Paul Tracy throws gas on fiery IndyCar debate

February 24, 2010
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Paul Tracy heaved a little gas on the fiery debate about the number of North Americans in the IndyCar Series this year.

“Four drivers from this continent at the first test,” Tracy tweeted to his followers yesterday. “I think there are three wins for all of them put together. As guys like Rahal, Rice and me get to stay home and watch. If that’s what you fans want … enjoy.”

Many open-wheel racing fans took umbrage at Tracy’s comments, tweeting back that it is IndyCar team owners who are at fault, not fans.

Tracy, never short on words, didn’t back down. He implored fans to contact IndyCar Series officials and team owners to tell them what they want.

“Open-wheel fans have been foolishly loyal over the last 15 years, as both series have dragged open-wheel to the bottom of the ocean,” Tracy tweeted this morning. “We have held our breath long enough. And I implore every fan to take charge of what you love and want from IndyCar!!!!!!”

OK, so we know how Tracy, who is a Canadian, feels. And we know that American Graham Rahal, a young, promising and popular IndyCar driver with no sponsorship and no ride this year, is also miffed. He’s said to be considering NASCAR. Though I have to tell you, my sources in NASCAR tell me few are interested in an open-wheel/road course specialist, certainly not for this season.

But let’s give the final word—at least for now—on this debate to a slightly more objective source.

Derek Daly is worth listening to on this subject for a number of reasons. Daly raced Formula One from 1978-82. He raced in CART (and the Indianapolis 500) from 1983-89.

But I’m not into just trotting out retired racers because they’ve been there during the salad days of open-wheel. I wanted to talk to Daly because his 18-year-old son, Conor, is one of the most promising up-and-coming American open-wheel racers.

Maybe I’m a fool, but it seems like if the IndyCar Series is going to be proactive about becoming a place for the best racers—and yes, a place where American talent can be nurtured, then someone at the series level or with one of the teams would have contacted Conor (or contacted Derek about Conor) by now.

“We’ve never heard anything from anybody in the IRL,” Derek Daly said. “Not one team, and no one from the league office. No one ever expressed any interest in his ambitions or to inquire about his development. Nothing.”

Which brings me to my next point. The question of what to do about Rahal should have been asked years ago. At least former IndyCar Series boss Tony George was willing to shell out some cash to try to put promising talent on the track. But that’s just a short-term fix.

Daly thinks the IndyCar Series needs a three- to five-year growth strategy with driver development as its foundation. Daly might be a guy worth listening to. Mario Andretti calls Daly’s book, “Race to Win” the Bible of driver development.

Daly seems like a guy new Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series boss Jeff Belskus might want to get to know. Besides a single email, Daly said he’s never had any contact with Belskus.

Back to Conor Daly, who was the fastest of 22 drivers in the Formula Star Mazda Series test last month. Since no one from the IndyCar Series reached out to him, he and his dad went to an IndyLights meet and greet last year in Chicago.

“He was really excited to meet the drivers and some of the team owners,” Derek Daly said.

But Conor, then 17, was turned away from the paddock. Sources present at the event told me Conor Daly was turned away because Marlboro was doing a promotion—and anyone under 18 wasn’t allowed.

Ironic. Marlboro, who along with other tobacco companies have propped up the sport for so long, might have a hand in killing its future.

Speaking of the future; Conor Daly doesn’t have one in IndyCar, his dad said.

“When Conor looks at his good friend, Graham Rahal, and Graham struggles to establish himself in IndyCar … Conor sees it as an unstable platform,” Derek Daly said.

So that’s just one 18-year-old, right? I suppose everyone in IndyCar wishes that were so.

But as part of his driver development program, Derek Daly works with dozens of young drivers worldwide.

“From what I hear from the drivers coming through my program, the path of being a professional race car driver is not through IndyCar,” Derek Daly said. “That’s why so many people are making their way to NASCAR.”

But Conor loves open-wheel racing, Derek Daly said, and that’s how he wants to make a living. But not here.

“Conor is looking at a path through Europe,” Derek Daly said.

