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DATE News (chronologically 2/15/01 to 2/20/01)
2/20/01
Dale Earnhardt celebration of life  A private service for the NASCAR community has been planned to honor seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. 
When: Thursday, February 22, 2001 
Where: Calvary Church 
5801 Pineville-Matthews Rd 
Charlotte, North Carolina 
Time: 12:00-12:30 pm 
Church Opens: 10:00 am 
Who: Immediate family, employees of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams and tracks, NASCAR and associated sponsors of DEI and RCR. Because it is impossible to accommodate the tremendous outpouring of support from those who followed Dale, they are unable to open the service to the public. With that in mind the family has chosen to broadcast the service live on television, enabling fans across the country to share in this service for Dale. The service will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net.
2/20/01
TMS testing day 1  Today it was relatively quiet at the track.  The only thing going on was testing of an Indy Lights car. It didn't get on the track until after 12:00 because of some water in Turns 1 & 2, which is in the shade. They had to dry it. The Walker, PacWest, and Patrick racing Champ Car teams were there and Team Kool Green is supposed to be ther on Thursday as well. The only driver spotted was Dixon. The were only setting up today, and will test the next three days, weather permitting. Speaking of which, the forecast is iffy for the rest of the week.
2/20/01
Fans mourn loss of Earnhardt at Martinsville  Less than an hour after the news, they started filing into Martinsville Speedway. Some brought flowers. Some brought candles. All brought tears. For more than 24 hours now, they have been streaming into the track, some just slowly driving down Speedway Road and circling on out. Most stop, though, leave their vehicle and stare out over the race track, deep in reflection and grief. A full day after the news that Dale Earnhardt was dead, many were still struggling to grasp the reality. “I just can’t believe it … I just can’t,” an older woman sobbed late Monday night, tears reflecting in the glow of several candles. She was one of a half-dozen or more fans still gathered at the track about 9 o’clock Monday night, as temperatures dropped below freezing. What began as a couple of candles and a single rose outside the crossover gate in the fourth turn early Sunday evening had grown into a shrine for their fallen hero by Tuesday morning. Fans had left probably more than 200 items and they keep coming. They range from big-buck flower arrangements to messages written in crayon by young children. There are at least 50 single roses tucked into the fence. There are balloons, some brightly colored, others a mournful black, adorned with the famous No. 3. There are long, hand-written messages and simple, but to-the-point notes. “No. 3 you will live forever in our hearts.” “I miss you” “I’m going to miss you so bad. My heart is hurting so much.” “The Intimidator lives in our hearts forever.” These aren’t just Earnhardt fans either. They are Bobby Labonte fans, Tony Stewart fans, Jeff Gordon fans. They are race fans who share a common loss and a few minutes at the track allowed them to bond and grieve with other fans. “He was one of a kind,” said Michael Martin of Bassett, VA. “It won’t be the same for awhile. You won’t have the bumping and grinding … well, you will, but it won’t be the same without Earnhardt around.” Martin is a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. His wife Michelle said she is an Earnhardt Jr. and a Stewart fan. But on Monday, that didn’t mean a great deal. “It doesn’t matter whether you liked him or not,” said Michelle. “It’s what he meant to our sport.” Tim Shively of Martinsville, VA., was decked out in Earnhardt garb late Monday afternoon as he quietly gazed out over Martinsville Speedway and reflected on the many years he had rooted for The Man In Black. “I’ve been pulling for him since ’79 or so,” said Shively, who stopped by the track on his way home from work. “He was one of a kind. He was a racer. He won’t be replaced.” 
2/20/01
President Bush calls Earnhardt widow  President Bush, who described race driver Dale Earnhardt as a friend, called to express his condolences to the widow of the NASCAR star after he was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500, the White House said. Bush spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Sunday the president's "prayers are with the Earnhardt family and the NASCAR community." Bush has attended NASCAR events in the past and considered Earnhardt and his wife Teresa to be friends. Bush visited Daytona Beach in July to serve as grand marshal of the Pepsi 400 and shook hands with NASCAR fans, racing crews and drivers. He called the stop a diversion from the presidential campaign. After greeting fans during the July visit, Bush sat in on the pre-race driver's meeting, taking a seat in the front row next to Earnhardt. Bush then watched the race in the private box of NASCAR president Bill France. 
2/20/01
Daytona 500 gets record TV rating  Fox's coverage of Sunday's Daytona 500 race earned an 8.4 rating and 19 share, the highest overnight rating for the NASCAR race since 1986.  The rating was an increase of 11 percent over last year's 7.6 and 18 share when the race was shown on CBS. The previous high ratings for the event were 7.9 in 1992, 1994 and 1999. 
2/20/01
Pressure mounting on NASCAR regarding safety  Pressure is mounting on NASCAR to do something about safety.  This article on RPM.com comes out strong against NASCAR for not doing enough in terms of safety.
