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DATE News (chronologically 10/23/00 to 11/4/00)

11/4/00

Daytona 500 Winter test schedule   Winter testing dates have been set for Daytona.  Ford teams will test Jan. 8-10, GM teams will test Jan. 11-13 and Dodge teams will test Jan 16-18.

11/4/00

Quote of the week   Robin Miller when asked - How do you feel the talent of the open wheel drivers stack up at this point, specifically between CART and IRL?   Answer: "Here's an easy formula. Shigeaki Hattori's CART license was suspended last year because he was hopelessly out of his element and he even thanked Wally Dallenbach for taking his license. The IRL cars are so stuck and have 300 less horsepower and, obviously, must be quite a bit easier to drive since the Shigster runs seventh or eighth in IRL races. Give the IRL credit, they put on a close, exciting show with that formula and guys like Marco Greco (IRL polewinner) and Eliseo Salazar (IRL winner) who were lost in CART are able to compete at a high level. Eddie Cheever never won a CART race and had some good equipment, but he's a major player in the IRL."

11/4/00

Fontana to get more seats   When NASCAR and CART show up at Fontana in 2001 they will be greeted by a new grandstand in turn 4.  The foundations are already poured and are almost ready for the steel superstructure to be erected.  Although an exact number was not given, it is believed the new grandstand will increase seating capacity by almost 10,000.

11/4/00

Saturday Trivia   Did a green car ever win the Indy 500?  Answer: Yes, at least once that we know of.  In 1965 Jimmy Clark won the Indy 500 driving a green Ford powered Lotus with Firestone tires.  When the Lotus team arrived in 1963 for their first assault on the Indy 500 Jimmy's car was green and was considered bad luck at the track. To top it off there was a big resentment by the Americans toward the "funny" rear engine foreign cars invading their palace.   A rival driver told Colin Chapman, the Lotus team owner: "I'm gonna hate to pass a green car on the track," to which Colin replied, "Don't worry, you'll never pass it!"  In 1692, the year Chapman first visited the Indy 500 at the request of Dan Gurney, he wasn't the least impressed by what he saw.  To Chapman's eye, the traditional roadsters had been wheeled straight off the Ark.  Dinosaurs.  Huge front-engine machines with a live axles front and rear, high 20-inch tires and a weight of 1600 Lbs (now we know where CART gets its 1550 Lb weight of its cars today, back from those Dinosaur days!).  Upon his return to Europe, Chapman said: "I thought I'd traveled back in time and was watching a pre-war race."  The next year he brought his first rear-engine car to Indy and the rest, as they say, is history.

11/3/00

Stars of tomorrow   Competition in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow inaugural karting challenge began today with practice sessions for all classes on the 13-turn, 7/8-mile road course at the Las Vegas Karting Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Karters from across the United States as well as Canada, Sweden and Holland comprise over 200 entries received for the five classes -- Junior Superbox, Junior 80cc Gearbox, Pro Superbox, Pro 80 Gearbox and Pro 125 Gearbox -- which are vying for a host of awards including the prestigious Stars of Tomorrow title.  More...

11/3/00

CART Rearview Mirror  A look back at the 2000 CART season will be shown on ESPN at 1:30 PM EST this coming Monday 11/6/00.  The 1-hour long show is called the CART Rearview Mirror.  It will re-air November 15th at 4:00 AM EST.

11/3/00

Will Langhorne and Derek Hill F3000 Update  3rd UPDATE Red Bull Junior driver Enrique Bernoldi again set the pace in the final day of FIA F3000 testing at Barcelona yesterday. He improved on his Wednesday time of 1:31.929 to set the fastest time of the two-day session with 1:31.783.  The Brazilian, who appears to have been overlooked for Sauber's second F1 seat in favor of Kimi Raikkonen, lapped his Red Bull Junior Team car almost half a second quicker than Justin Wilson's Nordic Racing machine.  As can be seen from the table on the bottom of this page, Bernoldi was significantly faster than everyone else.   Earlier Today - Derek completed the first two days of testing, in preparation for the 2001 FIA Formula 3000 Championship, at the Jerez Circuit in Spain this week.  A total of eight teams and sixteen cars took part in the test held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Running with KJR on the first day, Derek concentrated on learning the demanding Barcelona circuit, his best time was 1:35.114.  The second day, when Derek drove with DAMS, was overcast and showery with most of the teams sitting out the afternoon session, waiting for the track to dry. The final 20 minutes saw all the leading runners take to the track, very similar to a normal qualifying session.  Derek achieved a time of 1:33.263 to claim third position in the most difficult conditions of the two day test.  " We have learnt a lot here and worked really well with both KJR and DAMS. The final run with DAMS on Thursday afternoon was very good, I put together a strong lap and we ended the day in third spot - which I am very pleased with. Next week we have the final test in Estoril with the Petrobras Team, and I am really looking forward to this as I know the circuit and should go very 
well there" Derek commented Thursday evening. " The test has been very good, we were right on the pace and managed to complete our full program. The Lola 50/99 is very similar to my 96/00 that I have raced in Italy this season, but much better in several areas."   Petrobas is a David Sears team (he also runs D2 Playlife where Buddy Rice is scheduled to test). No news on Buddy yet.   Top Ten Times From Thursday Afternoon Session. 
Driver Team Time 
1 Giorgio Pantano Astromega 1: 33.121 
2 Antonio Pizzonia Petrobas Junior 1: 33.258 
3 Derek Hill DAMS 1: 33.263 
4 Thomas Enge Nordic 1: 33.288 
5 Jonathon Cochet D2 Playlife 1: 33.441 
6 Antonio Garcia Red Bull Junior 1: 33.531 
7 Kristian Kolby DAMS 1: 33.536 
8 Christian Albers European Arrows 1: 33.609 
9 Justin Wilson Nordic 1: 33.890 
10 P. Freisacher Red Bull 1: 34.234 
Source: F3000.com 
Earlier today - Here are pictures of the 11/1/00 Will Langhorne test and a picture of the 10/20/00 Derek Hill test.  11/2/00 - Although Buddy Rice is getting most of the press, according to this Speedvision article, American Will Langhorne also tested a F3000 car for the Super Nova team last week at Estoril.  Derek Hill also tested last week at Estoril.  Test times (not updated to include Langhorne) are listed here and here.

