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DATE News (chronologically 4/11/01 to 4/18/01)
4/18/01
New Hampshire NASCAR testing to be open to fans  The public is invited to attend the NASCAR open testing sessions at New Hampshire International Speedway scheduled to be held from Monday, April 23 through Wednesday, April 25. The sessions will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The Main Grandstand will be open free of charge for fans to watch as these teams dial-in their cars for the upcoming season at "The Magic Mile". NASCAR Busch Series drivers Joe Bessey and Ryan Newman are among those expected to test for the CVS/pharmacy 200 Presented by Bayer scheduled for Saturday, May 12. Brad Leighton, 2000 Busch North Series Champion and Lincoln Electric/ARCO Welding Supply NHIS Track Champion, will lead the Busch North Series contingent testing in preparation for the CVS/pharmacy 125 Presented by Bayer also scheduled for Saturday, May 12. Tracy Gordon, Mike Johnson, Kelly Moore, Mike Olsen, Dale Quarterley, and Dale Shaw will be among those on hand looking for the right combination to challenge Leighton in May. 
4/18/01
Final Indy 500 Entry List
• Greg Ray, No. 2&2T Johns Manville/Menards Team Menard Dallara/Olds
• Al Unser Jr., No. 3 &3T Starz SuperPak Galles Racing GForce/Olds
• Sam Hornish Jr., No. 4&4T Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Olds
• Arie Luyendyk, No. 5&5T Mejier Treadway/Hubbard Racing GForce/Olds
• Jon Herb (R), No. 6 Tri Star Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• Stephan Gregoire, No. 7&7T Jack K. Elrod/Tokheim/NADA Dick Simon Racing Dallara/Olds
• Scott Sharp, No. 8&8T Delphi Automotive Systems Kelley Racing Dallara/Olds
• Jeret Schroeder, No. 9&9T Purity Products PDM Racing Dallara/Olds
• Robby McGehee, No. 10&10T Cahill Racing Dallara/Olds
• Jack Miller, No. 11&11T Olympus/Opalescence Cahill Racing Dallara/Olds
• Buzz Calkins, No. 12&12T Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mart Bradley Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• Eliseo Salazar, No. 14&14T Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Olds
• Sarah Fisher, No. 15&15T Walker Racing Kroger Special Dallara/Olds
• Cory Witherill (R), No. 16 WAS Motors Indy Regency Racing GForce/Olds
• TBA, No. 17&17T Dick Simon Racing TBA
• Johnny Unser, No. 18 Truscelli Team Racing Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 19 Della Penna Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 20&20T Kelley Racing Dallara/Olds
• Felipe Giaffone (R), No. 21&21T Hollywood Treadway/Hubbard Racing GForce/Olds
• TBA, No. 22&22T Johns Manville/Menards Team Menard Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 23&23T Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce/Infiniti 
• Robbie Buhl, No. 24&24T Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing GForce/Infiniti 
• TBA, No. 25&25T Walker Racing Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 27&27T Blueprint Racing Enterprises GForce/Olds
• Mark Dismore, No. 28&28T Delphi/Bryant Heating & Coolikng Kelley Racing Dallara/Olds
• Brandon Erwin (R), No. 30&30T WorldBestBuy.com McCormack Motorsports GForce/Olds
• Casey Mears (R), No. 31 SportsLine.com/Budweiser Galles Racing GForce/Olds
• Didier Andre (R), No. 32&32T Galles Racing GForce/Olds
• Nicolas Minassian (R), No. 33&33T Target Chip Ganassi Racing GForce/Olds
• Jeff Ward, No. 35&35T Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menard GForce/Olds
• TBA, No. 37&37T Brayton Racing Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 38&38T Nienhouse Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• Michael Andretti, No. 39&39T Motorola/Archipelago Team Green Dallara/Olds
• Robby Gordon, No. 41&41T A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Olds
• Bruno Junqueira (R), No. 44&44T Target Chip Ganassi Racing GForce/Olds
• Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51&51T Excite@Home Indy Race Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti
• Scott Goodyear, No. 52&52T Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti
• Shigeaki Hattori (R), No. 55&55T Epson Vertex/Cunningham Racing GForce/Olds
• TBA, No. 60&60T Tri Star Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• Gil de Ferran, No. 66&66T Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Olds
• Helio Castroneves (R), No. 68&68T Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Olds
• Jaques Lazier, No. 77&77T Johathan Byrd's Cafeteria TeamXtreme GForce/Olds
• John Paul Jr, No. 81 Zali Racing Capital Funding LLC GForce/Olds
• Airton Dare, No. 88&88T 10800-BAR-NONE TeamXtreme GForce/Olds
• Buddy Lazier, No. 91&91T Tae-Bo/Coors Light/LifeFitness/Delta Hemelgarn Dallara/Olds
• Stan Wattles, No. 92&92T Firestone Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 93&93T Metro Management/SuperFitness/Firestone Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Olds
• TBA, No. 94&94T Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Olds
• Billy Boat, No. 98&98T Curb Records Beck Motorsports Dallara/Olds
• Davey Hamilton, No. 99&99T Sam Schmidt Motorports Racing Special Dallara/Olds.
4/18/01
CART steps up DRIVEN promotion  CART and Warner Brothers have finally swung their promotion of the DRIVEN movie into high gear.  As can be seen from the pictures in this article taken from Hollywood Monday evening, CART banners were in full view.  Because CART is not mentioned much, if at all, in the movie, CART will have to keep up its strong marketing effort around this movie so the general population understands it's a CART movie and not an IRL or NASCAR movie.   Unfortunately there are many Americans who think NASCAR is racing and would not know the movie is based around the CART series.  We are hearing that initial reviews of the movie are very positive.
4/18/01
Miami Winston Cup tickets go on sale  Reserved seats for the November 9-11 Pennzoil 400 weekend, the return of NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series racing to Homestead-Miami Speedway, will go on sale to the public for the first time on Monday, April 23, at 9 a.m. The November 9-11 weekend features the Pennzoil 400 for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series on Sunday, and Saturday’s Miami 300, the NASCAR Busch Series season finale. Friday’s events include practice and qualifying for both the Pennzoil 400 and Miami 300. To order the best available reserved seats, call (305) 230-RACE, visit the Speedway’s official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com, or Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. 
4/18/01
David Poole announced as Sigma Marketing Director  Sigma Autosport announced Tuesday that Motorsports Marketing executive David Poole will join the team as Vice President of Marketing and Development, a newly-created position with the team. Poole will direct the marketing, sponsorship and business-development activities of one of CART's newest teams. 
Team Owner Tom Wieringa said, "David's role will be crucial in the future development of Sigma. We have a strong foundation both technically and as a brand, and now we are looking to building on that foundation over the next year. David is perfect for the job."  Poole joins the new Sigma team after more than a decade of progressive experience spanning Formula One, CART and NASCAR marketing programs. Most recently he was Marketing Manager of the Kmart Motorsports Program where he oversaw that company's CART and NASCAR effort. Prior to that position, Poole was Marketing Division Manager for Yamazen Inc., the U.S.-subsidiary of Yamazen Corporation, the world's largest machine tool distributor. In that position Poole initiated and managed the successful 5-year Yamazen sponsorship of Newman-Haas Racing. This program integrated the sponsorship-involvement into all phases of Yamazen's sales, marketing and promotional programs. The sponsorship was a central theme in all U.S. corporate activities, a first for the normally staid machine-tool industry.  Managing Director Paul Cherry said, "Sigma is pleased, indeed, to have David on the team. His understanding and experience comes from both the corporate sponsor-side and the team-side of the desk. This is the type of modern marketing background which is crucial in order to grow in the new global world of CART."  Vice President of Marketing & Development David Poole said, "The chance to join a new team at this level of competition is rare, and I thank Tom Wieringa and Paul Cherry for the opportunity. Sigma has turned heads this season and have made a strong statement. Performance on track and in early marketing efforts have been excellent.  "Motorsport is a serious business and my focus will be to provide a marketing platform second to none for all of Sigma's commercial partners. Winning and losing on-the-track is part of the excitement of racing, however, we have to provide constant victory off-the-track for all of our marketing programs." 