Derek Daly, for the record, is a dual American and Irish citizen. Conor, who was born in Noblesville, couldn’t be more American. If there’s no future for Conor Daly in the IndyCar Series, you have to wonder what the future holds.

Derek Daly doesn’t like what he sees long-term.

“You have to wonder how many young, American drivers have been left behind,” he said. “[The IndyCar Series] has missed an entire generation. The scary part is, I think there’s an even bigger hole in the next generation.”
 

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  • The real reason!
    BINGO! Paul and Derek are spot on.
  • Last gasp
    I have to admit, it is entertaining to watch this series slowly but surely die. I have a morbid fascination with it. I find it more titillating to witness the day-to-day spasms, gurgles, and involuntary twitches of the IRL's agonizing death than anything else they have to offer.
    I can't wait for the 2011 Indy 500 and what a laughable centennial farce that race will be just before the whole thing mercifully takes a very labored last gasp, goes eyeballs up, rigors out, vacates its waste, and is off to a better place.
    All of big time auto racing is in decline in the United States anyhow. The course has been run. Back to niche sport for NASCAR too. Sports cars? For Piloti-wearing, Docker-clad, wine and cheese geeks who read Car and Driver and foam at the mouth about Lime Rock. Nobody else cares. Racing is dying. Maybe the Daly boy has it right. Go to Europe. Game over here.
    • What Fun
      It's so much fun watching this pathetic series die.
    • Izod Indycar Series
      Bobby Rahal & Letterman are both multi, multi millionaires but choose to not run IRL or fund Graham,, that speaks volumes about the true state of affairs in IRL today

      So does this tweet: Graham meeting with Nascar ... Dun dun daaaaa
      about 17 hours ago via UberTwitter
    • IndyCar
      What's pathetic is George Anthony and his minions of hate kool aid drinking, negative attitude binging, mamby pamby acting fruiternity of sour attitudes. Hey George, we're going to get you a guest spot on NCIS so that Gibbs can smack you upside the head.

      I don't think it would do any good, but there's always hope.

      You guys are like worn out records with scratches so deep, no one can make sense of the tune you're playing anymore.

      Sigh.........
    • Graham Rahal
      Good luck to Graham, but I don't think that NASCAR teams are looking for the next IRL reject to run at the back of the pack anymore.
    • ominous signs
      Normally, I would agree with you BerwickGuy. The negativity surrounding this series is a bit much and sometimes (only sometimes) unwarranted. This time, though, I think the IndyCar Series has painted themselves in a very bad corner. Not getting Graham on the track, not trying to recruit, let alone develop Conor Daly ... there goes the future. How could the IndyCar Series not recruit CD!!!??? And the blame must be shared by the Champ Car guys. Andretti, Penske and Ganassi are doing no more to develop young, American talent than the folks that started the IRL.
    • Izod Indycar Series
      Hay Matt, it's one series now, you can't be splittin the participants into sides,,,,thats divisive and Berwick will chasten you for your divisiveness.

      If B. Rahal and Letterman thought the IRL had any chance of being a good investment, they could easily fund a ride for G. Rahal. Especially given that they already have the equipment and infrastructure needed. I suppose they are smart enough to know that it would just be pouring their money down rat hole. So, since they can not convince anyone else to pour money down a rat hole to fund the team, no ride for Graham.
    • Too Bad
      I had high hopes for the IRL when they split. Even higher hopes when CART faded away. But it looks like IRL's going nowhere fast. We haven't been to the 500 in years, and with this kind of press we won't soon return.
    • Paul Tracy
      "sources in NASCAR tell me few are interested in an open-wheel/road course specialist" At least not one who doesn't undress for magazines and do suggestive commercials.
    • True Dat, Thrilla
      Another good article, Anthony. I wondered if new IRL CEO Bernard reads your blog and the usually 100% negative comments that are posted about the pending demise of his racing series. I doubt it as he's probably locked himself in his new IMS office and spends most days pounding his head on his desk for being such an idiot to take this thankless job. Talk about a lose/lose situation.

      Too bad Conor Daly didn't get recruited by the Indy Lights series but it's always been stated that CD dreamed of Formula One racing and nothing more.

