January 2004

  • (1/28) - CART gets another chance for survival and changes its name to

    Judge Otte has decided that the open-wheel war will continue, discounting today's higher bid by the IRL of $13.5 million for the assets AND liabilities of CART, and awarding them to OWRS. Apparently the deciding factor being that OWRS would try and honor the contracts with the tracks to run races there this year.

    This may make Nascar and F1 happy for another year, assuming OWRS has enough money to actually start up a new league, get races, and buy airtime. It really doesn't matter though. I don't think the League Formally Known as CART will be any more capable of garnering open-wheel fans in 2004 than they were in 2003. After they go bankrupt next year, the IRL will have what they wanted, unified open-wheel racing in North America, and will have saved themselves $13.5 million. (Interesting note: Roger Penske sold his CART stock for $19.5 million, before moving to the IRL.)

  • (1/27) - Little E's older brother Kerry Earnhardt is going to try to make the Daytona 500 and a few more Nascar Cup races this year. He races in ARCA. He made one Nascar race in 2000.
  • (1/27) - Negotiations with Jordan G.P. has broken down and Jos Verstappen appears to be out of Formula One for 2004.
  • (1/27) - Delphi corporation is sponsoring the IRL Safety Team. They are adding some on-board cameras to the safety trucks which will transmit a signal to the hospital. In the case of a serious accident, the hospital will be able to view the extraction of the driver and have an idea of what they are going to be seeing when the helicopter delivers him.
  • (1/25) - Tony George spoke up after a week of Gentilozzi bravado against him in the news, ""None of these guys has as much appreciation for open-wheel racing as I have," George said, referring to the partnership of CART team owners Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven in the Open Wheel Racing Series group that is the other bidder for CART's key assets. "Their collective appreciation does not equal mine.

    "I committed to the Indy Racing League 10 years ago, not 10 months ago. I am very committed to making sure open-wheel racing succeeds, and the IRL is on a very firm foundation going forward. We've got the right path to be successful, and we will be."

    Both sides are saying they are ready for a bidding war come Wednesday, when the bankruptcy judge must decide.

  • (1/25) - There are indications that the pace car for this year's Indy 500 will be the Chevy Impala SS.
  • (1/24) - The IRL apparently outbid OWRS for CART yesterday. It seems we will all have to wait until next Wednesday to learn what the judge will decide about CART's assets. Tony George released a message to the race fans about what was happening:

    " The Indy Racing League has made an important decision and I want you to know what it is and the reasons for it.

    We have decided to bid on certain assets of the bankrupt CART racing series.

    Let me give you background on this decision.

    Since 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the primary steward of open-wheel racing in America. For the last 59 years, the Hulman-George family has taken enormous pride in operating IMS for the benefit of American auto racing. As part of that stewardship, it proved necessary to respond to problems undermining open-wheel racing. The Indy Racing League was founded in response to these concerns.

    While the Indy Racing League was intended to serve racetracks and markets not served by CART, it was treated as an enemy by CART and by some others. We never measured our success against CART's, since we compete against all forms of entertainment in our economy. We go about our business with only one objective: to build our League.

    Many of you have advocated a single, unified open-wheel series as a goal for some time. Towards that end, several times in recent years, various interested parties approached the League with the suggestion that we purchase CART. None of these proposals were commercially viable in our view. When CART announced its plan in September to merge with OWRS for $7.4 million subject to a stockholder vote, I declined again. In all of these cases, the complicated entanglements of purchasing a financially troubled series overcame the goal of unification that most desired.

    However, when CART declared bankruptcy in December 2003 and announced it would not conduct a 2004 season, the situation changed. By filing for bankruptcy, CART made its assets available to the highest bidder, and the only bidder offered $1.63 million. I decided to give the situation another look. On Jan. 9, 2004, the IRL began an examination of physical assets and contracts, in order to determine whether or not to bid.

    That decision has now been made. The Indy Racing League has decided to bid on certain available assets of the bankrupt CART. Thursday night, we submitted a substantial bid with CART and the unsecured creditors' committee; a bid we believe is fair and equitable for the assets we are seeking. As a member of our Indy Racing League community, it is important for you to understand how this bid fits into the future of open-wheel racing.

    We believe in the integrity of our analysis and bid, and we believe in the success of our plan, should we prevail in this proceeding. If we are successful with our bid, our intention is to work quickly and effectively to create a unified, market-driven North American open-wheel series. We believe there is a window of opportunity right now to accomplish this and position open-wheel racing among the highest quality and most successful sports entertainment in North America.

    When the Indy Racing League was announced in June 1994, the official news release said that ovals and road courses would be included. Our concentration has been on oval tracks since our first season and we will continue to be a predominately oval series in the future. But we are committed to expand our schedule to preserve and protect key traditional road and street races in North America, since CART is no longer able to do so.

    Clearly, it is in the best interests of open wheel racing to move forward into the 21st century with one series, based on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500, taking advantage of the many new oval venues built in the last decade and incorporating historic road and street courses which are important to fans and sponsors.

    From a modest beginning, the League is now regarded by impartial observers as the premier American open-wheel series. The Indy Racing League, backed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a wide array of sponsors, teams, drivers and fans, is the sanctioning body best positioned to offer leadership in open-wheel racing.

    Regardless of the outcome of our bid, the Indy Racing League will continue to adhere to our founding principles, will continue to be a predominately oval series, and will expand our existing schedule to include road and street races in North America.

    I hope this helps you understand what we are doing and why, and I hope to have your support in this very important endeavor.

    Sincerely,

    Tony George"

  • (1/23) - I found the recent comments by Paul Gentilozzi, naive, conspiracy-paranoid and blustery, reinforcing my belief that race team owners need to be kept out of governing their racing series. They don't have the temperment or the motive to be fair so that the sponsors, tracks and other teams/drivers make money.

    Today was the last day for anyone to make bids on the CART sell-off auction and news is that the IRL put in a bid. Paul was not worried that he could outbid Tony George, but felt it necessary to warn others that if Tony got it, he would not try to resurrect CART.

    Did Paul really expect the IRL to ignore the bankruptcy of CART and the release of it's assets?

    Does he really think that the man who put up $30 million to bring Formula One to the United States, who's family's business has been on the national scene for the last century and who owns the most famous piece of racing real estate in the world, was going to be worried about an ex-Trans-am driver? Perhpas we could take OWRS more serious if it had four Michael Schumachers, or even four Jeff Gordons as owners. OWRS only bid $1.6 million on a company that used to have hundreds of millions. What a waste. These team owners have proved they can't run a race series. How mentally ill are these guys? They've robbed the stockholders of millions. You'd think they'd figure it out. But sadly no, they've got their head down looking at their feet as they keep trying to plow forward like a left tackle.

    Oh well, it appears that we will soon have unity in this country with open-wheel racing. It will just be delayed a year if OWRS is allowed to burn up whats left of the "assets" (along with their own bank accounts.)

    If the IRL wins the bid, then they just did Gentilozzi a favor in my opinion.

  • (1/21) - The French Grand Prix is back on the Formula One schedule!
  • (1/21) - Rubens Barrichello has signed a contract to continue his drive for Ferrari through 2006! Michael Schumacher said, "I am very happy for Rubens, the extension of his contract is a natural and logical decision. Ferrari has made the right choice not only because Rubens is a good, fast driver but because this means that we can go on working in the same great atmosphere of recent years."
  • (1/21) - Newly Revealed 2004 F1 Cars:

    Here is the Sauber C23

    The McLaren MP4-19

    The Jaguar R5

    The Toyota TF-104

    The Williams is further down this page.

  • (1/19) - IRL drivers Scott Dixon, Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves will compete in the IROC series this year. There has been a IROC race during the Brickyard 400 weekend, but this year, the 4-race series is going to be in Atlanta instead of Indianapolis.
  • (1/17) - Kevin Kalkhoven, a co-owner of PK Racing and a member of OWRS which is wanting to purchase CART, was mad that the IRL was also looking at CART's assets. He said, "I doubt that the IRL would put in a bid in order to continue the series. In my opinion, their desire would be to kill it. The result would be many hundreds of Americans out of work, depriving two million fans of the opportunity of watching some of the greatest racing in the world and showcasing a great historical American motor racing series. I would sum it up as the IRL wants to bury – OWRS wants to build; that’s the difference.”

    Fred Nation, the IRL’s executive vice president for communications response: "We have come to expect over the years that provocative statements are a stock and trade of whoever is in charge of CART."

    I'd say that was rather understated!

    Fred also said, "We have a greater chance of going forward with a unified approach to open-wheel racing on both ovals and road and street courses -- a better chance than anyone else does, in our opinion. The gentlemen who are bidding on the bankrupt CART assets are not responsible for CART’s bankruptcy. They’re trying to resuscitate a failed operation and take it forward with the same failed business model used in the past. We would argue that everyone’s energies would be better spent on a unified approach to open-wheel racing in North America."

  • (1/10) - The IRL is examining the assets for sale after CART declared bankruptcy. They are particularly interested in CART's races in Long Beach, Toronto, Elkart Lake, and Mexico. However, they are cautious about being held responsible for future law suits on CART contracts.

    Fred Nation said CART has some other valuable assets, "We're a racing company, and they have racing equipment for sale. Most of the items are things we need."

    So, look for the IRL to perhaps outbid OWRS for CART, and put an end to it.

    Gen. George S. Patton
    Tony George did a walk-through of the C.A.R.T. offices on Monday.
  • (1/10) - Dr. Henry Bock will be speaking at the International Council of Motorsports Sciences this month in Mexico. He will deliver a presentation on the Delphi earpiece sensor system, which was required equipment for all IRL IndyCar® Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series™drivers in 2003.

    The sensors, built into the communications earpieces, measure dynamic forces exerted on a driver’s head during a crash. The sensors essentially create a record of head motion that is used to evaluate the effectiveness of energy absorbing characteristics of the chassis, helmet and other cockpit protective systems.

    “Before the development of these sensors, no one has had he ability to measure head forces online and compare them to clinical outcome (concussions, etc.),’’ Dr. Bock said. “This technology will enhance the understanding of head acceleration in all sports and lead to better understanding and prevention of head injuries.”

  • (1/10) - Super Aguri Fernández Racing has chosen a different driver for their 2nd season of Indycar racing. Out is 26 y/o Roger Yasukawa. In is 24 y/o Kosuke Matsuura.

    This 24 y/o Japanese native finished third with 3 wins in the German Formula 3 Championship with the help of the ARTA Project run by Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki. He finished second in the 2002 German F3 Championship with the Prema Powerteam with 2 wins. His accomplishments in F3 competition earned Matsuura a test with the Lucky Strike BAR Honda Formula One team last December.

    Kosuke Matsuura will be driving the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA entry.

  • (1/9) - Buddy Rice, who drove for Cheever Racing last season, has been replaced by Alex Barron. Rice will be subbing for the injured Kenny Brack at Team Rahal at the start of this year's Indycar series.
  • (1/9) - Larry Curry is out of jail after two and a half years. Remember Larry? He got into trouble while running the Tri-Star IRL team. Mail fraud I think the charge was. He apparently was over billing John Menard. Larry is getting another chance to work in racing. He has been hired to direct the two-car sprint-car program for Tony Stewart.
  • (1/9) - NASCAR teamowner, Joe Gibbs, is going back to coaching the Washington Redskins where he helped them win 3 Super Bowls back in the 80's. Joe, there's a thing called salary caps now...
  • (1/8) - Lame duck award: While several local car dealerships have race teams (Dreyer Reinbolt, Penske) there is large dealer in Indy named Hubler. They paint pictures of stock cars and Indycars on the sides of their truck, which proclaim Hubler Race Team. However, they do not have any team, nor do they help sponsor anyone. I guess Hubler figures "Why spend money on racing, when you can just pretend that you do?"
  • (1/7) - Hmm. I drove by the Players Forsythe CART team this morning. I would have thought the place would have been empty, but there were more cars in the parking lot than I've ever seen there before.
  • 2004 BMW
  • (1/6) - Williams BMW is the first F1 team to unveil its new car and what a change! Check out this front end!
  • (1/6) - Kenny Brack's wife, Anita, gave birth to their first child on NYE. They named their new daughter Karma. Kenny couldn't be there to help with the delivery, as he was on a different floor of the hospital undergoing a gall bladder removal. He is still recovering from his crash at the season ending IRL race in Texas. He is now using crutches but is now living at home and doing outpatient rehabilitation. No date yet on when he'll return to racing.
  • (1/3) - GOOD BYE C.A.R.T. - The bankruptcy judge approved OWRS's agreement to purchase CART assets, assuming no other bids come in before January 23rd. They are likely to continue with the name "Champ Car".
  • (1/2) - I seem to get all the exercise I need simply walking around the 300+ acres of the speedway during May, beer cooler in hand. In contrast, there is some growing contingent of vexed souls who feel they must run until they puke. Hence the Indy mini-marathon continues to grow each year. This May event begins in downtown Indianapolis and winds up 13 miles later as these curious masochist jog around the hot rough blacktop of the track. This race is the largest mini-marathon in the country and the 500 Festival has already received 27,000 entries so far! Egad.