4/18/01
Special National Anthem to greet Texas winner  When the winner of the Firestone Firehawk 600 presented by Pioneer steps to the podium at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 29, it will be music to his ears - thanks to the Texas Wind Symphony. The Fort Worth-based group will perform the national anthem of the winning driver live at the speedway during the medal ceremony.  "We are prepared to give the race winner a proper Olympic style sendoff," symphony artistic director and conductor Ray C. Lichtenwalter said. "The most difficult task has been to locate the sheet music for the various anthems, but we have accomplished that and are ready to go."  The group will perform the United States national anthem in pre-race ceremonies and then be ready to play the American anthem or one of 11 other countries' national anthems for the Victory Lane ceremony. In addition to the U.S. anthem, the symphony will be set to honor a winner from Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain or Sweden.  "Having the Texas Wind Symphony here to play the winner's national anthem adds just another special touch to this race," speedway vice president and general manager Eddie Gossage said. "The elegance and style the symphony brings to the race festivities compliment the international atmosphere of a CART event."  The Texas Wind Symphony will feature a 35-piece ensemble on race day at the speedway. The group is in its 14th season and plays a seven concert series at Bass Performance Hall each year. In addition, the symphony has performed throughout the Southwest as well internationally. In 1996, the Texas Wind Symphony received the Sudler Award, the most prestigious North American honor given a concert band. 
4/18/01
Lights: Dan Wheldon talks about Long Beach  Long Beach is always one of my favorite races of the year. Last year was the first time I had ever raced at Long Beach, and it was certainly one race that I couldn’t wait to return to – AND WIN! However, my actual race result this year was not the result I ultimately wanted but, nonetheless, it was certainly more encouraging than the previous race in Mexico. Finishing second is never great, but at least I showed everybody out there that I and my number 1 PacWest Lights/Gemstar Communications car will be a force to be reckoned with in 2001. Long Beach is always a busy race for sponsorship commitments and this year I did something different and, in my opinion, very rewarding. I went on a hospital visit for ‘Racing for Kids’ – one of the sponsors of e on Friday went very well for me. It was one of those sessions where, although we didn’t end up the fastest overall, I knew the car was capable of being there. We knew that for Friday’s qualifying session it was important to be up at the front, because the forecast for Saturday was rain. The qualifying session on Friday was cut short at the end and, again, I had the feeling that the car was better than the position of third in which I finished the session. The question of running high or low down-force played on everyone’s minds all weekend, so it was interesting to me that the pole sitter was on high down-force, while nearly everybody else was on low! Saturday turned out to be exactly what we expected, wet. The weather forecast was rain on and off throughout the day, but it was very likely to be dry on Sunday. Bearing the forecast in mind, we opted not to run any laps in the morning practice session. We also decided that if it was still wet for the second ques me raise my game. I had a perfect start and on the run down to the first corner I managed to draw alongside my team-mate, and carry enough momentum around the outside of him to sweep into the lead going into the first corner. He had opted for the high down-force setup for the race, and I had stuck with the low and most of the other cars did the same. The next 30 laps I was not really challenged at all, however, I was being pushed. My lead was about one second and, at that point in the race, I became slightly distracted by a small gearbox problem that caused me to make a few mistakes. This allowed the second place driver to close up behind me and, on lap 34, he got a run on me and overtook me at the end of the front straight. After that, I never really got quite close enough to try and re-take the position. So, in my second CART Dayton Indy Lights race, I finished second. Overall the result at Long Beach was not too bad. Now I am really anxious to get to the the next race.
4/18/01

Sato impressive in BAR test, is F3000 needed?  Similar to CART where it has been proven a driver can move from Toyota Atlantics straight to Champ Cars, it appears more and more likely a driver can move from F3 straight to F1. Jenson Button proved that last year,  Japanese Formula 3 star Takuma Sato hopped into the BAR F1 car yesterday and put on a remarkable performance.  Sato lapped his BAR/Honda less than a second off the fastest time of the day, set by Jordan/Honda driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The 24-year-old comfortably outpaced the Jaguars of Pedro de la Rosa and Luciano Burti, as well as Williams/BMW star Juan Pablo Montoya, to end the day third-fastest of the eight drivers present.  This of course once again raises questions as to whether F3000 and Indy Lights are positioned properly.  We have long maintained that the step up the ladder from Atlantics to Lights, or F3 to F3000, is too small.  Our position is that Lights should be much closer to Champ cars (i.e. IRL cars) much like NASCAR Busch cars are to Winston Cup cars.  This is one of the reasons we are seeing short fields in Indy Lights.  It's no longer viewed as an essential step to make it to the top.  We await CART's announcement of the new Indy Lights specs, due out soon we hear.  Unfortunately, we are afraid that if it mimics F3000 like it does now, small fields may continue unless CART does something to give the series a shot in the arm. MC
4/18/01
Lauda confirms Burti out after 2001  Jaguar's Niki Lauda has confirmed that Luciano Burti will not be driving for the team in 2002 and that Eddie Irvine will be partnered by current Jaguar test driver Pedro de la Rosa.  Burti said: "The team informed me about this in San Marino, but to be honest, it has not been a big surprise and I have pretty much known it already. The fact is that I have always been, and will always be, grateful to Jaguar Racing for giving me the opportunity to prove myself in F1."  "It is a great chance for me and if I do well for the rest of the season, my future will be dictated by no one else but me. I still have 13 races to prove myself and that is exactly how I see the rest of the season – as a great opportunity."  Given the relative lack of performance by the Jaguar team, Burti's chances to impress another team for next year are slim.
4/17/01
Team Penske prepares for Texas  How does Marlboro Team Penske prepare to race at a new and unique track like the Texas Motor Speedway?  Preparation for the inaugural CART event, the Firestone Firehawk 600 (April 29), at the Texas Motor Speedway began last season with wind tunnel testing to simulate conditions at the track. Data from last season's Michigan 500 and Marlboro 500 was also analyzed. The aerodynamics package used for the Texas race will be very similar to that used at the California and Michigan Speedways given speeds are expected to be closer to those found at these 2.0-mile super speedways than other 1.5-mile ovals. The key difference, however, is that the turns at Texas Motor Speedway are banked steeper than those at California Speedway. The corner pitch angle at Texas is 24° -- 60% steeper than California's pitch angle of 15°.   "The uniqueness of Texas Motor Speedway revolves around horsepower, banking and drag as opposed to other ovals where downforce and handling are the prevailing factors," said Tom German, Race Engineer for the #1 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard driven by current CART FedEx Series Champion, Gil de Ferran.  The Team will analyze data obtained during driver Helio Castroneves' test in Texas this February. Team engineers have taken the data acquired through the telemetry readings and run computer simulations to prepare for the 600 km (375 miles) race.  Marlboro Team Penske engineers are also able to look at the surface of the track through computer simulations to determine how the shocks of the car must be modified to run successfully at the new venue.  "Given the sophisticated simulation programs and data extrapolation, preparation for the inaugural race at Texas Motor Speedway will actually be fairly similar to preparing for an event at a circuit where we have already raced," noted German. The race at the Texas Motor Speedway will be the first oval race of the 2001 CART season after two road/street circuits in Monterrey, Mexico and Long Beach, CA. A trio of oval races at Nazareth (May 6), Japan (May 19), and Milwaukee (June 3) follow the Texas event.  To prepare, the Team will utilize data from several sources. The previous year's race at each venue will be reviewed in conjunction with data from ovals run later last season, which reflects progress made throughout the year. Marlboro Team Penske will be using a new aerodynamics package at Nazareth and data from that event will be used for both Japan and Milwaukee.
4/17/01
CART Teams combine knowledge for success  Multi-car teams working together to reach victory lane is an integral part of the CART FedEx Championship Series. This cooperation may well produce a driver standing on the victory podium Sunday, April 29 when CART's stars tackle Texas Motor Speedway in the Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer. A total of 28 cars are expected to take the green flag in the inaugural CART event at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The grid will be composed of 11 two-car efforts and six single-car entities although two of the "single-car" teams have direct ties with multi-car operations. The concept of teamwork will be even more significant on Friday, April 27 as the first official practice sessions are staged. Only a few CART drivers have tested at the highest-banked speedway on the 21-race schedule, making the sharing of data gathered during the practices critical for success in the race.  Adrian Fernandez, last season's CART FedEx Championship Series runner-up and a new car owner, realizes the importance that a multi-car operation can have.  "We were planning on running just one car this season but then we had the opportunity for Shinji (Nakano) to join our team," said Fernandez. "Having the input of two drivers and two engineers is a huge advantage during race weekends. This allows us to prepare a better race setup for both cars."  Both winners in early-season CART FedEx races at Monterrey and Long Beach were from multi-car operations, Cristiano da Matta of the Texaco Havoline Newman/Haas Racing team and Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske. 
