Racing News - May 2001
- (5/30) - There were a rash of 3 accidents in the opening laps of the 500. One involved Scott Goodyear, who got a fractured back. He is in the hospital, but he is not paralyzed and should recover in 2-3 months. He will try to resume his IROC racing when IROC comes back to the Brickyard in August.
This rash of accidents at the start of the race, coupled with some mechanical troubles, took out the best of the IRL teams, but left the returning CART teams untouched.
If CART's richest teams had not swooped in and collected the top finishing spots, some low-budget IRL teams would have benefited drastically from the Indy pay out. The IRL teams were already hurting from the damage done in the big crash at Atlanta a month ago, a race that these CART/NASCAR teams did not show up for. Its too bad, but that's racing.
Of course it was all just dumb luck and intelligent people know it. Even Andretti admitted it. Its very unlikely CART can get this lucky again next year and I'm sure they know it. But this came at a crucial time for CART and their fans as they were really down and out what with two race cancellations this year, management in disarray, their crappy television deals and the decrease in their fans. This year's Indy 500 will provide a boost for their whole series that goes beyond mere money.
- (5/27) - Brazilian, Helio Castroneves won the 85th running of the Indy 500 in his first 500. His Penske Teammate, Gil de Ferran, finished right behind him. This was Penske Racing's 11th Indy victory. Castroneves earned $1,270,475 of the total 2001 purse of $9,615,325.
- (5/24) - Kelley Racing and Scott Sharp not only won pole position for the race, they have also won the pit stop competition.
- (5/20) - Last Day of Qualifying: WHO GOT IN:
Eliseo Salazar, Donnie Beechler, Stephan Gregoire, Airton Dare, Cory Witherill and Raul Boesel.
WHO DIDN'T GET IN:
Tyce Carlson, Roberto Guerrero, Didier Andre, Shigeaki Hattori, Felipe Giaffone.
Note: Dare got bumped out and then re-qualified and bumped his way back in. Since Giaffone has big bucks backing him (Brazil's Hollywood cigarettes), Treadway is going to let him drive the car Raul Boesel qualified. Poor Raul!
- (5/18) - Friday Practice was rained out.
- (5/17) - Greg Ray had the fastest lap again today in practice, another 222 mph run. 26 drivers were on the track in 26 cars today, completing a total of 786 laps. Billy Boat roughed up his car when he touched the wall, but it was repaired and he came back out to practice and managed a 220 mph run.
- (5/16) - Track open again for practice. 22 drivers were on the track in 21 cars today, completing a total of 691 laps. Greg Ray had the fastest lap today at 222.266 mph.
- (5/15) - Future Indy star, Eliseo Salazar VI is born! A big 10 pounder!
Also, 2000 Indianapolis 500 rookie Andy Hillenburg and his wife, Michelle, welcomed son Dustin Dwight Hillenburg into the world May 11. Dustin is the Hillenburg?s fourth child. His name continued Andy and Michelle?s tradition of naming their children in alphabetical order. The couple?s first three children are named Ashley, Brittany and Casey.
- (5/14) - IF you missed F1's Austria Grand Prix, try and catch the first 1/2 hour on a Speedvision repeat. Here's a quote from Juan Montoya, 2000 Indy 500 Winner, after the G.P.
"If (Schumacher) thinks he has been granted by divine grace some right which allows him to overtake wherever he wants, I have news for him: he can forget it; he won't intimidate me because I'm not psychologically fragile as other drivers."
Also, Team BAR is protesting the results saying Kimi passed Burti illegally.
- (5/13) - A day after being replaced on his IRL team, rookie driver Brandon Erwin's mother died. Patsy Erwin died Saturday night in Denton, Texas, where she and her son lived. Brandon Erwin returned home Sunday morning.
A team spokeswoman said that no other details were known, except that Patsy Erwin had been eager to come to Indianapolis on race weekend.
- (5/13) - 2nd day of qualifying - Rookies Nicolas Minassian and Bruno Junqueira gave Target/Ganassi four cars in the field.
- (5/12) - Scott Sharp has captured the pole for the Indianapolis 500 with a 4-lap average speed of 226.037 mph. Beside him sits Greg Ray and Robby Gordon.
- (5/12) - After Tony Stewart and Jimmy Vasser qualified his two primary cars, Chip Ganassi says he'll bring his CART rookies back in afterall and let them try to qualify another two cars. Can't you just see 4 red Target cars in the race? Oh brother!
- (5/12) - Guerrero did qualify in Gregoire's car at 220. Brandon Erwin, also not finding the speed in his car, stepped aside to give Jimmy Kite a chance.
- (5/12) - Yellow flag flew today when Helio Castroneves brushed the wall
and when Jaques Lazier had a brake go bad while on the track.
