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ChampCar: Cotman out - Larry, Moe & Curly in


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#51 Mat

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 23:01

I believe Newman/Haas/Lannigan has let go about a third of its staff over the off season.

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#52 Andrew Ford &F1

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 00:06

I've a long time ChampCar fan but I have to admit that the series has no future. It has never had since the year 2001. And, unlike you, Dave Ware, I don't even have a bunch of old races on VHS :(

The sadthing is that CC wil die sooner or later. But what is interesting is that will IRL add a few more roadcourses to their schedule (Laguna Seca, Road America, Portland & Cleveland), or let them die? Being a road racing fan I would hate that to happen. But if Ford comes back it would be great, I'll start teven following it!

#53 FLB

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 00:43

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII
I'm wondering how long Honda is going to fund TG's folly, IIRC their contract is up in 2009 and it's long been Robert Clakes contention that without any competition, they will be gone as well.

IIRC, Clarke announced his plans to retire last year. The 2009 decision will not be his.

#54 aportinga

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 02:11

Current contract is 2009 however.

#55 shaggy

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 05:02

Originally posted by aportinga


Load of cow shit dude.... Cotman went head to head with GF and KK regarding the need for CCWS to be at Indy.

The fanboys disagreed with this but it made sense because many sponsors were lined up for CCWS in 07 and at the last minute - not knowing a damn thing about the sport asked if this "was the series which runs at the Indy 500?" When told no the sponsors all disapeared.

You see the 500 is the ONLY mainstay with any marketability. CCWS racing there would require chassis but Clarke (Honda) was more then prepared to offer price breaks on engines. Also CCWS had the entire month open so from a scheduleing perspective there was no issue.... With the 500 being the decider CCWS could have joined up easily and TG could have done nothing to stop them from qualifying - no way he's gonna pull another 25/8 rule at that point.

What did KK & GF do? Tell Cotman to shut the **** up and send Steve Johnson off to book Laguna for a May race which would kill any Indy talk altogether.

Shaggy - I partied with 2 folks who work for ChampCar at RA this year. According to them the attitude is horrid and the only glimmer of hope was Cotman period.

Additionally I know 3 other team members who have admitted that they are looking and are prepared to bolt with a reasonable offer. According to them people have held on because they have had hope - much like many of us who work in a department which is run poorly. The only difference is these folks have held on longer because they have a passion for their sport and ChampCar specifically.

That's ou the window now and frankly it didn't take Cotman stepping down to push that... His departure only makes it worse.

What you fail to comprehend is that these sponsors only wanted Indy. They did not want CC or the IRL. At least, that is how I read what you wrote (which is similar to what others have written). A number of the teams (e.g. Walker, Bachelart and Coyne) have stated that an Indy-only deal is not good for them and that they prefer CC to the IRL. I fail to understand why all these "alleged" sponsors that are "ready" to jump in for CC, if Indy is included, don't just go to the IRL, which already has Indy.

Now, if I don't like the way Enron is being run, I'd think twice about going to Citigroup, for example. The only thing keeping Citigroup alive is a $7B infusion from a rich Arab prince (the way Indy keeps the IRL alive).

A lot of people are disappointed and sad with CC, Well, guess what, a lot of IRL fans are also disappointed with what the IRL is becoming. I get the impression that for every new fan the IRL gains, from CC, it loses 2 of its original fans.
CC does not have Indy or Honda as sugar daddies, but that does not mean that it cannot make a future for itself.

I don't understand all these calls to have CC stop racing. If people don't like it, they should stop watching it. Why does anyone care what KK does with his money ?

shaggy

#56 fer312t

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:07

I don't understand all these calls to have CC stop racing. If people don't like it, they should stop watching it.



It's painful to watch a once great series flounder on for one more sad season...
It would be preferable for it to end now, rather than after one more dragged out year of half-grids and shifting driver lineups... If it has to die, let it die now...Maybe then something else can begin to fill the gap (and not talking about the IRL)

#57 Burai

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 13:39

Originally posted by shaggy
I don't understand all these calls to have CC stop racing. If people don't like it, they should stop watching it. Why does anyone care what KK does with his money ?


