:: 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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:: 28.3.03 ::

Alex Barron will make the trip to Montegi to race in the Penske Toyota. Unfortunately, he's there as a substitute for Gil de Ferran who was involved in a very scary crash in Phoenix. de Ferran is recovering from injuries to his neck and lower back, as well as a concussion he sustained in the wreck.

I'm pulling for you, Gil. Get well very soon. In the meantime, I'll be cheering for Alex Barron and his teammate, Helio Castroneves.
:: Eric 28.3.03 [+] ::
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This week in racing:

March 30, 2003

Fort Worth Texas - NASCAR: Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Texas Motor Speedway. Defending champion: Matt Kenseth.
:: Eric 28.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 25.3.03 ::
Congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen! The McLaren driver scored his first victory in F1 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia this weekend. Looks like "The Flying Finn 2, the Sequel" perhaps?
:: Eric 25.3.03 [+] ::
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Three Stars - Week 6

1. Paul Tracy: PT didn't just win the Monterrey CART race this weekend. He played the game for the weekend. He drew the pole on Friday qualifying, but crashed his car during practice. Rather than withdraw and qualify his backup car, he stayed in the paddock all Saturday. Result: he started the race from the front row 2nd spot in front of cars that outpaced his lap time by over 2 seconds!

2. Tony Kanaan: The Andretti-Green team looked strong for most of the Phoenix race. Until Dario's engine let go, and Michael's car was taken out in a scary wreck with Gil de Ferran. Tony Kanaan soldiered on through all the wrecking and blown engines and had a great race.

3. Kurt Busch: Bumping and banging was the order of the day at Bristol. That'll never change. Kurt Busch ended his second week in a row of the NASCAR demo derby, but this time on top, taking his second Bristol win.
:: Eric 25.3.03 [+] ::
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IRL Fantasy Update:

The second race at Phoenix was a pretty exciting affair. There were plenty of lead changes, more than a few scary crashes, and some heartbreaking engine problems. The podium for this week's race was as follows:

1. Mean Machine
2. Whizzing Wheels
3. Lambros Entry

Mean Machine repaired the earlier damage to his team, by benching Greg Ray and Mark Dismore, and then picking drivers who are actually racing this year! The team was helped greatly by Tony Kanaan's win.
Whizzing Wheels had a good overall performance from her drivers. Jeff Ward was a no-show, but everyone else finished 12th or better.
Lambros Entry made third place in his debut race mainly as a result of Helio Castroneves' 2nd place and Shigeaki Hattori's top 10.

This leaves the championship looking like this:
1. Mean Machine
2. Texas Twostep
3. Whizzing Wheels


The next race is scheduled for April 13 at Twin Ring Montegi, Japan. Be sure to get your entries logged in by Saturday, April 12.
:: Eric 25.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 21.3.03 ::
Yoong is in! The former F1 pilot, Alex Yoong has replaced Gonzalez in the Dale Coyne champ car, when the Mexican driver's sponsorship money fell through. Quite ironic, isn't it? Mexican driver's ride dries up in Mexico, while Malaysian driver gets Mexico ride on the same week as Malaysian F1 GP.
:: Eric 21.3.03 [+] ::
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IRL Fantasy League:

Just a note for the fantasy league participants. The IRL race is this Sunday in Phoenix. Make sure you've got the right drivers picked out by Saturday. And good luck! I'll post the results on Monday, or when they come in (after Monday, if it's like the last race).
:: Eric 21.3.03 [+] ::
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This week in racing: (It's a big one!)

March 22, 2003

Monterrey, Mexico - Barber Dodge Pro Series: Fundidora Park circuit

Phoenix, Arizona - Infiniti Pro Series: Phoenix 100. Phoenix International Raceway. Inaugural event.; Midget races also.

March 23

Monterrey, Mexico - CART: Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix. Fundidora Park circuit. 2002 Champion: Cristiano da Matta.

Phoenix, Arizona - IRL: Purex Dial Indy 200. Phoenix International Raceway. Defending Champion: Helio Castroneves. Silver Crown also.

Kuala Lampur, Malaysia - F1: Malaysian Grand Prix. Defending Champion: Ralf Schumacher.

Bristol, Tennessee - NASCAR: Food City 500. Bristol Motor Speedway. Defending Champion: Kurt Busch

So, if you're needing a break from watching all the war coverage, and can't get excited about a blowout college basketball game, there's plenty of racing on this weekend. Enjoy!
:: Eric 21.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 19.3.03 ::
Robin Miller has gone through his mailbag and answered some more pithy comments and questions. There are many interesting, intriguing, and some scary comments on the state of open-wheel and its outlook for the future. By his estimation, road races in the IRL for next season are just about a done deal. (Road America AND Mid-Ohio. Say it ain't so!)
:: Eric 19.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 17.3.03 ::
Three Stars - Week 5

1. Joest Audi R8 Team: Joest is one of the most proven names in endurance racing. So is Audi, for the past 5 years at least. It's a shame that another of the more prolific drivers, Emmanuele Pirro of the Champion Audi team doesn't have a season ride for this year's ALMS campaign.

2. Ricky Craven: He fought Kurt Busch hard for that win. OK, I'll admit right off that I didn't watch this race, but I can tell by the pics on the RPM.com site that there was quite a lot of bumping and banging going on. But that's Darlington for ya.

