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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 12/11/00 to 12/19/00)

12/19/00
Several CART drivers to be honored  Gil de Ferran (1st Team), Juan Montoya, Roberto Moreno, Scott Dixon and Buddy Rice have been chosen by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA), to the Millennium All-America Auto Racing Team .  The AARWBA Millennium All-Star team is made of drivers from several racing formulas including stock car, road racing, drag racing, and short track. The 12 First Team members will be honored at the annual banquet on January 13 in Pomona, California.
12/19/00
Players Team to begin testing  The Players team began its preseason testing today. Alex Tagliani will get the call when the team heads to Sebring today for the two-day test. Tagliani’s teammate, Patrick Carpentier, will begin his testing duties after the first of the year at Firebird East.  The complete Players Racing testing schedule is as follows:
Dec. 19-20 Sebring Alex Tagliani 
Jan. 5-6 Firebird East Patrick Carpentier 
Jan. 10-11 Sebring Patrick Carpentier & Alex Tagliani 
Jan. 15 Fontana Alex Tagliani 
Jan. 24-25 Phoenix Patrick Carpentier 
Jan. 27-28 Firebird East Alex Tagliani 
Feb. 8-9 Homestead (oval) Patrick Carpentier 
Feb. 11 Naples Alex Tagliani 
Feb. 14-15 Laguna Seca Patrick Carpentier 
Feb. 27-28 Homestead (oval) Alex Tagliani
12/19/00
Veteran racer Stan Fox killed in car accident  Former USAC midget driver Stan Fox died Tuesday in New Zealand from head injuries sustained in a traffic accident. He was 48.  A spokesperson for the United States Auto Club, USAC, said Fox was involved in a head on collision on a stretch of highway 200 miles south of Auckland known as "The Desert Road". Fox was reportedly ejected from his van, suffering fatal head injuries. Our condolences go out to all Stan's family and friends.
12/19/00
Texas test set for December 18th  3rd UPDATE Brack race with 40 inches of boost and 2000 equipment.  The boost will only be 37 inches for the race, but the loss of HP will be partially recovered by engine advances next year.  CART will mandate the Handford wing as we assumed months ago, and speeds are expected to be held to around 220 MPH.  All the fuss about the cars being too fast and the G-Loadings being too high was nonsense. The Champ Cars will handle the high-banks just fine, and with the Handford Device and multiple grooves afforded by the banking, the drivers will be able to run close and slingshot back and forth like never before seen in the history of open wheel racing.  If you thought the races at Michigan with the Handford Device were good, hold onto your hats folks, we expect this race to possibly be the greatest of all-time! 12/18/00 - Kenny Brack ran 220.8 MPH in very cold and windy conditions at TMS today. Full story. 12/17/00 - So far, only Kenny Brack will be there on the 18th to test.  If this were NASCAR, many teams would show up 1) just to get the extra track time, and 2) to cooperate with NASCAR.  Mr. Heitzler has some big hurdles to get over if CART can only get one driver to show up for this test.  12/1/00 - CART has scheduled a test at the Texas Motor Speedway December 18th as part of the preparation for the inaugural Texas 600k race next April. CART president of racing operations Hal Whiteford confirmed the December 18th test in a letter to speedway general manager Eddie Gossage.   Since the race was first announced, a number of driver's have expressed concern that the track may be too fast for the open-wheel series. There were even whispers that the race would be postponed or even cancelled due to safety concerns. Of course these false rumors were dispelled immediately.
12/19/00
Prost offers ride to Singapore driver  Desperate for money, the Prost team has offered a ride to Singapore driver Christian Murchison, permitted that he can come up with $2 million.  Alain Prost was quoted as saying: "F3000 is just a step away from Formula One. Looking at his background and his test results for our team, I think Christian has the potential to make it in motor racing. But first he has to get into F3000." He added: "When you think of the kind of exposure you will get, getting involved for just two million dollars is a real bargain. In the short term, these new funds will be aimed at increasing our budget".