Because I'd quite like the diehard teams, hopeful young drivers and sponsors who've continued to support Champ Car in spite of the lack of financial reward, prestige and legitimacy to be set free of their obligations before they all go bankrupt.

#58 Tmeranda

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 15:39

Originally posted by fer312t
Graham Rahal better set his sites on GP2...and do it quick...

ChampCar is lost...and the IRL is a dead zone...


Right on the money.

#59 Dudley

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 16:44

Originally posted by shaggy

I don't understand all these calls to have CC stop racing. If people don't like it, they should stop watching it. Why does anyone care what KK does with his money ?


Because the good teams can join the good IRL teams and give us one series that might be WORTH watching.

As for "stop watching", most people have. That's the problem.

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#60 aportinga

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 17:03

Originally posted by shaggy

What you fail to comprehend is that these sponsors only wanted Indy. They did not want CC or the IRL.


Who gives a shit - if they are willing to spend cash to put money into a team for a full season what difference does it make?

It's better then no money at all.

Forget the fans man - what about the employees of CCWS and team members who have put their heart and soul into this.... Think of the drag they've had to deal with over the last 2 seasons...

KK owes it to them to make better decisions or fold - all the while helping the teams to find new opportunities in ALMS or perhaps even the IRL. At the very least if folding was the option and he offered said assistance he would be standing up to many of the obligations outlined in the BCP trial.

#61 shaggy

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 18:17

It may be painful for some of you .... but not to some of us (at least not to me since I hope, and believe, that it is becoming better).

If we go back to CART, then, I'll go back to what I used to do when CART was around - watch only the road and street race parts of it.
I have never liked ovals and I have NEVER watched an entire oval race (I don't think I have ever watched more than 25 % of an oval race. If I do, I watch the beginning, and try to watch the end of the race if I can, while avoiding everything in between). So, having CC fold/join the IRL does nothing for me. I don't want that. Plenty of IRL fans don't want to go back to CART - they hate the fact that the IRL has already become CART II, for crying out loud. What do you think is going to happen to them when even more road/street races are added ?

I think things have reached a point where OW cannot be put back together again. The oval and road racing sides have been drawn and there is no way of creating a middle ground again.

KK, I believe, already fulfilled his obligations. He does not owe anyone in CC a thing. He tried. He may have failed, but he tried. He does not owe anyone anything. If push comes to shove, it is WE owe him a "thank you" note.

If the ship sinks, I'll go down with it. Sorry, but ovals do nothing for me, I'd rather sink than ride that ship.

shaggy

#62 Dudley

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 18:26

You do realise the IRL races on road courses right?

#63 Jedi_F1

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 18:43

.. more and more bad news for the Champcar side is coming through..

at this moment only 1 driver is officially confirmed for the series..

No a seat yet for talented guys like: Power, Wilson, Doornbos,...

No TV deals yet, even not Eurosport have signed anything ):

Some Teams who entered 2 cars last year, have now plans for just one car...

The Atlantic champion of 2007 'Matos' refused to go with his price money to Champcar (he asked for a 2 year deal at Forthsythe, but they only offered him 1 year) now he's heading to Indy Pro.

.. I don't like Oval racing eather.. just like Shaggy.. I do prefer the Champcar format instead of the Indycar.. but we must realise more than ever.. if the bad news stuff wil come more and more.. that a merge between the 2 is very urgent or maybe both of them will die silently..

I know maybe it's me who's thinking 'black' but still .. the alarm bell is not only ringing for the Stock Markets but also for the Champcar!

Nascar is almost the one and only big thing in the States... and I still don't get it why... luckily we still have the ALMS & Grand Am stuff from our american friends!

#64 fer312t

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 20:01

Hmm...Neel Jani has officially jumped the ship for A1GP full time...

#65 fer312t

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 02:15

Latest News: Tony George enters the fray with a proposal to unite the series?!

http://www.speedtv.c...champcar/42686/

What an @#$%@, Mr. George...but I hope they find a way to do something...

