Continuing valiantly in the face of staggering adversity, Bettenhausen Motorsports is conducting its first road-course test of the off-season this week on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway. Driver Michel Jourdain Jr.
Continuing valiantly in the face of staggering adversity, Bettenhausen Motorsports is conducting its first road-course test of the off-season this week on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway.
Driver Michel Jourdain Jr. (Herdez Mercedes Lola) completed fewer than 50 miles of testing on Monday because of an oil problem, but came back to complete nearly 150 miles Tuesday. The test continues today and possibly Thursday, before the team heads to Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix for further road-course testing next month.
Herdez announced last week that it would remain as primary sponsor of the Bettenhausen Motorsports team for the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season, following the tragic deaths of team owner Tony Bettenhausen, wife Shirley, team partner Russ Roberts and friend Larry Rangel in an aviation accident. Bettenhausen Motorsports has been a regular competitor in the FedEx Championship Series since being founded by Bettenhausen and a group of friends in 1986.
"I think to work again after what happened with Tony was good for everybody," said Jourdain, who recorded a best lap of 52.0 seconds Tuesday. "We are making progress and I feel very pleased with all the work we have done today. We worked on many things such as springs, shock absorbers, all the chassis ... I think tomorrow we will lower our times."
Bettenhausen Motorsports' Managing Director/Chief Engineer, Tom Brown, was happy with Tuesday's effort. "Today was a good day," he said. "Michel completed between 140 and 150 miles and we are making a lot of progress, but we need more miles testing. We may continue on Thursday because we did not run too many laps on Monday. It was very hard to run without Tony, but we will try hard to make him proud."
Bettenhausen was laid to rest with his wife, Shirley on Monday at 11 a.m. in Indianapolis.
In tribute to him and the other accident victims, the Bettenhausen team and the other participants in the test, including Newman/Haas Racing, the PacWest Racing Group, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Forsythe Championship Racing and PPI Motorsports, ceased all track activity and observed 16 minutes of silence at the top of that hour.
The 16-minute period was observed because Bettenhausen Motorsports campaigns car number '16' in the FedEx Championship Series.
* HOLLYWOOD TO SPONSOR MO NUNN RACING ENTRY
First-year FedEx Championship Series team Mo Nunn Racing announced last week that Hollywood would serve as primary sponsor of the Mercedes-powered Reynard driven by Tony Kanaan under terms of a multi-year agreement. "With Hollywood joining our new team, we now have all the tools necessary to make Hollywood and Tony champions of the CART FedEx Championship Series," said Mo Nunn, who founded the team late last year in partnership with marketing executive Rod Campbell and Bruce McCaw, owner of the PacWest Racing Group. Hollywood, one of the brands marketed by Rio de Janeiro-based tobacco company Souza Cruz SA, has served as a primary sponsor on the FedEx Championship Series entry piloted by PacWest's Mauricio Gugelmin since 1995. "To sponsor a driver with Kanaan's potential and a team that was already born with a winning profile is a great honor for us," said Fernando Pinheiro, Hollywood brand manager. Under terms of the agreement, Kanaan will work with fellow Brazilian Felipe Giaffone, who will serve as a test driver for the Mo Nunn team. Giaffone is a regular competitor in the Dayton Indy Lights championship with the Conquest Racing team, which is also sponsored by Hollywood. "I have taken a big step in my career, and I believe it is time to fight for the title," said Kanaan, who earned his first career FedEx Championship Series victory at Michigan Speedway last season. "This is more of my dream come true. I am so excited about racing with Hollywood under the guidance of Morris Nunn. He is the engineer every driver in the paddock wants. As for working with Felipe, we have raced together in the past. Besides being a friend, Felipe is one of the most underrated drivers I know."
* PORTLAND EVENT RECEIVES NEW CO-TITLE SPONSOR
Freightliner, a Portland-based commercial truck manufacturer, has signed a multi-year agreement to serve as co-title sponsor of the FedEx Championship Series event contested annually at Portland International Raceway, now known as the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200. This year's event, Round 8 of 20 in the FedEx Championship Series, is scheduled for June 23-25. "To have a title sponsor with the international stature and local roots of Freightliner is an honor for us," said Mack Lai, president of the Portland Rose Festival Association, promoter for the event. "They have a reputation here and around the world as 'the company that does things right,' and we know they will bring their spirit of excellence to an already great event." Freightliner, a DaimlerChrysler company, is North America's leading heavy- and medium- duty commercial truck manufacturer. The company manufacturers and sells a full line of trucks, fire engines, buses, RV chassis and specialty vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, American LaFrance and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. The company produced 194,000 vehicles in 1999. The FedEx Championship Series event contested annually in Portland is the largest annual sporting event in the Northwest, attracting more than 160,000 people over its three days of racing.
* LAGUNA SECA SAYS "YAHOO!"
Laguna Seca Raceway, site of Round 16 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300, announced last week that it had reached an agreement making Yahoo! Inc. its Official Internet Services Provider for the 2000 season. The agreement calls for an assortment of exclusive online events to be held across the Yahoo! network of Web properties, including driver chat sessions. A series of race-related charity auctions will be offered on Yahoo! Auctions that will benefit the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula, the non-profit organization that manages Laguna Seca Raceway. Yahoo! will also serve as title sponsor of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship event contested at Laguna Seca in conjunction with the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300 weekend, Sept. 8-10. "We are thrilled about our new relationship with Yahoo! and Yahoo! Sports," said John Stornetta, general manager of Laguna Seca Raceway. "We believe the online and offline exposure generated throughout Yahoo! will create a broad new customer base for the track, while enabling us to successfully implement online marketing initiatives with one of the world's leading Internet sites."
* DELLA PENNA TO PARTICIPATE IN SEMINAR
Della Penna Motorsports owner John Della Penna will be among the participants in a "Business of Motorsports" informational seminar being conducted Thursday by the Indianapolis Motorsports Initiative, part of the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation. Over 350 CEOs and marketing executives from Central Indiana are expected to attend the seminar, which will take place at the Kenny Brown Performance Center in Indianapolis. Della Penna Motorsports is also providing a helmet, showcar and firesuit for display at the event.