Dan's Indianapolis Motor Speedway
News & Views


December 2002

  • (12/28) - Mark Dismore has announced that though it doesn't look like he'll have a job in the Indy Racing League next year, he is not considering any offers from Formula One or Nascar.

    Ok, maybe he didn't say that. But he did say he's received approval to open an outdoor kart track east of Indy in New Castle!

    New Castle?! What's up with that? Not only is it 50 miles away from Indy, there's probably only 50 people in that whole town! I wish it was going to be closer!

    Local karting news in the past year:
    Indianapolis lost one of its indoor kart tracks this year when Racers closed in downtown Indianapolis. It had been in the Union Station for around 3 years.

    The indoor track that's been around a long time on the west side of Indianapolis is now called Prodrive Karting Center.

  • (12/26) - As I mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for lower-funded IRL teams to be switching to CART. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing has announced they are switching over this year. They will be running rookie Brazilian driver Mario Haberfeld.
  • (12/24) - Eliseo Salizar is looking for a ride for next year. He certainly deserves one after his brave comeback this year.
  • (12/20) - Sarah Fisher remains popular as ever. She traveled to Italy to receive the Caschi D'Oro (golden helmet) award as Fastest Female Driver on the Planet. Juan Pablo won it for the boys. In October, Sarah won the IRL's most popular driver award for the second time.
  • (12/20) - Robbie McGehee got engaged last weekend to Norma Oteham, who is from Bloomington Indiana.
  • (12/17) - Jacques Villeneuve's contract ends with BAR after next season. Its rather evident that the new management may cut him regardless of his success because of his huge salary. Jacque revealed this week that he will sit out in 2004 before he joins another team that can't compete. Neither cockpit at Ferrari will be available to Villeneuve at the end of 2003. There are possible spots at McLaren and Renault where all four drivers' contracts expire at the same time as Villeneuve's ends with BAR.

    But the hottest rumour has Villeneuve, 31, returning to Williams where he scored all of his 11 wins and won his world championship. It's no secret that Williams technical director Patrick Head is unhappy with Ralf Schumacher after a number of crashes and costly tangles with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

    Jacque's manager, Craig Pollock, said "He has to get the right drive and he is literally the only driver who has beaten Michael Schumacher in Michael Schumacher's career and he merits good equipment round about him. If he can't find the right team that's a decision he'll have to make. He will be there in 2004 and that's my objective and my job. If he's not, then I've done a bad job."

  • So! That's how they do that! - Ever wonder what is involved with a race car driver's seat fitting? Penske Racing tells us the fitting process for Indy car seats stems from technology borrowed from the NASA space program. The seat is constructed by having the driver sit in a bag of soft plastic beads, which are mixed with a resin. The air is withdrawn from the bag and the beads weld together in the form of the driver in the seated position. The driver's comfort in the car is paramount so it may take several sittings before the right design/mold is constructed into the actual seat. The entire process takes about a day and a half and once completed, the Team will prepare three seats for each driver.
  • (12/12) - Here is a picture of the new 2003 Panoz G-force IRL chassis. (a picture of the new Falcon chassis can be found below in November news.)
  • (12/11) - A month ago, I saw Tomas Scheckter in a Target Chip Ganassi Racing uniform. How was he going to get out of his contract with Cheever? Eddie now says that TWR Group had the contract with Tomas and that they are dropping the matter.

    So, look forward to watching the young South African see how far he can push Chip. My guess? Not far!

  • (12/11) - CART's Fernandez Racing is starting an IRL team for next season. They are partnering with a Japanese company and will be using Honda engines. The Panasonic-sponsored Dallara will be driven by Toyota Atlantic driver Roger Yasukawa. They have secured the services of John Dick, the race engineer who helped the new Blair Racing team in 2002. Adrian Fernandez, CART's only driver/owner, will remain racing in CART.
  • (12/10) - Good tires are expensive. I have to replace my four tires every few years. Not surprisingly, a race car goes through more tires than my passenger car. In the IRL, everyone races on Firestone tires. The IRL strictly allocate the number of tires that a driver is allowed in a season. This is not only for a cost-cutting purpose, but to help create a level playing ground.

