:: 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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:: 26.4.02 ::

Wow, TSN.ca has the scoop on quite a bit of CART news. I also read that Walker has purchased the North American arm of the bankrupt Reynard. The article also mentions that the CART board has voted to freeze chassis regulations for the upcoming year. I'm going to have to check this site more often. To those who don't know, TSN.ca is the website for Canada's own version of an ESPN-type television network. I may have to get DirecTV so I can get this channel. It looks like they (and not Speed) are carrying the race live. Stay tuned.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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Don't look now, but another CART regular is going to try to make the field at Indy. According to TSN.ca, Max Papis has struck up a deal driving one of Cheever's Infinitis this May. That's active CART driver #7, and CART name #20 in the entry list.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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Scroll further down the Seventh Gear page for some encouraging news about the Penske drivers. Gil, whose contract expires at the end of this season is homesick for the CART venues and people, and may be eying a return (with a one-off run at the 2003 Indy 500). Helio is said to have a scheduled testing with the Toyota F1 enterprise later this summer. I'm not surprised, given both drivers' backgrounds and strengths on street/road courses.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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From Seventh Gear's rumor pages, strange things are swirling about regarding Honda's future in CART/IRL open-wheel racing. Tony George is there this weekend, and everyone is abuzz about what he's up to. With rival Toyota jumping into the IRL next year, and Nissan already a long-time supplier, could Honda be far behind. Watch this space for further developments.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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Good news/bad news for Jacques Lazier. He had surgery on his back and is improving, following his melee with Tomas Scheckter in Nazareth. But he'll be out of the car pretty much the rest of the season. Does Mr. Menard have Sarah Fisher's phone number on his speed dial. He should.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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Racing this weekend:

CART: Saturday (Japan) April 26. Bridgestone Potenza 500. Twin-Ring Montegi. Defending champ: Kenny Brack. Hometown drivers: Tora Takagi, Shinji Nakano. Tora, Tora, Tora!! This Sapporo's for you!

F1: Sunday April 27. Spanish Grand Prix, Catalunya Circuit, Barcelona, Spain. Defending champ: Michael Schumacher.
:: Eric 26.4.02 [+] ::
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:: 19.4.02 ::
I'm still not sure how to take the Judd-MG announcement that they are coming onboard as CART engine manufacturer for 2003. It will certainly help draw more people to the European races, not that attendance there was ever a problem. If it can bring another big name back to CART (Honda, Porsche?) then it's a good thing. Also, I hope that the IRL-chassis funny business with their rules does not hamper Lola's interest in being involved in both series. I'm afraid that if there aren't any big announcements from other engine makers that Lola, given the choice between CART and IRL would go the way of Penske. I hope I'm wrong about that.
:: Eric 19.4.02 [+] ::
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Racing this weekend:

IRL: Sunday, April 21. Nazareth Speedway. 1 pm.

Notes: This may be an interesting race, with Roger Penske's extensive knowledge and experience fielding CART teams here. But Eddie Cheever said it best. The key to doing well here, is to steer clear of the cars that will wreck, and that will happen. Congratulations to Sarah Fisher for getting a ride for this race. I have heard that the team is looking for more money to get her into a second car when Robbie Buhl returns. Too bad it's for the less reliable Infiniti powered car. Another name person who has some familiarity with Nazareth is Richie Hearn, who A.J. Foyt has tagged to replace Eliseo Salazar. I haven't heard if this a one-shot deal or if he is the new driver for A.J. If he is, and he can get into the field at Indy in May, that would add one more name to the CART contingent at Indy this year. (Up to 19.)
:: Eric 19.4.02 [+] ::
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:: 12.4.02 ::
Sarah Fisher will sub for Robbie Buhl in next week's Nazareth race, according to this ESPN release. It still awaits official announcement, but this is a good thing. Since being released from the Walker contract, Sarah could stand to take a page from Roberto Moreno or Memo Gidley's book and use this season to be "super-sub". It may in the long run end up helping her as she rides in different chassis and setups throughout this season.
:: Eric 12.4.02 [+] ::
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Doing three things at once. I just need to say this. CART's live timing and scoring with driver commentary is awesome! (Well, until I read that Dario caused a red flag situation.) Too cool, man!