2/20/01
CART Toyota Atlantics - Ready, Aim - Firebird  After months of single team testing, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship teams will get their first chance to see where they stack up. A series-wide test organized by Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports will be held March 7-8 at Firebird International Raceway. Approximately 15 to 20 cars are expected to take part in the test at the track located in Chandler, Arizona, just on the outskirts of Phoenix. Story (PDF)
2/20/01
Eurointernational tests American John Antonino again for F3 effort  Driver John C. Antonino, 22 years old American driver from Bakersfield, CA has completed his first testing program in USF3 with the Eurointernational 's Dallara F300 VW. His first two tests were at Putnam Park, Indiana and at Moroso Motorsports Park, Florida, last December,Since then, Antonino has completed two days of testing at the 1.1 mile road course of Las Vegas Motor Speedway and three days of testing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, California, using the 1.4 and 2.68 miles road course configuration. During this testing program John Antonino has been assisted by veteran F3 driver Luciano Gomide, who has dominated the 2000 USF3 Series winning seven races in a row, with seven poles and fastest laps, using the same Eurointernational's Dallara F300 VW tested by John C. Antonino. R.L.C. Ltd has sponsored the testing program with the world-famous "Grape King " label displayed on the Dallara F300 VW, and will be the exclusive Management Firm for John C. Antonino's 2001 racing program in USF3 with Eurointernational. " I learn a lot during these days of testing," said Antonino, "because the Dallara F300 VW is a very sensitive and competitive chassis, which requires a lot of miles to finally drive it close to the limit. The car is incredible fast in the corners, pulling over 2.5 G and this requires perfect physical conditioning to be able to run consistent and fast. With Luciano's help and suggestions and with Nicola Sgotto's (Eurointernational's Crew Chief), assistance and technical advice, I have been able to speed up my learning curve and correct my driving from my earlier races with the heavy Late Model Stock Cars. A special thanks again to Robert Corsaro for believing in me and managing my racing career." "John C. Antonino has confirmed to us again last week that he has the talent" said Owner Antonio Ferrari. " With more tests, already scheduled upon arrival of the new Dallara F301VW, I think he will be very competitive at the first race of the upcoming season. At Buttonwillow Raceway Park Eurointernational's Dallara F300 VW F3 car was tested with several more powerful 2001 Toyota Formula Atlantic cars, running the fastest laps on the track. Eurointernational will continue the testing program with John C. Antonino in March, with a shake-down test of the new Dallara F301 VW at Putnam Park, Indiana and tests at Sandia Motorsport Park, New Mexico and Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona in preparation for the opening race of the year.
2/19/01
Sending your Earnhardt remembrances  The Earnhardt family has asked that instead of flowers, donations can be sent to the Foundation for the Carolinas, a nonprofit philanthropic organization. The address is:
Foundation for the Carolinas 
In Honor of Dale Earnhardt 
P.O. Box 34769
Charlotte, N.C. 28234-4769
2/19/01
AutoRacing1.com on NBC and FoxNEWS to talk about Earnhardt and HANS  Our Mark Cipolloni was interviewed live on TV today by both NBC and FoxNEWS.  In case you did not catch it, here is the audio for the NBC TV interview. Listen (4:39 min. Real Player format)
2/19/01
Memorial service for Earnhardt set at AMS  Atlanta Motor Speedway will hold a memorial service Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. for the public to mourn the loss of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, who passed away Sunday. The memorial service will be held at the Richard Petty Garden, located in front of the Atlanta Motor Speedway gift store and ticket office, and Atlanta Motor Speedway chaplains Bill Brannon and Eddie Barton will conduct the service. Several teams are also expected to test Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the test session will be closed to both the media and the public. Fans wishing to send their condolences to the Earnhardt family have been urged to make a donation to The Carolinas fund in lieu of flowers. The address for The Carolina's Foundation is P.O. Box 34769, Charlotte, NC 28234-4769. 
2/18/01
Kudos to CART and Warner Brothers  Perhaps CART is starting to listen.  We criticized CART for not advertising the movie DRIVEN during the Super Bowl and suggested that they immediately start advertising the movie during the Daytona 500 and all other NASCAR race broadcasts this year.  We are happy to report that the movie was advertised during today's Daytona 500 race.
2/18/01
Quick, grab that photographer  As soon as the flash goes off to take this photograph shown to the right, the Honda engineers assigned to the BAR team turn to look and see who is taking pictures of their top secret computer monitors.  These engineers are stationed inside the garage monitoring their engines, while at CART races they are typically setup outside behind the pit wall.  Both in CART and in F1, one-way telemetry from the cars to the pits is allowed so engineers can monitor their engines and the tire pressures.
2/18/01
More on the fallacy of the F1 tire war  Lap records are dropping regularly during winter testing in spite of the new aero rules to slow the cars down.  The compounds are softer and we hear the marbles are horrendous.  Now we have uncovered another problem - the tires are so soft, the treads are wearing away and the tires are becoming essentially 'slick' tires.  The picture at the right is taken from the back of the BAR Honda at a recent test in South Africa as it is pushed back into the garage after a run.  As can be seen, the treads are literally worn away.  What's even more alarming is how much the lap times have dropped already this year and it's not even qualifying.  Give the tire war another year or two and FIA officials will be looking to reduce engine displacement from 3.0 to perhaps 2.5 or 2.0 liters to control the runaway lap times.  All new engines mean the engine manufacturers will be asked to dig deep into their money chest once again.  Too bad they were not turbo engines, they could just lower the boost pressure, a far more cost effective way to control escalating speeds.  However, that is not the essence of this news article, it's to point out the fallacy of tire wars in racing - runaway speeds and tire marbles.
2/17/01
Who will win the Daytona 500?  The results of our 'Who Will Win the Daytona 500?' pole are in.  To see them click here.  According to our readers, either Dale Earnhardt or Tony Stewart will win.
