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DATE News (chronologically 02/09/01 to 02/14/01)
2/14/01

Kenny Brack 12/18 test photos from Texas Motor Speedway

Kenny Brack's team checks over the race car (L).  Pulling into the pits (C).
Through the tri-oval (R).  The Champ cars will be in action at TMS on April 29th.

2/14/01

Russian Champ Car team in the works for 2002  Champcar.com is reporting that at a press conference in Moscow on Monday, Italian F1/CART driver Andrea Montermini and Russian F3 driver Sergey Zlobin announced an alliance with the goal to form an Italian/Russian CART team to contest the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. The intentions of this team, which will be the official Russian National team, is to promote young Russian drivers through the Indy Lights series to their proposed CART team. Sergey Zlobin has spent the last several years helping to develop the International Formula 3 series in the Russia. Montermini and Zlobin will be assisted by Alexey Sheludchenko, who currently directs the foreign program for the Russian Club Racing team. Oil company Rosneft, Russia's last fully state-owned oil company, supported Sergey Zlobin's team in both F-1600 and Formula 3, and is expected to step up their sponsorship to include the new venture. Full Story
2/14/01

Compton eyes success  - As far as rookie seasons go, last year could only be graded as mildly successful for Stacy Compton. Over shadowed by the likes of Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr, mid season injuries and a late season manufacturers transition from Ford to Dodge all weighed heavily on last years results. But with a new crew chief in Chad Knaus, and a fleet of new Dodge Intrepid R/Ts for the 2001 racing season, it was no surprise to see Stacy Compton on the front row for the Daytona 500.  The 2000 Winston Cup season started well enough for the Virginian native, through Watkins Glen he had qualified for every event, had led a couple of races and had qualified a season best 8th place in California. But then Compton suffered a broken wrist suffered in a crash in Indianapolis and a broken collarbone that occurred in a non-racing related accident. After that, the team had trouble qualifying for events. Compton's injuries only compounded other problems the team was experiencing. There were internal problems that eventually led to a change in crew chiefs and also difficulties experienced with the team allocating resources to work on the Dodge program for this year. All this led the team to eventually miss seven of the last 14 races on the circuit.  Lake Speed Jr, spokesman for Melling Racing, explained last year like this, "Stacy made a big jump up from the truck series, and he did a good job by qualifying for every race through the first half of the season. Stacy got hurt mid-season, and his injury hampered his efforts. As a team, we failed to keep up to speed as we made the transition to Dodge. We got distracted, and lost focus, period."  But 2001 is promising to be different, late last year Chad Knaus was named crew chief for Compton and the chemistry between the two professionals was made evident in the instant harmony between the two. With last year and the off-season to prepare a fleet of entirely new race cars, there is nothing being left to chance for Compton and the Melling team. Choosing to relinquish the familiar number 9 back to Bill Elliot for this year, the team is starting fresh with number 92. Combine all this with the "One Team" approach by Dodge, and Stacy Compton and the Melling Dodge Intrepid R/T may not just start the Daytona 500 from the front row, but may end the race leading the pack as well
2/14/01

Will F1 manufacturers ultimately start their own series?    We found this Financial Times article a bit interesting in that it speculates that the auto manufacturers who are currently negotiating to buy into F1, might someday break away and start their own series.  If they do buy-in, the big carmakers are no longer mere supplicants. Ford (Jaguar), Fiat (Ferrari), DaimlerChrysler (McLaren), BMW (Williams), Renault (Benetton) and soon Toyota, effectively control more than half the F1 grid. They would gain a 25% ownership into F1 but, as we understand it, no voting rights (Would they be so foolish?  Yes, it appears they may be)  The agreement governing financial and other relations between SLEC, the teams and the FIA runs out in 2007. Even before then, there is no reason why the manufacturers collectively could not go to the FIA and ask to run their own championship where they would have voting rights to protect their interests.  FIA officials acknowledge privately they might have few grounds to refuse. Such a championship might not be called F1, might not be good for the sport and would mean complex brinkmanship over media rights. What such a scenario is not, is impossible.  One has to look no further than CART to see, in some respects, something very similar -- the race team owners essential control the sport,  and this is not terribly different than the engine suppliers in F1 doing the same someday.  CART's team owners broke away from USAC in 1978/79 because they didn't feel USAC had their best interests in mind, but more importantly they had no voting rights. Sound familiar?  Would F1's engine manufacturers, the financial lifeblood of F1, ultimately decide to do what CART did some 22 years ago, and take it upon themselves to control their own destiny?  MC
2/14/01

Barber-CART scholarships announced  Four aspiring karters are about to turn it up a notch as they make the transition from karts to racecars in the 2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championships Presented by RACER, the Official National Amateur Championship of CART. A.J. Allmendinger, 18, of Hollister, Calif.; Tommy Contino; 18, of Hesperia, Calif.; James Gue; 18, of Roswell, Ga.; and Ben Moore III; 16, of Circle Naples, Fla. were all awarded a Barber-CART Karting Scholarship which entitles them to an entry in the 2001 National Series. Each scholarship is valued at $45,000. Sixteen karters competed in the in the two-day runoff at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The caliber of talent was among the highest ever seen in the four-year history of the runoff. "This is one of those occasions where we wish we could give 16 scholarships," said Skip Barber Chief Instructor Terry Earwood in his parting address to the candidates. "You guys have made our (the judges) jobs very difficult." Allmendinger, Contino, Gue and Moore displayed keen and consistent driving talent in the car as well as poise out of it in the face of very stern competition. The quartet will now seek to prove themselves worthy of their scholarships in the 13-round 2001 Formula Dodge National Championships which kicks off at Sebring on April 28-29. As in the runoff the opposition in this invitation only series that pits top karters and amateur racers in one series is equally as fierce. In 2000, it was not uncommon for the whole of the field which averaged 18 entries to qualify within one second of one another. The 2001 series winner will be crowned as CART's first ever National Amateur Champion and will secure the Barber-CART National Championship Scholarship that awards a seat in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series as a part of the $1.3 million Barber-CART Scholarship Ladder.