#66 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:40

TG is offering free cars and 1.2 Million to CCWS teams, if they commit to a full season on ovals.
Freakin' hilarious.
And he still has no takers.
This must being going over great in the irl garages.
FTG is going to save USOW all right, by ending up owning every car and giving away money like the weekly lotto to entice them to show up at races.
Something must have gone seriously wrong in the Hulman gene pool, grand pappy only had to unlock the gates at IMS for one month a year to make a gazillion.
FTG spends a gazillion to bribe teams to even show up in May.
And people wonder why when it comes to racing in the US, NASCAR gets the viewers.
USOW is at this point, all of it, at room temperature.

#67 Dudley

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:30

The IRL doesn't run "A full season on ovals"

#68 Locai

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 18:13

Reading this has gotten me to thinking...

Panoz is building all of the ChampCar chassis.

Panoz owns a few tracks.

Panoz owns the ALMS.

The ALMS has a fairly successful, semi-stable schedule.

The ALMS schedule includes many of the 'more desirable' ChampCar venues.

The ALMS has been very successful at attracting a multitude of different chassis, engine, and tire suppliers.

If ChampCar dies, what's to stop Panoz from starting their own open-wheel series?

I'm not saying...I'm just saying. :)

#69 wj_gibson

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 18:23

If CCWS dies, as looks likely before a wheel has even turned at Long Beach, the last thing that would be needed is another open-wheel series emerging form its ashes to compete with the IRL.

#70 polymath

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 18:49

Reading this thread has made me very sad. Thinking back to the CART days of the 90's and to see what AOWR has now become it's a damn shame. I hope they both fail. I hope a new league called F1 America's or something like that crops up in their place. Sometimes you have to erase the entire chalkboard and start from scratch & I think that time has come. If the IRL is basing is future on Gene Simmons I'm scared for us all.

#71 FLB

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 19:10

Pure speculation on my part, but might this be the reason why Cotman resigned? Derrick Walker says that he hadn't heard anything about TG's plan until now. Did Forsythe and Kalkoven want to keep this offer secret, to keep anybody from jumping ship?

#72 anbeck

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 20:34

I don't like TG, but I hope they take the offer. Kalkhoven and Forsythe aren't really in a position to make any demands - they probably are the owners of nothing in a few months. I hope they'll do it for 2008!

#73 aportinga

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 21:46

Originally posted by Locai
Reading this has gotten me to thinking...

Panoz is building all of the ChampCar chassis.

Panoz owns a few tracks.

Panoz owns the ALMS.

The ALMS has a fairly successful, semi-stable schedule.

The ALMS schedule includes many of the 'more desirable' ChampCar venues.

The ALMS has been very successful at attracting a multitude of different chassis, engine, and tire suppliers.

If ChampCar dies, what's to stop Panoz from starting their own open-wheel series?

I'm not saying...I'm just saying. :)


If the teams would not go to the IRL, I would rather they run off to the ALMS because that is a great series!

#74 shaggy

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 21:48

Originally posted by Dudley
You do realise the IRL races on road courses right?

Only on 5, which may go down to 3 next year if WG and Sonoma are lost (WG is almost certainly gone).

shaggy

#75 ColdHeart

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 21:55

Originally posted by FLB
Pure speculation on my part, but might this be the reason why Cotman resigned? Derrick Walker says that he hadn't heard anything about TG's plan until now. Did Forsythe and Kalkoven want to keep this offer secret, to keep anybody from jumping ship?


Cotman quit over the lousy TV deal and the way it was handled. Reportedly he is going to work for the IRL and will run their IPS series.

#76 ColdHeart

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:07

Originally posted by aportinga


If the teams would not go to the IRL, I would rather they run off to the ALMS because that is a great series!


Hard to see how ALMS can sustain itself, the numbers are even worse than CC or the IRL: the cars are far more expensive and the TV audience is small. The manufacturers are footing the bills now but it is tough to see how that is going to last.

#77 Jedi_F1

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:08

Originally posted by shaggy

Only on 5, which may go down to 3 next year if WG and Sonoma are lost (WG is almost certainly gone).

shaggy


That could change in the future...

because: why running almost all te races on ovals, so the only difference between Nascar & Indycar would be the cars?
Not good, not intresting enough,...

Euhm .. a little bit of ovals oké, certainly the Indy 500 must survive.. but I suggest a 75% road courses & 25 % ovals for a possible united 1 single seater series in the US.

