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Racing Of The United States Variety


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#31 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 03:56 PM

View Postmaurethegreat2, on 07 August 2010 - 11:11 AM, said:

ALMS @ Mid-Ohio today, will be broadcasted live on ALMS website but you have to register for a code to watch here.

2nd time the ALMS has been officially broadcasted (excluding justin.tv & USTREAM users) live on the tinterweb! The 1st race was Laguna & that was 1 of the best races I've EVER seen!

Ahh, good.  Away from ranting.

Are the codes free?  I'd like to watch; like Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio will be on CBS sports in a "documentary" format, which doesn't really show the race quite the way I'd like to watch it.

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NASCAR engine builder Roush-Yates will supply Ford-badged EcoBoost V6 motors for LMP2 cars in ALMS in 2011.  Lola are already confirmed to be compatible with these engines.  Expect Dyson to transition from the Judd Mazda to the Roush-Yates Ford, as Mazda's funding has been iffy at best, and Dyson are rumored to be competing with a Roush-Yates engine in Grand-Am later this year.

#32 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 04:56 PM

I can't wait to watch this one next week...I heard the margin of victory was around .500s.  ALMS is fantastic.  Please don't spoil the result if you watched it live. :)

I did watch the Grand-Am last night.  The GT finish was amazing, with Leh Keen and Jonathan Bomarito having a thrilling battle in their Mazdas (hell, Segal was in it too, and then Edwards).  Fun stuff.  Sounds like Grand-Am GT really is going to use FIA GT3 cars in 2011, too, which will be fun.

ALMS 2011 looks promising as well.  Level 5 have officially left Grand-Am to focus on ALMS, and with the new, low-cost LMP2s, teams such as Level 5 could make the move up from LMPC (and Tucker driving the Audi at Le Mans has many curious about the team's future; they say there will be a diesel prototype full-time in ALMS, so I wonder...).  Additionally, Baltimore and Oklahoma City street races are likely, and a return to Infineon is possible.  Portland talks are on, as well, so a revised schedule can be expected.  Sadly, Mid-Ohio, Road America, and Lime Rock are all in jeopardy right now; we'll see.  Aston Martin are also looking at full-time competition, possibly with Fernández, which would add a fantastic element to the sport after seeing Long Beach, arguably one of the best races I have seen in 11 years of watching racing.

The Aussie's got a hat-trick of Nationwide wins at the Glen now.  He's just so much better than these guys on the roadies.  It's really why I like to watch NASCAR on the road courses; you see such a difference in the elite drivers from the rest, and yes, there are many elite drivers in Sprint Cup who I feel could have held their own in world motorsport had they gone through karting and formula cars rather than stockers.  Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch...it's great fun to watch them take on Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, Ron Fellows, Jan Magnussen, Mattias Ekström, Max Papis, Scott Speed, etc to get a feel for how good they really are.  Edwards has beaten Schumacher in the RoC (twice, I believe), while Johnson and Gordon won the Nation's Cup with Colin Edwards in 2002.  Like NASCAR or not, you have to respect the top drivers there, so it's a lot of fun to see them get a chance to show their talents on the road courses.

#33 JHS

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 05:24 PM

I have to admit, the ALMS headlines certainly make for interesting reading of late. I wasn't convinced when I heard that ALMS would be merging LMP1 and LMP2 into one class, and, as a conventionalist when it comes to sportscar racing at least, I continue to stand by that view. I certainly don't believe the likes of GTC and LMPC should be in a series on which was originally based around diversity and innovation, but if it helps the series survive and go on to better times, needs must. Certainly, I presume that with how great a hit ALMS has proved in terms of great racing this year, that some manufacturers out there must be interested in joining what is still essentially a great championship.

I was going to do another NASCAR rant post on the thing about drivers now being finded for bad-mouthing the championship. What, is this a communist championship all of a sudden? But on the back of that ALMS race, I'll save that one for another day.

In my view, it seems to be the only form of racing in the US that I am interested in currently. Hopefully as new cars and new rules come into place over this decade, that'll change.

Edited by JHS, 08 August 2010 - 05:28 PM.

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#34 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 05:43 PM

NASCAR's fines, actually...

Nearly every major sport, racing sanctions included, have a rule against speaking against the sanctioning body.  I know IMSA (who sanction ALMS) have one.  Do I agree with this?  Not necessarily, but I understand it.  If you worked for Company X and said "Company X are w#nkers and my boss sleeps with whores," you could expect some trouble, no?  It's the same logic so...while it may violate the concept of freedom of speech, its understandable for an organization to have rules about it.

What I didn't like about NASCAR's fines were that they were done secretly and that there's no evidence NASCAR has a rule saying you cannot speak poorly about the sport.  They told drivers to "speak their minds" and "use the media to get to us," and now they fined for it.  I think that there was a misunderstanding with the drivers; NASCAR drew a line.  Saying races are fixed, for example, would be crossing the line.  Saying NASCAR needs to change the Chase or make new aero rules, however, was what NASCAR wanted drivers to say.  It did bother me, too, but at the end of the day, I'm not going to blacklist everything associated with NASCAR over an unfortunate ruling that could have been handled a bit more professionally.

ALMS, then.

I love the combined LMP class.  ALMS runs on a lot of tracks where LMP1s have no advantage over LMP2s; sometimes, the LMP2s have the advantage.  This was even the case when they had Audi R10 TDIs full-time, or when the Aston Martin DBR1-2 was racing at Long Beach.  Having the battle for the overall win also be for the championship is just more exciting for the style of racing ALMS has; we saw great Acura/Porsche/Audi battles recently, great HPD/all sorts of Lolas/Aston Martin/Porsche battles in the present times...so why not have that pass the HPD makes on the Drayson Lola count for championship points, too?  It adds a nice element to the racing, and while it wouldn't be right in LMS, where the circuits are more natural and larger and the well-funded teams are in LMP1 rather than LMP2 (not saying the LMS doesn't have great LMP2 teams; they do, but you'll notice in ALMS the big sponsors are all in LMP2 while the LMP1s are mostly bare).

LMPC and GTC?  Yeah, not really into those.  I think the goal for LMPC was to get those teams to be able to upgrade their engines to run in the new low-cost LMP2 next year; and some may.  GTC would be great if they'd allow all GT3 cars, not just the Porsche.  Needless to say, ALMS is a leader in green racing and innovation even with these classes; not a single car in the ALMS runs on pure 100% petrol (I think Ethanol is stupid, but at a bare minimum, teams must use a 10% Ethanol 90% petrol blend...and others fall under clean diesel, isobutanol, 85% Ethanol 15% petrol, etc).

