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Newman-Haas and the death of Champcar


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#1 Ali_G

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 18:25

CART/Champcar is prob dead.

Carl Haas after coming out saying that if a deal is not done soon, he'll move his team to IRL in 2009.

Wether or not there will be a Champcar Series in 2008 at all is a better question.

I still don't understand how CART fell from such a position in 1996 to the state it is in today. Who can you blame ? Chip Gnassai ? Roger Penske ?

At least Newman-Haas and Gerald Foresyth supported them to the end.


I feel really bad writing this. Back 10 years ago, you could arguabley call CART the best racing series in the world. There was great ontrack action and a great mix of tracks. Sadly from about 2002 onwards it all went downhill. The mass shift of teams to IRL to run Indy. The bankruptcy of CART. The decision to drop all ovals. It was great while it lasted.

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#2 molive

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 18:38

Originally posted by Ali_G
Who can you blame?


That's quite easy to answer, actually.

I'd say that, after F1 left, and once CART closes shop, OW racing is pretty much done in "tin top land".

:wave:

#3 shaggy

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:04

Originally posted by Ali_G
CART/Champcar is prob dead.

Carl Haas after coming out saying that if a deal is not done soon, he'll move his team to IRL in 2009.

Wether or not there will be a Champcar Series in 2008 at all is a better question.

I still don't understand how CART fell from such a position in 1996 to the state it is in today. Who can you blame ? Chip Gnassai ? Roger Penske ?

At least Newman-Haas and Gerald Foresyth supported them to the end.


I feel really bad writing this. Back 10 years ago, you could arguabley call CART the best racing series in the world. There was great ontrack action and a great mix of tracks. Sadly from about 2002 onwards it all went downhill. The mass shift of teams to IRL to run Indy. The bankruptcy of CART. The decision to drop all ovals. It was great while it lasted.

When did Haas say that ? AFAIK, there was no mention whatsoever at the conference today where NHL announced its 2 drivers for 2008.

shaggy

#4 Ali_G

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:07

Autoblog: http://www.autoblog....-moving-to-irl/

Its usually fairly accurate.

#5 noikeee

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:08

http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/64852

#6 Rob

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:45

I think a key moment was when Adrian Fernandez moved his team across. Several other teams had to move after that, citing sponsor demands.

#7 917k

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:07

As painful as it is, I agree with Shaggy. :eek:

CC will creakily soldier on, spending millions upon millions, a shadow of it's former self. These guys are in it to throw the middle finger to TG, nothing else matters.

#8 Ali_G

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:32

Originally posted by 917k
As painful as it is, I agree with Shaggy. :eek:

CC will creakily soldier on, spending millions upon millions, a shadow of it's former self. These guys are in it to throw the middle finger to TG, nothing else matters.


Foresyth will be the last team owner left from the split. Do the new guys who really should have no gripe with TG care that much ?

Amazing fall from grace though. Its hardly 5 years since the forums on 7thgear.com were prophesising CART overtaking F1 in the popularity stakes.

#9 917k

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:37

Originally posted by Ali_G

Amazing fall from grace though. Its hardly 5 years since the forums on 7thgear.com were prophesising CART overtaking F1 in the popularity stakes.



That was a fantasy, and 5 years ago that would have been utter lunacy. 7th gear was a place for zealots and strident fanboys to feel all warm and fuzzy when their world was cold and dark, like now.

#10 Burai

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:47

I blame Champ Car.

When the IRL started in 1996 it was a joke. Nobody took it seriously, nobody gave it longer than a couple of years before IMS came back begging. Nobody jumped ship, nobody wanted to. Tony had the great race. Champ Car still held all the other considerable assets.

Yet over time, Champ Car slowly but surely pissed off every single asset they had with monumentally dumb decisions to make that joke more and more viable. Their staunchest supporters all left, one-by-one to work with the devil incarnate because it was a better option than dealing with the calamitous management of CART.

Tony George may have started the rot, but it was Champ Car that let it completely ruin the harvest.

#11 robnyc

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:58

Montoya winning the Indy 500 for Chip Ganassi did it..

#12 lustigson

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:59

I'm no expert on the subject, but I reckon Champ Car is dead wether Newman/Haas/Lanigan leave the series for the IndyCar Series, or continue to dominate CART like they have done since effectively 2002. At best Champ Car will remain as a third-tier series like Renault World Series, Euro/Italian F3000, and Formula Master.

