Elsewhere in Racing
Updates from the Rest of the Racing World

By Mark Alan Jones and David Wright, Australia
Atlas F1 Magazine Writers

Advice: The points tables for most series covered by Elsewhere In Racing are available here. Individual series are linked to their corresponding points table after each report.


Dale Earnhardt Jr Joins Father As Daytona 500 Winner

By Steve Keating

Dale Earnhardt Jr clinched an emotional win at the Daytona 500 Sunday, claiming victory on the track that took the life of his revered father. Earnhardt arrived in Daytona as the clear favorite and produced an inspired near-perfect drive to join his father, seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Sr, as a winner of the Great American Race.

Stalking Tony Stewart for much of the second half of the 200 lap race, Earnhardt made the decisive move with 19 laps to run powering his Chevrolet into the lead then holding on to win as over 200,000 spectators stood and roared their approval.

After a victory lap around the 2-1/2 mile oval, Earnhardt coasted to stop on the finish line and climbed out of his car punching his fists in the air in wild celebration as his team, founded by his father, charged across the infield to mob him.

Dale Earnhardt Sr won 34 different races here but only one Daytona 500 and that came in 1998 on his 20th attempt.

While Sunday's win was worth $1.4 million it was priceless for Earnhardt, who had watched his father die in a crash on the final turn of the last lap of the 2001 event.

A bronze statue of Earnhardt Sr stands in front of the Daytona International Speedway, serving as a constant reminder and inspiration for his son, who had said earlier that he did not want the 500 to become a haunting obsession.

"He (Dale Earnhardt Sr) was over in the passenger side riding with me," Dale Jr told reporters. "I'm sure he was having a blast.

"We just feel real strong about being here. In a way it feels like you're closer to dad, but at the same time it feels like a reminder of losing him all over again.

"So I wanted to come down here and win.

Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr leads second place finisher Tony Stewart"Maybe all those things that happened in the past are what made us work harder. I'll be honest with you, this is more important to me than anything, any other race I run all year."

Festivities began as drivers shared the spotlight with President George Bush, who arrived on Air Force One approximately 40 minutes ahead of the start of the Great American Race, huddling with drivers on the pit lane.

As Bush stepped out of his SUV he received a rousing welcome from the massive crowd that was whipped into a flag waving frenzy during a 'Tribute to America' that culminated with the President giving the call, "Gentlemen, start your engines".

Having inherited top spot on the grid after polesitter Greg Biffle was pushed to the back of the 43-car field for changing an engine, Earnhardt took the green flag and roared into the lead. He then quickly stamped his authority on the race, keeping his Chevrolet running out in front until the first scheduled pit stops on lap 30.

Stewart was first out of the pits but by lap 54 Earnhardt was back in front showing the way. As the race approached the midway point, a multi-car pile-up involving 12 drivers, including Earnhardt's teammate, defending 500 champion Michael Waltrip, brought out rescue crews and ambulances.

With the pack roaring down the back stretch three-wide, Waltrip was sent spinning into the infield and his car lost a tire which sent it cartwheeling across the grass before it came to rest on its roof.

Michael Waltrip rolls down the backstretch grassA hush fell over the sprawling oval as safety crews worked feverishly to free the trapped driver from the wreck. After 15 minutes, Waltrip emerged from the demolished car and walked under his own power to the ambulance, which transported him to the infield care center for examination.

As the race reached the 100 lap halfway point, Stewart had the lead followed by Biffle, who had staged a magnificent charge through the field into second place. The second half of the race quickly settled into a six car battle between Stewart, Biffle, Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and rookie Scott Wimmer.

The final pit stops with 30 laps to run saw Biffle exit with the lead but he was penalised for speeding on the pit lane and was forced to make a stop and go. As the race entered the final 10 laps it had been reduced to a thrilling shootout between Stewart and Earnhardt.

Result of NASCAR Nextel Cup, Daytona 500, Daytona International Raceway, Florida, United States:

Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 2.  Tony Stewart        Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 3.  Scott Wimmer        Dodge Intrepid
 4.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 5.  Jimmie Johnson      Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 6.  Joe Nemechek        Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 7.  Elliott Sadler      Ford Taurus
 8.  Jeff Gordon         Chevrolet Monte Carlo
 9.  Matt Kenseth        Ford Taurus
10.  Dale Jarrett        Ford Taurus

Standings: Dale Earnhardt Jr 185, Tony Stewart 180, Scott Wimmer 170, Kevin Harvick 165, Jimmie Johnson 160, Joe Nemechek 150, Jeff Gordon 147, Elliott Sadler 146, Matt Kenseth 143, Dale Jarrett 134 etc.

Wimmer Finishes On Podium But Needs Ride Home

By Steve Keating

Scott Wimmer raced to a shock third-place finish at the Daytona 500 and then had to be driven home by his wife.

Wimmer is unlikely to be behind the wheel in the near future, except on the track, as he awaits possible drinking while intoxicated (DWI) and hit and run charges stemming from an accident near his home in North Carolina last week.

Third place finisher Scott Wimmer"I don't have a drivers' license, my wife has been driving me around all week," Wimmer told reporters after taking top rookie honors Sunday. "I understand what I did was wrong. People keep saying I'm not going to learn my lesson.

"You sit at home for a couple of days wondering if you're going to be able to drive a race car again, when that's all you know how to do. That's a tough lesson.

"I embarrassed a lot of people, my race team, my family, my sponsor, everyone. They know when I make mistakes I don't do them again. In 28 years I really haven't made a lot of mistakes."

Wimmer did not make many mistakes when he became the best-placed 500 rookie since Jeff Gordon, a twice 500 champion, was fifth in 1993. Starting 26th in the 43-car field, Wimmer kept his Dodge out of trouble and mixed it up with race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr and runner-up Tony Stewart, even holding the lead briefly after the final pit stops.

