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Champ Car, Indy Racing League (IRL) Get Together
Speed TV ^ | 8 Feb 2008 | Robin Miller

Posted on 02/08/2008 8:10:40 AM PST by af_vet_rr

The long, costly war between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League is close to being over and, for the first time since 1995, there could be one open wheel series for 2008. But there’s still one major hurdle to overcome to make this long-awaited union a reality.

SPEED has learned that Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, the co-owners of Champ Car, have reached an agreement with IRL founder Tony George to race together this season.

As reported by SPEEDtv.com recently, George offered the Champ Car ownership free Dallara chassis and Honda engines to any CC team that signs up for the full season in addition to receiving $1.2 million per car as part of the IRL’s new TEAM program. Additionally, the Champ Car races at Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer’s Paradise, Australia would be added to the ’08 IndyCar Series schedule.

(Excerpt) Read more at auto-racing.speedtv.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: andretti; champcar; indyracingleague; irl; racing
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Maybe the thread should be titled "Hell Freezes Over". I'm stunned. Given the egos involved, I almost expected both series to go bankrupt before somebody got some common sense in their heads.

Maybe now American open-wheel racing can get back on track, and Marco can really put to rest any doubts anybody had.

1 posted on 02/08/2008 8:10:44 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

In the days before the split we used to get crowds of 100,000 or more at MIS. These days I estimate the crowds at around 25,000 for open wheel races.


2 posted on 02/08/2008 8:14:17 AM PST by cripplecreek (Duncan Hunter, Conservative excellence in action.)
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To: af_vet_rr

Ovals meets Road Courses, again. Glad to see this.


3 posted on 02/08/2008 8:15:31 AM PST by Sax
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To: af_vet_rr

Open Wheel racing has been digging this hole for a long time. The NASCAR juggarnaught will be hard to overcome. The morons running OW racing can still figure out away to hose this up. They haven’t shown to have a whole lot of sense. I’m a sportscar racing fan. I’d rather see those auto manufacturers in the ALMS, IMO.


4 posted on 02/08/2008 8:18:28 AM PST by kb2614 (Hell hath no fury than a bureaucrat scorned)
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To: cripplecreek
Well hopefully this will turn that around. I really thought one or the other would go bankrupt before getting together (and given that some teams were having serious financial problems, that could have helped push it over).

Ideally, somebody would cough up the money and get Montoya and a few of the other open wheelers that ended up in NASCAR to come over in 2009, but I doubt they'll be able to match NASCAR money anytime soon, especially given that a lot of teams will have to make a costly transition just within this setup.
5 posted on 02/08/2008 8:18:32 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

Those IRL cars are ugly looking and sound like crap. They should have adopted the newer DP01 that Champ Car uses. The other problem is those ugly IRL cars have a tendency to fly thru the air and end up in the fence. I hope it doesn’t come to pass using the current IRL death spec chassis.


6 posted on 02/08/2008 8:24:16 AM PST by ChuckHam
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To: kb2614; Sax
The good news is they've got Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, Wheldon, Castroneves, Kanaan, and Tracy that would be competing against one another. The two leagues really did dig a deep hole, but just those drivers above could help pull them out.

It's very rushed and some Champ teams are not happy that they didn't push it to 2009, but it sounds like the main players are desperate for it to happen and tracks are going all out to try and accomodate it.

Newman or some of the other wealthier team owners needs to pay Tony Stewart and Juan Montoya and a few other former open wheelers to compete in a few races that aren't conflicting with NASCAR (especially say something like the Indy 500). That could help move things along with getting attendance back up.
7 posted on 02/08/2008 8:25:48 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: kb2614

NASCAR is a joke. The COT and all the rules changes have made it the most uninteresting of all the racing circuits.

NASCAR needs to open the rules up to breathe new life into this dieing concept.

Dump the push rod, carburetor motors. Lower the displacement limit an create a base template for body shape.

30 years ago, the only limits were displacement volume and weight. everything else was on the table for the teams to tinker with. Back when racing was for real men, not boys.


8 posted on 02/08/2008 8:28:42 AM PST by Ouderkirk (Hillary = Senator Incitatus, Clintigula's whore...er, horse.)
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To: af_vet_rr

This is great news if it happens. A legitimate, adult alternative to the unwatchable crybaby soap opera WWE freakshow that is NASCAR.