#13 shaggy

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 00:48

Originally posted by 917k
As painful as it is, I agree with Shaggy. :eek:

CC will creakily soldier on, spending millions upon millions, a shadow of it's former self. These guys are in it to throw the middle finger to TG, nothing else matters.

Thanks ... that must have hurt, I know. Sorry.
For good or for bad, I am somewhat unfeeling towards "memories." I tend to move on and I have. As long as CC can present what I like, I am happy. As I said before, going back to CART 95 means that I would have to go back to 95 - watching only the road and street races. I like it better the way it is now. Joining the IRL for 40-60 % ovals is a waste !!

Real men don't race on ovals ;)

shaggy

#14 slvraro

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:15

To me the CART/CC and IRL split is very interesting. Two of my friends and I wrote a paper in grad school regarding advertising/sponsorship and brand aspect of the CC series. One example we used was the brand names found on the cars in 1998 Portland vs. 2005 Long Beach, which is night and day different. The whole series just seemed to lose its brand identity. Nobody knows what a champ car is and when you try to explain it that just makes it worse. What a mess.

For me, I think the demise began with the engine manufactures bailing. The series touts that it is a driver series which is great if you know the drivers, but most people don't know the drivers so the only thing left for fans to rally behind is the engine manufacturers. When they left, there not much to root for. Just my two cents.

#15 pacwest

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:24

I put the blame squarely on Tony George's shoulders. He wanted a piece of the action and he had THE track. 10 years on he has what he wants but it's not even close to what he wanted. It's a lamer version of what he sought to destroy.

Shame on him.

Smart of him to make a quick buck.

#16 oneGurneyfan

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:23

Originally posted by pacwest
I put the blame squarely on Tony George's shoulders. He wanted a piece of the action and he had THE track. 10 years on he has what he wants but it's not even close to what he wanted. It's a lamer version of what he sought to destroy.

Shame on him.

Smart of him to make a quick buck.


CC & IRL didn't shoot themselves in the foot when they split, they shot themselves in the head.

CC was going to spin itself into oblivion from the first day they walked. TG has THE TRACK....WHICH GIVES HIM.....THE RACE. It has been enough. Together they have ruined a long established American tradition, and in the void they left behind (you could here the sucking sound) comes stockcars.

The truth, of course, is that the US race fan will come back to........ONE SERIES..........! For a template, all they need to do is tune into Fox on any given Sunday.

Americans want to watch "their heroes" race, and when they do, the money will come back, and with it...top teams, and in those teams...top drivers.

ONE SERIES............and it works.

#17 pacwest

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 06:24

I still say JVi won the last REAL Indy 500. Think how LONG ago that was man..... so long.

I still shiver thinking I got to touch that car.

#18 former champ

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 09:59

Originally posted by 917k
That was a fantasy, and 5 years ago that would have been utter lunacy.


5 years ago, clearly a fantasy. During the early to mid 1990's, even late 90's, CART was hugely popular, had far better on track action than F1 and was a serious rival to it. It is an absolute disgrace what has become of OW racing in the US. Nothing but a disgrace.

#19 former champ

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 10:07

Originally posted by pacwest
I still say JVi won the last REAL Indy 500. Think how LONG ago that was man..... so long.

I still shiver thinking I got to touch that car.


:up:

Far too long ago. When all was good though, like it was then, it was a fantastic spectacle. It simply hasn't been the same since the very beginning of the split but it did soldier on pretty well for a while. Then it really turned to shit and has become the shambles it is now. IRL? I've never had any time for it at all and have always thought it very average, at best. Apart from a now waning interest in the Indy 500, I have never cared less for it.

TG has done a shit job, on all accounts. Except for himself.

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#20 McGuire

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 14:44

Originally posted by former champ


:up:

Far too long ago. When all was good though, like it was then, it was a fantastic spectacle. It simply hasn't been the same since the very beginning of the split but it did soldier on pretty well for a while. Then it really turned to shit and has become the shambles it is now. IRL? I've never had any time for it at all and have always thought it very average, at best. Apart from a now waning interest in the Indy 500, I have never cared less for it.

TG has done a shit job, on all accounts. Except for himself.


