:: fast in-laps ::

A place to share interesting information on auto racing, especially CART, IRL, & F1. Also welcome are any anecdotes from the club SCCA-type racing set. E-mail: ebrott -at- juno.com Pray for our troops. Read Romans 8:28.
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:: 15.3.02 ::

Indy 500 entrants update: Add to the list of contenders, Jimmy Vasser. With Rahal/Letterman backing, and driving a Miller Lite livery car, Jimmy will add even more excitement to a star-studded May qualifying and bump days at the Brickyard. Go Jeemee!!

UPDATE: In preparation for the drive in the IRL car, Jimmy Vasser will take part in the IRL race at Fontana. That should be exciting.
:: Eric 15.3.02 [+] ::
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Racing this weekend:

F1: Saturday, March 16. Malaysia Grand Prix. Hometown driver: Alex Yoong.

IRL: Sunday, March 17. Phoenix 200. Phoenix Speedway. Hometown driver: Billy Boat. (In the Arizona Diamondbacks Chevrolet). Step on the gas, Billy!

ALMS: Saturday, March 16. 12 Hours of Sebring.

Barber Dodge: Saturday, March 16. Sebring.
:: Eric 15.3.02 [+] ::
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:: 12.3.02 ::
IRL: Phoenix resident Billy Boat will carry the colors and team logo of the World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks on his No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing entry in the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 on March 17 at Phoenix International Raceway. -- From indyracingleague.com

Oh, no. Does this mean I'm going to have to root for Billy Boat this weekend? I do love those DB's.
:: Eric 12.3.02 [+] ::
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More CART news: Things are looking a lot better for the future of CART's engine suppliers, according to this report from Robin Miller.
:: Eric 12.3.02 [+] ::
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CART Monterrey Recap - Podium: 1st Cristiano da Matta, 2nd Dario Franchitti, 3rd Christian Fittipaldi -- A stellar weekend for CART, and they needed one bad. First, the new qualifying rules paid off, making the Friday Qualifying session a very exciting affair! -- Christian Fittipaldi had the fastest time, but it was eradicated by his bringing out the red flag. Give the Friday Pole point to local favorite, Adrian Fernandez -- Then the race, with its new fuel stop rules, had everyone taking their cars to the limit. Some even more than the limit (Sorry, Townsend Bell). -- In the end, my favorite story of the race was Michel Jourdain, Jr. He had a great Friday qualifier, holding the pole speed for a big portion of the session. And then at the race, he was able to secure 4th place. It was especially touching to see his father, Michel Sr., with him in the paddock during his interview. -- And lastly, congratulations for such great coverage. The Speed Channel showed what it is capable of: showcasing a motor racing event with excitement and enthusiasm. I'm already looking forward to Long Beach.
:: Eric 12.3.02 [+] ::
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:: 8.3.02 ::
Racing this weekend:

CART: Sunday, March 10. Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico. Defending champ: Cristiano da Matta.
Hometown drivers: Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain, Jr., Mario Dominguez (R).
Vamanos, Michel!! This Tecate's for you!
:: Eric 8.3.02 [+] ::
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Airton Dare takes over for Beechler for the 2002 season. Take "replacement" off his title, as driver for A. J. Foyt. Well, well, A.J. You have two foreign drivers driving for you this year. Now, who was it that was complaining so much back in his CART days about all those foreign drivers coming into the sport? Gosh, who was that? Don't tell me. It'll come to me...

Hopefully this "foreigner" will have as much success as that "other foreigner" A. J. once relied on: that would be Indy 500 champion, Kenny Brack.
:: Eric 8.3.02 [+] ::
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:: 4.3.02 ::
IRL Homestead Recap - Podium: 1st Sam Hornish, Jr., 2nd Gil de Ferran, 3rd Helio Castroneves -- Complete report when I have reviewed the entire race. Local coverage was pre-empted by the Penn State-Purdue basketball game (I live in neither Pennsylvania not Indiana. Grrr!) Tape delayed to 2:30 am Sunday, so I'll be watching the tape later this week. Will update report soon.

