Dan's Indianapolis Motor Speedway
News & Views

March 2002

  • (3/29) - Ferrari is finally ready to use their new 2002 F1 car beginning this weekend at the Brazil race.
  • (3/29) - Robby Gordon made it official Thursday that he will attempt his third Memorial Day doubleheader by driving in the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.
  • (3/29) - CART is now taking their previous president, Joe Heitzler to court, claiming fraud. It wasn't too long ago that they were suing their advertising company for millions.
  • (3/29) - Things are not going well for Walker Racing either. Not only are they losing their CART chassis, they haven't been able to race in the IRL this season and their driver, Sarah Fisher, has retained a lawyer to help her get out of the contract she has with the team so that she can find a team that can get her back into IRL racing. Sarah said, "I'm not doing any good sitting here in Indiana in the rain. I want to drive a race car."
  • (3/29) - Things haven't been going well for Adrian Reynard. He lost his involvement with the Formula One team, B.A.R. last year. And then his own company, Reynard Motorsport, has just gone bankrupt. Adrian founded this British company in 1973 and grew it to a multi-million dollar company, with outstanding success in international motorsports through the years across many formulas, including British F3, F3000, the Japanese Nippon Series and CART, of which their cars have won the last 7 CART championships. In addition, the company has provided consultancy services for many major automotive manufacturers and engineering companies.

    This means that CART is only going to have one chassis - Lola.

    This also causes big problems for 6 of the 13 CART teams that use Reynards as they'll be scavenging for parts until they can get converted over to Lolas. Teams affected: Team Kool Green, Patrick Racing, Players/Forsythe Racing, Mo Nunn Racing, Team Motorola, and Walker Racing.

  • (3/28) - John Andretti was one of the Winston Cup drivers hoping to get to run in the Indy 500 this year. It sounds like his Nascar team is not prepared to let him do that this year.
  • (3/25) - Greg Ray says he's had an opportunity to race in every IRL race this year since getting cut at the last minute by Kelley Racing, but he's waiting for the right opportunity. He says he'll definately be in the Indy 500
  • (3/25) - A.J. Foyt Racing has permenantly replaced Donnie Beechler, who was injured before the first IRL race of the year, with the young Airton Dare
  • (3/25) - Richie Hearn filled in for the injured Anthony Lazarro at Sam Schmidt Motorsports in yesterday's race. Lazzaro complained of back pain in the crash he experienced last week at Phoenix and as it ends up, he broke his spine. He also injured his back in 1999 while driving a Busch car. Docs say he'll be back in a few weeks.

    The Yamaha 400 was the Indy Racing Leagues first race at the 2-mile track in Fontana. CART has raced there for a number of years. Due to late scheduling, only about 15-35,000 tickets were sold. Too bad, Californians missed an awsome excellent race that saw non-stop racing for 85 laps before debris on the track brought out the first yellow caution. Up till then the race speed average was at least 210 mph!! Buddy Lazier says he had an awesome car for the race, but he crashed it during morning practice and had to race his backup car.

    The race began with Sam Hornish, Jr dueling with Jeff Ward and Eddie Cheever with 2 lead changes on the very first lap! This race would go on to set the IRL record for most number of lead changes, 39. Tomas Scheckter moved up and passed Hornish for the lead on lap 29. Hornish would experience radio problems again throughout the day. He also lost his pit speed limiter and had to manually try to keep the car under the 60 mph pit lane speed limit. His guide on the radio, Pancho Carter, continues to coach the 22 y/o racing champion.

    Jacque Lazier was surprising folks as well as his team, when he kept refusing to pit. The crew would be yelling at him on the radio, "Pit! Pit!" and he would zoom on by. They would hold out signs telling him to pit, but it did no good. He would pit when he was ready and lucky for him, his engine never died before he had refueled. Twice he ignored their pleas and we all saw him run 41 laps between pit stops.

    Hattori's engine blew around lap 150 of 200. Tomas began to have some engine trouble and as his car suddenly slowed, Hideki Noda slammed into the back of him resulting in both cars getting demolished. This was the fourth race car to be ruined this year for Cheever Indy Car. But Eddie didn't have time to worry about that as he was leading the race having taken the lead on 162. The Infiniti engines had plenty of power this day. Due to not taking on new tires, after the yellow, Gil de Ferran temporarily had the lead, but soon Cheever, Hornish, and both Lazier brothers passed him. Then the racing really took off!

    There was side by side racing at 219 mph! These four cars were two and three wide and they would get so close that their tires would touch! During these closing laps, it was Jacque Lazier running beside Eddie Cheever, Jr. for the lead. On lap 191, Cheever's Infiniti engine blew up, tossing a giant plume of white oily smoke into the face of Sam Hornish, Jr. Sam went right and missed the slowing Cheever, as the veteran managed to keep the car going straight as he brought it down onto the apron. Soon, Memo Gidley's Infiniti engine blew as well . The rookie Frenchman, Laurent Redon, was now in 3rd, but he had Infiniti power too, would his engine last?!

    Photo by Will Lester On these last few laps, Jacques was in front of Sam. On the last lap, they ran side by side. Sam took the lead, then Jacques passed him back they dueled to the end and coming off the last turn before the checkered flag, they touched wheels! Sam Hornish, Jr. was able to get his nose a few feet infront of Lazier to take the checkered by 2/100ths of a second!

    Sam's race average speed, including caution periods, was 179.276 mph, a new IRL record (and this was over a 400 mile race!) Redon did finish in 3rd, so at least one Infiniti engine survived. He was followed by the two Penske cars. Hornish led a race-high 73 laps, although all but one of those laps was not at the end of the race. Jacques Lazier led 45 laps, Cheever led 33 and Scheckter led 28.