  • February 2004

  • (2/29) - Sarah Fisher says that as of right now, she only has a ride for Indy.
  • (2/26) - Kelley Racing has a new co-owner: Rick Weidinger.

    Scott Sharp also has a new chief engineer: Andy Borme, who was Castroneves' engineer in his two Indianapolis 500 wins!

  • (2/19) - The IRL's PDM Racing Team has hired British rookie driver Ben Collins. Collins has ran British Formula 3 and Indy Lights, ASCAR and sports cars. He'll try and qualify at the second event of the season: Phoenix.

    PDM will have sponsorship from the British Tourism Board, which was a collaborative effort between the team and David Chapman of Go Britain Racing. “PDM was the appropriate team to approach,” said Chapman, who noted that Go Britain Racing was a minor sponsor of the PDM car with Ed Carpenter for the final three races of the 2003 season.



  • (2/15) - Things I'll remember from today's Daytona 500. President Bush showed up and walked around in the pit lane and gave the starting command. Prez Bush says howdy
    They showed Air Force One taking off as he left. (I bet if he was at Indy, he'd have stayed till it was over. ;-)
    AirForce One

    I liked the guy coming down from space in the jetpack.

    Michael Waltrip did the Daytona infield catch dirt and flip routine.

    Little E won his first Daytona 500 where his daddy finally won in 1998 and where he raced his last race in 2001.

    And the last thing I'll remember is the bad taste, as Tony Stewart referred to John Andretti as terminally stupid, in the post-race interview to the entire world even though Tony placed 2nd. Stewart ran into the back of Andretti in days past, and now he's blaming and slamming him.

  • (2/12) - Yea! Sarah Fisher has been picked up by Kelley Racing! I'll bet Dreyer-Reinbolt Racing is going to regret losing her; their boy Buhl started the season by slamming into the wall this week at the test in Phoenix.

    But you can't have your cake and eat it too. With Sarah's entrance into the team, what is to become of Al Unser, Jr.? (Scott Sharp is definately retained.) I hope he lands somewhere good.

  • (2/12) - IRL 2004 RULE CHANGES

    * Scoring will change somewhat. Instead of drivers getting just a point for finishing in the rear, now all finishers in spots 19-24 will get 12 points each and finishers in spots 25-33 will get 10 points each.
    * Teams may not modify ear pieces, attenuators, wickerbills, timing transponders, wiring harnesses, impact recorders, rev limiters, track condition radios, camera mounts and cover and head surrounds and their fasteners.
    * Cars will have to use a specific wicker bill at all race except Indy and Richmond, which will slow them down a little.
    * Methanol tanks on cars will be reduced from 35 to 30 gallons.
    * Amount of fuel allowed in teams' trackside tanks have been reduced

    • for 200-mile races, 97 gallons
    • for 225-mile races, 108 gallons
    • for 300-mile races, 145 gallons
    • for 400-mile races, 195 gallons
    • for 500-mile races, 245 gallons
  • (2/9) - Since I'm drifting off topic, here is a fruit label from the late 1800s.

    Tony George Grapes

  • (2/9) - Danika Patrick, the formula racer from Illinois, appears in FHM Magazine this month.

    2001 2004 2004

  • (2/7) - Last out, First in. Football is over and Nascar's Nextel Cup started the racing season off tonight in the Budweiser shootout in Daytona! Dale Jarrett won, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in second and 2003 Brickyard 400 winner, Kevin Harvick in third. Jeremy Mayfield hit the wall hard with 10 laps to go.
  • (2/7) - Honda is to decide later this season whether or not to continue ploughing the millions into BAR's Formula One project. "By Silverstone, a decision will be made," said Honda's Otmar Szafnauer. [I included this newsbit so I could use that name!]
  • (2/2) - One of Sarah Fisher's sponsors, Tag Heuer, will be the official timekeeper for the IRL this year. They sponsor F1 also. Sarah also has Raybestos,AOL,GMC/Chevy and Dial sponsorship. It would be nice now if the IRL's "Most Popular Driver" had a ride! She has sponsorship, she's a great driver, she's mega-popular, and yet rookies are finding teams and Sarah is not - as usual. If you think there isn't major discrimination against women going on in racing, then you are mistaken.






  • (2/1) - Renault's new Formula One car, the R24, is wild! Check out those aerodynamic wing doodads popping out of the side pods and that huge end plate on the rear spoiler

  • (2/1) - Bernie Ecclestone is saying that this year's San Marino Grand Prix at Imola will be its last. Then Italy will have just one F1 race (Monza). Imola is where Ayrton Senna got killed in 1994.
  • (2/1) - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. teamed up with Tony Stewart and were winning the 24 hours of Daytona, but fell victim to a suspension problem in the final 17 minutes, relinquishing the lead to Christian Fittipaldi's team!

    The conditions in the Rolex 24 were grueling, with most of the race held under cool temperatures, wind and rain. During the early morning hours, the race was run under caution for about 2 ½ hours and at 7:38 a.m., for the first time in 15 years, the Rolex 24 was red flagged for standing water. At 10:30 a.m., the race resumed setting up a two hour, 42-minute sprint to the finish.

    Other Nascar drivers participating: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Petty, and Robby Gordon.

    Indycar drivers also participating: Arie Luyendyk Jr, Scott Dixon, Scott Sharp, Didier Theys, Anthony Lazzaro, Stephan Gregoire, Max Papis and Scott Pruet.

    Paul Newman also drove.


  • March 2004

  • (3/31) - What has happened to being cool in the IRL? Has the ex-CART owners decided that they need to cultivate some ridiculous Ron Dennis (McLaren) mentality about corporate appearance? You've seen what Penske has done to Hornish, but have you seen what Rahal has done to Buddy Rice?! You can't even recognize him. He's gone from wild and crazy to Dorkville. (Ha! And I've been calling Bobby Rahal a dork for 20 years.) Is it 1955? The next thing you'll see is Sarah Fisher with a dress and ribbon in her hair!
  • (3/31) - While some IRL teams have signed up more cars for the Indy 500 (A.J. Foyt, Ganassi, Kelley, Mo Nunn & Dreyer-Reinbolt), PDM Racing has hit a snag in their sponsorship deal which supposed to have began with the Indy 500 and continue through the year. Paul Diatlovich had to let the rookie driver Ben Collins go consequently.

    Paul said, "The team is back to work, searching for the proper funding to run beginning in May. "We have a few opportunities that we are currently working on, and we have some good people helping us with those opportunities. "We have been speaking with a couple of drivers that would like to work with us, and that have some experience with our team."

  • (3/31) - The IRL has doubled their television broadcasting to 180 countries. Buddy McAtee, IMS Productions v.p., says that Japan and Brazil both have two stations that broadcast IRL races.
  • (3/22) - In the Nascar race at the narrowed Darlington this weekend, Andy Hillenburg was once again racing. He's competed in about every Nascar Cup race this year. They are really making an effort this year to get a good program going. Unfortunately, Tony Stewart decided to punt Andy into the wall. Nevermind that they're both from the same state, Indiana, and that Andy was out winning World of Outlaw Sprint races when Tony was still sucking his thumb and that Andy too competed in the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 and that Andy has more right to be out there than Stewart simply because he's been working hard at a racing career for 28 years. No, Stewart continues to vie for "Biggest Dick" in Nascar. Unfortunately for Andy, Jeff Gordon came daydreaming along and t-boned him. Thats going to set Andy's team efforts back a notch. And of course the Media only repeats Gordon's snippy little "Slow cars shouldn't be allowed to race" line and nevermind about Hillenburg who I'm sure has more wrapped up personally in his team than these spoiled rich drivers. No mention is made of penalizing Stewart for causing the melee. I was happy to finally see a couple drivers on ESPN stand up for Andy - Joe Nemechek and Michael Waltrip, who also said that Andy has every right to be out there and that he is earned it, and in fact that Andy can put his car together, which is more than they can do!
  • (3/18) - Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company just gave Matt Kenseth a special Screamin’ Eagle Softail Deuce for being from Wisconsin and winning the Nascar Cup last year.

    Matt Kenseth's new free Harley

    Must be nice.

  • (3/18) - CART took another blow this week. Bobby Rahal has decided to consolidate his team and run in one open-wheel series instead of two. Calling Adrian Fernandez brave, Bobby "The Dork" Rahal, who hated the competition from the IRL as vehemently as any one in CART, is now abandoning CART altogether.

    Team Rahal will field two Honda G-Force Indy Cars for the remaining 14 races of the 16-race 2004 IRL season. The driver and primary sponsorship for the team's newest entry is being finalized and will be announced shortly. The team currently fields the No. 15 Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Honda G-Force for Buddy Rice who is filling in for the injured Kenny Brack. The team will campaign a third car in the Japan Indy 300 (April 17) and the Indianapolis 500 (May 30) with Roger Yasukawa.

    Team Rahal leaves their CART Mexican driver and sponsor behind.

  • (3/17) - Adrian Fernandez was rather surprised at the dumb comments made by CART fans on Wind Tunnel last night on his call-in show, "It's very difficult. But the most difficult thing is when you criticize somebody else without the facts in your hand. If I'm going to be a fan of somebody, if I'm going to be a friend of somebody, I'm not going to criticize or give my opinion before I have the facts on my hand. Everybody has a right to criticize and to say something. But I've been surprised in the way some people, some fans, have reacted without the real facts on their hands."
  • Freeman

  • (3/17) - Morgan Freeman will be the ceremonial pace car driver in the 500 this year. Freeman received numerous awards for his performances in films, television and theater, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for “The Shawshank Redemption” in 1995 and “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990, and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for “Street Smart” in 1988. The pace car this year is the new Vette - a picture of it is further down this page.



  • (3/16) - Adrian Fernandez wrote a letter to the media today. In it, he explains how he tried to support CART and he went to their meeting in Long Beach to find out what is going on. He didn't get any answers or attention from the new CART board which calls itself OWRS. As I've mentioned before, I don't believe having team owners in charge of a series makes any sense. Adrian discovered, "Then we found out about all the deals in the background – a recognizable race winning driver with a contract but no ride (Paul Tracy) who was told this at the last possible moment; sanctioning body owners talking with funded drivers who were also negotiating with other race teams." He also mentioned they have less than 12 confirmed drivers and no rational business plan. He just doesn't have faith that OWRS is going to fix CART and he is not going down with the ship.
  • (3/16) - Adrian Fernandez's move to the IRL may simply have done what Tony George's $13.5 million bid for CART failed to do - put an end to CART. The new organized CART series is teetering as other teams, such as Rahal and Newman/Haas consider making the switch. Newman/Haas already has new IRL cars for their run at this year's Indy 500 and Rahal's Mexican sponsor, Gigante, is teetering on going to the IRL. As it stands, it does not look like CART will find enough cars to field a race next month. If Rahal and Newman/Haas switch, it will be all over.
  • (3/16) - I see our little buddy Jason Priestley must be healed up after his Indy Pro crash as he's going to be in a tv series called "Tru Calling" on Fox. I still miss his humor from his IRL broadcasting year.
  • (3/14) - Not only was Bob Jenkins fired by ABC as host of the IRL races, but pit report Gary Gerould was also let go.
  • (3/14) - CART says they have finally found a tv station to broadcast their races: Spike TV, a new cable channel. CART races will be shown on Sundays from 4-6pm. Bob Jenkins was let go by ABC and will now be hosting their races on Spike TV.