11/3/00

Positions available at Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing  The following positions are available with the Zakspeed/Forsythe Champ Car Team: Lead Mechanic, Mechanic, Data Acquisition/ Shock, Fabricator, Machinist, Engineer, Gearbox Specialist, and Truck Driver.  See our Classifieds page for all the details.

11/3/00

Friday Trivia  In 1971 the Questor Grand Prix was run at the Ontario Motor Speedway.  It was billed as the battle of two-worlds, the USA and its Formula A cars (America's fuel injected version of F5000) against the best the European F1 series had to offer.  Who won?  Answer:  The Americans were armed with the likes of Peter Revson, Mark Donohue, George Follmer, AJ Foyt, Bob Bondurant, and Al and Bobby Unser.  The Europeans countered with Ferrari (Mario Andretti and Jackie Ickx), Lotus (Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell), BRM (Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodriquez), Brabham (Graham Hill and Tim Schenken), Matra (Chris Amon), March (Ronnie Peterson), Tyrell (Jackie Stewart), McLaren (Denny Hulme and Peter Gethin), and two privateer Marches entered by Frank Williams (Henri Pescarolo and Derek Bell).  We may never see such a star studded battle ever again.  All the heavy hitters were there.  A race fans dream.  Some saw it as a repeat of Monza's race of two worlds.  The race was run in two 100-mile heats because the American Formula A cars did not have enough fuel capacity.  Mario Andretti, fresh off his first F1 win in Kyalami, South Africa, had an accident in qualifying on Friday and missed most of the session.  In addition, he had an Indy car race on Saturday at Phoenix.  As a result he started down in 12th place, standing on his Friday time. Jackie Stewart was on pole. At the drop of the green flag of the first heat, Andretti worked his way to the front, caught and passed Jackie Stewart under braking for the first turn (the same Jackie Stewart who completely dominated F1 that year), and won pulling away, much to the delight of the American crowd (even though he was driving a European F1 car).  In the 2nd heat outside front row starter Jackie Stewart got the jump on Andretti and led.  Andretti stalked Stewart for a handful of laps, then repeated his first turn overtaking maneuver on Stewart he pulled in the first heat, to take the lead and the win going away.  In the end, both the Americans (Andretti - both heats) and the Europeans (Ferrari - both heats) went home with bragging rights.  Unfortunately, the battle of both worlds never happened again as Questor ran into financial trouble.  Perhaps when Bobby Rahal goes to F1, he can talk Bernie Ecclestone into a challenge of F1 vs. CART Champ cars on a high-speed road course where Champ Cars can overcome their severe weight disadvantage with their extra HP.  Would Monza work?  Perhaps Hockenheim?  Nothing like a little across-the-pond rivalry to make life interesting.

11/2/00

Oval track attendance continues downward trend  In 1998 CART's finale at Fontana drew 102,000 people.  In 1999 the figure was around 90,000.  In 2000, although threatening weather hurt the walkup crowd, the attendance was estimated at 70,000, down 20,000 from the previous year.  Don't get us wrong, 70,000 is not a bad crowd, one which other CART oval tracks and the IRL would die for.  However, despite the fact that five drivers were in contention for the championship, the pole speed was a world record 241+ MPH, the event was advertised heavily, and the Handford Device always produces a plethora of passing, the attendance was down 28%.  The racing was absolutely fantastic at both Michigan and Fontana, better than even the IRL race at Texas that everyone was bragging about.  Five Americans (three more than normal) were in the field (rookie Mears, Gidley, Vasser, Andretti and Barron) and there was no competition from Winston Cup that weekend.  To make matters worse, the TV ratings were low too.  So where did CART go wrong?  Everything was perfect for a huge success.  We think the answer is simple.  Our theory, one which we have held for several years, is that Winston Cup so dominates the oval track scene in the USA there is no room for anything else. Even NASCAR's truck series is hurting.  Oval track racing in the USA is past the saturation point.  In the final 2000 tally, every single USA oval track event saw a drop in attendance and every single road course race saw an increase in attendance.  Overseas, CART may do well on the oval tracks because it is a novelty (RIO and Motegi were both up in 2000 which supports our theory), but in the USA, because of Winston Cup, CART must establish itself as the road racing kingpin.  CART's road races are all huge successes and CART must build their foundation on that, much as NASCAR has built their foundation on oval track racing.  And we maintain that the key to CART's future is to add strategic overseas events (China, Italy and France), add strategic North America events (Texas, Montreal, NY City, San Francisco, Miami, and Road Atlanta), and drop the weak ones.  It's all outlined in this article, and this article.  It will be interesting to see how well CART does at Texas Motor Speedway with the magic of Eddie Gossage and Bruton Smith promoting it.  If they can do what other promoters can't, then we'll be the first to admit our theory is flawed.  So far we are batting 100%.