  • Miss Universe 2001 Miss Universe, Denise M. Quinones August from Puerto Rico, sang the National Anthem prior to the Yamaha 400 race.

    And the winner receives....
    Champaign Shower ............ Price: $30
    Trophy presentation.......... Price: $1200
    Prize Money award ........... Price: $120,000

    Miss Universe presenting you with a Maurice Lacroix IRL "Tiago" Chronograph.... Priceless!

  • (3/23) - Eddie Cheever, Jr. has won his first IRL Pole Position.
  • (3/23) - Robbie Buhl crashed after qualifying for the Yamaha 400 at Fontana. He was removed by the safety crew and transported to the hospital. It appears he is ok, but has a concussion. Memo Gidley will be filling in for him in the race.
  • (3/22) - First off, Tyce Carlson suddenly retired after crashing in Phoenix. He has been in the IRL since the beginning and wishes to land a job somewhere in the series. Secondly, this opened up a ride over at PDM Racing and Jeret Schroeder was selected to get back with the team. Jeret has started in 19 IRL races and finished in 20th spot at last year's Indy 500.
  • (3/22) - Well Budweiser decides to be a Indy 500 sponsor at last. They are going to be an associate sponsor for Andretti.
    A windy day at the Mile in the Desert, found Helio Castroneves on the pole, beside points leader Sam Hornish Jr. This race was sponsored by Bombardier ATV and they let one of these ATV's lead a 60 mph pace lap of the field, before the Corvette came in and took them on the real deal. That was different.

    25 cars started the race (as opposed to 20 at CART's last race), but only 12 would finish on this tight fast circuit.

    Shigeaki Hattori and his Epson sponsorship is back, moving into the ride at Bradley Motorsports that was vacated by the retiring Buzz Calkins. Shiggy managed to bring out the first yellow when he spun on lap 4. By lap 23, Sam passed Helio for the lead. Then Tomas Sheckter passed Ward for 3rd position. Unfortunately for Tomas (and Cheever Indy Racing), his Infiniti engine soon developed problems and he was out.

    I guess Shiggy likes yellow, because he brought out another caution period after he got up into the gray and smacked the wall. I wish Epson would give up sponsoring lame Japanese drivers and give the money to someone deserving. Oh well, at least Shiggy didn't hit Little Al this time and break his leg.

    Robbie Buhl was impressive as he worked his way up, finally passing Helio for 2nd place. Buhl would do well through out the day, but near the end, his Infiniti engine called it quits. How disapointing!

    Another yellow came out on lap 79 when de Vries spun in through the gate in the fence where the safety trucks come out and smacked the wall and fence from the wrong side! He was rather lucky to be ok.

    On the restart, a multi-car crash happened, collecting Giaffone, McGehee, George Mack, Ward and Boat. I thought that Shiggy was out, but I could have sworn I saw that Epson car spinning through the middle of it doing a 360. Whoever caused the accident got away scott free. Sam Hornish, still leading the race, came into the pits. He lost first gear and had trouble getting out of the pits. He would later lose 6th gear and would have to race in 5th, consequently hitting the rev-limiter frequently. (This limiter prevents over-revving and detonating the engine.)

    Little Al ended up leading at the half way point and ABC showed us a new trick: splitting the tv screen vertically and showing the image on the left from the in-car camera of Unser and putting Hornish's view on the right side. With about 60 laps to go, Eliseo Salazar passed Al for the lead. Eliseo would go on to finish in 4th which should make A.J. happy. By the way, this was Foyt's 500th race as a team owner!

    Lazzaro spun and collected Scott Sharp and Eddie Cheever Jr, removing them from the race for the remainder of the day. Cheever Indy Racing now has 3 wrecked cars in the first two races of the season. Lazzaro took a trip to the hospital to be checked out. He was complaining about back pain. He'd probably be complaining about nose pain if he had gotten around Eddie.

    On lap 142 there was another caution for debris on the track. During some pits stops, the two Penske cars moved into the lead. They would dual with each other, Helio winning. Meantime, Sam was forced to watch from 3rd place as he drove around in 5th gear. Unser finished in 5th, followed by the Lazier brothers and then Billy Boat.

    Helio, per his custom, climbed the fence after winning. A more somber Gil de Ferran and Roger Penske dedicated the race to the teammate they lost recently, Gary Buckner.

    It was a hot hazy day in Malaysia. At the start of the race, Montoya and Michael Schumacher went for the same corner and Michael ended up getting some front end damage that forced him to pit. The incident also sent Montoya off line and moved him back to the middle of the pack. Then race official made Montoya pull into the pits for a drive-through penalty. Although Montoya finished the race infront of Michael, Michael stated that he thought the penalty given to Montoya was a bit unfair when viewing other incidences where no penalty was given. Montoya said he was pissed off, even though he worked his way back through the field to finish 2nd, behind his Williams team-mate, Ralf Schumacher. Michael obviously worked his way back up through the field too, but due to some bizarre bad luck for Jenson Button in the Renault on the last lap, Michael got around him to finish on the podium.

    Nick Heidfeld and his Sauber teammate, Felipe Massa, both had a good day, finishing in the points.

    Extreme bad luck for Kimi Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello, whom both were in 3rd place, and 2nd place respectively, when their engines blew. Jordan also suffered, when both of their cars contacted each other. Fisi was able to get his car repaired and re-enter the race.

  • (3/12) - IMS has added an advertising space to the top of the pagoda-style control tower. The space has been bought by Bombardier Aerospace (who make Learjets and Skidoo Jetskis and ATV's.) and the tower is now to be called Bombardier Pagoda! This company's name sounds French, and is pronounced like Bomb-Bar-Dee-Ay. So, don't forget. You don't want any confusion when you tell someone to meet you over by the tow... um, I mean.. the Bombardier Pagoda!