I do think there's promise for the future.  I'm hearing an Audi R15 TDI in the hands of a privateer and a works/semi-works Aston are on for 2011...the prospect of some of these races on tighter circuits with those battling Highcroft and Dyson is just thrilling.

The one concern I have: the financial well-being of the sport.  Rumors always persist that Don Panoz is looking to sell the ALMS, and with Grand-Am likely to join the FIA fold in 2012 and get a complete reorganization with proper rules and proper cars...the American sports car war gets very, very interesting.

As far as new cars, new rules, etc...yeah.  A lot of series in the U.S. could use some redoing.  Personally, I watch sports cars for fun and will put on NASCAR in the background when they're at a good track.  There aren't any championships outside ALMS really worth watching every round of...so of course they don't televise every round of the ALMS. :P

#35 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:12 PM

Wow.

I watched a NASCAR race on a road course and wasn't left disappointed. :)

NASCAR did a good job officiating the race; no unnecessary safety cars or suspicious debris cautions or anything.  They let it play out and the best man won, fair and square.

Great to see Montoya finally snap the bad luck.  He could have won any of three or four other races this season, so I'm glad that's behind them and they're back on track.  With more luck and better communication, they'll be absolutely deadly next year.  His teammate McMurray, not noted for his road racing, ran really well, too.  What a year he's had!

Ambrose...tough go with the tire problem at the end, but a podium is better than nothing.  Montoya just had them all covered.  Ambrose is a joy to watch in these races, though.  His late braking is fantastic.

Johnson just not on championship form this year...the Chase seems wide open at this point.  Harvick, Gordon, Burton, Busch...they could all give him a hell of a run.

And it's nice to see next year the schedule will get a complete reorganization, meaning the Chase will get a shake-up, making it a lot less predictable in 2011.  Hopefully, Watkins Glen or Infineon will be included; they need a roadie in there.

#36 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:11 PM

Simona de Silvestro is a damned good racer, I've concluded.

She's had some bad luck and some bad runs this year, but Mid-Ohio should have been the worst.  It wasn't.  She finished P8 in a 27 car field.  In one of the oldest, heaviest (the older cars are much heavier) cars out there (I think only one is older/heavier; Howard's)...without any telemetry in the pits.  They did it the old school way with pencil and paper and a totally sh*t car and nabbed P8, ahead of names like Andretti, Hunter-Reay, Wheldon, Hildebrand, Kanaan, Carroll, Rahal, and Our Lord's Daughter Danica.

de Silvestro, for the record, still aims for F1, and at 21 she still has time to get to Europe as long as she's shooting for GP2 or such rather than straight to F1.  She has tremendous talent with actual wins in actual racing series, and is one of the nicest people in auto racing.  Great attitude.  I hope she makes it; I've followed her career since I saw her in FBMW, and it's nice to have someone in open-wheel racing who isn't an a##hole (no offense meant...they're just rare; maybe my standards are too high).  She's focused on racing; she's not there to be a celebrity or a model like Danica, because she knows she's neither.  She tested in GP2 after just one year in FBMW, which is too big of a jump, so I hope she didn't make a bad first impression and can come back to Europe and see how she goes.

It's always nice to see good people do well.  I'm a casual fan; everyone knows that.  The drivers interest me, and I think that's why I've lost some interest in F1; there's no one I want to see succeed.  So it's good for my sanity to see Jamie McMurray, Simona de Silvestro, Bobby Santos, Scott Pruett, David Brabham, etc. doing well. :P

#37 rodders47

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 05:27 AM

Well really watching NASCAR bores the hell out of me, but I DID watch the race at Watkins Glen with those race cars, not sure what they are called, but to me they look very primitive compared to our V8 Supercars here in OZ, but hell A Tasmanian has won the race 3 years on the trot !!!  Go Marcus Ambrose.  I guess the road racing suits him more then the oval stuff!! But GEEZ seeing the way these cars are constructed with "C" section beams running accross the back of them it sure looks like very primitive racing to me.  But hell it was an enjoyable race, apart from the numerous Cautions/stoppages  etc. :-)
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#38 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

Yeah, NASCAR's rough to watch if you watch too much of the oval races.  I usually just watch the last 10 laps and the highlights on the ovals.

The cars are both really primitive and really advanced, if that makes any sense.  Somehow, with all the lack of technology, the teams have to find simple advantages, and end up with budges in the Formula 1 range over these outdated vehicles.  It's baffling; for all the money spent, why not upgrade to something that looks better, races better, has more technology, and is cheaper to run like a V8 Supercar?

Ambrose is in a league of his own out there on the road courses; he brakes so late.  He can be so far behind another driver and out-brake him in the corner because no one expects him to do it.  Very smooth.  His oval performances have been tough this year, but he's actually done really well there, and with a new team next year, I think he'll be more of a factor on a regular basis.

I'm glad he won.  He's really easy to support; one of my favorites.

#39 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 02:42 PM

Sounds like Ekström will get an oval race later this year in Sprint Cup...

Kasey Kahne will be going to Red Bull in 2011 for one year on loan from Hendrick, who have no room for him until 2012, so that means the Scott Speed adventure is over a bit later than it should have been.  Red Bull will still back Speed; but all the teams Red Bull owns have rejected him, so it looks like driving Dietrich's lawnmower may be his next job.  However, Brian Vickers may never return; he'll know in November if he'll be able to.  Hopefully he will, but if not, Red Bull could be looking at Ekström full-time in 2011.

In ALMS, Greg Pickett's out for the rest of the season after his back-breaking crash at Mid-Ohio, fresh off his first overall win at Lime Rock with Klaus Graf.  The team will ask Porsche for a replacement, as Maassen will not be available.  Could we see the glorious return of Dumas or Bernhard to ALMS?  I hope so.  If no Porsche driver is available/ready to make the jump to an LMP, we may see Memo Gidley step in, as he drove in the 6 Hours of Monterey for the Cytosport team.  Hope to see Pickett back in Sebring, of course...real shame.  It will be interesting, though, to see how the Porsche fares against the HPD if one of its original pilots is behind the wheel.  It's a very competent car and was only 7 points behind Highcroft in standings until they had to sit out Mid-Ohio.

#40 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 06:58 PM

Paul Menard has bought a ride at Richard Childress Racing using John Menard's many monies.

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RCR are making a mistake expanding to four cars from three.  Statistics:

In 2008, RCR had three cars.  They ranked 4th, 5th, and 6th in the final standings with a total of 3 wins in 36 races.

