LAUSITZ, Germany (Sept. 13, 2001) - The victims of Tuesday's tragedy in the United States will be commemorated throughout the race weekend during Championship Auto Racing Teams' German 500 at EuroSpeedway Lausitz. CART and EuroSpeedway officials...
LAUSITZ, Germany (Sept. 13, 2001) - The victims of Tuesday's tragedy in the United States will be commemorated throughout the race weekend during Championship Auto Racing Teams' German 500 at EuroSpeedway Lausitz.
CART and EuroSpeedway officials have redirected celebratory events and activities planned for the inaugural FedEx Championship Series race at the German track to focus on remembering the victims of the tragedy in the United States. In the first of several race weekend tributes, CART officials, as part of a countrywide observance, stopped the initial practice session for five minutes Thursday morning in memory of the victims of the incidents in New York City, Washington, D.C and Pennsylvania. Cars did not make it on track Thursday because of the rainy conditions.
"Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy," said Joe Heitzler, CART chairman and CEO. "They are very much in the thoughts of all of us in the CART community.
"Like our government leaders, we believe it is important for all of us to begin moving back to a normal course and we hope our race here Saturday will help Americans, and people throughout the world, to do just that while memorializing the victims. We will be racing with a great sense of sadness and compassion but also with a great deal of respect as we remember those affected by this tragedy."
The schedule of events has been altered to include two practice sessions on Friday and starting positions for Saturday's race will be determined by driver position in series points standings.
On Saturday, several pre-race activities have been established to focus on remembering the victims of the tragedy. The memorial portion of the pre-race ceremonies will begin with an invocation followed by a minute of silence. That will be followed by the Scottish Volunteer Bagpipers' rendition of 'Amazing Grace.' The U.S. National Anthem will be sung by American Barbara Tucker and the German Choir of Coalminers of Brieske will then sing the German anthem.
Once the cars receive the command to start engines, they will circulate for several parade laps, including a 'Lap of Remembrance,' in memory of the victims of Tuesday's tragedy. On the special lap, the cars will slowly move down pit lane. A German fireman, assigned to each team's pit area, will step forward with the German flag, as will a crewman from each team who will be holding an American flag. The cars will then return to the track to get up to speed to start the race.
Several other events are planned in remembrance of the victims. CART plans to distribute red, white and blue ribbons to all participants. CART also is asking teams to carry a black decal on the bodywork below the cockpit of each car, displaying representation of the red, white and blue ribbon and the date "September 11, 2001."
Over the past two days, special services have been conducted at the track in memory of the victims. An additional moment of silence and remembrance is planned tonight in a special area behind the main grandstand, where a flagpole is flying an American flag at half-mast amid candles, flowers and wreaths that have been placed there by members of both the CART and local communities.