2/17/01


New Schedules  We have updated our race schedules to include new features such as current weather conditions at each track.  The following are available:

Main Schedule - a summary table of races for NASCAR Winston Cup, CART, F1 and the IRL

Detailed CART Schedule - includes track website link, track layout, track length, race times, TV times, current weather, race winners

Detailed NASCAR Schedule - includes track website link, track layout, track length, race times, TV times, current weather, race winners

Detailed F1 Schedule - includes track website link, track layout, track length, race times, TV times, current weather, race winners

2/17/01
CART is a bargain compared to F1  And you thought CART was expensive at between $20 and $30 million per year for a complete 2-car team?  Think again.  The Prost F1 team is paying Ferrari $31 million per year just for engines for their 2-car team.  Total F1 annual budgets run from a low of $50 million to a high of $250 million.
2/16/01
Hynes land ride with PacWest Lights team  PacWest Racing announced that 1999 British Formula 3 champion Marc Hynes will team with countryman Dan Wheldon in the opening round of the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship at Monterrey, Mexico. "We're going to start off the season with Marc," said PacWest Indy Lights team manager Paul Harcus. "We don't have sponsorship in place for the second car, so we'll run Marc at the start of the season and then see where it goes. Hopefully we'll be able to put some sponsorship together, because he's definitely quick."  "Marc was the slowest of the three in the December test, but on the day Marc ran he was quicker than Dan," explained Harcus. "He's quick, gives great feedback and he's great to work with. Plus he and Dan have known each other for about 10 years or so, so that’s a bit of a bonus."
2/16/01
Da Matta clocks 2nd fastest lap at Laguna Seca UPDATE Added photo by Dan Boyd.  DaMatta is now headed to Brazil for a short vacation before the season starts. Earlier today Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas driver Cristiano da Matta completed a two day test at Laguna Seca Raceway late yesterday and was among the fastest at the test the majority of the two day session that was attended by approx. one-half of the CART field. Two more tests are scheduled for Newman/Haas Racing prior to the CART FedEx Championship Series 2001 season-opener on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. "There were 13 cars running on Wednesday and it was almost like an open test," said da Matta. "We ran 75 laps (170 miles) in sunny conditions although it was pretty cool especially for the Brazilians. We were right on the pace on Wednesday and were pretty happy. On Thursday we tested all different types of things and were again among the fastest most of the day, especially during the heat of the day. At the end of the day everyone treated it like we were qualifying but we were still trying new things and were not in our fastest trim so we dropped down in the rank. Helio (Castroneves) pretty much set the pace. We completed almost 350 miles over the two days and did an 8.0 and are pretty happy with the things we learned." "The car ran reliably during the test and the team continued to get more practice at hot pit stops with the new rules," added Brian Lisles, who was promoted from Senior Race Engineer to General Manager in January 2001. "At the end of the day on Thursday when everyone was posting their fastest times, we were not in our best configuration so we dropped down in the order. We could not compare ourselves to the others at the end of the day but we learned quite a bit from the test. A number of the other teams were practicing their pit stops and we looked very good in comparison to them as well. Overall the test served its purpose." After Christian Fittipaldi returns from his honeymoon on Sunday, February 18 he will travel to Sebring International Raceway for a two-day day test between February 20-22 before heading west for Phoenix International Raceway to test on Feb. 26-27. Da Matta will run on Wednesday, February 28 in Phoenix before both drivers travel to Torrance, Calif. for the annual Motorsports Day at Toyota's U.S. base in Torrance, Calif. on Friday, March 2. "I like driving the racecar in testing but I am ready to start the season and see how we stack up with the other teams," said da Matta, who was leaving from California to spend one last week in his home country of Brazil before the start of the season. "It's like the feeling you would get when you were starting at a new school. I am looking forward to getting my season with Newman/Haas started."
2/16/01
Carpentier impressive at Laguna Seca  With less than a month to go before the first race on the 2001 FedEx CART Championship schedule, Team Player's continues to build momentum - as the latest testing session by driver Patrick Carpentier demonstrates. Driving on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca road course on February 14-15, Carpentier was consistently among the top two in unofficial timing during the sessions that most of the CART teams attended. Carpentier put in about 300 miles over the two-day period, which the Team Player's driver described as productive and flawless from a technical standpoint. "What really pleases me about our off-season testing is that everything has functioned so smoothly," said Carpentier. "I think the big difference is that after each of our testing sessions, we've been able to go back to the race shop and build on what we've learned from that session.  "(Team Player's technical director) Bruce Ashmore is just brilliant. He's been working with (chief engineer) Michael Cannon and (development engineer) Alex Timmermans and together they have developed a great relationship. You can see the improvement from session to session because they've been able to take what they've learned and make the necessary changes that have led to improvements each time out." At Laguna Seca, Carpentier tested two cars, both of which are updated versions of the 2000 Player's Reynard. The team conducted extensive testing on the suspension system and worked with a new and improved Ford engine. A significant amount of time was also devoted to working on differential changes in the gearbox. "There's still a fair amount of work we can do on road-course set-ups, but we're trying out new things every day," remarked Phil LePan, the Canadian native who is the Team Player's manager. "There is more engine development to come, and that will occur next week (February 21-22) when (Carpentier's teammate) Alex Tagliani tests at Sebring." Carpentier said the sessions at Laguna Seca, combined with two days of testing he has scheduled on Phoenix's Firebird road course on February 26-27, should have him well prepared for the start of the season. The first two races are road-course events in Monterrey, Mexico on March 11 and in Long Beach, California on April 8.
