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Thanks for visiting our Hot News 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 09/01/00 to 09/09/00)

9/9/00

Whiteford admits he is talking to new engine manufacturers  Hal Whiteford, CART President of Racing Operations,  had this to say about today's Mercedes announcement - "We are disappointed to see Mercedes- Benz leave the FedEx Championship Series following the close of this season because the engine manufacturer has been an outstanding partner. We recognize their years of support, dedication and performance and wish them the best in the future. In view of this announcement, we are currently in exploratory discussions with other engine manufacturers, who I wish not to want identify at this time due to the nature of the discussions." 

9/9/00

Saturday interviews from Laguna Seca

Kenny Brack qualifies 6th despite problems in qualifying (0:51 min)

Max Papis didn't get a chance to improve in qualifying due to red flags (0:34 min)

Max Papis talks about recent rash of qualifying accidents in fast group (0:29 min)

We have added these to our Interviews page.

9/9/00
CART Expands All-Star Team to Atlantics and Lights  In a move to further integrate its Ladder System series and the FedEx Championship Series, Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that it has extended its All-Star Team format and created similar teams for drivers from the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Toyota Atlantic Championship series.  The CART Ladder System All-Star Teams will follow a scaled-down version of the format and selection process utilized for the CART All-Star Team that debuted in 1999. At the Champ Car level, the CART All-Star Team is annually selected through balloting from a voting committee comprised of a select panel of motorsports media, FedEx Championship Series drivers and a small group of celebrity race enthusiasts. The panel selected CART Champ Car drivers Juan Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy, Michael Andretti and Max Papis to the inaugural team that was introduced in February at CART Spring Training.   "The main purpose of the CART Ladder System is to develop the future stars of the FedEx Championship Series," said interim CART President Bobby Rahal. "A key component in the process of building awareness for these young up-and-coming drivers is developing name recognition with our fan base and within the CART community. By annually showcasing the top performers of the Dayton Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic championships, we are truly positioning these young people as tomorrow's Champ Car stars."  Three drivers from each Ladder System series will be annually selected to represent their respective series as All-Stars. Separate 12-member panels for both Dayton Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantics will include selected media members and one or two celebrity race enthusiasts. The drivers in each series will also be invited to vote for their respective All-Star team. Media members may belong to more than one All-Star panel.  The Ladder System voting process for both series will have the panelists select three drivers on their ballots and rank them in order of merit as points will be awarded to each driver in descending order. The first driver selected will receive five (5) points; second, three (3) points; third, one (1) point.  All drivers elected to each All-Star team will receive specially made trophies signifying their standing on the team. The media and celebrity panelists for this season will be announced in the coming weeks. 
9/9/00
Mears wins first Lights pole  Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) improved on his Friday provisional pole lap to win his first career Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole Saturday in final qualifying at Laguna Seca Raceway. Mears swapped the top spot with points leader Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) twice in the session and ended up fastest with a lap at an average speed of 106.163 mph (75.891 seconds) around the 2.238-mile road course.  The pole was the first for Mears in 45 career Indy Lights starts and gives each of the three drivers at Dorricott Racing - Mears, Jason Bright (Dorricott Racing Lola) and Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) - a pole this season. The pole three-pack marks the first time since the 1994 season, when Tasman Motorsports Group won poles with drivers Steve Robertson, Andre Ribeiro and Eddie Lawson, that a three-car team has won poles with each of its drivers.  "I was loose coming out of turn 11 on my fastest lap so I didn't think it would be as fast as it was," Mears said. "I ran through turns two, three, four, and five really fast so that's where I made my time. We had a great test here earlier this year and much of the weekend has been like the test. It's always good coming back to Laguna Seca. Much of my early career was spent in the Russell School. I have a lot of track time here so it's basically my home track. It's been nice to have an engineer as good as Burke Harrison. He's given me a good car. I've always believed I could do well at Laguna Seca if I had a good car. This year I finally have one. It's been way too long since I've won a pole. I think my last was in 1996 in the Russell Pro Championship.  The Laguna Seca Dayton Indy Lights race will be telecast live on ESPN2 on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET).
9/9/00
Flu making rounds through CART Paddock  UPDATE - Andretti's teammate, Christian Fittipaldi also has the flu.  Earlier - Michael Andretti is the latest victim to catch the flu.  Last week it was Paul Tracy.  CART medical thinks that one of the Brazilian drivers may have brought it back with them from Brazil.
9/9/00
Lola design defect?  Juan Montoya lost yet another CV joint yesterday at Laguna Seca.  That brings to 4 or 5 the total number of failures we have seen on several Lola cars.  Yesterday's failure saw the halfshaft fall off Montoya's car and was hit by Gil deFerran whose car suffered a significant amount of underbody damage.
9/9/00
Rahal will step down in November  According to CART Radio Network, Bobby Rahal will step down from the President/CEO of CART in November and return full time to run his team.  Everyone has been happy with the momentum Rahal has given CART and it will be important that his replacement be able to sustain that momentum.