9 posted on 02/08/2008 8:28:50 AM PST by AbeKrieger (There is a special place in Hell for Lyndon Johnson.)
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To: af_vet_rr

I’m not a big fan of open wheel racing but we need the big crowds at Michigan to inject money into the local economy. Fortunately NASCAR hasn’t done anything stupid as of yet so we still have two big races per year but 3 big weekends per year would be great.


10 posted on 02/08/2008 8:33:02 AM PST by cripplecreek (Duncan Hunter, Conservative excellence in action.)
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To: af_vet_rr

A few years ago I was proposing a semi-merger that would be something like the 1960s merger of the NFL with the old AFL. The IRL would emphasize oval racing the Champ series road racing, and they’d have some separate events and some combined events, with the top rated cars from each series racing against each other. And they’d have an overall combined champion, maybe with one winner-take-all final race. But, as with Seinfeld’s proposal to combine police work with street sweeping, no one listened.


11 posted on 02/08/2008 8:33:30 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|"Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Ouderkirk

That there is crazy talk. Everything is hunky dory in Brian France’s playground. Now have another sip of this funny tasting kool-aid. :-)

All your points are spot on, but don’t expect any changes in Brian France’s racertainment-marketing exercise.


12 posted on 02/08/2008 8:34:26 AM PST by kb2614 (Hell hath no fury than a bureaucrat scorned)
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To: AbeKrieger
It sounds like there is no choice - since Ford dropped out of Champ Car, and because of declining ratings and attendance, it was only a matter of time before either one (or both) died out.

I'm with you - as much as I've liked NASCAR my whole life, the last few years have just been abysmal. I was happy when Montoya moved to NASCAR, because it was nice to have somebody who wasn't a robot and who would actually show some emotion, but after about 15 races or so, even he toned it down. It was funny as hell that NASCAR decided that it would be good if they backed off the drivers and let the drivers' personalities come through, but after the past few years and because of what NASCAR has become, you still have dozens of clones (or "Stepford Drivers" as my wife calls them).
13 posted on 02/08/2008 8:36:14 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

The days when Indy racers - Foyt, Andretti, the Unsers, Rahal - were household names are long gone. I bet the average sports fan couldn’t name anyone from the Champ series, and practically no one from the Indy series except maybe Danica. NASCAR has put both open wheel series about two laps down, and they have a hell of a pit to climb out of.


14 posted on 02/08/2008 8:37:10 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|"Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Steve_Seattle

I think the Indy 500 will be a good bellwether for where it’s going to go. Heck, they out to get Michael Andretti and a few of the others out of retirement just to generate some interest (especially since Mario was a driving force behind this).


15 posted on 02/08/2008 8:40:30 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

BIG MISTAKE

Champ has better drivers who regularly jump to F1 and F1 drivers who jump to Champ. Champ also has a superior feeder system of young drivers in the Atlantic series.Champ has better circuits and road courses with Long Beach being the crown jewel of road courses. The latest DP01 chasis is the latest and best designed chasis in open wheel racing.

Tony George has an ego, old drivers and ovals.


16 posted on 02/08/2008 8:42:42 AM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Para-Ord.45

I can’t agree that Long Beach is the “crown jewel of road circuits,” but maybe we’re using different terminology. To me a road circuit is a dedicated race track that isn’t in an oval, tri-oval, or rectangular (Indy) configuration, e.g., Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Monza. I would call Long Beach a street circuit - closed-off public roads, like in Vancouver, Toronto, and Monte Carlo. And the ovals are the ovals - virtually all of the Indy circuits, except maybe one or two they’ve recently added.


17 posted on 02/08/2008 8:50:19 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|"Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: af_vet_rr

One problem with American open-wheel racing is the difficulty of getting good American drivers in the series. All these guys come from Brazil and other countries with their pockets full of sponsorship money, and even good American drivers can’t compete with that.


18 posted on 02/08/2008 8:53:39 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|"Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: af_vet_rr
Wow. Didn't see that coming.

Maybe we all really can get along.

Nah.