3. The Bentley Boys: Having been sent to the back of the grid to start this year's 12 Hours of Sebring, the 2 Bentley prototypes charged through the field of GT's, LMP675's and LMP900's. At the end, they finished just in back of their siblings, the Audi LMP900's. They put on a great show in the pits as well, when the #7 car came in and received a whole new nose section.
:: Eric 17.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 14.3.03 ::
Looks like Tony George has added an Infiniti Pro Series event to the Indianapolis festivities in May. The 100-mile race will be held on the final day of qualifying for the big race. Great. In an attempt to drum up more interest in the race, which has now become a one-day event, he has successfully diluted the entire Indy 500. Oh, well. I'll still tune in for as much of it as I can watch. And Mr. George knows that, too, which is why he does these things.
:: Eric 14.3.03 [+] ::
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Good news for the future of Champ car:

Walker has teamed up with veteran Formula Ford chassis builder, Van Diemen to build Reynard chassis for 2004, 2005.
:: Eric 14.3.03 [+] ::
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This week in racing:

March 15, 2003

Sebring, FL - ALMS: 12 Hours of Sebring.

March 16

Darlington, SC - NASCAR: Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Darlington Raceway. Defending Champion: Sterling Marlin.
:: Eric 14.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 11.3.03 ::
A sad, but expected outcome of the lawsuit: Road America has been removed from the CART schedule. This is such a huge loss to the series. Road America is the only road course of its kind in this country. What a shame.
:: Eric 11.3.03 [+] ::
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There's another great, pithy column on the state of American open-wheel racing from Robin Miller. He makes so many great points, rather than try to encapsulate them, I'll just direct you here. The sad thing is that it's so true.
:: Eric 11.3.03 [+] ::
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More good news from the Champ car guys:

CART has aquired the promotion company responsible for putting on the Miami street race. This ensures that the exciting venue will continue as a mainstay of the calendar for many seasons to come.
:: Eric 11.3.03 [+] ::
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Three Stars - Week 4

1. Bobby Labonte: Like Dale Jarrett a couple of weeks ago, Bobby Labonte looked like a man on a mission. He almost lost it (in more ways than one) when he slowed during a mid-race caution to give some people their laps back. Can someone please explain to the drivers that this is a terrible practice. Give laps back? This is a race, not a charity event.

2. McLaren F1 team: It was kind of refreshing to see the silver suits on the podium this week. Kimmi Raikonen (sp?) showed that he was capable of putting together a good race strategy. And DC showed that he still has what it takes. Yes, the win has a lot to do with Juan Montoya's brain fade, but David Coulthard was in the right position to take full advantage.

3. Chris Pook: Huh? CART didn't even have an event this weekend, you say? This is complex, but follow me: Chris Pook has had many conversations with Bernie Ecclestone over the past year. Obviously none of them had anything to do with revising qualifying procedures. CART's new qualifying as of last year added tremendously to the excitement that is a race weekend. F1's new qualifying takes all the excitement out of what was an exciting qualifying event. Single lap times with full race trim cars carrying starting fuel amounts... not so good. So, advantage CART. Hence the third star for Pook.
:: Eric 11.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 7.3.03 ::
F1:

Gerhard Berger has announced he's retiring as director of the Williams BMW team after this weekend's Australia GP. I can remember cheering for Berger in the mid-late 80's when he drove for Ferrari. This was back when Ferrari was the perennial underdog. He did say he'd continue to make appearances with BMW and Williams, just less frequently.

:: Eric 7.3.03 [+] ::
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This week in racing:

March 8, 2003
Melbourne, Australia - Formula 1: Australian Grand Prix. Albert Park Circuit. Defending Champion: Michael Schumacher.

March 9
Hampton, GA - NASCAR: Atlanta 500. Atlanta Motor Speedway. Defending Champion: Tony Stewart.
:: Eric 7.3.03 [+] ::
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:: 3.3.03 ::
IRL Fantasy Update: UPDATED!!

Sorry for the delay. First, the results didn't come in until late. Then, I've been away from my computer for the last few days. After the first race of the season, the podium looks like this:

Mean Machine, 1st
Texas Two-step, 2nd
Jerky Boyz, 3rd

The battle was tight and there was a close finish at the end. (Of course, you say. That's the IRL for you.) Points were decidedly down from where they could have been in this race. This was mainly due to all the teams suffering zero point players.

The Whizzing Wheels had the most starters on her field with only Jeff Ward scoring a non-starter zero.
The Texas Two-step suffered two setbacks, neither Greg Ray nor Mark Dismore were there to take the starters flag. Though I recently read in Autoweek that Ray is in the process of inking a ride deal.
The Jerky Boyz suffered two zeros, also. The first was when Eddie Cheever announced he'd only be racing at the Indy 500 this year, and the second was when Paul Tracy decided to race in Champ Cars, not the IRL this year.
Even the race-winning team of the Mean Machine was not immune to the plight of the "zero racer". Dismore and Ray let me down, too by not taking the start.

The two Epp entries must have gotten into the league late. Both had DNF's for the first race (0 Points). That's OK. There is a long season ahead, and those point deficits are surely surmountable.

The next race is at the Phoenix International Raceway. Entry deadline is March 22, so you have plenty of time to make changes to your line-ups.

Good luck!
:: Eric 3.3.03 [+] ::
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