    But, please forgive me if I forget to call it that, I still call the RCA Dome the Hoosier dome and thats been changed for probably a decade.

    In addition to the naming of the tower and the sign, Bombardier has been named an Official Sponsor of the IRL and IMS. Bombardier Aerospace will sponsor the $50,000 IRL Rookie of the Year Award and contribute to the Indy 500 prize fund.

  • (3/12) - Cosworth, the engine tweaker under Ford, has said that they are going to build engines for CART next year, even if Ford is not in the series. I would think that would cement Toyotas continued involvement with CART. CART is switching to the non-turbo 3.5 liter V-8 engine style used by the IRL.
  • (3/12) - Roger Penske, the rich businessman/car owner than left CART for the IRL, predicts that all the CART teams will join him within three years.
  • (3/12) - Ok, Brayton Racing is a reality. They're entered into this year's Indy 500 again with driver John de Vries. One of their sponsors is PIT Bull Energy Drink. I had it confused with Cheever Indy Car's sponsor, RED Bull Energy drink when they announced this weeks ago. They also have sponsorship from Rhino Cleaning Products. I haven't heard anything futher on that Sprewell sponsor from the NBA.
  • I've been out of town, so a little lapse here in news...


    Weather at Homestead included temperature of 82 degrees and high winds of 23 mph with 10+ mph wind gusts. Unlike, practice the previous day, the wind didn?t seem to cause any accidents today. There were several Chevy engine failures during the race, perhaps caused by electronics, but the saddest malfunction happened to Robbie Buhl on lap 193 of 200 when his Infiniti let go while he was in 4th place.

    Eddie Cheever, Jr. was very angry when his new driver tried to pass him, and bumped him right into the wall on the 3rd lap! Tomas Scheckter would end up bringing the car home in 6th place anyway.

    Helio Castroneves managed to pass Hornish once during a restart, but Sam passed him back with in a lap. For awhile, it looked like the Penske cars might be giving the Panther Pennzoil cars some competition, but Sam totally dominated, even though his radio broke and the pits couldn't hear what he was saying. By point of the race, he had a lap up on the entire field!

    On lap 160, Billy Roe had contact with the wall bringing out a yellow. Everyone pitted except for the Penske team. This allowed his drivers to get back on the lead lap with Sam. Roger gambled that another yellow would come out, as his cars did not have enough fuel to make it to the end. He was right. On lap 170, Scott Sharp's car lost power and another yellow was thrown, allowing the Penske Marlboro's to get a splash of methanol.

    Jacque Lazier and Team Menard had a rough day. On the 2nd lap of the race, his shock cover blew off. Later his right rear tire began to deflate and that caused him to spin out. The team got him back out, only to have Billy Boat hit him. He managed to finish the race, but he was 14 laps down.

    Airton Dare did a great job filling in for Beechler, he was running in the top 5 early on and by the point, he had got up to 2nd place! By the end, he was in 6th and during a restart, he got up into the marbles and smacked the wall unfortunately.

    Sam Hornish, Jr. and the Panther Pennzoil team started on the pole and lead 166 laps and won the race under a caution with 9 lapped cars between him and 2nd place.

    Scott Goodyear began working in the booth for ABC and he did and EXCELLENT job! Sadly, the crowd at Homestead was very light. There was 9 cautions during the race, 5 cars did not finish and there were 7 lead changes.


    Michael Schumacher asked for his fellow drivers to take it easy into the first turn of the first lap of the race. The sharp right hander has caused a lot of accidents in race starts past. Ferrari has decided to use last year's car for the season opener at Melbourne. None the less, both Ferraris qualified on the front row, Rubens Barrichello winning the pole.

    Air Ralf Unfortunately for Rubens, Ralf Schumacher chose not to listen to his older brother and as Rubens blocked and braked for that first turn, Ralfie slammed right into the back of him and launched himself high into the air and he basically flew to the gravel trap and out of the race. This caused a slew of crashes which knocked 8 drivers out, including Rubens. The top 5 who made it through the chaos were:
    1 Coulthard
    2 Trulli
    3 Montoya
    4 M Schumacher
    5 Irvine

    Montoya had some type of problem right away on the restart and Michael got around him. Surprisinlgy, Michael was unable to get around Jarno Trulli. But then on lap 8, Trulli suddenly spun out of the race and the safetly car had to come back out.

    Then on lap 11, at the first turn, DC couldn't keep it on the track and Montoya passed Michael a moment later! A good battle began between MS and Montoya. By lap 16, Michael pulled a awesome outside pass back on Montoya! Kimi Raikkonen, the new McLaren driver, had worked his way up to 3rd behind Montoya by then. At the same time Heinz-Harald Frentzen got black flagged! The Ferrari began quickly pulling away from the Williams.

    At the half way point, only 10 cars were left in the race. Jacques Villeneuve had moved up to 6th, when his rear wing blew off which forced him to wreck. DC flew off into the grass again. He was having some engine trouble and eventually retired. Now only 8 cars left.

    Everyone pitted around lap 38 of 58. When Kimi slid into the grass when pulling out of the pit lane, but recovered. After all the pit stops, the standings were now:
    1 Michael Schumacher
    2 Juan Pablo Montoya
    3 Kimi Raikonnen
    4 Eddie Irvine
    5 Mark Webber
    6 Alex Yoong
    7 Mika Salo (down a lap)
    8 Pedro de la Rosa (down a lap)

    Michael kept pulling his lead out over the Williams. Michael would later say that his Bridgestone tires came up to temperature and helped him beat the Michelin-shod Williams and McLaren. Salo would soon unlap himself and pass Yoong to get into the points. This was a nice boost for Toyota, getting a World Championship point in their very first F1 race! Another big story was how Mark Webber finished in the points while driving for the traditionally worst team in F1, Minardi. Webber is an Australian and his home crowd went nuts cheering him on. Also, the new owner of the Minardi team, Paul Stoddard is also Australian.