2/14/01

Team Rahal breaks ground on shop expansion  Team Rahal, a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), will break ground later this week on a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art race shop adjacent to the team's Hilliard, Ohio location.  The 22,000 square foot addition will serve as the base of operation for Team Rahal in the preparation of it's livery of Champ Cars for driver's Max Papis and Kenny Brack for competition in the FedEx Championship Series. The new race shop is the first phase of a planned 50,000 square foot expansion that will comprise Team Rahal's headquarters for years to come. "We have experienced phenomenal growth at Team Rahal over the last few seasons and one of the results has been that we have outgrown our current facility," said three-time CART champion and team owner Bobby Rahal. "When we first began discussing the addition to our current shop it quickly became clear that our needs had grown to the point where we needed to design and build a race shop that will not only meet the needs of the team in 2001 but for years to come."  Fans of Team Rahal can follow the construction process with weekly photographic updates on Team Rahal's website, www.rahal.com. Columbus, Ohio based Reiner Construction will serve as the general contractor for the project. Founded in 1980 Renier Construction has grown to become one of Central Ohio's top commercial construction companies. Reiner Construction has completed high profile Central Ohio projects for a number of clients including American Electric Power (AEP), Ball Corporation, Ross Laboratories and The Galbreath Company. Completion of the Team Rahal race shop is expected midway through the 2001 CART season. The current 30,000 square foot Team Rahal facility was built in 1984 and was originally designed for the Hilliard, Ohio based Truesports Racing team and their young driver Bobby Rahal. When Truesports disbanded in 1992 Rahal leased the building and moved the operation of his then Indianapolis based team Rahal/Hogan Racing into the facility.
2/14/01

IRL selling tickets for dirt cheap to fill seats  The Homestead Miami Speedway is selling tickets for their IRL race from $25 up to $45 for the very best seat.  This is the IRL's strategy this year to try and sellout as many races as possible and improve their image.  CART Champ car tickets last year sold in the $100 range for the best seats, over twice as much as the IRL tickets.  With CART struggling to fill empty seats at many of its oval venues, one would think that a similar strategy might be tried until a larger fan base is built up.  It's obvious that high ticket prices are not working. 
2/14/01
TV ratings up for Dallas/Ft. Worth market  - Sports fans in the Fort Worth-Dallas television market contributed to the largest increase in year-to-year ratings for this past Sunday's Budweiser Shootout aired for the first time by Fox Sports.  The Metroplex led the increased viewership of the special event for NASCAR Winston Cup pole winners from 2000 held at Daytona International Speedway. The local ratings for the event were 4.4 compared to a rating of 1.8 for the 2000 event. The 144 percent increase in the ratings was the highest of the nation's ten largest television markets.  Seven of the ten largest markets showed increased ratings compared to 2000. Other major markets with increased ratings included New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Detroit and Atlanta. The overnight national rating for the Budweiser Shootout was 4.2 with a 10 share. The overnight rating was 17 percent higher than the 2000 race. "The increased ratings for the Budweiser Shootout in this area indicates the intense interest in NASCAR racing," said Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage. "The race coverage by Fox Sports was excellent and we are looking forward to Fox televising our Harrah's 500 weekend events." The overnight ratings represented 49 major markets around the country. The national ratings for the Budweiser Shootout will be available on Thursday. A show's rating indicates the percentage of U.S. homes tuned in to it and a share represents the percentage of television sets tuned in.
2/14/01
Kenny Brack keeping busy  Shell CART driver Kenny Bräck is busier now than he will be during the 22-race CART FedEx Championship Series which gets underway on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. For the past two weeks, the 34-year-old Swede hasn't been close to his Dublin, Ohio home but he isn't really complaining. He is doing what he gets paid to do - drive a race car. Brack, last year's CART Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year," flew to Daytona Beach to test an IROC stock car on the oval on Feb. 6 followed by two days of testing his new Shell Ford Lola on the road circuit at Sebring, Fla. He returned to Daytona on Feb. 9 for another round of IROC testing at Daytona. He got a break from testing on Feb. 10-11 to appear at the Chicago Auto Show. This past Monday morning (Feb. 12), Brack was back behind the wheel of an IROC machine and bump-drafting with Dale Earnhardt and others at Daytona. On Tuesday (Feb. 13), Kenny jetted to Monterey, Calif., to continue his champ car testing at Laguna Seca. Two more days (Feb. 14-15) in his open-wheeler and it's back on a private jet to Daytona for Friday's first round of IROC action. "It's been a little crazy lately," said Brack as he left Daytona for his flight to California. "But I'm getting a lot of seat time. And that will make me sharp when we race in IROC Friday and the CART opener next month. This is my job and I love it." Brack, the 1999 Indy 500 winner, returns to IROC this week after missing the international stock car series last year due to scheduling conflicts. "I'm excited about coming back to IROC," he said. "I had a great time back in 1999 when I raced in those cars. I learned a lot from those NASCAR boys. I think I know more of their tricks now. Old Earnhardt tried to bump me a few times today. Try to make me nervous, you know. But I came back and gave him a few bumps too. We'll see what happens in the race. Working with guys like Dick Trickle and Jim Sauter (IROC test drivers) has been a great experience. They like helping me in IROC. I'm the European with a road racing background. Dick and Jim seem to have as much fun as I do in these (IROC) cars."  Brack Pleased With His New Shell Mount: Brack and his Team Rahal teammate Max Papis have enjoyed their learning of new Ford-powered Lola champ car after racing last year in a Reynard chassis. "I like the new car especially on the ovals," said Brack, who still looks for his first CART win in 2001. "We have been learning more and more about the Lola on the roads. We are beginning to get a handle on the road setup. I think Max and I and our engineer have found a good direction for the road circuits. But the testing at Laguna Seca will be very helpful." Last week at Sebring, Brack was the second quickest at a time of 50.8 seconds. Tony Kanaan clocked 50.6
2/13/01
Mexico puts 30,000 more tickets on sale  The organizers of the Monterrey GP announced today that 30,000 General Admission tickets are now on sale for the CART race on March 11th.  That is in addition to the 65,000 reserved seats that are already sold.  All 30,000 are expected to sell out as well.