      But Graham Rahal not running in the IRL this year is a travesty. Here's a bona fide rising star with the looks, talent and pedigree to well represent the IRL...and he's on the outside looking in? Ridiculous.

      Paul Tracy, while a wild man on a race track, is a pretty smart dude who's written some interesting articles about the IRL and its mounting problems. Although it's way too late to expect the IRL luminati to actually pay attention to what their fans might want as they run all over the world looking for sponsors to fund the next foreign based team sporting still another no-name back marker driver.

      I'll be surprised if the Indy 500 has a full field this year. But then, I heard a rumor the IMS is going to hold a huge rodeo on the front straightaway this October.

      What a hapless mess, what a sad de-evolution for a once proud and exciting racing series.
    • Sad
      When Tony started the IRL, Cart was overtaking F1 as the dominat open wheel series in the world. NASCAR was a bunch of Rednecks and F1 was well F1. Cart had numerous chassis and engine manufactures and two tire companies.
      Now in 2010 and $600 million later 1 enigine supplier, 1 chassis and 1 tire.
      NASCAR is huge.
      F1 is coming off one of its best seasons in years and has new teams coming in.
      The IRL has no new teams, and is televised on a station that many can't get.
      The month of May is now 2 weekends.
      Thanks Tony George you are a genius.

      • I find it ironic that Daly, who took carts side in the split, is now castigating the IRL for not having enough American drivers or races. He was pro cart even though the IRL was designed to help American drivers in the series on American tracks.

        I think further hypocrisy on his part is this excerpt from a talk he gave at a Bloomington business breakfast "The second thing the IRL must do, he said, is think American. It needs to focus on the U.S. market with an established solid slate of races in the U.S. before it tries to expand outside its borders. Thatââ?¬â?¢s counter to the current direction, with the IRL adding Champ Carââ?¬â?¢s Edmonton, Canada, and Surfers Paradise in Australia to this yearââ?¬â?¢s schedule and almost certainly Toronto and Mexico City to next yearââ?¬â?¢s." Then when asked "to imagine he had a F1 team and a two-car IRL team, and pick drivers from the current crop in each series to drive for it. ââ?¬Å?(Fernando) Alonso and Kimi (Raikkonen),ââ?¬Â?
        For his Indy car team, he promptly picked Scott Dixon for a variety of reasons, then mulled the alternatives before opting for fast-rising 19-year-old Graham Rahal." Obviously he was not thinking American until he realized what he had said.

        Ironically his first point for a successful OW series was this ââ?¬Å?It has to have strong leadership in a dictator fashion. If not, it will continue to be the ââ?¬Ë?what ifââ?¬â?¢ series,ââ?¬Â? he said flatly. What made NASCAR what it is was the back-to-back one-man rule of the Bill Frances, Sr. and Jr., while Bernie Ecclestoneââ?¬â?¢s iron fist in a velvet glove built F1 into what it is, and Daly thinks Indy car racing needs the same." Sound familiar? I have been saying this for years.

        I agree with what Derek is saying now, or more accurately he is agreeing with what I have been saying for years. TG had the right vision, but unfortunately it has been watered down. I am not sure what the current leadership will do, but I do not think we have the decisive leadership the IRL needs.

        To those wishing ill of the IRL, IMS or the 500, that is why I call you haters. You do not care about anything, for some reason you just hate. Truly sad.
      • Bitter?
        Joyce I assume your dig was at Danica just a FYI Danica is not considered a road course specialist, far from it actually. Though I think your dig was more about Danica off the track. You and all the other haters can moan and groan about Danica and lack of talent though she is certainly not the worst driver out there but what she does have is marketability. This is something that the IRL obviously needs and the popularity of NASCAR has decreased recently. Bringing Danica over for a few races may be just a marketing ploy so be it. Love her or hate her but give her credit for being smart enough (or hiring someone smart enough) to market her and make her one of the most recognizable drivers out there.
      • I would add that Tracy is showing hypocrisy as well. First, funny he prefaces his statement by saying the series needs NORTH Americans. Handy for a canuck to say. But he too was an unapologetic cart supporter again when cart was running 0 americans.