    The 2002 Ferrari is supposed to be awesome. What must the other teams think now that last year's car just whupped up on all their new cars?!

  • (3/1) - High winds reportedly caused several accidents at Homestead today. During the IRL practice, Donnie Beechler hit the wall and ended up at the hospital with a concussion. This allowed Airton Dare a chance to hop into his ride and get A.J. another car qualified on the grid. New Cheever Indy Racing driver, Tomas Scheckter, also wrecked, however he came out in a back up car and qualified 3rd on the grid! Sam Hornish, Jr. qualified on the pole with a lap of 202.884 mph.

    Sadly, during a practice for the NASCAR Grand Am cars, the Archangel Motorsport entry flipped and crashed, killing their driver Jeff Clinton of St. Louis.

  • (3/1) - Arrows F1 chief, Tom Walkinshaw, managed to buy the liquidated Prost F1 team for some "mystery group" for only 2.5 million Euros. The team had had a debt of 30 million Euros ($27 million dollars) before it went bankrupt. Prost had been offered around 30-60 million before that happened, but he turned it down. doh! Minardi's chief, Paul Stoddard is raising hell about the purchase, but Tom says that Paul bidded on it also and simply didn't bid high enough. Prost has one of the valuable last spots on the F1 grid, what with Toyota joining this year, that is their main assett. If I recall, Toyota had to pay around $48 million to get admitted into the F1 fraternity; whomever owns Prost has already got that right!

  • February 2002

  • (2/28) - Cheever Indy Racing had the fastest times in testing at Homestead, prior to the IRL race this Saturday.
  • (2/28) - Several ex-CART teams were among the 24 teams selected to benefit in the IRL's new Leader Circle program: Penske took two slots, Ganassi, Mo Nunn and Blair both took one each. 33 teams had applied.
  • (2/26) - After his impressive testing, I suspected Cheever would hire Tomas Scheckter and he did. Eddie says that Tomas, 21, was the best athlete he tested and that he is single-minded and determined, but he is an unknown. However, Tomas not only had the guidance of his father, the 1979 F1 Champion, he has been climbing the European racing ladder.
    Beginning in karts when he was 12, he won the Western Cape Championship (South Africa) in 1995.
    In '97, he won two South African Formula Ford races.
    In '98 he won a race, rookie of the year, and finished 3rd in the standings in the British Formula Vauxhall Junior series.
    In '99 he won 8 races and the title in Formula Opel Euroseries and also raced twice in the Formula Nissan Championship, winning one race and two poles.
    In 2000, Tomas finished 2nd in the British Formula 3 series with two wins and two poles. He also competed in the final four races of the FIA Formula 3000 series and finished in 2nd place at all four events.
    Last year, Tomas was runner-up in the Open Telefonica Formula Nissan Championship with four wins and eight poles. He also was a test driver for Jaguar Racing Formula One team until May!
    He will be driving car # 52.
  • (2/22) - Now I hear Ford is NOT going to provide engines for CART in 2003! Who is?! Maybe they'll be using last year's IRL engines. Ha ha. Seriously, I don't know who else they could get except the IRL engine manufactures next year.
  • (2/21) - It's awfully late in the season for the silly season to still be going on, but it is.

    Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will drive the No. 7 Kelley Racing entry in the Indy Racing League through the 2004 season with sponsorship from automotive aftermarket company Corteco, team owner Tom Kelley announced.

    This means Greg Ray is now out looking for a ride. Maybe Dreyer Reinbolt will pick him up?

  • (2/19) - Dreyer Reinbolt Race team is expressing interest in adding a second car to the Infiniti-powered stable alongside Robby Buhl and getting Al Unser, Jr. to drive it.
  • (2/18) - Recently in the final practice in Phoenix, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Gil Ferran had the fastest times. This week at testing in Homestead, they once again topped the speed charts with IDENTICAL fast laps. The IRL races at Homestead March 3rd
  • (2/18) - Little Al continues to look for a ride since Budweiser bailed on him and Galles Racing. I've heard that Kelley Racing is thinking of replacing Greg Ray, who reportedly is scurrying to secure more sponsorship money for himself.
  • (2/17) - Daytona International Speedway officials announced Saturday a grandstand sellout for Sunday's 44th Daytona 500. The track has sold all 167,785 grandstand seats, roughly two to three times the capacity of most Superbowl stadiums. Race fans can still purchase infield tickets for the Nascar race which will push overall attendance for Sunday to approximately 200,000. As comparison to the Brickyard 400 at the Indianpolis Motor Speedway, no infield tickets are sold for this event, yet attendance is approx 400,000.
  • (2/16) - Tony Stewart passed little Al on the last lap of the IROC race to get the win. Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp, and Jack Sprague also got by him to finish 2-3-4.
  • Buzz Calkins

  • (2/14) - Buzz Calkins, the first winner of the Indy Racing League race (1996 at Disney World Speedway), is reported to be retiring. Buzz is a nice guy and has finished more Indycar races than anyone since the IRL debuted, 40. He started 53 of the 56 IRL races to date. He was IRL champion in '96 too. His team may continue in the IRL if sponsorship can be found.
  • Always the color red