2/13/01
No Bull 5 Sweepstakes  - NASCAR Winston Cup race fans will have five opportunities for a party with a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver during the 2001 season. It's the latest addition to the Winston No Bull 5 "They Win, You Win" Fan Sweepstakes. The Winston No Bull 5 program links five races together during the season. Five drivers have a chance to win the million-dollar bonus at each Winston No Bull 5 event. Five fans are selected for each Winston No Bull 5 event through a nationwide sweepstakes and paired with the five eligible drivers. If a qualified driver wins the race, the driver and his fan will each win the million-dollar bonus. In 2001, one of the five eligible fans for each Winston No Bull 5 events and 24 of his or her friends will get a party in his or her hometown with one of the Winston No Bull 5 drivers. When the sweepstakes company, Young America, draws the five fan names, the fan whose name is drawn first will receive the party. The five eligible fans for the March 4 UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas are Rodney Mims from Clanton, Ala., Robert Kabel from Rhinelander, Wis., Patricia Arnold from Chesapeake, Va., Cindy Edwards from Hendersonville, Tenn., and Karen Free from Pompey, N.Y. Because Rodney Mims was the first fan drawn, he'll be attending a party with 24 of his friends and one of the eligible drivers for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.  The Winston No Bull 5 drivers for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas are the top-five finishers from last year's Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. They are Dale Earnhardt, Kenny Wallace, Joe Nemechek, Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, one of these drivers will attend a party with Mims and 24 of his friends in Birmingham, Ala. The event is not open to the public. This pre-event party will happen prior to each Winston No Bull 5 events of the season. After Las Vegas, the remaining Winston No Bull 5 events are the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway and the October NASCAR Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
2/13/01
Tiemann to get first real test  Zakspeed Forsythe rookie driver Marcel Tiemann will get his first real test in his Lola Ford at Firebird Raceway next week.  The team has been waiting for the car and engines to arrive and they will try to get him more as much test time as possible before the season opener in Mexico.  We have added him to our CART Testing Page
2/13/01
Harvick to make debut in Atlanta  - Kevin Harvick announced this weekend he will make his NASCAR Winston Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the March 11 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500. Harvick, 25, will team with seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and Mike Skinner to run a limited schedule of NASCAR Winston Cup races for Richard Childress Racing. He will pilot the No. 30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "Kevin Harvick, with his cool, aggressive style, will contribute a great deal to RCR for many years to come," said Richard Childress, president and C.E.O. of Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. "We believe that bringing AOL and Kevin together will give RCR fans something exciting they can connect to for a long time." Last season's Busch Series rookie of the year, Harvick won three races and finished third in the point standings. He has made one start at Atlanta Motor Speedway, starting 14th and finishing 37th in the Aaron's 312 Busch Series race last March. Harvick will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway for more practice on the lightning-fast high banks of the 1.54-mile quad-oval track next Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 20-21
2/13/01
PacWest Lights Team preparing for Mexico PacWest Indy Lights driver Dan Wheldon completed day one of a two day test at Sebring International Raceway in Florida Monday, as the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Series season-opener on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico fast approaches. Wheldon, the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year, took to the 1.6-mile Sebring road course for the first time this season and was pleased with his progress. Mark Hynes, the 1999 British F3 champion, joined Wheldon and tested the second PacWest Indy Lights car. He had participated in an earlier testing session with PacWest in December, and Paul “Ziggy” Harcus, team manager, was very impressed with his abilities and asked him to come back for a second test. The two drivers drove competitively against each other with Wheldon posting a quick time of 58.1 seconds, while Hynes managed a quick lap of 58.2 seconds. The PacWest Indy Lights team will test again today at Sebring before they head to Texas for a two-day test February 20 and 22. DAN WHELDON - # 1 PACWEST INDY LIGHTS “It was really good to be back in the car,” said Wheldon. “We were pretty slow on the straights, but we’re not here for optimum lap times, we’re here to test,” he added. “We have another day Tuesday, and we will work through what we need to and have something good for Mexico. It’s great working with Ziggy and this team - I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season.” PAUL (“ZIGGY”) HARCUS – PACWEST INDY LIGHTS TEAM MANAGER  “Both Dan and Mark had a great day pushing each other,” said Harcus. “We were hard on the brakes and shocks, but overall we had a good test, and I’m very happy with both drivers’ performances. Towards the end of the day, Mark had a small off, but he was uninjured. We’ll work hard to make the necessary repairs so Mark will be ready to hit the track again Tuesday.” 
2/13/01
Cheating rampant in NASCAR  - Tony Furr, crew chief of the No. 25 Chevrolet driven by Jerry Nadeau, was fined $10,000 and handed a four-race suspension for using illegal rear suspension parts during Saturday's qualifying for the Daytona 500, Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson announced Monday. Nelson said the part in question was the right-rear jackscrew, a foot long metal rod used to adjust the height of the car. The jackscrew in question included an inch-long piece of metal designed to break away during the run. As Nadeau steered through the corner, that piece broke away and aerodynamic downforce pushed the car lower through the air. In turn, Nadeau posted the second-quickest time on the speed chart. When he requalified Monday with legal suspension parts, his time was just the 47th-quickest overall.  No fewer than 18 fines were handed out by NASCAR due to weekend infractions.  See our NASCAR page for the full list.
2/13/01
Join Tony Kanaan in a live chat Join CART driver Tony Kanaan of the Mo Nunn Racing team today at 3:00 PM EST on ESPN.com for a live chat session.  Chat Link
2/13/01
Atlanta ticket sale  - Through the Fans First initiative, Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced that beginning today a limited number of tickets for the March 11 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 will be available for just $19. These specially priced tickets are located in rows 25 through 11 of the Weaver Grandstand and offer fans an excellent view of the entire 1.54-mile quad-oval.  To accommodate the rush of ticket buyers, the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office will have expanded hours today, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The ticket office will be open during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the rest of the week. "Our dedicated staff will be here to answer questions and help fans purchase the best tickets possible," said Frances Goss, longtime ticket manager for Atlanta Motor Speedway. "You will never get a better bargain for this experience of a lifetime." With this special offer, a family of four can attend the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 for just $76 - less than the cost of one ticket at many speedways. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 is the first of two visits the NASCAR Winston Cup series will make to Atlanta Motor Speedway this year. The series returns in November for the championship race, the NAPA 500. Because of the limited number of $19 tickets, they will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Great seats are still available in all other grandstands and price categories. Fans can purchase their tickets by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or by calling Ticketmaster. 