4/17/01
Texas forced to ban motorized ATV's For safety reasons, Texas Motor Speedway officials will not allow campers to bring ATVs, dirt bikes, golf carts and the like to the speedway beginning with the April 29 Firestone Firehawk 600 presented by Pioneer. "Because of abuse by some, we can no longer allow our campers to bring such vehicles onto the grounds," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "I have talked with dozens of our regular campers who have voiced their concerns over the growing vehicle problem. Ironically, many of those with concerns have golf carts or scooters themselves, but they see there is a real problem for those who don't act responsibly and they have supported this decision." Speedway officials are trying to reach all campers in advance of the April 29 CART FedEx Championship Series event to notify them of the policy. Campers that show up with ATVs, dirt bikes, golf carts and the like must allow speedway officials to impound the vehicle in a secure, fenced lot before entering the campgrounds. Approximately 40,000 fans camped on the speedway property for the Harrah's 500 earlier this month. While fewer campers are expected for the Firestone Firehawk 600 presented by Pioneer, speedway officials are implementing the policy immediately for safety and consistency reasons. In addition to offering free tram service around the entire 1,500-acre facility, Texas Motor Speedway also provides free shuttles exclusively for the campgrounds. In addition, Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries (TxARM) offers free shuttles to handicapped and elderly fans.
4/17/01
CART drivers - more than meets the eye The CART FedEx Championship Series brings a worldwide flavor to the inaugural Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer at Texas Motor Speedway. The competitors' homelands span from Scotland to Brazil and from Sweden to the United States. The series itself features 21 races staged in seven different countries around the world. And, for the drivers, it is a cosmopolitan mixture on and off the track. Here is a sampling:
Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola): son of open-wheel racing legend Mario Andretti*opened "Race Rock", an international chain of race-themed restaurants, with fellow racing personalities Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, and John Force*has a $1.2 million motor home that he and his family use for race weeks*his helmet design is taken from that of his father's old helmet, only Michael has added the American flag on the bottom.
Cristiano da Matta (#6 NewmanHaas Racing): enjoys playing the guitar and is starting a band with fellow competitors Kenny Brack and Patrick Carpentier*father, Toninho, was an 11-time Brazilian touring car champion.
Gil de Ferran (#1 Marlboro Team Penske): The defending CART champion hails from Brazil*his wife's family owns a publishing company in the United Kingdom that produces, Motoring News, a leading motor sports journal*came to the United Sates as a high school exchange student for one semester. He lived on a farm with a family in Mt. Hope, Wis., where he milked cows after school.
Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green): Born and raised in Scotland, he is an avid fan of James Bond movies and fellow Scotsman Sean Connery*a Ferrari aficionado and collector*enjoys working out, riding mountain bikes, snow skiing, and took up golf when he joined Team KOOL Green in 1998.
Christian Fittipaldi (#11 NewmanHaas Racing): nephew of racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi*was chosen as Cosmopolitan Magazine's "Single Guy of the Month", for May, 1998*was chosen as honorary Olympic torch runner in 1996 and carried the flame, bound for Atlanta, in Orlando, Fla*raises cattle in Brazil with his father where the duo manage 6,000 head of cattle*can communicate in five languages-English, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Spanish.
Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green): owns and maintains an eclectic fleet of vehicles, including three Ron Simms Harley Davidson motorcycles, two mountain bikes, a dirt bike, a 40-foot Skater boat that can reach speeds of 125 mph, and a pair of Paul Tracy model 125cc shifter karts*self-confessed video game junkie who owns three PlayStations*alternative rock music fan with his favorite band being Metallica.
4/17/01
Unfortunately, ride-buying continues in IRL too  In this article on Speednet,  it sounds like ride-buying is still rampant in the IRL, primarily due to lack of sponsors and the costs being higher than some may think - Hemelgarn Racing is one of the teams which has a spare car -- actually, it has two -- for the right driver. The other teams are Simon, Kelley, Bradley, Menard, Dreyer & Reinbold and Walker. "It's going to take someone with money," said Lee Kunzman, Hemelgarn's team manager. "I'm not going to go through the effort for practice."  
4/17/01
CART releases financial statement Joseph F. Heitzler, President/Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Our total revenues are projected to increase slightly in 2001, in spite of a decrease in sponsorship revenues. We will actively market all aspects of our sport in 2001 to increase sponsorship, expand our investment in television and, by working with our promoters, increase attendance. Full Report (PDF)
4/16/01
Albers to test for Minardi  It was today confirmed by European Minardi F1 that Christijan Albers will join the team when it tests at the Mugello circuit, near Florence, this coming week. The 22-year-old Dutch driver comes with impressive credentials, having won the German Formula Three Championship in 1999, followed by a successful season of competition in the FIA International F3000 Championship with European Formula Racing in 2000. This year, he is a member of the official Mercedes squad participating in the DTM (German Touring Car Championship). "We have known Christijan for several years and rate him highly as a talented young racing driver," comments European Minardi F1 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "Now that the Formula One teams are back in Europe, our testing program can begin in earnest. We have a considerable amount of work to get through as quickly as possible, so we asked Christijan to help us out on Wednesday. Needless to say, he didn't have to be asked twice!" Albers will join regular European Minardi F1 drivers, Tarso Marques and Fernando Alonso, at Mugello as work begins in earnest on unlocking the full potential of the team's neat PS01 chassis. "It was my birthday yesterday, and this is the best present I could have," says Albers. "I am very excited at the prospect of helping European Minardi at this test. I know many of the people on the team already from my time with them in Formula 3000. For sure, it will be a huge challenge to get to grips with the performance of a current Formula One car and hopefully provide some useful feedback to the engineers, but it's a challenge I can't wait to take on." 
4/16/01
Food for thought  One of the main reasons given as to why the IRL was created was to provide more opportunities to young American drivers.  CART, it was said, was comprised of too many ride-buying foreign drivers (although this myth was dispelled in this article).  However, since its inception, a significant percentage of every starting grid for an IRL race has been foreign.  And that does not look like it will be ending anytime soon.  Six of this years ten rookies who passed their Indy rookie test are foreign born, pretty much dispelling the myth that the IRL is all about providing opportunity for young American short-track drivers. 13 of the total 38 drivers entered are foreign born.  We, however, see nothing wrong with foreign drivers.  Our motto - may the best man (or women) win.  It's just ashamed that so much had to be made of the foreign drivers in CART, as if they were a bad thing.  Certainly CART could use a few more American drivers, if, and only if, they can get the job done.  We would have missed out on the opportunity to witness the great talent of a Juan Montoya, or a Jacques Villeneuve, had CART been a all-Yankees club. 
4/16/01
Castroneves is just the medicine CART needs This picture, taken by Michael Gonyea, shows just why Helio Castroneves is one of CART's most liked drivers.  As you can see, just like Alex Zanardi before him, it does not matter that Castroneves is not an American, if you are colorful, a great driver, and treat the fans with respect, they will become loyal fans whether you are American, Brazilian, etc.  Like any other sport, the fans come to watch the best driver/athlete win.