9/9/00

Friday interviews from Laguna Seca

Kenny Brack talks about his adjustment to road courses in first year (0:32 min)

Max Papis talks about challenges of Friday qualifying at Laguna Seca (0:14 min)

We have added these to our Interviews page.

9/9/00
Did you know?  That Rod Campbell, partner in the Mo Nunn operation, used to own Ford's PR group - Campbell and Co.  That company is still associated with Ford's PR department, even though Rod no longer has his hands in it's operations.  Because of that relationship, some people are speculating that the Mo Nunn's team can easily get a Ford engine next year should Mercedes decide to back out. 
9/9/00
McLaren suspension failure  The McLaren team issued the following statement regarding David Coulthard's accident in the Friday practice session.  "Investigations by the West McLaren Mercedes team has found that the reason for David Coulthard's spin into the gravel at the Lesmo Corner during yesterday's second Free Practice session was caused by a failure on the left rear wishbone. Detailed analysis determined that the failure was caused by a manufacturing fault".
9/9/00
New Max Papis Helmet contest  Just over one month ago MaxPapis.com, the website address for CART Fed Ex Championship Series driver Max Papis, announced a new and innovative contest to design a helmet for the popular driver. The  Nutella/Max Papis "Design My Helmet and Win!" contest has had entries rolling in over the recent weeks. The unique contest, open to everyone, requires the entrant to use a little originality and effort to draw and submit a design for Max's helmet, along with a simple contest questionnaire. Entries have come from children and adults alike, from near- professionals to simple renderings and from hand-created to computer generated designs. "I love to come home from a race and check the post box and see the new designs," said Max Papis. "I look at every entry and study it closely. Some fans have really tried to capture my personality and spirit through their designs." The Nutella/Max Papis "Design My Helmet and Win!" contest will end in a few short weeks. We encourage anyone interested in participating to make sure they submit a design, fill out a contest questionnaire and send in their entry by the September 30, 2000 deadline. Max will wear the winning helmet at the CART season finale at Fontana, California on October 29th, 2000 and the winner of the contest will receive their own authentic Max Papis helmet version, created by renown racing artist Troy Lee. Nutella has already seen an increase in sales since the launch of the Max Papis helmet contest. For more information on the Nutella/Max Papis helmet contest, go to www.MaxPapis.com
9/9/00
Rockingham Update  

On-site asphalt batching plant materials (left).  Vehicle tunnels (left center).  The Lime stabilization can be seen, surface ready for aggregate base (right center). In just 20 days the superstructure for 28 of the 32 pits is now complete (right).  Photos courtesy of Rockingham Motor Speedway

9/8/00
USGP Sold Out  All Race Day tickets - reserved and general admission - for the SAP United States Grand Prix on Sunday, Sept. 24 are sold out, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced today. General admission tickets remain available for practice on Friday, Sept. 22 and qualifications on Saturday, Sept. 23. Those tickets must be purchased at the gate, as the deadline for mail orders has passed.
9/8/00
Gravel traps again prove useless as implemented  Patrick Carpentier's accident at Laguna Seca proved once again that gravel traps, as implemented at most race tracks, are useless.  For reason's we don't understand, the gravel traps are installed relatively level and the car just skids over the top of them.  If they sloped upward GRADUALLY at, say, 10 degrees, the car would tend to dig in and bury itself in the pea gravel, rather than skip over it.  The F1 community is calling for paving over all runoff areas so the car will scrub off speed before hitting anything.  That may be something for CART to consider, but the problem with that idea is that if two cars get together and one gets upside down, there will be no tire friction to slow the car before it hits the wall.  Gravel traps can work if implemented properly.  For some reason the runoff area at Turn 4 at Laguna Seca had a rather abrupt leading edge which tended to launch the car into the air which helped it to skid over the gravel trap. This article talks about the decisive action the drivers took. In photo at top right, crews are shown working at re-grading all the gravel traps before the 2nd qualifying group could go out.
9/8/00
Mears gets Lights provisional pole  Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) continued to prove his road racing skills Friday by winning the provisional pole in first round qualifying at Laguna Seca Raceway for Round Nine of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Mears, 22, lapped the 2.238-mile road course at an average speed of 105.820 mph (76.137 seconds) to earn the first overnight pole in his four years in Indy Lights. Mears has never started from the pole for an Indy Lights race but he has the opportunity to win his first top starting spot in Saturday's final qualifying session. "We had one of the best clean laps we've ever had," Mears said. "We were concerned about running on old tires as long as we did but we ran good times nonetheless. I made a couple of early mistakes so it was hard to know what composed a representative fast lap. Once we changed to new tires the difference in the grip was clear. The car felt just right and that credit really goes to my engineer, Burke Harrison. We made several minor changes right before qualifying that made major differences. The front end was definitely better. The push nearly disappeared. The changes were good enough to win the provisional pole. It's my first time on the provisional pole so trust me when I say it feels so great."   Championship points leader Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) was second fastest while two-time 2000 pole-winner Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) was third quick.   Mears' teammate Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) qualified fourth at 104.813 mph (76.868 seconds) and rookie Jeff Simmons (KOOL Lola) rounded out the top five at 104.696 mph (76.954 seconds). 
9/8/00
Alesi back with Prost for 2001  Jean Alesi confirmed he will return to the Prost team next year.  The Frenchman says he is as hungry for Formula One success now has he has ever been and he's hoping to take part in his 200th career Grand Prix event as a member of Team Prost. Full Story.  