12/19/00

Martinsville pit lane to be modified  Work has begun on a project to widen pit road at Martinsville Speedway by ten feet, an undertaking that will make life much more comfortable for drivers and crew members when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rolls into town for the Virginia 500 on April 8.  “Ten feet might not sound like much, but it's a hundred miles to these race cars on a tight pit road,” said Sterling Marlin, driver of the Coors Light Dodge.  “Giving us a little bit more room down pit road is going to be a good deal for everyone. For one thing, it will help keep you from being blocked in all the time. For another, it gives you a little bit more room to drop the jack and get out. That's going to make for a better race all the way around.”  Construction crews are in the process of removing the old inside pit-road wall. As soon as that project is completed, work will begin on construction of a new pit wall ten feet back from the original one.  “We have always tried to listen to our competitors as well as our fans. That's the best way I know of to improve what we already have,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.  “When we developed the one pit road, it was a major improvement and one I felt was necessary in today's environment. While it was welcomed by most everyone, it did have one problem in that it needed to be wider.”

12/19/00

Sears Point gets new Director of Operations  Steve Page, President and General Manager of Sears Point Raceway, has named Patrick McGuinn as the new Director of Operations. McGuinn will be responsible for on-track activities and the operations of the raceway's major events.  "Patrick has been part of the Sears Point family and involved in our major events for a number of years," Page said. "We are fortunate to have someone who is so familiar with our operations available to step into the position. I know he'll do an outstanding job."  McGuinn spent 18 years working for Chicago-based HDO Productions, including the last two years as Operations Manager for the Western United States. HDO is a leading national provider of tenting and accessories, serving venues from the White House to Pebble Beach. 

12/18/00
Colin Chapman anniversary  We missed it,  two days ago was the eighteenth anniversary of his death.  Colin Chapman May 19, 1928 - December 16, 1982 

12/17/00

Mike Wallace gets another shot at WC with Ultra in 2001  Mike Wallace will join elder brother Rusty and younger brother Kenny on the starting grid next year in Winston Cup.  One of the last pieces of the 2001 Winston Cup grid was put into place on Friday when Jim Smith confirmed that Mike Wallace had been selected to replace the Dale Earnhardt Inc bound Michael Waltrip in the #7 NationsRent/Ultra Motorsports entry for his first full time Winston Cup assault in five years.  Ultra boss Jim Smith is hoping that the acquisition of Wallace will bring some much needed stability to a team that has undergone no less than three changes of owner in the past seven seasons while the perspective move from Chevrolet to Ford chassis is expected to be completed within the very near future.

12/17/00
ISSC

New European racing series to launch UPDATE  We assumed below that the ISSC will run support events to CART's two European races. It appears we may have assumed correctly.  The ISSC has firm offers of races from the organizers of the two CART races. The CART events are scheduled to run on Saturdays - leaving Sunday as a rain-check date. Qualifying Day will then be on Friday, and ISSC will run then. Contracts are still to be signed, but that is their hope. More info when its firm.  12/16/00 - The new ISSC will give young drivers the chance to learn the famous tracks of Europe in a single-seater racing car which is similar to the Barber Dodge cars, but are more advanced and more powerful. Reynard, the original builder of the Barber-Dodge car, have re-visited their two-year old design. The chassis is completely new and based on their Formula Nippon 3000 chassis. It is therefore stiffer and narrower than the BD. The engine is the 3.5 liter Chrysler V6 now used in BD, but has been upgraded from 256 to 310 horse power. The 6-speed sequential gearbox has a magnesium casing saving 10 kilos. The car is longer than a BD, with a wider track. The 15" wheels are fitted with Avon radial tyres of the same size as used by Formula 3000.  The result is a car that is over 1 second a lap quicker than a Formula 3 car at most venues. Although the calendar for 2001 has not officially been released, it includes 6 Grand Prix circuits, two ovals and totals 12 races in 10 different countries. All races will be televised by Eurosport in Europe, with probable coverage by Speedvision in USA. The venues are: 
Monza, Italy 
Silverstone, England 
Zolder, Belgium 
Brno, Czech Republic 
A1-Ring, Austria 
Budapest, Hungary 
Nurburgring, Germany 
Magny-Cours, France 
EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Germany (oval - CART Champ Car support race) 
Rockingham, England (oval - CART Champ Car support race) 
Jarama, Spain 
Estoril, Portugal 
You can see photos of the car and other information at their web-site: http://www.euro-racing.com/issc/