11/2/00

Tagliani medical update  Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani, who suffered bruises to his back and one of his lungs in a racing incident in the final event of the FedEx CART Championship season in Fontana last Monday, is recovering at his Las Vegas home.  Tagliani was discharged from Loma Linda Hospital in Fontana last Tuesday and decided to return home rather than travel to Indianapolis this week for an examination by Dr. Terry Trammell, Chief Orthopedic Surgeon for the CART series. Tagliani is on medication for the next two weeks to reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain stemming from his injuries.  "The soreness is gone from my lung, but the area from my neck to the middle of my back still hurts, although I'm able to get around without any problems, which leads me to believe that I'll be able to make a quick recovery," said Tagliani. The Team Player's driver was running in third place with only two laps left in the race when the engine let go on his car and it skidded into the wall.  "I expect to start working out in three weeks, and I'll go and see Dr. Trammell the next time that I'm in Indianapolis, which should be near the end of November, when I go there to get my car seat molded for the 2001 season," remarked Tagliani.

11/2/00

Thursday Trivia  When the Champ Cars last raced in England  in 1978, who won the pole position at Silverstone and Brands Hatch?  Answer:  At Silverstone Danny Ongais was the talk of the paddock.  Not only was his time 2.7 seconds faster that Al Unser Sr. (2nd fastest), he was also 2-seconds under James Hunt's pole position for the previous year's British Grand Prix.  Ongais won the pole at Brands Hatch too.  There he then led the first 82 of 100 laps and held a 50-second lead with 18 laps to go when his car failed, handing the win to Rick Mears.  Foyt won at Silverstone after Mears ran wide at Stowe allowing Foyt to get by.  Then it rained, the race was stopped, and AJ had himself a rare road course win.

11/1/00

Another new Champ Car team in the works for 2001  2nd UPDATE According to an update on their website, the team is not ready to campaign Bentham in 2001.   10/31/00 - According to this article, this team appears to be very real.  Bentham is quoted  as saying, "Words cannot express just how excited I am to take on the 2001 CART series." Bentham goes on to say that he is looking forward to taking part in the Indianapolis 500, which would seem to suggest the team has plans of campaigning an IRL car for the event. Bentham concludes by saying,  "Thanks to HSRacing, I will finally be back in a car, where I belong, and as far as winning goes, it won't be a matter of if... but a matter of when." Stay tuned.  We are updating our 2001 Silly Season Page. 10/28/00 - HS Racing with driver Lee Bentham is getting ready to announce their entry into the Champ Car ranks for 2001.  They claim they are 90% done with their negotiations with an adult beverage company (read that alcohol).  Their website is at http://www.hsracing.com/start.html

11/1/00

Last weekends TV ratings (Source: Speedvision)

• NASCAR Busch (TNN, 10/29) 0.80 rating / 1.8 share / 0.624m households
• NHRA Final Eliminations (espn2, 10/29*) 0.60 rating / 1 share / 0.438 m hh
• CART (ESPN, 10/29 – 34min) 0.51 rating / 1 share / 0.405m hh
• CART (ESPN, 10/30 – 210min) 0.43 rating / 1 share / 0.342m hh
• NHRA Early Eliminations (espn2, 10/29) 0.44 rating / 1 share / 0.317 m hh
• NASCAR Trucks (espn2, 10/28) 0.41 rating / 1 share / 0.295m hh
• USAC Silver Bullet (TNN, 10/29) 0.27 rating / 0.5 share / 0.207m hh
• CART Qualifying (espn2, 10/29*) 0.18 rating / 1 share / 0.133m hh