9/8/00

Rice 5th fastest at Laguna Seca -  After setting the third fastest time in this morning's practice session, DSTP Atlantic and driver Buddy Rice followed-up by posting the fifth fastest time (1:20.628) in provisional qualifying for tomorrow's CART Toyota Atlantic race, part of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey CART FedEx Championship weekend at Laguna Seca. The 30-minute qualifying session was hampered by two red flag periods, which ended the session nearly five minutes early.  "We're real happy with the car," said Rice, who finished second in last year's Atlantic race at Laguna Seca. "We just got caught out by the red flags. Both times I had a clear track in front of me, the course went red. We made some changes during the session and had a great car by the end. Since we don't have a lot of track time this weekend, every minute is important. We'll be there tomorrow, when it counts the most."   Dan Wheldon took the provisional pole with a time of 1:19.704, followed by David Rutledge (1:20.094), Andrew Bordin (1:20.213), Rocky Moran, Jr. (1:20.263) and Rice. "This was just one of those sessions where things didn't go our way," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "But, we're not too concerned. We have a great car and the track should be better tomorrow. Laguna Seca is always a great race and it's such an honor just to be a part of this event." 

9/8/00

Herta's car carrying Rockingham Sponsorship - Bryan Herta's car is carrying advertisement for England's Rockingham Speedway at Laguna Seca.  Car owner Jerry Forsythe is part owner of Rockingham.  The car is dark blue with white lettering.  Herta did not have a chance to qualify today as his car had engine problems.

9/8/00

NASCAR to require restrictor plates at New Hampshire -NASCAR officials will announce Saturday that they will run 1-inch carburetor restrictor plates at next weekend's Duralube 300 Winston Cup race at the New Hampshire International Speedway.   Full Story

9/8/00

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9/8/00
A lap around Monza with Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello   "At the end of the pit straight you are doing 350-360kph, and then of course it's very heavy braking. The first chicane is different this year, and it's a new right/left/right. The old one was just about jumping the curbs, but it's been changed to make that harder. It will still be important to get good traction out of it, because there is a long straight. The Curva Grande is easy flat, before you brake hard for the second chicane, which has also been changed. It used to be just about jumping the curbs. And again, you have to get a good exit for the run down to Lesmo 1. That's quite a fast corner, taken in fourth gear, but it's not as fast as it used to be. You go through an area, which has a lot of shadow, because of the trees, so the temperature of the track can be different there. You use the outside curbs as much as you can, and then you get to Lesmo 2, which used to be flat and very, very fast, and is now quite a slow corner in third gear. You are just trying not to be too quick in, but be very quick out, because of the long straight.  It's a very narrow straight, and you go under the bridge which carries the old banked circuit, and then you arrive at the Ascari corner. You are in third gear on the way in. You must get it right, because it's a sequence of corners left, right and left, and if you get the first or second one wrong then you have a bad exit and you don't have the speed on the next straight. Then you just try to get on the gas. It depends very much on the front end of the car, because you don't want too much understeer. Then you run down the straight to the last corner, which is Parabolica, one of the nicest corners on the circuit. You brake much later than 100m, and you go through in third or fourth gear, depending on the ratios. Again, as with the rest of the circuit, you try to get on the gas as soon as possible. You have very low downforce, so you're either going to have oversteer or understeer there. A few years ago Derek Warwick crashed there on the exit, and that is very typical for Parabolica. It's probably the most important corner as the pit straight is so long." 

