Whenever, Wherever...Whatever

Posted by Iannucci | 10/05/2006 | 2 comments »
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The Los Angeles Times has a very uninformative story about the lack of series merger in 2007, as if this is news. You can read it at your own peril, but the one thing that caught my eye was the Champ Car schedule for next year provided at the end of the article.

I won’t reprint the full agenda, but I will say that for a series looking to lower expenditures the CCWS seems to be going crazy with their geography. They have 15 races in total, and seven of them are staged in the “Western” United States of California, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. That makes sense for them, but being in a Western state it bothers the snot outta me.

However, the rest of the schedule is literally all over the map. The only other US races are in Wisconsin and Cleveland, essentially conceding the majority of the country to other forms of racing. The rest of the schedule has three dates in Canada, as well as Mexico City, Australia and China.

This strategy reminds me of “Risk”, where you load up your armies in one or two regions (in this case the Western US and Canada) and then hold one piece of land in every continent so your opponents can’t fortify every round. Kevin Kalkhoven and his buddies may be good at that game, but this seems like a silly idea for a racing series that’s two years removed from bankruptcy.

Which is not to say the IRL is behaving very differently. Their 2007 schedule will focus most races in the Midwest while hosting a few events in other parts of the US as well as one in Japan. Still, the IndyCar series does have exposure in New York, California, Florida, Virginia and Texas, which means they haven’t yet conceded any heavily populated portion of the homeland.

Furthermore, Champ Car has the Australia date in October and the China date in May, which means TWO trans-Pacific trips. Far be it from me to tell these people how to run their series into the ground, but if they really intend to reduce costs that just seems like a really expensive idea.

For what it’s worth, that China date is May 20th – the last qualification day at Indy. There are no other CCWS dates between April 22nd and June 10th, so teams will conceivably have the choice of taking a crack at Indy or a slow boat to China. I know China has a billion people, but it would be folly to think many of them will be watching a Champ Car race. If you had a CCWS team with sponsorship from McDonalds or Wal-Mart, where do you think your sponsors would prefer you race in May?


  1. pressdog // October 05, 2006 8:29 AM  

    Yeah, I don't get Champ Car's international thing either. (I also think the IRL's trip to Japan is lame, even though I know it's all about keeping Honda happy.) Unless Champ Car thinks overseas is where the money is. International audiences are far more into street/road racing than Americans. So maybe that's it. I also don't get their total lack of ovals, but, again, maybe they're all about street/road and leaving the ovals to the IRL.

  2. Anonymous // October 05, 2006 5:05 PM  

    What an odd schedule - and how about that gap between August and October. As much as I would enjoy a longer IRL season, I prefer the IRL's budding strategy of having a race almost every weekend throughout the summer. Definitely keeps the fans' interest and keeps the momentum going.