11/1/00

CART supports Team USA  Continuing to build on its commitment to helping talented American drivers progress toward its FedEx Championship Series, Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today its continuing support for the Team USA Scholarship program, which is now in its 11th season.   CART, which has supported the Team USA program since 1996, again contributed $10,000 to the Scholarship, which gives two young American drivers the opportunity to participate in the Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series in England against some of the best young racing talent in the world.  The announcement was made by interim CART President and CEO, Bobby Rahal.  "Since 1990, the Team USA Scholarship has identified some of the best young driving talent the United States has to offer," Rahal said. "Over the years, the drivers who have won this scholarship have gone on to accomplish great things in various levels of motorsport. I'm pleased to announce that CART is continuing its involvement in the Team USA Scholarship, and I'm sure that the 2000 scholarship winners will continue the tradition of excellence that has been established. I'm looking forward to watching these talented young drivers in their efforts to move up the ladder to the FedEx Championship Series."  Six drivers were chosen to participate in a shootout at England's Silverstone circuit on Friday in Audi turbo-powered Van Diemen chassis. The drivers were chosen by the results they posted in various racing series this year, in addition to their personalities.  The six finalists for the Scholarship were Tom Dyer, 24, of San Rafael, Calif., who won this year's ACC class for year-old cars in the U.S. F2000 National Championship; Phil Giebler, 21, of Oxnard, Calif., who finished second in the French Formula 3 Championship Promotion class for year-old cars; Joey Hand, 21, of Sacramento, Calif., who won the 1999 STAR Formula Mazda series; Ryan Hunter-Reay, 19, of Boca Raton, Fla., who was Rookie of the Year in the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series and finished fifth in the overall championship; Andy Lally, 25, of Northport, N.Y., who raced in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2000; and Bryan Sellers, 18, of Centerville, Ohio, who finished second in the 2000 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship.  After a rainy, but eventful, day of testing in Silverstone, Giebler and Hand were chosen as the winners of the 2000 Team USA Scholarship and will represent Team USA in the Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series. These two drivers join 1996 FedEx Championship Series Champion, Jimmy Vasser; two-time Champ Car race winner, Bryan Herta; Champ Car rising star, Memo Gidley; 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Buddy Rice; and Dayton Indy Lights Championship talents, Tony Renna and Jeff Simmons.

11/1/00

Gil de Ferran championship big in Brazil  Just to underscore how popular CART is outside of the USA, one Brazilian website had over 1 million people read an article about Gil's win in a single day.  This underscores just how important it is for CART to expand internationally.  There is a big worldwide demand for the kind of racing CART puts on, a demand F1 can't satisfy in quantity or quality.

11/1/00

Gil de Ferran on David Letterman tonight  2000 CART FedEx Championship Series Champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro/Team Penske is scheduled to be a featured guest this evening on the Late Show with David Letterman. Please check your local listings for times (usually around 11:30 PM) and the local CBS affiliate station in your area. 

11/1/00

Wednesday Trivia  In what year did the F1 World Championship first begin?  Answer:  The "Official" FIA World Championship of Drivers was not inaugurated until 1950.  However, many motorsports historians and experts consider that there was an "Unofficial World Drivers Championship" (UWDC) beginning, certainly, with the first recognized Grand Prix race in 1906 and some chronicle it back to 1894.  As stated, the first recognized Grand Prix was instigated by the French in 1906 to their own rules (replacing those of the Gordon Bennett Trophy rules, which they held to discriminate toward French auto manufacturers). To make it more than a French affair, they endeavored to get the agreement of all the competing countries when they drew up the rules each year thereafter, and thus an international commission was formed with its headquarters in Paris under the leadership of the Automobile Club of France.  This later led to the FIA being headquartered in France for many years.

11/1/00

Setting the record straight about CART at TMS  Regardless of what you hear about the concern for speeds at Texas Motor Speedway next year for the CART race, CART has a contract to race on the oval, and that is where they will race, not the road course as some have suggested.  End of story.  CART is addressing this issue and will likely make some provisions to slow the cars.  One idea we wonder if they are considering is a larger Handford Device in addition to next year's turbo boost reduction.  Since a larger vertical rear plate will cause more drag and less downforce, the cars will be slower.  The advantage of this solution is the slingshot effect will be enhanced, making for a wild race, and since the cars can run multiple grooves at TMS (3 and 4 grooves) the problem with turbulence is pretty much negated.  RPM limits are also being looked at, but different engines perform better a different RPM ranges.  If CART were to mandate an RPM limit, you can bet at least one engine manufacturer will cry foul, and rightly so.  No one wants to redesign their engine for just one race.

11/1/00

Meet Tora Takagi  Since it looks like Tora Takagi will be racing for Walker Racing in CART next year (see Rumors page), we thought you might like to know a little about him.  In 1999 he replaced the experienced Mika Salo in the Arrows F1 team. His best finishes were a 7th and an 8th.  He consistently was on pace with or out qualified his teammate Pedro de la Rosa that year.  Takagi started as the Tyrell test drivers before securing one of the Tyrell seats for 1998. In that season his best was two 9th places but showed talent in a difficult car, constantly out-performing his teammate Ricardo Rosset.  He is single and was born in Shizuoka, Japan.

11/1/00

Behind the scenes with Derrick Walker  This is Part II in a series of interviews with Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker. Derrick owns the only open-wheel team that competes in both CART and IRL and is in a unique position in that he has an insider's view of both Champ Car and Indy Racing. He's one of the first at the racetrack each morning and one of the last to leave. These interviews are designed to find out more about the man behind the team and how much the business of racing really means to him.

