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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)
7/21/00

Michigan broadcast reminder  Qualifying is scheduled to air on ESPN2 from 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, July 23. CART 2Day hits the airwaves on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, Sunday. And ABC's live broadcast is slated for 1:30 p.m. EDT, also on Sunday. Please be sure to double-check your local listings for the airtimes in your area.  And don't miss this week's "CART Hotline," featuring hot stars Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti. The show airs live on Friday at 7:00 pm EDT from the PacWest Summit in the hospitality area of the Michigan Speedway infield. If you're at the race and have a garage pass, be sure to stop by and say hi! If you're not in the area, you can participate by emailing questions to cartradio@cart.com, or calling 1-888-408-CART. The show airs every Friday night at 7:00 pm EDT -- for a list of radio affiliates in your area, go here

7/21/00

Dodge personnel seen in Ganassi pits  The NASCAR trucks are here in Michigan along with CART.  Dodge representatives were hanging around with Chip Ganassi in his pits lending further to the speculation that his Winston Cup team will run with Dodge next year.

7/21/00

Engine manufacturers support lower boost for 2001  Today at Michigan the four engine manufacturers all said they support lowering the boost pressure to 34 inches in 2001 as the cheapest and easiest way to reduce power.  Lowering the boost from 40 to 34 inches will reduce HP by 130; short of the 200 goal mentioned by Bobby Rahal, but a good compromise given taking 200 HP on road courses is thought to be too much.  The manufacturers all prefer one boost level for all tracks.  The idea of an orifice air restricted engine has fallen out of favor.

7/21/00

Promotion up for Michigan 500  Local promotion for the Michigan 500 is reported to be much higher this year, especially on the radio.  It is evident that ISC is trying to make this race a success.  We shall see how attendance is on Sunday.  Temperatures are predicted to be ideal compared to recent years.

7/21/00

Michigan State fairgrounds conducts noise test  UPDATE According to these stories, noise level tests showed there should not be a problem for neighbors living near the track. 
8 mile traffic louder than race cars | Neighbors won't hear noise | Little track noise
7/20/00 -
On July 15th State Fair Development, L.L.C. conducted a sound test for the multi-purpose, one-mile oval automobile track that will be constructed at the Fairgrounds Park.  The test took place at 10:00a.m. and was conducted by Gordon L. Bricken of Santa Ana, Calif.  filed of over 20 unrestricted cars. With more then 25 years of experience with major racing projects involving acoustical and vibration system analyses and experimentation, Bricken is considered the best auto racing acoustical and energy engineer in the country.  "The sound test was arranged in an effort to allay neighborhood concerns about noise," said Joseph Nederlander, managing partner of the State Fair Development, L.L.C.  Bricken had decibel meters set up at various locations in Detroit, southeast of the Fairgrounds, in Hazel Park, Ferndale, Green Acres and Palmer Woods. In April, the State Fair Development, L.L.C. announced a project designed to enhance the Michigan State Fairgrounds and transform it into an entertainment mecca, that would encompass several venues, including a multi-purpose, one-mile oval automobile track for CART and maybe NASCAR. 
Track Pictures | Detroit News Article | 2nd Detroit News Article | Detroit Free Press ArticleNoise test pictures 

7/20/00

Roberto Moreno website  Roberto Moreno now has an official website.  We have added the link to our extensive links page.

7/20/00


Who watched what last weekend  
NASCAR Busch (ESPN, 7/16) 1.5 rating / 4 share / 1.150m households
NASCAR Trucks (CBS, 7/15) 1.2 rating / 3 share (overnight)
CART (ESPN, 7/16) 0.96 rating / 2 share / 0.754m hh
IRL (ESPN, 7/15) 0.6 rating / 1 share / 0.472m hh
WoO Kings Royal (TNN, 7/15) 0.5 rating / 1 share / 0.409m hh
NHRA Eliminations (espn2, 7/16) 0.55 rating / 1 share / 0.389m hh
NHRA Qual (espn2, 7/15) 0.55 rating / 1 share / 0.387m hh
WoO Eldora Clash (TNN, 7/14) 0.5 rating / 1 share / 0.375m hh
ASA (TNN, 7/16) 0.4 rating / 1 share / 0.327m hh
NHRA Finals (espn2, 7/16) 0.42 rating / 1 share / 0.296m hh
USAC Sprints (espn2, 7/16*) 0.41 rating / 1 share / 0.288m hh
IRL Qual (espn2, 7/14) 0.20 rating / 0 share / 0.142m hh
CART Qual (espn2, 7/15) 0.17 rating / 0 share / 0.117m hh 
Source: Speedvision