4/16/01
Target Ganassi's Junqueira tops speed charts at Indy Target Chip Ganassi Racing, the defending champions of the Indianapolis 500, returned to the historic 2.5-mile oval this weekend to participate in the annual rookie orientation program. Drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian completed all phases of the program on Friday morning, allowing them to focus on race and qualifying setups. Junqueira and Minassian are attempting to duplicate the performance of Juan Montoya last year, who took the checkered flag in his first-ever race at the Indy 500. Junqueira, driving the No. 44 Target G-Force/Oldsmobile turned the fastest lap of the two-day session on Saturday morning with a lap of 219.978 mph. Junqueira was happy with the team’s performance at the legendary oval.  “I am happy about our performance today,” Junqueira said. “This test was very good for both me and the team. We were able to do some long runs today and get a feel for how the car reacts as the fuel load goes down. I am still learning how to drive this very difficult oval, but every lap that I make I feel more and more comfortable. On the fast lap that we made, I was flat out for three of the four corners, but the wind caused me to have to lift a little bit in turn two.” Nicolas Minassian was involved in an accident on Friday morning when his car had a mechanical failure, causing the rear wheels to lock. The car made contact with the front stretch wall at a speed of over 210 mph. Minassian was transported to Methodist hospital where all of the precautionary tests were negative. He was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon, but did not return to the wheel of the No. 33 Target G-Force/Oldsmobile. Minassian only recorded 21 laps, but still tallied the fourth fastest lap of the two-day session with a speed of 216.085. He was disappointed not to be able to continue testing. “Before the accident, we were having a very good testing session. The car was very fast and easy to drive. In only 20 laps, we turned a lap of over 216 mph. I am very disappointed that we made contact with the wall and ended our testing session. The doctors cleared me to drive, but I was still experiencing some soreness in my neck. So we felt that it was best to just get some rest and be 100% when we come back here to test next week. I really love driving around this place, even though I had the mechanical problem. I am disappointed to not be able to drive any more this weekend, but it is best that I just take it easy and not push it.” Team Target Managing Director Mike Hull was happy the results of the testing session. "This was a successful test for us. Despite the mechanical problem leading to the accident that Nicolas had on Friday, overall we are happy with the results. Bruno was able to run a lap of almost 220 mph, and collect over 450 miles of track time. That will be invaluable when we come back here in May to race. I am very impressed with the performance of both Bruno and Nicolas. They did a great job on a track that is very difficult to drive.” Team Target will now prepare for the third round of the CART FedEx Championship Series to be held on April 29 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.
4/16/01
DRIVEN webcast tonight  TONIGHT (Monday, April 16, 2001) is the Hollywood Premiere of the CART/Sylvester Stallone film entitled "Driven." Warner Brothers will be having a LIVE Webcast of the Red Carpet Arrivals of the Stars, Drivers, and Celebs.....so check it out!  It is scheduled to be held TONIGHT at 9:30 PM Eastern time/ 6:30 PM PT. Go to: www.what-drives-you.com and the link should come up in a 'pop-up-box' on its own once you are at the first page. 
4/16/01
CART Transporter Parade planned for Texas 600  Fans can get up-close-and-personal with the Champ cars of CART FedEx Championship Series Champion Gil de Ferran, Adrian Fernandez, Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and others at the Transporter Parade, Wednesday, April 25, from 7:00-11:00 a.m. at Cowboys Arlington. The haulers of the teams competing in the Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, will display the race cars for fans all morning in the parking lot of Cowboys Arlington and then load up for the 11:00 a.m. parade start to the speedway. In addition to the team CART team haulers, the rigs of the Dayton Indy Lights Series, engine manufacturers and others will participate in the parade. It is anticipated that as many as 75 transporters, led by official speedway pace cars, will make the journey to the speedway that morning. There will be prizes and special giveaways during the Transporter Parade event. Winners of the speedway's CART FANatics contest will each randomly select the driver they'll be paired with for the April 29 race. In addition, the CART FANatics winners will participate in the Transporter Parade by riding along in the hauler of their selected CART driver.
4/16/01 Seen at Imola  Among the many people seen at Imola was CART team owner Roger Penske.  . No word on what Roger was up to, but it's safe to say there's always something new to be learned in the F1 paddock that can possibly be used back in CART.  Of course Penske does still have partial ownership of Ilmor, the manufacturer that builds the Mercedes engines in the McLarens.  Maybe Roger was talking to some engine manufacturers about building CART engines, or developing a common engine platform for CART and F1.  Wishful thinking we suppose.
4/16/01
Andretti's Indy test pushed back until next week  Michael Andretti was supposed to test his IRL car at the Indy Speedway yesterday and today.  Instead that test has been pushed back until next week for undisclosed reasons.  In other testi3ng news, Helio Castroneves had a big slide between turns 1 and 2 on Saturday but was able to keep the car off the wall.
4/15/01 More on Americans in Europe [Source Speedvision] In addition to the report below, here are some more details on the Americans in Europe -Paul Edwards, Alex Gurney, Jeffery Jones, Patrick Long, Derek Hill, and Danica Patrick. Derek Hill did not finish is this weekend F3000 race after he was an innocent victim in a crash. At Snetterton, England  Paul Edwards became the first American to earn a podium finish in nine years when he took third in Race Two. Edwards, who started 10th, attempted a bold maneuver around the outside line at the first corner, but it failed to pay off and cost him a couple of positions. He was unable to find a way past Alan Docking Racing teammate Priaulx and eventually finished 12th. Fellow Americans Jeffrey Jones and Alex Gurney placed 14th and 15th, respectively. Race Two was held on a drying track after a brief shower rolled across the Norfolk countryside a half-hour before the Formula 3 cars took up their grid positions. That spelled bad news for Edwards, who started from the pole“ but on the wetter inside half of the track. Sure enough, those on the outside of the grid made better getaways, so Edwards was relegated to third by the first corner. Priaulx, a former British Hillclimb Champion, sped away to take the victory, his first in Formula 3 and the first for team owner Docking since American Elton Julian led the way home at Thruxton in 1992. Julian's triumphant day also represented the last time an American had started from the pole in a British Formula 3 race. Edwards, who had gambled on softening the rear of his car in anticipation of another rain shower, was unable to hang onto the two leaders as the hoped-for precipitation failed to materialize and the track surface continued to dry slowly. He nevertheless was able to hold onto third place in the face of a determined challenge from the consistent Hayes, who now has finished in the top four in each of the four races held to date. "It wasn't as wet as we thought," related Edwards, "so the back end [of the car] was falling over in the corners. It's disappointing when you feel you could have won, but at least we learned something. It was good to get my first podium finish. I qualified ahead of [the vastly more experienced] Andy [Priaulx] in both races, and although I finished behind him both times, I know I'm right there [in terms of speed] and I think my turn is going to come fairly soon." Gurney finished 12th in Race Two, while Jones took 16th. Davies and Hayes are now tied for the championship lead on 49 points, followed by Priaulx (43) and Bruni (37). Aussie James Courtney, who claimed two sixth-place finishes for Jaguar Racing, lies fourth on 36 points ahead of Sato (26) and Edwards (24). The accompanying British Formula Ford Zetec Championship race was red-flagged to an early conclusion by a sudden, heavy rain shower, which saw slick-shod cars spinning en masse. Due to the fact that 50pct of the scheduled distance had been completed, it was not restarted. Sweden's Richard Goransson took his second win in a row for the factory Van Diemen squad, which is based at Snetterton. Countryman Alex Danielsson claimed an excellent second in his Vector. American Patrick Long was making excellent progress, having moved up from 15th to ninth when the race was concluded after just six laps. Danica Patrick didn't fare so well, classified only 27th after a spin. 
4/15/01

CART's Bruno Junqueira tops all Indy rookies  Bruno Junqueira posted the fastest time of the two-day Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 13-14.  Junqueira, a Target/Chip Ganassi Racing driver, recorded the fastest lap of the two-day test on Saturday morning with a lap of 40.9132 seconds, 219.978 mph, beating Helio Castroneves' lap of 41.0202 seconds, 219.877 mph also turned on Saturday. "I am happy about our performance today," said Junqueira. "This test was very good for both me and the team. We were able to do some long runs today and get a feel for how the car reacts as the fuel load goes down." Other drivers who completed their tests were: Nicolas Minassian (Target/Chip Ganassi Racing), Brandon Erwin (McCormack Motorsports), Junqueira (Target/Chip Ganassi Racing), Shigeaki Hattori (Vertex-Cunningham), Didier André (Galles Racing), Felipe Giaffone (Treadway-Hubbard Racing) and Jon Herb (Tri Star Motorsports).
4/15/01
MTV to air Driven movie special  At 9:00 PM on April 21st MTV will air a special called "Fast and Famous" which will feature driver profiles, clips from Driven, and Pro Celebrity highlights from Long Beach. MTV's Brian McFadden was seen in the Ganassi garage on Friday at Long Beach interviewing various cast members from Driven. 