UPDATE: Another red flag. This time, Paul Tracy has spun! (Big surprise, yeah, I know.)
:: Eric 12.4.02 [+] ::
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Racing this weekend:

CART: Sunday, April 14. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA. Defending champ: Helio Castoneves. Hometown driver: Jimmy Vasser. Go Jeemee!! This Lite's for you!!
Other racing at Long Beach this weekend: Celebrity race, Toyota Atlantics, SCCA Trans-Am.

F1: Sunday, April 14. San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, Italy. Defending champ: Ralf Schumacher.
:: Eric 12.4.02 [+] ::
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:: 10.4.02 ::
IRL - How about this for the "Sounds Like a Hoax" headline department:
Ex Formula 1 Driver to Race Duesenberg at Indy
Now the kicker: we are talking 2002, not 1932. Johnny Herbert is vying for a spot on the grid of the Indy 500 in a car owned by the Duesenberg Brothers, decendents of those Duesenbergs. (The car is reportedly a Chevy-powered Dallara, and not an SJ Supercharged with the fenders removed, alas.) Check out this Crash.net report. -- Actually, I'll believe it when I see it. Crash.net sometimes just prints straight from the wire reports, and I know there have been many wild rumors about Herbert's various rides in this coming Indy. Also, I thought the deadline for entries has already expired.

UPDATE: I went online at the IRL official site, and the Duesenbergs have two cars entered for Herbert (main car and backup.) Still listed as Dallara-Chevy-Firestones and not SJs though.
:: Eric 10.4.02 [+] ::
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:: 5.4.02 ::
Warren, MI's own Bryan Herta will be racing in Le Mans this summer. Teamed up with fellow ex-CART driver, Jan Magnussen and David Brabham, he will drive in one of two factory Panoz cars entered by owner Don Panoz. Go Bryan, go!!
:: Eric 5.4.02 [+] ::
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Please tell me Mr. George is kidding. With the engine rules coming closer together for CART and IRL, Lola wants to make a compatible chassis to support both series. Makes sense, but according to this Robin Miller report, the Great Inheritor wants to limit the number of chassis manufacturers in a move designed expressly to exclude Lola. I shouldn't be surprised. Everyone knows the extent of Tony's selfishness, but the more the merrier I think. I can remember seeing footage of Indy 500's of the early '70s when the cars were more "run what you brung" and there were many different chassis designs all racing against one another. If it could only go back to that kind of competition...
:: Eric 5.4.02 [+] ::
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:: 4.4.02 ::
What the?!?: Apparently, Joe Heitzler's not happy enough that he about ran CART into the ground last year. He now wants to take down co-founder Pat Patrick in a third lawsuit between himself and the team owner; even if it means further tarnishing his own reputation in the process. Here is an excerpt of Eric Mauk's column on the Speed Network website:
Heitzler filed a seven-count suit in the U.S. District Court of Central California against U.E. ‘Pat’ Patrick and Carl Haas, alleging that they conspired against him to get him fired from a job that they did not want him to have in the first place. The suit accuses the two team owners of slander, libel, interference with a contract, conspiracy to interfere and invasion of privacy and seeks $20m for each of the seven counts.

Chief in the suit is the allegation that Patrick and Haas hired an investigator to check out his employment background without his consent, this coming after he had already passed a background screening when he was first hired. The investigation would turn up many discrepancies in Heitzler’s resume, discrepancies that first came to light when Steve Mayer of National Speed Sport News released them.

Heitzler says that the discrepancies reported were false, although there were no explanations of the obvious error of a claimed SCCA National Driving Championship won by Heitzler. The suit also says that Patrick and Haas compiled all this material in a packet and released it to several key motorsports media outlets, including us (then Speedvision.com), Autoweek and Forrest Bond’s Race Fax as well as two popular CART fan sites. Bond has gone on record as saying he never received any such information and neither did we at Speedvision.com although we are named specifically in the suit.

