CHAMPCAR/CART: FedEx Championship Series happenings 2002-04-05

Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, April 5, 2002. The Simple Green CART Safety Team that accompanies the CART FedEx Championship Series to each event is recognized worldwide as one of the best safety teams in all of ...

Notes and Quotes from Championship Auto Racing Teams, April 5, 2002.

The Simple Green CART Safety Team that accompanies the CART FedEx Championship Series to each event is recognized worldwide as one of the best safety teams in all of motorsports.

The Safety Team has long been a leader in developing and implementing equipment and procedures that make racing events as safe as possible for the competitors, and a few recent developments have once again solidified the team's leadership position.

CART Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell was a guest of Formula One last weekend at the famed Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil to introduce the HANS Device to the drivers competing for the World Championship. By all accounts, Trammell's trip to Brazil was a success.

While Trammell was busy in Brazil, CART Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey was preparing for the University of Michigan's symposium on "The Physics and Technology of Motorsports" which takes place on Wednesday, April 10 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Olvey and Paul Stanecki of Ford Motor Company will make a presentation on the Ford "Blue Box" and the data it provides to the CART Safety Team.

Also expected at the symposium are three-time CART FedEx Championship Series champion Bobby Rahal, Formula One world champion Jackie Stewart, HANS Device inventor Dr. Robert Hubbard and General Motors motorsports safety consultant Dr. John Melvin.

In other safety-related news, a mobile Intensive Care Unit-known as a "LSTAT" system-will be on display at next weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The system fits inside an ambulance, jet, or helicopter and provides the same monitoring and therapeutic capabilities as a modern Intensive Care Unit in a hospital.

The system was just installed in Air Force One and they are also being used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. It is currently being evaluated by the Simple Green CART Safety Team.

One other item of interest is the new ImPact system that was introduced to the CART FedEx Championship Series in February during CART Sneak Preview at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The system provides accurate pre- and post-evaluation of head injuries and is used by all but one team in the National Football League as well as several National Hockey League teams. CART is the first motorsports organization to use the system.

* TESTING UPDATE

Just prior to the testing blackout period which began on March 29 and runs through May 4, a handful of teams put their 2002 machinery through paces at popular testing facilities in Florida. Patrick Racing with rookie driver Townsend Bell (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone), Team Rahal with Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), and Walker Racing with second-year competitor Tora Takagi (Pioneer/Denso Special Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone) visited the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval, with Takagi and Walker also putting in some laps on the road circuit at Sebring International Raceway. Bell logged approximately 300 miles in two days of testing at Homestead, while the Team Rahal pair put nearly 650 miles on their machines over two days on the South Florida oval. While times were not made available for Bell and Takagi, Vasser clocked an unofficial best lap of 26.4 seconds, while Jourdain recorded a 26.9-second best lap.

"Team Rahal showed they had one of the strongest oval programs in the series last season and it is our intention to maintain that strength this season," said Vasser. "We have focused the majority of our winter testing on the road courses preparing for our first couple of races, but also because of the strength of the team's oval program."

Added Bell: "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a very good test and got a lot of work done on the Homestead oval," Bell said. "We weren't the fastest car out there, but we weren't the slowest either. The key for us was to work on the oval setup. This was our first test on an oval this year. In addition, we just got some new oval parts from Reynard, so this test gave us an opportunity to collect a lot of valuable data. The car felt good. It is very similar to the basic setup I ran last year in Europe. Overall, it was a good test and we have a good idea for the setup heading into the first oval race in Japan."

* RANDOM NOTES

On April 1, Bell's official web site, www.townsendbell.com opened to the public. The 2001 Dayton Indy Lights champ and 2002 Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year candidate's new site features news and biographical information, as well as photos, and online store, and a Fan Forum, which allows fans the opportunity to post messages and ask questions that Bell will respond to...Team Rahal announced last week that it has partnered with New Century Mortgage Corporation for next week's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The #9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. will carry the New Century Mortgage Corporation logo for the race. "We are pleased to join in a partnership with New Century Mortgage for the Grand Prix of Long Beach," said Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal.

"New Century Financial has proven to be one of the leaders in the specialty finance market and we are honored that they have chosen to spread the word about their services. In my conversations with the leaders of New Century Mortgage, I have found them to be a dedicated and driven group of individuals that have aggressive plans for the continued growth of their company. These are the kind of like-minded partners that we seek here at Team Rahal."... CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook has been named Grand Marshal for next week's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Pook created the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 1978 and built the event into one of the most successful races on the annual CART FedEx Championship Series schedule before taking on the role of CART President and CEO in December, 2001. "I'm deeply honored to be the Grand Marshal of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," Pook said. "It is with a great deal of personal and professional pride that I return home to Long Beach in my new capacity as President and CEO. To be able to serve as Grand Marshal for a race that means so much to me is truly special."

Added Pook's successor as Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian, "There couldn't have been a better choice. Chris' immense contribution to the success of the TGPLB is well known, and what a better time to recognize these efforts than to honor him on his first return to Long Beach in his role as CART President and CEO. But I promised him that we wouldn't take up too much of his time on the weekend so he can tend to his numerous CART duties. I'm sure all the fans will join me in welcoming him back to Long Beach."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Tora Takagi , Jackie Stewart , Townsend Bell , Jim Michaelian , Michel Jourdain