    Also announced is a new "turbo-power-button" for their cars which will increase turbo pressure allowing the cars to have a squirt of more speed. Each car will only be allowed to use the button for a total of 60 seconds during a race. An interesting idea I've seen in cartoons. Perhaps they'll add a button that will raise the car up 6 feet above the wheels, so that they can drive over the top of the driver in front of them! Oh, and let's not forget the spill-oil-on-ground button to make the competitors behind slide!

    Could this be CART's new Lola?
    Tom Slick

  • (3/13) - Robby Gordon plans to return for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 as a driver/owner. The Nascar Cup driver is teaming up with Thomas Knapp (team manager) from Team Menard and John Story (general manager) with sponsorship from Meijer. They will be racing a Dallara/Chevy. Robby is the only driver known to be running the
  • (3/13) - Former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack and his wife Anita have been named honorary chairpersons for this year's CARA Charities Indianapolis 500 Fashion Show on Friday, May 28, at the Indianapolis Westin Hotel. Many of the models are from the racing community, as well as local celebs. Tickets are now available for the extravaganza with individual tickets priced at $60 per person. 1000 people expected. For more information on tickets, corporate tables or event sponsorships, contact the CARA Charities headquarters at 317-299-2277 or e-mail carachar@aol.com.
  • (3/13) - Adrian Fernandez announced he's moving to the IRL. Fernandez has been a competing owner/driver in CART since 2001. He has also had a stake in the IRL with Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, a Japanese and Mexican combination. Fernandez racked up 7 wins in CART in his past 11 seasons. He will be driving a Honda- G-Force with sponsorship from long-time supporters Quaker State, Telmex and Tecate and new partner Aceros Vilag.

    Fernández Racing and Super Aguri Fernández Racing recently moved into a new 27,000 sq. ft. race shop in Indianapolis.

  • (3/13) - The 2004 Indy 500 Pace Car will be the newly designed Corvette.

    04 Vette

  • (3/10) - The history and thrills of NASCAR racing can be seen in a new wide-and-tall 45-minute movie that opens this Friday, March 12th: NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience!
  • (3/4) – A new twist appears in the NASCAR race at Las Vegas this weekend. Mandated new softer tires that wear out faster will be used. That combined with the new, shorter spoiler heights (5½ inches tall, a three-quarters inch reduction from 2003) in place for non-restrictor plate events, is intended to decrease the aero advantage for the cars, which possibly will help the better drivers distinguish themselves and put a stop to the fuel mileage and track position games of last year.

  • April 2004

  • (4/28) - Kenny Brack says he doesn't have time to get a car and his team ready so he won't be running Indy. (I can't believe he's going to let a tight schedule keep him from racing in the 500!) Brack hasn't raced since his hard crash at the Texas Motorspeedway last October. He plans on playing guitar again at the Carb Day concert this year.
  • (4/28) - Apparently A.J. is going to give his youngest son Larry Foyt a chance to race in the Indy 500. Larry has been racing over in Nascar. He will be competing against his nephew, A.J. IV. (Its funny how the grandson looks more like A.J.)
  • (4/28) - Rookies who have passed the Indy speedway's driving test this week: Mark Taylor, Kosuke Matsuura, Ed Carpenter, Luis Diaz
  • (4/28) - As expected, Newman/Haas Racing is bringing the 2002 Indy 500 polesitter, Bruno Junqueira to compete this year. He will be driving the #36 PacifiCare G-Force Honda.
  • (4/28) - It looks like Felipe Giaffone will be picking up Robbie Buhl's Dreyer-Reinbolt ride at the 500.
  • (4/25) - IMS had a new event before May has even arrived - Mutt Strut Day! People brought their dogs and so did some drivers, for doggie games, tours and autographs. Photo shows Sarah Fisher and Nash.
  • (4/25) - The Formula One San Morino G.P. was especially exciting. McLaren is still not having any luck and BAR Honda surprised all when Jenson Button qualified on the pole and finished in 2nd place. Michael Schumacher beat him in the pits and won his 4th straight race!
  • (4/25) - A few laps from the end of the NASCAR Talledega race, a car wrecked and brought out the caution flag. To my dismay, the crowd began throwing beers at the car! The track was soon littered with trash and the cars were swerving down low on the track to avoid! If cirucmstances would have allowed the race to resume, there would have been too much debris to do so! Some say they were Dale Earnhardt Jr fans, since he was to be placed in 2nd place behind the boy so many like to boo - Jeff Gordon. Jeff and Little E had been driving side by side and Jeff was judged to have been ahead by a nose when the yellow was brought out.

    QUIZ for when you're at the track:
    Do you

    1. place your empty pork rind bag safely away so that it doesn't blow out on the track?

    2. or take one swig outta your 16 oz. PBR then make like G.I. Joe and "toss the grenade"?

    If you chose 1, then you are a good race fan.
    If you chose 2, then you need to switch to tea.

  • (4/23) - Robbie Buhl made the switch to the IRL at its inception eight years ago and competed in the Indy 500 every year since. He has been a co-owner of Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold for the last few years. He announced today that he will continue his interest in the team, but he is retiring from the driver's seat.

    "It was not an easy decision," said Buhl, 40, a Detroit native and Cleveland resident. "My life has been racing, but personal goals continue to evolve for all of us. I remember when my goal was just to drive in the Indy 500. Now I’ve started in the front row, started in the back row, and I’ve led the race. I may leave some unfinished business at the Brickyard, but this is the right decision for everyone -- my family, my team, and me. I’m healthy, happy, and walking away on my own terms."

  • (4/19) - Paul McCartney showed up at Long Beach this weekend and Tom Cruise, a buddy of Paul Newman, was the passenger in the new two-seater Champ Car which led the field around during the pace laps prior to the start of the race.
  • (4/16) - Greg Ray proved in qualifying for the Japan race last night that he is still fast. A few years ago when he was with the established Team Menard, a powerhouse in the IRL, he won many a pole. After some dry spells he got a ride with the startup team Access Motorsports. While the competition in the IRL has increased since Menard’s hey day, Greg Ray none the less qualified on the front row for tonight’s Japan 300, next to the pole-sitter, Dan Wheldon who drives for Andretti-Green. The race will start at 11pm Indy Time, 12am EDT
  • (4/7) - CART's last big team, Newman-Haas has not competed in the Indy 500 since 1995. Haas has finally gotten a clue and announced he will compete in this year's Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The team's CART drivers are Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais. Bruno has competed in the 500 recently. Carl may be here, but Paul Newman intends to sit home and pout.
  • (4/4) - Michael Schumacher continued his smoking start to the season with a 3rd win in Bahrain - a new $150 million installation that challenges the drivers with its technical track. This was Michael's 73rd F1 victory!! For all his efforts, he wins a waste paper basket?

    Kimi dnf'd again(!) with another blown Mercedes engine. BAR Honda continues to show well with both drivers in the points and Jenson Button on the podium, in third behind the two Ferraris (again). Ralf got punted aside when he tried to close the door on Takuma Sato.

    In answer to my query on the grid girls in Bahrain, they DID appear, but instead of appearing as models or cheerleaders, they were decked out like wacs!

  • (4/3) - I had a picture of Schumi and wondered if the tats were real. It didn't seem to fit in with his multi-million dollar image.


    Then a few weeks ago in Malaysia he was sporting one less tattoo on his arms!

    Is he getting his tatooes out of a box of Cracker Jacks? :-)

  • (4/2) - CARB DAY CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT - Since these free concerts at the speedway began four years ago, we've been witness to Collective Soul, Smashmouth and then Cracker. IMS have signed up Blues Traveler, a harmonica based blues-pop band that was popular in the 90's.
  • (4/1) - F1 is planning a race in the little desert island country called Bahrain which is off the coast of Saudia Arabia and is 100% Muslim.

    They don't like booze, and are actually forbidding the traditional spraying of some Mums champagne on the winners podium! I wonder how they'd react if I showed up with a cooler of beer? "Off with the infidel's head!!"

    Now the question is what will they do with the F1 pit babes; dress them from head to toe in sheets?

    Speaking of new tracks, F1 plans to race in that vast communist land known as China. You would think that their tobacco sponsorship would be safe in this land of smokers, but no. Groups within China are demanding that no tobacco sponsorship be allowed - they may lose their race before they even get it.


  • May 2004

  • (5/30) - Buddy Rice, 28, won his first IRL race in none other than the Indianpolis 500. He was chosen by Rahal-Letterman Racing to replace the injured 1999 Indy 500 winner - Kenny Brack. Buddy Rice's team not only won the 500, but they qualified on the pole and won the Carb Day Pitstop Competition!

    Besides the $1.7 million Buddy won, he also got this neat chopper.

    The Indy 500 Chopper

  • (3/29) - I got interviewed by the Indianapolis Star newspaper. The article

    My website was also used for an article in ATA's Ambassadair magazine this year - The article

    I was interviewed by the Dallas News a few years ago - The article

    And I provided some interviews for some tv shows such as Elimidate and Wild About Chicago.

  • 2004 INDY 500 UPDATES

    Buddy Rice and Rahal Letterman Racing won the Carb Day Pit Competition!

    Thiago Medeiros won the Infiniti Pro Series Freedom 100 race at the speedway Saturday 22nd.

    Live is the headliner for the Carb Day Concert (May 27th 3p.m.)!

    Jane Pauley is the grand marshall this year for the huge Indy 500 Festival Parade in downtwon Indianapolis. It will be held the day before the race - Saturday May 29th. You can get your tickets from Ticketmaster or call (800) 638-4296.

    A snazzy black-tie dance party will be held the night before the 500 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom (6 p.m.) Expect the celebrities in town to show up for the "Snakepit Ball". The Spinners will be performing. For tickets, call (317) 927-3378.

    Buddy Rice captures the coveted Pole Position for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 with a average speed of 222.024 mph! Rice drives a Honda-powered G-Force Indycar for Rahal/Letterman Racing.

    Jessica Simpson will be singing the national anthem at the 500. Her husband Nick Lachey will be waving the green flag to start the race. Morgan Freeman will be the ceremonial pace car driver in the 500 this year.

    Drivers who've crashed at Indy this month:
    DateDriverDescription
    4/29 Buddy Rice Hit Turn 1 wall during practice. He's ok.
    4/29 Darren Manning Hit Turn 1 wall during practice. He's ok.
    5/10 Robby Gordon Hit Turn 2 wall w/left side. He's ok.
    5/11 Felipe Giaffone Scraped the Turn 4 wall. He's ok.
    5/13 Scott Sharp Hit Turn 1 wall. He's ok.
    5/13 Darren Manning Hit Turn 1 wall. He's ok.
    5/14
    Quals
    Bryan Herta Hit Turn 1 wall. Scraped foot/leg.
    5/14
    Quals
    Felipe Giaffone Hit Turn 1 wall. He's ok.
    5/14
    Quals
    Alex Barron Hit Turn 1 wall. He's ok.
    5/19 Mark Taylor Hit Turn 1 wall. He's ok.
    5/20 A.J. Foyt IV Spun in 3,bumped rear. He's Ok.
    5/21
    Quals
    Bryan Herta Wrecked in Turn 3. He's ok.