2/16/01
Brack gets 4th in IROC opener  Kenny Brack, driver of Team Rahal's Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola and the 2000 CART Rookie of the Year, made his return to the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) series Friday afternoon with a fourth place finish at Daytona International Speedway. Brack led one lap (lap seven) and ran consistently among the lead cars for the 40-lap, 100-mile event. For Brack this is his second time running in IROC. He finished sixth overall in 1999; the highest finish of any open wheel racer that year. Friday's fourth place result equaled his top previous IROC result that also came at Daytona in February of 1999.  The race was won by Dale Jarrett of NASCAR followed by Ricky Rudd (NASCAR) and IRL driver Eddie Cheever. Brack was running third but lost a spot on the final lap when he had to slow avoid an on track incident between Dale Earnhardt who was leading at the time and Cheever. "At least I was able to bring the car back in one piece," said Brack. "I was hanging tough and waiting for the last lap to make my move when things got crazy. Today was a good warm-up for the CART season opener in Mexico. Running with the level of competition that is here is a great mental and physical preparation for the challenges of the upcoming season." The 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series opens with the inaugural Monterrey (Mexico) Grand Prix March 9-11.  Brack was the lone representative of the CART FedEx Championship Series racing in the IROC opener. Defending CART champion Gil de Ferran of Team Penske missed the first race due to injuries sustained in testing.  Friday's IROC race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday afternoon February 18th at 5:00 PM EST. The True Value IROC series matches 12 championship caliber drivers to compete in equalized racecars. The cars are differentiated by their brilliant paint colors and outfitted with identical radial race tires. The four-race series awards points according to finishing positions. At the end of the fourth event the points are tallied and a champion is declared.
2/16/01
Tora Takagi is fast yet again - he is the real thing!  CART does not want to lose this guy to F1 it appears.  Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi continued his speedy adjustment to the CART FedEx Championship cars and race tracks and posted the fastest lap of all Toyota-powered drivers at a well-attended CART test at Laguna Seca Raceway on Feb. 13 - 15. Tora piloted the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special/Toyota Reynard to an unofficial best lap of 67.97 seconds around the 2.238-mile permanent road course on Thursday. The reigning Formula Nippon Champion found the tricky Laguna Seca race course much to his liking. "The Corkscrew felt just like a jet coaster and climbing the hill is just like driving into the sky" said Tora. "I am fairly happy to prove my speed with this three-day test where there were a lot of drivers present. We still have room for improvement and I am eager to continue learning the Champ Car." Tora's quick lap was the third fastest of all drivers on Thursday, and he suffered only one major off on Feb. 15. Tora logged a total of 192 laps and 429 miles during the three-day session that was attended by more than 14 CART drivers. "The one thing that impresses us most about Tora is that he is very quick to learn each new track that we go to, and he's fast at each of them too," said Team Manager Rob Edwards. "When we get the car right, he is as quick as anyone out there. We're looking ahead to our next test at Texas, where Tora will get a chance to run on a fast oval. We'll also be working on race condition running and pit stops there to make sure we're ready for the first race of the season in March." The Walker Racing team will test next at Texas Motor Speedway on Feb. 21 - 22.   See our  CART Testing Page
2/16/01
Team Rahal wraps up testing at Laguna Seca  Team Rahal continued preparations for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series by completing yesterday two-days of testing for drivers Max Papis and Kenny Brack at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA. The informative sessions at the historic northern-California track wrapped up a busy first half of February. In addition to the test at Laguna Seca, the team also tested at Sebring International Raceway in Florida working on engine development for Ford-Cosworth and gaining a better understanding of the team's new Lola B1/00 Champ Car chassis. Team Rahal is making the switch to Lola for 2001 after having run a Reynard chassis since 1996.  Following a very successful test at Phoenix International Raceway in late January the team decided to focus it's remaining test days on the road and street courses which comprise the first two events of the 2001 season. "We have made significant progress in the understanding of the car in the last ten days," said Team Rahal director of operations Mark Johnson. "Our drivers, engineers and mechanics are developing a confidence in the new package, a confidence that shows we are making great strides in learning the Lola chassis and what it's capabilities are. We ran competitively with the other cars and teams at the test. For a team that is changing chassis that to me is an encouraging sign. " "Things are beginning to fall into place for us," said Miller Lite driver Max Papis. "Yesterday afternoon we really saw the fruits of our labor begin to pay dividends. The Lola/Ford package is going to be combination to be reckoned with all season. I really feel like pieces are here for the team to make a run at the championship." With the busy test schedule preparations have been aided by the expanded the team's expanded fleet of Champ Cars. In past seasons Team Rahal has fielded five cars but in 2001 the team purchased an extra chassis allowing the shop based mechanics to have a Miller and Shell car in house for preparations for the test or in season race. Last week while Brack and Papis were testing at Sebring the cars for the Laguna test were being prepped. "With the short turnaround having the extra cars simply gives us additional time needed to properly inspect and find problems," said Team Rahal Shop Manager and veteran Champ Car mechanic Jim Prescott. "While it certainly helped to have the extra time to prep the cars last week, the real payoff will come during the season. We feel strongly that this will enable us to increase the reliability of our cars and limit the DNF's due to mechanical failures." Team Rahal will continue final preparations for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series with a test on the road course at Homestead Miami Speedway. The 2001 season opens with the inaugural Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico March 9-11.  See our  CART Testing Page
2/16/01
