Texas Track Sues CART
Texas Motor Speedway sued CART on Tuesday, seeking millions of dollars that were lost because of the last-minute cancellation of a race.
The inaugural Firestone Firehawk 600 was postponed only two hours before it was to start because drivers complained of dizziness during practice, when they reached speeds of more than 230 mph on the high-banked, 1 1/2-mile track.
Eddie Gossage, the speedway’s general manager, said CART would have known about the potential problems had it done proper testing. The 24-degree banking is unprecedented for the Champ cars and contributed to the G-forces that made the drivers dizzy.
“The symptoms suffered and the G-forces are caused by driving too fast,” Gossage said. “CART is totally responsible for regulating the maximum speed of its race cars, not Texas Motor Speedway, and CART refused to regulate it.”
CART issued a statement late Tuesday, claiming the lawsuit was without merit and questioning the speedway’s action.
“CART finds it curious that Texas Motor Speedway apparently has decided that focusing its energies in a lawsuit against CART for hyperimaginative damages is more important than accepting the seriousness of the driver safety issues raised at the track,” the statement read.
“CART also believes any legal action that trivializes driver and fan safety must be defended against any cost,” the statement said.
Gossage, in letters and faxes to CART officials months before the event, had questioned whether speeds of more than 230 mph would be safe in Texas. He said he had been assured CART was ready to race at his track.
CART officials based their evaluation of the track on testing by several individual teams, but never did any open testing for the April 29 race.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the 393rd District Court in Denton County, seeks the return of the purse and sanction fee paid by TMS to CART, in addition to unspecified compensation for expenses incurred by the speedway, lost profits and other damages.
Gossage said he couldn’t reveal the exact amount of money being sought by the speedway, other than to say it was “millions of dollars.”