Racing News - March 2001
- (3/31) - Michael Schumacher has won his 7th Pole in a row! For the first time in F1 history, two brothers will start from the front row! Montoya, 2000 Indy 500 champion, has qualified in 4th position in only his second F1 race, between Hakkinen and Coulthard, with Barrichello back in 6th! Look out! Here comes Williams-BMW! The rest of the line sees most drivers next to their teammates. Poor Jacques will start from 12th(!) after his teammate Olivier Panis qualified in 11th. BAR better get with it or Honda may put more resources behind Jordan's engine program.
- (3/28) - Delphi Automotive, affected by the auto recession, is being forced to slash 11,500 jobs. How will this effect their sponsorship of Kelley Racing?
(3/27) - Well, its official, CART's Team Green has entered two Dallara's in the Indy 500 for Michael Andretti. The cars come from Panther Racing and Panther's Team Manager and co-owner, John Barnes, will be Andretti's Team Manager. If he wins, will it be a CART victory? No matter, this will probably coax the remaining CART fans out of their dark crevises and into the light once more. I can't wait to see Andretti with an IRL patch on his jumpsuit.
The Pennsylvanian mentioned that he likes the direction the IRL is going. As you know, a few of the less talended CART teams decided to boycott the race in '96 when they were unable to boss the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Michael and his father sided with this minority of team owners and were critical of IMS and president, Tony George. They seemed to be under the impression that the Indy 500 was great due to their recent, and brief, careers there!
So now, Andretti has a public relations problem. What is he doing running in the IRL? Mikey stated today, "I definitely said some things that were probably wrong at the beginning, but that was more from emotion because I wasn't going to be at the Indianapolis 500." -
'I DEFINATELY stated some things that were PROBABLY wrong' ?!
Sounds to me like he may have a career in politics.
- (3/26) - Tony Stewart has been fined ten large and placed on double top-secret probation for the next five months for the stunt outlined below. Who gets the ten grand? If he had to personally hand it over to Gordon - THAT would teach him a lesson...
- (3/25) - As Elliott Sadler headed for his first Winston Cup win, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon tangled. Jeff came out in 4th and Tony lost out. Sooo, Tony drives around to catch back up with Jeff on the cooldown lap and evidently, he hadn't cooled down under that Simpson Helmet, for he bumped Gordon, sending him into the pit wall.
- (3/23) - Barry Green issued a notice for a news conference for next Tuesday with Michael Andretti and Tony George, president of IMS. Apparently Andretti has gotten sponsor Motorola to back a 2001 attempt at Indy. Andretti last raced in Indy in 1995 where he led for 45 laps but had to retire early due to suspension trouble. Andretti, now 38, shared 500 Rookie of the Year honors in 1984 with Roberto Guerrero.
Rumor has been that he will get a car from Panther Racing, who has won the last two IRL races.
- (3/18) - In Phoenix, for the IRL race, the 2000 IRL champ, Buddy Lazier started beside the 2000 CART champ, Gil de Ferran on row 3. Gil's spotter was none other than Rick Mears. Rick's nephew, Casey Mears, started in his first IRL race today, driving for Galles.
At the start of the race, Sam Hornish beat pole sitter Greg Ray off the line.
About 80 laps in, Schroeder ran into the back of de Ferran when he suddenly slowed before dropping down into the pit lane apron. They collected Mark Dismore as they slid into the wall and out of the race.
Galles Racing had a rough day, all three of their cars were slow and Little Al dropped out with car trouble.
Greg Ray led at the halfway point until his engine began to blow. Once again, Team Menard can't win from pole.
While leading, Stephan Gregoire, spun and hit the wall when passing Robbie Buhl. Stephan drives for Dick Simon, who recently lost their main sponsor. Stephan drove around the track with a large question mark painted on his side pod. Stephan was fastest in practice at the start of this season, just as he was last year.
A spat of engine trouble took out Cheever, then Castroneves and then Fisher. Sarah Fisher seemed unable to get out of her burning car because she was wearing the Hans Device - the new carbon-fiber head brace for racers. Track officials helped her out, but it looked like her backside got a little warmed while waiting.
Stan Wattles spun backwards into the infield wall smacking it hard. He was taken away on a stretcher. Pretty scary, but the infield hospital announced he is OK and he appeared with his wife for an interview at the end of the race.
The Pennzoil Panther Racing Team won the last IRL race of 2000 with Scott Goodyear. Their new 21 year old driver, Sam Hornish, Jr. won this, the first IRL race of 2001.