2/12/01
Stubborn Ol' Boys  Even After Deaths of Petty and Irwin Last Year, NASCAR Lagging Behind When It Comes to Driver Safety, By ED HINTON, Tribune Motor Sports Writer  Mario Andretti awakens a split-second before dying.  "I still wake up from dreams that I am crashing, or that I'm upside down--things I used to dread and fear," he says. Andretti is 60. "Thank God I survived that era." In his time, he did it all: dirt-track stock cars, sprint cars, midget cars, Indy cars, prototype sports cars, NASCAR, Formula One. He won it all: the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the world driving championship. . . . And he lived to tell about it. He cannot count the friends who didn't. "At the beginning of a season, I would look around at a drivers' meeting and I would think, 'I wonder who's not going to be here at the end,' " he says. "There were years when we lost as many as six guys." A young Emerson Fittipaldi would glance around the starting grid at the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco each spring and see 22 drivers. "We all knew the odds," he says. "Three of us would not survive the season." Full Story | Soft Walls Still Have Proponents, Opponents | What Price Safety? | PEDS Has Made Progress | Head Impact Isn't Necessary in Fatal Crashes
2/12/01
Quokka announces restructuring Quokka, the folks that produce CART's website, announced a major restructuring plan to realign the Company to maximize its core capabilities with profitable business opportunities, streamline operations and reduce its cost structure. Recognized as one of the most innovative media technology companies in the United States, Quokka Sports will focus its core business on live sport event coverage and will be setting up its technology infrastructure division as a separate business unit to provide managed services for companies needing to create rich content for the Internet, broadband, Interactive/Enhanced TV and wireless platforms. The restructuring of the Company's business is expected to diversify revenue opportunities while significantly reducing operational costs.  One has to wonder whether this announcement has any affect on their relationship with CART.  Full Story
2/12/01
Sigma confirms Oriol Servia Today Sigma Motorsports made it official, they announced that Oriol Servia will pilot their Lola Ford for the 2001 season.  In the next few days they will be testing at Laguna Seca. This will mark the second test session for the Sigma-Servia combination. One thing that can be said about Oriol is that he knows what he wants and he isn't afraid to ask for it the team said. That is just the way Sigma wants it.  Servia was a last minute replacement for Max Wilson who will now drive for the Arciero Brooke Racing team.
2/12/01
F1 Tire war causes record test speeds already  For the third straight day, McLaren drivers posted the fastest lap during testing at Valencia, Spain. David Coulthard not only topped the time sheets but he set a new track record with a lap of 1:13.423. The time was just 2-100ths of a second faster than test driver Alexander Wurz, despite mechanical problems suffered by both McLaren drivers on Monday. Coulthard's time was more than 1-10th of a second faster than Hakkinen's track record set on Sunday. Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher set a new track record during testing at Kyalami, South Africa. The German's time of 1:19.517 was 9-100ths of a second faster than teammate Juan Pablo Montoya. BMW-Williams completed several long distance runs on the new FW23 without any problems. Canadian Jacques Villeneuve finished 1.5 seconds slower the Williams duo, putting more than 100 laps on the new BAR-Honda 003.  MC
2/12/01
Team Kool Green satisfied with Homestead test - Dario Franchitti and the #27 Team KOOL Green crew tested for the first time in 2001 on February 8 and 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As well as getting the KOOL Honda-Reynard up to speed, the test was designed to familiarize Dario and his crew, which features a number of new faces this season including race engineer Iain Watt and chief mechanic George Klotz. With the TKG crew focusing on the aerodynamic package, Franchitti turned a best lap of 27.1 seconds while completing 65 laps on Thursday. Friday saw Dario run 96 trouble-free laps consistently in the 26 second range, including a 26.3 which is the fastest time at Homestead during winter testing. "This was a great test for the team," said team manager Kyle Moyer. "We had no mechanical failures on the car and we were able to keep it running quick, even in race balance." Moyer noted that Franchitti came to the test after spending time in Austria where he was part of a rigorous physical training program, adding that he is "in the best shape I've ever seen him in." Franchitti expressed satisfaction with the test and the progress he made in establishing an effective working relationship with his crew.  "I'm starting to get more comfortable with the new guys on my team," said Dario. "It is interesting working with Iain and George, my relationship with both of them is building quickly and we're working really well together. I've worked hard on my physical conditioning this winter and I can see George and the crew have also worked hard on the car. I'm ready to learn even more about the new car in the next couple of weeks." Franchitti and the #27 TKG team will be testing during seven of the next 17 days. Their test program will continue on February 14 and 15 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course. 
2/12/01
News and Notes on the Toyota Atlantic Series As preparations continue for the upcoming season, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship saw more drivers signing for the 2001 stint. The growing line-up of drivers along with a major announcement from Toyota has enhanced the series as one of the premier training grounds for young drivers trying to make it to the CART FedEx Championship Series.  Story (PDF)
2/11/01
Bryan Herta interview In this 7th in a series of interviews, Julie Andre sits down and talks with American Bryan Herta, driver in the new Zakspeed/Forsythe Team, which will field a pair of Ford powered Reynards in 2001.  After only driving part-time in 2000, Bryan is looking forward to getting back into the seat full-time in 2001.  That interview can be found on our CART page.
2/11/01
Coulthard buys hotel in Monaco  McLaren driver David Coulthard has bought a hotel in Monaco which he is in the process of refurbishing.  The Abela Hotel in Fontvieille will be renamed Columbus and will be open for the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May. MC
2/11/01
Villeneuve to open restaurant/nightclub in Montreal  Jacques Villeneuve has decided to open a restaurant in Montreal, but the restaurant, rumored to be called The Newtown, will not just serve food.  Jacques plans to have a multi-level building with a club on one floor, a restaurant on ground level, a bar-lounge and a terrace.  He has already bought a four story building on the corner of Crescent and de Maisonneuve Street in Montreal with Craig Pollock and financial advisor Julian Jakobi.  Jacques said: "I enjoy being in Montreal and for quite a while now I've been looking for a reason to spend more time there.  "I have also had the idea for some time to open a place where people can get together in a setting that lends itself to partying and just simply relaxing. The opening of my restaurant bar in Montreal fulfils both of these wishes." MC
2/11/01
Herta concludes Homestead testing, heads west  Continuing preparations for the 2001 CART FedEx season, the Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Team logged approximately 364 miles during its two-day test on the 1.502-mile Homestead oval Thursday and Friday.  Bryan Herta, driver of the #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe/Ford-Reynard, was pleased with the progress he and his crew accomplished Thursday, but struggled a bit on day two. "I ended up going a little bit faster than I did on the first day, but we were ran into some limitations with the tire restrictions, and were never really able to achieve everything from the car that we know is there." Herta continued, "but overall, it was another successful test, because we came with a list of changes to try, and we were able to learn from those changes. We could have used a little more track time on Friday, but we definitely made progress."  Team manager Steve Dickson is pleased with the crews progress; "The team has done a real good job. We didn’t achieve all that we wanted to today, but the limiting factor was tires. Other than that, we came here with a big list, and we accomplished a lot of work. For the most part, we have been able to maximize the track time, and Bryan gives 100% every time he’s in the car." Pre-season testing continues next week for Herta, as he returns to Laguna Seca, the site of his back-to-back Champ Car victories in 1998 and ‘99.