    None the less, I did a little calculating and was surprised at how many tires that an IRL driver is "restricted" to - seven hundred and ninety-two tires a season! Now that's burning rubber.

  • (12/9) - Ralf Schumacher was ticketed in Austria for driving 80 mph in a 50. This might cost him his license! A bit stricter are they over the pond...
  • (12/9) - The CART series next year is to be called the "2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford." That would be 2BPTCCWSPBF for short.
  • (12/6) - Bobby Rahal and David Letterman, in addition to their CART team, are going to start an IRL team in 2003. Kenny Brack is returning to the IRL to drive for them in a Honda-powered car with Pioneer and Miller Lite as sponsors!
  • (12/5) - Mo Nunn Racing has filled their 2nd IRL driver slot with Tora Takagi.
  • (12/4) - Tony George and Dr. Dean Sicking won the 2002 SEMA Motorsports Engineering Award in recognition of their leadership in creating the groundbreaking SAFER Barrier energy-absorbing system.

    Tony George has been instrumental in providing overall leadership for the SAFER Barrier project from initial concept, through the development process and to actual application. Dr. Dean Sicking, director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, led the team of researchers and engineers that created the barrier.

    The SEMA Motorsports Engineering Award is presented only once every two years, and its recipients must represent "the advancement of the state of the art in engineering," according to SEMA's nomination criteria.

    Previous SEMA Motorsports Engineering Awards were:
    2000 - for the HANS Device.
    1998 - for the Formula One extractable seat system
    1996 - computerized tire monitoring devices
    1994 - the creation of NASCAR roof flaps

  • (12/4) - Eddie Cheever Jr. and John Menard have formed a new partnership between their organizations for engineering, strategy and development, called MCT. They expect to test the new Chevrolet engine in early January after the arrival of the 2003 Dallara chassis. Each team will continue to operate as separate entities.

    "Compared to years past, everything is stepping up in the Indy Racing League," Menard said. "We need to step it up, too. MCT will bring more resources and input to our team to improve our technical abilities for the 2003 championship.

    MCT will be headed up by Bernard Dudot, who excelled as the technical director of Renault Sport from 1980 to 1997, winning six constructor's titles and four driver's titles in Formula One.

    Also, Eddie Cheever is saying he is not going to drive the entire IRL season next year. Look for him to retire driving Indy cars after the next Indy 500.

  • (12/3) - CART's English oval race has been dropped from their schedule. The Rockingham 500, run the last two seasons in central England, has drawn small crowds. Ashley Pover, chief operating officer of the track, called the 2003 race "fiscally unviable". I believe this drops the number of oval tracks to three for CART (Chicago, Milwaukee, Fontana). Frankly, I thought they lost 1-mile Chicago oval event but they have it on their 2003 schedule.
  • (12/1) - Sarah Fisher will be grand marshal at the Christmas parade in Richmond VA.
    Team Penske will have a float in the Christmas parade in Reading PA -- a race car pulling a sled.
    Sam Hornish will be in the parade in Toledo OH for the Shriners.
  • November 2002

  • 11/26) - Niki Lauda, 3-time F1 champion, has been axed by the Jaguar F1 team. Two years ago he was hired as head of Ford's Premium Performance Group. He soon fired Bobby Rahal and took over as team principal of Jaguar Racing. Ford owns Jag and has tired of blowing millions of dollars on a team that can't seem to improve. Jag also fired both of their drivers from this year including Eddie Irvine.
  • (11/25) - I'm comptemplating going to Germany next year. I looked forward to experiencing their digital pay tv for Formula One. However, Bernie Ecclestone has announced that he is shutting it down. Evidently, not enough people subscribed to make it profitable (in Germany, France and England).
  • (11/25) - The new American chassis manufacturer for the IRL, Falcon, has released a picture of the new 2003 IRL Falcon Indy 01-A. It appears to me to have a sharper nose than the other two cars (Dallara and G-Force).

