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2002 Sneak Preview Diary: Day Two
The Tale of Two CARTs

Laguna Seca, CA, February 8 What a difference a day makes, so the song goes, and that's certainly the case with this Sneak Preview. If you follow the series, you'll know that Chris Pook has been hard at work to create The New CART. I will highlight some of the differences between the two CARTs in today's diary. But first, on to the news, which I'm sure you'll want to hear about right away.

Live Races: One comment I hear almost continuously from CART fans is the need for more live races, and I could not agree more. Well, how about all live races? The only reason why any of us will see a taped race in 2002 is because we want to not because that's when the video guys say we have to see it. In addition to live races, there will be a Friday night CART show, a pre-race show for every event, and a post race show. This will mark a true departure for CART, and in my opinion, is a strong move for the future.

Franchise Board Meeting News: No, I don't know what happened at today's meeting, and they would not tell me, even though I'm blonde. But I do know whatever it was they were talking about was important enough to make Herr Pook nearly half an hour late to his own press conference. Piecing things together, with the new rules that permit changes with only a simple majority, I'm going to guess they are going to reinstate Friday qualifying, just for starters.

Broadcast Team: When Jargon Joe announced the TV package for this year, it sounded like it would be cobbled together between CBS, Fox, and the Speed Channel (aka Speedvision). Chris The Pook has reformulated this package into one team with a producer with actual race experience, and a seller of international television rights, and one broadcast team. Everyone will drink the Fox lemonade, as it were. The broadcast team will include Bob Varsha, Derek Daly, Tom Kendall, Calvin Fish, and Scott Pruett. All were in attendance at a press conference today with the exception of Varsha and Pruett. It was terrific seeing Tommy Kendall again, and it looks to be an interesting blend of personalities.

A Really Cool Car: While strolling through the paddock, I spotted an all black car. No number. No decals of any kind. Intrigued, I called Jeff over to take some photos. I spotted a PacWest logo on one of the mechanic's shirts, so I guessed it was Scott Dixon's car. Guess what? Blonde deduction triumphs again, as Jeff discovered that the very coolest car we've seen all weekend is in fact the car of New Zealander Scott Dixon. I had a great talk with the 2001 Rookie of the Year this morning, and he assured me his sponsorship "is coming." Don't change the paint job, dude.

All of this news may make you think the old CART is gone, never to return. Change, in my experience, is much subtler than that. Just as Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man existed at the same time, so do Old CART and New CART. To keep us from becoming confused, here's a short guide to the Tale of The Two CARTs. (And, please send in your own Old/New Items; it should be fun!).

Old CART: CEO hired with no experience in racing, but reputedly possessing "appropriate skill set", and is neighbor of racing great Parnelli Jones.

New CART: CEO hired with race experience who lives nowhere near Parnelli.

Old CART: Some live races, some taped races, but never start a race until the green flag drops, and always interrupt an emotional first-time race win to cover Senior Golf, with no post-race interview.

New CART: All CART events live, all Atlantics races live or same day. First time race wins, emotional or not, declared national holidays.

Old CART: Decide on new engine package to favor one of the current manufacturers, but consult no one in doing so, not even the favorite. Piss everyone off within a three planet radius.

New CART: Take some control of your series by dictating a few things to your manufacturers, but also consult them. Only irritate them slightly in the process, and a few may actually stick around to work with you.

Old CART: Team Penske.

New CART: Team Papis.

Tomorrow will include on-track testing, and Jeff has been promised at least one lap around in the pace car. See ya!

Copyright © 2002 by Lisa Davidson and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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