I can't blame the split on Tony George. We now have a track record from 1996 to 2004 to review, and it clearly shows that CART could not get along with or succesfully do business with anyone. They cheerfully burned every bridge they crossed, blaming anyone and everyone for their own spectacular failures. They simply pissed off and drove away the Speedway first.

And while the IRL has not exactly set the world afire in attendance and popularity, at least it is operated like a real business and will be around next year, and the year after that. That is something to build on.

#21 polymath

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 15:01

Originally posted by McGuire


And while the IRL has not exactly set the world afire in attendance and popularity, at least it is operated like a real business and will be around next year, and the year after that. That is something to build on.


Just wait until Gene Simmons has the drivers wearing makeup & spitting blood. I hope the IRL fails and we start with a clean sheet for the next American OWR series.

#22 lustigson

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 15:17

Originally posted by polymath
I hope the IRL fails and we start with a clean sheet for the next American OWR series.

I guess that's even more unlikely than the two camps getting together. If both Champ Car and IndyCar fail, then I reckon there won't be any open wheel racing series in the US anymore. So, based on the current situation, I'd rather see Champ Car fail and the IRL get to the state of the old IndyCar Series left (1995-ish).

#23 917k

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 16:04

Funny that.

The current CC owner / operators have successfully driven their series to the brink of bankruptcy, while the previous group [made up of many of the current group] collapsed the series in spectacular fashion........yet the diehards still think they should be in charge.

Their history is proof of their incompetance.

#24 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:01

Well, here in California we are doing our best to keep Formula Cars on the road courses.
The world's fastest Cuban just informed the local gang we have 10 tickets and four rooms booked in Monterey for the Laguna Seca race.

mmmmm, turbos in the morning, clam chowder and Anchor Steam for the evening....
:up:

#25 shaggy

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:05

Originally posted by oneGurneyfan


CC & IRL didn't shoot themselves in the foot when they split, they shot themselves in the head.

CC was going to spin itself into oblivion from the first day they walked. TG has THE TRACK....WHICH GIVES HIM.....THE RACE. It has been enough. Together they have ruined a long established American tradition, and in the void they left behind (you could here the sucking sound) comes stockcars.

The truth, of course, is that the US race fan will come back to........ONE SERIES..........! For a template, all they need to do is tune into Fox on any given Sunday.

Americans want to watch "their heroes" race, and when they do, the money will come back, and with it...top teams, and in those teams...top drivers.

ONE SERIES............and it works.

Actually, I think that boxing and Wrestling, in the US, do show that just because you have the stars and the money it will not guarantee success. If, on the other hand, you provide people with something that captures their attention, you will have better chance of success.

Trying to make OW a hit, in the US, is like trying to make soccer a hit. You are trying to bring a new sport into people's living rooms. Good luck. It will time, $$$, marketing .... and it can still fail :(
I have said it before and I will say it again. Getting new customers is a lot easier than bringing old customers back. Once you have broken their trust, you will have to come up with something truly special for them to come back.

Now, if people are content with their favorite sport sharing status with Ninja Warrior, Winter Games and Caged Fighting, then you may "survive." As long as CC can survive, I could care less about the rest.

shaggy

P.S. There is no link yet to Hass claiming he was leaving for the IRL next year, is there ? Or did I miss it ?

#26 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:33

Originally posted by McGuire


I can't blame the split on Tony George.


Of course not.
You never have and you never will.
Of course without TG there would have been no split.
You always have excuses for TG.
CCWS giving money away = bad.
TG giving money away = good.
Because it's 'structured'
Oookaaaaayyyy

Bottomline, 2008 USOW MUST give money away to get raceteams, in either series.
Someone remind me what it was like in 1994, will you?
I can't seem to recall any welfare being handed out by CART or USAC.

It's going to take 20 years to get back to where they were before a vision hit Tony George that he was capable, no, destined, to run a race series and setting it's specs from the IMS offices.

Yup, not his fault at all that USOW is in the shape it's in.
How could it be?

#27 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:45

Originally posted by oneGurneyfan
Together they have ruined a long established American tradition, and in the void they left behind (you could here the sucking sound) comes stockcars.