    Falcon Indy 01-A

  • (11/22) - There is a tv show on the Learning Channel called "Junkyard Wars". They set teams loose in a junkyard with a mission to build something. They are filming a show now that pits the Penske IRL team against Don Prudhomme's NHRA team. Also, a Penske Winston Cup team will compete. They will have 10 hours to scavenge parts and build a racer that will compete on an oval, a dragstrip and a road course! Look for it in the Spring of 2003.
  • (11/18) - Mexico City hosted a race for the first time in a long time at the Hermanos Rodriguez track. F1 raced there in the 60's & 80's. CART raced their back in 1980 and they returned this year to the refurbished track for their last race of the season. 200,000 people showed up to see Kenny Brack, 1999 Indy 500 Champion, take the win. As things look now, Kenny doesn't have a ride for next year. We may see the Swede show up back in the IRL next year.
  • (11/18) - Tony Stewart won his first Winston Cup Championship. Mark Martin finished 38 points behind. Tony won the national USAC midget title in 1994 and followed that up winning USAC's triple crown in '95. By '97, Tony had won the IRL championship.

    This is the third NASCAR title for crew chief Greg Zipadelli and the second Winston Cup title in three years for team owner Joe Gibbs.

    Besides Stewart, another Hoosier won a Nascar title this year - Ryan Newman. The 24 y/o was named Winston Cup Rookie of the Year.

  • (11/15) - Carl Haas has signed CART driver Bruno Junqueira for 2003 but has not said if he'll stay in CART. Word is he's ordered some IRL Dallara chassis.
  • (11/15) - Roger Penske has taken 41 acres in Scottsdale Arizona and placed 10 car dealerships, a huge service center, two test tracks and a racing museum where he will store his Indy 500 winning cars.
  • (11/01) - Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa have been released from Jaguar's F1 team. Jag has replaced them with Australian Mark Webber and Brazilian rookie, Antonio Pizzonia.

  • October 2002

  • (10/30) - Here's an interesting twist, remember how the IRL was providing room for underfunded race teams in the past? Now the competition and money pouring into the IRL is squeezing out the little guys. Meanwhile, CART, faced with loss of tracks, tv coverage and loss of teams, is struggling to find enough drivers to field a race. It appears that becoming a spec series will be lowering costs in CART. You may be seeing the smaller underfunded IRL teams moving to CART while the big CART teams switch to the IRL. Take Dr. Jack Miller, the racing dentist as an example. He was injured in an IRL race over a year ago and hasn't raced open-wheeler since. He now says he has a CART car and will be moving in that direction for 2003.
  • (10/29) - BIG CHANGES IN STORE FOR F1 IN 2003!

    1) Qualifying has been redesigned. Instead of an hour of qualifying on Saturday, where a bunch of drivers are on the track at once, they will begin the qualifying process on Friday. Each driver will get 1 flying lap with the track all to themselves, as we do it in the IRL. None of these times count towards race day, but instead determine the qualifying order for Saturday. On Saturday, each driver will again get 1 flying lap, alone on the track, to qualify for the race. The slowest cars from Friday will be the first to get to qualify on Saturday. Conversley, the fastest cars from Friday will have to qualify last on Saturday.

    The only reason I can figure out why they are doing this is that it reduces the chances of a good team qualifying high on the grid, since they only get 1 chance at qualifying and there is a higher probability that they will not get a great lap in one try, as opposed to running around for an hour. However, this same thing applies to the lesser teams...

    2) The points system, currently 10,6,4,3,2,1 for the top six, will be changed so that the top eight finishers will benefit. The race winner will still score ten points but from second place on down will be 8,6,5,4,3,2,1 -- they think the new system should keep the championship closer.