Andretti completes Homestead Road Course test  Indianapolis, IN-Team Motorola continued their preparations for the CART FedEx season opener with a two-day road course test at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Under sunny skies and light breezes both Wednesday and Thursday, Team Motorola completed more than 230 miles with no mechanical problems. Team Motorola and Andretti spent the majority of Wednesday working through four major suspension tests during the 63-mile day. Each of the front and rear suspension geometry tests is extremely time consuming so rather than focus on quickness, the team focused on their starting line for Monterrey. "We got a good start on our road course engineering list," said team manager Tony Cotman. "We weren't looking for speed as much as we were looking for confirmation on data gathered in road course tests with Dario (Franchitti) and Paul (Tracy) earlier this month and getting our baseline set for the race in Mexico. We still have room for improvement and plan to take what we learned here and capitalize on it in Sebring next week." The test continued on Thursday with the track and times both improving. Andretti turned his fast lap of the test on Thursday at 67.5 seconds. "The track continued to improve over the course of our two-day test," said general manager Kim Green. "With only Dario and Michael running the road course it took some time to get rubber down on the track and get some grip. Overall, it was quite a good test and a lot was accomplished." For Andretti it was only his third test day on a road course in 2001. "We went through a lot of set-ups over the last two days and learned a lot of things," Andretti said. "We're not exactly where we want to be on set-up but the positive is that at each test, we continue to improve. Dario was pretty quick here and he was trying some very different set-ups so hopefully we can learn some things from his test and build on them." Team Motorola will resume testing next Tuesday, February 20th in Sebring, Florida.  CART Testing Page
2/16/01
Herta hits his mark at Laguna Seca  Day two at Laguna Seca proved to be much more successful for Bryan Herta, driver of the #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe/Ford-Reynard and his crew. The team was sidelined with mechanical problems throughout much of the day on Wednesday, and returned Thursday with a full work schedule, looking for the ideal car set-up. Logging over 205 miles on Thursday, and 320 miles during the two-day test, the team headed east on a positive note.  With a best lap of 67.8 Herta ran consistently among the top five drivers, with as many as twelve cars present for the test. The crew worked throughout the day, and accomplished most of what they intended.  Team manager Steve Dickson was pleased with the overall outcome of the test. "Today was definitely better than yesterday. The guys did a great job, they maximized the track time, and we worked through a fair amount of the test plan." Dickson continued, "With about ten minutes left at the end of the test session, the track was cool and several cars went out. We were second quick in that group and everyone had the same track conditions. We were on older tires, I am not sure what everyone else was using, so I feel fairly positive with where we are at." Herta, one of three American drivers preparing for the 2001Champ Car season was also pleased with the progress he and his team made testing at his favorite track on the CART circuit. "We had a real good second day. We were able to work with the car a lot more, we put in a lot of miles, and definitely made progress. I am looking forward to heading to Sebring next week, and working toward our march to the first race in Monterey." The Zakspeed/Forsythe crew will spend the next two weeks in Florida and Arizona, continuing their preparations for the 2001 CART Fed Ex Championship season. 
2/16/01
Patrick Racing wraps up 5th test  Patrick Racing completed its fifth test of the pre-season in preparation for the start of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series, running for three-days, February 13-15, at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Roberto Moreno ran the first two days of the test with Jimmy Vasser taking over on the third day. Moreno spent most of his two days, the first of which was run in extremely cold conditions, working on the set-up. His fastest time of the two days was run on the second day, Wednesday, when he turned a quick lap of 109.7 seconds. Vasser then took over, and building on what Moreno had developed, had a solid day on Thursday turning a fast lap of 108.3 seconds. "We worked a lot on developing the car the first two days of the test," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "On the morning of the third day we made some gains and Jimmy was able to run a very competitive time. Unfortunately, that was the last day of the test and we still needed to do some development work, so we had to focus on that instead of looking for more speed. Moreno, who is entering his eighth CART season and second piloting the Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, ran 340 miles, 125 on Tuesday and 215 on Wednesday, during his two days at Laguna Seca.  "Overall, I am happy with the way things went during the test," Moreno said. "The first day the conditions at the track were extremely cold. It was in the 40's in the morning so we did not get on the track until after 10:00 a.m. On the second day it was much warmer and we got a lot of work done. We tried a lot of different things and by mid-day the car was handling good and I was able to run my fastest time. That afternoon we spent a lot of time working on the shocks and suspension. Even though I wasn't the fastest, we got a lot of work done and we had a good direction for Jimmy to go in to improve the car." Vasser, who is entering his tenth CART season and first with Patrick Racing, ran over 200 miles on the third day and said, "We had a good test at Laguna Seca. We worked a lot on developing a solid foundation for the road course set-up and made good progress. We made one good leap forward in the morning and then worked on some different things in the afternoon. I think we are definitely moving in the right direction with our road course set-up. With one more road course test set for the end of the month we should be in good shape for the start of the season. McGee also noted that the pre-season testing program has gone well for Patrick Racing saying, "Overall, I am very happy with the way our pre-season testing program has gone. The car has proved to be very reliable. That is the primary objective during pre-season, to develop reliability. This is going to be a very competitive season and we are going to be right in the thick of it from a reliability standpoint. We still need to do some work on our pitstops and race strategy, but other than that we are in very good shape for the start of the season."  Next up for Patrick Racing is a three-day test at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas, February 21-23. The team's final test before the start of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season will be on the Homestead, Florida road course, February 27-28. 