        Brien,

        TG had the right idea, unfortunately he did not stick to his vision. cart was a failing business model. Hell, even Daly is saying that. You cannot run a series owned by car owners. Way too much conflict of interest. The downfall of OW was seeded when cart took over open wheel racing. I am thinking cart has retaken ow, since I am betting many of the owners (including many former cart'ers) are really running the series.
      • iman's fantasies
        iman doesn't care about anything, he championed TOneys 15 year, 600 million dollar scorched earth terror campaign against open wheel racing and the now two weeks of May. Grate work iman,,,hope some of the stores you frequent will have an outlet on what once was IMS.
      • I would add that Tracy is showing hypocrisy as well. First, funny he prefaces his statement by saying the series needs NORTH Americans. Handy for a canuck to say. But he too was an unapologetic cart supporter again when cart was running 0 americans.

        Brien,

        TG had the right idea, unfortunately he did not stick to his vision. cart was a failing business model. Hell, even Daly is saying that. You cannot run a series owned by car owners. Way too much conflict of interest. The downfall of OW was seeded when cart took over open wheel racing. I am thinking cart has retaken ow, since I am betting many of the owners (including many former cart'ers) are really running the series.
      • Truth,

        your comments do nothing more than confirm the fact that you do not read the stories or the posts here. Something tells me you could not understand them if you did. You just post hate because that is all you know. At least some of the others show a grasp of the subject matter and can carry on an inteligent conversation. You, not so much.
      • THE TRUTH..no one wants to hear
        The IRL has destroyed AOW. The "CART" model so hated has become the trump card for the speedway. AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT.

        TRacy and Derek and ANYONE else capable of understanding WE HATE THE IRL and what it stands for, needs to get a clue.

        Social networking....the IRL will be OUTTED in no time. I might just order Direct TV...FORMER sponsor of the hapless IRL.
      • Response to TH.
        Response to TH and Last Gasp. Racing isn't dying, the larger level series are, becasue of the cost. Grassroots racing like sportscars and even Sprint Cars are doing better than most, and in fact the larger people from the pros are now moving down to Grassroots like SCCA, NASA, NASCAR Regionals, etc. because of the lower expense.

        That wine and cheese crowd you speak of as well, they pump money into racing so alot of people including themselves, but also others as well can do it.
      • Derek and IndyCar don't speak
        Derek Daly has never had a very good relationship with the folks in the IndyCar Series, so that may have something to do with them never contacing Conor, or contacting Derek on Conor's behalf. Derek, I don't think, has ever reached out to anyone on the IndyCar circuit on Conor's behalf. One thing I do know, people in IndyCar are aware of Conor. Maybe they haven't done as much as they could to assure he comes to their stable, but they are certainly aware of him and his abilities.
      • Iron Fist - Big Brain
        Indyman, So true that both NASCAR and F1 are controlled by iron-fisted dictators. I also agree TG did have the right idea but didn't put a marketing/management team in place to actually carry out his vision - which makes all the difference in the long run strength of any sports or entertainment venture.

        I'm a big F1 fan and am impressed how Bernie's world racing league has evolved over the past 5 years - with new racetracks,quality of drivers and racing,addition of more competitive teams and more global TV viewers than any other sport save (gulp) soccer. Now that's delivering big time marketing power to your sponsors.

        Same on a lesser scale with NASCAR; while IRL and CART are duking it out for OW's fading supremacy, along comes the France family to convert the now confused open wheel fans to their NASCAR brand of American driver loving, car bashing, good old boy round and round circus.

        Both examples of big brains to go along with their iron fists. In the case of the IRL, would appear there was/is not enough of either at this time.
      • someone may want to make sure the last comment by CHief was really by Chief. He typically does not go into apoplectic shock.

      • imans fantasies #6
        You can blame anything or anyone EXCEPT the IRL like you always do. Keep revising history.

        The IRL is a FAILURE. it has no TV audience, no attendance, it has no vision, it has squandered it's opportunities, it is everything "CART" without actually being CART. And you, INDYMAN, lap it up.

        Keep blaming everyone else for the SPEEDWAY's problems. THEY are solely responsible for the destruction AOW, from free tix to pricing themselves out of business.