    I have reviewed all the races this year and present for you the difference this point system would have made over what it actually was:
    Actual 2002 Standings 2003 Point System
    Pl Driver Pts Pl Driver Pts
    1 Schumacher M 144 1 Schumacher M 158
    2 Barrichello 77 2 Barrichello 91
    3 Montoya 50 3 Montoya 75
    4 Schumacher R 42 4 Schumacher R 68
    5 Coulthard 41 5 Coulthard 61
    6 Raikkonen 24 6 Raikkonen 39
    7 Button 14 7 Button 32
    8 Trulli 9 8 Fisichella 18
    9 Irvine 8 9 Irvine 16
    10 Heidfeld 7 10 Trulli 16
    11 Fisichella 7 11 Massa 15
    12 Villeneuve 4 12 Villeneuve 11
    13 Massa 4 13 Sato 10
    14 Panis 3 14 Panis 8
    15 Sato 2 15 Frentzen 6
    15 Webber 2 15 Heidfeld 6
    17 Salo 2 17 Sato 5
    17 Frentzen 2 17 Webber 5
    19 McNish 0 19 McNish 3
    20 Yoong 0 20 Yoong 2
    21 de la Rosa 0 21 de la Rosa 2
    21 Bernoldi 0 21 Bernoldi 0
    21 Davidson 0 21 Davidson 0

    Not much difference, eh?

    3) They say that Team orders will also be banned... as much as they can be.

    4) The other decision was that the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps has been removed from the 2003 calendar due to Belgian's new anti-tobacco advertising laws. This will make room for China in 2004 anyway.

  • (10/28) - Did you stay up till midnight Saturday to watch the CART race? I did. What a horrible wet mess it was. Adrian Fernandez broke his neck and Tora Takagi broke his hip in a wild crash on the opening lap. An hour and a half later when they restarted, some drivers in their backup cars, it was raining so hard that they went to caution after 5 laps and just drove around the streets in Australia under the yellow flag for an hour until they stopped the race at the mandatory two hour mark. If CART didn't have bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. Rookie Mario Dominguez took the checkered flag giving his team, Herdez, its first win (in seventeen years!)
  • (10/23) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today their plans to run two cars next year in the IRL. Signed to drive next year for the team are current Team Target pilot Scott Dixon and second-year IRL driver Tomas Scheckter. I think both of these guys are 22. I guess this means that Jeff Ward, who captured his first IRL win this year, will be looking for a new ride. TCGR will be using Toyota engines and G-force chassis in 2003.

    As for CART, TCGR is leaving it, which frees up two CART drivers. Bruno Junqueira may join Newman-Haas. There is no word yet what will become of Kenny Brack, the 2000 Indy 500 winner.

  • (10/22) Allen McNish, who drove for Toyota in Formula One this year, ran a 350-mile test at Fontana for Penske Racing in an IRL car today.
  • (10/22) - Roberto Guerrero makes his debut in the Busch Series this weekend in the first all Hispanic Nascar team.
  • (10/22) - One of the current 17 Grand Prix tracks will be dropped from the international circuit to make way for Shanghai in 2004, Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said today. The $240 million track's construction began this week. China had built a track in Zhuhai for a 1998 F1 date, but it failed to pass inspection. Shanghai's population is 16 million. None the less, the ticket prices will be lowered from normal F1 races to try and attract more Chinese to attend.

    Meanwhile, the project to bring F1 to Moscow has died out as the Ruskies were not willing to sign over all ticketing, television, and advertising rights to Bernie. Moscow's mayor said that the only thing they were going to be left with was engine smoke!

