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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | June 13, 1999
EPERNAY, France -- Herb Fishel, the executive director of General Motors Motor Sports, sat looking out over the vineyards in the heart of French champagne country, talking about Cadillac's coming return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.Yesterday, he watched as GM's Corvettes paced the start of the 67th Le Mans race that was to end early this morning, and through the days leading up to that start, he would study what it took to really win.He'd take notes on inspections. He'd watch practices. He'd note fuel economy, the number of stops cars make, the number of driver changes and any other detail that might make a difference.
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SPORTS
By Dan Appenfeller, For The Baltimore Sun | August 31, 2013
Wrecked cars and red and yellow flags dominated Saturday's American Le Mans Series race. Three cautions - including the weekend's biggest wreck immediately after the start - whittled the originally two-hour race to just more than an hour. The first wreck came seconds after the green flag waved. Scott Tucker, in the No. 551 Honda in the P1 prototype class, got caught up in a group of cars, some accelerating and others waiting to get through the opening stretch. Several drivers were quick to decry the early acceleration, saying that in a drivers' meeting, they'd made it "very clear" to drive at a slower pace until after the opening straightaway.
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FEATURES
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer | June 12, 1994
Le Mans, France -- England's Derek Bell faithfully returns to Le Mans, France, every June.For 24 years he has come to this city in the Loire Valley.Today, he looks me in the eye, and in his very British accent, tells me quite frankly:"I come for the affairs."I blink."When I've finished, there have been times when I've needed intravenous drips in my arm and massages to bring back the circulation in my legs and my neck," he says.And then Derek Bell laughs. What he is talking about is his love affair, his unquenched desire for the 24 hours of Le Mans, an endurance race he has won five times, and the people who come here to watch it.Mr.
SPORTS
By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | August 18, 2013
Ever since racing returned to their hometown in 2011 with the then-Baltimore Grand Prix, longtime friends Marc Bunting and Kieffer Rittenhouse have tried to combine their love for the sport with their love for the city. Despite a more competitive field and the rather costly investment that comes with racing in the American Le Mans Series, Bunting and Rittenhouse will return for the Labor Day weekend event. An official announcement is expected Monday, but Bunting and Rittenhouse said Sunday that Team Baltimore will take part in the Grand Prix of Baltimore's ALMS GTC Class race on Aug. 31. "It's pretty much a continuation of what we've done the first two years," said Bunting, who used to race fulltime on the Grand-Am Rolex GT circuit.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | June 2, 1997
Mario Andretti may have retired three years ago, but that doesn't mean he isn't looking for another mountain to climb.Andretti's mountain is the 24 Hours of Le Mans."
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 15, 2002
Competitors in the American Le Mans Series call Don Panoz names, but the man who reinvigorated sports car racing in the United States doesn't mind. The names they call him are genius, visionary and crazy. Sometimes, all three seem to fit. This week, Panoz is in the limelight because he created the American Le Mans Series, the endurance sports car racing series that comes to Washington this weekend. "It's a crazy thing he has done," said Frank Biela, a member of the Audi team that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race three consecutive times.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | June 27, 2001
Washington will be the site of at least one major-league auto race in 2002 or 2003, according to Bobby Goldwater, president and executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. "The commission is talking to two different organizations that want to sanction a race here," Goldwater said. "The American Le Mans Series and CART [Championship Auto Racing Teams] are each proposing a race. They are two different concepts, two different everythings - except they agree this would be a great place."
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 1, 2001
If you were Bobby Goldwater, president and executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, and you had to choose between the American Le Mans Series (sports cars) and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), which would you pick? When it comes to staging a race in Washington, is it a hard choice or an easy one? For Goldwater, it is probably very hard. But from here - or from where you're sitting right now - it might be pretty easy. As simple a choice as deciding to go for the best racing - American Le Mans - or the biggest draw - CART.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 21, 2002
WASHINGTON -- It's such a little racetrack compared to the one they drive at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Just 1.7 miles, compared to 8.7. Just seven turns compared to double digits. But when Frank Biela finished his pole-setting qualifying run yesterday -- which will stand as the track record, given this is the first year of the race -- he emerged from his car, wiped the sweat running from his hair and face and declared there is something to be said for the little track. He said, in fact, that the effort it will take to win the Cadillac Grand Prix today will be as great as the one it takes to win Le Mans, the most prestigious sports car race in the world.
FEATURES
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 26, 2000
LE MANS, France - Early on a beautiful morning, American chef Jimmy Schmidt walks to the farmers' market below the Old Town of this medieval walled city. The great Le Mans Cathedral looms on a cliff above the market, and as Schmidt moves among the rows of fresh produce, the smells are powerful - familiar strawberries, pungent cheeses, earthy radishes, sweet marigolds. Even the lettuce has its own sweet, fresh aroma. Finally, he finds a stand that sells herbs and buys a case of sweet basil at five French francs a pot, which is less than a U.S. dollar.