        SURVIVAL is ride-buying. SURVIVAL is street racing. Use you unsurpassed knowledge of AOW and and convince yourself that the IRL is none of that. You can't and you are supporting the destruction of our sport. Enabler....
      • Blame the CHAMPCAR GUYS?
        "And the blame must be shared by the Champ Car guys. Andretti, Penske and Ganassi are doing no more to develop young, American talent than the folks that started the IRL."

        WHAT? DO you realize that the big three you mentioned above provide about 10 to 12 entries in your LEAGUE? Look a gift horse in the mouth as they are PROPPING your series...and you want to toss them out because they have FOREIGNERS? Xenophobic 'eh?
      • FTG
        TG had the right vision.... LMAO. Where is TG now? What ever happened to his hammer? Does he sit at home and hit himself in the head with it?
      • Stan,

        i agree with you. cart was not propped up by a trust fund. it was propped up first by sponsors, then by car owners money, then by investors money and then by a couple of very stupid rich men who had more money then brains dumping piles of cash into the failing business model.
      • Chief,

        you want to put all of the blame on the IRL. but even the experts point out that cart was going down the wrong road. heck, even you said it.

        Without the IRL, ow would have gone down the tubes with cart. i have admitted that the irl has strayed from the original vision. it is unfortunate that they did so. hopefully they can get back on track so to speak. But ever since the former cart owners jumped ship, the irl has strayed. Then it made the mistake of pandering to the former cart'ers. As you guys have shown, that is a mistake. You believe in scorched earth. it seems like your attitude is our series failed, so we want the irl to fail. Sad but true.
      • It just doesn't matter
        Yet, you still support the IRL...it's everything you DON'T want. See, that's the point here. Fans like you ENABLE the Speedway to continue its wrong path. I said HYPOCRITE because what was bad for CART (in your mind) is GOOD for the IRL. And at this point all that remains as the difference is the Indycentric leadership that is augering into the earth at a tremendous velocity.

        FACE IT, you lemmings are NEVER going to see a Indycentric AOW oval based series EVER again. Hasn't the shedding of 14 ovals over 14 years time been ENOUGH to convince you of that? Based on that ALONE the IRL is a TOTAL and UTTER failure.

        That's why it's best to drop the IRL brand...re-invent Indy Car brand and move forward with the series as an international series with many nationalities and track diversities. AND admit for once that the Speedway way make a MISTAKE in forming the IRL. Until then....keep living in 1996 my friend...it's the IRL VISION, blind by any standard...then or 14 years later, today.
      • In Agreement
        The commencement of the IRL WAS the downfall of open wheel racing in the United States. CART was becoming THE dominant racing series in the world but Tony George couldn't stand being a bit player well now look where we are. This is simply disgusting.
      • Who cares?
        If the irl folded tomarrow no one would care, cause no one cares now. This thing is a walking corpse and I hope it does go under, good riddance, once they're gone maybe the stink will go away.
      • TG's Vision
        At the very first IRL Race the media asked Tony how things were going.

        And Tony said, things are going pretty well you never know you might see me in one of these cars in a couple of races.

        That was Tony's Vision.

        My solution to the problem.
        Give TOTAL control of the IRL and IMS to Roger Penske, he can fix this mess.
        The Hulman's have lost a fortune trying to manage it.

        The Delta wing chassis if adopted will be the end of the IRL.
      • What fans want
        [quote]Tracy, never short on words, didnâ??t back down. He implored fans to contact IndyCar Series officials and team owners to tell them what they want. [/quote]

        I wonder if IRL offices and owners were faced with a deluge of emails/phone calls, all requesting the return of Champ Car.
        Bah...More like the 3 PT fans left out there thought about sending an email, but were too lazy to follow through with it.