4/15/01 American is Europe UPDATE Paul Edwards finished 3rd in the 2nd race, after starting from pole.  He spun his wheels on a wet track at the start, fell to 3rd and could never recover. Gurney did not figure in either race. 4/14/01 -  American youngster Paul Edwards grabbed the pole position for the second British F3 race tomorrow at Snetterton.  Edwards won the pole in damp cold conditions.  He will start 10th in the first race.  Another Californian, Alex Gurney, son of Dan Gurney, will start 7th in the 2nd race.
British Formula 3 Championship, Snetterton
Race 1 qualifying, leading times

Pos, Driver (Team/Car), Time
1 Matt Davies (Team Avanti Dallara-Opel) 1m02.247s
2 Derek Hayes (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.281s
3 Nicolas Kiesa (RC Motorsport Dallara-Opel) 1m02.293s
4 Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.340s
5 Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Renault) 1m02.384s
6 Andre Lotterer (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.536s
7 Ryan Dalziel (RC Motorsport Dallara-Opel) 1m02.667s
8 James Courtney (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.696s
9 Anthony Davidson (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.734s
10 Paul Edwards (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) 1m02.750s
Race 2 qualifying, leading times
Pos, Driver (Team/Car), Time
1 Edwards 1m12.415s
2 Andy Priaulx (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) 1m12.487s
3 Sato 1m12.684s
4 Hayes 1m12.690s
5 Kiesa 1m12.861s
6 Milos Pavlovic (Team Avanti Dallara-Opel) 1m12.870s
7 Alex Gurney (Fortec Motorsport Dallara-Renault) 1m12.956s
8 Courtney 1m12.991s
9 Mark Taylor (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1m13.012s
10 Bruni 1m13.041s
4/14/01
If Audi goes to F1, CART might be better served adopting 3.0 Liter NA engine  We hear Audi is set to make this year their last in the LeMans series. Their all-conquering R8's have nothing else to prove after coming in 1-2-3 place last year, & well expected to sweep the podium again this year!  We believe both Ford & Porsche did the same after their respectively prototypes dominated the series in the earlier years. After that, Audi is said to be very serious in competing in the same motorsport as their German-rivals (BMW & Mercedes). Its well rumored that they will be entering F1 as an engine supplier or complete team (like Toyota/Ferrari) in the very near future. Not a question of if, but when so the rumor goes.  That being said, if Audi does go to F1, that means Ferrari, Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW, Audi, Renault, Honda and Toyota will be building 3.0 liter normally aspirated engines.  If CART decided to adopt the 3.0 liter formula one standard, rather than the 3.5 liter low-tech IRL standard, one has to wonder how many of those manufactures might be willing to use a Methanol version of the same engine in CART, sort of like selling a customer version much like Ferrari is doing with the Prost team this year. Of course the engines would be significantly different, with some cost measures instituted, and beefed up to last 500 miles in the big races.  However, we could foresee a parallel design effort with some sharing of technology between the two.  The question CART has to answer is do they want to stay unique (Turbos), step down to a low-tech IRL type engine, or step up to a higher tech 3.0 liter F1 type engine.  Since the IRL spec does not work for CART, and given CART has a desire to play in the international market, one has to wonder if some sort of compromise could not be reached with the manufacturers to get F1 and CART to adopt identical engine rules that met the two half way.  Wishful thinking. 
4/14/01
Simpson says belts were cut by Medic  The maker of the seat belt used in Dale Earnhardt's car said a fan has come forward with video showing Earnhardt being cut from the seat belt. Bill Simpson, founder and chairman of Simpson Performance Products, told ESPN radio that a fan sent him a video of the crash that killed Earnhardt in the Daytona 500. "Since this whole thing has surfaced and since NASCAR did their press conference, there's a spectator that has come forward with videotape and it clearly shows an EMT getting into the car with a knife -- and that's what it looked like to me -- like it had been cut," Simpson said. "I have a copy of it now and it's out being enhanced at the moment." 
4/14/01 Dismal CART and IRL TV ratings, or are they?  2nd UPDATE We finally have the final TV ratings from last weekend's races:
NASCAR Martinsville FOX  5.4 -  5,549,000 viewers
CART Long Beach ABC 1.1 - 1,097,000 viewers
IRL Miami ABC 0.8 - 824,000 viewers
 4/12/01 - Following one of the biggest ratings foul-ups in history, Nielsen Media Research has withdrawn the figures that it initially released for all of last Sunday's network and cable programs -- acknowledging that they were wrong -- has delayed the release of cumulative results for the week of April 2-8, and has also put off the release of some results for the first three days of this week, particularly those affecting cable channels. "We made a mistake. Actually, we made a series of mistakes in processing Sunday's data," Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus told Broadcasting and Cable's online site. "And it was compounded when we released data that should not have been released because it was wrong. We realize that we let a lot of people down, that we let CBS down because it was a terrible time to have this happen." Loftus presumably was referring to figures released for CBS's coverage of the final round of the Masters Golf Tournament indicating that Tiger Woods' historic win attracted a smaller audience than the Masters event in 1997. The figures were later withdrawn. Nielsen explained that it failed to properly program Daylight Savings Time into its primary mainframe computer after it was taken offline for maintenance work on Sunday and that the error corrupted data that it had received on that day.  4/10/01 As we have stated previously, research shows that the same fans watch both IRL and CART broadcasts.  Unfortunately there isn't enough of them. The IRL from Homestead pulled a 0.9 overnight (2 share) and the CART Grand Prix of Long Beach pulling an identical number. However, worldwide, CART is still viewed by far more people than NASCAR so at least it has that going for it.  In the USA, the CART/IRL split has really hurt both sides.  Based on the TV ratings, there is no room in the USA for two Indy Car series.  Whose idea was it to start a second series and cripple the sport?  TV ratings that were over 2 (with just as many foreign drivers) before the split are now 1 or lower.  The IRL race was up against NASCAR and CART was up against Tiger Woods winning the Masters Golf Tournament.  NASCAR Winston Cup got a 4.5 rating / 11 share (overnight) and a taped show of AMA Supercross beat both the IRL and CAT with a 1.1 rating / 3 share (overnight)
4/14/01
Scanner Frequencies added  We have added 2001 scanner frequencies to our CART and NASCAR pages.  Look for the 'frequencies' link on each page that take you to the latest 2001 scanner frequencies.
4/13/01 AJ Foyt enters Robbie Gordon in Indy 500  AJ Foyt has entered a car for former NASCAR and CART driver Robbie Gordon in this years Indy 500.  That makes brings close to half the entries being current or former CART drivers.  Gordon came within one lap of winning the Indy 500 in 1999, running out of gas on the last lap in one of John Menard's cars.
4/13/01 Minassian tests wall at Indy, Castroneves fastest Target Ganassi driver Nicolas Minassian got his first taste of hitting a concrete wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today when his engine seized and he hit the front stretch wall coming out of the 4th turn.  Minassian was wearing a HANS Device.  He was taken to the hospital for x-rays but everything turned out OK.  He complained of a slight sore neck.  Minassian was at Indy for rookie orientation.  Meanwhile Helio Castroneves turned in the fastest laps of the day at nearly 220 MPH.  Rookie practice continues Saturday, and then Michael Andretti moves in Sunday and Monday.
4/13/01 Jonny Kane to test Arrows F1 car  Jonny Kane has a busy week ahead when he will be testing for both MG Lola and Orange Arrows. This is an exciting time for the young Ulsterman with many new driving experiences and opportunities. Jonny will travel to Albacete on Sunday to test for three days with MG in preparation for their return to Le Mans in June. Jonny has signed with MG to race at the prestigious Le Mans race and is looking forward to his first test in the new MG Lola LMP675. "I've been getting pretty restless lately after a much longer winter break than I'm used to, so it will be great to get back on a circuit. The MG had a successful test earlier this week and I can't wait to experience it for myself. Endurance racing is a new challenge for me but one that I'm really looking forward to. The initial running seems to have gone well and the driver line-up is very strong so I'm extremely positive about our performance." Kane will then travel onward to Vairano to test with Orange Arrows on Thursday and Friday. Kane had an unexpected test with the Formula One team last week when their contracted drivers were unavailable and is delighted to be given the opportunity to go on a second test so soon. "It was fantastic to get the chance to get back in an F1 car and work with such a professional group of people. I was really impressed by the way the team worked through their program, and hopefully the aero work we did will be beneficial for the rest of the season. I'm looking forward to having another run next week and I'm only too happy to fill in any time in the future if the opportunity arises."