9/7/00

Initial batch of interviews from Laguna Seca

Kenny Brack talks about the keys for the weekend's race at Laguna Seca (0:34 min)

Kenny Brack talks about his approach to title (0:12 min)

Max Papis talks about the Miller Lite car's history of success at Laguna Seca (0:11 min)

We have added these to our Interviews page.

9/7/00
Hakkinen will not retire after this year  - despite rumors that Mika might retie after this year, he said: “I don't intend retiring at the end of the year. I have plenty of commitment and motivation left for another season."   "I can’t look ahead to what will happen in next year’s world title but I will be there.  “That is too far away. I want to concentrate on this one first. There is a lot more pressure to be where I am in the lead of the championship.  "The stakes are much higher but there is always pressure where ever you are in motor racing. But I have learned to live with it. And I’d rather be in front than behind." 

9/7/00

A lap around Laguna Seca with Indy Lights driver Dan Wheldon  - Take the green flag you have a quick look at your gauges and lap time before making the flat out left kink and concentrating for the second corner. Typically into this corner you trail brake in go down into second gear and concentrate on your two apex points as it's a double apex corner, coming out of this corner you have to feed in the power very gently because the track keeps turning left and you can find yourself running out of track quickly. Into the third corner you just have to be very smooth, it is a relatively simple but carrying good speed through and out is the key. Read more...

9/7/00

5.5 hours of CART coverage on ESPN this weekend  - More than five hours of Championship Auto Racing Teams programming - including the first live U.S. telecast in the 15-year history of the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship - will be televised Sunday on ESPN networks.  In total, 5½ hours of CART-related programming will be telecast by ESPN and ESPN2 with the majority originating from the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway. That event features the Shell 300, Round 16 of the FedEx Championship Series (ESPN, live, 3-5 p.m. ET), and will be followed by Round Nine of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship (ESPN2, live, 6-7 p.m. ET).   "The timing for this full run of CART television on ESPN and ESPN2 couldn't be better," said CART Vice President of Broadcasting Keith Allo. "Last weekend signaled the end of summer which typically means our race fans and most television viewers in general settle into a schedule of increased sports television viewing. When they tune in this Sunday, they will find an abundance and variety of CART programming to consider and that availability is critical in both retaining and building our audience."  The Dayton Indy Lights race is the first time CART's top-level development series has been showcased to a live audience in the U.S. and the first live Indy Lights telecast of any kind since 1997. That year's finale, a championship showdown between current CART Champ Car winners Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves at California Speedway, was broadcast live in Brazil.  In addition to the Laguna Seca races, Sunday's lineup begins with the first of two telecasts of Saturday's Shell 300 qualifying on ESPN2 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. ET. An encore telecast of Shell 300 qualifying on ESPN2 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET will kick-off 3 ½ consecutive hours of FedEx Championship Series coverage from the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. The qualifying encore will lead straight into the "CART 2Day" race preview show after which viewers can switch to ESPN for the live Shell 300 race.   In addition to the full Sunday lineup, a reair of last Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights Championship race from Vancouver will be telecast on ESPN2 on Friday from 2-3 p.m. ET. The special telecast was scheduled after the original 
airing was preempted. 

9/7/00

Walker not selling CART stock  - Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker announced today that he is not selling any of his shares of CART stock. A report went out on the financial wire services today that Derrick had filed a form 144 with the SEC to sell a large amount of his CART shares. The announcement that the form 144 was filed is correct, but Walker's intentions, however, were not to sell the securities now, or in the near future but to simply register the restricted stock, which he does every 90 days. "The filing of the Securities and Exchange Committees form 144 was a requirement and doesn't reflect any intention to sell CART stock in the near future," said Walker. "I wish it would have been more clear in the filing that the registration was merely a formality, not an intention to sell." 

9/7/00
F-1 may change gearboxes next year  - The FIA is seriously considering bringing back foot clutches next year to bring more of the 'driver' back in the equation....i.e. move to a setup similar to CART.  They are considering keeping the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, but requiring the driver to use the foot clutch on upshifts and downshifts.  Most foot clutches have been eliminated in the current generation of F1 cars in favor of hand clutches.  They also want the drivers to lift slightly on upshifts and blip the throttle on downshifts.
9/7/00
New BMW engine for 2001  - BMW will have an all-new compact, more powerful engine for the 2001 season.  BMW's goal is start winning races next year.  With Ralf Schumacher and Montoya as drivers, that is likely to happen.  Montoya is going to surprise Mr. Schumacher.