      • Apathy
        Yes Jim....but apathy in AOW caused it all. Indecision by IMS....killed the golden goose. Now they've alienated the OW oval crowd and fruity cuppers too. The Speedway's email goes directly to the bit bucket anyway...
      • AOW
        AOW's biggest problem is that during the decade it took them to figure out they were killing the sport, the evangelical, toothless, rednecks of America rose up and made Nascar into a monster. There's nothing to draw those people into AOW now. There's no money involved. The sponsors don't make guns or crockpots. They don't understand the racing and the cars look funny on top of it all. AOW has made itself inaccessible to the average Joe and you need the average Joe to survive in this type of business. A lot of these folks don't even realize that indycars run in races other than the Indy 500. Horrific failures in marketing on the part of AOW. If it weren't for Danica, the Anna Kournikova of racing, Indycar probably would have died a couple of years ago. I hate that all of the focus is on Danica - and Nascar fans will hate it too - but there would be no focus on Indycar at all without her.
      • Nascar/IMS/Cart
        Maybe Grahm Rahal should blame his father for his problems because of his staunch support of CART during the split and this was one of the things Tony George was trying to eliminate by starting the IRL. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was dying in 1994 if you were at the first Brickyard 400 you seen a race track was in terrible shape and needed to be fixed up so all you open wheel fans should thank Na$car for saving the place from being condemed with the loads of money the 400 generated. As for CART it will never be successful with the temp street/airport race track philsophy. I see CART making the same mistakes they did in the past they are trying to run a European style race series in North America and we are not into it here and they just don't get it. It might sound dumb but Tony George did but he went about it the wrong way.
      • Yowsaaah
        I seem to vaguely remember CART dying in 2004, and Champcar DOA in 2008.

        Bobby Rahal severed ties with CART/Champcar in 2004 by traitoriously jumping to the IRL in the twelfth hour, just before the crown jewel of the CCWS series Long Beach race. Old man Rahal took $$$ from Tony George to run his team in the IRL. Now the money's gone, so is Rahal.

        All that remains IS the IRL...with it's CART-like "diversity". Sadly, the IRL can't even remotely carry CART jock-strap though. Once touted as a business success, the IRL and Tony George are being exposed as the failures they are, respectively.
      • Yadda yadda yadda. Same old song and dance, that no one believes.
      • Taking it to the streets!
        Quebec City, Baltimore and DUBAI in 2011 for the IRL. No links...do your own research. Why is the IRL turning away from it's base? Why has their philosophies changed?

        Because they oval idea was a bonehead idea, that's why. Indyman...get your passport in order so you can travel internationally to follow your folly.

      • Why would I expect links from you? Considering using them involves having facts to back up an arguement, it would be tough for you and most haters to supply links that do not involve the words rumors, alleged or possible. I googled your cities, and found many uses of the words possible, vying, considering and even a 90% certain.

        So I am assuming you do not have a site that confirms it with an actual IRL rep saying it? I mean we see what happened when it was claimed Nation said IRL spent over $600 million, and when I asked for a link, all I heard were crickets.

        Ok, lets say these rumors and possibles are true. Do we know if they are replacing existing races or adding to the schedule? If replacing, are they replacing ovals or road/street courses? So worse case scenario, the IRL is getting more cartified which is unfortunate. It is just getting farther from the vision which I was afraid would happen with TG out of the pic. It has less to do with popularity of ovals, and more to do with the financials of A) running fixed ovals as opposed to street/road courses and B) places like Dubai and China handing over big pots of money for racing action there.

        But there are a lot of ifs, maybes and possibles to get to this point. And even if it does, there are still far more ovals in IRL on 2011 than cart had. So still closer to vision.
      • And still a failure
        IRL is still a failure...

        You ever wonder WHY the IRL dumped 14 ovals over the past 14 years? You think if they were profitable or if there was really demand they'd have dropped them? ALL 14 dropped came UNDER Tony Georges reign.

        So, even by your own tainted thought proccesses, TOny George blew it...yet you still follow along like a happy puppy.

        FAILURE on 14 AMERICAN ovals yet still following the VISION and better than being a DEAD successful series...that's the iman's IRL. A failure, any way you look at it. Minus $600 million dollars too.
      • What, no response to my post? Back to dodging again? Chief, time to face reality. The IRL is not going anywhere and it drives you nuts. Even you are talking about their 2011 season. it is not perfect, and they are getting away from the vision, but it is still closer than cart ever was.
      • Your fooling yourself, and you don't believe it
        Closer to what? Gomer utopia? What is the IRL closer to than CART? Being DEAD?