2/11/01
Mario Andretti talks about his son's return to the Indy 500 Mario Andretti was a guest on ESPN's RPM Radio with John Kernan this past Friday night.  He talks about several topics, including the latest on his son's return to the Indy 500.  Interviews page.
2/11/01
Dodge welcome back slide show We have added a slide show to our NASCAR page welcoming them back to NASCAR.  We will be bringing you an assortment of slide shows throughout the year.
2/9/01
Mexico race ticket sales strong Ticket sales for the Monterrey, Mexico CART race have now surpassed the 75,000 mark for race day tickets.  Well over 200,000 people are expected for the 3-day weekend.
2/9/01
Penske Racing announces new sponsor for Mayfield The top electronics company in the country will join forces with one of the top teams in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, it was announced today. Sony Electronics will team with Penske Racing and the Mobil 1 Taurus team of driver Jeremy Mayfield as an associate sponsor beginning in 2001. Sony has selected the award-winning FD Trinitron WEGA (pronounced "VAY-Ga") television line to be represented on the race car. Throughout the season, the WEGA logo will appear on the associate sponsorship capacity on the upper-front rear quarter panel of Mayfield¹s Mobil 1 Taurus, as well as on his uniform. "We are pleased that a world class organization like Sony Electronics is joining Penske Racing, Exxon/Mobil and Jeremy Mayfield in our effort to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship," said Walter P. Czarnecki, President, Penske Racing LLC. "We believe Sony¹s commitment to the highest quality standards and its position as an industry leader clearly complement the competitive philosophy of Penske Racing." Mayfield is coming off a very successful season that saw the Mobil 1 Taurus win races at Fontana, Calif., and Pocono, Pa., as well as four poles last season. Fourth in laps led among all NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, Mayfield is considered one of the top contenders in the series this year. "You¹re known by the company you keep, and to have a company with the quality of Sony Electronics joining us means a lot to everyone at Penske Racing and everyone involved with this Mobil 1 Taurus team," Mayfield said. "I am really happy with Sony¹s participation." WEGA televisions will be the featured brand in the Penske-Sony relationship. Since launching the industry¹s first line of flat screen direct view televisions three years ago, Sony is looking to increase the brand¹s awareness and build an even stronger consumer base, something they believe NASCAR and Penske Racing will facilitate. "We are confident our affiliation with NASCAR and the powerful combination of Penske Racing and Jeremy Mayfield will fuel brand exposure for Sony WEGA TV¹s among fans of this premier racing circuit in the nation.," said Tim Alessi, director of Sony Electronics¹ Television Marketing Group. "With televised NASCAR events taking the next step in technology through increased network coverage, fans are going to demand the best performance from their televisions and home theater systems. For that, Sony and WEGA TVs will deliver the true racing experience." Sony will also continue the Sony Tech Pit, which made its debut last season at Winston Cup tracks. The Sony Tech Pit is a 60-by-80-foot mobile road show engineered to give fans a front-row seat for an interactive look at the latest products in home entertainment, digital imaging, car audio and personal computers. It features a fast-moving sensory experience, giving fans the opportunity to interact with Sony products, and present the many ways to assemble their own home entertainment system, and enjoy the thrills of WEGA televisions and home theater demonstrations in Dolby Digital surround sound. The exhibit will also include computer-simulated races, a Sony showcar and feature personal appearances by Jeremy Mayfield at selected events.
2/9/01

Leitzinger to run at Watkins Glen, Papis also considered Update Mathew Cleary from the Lime Rock track writes - "I'd like to update the information-Butch actually has won three times, 1994-1996 at the Busch North Race at Lime Rock Park. It became ruefully known as the "Butch North Race" by his competitors after stunning them on several occasions, including winning from last place."   Earlier today  -Cicci-Welliver Racing will return to this year's Global Crossing@the Glen Winston Cup race in August with accomplished road racer Butch Leitzinger. The team's first choice would have been road race specialist Ron Fellows, who won last year's Lysol 200 BGN race at Watkins Glen. Fellows had already committed to return to the Glen with Joe Nemechek's team. Boris Said, another road race veteran, was also not available. Cicci-Welliver chose Leitzinger, who finished a close second to Fellows in the Lysol 200. The two-time world sports car champion and three-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner will drive the #34 Chevy owned by Frank Cicci Jr., and cousins Scott and Jeff Welliver. They had considered gambling on other road racers who were inexperienced in NASCAR racing, such as Champ Car (CART) driver Max Papis. Cicci said they are still negotiating for a sponsor to complete the deal. It is likely that the New York State Tourism bureau will return as the primary sponsor with its "I Love New York" campaign. Leitzinger, of State College, has made only a few NASCAR appearances, all on road courses. He has three Busch North Series wins: two at Line Rock Park, Conn., and one at the Glen. He finished 20th in his last Watkins Glen Winston Cup race in 1996 in the No. 29 Cartoon Network Chevy. Todd Bodine had been Cicci-Welliver's primary Winston Cup fill-in driver at Watkins Glen, competing twice in the past, including last year. In 1997, Bodine and Cicci-Welliver Racing earned the pole qualifying spot. Bodine is now competing full time in Winston Cup with the #66 Haas-Carter team Elmira Star Gazette
2/9/01
Da Matta happy with Sebring test while Fittipaldi gets married Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas driver Cristiano da Matta completed a two day test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. late yesterday and was pleased with the progress as the CART FedEx Championship Series 2001 season-opener on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico fast approaches. "We tried lots of little things over the two days and I think we are in good shape so far," said da Matta. "We had a small problem on the first day and didn't get to run in the afternoon but I was happy with what we learned on Wednesday morning. On the second day, I had run over 70 miles before we stopped for lunch and 300 miles for the two-days. Our quickest lap was a 50.8 but we were trying so many little things and didn't put everything together to go for it totally so I know we are getting better each time we test. We have a few more days of testing here with Christian so I think we have made good progress. We are a little closer to Penske than before. Our car and Tony's (Kanaan) were the best of the rest at this test which definitely puts you at ease a little although you can never stop progressing." Da Matta will continue testing next week while his teammate and racing's former "Most Eligible Bachelor" Christian Fittipaldi, is on his honeymoon after marrying the former Andrea Iversson this past Saturday, February 3, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (photo attached). Da Matta will test at Laguna Seca Raceway for two days between February 13-15 before handing over duties to Kmart Newman/Haas driver Fittipaldi on February 20-22 at Sebring International Raceway.