4/13/01 Schumacher leads first day in San Marino  Michael Schumacher recorded a time of 1:25.096 to finish ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello, with the Ferrari pair leading the way for the vast majority of the two-hour session. Ralf Schumacher once again performed strongly, lapping less than a second slower than his older brother to finish third. But there was no such joy for Ralf’s Williams teammate Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya was dogged by engine problems throughout the session and failed to set a time. Funny how that never seems to happen to his German teammate's German BMW engine. We know, just a coincidence. Times
4/13/01



Comparing racing series (Weight shown with 150 LB driver)
Series Weight HP HP/Lb. % of F1 Difficulty to Driver
Formula 1 1322LB 825 0.62 100% Hardest
CART (Ideal for RC's) 1700 1055 0.62 100% 1000 HP ideal for road courses
CART (Existing) 1700 850 0.50 80%  
CART (Ideal for ovals) 1700 750 0.44 70% 750 HP ideal for ovals
Formula Nippon 1378 540 0.39 63%  
IRL 1725 650 0.38 61%  
F3000 1378 505 0.37 60%  
Indy Lights 1550 425 0.27 43%  
NASCAR Winston Cup 3500 750 0.21 34%  
Toyota Atlantic 1410 240 0.17 27%  
Barber Dodge Pro 1550 265 0.17 27%  
F3 1340 200 0.17 27% Easiest
4/12/01
Lower HP?  Food for Thought UPDATE As a follow-up to our previous warning - CART lowered the boost from 40" to 37" this year.  That took about 50 HP out of the cars (down to about 850 HP) and lowered the torque.  That was enough to make it almost impossible to pass at both Mexico and Long Beach as the braking zones got a bit shorter and the torque out of the corners was lower.  Just wait and see what happens if the engines are reduced to 750 HP.  If CART wants to increase passing on road and street circuits, give them 1,000 HP.  That should make the terminal velocity plenty high, the braking zones longer, and passing a bit easier. Put another way, if you race 25 HP lawn tractors the braking zones will be 6 inches long and no one will ever pass.  The IRL engine solution will not work for CART.  If CART really feels compelled to adopt a normally aspirated engine, than do it with a 2 orifice system.  Big orifice for road and street circuits making 900 HP and small orifice for big ovals making 700 HP.  From what we are told, the engine will be essentially identical and the HP and Torque curve the same for both, the difference being the small orifice engine curve flattens out sooner.  This is the system the IRL should have adopted to control speeds. It would have then given CART an avenue to adopt the same engine specs but with a different size orifice.  The rev limited, fixed bore spec engine the IRL has mandated is wrong for CART, and that's really too bad because the IRL had the chance to do something that could have worked for both series, but chose to ignore the advice of Toyota and Ford. Now you know why CART has not been willing to adopt an engine similar to the IRL.  It does not work for them.  4/10/01 There are some folks in the CART community who think the engines should be lowered to 700 to 750 HP as that is where it was back in 1995 when the racing was pretty good.  What they fail to realize is that the cars/teams/drivers are more equal now than back then, when it was easier for a fast guy to overtake a slower car/driver.  In fact lowering the HP is going to make overtaking even worse.  With lower terminal velocity, the straight speeds will be lower hence the braking zones will be much shorter.  On the street and road circuits, that's where the passing is done.  Lowering the HP to 700 to 750 and shortening the braking zones may eliminate overtaking altogether unless a driver misses a shift.  We like Ford's idea of a sharp edged orifice for the big ovals where you want HP reduced.  They claim it won't require an entirely different engine design, just a different sized orifice for the big ovals, and maybe none at all everywhere else.
4/12/01 CART FANatics wanted  Texas Motor Speedway is looking for a few good race fans who are real CART fanatics.  The CART FANatics contest will give 28 lucky winners, who will each be paired with one of the drivers, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the CART FedEx Championship Series Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, as well as participate in the pre-race activities with their selected driver. We think this will be a really unique way to involve our fans," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "We're very excited to have this great international series and we know that these twenty-eight lucky fans will be even more enthused than we are." Each winner will receive two seats in the new Victory Lane Club for the race, as well as two Motorola Radio Shack Qualifying Day tickets, a pre-race garage tour, a FedEx goody bag and a ride in the Transporter Parade on April 25 from Cowboys Arlington to the speedway. Winners will each be paired with a driver by randomly selecting one of 28 sealed FedEx boxes prior to the Transporter Parade. The fan who is paired with the winning driver will also attend the post-race Champagne Toast in The Speedway Club and receive a one-year Speedway Club membership. Entry forms for the CART FANatics contest are available at the speedway ticket office through April 23 during regular ticket office hours. The winners will be selected by random drawing and notified by April 25. Winner's names will also be posted on the speedway website at www.texasmotorspeedway.com
4/12/01
Dr. Bohannon reverses decision on Earnhardt accident  Dr. Bohannon, the physician who said a faulty seat belt might have been responsible for Dale Earnhardt's death at the Daytona 500 admits that he was quick in blaming the restraint system. "I was trying to answer the questions the media and the public had to the best of my ability and I think I speculated more than I should have," Dr. Steve Bohannon told The News-Journal of Daytona Beach on Wednesday. "Sometimes you should just say it's too early to speculate." Bohannon, the director of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway, withdrew his assumption after a court-appointed medical expert said restraint failure didn't play a role in Earnhardt's death Feb. 18. Dr. Barry Myers, a Duke University professor who made his report public earlier this week after looking at Earnhardt's autopsy photos late last month, is "more qualified to determine the cause of death," Bohannon said. Myers' report was the culmination of an agreement between the Orlando Sentinel and Dale Earnhardt's widow, Teresa. Five days after the crash, Bohannon raised the theory of a faulty seat belt system as a possible reason why the seven-time Winston Cup champion died. At the time, Bohannon was the only doctor to see the racer's autopsy photos.
4/12/01 Freestyle Motocross Show in conjunction with CART race at TMS  X Games freestyle motocross stars will gather at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track Saturday night, April 28 for the Young Chevrolet AirMX Challenge, presented by KZPS. The freestyle riders will present a complete program that will include a variety of aerial moves and tricks. Leading riders seen at the X Games and the Gravity Games will be seeking the top prize of $10,000 from the $54,000 purse. Current AirMX Challenge point leader, Clifford Adoptante, the "Flyin' Hawaiian," will lead the talented group into the competition. Adoptante won the first AirMX Challenge event at Winston-Salem, N.C. and captured one of the two nights of jumping last month in Tucson, Ariz. Other leading freestyle artists expected are Oklahoman cowboy Kenny Bartram, Kris Rourke, Jeff Tilton, Trevor Vines and the Metal Mulisha's Brian Deegan and Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg. A total of 20 riders will compete in two rounds of 1.5-minute routines over the course that will include 1,400 cubic yards of dirt and three giant steel ramp jumps. The top five riders after the two rounds will compete for the $10,000 prize. Also part of the program will be the popular "Step Up" competition, a motorcycle high jump that features riders more than 35 feet in the air. Gates for the Challenge will open at 6:00 p.m. with the competition kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Alcoholic beverages will be sold during the evening at the Dirt Track which will prevent spectators from bringing their own alcohol into the facility due to state law. The Challenge will be in conjunction with the Firestone Firehawk 600, presented by Pioneer, CART FedEx Championship Series weekend. 
4/12/01 Da Matta to appear on RaceWeek Sunday  Texaco/Havoline/Kmart driver Cristiano da Matta will appear on SpeedVision's show "RaceWeek" on Sunday, April 15 at 7:30 PM ET to discuss his lead in the CART FedEx Championship Series as well as his new relationship with Newman/Haas Racing. The show will reair at 11:30 ET. Da Matta and Kmart Toyota driver Christian Fittipaldi head to Round 3 of 21 on April 29 with the running of the inaugural Firestone Firehawk 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. Fittipaldi is the reigning CART oval track winner after driving to victory in the 500-mile Marlboro 500 CART season-finale at the California Speedway in Oct. 2000. Da Matta has two top-two finishes in the first two events since joining Newman/Haas Racing, which has won two of the past three events in CART as well as finished second in the other. 
