CHAMPCAR/CART: Lausitz important for Germany

Brandenburg Prime Minister Dr. Manfred Stolpe presented CART Chairman and CEO Joseph Heitzler with a special regional flower bouquet and a black commemorative binder Saturday morning to show the state's support for the victims and families of this...

Brandenburg Prime Minister Dr. Manfred Stolpe presented CART Chairman and CEO Joseph Heitzler with a special regional flower bouquet and a black commemorative binder Saturday morning to show the state's support for the victims and families of this week's tragedy, as well as thank CART for its decision not to postpone the American Memorial race. The black binder contained more than 5,000 signatures of German citizens that were collected by officials in a span of three days in the state of Brandenburg, where EuroSpeedway and the city of Lausitz are situated. The binder opened with a hand-written letter expressing the local citizenry's desire to show its solidarity with our country in a time of need, its respect for human liberty and to decry terrorism.

Dr. Stolpe, who had an opportunity to meet CART drivers Michael Andretti and Mauricio Gugelmin, also expressed his gratitude for CART's difficult decision to continue its plans to stage the American Memorial. "I met with the Prime Minister of Brandenburg for an hour and he said they had been a Communist country for 50 years," Heitzler said. "He said that this race track was their first attempt at capitalism and that if this race had failed, their attempt at capitalism would have failed. Their hearts were aching about everything that was happening in the United States and their hearts also were aching about the prospects of this track failing. They are so happy that we stayed here to race and we are pleased that we were able to help them succeed."

The American Memorial, formerly known as the German 500 but renamed by the state and CART as a tribute, drew a race-day crowd of 87,689.

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Mauricio Gugelmin