  • (2/12) - Sprint-car champion Cory Kruseman completed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League rookie test Monday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kruseman, from Ventura, Calif., completed each of the four 10-lap phases of the test in just 81 laps, with an unofficial top speed of 207.6 mph on the 1.5-mile oval. It was his first time at speed in an Indy Racing car.
  • (2/12) - I'm now hearing that Honda has changed their mind and will compete in CART next year alongside Ford. Was this nothing more than a bluff to try to keep the American open-wheel scene split? Now that CART says they are going to go with IRL-type cars, I've also heard that Dallara, and IRL-chassis manufacturer, will begin making chassis for CART too. I guess we are about to see a bunch of builders spanning both series now. Hopefully it will help bring in more builders as well.
  • (2/10) - Last Day of IRL Testing at Phoenix
    DriverLapTimeSpeed# Laps
    Hornish Jr, Sam20.0219179.80312
    Castroneves, Helio20.1690178.49229
    Giaffone, Felipe20.2018178.20211
    Sharp, Scott20.3917176.54238
    Lazier, Buddy20.4703175.86590
    Redon, Laurent20.6385174.43158
    Lazier, Jaques20.6709174.15813
    Boat, Billy20.6811174.07251
    Buhl, Robbie20.7345173.62488
    Scheckter, Tomas20.8408172.73828
    de Ferran, Gil20.9652171.71365
    Treadway, Rick20.9827171.57020
    Cheever Jr, Eddie21.0580170.95641
    Barron, Alex21.1083170.54920
    Calkins, Buzz21.6808166.04632
  • (2/9) - CART president had a press conference Thursday to talk about how they will embrace the media, how they are definately going to go with the 3.5-liter normally aspirated engine formula they voted on a few months ago (So, goodbye Honda) and he spoke about the differences between the IRL and CART. What I found interesting was that he stated, "If your customers want to buy Ford and Chevys and Dodges, go to the IRL. If you want to buy Toyotas, Hondas, import cars, stay with us."

    But, Toyota and Honda are both leaving CART! Toyota is definately running in the IRL next year. Ford said they were not interested in a normally-aspirated engine. Toyota didn't want to stay if they were going to be the only manufacturer. I must assume then that Ford has changed their mind and in 2003, CART will have Ford and Toyota will then stay? Also, the IRL does not have Dodge or Ford. We've got Infiniti (Nissan) and Chevrolet. Does this guy really know what's going on or does he know something we don't?! The IRL has said to expect one or two more chassis manufactures to come on board next year, but they didn't mention another engine manufacturer. Could Dodge and Ford be thinking of entering the IRL next year? Cool, but I haven't heard it.

    He also said, "If you just want to sell in the United States, the IRL is where you should be." He said that CART wanst to compete in an international level, ergo, compete with F1. But instead of stepping up to compete with F1, it sounds more like they are going to REDUCE costs and become more like the IRL. Well, I guess you could try and compete with F1 in other countries by becoming an IRL for other countries. I don't even think CART is allowed to race in anything but an oval track in Europe as F1 has it locked up.

    If he wants CART to move out and compete with Formula One, then why make wholesale changes just so the cars can easier compete alongside the IRL at Indy? Even though I like hearing Chris Pook say, "Indianapolis is the greatest race in the world. I hope all of our teams have the opportunity to participate in it. I think it indicates that CART still is confused and has no direction.

    Another thing he spoke about was their supporing their lower series (Barber and Atlantics). He talked about embracing them and hugging them and holding them close. But when pressed about sending them any money, or having any CART teams make any guarantees toward their drivers, he had to say No.

    Pook is either hoping the auto-media blindly parrot what he says, or he's just really confused.

    Other notes: Pook confirmed he wants to move CART headquarters to Indianapolis. Pook announced that CART will have 20 cars in 2002. The IRL announced this week that they will have at least 26.

  • (2/8) - The IRL began practicing at the 1-mile oval in Phoenix today after earlier practice at the 2-mile track in Fontana. Buddy Lazier had a cracked bell-housing and will try to get it fixed for tomorrow's test. Rookie Tomas Scheckter got nudged out of the fastest speed catagory by Gil de Ferran who topped the speed charts today.

    This is what Tomas had to say, "Everybody warned me beforehand about this circuit and that it would take two days to learn, but I think I got back into it very quickly. The thing is, the car is very good, and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team is working well. All the settings we try improve the car, and that is just allowing me to go quicker in the car and build confidence." (About differences between Phoenix and Fontana): "Obviously, it is a lot shorter and more physical. You have to be more precise. You have to be much smoother and a lot more accurate. You can?t get it wrong, and you can?t afford for the car to be wrong, otherwise you?ll be in the wall. There were a couple of times today that it got loose on me, or it was pushing, and I started seeing that wall come at me pretty quickly. You just have to take that into consideration and get the car right. It?s a big jump from Fontana."

    IRL Phoenix Tests - Day 1
    DriverLapTimeSpeed# Laps
    de Ferran, Gil20.0407179.63425
    Castroneves, Helio20.0752179.32648
    Scheckter, Tomas20.2575177.71251
    Giaffone, Felipe20.2690177.61129
    Hornish Jr, Sam20.2829177.48912
    Sharp, Scott20.7306173.65618
    Cheever Jr, Eddie20.7571173.43521
    Redon, Laurent20.8151172.95155
    Buhl, Robbie20.8250172.86962
    Lazzaro, Anthony20.8621172.56257
    Lazier, Jaques20.9048172.20917
    Ray, Greg21.1733170.02510
    Herb, Jon21.1746170.01551
    Calkins, Buzz21.2333169.54551
    Boat, Billy21.2639169.30111
    Treadway, Rick21.3402168.69641
    de Vries, John21.3500168.61838
    Mayer, Scott21.7732165.34142

