Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Open Wheel Racing teams

This past Tuesday evening’s Autosport Radio Show was fairly entertaining, as it featured key members of the latest two Open Wheel Racing teams to be announced.

First up, was guest Greg Beck, current owner of Beck Motorsports and now part owner of the newly formed Indy Car operation, Team 3G; which stands for: 3 Guys. As many may already know, Beck has inked stuntman and Nationwide series competitor Stanton Barrett as his full time Indy Car driver for the 2009 season, with hopes of a possible second car to be added. Beck is also hopeful of running an Firestone Indy Lights team, being close to having at least a partial season deal for an initial car and further hopes of a second car, which could see Greg ultimately fielding four race cars after struggling to just run a lone Indy Car previously.

When asked how much it takes to run a single Indy Car effort for a full season and does the $1.3 million incentive doled out by Tony George factor in? Greg said yes, we definitely factor the money in and I’d say you can probably get away with a NO Frills, bare bones single car entry for $3.5 million for an entire season, although $5.5-6.0m would probably be more realistic a number in order to do the season correctly.

Stanton Barrett did all of the stunt work for the three Spiderman films and has a long list of credits, along with being the son of Stan Barrett, who was part of the original stunt team for Burt Reynolds Smokey and the Bandit along with Hal Needham. And I believe that Stan also did multiple work as Paul Newman’s stunt-double.

Interestingly, Greg threw out the tidbit that Stan had also been the pilot behind the controls of the Budweiser Rocket car, that controversially tried to become the first vehicle to break the sound barrier nearly three decades ago, while its top speed of 739mph was never officially recognized!
Next up, was Louis “Butch” Meyer III, who’s decided to leave his post as Firestone Indy Lights technical director after six years and form an alliance with Jim Guthrie, as the new co-owner of Guthrie/Meyer Racing. This Indy Lights team has been raiding the workforce of current champions Sam Schmidt Motorsports and features an impressive line-up of its four cars chief mechanics, which includes Mike “Groovy Baby” Meyer, son of Butch; while Butch is the grandson of the late, legendary Louis Meyer, the first driver to win the Indy 500 three times...