Monday, December 3, 2007

Forsythe and Pettit join forces

Surprisingly Gerald Forsythe has just announced that he’ll be joining forces with Dan Pettit, formerly of RuSports to form Forsythe Pettit Racing.

Dan Pettit was originally the “P” in PKV Racing, a joint venture between Pettit, Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven, who’s one of the original three co-owners who bought CART when it went into bankruptcy and beat Tony George’s rival bid.

Kalkhoven along with Forsythe then subsequently bought Cosworth Engineering from the Ford Motor Company to ensure a stable supply of the venerable Ford/Cosworth turbocharged
V-8 engines powering the newly renamed Champ Car series.

When Carl Russo decided to leave Champ Car at the end of 2006, Champ Car was in peril of loosing one of its premiere teams with star drive Justin Wilson, thus Kalkhoven talked his business partner and new part co-owner of Champ Car Pettit into purchasing the RuSports team.

Then unexpectedly Pettit decided to join forces with Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports team, with the two teams running single car entries, yet sharing paddock space together along with pooling engineering resources. Gentilozzi who was the third original co-owner of Champ Car had previously ran a string of “Pay” drivers to fill the second seat of his two car operation, yet both Gentilozzi and Pettit, who’s RuSports team was also a two car entity apparently had been unable to find sponsorship for their team’s second car and thus decided to form RSPORTS with Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani as the teams two drivers.

Although I missed “The Memo,” apparently Pettit and Gentilozzi discontinued their partnership towards the end of this year’s season, which has caused some major strife with RuSports title sponsor CDW, as rumours have abounded that CDW was potentially leaving Champ Car?

Meanwhile Gerry Forsythe had originally threatened to run only a single car entry this season in Champ Car for series star Paul Tracy as he was tired of funding a two car team out of his own pocket, having been unable to find any corporate sponsorship for the teams second car. Shockingly Forsythe Championship Racing started the season with Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez announced as Tracy’s teammate for the first three races. Recall that Super Mario (?) had been FIRED from Forsythe the previous season after twice taking out team leader Paul “Sand Dune” Tracy…

Oriel Servia was then drafted into the team as Tracy’s substitute while recuperating from his back injury suffered during practice at Long Beach. Servia subsequently became Dominguez’s replacement (on a race-by-race basis) upon PT’s return to racing at Portland. Yet “Suitcase” Servia was rudely sent packing for the season’s final two races to make way for Mexican “Home Boy” David Martinez in order to hopefully draw spectators to the Mexico City season finale.

With the season over and both Pettit and Forsythe having endured the rigors of running struggling teams, the decision was made to join forces, thus the creation of Forsythe Pettit Racing which will be based out of Forsythe’s Indianapolis shop, thus effectively ending operations at the former RuSports base in Colorado. Interestingly nothing was mentioned in the press release about either teams marquee drivers Wilson or Tracy, as Wilson has been widely thought to be the Hamburgular’s replacement at Newman Haas Lanigan. So it’ll be interesting to see where Wilson lands, as he seems to be the top domino in the Champ Car driver market currently.

In a further bit of Champ Car news, Kevin “Glass Half Full” Kalkhoven is currently involved in a shareholder lawsuit in regards to his previous Silicon Valley business, which fortunes allowed Kalkhoven to purchase Champ Car and Cosworth. Interestingly I believe that Pettit was also in “cahoots” with Kalkhoven, yet seems to have been left out of the lawsuit. Hmm? Why does all of this news make me think of the song “The future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.” Then again perhaps if Champ Car can shore up its existing teams, stabilize its schedule and have more than 17 cars on the grid next season, Shades may be actually required?