Wheldon races to Panther

September 2, 2008
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We didn't have to wait long to find out where Dan Wheldon would land. Just more than an hour after news broke that Dario Franchitti would be replacing him at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Wheldon announced he will be driving next year for Panther Racing. Vitor Meira meanwhile is likely out at Panther.

Wheldon has previously worked for Panther Racing, first signing a testing agreement with the locally based team in 2002. In 2005, Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League Championship, while nailing an IRL-record six race victories. It appears that perhaps the IRL Silly Season is open. So stay tuned.
  • Anthony,

    And that's the best you can do to wax eloguently on this issue is to call it a silly season? I wonder what Chip Ganassi or John Barnes would say about your choice of words?
  • The late part of the racing season has long been referred to as the silly season... get you panties out of a wad and stop looking to constantly defend your down the tubes EARL.
  • To me this is sad... with respect to Wheldon. I hope I'm wrong, and that he'll be able to take Panther to the winner's circle, but this just seems like another step backwards for a guy that I thought embodied that cool, young, and brash crowd that the IRL marketers were looking for. At one time he was single...dated all the girls he wanted, had some quirky teeth but great character and was an awesome interview... an ambassador for the 500 to boot as he would often describe it himself as the best race in the world. Now he's married, has a horrible cosmetic dentist, and is a bore of an interview. Seriously, someone wake Dan up from this nightmare... next thing you know he's going to start saying things like Indy car is too dangerous... or wait... someone already said that.. it was the dude who just replaced him in the #10 Target Chip Ganassi ride. Whoops! Dan... come on bro... step your game back up and get back to that 2005 form! We need you out there!
  • Brett has already said it but it needs to be said again, berwickguy take a chill. Do a google search and see silly season is a common term for this time of year in motor sports (and cycling). You act as though you are some expert or even insider but some of your comments make it apparent you are merely a pretender. Instead of commenting on the actual content of the blog post (Dan Wheldon moving to Panther) you just cut down Schoettle's choice of words.
  • I wonder if the National Guard will stay on as the sponsor on the #4 car. Seems odd that the National Guard car is continually driven by foreigners. Of course, Dan's teeth are probably manufactured in the U.S., so he's at least got that going for him. Now if they could only make him look a little less like Mr. Ed.

    I'm glad to have Dario back. If they can just get his damn wife to keep her mouth shut, 2009 could be a fun season. Ashley Judd on racing was just to stupid to deal with in the post-race wrap-up. Since the wrap-up will likely be longer on Versus, someone just needs to muzzle the woman.
  • Call me a nitwit if you like, but I don't see how the following description (from Wikipedia) applies to the IRL during the lead up to the last race of the season. Perhaps after Chicagoland, I could see the point. As to why it applies to NASCAR, that entire season can be perceived by some as becoming boring and repetitious since it is so long.

    It also refers to off-seasons in sports, such as football, Formula One, NBA, or NFL - where due to lack of action on field/track, speculations are instead made on possible team changes and debuts of any star involved in the sport. However, it is used as a year-round phrase in NASCAR, as changes occur on a full-time basis and there is no so-called off-season.
  • Oh Wikipedia there is a primary source I would depend on. Berwickguy you have shown what a true expert you are in your persistent (dog with a bone) argument here. Do you have comment on Wheldon going to Panther or the IRL in general?
  • Hazel,

    I never said I was an expert nor implied that. I was responding to my thoughts on the subject. You're the one that suggested I do a Google search, which I did. Most of what I saw was lined up with NASCAR. I believe I already made my point there.

    As fans, we always have something to learn. I am the first to admit that. Enjoyment is what I seek and gaining knowledge as I go.

    Regarding Weldon, Dan has been a great racer, but seems to have overstayed his welcome at Ganassi for some reason. I have enjoyed the IRL for years. I see the downside and the carnage that has occurred largely as a result of money and power. Those elements ultimately tend to ruin most things that are enjoyable.

    One can look also to what's going on in NASCAR. The multitude of those fans are fickle and they will lose interest in droves the way things are headed with those boring races and the non stock car.

    Lastly, I just don't see how silly season fits at a time when the excitement of a series champion comes down to the final race, just as it did last year.
  • Berwick guy:

    Have you ever worked in racing? Been to a race? Understood the sport? I'm not trying to be a jerk, but cmon man, you are coming off like a complete tool, as using wiki as a source for your racing knowledge. Even the Gomerati @ Trackforum would laugh you out the room with retorts such as this. Sillly Season starts when the first substantial rumor escapes the paddock. Its been that way for years. period.

    Just take a chill, read, and learn.

    But do take pride in the fact that you might be a bit more knbowledgable than Scott Goodyear.

  • DaHooey,

    Like I said before, Hazel is the one that suggested I do a Google search, which I did just for her. No, I don't rely on wiki as a source of info, but to placate her, it was the only one I could find that wasn't all about NASCAR.

    I have not worked in racing, but have attended many and used to work some at IRP, back in the good old days of Bob Glidden, etc. And then there's you, the ultimate source of all things road racing worthy with a big put down of Scott Goodyear.

    Did you ever race, finish 2nd in the Indy 500, or be a competitor of anything besides running your mouth as a nattering nabob of negativity?

    Thought not! I may not have all of the street knowledge you do, but I'm willing to admit that, and I don't throw Tony George under the bus for trying to make a bad situation into a better situation.
  • OK, thanks for clearing all that up. :lol:
  • ...and I don’t throw Tony George under the bus for trying to make a bad situation into a better situation.

    He is the cause of the bad situation. All of the things he bitched about in CART are in his league save for attendance, ratings, sponsors, and manufacturer involvement. He has engine leases, Roger and Chip, street festivals and road courses and evil foreign road racers dominating his league. Preserving the heritage of the 'Murrican oval track driver was a bunch of BS...

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