Dan's Indianapolis Motor Speedway
News & Views

December 2003

  • (12/29) - OWRS, the group that is planning on buying the remnants of CART tomorrow, announced they also are buying the Trans-Am Racing Series. The SCCA is the sactioning body for Trans-Am and owns the name. Will OWRS drop "Trans-Am" along with the "CART" name?
  • (12/29) - The Minardi F1 team will have new drivers for next season: Zsolt Baumgartner, 22, will become the first Hungarian F1 driver. Gianmaria Bruni,22, is Italian.

    Sauber will also have new drivers. Nick Heidfeld switched places with Giancarlo Fisichella - So Fisi is now at Sauber and Nick will be at Jordon. Heinz-Harald Frentzen retired and so Sauber moved test driver Felipe Massa up to fill in for him.

    Other F1 Driver changes of note: As we found out a few months ago, Villeneuve has been replaced by Takuma Sato at BAR. And as mentioned earlier this month, rookie Christian Klien will be driving at Jaguar.

  • (12/19) - The IRL concluded its investigation into the Renna accident:
    “The review of this accident was more difficult and prolonged because it was a private test. Although we are confident we’ve pieced together what happened during the accident, it appears we will not know why the crash started. That is the frustrating part of this effort.”

    The accident review revealed that Renna’s car entered Turn 3 at 227 mph. At a point just past the apex of the turn, the car did a 90-degree spin to the left into the infield grass. The car began to skip through the grass as it traveled sideways, allowing air underneath the car and causing it to lift into the air. While in the air the car spun approximately another 30 degrees to the left.

    The car traveled across the track through the air and made contact with the debris fence on the outside retaining wall in Turn 3. IRL officials said it appears that the most significant damage and resulting fatal injuries were caused when the bottom of the car made direct contact with one of the debris fence support posts, which is part of the Speedway’s fence system.

  • (12/19) - The IRL has announced some rule changes for 2004 in the interest of controlling costs for the race teams. No longer will teams have to rent out a track for testing. Unlimited testing that favors the richer teams will be replaced with IRL sponsored testing so that each team has the same amount of test time throughout the year.

    Race engines will be limited to one per 2-day race weekend and two for 3-day weekends. This will reduce costs in engine rebuilds and prevent special engine builds just for qualifying.

    Other rule changes for 2004 include reducing the fuel tank from 35 to 30 gallons and a limit of five laps for a backup or “T” car on race weekends, unless the primary car is damaged in an accident.

  • (12/18) - Dario Franchitti has healed up from his back surgery and will be back to Andretti Green Racing next season. The team has also said they will provide a ride for his stand-in this year - Bryan Herta, who scored a win at Kansas last summer. Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon will continue driving for AGR as well.
  • (12/13) - I was channel surfing and passed by a music video. I thought I'd spotted Little E, so I flipped back. He was sitting in a SUV at a light, making eyes at a blonde in a Jeep. It was nighttime. Suddenly another SUV appeared to her left and there was Tony Stewart, waving and mocking Dale Jr. The light turned green and the race was on! They raced around town, ended up intruding on a oval car race and won it, then continued back out on the streets not stopping, to keep on racing. The band was "3 Doors Down" and their tune was called "The Road I'm On". Look for it.
  • (12/12) - The IRL will be making some changes to the chassis and engines in 2004 to slow the cars back down. Tony George noted that he wants to get the speeds back down under 220 and this year they were in the 230's. The IRL will be shortening the crankshafts and reducing the engine displacement from 3.5 liters to 3.0. in time for the Indy 500.
  • (12/6) - Some IRL drivers were testing in Phoenix. Darren Manning (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) and Sam Hornish Jr. (Marlboro Team Penske) both crashed. They're ok.
  • (12/5) - Another young'n in F1 - the German F3 runner up, Christian Klien, tried out for the Jaguar F1 team in November with the result of the team signing him up for next year. Christian is from Austria and is 20 years old. He will team up with Mark Webber next season. I hear that Klien is buying this ride with $10 million compliments of Red Bull.
  • (12/5) - The Indianapolis Star newspaper has reported what you have all been waiting for - that the IRL is going to start turning right! Steve Ballard reports "The IRL plans to add two to four road races to its schedule in the next few years regardless of what CART does."
  • (12/5) - The group that is trying to buy CART decided they'd rather wait and let CART file chapter 11, and then buy the assets. Now that makes a little more sense.
  • (12/2) - As soon as I got the 2004 CART schedule posted, they've cancelled the race in St. Pete. While they wait to see what deal they can work out to stay in business, they've decided to cancel the first race.

  • November 2003

  • (11/25) - The F1 teams got back to practicing today after the winter break. The teams you would expect to be fastest were, except for Renault. Also, B.A.R. is switching to the Michelin, the tire used by McLaren, Williams, and Renault this past season.
  • (11/24) - F1 has dropped the French g.p. at Magny-Cours off the calendar for next year. Seems they can't afford it. The Belgium g.p. won't be happening either. However, China and Bahrain will be joining the circuit next year. The race in China will be held in Shanghai. Bahrain is a archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. Three times the size of D.C. They can afford a g.p. and France can't?! What has happened to the French race fans???
  • (11/20) - CART and Open Wheel Racing Series LLC have signed a definitive merger agreement. CART is holding a stockholder's meeting today to vote on the merger. I don't think the stockholders have much choice though - accept 56 cents on the dollar or go bankrupt. OWRS owns about 22% of CART already.
  • (11/19) - The Canadian Grand Prix is a definate go now! In order to find the compensation needed for the tobacco-backed teams to race without sponsor logos, contributions were given by the parties concerned. Both levels of government will invest $2 million (Canadian) per year for the next three years and Labatt Breweries will add $5 million for one year, although Labatt will not be the official sponsor of the GP.