2/16/01
Jourdain impresses at Laguna Seca  Herdez Bettenhausen driver Michel Jourdain, Jr. completed two successful days of testing at Laguna Seca Raceway on Thursday with encouraging results. Wednesday, the first day of testing, saw Jourdain complete approximately 90 laps on two sets of tires, posting a fast time of 1 minute, 9.0 seconds. Thursday, on a faster track and having worked their way through a rigorous engineering schedule, the team made considerable progress, lopping a full second from their time (1'08.048) and the second fastest for a Ford-Cosworth powered car. Managing Director Keith Wiggins was encouraged but not surprised by the progress. "The car had a fair amount of understeer in it on Wednesday but we made some pretty significant changes to the set up during the afternoon and Michel reacted well to the increased balance. Thursday was a good day for evaluation against our competitors and we were happy with the result. As I've said before, there are no points awarded for pre-season testing so the goal was not to go out and set the fastest time, but it's good to be in the right ball park. "Crew Chief Vince Kremer was pleased as well. "I'm really happy with how things are coming together. With just under one thousand miles of testing under our belts for the off-season, a new engine package, and some new personnel in key positions, the team is gelling well. Michel is getting more comfortable every day with this crew and we feel confident that we're going to be able to support him to the fullest this year. "The team's second Lola chassis has been in preparation for the past week and will be the chassis of choice at the team's next test in Sebring, Fla. on February 22nd and 23rd. The team's third Lola chassis arrived from England this week. The test days scheduled for Firebird and Phoenix International Raceway at the end of the month have been cancelled. Wiggins commented on the test venue change, "We feel that we have much more to gain in road course testing. Sebring is more convenient for us and better for our schedule in terms of being prepared to leave for the first race in Monterrey. There is always good competition there and we feel that we have a good baseline of our performance on that track. It just makes good sense."  Meanwhile back at the race shop, the Herdez Bettenhausen karting team, led by fabricator Jimmy Drinan, snagged the weekly winner's trophy in the ILikeRacing.com indoor karting series championship being held at Stefan Johansson Karting Center in Indianapolis. The series, pitting crews from Indy-area race teams in a 10-week championship, is hotly contested. The traveling crew would like to thank substitute drivers Ricky Vaughn and Robby Ott for stepping in during their testing commitments. 
2/16/01
Rookie Scott Dixon fast at Laguna Seca  Scott Dixon took the reigns from Mauricio Gugelmin for the second day of PacWest’s two-day test session Thursday at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.  The twenty-year-old Kiwi and 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Champion completed approximately 250 miles on the 2.2-mile road course and posted a quick time of 68.2 seconds.  His time was faster than the quickest runner (Cristiano da Matta – 68.6s) from Wednesday’s session and confirmed PacWest’s notion that they have the right package heading into the 2001 season.  Thursday brought cooler weather to Monterey, and nearly every other team was in attendance for the session.  CART regulated six cars on the track at a time Thursday, compared to only four on Wednesday, but this did not preclude PacWest from conducting a very positive test.  Helio Castroneves posted the fastest time of the day, 67.1 seconds, during an early morning run.  Next up for Gugelmin and Dixon is an oval test on the high banks of the Texas Motor Speedway on February 21-22. SCOTT DIXON - # 18 PACWEST TOYOTA “We had a good day,” said Dixon.  “I’m pleased with the time were able to put up, considering we only had one day in the car.  We seem to be pretty close to the other drivers and I’m confident that with another day of running, we would have bridged the gap even more.  We worked on several different set-up options, and the work that Mauricio did on Wednesday provided us with a good baseline for today’s session. The Toyota engine has been fantastic, and the reliability of my car is very pleasing as well.  Overall, today was a very productive session.” ALLEN McDONALD – PACWEST TECHNICAL DIRECTOR “I think today went much smoother than Wednesday from a productivity stand point,” said McDonald.  “We got a lot of running done today, and we learned some valuable information from the different types of tests we conducted with the car.  We did some full tank runs and tested several components on the car, and like Scott said, it was a very positive day.  The fastest time of the day was clocked in the morning when the temperatures were ideal for speed, but Scott was right there with some of the veteran drivers.  He’s off to a great start to his rookie campaign.”
2/16/01
Honda prepares for first race  With the 2001 Formula 1 season just a fortnight away, Honda's preparations for the season-opener in Melbourne are entering their final stages. Both Jordan Honda and BAR Honda enjoyed more productive running this week and hopes are high in both camps as the Australian race approaches. BAR Honda - More than 2,000 Kyalami kilometers Lucky Strike BAR Honda's six-day South African adventure came to a close at the Kyalami circuit on Tuesday. Race drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis shared the duties in the sole BAR Honda 003 chassis, evaluating set-up variations, aerodynamic packages and reliability. Beautiful weather and a reliable package allowed the team to complete over 500 laps of the 4.24km circuit during the week. Malcolm Oastler - BAR Honda Technical Director "This has been a massive effort by the test team and the drivers. To complete over 2000km at a test with a single car is a measure of the team's endeavors. The information we have collected will enable us to go to Melbourne better prepared than ever before." Jordan Honda - Faultless display in Valencia Jordan Honda returned to Spain early this week for a further three days at the challenging Valencia circuit, during which Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli completed more than 400 laps with the two new Jordan Honda EJ11s. As well as completing significant mileage, including simulated race distances, the team also made good progress with the new cars, experiencing few problems and regularly posting competitive lap times. Honda - Continual progress "We have had a very good week on the track," says Kazutoshi Nishizawa, Technical Director of Honda Racing Development. "Both teams have done a lot of laps and we have experienced no dramas. However, we have also been busy away from the circuits, making sure that we are constantly moving forward with the development of the engine, so we feel that we are well prepared for Melbourne." Next week - Final tests  With just a week before the cars leave for Australia, the teams each have one more test to finalize their preparations. Both Jordan Honda and BAR Honda will spend time at Silverstone next week, shaking down their cars before packing them up for the long journey to Melbourne.