Davey Hamilton competed in all four races at Phoenix this weekend and he won the Supermodified race. A month ago Davey did not have an IRL ride for Phoenix, so he made a few phone calls and lined up rides in the USAC Midget, USAC Silver Bullet, and SRL Supermodified events at the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200. Then Sam Schmidt called and offered him a ride in the new Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indycar, meaning Davey Hamilton would be attempting something that only the late Rich Vogler and Gary Bettenhausen had tried before.
- (3/18) - In Malaysia, Michael Schumacher started the 2nd Formula One race of the year from pole. Soon after the start of the race, there occurred a monsoon, which resulted in many drivers sliding off the track and the elimination of a half dozen of these drivers, including Jacques Villeneuve. His new teammate, Panis, had already been eliminated due to Honda engine problems. It did not look good for Michael or teammate Rubens, when they both slid off due to Panis' spilt oil, but it was not long before they worked their way back up to the front. Evidently they were the only team that went to intermediate tires during the Monsoon, instead of wets.
Michael went from 11th to 1st and stayed there to win his 6th F1 race in a row, tying Ascari's 1950's record. Additionally, Michael was the first driver to win 6 in a row - all from pole! It should be mentioned that Arrows, Williams, and Jordan put on a great display of their power today. Hakkinen finished in 6th!
- (3/17) - As usual, Team Menard has captured another pole (177.663 mph). This was Greg Ray's 10th and his 3rd straight at Phoenix. A tick behind was Panther Racing's new driver, Sam Hornish, Jr.
- (3/17) - I heard Jason Priestley's first attempt at providing color to the IRL broadcasts, during the Phoenix quals. It was pretty bad. Evidently this tv actor has raced in IMSA.
- (3/16) - I've seen some pictures of the cast for the new racing movie, "Driven" and I've got good news and bad news.
First the bad news.
Here is the star driver in the movie:
His character is named "Memo Moreno"!
(Memo Gidley + Roberto Moreno?)
The Good news? The woman playing Stallone's ex-wife, Gina Gershon: (Click on her picture to see a bigger picture.)
The movie hits theaters April 27th.
- (3/16) - ABC Sports has hired a new race commentator to provide color for 7 IRL events, including the Indy 500. His name is Jason Priestley and he's a 31 y/o tv actor who used to be on a tv show called "90210".
- (3/14) - Perhaps you've seen the customized McLaren F1 car that allows them to give VIP's a spin in a race car. The IRL now has such a beast. And better yet, you don't have to be a VIP to get a blazing ride in it. They propose to take this car around to most of the IRL races this year, beginning with Homestead, and sell rides. Its going to cost you $500 for a lap or two around a track, however its going to cost double that for Indy in May. Click here for more information or call (317) 486-0000
- (3/14) - Team Green spokesman said Michael Andretti is trying to find sponsorship dollars so that he can run in the Indy 500 this year.
- (3/13) - John Della Penna, who disbanded his CART team after last season, said he is giving up on a May run at Indy, too. He said sponsorship has not come together in time to field unemployed Memo Gidley.
- (3/12) - MBNA bank will sponsor the Indy 500 Pole Award this year. The Pole sitter will get a check for $100,000. In 2000, Greg Ray earned the pole with a four-lap average of 223.471 mph.
- (3/11) - Kenny Brack led the new Mexican Cart race from pole. Throughout the two hours of this event, he and Cristiano, the eventual winner, diced back and forth. The race ended because of the CART 2-hour time limit. Kenny ended up in 5th like always. At least he's consistant.
In one turn of this track in Monterey, the top layer of pavement quickly wore away, which caused numberous crashes into the wall.
- (3/11) - Tight finish in the WC race - In only his third WC race, Kevin Harvick won by .006 of a second.
- (3/9) - I saw an interview with Bob Reif on local Indy public television (WFYI), "Inside Indiana", tonight. Bob is the 33 year old marketing whiz who works for IMS and IRL. He said Tony George and he were seperating the IRL organization from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He said the IRL will focus marketing in areas where they'll race. As you may know, the IRL is racing in numerous new cities this year. They have produced a half-hour infomercial for these markets. They hope to make people aware well ahead of time that the stars of Indy Racing are coming.
CART on the other hand gets a really special boost with the soon-to-be-released movie "Driven", Sylvester Stallone's new racing movie. I think it comes out the middle of April. Sly was over in Europe for awhile, trying to film the F1 guys. It didn't work out, (I heard Bernie was restricting him too much,) so he gave up and started following CART around last year. Geesh, you can't buy advertising like that! I heard Sly is 53 now.
