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Sports Business

Open-wheel deal raises questions

February 19, 2008
The Indy Racing League series will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce its unification with Champ Car, sources close to the series said. John Griffin, Indy Racing League vice president of public relations, said though the exact timing of an announcement has not been confirmed it is “a fair assumption” that there will be an announcement tomorrow.

Champ Car teams this week began hustling to prepare for the Indy Racing League’s first open test Feb. 27 and 28, sources close to both series confirmed. That can only mean one thing, they said. Unification of the two open-wheel series is at hand.

There is already speculation that the unification will bring the series' car count as high as 26 running full-time and 40 cars gunning for 33 slots at the Indianapolis 500. While open-wheel insiders applaud the increased competition there is concern that some of the smaller teams will be driven out of business. There is also much speculation about what the revamped schedule will look like. Sources said those details—and others—will be disclosed at tomorrow’s press conference.

The question remains, if unification does happen, how big an impact will it have on open-wheel racing? And ulitmately, who will the winners and losers be?
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