TG's first mistake, and the same day I wrote him off as a fool, was the day he signed a contract with the France family mafia for a stockcar race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A race track that should have NEVER had anything but USOW cars in it.
It was like letting the camels nose into the tent.
And that was before he initiated the irl.
Dudes got the big brain.

#28 McGuire

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:49

Originally posted by shaggy

P.S. There is no link yet to Hass claiming he was leaving for the IRL next year, is there ? Or did I miss it ?


A quote from Haas to that effect was included in the recent speedtv.com story by Robin Miller.

#29 McGuire

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:54

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII


TG's first mistake, and the same day I wrote him off as a fool, was the day he signed a contract with the France family mafia for a stockcar race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A race track that should have NEVER had anything but USOW cars in it.
It was like letting the camels nose into the tent.
And that was before he initiated the irl.
Dudes got the big brain.


Opinions vary.

#30 Gilles4Ever

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:54

http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/64852


Haas plans to move team to IRL

#31 McGuire

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:07

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII


Yup, not his fault at all that USOW is in the shape it's in.
How could it be?


If the CART franchise board teams had done business in good faith with Tony George in 1994-95, the entire split would have been averted. Instead they chose boycott and a futile and destructive war.

You know, it's not like I am saying anything the least bit outlandish here. Team owners from Penske to Ganassi to Haas to Rahal have all said exactly the same thing: The path chosen by CART was a huge blunder.

#32 Daniel Lester

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 11:01

Proves 2 old sayings:

1. How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large one

2. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

#33 McGuire

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 11:29

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII


CCWS giving money away = bad.
TG giving money away = good.
Because it's 'structured'
Oookaaaaayyyy


That's it in a nutshell. The IRL's plan is rational and sustainable, while Champ Car's is not. IRL can afford its team support program but Champ Car cannot. Champ Car has no significant visible income -- it cannot afford any team support plan on its own. In order for Champ Car to answer the bell at Long Beach this year, the series principals will have to open their checkbooks.

#34 canon1753

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:31

Which they will.

Rationality has nothing to do with anything to do with this whole US OW war. There is too much water under the bridge for anything but a total capitulation or total bankruptcy.

The irony is that if the IRL lost, there still would have been the Indy 500. CART lost and was raised from the dead as CCWS, which looks like it is going to limp from one season to another.

And ultimately NASCAR is the only form of circuit racing that has any really Fortune 500 sponsor type strength in the US. (which, IMHO has made NASCAR more popular but as far as fun and colorfulness is concerned it is a pale imitation of what it was pre 1994 or so)

Miserere nobis.

#35 Axl

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:46

Hate to say it, because I'm a huge CC fan, but listen closely to TG and he has something nobody in CC has:
1-A strategy of focusing on a quality client experience for the folks that attend his races (even if these people happen to be idiots)
2-And he's assembled a group of people that speak the same language as he does

I know, I know... you're full of crap Axl, but look at how they do things...
1-Listen to the drivers, the fans, and the sponsors
2-Do something about it

So does CC, but only 2 years later, and only half-assed.

In the end, TG didn't spin his series off because of money, he left because he was surrounded by owners who were raised by wolves, never left the woods to see how business is really run, and was constantly at odds with them. You do the same whenever you leave a job.

TG has a vastly inferior product for pure racers, but it appeals to US fans. CC has a fabulous product that appeals to a smaller market. Guess who wins??? If F1 weren't so tightly held, TG could actually do away with it as well.

CC could change things around VERY easily, but they've been around too long (ie: set in their ways) that it won't happen. Only thing that would save it is another bankruptcy, a buy-out from an individual who can one-up TG at his own game, and bingo. Chances are that individual is only 16 years old right now and has his nose burried in a business book somewhere.

#36 March76

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:47

I'm with you Canon. There is too much history and way too much ego involved and only the death of one with give the win to the other.

I don't think this current talk will come to much. What will be the deciding factor is Newman-Haas moving to IRL in '09 taking the last big name out of Champcar. I loved watching Champcar in the early nineties when it was CART and everyone was involved (even Senna did a sneaky test with Penske to wind up McLaren) but it's not even a shadow of it's former self these days. The only race I saw this year was Surfer's here in Australia and unfortunately the only thing that people wanted to watch was the V8 touring car races on the support schedule. Very embarassing. The Champcar field was half empty, looked shabby and the racing was struggling to be average.