UPDATE: Well it's almost a week and I still haven't watched the whole IRL race, so I'll just post someone else's observations in the Q&A with Robin Miller on ESPN's RPM site (I don't know who Erik is, but I think I share his point of view on the whole CART/IRL split):

Your column and insight is great and I have always found you to be very honest in your opinions; you always tell it just like it is. So I must double check my feelings with you about the IRL race at Miami on Saturday. I thought this was supposed to be the "breakthrough" year for the IRL. However, the preliminary attendance reports I have seen do not seem to suggest that (especially Thursday and Friday numbers). In watching the IRL race I saw:

a) One driver dominated and put a lap on the field.
b) Three cars finish on the lead lap separated by five seconds each (at least)
c) Approximately 50 laps of yellow flags.
d) At least four drivers spin on their own (that is to say, they did not make contact with another car; they just flat lost it)
e) A field comprised of many foreign-born road racers (many more of those than any short track guys)
f) Three or four passes for the lead and not that much action in the rest of the pack (how much passing can their be when eight to 10 cars drop out?)

So, did you notice the same race I did -- a minor league series with a few "name" drivers? I never had a problem with any of the things I pointed out when I started following Indy Car racing in the late '80s. Supposedly TG did. Well, he didn't do too much to fix half of what he had a hissy fit about in '95. What's next? And do you really think the American public is going to buy this? Miami sure didn't.

Erik Corredor
Auburn, Ala.

Robin Miller: Thanks for your passionate note. Homestead wasn't a good venue for CART and it won't be for the IRL (especially on Saturdays) and even with cheaper ticket prices. Having said that, Phoenix had 56,000 people in '95 for the last CART race and hasn't drawn half of that since the IRL took over. Nazareth gradually declined in attendance and don't expect miracles there. Of course, remember the terrific crowds at Loudon, N.H. and Dover, former IRL venues. CART's Chicago race has steadily gone downhill in attendance and so had Michigan, despite hosting three great races. The open wheel fan seems to be angry and confused because of the split and you're preaching to the choir about '95, when CART was kicking butt and filling seats everywhere. With Penske, Ganassi and Mo Nunn, the IRL is deeper than it's ever been but the overall lack of depth, funding and preparation still leaves the races looking like an IMSA show with four or five different classes. Just remember, there were 22 road racers/foreigners out of 26 drivers last Sunday, the IRL now has the same thing as CART's evil franchise system and, last time I checked, A.J. Foyt wasn't building his own engine. The IRL and CART have become brothers haven't they?


:: Eric 4.3.02 [+] ::
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F1 Australia Recap - Podium: 1st Michael Schumacher, 2nd Juan Pablo Montoya, 3rd Kimi Raikonen. -- OK, first off I agree with Speed's Steve Matchett that the race should have been red-flagged after Ralf Schumacher decided to emulate the movie "Driven" on the first corner. I felt bad for the people who spent a LOT of money to go see ultimately around 10 or 11 cars ride around Albert Park. -- However, they can thank the officials for not red-flagging it and giving their local hero David Webber and the Minardi team 2 points. Very good show, David! -- I know it's a tremendous result that the Toyota team was able to score a championship point on their first outing in F1, but I'm still more appreciative of the Minardi effort. After all, Toyota may be a startup, but they are still a factory team with deep pockets and a very capable driver (one-time Ferrari replacement driver, Mika Salo).
:: Eric 4.3.02 [+] ::
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:: 1.3.02 ::
I just want to add my condolences to the friends and family of Jeff Clinton, who was killed today in Homestead. My thoughts and prayers are with those people who knew Jeff. I was hoping to log in today and give my comments on the IRL qualifying, but that all seems remote and distant and very insignificant. I will add Jeff Clinton's family and friends in my prayers and think of the tragedies of the past years as I watch the qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix tonight in a definitely more somber mood. God bless.
:: Eric 1.3.02 [+] ::
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