10/31/00

Winning designs revealed for Holiday stickers  Two young Champ Car fans will soon see their art work in print through the CART Charities Kids' Holiday Sticker Design Contest. The designs of 8-year-old Thomas Mis, from Brooklyn, N.Y., and 9-year-old Julia Seltmann, from Jackson, Mich., are this year's winners.   Each child received a $1,000 U.S. savings bond and a framed copy of his/her original design, signed by three-time CART Champion and interim CEO Bobby Rahal. Their designs will be printed on the 2000 CART Charities Holiday Stickers, which will be seen on packages and mail during the holiday season. Thomas is a third-grader at St. Ephrem School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Julia attends fourth grade at Northeast Elementary in Jackson, Mich.   A panel of judges, comprised of Rahal and members of the CART community, selected the contest winners. Entries were submitted from children around the U.S., ranging in age from three to 14. This year marks the second time CART Charities has operated the holiday sticker program, but it is the first year for the children's design contest.  "All of the designs submitted were terrific, and it was difficult to choose just two winners," said Patrick Leahy, CART's senior vice president of marketing, and a member of the judging panel. "We're pleased to continue the Holiday Sticker program on an annual basis."  Sets of the 2000 holiday stickers are free and available to the public beginning mid-November. Donations to CART Charities are welcome. Last year, the average donation from the sticker program was $90. CART fans are encouraged to help spread the holiday spirit and support CART Charities by using the stickers on packages and mail. Those interested in receiving a sheet of the stickers can send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to CART Charities Holiday Stickers, 755 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 800, Troy, MI 48084.

10/31/00

CART Medical update  Player’s Team driver Alex Tagliani, implicated in an incident during the California 500 in Fontana, the final stage of 2000 CART season, was transported to Loma Linda Hospital for precautionary x-rays. The Canadian driver was awake and alert after an impact with the wall in turn 1. An initial medical exam was done on site by CART Director of Medical Affairs, Dr.Steve Olvey, recommending x-rays be taken at hospital following the driver’s report of back and abdomen discomfort. At Loma Linda Hospital, Tagliani under went a CAT-scan on his back and results indicated that there was no fracture. Tagliani will remain in hospital overnight for observation as a precautionary measure. Following his stay, he will head to Indianapolis, Indiana to meet with CART Chief Orthopedic Consultant, Dr. Terry Trammell, for further evaluation.  News was also good for Helio Castroneves who is reported to be fine with no broken bones.

10/31/00

Alex Barron back with Coyne in 2001  We talked with Dale Coyne after the Fontana race where his driver Alex Barron put on another impressive display of driving, running as fast as the  leaders throughout the race, and leading many laps.  He said his Korean sponsor, Sports Today, is very happy with Barron's performance and he expects Alex to get the ride full-time in 2001.   He is not ready to announce who will drive his 2nd car at this time.  We are updating our 2001 Silly Season Page.

10/31/00

Reynard in the news  Reynard Motorsport topped off another successful year in Champ Cars with a Reynard driver taking the Championship crown for the sixth year running. A third place finish for Gil de Ferran in the Team Penske Honda Reynard brought him a $1 million prize and the coveted 2000 FedEx Championship Series Drivers Champion title, the first of his six-year career in Champ Cars. The final event of the Series at Fontana super speedway featured 59 lead changes and saw only six of 26 competitors complete the 500-mile event, with Christian Fittipaldi driving the Newman Haas Ford Lola grabbing the lead for the final 29 laps, the longest stint on the lead for any driver all day. He drove to a 0.194 second victory over Roberto Moreno in the Patrick Racing Ford Reynard, in the event that was completed Monday morning after rain washed out Sunday's action following the completion of 33 laps. This final race of the season held the cards to the Championship winner, with five drivers having the chance to take the title, as they took the grid. In the closing stages it was a two horse race, with Gil de Ferran and Adrian Fernandez being the only two drivers remaining in contention and they kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the chequered flag. An emotional de Ferran said after the race, "…Obviously, it's a very, very emotional day for me today. I was trying to keep myself calm, but when I crossed the line, I didn't think I was going to make it back. I've dreamed all my life about winning a title like this." Thanking the many people and organizations contributing to his success de Ferran added, "…I've been driving Reynards since 1989, and I'm very, very happy to win the championship in a Reynard." Reynard Motorsport entered this premier American open-wheeled Series in 1994 and has been dominating the Championship since 1995 with an enviable record of success, including six Constructors Championship titles, six Drivers Championship titles and six Rookie of the Year Reynard drivers. 

10/31/00

Lola in the news  Lola Cars International Ltd finished the 2000 CART FedEX Championship Series on a high with Christian Fittipaldi tasting victory in the final round in California yesterday. The Brazilian driver, who also claimed a $1million bonus for finishing first in the Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota, was Lola's seventh win of the season and 97th in total in CART. Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola driver Fittipaldi said: "Since the car got here on Thursday and we started running Friday, we made very few changes. Everything was perfect for 500 miles. It's obviously very good and it's great to start on a high note for next year." Despite Lola running with just 22 per cent of the CART field, the leading British racecar manufacturer led nearly 50 per cent of all the laps this season. Colombian Juan Montoya, competing in the Toyota Powered Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lola in his final Champ Car season before joining the ranks of Formula One, was at the head of the pack for a massive 820 laps, more than double the total of anyone else. Lola also ran its nearest rival Reynard close in the Constructor's Championship finishing second, just 82 points adrift although it entered less than half the number of cars. The statistics add up to Lola's most successful year in Champ Car racing since it won the title with Nigel Mansell and Newman / Haas Racing in 1993. "We've had an excellent year in the CART championship," says Lola's Managing Director, David Bowes. "We've shown that our Champ Car program is improving all the time and next season I fully expect us to be stronger still. To win the final race of the year is a great foundation for the 2001 season." 