19 posted on 02/08/2008 8:55:52 AM PST by JoanVarga ("¿Por qué no te calles?")
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To: Steve_Seattle

You`re correct. My favorite closed road course is of course, Elkhart Lake.

The jewel crown of closed street courses is and always
has been Long Beach.

Be that as it may, still a big mistake to let Tony own it all and turn it into a predominately oval series.Champ should tough it out.


20 posted on 02/08/2008 8:58:54 AM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: af_vet_rr

I just went to the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona a few weeks back. Haven’t missed one in 7 years. A 24 hour tailgate in the infield & the stands. A lot of talented racers there every year from every racing series imaginable - and a mix of GT cars and prototypes. This year, I think the field was around 73 cars.


21 posted on 02/08/2008 9:02:36 AM PST by Sax
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To: Steve_Seattle

I think it had much less to do with Nascar than with Tony George. The IRL was a joke for years. IRL Championship meant nothing, since the drivers were nobody’s or 3rd tier drivers that defected from CART. And even the 500 was a joke. Now CHAMP is in that position. IRL still isn’t what CART was, and CHAMP is irrelevant. It’s only been the last couple years that I’ve been able to sit through an IRL race, and I haven’t watched the other series in years.


22 posted on 02/08/2008 9:03:36 AM PST by whatexit (The most genuine aspect of Huckabee is his hangdog look)
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To: Para-Ord.45
CCWS was having to pay ESPN, etc., to carry their races. ESPN wasn't paying Champ, Champ was paying ESPN. That is not a sustainable business model.

I understand where you are coming from - Champ did a lot of things right, but unfortunately, money walks....and with Bridgestone and Ford dropping sponsorship last year, it was only a matter of time.
23 posted on 02/08/2008 9:04:59 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: Steve_Seattle
One problem with American open-wheel racing is the difficulty of getting good American drivers in the series. All these guys come from Brazil and other countries with their pockets full of sponsorship money, and even good American drivers can’t compete with that.

At the same time though, a lot of American kids coming up through the ranks in racing have their eyes on NASCAR from the start. Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Canada, etc., don't have NASCAR flooding the airwaves and so they trend towards open wheel (although NASCAR is trying to change that in Canada).

And let's be blunt - there's more money to be made in NASCAR.

If you were an American drive, unless your last name is Rahal or Andretti, you would be foolish to ignore NASCAR - an IRL driver coming in between 5th and 10th places is probably going to win less than almost all of the NASCAR Cup places, and quite a of the Busch series spots. More money = more coverage.
24 posted on 02/08/2008 9:11:15 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

Great news! Requires some musical accompanyment. For Mark Knopfler’s “Speedway at Nazareth” link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWo-51v-SFA&NR=1


25 posted on 02/08/2008 9:36:59 AM PST by Reo
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To: af_vet_rr

CCWS was having to pay ESPN


ESPN is scheduled to broadcast the series with 4 races to appear on the ABC netowrk.Does Champ pay for it, I don`t know.

Irl broadcasts are advertising buys by the series to the network partner.


26 posted on 02/08/2008 9:40:13 AM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: af_vet_rr
"If you were an American drive, unless your last name is Rahal or Andretti, you would be foolish to ignore NASCAR - an IRL driver coming in between 5th and 10th places is probably going to win less than almost all of the NASCAR Cup places, and quite a of the Busch series spots. More money = more coverage."

I've always been attracted to open wheel racing more than NASCAR - to me an open-wheel car is what a racing car is supposed to look like. But I don't bash NASCAR, and I watch some of the races, but rarely an entire race (maybe Daytona), because they last so long.

But you're right about the money and fame being better in NASCAR. Also, open-wheel racing strikes me as much more dangerous than NASCAR, and if I were a driver I don't know how long I'd be willing to test my luck in open-wheel cars.
27 posted on 02/08/2008 9:44:06 AM PST by Steve_Seattle (|"Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Para-Ord.45
ESPN is scheduled to broadcast the series with 4 races to appear on the ABC netowrk.Does Champ pay for it, I don`t know.

If you look at the schedules, The ABC shows are scheduled one-hour highlights. There are some that they weren't paying for (probably because of sponsors and possibly the lives), but they were paying to have some shown, and I believe they were the tape delayed shows (since those wouldn't be as interesting, although most of the tape-delayed shows were because of timezones).