I remember when those discrepancies first came to light, I was thinking this guy was bad for CART. And that was before the pop-off valve fiasco with Honda, the new IRL-style engine package, and the many dropped balls with promoters like IMG.
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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An article from Joe Hamelin of the Press Enterprise would indicate that the end is near for CART's participation at the super-speedway of Fontana. According to Pook, there may not be any more super-speedways in CART's future -- though he does say he would like to return to ovals like Phoenix.

Interestingly, track president, Bill Miller gripes about the product (CART's) decline over the past couple years, while the same article pegs the attendance of the IRL race at around 20,000 people. And with ISC's closeness to the IRL, it seems that that is their future. It's so sad.
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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Things are not good with the CART teams that decided to stick with Reynards this season. Robin Miller has an excellent (as usual) report. On the plus side, Team Green has a cache of Lolas tucked away.
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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Indy 500 Entrant List Fun Quiz: Below is the entrant list as of deadline time for the 2002 Indianapolis 500. See how many CART names you can find. Answer at bottom of post:

Former race winners (6): Arie Luyendyk, 2 (1990, 1997); Al Unser Jr., 2 (1992, 1994); Buddy Lazier (1996); Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998); Kenny Brack (1999); Helio Castroneves (2001).

Former pole winners (4): Arie Luyendyk, 3 (1993, 1997, 1999); Al Unser Jr., 1 (1994); Billy Boat, 1 (1998); Scott Sharp, 1 (2001).

Rookies (10): Alex Barron, John de Vries, Dario Franchitti, Shigeaki Hattori, Hideki Noda, Tony Kanaan, Anthony Lazzaro, Laurent Redon, Tomas Scheckter, Rick Treadway.

U.S. born (15): Michael Andretti, Alex Barron, Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl, Eddie Cheever Jr., John de Vries, Jon Herb, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier, Anthony Lazzaro, Robby McGehee, Scott Sharp, Rick Treadway, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser.

Foreign born (16): Kenny Brack, Sweden; Helio Castroneves, Brazil; Airton Dare, Brazil; Gil de Ferran, France; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Felipe Giaffone, Brazil; Shigeaki Hattori, Japan; Bruno Junqueira, Brazil; Tony Kanaan, Brazil; Arie Luyendyk, Netherlands; Hideki Noda, Japan; Laurent Redon, France; Eliseo Salazar, Chile; Tomas Scheckter, South Africa; Paul Tracy, Canada; Jeff Ward, Scotland.

Youngest: Tomas Scheckter, 21.

Oldest: Arie Luyendyk, 48.

Most previous starts: Arie Luyendyk, 16.

CARS (70)

Chassis: Dallara 53, G Force 17.

Engines: Chevrolet 58, Infiniti 12.

Answer: 18
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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Indy news: Well it looks as though Tony Stewart will not go for 1100 miles of racing on Memorial Day this year. Most believe it is because of his serious run at the Winston Cup championship. So that brings up a question: Why are you backing away from the double-stint, John Andretti? As of now, Robby Gordon is still planning on participating in both the Indy and the Coca-Cola, but if he doesn't stop bumping and banging everyone in WC, he may not have a ride, or healthy disposition to drive in one or both events.
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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While I was away:

IRL Fontana: Good racing. Exciting, clean passing. Great fuel strategies among top drivers and crews. Too bad the race fans all stayed home. (Lots of empty bleachers, way more than when CART visits.) It was nice to see Jimmy Vasser made ninth place, even if we only got to see his car once during coverage.

F1 Brazil: Due to weird promotions with erroneous times in the TV Guide AND the sports page, I missed the first lap tangle between JPM and M. Schumacher, which was the only real action to be seen that day. (I did see it after the race was over, during that great "Pump Up the Volume" segment. I do love that portion of the coverage the best.)
:: Eric 4.4.02 [+] ::
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