12/16/00
USF3

USF3: ANDRETTI READY TO TRY AGAIN   Adam Andretti, the youngest member of the racing family legend, was the most consistent performer for all of the inaugural 2000 United States Formula Three season. He scored double-digit points in the first nine of eleven rounds. Going into the San Diego Grand Prix, Andretti was second to Stuart Crow just four points behind with 123 points. However, after a crash in round 10, Andretti was unable to finish both rounds 10 and 11. Andretti dropped down from second to third in the championship standings behind Luciano Gomide and the series champion Crow.  Andretti, extremely anxious to get back behind the wheel of a USF3 car, stated, “last year was a dream season. It was my first time in those types of cars and the first time I have ever raced at those tracks. We had less practice and testing time than any other driver all season. Next year, with a little practice and testing, I believe we can show people a thing or two.”  However, Andretti felt his first season was a success. Andretti continued, “ Up until San Diego, every race we brought a car home. We had no failures either mechanical and from myself. I love racing on road courses; especially with that type of car. The Dallara was great all year.”  For next year, Adam hopes to continue his success in racing and to take home the United States Formula Three Championship. When asked if he would change anything going into the 2001 season he said, “ I hope to go into the final rounds of the championship ahead in the points, I really felt that we had a strong chance to win the championship this season. However, we were plagued with a little bad luck at the end. Next year I hope to change all that.”  In closing Andretti wanted to thank Duesenberg Brothers Racing and Western Union for the opportunity to race in the USF3 Championship. Andretti added, “ I owe Keith Duesenberg and Western Union a world of thanks. I am very grateful for their generosity, and them enabling me to be part of the USF3. The United States Formula 3 Championship is an incredible series and I look forward to returning there in 2001.”

12/15/00

Lotterer tests for Jaguar, coming to CART? - As reported below, Dale Coyne is testing Andre Couto.  It is rumored young German Andre Lotterer may be coming to CART, possibly with the Swift team.  If you look at the drivers being considered for what are not really top rides, they are way better than they used to be. Lotterer put in a good performance in the Jaguar yesterday, his first day in a F1 car.

12/15/00

Fisichella to go under the knife - Giancarlo Fisichella will undergo an operation on his knee next week, keeping him off the test track for Benetton until the New Year. The team says the 27-year-old has a "tibial micro fracture" in his right knee and will undergo arthroscopic surgery December 18, forcing him to miss the team's next test session in Estoril, Portugal. Benetton adds they expect Fisichella to be ready for pre-season training in Lanzarote starting January 2.  It's uncertain when Fisichella sustained the injury but it's believed it occured during testing at Monza and Valencia earlier this year. 

12/15/00

Dale Coyne to test Andre Couto - Is CART about to get even more international?  According to Autosport.com, Portuguese driver André Couto is to test for Dale Coyne Racing in January at Sebring. The Macau F3 winner, who also raced for Prost in F3000 this year, recently had a test with the Nova Team for the Formula Nippon series is Japan.  "I’m anxious to take advantage of this great opportunity," said Couto. "The Coyne Team is giving me the chance and I want to execute a professional job to impress."  The initial contact between the Dale Coyne Team and Couto took place last week in Japan, while he was testing the Formula Nippon car: "A representative of the team contacted my father, who was with me at the time, to know if I was available to accept the invitation. My father told them we could talk at a later date, and today they contacted us to confirm the test drive, and our answer was positive.  Couto just turned 25 years old yesterday.  We will add his name to our 2001 Silly Season page.  Here is Couto's website.

12/14/00

AutoRacing1.com exclusive - new RIO layout Update - From the this is old news department, The new RIO track layout we scooped over 45 days ago is now making its way around Brazil.  Apparently the track has released the layout as official.  10/29/00 - The image at the right shows the new layout of the RIO circuit which will use portions of the existing oval and the existing road course.  For the most part, the Champ Cars will use about 3/4 of the existing front straight of the oval with the rest of the new circuit using portions of the road course.  We hear Emerson expects a crowd of 80,000 in 2001.

12/14/00
IRL

Penske picks Indy 500 car - After testing both a G-Force and a Dallara, Team Penske has decided to go with the Dallara and Aurora engines rebuilt and tuned by Ilmor.  Says Ilmor's Paul Ray - we have found more HP in the Aurora engine.  They hope to sign 6 teams.

12/14/00

Ford signs 3 youngsters - Ford Motor Co. racing boss Dan Davis reports that they have signed Kasey Kahne, Dave Darland and Danica Patrick to to Ford contracts.  he says he wants to hopefully send one to CART.