    GPF1 will contribute somewhere in the region of $12 million; the total cost of the compensation amounts to $29 million. The teams will receive $30 million (US) for one year and Bernie Ecclestone will invest his own money for further compensation, thought to be in the region of $10-13 million.

  • (11/13) - Rumor: Sarah Fisher may switch from Dreyer Reinbolt Racing to Panther Racing. Panther has already announced that they are joining up with Menards and hiring Tomas Scheckter and Mark Taylor. If Sarah joins then Panther/Menards Racing will be running 3 cars!
  • (11/10) - Jacques Villeneuve has been offered a drive on a Le Mans team. If Jack won the 24-hours of Le Mans, he would be the first driver to have won the CART championship, the Indy 500, the Formula One Championship and Le Mans!
  • (11/10) - Matt Kenseth won the 2004 Winston Cup championship, his first and team-owner Jack Roush's first, driving the No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Taurus. While only winning one race during the year, his consistancy kept him in the points lead all year. He had 25 top 10 finishes and 11 top 5's.
  • (11/6) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Darren Manning for the 2004 IRL season. Manning just finished his first full year in CART where he finished 9th for Walker Racing. From 2000-2002 he was the test driver for the B.A.R. Formula One team. In 1999 he won the All Japan F3 Championship.

    Darren is 28 years old and is from England.

  • (11/03) - CART released further figures on the state of its affairs. Profits are down and losses are way up prompting them to say "If the proposed merger with Open Wheel is not completed for any reason, and if no strategic transaction that is an alternative to the merger is available to us at that time, it is expected that we will be required immediately to cease our operations, wind up our affairs and seek to liquidate our remaining assets.
  • (11/03) - Mark Taylor, the 2003 Infiniti Pro Series champion, will be racing in the IRL next year. Taylor won 7 of the 12 IPS races this year. He'll stay with Panther Racing and be teammates to new Panther driver Tomas Scheckter. Since Panther and Menards are supposed to be joining together to form a two-car team, I wonder what is going to happen to Menard's current driver, Vitor Meira. Perhaps they'll run three cars.
  • (11/02) - The horrible wild fires burning up California forced the cancellation of the last CART race of the year. Paul Tracy wrapped up his first CART championship in his 13-year career.

  • October 2003

  • (11/02) - The horrible wild fires burning up California forced the cancellation of the last CART race. Paul Tracy wrapped up his first CART championship in his 13-year career.
  • (10/31) - Team Menard is joining Panther Racing to form one IRL team for 2004. They figure two heads are better than one.
  • (10/28) - Formula One driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen says he has been in talks with Eddie Cheever, Jr. about switching from F1 to the IRL. Heinz currently drives for Sauber and has been in F1 for a decade.
  • (10/28) - The manufacturer that won two of the last three Winston Cup championships announced Tuesday it won't return in 2004. Pontiac is leaving Chevrolet as the only GM divisioin on the stock car circuit.

    Five full-time teams currently use Pontiacs, with Ricky Craven providing the only victory in 2003. In the manufacturer standings, Pontiac is a distant fourth, trailing leader Chevrolet by 127 points. Ford and Dodge also race in Winston Cup.

  • (10/24) - Races in England and Germany will be out and one in South Korea will be added to a revamped CART schedule for 2004 if the sale of the Champ Car series is completed as expected.
  • Tony Renna 1976-2003

  • Tony Renna (10/22) - Awful news at IMS this morning. Tony Renna was killed while testing an IRL car for his new team for 2004, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Tony had been a backup driver for Kelley Racing since last year. He competed in seven IRL races, scoring five top-10 finishes, including a career-best fourth in 2002 at Michigan. He also finished 7th in the Indy 500 this year and had started 8th. He was 26 years old and from DeLand Florida. He was getting married in two weeks.

    Tony was very excited about joining the powerhouse Target team, who has a penchant for picking awesome up-and-coming drivers. Tony and the team were up late last night getting him fitted for the car, as his first day would begin today with a tire test at IMS. Tony started the session a little past 9 a.m. It was a cold morning in the 40's, with gusty winds.

    On his 4th lap, Tony had the car up to 218 mph. He apparently spun in turn three, caught some air underneath the chassis and went airborne. His car slashed into the catch fence, some pieces cutting through the fence. There were a couple of other cars on the track at the time, but no one was involved with Tony's accident. The wreck was bad. Tony was taken to Methodist hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

  • (10/20) - Little Al wrecked his ATV down in New Mexico and broke his pelvis, rather ironic - he spends all year driving over 200 mph, then when he's going only 20 mph.... Luckily he's got all winter to heal up before the next Indycar race.
  • (10/19) - Kenny Brack has been moved out of intensive care and his condition upgraded to satisfactory. IRL officials have confirmed that Brack's impact with the debris fencing at Texas registered an initial hit of just under 200g - twice that of a regular high-speed oval smash! He will soon be moved to Indianapolis to begin rehab. His wife asks everyone to pray for his recovery.
  • (10/15) - 2004 Formula One Qualifying Rule Changes for 2004
    1. There will now be two 1-hour practices on Friday and no qualifying.
    2. Teams not in the top four of the Constructors' standings may run a third car in Friday practices.
    3. There will be two 45-minute practice sessions on Saturday.
    4. Saturday qualifying order will be determined by the results of the last race. The starting order at the first race of the season will be taken from the last race of the previous year.
    5. Drivers will have two chances at qualifying, one after another. However If a driver fails to set a timed lap in the first section he will not be allowed to take part in the second.
  • (10/15) - It looks as if Canada's offer of ten or so million may have been enough to bribe F1 into running a race even though tobacco sponsorship is now outlawed there. It will be held on June 13th, 2004 in Montreal - a week before the U.S. race. This would push the total number of g.p.'s to 18, the most ever.
  • (10/12) - Michael Schumacher "managed" to finish in 8th place in Japan in the final F1 race of the season. This 1 point enabled him to clinch his 6th Driver World Championship - the first F1 driver to accomplish this feat! Teammate Rubens Barrichello won the race in front of Michael's closest competitor, Kimi Räikkönen. This was Ferrari's 5th straight Constructor's Championship.
  • (10/12) - 1998 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack was involved in a serious accident at the end of the IRL season finalie in Texas. He tangled with Tomas Scheckter, his car leaped into the catch fence, got ripped to shreds, then the driver's capsule spun upside down like a top. Kenny suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum and lumbar and fractures to both ankles He will undergo surgery on the femur and both ankles tonight. Kenny is 37 y/o and his wife Anita is currently pregnant. The accident happened 12 laps before the end. The IRL halted the race on lap 5.