2/9/01
Andretti quick out of the box at Homestead Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti continued their winter testing yesterday in the brisk winds of Homestead-Miami Speedway. Team Motorola was scheduled to test their #39 Honda-Reynard both Thursday and Friday but after running less than 28 laps on Thursday, the team felt comfortable on the oval and cancelled today's test session so the day could be used for a road course test at a later date. "We were a bit slow getting on the track on Thursday but once we turned a lap, we were anything but slow", said team manager Tony Cotman. "The test was a good example of the benefit of our technical partnership with Team KOOL Green. This was Michael's first time out on the oval with Team Motorola but we had utilized set-up information from an earlier test with Paul and right out of the box we were fast. The partnership helped cement our decision to bank our Friday test day since Dario will still be running at Homestead and gathering oval information. Now we can use that day in Sebring next week where we need to try new set-ups on the road course." The opening of the test didn't look very promising when the initial attempts to fire the engine were unsuccessful. After inspection it appeared that an ignition crank sensor had failed so the crew spent most of the morning on an engine change. Once Team Motorola got on the track it was all business as Andretti set the quickest lap of the day at 26.85 seconds in only his eighth turn around the 1.5-mile oval. "I am very happy with the car right now", said Andretti. "It's a good feeling to come out on the oval for the first time this season and be quick right away. To have such a good race car this early in testing is surprising in a way, but with such a quality group at Team Motorola I'm really not that surprised." After posting the quick time early out in the run the team focused on practicing pit stops. The Team Motorola crew simulated six live pit stops in their new pit crew positions and with their new driver. Team manager Tony Cotman oversaw the practice and was happy with the performance. "Although we've been practicing in the shop this was our first chance to practice with Michael and the car in a live simulation," said Cotman. "I couldn't be happier with the way these guys are working together and I think it will really make a difference come race day." Team Motorola will resume testing February 14th and 15th on the Homestead Road Course in preparation for the CART Fed Ex Series season opener in Monterey, Mexico on March 11, 2001.
2/9/01
Tagliani completes oval tests Exactly one month prior to the first race weekend on the FedEx CART Championship schedule, Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani today completed his final off-season testing session on an oval configuration, putting the 2001 Player's Reynard through its paces on the 1.5-mile Homestead track. "We had a productive two days on the Homestead oval," said Tagliani, who shared the track with five other drivers in the CART series. "We were able to accomplish what we set out to do - things like working on the front suspension and trying out a different wheel base. Now that we've finished our off-season testing on ovals, we can concentrate on the road courses and focus specifically on the opening race of the year, which is a road-course event in Monterrey (Mexico). "At this point of our off-season testing, I think we're right where we want to be," added Tagliani, who is entering his sophomore season in the CART series after a rookie campaign that was filled with promise. "I had the opportunity to work with (Team Player's technical advisor) Tony Cicale the last two days and we've developed a strong rapport. I think it's great to be able to draw on the expertise of a guy like Tony. It can only make me a better driver." Tagliani and the Team Player's crew had to cope with windy conditions on both days of the testing sessions. They also took some time out of today's run to make some gear-box adjustments. "The wind affected the car differently, depending on which end was receiving the brunt of it," said Tagliani. "Sometimes, it was quicker on one side and we were fighting the wind on the other. That made the car a bit tricky to handle at times but we worked with it and everything turned out well." Team Player's has another off-season testing session scheduled for Sunday, when Tagliani will run the car on a straightaway at the Naples, Florida track. This session will give Team Player's the opportunity to work on aerodynamics. Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier's next testing session will be at Laguna Seca, California, February 14th and 15th.
2/9/01
Outcry to Rio cancellation starts. Christian Fittipaldi, #11 Kmart Newman/Haas Toyota-Lola (while on his honeymoon): "After it was initially announced that the new mayor of Rio put the race on hold to review the city contracts, I knew that my uncle would work very hard to keep this race on the schedule. I know he did his best to find a solution but the situation was out of his hands. It's extremely disappointing not to race in Rio, not only for me because I am a Brazilian but also for the fans we have in the country. CART racing is growing in popularity in Brazil partly due to the success of the Brazilians who represent our country in this sport. It is a shame that the new mayor made this decision. It is also a shame about the timing of the decision."  Cristiano da Matta, #6 Texaco/Havoline Toyota-Lola: "I am racing for a stronger team this year and really had a chance to win the race in my home country so I am very disappointed. My previous team ran well in Rio the past few years but no I have an even better chance to win and I am extremely disappointed not to be able to race in my home country. If they close the facility it would also be a shame. The first time I ever drove a racecar was there. It would be crazy to get rid of the track. It is in good condition. Probably the only thing that is needed to put on a good race there is for the grass to be mowed. It is a top-class racetrack. There has been a lot invested in the past five years to improve the track. It is a shame that it won't be used. The interest in Brazil grows every day and this is the only chance for the fans to watch us race in person, up-close. With 10 Brazilians doing very well in the series, I do not understand why this happened."
