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September 24, 1997|SHAV GLICK

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: CART Online:

If you can't make it--or don't have a ticket--to the sold-out Marlboro 500 CART race Sunday at California Speedway, and you are too impatient to wait for the delayed telecast at 5 p.m., don't despair.

CART Online, the official Internet site of the CART PPG World Series, will keep you informed, minute by minute, of Sunday's final race of the season. To access its user-friendly home page, go to

In addition to reports from timing and scoring, a new feature, called "Webcast," will use video cameras to deliver live pictures from in and around the track--even candid shots of the press room. Every 30 to 60 seconds, a new behind-the-scenes picture will be available from the pits, the garages or the paddock.

For a closer look at a favorite team, CART Online has links to web sites for teams such as Forsythe, Rahal, Tasman, Ganassi, Honda and Toyota, and drivers such as Jimmy Vasser, Patrick Carpentier, Bryan Herta and Bobby Rahal.

"The Internet is a powerful information tool and our goal ultimately is to be able to put the race fan inside our team with information they would not normally be able to access," said Steve Horne, owner of the Tasman team.

Up-to-the-minute service from the track in Fontana will begin Friday, when practice starts for the 500-mile race. Qualifying is Saturday. Forsythe Racing will offer in-car communication from Greg Moore during practice, qualifying and Sunday's race, starting at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

"It's just like having a pit pass, without the hassle of traffic, parking and all that stuff," said John Lucas, who monitored the last race at Laguna Seca from his home in Arcadia.

For the statistically minded, there are biographies of drivers, records of teams, complete with point standings, lap leaders, pole winners, etc. If an argument starts over a rule, there is a complete rule book available.

And if you want a lasting memory of the race, photos will be included that can be downloaded and put in your own computer. These can be printed out and made into wall photos, if desired, or float around on your computer as screen-savers.

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