    Here are the daily fastest!
    DateSpeedDriverTeamEngine
    5/9 219.760 mph Scott Dixon Ganassi Toyota
    5/10 220.300 mph Helio Castroneves Penske Toyota
    5/11 221.857 mph Kosuke Matsuura Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Honda
    5/12 222.668 mph Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing Honda
    5/13 221.156 mph Helio Castroneves Penske Racing Toyota
    5/14
    Rain
    212.616 mph Sarah Fisher Kelley Racing Toyota
    5/15
    Quals
    222.024 mph Buddy Rice Rahal/Letterman Racing Honda
    5/16
    Quals
    219.871 mph Bryan Herta Andretti-Green Racing Honda
    5/19 220.576 mph Scott Dixon Ganassi Toyota
    5/20 220.784 mph Kosuke Matsuura Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Honda
    5/21 223.224 mph Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing Honda
    5/22 218.495 mph Adrian Fernandez Fernandez Racing Honda
    5/23 216.641 mph Greg Ray Access Motorsports Honda

    88th Indianapolis 500 Starting Grid
    DriverTeamCar#SponsorChassis/Engine
    Buddy RiceRahal/Letterman Racing15, 15TArgent/PioneerG-Force/Honda
    Dan WheldonAndretti Green Racing26, 26TKlein Tools/Jim BeamDallara/Honda
    Dario FranchittiAndretti Green Racing27, 27TArca/ExDallara/Honda
    Bruno Junqueira Carl Haas Racing36, 36TPacifiCareG-Force/Toyota
    Tony KanaanAndretti Green Racing11, 11TTeam 7-ElevenDallara/Honda
    Adrian FernandezFernandez Racing5, 5TQuaker State TelmexG-Force/Honda
    Vitor MeiraRahal/Letterman Racing17, 17TCentrix FinancialG-Force/Honda
    Helio CastronevesTeam Penske3, 3TMarlboroDallara/Toyota
    Kosuke Matsuura (R) Super Aguri Fernandez Racing55, 55TPanasonic ARTAG-Force/Honda
    Tomas ScheckterPanther Racing4, 4TPennzoilDallara/Chevy
    Sam Hornish Jr. Team Penske6, 6TMarlboroDallara/Toyota
    Roger YasukawaRahal/Letterman Racing16, 16TSammyG-Force/Honda
    Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing1, 1TTargetG-Force/Toyota
    Mark Taylor (R)Panther Racing2, 2TMenards/Johns ManvilleDallara/Chevy
    Darren Manning (R) Chip Ganassi Racing10, 10TTargetG-Force/Toyota
    Ed Carpenter (R) Cheever Racing52, 52TRed BullDallara/Chevy
    Al Unser Jr. Patrick Racing20, 20TTBADallara/Chevy
    Robby GordonTeam Gordon70, 70TMeijer/Coca-Cola Dallara/Chevy
    Sarah FisherKelley Racing39, 39TBryant Heating and CoolingDallara/Toyota
    Scott SharpKelley Racing8, 8TDelphiDallara/Toyota
    A.J. Foyt IVA.J. Foyt Enterprises14, 14TConsecoDallara/Toyota
    Larry FoytA.J. Foyt Enterprises41, 41TTBADallara/Toyota
    Bryan HertaAndretti Green Racing7, 7TXM Satellite RadioDallara/Honda
    Alex BarronCheever Racing51, 51TRed BullDallara/Chevy
    Felipe Giaffone Dreyer & Reinbold Racing24, 24TPurexDallara/Chevy
    Tora TakagiMo Nunn Racing12PioneerDallara/Toyota
    Greg RayAccess Motorsports13, 13TTBAG-Force/Honda
    Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing91LifeFitnessDallara/Chevy
    Jeff SimmonsMo Nunn Racing12T Dallara/Toyota
    Richie Hearn Sam Schmidt Mortorsports (Penske car)33TBAG-Force/Toyota
    PJ Jones Beck Motorsports98Curb RecordsDallara/Chevy
    Marty Roth (R) Roth Racing25Roth RacingDallara/Toyota
    Robby McGeheePDM Racing18TBADallara/Chevy

  • (5/23) - The field for the 88th running of the Indy 500 was filled today. Greg Ray, PJ Jones, Marty Roth, Buddy Lazier, Jeff Simmons, Richie Hearn and Robby McGehee all qualified. Tony Stewart inexplicably showed up and ran some laps in one of Foyt's cars fueling speculation that he would qualify, but he says conctractually he cannot run the race. So why show up? Guess he wanted to lead AJ on and eliminate the ride for someone who could compete.
  • (5/22) - John Popper of Blues Traveller is sick and they will not be appearing at Carb Day this year. Instead, the band "Live" will be the headliner. I have an album of theirs called "Throwing Copper" which is very good!
  • (5/22) - F1's race in Monaco this weekend may not have the quantity of celebs as the Indy, but they do have Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and George Clooney. Meanwhile, the Nascar race has..umm... Lenny Kravitz. Doh.
  • (5/22) - CELEBRITIES ANTICIPATED TO ATTEND 88TH INDIANAPOLIS 500

    Jessica Simpson (singer)
    Morgan Freeman (actor)
    Nick Lachey (singer)
    Lee Ann Womack (singer)
    Jim Caviezel (actor)
    Jared Fogle (Subway restaurants front man)
    Mike Patrick (ESPN football anchor)
    Rupert Boneham (“Survivor”)
    Jane Pauley (NBC’s “Today” show)
    Maria Menounos (“Entertainment Tonight”)
    LeVar Burton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation)
    Judge Reinhold (actor)
    Neal McDonough (actor)
    Wolfgang Puck (celebrity chef)
    Charles Fazzino (artist)
    Florence Henderson (actress)
    Jim Nabors (actor, singer)
    Ruth Buzzi (comedian)
    Godsmack (rock band)
    Andrew Firestone (“The Bachelor”)
    Patrick Dempsey (actor)
    David Letterman (late-night TV icon)
    Naomi Judd (singer)
    Wynonna Judd (singer)
    Michael Madsen (actor)
    Peter Reckell (actor)
    Melissa Joan Hart (actress)
    Adam Mesh (“Average Joe”)
    James Garner (actor)
    Unfortunately, David Finkel has to be in San Diego this weekend!

  • (5/22) - Most fans have been hoping the IRL would begin roadracing and this week IRL officials visited some tracks to assess them for future race dates. Portland International Raceway and Watkins Glen in N.Y. were examined.
  • (5/20) - Buddy Lazier has not missed an Indy 500 since 1994. This year he did not have a ride. He is happy to land a ride in Dreyer Reinbolt's second car - a Chevy-powered Dallara. He will be teammates with Felipe Giaffone.
  • (5/17) - Access Motorsports, along with driver Greg Ray, have not been able to find the money (sponsors) they need to compete in the Indy 500 this month. They have this week left to find it.
  • (5/16) - PJ Jones lands ride with Beck Motorsports for the Indy 500. PJ broke a bone in his back in a practice crash at Indy in 2002. He's raced in CART and Nascar.
  • (5/15) - That wacky kid, Buddy Rice, captured the pole for the Indianapolis 500 with a average speed of 222.024 mph on a cold day. The speeds are lower than they've been in years thanks to the introduction of the new engine rules which cuts displacement down to 3.0 litres and horsepower down 95. Rice drives a Honda-powered G-Force Indycar for Rahal/Letterman Racing. The young Rice drove for Cheever Racing last year and was let go during 2003 and replaced by Alex Barron (who incidentally wrecked during qualifying!) Rice was picked by Rahal to fill in this year for the injured Kenny Brack. Besides the trophy shown here, Rice also received the $100,000 MBNA pole award.

    Honda-powered cars captured the top 7 qualifying positions, 4 of which were G-Force chassis. Following Buddy Rice, the nearest American on the grid is Sam Hornish Jr in position 11.

    On a side note, wrecked Cheever Racing cars are becoming a trademark. At first, I thought Eddie was hiring careless drivers. Perhaps Scheckter, who now has no problems driving for Panther, simply became more experienced. But now we have an experienced driver like Barron crashing. I wonder if its just the team. Are they preparing inconsistent cars? Or is Cheever somehow screwing up the minds of their drivers?

  • (5/14) - While Indy experienced unusually hot weather all week, Friday practice was rainded out after 5 minutes.
  • (5/9) - Michael Schumacher won his 5th straight Formula One race, this time in Spain. He's broken about every record except Senna's pole record. Michael needs to capture 7 more poles to beat it. He had some engine difficulty during the race and was lucky it kept running.

    I still hear people claim that Michael Schumacher's dominance makes F1 boring. I feel that this year has been more interesting since McLaren and Williams are no longer guaranteed 2nd and 3rd. BAR and Renault continued to spank them again this week.

  • (5/8) - The largest mini-marathon in the nation was held for the 28th time. A record 30,000 people from around the world showed up to compete. Three people suffered heart attacks during the race and one of them died - the first death in the mini. Also, some Indiana Reservist serving in Bosnia held their own Mini and had about 160 participants.
  • (5/7) - Hemelgarn Racing and PDM Racing can't find enough money to run the Indy 500.

  • June 2004

  • (6/30) - Al Unser Jr. announced his retirement from racing Indy cars after a 22-year career.

    Little Al's racing accomplishments:
    1992 Indy 500 Winner
    1994 Indy 500 Winner
    1994 Indy 500 Polesitter
    17 Indy 500's
    34 career victories in Indy cars
    327 races in Indy cars from 1982-2004.
    1990 CART champion
    1994 CART champion
    1986 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winner
    1987 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winner
    1986 IROC Champion
    1988 IROC Champion
    11 IROC victorys
    Unser started his career in sprint cars, competing in the World of Outlaws series in 1979-80 before moving to Super Vee competition in 1981 and Can-Am racing in 1982.

  • (6/30) - The Panther IRL team has fired 2003 Infiniti Pro Series Champion Mark Taylor since he has wrecked in five of the six races so far this season. He is being replaced by 29 y/o Townsend Bell who has competed in Indy Lights, CART and F3000.
  • (6/21) - Ralph Schumacher was released from the hospital in Indy and he returned home to Germany. He suffered a concussion, bruised back and some muscle strains during his shunt in Sunday's grand prix. The wreck knocked him out and he doesn't remember the wreck. It has not been decided whether he will race at the French g.p. in two weeks, but he will skip the test session in Jerez this week.
  • (6/20) - The beautiful, sunny 75-degree weather with a slight breeze continued for race day at the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Juan Pablo Montoya had his usual large collection of fans present at the speedway. Unfortunately for him, his car died on the grid and would not start. As the cars pulled away for their warm-up lap, Juan jumped from his car and ran to his garage where his team got him into his backup car. Juan would have to start last from the pit lane. Juan would work his way up to 3rd place during the race. But with about 15 laps to go, the FIA race stewards black-flagged him because they said he broke a rule by taking longer than 15 seconds to get out of his car at the start. This was very bizarre and ironic, since it took the stewards over an HOUR to stop him.

    There was a 4-car pileup in the first turn of the race. Fernando Alonso had made a brilliant start, moving from the 5th row to 3rd place by the first turn. Unfortunately for him, he soon had a rear tire deflate that threw his car straight into the wall and the end of the front straight. Soon, Ralph Schumacher had a similar tire problem which threw him into a spin in the last turn and the back of his car hit the wall hard. An ambulance came and they put him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital.

    All of this action caused there to be quite a few laps behind the Safety Car. Michael Schumacher quickly got in front of Rubens and remained in the lead to the end. Ferrari finished with another 1-2 finish. Takuma Sato was happy to get his first podium finish. Zsolt was happy to get his first, and probably last, point. While not very fast, the McLarens managed to avoid trouble and finish in the points. Only 8 cars finished the race so everyone got some points!

    Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix for Ferrari once more!