The intrest in the rest of the world will be growing 'again' and it will be intresting for drivers who don't make it (yet) to F1 or could go over there after F1.

#78 ColdHeart

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:11

The problem with your reasoning is that there has never been a successful road-racing oriented series in the US. Every single one - IMSA, CanAm, TransAm, F5000, CART, OWRS/CC - all of them have failed. GrandAm and ALMS continue today but only just.

#79 Jedi_F1

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:27

Originally posted by ColdHeart
The problem with your reasoning is that there has never been a successful road-racing oriented series in the US. Every single one - IMSA, CanAm, TransAm, F5000, CART, OWRS/CC - all of them have failed. GrandAm and ALMS continue today but only just.


^true .. but before the 1997 split things weren't so bad ... or am I wrong?

And can you explaine why those 'road'series aren't that succesfull in the states?
Is it the taste of the big american crowd, that they want to be in a big area where they can see all the cars all the time.. and driving skills isn't that important but seeïng just the speed and sometimes huges crashes?

Or is it something else?

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#80 F575 GTC

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:32

Originally posted by ColdHeart
ALMS continue today but only just.


Which won't be for much longer if they can't get the rules straightened out rather than changing them every other session.

#81 ColdHeart

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:46

Originally posted by Jedi_F1


^true .. but before the 1997 split things weren't so bad ... or am I wrong?

And can you explaine why those 'road'series aren't that succesfull in the states?
Is it the taste of the big american crowd, that they want to be in a big area where they can see all the cars all the time.. and driving skills isn't that important but seeïng just the speed and sometimes huges crashes?

Or is it something else?


Simply put, oval racing has a very long heritage in the US - racing here evolved out of running at horse tracks after the turn of the century and there are dirt oval tracks all over the country. It is a natural progression to then move to paved ovals and faster cars.

Road racing has always been seen as an elitist wing of the sport and while there are successful races and tracks, far too few to sustain a series.

And it is also worth pointing out that the Indy 500 is an oval race and has influenced the sport here for almost 100 years.

#82 ColdHeart

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 23:02

And speaking of elitist:

driving skills isn't that important but seeïng just the speed and sometimes huges crashes?



If oval racing is so easy, so lacking in skill, why don't more road racers come to oval racing and dominate? In 34 oval races, Montoya had exactly two top 5s in NASCAR, and none came in the last 16 races when he would have learned the ropes.

#83 F575 GTC

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 23:28

Originally posted by ColdHeart
And speaking of elitist:



If oval racing is so easy, so lacking in skill, why don't more road racers come to oval racing and dominate? In 34 oval races, Montoya had exactly two top 5s in NASCAR, and none came in the last 16 races when he would have learned the ropes.


I think it's meant in the sense that a lap of an Oval track is 'easier' to do than a lap of a road circuit. It'd certainly be easier than a lap of La Sarthe or Monaco for example.

That's not to say that there isn't skill involved in driving at those speeds for 300+ laps and so close to other cars, but that actual skill involved in memorising the track would surely be easier than memorising a road course with 12 or so corners of varying degree's.

#84 917k

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 00:33

Originally posted by F575 GTC


I think it's meant in the sense that a lap of an Oval track is 'easier' to do than a lap of a road circuit. It'd certainly be easier than a lap of La Sarthe or Monaco for example.

That's not to say that there isn't skill involved in driving at those speeds for 300+ laps and so close to other cars, but that actual skill involved in memorising the track would surely be easier than memorising a road course with 12 or so corners of varying degree's.



Cue Border Reiver...........and for good reason.

#85 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:33

Originally posted by ColdHeart
The problem with your reasoning is that there has never been a successful road-racing oriented series in the US. Every single one - IMSA, CanAm, TransAm, F5000, CART, OWRS/CC - all of them have failed. GrandAm and ALMS continue today but only just.