7/20/00


TMS proposes Olympic IROC race  According to this story, Texas Motor Speedway has proposed holding a race during the 2012 Olympic games should Dallas win their bid for the Olympics.  “The notion that an international auto race would likely draw the largest crowd since the Olympic Games were founded in ancient Greece was thrilling for everyone involved with Dallas 2012,” said Eddie Gossage. “We draw single-day crowds in excess of 200,000 people for auto races here. To have a venue this large could be a big boost to the potential Olympic Games in Dallas.”  “We have already begun consulting with people in the motorsports industry to determine what kind of car would be most appropriate for an even playing field between the Jeff Gordons, Michael Schumachers, Greg Rays and Juan Montoyas of the world,” said Gossage. “We will contact the necessary governing bodies in auto racing. We would hope to have the biggest names from the four corners of the globe participating in the first ever Olympic demonstration sport of auto racing. This project is huge.”  Our vote - Indy Lights cars.  They are as evenly matched as NASCAR/IROC cars, they are open wheel so they would appeal to the F1 and CART drivers, they put on a phenomenal show on the high-banks of Michigan and Fontana every year (better than even NASCAR restrictor plate races), and they are easy enough to drive that NASCAR drivers should feel comfortable in them.

7/20/00

CART take heed, tire war about to make F1 racing worse  In a recent test at Imola, it is reported that Tom Kristensen, driving a year old Williams with Michelin test tires (slated to reenter F1 next year), turned lap times over 1 second faster that Mika Hakkinen's pole time earlier this year on Bridgestone tires.  We hear Jacques Villeneuve is demanding that his car be on Michelin tires next year.  The tire war between Bridgestone and Michelin is likely to escalate lap speeds and create an even greater disparity between the cars.  CART, IRL and NASCAR are enjoying great racing with a single tire manufacturer.  Let's hope CART implements rules to keep their series a single tire formula.  We openly endorse free competition in CART, but not when it comes to the tires.  Before we forget, expect to hear more about Tom Kristensen's drive to land a CART ride in 2001.

7/20/00

German 500 tickets to go on sale August 20th  Tickets for the inaugural German 500 at the Eurospeedway on September 15, 2001, will go on sale August 20th, the day of the grand opening of the track.  We hear a DTM race may be announced as a support race to the Champ Car race that day as well.

7/20/00

Rod Campbell has heart surgery  Rod Campbell (former owner of Campbell and Co.), who was instrumental in helping put together the financial deals that were key to the Mo Nunn team becoming a reality, has undergone multiple bypass heart surgery.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

7/20/00

2001 CART Schedule  We have made one change to our 'unofficial' 2001 CART schedule.  We switched the Portland and Cleveland dates as we are told Portland will be on July 1st next year.  We found this rather surprising as we had both races on their 'traditional' dates, but maybe CART is trying to reduce the number of times the teams crisscross the continent.  We may see the official schedule released as early as this weekend at Michigan.  We also hear the Mexico race may get moved up to late February.  Stay tuned.....

7/20/00

Penske drivers to test at Indy July 26-27  Roger Penske's CART drivers, Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, will test IRL cars at the Brickyard on July 26 and 27th.  De Ferran will test one day and Castroneves the other.  Penske has leased the cars from Fred Treadway.  The team is using this test to evaluate the IRL equipment and see how his drivers like them.  It is likely that Penske will enter both drivers in next years Indy 500.

7/20/00

Tony Kanaan cleared for Michigan 500  Tony Kanaan was cleared to drive in this weekend’s Michigan 500 after a brief on-track medical evaluation in his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard. Kanaan broke his left forearm and four ribs on his left side in a final qualifying run at Detroit’s Belle Isle on July 17. The arm injury required surgery to repair with two metal plates and 14 screws. Kanaan’s rigorous rehabilitation effort over the last four weeks included more than 700 laps in a go-kart during the past five days under the direction of CART orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammel in Indianapolis.  Kanaan, who scored his first Champ Car victory here last year, drove a total of six laps around the 2-mile Michigan Speedway oval this morning. He reached a top lap speed average of 223 mph.  “I’m feeling absolutely great. This is a wonderful feeling to be back in my race car. I tried not to get all excited about coming back. Last night, I went to bed at a normal hour, and I woke up this morning as if it was going to be just another day at the office. But when they strapped me into the car and fired up the motor, chills ran up and down my spine. It was great. It seemed like it didn’t take long to get up to speed. The car felt great. I never really stood on the gas. That wasn’t the purpose of this run. I just wanted to make sure the arm and the ribs felt fine. My Champ Car here requires only a fraction of the steering input that my go-kart needs, so this was really a piece of cake. If we were racing on a road course this weekend, I don’t think there’s any way I could have raced. Thank goodness for the scheduling.  “I’m really looking forward to doing it for real starting tomorrow morning. I just want to thank all the people who took such good care of me. I owe a lot to them. I hope I can go out this weekend and begin to 
pay them back with a strong finish. The last four weeks seem like forever, but now I’m back and this is sure to be one of the happiest weekends of my life.”” MORRIS NUNN  - “Tony’s back. He’s made an amazing comeback after that terrible accident. I think he’s all the wiser for it, and without question he’s in better shape now than he was before the accident. He’s been working out night and day since he got his clearance to do so. Now, we start the second half of the season with a clean slate. Tony’s got a new left arm, so to speak, and we’ll get to pick up probably a little further along than where he left off. Bryan Herta did a solid job filling in, and we’ve been able to make some significant progress with our engine and chassis package. It’ll be interesting to see how it all works out for us this weekend.” 