10/30/00

Monday Trivia  What year did the great Jimmy Bryan die and where?  Answer: He died in a racing accident at the very dangerous Langhorne, PA 1-mile oval on June 19, 1960 when it was still a dirt track.  Ironically, Roger Ward, like many other drivers, didn't like Langhorne, perhaps the most treacherous dirt track of all time, and refused to run there.  Jimmy Bryan, who loved the place, filled in for Ward and crashed on the first lap of the race, suffering fatal injuries.

10/30/00

Seen at Fontana II

 
Patrick Racing superspeedway aero updates - notice top of sidepods extend forward to atop front suspension.

10/30/00

Seen at Fontana

 
(Left) Alex Zanardi talks to Max Papis.  (Center) Bobby Unser. (Right) Al Unser Jr. with Johnny Rutherford in background.

10/30/00

Kenny Brack Quotes from Sunday

Brack Brack talks about Sunday's 33 laps of racing. (0:25 min.)

Brack Brack talks about the cold, conditions and his approach to the 
Marlboro 500.
(0:42 min.)

10/29/00

Andrew Bordin crashes giving pace car ride  Toyota Atlantic driver Andrew Bordin made contact with the turn 2 wall while conducting a guest ride.  His passenger was Yoshimiichi Inada, Senior Managing Director at Pioneer Electronics.  Both were transported to Loma Linda hospital.  Bordin suffered a very slight fracture and dislocation of the 4th cervical vertebrae and will remain in the hospital overnight.  He will be back in the hospital next week to have it operated on.  Inada was unconscious briefly at the scene and was thought to have sustained a concussion.  He will also remain overnight for observation.  The jaws of life were used to remove them from the car. 

10/29/00

Michael Andretti down on boost at Fontana  AutoRacing1.com has learned that Michael Andretti was down 2 inches of boost during the race at Fontana.  If anyone was happy to see the red flag at the race it had to be Andretti whose team may have an opportunity to change the pop-off valve. 

10/29/00

Championship Racing Magazine going out of business  Ned Wicker has decided to shutdown the publication of Championship Racing Magazine after this season.  Subscriptions are said to be down since the split between CART and the IRL.  We wish Ned luck as he has done a lot for this sport. 

10/29/00

Rockingham construction update   


The 1st surface of three at Rockingham is being laid, beginning with the apron.  The construction of the garages is nearing completion with the outside cladding and doors in place. Photos courtesy of Rockingham Speedway

10/29/00

Dixon wins Lights race and with it 2000 championship  Scott Dixon  took the lead from Felipe Giaffone on the second lap and paced the final 49 circuits to win the race and clinch his first championship.  As is typical with Lights races at Fontana, the race was run in a tight pack all day, just like the race at Michigan every year. Giaffone started from the pole Sunday but only led the first lap before Dixon went past. Townsend Bell charged from 15th on the starting grid and got by Tony Renna for 2nd with eight laps to go but could not get by for the victory – finishing just .016 seconds behind. Casey Mears finished 4th. Story

10/29/00

Garcia Jr. re-ups with Team PRG  It was announced today that Luiz Garcia Jr. will again drive for TEAM PRG in 2001.  The same sponsors will remain and the team will use Reynard chassis'.  The team did not announce what engine they will be using. 

10/29/00

Giaffone wins pole for Lights race  Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) went two-for-two in superspeedway qualifying this season when he won the pole Saturday for the season-ending Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at California Speedway. Giaffone lapped the 2.029-mile oval at an average speed of 185.025 mph (39.478 seconds) for his second superspeedway pole of 2000 and his third overall this year. Giaffone also won the pole in July at Michigan Speedway, California Speedway's sister facility, where he went on to win his first race. 

10/29/00

Team Rahal Quotes from Saturday

Brack talks about Sunday's Marlboro 500. (0:09 min.)

Papis qualifying thoughts. (0:26 min.)
Mears on qualifying for his first Champ Car race.
(0:29 sec.)

10/29/00

Gil de Ferran doesn't think Champ Cars too fast  As today's post-qualifying press conference we asked Gil de Ferran what he thought about his 241 mph qualifying lap when just 3 years ago drivers were saying 240 mph was too fast.  Is it time to slow the cars down again?  Interestingly he said 240 mph feels like slow motion out there once you get used to it.  He likes that it requires special talent to drive the fastest cars in the world.  He said it's a balance between liking the speed and the concern of what happens if something goes wrong.  He doesn't want to see the cars slowed down too much.  His comments are in the last few minutes of this Audio of the Press Conference (12:30 Min)

10/28/00

Tickets sales for German 500 brisk  We ran into Hans-Jorg Fischer, President of 2-mile Eurospeedway, today at Fontana.  He told us tickets sales were about 1,000 per week but he did not think the grandstands would sell out the first year. They seat 120,000 and if you notice in the picture they extend from the 4th turn, down the front straight and around the 1st and 2nd turn. If the sales rate stays consistent, expect to see between 50,000 and 60,000 people in 2001.

