racing footprint for today March 4, 2001, extends from Melbourne, Australia,
to Las Vegas, Nevada. Team McLaren-Mercedes debuted the completely new
MP4-16 car against new arch-rival Ferrari in a duel to the finish for
the F1 season opening -- and tragic -- race at the Australian Grand Prix.
This race also saw the F1 introduction of Indy 500 winner Juan Montoya,
who after ably demonstrating his racing skills in a new environment, was
forced to retire at lap 40 due to mechanical failure.
was the Ferrari of Brazil's Ruben Barrichello, then the Sauber-Petronas
of Germany's Nick Heidfeld, Heinz-Harald in a Jordan-Honda; another Sauber-Petronas
with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen charging across for 6th; followed by France's
Olivier Panis in a BAR-Honda and the 8th position acquisitioned by the
Jaguar of Brazil's Luciano Burti.
extend our condolences to the relatives and friends of the Track Marshal
killed in the accident involving the Williams-BMW of Ralf Schumacher and
the BAR-Honda of Canada's Jacques Villeneuve during the 5th lap of this
3.29 mile street course.
at the Daytona 500, the Intrepid R/Ts of Sterling Marlin, who was involved
in the fatal Earnhardt crash, and Dave Blaney scored top 10 finishes.
At Rockingham, there were 6 Dodge cars in the top 25, and for the 4th
running of the Las Vegas 400, the Dodge teams seem to be on track to do
rather well; despite extraordinary competition from the Waltrip camp and
a revitalized Team Roush who have consistently claimed Vegas as their
own real time testing facility for the dominant Tauruses.
Big Talent in a Curious Setting
Big case in point: why is a seasoned professional like Willy T. Ribbs driving Race Truck for Dodge?
a guy who was driving Formula Ford's in Europe right out of high school
in 1977, hanging out with the likes of the Unsers and Andretti's at 180
mph; drove Roush Prepared Merkur XR4Ti's for the Mercury Team after a
personal invitation from Edsel Ford; won 17 SCCA Trans-AM races between
'84 and '85; was IMSA Driver of the Year for the 1987-88 racing seasons;
tested family friend Dan Guerneys IMSA GTP Eagle HF prototype in 1989;
Qualified 29th for the 1991 running of the Indy 500 despite having to
deal with inferior equipment; went nose-to nose with Mark Martin in the
1998 Los Angeles NASCAR street race and then ran the 1999 Las Vegas 500
IRL race. Top that off with finishing second (he was first place provisionally)
at last year's Long Beach Grand Prix Trans-Am race.
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