    2004 USGP WIN


    DAN'S PHOTOS FROM F1 WEEKEND

    2004 F1 Pit Walkabout Photos
    2004 F1 Practice Photos
    2004 F1 Quals and Race Photos



    2004 U.S. Grand Prix Results
    1.Michael SchumacherFerrari
    2.Rubens BarrichelloFerrari
    3.Takuma SatoBAR-Honda
    4.Jarno TrulliRenault
    5.Olivier PanisToyota
    6.Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren-Mercedes
    7.David CoulthardMcLaren-Mercedes
    8.Zsolt BaumgartnerMinardi-Cosworth

  • (6/19) - 2004 U.S. Grand Prix Qualifying

    1.Rubens BarrichelloFerrari
    2.Michael SchumacherFerrari
    3.Takuma SatoBAR-Honda
    4.Jenson ButtonBAR-Honda
    5.Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams-BMW
    6.Ralf SchumacherWilliams-BMW
    7.Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren-Mercedes
    8.Olivier PanisToyota
    9.Fernando AlonsoRenault
    10.Mark WebberJaguar
    11.Cristiano da MattaToyota
    12.David CoulthardMcLaren-Mercedes
    13.Christian KlienJaguar
    14.Giancarlo FisichellaSauber-Petronas
    15.Felipe MassaSauber-Petronas
    16.Nick HeidfeldJordan-Ford
    17.Giorgio PantanoJordan-Ford
    18.Gianmaria BruniMinardi-Cosworth
    19.Zsolt BaumgartnerMinardi-Cosworth
    20.Jarno TrulliRenault

  • (6/18) - Frank Williams stated that he is lining up two new Formula One drivers for 2005 - Scott Dixon from the IRL and ex-F1 champ Jacques Villeneuve!!
  • (6/15) - Due to illegal brake ducts, the Williams and Toyota teams were disqualified after the Canadian Grand Prix.
  • (6/12) - Ralf Schumacher took pole again for the Canadian grand prix. The Williams clocked 1:12.275. A year ago, his pole time was 1:15.529. Quite an improvement. His brother Michael qualified back in 6th.
  • July 2004

  • (7/28) - Scott Dixon has been cleared to drive at this weekend's IRL race at the Michigan Speedway.
  • (7/28) - The Williams BMW F1 team confirmed the signing of Mark Webber for 2005 and the Renault team announced that Giancarlo Fisichella will join Fernando Alonso for its driver line up next year.
  • (7/25) - Lance Armstrong wins his record breaking 6th straight victory in the Tour de France.
  • (7/25) - Scott Dixon was forced to sit out the IRL's first race at the historic Milwaukee Mile due to some minor injuries sustained earlier in practice and qualifying.

    The crowd was estimated at 40,000. CART raced their earlier this year with a crowd estimated at 25,000.

  • (7/25) - Both drivers on the Toyota F1 team (Cristiano de Matta and Olivier Panis) will be replaced in 2005. Jarno Trulli has announced he will be leaving Renault and joining Ralf Schumacher at Toyota.
  • Buddy Rice & George Bush

  • (7/19) - David Letterman showed some footage last night of his Rahal Racing team partners joining Buddy Rice at the White House. They showed up with their Indy 500 winning car. President Bush came out and said hello. I noticed that Tony George butted his way into it. Letterman on the other hand was not there. Anyway the gang was invited in for a tour of the oval office.

    Buddy has been attending a lot of public relation events since winning the Indy 500. I bet he's finding it difficult to find time to continue racing!

  • (7/16) - Greg Ray is stepping out of the racecar to work on building up Access Motorsports. He has hired Mark Taylor who was just released from Panther Racing, to drive the rest of the season. Ray hopes to grow the team to two cars next season and step back into the racer. Its a tough business and he'll be lucky to get his car in the rest of the IRL races this season.
  • (7/9) - Patrick Racing is searching for the replacement driver for the recently retired Al Unser Jr. They will give Jaques Lazier an opportunity to race in the next IRL race which is in Nashville. They ran Jeff Simmons at Kansas last week. Jeff has been racing in the IRL's junior series - Infiniti Pro Series.
  • (7/08) - Ralf Schumacher will be switching to the Toyota F1 team next year. Since Montoya will be switching to McLaren next year, Williams BMW team will need two new drivers. Mark Webber from Jaguar is one of the most likely candidates to fill half this void at this time.
  • Roger Ward

  • (7/06) - Roger Ward, 2-time winner of the Indy 500, died yesterday at the age of 83. Roger's first Indy was in 1951 and his last was in '66. He won the 1959 and 1962 Indy 500's and he raced in the first Formula One U.S. Grand Prix in '59 and again in '63. He won the AAA national stockcar championship in '51.

    Ward joined the Air Force during WWII and became a P-38 fighter pilot and even flew B-17 bombers. His flying skills were so good he was retained as an instructor in instrument flying.

    Survivors include wife, Sherrie, sons Rodger Jr., David and Rick, and daughter, Robin. All were at Ward’s side when he passed away in hospice, as he had been in failing health for several months.

    Jim Rathmann is now the oldest surviving Indy 500 winner. The 76 y/o won the 1960 Indy 500.

  • (7/04) - Honda refused access to engines for Access Motorsports. The IRL team that Greg Rray has been trying to get off the ground, which competed in the last 3 IRL races, is behind in a payment to Honda because they haven't been able to get a primary sponsor. Access had to pack up their gear in Kansas and go home before they got to race.

    Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice won the Kansas race, only a few inches (.005 sec) infront of his Rahal/Letterman Racing teammate, Vitor Meira.

  • (7/1) - After being released from the hospital in Indianapolis with a sore back, Ralf Schumacher discovers he actually has a broken back - two fractured vertebrae. He will have to sit out of F1 Racing for 2-3 months. The BMW Williams team will look to their test driver, Marc Gene' to fill in for Ralf while he heals.
  • (7/1) - After attacking Brian Vickers after the NASCAR race last weekend, hot head Tony Stewart was fined $50,000 and docked 25 driver points. This was $10,000 less than his fine of two years ago when he shoved a photographer at the Brickyard 400. This year Stewart has had quite a few racing incidents this year where he blatantly crashes into someone, and then blames them:
    John Andretti at Daytona
    Scott Wimmer at Bristol
    Kurt Busch and Terry Labonte at Talladega
    Rusty Wallace at Fontana
    Jeff Gordon at Richmond.

  • August 2004

  • (8/17) - Ferrari has clinched the Manufacturer championship in Formula One and Honda has clenched it in the IRL.
  • (8/10) - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is going to grind off 2.5" of pavement and repave the 2.5-mile oval. The previous repave was done in 1995. Repave does not include the infield portion of the roadcourse which was first layed in 2000.
  • (8/8) - Jeff Gordon lead the entire Brickyard 400 and won his 4th! There were 11 caution periods, the most mishaps in Brickyard 400's 10-year history.
  • BRICKYARD 400 WINNER

    Gordon wins 4th BY400

    JEFF GORDON WINS #4!!

  • (8/7) - Casey Mears gets the Pole!
    BRICKYARD 400 QUALIFYING ORDER

    Pos No Driver Make Speed
    1. 41 Casey Mears Dodge 186.293
    2. 0 Ward Burton Chevrolet 185.391
    3. 38 Elliott Sadler Ford 185.162
    4. 01 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 184.976
    5. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 184.968
    6. 25 Brian Vickers* Chevrolet 184.665
    7. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 184.332
    8. 42 Jamie McMurray Dodge 184.222
    9. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 184.090
    10. 40 Sterling Marlin Dodge 183.959
    11. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 183.910
    12. 9 Kasey Kahne* Dodge 183.842
    13. 19 Jeremy Mayfield Dodge 183.576
    14. 43 Jeff Green Dodge 183.557
    15. 97 Kurt Busch Ford 183.512
    16. 6 Mark Martin Ford 183.449
    17. 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 183.169
    18. 91 Bill Elliott Dodge 183.094
    19. 99 Jeff Burton Ford 183.027
    20. 31 Robby Gordon Chevrolet 182.960
    21. 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 182.916
    22. 100 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 182.756
    23. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 182.537
    24. 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 182.057
    25. 160 Jason Leffler Chevrolet 181.980
    26. 45 Kyle Petty Dodge 181.822
    27. 10 Scott Riggs* Chevrolet 181.800
    28. 15 Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 181.767
    29. 2 Rusty Wallace Dodge 181.712
    30. 77 Brendan Gaughan* Dodge 181.561
    31. 49 Ken Schrader Dodge 181.463
    32. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 181.408
    33. 4 Jimmy Spencer Chevrolet 181.386
    34. 22 Scott Wimmer* Dodge 181.320
    35. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 181.243
    36. 23 Tony Raines Dodge 181.221
    37. 32 Ricky Craven Chevrolet 181.210
    38. 30 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 180.941
    PRV
    39. 18 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet
    40. 21 Ricky Rudd Ford
    41. 50 Todd Bodine Dodge
    42. 09 Scott Pruett Dodge
    43. 198 Derrike Cope Ford
    * Series rookie

    INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2004 --Jeff Gordon earned an unprecedented fourth Brickyard 400 victory Aug. 8 with a dominating performance in a wild, tumultuous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Gordon, who was born in Vallejo, Calif. but spent his youth in nearby Pittsboro, Ind., became only the fourth driver to win a major event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway four times. His childhood racing hero, Rick Mears, won the Indianapolis 500 four times along with racing legends A.J. Foyt and Al Unser.

    "I'm blown away with four," Gordon said, "I can't believe it, really. You know, the thought went through my mind a couple times during the race today when we were really strong, we were out there running up front. I kept having to shake it off, going, 'Stop thinking about that.'

    "Even there toward the end at the caution there at the end, I knew that we had three laps to go, basically, I felt how special it was. It was starting to really get to me. I didn't realize how much this really meant to me, to win four. Then I had to shake that off because I had to get it done first."

    Gordon's four victories in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in 11 Brickyard starts marks the shortest span in which a driver has scored four major victories at the legendary 2.5-mile Speedway. Mears won the "500" for the fourth time in his 14th start, Foyt won No. 4 in his 20th start, and Unser won for the fourth time in his 22nd start.

    "You know, I don't compare myself to Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, Al Unser," Gordon said. "To me, the Indy 500 is always something unique and totally different than the Brickyard 400. I'm very proud to be a four-time winner, but I just will never allow those comparisons to really put us among equals with those Indy 500 winners."

    Gordon's previous Brickyard 400 victories came in the inaugural event in 1994, 1998 and 2001.

    The day was historic for NASCAR because the 2004 Brickyard 400 was the first NEXTEL Cup Series race to finish under the new "green-white-checkered" rule. The rule was implemented for the first time after Ryan Newman brought out the caution with an accident on Lap 155. Following cleanup, the field took the green flag on Lap 159, white flag on Lap 160 and checkered flag on Lap 161.

    Gordon finished ahead of Robert Yates Racing drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler, who finished second and third in the No. 88 UPS Ford and No. 38 M&M's Ford, respectively. The race ended under checkered and caution flags due to an incident between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ricky Rudd on the back straightaway on the final lap.

    "I was hoping we wouldn't have that caution (on Lap 155) because it seemed that after we ran about two laps, I started going back toward Jeff a little bit," said Jarrett, the Brickyard 400's only other multi-time winner, with victories in 1996 and 1999. "I was really getting off of (Turns) 2 and 4, and it looked like I could gain on him a little. But getting to him and past him would have been something totally different. He had the best car looked like all day."

    Gordon and Sadler combined to lead all but five laps of the race, as Gordon led an event-record 124 laps, and Sadler led 32. Jarrett held the previous record of 117 laps, set in his dominating win in 1999.

    NEXTEL Cup Series rookie Kasey Kahne finished fourth in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, and Tony Stewart finished fifth in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet.

    The race saw 13 cautions for 47 laps, both event records, which slowed the race pace to an average speed of 115.037 mph, the slowest average speed in event history.

    The field had completed only four laps when the first caution took place due to a single-car accident between Turns 1 and 2 involving No. 60 Jason Leffler. He was unhurt.

    Stewart and NEXTEL Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson next brought out separate cautions due to spins in which they did not hit the wall or other cars. Both continued, although Johnson dropped out on Lap 88 with an engine trouble, ending his day in 36th place.