- (5/11) - Eliseo Salizar and Stan Wattles both had hard hits against the wall today (Friday).
- (5/11) - Dick Simon's driver, Stephan Gregoire, has not been able to find the speed in practice for their new car and has opted to step out of the drivers seat to see if Roberto Guerrero can. Whether its all in the Frenchman's head is yet to be seen. Gregoire has traditionally been amongst the fastest in testing throughout the entire season the last couple years. Simon said Gregoire is used to a stiff car, and since they didn't get to test before this week's practice, this car was set up soft.
- (5/10) - Greg Ray was back on top of today's Speed Chart with a 224.542 mph run.
- (5/10) - Jim Guthrie and Jeret Schroeder both spun and hit the wall today and both were ok. Brandon Erwin and Helio Castroneves both had light contact with the wall.
Tony Stewart is tied with Jimmy Vasser now, as each has hit one bird a piece.
- (5/9) - Colorful engine maestro and car builder, Smokey Yunick, died today from illness. He was 77. More.
- (5/9) - Scott Sharp eclipsed his teammate's fastest time of the month today by running 226.137.
- (5/9) - Perhaps the greatest racecar in American history, the Marmon Wasp, was DRIVEN around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today by 3-time winner, Johnny Rutherford. It looked like he was pushing it pretty fast. Its average speed in 1911 was like 74 mph. The car really looked huge. Afterward, Johnny said that you bounce around a lot and you slide around a lot on the bench seat because there is no seat belts.
- (5/9) - Dr. Jack Miller has decided he needs more time to recuperate from his accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway and has chosen to step out of his ride for this year's Indy 500 for Cahill Racing.
- (5/8) - Arie Luyendyk turned a lap of 223.9. Right after that hot lap, Casey Mears lost control in T2 and spun and hit the wall hard. As Arie attempted to miss the debris by diving down, his car came around on him, but he didn't make contact with anything. Mark Dismore came out in the last 5 minutes of the day and captured the fastest time of the month so far with 224.823
- (5/8) - Texas Motor Speedway says CART is keeping the sanctioning fee and award money and so they are suing to get it back. How will CART expect to keep the Vegas or Texas race if they have Speedway Motorsports angry at them?
If the race were called off because of something unexpected, like weather, it would get postponed for the next day and those dollars would not be returned.
But CART's postponement hasn't take place since and no date has been announced.
Perhaps if CART were to have returned the money, they would have gotten it back when they chose a make-up date. Now they're going to find it difficult to work with the speedway company. I wonder if the Speedway has returned the money for the tickets to the fans?
Alert Reader KC answered this question for me. Yes, the Texas speedway began refunding money to ticket holders within a week of the race.
You can read all about how CART is ripping them off on their website at
Texas Motor Speedway.
- (5/7) - Since CART had two oval races cancelled so far this year, Target/Chip Ganassi's two rookie drivers have not gotten much oval-racing experience. Consequently, Chip has yanked them from the line-up and evidently payed out some big cash, because he now says he has Tony Steward and Jimmy Vasser driving for him! Chip said, "I had to come up with something because there's a lot of shooters here."
Stewart, who started from the pole as an Indy rookie in 1996, drove in the IRL for a few years. He now drives in NASCAR's Winston Cup series and will have to fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, N.C., immediately after the May 27 race to drive in the Coca-Cola 600, as he did in 1999. Stewart won the Pontiac Excitement 400 on Saturday night, his 10th victory in 79 career starts.
"It seems a little funny to come back after what's gone on," Vasser said of leaving Ganassi after last season. "But I'm stepping into one of the cars that has the best chance to win the race. It's as simple as that." Stewart, a native of nearby Columbus, IN, and the 1997 IRL champion, called it "a great thrill to be back at Indy."
- (5/7) - Arie Luyendyk and Eddie Cheever were both above 220 mph in the second day of practice for the 85th Indy 500
- (5/7) - In the first incident of the month, Cory Witherill made slight contact with the fourth turn wall during a spin.
- (5/6) - Greg Ray posted the fastest lap on Opening Day at 224 mph, faster than last year's qualifying speed!
- (5/6) - Scott Brayton, one of the stars of Indy Racing, lost his life at the Brickyard in 1996. His father, Lee, decided to put a car in this year's field in honor of his late son. He leased a car from Clayton Cunningham. The car will have the same paint scheme as Scott's rookie car in 1981. Lee has chosen Steve Knapp to drive for his team. Many in the garage are helping Brayton?s effort, including Arie Luyendyk?s former engineer Tim Wardrop and Heritage Motorsports team manager Mitch Davis.