In 2009, RCR had four cars.  They ranked 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st in the final standings with a total of 0 wins in 36 races.

This year, RCR has three cars.  They rank 1st, 3rd, and 13th in the standings with 2 wins in 22 races.

Conclusion: RCR are spreading themselves too thin with four cars and are making a bad mistake.

#41 kenneli

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 03:44 AM

I'm watching the Motorcycle Documentary called On  Any Sunday from 1971 and was wondering if Motorcycle Racing is still  popular here in the United States as it is in Europe and Australia? The  types I a talking about are Super Cycle, Off Road, and Trails. Or has  this sport been over taken by the NASCAR and Indy Car Races?


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#42 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 05:55 PM

Batracer is the most popular form of motor racing in the United States.  I hope this helps. :)

#43 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 05:12 PM

While Dallara and Lotus (the car company, not the F1 team) have both confirmed they will supply bodywork for the 2012 IndyCar, and Honda having announced their commitment to supplying engines in 2012 (not sure if it's real Honda or Honda just putting a badge on something Penske builds and owns leases too...the rules are too unclear anyway), the teams aren't so pleased about 2012.

The Indy Star reports...

Larry Curry said:

I thought it was a joke.  We still don't have any information.  You'd think by this point they'd be able to hand us something in writing.  They don't.

Tim Cindric said:

I read things in the media, but we've got no rules.

Despite a lack of clarity, Cosworth are expected to commit to the engine side of the 2012 overhaul, as are "an American firm," likely what was once Menard Engine Group, recently purchased by a group including IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton.  Randy Bernard has also been in Europe to talk with VWAG and Ferrari, the latter of which has some interest, but not willing to commit yet.  VWAG, frustrated by the IRL management when they initially expressed interest back in 2009, are no longer willing to supply or badge an engine.

--------------------------------------------------

Kevin Conway and ExtenZe won't be adding any length or girth to their deal with Front Row Motorsports.  Tony Raines steps in today for Michigan.  Rumors include Richard Petty Motorsports, a team desperately in need of funding, and Robby Gordon Motorsports, a team desperately in need of funding.  Conway is likely the worst driver in all of NASCAR's nine series.

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NASCAR continue to announce scheduling details for Sprint Cup, though the ripple effect is bothering NASCAR's lower tier series, ARCA, and IndyCar.  The latter has had to reschedule already confirmed dates to work around NASCAR's massive shake-up, with New Hampshire, Baltimore, Kentucky, and Chicago all being moved around on the IRL side.  Races in Kansas, Homestead, and Watkins Glen are not expected to return to the IRL calendar; a race in Fontana is a possibility, as they lost one of their NASCAR dates.  It could be a combination with Grand-Am using the road course and IRL using the oval on the same weekend.

--------------------------------------------------

Speaking of the IRL schedule, expect an announcement Tuesday from Texas Motor Speedway confirming the return of the double-header, something that happened at Michigan in 1979.  Rather than the normal 550 kilometers, the IndyCars would run two sprint races in the same day.  Details are still unclear (i.e. if the second race will be independent from the first or feature an inverted starting grid based on the initial race; the points structure; etc), but two hard-charging all-out sprints is a compelling idea, and one that makes sense.  While not everyone likes oval racing, if a series is going to do oval racing, they may as well do it over-the-top, and a double-header of quick sprints is certainly an interesting way to accomplish that.

#44 HandyNZL

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:39 AM

So who are the drivers to look out for in Batracer, Eric?  We are all most intrigued...

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#45 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:50 PM

Well, Craig, if you buy KOOL TOOLS at a new low price of $100NZD, you can find out who the stars and cars of Batracer really are!  Be sure to enter "f1masterbatracerxoxoxoxoxoxoxololpenismontoya" in the referral code box so they know I sent you there!

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#46 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:42 PM

Last lap pass for the overall win in ALMS LMP at Road America.

Second time this season, the other being Long Beach.

This series is too good.

Major congratulations to Jonny c#cker and Lord Paul Drayson on their first win.  That was a brilliant little race, start to finish.

#47 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 12:58 AM

Nationwide at Montréal today...a bit rough, too many safety cars...but a late-race restart set up a fantastic battle to the finish between Boris Said (ex-sports cars), Robby Gordon (ex-CART and sports cars), Max Papis (ex-F1 and CART), and Jacques Villeneuve (ex-F1 and CART).  Good stuff; reminds me of the touring cars.  Sure, it took a restart to get them that close, but then again...BTCC at Brands in 2009 was after a restart, and the 2006 Indy 500 was after a restart, etc, etc, etc...



#48 Pucky the Whale

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 01:26 AM

Audi are evaluating Team Penske, Highcroft Racing, and Wayne Taylor Racing for campaigning an R18 full-time in the 2011 American Le Man Series.  I hope it's Wayne Taylor; Penske and the R18 would make the ALMS rather dull after such an epic 2010.  We don't need Penske writing the rules for himself, in my opinion.  And I'd like Highcroft to continue with the HPD so there's something to take the Audi on at the street races and Lime Rock.

I personally don't want the Audi back.  Save it for Le Mans or LMS or whatever they want.  The series is very competitive and very exciting without the dominant cars.  I like competition, and I don't like to set super-restrictive rules, but it's been a lot of fun in the races without Audi and Peugeot.  A lot of different cars have run up front and there have been a lot of battles for the wins.  ALMS can't tell Audi no, so fair game to them if they want to show up with the best car and align with the best team, but it certainly makes races at bigger tracks not worth watching.

The Audi deal would also include a GT3 car in ALMS or Grand-Am, depending on regulations.  Wayne Taylor Racing could theoretically enter the R8 GT3 at the Rolex 24 in addition to ALMS...

Additionally, a lot of talk about Fernández getting a new Aston Martin with Lowe's backing and going racing.  This I like.  Long Beach was the best race of the year hands down.

#49 Eric

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 11:58 PM

Notes and such...