7/20/00

Major upgrades planned for Sepang  It's a brand new circuit and considered by many to be the best in the world, yet The Sepang circuit, host to the Malaysian GP on the 22nd of October has just had a major upgrade to the tune of $8 million.  The upgrade includes better seating.  Track officials confirmed that a third of the seating for their second GP has been sold out and that they are expecting 100 000 spectators for October's race, with a total seating capacity of 130 000.  In addition, they are busy building a Formula One village, but at this stage it isn't sure whether it will be finished in time for this year's race.

7/20/00

Rahal comments on F1 vs. CART  According to Bobby Rahal,  the CART championship isn't second rate to Formula One.  He explained why by saying: "There has always been sniping when it's convenient. Poor Alex Zanardi got disparaged pretty badly - but everybody seemed to forget that Jacques Villeneuve came from our series and won the world title. I think Juan Pablo Montoya is certainly capable. Talent is talent - and I don't feel we need to disparage people to build up credit for our own sport. We let it speak for itself".  He added that in the first eight races of the 2000 season, they had 16 different leaders and in turn said that people don't want to attend races, knowing what the outcome is going to be. "F1 and Champ Car racing are great series, as anyone who has done both will testify."

7/20/00

More CHAMPS news  Burt Reynolds will be in a wheelchair for his entire role in "Champs" for WB. He will play a racecar-team owner, injured in a race. He says, "I'm the slowest in the fastest sport in the world. Director Renny Harlin admits John Frankenheimer's 1966 "Grand Prix" was a classic car-racing movie, and he spoke to Frankenheimer for advice before starting.   Harlin said, "I'm going to try not to embarrass myself. I'm trying to make the 'Matrix' of race car movies."  He says today's technology will make it possible to convert the film to life like no other.  For example, a periscope camera that sees exactly what the driver sees, from steering wheel onward, and digitally-created car crashes impossible for even the most daring of stunt drivers.   Toronto allowed CHAMPS to use its inner city race route; in fact, Harlin said  Toronto is very happy to cooperate with film companies (especially one budgeted at $70 million).  CHAMPS is only one of several U.S. companies currently filming up there. Harlin says hotels and restaurants are filled with Hollywood filmmakers.   Harlin wants us to know that Stallone has fine-tuned this script, as he had "Rocky." For many years, Sly's told of his ambition to make a race car film. And yes, Stallone drives (180 mph) on camera. But Harlin claims, just as "Rocky" was not about boxing, CHAMPS is not about car racing; it's a drama about people who are driven.   In addition to Stallone and Reynolds, the ensemble piece stars Til Schweiger, Kip Pardue, Robert Sean Leonard, Stacy Edwards, Gina Gershon and Cristian de la Feunte -- and young model Estelle Warren who was spotted by Harlin on GQ's May (un)cover, which proclaimed her "The Next Big Thing." Harlin agrees.

7/20/00

Is CART too expensive?  Maybe not.  On RPM2Night last evening Barry Dodson stated that if you have $6 million in sponsorship for a Winston Cup program, you can just start to be competitive.  Note, he didn't say win.  We know of some CART Champ car teams that are getting by on less than $6 million per year.  So as one can see, in any top form of motorsports, budgets can be upwards of $10 million per car per year to field a winning entry.  Even NASCAR which severely restricts technology.

7/19/00

Earnhardt to throw out first pitch Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the July 25th Rochester Red Wings game at Frontier Field. Earnhardt, Jr. will be in town helping to promote the upcoming Global Crossing @ The Glen NASCAR Winston Cup event on August 13th at Watkins Glen International.  Fans attending the July 25th game between the Red Wings and the Buffalo Bison will have an opportunity to meet the young superstar of NASCAR known as “Little E” during an autograph session at Frontier Field from 6 - 6:45 p.m. in the main concourse of Frontier Field. Following the autograph session, Earnhardt, Jr. will make his way to the mound to throw out the first pitch of the evening. Fans interested in attending the Red Wings game and meeting Earnhardt, Jr. can get tickets by contacting the Frontier Field Box Office 716-423-9464. 

7/18/00

Pocono entry list swells The entry list for this weekends Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono has grown to 46 cars with the addition of the #85-Carl Long entry.