    The biggest incident of the day occurred on the Lap 73 restart following a caution for Sterling Marlin, whose car had a flat tire on the backstraight. As the middle of the pack approached Turn 1, Greg Biffle and Rusty Wallace made contact, sending Wallace into the inside retaining wall separating the track and pit lane, and causing a chain-reaction eight-car melee. Scott Riggs, Ward Burton and Terry Labonte were eliminated from the race while Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer continued with damage.

    Sadler led on the restart on Lap 79, but Gordon sent a strong message that his car was the one to beat by passing Sadler between Turns 1 and 2 on that lap. Gordon would relinquish the lead only once more, for one lap during pit stops.

    Defending series champion Matt Kenseth climbed from the 23rd starting position to become a factor, passing Sadler for second on Lap 105. But Kenseth could not catch four-time series champion Gordon, as he maintained an almost two-second advantage over Kenseth lap after lap.

    Gordon admitted he was fortunate to avoid trouble on Lap 142, as he ran over a piece of debris that dented the front end. Kenseth was not as lucky, as his No. 17 Smirnoff Ice/DeWalt Ford hit the debris and suffered a punctured tire. Kenseth rejoined the field following a pit stop for new right-side tires and finished 16th.

  • Other BY400 notes:
    (7/20) - 14 drivers tested this week at IMS in the final 2-day private session. Sterling Marlin hit 180.305 mph. A total of 39 drivers recorded 6,284 laps of testing over the last 3 weeks. Kevin Harvick, last year's 400 winner, joined Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in skipping the practices so that they could save their test days for the 10-race chase for the series title. Harvick's pole speed last year was 184.343 mph.

    Tony Stewart brushed the wall today and Larry Foyt hit the turn 1 wall hard today wiping out his racer.

    (7/13) - 22 drivers tested yesterday and today at IMS. Jimmy Spencer had the fastest time (178.517 mph) Monday and Brian Vickers went 181.554 today.

    (7/7) - 3 drivers showed up at IMS for private testing. Bobby Labonte was quickest at 176.013 mph.

  • (8/5) - Jenson Button is leaving BAR and going to Williams next year!!! (Is BAR ready to go back to Villeneuve? Please,please,please...)
  • (8/5) - Cristiano de Matta, the prior CART champ, has been fired mid-season by Toyota. (How many CART dudes has this happened to?) AND, he's being replaced by Ricardo Zonta! Ew.
  • (8/3) - Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania will close after this year.
  • (8/3) - Many race fans have ached for years for the IRL to add some road courses to their schedule. They consider turning right and using more gear and speed changes an important aspect of racing that the IRL was missing. CART, F1 and NASCAR race on road courses, so why not the IRL? Were the drivers only good enough to turn left and keep the pedal to the floor? Not necessarily, although the newcomers to the IRL came mainly with just oval track experience. Not so today of course with the influx of the stars of CART.

    When the IRL began, one issue was the costs. Tony George was trying to start a world class racing league that was not nearly as expensive to compete in for the race teams as CART and Formula One were. A race car built for the ovals would not run on road courses without some changes in parts, like wings, suspension, tires and brakes. Also, NASCAR was doing quite well by running all 39 of its races on ovals except for two. The IRL only had 12 races at the time. Also, a desire to focus on the Indy 500 was helped by an all oval series.

    The road course fans of the IRL can now rejoice as the 2005 schedule was unveiled today. Of the 16 races on the IRL scheduel, 2 will be at roadcourses and a street course is in the works for St. Petersburg Florida. A year from now, the IRL will race at Sears Point (now referred to as Infineon Raceway) in Sonoma California. It is a 2-mile course with 10 turns. A month later they will race at Watkins Glen in N.Y.! That will be a 3.4-mile course with 11 turns. These are the same two road courses that NASCAR race on, but the Watkins Glen configuration will be a mile longer than the one Nascar has raced, the same config that F1 used to race on.

    The IRL will also only race once at Texas Motorspeedway next year.

    2005 IRL Schedule

  • (8/1) - The 2003 IRL champion, Scott Dixon, will be the first IRL driver featured on a box of Wheaties (breakfast of champions) cereal.

  • September 2004

  • (9/24) - The Infiniti Pro Series have added a race to their 2005 schedule - support race for the U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis!!
  • (9/24) - JV will be driving for Renault in the final three races of the F1 calendar this year, before moving to the Sauber team next season.
  • (9/15) - Jacques Villeneuve signed a 2-year deal with Sauber to begin next season. His testing with the Renault F1 team this week was followed by Jarno Trulli's exit from the team. Olivier Panis may be retiring from Toyota next year.

  • (9/15) - Tony George announced some new rules and formats for next year's Indy 500 that will make a better show for the fans!

    CARBURATION DAY
    There was always a big lull between Carb Day and Race day and many fans that came into town would have to miss Carb Day, which is one of the most fun days at the speedway. Also, local people would have to take 2 days off work: Go to Carb Day on Thursday, Recover from Carb Day on Friday! Tony is moving Carb Day to Friday! Also, the Infiniti Pro Series will be on the track Thursday.

    BUMP DAY
    Also, he has revamped qualifying and added a fourth day! Now, instead of the last day being Bump Day, EVERY qualification day will be Bump Day - and of course watching 'bumping' is a LOT of FUN! You see, on the first day of qualifications (Pole Day), only the first 11 starting positions of the 33-car field will be up for grabs and drivers toward the bottom can be bumped all day long by faster and faster speeds from their competitors. Grid positions 12-22 will be qualified for on the 2nd day of Qualifying. Grid positions 23-33 will be had the following weekend on the 3rd day of Qualifying. And finally on the last day, regular bumping of the field will take place.

    ROOKIE ORIENTATION
    Previously, the "500" rookies would get to practice in April, when no fans were at the speedway. Tony is moving this up to May 9th, which is Opening Day for the Indy 500 - So, we will get to watch the rookies out there alone for the first few days!

    Also, the INDY 500 will start at noon local time instead of 11 a.m.

    I think all these changes will be great! Way to go IRL!

  • (9/2) - The IRL has lined up a third non-oval race for next year. They will race on a street circuit in St. Petersburg. It will be on April 3, 2005. The course is nearly 2 miles long and has 14 corners.
  • October 2004

  • (10/31) - The IRL had their end of year Award Banquet during a cruise to the Bahamas this weekend.

    The Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team suffered the loss of a teammate and friend over the weekend. John Martin Jr., 30, a mechanic, died in a surfing accident in Nassau. Known as LJ, he is survived by his parents John and Linda, and his girlfriend Megan.

    LJ
    John Martin, Jr.
    (1994-2004)

    The award show will be on ESPN2 Nov 9th at 4pm. Tony Kanaan and his Andretti-Green race team received a million dollar bonus check for winning the 2004 IRL Championship. (scroll down to 10/3 for a list of his accomplishments this year.)

    Thiago Medeiros, also driving the No. 11, won the IRL's Infiniti Pro Series Championship for his team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Medeiros won half of the 12 IPS races, including four in a row. He started from the pole position a series-record eight times. Medeiros and Sam Schmidt Motorsports team members were presented the Firestone Firehawk Cup by Menards IPS Executive Director Roger Bailey.

    Kosuke Matsuura accepted the Bombardier Rookie of the Year award and $50,000 bonus. Matsuura, one of three rookies in the IndyCar Series, had a high finish of fourth among his quartet of top-10s.

    Other Awards:
    Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap - Vitor Meira
    MBNA Pole Award - Buddy Rice
    EMCO Gears Hard Charger - Dan Wheldon
    IRL Rising Star - Vitor Meira
    Marlboro Lap Leader - Tony Kanaan
    IRL Marketer of the Year -Firestone
    IRL Promoter of the Year - Twin Ring Motegi
    IRL Championship general manager - Kyle Moyer
    IRL John Bearce Motorsports Chief Mechanic of the Year - Jeff Simon
    IRL engine manufacturer champion - Honda
    IRL championship team sponsor - 7-Eleven
    TAG Heuer Closest Finish Award winners - Rice and Meira
    IRL second-place championship driver - Dan Wheldon
    IRL third-place championship driver - Buddy Rice
    IRL second-place championship team - Andretti Green Racing
    IRL third-place championship team - Rahal Letterman Racing
    Infiniti Pro Series second-place championship driver - Paul Dana
    Infiniti Pro Series third-place championship driver - Arie Luyendyk Jr.
    Retirement recognition - Robbie Buhl, Al Unser Jr.
    Manufacturer recognition - Chevrolet, Toyota, Dallara, Panoz G Force, Firestone, Delphi, X-Trac.

  • (10/25) - Nascar's powerhouse team of Hendrick Motorsports suffered a terrible tragedy yesterday. A Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed on its way to the Nextel race in Martinsville Virginia, just seven miles from landing.
    Killed were:
    John Hendrick, 53, team president, brother of Rick
    Jennifer Hendrick, 22, John's daughter
    Kimberly Hendrick, 22, John's daughter
    Ricky Hendrick, 24, ex-Busch series driver and Rick Hendrick's son
    Jeff Turner, team's general manager
    Randy Dorton, team's chief engine builder
    Scott Lathram, 38, Tony Stewart's chopper pilot
    Dick Tracy, Hendrick's pilot
    Liz Morrison, Hendrick's pilot
    Joe Jackson, an executive at Dupont (sponsor)

    Hendrick Motorsports is based out of Charlotte N.C.
    Their racer drivers are Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers.
    The drivers were not told until after the race was over. Johnson won the race and was excused from victory lane.

  • (10/17) - Helio Castroneves nabbed the last race of the year, while 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan placed second. Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon was third, followed by Vitor Meira and Adrian Fernandez.

    Barron and Franchiti wreck

    Dario Franchiti broke his foot in a wreck on Saturday. Towards the end of the Texas race, he collided with Alex Barron in a crash that sent Barron to the hospital.

    Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

    "It looks like we had exactly the same mechanical failure on the back of the car as yesterday. The first thing is that I hope Alex (Barron) is okay. I'm just completely upset that the same thing has happened twice this weekend; two mechanical failures resulting in my ending up in the wall twice. I'm not happy about that at all."

  • (10/14) - The injury Darren Manning sustained during qualifying at Fontana two weeks ago will force him to miss the last race of the season this weekend in Texas. Dr. Terry Trammell said the minor compression fracture of his sixth and seventh thoracic vertebrae was not serious and is healing quickly, but suggested he sit out the race incase he'd end up in another accident. Manning drives for Team Target Chip Ganassi.
  • (10/09) - CRISIS IN FORMULA ONE & CHAMPCAR?
    Ford is not only pulling the plug on the F1 Jaguar team, they are selling off Cosworth! This places the F1 teams Minardi and Jordan in a position of having no engines next season! If three teams leave F1 next season that will leave only six remaining teams(Ferrari, Williams BMW, BAR Honda, Toyota, Renault and Sauber), and 12 drivers! Even if each team had 3 drivers, there would only be 18 drivers.

    As a side note, all of the engines in Champcar are powered by Ford. Also Cheverolet has been using Ford help in the IRL.

  • (10/9) - Earnhardt says he'd rather be fined $200,000 than lose those 25 points!
  • (10/8) - Too late for Earnhardt, NBC is adding a 5-second delay to its NASCAR telecasts. ABC is adding a 5-second delay to its "Monday Night Football".
  • FCC notice: The following comments have been edited so as to not offend Nascar's Mike Helton.

    (10/6) - Well son of a #$%&! The @#$%^ NASCAR #$%@&* just fined Little E $10,000 and docked him 25 POINTS for uttering the phrase "doesn't mean s***" when NBC thrust their "live" mikes in his face after his win at Talladega last weekend. The points loss removed Dale from the championship lead!

    What these NASCAR #%@*$heads should have done is let the FCC handle it. Did Janet Jackson get fined and taken out of the championship for America's biggest slut contest when she flashed her freaky titty in the Super Bowl this year? No! The NFL let the FCC handle it and the FCC fined CBS $550,000! So let NBC get fined by the FCC if they don't want to use a 5-second delay to guard against slips of language! These men have been sweating and working their #$$ off for 4 hours in a duel with death. Trying to force these guys to turn into Emily Post after a race is ridiculous!!