IndyCar
  • The new championship trophy is a naked man on a unicycle.  It, like socialism, made sense to someone.
  • Sarah Fisher is likely to retire after Homestead and start a family.  She'll stay as a team owner, though hopefully back down to one car.  The two-car thing was a horrible idea.
  • HVM Racing don't pay their bills.  They say they'll be in Homestead.  We'll see.  Simona better have funding for 2011, because she's likely a free agent.
  • Robin Miller spewed some oral ejaculation and pretended Graham Rahal will go to a third Ganassi car.  If he's right, it will be the first time.  Sounds like wishful thinking.
  • Will Power better win the title.
NASCAR
  • Trevor Bayne has signed with Roush Fenway Racing after leaving Michael Waltrip Racing.  Waltrip wanted Bayne, one of the top prospects in the sport, to stay, but Bayne and his father felt there was no room for him on a team with a full Cup roster and the rising Ryan Truex in the wings.  Bayne's likely to do another Nationwide Series season in 2011, before moving up to replace David Ragan in Cup in 2012.
  • Volkswagen unveiled a new Passat.  The rumors say it's NASCAR-bound.  Something about Team Penske.  I'm intrigued.
  • Braun Racing has become Turner Motorsports; Brian Scott and Tayler Malsam are out, and Jason Leffler's likely gone in 2011.  Scott joins the RAB Racing team, who won at Montréal in the video above, for this weekend's race.
  • Jimmie Johnson wins his fifth Sprint Cup in just eight more races!
ALMS
  • It's too quiet in the world of ALMS.  And with the new TV package rumored for 2011, it will likely stay quiet.
  • No Audi for 2011.  I'm indifferent.  Just give me an Aston.

Edited by Eric, 30 September 2010 - 11:58 PM.


#50 HandyNZL

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 12:02 AM

Whats your take on Milka Duno, Eric?  Should she be racing? She seems awfully slow at every track.

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#51 Eric

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 07:26 PM

Milka Duno had butt implants over the off-season.  I imagine that's hindering her driving a bit.

Beyond that, well, she doesn't belong in a series with such high speeds, but the IRL issued her a license and have usually parked her at road courses (but rarely at ovals).  Sorry, but her blocking is so much more dangerous on the ovals, and she's always had a knack for changing the outcomes of battles for the lead by picking the wrong line to ride around in (or, better yet, riding in all three lines at various times in the same corner).  Unfortunately, without changing the licensing policy, the IRL cannot fairly ban her, and Dale Coyne's team will go under without the CITGO funding that will leave with Milka.  I imagine the IRL will revise the policy this winter, giving Dale a little more time to find a new source of funding.

#52 Autumnpuma

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 10:09 PM

Milka has no talent. She is slow at every track and I'd even place her as a safety hazard (See the Nigerian Prince's comment above about her conveniently 'parked' on road courses).
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#53 HandyNZL

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 11:01 PM

Yes, i too think of her as a hazard.  Enough is said of the new F1 teams being hazards due to their speeds, I've thought Milka was more akin to a set of mobile road spikes compared with them.

So she has a sponsor that gets no tv coverage.....what a dumb a## sponsor.  If they think that they need a woman to get coverage then they should be behind someone like Simona.

And speaking of sponsors, i find it impossible to read their logos on the cars in IRL, which is weird considering the cars are bigger than f1 cars.

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#54 Eric

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 04:51 AM

Well, her sponsor, CITGO, is really the Venezuelan government's cute little oil company.  And government's aren't known for spending money on things that make sense.  Plus, Milka's husband is close to Hugo, so I'm sure that plays a role.  There is more to sponsorship than TV coverage: special interests and activation.  I doubt there's much of the latter, so it's all the former.

As for reading the logos, I totally agree.  No wonder they struggle to get sponsorship.  The camera angles, the speed, the shape, the size, whatever it is...I really doubt the average fan has a clue what's on the side of any of the cars until an on-board or pit road close-up is shown.  I imagine this was a concern addressed with the 2012 car, even if it certainly isn't the biggest one.

#55 Eric

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:04 PM

Dominoes.

Once a pizza chain with a prominent sponsorship of open-wheel racing; now the things falling down into each other until there's nothing left.

A big one hit hard yesterday: 7-Eleven is ending their primary sponsorship of the 11 car and moving to an associate sponsorship (for the non-NASCAR guys, this means a small decal) on Danica's car (the Indy one; 7-Eleven were talking to NASCAR officials in May, so perhaps we'll see them on the Nationwide side).  Allegedly, the sponsorship began as a clever way around tobacco advertising laws, with KOOL paying the bills to put 7-Eleven on the Team Green cars in return for in-store promotion and prime shelf space.  After that contract expired, KOOL decided it was no longer in their interest, so 7-Eleven stepped up and then farmed the space out to brands they sell (over the years, we've seen various hot dog and beverage companies plastered on the car for one-race deals).  Internet estimates put it at a $6,000,000/year deal.

Well, that deal's dissolved, and so is Tony Kanaan's contract.  He's a free agent.

So is his ex-teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay.  IZOD are not going to fund his ride for any portion of the year, and the Ethanol subsidy can only waste so many dollars before voters get all p***y (they already are, and should be, but anyway).

As if Andretti Autosport's troubles didn't stop there, the Snapple (under the Venom brand) deal on Marco's car is linked to 7-Eleven.  Wonder how that's going to work out.

Not to mention Danica's likely to bolt with her funds at the end of the year to do NASCAR.

What happens next?  Ride-buyers (or, "fully-funded racers" if we like them) fill the gaps at Andretti's team, meaning less competition for the Ganassi/Penske cars, and less personalities to promote.  That doesn't work out really well for the IRL.

This news isn't likely to be where the collapse ends, of course.  The ratings suck and attendance is just as bad, maybe worse (the Homestead race was not promoted due to the ISC tracks being cut from the IRL schedule; I'd say about 8,000 showed up.  I've seen many more at my high school's American football games and my local stock car track).  They don't appeal to the majority of people, even though the oval racing has actually been fun to watch.

It's a sport with no identity.  It's not F1 and it's not NASCAR.  It's just a poor (in the eyes of most people) alternative to both simultaneously.  It won't be Americana, it won't be Euro, so it won't be anything.

That new car in 2012?  It's a step in the right direction, but how many teams can really afford it when even Penske and Ganassi are worried?  Hell, how many teams will be around to afford it after another year of waning interest and dissolving sponsorships?  And where will the new car race when more and more events are becoming Honda company picnics, and more and more big-time oval tracks are becoming enemies of the IRL?

Will open-wheel work in the U.S. again?  Should they reset and just run Indy, putting their massive budget into creating a super-event with record purses that would provide incentive for teams to build one-off, innovative Indy specials?  Would the fans take to that and justify the costs, or would that just lose money like the IRL?  Should the 500 just become a NASCAR race?

And when there is a solution, it has to get past the Hulman-George family, which, after years of incest, cocaine, and financial mess, is so out-of-touch with the world around them that they'll surely reject anything that might grow the sport and its marvelous race.

I'm glad I don't have Randy Bernard's job.  The off-season's just begun and it's already ugly.

#56 HandyNZL

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 08:45 AM

View PostEric, on 05 October 2010 - 08:04 PM, said:

Dominoes.