  • (10/18) - Speaking of Target Team Ganassi, they currently have 4 open-wheel drivers: Jeff Ward (IRL) and Bruno Junqueira, Kenny Brack and Scott Dixon (CART). Yesterday, they were testing Toyota's new engine at IMS and who was driving? Tomas Scheckter! While Ward won his first IRL race this year (out of 51 tries), Scheckter also won his first IRL race (for Team Cheever) this year in his rookie season. However, he also did a whole lot of wrecking. None the less, Chip must be considering running Tomas next year hence the test.
  • (10/16) - I saw an interview with Scott Dixon who drives in CART for Ganassi. Here is an excerpt I found amusing:

    "I think the ovals probably don't play a big part in CART's future. They need to take the more downtown cities and overseas, I think -- like you go to Australia or even in the other overseas, the Canadian ones, are just huge. They make it more of a carnival; the atmosphere is a lot nicer. And, you know, you go to some circuits, some of the ovals, like Milwaukee, nobody really turns out. They don't really know what is going on.

    I think Toronto, Vancouver and Australia are pretty similar. They make a big party of it, a lot of action going on. But maybe the enthusiasm could be coming because they probably drink a lot."

  • (10/16) - Next year's 500 Festival Parade will be broadcast live on ESPN.
  • (10/14) - Jaques Lazier got back in a IRL car after sitting out most of the season after breaking his back in April. He ran 77 laps at Kentucky Speedway. His testing went well and he suffered no pain. He should be back for the first race of next year for Team Menard.
  • (10/14) - For months Jacques Villeneuve has been denying stories that he plans to return to race in CART. "The story does not bother me, but what bothers me is how the story started," he said. "It came internally, trying to devalue me, to make me feel bad and eventually to push me out of the team. After all the hard work I put into the team, I found that very annoying. Very difficult.

    "It doesn't bother me too much, it just lacks respect, that is all. Respect, for me, is important. I'm not angry but it is very annoying and disappointing. It just takes a lot of energy.

    "You don't want people not to like you. If you feel not wanted somewhere, you don't work well anymore. I think it had a negative effect on a few races during the season because lots of energy was spent where it should not be. We spent it arguing and it affected on the team too. Then they don't work well either."

    He thinks next year's car will be better and that since his contract will be up, they won't spend any energy trying to get rid of him (due to his high salary), but he did say they wanted the team to be British and that Jenson Button, his new teammate, "will be the little darling of the team."

  • (10/14) - 26 y/o Jamie McMurray, subbing for Sterling Marlin in his 2nd ever Winston Cup race, won in Charlotte!
  • (10/14) - Takuma Sato scored his first points of the year in the last race of the year at his home grand prix in Japan. As every Honda-powered engine in the field blew up, the tension mounted as the race wore on. With a few laps to go, Ralph Schumacher's BMW engine blew, moving Takuma into 5th position where he finished to cheering crowds. Michael Schumacher easily captured his 11th race win of 2002.
  • (10/10) - Everyone in the F1 community is concerned about the advantage that Ferrari has demonstrated the last few seasons. They are afraid that Ferrari's superiority is damaging the sport, afraid fans will go away if they keep on winning nearly every race.

    There are usually dominant teams in any racing series. I believe this year in Supercross, the same guy won EVERY race.

    We see many racing series that try to keep competition tight and also slow down the cars. Restictor Plates, grooved tires, boost pressure, ballast, etc. Then there are the spec series, such as IROC, where the cars are equal and it is all up to the driver.

    Many rule changes have been suggested for F1 recently. What I think they might consider is getting rid of the tire war and go with just one spec tire. Right now, Ferrari has an advantage with their close relationship with Bridgestone. Their closest competitors use Michelins.

    I would love to see them remove all driver aids (powersteering, traction control, ABS, Automatic transmissions, etc.) This would certainly do more to separate the great drivers from the merely good. It might even make things worse, but as a race fan, I would be more interested in the races if the driver had to do more than floor it and steer.

    Another idea would be to change the qualifying and make it more like sprint car racing. Make the fastest cars start last and the slowest cars start first! That would make things more intersting.

    Adding weight penalties or other handicaps to just one team, because they have done such a good job, is simply unfair and unsportsmanlike.