9/7/00

Who watched what last weekend (Source: Speedvision
• NASCAR Winston Cup (ESPN, 9/3, 1-5:00pm*) 2.80 rating / 6 share / 2.209m households
• NASCAR Winston Cup (espn2, 9/3, 6-7:30pm) 2.58 rating / 5 share / 1.843m hh
• NHRA U.S. Nationals (TNN, 9/4, 5-7:00pm) 0.9 rating / 2 share / 1.041m hh
• NASCAR Busch (ESPN, 9/2) 1.02 rating / 3 share / 0.804m hh
• CART (ABC, 9/4) 0.8 overnight rating / 2 share (same timeslot as ALMS race)
• ALMS (NBC, 9/4) 0.8 overnight rating / 2 share
• NHRA U.S. Nationals (TNN, 9/4, Noon-2:00pm) 0.7 rating / 2 share / 0.641m hh
• ASA (TNN, 9/4) 0.5 rating / 1 share / 0.563m hh
• NASCAR Qualifying (ESPN, 9/1) 0.65 rating / 2 share / 0.463m hh
• NHRA Bud Shootout (TNN, 9/3) 0.4 rating / 1 share / 0.343m hh
• CART Qualifying (espn2, 9/3**) 0.36 rating / 2 share / 0.255m hh
• NASCAR Happy Hour (espn2, 9/3**) 0.26 rating / 2 share / 0.184m hh

9/6/00

Teleconference with Paul Tracy  - This week's guest on the weekly CART teleconference was Paul Tracy, hot off his back-to-back wins at Road America and Vancouver.  Paul talks about what it's going to take to win the championship and what has made the difference in Team Green's success in recent weeks.  The transcript of the teleconference is available here.

9/5/00
Some drivers say look for crash at start on Monza race  - Changes in the famed Monza circuit this year have brought criticism from many drivers. The new-look Rettifilio chicane (first turn) is much tighter and is now bordered with asphalt as opposed to gravel. Because of the tightness of the chicane, many drivers fear there will be an accident coming into turn one. "It's difficult to see the braking points to the corner and so many people are cutting the chicane because of that," said Coulthard after testing. "There's a 100 per cent chance of an accident at the start," said Jordan's Jarno Trulli. Arrow's Pedro de la Rosa added, "There's going to be carnage at the start - I just hope I'm not part of it." There will be a lot of drivers hoping for the same Sunday.
9/5/00
Ferrari - if we lose we have no one to blame but ourselves  - The passion of the Italian racing fans will be high gear this weekend for the annual Italian Grand Prix at the legendary Monza circuit. With Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in a tight championship battle with McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, the home crowd could be an advantage for Schumacher and his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. The fast Monza track is one of the most renowned courses in the world and recent testing by the Ferrari contingent could put the Prancing Horse's team back in the title hunt. Ferrari has only one win in the last five races and that was Barrichello in Germany. No Ferrari driver has captured the World Driving Championship since Jody Scheckter won in 1979. Last year, Schumacher didn't compete at Monza due to leg injuries and substitute Mika Salo took third behind Heinz-Harold Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher. Hakkinen seeks his third consecutive win and holds a 74-68 point lead over Schumacher. Coulthard has 61 points with Barrichello at 49.   Even honorary Ferrari president Gianni Agnelli believes his team's title chances are slipping. "I would have to say Hakkinen has a 60 per cent chance of winning the championship and we have 40," said Agnelli. "We have waited a long time for the championship." After Ferrari signed Schumacher in 1996, Agnelli said, "If we don't win the championship with Michael, it will be our fault."

9/5/00

Carpentier to finish out season with Players  - According to this article, Patrick Carpentier says don't believe the rumors (from other sources, not this publication) about his early departure from Players, as he will finish out the year with them.  He would not comment any further.

9/5/00
Max Mosley to seek FIA re-election - According to this Autosport article,  Max Mosley says that last week’s unsuccessful attempt by several Formula 1 team bosses to oust him as president of the FIA has convinced him to seek re-election when his current term of office ends in 2001.

9/5/00

New US Formula 3 website  - For those of you who follow Formula 3 (Adam Andretti is one of the young drivers), US Formula 3 launched a new website today.  The new website will offer fans and the media a closer look inside the world of the USF3 championship. The new site will be updated regularly and offer the following: 
· The 2000 schedule of events 
· The current 2000 season results and standings 
· The latest U.S. Formula 3 news 
· A photo gallery containing pictures from recent events 
· A complete list of U.S. Formula 3 teams and drivers 
· Formula 3 manufactures 
· A description of the U.S. Formula 3 engine lease program 
· A classifieds section 
· Racing links 
· Links to U.S. Formula 3 Partners 
· Contact page 

9/4/00

CART drivers demand safety  - The CART Drivers Association chaired by Mauricio Gugelmin recently met with Hal Whiteford and Bobby Rahal to lay out what the drivers expect to see in the way of safety improvements over the next several years.  In general they are asking that CART follow FIA track safety standards and driver standards.  Others are asking that CART demand from its promoters that press facilities and 'victory lanes' be brought up to a 'standard'.