I would have to take some exception to that sweeping statement in the case of IMSA. During the period that John Bishop ran IMSA, 1969 to the middle of 1989 (he sold it at the end of 1988 and stayed on until the middle of the following season), IMSA was a very, very successful. It made money. After Bishop sold it, those owning the series basically did not have a lick of sense that in any way shape or form approaching that of Bishop and they blew it. Yes, ultimately whatever it was using the IMSA name failed, but IMSA under John Bishop was quite successful. However, your main point is one that, like it or not, is all too true. The reasons generally have, in my opinion, less to do with the fact that they are road racing series and more to do with business models. Toss in inept and often clueless management and no end of other factors and you soon have several case studies in how not to do a racing series. In the cases of Can-Am, Trans-Am, and Formula SCCA/F5000 the SCCA managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory each time.

#86 McGuire

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 02:58

Originally posted by F575 GTC


I think it's meant in the sense that a lap of an Oval track is 'easier' to do than a lap of a road circuit. It'd certainly be easier than a lap of La Sarthe or Monaco for example.

That's not to say that there isn't skill involved in driving at those speeds for 300+ laps and so close to other cars, but that actual skill involved in memorising the track would surely be easier than memorising a road course with 12 or so corners of varying degree's.


On an oval or a road course, the challenge is not memorizing the track, it's mastering it -- and the track changes all day long. If you slip a little on a road course and lose a tenth, that's trivial on a race lap; you do your best to make it up on the next corner. Lose a tenth on an oval and you get passed by three cars. And the only way you can get back those positions is by pressing harder or waiting for others to make a mistake. Slip by more than a tenth and you can end up in the wall.

Meanwhile, the car and track surface are constantly changing as the fuel burns off, the tires wear, the track rubbers up, and the sun and wind come and go, so the driver must constantly adjust his line, his pace, and his aggression level to suit... and his antiroll bars... knowing how hard to press the issue and when, and how much to hold back as the race ebbs and flows. And knowing how to help his crew chief and engineer make the right calls on tires, pressure, wing adjustments...

One of the most important things to watch in an oval race: as conditions constantly change, at some point in the day even the fastest car on the track can be at best a fifth place car. Will the driver crash trying to carry the car on his back, or will he give up and cruise to the end, or will he work with the car and the track and wait for the race to come back to him? And these chess matches are playing out through the field, from the front of the grid to the back. The top oval drivers are masters of racecraft, and Mears was probably the best ever. A good open-wheel oval race is as great as racing gets. Magic.

#87 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 03:24

Originally posted by McGuire

The top oval drivers are masters of racecraft, and Mears was probably the best ever. A good open-wheel oval race is as great as racing gets. Magic.


Word.
Oval racing is about grip. Just about every oval racer for the last fifty years is driving a car that has more horsepower than tyre.
Getting the balance between the two is what makes the difference between great oval racers, and the also rans.
In my case the over winged cars in the irl took a lot of that away, so hence my switch to watching NASCAR.
Mears would have been just as dominating in NASCAR as he was in CART/USAC, he knew where to make the car stick, and how to get the power down out of the corners in any conditions.

#88 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 03:44

Originally posted by ColdHeart
Montoya had exactly two top 5s in NASCAR, and none came in the last 16 races when he would have learned the ropes.


That makes your case?
Puhleezee.
Montoya got into a car that weighed more than twice as much what he had raced for the prior five years, against more than twice as many competitors, most of which had ten times the experience he had in rear wheel drive, front engine cars, which he had never had any experience driving. It's still amazing he did what he accomplished last year. If anything his rookie year proves the previous posters point. Add in the fact that he won the indy 500 in a car he had never raced before, and it can even be said that RC racers dominate oval drivers, which is not true at all.

"That season (2000) the Ganassi team also competed in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 race, part of the rival Indy Racing League series. Media and drivers were critical of the way Juan Pablo approached the Brickyard, many IRL drivers labelled him as reckless and predicted an early retirement from the race. The media activity around the event was intense, with Montoya and his CART teammate Jimmy Vasser being the first CART drivers to "cross-over" to drive in the Indy 500. Despite public warnings from two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. claiming that if a driver doesn't respect the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the place "will bite you - hard" Montoya shrugged off the advice claiming that all four corners were exactly the same and that the track required less attention than the road courses in the CART series and in European racing.

In the event, the Colombian star led 167 of 200 laps and claimed top honours at the end of the 500 mile race, taking an easy victory on his first attempt. He was the first to do so since Formula One World Champion Graham Hill in 1966 and was the first Colombian winner. "*

*Wikipedia

#89 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:56

It was Montoya/Ganassi vs the 2000 spec IRL. Of course it was easy.