  • (10/10) - Toyota had its first engine test in an Indycar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gil de Ferran ran the car for 250 miles.
  • (10/9) - Bernie Hallisky, the Kelley Racing pit-crewman who was seriously injured at the Kentucky IRL race, has returned home to recuperate and is currently in a wheelchair.
  • (10/7) - After capturing his 7th win of the year, Brazilian Cristiano da Matta clinched the CART championship, giving Newman-Haas their fourth CART title as team owners and Toyota its first Champ Car championship. This was the third year in a row that a Brazilian has won the title. Two races remain on the CART schedule.
  • (10/3) - Ex-Formula One driver, Gaston Mazzacane, passed his IRL rookie test along with Infiniti Pro Series driver, Arie Luyendyk, Jr.. But don't look for the young Luyendyk to race in the Indy Racing League next year as he will run one more season in the IPS.

  • September 2002

  • (9/30) - As we all know, Michael Schumacher really won the U.S. Grand Prix. I have heard some people moaning over the situation. The local newspaper referred to these discontented ones as "racing purists". Frankly, if you have been following Formula One all year (or all decade), then you should realize that Herr Schumacher performed a noble act. This action rises above any sporting behavior that I've witnessed in this country in any sport. If you don't understand this, then what kind of purist are you? Probably one who doesn't watch the entire season of racing!

    In Austria this year, Rubens dominated the race. While Schumi had a good lead in the points battle, Ferrari wanted a larger cushion and asked Rubens to move over. Rubens didn't have to do it. Afterall, they couldn't force him to relinquish the lead, but Rubens is a team player. He swallowed his pride and slowed down and let Michael pass.

    Afterward, on the winner's podium, Michael obviously felt bad about what had happened. It certainly wasn't his decision. He cheered Rubens and had him join him on the winners block. He gave him the winners trophy. (Both were fined hugely for this days later.) Many in the racing world were wroth. While Rubens was hailed as a decent chap for the act, Ferrari and Schumi were vilified.

    Now, five months later, when Schumacher, on his own initiative, returned the favor, he is again rebuked and reviled. Rubens had just won the previous race and had a pretty decent lead for 2nd place. Ferrari did not order Michael to slow, but Michael showed he is a man of honor. (Some of you may have heard me gripe about Schumi for Jerez in '97, when he tried to wreck Villeneuve. I recently heard Michael say that that is the one act he most wished he could reverse. That has improved my opinion of him.) While personally, I would have preferred for him to stay on the gas at the end of the U.S. Grand Prix, I can understand that this may remove the asterisk next to his race win total.

    Did any of you notice that on the McLaren team in 1998, after David Coulthard slowed to give his teammate the win in the first race of the season, that Mika Hakkinen never returned the favor while he went on to capture two world championships?

    As an aside, I also thought that having a tight side-by-side finish was more exciting and photogenic. Also it was impressive how Michael Schumacher could have orchestrated such a CLOSE finish - just behind Barrichello by 1/100th of a second at over 200 mph! Awesome!

    You must also realize that this behavior is legal. If you don't like it, then let the FIA know you want a rule change, but don't hammer Michael Schumacher for it.

    What I'd like to ask you Nascar fans that are upset about teammates cooperating, what exactly do these Winston Cup guys do when they "team-up" with a driver on some other team, to help each other draft?