NEWS
August 23, 2012
As we approach the second annual Baltimore Grand Prix, people are, once again, either very upbeat or adamantly opposed to this event ("Grand Prix rolls toward a less disruptive race," Aug. 21). Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has apparently dropped all her taxpayer pennies into one satchel in hopes of attracting revenue (and perhaps 10,000 new residents) to the area. I am a fervent Baltimore sports fan, but I simply cannot condone reconfiguring the downtown streets and sidewalks for a motorcar race.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and The Baltimore Sun | August 16, 2012
Tommy Kendall's legs and ankles were crushed in a 180-mph racing accident in 1991. But the sports car champion recovered, came back a year later and went on to have his best years on the racetrack. In fact, in 1997 he had arguably the best year of any driver in racing history, winning 11 straight Trans-Am Series races. Now, at age 45 and after almost 14 years away from the racetrack, Kendall is back, driving the new SRT Viper GTS-R in the American Le Mans Series. "There's nothing better than driving.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun | September 8, 2011
The national TV audience for Baltimore's Grand Prix on Sunday fell short of projections offered by the city when the deal bringing the race to the Inner Harbor was first announced. Sunday's race was seen by an average of 591,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released Wednesday by NBC. That was one-sixth of the TV audience of 3.5 million viewers projected last year by the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who also predicted the Grand Prix telecast would "change the way the world sees Baltimore.
SPORTS
September 7, 2011
Once again, I have to point out the obvious to the oblivious Baltimore media. In his coverage of the recent race ("First Baltimore Grand Prix had something for everyone," Sept. 5), Peter Schmuck wrote this: "[Will] Power pretty much went wire-to-wire to take the checkered flag, which may leave some novice fans wondering whether there's enough strategy and intrigue on the track to keep their interest from year to year. That's a fair question, and one that probably will be answered with some minor changes in the configuration of the course and with some greater awareness of the intricacies of open-wheel racing in the later incarnations of this event.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Baltimore Sun reporter | September 3, 2011
Fans looking for a unique experience at the Baltimore Grand Prix Saturday afternoon might want to check out The American Le Man's Series cars as they ready for their 4:30 race. The Series features "an open grid". That means at 3:40 the cars will already be lined up on the track and the gates inside the track at Utah, Hopkins and Hanover Streets will be opened and fans can walk onto the track and inspect the race cars. The opportunity lasts for a half-hour. Then the track will be cleared and drivers will get in their cars.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun | September 3, 2011
Rob Dyson had just seen his two American Le Mans Series P1-class cars finish first and second overall at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix Saturday, but one of the first things on his mind was the scene in the city. "I hope the pictures from that podium scene go into the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce's presentations," said Dyson, who saw Al Masaood and Steven Kane accept the winners trophy and his son Chris and his co-driver Guy Smith take second. "The Mayor, who took a gamble, or what seemed to be a gamble to the unknowing, it was very brave and very bold for the city of Baltimore to pull off something like this.
SPORTS
By Alex Koustenis | July 21, 2002
Prototype 900 class Tom Kristensen Hometown: Monte Carlo, Monaco Team: Audi Sport North America Career highlights: Started in go-karts in Europe. Won 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997. Won 1999 and 2000 12 Hours of Sebring. Leads 2002 American Le Mans Series points standings. Rinaldo Capello Hometown: Canelli, Italy Team: Audi Sport North America Career highlights: Was the Italian Super Touring Car champion in 1996. Won Petit Le Mans and ALMS Sears Point in 2000. Won ALMS Grand Prix of Texas and 12 Hours of Sebring.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF | July 19, 2002
Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro comprise the Audi team that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the classic sports car endurance race, for the past three years and has been in so many victory lanes that facial joy has become a common expression. "Two, three, five, 10 years from now, looking back," Biela said, "we will all realize how big what we have done is." This weekend, Biela and Pirro will be paired against Kristensen and fellow Audi driver Rinaldo Capello, an Italian who has been runner-up at Le Mans each of the past three years, in the American Le Mans Series Cadillac Grand Prix at RFK Stadium in Washington.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | September 3, 2011
Before qualifying started for Saturday's American LeMans Series race, points leader Gunnar Jeannette took the time Friday to explain what makes a sportscar race in the series so exciting and why people coming to the track should take the time to watch the race. "The main thing is they're going to see cars that have no business being out here driving down the street," he said. "They're going to see cars with 4, 5, 6, 700 horsepower trying to race between streets and over manhole covers.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun | August 27, 2011
Some things never change. As you walk around the hospitality and pit areas at an IZOD IndyCar race you can still find Mario Andretti signing autographs more than five decades since he drove his first racecar in competitive open wheel racing. Andretti, the most versatile American racecar driver in history, is at age 71, theoretically, long retired. But that's hard to prove. Over four decades beginning in the 1960s he won four Indy Car championships and became the only driver in motorsports history to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969)
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