12/14/00

Fontana seating capacity increased to 92,000 - Seating capacity in the main grandstand at Fontana has been increased to 92,000 with the new seats just added down near the 4th turn.  This makes the track capable of hosting the 2nd largest sporting event in California behind the Long Beach GP. 

12/14/00

Junqueira and Minassian complete successful test at Sebring - Drivers get first taste of the 2001 Toyota-Lola 
Sebring, Fla. - The weather was perfect for Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dec. 13-14 test at Sebring International Raceway, and so was the team's 2001 Toyota-Lola. In 80-degree temperatures, new team drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian logged more than 400 miles, alternating driving time and engineers. "We really focused on figuring out this new car, and I'm pleased to say it was flawless," said Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Mike Hull. "Both Bruno and Nicolas are quick studies. They learned this track's nuances right away. They're right about where we expected and hoped they would be. Their attitudes and work ethics have been just as impressive as their skills in the car, and those are attributes Team Target values." Minassian, runner up to Junqueira in the 2000 FIA International F3000 Series, is also pleased with his adjustment to Champ Cars. "I've driven many cars in my lifetime, but I believe this is the most powerful one I've raced in," Minassian said. "I still have much to learn, but the team is very helpful. I like to get out and learn as much as I can about the car." Defending F3000 champion Junqueira also believes he has room to improve, but is excited about his progress. "I'm having fun getting to know my car and my teammates, and I'm learning a lot," Junqueira said. "The more I drive, the more comfortable I will be with the engineers and the car. I'm excited to be a part of Team Target. I've been very impressed with everyone's racing knowledge." Team Target continues it off-season testing Dec. 19-20 at Phoenix International Raceway. 

12/14/00

Lights - PacWest to hold runoff for 2nd seat PacWest Racing Group’s Indy Lights team prepares to defend their 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship by conducting a drive-off for their 2nd seat on December 13-15, at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona.  With Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year Dan Wheldon signed, sealed and delivered to contend the 2001 season in the #1 Invensys Power Systems PacWest Lights entry, a search for his running mate is next on the priority list for PacWest Lights team manager Paul “Ziggy” Harcus. “The biggest thing we really have to do as far as off-season preparation is concerned for the 2001 season, is to find a driver for our 2nd Indy Lights seat,” said Harcus. “We’re conducting a 3-day ‘drive off’ at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix this week for the seat, and the drivers will be Jeff Simmons, Marc Hynes and Ralph Firman. Obviously coming off a championship last season, we have very high expectations for our team this year, and PacWest is once again committed to a two-car program. We’re excited about the abilities of all of these drivers, and hopefully one of them will step up and answer the challenge. I have no doubt that with the terrific staff we have on hand, we’re capable of putting together two of the most competitive cars on the track.” Simmons was a rookie in 2000 Indy Lights competition and was impressive in his inaugural season. He finished every race, scoring points in all but one, and had a career best finish of third place in Portland. Coming off back-to-back championships in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 1998 and 1999, the 24 year-old American hopes to earn another season of Lights competition before graduating to Champ Cars. Firman won the 1996 F3 Championship and has been a consistent winner in recent years competing in the European and Japanese F3000 series. Hynes is the 1999 British F3 champion. He is highly rated by the Europeans and should put on a good show in Arizona. 

12/14/00

Lights - Wheldon signs with PacWest Dan Wheldon, the young Brit who exploded onto the Toyota Atlantic stage in 2000, officially signed a one year deal with PacWest Racing Group to pilot the #1 Invensys Power Systems PacWest Lights entry for 2001. The 22 year-old, who is regarded by many as one of the most talented young drivers in the business today, will contest next years Dayton Indy Lights Championship after an impressive run in another major CART developmental series, the Toyota Atlantic’s. Wheldon joins PacWest after a stellar 2000 campaign, which brought two wins, four pole positions, seven podiums, and the Rookie of the Year award in his first season of racing in the United States. “I couldn’t be more pleased to be joining an organization like PacWest,” said Wheldon.  “They have always been one of the most professional teams in auto racing, and this is really an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Last year I was able to watch Scott’s (Dixon) success, and now I’ll be able to step into his car and try to defend PacWest’s title. I would like to thank PacWest and Paul “Ziggy” Harcus for their confidence in me, and I can assure you I will not disappoint.”   “I can’t think of a finer choice to replace Scott Dixon than Dan Wheldon,” said Harcus, the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Top Team Player Award winner. “Dan has obviously shown his ability to drive a racecar competitively, and we’re looking forward to having him in a PacWest car this season. His history is very impressive, and I have no doubt that he will contend this year, especially with the top-notch crew that we have at PacWest.” 