    While the top 5 drivers who were viying for the championship all stayed in the front of the pack, toward the end, Helio and Kanaan touched wheels and this put them in for new tires and dropped them out of contention. Gil de Ferran won the final race of his IRL career!

    Scott Dixon finished 2nd. Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi won the 2003 IRL championship and the $1 Million bonus!

    Now Sam Hornish Jr. will be switching to team Penske. I wonder how he and Helio are going to get along...

    1 Scott Dixon
    2 Gil de Ferran
    3 Helio Castroneves
    4 Tony Kanaan
    5 Sam Hornish Jr.
    6 Al Unser Jr.
    7 Tomas Scheckter
    8 Scott Sharp
    9 Kenny Brack
    10 Tora Takagi

  • (10/10) - Craig Pollock called BAR boss David Richards and told him Jacques Villeneuve wanted to be released from his contractual obligations and that he was withdrawing from the last race of the season. (ie. Take this car and shove it!) So BAR will be running Takuma Sato one race earlier than planned.
  • (10/09) - The IRL championship will be decided this weekend at the last race on the schedule - the Texas Motorspeedway. The top three drivers in the point standings, Castroneves, Dixon and Kanaan, control their fate. Each will win the championship with a victory in the Chevy 500, regardless of where the other drivers finish. It's that simple. Sam Hornish Jr and Gil de Ferran also have a chance to win the championship.
  • (10/6) - Carl Haas has resigned from the CART board.
  • (10/6) - The Canadians are trying to save their grand prix for next year. Bernie told them that they could race in Montreal without tobbacco sponsorship, however they would need to pay the race teams an additional 30 million. The Canadians think they might be able to raise part of that and hope Bernie will be negotiable. Fat chance.
  • (10/6) - B.A.R. has declared that they are not renewing Jacques Villeneuve for 2004. Not much of a surprise. While I feel sorry JV, at least I won't have to suffer watching him in that lame car. BAR will be replacing him with a Japanese "driver" to make Honda happy. I've already ordered my Fernando Alonso Renault Mild Seven hat ($32!). Anyone want to buy a BAR hat ($10) & polo ($25) or the 1/18 scale die-cast cars for JV (I'll let 98 or 2000 go for $50 each)?

    Bernie Ecclestone said in the "Sun" that he tried to find JV another ride. "I did everything possible to talk teams into giving Jacques a drive for next season but the truth is no one wants him. I still regard him as a great racer but he needs a team that would give him extra motivation. Toyota would have been the perfect platform for him because they could give him a car capable of winning races. I even suggested he should go to Ferrari and drive alongside Michael Schumacher for free. But it didn't come off because Michael insists on No. 1 status, which shows he must still consider Jacques a threat." Duh.

  • (10/6) - Tony is exploring the idea of a superbike race as a support race for the U.S. Grand Prix. He recently had some cyclists from the American Motorcyclist Association's Superbike division out to test on the circuit.

    A motorcycle's top speed on the front straightaway could reach 200 mph under race conditions. Jake Zemke said, "Without being strapped in, that's too much, the walls are so close here and the speeds are so high."

  • (10/4) - We were sitting around the other night calculating how much money IMS brought in for the Grand Prix. Since Bernie Ecclestone gets all the tv money, that leaves the gate for Tony George. Tony has to pay Formula One some multi-million dollar amount to get the race, and on top of that, he has to also cough up $6 million in transportation costs to bring the WHOLE show across the ocean blue. Not to mention the multi-millions he spent preparing the speedway a few years ago. With a full house, I don't think Tony ends up making much money. With attendance down to 120,000 from 2000's 200,000, I don't see him trying very hard to renew the contract for '05. I suspect that either people need to come out in numbers like they did in 2000, or Bernie is going to have to lower the cost or America will lose its only Formula One grand prix.

  • September 2003

  • (9/30) - SILLY SEASON UPDATE : Tony Renna is replacing Tomas Scheckter at Ganassi, who is replacing Sam Hornish at Panther, who is replacing Gil de Ferran at Penske, who is retiring.
  • (9/28) - Michael Schumacher won his 2nd U.S. Grand Prix and nearly clinches his 6th World Title. It should be final at the next and last race in Japan. The race experienced light rain to heavy rain to a dry track making for difficult choices in tires for the teams. Juan Pablo Montoya's dream of a 2003 title went away on the third lap when he had contact with Rubens Barrichello and was penalized by the Race Stewards with a drive-through penalty for the infraction. He would finish sixth, a lap back after a stirring drive and four pit stops (including the drive-through). Both B.A.R. cars retired due to mechanical malfunctions. Ralf Schumacher slid off the wet track and out of the race early as did Mark Webber. Panis spun off later. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third, and his Sauber teammate finished 5th - a big surprise for all.
  • (9/28) - U.S. GRAND PRIX RESULTS:
    1.Michael SchumacherFerrari
    2.Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren-Mercedes
    3.Heinz-Harald FrentzenSauber-Petronas
    4.Jarno TrulliRenault
    5.Nick HeidfeldSauber-Petronas
    6.Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams-BMW
    7.Giancarlo FisichellaJordan-Ford
    8.Justin WilsonJaguar
    9.Cristiano da MattaToyota
    10.Jos VerstappenMinardi-Cosworth
    11.Nicolas KiesaMinardi-Cosworth
    DNF Lap 64Jacques VilleneuveBAR-Honda
    DNF Lap 49Ralph FirmanJordan-Ford
    DNF Lap 46David CoulthardMcLaren-Mercedes
    DNF Lap 45Fernando AlonsoRenault
    DNF Lap 42Jenson ButtonBAR-Honda
    DNF Lap28Olivier PanisToyota
    DNF Lap 22Mark WebberJaguar
    DNF Lap 22Ralf SchumacherWilliams-BMW
    DNF Lap 3Rubens BarrichelloFerrari

