Even if CART survives, Vancouver race may not This Canadian Press article says, No matter whether CART continues or collapses under its current financial burden, the Molson Indy will probably survive in Toronto and Montreal but the future of the Vancouver race is clouded. Championship Auto Racing Team is running on empty financially and is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That will allow Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, formed by three CART team owners, to buy the series and resurrect it in another form.
Molson has a contract with CART to stage races in Toronto and Vancouver for one more year. The agreement with Montreal spans three more years. The problem with Vancouver is the temporary street circuit in the downtown False Creek area will disappear when construction begins on the athletes village for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
We’ll run on the existing track until we can no longer run on it, Singleton said. We’re probably only good to 2006 for track life, then they are going to start digging up for the Olympics. With tracks already established in Toronto and Montreal, Molson might balk at developing a new Vancouver circuit.
We’ll get through this year and see where CART is at and where everything is at before you even contemplate it, Singleton said. There is no guarantee now we’ll go beyond 2004. If CART disappeared completely, Singleton would try to bring the rival Indy Racing League to Canada.
CART lawyers sort through offer termination This Indy Star article says, The CART board had hoped to meet today to vote on the proposal but was told it needs further study.
CART spokesman Eric Mauk said company attorneys have advised the board that a bankruptcy court is unlikely to approve any plan that ignores the stockholders.
According to the CART statement released Tuesday night announcing the original offer had been withdrawn, the only alternative other than the new OWRS proposal is to cease operations and liquidate the company’s remaining assets.
While the latest shuffling has caused confusion in the CART community, some see it as a positive. In theory, at least, if the new owners spend less to buy the series, they’ll have more to spend on it. And now removed is the variable of an angry group of stockholders vetoing the sale.
I think it might speed things up. If the stockholders had voted no, it was going to go to bankruptcy anyway, said Jim McGee, team manager for Patrick Racing and a CART mainstay since its inception in 1979.
From all indications we’re getting, I think these guys aren’t wavering on wanting to buy the series. They’re just changing their business approach. If you’re buying a company, you want to buy its assets and not its liabilities.
Like many CART teams, Patrick Racing has neither a driver nor sponsor for 2004 and can’t do much about either until CART’s future is resolved.
Like everybody else, we’re just waiting for something to happen, McGee said.
Also among the interested onlookers is the Indy Racing League, which stands to inherit teams, drivers, sponsors and venues should CART go out of business. The IRL plans to add two to four road races to its schedule in the next few years regardless of what CART does.
The plum on the CART schedule is the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix, scheduled to open the 2004 season in April. The IRL also would be interested in races in Mexico and Canada because of the sponsor dollars available.
Earnhardt Jr. wins most popular driver award The votes are in, and race car fans across the country have named Dale Earnhardt Jr. the 2003 Grands!� Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver. The announcement was made today during the National Motorsports Press Association�s (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
While Earnhardt, Jr. finished third in the top on-track honor in major league stock car racing, he led throughout the Most Popular Driver fan balloting for the highest off-track honor in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet maintained a solid first place as voting closed mid-November for the only fan-based award in professional motorsports.
�It means a ton to see the support I�ve received from the fans,� said Earnhardt Jr. �I know that no matter how bad things have been in my life that week or if I�ve struggled with the race that weekend, it�s always helpful to hear the cheers when I walk across the stage during driver introductions.�
Earnhardt Jr.�s win also marks the first time both a son and a father have received the Most Popular Driver honor. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001.
�The NASCAR fans are a smart bunch. They choose their favorite drivers based on who that driver is as a person and what they represent,� Earnhardt Jr. continued. �I try to remember that every day. This means a lot to me that the fans have supported me in such a big way. It was emotional for me to have to accept this award on behalf of my dad in 2001, but it will feel a lot better being able to accept the award this year.�
From the fan votes to at-track enthusiasm, it�s clear Earnhardt Jr. creates excitement on the racing circuit.
�I don�t think anyone is surprised Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the Grands!� Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver,� said journalist Kenny Bruce, president of the National Motorsports Press Association. �He came close to winning a year ago, and anyone who has listened while he was introduced at races would know that the fans really seem to love him. We are grateful to all of the NASCAR fans who were part of the voting process, and we feel they made a good choice.�
Valiante gets Champ Car test Following in the footsteps of such Lynx Racing alumni as Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice, the team�s latest graduate, Michael Valiante, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. will �get his claws� this weekend when he makes his debut as a Champ Car driver in a test with Walker Racing during the week of December 8 at Sebring Raceway in Florida.