9/4/00

The most daunting turn in North America?  - Europe has Eau Rouge, North America has turn 5 at Vancouver.  What? Turn 5 at Vancouver?  But what about the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, or The Kink at Road America?  Yes, they are great corners, but to watch the overhead camera shots of the cars exiting turn 5 at Vancouver (see map to right) in four-wheel drifts at better than 150-mph is truly amazing.  This is dirt track racing on asphalt and just underscores how demanding Champ Car racing can be when even a street circuit can require that sort of skill level.  If you have not seen it, watch the tapes.  Great stuff!

9/3/00

Paul Tracy calls for three Canadian races  - As noted below, the three-day attendance figure for Vancouver was 155,937. In the 11 years of the Molson Indy Vancouver, 1,776,376 fans have watched the event.  By contrast, the Michigan 500 on July 23 drew little more than 35,000 fans to Michigan International Speedway.   "They should have a couple more up here," said race winner Paul Tracy, a native Canadian from Scarborough, Ontario. "They should get rid of some of the ones we have where people are sitting in the stands with a frown on their face.   "Our series is so strong up here and popular in Canada, we should have one race in the East, one in the Midwest like Edmonton or Saskatchewan and one in Vancouver. I think it would be good."  Tracy's teammate, Dario Franchitti, also is impressed with the tremendous support the Canadians give to CART.  "My mechanic turned to me before the start and he said, `Hey, this is like a carnival. We should race here every week,'" said Franchitti, a native of Scotland. "The atmosphere going around on the parade lap was incredible. The place was alive. People are jumping up and down and I'm not even from around here. When Paul Tracy came around, the place really erupted. It's fantastic."   "This is a wonderful place to race," Franchitti said. "It was a fitting tribute to Greg Moore because this was a party atmosphere. Let's face it, Greg was a party guy and he didn't walk around with a frown on his face. It's the crowd that makes the race. It's a spectacle."   After the success of both the Toronto and Vancouver races, and the tremendous crowd enthusiasm, is there any doubt left that CART should be racing in Montreal?  We certainly hope not.

9/3/00

Vancouver attendance over 155,000 - UPDATE The race drew 63,677 fans Sunday, about three thousand more than 1999, but well below the almost 71,000 who turned up in 1995. Three-day attendance was 155,937, better than 1999.  This continues CART's upward swing in attendance at all its road and street courses.  Earlier - Despite the inclement weather conditions on Friday, 42,684 fans were in attendance, just 55 shy of the 1999.  On Saturday 49,576 took advantage of pleasant temperatures, up by 324 from one year ago.  Over 60,000 are expected for Sunday's race, bringing the total for the 3-days to near 160,000......numbers most of CART's oval track promoters would die for.  Given the success of Toronto and Vancouver each year (Canadians love auto racing), there certainly is little doubt CART should add Montreal to the schedule in 2002.  The only question would be where to add it to an already crowded summer racing schedule.  Perhaps it will take the Detroit summer date should that race go away after 2001.

9/3/00

Lights: Scott Dixon wins to extend lead - PacWest Racing’s Scott Dixon won his fourth race of the season and extended his championship lead in the eighth round of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship at the Molson Indy of Vancouver in Canada today.  Dixon, a 20 year-old New Zealander, made a brilliant move on leader Felipe Giaffone on lap 36 of the 42-lap contest on the outside of turn six and raced away to the checkered. Dixon, driver of the #17 Invensys/Powerware PacWest Lights entry, now has 113 championship points and leads Dorricott Racing’s Townsend Bell by 21 points. “We sat in behind Felipe (Giaffone) for a lot of the race waiting for our chance,” said Dixon. “He finally made a mistake and we had enough momentum to get around him on the outside. To his credit he gave me enough room, if it had been anyone else maybe I could have been in the wall. I was prepared to sit in second and collect the championship points, but then Jeff Simmons was closing the gap and we had to make a decision to do something. The Invensys/Powerware team gave me a great car today. It was very fast in the mid-speed corners. We had a chance to show how fast the car really was in the last few laps.” 

9/3/00

Earthquake hits north of Sears Point -A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit the heart of Northern California's wine country early Sunday, injuring more than 25 people, knocking out windows, breaking gas and water mains, and shutting down power to about half of the county, police said.  The quake hit at 1:36 a.m. about 6 miles northwest of Napa and 6 miles northeast of Sonoma, near the small town of Yountville, according to the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park. The shaking woke people as far south as San Francisco, some 50 miles away.  No reports of any damage to Sears Point have come in yet.