2/9/01
RIO Update RIO race cancelled, CART now looking for replacement race. Championship Auto Racing Teams (NYSE:MPH) announced today that the Rio 200 - Round 2 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series - has been cancelled.  CART previously notified the City of Rio de Janeiro that it was in default of its agreement with CART concerning the 2001 Rio 200. The city missed its deadline for providing CART with letters of credit guaranteeing the payment of sanction fees required by the existing contract.  In addition to being in default of the contract financially, the city also failed to provide event promoter Emerson Fittipaldi, a former CART driving champion (1989), with access to the race venue, Nelson Piquet International Raceway, preventing Fittipaldi and his team from beginning preparations for the race.  "After exploring all possibilities with the promoter of the event, we unfortunately have reached the conclusion that it is impossible to go forward with this year's Rio 200," said CART President/CEO Joseph Heitzler. "This is most regrettable."  "This is a great embarrassment for all of Brazil," Fittipaldi said.  Championship Auto Racing Teams has conducted an annual event in Rio de Janeiro since 1996. The series' reigning champion, Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, is Brazilian, as are 10 of the 31 drivers expected to compete for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series championship.  CART opens its record 21-race FedEx Championship Series season on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico.  During the press conference, Mr. Heitzler made it clear that the Mayor cutoff all communications with CART and denied all access to the track, making it impossible for CART to do anything but cancel the event.  By canceling the event, CART is now free to explore replacement races, in either Brazil or the USA.  If a replacement race is found, it's most likely going to be in Brazil because of the importance to all the Brazilian sponsors in CART that a race be held in their homeland.  There are four tracks that have been suggested, including Brasilia and the Ayrton Senna track in nearby Goiania.  CART will be exploring those options over the weekend.
2/9/01
Mo Nunn racing has successful Sebring Test Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Alex Zanardi completed two successful days of testing on the Sebring International Raceway road course on Thursday, bringing to six the total number of test days this offseason for each driver and marking their first two together as teammates. Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard covered 245 miles over the two days Wednesday and Thursday and recorded a fast lap under the 51-second barrier.  Zanardi and his #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard totaled 284 miles and clocked a fast lap at just over 51 seconds. The two-day session also marked the first time the entire staff of engineers and crew for both cars worked side-by-side at the racetrack this offseason. That group includes team owner and veteran race engineer Morris Nunn, Kanaan's race engineer Eric Cowdin, assistant engineer Vince Wood, and crew chief David Popielarz, and Zanardi's race engineer Jim Anderson, assistant engineer Adam Schaechter, and crew chief Don Lambert. Testing concludes at Sebring and Homestead, Fla., the week of Feb. 19. The season-opening event on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series is March 11 at Monterrey, Mexico. QUOTES - STEVE NEWEY, GENERAL MANAGER - "It was a very good test. We systematically went through our program with each driver. We’re trying different with each driver and car to try and cover as much ground as we can before we have to go to Mexico. Those cars were very different as far as their setups and their specifications during the two days. We got through quite a bit. We learned a lot. We gathered a significant amount of information. And, best of all, both drivers are reasonably satisfied with their cars. I wouldn't say we came here focusing on any one particular area. We had a hefty list of things we wanted to accomplish. Overall, it was the usual effort to gain overall grip and to fine-tune and balance the cars. We still have a lot of work left to do. We already have a long list of things to bring to our next test at the end of the month. But this was a nice dress rehearsal for Mexico. As for Alex and Tony working together, it couldn’t be better. Those guys work together very well. They're both pulling in the same direction trying to improve their cars, and sharing information. Tony’s in a situation where he’s got some very familiar faces around him after a year together. Alex is very comfortable in his environment and he’s learning the new faces and getting to know the guys working on his car. It takes time for the communication to become second nature." TONY KANAAN, #55 HOLLYWOOD/MO NUNN RACING HONDA-REYNARD "We did a lot of stuff. That was the first time that the team worked together on both cars at the same time. I think we did very well. We all shared the same truck, the same tent. I was a bit tense about that coming in. But everything worked like the team was together for a long time. Me and Eric (Cowdin) and Alex and Jim (Anderson), everybody went in a different direction with our setups. We then share information that both of us have found. I’m pleased with the tests. We have four more days to go and that’s it. I’m excited we’re getting close to the start of the season. I'm ready to go. And these two days really proved to me that a two-car team is way better than one." ALEX ZANARDI, #66 PIONEER-WORLDCOM/MO NUNN RACING HONDA-REYNARD "We learned a lot. We're progressing nicely to a certain degree. We're getting to know the car better. I’m a happy guy. Listen, for me, it wasn’t the greatest test because every race car driver wants to go fastest. We went into some fundamental work that required a big change to my car. Once we did that, we realized that was not the direction we wanted to go, but we were stuck with it and had to live the whole day with it. Overall, we ran a lot of laps ... really, a lot of laps. We tried a lot of things and covered a lot of ground as a team. We learned a lot from the test. We picked up some very useful information and I'm looking forward to getting back out here for four more days at the end of the month." Test Times
2/9/01
Servia tests Sigma Lola Yesterday, Oriol Servia tested the Sigma Lola Ford, on the 1.5 mile speedway near Miami. Servia was in the car for the first time and recorded a fastest time of 27.3 which was close to some of the others who were testing including Michael Andretti in the new Motorola Reynard Honda. He was, apparently, only 5/10ths - of - a -second off of Andretti's times. Oriol Servia said to Sigma Team manager Phil Howard that the Lola, "...was the best car that he has ever driven at Homestead." This is a good sign. Testing continues today.Test Times
2/9/01
Two join Arciero Brooke Racing Mark Morgan and Joe La Joie began to work for Brooke Racing as Team Manager and Chief Engineer, respectively. President Barry Brooke gives them a warm welcome.  "I have a long-standing relationship with Joe (La Joie) and Mark (Morgan). I worked with Joe in Davis' days, when Chuck Matthews and him were the engineers. I met Joe there and since then, our relationship has been real good. I like the way he works, he is very methodical," said Brooke.  "The reason that I am at Brooke Racing is that Barry (Brooke) wanted a certain type of engineer, with a certain amount of time and experience and I fitted in the paragraph. I think, what Barry was looking for is what I was looking for. It's nice to work in a new team. We start from scratch and it's a nice challenge," said Joe La Joie, new Chief Engineer for Arciero Brooke Racing.  "Regarding Mark (Morgan), I have known him for quite a few years, because the relationship with the Arcieros. He has a very strong understanding of what it takes to run a very successful team and I am delighted that both have joined us in Arciero Brooke Racing," he added.  "It is a great chance to team up with the Arciero Family again. Both the Arciero Family and Barry Brooke have given me a great opportunity to be part of their new venture. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead!," said Mark Morgan, new Arciero Brooke Racing Team Manager..