#90 Bumper

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:10

Originally posted by FLB
Pure speculation on my part, but might this be the reason why Cotman resigned? Derrick Walker says that he hadn't heard anything about TG's plan until now. Did Forsythe and Kalkoven want to keep this offer secret, to keep anybody from jumping ship?


You may well be on the ball here. Strange that only one or two big teams knew about this, but the smaller fry (well, still considerable names like Vasser and Derrick Walker) were left in the dark. Everyone in CC in the above-quoted Speed article sounds interested in the deal.

I'd say take the frigging offer KK/Forsythe. Sounds like CC is going to squeeze one more year out of their current series, and this is more a pride issue then business sense. From the above-quoted Speed TV article:

Tony's offer: "Free cars. Free engines. Long Beach, Toronto, Edmonton, Mexico City and Australia added to the Indy Racing League’s schedule. A unified open-wheel series for 2008".

KK's and Forsythe's reaction: "It’s believed they want George to pay them as much as $100 million, in addition to providing free equipment and paying to sanction those five races. Also, one or both requested a seat on the IRL board."

I think it's quite reasonable for KK/Forsythe to demand a seat on the board, and of course those five races are CC's trump card. But they will be worth nil if there are no teams left to have a series, and timing is everything here. Tony George realises this and his offer is a cunning one.

Carl Haas will jump ship in 2009 for sure: “It hasn’t happened yet but we’ve certainly considered going,” said Haas, who along with Paul Newman and Mike Lanigan own Champ Car’s most visible and successful operation. “It may not happen this year, but it’s highly probable we’ll do it in 2009 because there needs to be one series.” If Newman-Haas leaves, Forsythe will leave too and it's curtains.

Again, take the frigging offer, work something out and put us all out of our misery.

#91 anbeck

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 13:04

Now Haas has spelt it out:
http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/64852


EDIT: Ups, somehow didn't see Bumper's post.... :blush:

#92 Dudley

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 14:03

Originally posted by 917k



Cue Border Reiver...........and for good reason.


DRIVING a vaguely competitive lap on almost all ovals is easier.

WINNING is exactly as hard... possibly harder given the smaller gaps.

#93 D82

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 14:20

Originally posted by anbeck
Now Haas has spelt it out:
http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/64852


EDIT: Ups, somehow didn't see Bumper's post.... :blush:


Does Paul Newman considers leaving too? I remember he was the one who prevented Carl Haas from leaving CART for years.

#94 McGuire

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 14:30

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


I would have to take some exception to that sweeping statement in the case of IMSA. During the period that John Bishop ran IMSA, 1969 to the middle of 1989 (he sold it at the end of 1988 and stayed on until the middle of the following season), IMSA was a very, very successful. It made money. After Bishop sold it, those owning the series basically did not have a lick of sense that in any way shape or form approaching that of Bishop and they blew it. Yes, ultimately whatever it was using the IMSA name failed, but IMSA under John Bishop was quite successful. However, your main point is one that, like it or not, is all too true. The reasons generally have, in my opinion, less to do with the fact that they are road racing series and more to do with business models. Toss in inept and often clueless management and no end of other factors and you soon have several case studies in how not to do a racing series. In the cases of Can-Am, Trans-Am, and Formula SCCA/F5000 the SCCA managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory each time.


All true, but in the final analysis there is no solid tradition for road racing in the USA, as there is for oval racing in the USA or road racing in Europe. Except for the Vanderbilt Cup, the Elgin road races, and a handful of other events, we didn't really have road racing until the postwar sports car boom. Our country's auto racing culture is rooted primarily in the oval tracks. That's the basic problem with road racing in the USA.

There were some great seasons in IMSA and CART in the '80s and '90s, but as it was happening a basic problem should have been recognized: the desperate lack of infrastructure. Nearly all our permanent road courses were built in the '50s and '60s, and have not exactly seen continual improvements. But instead of investing in facilities, homes for the sport to take root and grow, temporary street courses were used to bring the entertainment product into the major markets. It worked, sort of, but after all these years what does the sport have to show for it?