Once a pizza chain with a prominent sponsorship of open-wheel racing; now the things falling down into each other until there's nothing left.  Just a pizza chain here...

A big one hit hard yesterday: 7-Eleven is ending their primary sponsorship of the 11 car and moving to an associate sponsorship (for the non-NASCAR guys, this means a small decal) on Danica's car (the Indy one; 7-Eleven were talking to NASCAR officials in May, so perhaps we'll see them on the Nationwide side).  Allegedly, the sponsorship began as a clever way around tobacco advertising laws, with KOOL paying the bills to put 7-Eleven on the Team Green cars in return for in-store promotion and prime shelf space.  After that contract expired, KOOL decided it was no longer in their interest, so 7-Eleven stepped up and then farmed the space out to brands they sell (over the years, we've seen various hot dog and beverage companies plastered on the car for one-race deals).  Internet estimates put it at a $6,000,000/year deal.  Sounds pretty sucky....I was just thinking the other day that Andretti used to always be sponsored by K-Mart (or was it Wal Mart) and wondered why he didn't still have that...and then starting thinking of the likes of Kenny Brack in the Kodak car, and JV/Montoya in the purple cars whose sponsor I can't recall, and Mansell coming over and teaching others to drive and eat burgers at the same time....and then I realised it was 2010 and not the glory days....and I sighed...

Well, that deal's dissolved, and so is Tony Kanaan's contract.  He's a free agent.  Third driver at Ganassi?  The red cars need a third driver or Penske WILL win the title next year

So is his ex-teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay.  IZOD are not going to fund his ride for any portion of the year, and the Ethanol subsidy can only waste so many dollars before voters get all p***y (they already are, and should be, but anyway). Ryan is a not half bad driver...and he's young enough to cut his losses and head to Europe...but maybe he just doesn't have the balls to do it....a season in GP3 or F2, then into GP2, and by 2014 knocking on an F1 door

As if Andretti Autosport's troubles didn't stop there, the Snapple (under the Venom brand) deal on Marco's car is linked to 7-Eleven.  Wonder how that's going to work out.  Monster waiting in the wings? Don't see their brand anywhere...

Not to mention Danica's likely to bolt with her funds at the end of the year to do NASCAR.  I dunno...I think she likes open wheel better, and she's pretty sucky in the tin tops...she had a good race at homestead I thought...shame about Will, maybe next year he'll be able to drive ovals.

What happens next?  Ride-buyers (or, "fully-funded racers" if we like them) fill the gaps at Andretti's team, meaning less competition for the Ganassi/Penske cars, and less personalities to promote.  That doesn't work out really well for the IRL. Nope, two teams dominating doesn't bode well...kinda like F1 which is normally just two teams and then the rest.  The bonus with IRL though is that they allow single car teams, and that's where you get someone going well that you may not have considered previously.  However, they do need to get some more parity between Ganassi and Penske and the rest...though Andretti does sometimes mix it in there.  I know they get balloted engines at the start of the year, but all the best wrenchers are working for either Penske or Ganassi that the just make the cars go faster.  Maybe the new car will equal the field for a season, but those two teams have the money to get the best crews, and thus the best cars, so they will soon dominate again.

This news isn't likely to be where the collapse ends, of course.  The ratings suck and attendance is just as bad, maybe worse (the Homestead race was not promoted due to the ISC tracks being cut from the IRL schedule; I'd say about 8,000 showed up.  I've seen many more at my high school's American football games and my local stock car track).  They don't appeal to the majority of people, even though the oval racing has actually been fun to watch. It has been a good season...a couple of races were flat, but for the most part was quite good.  Motorsport will never stack up to football, especially your yankee-doodle version, not because the game is all that good, but because y'all lost ya brains :P

It's a sport with no identity.  It's not F1 and it's not NASCAR.  It's just a poor (in the eyes of most people) alternative to both simultaneously.  It won't be Americana, it won't be Euro, so it won't be anything.  This is true...sadly.  But there is still a strong open wheel culture of racers in US, from F500 to Formula Continental to Mazda Star and FFords etc.  Open wheel won't die.

That new car in 2012?  It's a step in the right direction, but how many teams can really afford it when even Penske and Ganassi are worried?  Hell, how many teams will be around to afford it after another year of waning interest and dissolving sponsorships?  And where will the new car race when more and more events are becoming Honda company picnics, and more and more big-time oval tracks are becoming enemies of the IRL?  As one door closes, another opens....

Will open-wheel work in the U.S. again?  Should they reset and just run Indy, putting their massive budget into creating a super-event with record purses that would provide incentive for teams to build one-off, innovative Indy specials?  Would the fans take to that and justify the costs, or would that just lose money like the IRL?  Should the 500 just become a NASCAR race?  That would be cool, and DOF would like it, coz it would sort of be like the 1960's in a way...unfortunately, far too expensive to contemplate as a one off business model, and they already have this sort of thing run out on some salt flats, don't they?

And when there is a solution, it has to get past the Hulman-George family, which, after years of incest, cocaine, and financial mess, is so out-of-touch with the world around them that they'll surely reject anything that might grow the sport and its marvelous race.

I'm glad I don't have Randy Bernard's job.  The off-season's just begun and it's already ugly.  No...you're ugly....and your mummy dresses you funny

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#57 Eric

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 04:53 PM

1. A bad one, at that.

2. You're losing your mind.  The glory days occurred in 0.  NASCAR wrote their 2010 regulations that year, you know.  A real pivotal year in racing.

3. Ganassi was the most successful team in the United States this year.  Why change anything?  They'll only pull the third car out if someone with funding (Rahal and Service Central) pay for the whole thing.  Besides, Ganassi might be involved in some DeltaWing funtime series in the future, and uses his NASCAR profits to fund his "hobbies" (IndyCar and Grand-Am).  Target's only forced along, and see no value in it beyond Indy, so they sell the space to suppliers.  Kanaan will only get it if he brings money.  I think de Ferran is more likely for him, or Panther.

4. He'd be 34 in 2014.  He'll find some money in Grand-Am.

5. Monster back Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon, and Ricky Carmichael stateside.  They've also been funding that tool in WRC and Mercedes in F1.  I don't see it.  Michael will get something for his son.  Maybe a puppy, or perhaps just ask Randy Bernard to loan a series sponsor out to him.

6. She seems much happier on NASCAR weekends than Indy ones, and likes the money.  GoDaddy.com will leave if she doesn't stick with NASCAR, and she really seems to enjoy it more than the road course-heavy IRL she's been vocally against.  Bill Power was fine on ovals minus the one mistake; most of the time, his team screwed him over.  He could have had a few wins on them this year, and will next.

