** ONLY 130 DAYS TO SEBRING -- The 2001 American Le Mans Series season has only recently ended, and all involved in the series are already counting the 130 days remaining until the 2002 season begins with the 50th running of the prestigious 12 Hours at Sebring on March 16. The famed Florida road racing circuit will be awash with history as many former winning drivers and cars from the event will be on hand to take part in 50th Anniversary festivities. Sebring International Raceway has undergone many improvements since becoming part of the Panoz Motor Sports Group several years ago. The latest improvements include resurfacing of some sections of the 3.7-mile circuit, which could lead to record speeds when qualifying is held for the 12 Hours. Information on advance ticket purchases for the event is available online at www.sebringraceway.com.
** SPEEDVISION TO AIR ALMS SEASON REVIEW -- The Speedvision television network will air a 2001 American Le Mans Series season review program on Thursday, December 27, at 10 p.m. (EST). Speedvision televised four of the eight ALMS events held in the 2001 season. The popular network will get a new name, the Speed Channel, as part of a re-launch in 2002 and will carry live, flag-to-flag coverage of six of the 10 ALMS races, including the 12 Hours at Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. In addition, Speed Channel will carry live complete coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2002.
** SEARS POINT IMPROVEMENTS CONTINUE -- Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., one of the most popular stops on the American Le Mans Series schedule, is continuing its $50 million Modernization Plan in preparation for the 2002 season. The ALMS will visit the San Francisco-area circuit for a four-hour event on Sunday, May 19. Spectator sightlines at Sears Point will be vastly improved by the construction of two underground tunnels which will replace bridges that spanned the circuit at the start/finish line and at Turn 10. Excavation is finished on the tunnels and construction has started. Workers are also constructing new terraced seating at the Turn 7 and Turn 9 areas of the track, with the finished product to be similar to the terraced seating built overlooking Turns 2-4 for the 2001 season. The new seating proved to be immensely popular with fans when introduced this past season. In addition, a new permanent grandstand is being built on the west side of the start/finish line. The grandstand will have flip-down stadium seats complete with cupholders and will offer tremendous sightlines for road racing events at the track and will be situated right above pit row, also affording a unique view of pit stops. "Our goal was to reinvent the Sears Point Raceway experience for our customers while maintaining the tradition of superlative competition on the track," said Steve Page, president and general manager. "I believe we still present motor racing in a setting where the overall experience will be a positive one for the fans."
QUICK NOTES -- Porsche driver Sascha Maassen has a new section of photos on his website, located at www.saschamaassen.de. The section is powered by Porsche North America and features some highlights of his 2001 season in the ALMS .... ALMS driver Shane Lewis drove a retired NASCAR Winston Cup Chevrolet to victory in two races held this past weekend on Daytona's road course for the Historic Stock Car Racing Association. The car was the Meineke Muffler Chevy driven in the 1993 NASCAR season by Joe Nemechek, who, ironically, also won this past weekend.