9/3/00


Dario Franchitti accepts the first Greg Moore Pole Award

Franchitti wins first Greg Moore Pole Award - Dario Franchitti was a close friend of Greg Moore, so it is only fitting that he should win the very first Greg Moore Pole Award.  And he won it in style, dominating both qualifying session in Vancouver.  The award was presented to Dario by Greg Moore's mother.  In addition to this award, the Greg Moore Legacy Award was also announced this weekend.  When interviewed on TV Dario said I really wanted to win this pole and this award, I was going for it."

9/3/00

CART to announce engine changes - UPDATE On CART2Day Jon Beekhius stated that 37 inches of boost has been agreed to for 2001, and 34 inches for 2002.  He also stated that all four engine manufacturers have given their stamp of approval for an all-new engine package for 2003. We believe the 1.8 liter turbo formula with around 55 inches of boost (to start) will be the standard.  All this will be announced next week at Laguna Seca.  Earlier today - CART will announce new engine-specification rules for the 2001 season next week and also formally announce its first change in engine formula in 20 years. Interim president Bobby Rahal said no decision has been made on whether to switch from turbocharged motors to normally aspirated ones.

9/3/00

Meet Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian - Junqueira beat Minassian by just 3-points to win this year's F3000 title.  Both are rumored for possible Champ Car rides in 2001.  Meet them (both real player format) in these Eurosport interviews:
Junqueira during championship winning celebration
(1:17 min.)
Minassian on disappointment of just missing title
(2:02 min. French with English translation)

9/3/00

Kurosawa has back surgery - According to this article by Jeremy Shaw, Takuya Kurosawa underwent surgery on his lower back last Monday in Japan and that his prognosis is excellent. Doctors removed a metal plate that was inserted as a result of a previous injury, which had been aggravated when Kurosawa crashed heavily at Nazareth in May.  Kurosawa, 37, came through the procedure with flying colors and is already planning his return to the cockpit. After completing some rehabilitation, Kurosawa hopes to get back into the swing by turning some laps in a Formula 3 car in November, then, within a few more weeks, begin testing in preparation for the 2001 Champ Car season.

9/2/00

Champ Cars more powerful than F1 - In a pre-race weekend press conference in Vancouver, Dario Franchitti said the F1 cars and Champ cars are quite different, but said that the Champ cars are far more powerful than the F1 edition. The popular Scot said he enjoyed his Jaguar test, but is happy to stay in CART for at least another year.  If CART cuts HP too much, F1 will say Champ Cars are too easy drive.  If CART wants to make the claim they are the fastest race cars in the world, they had better not cut HP too much.  F1 cars are in the 830 HP range and gaining.

9/2/00

Lowe's seating changes -Lowe's Motor Speedway officials announced today the track's Family Grandstand, previously located in temporary bleachers outside turn three, has been moved to the Fourth Turn Terrace for the Oct. 8 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event.

9/2/00

No pre-season testing changes - According to this article on That's Racin',  There has been speculation in recent weeks on whether NASCAR would curtail or even eliminate testing before next season, but chief operating officer Mike Helton said he thinks the current system works well.  Before the start of the 1999 season, NASCAR changed the testing policy to limit teams to seven tests per season on Winston Cup tracks. Teams can test as many times as they wish on tracks not used in the series.   "We are keeping our ear to the ground … ," Helton said. "Whether or not we need to tweak it any more is yet to be determined, but there's nothing (in) short term thought that we would change anything." 

9/2/00

Seen at Vancouver - According to Jeremy Shaw in this article, former CART Champ Car driver Teo Fabi reports his 16-year old son Stefano is on the fast-track to becoming a professional race car driver.  He contests the 100cc go-kart championships in Portugal next weekend where he is an early favorite.

9/2/00

Monterrey, Mexico track 40% complete - According to Jeremy Shaw in this article, Ron Dickson reports, reports that excellent progress is being made at the new track currently under construction in Monterrey, Mexico, which is set to host the second round of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series. According to Dickson, the track in Fundadora Park is now "40 percent" complete. The entire base of the track should be ready by Oct. 10, with all the concrete surface in place by Nov. 8.  Why concrete? "Because concrete is best," said Dickson. "Don't forget, you've got a big heat problem down there. Bitumen [asphalt] just wouldn't work. Besides, Cemex, the biggest concrete company in the world, is based right there in Monterrey, Mexico."   This will be, we believe, the first all-concrete track CART has ever raced on, and should pose a new challenge to Firestone engineers.