  • (2/8) - David Pook, the 30-year-old son of CART President and CEO Chris Pook, was listed in critical condition Friday after being injured in a testing accident Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway. Pook, who was wearing a HANS device, suffered a clean fracture of his second cervical vertebra, an injury that will require him to be fitted with a halo device. Pook was testing a NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Chevrolet stock car when the car's steering failed. He hit the Turn 1 wall nearly head-on.
  • (2/8) - Did you wonder where A.J. Foyt Racing was when all the IRL boys were out in California testing at Fontana? Well ol' A.J. skipped it and took his boys, Salazar and Beechler, straight to Phoenix for some private testing.
  • (2/8) - Its appearing that Speedvision will change its name to the Speed Channel. They will begin televising a new 'Nascar TV' show beginning next week. Currently, Speed Channel is in 46 million cable subscriber homes, they hope that 'Nascar TV' will help propel this number upward. They also will be televising CART and F1 races.
  • (2/8) - Daytona International Speedway has erected a 9-foot bronze statue of Dale Earnhardt. Dale died at the track on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
  • (2/8) - Another CART team announces they will run in the Indy 500 - Team Motorola will bring Michael Andretti back to Indy for the second year in a row.

    "I said last year when I came back to the Speedway that I felt like I had some unfinished business at this place," remarked Andretti, "and after coming so close last year, that feeling hasn?t changed so I?m glad to be getting another opportunity." Andretti started 21st and finished third in his return to the Speedway in 2001 after overcoming a punctured tire and a collision on pit lane.

    "Each time I come to the Speedway, it throws me a new curve," said Andretti who holds the record for most laps led (398) in the Indy 500 without a victory. "I plan on changing the statistics after this year?s race, hopefully adding 'winner' to my final results column."

  • (2/7) - Good idea! The IRL has changed the placement of the car numbers, so that fans can easier identify them. The cars now have their number on the end plates of the rear wing; and they must by at least 11" x 18". They are also required to be on the car's nose.
  • (2/7) - 2,500 fans showed up to watch the IRL's practice in Fontana California; as did a slew of Indy car drivers wishing for rides. Al Unser, Jr. was there helping Johnny Rutherford coach four rookies.

    Tomas Scheckter, son of F1 great, Jody Scheckter, was the fastest in testing yesterday. He is becoming Eddie Cheever's favorite choice to fill the second seat on his team.

    Fontana Testing Results:
    DriverLapTimeSpeed# Laps
    Scheckter, Tomas32.4395221.95228
    Lazier, Jaques32.4541221.85213
    Cheever Jr, Eddie32.4779221.68911
    Lazier, Buddy32.5464221.22371
    Buhl, Robbie32.6292220.66114
    Lazzaro, Anthony32.6419220.57537
    Sharp, Scott32.6631220.43235
    Castroneves, Helio32.6676220.40230
    de Ferran, Gil32.7276219.99841
    Ward, Jeff32.7899219.58045
    Brack, Kenny32.8092219.45114
    Hornish Jr, Sam32.8667219.06735
    Junqueira, Bruno32.8813218.96966
    Boat, Billy32.8916218.90125
    Ray, Greg32.9003218.84314
    Giaffone, Felipe33.0266218.00611
    Herb, Jon33.2102216.80173
    Vasser, Jimmy33.2780216.3595
    Barron, Alex33.3066216.17357
    Luyendyk, Arie33.4558215.20926
    de Vries, John33.6673213.85727
    Mack, George33.6914213.70442
    Calkins, Buzz33.7880213.09340
    Mayer, Scott33.8295212.83224
    Redon, Laurent62.0453116.0445

  • (2/6) - The Chevy Corvette will be the Pace Car for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. This is the Corvette's 13th time.
  • (2/6) - The IRL had a press conference in California to address the current state of the league. Here are the highlights:

    Ken Ungar, Vice-president of Business Affairs:
    "Looking back, in 1996 we saw the Indy Racing League debut against the odds, behind the claims of some that the league would never turn a wheel.

    In 1997 you saw the first simultaneous introduction of new chassis and engines in American racing history.

    1998 through '99 saw us overcome one challenge after another.

    2000 saw the Indy Racing League break through with consistent competition, one of the best races ever in Texas and... plans that helped bring our league to new markets and new customers.

    2001 saw the largest number of races yet; four sell outs, consistent growth in attendance and realization that the Indy Racing League is open-wheel racing's future in the United States.

    2002... The number of races is growing again with 15 this year and in key open-wheel markets here in Fontana for the Los Angeles market, Michigan as our mid-west strategy continues to grow and Nazareth in the eastern United States. Our television presence is getting even stronger with most of our races on ABC this year and the balance on ESPN networks in a contract that has been extended through the 2007 season. Our international television presence through ESPN International will be our strongest ever and by far the best for any American based racing series.

    Nowhere is growth more important than in sponsorship, and at a time when all sports are finding it difficult going we're proud to be adding blue chip names to the Indy Racing League, including Chevrolet, Toyota, Worldcom, Firestone, Marlboro, Reebok and Red Bull, to name a few, joining Nissan and Coors and others who are increasing their commitment to the Indy Racing League.

    Penske, Nunn and Blair, all well-known names in open-wheel racing are being joined by several newcomers adding to a stable core of Indy Racing League teams who have proven that they can compete with anyone.

    Our plan is working. We're keeping it simple. American oval tracks, controlled costs, level playing field, and opportunity for men and women who want to compete in open-wheel cars and oval tracks and whose ultimate goal is to compete in and within the Indianapolis 500 mile race, the greatest race in the world.

    We're staying focused. Stay oval, keep costs down, provide opportunity and have a team of individuals who know and love what they are doing. We're working hard. We're proud that our league does more for its team and partners than any other in motor sports.

    As we begin a 2002 season, we look forward to 2003 season as well. The doubters are fewer, the believers are growing in numbers and the Indy Racing League is close to claiming its rightful number in sport.