I do find it interesting though that ESPN/ABC cover IRL as well, and there is some speculation that ESPN/ABC had a small role in pushing this forward. Given Fox's NASCAR deal, ABC/ESPN might have sweetened the pot for both series to work their differences out.
28 posted on 02/08/2008 10:08:00 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

Tony George moved the start time of the 500 to 12:00 central time. That means the NASCAR guys can’t run Indy and make it back to the Charlotte in time to run the Coke 600. Hopefully he will move it back to 11:00. It would be great to have some drama again on “bump day”.


29 posted on 02/08/2008 10:08:09 AM PST by HenpeckedCon (B. Hussein/Bernie Sanders-08)
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To: HenpeckedCon

Tony will move it back to 11:00 (or even 10:30) in a heartbeat if he thought it would make him a lot of money. I think moving it to 12pm was him taking a jab at NASCAR, but in this instance, it would benefit him to have Tony, Montoya, Dario, and Robby Gordon show up and race.


30 posted on 02/08/2008 10:17:09 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
I’m sure Ganassi would be thrilled to run Montoya at Indy. I’m not so sure about Gibbs though. Especially with the Honda-Toyota rivalry. I don’t think Toyota would like seeing a big Honda on Tony’s fire suit.
31 posted on 02/08/2008 10:27:04 AM PST by HenpeckedCon (B. Hussein/Bernie Sanders-08)
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To: HenpeckedCon
Don't forget Dario - between Dario and Montoya, there's two Indy 500 winners right there and I'm sure Ganassi could find a sponsor to cover the costs of additional cars for them.

As far as Tony...he's done some dirt track races since the switch to Toyota using non-Toyota cars, but you bring up a point - the Indy 500 is much more prominent than the Chili Bowl. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a clause in his contract though that let him do it.
32 posted on 02/08/2008 10:48:36 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

I think Toyota can live with Chevy Sprint Cars, but I doubt they would be happy to see Tony in a Honda powered Indy Car. I forget Dario was with Ganassi too. I stand corrected. I know Tony wants to win the 500 more than any other race.


33 posted on 02/08/2008 10:58:09 AM PST by HenpeckedCon (B. Hussein/Bernie Sanders-08)
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To: Para-Ord.45
Well it's not Tony George who has the ego now, it's the Champ Car owners:

ESPN

Officials from the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series confirmed Friday morning that negotiations have recently taken place geared toward folding elements of the Champ Car World Series into the IRL IndyCar Series.

But the ongoing saga of American open-wheel-racing unification took another turn shortly after lunch when Champ Car issued a statement claiming that those talks have stalled.

"Unfortunately, leaks and media reports about a possible unification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League [IRL] have significantly hampered discussions," said series co-principals Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven. "Over the past three years, we have fielded and offered several proposals regarding unification of the two premier U.S.-based open-wheel racing series, but we have been unable to reach an acceptable solution. Discussions currently are at a standstill, and we therefore are proceeding with plans to continue as Champ Car."


I like Tony George about as much as I like the France family, but when you have Paul Newman willing to set aside his differences with George and saying it's the best news he's heard in a long time, you need to work it out, and you need to do it quick, because you could be a year or two away from somebody like Newman leaving to go to IRL.
34 posted on 02/08/2008 6:47:57 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

Champ already has an 08 schedule so I wouldn`t fret too much about who`s the stick in the mud.

I`m thinking they have these contractual obligations thru 08 and even maybe 09 with sponsors, tracks, suppliers(love the DP01), etc.

I`ll always be stumped as to why a 3rd tier series draws any viewers or fans at all. Think all agree its F1, then CHAMP with IRL a very distant 3rd.


35 posted on 02/08/2008 6:53:23 PM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Para-Ord.45
I`ll always be stumped as to why a 3rd tier series draws any viewers or fans at all. Think all agree its F1, then CHAMP with IRL a very distant 3rd.

IRL gets the advantage of associating with Indy.

