OCTOBER 29, 2001
CART in a state of flux as Vannini makes a move
JON VANNINI is not a well-known figure in international motor racing. He has competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and loves racing. He is also one of the biggest shareholders of the CART organization, having invested around $15m in the business. He owns slightly less than eight percent of the CART stock.
Last week Vannini filed a Schedule 13D form with the US Securities Exchange Commission which called for a new management structure in the company. He wants the current chief executive officer Joseph Heitzler to be removed and a new board of directors put in place which features fewer team owners. Rumors suggest that Vannini is keen for the business to be run by Chris Pook, who is currently employed by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Inc., a subsidiary of Dover Downs Entertainment.
Pook is a long-term associate of Bernie Ecclestone and there has been much speculation that such a deal might result in a deal between Formula 1 and CART to run races internationally. At the moment CART is forbidding from running road races outside the Americas because of an agreement with the FIA.
Vannini is buying more CART stock all the time and says he plans to convince other shareholders to back him. He is known to be close to James Grosfeld who owns 9.9% of the company and recently took a seat on the CART board of directors.
Bernie Ecclestone was travelling last week, rumor has it in the United States of America.
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