        Proof is in the pudding pal...the IRL stinks and the fans are turning away in droves. Face facts...there limited oval fanbase for AOW anymore. Good thing Tony saved all that....$600 million? Bwahahhahahhaha!
      • 1995 CART
        In 1995, CART (in an apparent DEATH SPIRAL, as referenced by Indyman) had:

        - SEVEN legacy AOW ovals on schedule.

        - ELEVEN Americans racing FULLTIME.

        - THREE chassis makers.

        - THREE engine manufacturers.

        Sure Indyman, that was excellent reason to start the IRL, you know, CART death spiral and all. The IRL is FAR FAR less NOW than CART ever was in 1995. To you, that's perfect jsutification for the IRL to exist.

        For us, it truely shows how pathetic the IRL ALWAYS was and continues to be. Keep justifying the nothingness of the IRL.
      • Thanks Tony!
        Way to go Tony G. Thanks for killing all of North American Open Wheel racing. How much talent have you killed? We will never know. Ironic you left CART (taking your ball home...Indy) to start an American racing talent series...now what do you have? NOTHING!
        Don't think that Andretti, Penske and Ganassi's hands are clean either. You guys helped him kill it to. Thanks for the last 12-13 years of CRAP Wagons guys. From a former open wheel fan from the CART good old days. At least champ car was exciting while it lasted. Hereâ??s to hoping a Phoenix rises out of the ashes.
      • Why should anyone be upset?
        The IndyCar series has been gutted like a fish!! Greedy owners, outrageous costs, mediocre drivers and stupid "spec series" rules. The ICS broke its own rule..."a series for american drivers based on oval track racing". Since when does racing in South America or Japan benefit American Drivers?? Do not blame the fans or the car owner who wanted to participate. You can blame those that made the mess. Now tell them to CLEAN IT UP!!!!!
      • What really got CART rolling
        I think mention must be made for how CART really got rolling in the '90's. Up until 1993, not many in Europe really paid IndyCar racing much attention. That changed when Nigel Mansell, the reigning World Champion, came over to drive for Newman-Haas Racing. The media coverage for his first event at Surfer's Paradise was unbelievable!! 1993 was a watershed year for the series, and, had the IRL never been formed, that one event might've been the stepping stone CART needed to become the dominant open wheel series in the world. Unfortunately, sponsors and manufacturers wanted to be seen at Indy, and started leaving CART. Then the big teams (Penske, et al) bolted as well to keep their sponsors happy. CART also made the mistake of going public on the Stock Market, and then they had to pump millions to keep the series afloat, much as the IRL is doing now. The blame must be put where it belongs......Tony George. He was the catalyst that started the downward spiral. Sorry, but it is the truth. His vision was flawed. Noble, but flawed. The IRL won't last long without something big happening to gain the world's attention. The only thing I can think of to really do that would be if someone could offer Michael Schumacher a huge sum of money to come drive the Indy 500. The media attention would rival that of Mansell coming to America, and put Indy back in the spotlight. But of course, it's never going to happen. And once Danica goes, so does the IRL.
      • So What Now?
        In 1996 Goodyear was in, and now their gone. In 1996 Mercedes and Ford were in, and now gone. Vavoline, Pennzoil, Coors, Pep Boys, Kmart, Miller, Budwiser, Castrol, the tobacco companys, PPG and far too many others.

        The money is gone now. The Folks at IMS About ruined themselves trying to make up for the lack of big money hoping that some good racing and a few more American drivers would revive things quickly enough. That ended in 2002 when Toyota and Honda came and Infiniti left. Chevy laid an egg and left a year later and Toyota faded away.

        In short, things which might have been possible in 1996 just are out of the question now and how ever you felt then, the reality is different now. Arguing about the historical lessons of the last 16 years won't bring us any closer to a solution.

        So, in view of the finances available and the current event and sponsor commitments what do you suggest be done in both the short and long time frames to build up both the fan base and the number of active racing teams?

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