Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Open Wheel moving further Apart?

A few weeks ago I was reminded to not paint a picture of “Doom ‘N Gloom” over the possibility of a Champ Car-IRL merger actually happening, after writing the story: Discussing the Future. Yet I continue to rite that the chances of this happening appear to be slim to none…

Yet with the dawn of a new race season just a few months away, brand new non-oval track friendly Panoz’s taking flight, different engine formulas, methanol vs. ethanol and the IRL’s slowly increasing number of competitors, its hard to see how any fruition of such a merger will occur…

As David Phillips recently noted, both Open Wheel series seem most determined to move on, as their schism continues. Yet both Open Wheel series futures aren’t all roses…

Champ Car seems to be having as much or more trouble towards filling its field as the IRL. First Carl Russo walked away from RuSPORT, causing Kevin Kalkhoven to scramble before convincing his partner Dan Petitt to buy the top notch racing team…

Now Gerry Forsythe is threatening to run only one car in 2007 unless he gets $5 million in sponsorship to campaign a second car along “Sand Dune” Tracy…

Rightly so, Forsythe is still smoldering over AJ Almendinger walking out on him in favor of Red Bull’s easy money. And even though Red Bull will partner with Forsythe to run his Atlantics team, Forsythe is still stinging over Almendinger’s DEFECTION! This comes on the heels of Forsythe’s not being able to find a sponsor the past 3 years…

And in what is becoming a bad yearly tradition… As of just two weeks prior to Champ Cars first test at Sebring, Robin Miller has just reported (The Speed Report) that champ Cars has ONLY 5 confirmed drivers. (Sebastian Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Will Power, Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel) Yet I expect the 10 Champ Car teams to show up with two drivers each for the season opener in April. Perhaps a total of 21 cars?

Meanwhile the IRL continues to announce new driver/car combinations with the announcement that IRL series founder/owner “Ronnie” (Tony) George’s IRL Vision Racing team will run AJ Foyt IV in a third car this season…

This is in addition to Adrian Fernandez’s planned single car effort along with roumours that long time IRL competitor Dryer & Rhinebold is trying to put together a deal to run Buddy Rice & Sarah Fisher which would give the IRL 20-22 cars prior to its season opener…

Speaking of George, the 47 year old Hoosier decided to purchase a Grand Am DP chassis from Eddie “Underachiever” Cheever in order to enter this years Rolex 24. (Daytona 24hrs) Funny how the leagues most despised driver (Cheever) is in cahoots with George, eh?

So George decided that he’d like to try racing again, possibly contesting this year’s Rolex 24 alongside his three hired guns. (Ed Carpenter, Thomas Scheckter, Foyt IV) Taking the #0 (interesting choice) car out for a spin during this past weekend’s testing, George promptly lost control and slammed into a wall…

Perhaps George should stick to sticking it to rival racing series instead of behind the wheel of a racing car? Or perhaps the two rival Open Wheel series should reconsider merging…

Nah, there’s too many cooks in the kitchen and too many egos in the way to accomplish the revival of Open Wheel racing as the premiere motor racing series it once was…

Especially if Champ Cars send Devoted Fans Fuming, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment