourdain Jr. - "I am very happy because we were third fastest. The car is much, much better. The team is doing a great job and the information that we got in this two-day testing will help us to perform better in the Chicago and St. Louis races." Joe Ward, Team Manager, Herdez/Bettenhausen Motorsports: "On Thursday morning we used the Handford Mark I, completing 49 laps. Then, we decided to use Handford MkII, but because it takes three hours the change, we couldn't run the rest of the day. On Friday, we had a good run in the morning and in the afternoon session we were second fastest and third overall, completing 258 miles. In the two-day test we completed a total of 307 miles, with no engine problems. The engine performed well, Michel (Jourdain Jr.) gave good information and he and his engineer, Tom Brown worked very well together. The mechanics assembled very well the car and we had a two-day trouble free testing." 

7/9/00

Chicago Ticket sales  So far about 25,000 tickets have been sold for the Chicago GP compared to last years near sellout attendance of 67,000.  Will ticket sales pick up in the next 3 weeks or will we see the trend of falling oval track attendance continue?  Tell your friends to buy some tickets!

7/7/00

Transporter parade planned for Toronto  the FedEx Championship Series Transporter Parade takes over Yonge Street, in Toronto on Tuesday, July 11 at lunch hour. Over 20 huge, CART transporters will participate.

7/7/00

Cleveland TV Rating  The overnight TV rating for Cleveland was a 1.6 with a 5 share, one of the highest ratings so far this year, largely because it was shown on network TV rather than cable.

7/7/00

Big improvements planned for Laguna Seca   Laguna Seca will be undergoing some major improvements over the next year in a recently approved plan. The $15 million improvement project includes building F-1 style garages, luxury suites, bathrooms and a new media center.   There will also be improvements in traffic intersections and parking lots. An on-site water reclamation and sewage facility will be built to enable the track to landscape and beautify the facility without impacting the area’s water systems.  Detailed improvements include: 1.Replace Start/Finish bridge; 2.Replace head flagman podium at Start/Finish line; 3.Twenty permanent garages with toilet facilities; 4.Thirty Pit Row Suites above garages, with support and toilet facilities; 5.Replace existing Race Control, Timing and Scoring, and Media Center with new facility; 6.Convert existing Media Center into Hospitality; 7.Reocate participant Medical Facility; 8. New sewage and water system; 9.Wolf Hill parking; 10.Widen approach to intersection; 11.Wolf Hill Pedestrian Concourses; 12.Projects to enhance track safety; 13.Revised Signal lane; 14.Improved Front Straight and Pit Lane Drainage.



Artist renderings of improvements courtesy of Laguna Seca Raceway

7/7/00

Test times from Chicago Day 2 and overall   Full Story

  Driver Chassis/Engine Morning   Driver Chassis/Engine Overall
1. Brack Reynard/Ford 22.542 1. da Matta Reynard Toyota 22.422
2. da Matta Reynard/Toyota 22.566 2. Brack Reynard/Ford 22.542
3. Franchitti Reynard/Honda 22.658 3. Jourdain Lola/Ford 22.626
4. Tracy Reynard/Honda 22.691 4. Fernandez Reynard/Ford 22.626
5. Papis Reynard/Ford 22.699 5. Moreno Reynard/Ford 22.641
6. Fernandez Reynard/Ford 22.703 6. Servia Reynard/Toyota 22.653
7. Jourdain Jr. Lola/Mercedes 22.781 7. Franchitti Reynard/Honda 22.658
8. Fittipaldi Lola/Ford 22.804 8. Tracy Reynard/Honda 22.691
9. Andretti Lola/Ford 23.019 9. Papis Reynard/Ford 22.699
10. Servia Reynard/Toyota 23.082 10. Andretti Lola/Ford 22.699
7/7/00

Do Champ Cars have too much HP - Part II?  As a follow-up to our HP comparison below, we did some investigating and found there may be an easier solution to this problem then originally thought, one that has been proposed to CART.  Current regulations limit the Champ car engines to 40 in. of boost.  We are told absolute atmospheric pressure is 29.5 to 30 in.  The proposal put forth is to limit the engines to 34 or 35 in. of boost for 2001 and 2002.  That will knock about 150 HP off of the current engines and can be implemented with the least amount of cost.  The new electronic pop-off valves are accurate enough to control boost at those levels.  This is in lieu of trying to restrict the intake or the exhaust.  The beauty of this proposal is that the engines can be limited to the lower boost for ovals (around 750 HP) and the higher 40 in. of boost for the street and road courses (around 900 HP), which should make the drivers happy.  If you recall, CART has used two different boost levels in the past, with superspeedways getting around 5 in. less boost at the time.  By running two different boost levels, you run the risk that a manufacturer may design two totally different engines for the two levels, hence raising costs.  However, CART could put a quick stop to that by requiring each manufacturer submit their bore and stroke dimensions at the beginning of the year and require them to keep them for the entire season.  This will prevent a manufacturer from making radical design changes to take advantage of the rules.  Most of the differences in the two boost levels can be accommodated with different engine computer mapping, which the manufacturers do from track to track now anyway.  By the way, don't be surprised if CART makes an announcement in Toronto on how they will reduce power for 2001.  For the road courses, let's hope CART doesn't reduce Champ cars to a HP/weight ratio of an IRL or Indy Lights car.

7/7/00

Terry Labonte to drive with fractured leg   Terry Labonte has a slight fracture, right leg, below the kneecap; no cast, but he will be on crutches for a period of time. Labonte will start the race on Sunday, no word on a if a relief driver will be used. Terry Labonte was knocked unconscious briefly after slamming into the wall on the driver side. A CAT scan was given and came back negative, Labonte has been cleared by doctors and will race Sunday in the Jiffy Lube 300. Labonte did suffer a fractured Tibia (bone below the knee) and bruised ribs. Crutches and a little pain will not keep "The Iron Man" from his 653rd consecutive start. Although Labonte is planning on completing the entire race, fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver Jack Sprague(#24 CTS) will be on hand for precautionary reasons (source - Hendrick Motorsports)

7/6/00

Do Champ Cars have too much HP?  You might think so, but consider this:
F-1:     825 HP/1323 Lb. = 0.623 HP/Lb.
CART: 900 HP/1550 Lb. = 0.581HP/Lb.
Clearly when one looks at road courses, Champ Cars do not have too much power, in fact they are underpowered compared to a F-1 car.  As many drivers said in Cleveland, "we don't have too much power for road and street circuits".  Taking up to 200 HP out of these cars next year for road and street circuits would put Champ cars at 0.451 HP/Lb. or 72% of a F-1 car and somewhere around that of an IRL car.  The problem lies with the ovals, 900 HP is too much.  We have not spoken to the engine manufacturers about this topic, but it would seem that if there were a way to give the drivers 900 HP on the road and street circuits, and only 750-775 HP on the ovals, without requiring two completely different engines, we would have the best of both worlds.  With a 1.8 liter highly turbocharged engine this might be possible as there would be a lot more room to lower the turbo boost before bumping into atmospheric pressure.  We assume different engine computer mapping would be required for the lower boost at oval tracks, but maybe the rest of the engine could be left unchanged.  Today, the engine manufacturers do produce detuned versions of their engines for 500 mile superspeedway races.  We hope to hear from an engine manufacturer regarding the feasibility of two levels of HP with the hope Champ Cars (the worlds fastest race cars) won't be reduced to 'Chump' Cars on road courses.  If CART wants to play in the international arena and be recognized as a crème-de-la crème series, they had better not get labeled by the Niki Lauda's of the world as too easy to drive, or as he quite eloquently put it - "lazy racing."

7/6/00

Test times from Chicago Day 1   For full story click here

  Driver Chassis/Engine Morning   Driver Chassis/Engine Afternoon
1. da Matta Reynard/Toyota 24.185 1. Franchitti Reynard/Honda 22..876
2. Montoya Lola/Toyota 24.411 2. Montoya Lola/Toyota 22.932
3. Brack Reynard/Ford 24.501 3. Castroneves Reynard/Honda 23.048
4. Castroneves Reynard/Toyota 24.559 4. da Matta Reynard/Toyota 23.056
5. Tagliani Reynard/Ford 24.585 5. Tracy Reynard/Honda 23.081
6. Papis Reynard/Ford 24.694 6. Brack Reynard/Ford 23.118
7. de Ferran Reynard/Honda 24.728 7. Papis Reynard/Ford 23.199
8. Fittipaldi Lola/Ford 24.786 8. Servia Reynard/Toyota 23.240
9. Andretti Lola/Ford 24.818 9. Marques Swift/Ford 23.649
10. Fernandez Reynard/Ford 24.837 10. Blundell Reynard/Mercedes 23.708
7/6/00

CART to test two oval track wing configurations  UPDATE As reported back on 7/3/00, CART and the teams are trying two different wing configurations in Chicago today and tomorrow to determine what works best.  As of yet no decisions have been made.  Stay tuned.  Since the turns are tight at Chicago and the speeds are low, too bad they could not just go back to the high downforce wings from 1998, which provided for great racing.  7/3/00 - CART is planning to test both the old low downforce non-Handford Device wing, and the original Handford Device this week to see which performs better for the remainder of this years small and medium sized ovals.  The technical committee will then make a recommendation to the board in time for the Chicago race at the end of July.

7/6/00

Players testing cut short   The Player's team split their test session, with Patrick joining the group in Sebring and Tagliani going to the CART open test in Chicago. Unfortunately, 14 laps into his day, Tagliani backed it into the wall and he's done. We don't know the extent of the damage yet, but the blue crew packed up and they're going home.   Click here for the official team press release.