That said, you're right - Formula 1 rules the top of the heap, and as a result, it (and NASCAR) can draw away some of the best and brightest - witness Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal both being fairly open about their desire to go to F1 (and the fact that both have impressed F1 officials and teams means IRL and CCWS are in danger of losing a couple of people who could help energize American open-wheel racing over the long term).
36 posted on 02/08/2008 7:08:05 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

I should say, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan going to IRL in 2009 (which they just announced they were doing last week), if you have somebody else of their caliber leave Champ Car, then it’s pretty much over.


37 posted on 02/08/2008 7:14:33 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

I thought Newman broought in Lanigan so he could retire?

Anyway, CCWS should concentrate on luring in more F1 teams that just cannot compete with the half billion dollar budget big teams. Minardi was a great addition.

A merger maybe in 2009 or 10 but sheesh, those slow ugly 1970`s looking McClarens(Dallaras) gotta go.


38 posted on 02/08/2008 8:48:22 PM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Para-Ord.45
Newman is the face, but Haas is the driving factor behind the announcement last month - according to AutoBlog, Haas is tired of waiting.
39 posted on 02/08/2008 8:57:59 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: Para-Ord.45
Looks like it's a done deal (sounds like Honda reached an agreement to move their race):

Deal seals Indy's future

If you thought last year's Indy was a beauty -- brace yourself; it is going to get bigger and better.

In an agreement that has the motorsport world abuzz, the two rival North American open-wheel racing bodies are poised to sign a historic merger deal.

It will mean more teams at the iconic Gold Coast event, fiercer competition and a brighter future for the race.

The secret deal between the warring bosses from Champ Car and the Indy Racing League (IRL) is being hailed as the saviour of the Gold Coast race.

Had an agreement not been reached over the weekend, the Bligh Government would have been faced with the prospect of having a world-class motorsport event in October without the international teams and drivers.


Wonder how hard Indy tickets are going to be this year?
40 posted on 02/11/2008 9:25:42 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

That`s too bad.

CCWs has the better tracks, superior chasis and racers. Even B. Rahal counseled his son to drive in CCWS if he wanted to improve his skills and possibly jump to F1 if good enough. Irl has the indy 500 and ovals of which NASCAR has the fan monopoly on.

A racing fans real merger would see the end of ovals, adoption of the Panos chasis and CCWS circuits.


41 posted on 02/11/2008 4:43:08 PM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: af_vet_rr
Now the important question: Will Danica Patrick win a race this year? America waits! /sarc
42 posted on 02/11/2008 4:47:06 PM PST by Cowboy Bob (Illegals : Why spend the money to educate them if its against the law to employ them?)
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To: Cowboy Bob

Are they still dangling the cheesecake in their desperate efforts to garner ratings?

What next, Danica racing in a bikini.


43 posted on 02/11/2008 4:51:49 PM PST by Para-Ord.45
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To: Cowboy Bob
Given that you would have the stars from both series, Danica ain't going to be winning anytime soon.

Speed Report - video discussing the merger.

IndyStar - IRL official optimistic - looks like they are close to working out a deal with Motegi.

Hopefully we'll get a lot more road coarses. Ovals were getting way too boring.
44 posted on 02/11/2008 6:04:48 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
Even if the IRL/CCWS haven't worked it all out, one owner is on the way to switching to IRL:

Tri-City Herald: Derrick Walker isn't buying Champ Car's company line.

He's parked his car, withdrawn from testing and focused his attention on running in the rival Indy Racing League this year even though Champ Car officials say they will race this season.

Walker, a Champ Car owner who has also competed in the IRL, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he believes Champ Car is finished.

45 posted on 02/12/2008 7:21:18 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: kb2614
racertainment-marketing

I thought of your comment today. It's 3:15 PM and I decided to swerve through FOX to see who was leading the race. I get Brooks & Dunn? Good lord, the race used to start promptly at noon. That's it for me.... I'm done with it. NACSAR has become unrecognizable from the man's man sport that it used to be

46 posted on 02/17/2008 12:21:57 PM PST by Ouderkirk (Hillary = Senator Incitatus, Clintigula's whore...er, horse.)
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To: Ouderkirk

I’ll be honest, I forgot it was on. I work midnight shift, so unless I’m paying attention I’m liable to miss events like this. Needless to say, I stopped paying attention to the marketing entity known as NASCAR a long time ago.