4/12/01 CART comments on ISL counterclaim  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) today commented on the counterclaim filed by ISL Worldwide. The counterclaim was filed in the Circuit Court for the County of Oakland, State of Michigan, as a part of the Answer, Affirmative Defenses, Counterclaim and Setoff in the case filed by the Company against ISL Worldwide. It seeks damages in excess of $150 million, plus punitive damages in an unspecified amount, interest and attorneys fees. Deborah M. Schneider, Vice President of Legal Affairs, stated that the Company believes the allegations to be without merit and that the Company intends to vigorously pursue its case against, and defend against the claims made by, ISL Worldwide.  CART filed a complaint in Oakland (Mich.) County Circuit Court on February 28, 2001seeking compensatory and consequential damages in excess of $100 million against ISL Marketing AG, which had served as CART's exclusive worldwide marketing agent since 1998. In the suit, CART alleges fraudulent inducement; breach of the agreement; and failure by ISL to pay more than $6 million due to CART with respect to its 2000 guarantee. 
4/12/01   Carpentier awaits medical clearance  Team Player’s driver Patrick Carpentier, who is back from Indianapolis following the operation on his left wrist performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell last Tuesday, fully expects to compete in the next race in the CART series, although he is still awaiting medical clearance. “The surgery, which lasted two hours and a quarter, was a complete success, but with nine new screws and two metal plates in my wrist, it seems like I’m coming back from the hardware store instead of the clinic,” explained Carpentier with his customary wit. “Even though Dr. Trammell didn’t want to confirm right away that I would be able to race in Texas, he told me that he would be very surprised if I had to miss the race.” In an effort to speed up the healing process, the Canadian driver will undergo treatments in a hyperbaric chamber over the next few days. Carpentier will test his wrist driving his kart in Las Vegas during the week prior to the April 29 race in Texas. He will then be re-examined by Dr. Trammell. “I’m still lucky in my misfortune because it’s not a fracture that takes a long time to heal,” explained Carpentier, whose car came into contact with that of Max Papis on the 54th lap of last Sunday’s race in Long Beach. “I don’t want to come back too soon but, ironically, my wrist is definitely more solid now than it was before the accident. That’s why I don’t foresee any problem. 
4/12/01   What's overlooked in CART  A reader from Ireland writes - With all the talk about engines and the IRL, people are overlooking some key facts about CART.  At this time we should be toasting CART's ( or Manufacturers) success, and congratulating it (them) on producing the most even and competitive form of top-class motorsport in the world!   All that seems to be mentioned these days is attendance, Indy, Engine formula....No one actually mentioned the fact that during the Long Beach GP, just how equal all the cars were. The top ten were running nose-to-tail during the middle and with the vast majority of the field (top 15) on the lead lap!!! (similar for Mexico).  OK LB and the street courses are difficult to overtake on but no one seemed to be holding the pack up and creating a traffic jam behind them ( Compare with F1).  Such a level of competition didn't happen overnight.  CART has changed a lot since its pre split days.   CART lost a lot of its "Weakest Links", there are few disadvantaged teams out there Ford, Honda, Toyota, Reynard and Lola supply competitive equipment.  If anything, it's going to be the best year of CART racing in its 23 year history.   One thing for sure, no other racing series in the world provides such levels of competitiveness.  Even F3000 with its identical cars, doesn't even have the competitiveness CART has.  Just a comment on the Engines, while I'm nowhere near being an expert, the surprising stat is that the current 2.65 liter Turbos are 23 years old!!!   For all the IRL ideals of cost-effective machinery, their engines have undergone 3 different specifications since its birth (1996).  Every 3 years a completely new engine has to be provided. How long before they ditch the 2003 spec?  F1 can't do anything about its engines, they get more powerful every year, and in 1997 the FIA narrowed the chassis and introduced grooved tires.
4/12/01 Gil de Ferran says IRL's 650 HP not enough  In a recent visit to Texas Motor Speedway, Gil de Ferran had this to say to AutoRacing1 "Let me tell you what my thoughts are. I have very specific thoughts about that. I like the fact that our cars have 900 horsepower. I think it makes them difficult to drive. I think it makes them challenging, and makes them selective. Not everybody can pedal 900 horsepower either around a speedway or around a street circuit. To put that down on the ground requires skill, more skill than it does putting 600 horsepower down on the ground. So making the cars fast and powerful, in way, it's attractive to me because it makes them more difficult. And the more difficult it is to me, the better. So I think whatever they do, I don't care if they go turbo engines, V-10s, V-8s, V-whatever, to me the important thing is that the cars remain difficult and challenging to drive."
4/12/01 Panasonic to sponsor Scott Dixon  The PacWest group has picked up Panasonic as a sponsor on Scott Dixon's car.  PacWest has formed an alliance with Swift Engineering and its owner, Hiro Matsushita, whereby Swift and PacWest share wind tunnel and other data, in exchange for PacWest picking up the Panasonic sponsorship..
4/12/01 IRL's new star Sam Hornish Jr. a CART grad  Did you know that Sam Hornish competed in CART the 3rd rung of CART's ladder system, the Toyota Atlantic Series, in 1999.  He won one race and had one fastest lap that year.  The Toyota Atlantic series is a good place for young drivers to hone their skills.  The road race and oval skills Sam learned in CART in 1999 is serving him well in the IRL where he has suddenly become that series new hot shoe.
4/12/01 TMS offers CART race ticket deals  Texas Motor Speedway is offering a package deal for the April 29th CART race. The Nabisco Family Four Pack includes four grandstand tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and four Nabisco snacks for $79.99, a savings of more than $120. Race fans may also obtain free Motorola Radio Shack Qualifying Day tickets for April 28 at 165 area Radio Shack outlets.
4/12/01 F3000: Lola wins new chassis contract  Lola has beat Italian rival Dallara to win the contract to build the new Formula 3000 chassis. The series will continue to use three liter V8 engines from Zytek and Avon tires. Despite moves to bring the category in line with F1 by introducing grooved tires, the cars will be sticking with entirely slick rubber, but with a new and revised compound.
4/11/01
NASCAR rescinds penalty on Andretti team  On April 11, 2001, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Petty Enterprises. The appeal pertained to a $20,000 penalty issued by NASCAR to Greg Steadman, crew chief of the #43 car following the March 25, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to other matters arising from the appeal hearing, the commission considered the issue of non-conformance to rules specifications at the conclusion of a race based on a claim of racing conditions or racing contact. In most cases, a claim of racing conditions or racing contact is not sufficient to reduce or rescind a penalty in the eyes of the Commission. The Commission notes that non-conformance to specifications at the conclusion of a race may occur by design so as to gain an advantage. The Commission recognizes and reaffirms that, per Section 8-7 of the Rule Book, NASCAR Officials have the flexibility to exercise discretion in matters pertaining to racing conditions or racing contact and to evaluate each claim on a case-by-case basis. The commission feels strongly that, unless it can be determined that the non-conformance was directly attributable to racing conditions and to no other plausible explanation, a penalty would have been correct. However, during the appeal hearing the Appellant made a persuasive argument that the only plausible explanation for the height variance at the conclusion of the race was the cracked chassis welds resulting from the conditions of the race. It is extremely unlikely that a cracked chassis would have occurred by design. Further testimony indicated that the resulting height variance did not provide a significant competitive advantage over other competitors. Therefore, it is a unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission that the penalty is hereby rescinded. 