7/6/00

$5 million reasons to pull for Earnhardt & Bernstein   Budweiser drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kenny Bernstein are giving race fans five million new reasons to pull for them this summer during the "Budweiser Race for the Gold" promotion. Officials from Budweiser unveiled the program at a press conference Thursday featuring both drivers. If Earnhardt Jr. wins the NASCAR Winston Cup goracing.com 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on August 26, and Bernstein wins the NHRA U.S. Nationals Top Fuel event in Indianapolis on September 4, Budweiser will award $5 million to be shared among a consumer ($2.25 million), the United States Olympic Committee ($2.25 million) and the drivers ($250,000 each). In the two "Budweiser Race for the Gold" events, Earnhardt Jr. and Bernstein will race cars with special U.S. Olympic Team paint schemes.

7/6/00

Frentzen close to signing with Jordan  Heinz-Harald Frentzen is likely to stay with the Jordan team now that they secured a works Honda engine for the next five years.  BAR has the Honda engine as well.  Now finally we may see more than just Ferrari and McLaren winning races.

7/6/00

Gugelmin a father again  PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin became a father for the third time at 3:10pm on Monday when his wife, Stella, gave birth to an 8lb 11-ounce baby boy. Gabriel will be a brother for six year-old twins Bernardo and Giuliano.  “Everything is great,” said Gugelmin, who drives the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz in the FedEx Championship Series.   “Stella and Gabriel are just fine and the boys are happy to have another brother.  “The timing was perfect with us having a week off this week. It will give us a little time to settle in before heading off to Toronto next week.” 

7/6/00

Blundell switches colors  PacWest Racing’s Mark Blundell will be in his traditional Motorola driving suit for an open Champ Car test at the Chicago Motor Speedway during the next two days, but his surroundings will be a little different.  Blundell will be driving the team’s “fifth” car during the test, which has been painted in the Nextel color scheme of his teammate Mauricio Gugelmin.   “I guess it will be a little different to be running in Nextel colors, but it won’t have any effect on what we are trying to achieve at the test,” said Blundell.  “We had a pretty good run in qualifying at Chicago last season and started on the front row of the grid. I like the circuit and the promoters know how to sell the event to the fans.  “Mercedes-Benz have been working on their engine program pretty strongly and I think we may have a few more bits to try tomorrow and Friday.   “I think the majority of major teams will be at the test so we should get a pretty good idea of where we are at.”   The test will feature use of the Handford MK1, the superspeedway variant of the rear-wing aerodynamic package utilized by CART at FedEx Championship Series events. The Handford MK1 will be the only rear-wing aerodynamic package allowed during tomorrow's on-track activities. The test has been scheduled to help teams prepare for this year's Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer, July 28-30. 

7/6/00

Coulthard has words for Schumacher, rivalry brewing  After the race last Sunday, Coulthard expressed his feelings on Schumacher’s driving when Coulthard attempted to pass him. Coulthard, driving a McLaren, pulled alongside point leader Michael Schumacher for the lead on lap 32 at the Adelaide corner only to be forced wide. Coulthard proceeded to flip the German the “No. 1 Sign” in the turn but returned seven laps later to slip under the Ferrari driver for the top position. “He is not sporting in the way he drives,” said the McLaren driver, who delighted the media center with his single finger gesture. “People will say that it’s sour grapes but there are set rules we have to drive by. It needs discussing. I had a clean run and I felt he drove me wide. My emotions were running high. That’s why I did that gesture and I apologize. I am delighted I won in a sporting way.” 

7/6/00

Detroit Noise Test  On Saturday, July 15th at 10:30 am, a noise test will be conducted for the new 1-mile speedway that is being planned for the Michigan State Fair Grounds. They need at least 24 race cars without mufflers and will take a noise decibel reading in the neighborhood before firing up the engines and one after. A similar test was conducted 5 weeks ago and there was little difference in the readings. However, some of the neighbors said it was not a valid test.

7/6/00

IMG inks pact to move Detroit GP   Bud Stanner, president of IMG Motorsports, confirmed that he and the Nederlander families State Fair Development Group "have an arrangement" to move the event to the fairgrounds starting in 2002.   See this article.

Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2000, AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ

 


Great Dads

List Price: $10/97
Our Price: $8.76
You Save:$2.19 (20%)


Autocourse CART Yearbook 1999-2000

List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $24.47
You Save:$10.48 (30%)


Autocourse CART Yearbook 1998-1999

List Price: $29.95
Our Price: $20.97
You Save:$8.98 (30%)


Grand Prix Champions - Stewart-Schmacher

Our Price: $24.95


Bobby Rahal: The Graceful Champion

List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $24.47
You Save:$10.48 (30%)


Autocourse CART The 1st 20 Years

List Price: $39.95
Our Price: $27.97
You Save:$11.98 (30%)


Technology Of The F-1 Car

List Price: $19.95
Our Price: $15.96
You Save: $3.99 (20%)