    Tony George's vision is becoming reality, but he would be the first to acknowledge that it is a shared vision of men and women. People like Herb Fischel, A.J. Foyt, Leo Mehl and those who believe in the history and tradition of open-wheel racing."

    He also mentioned how the average number of cars at races was going up and the IRL is likely to have 26-27 cars minimum at every race.

    Brian Barnhart, Vice-president of Operations spoke about the new Leader's Circle program:
    "We set the deadline for notification on Monday, January 28th. And to be perfectly honest, we thought we would be announcing the 24 participants today and we have been pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the positive response to the program. We have 35 applicants for the 24 positions.

    The program will carry over. It is basically a phase one impacting in 2002. The program will continue to grow in 2003, and as we continue to grow as a league the benefits available to the Leader Circle participants is virtually limitless.

    We introduced several new rules for 2002 to help keep the competition playing field level. Testing is limited through the number of tires that are available... All entrants are allowed a set number of tires for race weekend depending on the length of the race. 200 mile gets seven, 300 mile gets eight, 400 nine, total of 38 sets available throughout the year for racing. We have open tests here at the California Speedway tomorrow, two days at Phoenix, Friday and Saturday of this week and two days at Nazareth the first week of April. Those five days of open tests entrants will have three sets available per day to be used on those. They will use them or lose those sets... An entrant would be allowed 30 sets of tires to test with for the year and those sets are guaranteed only if you are a Leader Circle participant. We have a great way of controlling costs, there is only X number of miles in a set of tires, so as an owner you know maximum number of miles you will be able to run through the course of the year. There is a cost per mile of operating the cars. You know very closely before the season begins what your budget is going to consist of and number of miles you can run and number of sets of tires you can run.

    We have finalized about 90 percent of our specs for the 2003 chassis. We're increasing the size load, the nose push-off test. We're making changes to our cars based on safety.

    We contacted and have been contacted by several new manufacturers in the chassis area. We look for a potential of new manufacturers joining us in 2003.

    He also talked about the IRL's new support series, the Infiniti Pro Series. (See my Pro Series website for more.) He announced that the IPS races will be telecast on ESPN!

  • (2/6) - CART lost another American oval track. The Chicago Motorspeedway announced that they are suspending all motor races at their track in 2002, which also includes a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. Motor racing began there in 1999. Officials from the track stated economic reasons for the cancellation, but they will continue to feature horse racing.

    CART's remaining oval tracks in the U.S. are Milwaukee (1-mile) and the California Speedway (2-mile) in their 18-race schedule. The IRL will also race at the California Speedway this year. CART has 3 oval races outside the U.S.

  • (2/5) - Another CART team announces they will compete in the Indy 500 this year. Team Kool Green is bringing Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy, however they won't be able to display their Kool Cigarette name. This will be Dario's first Indy 500. Barry Green says he hopes to also bring Michael Andretti back again. His Motorola team got help from the IRL's Panther Racing to field Andretti's car in 2001.
  • (2/3) - The 40th Anniversary Editon of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is in the books and the Car #27 Doran Lista Racing Judd Dallara has taken overall. Its drivers included Max Papis, Fredy Lienhard, Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys. The #36 Mathews R&S car with Robby Gordon, Scott Sharp, Jim Mathews and Guy Smith was second overall.

  • January 2002

  • (1/31) - Toyota will begin building engines for the IRL in 2003. They have arranged their deal and will be supplying Kelley Racing in 2003. BTW, Toyota enters Formula One this year with an all-Toyota F1 car.
  • (1/30) - Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello both crashed in testing. They were ok, but their cars were ruined and sent back to Maranello. As a side note, the great Schumacher has himself insured for 51 million pounds against injury this season.
  • (1/30) - Eddie Cheever Jr. was slated to reveal who would drive the No.52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but will now apparently take a few more weeks to make the decision.

    Cheever has tested four drivers for the seat, IRL veteran Jeff Ward, Tomas Scheckter, Buddy Rice and Daniel Wheldon.

  • (1/30) - Who else will compete in IROC this year? Representing NASCAR will be Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin and Kevin Harvick. Series Champions Jack Sprague (NASCAR trucks) and Danny "the Dude" Lasoski (World of Outlaws) were also invited to compete. And of course the 5 IRL drivers mentioned prior.
  • (1/29) - After months of speculation, the French gov't has closed down the F1 Prost Team which had a debt of $27 million. 200 employee's will be layed off. The famous driver/owner, Alain Prost, created quite a stir when he claimed it was a defeat for France, explaining that not one sponsor, backer or French buyer had made contact with him. Former driver, Jean Alesi said, "Alain has only himself to blame. Everybody was behind him, including me as I left Sauber to join him. But he ruined everything.

    With the entrance of the new Toyota Team, F1 remains at 22 driver/cars.

  • (1/26) - A new IRL team has been announced - Convergent Racing, out of Fort Worth Texas. They have signed Formula Nippon driver, Hideki Noda
  • (1/25) - Winston Cup Drivers in INDY 500 - The Indianapolis Star reports that Chip Ganassi Racing is trying to bring Tony Stewart back to run the Indy 500 this year before running in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte this year. Joining him should also be Robby Gordon who's Nascar team (Richard Childress) will be working in conjunction with John Menard. And of course, John Andretti is hoping that Petty Racing Enterprises will allow him to run the race in his home town of Indy.
  • (1/20) - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum has added rare 1925 McFarlan TV6 to their collection. The McFarlan car company competed in the first Indy 500. The TV6 has a 120 hp, 572cu 6-cylinder engine. There are only 10 in existence.
  • (1/19) - HOMEY DON'T PLAY DAT.