    2002 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix Results
    Rk.  Driver  Country  Team  Time 
    1.  Rubens Barrichello  Brazil  Ferrari  1 h., 31 m., 7.934 s  
    2.  Michael Schumacher  Germany  Ferrari  0.011 second back  
    3.  David Coulthard  Britain  McLaren  7.799 
    4.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Colombia  Williams  9.911 
    5.  Jarno Trulli  Italy  Renault  56.847 
    6.  Jacques Villeneuve  Canada  BAR  58.211 
    7.  Giancarlo Fisichella  Italy  Jordan  1 lap 
    8.  Jenson Button  England  Renault  1 lap 
    9.  Nick Heidfeld  Germany  Sauber  1 lap 
    10.  Eddie Irvine  Britain  Jaguar  1 lap 
    11.  Takuma Sato  Japan  Jordan  1 lap 
    12.  Olivier Panis  France  BAR  1 lap 
    13.  Heinz-Harald Frentzen  Germany  Sauber  2 laps 
    14.  Mika Salo  Finland  Toyota  2 laps 
    15.  Allan McNish  Britain  Toyota  2 laps 
    16.  Ralf Schumacher  Germany  Williams  2 laps 
    Not Classified
       Kimi Raikkonen  Finland  McLaren  50 laps completed 
       Alex Yoong  Malaysia  Minardi  46 laps 
       Mark Webber  Australia  Minardi  38 laps 
       Pedro de la Rosa  Spain  Jaguar  27 laps 
     

  • (9/24) - The Arrows F1 team will not be coming to Indy. They have missed the last several races as they are out of money. So, there will only be 20 cars on the grid this weekend.
  • (9/23) - As announced earlier, Heinz-Harald Frentzen will be driving for the Sauber F1 team next year. Its now been decided that he will join now, replacing Felipe Massa at the U.S. Grand Prix.
  • (9/23) - I found this quote from Chris Pook amusing, "CART is taking a leadership position as it pertains to providing a sports marketing environment that is conducive to the creation of new business opportunities."
    Perhaps the formation of new IRL teams as they switch over?!
  • (9/23) - While Helio Castroneves had a F1 test with the Toyota team in France this weekend, he stated he was signed with Penske and planned on racing in the IRL next year. Besides, it looks like Toyota will replace McNish with Cristiano Da Matta. In his only session, Helio ran laps nearly 2 seconds faster than team test driver Stephane Sarrazin and 1 second faster than the team's No. 2 driver, Allan McNish.
  • (9/19) - Sarah Fisher, who will be at the U.S. Grand Prix to introduce her new sponsor's (Tag Heuer) F1 watch, will get to test drive a McLaren Mercedes F1 car on Friday (Sept 27). Fisher visited Woking yesterday for a seat fitting. She will be driving the team's spare MP4-17. She will be the first woman to get behind the wheel of a McLaren F1 car.
  • (9/19) - IRL officials are talking to ABC executives about the possibility of televising a Monday night race in 2004. If it happens, Texas Motor Speedway general manager Eddie Gossage said he believes the June IRL race in Fort Worth would be the host for the prime-time event.

    "I think it would be great for the league, and we would love to have it here," Gossage said. "Some people may think the idea is a little crazy, but a lot of people thought the idea of Monday Night Football was crazy when it first started."

    IRL and ABC officials believe the prime-time race would expose people who haven't seen an IRL event to the excitement of the IRL races, which could boost the ratings for the Sunday afternoon events.

  • (9/17) - As expected, Michael Andretti will be abandoning CART and bringing his Motorola Team to the IRL next year. In addition, the entire Team Green will also be switching. This means two other CART drivers will be joining - Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. All three will be powered by the new Honda engine.

  • 2002 IRL Season Recap

  • (9/15)- SAM HORNISH, JR. WINS INDY RACING LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP - TWO IN A ROW!
    Sam really turned up the burners towards the end of the season to capture the championship from the Penske Marlboro team.

    The IRL this year has certainly backed up their brag as the most exciting racing on the planet. Their formula and great American speedways have provided the fans with thrilling wheel to wheel action inches apart at speeds around 215-225 mph! The closest finish in Indycar history has been broken three times this year!

    Closest Finishes in IRL History
    Race Date Margin of Victory
    Chicago Sept 2002 .0024 seconds
    Texas Sept 2002 .0096 seconds
    Texas June 2002 .0111 seconds
    Texas Oct 2001 .0188 seconds
    Fontana Mar 2001 .0281 seconds
    Louden Aug 1997 .064 seconds
    Pikes Peak June 1999 .120 seconds



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