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Quest For Dominance:
DaimlerChrysler Racing Update

DaimlerChrysler's 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.

The AGP's end race line-up was intriguing: Schumacher's Ferrari was first across - his fifth GP victory in a row - followed 1.7 seconds later by Coulthard's McLaren-Mercedes, who had relentlessly pursued the winner throughout the race only to be held off in the final dash for the checkered. Teammate Mika Hakkinen would not finish this race; plagued by the gremlins of things mechanical.

Next across 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.

eMOTION! REPORTS congratulates the Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes teams in their 1, 2 finishes, respectively.

We also 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.

In a statement reported by the Associated Press, Ralf Schumacher stated that "I'm awfully sorry that a man who was looking into our safety was killed today. My deepest sympathy to his relatives and friends."

Dodge Expected to Continue Strong Showing

Half way around the world and across multiple time zones, another race with yet another strong presence by DaimlerChrysler will begin. The Las Vegas NASCAR UAW DAIMLER CHRYSLER 400 will be the third Winston Cup race for Dodge Division after a 20 year absence.

Debuting 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.

We have a feeling that the pressure is on the Dodge teams all the way from Stuttgart, home of DaimlerChrysler, to score a win. Such a victory would bode well for the embattled parent company in the form of positive PR for a change.

eMOTION! REPORTS predicts a win for the number 40 Dodge Intrepid of Sterling Marlin and a top five finish for (hopefully) comeback kid Bill Elliott in number 9 Intrepid.

One other thing: We are kind of wondering why Ray Evernham, Dodge Team manager, chose Elliott as lead driver. With all due respect to Evernham and the effervescent Elliott who seemed unstoppable in the '80s, and the guy with whom I partnered to play a 140 plus mph game of bumper tag with racing greats Jackie Stewart and Bon Bondurant at Road Atlanta while driving stock '92 SHO Tauruses, other calls should have been made.

Big Talent in a Curious Setting

Big case in point: why is a seasoned professional like Willy T. Ribbs driving Race Truck for Dodge?

Here's 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.

Don't get us wrong, Race Truck is an exciting series, but clearly, it lacks the flash, dash and panache of NASCAR stockers and other elite categories.

In our view, Ribbs' superlative talent is once again underutilized, an oversight to be sure easily corrected with one phone call from Julow or Patane to Evernham.

Make the call, guys.

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