Any movie buffs out there? I wonder how many times a movie has been made around IMS. It seems I've seen two. One of them starred Paul Newman, (he was a driver and his wife cheated on him with another driver.) Seems like the other one had Clarke Gable in it...
The 2 movies you are thinking about were:
1) "Winning". This did star Paul Newman and Robert Wagner and was centered around the 1968 race. It really was not too bad and actually had some drivers in it. I know Bobby Unser was in it for sure.
2) "To Please a Lady". It starred Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck for all you Big Valley fans. It was filmed sometime in the fifties.
Don't forget "The Big Wheel" starring Mickey Rooney. It's from the '40s or '50s.
- (3/9) - The new Sam Schmidt Racing team has hired its crew, including chief mechanic Steve Dunlap.
- (3/8) - I'm hearing the 2001 INDY 500 TICKETS are arriving!!!
Try not to get impatient for yours though since it may take awhile to get 'em all mailed out!
- (3/8) - Here is something new - the Pace Car for this year's 500 is a truck - the new Oldsmobile Bravada SUV which is powered by a 270-horsepower, inline six Vortec motor.
- (3/8) - IRL team owner, Larry Cahill, threatened to leave the IRL over a misunderstanding about car numbers of all things! Evidently, he forgot to mention he wished to retain the #98 that he has used the past three years, when he sent in his entry application. However, he did specify #11 for the 2nd entry he had planned on running. Beck Motorsports comes along and grabbed up #98 and now Cahill is mad that he doesn't have it.
IRL administration didn't do anything wrong. And they can't backpedal now and take the number away from Beck, that wouldn't be right; or fair.
Mr. Cahill said he's got the number 98 plastered all over the place and obviously he would have to spend some money to repaint and reprint signs, forms, etc. And the first race is in 10 days. But it was his oversight that caused the problem and it only takes a day or two for paint to dry...
Beck says they have a reason for using #98; One of their partners is the son of famous car owner J.C. Agajanian, who used #98 in the 50's & 60's. Still, I think the best solution is for Beck Racing to be big, act like a typical IRL team that supports each other, and give the number back to Cahill. Perhaps if they've began to use #98, Cahill or the IRL can pay to have their numbers repainted.
- (3/7) - Hemelgarn Racing, winner of the 2000 IRL championship, was happy to report that Tae-bo has moved from an associate sponsor to main sponsor. Ron Hemelarn also said that Billy Blank's company provides fitness training for his team! Sounds like a good deal.
Sponsorship from Coors Light, Delta Fawcet and Life Fitness continues.
- (3/5) - Davey Hamilton once more hooks up with a ride and will continue to be the only driver to have competed in every IRL event since its inception. The 38 y/o will drive for the newly formed Sam Schmidt Racing team. As mentioned previously, LP Racing's Larry Nash will be helping out as Team Manager. Schmidt has also said that he will be seeking technical and marketing help from his old team, Treadway Racing.
- (3/03) - Jacques Villeneuve survived a wild crash toward the beginning of the Australian Grand Prix which killed a crowd marshal and injured 11 fans when debris went flying as his car went airborn and somersaulted into the fence. Michael Schumacher led and won the race. Hakkinen crashed out, perhaps due to suspension failure.
- (3/02) - He crashed, he spun, He locked his wheels - but he set the fastest F1 lap ever around Albert Park, and grabbed his first pole in Australia. Michael Schumacher heads an all-Ferrari front row, alongside Barrichello.
- (3/01) - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway mailed Indy 500 entry invitations to race teams today.
- (3/01) - MELBOURNE, Australia -- World champion Michael Schumacher blamed a fault in the design of the Albert Park street circuit on Friday after walking away unhurt from a spectacular high-speed crash in free practice for Sunday's Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old German was pushing hard for an improved time in the closing stages of the second session of the day when his car spun, touched a curb and then lifted off after making contact with a "step" on the edge of a gravel trap.
After two dramatic rolls, his Ferrari came to rest by the barriers and Schumacher was able to climb out, slightly shaken but not hurt.
The accident happened on the sixth turn of the track when Schumacher was braking from a speed of about 220 kph.
Ferrari said they were concerned about the condition of the car and would not confirm it would be fit to use on Saturday until they had carried out a thorough examination. The team revealed they had brought only three cars to the race.