7. There's nothing wrong with the teams being better, other than the fact they use questionable methods to get there.  I've heard from many inside the sport that they have "special" treatment from the IRL; it makes sense, Roger Penske controls the sport and has for years.  If he leaves, the engine leases go with him, as he owns them all.  More freedom would cost more money, but would allow smaller teams to find ways to get ahead.

8. :lol: Well, it doesn't have to stack up to football, but it could at least stack up to...say, a TV blackout, when they show nothing.  That draws a 1.0, the IRL draws a 0.3.  They need to be at a 1.5 or the sponsors will keep bolting; a 3.0 if they want real competition; a 5.0 if they want no problems.  But at this point, a 0.5 would be promising.

9. Open wheel won't die, but it won't be much of a business here.

10. Usually, but sometimes, stuff dies.  The IRL's getting dangerously close, and any replacement series (i.e. DeltaWing) seems like denying the fact so few care.  Sometimes, things need to just go away for everyone to move on and be more productive.

11. Depends on how much interest they could get.  If they would just give up already and sell the title sponsorship of the Indy 500, they could get a lot of money.  Sell advertising space around the track, too, for the race.  Make better TV deals.  Consider that the whole season takes about $120,000,000 to fund, and they have, on average, lost $60,000,000 per year.  So let's play with $120,000,000, since that's what they like to spend.  $20,000,000 to the winner.  $15,000,000 to second.  $10,000,000 to third.  $7,500,000 to fourth.  $5,000,000 to fifth.  $1,000,000 to everyone else.  That leaves $35,500,000.  Pay $500,000 to those who fail to qualify, which could be around 10 or so, leaving $30,500,000.  Will that cover everything else?  I don't have a clue.  The current Indy 500 budget is included in the $120,000,000, so maybe.  I don't know where all of the Speedway's spending comes from (TEAM money is close to half, NASCAR, IRL, MotoGP races, special deals to subsidize races and teams...)  But the individual race does turn a profit, and would even more-so if it became the "Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 presented by IZOD" or whatever they want it to be.  It's not perfect, or well thought-out, but I'd love to see them do something risky for once.  They've been too textbook for too long.

12. Oh come on.  You've just seen bad pictures of me.  I wore this to prom, and it looked mighty fine.

Edited by Eric, 06 October 2010 - 04:57 PM.


#58 HandyNZL

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 10:18 AM

View PostEric, on 06 October 2010 - 04:53 PM, said:

1. A bad one, at that.  Yeah, but aren't they all

2. You're losing your mind.  The glory days occurred in 0.  NASCAR wrote their 2010 regulations that year, you know.  A real pivotal year in racing.  Ya wally.  Guess you were too young to be watching CART when it was better than F1, IMHO.  But today's series really is a shadow of it's former self.  It's a pity about the split.  Even though they kissed and made up, it put open wheel back about 25 years.

3. Ganassi was the most successful team in the United States this year.  Why change anything?  They'll only pull the third car out if someone with funding (Rahal and Service Central) pay for the whole thing.  Besides, Ganassi might be involved in some DeltaWing funtime series in the future, and uses his NASCAR profits to fund his "hobbies" (IndyCar and Grand-Am).  Target's only forced along, and see no value in it beyond Indy, so they sell the space to suppliers.  Kanaan will only get it if he brings money.  I think de Ferran is more likely for him, or Panther.  I know they won everything, but they only just squeeked it in IRL.  I like TK...I hope he can get a good drive.

4. He'd be 34 in 2014.  He'll find some money in Grand-Am.  Really? And here I was thinking he was a young-un...bet he gets asked ID at the bar....

5. Monster back Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon, and Ricky Carmichael stateside.  They've also been funding that tool in WRC and Mercedes in F1.  I don't see it.  Michael will get something for his son.  Maybe a puppy, or perhaps just ask Randy Bernard to loan a series sponsor out to him. Guess NASCAR has all the sponsors pretty much tied up....again attributable to the split all those short years ago.  From the racing I've watched of NASCAR and IRL, i'd take IRL any day...NASCAR just seems so.....dull.....I dunno...maybe it's just that they are tin tops.  Obviously it's still a hard thing to do, as it's taken Montoya an age and a half to get any good results, and he was never shabby on the ovals.  Alot of the nuances are hidden from the spectators I think...the commentry is pretty dumbed down, which is sad honestly.  Just explain it as it is...then people learn, aye?

6. She seems much happier on NASCAR weekends than Indy ones, and likes the money.  GoDaddy.com will leave if she doesn't stick with NASCAR, and she really seems to enjoy it more than the road course-heavy IRL she's been vocally against.  Bill Power was fine on ovals minus the one mistake; most of the time, his team screwed him over.  He could have had a few wins on them this year, and will next.  Problem with her going to NASCAR is she'll be at the back, and her girl thing won't work a second time around.  Road racing ain't that hard...I'd actually say oval was harder in that the setups are just so different to road where you look for a neutral car, but on the ovals, you need an asymetric setup, and thus too your driving style must change.  I certainly don't fall into the, if they don't turn right too, there is no skill involved clique.  There is skill, from car set up to driving style to working out how not to get tunnel vision to being able to drive scary fast three wide thru an oval bank.  I think Will will do OK next year too...this was his first full year, and he didn't do half bad. Franchitti really only got it thru his 22 bonus points.

7. There's nothing wrong with the teams being better, other than the fact they use questionable methods to get there.  I've heard from many inside the sport that they have "special" treatment from the IRL; it makes sense, Roger Penske controls the sport and has for years.  If he leaves, the engine leases go with him, as he owns them all.  More freedom would cost more money, but would allow smaller teams to find ways to get ahead.  Flip that over and you get Ferrari in F1...but they are still beatable...and Penske hasn't had it all their way out on the track, which is where it counts.