12/14/00

Cristiano da Matta tries on new uniform  Cristiano da Matta tries on his new attire.  Da Matta joins the Big Kmart/Texaco team in 2001, replacing Michael Andretti.  He will team with Christian Fittipaldi making the Newman Haas team an all-Brazilian affair (Source: JJ O'Malley)

12/14/00

A possible name change for Portland Raceway  "What's in a name?" William Shakespeare asked.   "As much as $1.5 million," says Mark Wigginton, the manager of Portland International Raceway. Or could that be Intel Motorsports Park? Or Nike Racing Center?   Wigginton said the City of Portland has approved trying to market the "naming rights" to PIR, linking the racing complex to a corporate sponsor in order to raise money for improving the facility.  Wigginton said the sports marketing people he has talked to estimate putting a corporate name on the track should be worth $1.5 million a year for 10 years.  "But I'm dealing," he said. "We'll look at any reasonable offer." Only the Trail Blazers draw more attention to the city than PIR. (Source: Oregonian)

12/14/00

Changes planned for Portland Raceway  A 10-year master plan for Portland International Raceway includes improvements that will radically change the complex. Some of the changes include:
• A vehicle bridge over the racetrack at Turn 8 in the northwest corner of the site. The bridge will allow direct access to the infield, eliminating traffic jams for teams, a second exit for emergency vehicles, and use of infield facilities while the road course is being used. 
• A pedestrian bridge over the track at Turn 5 for spectators. 
• Permanent garages in the infield paddock. PIR is one of the few major racetracks without garages for competitors. 
• Commercial buildings in the south paddock. The buildings would be available for the track's racing school, a racing "pro shop," kitchen for a concessionnaire and other race-oriented businesses. 
• Maintenance buildings to replace open sheds used to store equipment. 
• Remodeled tower. 
• New office complex, museum and PIR interpretive center. The complex would be built in the northeast section of the site, so it could be accessed without going inside the racing facility. The museum and interpretive center would highlight the history of the City of Vanport (which became PIR after it was destroyed by a flood) and of motorsports in the Portland area. 
• Interstate MAX park and ride lots and rail line. They will serve MAX commuters and visitors to the PIR office and interpretive center.  (Source: Oregonian)

12/13/00

ESPN to launch RPMOnline.com  ESPN.com, part of Walt Disney Internet Group (NYSE:DIG), is launching RPM Online, the companion online service to ESPN and ESPN2's vast motorsports event and news programming that will cover the world of motorsports. The site, launching prior to the Daytona 500 in February 2001, will provide news, analysis, multimedia, games and other interactive elements for racing circuits such as NASCAR, Formula One, CART, IRL, NHRA and IROC.   "Given the extensive motorsports programming offered by ESPN, ESPN2, ABC Sports and ESPN Classic, our experience in covering racing online, and our expertise in integrating on-air and online content, RPM Online is perfectly positioned to be the ultimate online home of motorsports," said John Skipper, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Internet Group. "We are eager to play to our strengths and produce content that complements ESPN and ABC Sports' event and news shows." RPM Online's programming will consist of: 

  • News and analysis from all major racing circuits, including commentary from ESPN's on-site experts and RPM 2Night (ESPN2) hosts and analysts; 

  • A personalized experience allowing users to easily follow specific racing series. 

  • Live and on-demand streaming video and audio: live events, weekly wrap-up highlights shows; daily highlights and classic race footage; 

  • Premium and free games; 

  • Companion programming to accompany ESPN2's RPM Online news show; 

  • Specific sections dedicated to the major circuits, such as NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsmen Trucks, Formula One, CART, IRL and NHRA; 

  • Race schedules, results and standings, as well as profiles and statistics for teams and drivers; 

  • Chats and more. 

12/13/00

Gordon's #24 gets new paint scheme for 2001  Jeff Gordon's new paint scheme is the first change for the DuPont car since the company entered the sport in 1992.  Jeff Gordon's famous rainbow-colored car is getting a makeover for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. DuPont unveiled its new paint scheme for the car Tuesday, the first changes since the company entered the sport in 1992. "I feel like this team has really worked hard and come together this year," Gordon said. "It should put us in a real good position going into next year, and I think the new paint scheme will be a great way to ignite this team going into the 2001 season. 