    With the advent of more CART teams competing in the 500 and not the IRL season, the IRL has instituded a major benefit program for those teams that do compete for the IRL title, referred to as the "Leader Circle" program.

    If you are an IRL regular, you can look forward to free electronic package (a $30k value), Discount on entry fees (and they went up alot), Free use of welding equipment (a $15k value), 25% off on race gas, and best of all lots of free Firestone tires!

    Speedway management says, "We have negotiated unprecedented contracts with engine, chassis and transmission suppliers, providing controlled costs and development for our competitors over the first six seasons. Now we are pleased to add tires and other services to this list."

    Tony George has watched the CART teams (and the CART-biased media) try to destroy the Indy Racing Leage for six years. As in any war, they've managed to damage the entire sport and themselves as well. Now for the last few years, CART teams have began to filter in and join the big IRL party at the Indy 500. That's got to make Tony a little sore. I think this new program is going to be a dig at CART and provide Tony with a little satisfaction. I'm sure the IRL teams love it. Unfortunately, you have some little race teams who dearly love the Indy 500 and can only muster the resources to run Indy. That might be their one time goal of their career - one chance at the Indy 500. This program discourages them more than it would the rich CART teams. Oh well, the IRL has done nothing but help dozens of the "little guys" all along! Remember that.

  • (1/18) - Brayton Racing announced that they will run the entire IRL series this year. They have hired John de Vries as their driver. They supposedly have signed Red Bull as their primary sponsor and Rhino as an associate sponsor as well as NBA bad boy, Latrell Sprewell! CAN THIS BE TRUE? I thought Red Bull was sponsoring Cheever Indy Racing this year. It is hard to believe Sprewell has an interest outside of basketball, especially in a predominately white sport such as racing. Maybe he saw A.J. hit Arie, and figured here's another sport he could get away with strangling a few people - doh! And why hire some nobody from Formula Holden (Australia) to race your car, what with well liked drivers such as Mark Dismore and Al Unser Jr floating around? Things that make you go "Hmmmmmm". Seriously though, those drivers would command a hefty price, and Brayton has actually had race fans contributing money to their team to help get them going. For $100, you can help sponsor the team and get a your name on the team's transporter.

    Brayton Engineering has been a part of the racing community. They build engines for some IRL teams. Brayton is ran by the family of late Indy car standout, Scott Brayton. Their team is in memory of Scott. They purchased their equipment from defunct Tri-star Motorsports.

  • (1/18) - IROC has announced two more IRL drivers will be joining the three IRL drivers already lined up to run the 2002 schedule. Al Unser, Jr. accepted an invitation to compete. Unser is currently looking for a 2002 IRL ride. Little Al won the 1986 and 1988 IROC series championships. He also competed in some IROC races last year when he filled in for the injured Scott Goodyear. The 2001 Indy 500 champion, Helio Castroneves is the other IRL driver who will be joining fellow IRLers Buddy Lazier, Sam Hornish Jr., and Scott Sharp.
  • (1/18) - Blair Racing, the new team joinging the IRL, announced that McLaren Performance Technologies will be building their GM powerplant for their Indycar. McLaren is based in Livonia Michigan. McLaren-built engines have appeared at Indianapolis since the late 1960s and powered Johnny Rutherford?s Indianapolis 500 victories in 1974 and 1976. In addition, a McLaren-made Buick engine powered Pancho Carter to the pole for the 1985 Indianapolis 500
  • (1/18) - The IMS Radio Network lost the U.S. rights to broadcast Formula One races to a company owned by former CART president, Andrew Craig!
  • (1/18) - Chilean Eliseo Salazar, a driver for A.J. Foyt Racing, announced he has a new sponsor for 2002: the Bank of Chile.
  • (1/15) - Since the CART races will no longer be on ABC and ESPN, Paul Page returns as an IRL commentator. Also, Gary Gerould joins Jack Arute and Vince Welch as pit reporters. Evidently, that goofy 90210 actor is history. I personally found his interaction with Bob Jenkins rather humorous, even if he wasn't any good at the job. More good news is that Scott Goodyear will be in the booth providing color commentary beside Paul Page. I think he'll be good anyway. He's a pretty sharp Canadian. He moved to Indy after all.
  • (1/14) - The IRL Team Xtreme has dissolved, leaving Airton Dare searching for a ride.
  • (1/14) - Blair Racing (formerly Arciero-Blair) say they are moving from CART to the IRL. Their driver is the 21 y/o American, Alex Barron. Alex began racing karts at age 9. He moved to F2000 in '96 and to Toyota Atlantics in '97. He has been racing in CART since '98.
  • (1/14) - The IRL has lost their series sponsor - the Internet company, Northern Lights. They have ran into money concerns two years into their five year contract.
  • (1/14) - Tony Stewart won the famous Chili Bowl sprint car race in Tulsa!
  • The gap here in news is because I've been on vacation!

  • (1/3) - Robin Miller, the acerbic ex-sportswriter for the Indianapolis Star, should not have tried to fight the paper over his firing. A independent arbitrator from Chicago was brought in to mediate the case and this has simply caused all of Miller's dirty laundry to be made public. The outside arbitrator handed down a decision which said there was just cause in Miller's dismissal and that he was not entitled to severance pay due to "gross misconduct". Future employers of his would be wise to read the article in today's paper. (the article)
  • (1/2) - Riley & Scott and Jim Mathews Racing announced the drivers for their team to compete at the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona: Robby Gordon, Scott Sharp, Guy Smith and team owner Jim Matthews. They will be driving the Riley & Scott Mark III-C powered by an Elan Power Products 6.0L V8.
  • Judd

  • (1/2) - CART driver, Dario Franchitti,28, is engaged to actress Ashley Judd, 33. Note photo: Ashley atop Dario's new 2002 CART car


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