10/28/00

Cinemagic Joins Mo Nunn Racing as “Official Technical Partner”  Mo Nunn Racing, which concludes its maiden season on the CART FedEx Championship Series this weekend, announced today that Cinemagic Corporation has signed with the team as “Official Technical Partner” in the “Media technology and services” category. Mechanisburg, Pa.-based Cinemagic is a media design company that provides consulting, development, production and total media package development using state-of-the-art technology. “This is an exciting day for Mo Nunn Racing and represents a significant step toward achieving the goals we have set in the marketing and branding of the Mo Nunn Racing product,” said Chris Lencheski, managing director of commercial operations for the first-year Champ Car team, which is co-owned by five-time championship-winning engineer Morris Nunn and former Campbell & Company founder and automotive marketing executive Rod Campbell. Founded in 1991, Cinemagic features a client list that reads like a who’s who of the world’s leading high-tech and entertainment properties. That includes DreamWorks, Time-Warner, MTV, Fox, CBS, ABC, Nickelodeon, America Online, Hewlett-Packard, and Hughes Network Systems. Under the technical partnership agreement, Cinemagic will produce multimedia packages, including the use of DVD and CD-ROM, for the purpose of selling and promoting the brand of Mo Nunn Racing. In addition, Cinemagic becomes a Mo Nunn Racing licensee for DVD product format that will allow Cinemagic to produce, market and sell an edutainment documentary – with a working title of The Birth of a Race Team – for retail sale. 

10/28/00

Christian Fittipaldi announces marriage plans  "Racing is major in my life but there is a little more to it than that. I am getting married on the 10th of February to Andrea (Iversson)" - a Brazilian who currently lives in Sao Paulo and works at an advertising agency.

10/28/00

Adrian Fernandez Fontana Walk of Fame Pictures 


Photos copyright 2000 Bruce D. Basura and AutoRacing1.com

10/28/00

Highlights of Bobby Rahal Saturday Press Conference

  • 20 President/CEO candidates now down to 8.  Will make final decision by 11/15

  • Engine situation - CART has been talking to manufacturers and any team that has the resources will be given a chance to compete.  That means CART is asking the manufacturers to support the series and step-up to supply more teams.

  • FedEx appears interested in sponsoring series beyond 2001

  • Expect several announcements in the coming weeks of tracks renewing their contract with CART

  • Board does not to run series.  If they have faith in President/CEO, that person will be given the authority to 'run the show'.

10/28/00

Andretti tops Saturday practice at 241 MPH Michael Andretti,  with less than five minutes left in the session, pushed his BigKmart Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas Ford/Lola to a speed of 241.588 mph.  Afterward, Andretti stood in his pit stall, talking with his father Mario and engineer Peter Gibbons. “Speedway at Nazareth”, a new Mark Knopfler song about the CART series was playing on the track p.a. system. Andretti was sporting some flashy new driver shoes with silver trim.   Was it the shoes that helped him be the fastest? “Yeah, it’s the shoes,” he said as he laughed.   “It really wasn’t the best lap I could get though. There was some traffic and I had to back off twice. I had to upshift twice too so it obviously wasn’t a perfect lap. The car’s good.” 

10/28/00

Max Papis involved in morning crash at Fontana  Max Papis hit the turn 2 wall at Fontana minutes after practice started this morning.  He appeared to be unconscious in the car and reported as a Code 3 but it turns out he had no injuries and he is cleared to drive this weekend.  If he was unconscious as someone reported, he must have regained consciousness before the safety crew reached him.

10/28/00

NASCAR Truck News from Fontana  The following NASCAR truck drivers are using the HANS device: Randy Tolsma #25, Andy Houston #60, Rick Carelli #66, Brian Raffner #3, Rob Morgan #46, Jack Sprague #24, HANS Device on order: Terry Cook #31, Ron Hornaday III #96, David Starr #41.