12/13/00

Coulthard - We could learn from CART  Formula 1 should take a hard look at CART's rulebook when it comes to pitstops, according to David Coulthard.   Coulthard feels the number of mechanics taking part in a pitstop should be limited like it is in the US. He argues this would allow teams to bring both cars in at once.   Coulthard lost out on more than one occasion last season because he had to complete an extra lap before being allowed to pit because Mika Hakkinen was the team’s priority.  Coulthard told Motoring News: “In modern F1 it’s so important which lap you stop that a team has to decide based on who’s leading to favor one over the other.  “It would be better if they cut down the mechanics actually working on the tire change.   “It doesn’t matter if it takes 20 seconds, everyone’s in the same boat.  “If you could pit both cars together it would be actually driver against driver, where at the moment it’s team against team.”  In Champ Cars the number of men each team has over the pit wall is limited to 6 while there is no such rule in F1.

12/13/00

Testing Times from Valencia - Bridgestone Teams

Rank

Driver

Country

Car

Engine

Time

Date

1 Coulthard England McLaren Mercedes 1:14.73 12/13/00
2

Wurz

Austria

McLaren

Mercedes

1:15.19

12/13/00
3

Barrichello

Brazil

Ferrari

Ferrari

1:15.37

12/13/00
4 Verstappen  Holland Arrows AMT

1:16.05

12/13/00
5

Zonta

Brazil

Jordan

Honda

1:16.45

12/13/00
6

Frentzen

Germany

Jordan

Honda

1:16.55

12/13/00

Testing Times from Barcelona - Michelin Teams

Rank

Driver

Country

Car

Engine

Time

Date

1

R. Schumacher

Germany

Williams

BMW

1:20.46

12/13/00
2

Fisichella

Italy

Benetton

Renault

1:20.91

12/13/00
3

Irvine

England

Jaguar

Jaguar

1:20.97

12/13/00
4

Montoya

Colombia

Williams

BMW

1:21.11

12/13/00
5

Button

England

Benetton

Renault

1:21.18

12/13/00
6

Gene

Spain

Williams

BMW

1:22.71

12/13/00
7

Burti

Brazil

Jaguar

Jaguar

1:22.79

12/13/00
8

Alonso

Spain

Benetton

Renault

1:23.01

12/13/00
9 Alesi France Prost Peugeot 1:23.33 12/13/00
10 Bernoldi  Brazil Prost Peugeot

1:23.69

12/13/00

12/13/00

Michigan Speedway President steps down  Gene Haskett, president of Michigan International Speedway, is stepping down after 14 years at the 2-mile oval. Haskett, whose resignation is effective Jan. 5, said he is leaving to pursue another motorsports opportunity. He did not elaborate but said he will remain as a "consultant as needed" by the track. No successor was immediately named. Haskett began his motorsports career in 1983 as the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Prix. He joined Penske Speedways in 1985 when they took over management of the event. Haskett started his tenure with the Michigan track in 1986 as vice president and general manager. While still maintaining his position there, he was named the vice president and general manager of Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania in '87. In '94, he was appointed executive vice president of Motorsports International, the merchandising division of the Penske group. In '97, he became president of the Michigan track and kept the same title when it merged with International Speedway Corp. in '99. Since Haskett took over, MIS has become the largest sports facility in the state. Its capacity has grown from almost 40,000 reserved seats to more than 136,000. "We have regard for Gene Haskett's many accomplishments at MIS, and we appreciate his contributions to motorsports as an event promoter," said Jim France, president of ISC. "We thank him for his leadership during MIS's growth and our recent merger with Penske Motorsports." (Source: NASCAR)

12/13/00

Wednesday Trivia  Who holds the record for the most consecutive Grand prix wins?  Answer:  Alberto Ascari.  Driving for Ferrari he earned two world titles and racked up a record 9 consecutive Grand Prix wins in 1953-53.  Like his father 30 years earlier, he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after a testing crash at Monza on May 26, 1955 at the age of 36.  No Italian driver has won the World Championship since, unless you count American Mario Andretti who was Italian born.  Ironically, Ascari was Mario's childhood idol, and he and his family moved from Italy to American in 1955, the year Ascari died.  It was as if Mario took over where Ascari left off, for within a couple of years Andretti started his winning ways on the dirt ovals of America.