  • (9/27) - Formula One at Indianapolis - QUALIFYING:
    1.Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren-Mercedes1:11.670
    2.Rubens BarrichelloFerrari1:11.794
    3.Olivier PanisToyota1:11.920
    4.Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams-BMW1:11.948
    5.Ralf SchumacherWilliams-BMW1:12.078
    6.Fernando AlonsoRenault1:12.087
    7.Michael SchumacherFerrari1:12.194
    8.David CoulthardMcLaren-Mercedes1:12.297
    9.Cristiano da MattaToyota1:12.326
    10.Jarno TrulliRenault1:12.566
    11.Jenson ButtonBAR-Honda1:12.695
    12.Jacques VilleneuveBAR-Honda1:13.050
    13.Nick HeidfeldSauber-Petronas1:13.083
    14.Mark WebberJaguar1:13.269
    15.Heinz-Harald FrentzenSauber-Petronas1:13.447
    16.Justin WilsonJaguar1:13.585
    17.Giancarlo FisichellaJordan-Ford1:13.798
    18.Ralph FirmanJordan-Ford1:14.027
    19.Jos VerstappenMinardi-Cosworth1:15.360
    20.Nicolas KiesaMinardi-Cosworth1:15.644

    Jarno Truli had the pole on Friday at 1:09. However on Saturday, he crashed during warm-up.

  • (9/21) - Another record breaking and tight IRL race, this time in Fontana California. The Toyota Indy 400 established a new closed-course speed record with an average race speed of 207.151 mph! The race was slowed only once due to caution.

    Sam Hornish Jr. won, his 4th win in the last 5 races. After a dreadful start to the season for the defending IRL champion, he has been fighting his way back to the top of the point standings since receiving the new Chevy engine. With one race remaining in TEXAS, it's going to be a SHOOTOUT!! That final race will be on Oct 12th.

    Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon are tied for first in the IRL with 467 points. Tony Kanaan has 460 and Hornish 448. Roger Yasukawa is just 3 points in front of Dan Wheldon as they fight for Rookie of the Year honors.

  • (9/19) - NASCAR has changed one of their rules: Drivers no longer will be able to race and pass under the caution flag.
  • (9/15) - Unfortunately, the Ferrari Modenas won't be back this year for a support race to the U.S. Grand Prix, however the Porsche Supercup will be back. It is now sponsored by Michelin.
  • (9/14) - Ralph Schumacher was hurt during practice and sat out the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, replaced by Marc Gene'. His brother led from the pole and won the race.
  • <(9/14) - CART has been purchased at 53 cents on the dollar by a group of CART team owners: Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven, Carl Russo and Jamie Rose. Their partnership is called "Open Wheel Racing Series LLC"

  • (9/10) - Johnny Rutherford will be competing in a race before the IRL Texas race next week.
  • (9/3) - Indianapolis was deluged with rain this Labor Day weekend and IMS has been pretty flooded. THe golf course is closed, yet the Hall of Fame Museum remains open despite the closure of Gate 2 – the main entrance and tunnel into the Speedway off 16th Street – due to flooding. Museum guests should enter the Speedway grounds via the Brickyard Crossing Inn entrance, located a block east of the Speedway entrance, and follow the signs. At this time, they do not expect the flood to cancel the U.S. Grand Prix.
  • 2003 Flood Tunnel that goes under track completely flooded.

    August 2003

  • (8/27) - Paul Newman has apparently woke up and decided not to go down with the ship without a life preserver. Newman/Haas say they've bought a G-Force IRL chassis and will be testing Bruno Junqueira at California Speedway, in preparation for a run at next year's Indy 500.
  • (8/25) - Gil de Ferran, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season from his career at Team Penske. Sam Hornish says he will be joining Penske next season and signing a multi-year deal. Look for an American in Victory Circle next May!
  • (8/25) - Fernando Alonso, 22, won the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday. He even lapped Michael Schumacher! He is the youngest driver to win a Formula One race. Zsolt Baumgartner, a Hungarian, filled in at Jordon for injured Ralph Firman. Zsolt? :-)
  • (8/24) - Sarah Fisher hit the wall hard during practice at Nazareth yesterday. She was taken to the hospital for evaluation of back pain.
  • (8/18) - American Townsend Bell is getting a test drive with Jacques Villeneuve's team, BAR. Bell was a Indy Lights champion, drove some CART and F3000 since 2000.

  • (8/18) - CART announced in June that it had hired a lawyer to help find potential buyers. Gerald Forsythe has 23 percent of CART's stock and offered 7.5 million dollars for CART. The CART board rejected the offer. Then their stock fell 30%.
  • (8/18) - Sam Hornish Junior says he is leaving Panther Racing. I assume that means he is leaving Indycars. I'm afraid we're going to be hearing that he's off running Nascar. But I'd sure like to hear he is the first F1 pilot since Michael Andretti!

    My friend Jeff thinks that he'll join Ganassi or Penske, run the full IRL schedule in 2004 and also run a half dozen select Nascar races, so that he'll get experience in Nascar and then go Nascar full-time in 2005 and still be able to compete for rookie of the year.