2/16/01
Wheldon continues to impress  PacWest Racing’s Dayton Indy Lights rookie Dan Wheldon tested for the second consecutive day at Sebring International Raceway in Florida earlier this week. Wheldon and his PacWest Indy Lights crew are working diligently to prepare for the 2001 season in which PacWest will be in the favorable position of defending their Dayton Indy Lights Championship.  Dan Wheldon, the promising young Brit, posted an impressive time of 57.8 seconds on the 1.6-mile road course – improving his time from the first day’s testing of 58.1 seconds.  Commented Dan Wheldon after his second day’s testing for his new team: ‘We had a very productive test and I’m feeling very confident about the car and our outlook for the 2001 season. I’m becoming more comfortable with my engineer, Steve Erickson. It seemed like forever between test dates but, now that I’m back in my driving mode, I’m fired-up to get back on the track. Needless to say, I’m definitely looking forward to our test next week on the oval at Texas.
2/16/01
CART test speeds  We have updated our CART Testing page with the latest times from Team Green on the Homestead road course and several teams at Laguna Seca.  Times from Homestead (both road and oval), Laguna Seca, Phoenix (both IRL and CART), Sebring and Firebird are shown.  All times are unofficial and some we just don't have because the teams don't supply them.  What's frustrating to the CART media is that NASCAR, IRL and F1 test times are readily available from all tests and all teams (many times published by the sanctioning body itself), yet in CART test times are still regarded as 'secret,' and getting them is sometimes impossible.  Perhaps CART will require the teams submit test times when they report their test days that CART does track, especially now that testing is severely limited. Then CART itself could publish test times daily. MC
2/15/01
Gugelmin tests at Laguna Seca  PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin tested Wednesday on the 2.238 mile road course of Laguna Seca, just five short months after finishing seventh there during round sixteen of the 2000 FedEx Championship series. Frustration was the theme of this session for PacWest and the other teams as twelve different cars attempted to test during the day. With a limited number of medical and track officials on hand, only four cars were permitted to run on the track at the same time. This limitation forced PacWest to alter their regular testing program. Gugelmin ran approximately 140 miles overall, with his quickest time being clocked at 69.7 seconds. Cristiano da Matta’s time of 68.6 seconds was the day’s quickest. Scott Dixon will test at Laguna for PacWest on Thursday, before the team heads to Texas for some oval running on February 21 and 22.   MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA “I only managed to run approximately 60 laps, which is not what we were hoping for,” said Gugelmin. “We were able to work on some things that we have been trying to sort out for the last few sessions we’ve run, and I think we’ve finally turned the corner. My crew and I have done a lot of front suspension comparison testing, which has been an important part of our program. I really wanted to run on new tires at the end of the day, because I think I would have been able to improve on my time enough to make it comparable with the quickest runners. We would have been right there with lap times, but we just didn’t get the chance. I was able to get a base line set-up for Scott, who runs Thursday, so hopefully he can take that and generate some useful information that will carry over to our next session.”  ALLEN McDONALD – PACWEST TECHNICAL DIRECTOR  “It was a pretty frustrating day for PacWest, as I’m sure it was for all of the teams that came out here today to test,” said McDonald. “We did manage to work on a couple of things from our normal program, and we learned a lot from some comparison testing we did with our suspension components. At the end of the day, we were hoping to go out on new tires to see what kind of speed we could manage, but several consecutive red flags prohibited us from doing so. Mo, like many of the other drivers here today, had one small off during the day, but it was very minor and did not limit our running time at all. Hopefully we can get in a few more miles on Thursday with Scott.”
2/15/01
Herta Returns to Laguna Seca for 2-day test  Bryan Herta, driver of the #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe/Ford-Reynard returned to Laguna Seca Tuesday, the site of his back-to-back 1998 and '99 CART victories. Unfortunately, mechanical problems sidelined Herta and his crew for most of the day. "Bryan was up to speed immediately as he took to the track this morning. In fact in just a few laps, he did a 69.2, which at that point, was the fastest time of the day. Just a couple of miles later, we suffered a clutch failure, which cost us nearly two hours of valuable track time," said team manager, Steve Dickson.  The afternoon didn't fare much better for the Zakspeed/Forsythe crew. Within just a few laps of returning to the 2.238 - mile road course, their day ended with another mechanical failure.  Dickson continued, "it was a typical Laguna Seca performance by Bryan this morning. He was up to speed immediately, and that is what you would expect from him, but we certainly were not expecting the failures we had today."  "We had a tough day today, but we will be back tomorrow, and hopefully maximize the track time. We came here with a full schedule, so we have some making up to do. I love it here, this is a very good track for me, and it is a great place for us to prepare for the 2001 season" said Herta.