    Are we just to believe that there is no care or tension in autoracing? Who is NASCAR trying to fool? I guarantee you that sportsmen were cussing like crazy even before the 60's when it became socially acceptable. Perhaps NASCAR needs to hire speechwriters for the drivers and they can just read off a piece of paper during interviews (can you say Formula One?)

    Can you imagine the amazing change there would be in politics if speechwriters were fired and the politicians said what they REALLY meant?? It would be revolutionary! Oh well, I %*&^$ digress...

  • (10/5) - With Jarno Trulli's early exit from Renault, things are shaken up at Toyota, where he was planning to drive next season. Toyota wants to take him now. They are letting him replace Ricardo Zonta in Japan this weekend, and they have asked Olivier Panis to retire one race early so that Zonta can race in his home country for the last race of the year - Brazil.

    Actually, Panis won't exactly retire, he will become the team's "third driver" next year (ie. he will race if one of the other drivers is injured.) Zonta will become a test driver and Trulli will be joined by Ralf Schumacher.

  • (10/4) - What would you think if the IRL began holding races in countries all over the world and did not have a race in the U.S.A.?

    In a similar vein, Bernie Ecclestone has excluded the British Grand Prix from the 2005 F1 schedule. He is once again blackmailing a nation for more money to host a formula one race. The event organizers at Silverstone say they cannot meet his price. Bernie naturally expects the British government to chip in, however they say they are not going to. So for now, the home of F1 will have no race!

    Bernie complains that this historic circuit pales in comparison to some of these new eastern country circuits. He's right. But so what? These fancy tracks, built in the middle of nowhere, cannot even sell out. How much fun money do you think the average Malaysian has? Yet you have these potentates spending a good portion of their GNP to build these execessive monuments to their (and Bernie's) vast egos. Is F1 more popular anywhere than merry old England?! I guess you can't expect some billionaire to stay in touch with reality.

  • (10/4) - In another blow to England's race fans, Ford is withdrawing the Jaguar team from F1. Jaguar has raced in Formula One for the past five years. It was created from the more successful Stewart team. Bobby Rahal served as team principal for part of a season at one point, and was replaced by Niki Lauda, who was soon let go too. Eddie Irvine drove for Jaguar the longest: three years.
  • (10/3) - Brazilian Tony Kanaan clinched the Indy Racing 2004 Championship today when he finished 2nd in Fontana. He had to start from the last row today after an engine misfire prevented his qualification. Yet he worked his way up to the front like the champion he is. Three accidents in the last dozen laps did not stop the race from finishing under green. Adrian Fernandez, who has been on a winning streak, out-dueled Kanaan on the last lap garner his 3rd win of the season.

    Kannan has had a Awesome Season!! So far this season, he's won three races: Phoenix, Texas and Nashville. He's placed 2nd six times: Japan, Indianapolis, Michigan, Nazareth, Fontana and Texas (a week later). And he's finished 3rd twice, 4th once, 5th three times and 8th in the first race of the season. Kanaan completed an IRL-record 3,305 laps in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone over the course of the 16-race schedule.

  • (10/3) - Our most popular Sarah Fisher hasn't had the opportunity to race in the IRL since Indy. This weekend she got behind the wheel of a NASCAR West Series stock car down in Phoenix. She qualified 14th of 28 and finished 21st.

    I once said that there was a prejudice against women drivers in Indycar racing. Perhaps there is just a prejudice against IRL drivers. By this, I mean the new ex-CART powerhouse teams are prejudiced against the drivers who were brought into Indycar racing via the already existant IRL teams.

    Rahal-Letterman Racing ran Danika Patrick in the Toyota Atlantics this year and may be bringing her up to the IRL next year.

  • November 2004

  • (11/29) - Terry Labonte, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace say they are going to be hanging it up after next season.
  • (11/27) - NASCAR's Tony Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway from Earl Baltes, who had owned it since it opened in 1954. Eldora is a half-mile clay oval in Rossburg, Ohio. Tony plans to fix it up while maintaining its usual schedule and special events.
  • (11/22) - Dario Franchitti was the first IRL driver to test the Sears Point Raceway, the road course in California whose name has been bought and is now called Infineon Raceway. What exactly is an Infineon I wondered. Could it be a recently discovered atomic particle? No, it is a German company, called Infineon Technologies AG to be precise, which spun off of Siemens AG in 1999. They make semiconductors. They are worldwide and have 35,600 employees.

    The IRL race will be the first major open-wheel event at Infineon Raceway since Dan Gurney won a 150-mile USAC IndyCar race there in 1970 with a field that included Mario Andretti, Mark Donahue and Al Unser. The race weekend will also provide an Infiniti Pro Series race.

    The one-day test was completed on the same 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit that will be used for the inaugural IndyCar Series event at Infineon Raceway. The IRL has changed the course layout from how it was first announced. Here is the new layout with the addition of the sweeping, 200-degree Carousel.

    “I think this is going to be a very physical race for the drivers,” said Franchitti, who raced in many road course during his four years in CART. “I’ve never been on a track like this. You’re really compromising on every turn.”

    The tight turns and drastic elevation changes at Infineon Raceway will put increased demand on the cars’ brakes and transmissions, necessitating changes to prepare the oval-ready cars for road courses. The compatibility test at Infineon Raceway, which also allowed IRL officials to evaluate the facility, was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11, but was rescheduled due to rain.

    “This course is really challenging and I was quite taken aback at first,” said Franchitti. “The corners are very quick, which makes it difficult. These cars accelerate very quickly, so you’re coming into the corners very fast and you have to be prepared.”

    The IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series will return for an Open Test at Infineon Raceway, April 12-13.

    In addition to this road course, the IRL will race at Watkins Glen and on a street circuit in St. Petersburg Florida next year.

  • (11/21) - The IRL is considering a switch back to production-based engines. GM reportedly is in favor of this as they had some huge success between 1997-99 with Oldsmobile. GM is currently planning on withdrawing Chevrolet from participation in the series after the 2005 season. Perhaps GM will change its mind if such a change in engine formula is revealed.

    The IRL won't change the engine formula sooner than 2007. They will make any such announcements in May 2005. Of course the IRL will have to access the reactions of Honda and Toyota.

  • (11/20) - Honda will be taking a deeper interest in the BAR F1 team. Besides supplying the power, they will now also become partners in the team, owning 45%. This little deal happenes to spell the end for team principal David Richards.
  • (11/18) - ChampCar's new champion, Sebastien Bourdais, was disapointed when he couldn't get a test drive for Williams, who are looking for a new driver for next season. According to Bourdais, Frank told him that being a Champ Car champion no longer means what it did a few years ago. Way to go de Matta! By the way, have you noticed the CART idiots have named their championship cup the "Vanderbilt Cup"?! It was bad enough when the old CART website acted like they invented Indycar racing, bringing up names from the past like they had been CART members (CART formed in 1979). Now, they grab the name of a race that was held around 1908, before the Indy 500! They are so jealous of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar racing, they try to invent a history that never was. They must figure their fans are utter morons.

  • (11/17) - Word of our "Show Us Your Tits" pasttime at the Indy 500 has swept across the seas. 3 weeks ago, during the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia, this photo was snapped of a Australian military "Huey" helicopter sweeping down low near the race fans.

    Huey

    Photographed from nearby building, the photo found its way to the Australian Defence Force. Now these soldiers may be in a bit of hot water.

  • (11/15) - Worries about the future of ChampCar and F1, caused by Ford, were solved today in several transactions. ChampCar team owners Forsythe and Kalkhoven purchased the ailing Cosworth engine company that Ford was selling off. This was critical to ChampCar, as all their powerplants are built by Cosworth. Cosworth also supplied engines to several teams in Formula One including Jordan and Minardi.

    The Jordan F1 team announced a new engine deal for Toyota power for 2005.

    Ford also sold off their Jaguar F1 team to Red Bull. Ford ends 35 years participation in F1. Ford never achieved the success with the Jaguar team as Jackie Stewart had done before them. Perhaps a few choice individuals can do more for Cosworth than Big Blue after all.

    As a side note: Kevin Kalkhoven has only been involved in racing for 22 months and is a blowhard and a conspiracy-theorist. Can he help rescue an English racing company that Ford's giant coffers were unable to save? A company who HE claims has liabilities which total $60 million? I guess he doesn't have any choice, somebody in ChampCar has to act! I wonder though why he tries to create a fight with Tony George every time he gets his name in the paper. If you hear him talk, listen to all his "I think" and "I believe" phrases as me makes claims against Tony George and notice zero proof is ever offered. I think Fred Nation summed it up well: "There was never any interest on behalf of Tony George, the Indy Racing League, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or any of the Hulman companies in the Cosworth situation. Like many in the racing industry, we have been watching it from afar. But we did not aid or abet any effort to acquire Cosworth.".

  • (11/14) - With one NASCAR race left to run, the run for the championship is close! Kurt Busch still leads the points - at 6346. Close behind is Jimmie Johnson (6328), Jeff Gordon (6325), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (6274), Mark Martin (6264) and Tony Stewart (6161). Johnson has won 4 of the last 5 races! Compare his eight 1st-place trophys to Busch's three. Go figure.
  • (11/14) - It was a star-studded podium for the annual Granja Viana 500 kart race in Brazil on Sunday with Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan, Felipe Giaffone and Dan Wheldon winning the 10 and a half hour race by just 15 seconds from Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Rubem Carrapatoso and Osvaldo Negri. The third placed kart was that of last year's winners Christian Fittipaldi, Mario Haberfeld and Charlie Fonseca although they were seven laps behind the two frontrunning karts at the end of the event.

    Juan Pablo Montoya had troubles with its engine and dropped back and when the team tried to fight back in the course of the race, Federico Montoya, Juan-Pablo's brother, crashed and bent an axle. The team eventually retired from the race.

    It was the fifth win in the event for Barrichello and Kanaan

  • Jeff Ward

  • (11/14) - Former Indy-car racer Jeff Ward claimed the AMA Supermoto championship (450) with a victory Saturday in the Red Bull A-Go-Go. "I put a little Supercross block pass on him," Ward said of the decisive pass on Kunzel. "Its hard to believe I'm back winning AMA championships again. I never dreamed this would happen."

    Jeff Ward wins 450

  • (11/13) - NASCAR repeals 32-year prohibition against liquor sponsors. Indy driver Dan Wheldon better watch out, or he might be losing a sponsor!

  • (11/12) - Late but humorous F1 photos.

    After announcing that he was switching to the renowned Frank Williams BMW F1 team next year, Brit Jenson Button was later to learn that BAR was not going to let him out of his contract.

    Here is Michael Schumacher, upon learning he had won the 2004 F1 Championship:
    "Gee, I really won?!"

  • (11/12) - The IRL is sponsoring Bobby Rahal and Bryan Herta's Snap-on Stars of Karting Series which is intended to help develop new talent for the upper reaches of open wheel racing. The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League is an eight-race championship with Eastern and Western divisions. Each division supports six different karting classes: ICC (125cc shifter), ICA (100cc direct drive), 80cc Junior (80cc shifter), JICA (100cc clutch), EasyKart (125cc clutch) and Cadet (80cc clutch). Snap-on Stars of Karting is based at the Hilliard, OH headquarters of Rahal Letterman Racing and is sanctioned by the World Karting Association (WKA).
  • (11/12) - Felipe Giaffone races for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the IRL. He is returning to Brazil to race in a gruelling 500-mile kart race at his family's kart track. This annual race draws an impressive crowd of racers from around the world and is purely for fun. The race begins Saturday at midnight and runs for 12 hours. This will be the 8th running of this event on the 20-turn 7/8-mile circuit. The race consists of 74 FIA-mandated teams, which may have anywhere from 3-10 drivers. The karts are powered by 15 horsepower Honda GX engines.