2/9/01
Team Kool Green gears up at Sebring Team KOOL Green and driver Paul Tracy took advantage of the warm weather in Florida to complete two days of scheduled testing at Sebring International Raceway.  The team spent Wednesday morning working with Honda engineers mapping the new HR-1 series engine. The focus then shifted to the car's setup, first with suspension followed by the braking system. Tracy was among the quickest on the track and turned an unofficial best lap of 51.3 seconds on Wednesday. Paul was again among the fastest on Thursday with a lap of 51.5 seconds. In all Tracy completed 123 laps or just over 200 miles.  "I think the test went really well," said two-time CART All-Star Paul Tracy. "We were around the top of the speed charts both days and we have been able to keep lap times consistent." Tracy is also excited about the upcoming season and the addition of Team KOOL Green consultant and Paul's race strategist John Anderson. Anderson is a new face on the #26 team, joining race engineer Steve Challis and chief mechanic Eric Haverson. "I'm really looking forward to working with Paul this year," said Anderson. "You can tell this team has benefited from testing, Steve and Paul look like they have been working together forever, they think a lot alike and you can see the relationship building. Paul's a great racer, and I can't wait for a race weekend where we can turn him loose."  While the #26 Team KOOL Green crew heads back to Indianapolis to prepare for their January 19th test at Sebring, the #27 TKG team and Dario Franchitti began a two-day test session Thursday at Homestead Miami Speedway.  TKG
2/9/01
PacWest duo team up at Sebring Veteran Mauricio Gugelmin joined his PacWest teammate, Scott Dixon, for the final leg of the teams’ two-day Sebring test Thursday. Dixon, who is trying to overcome the flu bug, returned for his second consecutive day of running.  Gugelmin, who last tested on February 1, at Homestead, completed approximately 130 miles on the Florida road course. His quick lap for the day was timed at 51.6 seconds. That time was posted during the first half of the day, before some unscheduled downtime arose while the PacWest crew changed out some components on the #17 Nextel PacWest Toyota.   Dixon finished his two-day run by completing approximately 160 miles, while improving on his Wednesday time of 51.4 seconds. Dixon posted a fast lap of 51 seconds flat, which was quicker than several of the other nine competitors on the course.   Tony Kanaan posted the quickest time of the day with a 50.6-second lap, while former CART champion Alex Zanardi ran 50.9-second lap.  Next on the PacWest testing schedule will be a two-day session on February 14-15, on the picturesque road course of Laguna Seca. 
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA - “Thursday wasn’t the greatest testing day I’ve ever had, but I’m still happy with what we learned,” said Gugelmin. “We had about three hours of downtime in the early afternoon for a gear and brake change, but I was able to get back on the track for a couple of hours before the checkered flag flew. I don’t feel as though I went as fast as my car is capable of running, and I battled push for most of the day. Like I said, we did learn some valuable information about the car today, so I’m not displeased with our efforts. It was just a short day.” 
SCOTT DIXON - # 18 PACWEST TOYOTA - “I felt much better on Thursday, and I think I’m finally over this flu bug,” said Dixon. “I was able to improve on Wednesday’s quick time, which I’m happy about, and we were able to work through our engineering program as scripted. We worked on several things during the day, and again, the more seat-time I’m able to get now will only benefit PacWest and me down the road. My crew has just been fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier with my opportunity to run Champ Cars for Mr. McCaw and PacWest.” 
PacWest Team
2/9/01
Minardi signs Picini  Minardi have unveiled their second new driver in 48 hours by announcing that Italian F3000 racer Andrea Piccini is to take over as their tester. Piccini, 22, will combine his testing duties with a third season in F3000. He will race for the Italian minnows’ sister team European Minardi, who are also owned by Paul Stoddart. Piccini, whose best F3000 result was fourth at Hockenheim last season, said he was delighted to sign for the team. He said: “It is also very important for my career that I start preparing for Formula One, so the opportunity to become an official test driver for the European Minardi F1 team is very exciting. “I intend to use the experience to learn as much as possible, improve my driving, and hopefully help the F1 team develop its car during the season. It is a great opportunity." . MC
2/9/01

IRL taking some steps CART should be  The IRL's Bob Reif squashed any rumors of a CART/IRL merger yesterday in Phoenix, declaring they are moving forward on their own.  He predicts sellout crowds at 5-tracks - Indy, Kansas City, Joliet, Kentucky and either Colorado Springs or Nashville, and an overall 15% attendance increase.  What was more important about the announcement however, and something CART should take note of, is the fact they are increasing their full-time marketing staff from 3 people to 30 people, and their on-air broadcast hours from 88 in 2000, to 500 in 2001.  Much of that increase will be from the IRL buying 1/2 hour infomercials in race markets.  Looking at the marketing staff, if the IRL will have 30 regulars for just 13 races that are all contested locally here in the USA, CART, with it's 22 races and many overseas, probably needs a staff of at least 50 marketing folks, with some permanently stationed in the countries where CART races.  We'll have to investigate how many permanent staff CART currently has in Japan, Brazil, Australia, and Europe looking after the well being of those events.
2/9/01
Wheldon on way up to Champ Cars  Dan Wheldon, the young English driver who is making a big impression on the American racing scene, steps up to the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship this season – just one rung below his goal of a CART FedEx Champ Car Series drive in 2002. He starts his 2001 campaign with testing next Monday, 12th February, at Sebring in Florida.  Wheldon has signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis-based PacWest Racing team – the organization which won last year’s CART Dayton Indy Lights series with New Zealander Scott Dixon who has now graduated to PacWest’s Champ Car team.  22 year-old Wheldon, who is regarded by many as one of the most talented young drivers in the business today, had an impressive run in another major CART developmental series last year – Toyota Atlantic – which brought two wins, four pole positions, seven podiums, and the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title. He won the US F2000 Championship and been ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 1995.  An impressive 2nd place finish in the British Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship in 1996 brought the opportunity to move up to the British Formula Ford Championships in 1997 and 1998 where Dan finished 4th and 3rd respectively. In 1999, Wheldon made a bold Transatlantic career move and competed in the US F2000 series where he drove his way to six victories, five poles, and eleven podium appearances en route to winning the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award and the Championship.  ‘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.’

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