2/15/01
Kenny Brack ready for IROC opener Kenny Brack, driver of Team Rahal's Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola and the 2000 CART Rookie of the Year, will make his return to the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) series Friday afternoon (1:30 PM EST) at Daytona International Speedway. Brack will start fifth on the inside of row three in the 40-lap, 100-mile event.  The True Value IROC series matches 12 championship caliber drivers to compete in equalized racecars. The cars are differentiated by their brilliant paint colors and outfitted with identical radial race tires. The four-race series awards points according to finishing positions. At the end of the fourth event the points are tallied and a champion is declared. For Brack it will be his second time running in IROC. As the 1998 Indy Racing League champion, Brack participated in the 1999 IROC series. Brack finished sixth overall in 1999, the highest finish of any open wheel racer that year.  "Driving in IROC is a very different experience than driving the open-wheel cars that I am used to, but the whole experience is a lot of fun," said Brack. "Last time I ran IROC I learned a lot about how to drive a stock car and hopefully I can use some of that knowledge this time and keep Mister [Dale] Earnhardt from pulling the same tricks he did last time. Certainly the NASCAR drivers are very skilled at driving these cars but hopefully with the testing and track time I have put in I can give them a good show." Brack will be the lone representative of the CART FedEx Championship Series racing in IROC tomorrow. Defending CART champion Gil de Ferran of Team Penske will miss the first race due to injuries sustained in testing.  Brack becomes the first driver for Team Rahal to participate in the IROC series. Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal drove in the IROC series five times (1985-88, 1990) and won two races, both at Mid-Ohio. Rahal ranks 19th overall on the all-time IROC money list ($204,000). Friday's IROC race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday afternoon February 18th at 5:00 PM EST.  Listen to what Kenny has to say about IROC (0:36 min. Real Player format).
2/15/01
CART special on Sunday  With start of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season just a few weeks away, ESPN is providing a preview of the teams and events that will shape the new CART season with its program "Before They Go Green." The show airs Sunday, February 18, at 6 p.m. ET.  ESPN CART commentator Paul Page, with analyst Parker Johnstone and pit reporters Gary Gerould and Jon Beekhuis, will host "Before They Go Green." Produced by Shawn Murphy, the preview show will feature a variety of stories, including off-season driver and crew changes; the return of two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi; the impact of Michael Andretti's team move; the prospect of Marlboro Team Penske repeating its title; and several more.   The one-hour program also will set the stage for ESPN's coverage of 11 races during the course of the 21-race FedEx Championship Series season. CART's inaugural run at the Texas Motor Speedway will kick off ESPN's 2001 coverage, with programming expanded to three hours for the Texas 600. The network's additional race broadcasts span six countries and include Japan; Portland, Ore.; Toronto; Lexington, Ohio; Germany; England; Houston; Monterey, Calif.; Australia; and the season finale at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in November.  A total of 19 of the 21 races during the 2001 season are scheduled to be broadcast live domestically on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, featuring a record number of broadcast hours. In addition to the race itself, weekend programming will consist of one-hour qualifying shows, as well as the half-hour "CART 2Day" pre-race program and "Inside CART," the weekly magazine-style show on ESPN2, for all North American races.
2/15/01
Paul Ricard testing venue for Toyota  Toyota announced on Wednesday that they have selected the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France as their testing venue for 2001 and that they'll launch their new car at the circuit on the 23rd of March.  The company's team manager, Ange Pasquali commented with: "What we expect from the drivers obviously is a big effort with this testing program. Especially Mika bringing with him all his experience from the past, which means seven years in Formula 1. Our initial plan is that Mika would concentrate on the development side of the car and Allan would run the tests to collect data on new circuits. So Mika will be spending more time than Allan at Paul Ricard." MC
2/15/01
Wheldon wraps up Sebring testing  PacWest Lights rookie Dan Wheldon tested for the second consecutive day on February 13, at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Wheldon and his #1 PacWest Indy Lights crew are working diligently to prepare for the 2001 season in which PacWest will be in the favorable position of defending their Dayton Indy lights Championship. Wheldon, the promising young Brit, posted an impressive time of 57.8 seconds on the 1.6-mile road course - improving his time from yesterday of 58.1 seconds. While PacWest has yet to name a teammate for Wheldon, 1999 British F3 champion Mark Hynes has been invited to test the second PacWest lights car again next week in Texas. Hynes, who joined Wheldon for Monday’s test session and posted a quick time of 58.2 seconds, did not participate on the final day of the test yesterday. PacWest’s Indy Lights testing program will continue on February 20, at the Texas Motor Speedway.   DAN WHELDON - # 1 PACWEST LIGHTS “We had a very productive test and I’m feeling very confident about the car and our outlook for the 2001 season,” said Wheldon. “I’m becoming more comfortable with my engineer, Steve Erickson. It seemed like forever between test dates, but now that I’m back in my driving mode I’m fired-up to get back on the track. Needless to say, I’m definitely looking forward to our test next week at Texas.” PAUL (“ZIGGY”) HARCUS – PACWEST INDY LIGHTS TEAM MANAGER “We had a good and successful day of testing,” said Harcus. “Dan’s confidence is building and I’m please with his progress. We worked a lot with the shocks and brakes and I feel confident we’re headed in the right direction. We will continuing preparing for our test at Texas next week.” 
2/15/01
Testing hot and heavy at Laguna Seca  Testing was hot and heavy at Laguna Seca the last two days with Cristiano da Matta and Patrick Carpentier topping the speed charts.  Tests times have been hard to come by, but what we have is summarized on our CART Testing Page.  Some teams will test today too.
2/15/01
Carl Haas steps down from SCCA  After a long career with the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Pro Racing arm, including a stint as director of the organization, Carl Haas resigned Wednesday from the SCCA Pro Racing board of directors. The co-owner of CART’s Newman-Haas Racing team, Haas has served on the board of directors for the past 12 years and was its chairman for five of those seasons. Speedvision
2/15/01
Speedvision still in talks with F1  For those of you wondering where F1 races will be broadcast in the USA this year, Speedvision issued this statement today "On the Formula 1 front, we're still negotiating with Bernie Ecclestone and Formula 1," Speedvision senior vice president and executive producer Bob Scanlon said. "We continue to be optimistic. Even though the first race is two weeks away, we are fully prepared – even at the 11th hour – to provide coverage." MC

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