4/11/01 Atlantics: Ryley & Cosmo make debut in Long Beach  Grant Ryley and Guy Cosmo both made their CART Toyota Atlantic Championship debuts this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as part of the World Speed Motorsports Toyota Atlantic team. Ryley clearly established himself as a leading contender to challenge for this year’s championship, while Cosmo continued to impress with every consecutive lap in an Atlantic car. For Ryley, who will compete in the entire 12-race 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic season for World Speed Motorsports in the #14 Northwest SpeedWerx/Cupertino Electric/Velocity Ventures/Del Monaco Specialty Foods Swift, it was a bittersweet weekend as he qualified fifth and ran near the top of the charts throughout practice and qualifying. While lining up for the start of the race, Ryley’s gearbox locked into first gear when part of a fractured reverse gear lodged itself in the transmission. Unfortunately, Ryley’s race was over before it had started. “It was really a mixed weekend,” said Ryley, of Saratoga, California. “The team did a super job and, overall, we feel very encouraged about everything. Qualifying was great and up until the race, we were going faster in every session. We definitely could have been in the top three, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes in this sport. The gearbox was just one of those fluke things that happens once in a million laps. But, it’s behind us now so we’ll focus on the next race at Nazareth.” Cosmo, who drove the #15 Martini Sunglasses/Ironclad Gloves/World Speed Motorsports Swift for a one-off ride at Long Beach, equally impressed in only his second day and first race appearance in an Atlantic car. While he set his 12th starting position in the first qualifying session, Cosmo took the field by surprise by setting the third fastest time in the rain-soaked second session. However, because of the wet conditions, the times from the dry, faster first qualifying session determined the final starting grid. In the race, Cosmo quickly began moving through the field, avoiding a first-turn melee and finishing ninth overall to score his first-ever Atlantic championship points. “I had an absolute blast this weekend,” said Cosmo, of Long Island, New York. “Considering we were on a pretty steep learning curve, I’m very happy with how things turned out. I had only been in an Atlantic car for one day of testing before this race, so every lap brought more speed, comfort and familiarity. With more laps, I’m certain that we would have finished higher but, for me, it was a very successful weekend. I really owe this to Chuck West for providing me with this opportunity, and I hope to run some more races this year with the World Speed team.” “Grant and Guy both did outstanding jobs this weekend,” said West, team owner. “It’s unfortunate that Grant’s race had to end the way it did, but I think we showed that we have what it takes to challenge for the championship. Guy also had an impressive debut and considering he had virtually no time in an Atlantic car really demonstrates his talent and potential. I hope we can put the pieces in place to run Guy some more this year. In the meantime, we’ll focus on Nazareth and do what we need to do to keep Grant up front.” ESPN2 will broadcast the Long Beach round on Sunday, April 15th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, with an encore presentation scheduled for Wednesday, April 18th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The 12-race 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season continues on May 6 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, as part of the Bosch Spark Plug CART FedEx Championship weekend. 
4/11/01 Jim Russell continues S.T.A.R.T. scholarships  Last November, kart racers Phil Carlson, Dominic DeJacomo and Robbie Mott, won the grand prize of a fully funded scholarship to the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School at the Horstman HPV Pro Invitational. Today, Carlson and Mott are in the top five in the USAC Formula Russell Championship series, and all are on their way to becoming professional formula car drivers, thanks to the Series to Advance American Racing Talent, S.T.A.A.R.T. "The relationship with the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School has provided our young kart racers with the skills they need to perform at the next level in their careers," said Marvin Justus, vice president of Horstman Manufacturing. Justus created S.T.A.A.R.T three years ago to give kart racers a national event that would allow them to showcase their talents in a series where the driver and his or her ability to set up their chassis was the determining factor in a race. The Jim Russell school became a partner in the program in 1999 providing two courses and four races to each of the top three drivers of the Pro Invitational. "We are excited about at how well these drivers are doing in the series this year," said Kjell Kallman, Russell's director of sales and marketing. "The Jim Russell school has always been very supportive of racers who come up through the ranks of karting and we are proud to continue our relationship with this outstanding program." Jim Russell will provide S.T.A.A.R.T with three scholarship packages that provide a step up into formula car racing. Top karting drivers who participate in the HPV spec motor class in WKA, IKF, and KART will be invited to the Pro Invitational at the North American Championships on November 2 - 4 in Charlotte, NC. The top three drivers in the main event will all receive the coveted prize package valued at over $11,000.00 per driver of a Techniques of Racing Course, Advanced Racing Course and sponsorship to compete in four USAC Formula Russell races from Jim Russell and Horstman Manufacturing. Previous graduates of the S.T.A.A.R.T program include Landon Yee, third place in the 2000 USAC Formula Russell Championship; Cory Turner, third place in the 2000 Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series; David Mayhew, last year's winner of the STAART US F2000 ride at Road America. Mayhew and Turner are returning to the Triple Crown this year. 
4/11/01 Penske to serve as Grand Marshall for Nazareth race  Roger Penske, who 15 years ago transformed Nazareth Speedway from a dormant, dirt track into a state-of-the-art racing facility, will act as Grand Marshal for the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota CART FedEx Championship Series race on May 6.  As Grand Marshal, Penske will give drivers the command to start their engines and participate in special pre-race ceremonies. “We are honored to have Roger Penske serve as the Grand Marshal for our CART race,” said Nazareth Speedway president Craig Rust. “It was Roger’s vision that made Nazareth Speedway a reality and brought world class CART and NASCAR racing to the Lehigh Valley. In our minds there is no better person to act as Grand Marshal for our final CART race than Roger Penske.”  Penske is hoping for another victory at Nazareth this season, especially since it is the last CART race at the historic one-mile oval. CART has decided not to renew its contract with Nazareth after 2001, but Penske is urging fans to support the event. “Nazareth is a great venue with a solid fan base. I hope fans will support the track with its other events well into the future and I hope they also support Nazareth Speedway for its last CART event,” Penske said.  “We are appreciative of Roger’s support and everything he has done for Nazareth Speedway,” Rust said. “Despite this being our last CART race, we are looking forward to hosting NASCAR and other world-class racing events well into the future.”  Tickets are still available for all three days of The Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota on  May 4-6. Race action on Friday, May 4 includes CART practice, Toyota Atlantic practice and USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series qualifying. Saturday will feature CART qualifying, Toyota Atlantic qualifying and the USAC race. The weekend is highlighted by Sunday’s CART and Toyota Atlantic races.  Tickets are only $5 on Friday and $30 on Saturday, with kids 12 and under admitted free on both days. Tickets are also still available for Sunday from $45-80. Children’s tickets are now available for Sunday for only $15 with the purchase of one $50 adult ticket. For more information, call the Nazareth Speedway ticket office at 888-629-7223 or 610-759-8800
4/11/01 Herbert lands LeMans drive with Audi  In addition to testing for the CART Sigma team next month with an eye toward landing a ride in a second team entry in time for this years two European races, former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Johnny Herbert will return to the French endurance classic this summer.  He will race one of Audi's all-conquering R8s. The 36-year-old Englishman  will replace ALMS regular Dorsey Schroeder in the Champion Motorsports team, lining up alongside Ralf Kelleners and Didier Theys.
4/11/01 CART could race twice in Germany? UPDATE A reader was kind enough to translate the article for us.  Maybe CART will race twice at the Eurospeedway, once on the oval and once on the road course.  Here is the full article:
"Most important event of the year"

The US-equivalent to Formula 1, the the CART-Series, which will celebrate it's premiere on Lausitzring on September 15th, wants to strengthen it's presence in Europe and eventually host a second race on the new track.
The first race in England follows seven days later. "We plan to hold more than those two events in Europe," Joseph F. Heitzler, president of the owner holding announced in Long Beach.

Heitzler comes personally for a track inspection

The race in the Lausitz-region, the 16th of 21 races this season, is, according to Heitzler, "the most important event this year, because we are coming to Europe for the first time." 
That is why the president, whose position is comparable with that of Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, wants to get an on location personal impression of the, Eurospeedway, which opened in 2000, later this month.

Two races a season in Germany?

The guest comes with the suggestion in his luggage, not to leave it with one race on German soil. "We could hold two races on the Eurospeedway Lausitz, one at the beginning and one at the end of the season," said Heitzler. So far, 30 000 tickets were sold for the race called "German 500" on Lausitzring on September 15th. The organizers expect at least twice as many visitors.

Earlier today - We had a hard time translating from German to English, but the best we could make out of an article that appeared in the German publication Sport 1 is that CART might consider more than one race in Germany.  The same article says that about 30,000 tickets have been old so far, but when we spoke to the promoter at Long Beach this weekend he told us over 50,000.  They will need to make a big push to fill the 120,000 seat stadium.

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