8. :lol: Well, it doesn't have to stack up to football, but it could at least stack up to...say, a TV blackout, when they show nothing.  That draws a 1.0, the IRL draws a 0.3.  They need to be at a 1.5 or the sponsors will keep bolting; a 3.0 if they want real competition; a 5.0 if they want no problems.  But at this point, a 0.5 would be promising.  See, that's the problem with ratings...people actually believe them....maybe they need to change their sample pool and choose open wheeler fans over drunk red necks :P

9. Open wheel won't die, but it won't be much of a business here.  Nope it won't.  Possibly what would be better done is to align with FIA and have a GP2 USA or something...and have the FIA open up GP2 to a few chassis and engine choices.  I know they like to think of GP2 as a stepping stone to F1, but old racers and racers that never got the lucky break need to race somewhere.  Heck, bring back the F5000's, but with modern tech....now THAT would challenge F1 and get alot of people going ooooo and aahhhh (not to mention having their eardrums popped).  The problem really with formula racing is that something somewhere always changes and one formula becomes better than the other, be it because the chassis manufacturers become lax, or too expensive, or it just simply stagnates, which is where IRL is at the moment...they have had  the same chassis for so long, that they have got the most they can possibly ever get out of them.  Whilst people moan that F1 keeps changing the tech rules, it's actually for that reason that F1 has never died....the racing sometimes is an absolute bore, but the engineering side and the fascination over the CARS brings in the punters....no one is really too intrigued by an IRL car these days...and thus the interest goes out the window.  At least NASCAR got Toyota involved.....something that was different and new, and something to keep the interest up.  I like IRL, don't get me wrong, but I'm not so misty eyed about it to think it ain't broke.  Had they gone the way of the Delta Wing, however, it would have been the laughing stock of the motorsport world.  Even Tata-Car racers would be laughing at them.

10. Usually, but sometimes, stuff dies.  The IRL's getting dangerously close, and any replacement series (i.e. DeltaWing) seems like denying the fact so few care.  Sometimes, things need to just go away for everyone to move on and be more productive.  Which is what happened with F5000 in effect....just whimpered out.  IRL is never going to have the pull of F1, so there is no point trying to match it...but they should do something different....they have to.  The Delta Wing was not the right thing, but it got people talking, which is good, and they are changing the cars.  Personally I would have said both Dallara and Swift got to supply cars.  They are taking a gamble on what they have chosen to do, and we shall see how the cookie crumbles.  It may result in a rejuvenated series, or it may be the death.  We shall see.

11. Depends on how much interest they could get.  If they would just give up already and sell the title sponsorship of the Indy 500, they could get a lot of money.  Sell advertising space around the track, too, for the race.  Make better TV deals.  Consider that the whole season takes about $120,000,000 to fund, and they have, on average, lost $60,000,000 per year.  So let's play with $120,000,000, since that's what they like to spend.  $20,000,000 to the winner.  $15,000,000 to second.  $10,000,000 to third.  $7,500,000 to fourth.  $5,000,000 to fifth.  $1,000,000 to everyone else.  That leaves $35,500,000.  Pay $500,000 to those who fail to qualify, which could be around 10 or so, leaving $30,500,000.  Will that cover everything else?  I don't have a clue.  The current Indy 500 budget is included in the $120,000,000, so maybe.  I don't know where all of the Speedway's spending comes from (TEAM money is close to half, NASCAR, IRL, MotoGP races, special deals to subsidize races and teams...)  But the individual race does turn a profit, and would even more-so if it became the "Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 presented by IZOD" or whatever they want it to be.  It's not perfect, or well thought-out, but I'd love to see them do something risky for once.  They've been too textbook for too long.  It's just the story of the old guard still running the show...it'll be a generational shift that results in something different.

12. Oh come on.  You've just seen bad pictures of me.  I wore this to prom, and it looked mighty fine.  Cute

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#59 Eric

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 07:25 PM

To beat the dead horse one last time...;)

The glory days, in my mind, were 1996-1999.  I think the racing aspect (but not the others) was best in that time; I've watched pre-split stuff and while it's better than today, it doesn't quite excite me like the late 90s racing.  That said, I watched in the late 90s, so it may just be nostalgia clouding my judgment.  That said, though, it can't be what I want from open-wheel, or what you want from open-wheel, or what Nigel wants from the McDonald's menu.  It has to appeal to either the U.S. American masses or a smaller group of super-rich people.  The latter isn't going to be achieved with cars going in circles, so they have to go for the former.  Something tells me enough damage has been done that no form of open-wheel is going to have that mass appeal; open-wheel is a regional sport contest on short ovals with sprints/midgets in the Midwest, modifieds in the Northeast, and supermodifieds bridging the gap between the two, only cared by those with a tradition in caring and those who want to see the next generation of NASCAR stars in their open-wheel days.

I totally agree that NASCAR is presented in a very repelling television format, and they're finding out the hard way with declining TV ratings.  Programs that condense the race into an hour with added insights are gaining popularity.  As a lot of the casual fans move away (it was "cool" for a while), NASCAR will have to get back to catering to the enthusiasts with more intelligent broadcasts (like they used to have as recently as the early 2000s; believe it or not, Darrell Waltrip used to be a solid commentator, until his producers told him to be a stereotypical redneck.  Another issue, without trying to sound like a jerk, is that a lot of people tend to just assume people with accents aren't as intelligent.  A lot of the ex-driver and ex-crew chief commentators know so much about the sport, but have a hard time presenting that).  Likewise, as all sports gear toward the next generation of fans, shorter races/shorter broadcasts need to happen.  The races are hopelessly drawn-out.

Danica...well, sponsors are flocking to her in NASCAR, and that's what the teams want.  She has a seat if she desires one, and those same sponsors might not want to do the IRL.  We'll see if she improves.  Bill ran full-time in 2008, for the record, and finished fifth at Chicago in the KV junkbox.  He'll be very dominant.

They can be beaten, but they were only beaten twice this year.  In a spec series.  That's concerning.

:lol: Reality is, sponsors largely use ratings to make decisions.  Whether accurate or inaccurate, a 0.3 is all they know, so they avoid it.  Most sponsors just get suckered in to a full-season by savvy teams who tell them that's the only way they can get the 500 space.

DeltaWing was not an attractive car, but it was the most interesting of all the options.  Doing 230 at Indy and the same times around Long Beach with 300 hp is incredible, and doing so with a lot of efficiency is even better.  The open-source idea is what inspired the actual choice where bodykits could be changed.  It was too radical for 2012, I suppose, but it was a great idea.  Of course, like any car, it would need a competitor, and I think that was a big issue: which of the others could race in the same series?  DeltaWing are working hard to race somewhere in 2012, so we'll see.  I'd love to see one race.

The fact is, allowing Dallara, Swift, and Lola would have been great.  Teams are going to close up for 2012 regardless of what they did; new ones will join if they make it worthwhile.  The only issue, though, was that Dallara wanted exclusivity, Swift wanted exclusivity, and Lola wanted to supply two different cars to race against themselves.  None of them were willing to play with others because it would have been a money-loser.