9/2/00

Another stuck throttle - Bobby Labonte hit the turn 3 wall at Darlington yesterday because his throttle stuck open.  He had not one, but two, kill switches in his car, however, he said he did not have time to hit either one of them.  Conclusion - soft walls are required as well.  Perhaps NASCAR should follow the lead of CART engine manufacturers.  When the throttle stays open for more than a specified amount of time while the brakes are applied, the computer kills the engine automatically.  Sometimes technology is really the better solution.  It's time NASCAR abandon antiquated carburetor's in favor of fuel injection and computer controlled ignition systems so some of this technology can be implemented.  You can't buy a new car today with a carburetor, they are all fuel injected.  So why then are NASCAR 'stock' cars still running 1920's technology (carburetor's)?  It is the 21st century folks. 

9/1/00

Scott Dixon wins provisional Lights pole - Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lola) continued to cruise on top Friday when he won the provisional pole in first-round qualifying at the Molson Indy Vancouver. Dixon leads the Dayton Indy Lights Championship by 13 points over rookie Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola), 93 - 80, and could earn another bonus point if he retains the pole in Saturday's final qualifying.  Dixon set a new track record of 93.332 mph (68.697 seconds) to win the provisional pole in Friday qualifying at the Molson Indy Vancouver.  "I'm pleased with my car at this stage of the weekend," Dixon said. "I have pretty good grip everywhere, but the track conditions change so frequently that it's making this a little tough. We did battle a slight understeer and can definitely tune it a bit more overnight. Because of the changing conditions, we didn't get a lot of track time so I'm looking forward to Saturday to fine tune my car for the race."  QUALIFYING TIMES: 1: Scott Dixon 1:08.697; 2: Jeff Simmons 1:08.762; 3: Mario Dominguez 1:09.535; 4: Tony Renna 1:10.030; 5: Townsend Bell 1:10.190; 6: Felipe Giaffone 1:10.260; 7: Derek Higgins 1:10.280; 8: Jason Bright 1:10.586; 9: Jonny Kane 1:10.761; 10: Casey Mears 1:10.765. 

9/1/00

CART creates Greg Moore Legacy Award - Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that it has established the Greg Moore Legacy Award to honor the Canadian star and fan favorite who lost his life in the 1999 season finale.  The award will reflect the driver who best typifies Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on track as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media and within the CART community. Candidates for the award will be judged equally on their competitive talent and their interaction among the CART community when not behind the wheel.  "Greg was an extremely skilled race-car driver and a consummate professional and this award is intended to continue the legacy of his outstanding traits and preserve his memory," CART interim President and CEO Bobby Rahal said. "He was a true role model for our sport."  The award will encompass candidates from the FedEx Championship Series as well as its two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Toyota Atlantic Championship. Five candidates will be nominated following the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston on Oct. 1. There will be a minimum of one driver from each series represented for the award.  The winner will be announced annually at the CART Awards Banquet, with the inaugural winner being named at this season's banquet scheduled for Monday, Oct. 30 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.  "On behalf of the Moore family and all of our friends, we are greatly honored by the establishment of the Greg Moore Legacy Award," said Ric Moore, Greg's father. "We are proud that CART would choose to recognize Greg's contributions in this manner. Through this award, we know that a tribute to Greg's competitive spirit, fun-loving style and community involvement will live on for years to come."  The voting committee will consist of the three series presidents, Rahal, Roger Bailey of Dayton Indy Lights and Vicki O'Connor of Toyota Atlantic; Player's Forsythe Racing owner Gerald Forsythe; Bob Bexon, President and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada, Ltd.; Championship Drivers Association President Mauricio Gugelmin; former CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach and two annually rotating members of the media, one representing the print side and the other broadcast. This year's media representatives will be Robin Miller of the Indianapolis Star-News and Paul Page of ABC-TV.  A non-voting advisory panel consisting of Rena Shanaman, CART Vice President of Client Relations; Mike Zizzo, CART Vice President of Competition Public Relations; and Adam Saal, Indy Lights Public Relations Director, will assist the panel.

9/1/00

Rain tires needed for Vancouver - A chance of rain is forecast all three days this weekend for the Vancouver race.  The teams are gearing up as if it might be a wet race, just in case.  As you can see from the pictures on our front page, last years race was wet as well.  Wet races always add an interesting dimension and sometimes separate the good drivers from the really great ones...Senna and Schumacher come to mind.

9/1/00

Brands Hatch decision due today - The Department for the Environment was expected to decide today whether to give the green light to Brands Hatch’s £30million upgrade plans. For the work to go ahead, the circuit needs to cut down 15 hectares of ancient forest. Even though they have pledged to plant more trees elsewhere, the Woodland Trust has objected to the plans. 

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