Now for a non-NASCAR racing announcment. The Sebring 12 Hours begins 9:30AM-3/15/08 on SpeedTV :-). Unfortunatly they won’t show the whole 12 hours. Probably around 8 or so.


47 posted on 02/17/2008 9:49:08 PM PST by kb2614 (Hell hath no fury than a bureaucrat scorned)
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To: kb2614
More non-NASCAR stuff (ESPN)Constituents with a stake in American open-wheel racing are still waiting to see if the most advanced discussions to date between the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series result in the two groups racing under one umbrella in 2008 and beyond.

Sounds like there are a few holdouts, but I think it will happen.
48 posted on 02/18/2008 4:49:25 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
Speed TV thinks it's officially a done deal: Most Champ Car teams were told to quit working on their Panoz chassis Monday and expect delivery of their new cars in a few days. Paul Tracy is coming to Indianapolis later this week for a seat fitting. And one of Champ Car’s co-owners admitted to a fellow owner there would only be one series in 2008.

After 12 years of warring that cost open-wheel racing much of its sponsorship, audience and momentum, common sense has finally prevailed.

SPEEDtv.com has learned that the Indy Racing League and Champ Car have officially, and mercifully, agreed to become one entity. A press conference could come as early as Wednesday if Kevin Kalkhoven is back from England in time.

Following nearly two weeks of negotiations between Tony George, Gerry Forsythe and Kalkhoven, an agreement is in place to bring several Champ Car teams and a handful of races into the IRL domain. It’s believed attorneys from both sides worked all weekend to finalize some kind of arrangement for the two men who claimed CART’s assets in bankruptcy court in 2004.

George, who started the IRL in 1996 when CART was in its heyday, would not confirm any deal when contacted late Monday night. “While it is true that I continue to believe we at the threshold of something long-overdue, we have not yet stepped across it,” he said.

But all signs point to this tumultuous chapter of American motorsports finally being closed.

“I’m supposed to fly in Indy later this week to get fitted for a seat and then we’re going to have to thrash to make it to the first test in Homestead,” said Tracy, the winningest active driver in Champ Car and its premier personality. “We don’t have any experience with those Dallaras and we’re going to need all the practice we can get but this is definitely the best thing that can happen for open-wheel racing.”

The IRL’s first open test is on the oval at Homestead, Fla. on Feb. 27-2

49 posted on 02/19/2008 4:33:19 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
There's an echo in here, but anyways, keep an eye out for the Friday press conference:

IndyCar resolution to come Friday

By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor

IndyCar officials have tentatively scheduled a press conference for Friday in Indianapolis, where they likely will announce that the long American open-wheel racing war has come to an end.

Series officials had hoped to make the announcement Thursday. But Champ Car principle Kevin Kalkhoven will not be back from England, where he is tending to family business.

Friday's announcement will end the 13-year feud that began when Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George announced the creation of a new racing series on March 20, 1994. At that time, most of the teams that competed in the Indianapolis 500 were in CART, a series that went bankrupt and would later be revived as Champ Car.

George's original intention was to have CART teams participate in what was then known as the Indy Racing League. But most of those teams refused, starting a lengthy and divisive battle for supremacy in North American open wheel racing.

But Champ Car has agreed to cease operations, which will allow its teams to accept George's offer of a free Dallara car and free Honda engines to make the transition to the new series.

As part of the agreement, IndyCar will purchase Champ Car's "intellectual properties," including the historical database.

For example, Sam Hornish Jr. is officially listed as the series' all-time wins leader with 19. But under the new agreement, the all-time lead would be returned to A.J. Foyt, who has 67 career victories.

In addition, IndyCar is expected to get Champ Car's race dates for the Long Beach Grand Prix along with street races in Edmonton, Alberta; Surfer's Paradise, Australia and Mexico City.

This would not be a merger of Champ Car and IndyCar because the IndyCar Series will be the only series in competition. And it is not technically an acquisition because IndyCar will not be acquiring the assets of Champ Car.

The proper term would be an "amalgamation," which means Champ Car closes up business and its teams join IndyCar.

50 posted on 02/20/2008 1:42:49 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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