#60 Eric

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 07:53 PM

In more interesting news, let's talk IRL hot stove.  With this being the IR5's last year, a lot of interesting entrants might show up.

de Ferran Dragon Racing
#2: With Brazilian ownership and sponsorship (hp), Raphael Matos may be safe, but nothing is guaranteed.  Despite some flashes, he's spent two years not driving like an Atlantics/Indy Lights champion, which has to be concerning for a team with such high-profile owners.  Ryan Briscoe may be farmed back out if Penske cannot support three cars.  Other rumors suggested Scott Dixon, though that died after his Homestead win and subsequent interview.  Tony Kanaan has become an increasingly interesting possibility following Andretti Autosport's issues.

#21: No word whatsoever on the second car.

Team Penske
#3: Hélio Castroneves returns to go for his fourth Indy 500.  The only change may be Verizon Wireless logos on the sidepods; rumor has it they prefer being the big fish in the IRL pond to playing second fiddle in NASCAR (where they cannot sponsor a car in the highest level series due to Sprint, the title sponsor, who have exclusivity rights).

#6: Ryan Briscoe is expected back, but some rumors say Penske doesn't have the funding, and is more focused on getting Sam Hornish, Jr. a NASCAR sponsor.  The car may disappear altogether.

#12: Will Power and Verizon Wireless return; hopefully the mistakes don't.

Panther Racing
#4: Dan Wheldon is in an odd situation: he's gone, but could still come back.  Graham Rahal was rumored, though now that he has funding of his own, a fully-sponsored effort such as the 4 seems less likely.  Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, and Sam Hornish, Jr. have all been linked to the seat, though no rumors seem particularly strong at this point.

#20: Unsure whether the Panther Vision car will return, and to what extent if it does.  Ed and Fuzzy's may team up again for an ovals-only program, which would be great, as they certainly can mix it up on the speedways.  Another rumor places Rahal in this car full-time with the Service Central backing.

KV Racing Technology
#5: Lotus Cars will continue to back this vehicle, but will they back the crash-heavy Sato?  Dan Wheldon's been rumored as a replacement, as have every other Brit under the sun.  However, Sato may be safe, considering he's been working with Lotus as a test driver, along with team owner Jimmy Vasser and sports car racer Johnny Mowlem.

#8: No word.  A crash-heavy season for E.J. Viso could lead to his exit; even the PDVSA money didn't cover this disastrous year's repairs.  Lotus are rumored to increase their involvement with the team, too, so they may add another car (I'd prefer it to be re-numbered 82) for Wheldon, James Rossiter, or whomever else.

#15: It's not very likely we'll see this car or Paul Tracy back.

#32: Mario Moraes nearly lost the ride last season, so once again, it will depend on his funding.  KV would be wise to downsize to two cars, especially if Lotus are going to sponsor both.

Andretti Autosport
#7: Danica Patrick and GoDaddy.com return for another year of fun; hopefully one that goes more like Homestead or Texas and less like the rest of the year.  She can race, but the NASCAR distraction has to be hurting her confidence, and the big decision about her future surely will make her a little less focused.

#11: This car likely dissolves unless money is found.  Tony Kanaan has not been "released," but has been given permission to explore other offers.  Apex-Brasil could help fund something for Kanaan.  Graham Rahal has also been rumored with his Service Central funding, but the Andretti/Rahal dynamic doesn't make this likely.  Some say Wilson and Z-Line may end up here, too.  There's even talk of Paul Tracy, but I find that to be wishful thinking by those in denial.

#26: Marco Andretti will return, but will Venom?  Boost Mobile could end up on this car in the event Venom goes out the door with 7-Eleven.

#37: IZOD will not back Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is a free agent.  Ethanol?  Boost Mobile?  We'll see how it shakes out.

Chip Ganassi Racing
#9: Scott Dixon should be back.

#10: Dario Franchitti will be back.

#xx: Some say they may bring out a third car for Rahal and Service Central, or even Kanaan, if funding is found (Tony, for the record, used to drive the McDonald's car...McDonald's is a Ganassi sponsor...hmm).

A.J. Foyt Enterprises
#14: Quiet on talk, so I assume Vitor and ABC Supply return for 2011.

Dale Coyne Racing
#18: Milka Duno is a topic of off-season discussion for Randy Bernard and his associates.  If her license goes, so does the CITGO money, and so does this car.  E.J. Viso could move here, as could Mario Moraes, or any number of ride-buyers.

#19: Without the CITGO money, the Boy Scouts funding is insufficient, leaving this car in jeopardy as well.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
#22: It seems logical that Wilson and Z-Line stay, but the Andretti temptation could land them elsewhere.  No news really, though.

#23: They could field it full-time, or part-time, or not at all.  No word.  There's talk that Paul Tracy has put some funding together for this ride.  Ana Beatriz, J.R. Hildebrand, Tomas Scheckter, etc. could also try to get this ride for some kind of program (or the 22 if Wilson goes).

#24: Mike Conway's expected to be back, though we'll see with Dad's Root Beer, who were absent from the car for a while.

AFS Racing
#27: They will go full-time, but the driver has not been announced.  Adam Carroll seems to be the leading choice, unless Michael has the funding to move him to the big team.  J.R. Hildebrand, Martin Plowman, and Charlie Kimball could also be players.

Rahal-Letterman Racing
#30: It's possible Graham will take the Service Central funding to Daddy.  If he doesn't, however, the QuickTrim sponsorship will stay with the RLR team, meaning they could field someone else, at least at Indy.

Conquest Racing
#34: Bertrand Baguette will be back if his funding is.

#36: This is up in the air.  Saavedra's possible, though he may end up at Walker.  J.K. Vernay is also rumored.

Sarah Fisher Racing
#66: Unless Rahal is just going to stay there with Service Central, the funding's gone, and so is the car.

#67: Sarah Fisher is likely to retire, yielding the ride to someone else.  Will Dollar General stay, and for how many races?  Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, J.R. Hildebrand, Oriol Servià, and a million others have been rumored.

FAZZT Racing
#77: I haven't seen anything, so I assume nothing's changing.

HVM Racing
#78: Despite recent issues with paying bills, they say they're back in 2011, and Simona de Silvestro is, too.  Her funding, however, is not.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports
#99: J.K. Vernay is likely to be in the IRL next year, and it could be with Schmidt.  Still, it seems unlikely they'd expand now, when they have sights set on 2012.

Newman/Haas
#02: Graham?

#06: Hideki?  Graham?

SH Racing
#xx: They'll be Indy-only in a partnership with KV Racing and sponsorship from the shady Redline XTREME energy drink.  No word on drivers.

Walker Racing
#xx: Jonathan Summerton seems to be the most likely candidate, but Sebastián Saavedra is managed by Walker.




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