    Last year the race was won by the team of Christian Fittipaldi (Nascar), Mario Haberfeld (CART) and Charles Fonseca (Brazilian Karter). They will be back to defend this weekend. From Formula One, drivers Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa, Antonio Pizzonia, Juan Pablo Montoya and Luciano Burti will be among the 200 competing drivers. Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, and Dan Wheldon will join Giaffone as competitors from the IRL. Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal will be there, so might Oriol Servia and Roberto Moreno. Barrichello, Massa and Kanaan are two-time defending champions of this event. Sadly, it doesn't appear that the "500 Milhas da Granja Viana" will be televised here in Indiana.

  • Patrick Carpentier

  • (11/11) - Patrick Carpentier decides to quit Champcar and give the IRL a whirl next season. He is signing with Cheever, replacing Tony George's step-son, Ed Carpenter. Alex Barron will remain a driver at Cheever Racing next year. Capentier is a French-Canadian who moved up to CART in 1997. This year he finished 3rd in the standings. His Champcar team owner, Jerry Forsythe, is pissed judging by his remark, "I think it's a shame that Pat has decided to make a move now, and frankly I don't think this is a good career choice for him personally."
  • (11/11) - Eddie Cheever is dropping the Chevy engine and switching to Toyotas for power next year.
  • (11/11) - Chevy is backing out of Indycar after next season! Old-fashioned American Know-How has been replaced by Know-How-To-Pass-The-Buck at GM and Ford. These guys have come up with some creative and awry reasons for quitting open-wheel racing. 'Fess up fellas! The REAL REASON you're quitting is because the Japanese are kicking your lazy UAW asses! You can hide with your 60's technology in Nascar - but the Japanese will come for you there soon too. You should be ashamed!!!
  • Hmmm...
    Have you ever noticed that when race car drivers are interviewed, they always praise their teammates hardwork and give them all the credit?

    I wonder why you can never find the names and pictures of their crew on their websites. They always have plenty of pictures of themselves though.


    December 2004

  • (12/26) - Back in the spring of 1981, I was a temporary helper for a World Of Outlaw sprint car team. I was still in high school. We drove over to Ohio for a race. As usual, Steve Kinser, from Bloomington Indiana, was the man to beat. After he won the race, we happened to go to dinner with him at the nearest IHOP. He was so good, I figured he'd be winning races for a few years to come, before the next young guy sprung up who would shoo him away from victory lane and embarrass him into retirement.

    Obviously I'm not much of a psychic. Steve Kinser is still kicking everybody's ass at age fifty even though NASCAR's Tony Stewart is funding competitor Danny Lososki's team. Kinser won his 19th championship in this year's competitive season with 17 feature wins. (Lososki won 9.) By the time the season ended, Kinser had built his career win total to an astonishing 513 A-main victories! Like Michael Schumacher, Steve Kinser is a legend in his own time. I should have gotten an autograph.

  • (12/23) - Besides getting ready to start his own Nextel Cup team, Robby Gordon is joining the Volkswagen Race Touareg team to race in the Dakar Rally! Dakar covers six countries from Spain to Senegal over mountains, across beaches, over desert terrain including sand dunes and many varieties of roads, rivers and scenery covering 8956 kilometers with one day of rest. 5431kms represent the 16 special stages. The race begins January 1st from Spain and ends in Senegal 17 days later.

    "Excellent endurance qualities are a necessity," explained Gordon on how he views the Dakar rally. "The car must be 100 per cent reliable and the driver and co-driver have to fend for themselves."

    The American has vast experience in off-road competition which should aid him on his newest adventure. Plus his road course and oval racing knowledge could be an aid for the team as they challenge for victory in Dakar 2005.

    The six-time off-road champion and Baja 1000 two-time winner moved from desert racing to sportscar racing in 1990. In 1991, Gordon had his first taste of stockcar racing before he ventured into openwheel racing. Since 2000, Gordon's main commitment has been NASCAR Cup racing; yet, the 35-year-old driver found time to compete in the Indy 500, Baja 1000 and the by invitation only Race of Champions.

    "I am looking forward to this opportunity," said Gordon. "I like a challenge, one reason I still compete in the Baja 1000."

  • (12/18) - David Coulthard was replaced on McLaren by Juan Pablo, but he has found a new home at Jaguar, er, I mean the Red Bull F1 team. No teammate announced as of yet.
  • (12/18) - Alex Wurz, McLaren's test driver, is in a fix. He cannot fit into the shorter cockpit of the new chassis! To make matters worse, McLaren had been planning to use him as the third driver on race weekends this year as the FIA is allowing Formula One teams that did not finish in the top four in the points, to run a third driver in the Friday sessions of race weekends in 2005. `Fifth-place McLaren qualifies and is intent on using this small advantage. Poor Alex, someone forgot to measure him.
  • (12/18) - Sprint Wireless announced they would purchase NEXTEL communications, the sponsor of the Cup series, for $35 billion. The new name for the company may simply be Sprint NEXTEL. At this time it was not known to NASCAR what impact the merger would have on the sport. Representatives did state that the possibility of a merger was well thought out before signing the 10-year deal with the wireless server provider.

    Maybe the name NEXTowner would be appropriate.

  • (12/18) - International Speedway Corporation has shelled out $100 million to buy land in Staten Island, where it plans to build a $600 million New York City track on an old industrial waste site. Staten Island sits about 45 minutes from Manhattan, a market NASCAR is desperate to conquer.
  • (12/14) - Patrick Racing and Kelley Racing are going belly up. Kelley was a force in the IRL since its inception with driver Scott Sharp, having won a race every season until '04. Kelley joins Treadway & Hemelgarn as once great IRL teams that couldn't compete with the big money that entered the IRL from the CART teams (that caused the open-wheel war to begin with).

    It is intersting how these 5 teams (Penske, Ganassi, Mo Nunn, Rahal & Green[Andretti]) wreak havoc all over the racing scene in America. By their disruption of Indycar, one would think that they are actually in the employ of Bill France or Bernie Ecclestone. They tried their damndest to give the Indy 500 a black eye, and then they turned around and drove CART into bankruptcy and abandonded her. After they finish off Panther, Cheever and Foyt Racing, I predict they will destroy the IRL, forcing the end of Indycar and the Indy 500 and perhaps even truth, justice and the American Way! ;-)

    Not really. They will be more than happy to continue winning the Indy 500 and the Indy car title. We must remember that as we root for the underdog, in the long run, only the rich survive in big time sports. If not owned by a billionaire, any sport franchise will eventually fold to the competition, whether its football or motorsports. That is one of the factors that encourages folks to support high school and college sports. Which reminds me, when are our high schools going to start supporting karting as a sport??? :-)

  • (12/7) - I think the only thing we will be seeing Kenny Brack doing on race weekend is playing guitar. Rahal-Letterman is expanding to a 3-car IRL team with drivers carried over from 2004 - Indy 500 Champion Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira and they are moving 22 y/o 100 lb Danika Patrick up after her 2nd season in Toyota Atlantics where she finished 3rd in the points in '04.
  • (12/7) - Sam Hornish, Jr. and Helio Castroneves recently took an old CART racer to the Sebring road course for some road racing practice. The IRL has a ban on private testing, but that only applies to IRL equipment, and allows the team to prepare for the IRL's first road races in 2005.
  • (12/6) - If I ran a distillery and I wanted to give a lot of my hard-earned money to a race team (and you know I would), I would not pick a team in a series that until a week ago, has refused to do business with me, apparently because my product is so vile that they can't even have their corporate image besmirched by the presence of my name.

    But Jack Daniels did just that. NASCAR's Richard Childress Racing announced sponsorship from Jack Daniels for Dave Blaney for '05. I understand its all about advertising dollars used wisely and no one is going to dispute Nascar's advertising capabilities. It just seems lame. No individuals with daring, just typical corporate bottom line thinking. Perhaps since Crown Royal sponsors IROC and Jim Beam is already a sponsor in Indycar, Jack didn't want any competition on the track. How would it look if the Jim Beam car lapped the Jack Daniels car?

  • (12/5) - There is an interesting race in Europe called the Race of Champions (RoC) that has been held for 17 years. It pits 16 top drivers from eight countries against each other, in identical cars. Like America’s IROC racing, its purpose is to test drivers from different racing disciplines to try and determine the best driver. Where Nascar drivers have the edge in IROC because it is very similar to the cars they race, Rally drivers have an advantage in RoC as rally cars are used. Infact a rally driver has won the race every year leading up to this weekends race. However, RoC also uses several other types of cars as well in this annual event. This year the drivers race four machines, a Ferrari 360, Peugeot 307 WRC. Citroen Xsara WRC and a Dune Buggy. There is also a a contest to determine the nation with the best drivers.

    This year’s event was held in the middle of Paris at a soccer stadium called Stade de France. Here is the figure-eight track that was created for the audience of 62,000.

    track

    The entry list for this weekends race included a lot of 2004 champions:

    Germany: Michael Schumacher – 7 time Formula One World Champion
    Germany: Armin Schwarz – WRC driver
    France: Jean Alesi – former F1 driver
    France: Sébastien Loeb – 2004 WRC champion
    USA: Casey Mears – Nascar driver
    USA: Jimmie Johnson – Nascar driver
    Britian: David Coulthard – F1 driver
    Britian: Colin McRae – WRC champion
    Sweden: Kenny Brack – Indycar Champion
    Sweden: Mattias Ekstrom - 2004 DTM German Touring Car Champion
    Finland: Heikki Kovalainen – 2004 World Series by Nissan Champion
    Finland: Marcus Gronholm – Rally champion
    Brazil: Felipe Massa – F1 driver
    Brazil: Tony Kanaan – 2004 Indycar Champion
    Team Playstation France: Sebastien Bourdais – 2004 Champcar Champion
    Team Playstation France: Stéphane Sarrazin – Rally champion

    Jeff Gordon was supposed to compete, but he was sick. The two Americans that did show up barely arrived in time to race and did not get any practice. Attending the Nascar awards ceremony in NY made them late. At least they had some kind of excuse as they both lost in the first round.

    2004 F1 Champion Michael Schumacher added another jewel to his crown at the event, as he defeated World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb in a special head-to-head contest between this year’s two FIA World Champions. Both of these drivers were favored to win; Loeb won the event last year.

    Heikki Kovalainen, at age 23, was the youngest driver. He eliminated F1's David Coulthard in is his first match, then went on to dispose of Jean Alesi. That result saw him qualify process for a place in the "racers' final" against Michael Schumacher who he promptly defeated by a little less than 1 second in the Ferraris!

    Meanwhile, reigning World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb had successively disposed of Tony Kanaan, Armin Schwarz and 2003 Champion of Champions Marcus Grönholm. Kanaan stalled his car at the start and Loeb won that heat. Kanaan said it was just as well, noting the noisy French fans cheering for Loeb. "Can you imagine if I had won? I think the crowd would have jumped onto the track and just beaten the crap out of me. "

    This threw Kovalainen and Loeb together. The first of the final's three heats was raced at the wheel of Peugeot 307 WRCs which theoretically gave the advantage to Loeb. Kovalainen only sat inside a WRC car for the first time just minutes before the start as Peugeot engineers took time to talk him through the different controls, including the car's steering-wheel mounted gearshift system. And clearly the lesson worked for the Finn who immediately went out to spring a stunning victory over Loeb by 8/10ths of a second, profiting certainly from an early mistake by the Frenchman.

    Kovalainen "I just can't believe it," exclaimed the Finn after the finish, "especially the fact that I beat rallying's World Champion in a WRC car. Amazing! And it's not every day you get a chance to beat Michael Schumacher. That was a big moment. I just tried to attack a little harder, brake a little later. And the atmosphere was great too!" The car he drove to a championship this year looks very much like an IRL car. He hopes to move into a Formula One career and may get a testing job next year.

    France came away on top as Jean Alesi helped France grab the Nations Cup after Kovalainen was robbed of a chance of the win by mechanical failure. Even so, Alesi nearly threw the victory away in the final by stopping his car early, thinking the event was won, before the checkered flag!