12/12/00

Pat Patrick visits Monterrey circuit  CART team owner, and Monterrey GP partner Pat Patrick is spending 2-days in Monterrey to monitor progress on the track construction and to visit with Fernando Clariond Channels, Governor of the State Nuevo Leon.  With him on the trip is his daughter Sherry

12/12/00

GM to shutdown Oldsmobile - what it means to the IRL and CART  UPDATE See rumor page for more info on this.  Earlier today - GM announced today that Oldsmobile will be no more.  What affect this has on their IRL program remains to be seen.  Some suggest the engines may be rebadged as Chevies.  Much of the advertising value gained by Oldsmobile as a results of its IRL program will now have been for naught.  With losses mounting at GM, perhaps they will end the program altogether.  If they did, and the engines continued with no name on them, that would make it much more palatable for CART engine manufacturers to allow their teams to compete in the Indy 500 without the worry of one of their drivers winning with another manufacturers engine.  One has to also wonder if Delco and OnStar sponsorship in the IRL will continue.

12/12/00

Lola unveils MG LeMans car  Lola Cars International reveals today the first image of its exciting Le Mans 24-Hours challenger for 2001. The MG Lola, designed in-house by a dedicated team of sportscar specialists, is due to have its shakedown test in March next year before heading off to France for testing at the famous circuit.  The car will be powered by a new AER-developed two-litre turbo-charged MG Rover engine.  David Bowes, Lola Cars International's Managing Director, states: "This is the most technically advanced sportscar Lola has ever designed and built.  "It is the fourth sports racing car we have designed in the last two years and although we've learned an awful lot from the first three, including winning our class at Le Mans in 2000, this one will be completely new. I believe when it hits the track it will impress and surprise a lot of people."  The MG Lola Le Mans car is the first MG motorsport project since the Rover Group was bought by the Phoenix Consortium, which included Lola, this year, and there are other racing plans in the pipeline.   Rob Oldaker, MG Rover Group director of product development, says: "MG has a fine pedigree in motorsport and a return to Le Mans is an important step in developing the brand. There will be other MG motorsports projects in 2001 as well.  "The technical challenges of motorsport will be of great advantage to my team as we roll out new MG road cars over the next few years." 

12/12/00

Is CART finally getting it?  In announcing that Marlboro Team Penske driver and 2000 CART FedEx World Series Champion Gil de Ferran, has been named as a finalist in the Driver of the Year category for the ninth annual ESPY Awards taking place in Las Vegas on February 12, 2001, they used the phrase 'World Series Champion'.  Using the word 'World' is a good move, now if they drop the word 'Series' the phrase would read as it should 'CART FedEx World Champion'.

12/12/00

Hakkinen's have baby boy  Mika Hakkinen is the proud father of a baby boy, after wife Erja gave birth to the couple's first child Monday.  "It's been really exciting," Hakkinen told the national Ilta Sanomat newspaper after the birth, "My head is spinning and I didn't event remember to check how tall the boy was!"  Congratulations to all of here at AutoRacing1.com.

12/12/00

Driven preview officially released to Movie Theaters  In case you were not aware, the Driven movie preview is now showing in movie theaters around the country as a lead in to the official release in late April of 2001.

12/11/00

Scott Dixon signs for 2nd PacWest Champ Car seat  The worst kept secret of this Silly Season is out. 20-year old New Zealand driver Scott Dixon will pilot the #18 PacWest Champ car in 2001, replacing Mark Blundell.  He joins Mauricio Gugelmin as teammate in a pair of Reynard Toyota's.  His deal with the team is for 3 more years.

12/11/00

EuroSpeedway in trademark fight over its name  German Matthias Oesterwinter has filed a complaint with the German Trademark office over the use of the title EuroSpeedway by the new EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany, site of a CART race on September 15, 2001.  He is demanding two million Marks with the use of the name EuroSpeedway.  Apparently Oesterwinter holds a trademark on the title "Euro Speed".  The track disagrees with Oesterwinter's demand and will fight it out with the Trademark office and in court if necessary.