Wimmer's controlled performance, however, is unlikely to make up for a moment of misjudgment.

According to police reports, Wimmer had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit when they found him at home hiding behind a bed after the NASCAR rookie slammed his pick-up into a rock and flipped it over.

NASCAR, which has a zero-tolerance substance abuse policy, and Wimmer's team sponsor Caterpillar have said they will wait for the results of a hearing before deciding if they will impose any fines or sanctions on the 28-year-old driver.

"It went through my head, there's no way Caterpillar is going to let me race this car," said Wimmer. "We went through it and Caterpillar was willing to give me a second chance. It's something that means a lot to me."

Toyota Makes Historic NASCAR Series Debut

By Steve Keating

NASCAR fans did not throw down the welcome mat for Toyota, but did not boo the Japanese carmaker out of town either as it made an historic debut at the Daytona International Speedway Friday.

A cool night marked the dawn of a new era for NASCAR, North America's most popular and successful motor sport series, as it opened its doors for the first time to a foreign manufacturer.

Since it was founded in 1947 by Bill France, the series has been the sole domain of American manufacturers, off limits to European and Asian carmakers. But at the floodlit 2 1/2 mile oval Friday, Toyota had seven entries on the grid and one on the podium of the Craftsman truck race, a support event for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Toyota 'fans' at Daytona last weekendToyota officials said it would take time to win over the fans, but believed it might not take as long to register a first victory after Travis Kvapil drove his pick-up truck to a second-place finish behind Carl Edwards's Ford in a crash-marred race.

"I'm excited, obviously there were a lot of question marks," defending truck series champion Kvapil told reporters. "The biggest question mark was could we run the whole race.

"I'm just happy to prove we can run a couple of hundred mile race, we came out of the box strong and know we're only going to get better."

As the drivers were introduced to almost 100,000 race fans packed into the front straight grandstands, they received polite applause. It was a far warmer reception than the one Toyota received when it announced plans to join the series.

News that Toyota had an eye on the 'Great American Race', the Daytona 500, did not go down well with hardcore NASCAR fans and drivers. Les Unger, the national motor sport manager for Toyota, said the reaction was understandable but believed as time went on fans would accept Toyota for what it accomplished on the race track.

"We think it is historic and so does NASCAR," said Unger. "We knew, and NASCAR knew, from the time the announcement was made that there would be a degree of negative response among the fans and that has proven to be the case.

"...However, I know that given the teams and the drivers we have, once the guys are on the track a percentage of that negativism will dissipate."

Reports provided by Reuters


Changes For 2004

With the transfer of ownership to OWRS complete, CART has announced a few changes to the regulations for the 2004 season.

The first of these is a revised points system, something almost every motor racing series seems to have changed in the last year or two, with the IRL also announcing changes to their points system in recent weeks. The winner will now receive 31 points, with second place getting 27, third 25, the standings going down two points per place to 11 points for tenth, where the step becomes one point per place ending with 20th place receiving one point.

The point for leading most laps has been abolished, with a point now being awarded to each driver who leads a lap of the race, with the driver who sets the fastest lap also receiving a point not forgetting a point being awarded to the driver who improves most from their starting position to their finishing position. The qualifying points system remains unchanged.

Changes to the racing itself have also been implemented, with the pit stop window being replaced with a two or three stop per race rule, which must be completed before the end of a certain lap, with all green flag stops requiring a four tyre change. Blocking another competitor (whether for position or lapped) will earn the blocker a drivethrough penalty.

In a similar vein, a driver that causes an incident which negatively impacts another competitor will receive a drivethrough penalty, with the penalty being upped to a stop and hold if the other driver is forced to retire on the spot. In a boost for fans radios will no longer be scrambled. All these changes will come into effect when the season begins at Long Beach on April 18.

  Formula 3000

Testing Begins For 2004

The first official Formula 3000 test of the year is under way as Elsewhere closed for press, and there was a surprise atop the time sheets as Argentine Formula Renault graduate Jose Maria Lopez topped the timesheets at Jerez driving for European, the team formerly known as the Red Bull Junior squad. Arms-length Coloni teammate Jeff van Hooydonk was second fastest, over half a second from Lopez. The next five drivers were all tightly grouped together for pace, within a second of Lopez.

Third fastest was Yannick Schroeder (Durango) ahead of Robert Doornbos (Arden), Raffaele Gianmaria (Spero I.E.), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Arden) and second generation racer Mattias Lauda (European). Several teams were testing unsigned drivers with the biggest name being five-year Formula 3000 veteran Tomas Enge driving for Ma-Con Engineering. The two day test continues on Wednesday.

  Upcoming Events Calendar

  • February 22 - NASCAR Nextel Cup, Round 2 of 36, Subway 400, North Carolina Speedway, United States
  • February 29 - Indy Racing League, Round 1 of 16, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida, United States
  • February 29 - World Superbike Championship, Round 1 of 11, Communitat Valencia, Spain
  • March 6 - V8 Supercar Non-Championship Event, Albert Park, Australia
  • March 7 - NASCAR Nextel Cup, Round 3 of 36, UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nevada, United States

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Volume 10, Issue 7
February 18th 2004


The Back End
by Peter Farkas

CART and Sold
by Caroline Reid

The Readers Digest
by Karl Thoroddsen and Gabor Vizi

The Paint Job
by Bruce Thomson

2004 Countdown: Facts & Stats
by Marcel Borsboom & Marcel Schot


The F1 Trivia Quiz
by Marcel Borsboom

On the Road
by Garry Martin

Elsewhere in Racing
by David Wright & Mark Alan Jones

The Weekly Grapevine
by Dieter Rencken

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