  • (8/18) - The IRL had the fastest "closed-track" race in history yesterday at Kentucky where they averaged over 197 mph, with only 1 caution. Sam Hornish, Jr. controlled the race and the win.
  • (8/12) - CART released a long financial statement today regarding their future. Here's some of it:

    "Net loss for the 2003 second quarter was $34.5 million or $2.34 per fully diluted share, compared to a net loss of $3.7 million, or $0.25 per fully diluted share, in the comparable period a year ago. ... management now expects that it will need to raise additional capital for the 2004 season. At this time, the Company has not identified any source for this capital and there is not any assurance it could be raised. Projections beyond 2004 are, in management's view, very speculative."

  • (8/12) - It looks like IMS is snowing us - they come up with a bunch of LAME reasons for moving the F1 race, when all along, it was likely pressure from F1 to get the American Grand Prix back to back with the Canadian Grand Prix, something they wanted to do to begin with. Why Tony would cave now is beyond me. What is funny is that Canada has passed their retarded tobacco sponsorship law and F1 may now cancel their race there for next June. F1 has dropped countries before for banning tobacco advertising.

    What I'd like to know is when F1 comes to Indy, why do teams have to cover up their tobacco sponsorship. I can understand Ferrari not being allowed to show Marlboro, as that tobacco brand is in other series in the states and by law are limited to one series. But Benson and Hedges and West? Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

  • (8/10) - Gerald Forsythe says Canada is driving his team out of business by forbidding Canadian Cigarette company, Players, from sponsoring his team, effective October 1st. Canada's new laws about tobacco sponsorship may lead to the end of CART's three Canadian races.

    Also, CART's president, Chris Pook, has questioned the viability of having CART events at Cleveland in July and Mid-Ohio in August.

  • (8/10) - A pit road accident injured New Zealander Anton Julian who is a tire-changer for Little Al's team. Bryan Herta and Buddy Lazier tangled coming out of the pits and Herta's car rammed into Unser's, putting both out of the race. Helio Castroneves won this St. Louis race.
  • (8/5) - I am quite happy to announce that the IRL is finally going to the historic Milwaukee Mile! (in 2004)
  • (8/4) - John Bryan, jackman for the No. 88 UPS Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, has been released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
  • (8/4) - Police found themselves cleaning up after a couple of postrace fights in the grandstands.

    During the race, police tried to arrest a man near the third turn grandstands. He fled, but officers caught him on the backstretch golf course.

    Through Sunday afternoon, police had made several dozen arrests in the vicinity of the Speedway. Most were for public intoxication; a few were for disorderly conduct, drug possession and drunk driving.

    Speedway police reported 37 weekend arrests while Indiana State Police made 17 arrests. Most came the night before the race.

  • (8/3) - THE 10th BRICKYARD 400
    The weather was sunny and partly cloudy and the heat was in the low 80's today in Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. The race had few cautions. One of the local Hoosier favorites, John Andretti, hit the wall.
    photo by Jeff Barrie

    Dale Jarrett lost control coming into the pits and spun it around and tagged the wall and his jackman. Hoosier Ryan Newman led some laps, but he lost some positions when he ran out of gas. Tony Stewart, another Hoosier, led most of the race. Some late cautions moved Tony back; and Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick to the front. Soon a big wreck happened coming out of turn 3. Joe Nemechek, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Rudd, Mike Skinner, Sterlin Marlin, were involved. It looked to me like Kurt Busch caused it. He continued racing and finished 7th. This caution brought a lot of cars back onto the lead lap. Now Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon were in front. Harvick pulled away and Robby held up McMurray and Kenseth so that Kevin Harvick had a comfortable 3 second lead. Soon Robby had Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott also got around Robby with 2 laps to go. And that's how they finished.

    Kevin Harvick Kiss the Bricks

    1. Kevin Harvick - his 1st win of 2003 and his 4th Winston Cup victory.
    2. Jamie McMurray
    3. Matt Kenseth
    4. Jeff Gordon
    5. Bill Elliott
    6. Robby Gordon
    7. Kurt Busch
    8. Jimmy Spencer
    9. Mark Martin
    10. Rusty Wallace
    11. Ryan Newman
    12. Tony Stewart
    13. Benson
    14. Dale Earnhardt jr
    15. Steve Park
    16. Michael Waltrip
    17. Ricky Craven
    18. Jimmie Johnson
    19. T Labonte
    20. Jeff Green

  • INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2003 -- Kevin Harvick made Brickyard 400 history Aug. 3, becoming the first pole sitter to win in the 10-year history of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Harvick pulled away on a late restart in the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet and beat Winston Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth by 2.758 seconds for his first career Brickyard 400 victory and first victory this season. He averaged 134.554 mph.

    "I can't believe this," Harvick said. "I don't even know if I can explain it. It's so awesome. I can't wait to kiss the bricks."

    Rookie Jamie McMurray finished third in the No. 42 Havoline Dodge, 4.587 seconds behind Harvick. It was the best finish for a Brickyard 400 rookie since the inaugural year in 1994.

    Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was fourth in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, and 2002 Brickyard 400 winner Bill Elliott rounded out the top five in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge.

    Harvick's victory fulfilled a dream that was spawned when he was a youngster growing up in Bakersfield, Calif., home of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.

    "I told Matt (Yocum, NBC pit reporter) I've got a picture hanging on my wall that says, 'Good luck, hope to see you here someday,' from Rick Mears. Damn if we aren't here in victory lane at the Brickyard. This is awesome." Harvick took the lead for good during an intense! duel on Lap 145 after a restart.

    McMurray led when the green flag flew on Lap 145, with Robby Gordon and Harvick in pursuit. Harvick pulled past McMurray and Gordon toward the end of the lap when a seven-car incident between Turns 3 and 4 triggered the final caution period of the race. It was the last of 17 lead changes among 12 drivers.

    The No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford driven by Kurt Busch hit the rear of No. 5 Kellogg's/got milk? Chevrolet between Turns 3 and 4, collecting the cars driven by Sterling Marlin, 1997 Brickyard 400 winner Ricky Rudd, Jimmie Johnson, Mike Skinner and Joe Nemechek in the melee. No one was injured. Harvick led the field on the final restart on Lap 151, leading by .633 of a second over teammate Robby Gordon in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet after one lap around the historic, 2.5-mile oval.