As I posted on the other Champcar thread - I think IRL is almost there now anyway as far as the major open wheel series goes. With Newman-Haas onboard in '09, a few more road courses and that will be it. It's just a shame that all the bickering and the separation has left NASCAR miles out in front as the leading motorsport category in the US. Why Villeneuve, JPM, Franchitti etc. flock to it is directly related to their bank accounts I'm sure as the racing is crap and a dead-end career wise.

#37 shaggy

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:08

Originally posted by McGuire


That's it in a nutshell. The IRL's plan is rational and sustainable, while Champ Car's is not. IRL can afford its team support program but Champ Car cannot. Champ Car has no significant visible income -- it cannot afford any team support plan on its own. In order for Champ Car to answer the bell at Long Beach this year, the series principals will have to open their checkbooks.

Sustainable, yes.
Rational ???????????????????????????? All the income from tv and track fees goes for Team Support. Honda pays the rest; if he loses Honda, then, the Brickyard will have to keep the IRL alive (as it did for almost 9 years). Again, sustainable it is, rational it is not.

shaggy

#38 Dudley

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 20:00

Originally posted by Axl

TG has a vastly inferior product for pure racers, but it appeals to US fans. CC has a fabulous product that appeals to a smaller market. Guess who wins??? If F1 weren't so tightly held, TG could actually do away with it as well.


He does?

1 - The IRL races on many more types of track
2 - The IRL hasn't had the same driver walk to the championship 4 years running
3 - The IRL hasn't had 90-95% of its drivers change teams or leave every season.
4- The IRL hasn't spun from gimmick to gimmick (1hr 45 races etc) to survive.
5 - The IRL has (perhaps had) more drivers with a decent record.

I mean I like CCWS but I can't see the justification for the statement except some kind of oval snobbery.

Unless of course you had another reason for this which I'd genuinely like to know.

#39 Imperial

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 21:07

What's the confirmed driver count up to now?

Is it six? (Tracy/Servia/Figge/Bernoldi/Rahal/Wilson)

There's maybe 4 other drivers on the periphery who may get rides, but not necessarily full-time, based purely on their nationality.

That's maybe 10 drivers looking like having drives. Who else are they gonna get? There's simply no star names out there who want to be in Champ Car or to be honest any really good (but not star name) drivers who would want to sign up to Champ Cars.

What's the prospects for the 2008 season if it even happens? The six named drivers above, one of which WAS a big name many years back (Tracy) but hasn't been since his title winning season (which took long enough, in fact took until the really good drivers had all gone...), one journeyman (Servia), a no-name (Figge), an F1 pay driver who hasn't even been in a single seater for a couple of years (Bernoldi) and Wilson who is really good but....why's he wasting his time in Champ Car, other than to basically guarantee himself his first title win since F3000? After all, nobody is going to have the car to touch him in 2008.

Other than that you're looking at probably at least 12 drivers who are being severely bankrolled by Champ Car to be there. They certainly won't be bankrolled by sponsors, simply as there are none.

Tony George has offered Champ Car free cars, cash, take key races with them to Indycar. And Champ Car turned it down. Absolutely f***ing amazing. I can't believe it. George's offer was not only a lifeline to the teams who are under pressure of going bust, was an attempt to get one series together so they can push onwards and upwards for single-seater success in America, but it was also an amazingly huge sign that Indycar currently has the cash to make things really happen. Sure it's a gamble, but Indycar's clearly got the money to take those chances in the hope that things work out and the sponsors start rolling in.

I've watched on with interest over the years as various people have 'managed' Champ Car, including Graham Rahal Snr, Chris Pook, the current jokers, and they're just the one's I remember. They've all spectacularly helped to bang a few nails into the coffin.

Are those of us who are in awe of Champ Cars' failure and shortsightedness either naive or are the Champ Car owners actually as pigheaded and stupid as I think they may be?

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#40 Imperial

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 21:14

Originally posted by McGuire


I can't blame the split on Tony George. We now have a track record from 1996 to 2004 to review, and it clearly shows that CART could not get along with or succesfully do business with anyone. They cheerfully burned every bridge they crossed, blaming anyone and everyone for their own spectacular failures. They simply pissed off and drove away the Speedway first.

And while the IRL has not exactly set the world afire in attendance and popularity, at least it is operated like a real business and will be around next year, and the year after that. That is something to build on.


