Unfortunately the car in the photo won’t be on the track this year. And in an ironic twist, IRL officials recently partnered with a Brazilian ethanol producer when the American ethanol group the open-wheel series had partnered with backed out of its deal with the series late last year.
In other IRL news, Versus, the cable TV channel that will air most of the series’ races this year, is set to start an on-air marketing push for its coverage of the IRL this weekend. The initial TV ads will coincide with the National Hockey League all-star game, which airs on Versus. The cable channel recently announced that Bob Jenkins will call the action for their races this season. Here’s hoping Jenkins sounds a little more lively than he did when he covered the Edmonton race for ESPN last year. I could have sworn he was exhumed just in time to be flown north of the border. Jenkins will be joined by Robbie Buhl and long-time open-wheel (mostly Champ Car) analyst Jon Beekhuis. Hopefully Buhl and Beekhuis will enliven the broadcast. Paul Page was not available because he’s under contract with ESPN and a deal to bring on former IRL driver Eddie Cheever did not materialize.