    Then Harvick pulled away on Lap 152, expanding his lead to 1.311 seconds over Gordon.

    By Lap 155, the! race for the checkered was over, as Harvick's lead grew to 3.491 seconds. Meanwhile, McMurray used drafting help from behind from Kenseth to pass Gordon entering Turn 3 for second. Kenseth also squeaked his No. 17 Smirnoff Ice Triple Black/DeWalt Ford past Gordon to take third.

    Kenseth then passed McMurray for second on the inside of Turn 3 on Lap 157. Kenseth expanded his series lead to 286 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 14th in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet.

    "I was a little too far behind," Kenseth said. "All my guys did a great job. We had good pit stops, and we had a good strategy. I knew it was going to be tough to get around the 31 and then get around the 29."

    Defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart appeared to be the driver to beat midway through the 160-lap race. He started 15th in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet but picked his way through the pack and climbed to the lead by Lap 26.

    Stewart led a total of ! 60 laps -- more than any other driver -- and led at the 60-, 70-, 80, 90- and 100-lap marks. Stewart's lead ballooned to 10.272 seconds on Lap 88.

    But the field gradually reined in Stewart, and he led for the last time on Lap 106. Stewart lost ground on a green-flag pit stop on Lap 131, and many of the other leading cars pitted after a caution on Lap 139.

    "Poor finish," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's crew chief. "The Home Depot Monte Carlo ran good all day. The guys put up a great car. We kind of had a poor pit stop and gave up track position and kind of struggled from there." "We put tires on that were a little loose. We were still doing OK, and then that caution came out and gave up all of that ground and big lead that you had. Just from that point on, it seemed like with 30 or 40 to go or whatever, we just struggled. Nothing went our way or did not play the right game." Harvick and Richard Childress Racing definitely played the! right game. The victory returned Childress' team to victory lane at Indianapolis for the first time since late seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt won the 1995 Brickyard 400.

    "Anything we can do that Dale Earnhardt did is an accomplishment," Harvick said. "That's why we still have this '3' on the side (of the car). He's what made this whole organization what it is today. I'm just glad to be a part of it."

  • (8/3) - Michael Schumacher came in 7th at Hockenheim today! He was in 2nd, but right before the end, his rear tire went flat. Juan Pablo Montoya won the German Grand Prix.
  • (8/2) - The final IROC race of the year was ran at IMS today. Jimmie Johnson won it. Kurt Bush won the IROC championship.
  • (8/2) - The weather cooperated and the sky was mostly overcast during Brickyard 400 qualifying, providing all the drivers with an equal chance. Kevin Harvick captured the pole at 184.343 mph. Larry Foyt crashed into the first turn wall but made the 43-car field with a provisional.

    1. Kevin Harvick
    2. Ryan Newman
    3. Bill Elliott
    4. Ward Burton
    5. Michael Waltrip

    Kevin Harvick - photo by Jeff Barrie

  • (8/1) - John Andretti set the fastest time in practice for the Brickyard 400 today at 182.708 mph.
  • (8/1) - IMS and F1 Mgt have agreed to move the U.S. Grand Prix from September to Sunday, June 20 next year - right between the Indy 500, at the end of May and the Brickyard 400 which is at the start of August. This means city of Indianapolis and IMS will now host the three largest sporting events in the world in less than three months!

    Personally, I think this will greatly damage the attendance at the F1 race and maybe hurt the Indycar race too. There are many open-wheel fans who attend both the Indy 500 and the U.S. Grand Prix. Currently, there is a big enough gap between the two, that it is reasonable that they can fly in twice, or have the money to spend on hotels and souvenires, etc. Now having them a month or less apart is bound to discourage attendance at one race or the other. The grand prix will also be a hotter race now, inserted as it is into summertime.

    The only positive that I can see is that more Americans may watch the F1 race on tv in June because it won't be competing with football.

  • July 2003

  • (7/30) - Incase you are not familiar with Bill Simpson, here is local news story on him - Nuvo July 2003 Issue
  • (7/30) - I had some friends drop by Sunday and invited me to go motorcycling through the curvy country roads of southern Indiana. It was a great trip, but it meant that I had to miss the Michigan 400. No problem, I have a VCR.

    This race was awesome! The competition was fierce and this track gives the Texas Motorspeedway a run at having the most exciting IRL race. The 75' wide 2-mile track allows the drivers to run 3 and 4 wide and attack from different angles.

    It was also exciting to see Sam Hornish, Jr. debut the new Chevy Gen IV engine. For the first time this year, he had as much power as the Toyotas and Hondas. He sprinted from the 2nd row to take the lead at the beginning and was often leading the race. All of the other Chevy drivers was at the rear of the pack. These teams and drivers look forward to the Kentucky race when Chevrolet should have built enough of these new engines to supply all the teams. As it stands right now, they will be able to introduce the new engine to Team Cheever and their driver Buddy Rice at St Louis in a few weeks.

    Sam dueled with Little Al, Sharp, Alex Barron, Dixon & Scheckter through out the 400 miles. It was good to see A.J. IV up to speed - he stayed on the lead lap through most of the race. There was a scary moment when Barron drifted high into someone and he ended up spinning at over 215 mph. He kept it off the wall as he ended up back in the right direction and with his motor still running, he got back in the race.

    With 10 laps to go it was anybody's race - then my VCR tape ended! ACK! I stayed away from the news for a few days, hoping to get to watch the end on someone elses tape, but eventually I heard that Alex Barron beat Sam Hornish by a nose. Alex Barron never seems to disappoint as he subs in CART and the IRL. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a steady ride.

