Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More on possible Open Wheel unification

As many are saying on the blogosphere… Or as Auntie Harriet would say; BLOB-O-Sphere. The news of Tony George’s offering of Holiday tidings in the form of a proposed merger of Open Wheel racing is NOTHING for us to get our hopes up over. Recall that we, along with such heavyweights with the names of Penske, Andretti, Walker, Rahal just to name a few have also been down this road, as it now appears that merger fever number 469 has subsided for the time being, with the news that Tony George has scrapped his plans for Open Wheel unification.

The first thing that I didn’t like about this proposed merger was that several tracks would loose their races, as George wanted to cherry-pick Long Beach, Toronto, Edmonton, Mexico City and Australia from the current Champ Car calendar.

This would see the demise of several great venues, most notably Road America, Portland, Cleveland and Laguna Seca which are all wonderful events.

Secondly, once again we’d be forced to watching nothing more than a glorified “Spec” series. Ok I realize that we’d need to run only one type of power plant; normally aspirated vs. turbocharged, but why can’t we keep the two current chassis; Panoz and Dallara, as well as having Cosworth dust off its Indy Car engine? Recall that while Ford owned Cosworth they built Chevrolet’s Indy Racing League lumps. Thus we’d have some semblance of competition inside of competition again, although I suppose it could lead to “Works” favoritism.

And just what does happen to the lower rung spec series, i.e.; Champ Car Atlantics, Star Mazda, etc. Although the Indy Pro Series is managed by the former Indy Lights boss Roger Bailey and is essentially a clone, what happens to all of the left over Atlantics teams/equipment? While Star Mazda would most likely remain as a feeder series to whatever remained above it.

As for administrative tasks, both feuding series headquarters are in Indianapolis, so it shouldn’t be a big deal moving across town.

Now for the fun part, since this is all hypothetical…
We’ll just have to keep holding our breaths, fingers, toes and assorted body parts crossed that there will be a single “unified” 2009 Open Wheel racing series. After all, it is the centennial of American racing.

And I suppose if ‘lil Napoleon really wanted to put the kybosh on his rivals at Chump Carzs, all he needs to do is scoop up the few remaining goldfish in the Champ Car aquarium (Newman/Haas & Team Australia), as it seems it would be a sure sign of Kalkoven, Forsythe and Gentilozzi falling on their swords if they switched allegiances.

Quick, somebody send the four Moosketeers the memo… Actually, perhaps they already did get the memo, as us few Open Wheel diehards have been blathering on about this… Which means both series have actually been getting some much needed publicity. Hey, perhaps the split is actually a good thing? As it suddenly seems crystal clear to me that perhaps this is another Tony George smoke ‘N mirrors operation; A la Operation Super Tex, you know when Tony gets his ‘Ol Grand-pappie AJ Foyt to spin-up some much needed hype for a NON-EXSISTANT “BOOMP Day!” By trying to stir up some intrigue with really big names crudely stenciled on the cockpit side of his backup cars at the Speedway. Can you say Tony Stewart?

Yet, suddenly it’s blatantly obvious that there ain’t NEVER gonna be a merger! But hey, lets at least leave the Month ‘O May open for everyone to play in Tony’s sandbox…