#95 Bumper

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 15:03

Originally posted by D82
Does Paul Newman considers leaving too? I remember he was the one who prevented Carl Haas from leaving CART for years.


Well, that's what I was wondering too. If it weren't for Newman, Carl Haas would have bolted for the IRL years ago as Haas is a business man first and foremost. Also, with Newman-Haas there's a third business interest nowadays, Lannigan.

#96 Andretti Fan

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 15:40

Could it be Newman just might retire from team ownership?

#97 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 16:00

Originally posted by McGuire
All true, but in the final analysis there is no solid tradition for road racing in the USA, as there is for oval racing in the USA or road racing in Europe. Except for the Vanderbilt Cup, the Elgin road races, and a handful of other events, we didn't really have road racing until the postwar sports car boom. Our country's auto racing culture is rooted primarily in the oval tracks. That's the basic problem with road racing in the USA.

There were some great seasons in IMSA and CART in the '80s and '90s, but as it was happening a basic problem should have been recognized: the desperate lack of infrastructure. Nearly all our permanent road courses were built in the '50s and '60s, and have not exactly seen continual improvements. But instead of investing in facilities, homes for the sport to take root and grow, temporary street courses were used to bring the entertainment product into the major markets. It worked, sort of, but after all these years what does the sport have to show for it?


No disagreement on the final analysis from me. Indeed, it sums things up pretty well, whether folks like to admit it or not.

The second paragraph goes a long way in pointing out one of the (many) major problems that deep-sixed road racing, the lack of infrastructure.

I have always enjoyed both road racing and oval racing very much. It is a constant source of amusement (and amazement) to me that so many split off into opposing camps and devote so much (wasted) energy tossing cow pies at each other and squabbling over something that most don't diddly-squat about in the first place.

#98 ensign14

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 16:22

Originally posted by McGuire

All true, but in the final analysis there is no solid tradition for road racing in the USA, as there is for oval racing in the USA or road racing in Europe. Except for the Vanderbilt Cup, the Elgin road races, and a handful of other events, we didn't really have road racing until the postwar sports car boom. Our country's auto racing culture is rooted primarily in the oval tracks. That's the basic problem with road racing in the USA.

I've just looked at attendances at USAC Championship races 50 years ago. The only non-Indy rounds that had crowds listed were Trenton (12,000) and Phoenix (9,000). To see whether this was a freak I went back 5 years. 26,000 at Milwaukee, less than 7,000 at Springfield, 20,000 at Springfield, 24,500 at Milwaukee 2, 18k at Indy Fairgrounds, 9,000 at Sacramento and Phoenix (suspiciously the exact figures were the same). Only 60,000 at Syracuse broke that run which would embarrass Sheffield Wednesday let alone a national championship.

I submit that the US open wheel racing is solely rooted at Indy. From a spectator perspective. It is all about Indy and nothing else has ever mattered.

Indeed it was an achievement for CART to get people interested in a championship at all. The 1968 USAC National Championship had 24 different race weekends. Know how many drivers had 24 starts all season? Six. And only 10 started 20 or more. Dan Gurney came 7th with 5 starts. Even in 1978 only four drivers started every round (and six others missed one or two).

Far be it from me to suggest that The Split was partly caused by the fact that there was a viable championship independent of Indy (and indeed ran successfully for a number of years till Penske decided to bolt back) that somebody wanted to squish, but...

#99 aportinga

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 16:29

Originally posted by ColdHeart
And speaking of elitist:



If oval racing is so easy, so lacking in skill, why don't more road racers come to oval racing and dominate? In 34 oval races, Montoya had exactly two top 5s in NASCAR, and none came in the last 16 races when he would have learned the ropes.


Most of the WDC these days are sissys.

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#100 xflow7

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 16:50

Originally posted by Andretti Fan
Could it be Newman just might retire from team ownership?


While it's been kept very quiet, apparently Newman has recently undergone fairly serious cancer surgery. It seems he's on the mend, but not entirely well, so it would not surprise me in the least if he took the opportunity to finally step aside fully.

http://insider.speed...der=asc&start=0

It goes with out saying, but best wishes to Paul and his family. He is truly remarkable.