That is the most spot-on comment I have ever read about Tony George and Indycar.

I well remember the Indycar hatred, with websites such as www.crapwagon.com spewing bile against Indycar and George. (Take a look at that sites front page by the way. I wouldn't bet my last £10 on that happening to Indycar before it does Champ Car).

But as you say, time has actually shown that the various owners of Champ Car have one after the other totally screwed Champ Car up to the point where you reach 2008 and a schedule that once again will be a case of "will this race happen or not" on a regular basis and where at the start of February there are but 6 drivers confirmed as taking part.

Meanwhile the much derided Indycar has admittedly not broken attendance records or viewing figures, but does seem to maintain solid consistency and support from the people that really count (those with the money).

#41 McGuire

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 21:29

Originally posted by Imperial
I've watched on with interest over the years as various people have 'managed' Champ Car, including Graham Rahal Snr, Chris Pook, the current jokers, and they're just the one's I remember. They've all spectacularly helped to bang a few nails into the coffin.


Don't you dare leave out my alltime personal favorite, Honest Joe Heitzler. Someday the story can be told.

#42 917k

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 21:54

Originally posted by McGuire


Don't you dare leave out my alltime personal favorite, Honest Joe Heitzler. Someday the story can be told.


You are forgetting the king........Chris Pook, who blew 130 million in a year, bankrupting the series and allowing the current stooges access to it.
Of course, sane people saw that for what it was........intentional devaluation of the series to allow a selected group to pick it up for a song.

So misguided..........

#43 canon1753

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 22:43

Because of mismanagement, (and not having an overarching presence at Indy- which had they gone to it en masse in 1996 and made a fool of the IRL teams they would have had the killer blow IMHO-, still the biggest OW race in the US) CART lost the war. It is as simple as that.

For whatever reason, CCWS was formed from the ashes of CART and has done what they have done, for better or for worse.

Yet no one is willing to administer the killing blow, either CART in 1996-2001, or the IRL since then. If TG had made a credible offer at the bankruptcy hearing...., if CART ran the races leading up to Indy in 1996 or made the 25/8 rule look silly by having a bunch of the fastest cars go home and slowpoke IRL loyalists race the 500... Heck, if the drivers at the 1996 US 500 not looked like rookies at the start and made Indy look good and CART look silly... If CART had give Tony respect... If If If...

I started out in the Pro-CART camp, but watched the IRL for Eddie Cheever. When CART started being dumb with things- 2000 and after- I switched more towards the IRL. I still watch both, neither with much enthusiasm- more for the IRL, but will watch CCWS if its on. Won't stay up or get up early for either of them though....

#44 McGuire

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 23:15

Originally posted by 917k


You are forgetting the king........Chris Pook, who blew 130 million in a year, bankrupting the series and allowing the current stooges access to it.
Of course, sane people saw that for what it was........intentional devaluation of the series to allow a selected group to pick it up for a song.

So misguided..........


I know a lot of people believe that but I don't. Being there and watching it all unfold, as I witnessed it Pook made a deliberate decision to spend every dime and take the team owners right to the hour of judgement, and then if they didn't finally see the light, at least the series would go out looking presentable on the track.

And just think: All he had to do to accomplish this feat was to give the team owners exactly what they demanded. No bother at all. Besides, what you are suggesting -- a conspiracy to defraud the shareholders by raiding the treasury and running the share price down to zero -- is nakedly actionable and CART already had Vannini et al. breathing down its neck. (Which reminds me: That little prick sure lost a pile of $$$.) Vannini's actual profession was shareholder activist/CEO baiter, no joke. That's how he made his bread.

I have to admit I sort of miss all this stuff.. it was fascinating to watch.