Valiante will be one of four drivers participating in the test, including fellow Canadian Jonathan Macri and Scotsman Ryan Dalziel, who finished 2nd and 4th respectively in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Also participating will be Timo Glock, a driver in the German Formula 3 series.
Valiante, who won three races and finished 3rd in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, was scheduled to test and race with the Walker team in the CART season finale at Fontana Speedway in Southern California on November 2. However, the event was cancelled due to the devastating wildfires in the area.
�I had been fitted in the car and CART agreed to give me some extra practice time on Wednesday, so I was excited to be making my Champ Car debut at such a big event,� says Valiante. �It obviously didn�t happen, but this upcoming Sebring test will be an excellent way for Derrick to gain exposure for the team and sponsors, and for me to get some experience with a Champ Car in advance of the 2004 season. With four of us testing, there is obviously going to be some competition, but I�m confident in my ability and in the education I�ve gotten during my two years with the Lynx Racing team.�
�We�re very proud of Michael, and happy that Derrick Walker is giving him this opportunity,� says Lynx Racing co-owner Jackie Doty. �No doubt his learning curve over the next couple of days is going to be quite steep, but he�s a very intelligent driver who�s very, very good at what he does, and if he�s teamed with the right group of people � which we feel Walker Racing is � there�s every reason to expect him to do well.�
�There is a lot of young driver talent out there and with all the changes that have happened in the sport over the years, it�s clear that we need to find a way to give this talent an opportunity to progress in the sport of open wheel racing� said team owner Derrick Walker.
Walker Racing will take its 2003 Reynard chassis and provide two days worth of evaluation and simulation for each driver. Data analysis and feedback sessions with the engineering staff will also be key parts of the two-day program.
Surfers Australia promoter confident CART will be OK Fearing that the highlight of its Surfers Paradise race weekend may be in jeopardy, Lexmark Indy 300 general manager James Ashworth has spoken to both Kevin Kalkhoven of OWRS and CART president and CEO Chris Pook – to try and ascertain the latest details.
Everything is full steam ahead for 2004, Ashworth stressed, apparently happy with the outcome of his conversations, I spoke with Kevin Kalkhoven yesterday and he remained adamant there would be a series in place for 2004.
The Open Wheel Racing Series partners previously indicated that the Lexmark Indy 300 will be a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the series once the acquisition is complete, and we look forward to working with OWRS to continue the success of the Lexmark Indy 300 and also re-establish the Champ Car World Series as a dominant force in open wheel racing in 2004.
Another OWRS partner, Paul Gentilozzi, said that the new proposal would allow OWRS to acquire the assets necessary to continue the CART racing tradition into 2004.
OWRS expects to retain a sufficient number of cars to meet CART’s contractual obligations with our race promoters, he said, OWRS plans to maintain, and ultimately expand the CART racing series in the Americas and throughout the world.
Ashworth said that the new deal being offered to CART would allow OWRS to take ownership of the series and the race contracts much faster.
This is positive news on a number of fronts. Once the administrator approves the offer by OWRS, all existing race contracts – including the Gold Coast – will immediately be assumed by OWRS with no renegotiations necessary.
All teams, sponsors and promoters can then get to work on the 2004 series much earlier than if the December 19th stockholder vote went ahead. This new offer could actually expedite the whole acquisition process. Crash.net [ Editor’s Note: In the SEC document filed yesterday outlining the new offer, it states the entire process can take 60 days, not necessarily a good thing, but we believe this was stated as a worse case scenario]
***Reader Comment***Champ Cars overweight A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, First time I read the lap comparison page . Tell Dick Pong excellent job and I thought it was most appropriate to compare the F1 car, to all the others, at the best and most challenging tracks the USA has to offer, Road Atlanta and Road America. Excellent Job!
Acceleration, braking, cornering limits will all instantly improve and there is no need to have a better (HP) engine for 2005 to increase the performance, although having a higher revving engine of any sort is an absolute must for ultimate sound effect. Ultimately, 15,000rpm should be the target range for the engine and a 200lb lighter chassis of smaller dimensions.
I just finished watching the 1999 Mid-Ohio race where Montoya came from behind to pass Franchitti and Tracy for the win. It is just so obvious how much faster and exciting the cars are to view from the in-car camera to the stationary cameras. I’m almost discouraged to go back through this year’s races. They don’t look nearly as fast, exciting, or challenging to the drivers.
I still relish the 1999-2000 years. Doug Ferguson, Florida
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