12/11/00

Eurointernational picks American driver for 2001 USF3 season  Eurointernational Inc. has completed a perfect USF3 Series winning all seven entered 2000 races with Brazilian driver Luciano Gomide, with seven poles and seven fastest race laps in the Dallara F300 VW sponsored by Impact Protection System.  22 year old American driver, John C. Antonino from Bakersfield, CA has been selected to be behind the wheels of the new Eurointernational Dallara F301 VW for the 2001 USF3 Series.  " Has been an incredible Season for our Team " said Owner Antonio Ferrari" and today's announcement gives us a jump-start for the next USF3 Series. (Editors note: How fast are F3 cars?  Last year they were faster than the Toyota Atlantic cars at every track where both series participated.  At a time when American drivers are passed over by American teams, here is an Italian team choosing an American driver) Story

12/11/00

Prost signs with Michelin  As expected, the French Prost F1 team has signed to use French made Michelin tires for the 2001 season.  The contract is a 3-year deal.

12/11/00

Barber Dodge - Conquest signs Rossini Conquest Racing Team Owner Eric Bachelart has announced the signing of Brazilian Nilton Rossoni to his team for the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship, the Official Development Series of CART's FedEx Championship Series.   "It's a dream to sign with a top team in the Indy Lights series in my first year," said Rossoni. "I have a lot learn, but believe that Conquest will support me well enabling me to run up front. Also I have to thank Skip Barber and the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Without the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award, it would have been difficult to continue climbing the racing ladder. Also the skills that I learned racing in the Pro Series have been such a huge part of getting me to where I am, and allowing me to get comfortable in the Lights car right away."  Rossoni, 19, spent three years in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, finishing 6th in 1999 with two wins before stepping up to dominate the series in 2000. He recorded six wins in 12 races, earning the championship and the $305,000 Career Enhancement Award, which includes cash and an engine lease package for the Dayton Indy Lights Championship.   "We tested Rossoni a few weeks ago at Buttonwillow and we were very impressed with his performance," Bachelart said. "His record in Barber Dodge speaks for itself. He's young, he's very talented, and we think he will make a strong rookie this coming season." "We are also very pleased to represent the Barber Dodge Pro Series. This is the second time we have signed a graduate of that series, since we ran Chris Menninga for two seasons, and for sure they do a good job of preparing drivers for Indy Lights."   Engineer Peter Jacobs will return to the team for a fourth consecutive season. Jacobs worked with Felipe Giaffone in 2000 to earn the team 5 podiums, 3 poles, one win and a fourth-place ranking in overall points.   Conquest will begin testing for the 2001 season at Firebird Raceway in Arizona on Dec. 12-14, and then will continue on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway Dec. 16-17. The team plans to run a two-car effort and will announce its second driver shortly.   Bachelart is a former Indy car driver who founded Conquest in 1997. 

12/11/00

Barber Dodge - Morley and Sperafico To Split Big Scholarship In the wake of Patrick Long's decision to pursue his racing career dream in Europe the Barber Dodge Pro Series "Big Scholarship", the $185,000 scholarship will be split between American Jon Morley and Brazilian Rafael Sperafico. The pair exhibited speed and flair throughout the three-day Big Scholarship Run Off, pushing Long throughout at every opportunity. Both drivers joined Long in the final cut making a very favorable impression on the entire panel of judges. Morley, 20, who hails from Lewis Center, Ohio, finished fifth overall in the in the 2000 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented By RACER, scoring one win in the process. He has made one Barber Dodge Pro Series start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, finishing 15th. During the run off, he impressed not only with his speed, but with his passion for the sport and his easy manner. Panelist Gordon Kirby was left to remark that Morley displayed a beautifully fluid driving style that was a sheer joy to behold. Sperafico, 19, from Toledo Parana, Brazil finished second overall in the 2000 Formula Dodge Southern Regional Championship scoring two wins and 13 podium finishes. Like Morley the young Brazilian has one Pro Series start to his credit at the Homestead-Miami Speedway where he started an impressive sixth before slipping through the order to finish just out of the Top-10 in 11th place. Fast throughout the Big Scholarship Run Off, he too impressed the judges his natural ability in the car as well as with the pure racer attitude he showed outside of the car. The two drivers will evenly split the award over the course of the 2001 season and should begin testing imminently.

12/11/00

DSTP signs Joey Hand  Dede Rogers, owner of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic championship-winning DSTP Atlantic team, today announced that 1999 Star Formula Mazda championship winner and multi-national karting champion Joey Hand will drive the team's #27 DSTP Atlantic Swift in the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Hand, 21, enters his first season of Atlantic competition in what will be DSTP's second year in the series. Click here for the full article.

 

 


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