#45 oneGurneyfan

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 03:14

Tony George has the IMS, it is the most famous track in the US....top 5 in the world? It is beyond recognizable to the casual racing fan, it is an icon. You literally can't buy that kind of product recognition. For decades US-OWR was a sport with Indianapolis as the economic foundation. Without that one race (two races, counting the qualifying), the sponsors would not have invested mega-$$$ in the teams. If you would have asked, again, the casual fan in the pre-split era what other OWR he watched, you would have gotten in most cases.....a blank look. Of the people who tuned in to see the 500, I would hate to even guess what percentage watched NO OTHER OWR during the year. I'm not knowledgeable enough about the behind the scenes Cart-IRL contagion, but I can recognize a fiasco when I see it. :( :( :cry: :cry: :cry: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

#46 shaggy

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 17:20

The biggest mistake, I think, was turning down ESPN's offer to pay $10M/year (I think that was the number being floated) to televise the races. Instead, CART tried to get CBS on board on the advice of its CEO; I forget who it was, but it was later reported that his credentials were "embellished."
The other mistake was hiring Pook, when there was no other option left. Too little, too late.
Siding with Toyota against Honda was a killer, too.

shaggy

#47 ColdHeart

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 20:35

Originally posted by shaggy
The biggest mistake, I think, was turning down ESPN's offer to pay $10M/year (I think that was the number being floated) to televise the races. Instead, CART tried to get CBS on board on the advice of its CEO; I forget who it was, but it was later reported that his credentials were "embellished."


Not quite right - Disney/ABC/ESPN offered to carry CART's races but weren't willing to pay for the privilege. The CEO, Joe Heitzler, said that CART would take their races where "somebody will pay us millions for the rights to show our races." Turned out that nobody else wanted to pay, either and when CART and Heitzler went back to Disney, they had signed a deal with the IRL and were no longer interested. Ever since then, CART and now CC have had to buy time to get on TV and they have bounced around a variety of networks and cable outlets, paying millions at every turn.

The CEO in question, Joe Heitzler, flat out lied on his resume; he claimed he had won a national championship in SCCA, he claimed to have won an Emmy as a TV producer, he inflated other credentials but CART hired him without checking any of his background. After his spectacular failure at CART, he was fired and was then hired by Gerry Forsythe to run his operations in Mexico, specifically Forsythe's role in promoting the CC race at Mexico City. The last I heard, he had left Forsythe's employment and was trying to promote a street race in Palm Springs.

#48 pkenny

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 21:26

The saddest thing is that none of this really matters. 15 years ago open wheel racing in the US produced the best racing in the World.

With the split one of them was always going to fall by the wayside. The Indy 500 is the only thing that resonates outside the true racing fans and hence it was always the trump card. I cant see the survivor prospering - who would really trust either of the organisers to keep the thing going in the right direction.

I think that Nascar would not have dominated in any case - from a US viewers perspective. Hence, the biggest winner - to my mind - was Bernie and his interest in F1. If Indy car racing circa 1994 had continued to grow it could have started to eat into the loyalty to F1 on a worldwide basis. With the fight between BE and the teams over money some big names might even have left. By the time this came to pass the moment was clearly gone. Is BE bright enough to have seen this - I have no doubts. Did he encourage TG - I cant say but I would not be surprised.

#49 shaggy

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 19:56

Originally posted by ColdHeart


Not quite right - Disney/ABC/ESPN offered to carry CART's races but weren't willing to pay for the privilege. The CEO, Joe Heitzler, said that CART would take their races where "somebody will pay us millions for the rights to show our races." Turned out that nobody else wanted to pay, either and when CART and Heitzler went back to Disney, they had signed a deal with the IRL and were no longer interested. Ever since then, CART and now CC have had to buy time to get on TV and they have bounced around a variety of networks and cable outlets, paying millions at every turn.

The CEO in question, Joe Heitzler, flat out lied on his resume; he claimed he had won a national championship in SCCA, he claimed to have won an Emmy as a TV producer, he inflated other credentials but CART hired him without checking any of his background. After his spectacular failure at CART, he was fired and was then hired by Gerry Forsythe to run his operations in Mexico, specifically Forsythe's role in promoting the CC race at Mexico City. The last I heard, he had left Forsythe's employment and was trying to promote a street race in Palm Springs.

Are you sure ? I remember reading, in "Car and Driver" I think, that ESPN had turned down the IRL and had offered to pay for CART. That story was repeated when ABC dumped more of the IRL onto ESPN and ESPN2.
CC should stick to ESPN and try to get some regular time for its races there. It must be cheaper than network tv and it would provide regular access to its races. Forget about growth for now, just survive.

shaggy

#50 scdecade

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 20:04

All of my interest has passed to F1. It really is a huge shame because I absolutely LIVED for the Indy 500. Since 1993 it's all been undone.