Friday, October 13, 2006

Who wants to be an Open Wheel Driver?

As always it was fun to hear Robin Miller’s open wheel rambling’s as he
co-hosted Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED this past Sunday.
As usual Miller seemed right on target with his quips. During the always entertaining segment of “HELL YES or B.S.?” Despain asked: Will Villeneuve race full time in NASCAR?” Miller: BS! There’s NO way that Jacques is going to run 36 races... Jack Roush who was in talks with Villeneuve has since hired 20yr old David Ragan to replace Mark Martin next season…
When Despain asked Miller what would it take to get Open Wheel racing back to prominence it we look past the contentious CART-IRL split and start with a clean sheet of paper? I found this an interesting question since I’ve once again been “bamboozled” with the latest round of Champ Car-IRL merger talks... With both series releasing expanded 2007 schedules and Champ Car’s new DP-01 chassis, DON’T expect an open wheel merger anytime in the future…
Miller replied that it needed to be like the CART “Salad Days,” (Mid 1990’s)’with Street circuits, Road courses and Ovals! Throw in 10 million to bring back the Triple Crown 500 miler’s: Indy, Michigan and Fontana, plus the short 1.0 mile ovals Milwaukee and Phoenix… Preferably a 20/21 race schedule with 5 Ovals…
Miller stated that although the IRL is trying with Danica, (Patrick) Sam Hornish and Marco Andretti. You’ll never win back fans with one lone American in Champ Cars… Also you’ve got to be “hooked-up” with the ALMS. People don’t give a SHIT about the Grand Am series; they care about the ALMS because they’re real sportscars…
Miller pointed out how the lack of American drivers is detrimental to the sport. Miller noted that Ryan Hunter-Reay, a former CART two time race winner may be joining ex-Open Wheel winner Robby Gordon’s NASCAR operation?
Miller noted how INSANE it was to him that 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice is currently struggling to find employment next year in either Champ Cars or the IRL…
And Miller just doesn’t thing A. J. almendinger will stick around in Champ Car too long either... Gerry Forsythe has offered the 24yr old American a lucrative 5yr contract extension. Miller simply thinks Toyota and Red Bull’s buckets-full ‘O cash offer will simply be to hard for Almendinger to resist, as a Red Bull Racing/Toyota Nextel Cup seat remains open…
Miller quoted Dan Gurney’s discouraging comment: “Those days are long gone!” In regards to Open Wheel racing ever returning to its glory days of International acclaim…

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