7/18/00

Big changes at Petty Enterprises Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises announced today that he will stop driving the #44 Winston Cup Pontiac as of September 2nd at Darlington and will instead concentrate on driving the #45 Sprint Monte Carlo for the remainder of the Busch series schedule. Steve Grissom, driver of the Petty Enterprises truck series entry will double his duties and take over the Hot Wheels Pontiac in Winston Cup events through the rest of 2000.  At Talladega later this fall Kyle will qualify the #44 Winston Cup entry while Grissom races the truck in Texas. Grissom will then fly to Talladega that Saturday to practice and race the car on Sunday.   Beginning in 2001, Kyle will return to Winston Cup driving the Sprint #45 Winston Cup Dodge Intrepid, taking the now Busch team to the top league as had been the plan earlier.   Kyle said that while another driver is in future plans they are in no hurry to find one and are confident their system as announced today will benefit all of the teams. Hot Wheels also announced that beginning in 2001 they will no longer be the primary sponsor on the #44 car but rather will become a major associate sponsor an all Petty Enterprises NASCAR entries. Source: Speedway Illustrated 

7/18/00

Michigan 500 TV Schedule
(All times shown are Eastern Time) 
Sunday July 23 CART qualifying ESPN2 12.30am-1.30am 
Sunday July 23 CART 2DAY ESPN2 11.00am-11.30am 
Sunday July 23 CART Race ABC 1.30pm-5.00pm 
Sunday July 23 LIGHTS Race ESPN2 5.30pm-6.30pm 
Tuesday July 25 LIGHTS Replay ESPN2 5.00am-6.00am 
Wednesday July 26 CART Replay ESPN 2.00pm-5.30pm 
INSIDE CART – APPEARS ON ESPN2 6PM TONIGHT 
'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, appears on ESPN2 on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. EDT.   'Inside CART,' which aired on another network during the ‘97 and '98 seasons, was not broadcast in 1999. The 30-minute program’s schedule includes 25 shows on ESPN2 through the end of the 2000 season.   Tonight’s show includes a piece on car set-up, which was recorded at the PacWest shop with reporter Bill Adam. It also includes a one-on-one with Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver Mark Blundell and a “Behind the Scenes” profile on Sylvester Stallone’s new movie “Champs” which is based around the PacWest Racing Group. 

7/18/00

Big Petty announcement today  RPM2Night stated they would have coverage of a big Petty Enterprises press release today.  We understand it will be detailing Sprint's 2000-2001 sponsorship plans with Petty Enterprises (#'s 43 Cheerios and #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac in Cup; #45 Sprint Chevy in BGN; and #43 Dodge Truck). The announcement will take place at Lowes Motor Speedway at 11:00am/et".

7/18/00

ESPN Earnhardt special  The Earnhardt's will be Featured on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on the Emmy-winning show, on Tuesday, July 18, at 7:00pm/et on ESPN. The theme of the show is "All in the Family: Conflicts and Competition."

7/17/00

Stock analyst bullish on CART stock  Stock analyst A.G. Edwards has given CART stock (MPH) its highest 'buy' rating.  Trading at under $20 per share two months ago, the stock is now above $27 per share and predicted to go to $38 per share.  They are bullish on CART because new venues mean more revenue and they think CART will make more money from a new TV contract.

7/17/00

Zanardi fast at Sebring?  We hear Alex was over 1 second per lap slower than the Ganassi team a couple of days later. Was it Alex or was it the car?

7/17/00

Memo Gidley to sub for Norberto Fontana  Memo Gidley will substitute for Norberto Fontana at this weekends Michigan 500 for Dell Penna Motorsports.  Lack of high-speed oval test time was cited as the reason by the team.

7/17/00

Winston Cup Teams to test at The Glen  The following Winston Cup teams will test at Watkins Glen on July 24th:
•Mark Martin No. 6 Valvoline Ford 
•Dale Earnhardt No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet 
•Bill Elliott No.94 McDonald’s Ford 
•Ricky Rudd No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford 
•Tony Stewart No.20 Home Depot Pontiac 
•Ron Fellows No. 87 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet 
•Jerry Nadeau No. 25 Michael Holigan.com Chevrolet 
•Jeff Burton No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford 
•Ward Burton No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac 
•Matt Kenseth No.17 DeWalt Tools Ford 
•Kevin LePage No.16 Familyclick.com Ford 
•Chad Little No. 94 John Deere Ford 

7/17/00

Toyota bigwig visits CART in Toronto  Tag Taguchi, president of Toyota North America, was a visitor to the Toronto Molson Indy. Taguchi, who oversees all of Toyota's business dealings in Canada, the United States and Mexico, was in Toronto for a meeting of Toyota Canada and made the rounds of the CART paddock on Sunday morning, stopping to see all of the teams using Toyota power...as well as noted Toyota dealer Roger Penske. Speedvision

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