It's announced that CART fill-in driver, Memo Gidley will be driving for Brayton Engineering. Memo crashed during qualifying last year and didn't get in. Memo has brought sponsorship from "Cure Autism Now" so the Brayton Team will run two cars. Lee's Engineering company builds IRL engines.
- (5/4) - Indycar parts are scarce, as 11 teams scramble get ready for Indy after wrecking last week in Atlanta.
- (5/4) - Indy500.com has a new roster out and I'm seeing some new names!!
Jim Guthrie! - with Blueprint Racing
Steve Knapp! - with Brayton Engineering
Tyce Carlson! - with Tri-Star Motorsports & Immke Racing
"Beware Tyce. Arie's back."
- (5/5) - CART driver Mauricio Gugelmin suffered the death of his six y/o son, Giuliano. The boy was a quadriplegic and suffered from a form of cerebral palsy, requiring 24-hour care. He succumbed to respiratory complications early Thursday morning. Big Mo has two other children. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial contributions be made to United Cerebral Palsy, Attention Development Department, 1411 NW 14th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33125.
- (5/4) - Lyn St. James announced she isn't going to race Indy Cars any longer. Hopefully we'll see the pretty racer around Gasoline Alley anyway.
- (5/4) - I think we've got an even trade now.
We may have to put up with a SUV for the pace car at this year's Indy 500, but guess who is going to show up to drive it? John Mellencamp's super-model wife, Elaine Irwin! The first female to ever drive the pace for the Indy 500.
- (5/3) - Nascar team-owner, Richard Childress, is partnering with A.J. Foyt to bring Robby Gordon to the Indy 500 this year. Sounds like a powerful combination. Childress' Nascar team won the Brickyard 400 in 1995 and with driver Dale Earnhardt and was Dale's team-owner for six of his seven national championship titles.
Said Childress: "Being involved in some way in the Indy 500 is something I've always wanted to do. A.J. and I have been friends for a long time, and there isn't anyone else I'd rather be a co-owner with for that race. We have both been fortunate enough to get to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I think we have a real shot at getting there together this year with Robby, who is a very talented driver."
- (5/3) - Ah, it surfaces that a wheel flew over the fence into some empty stands during the big crash at Atlanta. Although CART, IRL, F1, and Nascar use wheel tethers these days to keep wheels attached to the cars in an accident, sometimes they get sheared off. The IRL also began tethering the rear wings this year and that appears to be helping. Tethers are made out of Zylon which can withstand 10,000 lbs of pressure.
- (5/1) - I just got back from seeing the new Stallone movie, DRIVEN. I give it a thumbs up. I had fun and was able to get into the fantasy of it for the most part, expecially during the first half of the film. Even when they were driving their race cars through Chicago traffic at 190, zigging and zagging, I couldn't refrain from letting out a whoop. Totally impossible, but wouldn't it be cool?
The kid Stallone is hired to help reminded me of a young JV. His older brother/manager could be Villeneuve's close manager, and the actor who plays the part, reminded me of Buddy Lazier. Also, in one scene, Sly is wearing a Winfield hat (an old JV sponsor). For us race fans, there is a tremendous amount of Hollywood b.s., but at the same time, they do present some aspects of racing.
At the last race shown in the movie, they are at the Detroit Grand Prix. Didn't look much like Belle Isle to me. Some of the racing strategy was not realistic. The real racers just get quick flashes on the screen and no lines. I can remember seeing Montoya, Brack, Tracy, Kanaan, and I thought I saw Sly's character chatting it up with Jean Alesi! Chip Ganassi gets some lines and his cars get lots of exposure. In one scene, a fan has his shirt off and has the Finnish Flag painted on his body. I doubt THAT was filmed at a CART race (a Hakkinen fan).
The story has a few too many characters and love stories going on. The Gershon chick is too foxy to kick out of the flick, but give her a better role and lose her stupid boyfriend, Memo Moreno. Also lose the useless reporter chick hanging around Sly. If you gotta add a third chick, bring in Sally in a wheelchair for Burt.
This film must be PG. There is no nudity or gruesome stuff. I don't recall any cussing. I think you can take the kids.
I also saw every single action scene in this movie on the previews over the past week. But thats every movie.
(5/1) - A friend of mine talked to Dr. Jack Miller about his accident last Sunday in Atlanta. He suffered a mild concussion and was released from the hospital Sunday. He reports that he felt ok Sunday, but on Monday he was very sore all over. He also said that he doesn't remember the accident. He just remembers "waking up" in the helicopter that was air-lifting him to the medical center. Dr. Miller said he still plans on racing this month. Unfortunately his back up car was being driven in this race by Robby McGehee, and it was also involved in the big accident. Consequently, the Cahill Racing team has their work cut-out for them as they try to get a car ready for Indy. The car Dr Jack was driving was obviously totalled.