ANDY HOUSTON #60 Cat Rental Chevy Silverado 40.769s/176.605mph
"It was a good lap… the best we've had all weekend. It was pretty good yesterday in practice runs it was a little bet better. I held the thing flat. We've still got Kurt Busch to qualify and he was fastest yesterday… so I don't know… we'll just take what they give us. The crew has done an excellent job all weekend and all year so I'm really going to miss these guys. It would be great for my last race here in the Craftsman series to start off on the pole and win my last truck race.
JACK SPRAGUE #24 GMAC Financial Chevy Silverado 41.640s 
"That's it… I was wide open and never lifted. That's all I had. I don't know where another seven-tenths are but we don't have it … that's all we had. The GMAC Chevrolet is driving decent - we just aren't fast enough.
KEN SCHRADER #52 Federated Auto Parts Silverado 41.649s
"I'm havin' a good time. We haven't got it doin' what I want it to do yet but we're working on it. We're going to hit this half-hour practice session hard. 
MARTY HOUSTON #75 Spears Mfg. - Chevy Silverado 41.743s
"We're probably going to wind up between 15th and 20th which is where we were on the practice sheets and that's about right. This Spears Silverado doesn't have a good qualifying trim body on it… it's a high downforce truck and I think it's really going to race good. But as far as pure speed we were a little bit off but we knew that coming in. We knew that comin' in and we'll learn a lot in 'happy hour' and see how it drives with the other trucks around us. 
MATT CRAFTON #88 PickupTruck.com Chevy Silverado 41.858s
"We're real happy with our first qualifying run in a Craftsman truck. That's the first time I've run a superspeedway and the first time I've been in a truck so I really didn't know what to expect. In fact this is the first time ever in a heavy car. I've been to Vegas in a Tour car
JIM INGLEBRIGHT #92 Jelly Belly Chevy Silverado 41.858s
"Not bad actually. In turn one and two I stuck it in there petty good and I thought I could get away with it in and flat footed it. It was just a little tight and it picked up a little push coming out and I think that's what hurt me more than anything. I've never run here before so I think I'm all right for tomorrow. 
BRYAN REFFNER #3 Johns Manville - Team Menard Chevy Silverado 41.973s
"We had a little trouble in qualifying today. It just wasn't as spectacular a run as we had 
hoped it would be. I'm not sure what the problem is so we'll look at it and see what the prognosis is then get after it here in 'happy hour' and see if we can find the set-up we need to run up front tomorrow.-over-
JIMMY HENSLEY #16 eLink.com - Team Rensi Chevy Silverado
"Well our run doesn't look too swift. We're somewhere in the 20s and I don't know how many we've got left to qualify. Our lap today was the quickest we've run but I don't know how many guys will knock us back. It was my fastest lap between yesterday and today but it was just not fast enough. I just hope we can get a good race package and run a hard hundred laps tomorrow.
RONNIE HORNADAY III #94 Lucas Oil Chevy Silverado
"I thought it was a good qualifying run… I was the first one out and the track was really green. I could have drove it a little bit deeper but I didn't know what o expect. I just didn't want to wreck the truck. I thought the (Champ car) rubber would effect it more that it did… I wasn't expecting it never having this situation before. I'm still learning.

10/28/00

Bernie Ecclestone turns 70  Bernie Ecclestone reaches the milestone of 70 today, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Ecclestone still runs his empire with an energy that would be remarkable for a man half his age. And this doesn't look like changing, despite the heart surgery he underwent last year. 

10/28/00

New CART Spring Training format announced  CART announced its plans for wahat it now calls the ‘Sneak Preview’ that will replace the old Spring Training format. The Sneak Preview will be held January 16-18 at California Speedway and will feature expanded driver availability, media tours of Southern California-based Champ Car facilities - including Honda Performance Development, Toyota Racing Development, Cosworth Racing and the Swift Wind Tunnel and the inclusion of both Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic drivers as well as a charity go-kart challenge.   No cars will run like in previous years.

10/28/00

Casey Mears Interview  We caught up with Casey Mears right after he stepped out of his Champ Car yesterday at Fontana after the first practice session.  He kept his nose clean and generally got high marks from those out on the track with him.  It was his very first time in a Champ Car in traffic and he had these interesting things to say.Listen (4:00 Min.)

10/28/00

David Sears likes idea of common F3000 and Indy Lights  UPDATE Audio from our discussion with David Sears (6:48 min.) 10/27/00 - We spoke to highly successful F3000 team owner David Sears today who thought the idea of a common F3000 and Indy Lights formula makes a lot of sense.  It just so happens that both series will have new cars in 2002 so if it is going to happen, now is the time.  We will have audio of our interview later today.

10/28/00

Tracy changes hair color Paul Tracy decided to dye his hair fluorescent green for Halloween weekend.  Shown here with his crew after winning the Craftsman Pitstop competition, the green almost matches his sponsor Kool's colors.

10/28/00

IRL vs. CART speeds at Homestead  In preparation for next years first IRL race at Homestead, Greg Ray turned a top practice speed of 194MPH.   By comparison, CART's last pole was 208 MPH with the parachute-like Handford Device. Before that Greg Moore was on pole at 217MPH.  At 23 mph slower, in a 2-hour race the IRL car would be 46 laps behind the Champ car.  With Homestead being 1.5 miles per lap, the Champ car would be just over 30 laps ahead at the end of the race if it went all green from start to finish.

10/28/00

Seen at Runway Madness


CARA held its 3rd annual Runway Madness Charity Dinner, Halloween Party and Auction in a Hangar at the Ontario Airport.  Most CART drivers and others connected with CART participated.  (Left) Michael Andretti Max Papis, Paul Tracy and Memo Gidley.  (Center) Painting with hand prints of all the drivers was auctioned off.  (Right) Mario Andretti wins out over Paul Newman in the 'So you want to date a driver' skit.

 

 


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