  • (7/26) - Rumors had spread that Chevy might have to turn to Ford's British Cosworth division, to help them gain power in their IRL engines and keep up with the Japanese. Chevy said that wasn't happening. The new engine they were going to be supplying, the Gen IV, was all in-house. But as it makes its appearance at this weekends Michigan race, who should appear at Sam Hornish's pits? None other than some Cosworth mechanics!

    It looks like the Brits have helped - Sam starts in P4. All the other Chevy Chevies are starting at the back.

  • (7/26) - Paul Tracy had some interesting things to say in a CART press conference today. He was complaining about various penalties he's been assessed this year, most recently yesterday in provisional qualifying:

    "Well, I feel a range of emotions in the last 24 hours that I'm not very happy with. I feel that I've supported CART when CART had nobody to support them. Team Player's supported CART when nobody was supporting them. The things that have happened and the inconsistencies in the rules that have been going on for years and years, are very frustrating to me and very troubling. My emotions are probably not much different from that of Tony George or Honda or Toyota, Marlboro Team Penske or Michael Andretti. So those are the type of feelings that I've had over the last 24 hours with how CART is handling what's going on in and outside the racetrack."

  • ( 7/25) - Not unexpectedly, Antonio Pizzonia has been booted off the Jaguar F1 team mid-season and replaced with Minardi's Justin Wilson. F3000 driver Nicolas Kiesa has filled Wilson's place at Minardi.
  • (7/24) - Final Nascar testing wrapped up at the Brickyard yesterday. Jeff Burton had the fastest reported speed - 179.959 mph. A few drivers, such as Tony Stewart, did not deem it important to show up for the test and tune leading up to the 10th Brickyard 400. Burton said it's imperative that teams test at Indy, for two reasons: Despite frequent comparisons to other venues such as Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway, there's nothing like Indy's 2.5-mile oval, and the importance of winning the Brickyard 400.

    "It's a real specialized race, and we feel it requires direct attention," Burton said. "There's nothing at all like this. The only thing the same about this and Pocono is that it has long straightaways. The corners are totally different.

    "This place is so much smoother, (and) Pocono is rough. There's not a corner on this racetrack that resembles Pocono. A lot of people look at the straightaways and say, 'It's like Pocono,' but it's nothing like Pocono."

    Burton said both he and his team owner, Jack Roush, place winning the Brickyard 400 high on their "to do" list.

    "Anybody that has been involved or is involved in motorsports that doesn't have a respect for Indianapolis doesn't deserve to be in motorsports. It's a historic place with a tremendous amount of heritage, and I have a lot of reverence for that. Everybody's heard of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so anytime you can be successful at a track with that much history and heritage, that's a special thing."

  • (7/20) - Some crazy 56-year-old Irishman, dressed in a green kilt and waving protests written on cardboard, interrupted today's British Formula One race by cavorting on Hangar Straight as the cars accelerated towards him at 145mph.

    This incident, on the 12th lap of the 60-lap contest won by Rubens Barrichello, for Ferrari, came only hours after the sport's commercial ringmaster, Bernie Ecclestone, had issued an ultimatum to the circuit's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, and the Government that they have just one month in which to put Silverstone in order or risk being omitted from the 2004 calendar

  • (7/19) - Scott Dixon won his third consecutive IRL pole position for tonight's Indy 200 night race in Nashville Tennessee.

    Dixon set a track record by circling the 1.33-mile oval in 22.695 seconds in his Toyota-powered G-Force, reaching 206.211 mph (329.937 k/hr) for his fourth overall pole of the season, including Japan and his current streak.

  • (7/17) - Chevrolet has submitted a request to the IRL to allow them to begin issuing to the IRL teams a new engine they have developed, called the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8. This engine was developed in-house, without the assistance of Ford's Cosworth company. Searching for a quick answer for more horsepower, to compete against Honda and Toyota, Cheverolet had tested the 3.5-liter V8 Cosworth engine [see (6/8) below].
  • (7/16) - Rumor has it that Buddy Lazier may be following his brother into unemployment. Ron Hemelgarn is talking about replacing him with Memo Gidley. We've seen Buddy race and we know he's a great fighter. I think the problem Hemelgarn is having has more to do with their under-powered Chevy engines, not Lazier.
  • (7/16) - While Formula One has no American teams or American drivers, they sure have American sponsors. Forsooking CART and the IRL, Budweiser announced a 50 million pound / five years sponsorship package for the Williams BMW team. Can you imagine the impact that kind of money would make in American open-wheel racing?! Pity. (I wonder how many Europeans drink Bud.)
  • (7/14) - John Andretti was at the speedway testing a car for Dale Earnhardt Inc. They hope to supply him with a car for the Brickyard 400. The test went well as he had the 2nd fastest time - 178.568 mph
  • (7/10) - Tony Raines, of LaPorte, Ind., had the fastest lap in the 2-day practice when he turned a lap of 179.918 mph yesterday. 11 drivers competed in this test and more will be testing next week at IMS
  • (7/9) - The Nascar boys are in town doing some testing, getting ready for the next month's Brickyard 400. Speeds yesterday ranged from 169 mph to Jeremy Mayfield's 176 mph. Then last evening, a storm moved through, dumping lots of water and then a tornado touched down in the Speedway area!
  • (7/6) - A black conservative organization called Project 21 are calling for NASCAR to end its relationship with Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

    Nascar has given $250,000 to the Citizenship Education Fund, an arm of Jackson's coalition. The group says it has used the money to boost minority participation in motor sports.

    Project 21 accuse Jackson of intimidating NASCAR into giving him money to keep him from making a public fuss about the lack of minorities in motor sports. (I wonder why they would care?) On Thursday, the group challenged Jackson to show he is truly committed to minority participation in motor sports by sponsoring a black driver himself.

    They suggested Herbie Bagwell Jr. who has qualified for the upcoming Busch North Series and who needs sponsorship. Charles Farrell, director of Rainbow Sports, said Jackson's group does not sponsor athletes.

    I think they should try using that quarter million Nascar just gave 'em!

  • (7/6) - At the end of the IRL Kansas race, AGR called the race leader Tony Kanaan in for fuel. Bryan Herta, his teammate, had the same amount of fuel and he stayed out and took over the lead. His fuel held out long enough and Bryan took the checkered flag in front of the Penske cars. (Poor Tony finished 4th). Earlier, Felipe Giaffone and Dan Wheldon tangled resulting in contact with the wall and a broken right leg for Giaffone.
  • (7/5) - Greg Biffle won his first Winston Cup race at the night race in Daytona. I found it interesting how he and other drivers interviewed right after the end, were all drinking Coke, as the race was the Pepsi 400.

  • June 2003

  • (6/29) - Michael Schumacher, while not winning the European G.P. at the Nurburgring, broke another record. He garnered enough points to pass the 1000 point mark - the most points ever for an F1 driver.
  • (6/28) - Bryan Herta is back to the IRL and filling in for Franchitti again at AGR. Bryan has raced in both CART and the IRL this month.
  • (6/26) - Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon have been crying all week over the fact that Robby Gordon cooked their goose Sunday at Sears Point. Robby took advantage of a Nascar rule that allowed him to race back to the flag during a caution. In a sport where every little thing helps and in a sport where many great men have tried every possible way to cheat to win, I find it mandatory to take advantage of every thing the rules allow you. Instead of using the rules to to maximize your chances of victory, Jeff and Kevin talk about "gentleman agreements"! What did they have, hand shakes? No? Are they telepathic? Get real guys!
  • (6/20) - Dario Franchitti has decided to have surgery for an injury he encountered this Spring while out on his motorcycle. He will be out for the rest of the season. Andretti-Green does not yet have a replacement for him.
  • (6/14) - On lap 190 of the Texas IRL race, Sharp and Giaffone raced side by side. As they approached a corner, Tora Takagi attempted a very late pass on the inside. As Sharp and Giaffone's line moved them low on the track, the former Formula One driver bumped Sharp and sent both of the other drivers into each other and into the wall, while Tora stayed in control and went on to finish 3rd.

    Brian Barnhart has now penalized Tora Takagi. He has been imposed probation until Dec. 31, 2003 and loss of 23 Driver points as well as 23 Entrant points for Mo Nunn Racing. Barnhart said, "I have reviewed the broadcast footage of the Texas race, and I am disappointed to view actions which exhibit reckless, careless and overly aggressive driving, and endangering the safety of competitors."

  • (6/12) - Dario Franchitti is coming off the injured list to race at Pikes Peak June 15th. This releases Bryan Herta from the team, but don't worry - he has picked up a ride in CART.
  • (6/11) - Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon returned to the speedway today to participate in Speedvision's "Tradin' Paint". Both drivers brought their respective racecars, and then switched cars! The drivers took turns running laps on the speedway's roadcourse.

    I think they should have found Jeff a Formula One helmet first. His head was being buffeted all over the place. After his first stint, he said he was really surprised at the g-forces generated by this car, the blood rushed to his head, and he's never felt anything like it. His neck was sore and assured us that Juan must have a very strong neck. He was also amazed at the fantastic brakes that the Williams BMW had. Similarly, Montoya was surprised at the poor brakes on the Winston Cup car. Jeff had a brief off into the grass, but otherwise did quite well. His lap times improved and he came within a second of the baseline speed Montoya did in the F1 car in the morning. Montoya beat Jeff's baseline speed in the Winston cup car by a 1/10 of a second. He had a few lockups, flat spotting Gordon's Chevy.

    I loved this demonstration! As Jeff Gordon screamed around the track in the high-tech Williams car, I could imagine what it was like for him. In a euphoric fog, I left, red-lining it all the way back to work in my turbo Talon as if it were a F1 car. Ah, we're never too old to dream!

  • (6/11) - Christian Fittipaldi is replacing Andretti at Petty Enterprises. This weekend's Michigan Nascar race will be the Brazilian's 4th Winston Cup race.
  • (6/9) - The IRL next race at Pikes Peak. Al Unser Jr.has never won at the Raceway there, but the family practically renamed Pikes Peak, ?Unser?s Mountain.? Little Unser won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1983. Al Sr. has two victories at Pikes Peak. Bobby Unser, holds the record for most victories with 13. Twelve members of the Unser family have raced in the hill climb with seven family members scoring a total of 37 victories.

    Little Al comes to Pikes Peak in contention for the IndyCar Series title. He climbed to second in the standings, 26 points behind Tony Kanaan, after winning the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

  • (6/9) - John Andretti has left Petty Racing. Will we see him compete in the IRL agains Andretti-Green?
  • (6/8) - When I heard that Chevy was going to go ask Ford Cosworth for help in getting an engine that could beat the Toyotas and Hondas in the Indy Racing League, I couldn't believe it.

    The Chevys are running about 7 mph slower than the Japanese powered cars this year. GM has been building these non-turbo engines for the IRL since 97. Honda and Toyota entered the series just this year.

  • (6/7) - Congratulations to Al Unser, Jr. for winning the exciting Texas Indycar night race!
  • (6/6) - After replacing Shigeaki Hattori in the A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2nd car, Airton Dare wipes out in practice at Texas and breaks a leg and an arm. Shiggy however is not replacing him, but Jaques Lazier!
  • (6/1) - Three strikes and you're out!
    At the first IRL race of the year, Jaques Lazier made light contact with the wall ending the race for him on lap 89.
    At Phoenix, he had a 360 degree spin, but kept it off the wall and finished 6th.
    Next in Japan, Shinji Nakano wrecked in front of him leaving him no where to go.
    Then in Indy, Jaques crashed after Richie Hearn wrecked in front of him forcing him to get on the brakes which sent him out of control.

    Team Menard gave Jaques Lazier a chance to make a come-back this year but evidently don't like his luck percentage as he's out and Vitor Meira is in.


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