Justin Time

Posted by Iannucci | 10/17/2007 | 11 comments »
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There was a murmur or two that this guy (along with his CDW sponsorship cash) was on Michael Andretti's short list to replace Dario Franchitti, and now it looks like he's readily available for any possible interview.

"They (RuSport) have just announced they are closing down," driver Justin Wilson tells goldcoast.com.au. "They have just told me and the crew. They don't want to carry on. This weekend I will just have to see what my options are for next year."

Wilson has been with RuSport for three seasons and currently sits second to Sebastien Bourdais in the championship. That's where he'll likely finish for the second straight year as the Frenchman needs just a 12th place showing to clinch his fourth straight series title.

"The next couple of weeks will be interesting. I just have to work out what options I have available and then make the right move." (MORE from TSN.ca)
For those of you despondent at seeing top IndyCar drivers leave for another series, please take note that at least none of the better TEAMS are vanishing. Wilson has been the best driver not named "Sebastien Bourdais" for two straight years and his entire organization - after merging with another team - is going kaput.

Tune in to pressdog for continuing coverage of the CCWS deconstruction.

11 comments

  1. pressdog // October 18, 2007 6:13 AM  

    Are you SURE you don't have Champ Car fever? Wilson is a class guy, perhaps my fav driver in CC. Hope he ends up in the IRL. All I hear is a big death rattle coming off of Champ Car these days.

  2. pressdog // October 18, 2007 6:14 AM  

    Oh, wait, he's going to the N-word. Probably. Isn't everyone?

  3. mmack // October 18, 2007 6:40 AM  

    Pressdog:

    NA$CAR for Wilson? Puh-leease. CDW is a technology company sir. Besides, with all the Official sponsors NA$$$$$CAR has, if Justin only has CDW to bring with, someone will sue CDW to keep them out. Think NEXTEL\Sprint vs. AT&T\Cingular, or Geico gettin' the boot with Nationwide coming in.

  4. mmack // October 18, 2007 6:52 AM  

    Jeff,

    The fun part of all of this is to watch "The Crappies" (Hey, that's their chosen name for themselves) at ChampCarForum and Autoracingone.com latch on to this statement in the linked story with a death grip:

    "Pettit said late Tuesday he was still committed to Champ Car and was examining his options for next season."

    That gets you statments like this from someone who has been hitting the Champ Car Kool-Aid a little too hard:

    Worth repeating

    "LATE YESTERDAY OWNER DAN PRTTIT SAID THE TEAM WAS STILL LOOKING FOR OPTIONS FOR NEXT YEAR AND THERE WAS STILL A CHANCE THE TEAM WOULD BE ON THE GRID IN 2008.

    WE ARE STILL COMMITED TO CHAMP CAR."

    Some reorganization is taking place along with securing new sponsors for 2008. I believe Dan Pettit wants to rebuild the team personel from scratch.


    IMO, things like RuSport closing their doors, the driver game of musical chairs (to the tune of Money by Pink Floyd), races announced and cancelled this year, races cancelled for next year (San Jose lost and replaced by Laguna Seca, which CC left due to low attendance), rumors of races in places like Dubai(!) for 2008 (IF indeed there is a 2008 season, as the date the 2008 schedule was to be announced has been "pushed back" from mid-October 2007 to a vague mid-November), and declining car counts point to a series that will be closing its doors soon, if not in 2008, then 2009. All that's keeping it going is a stubborn resolve to ignore the truth.

    We may laugh and poke fun, but in a way it's sad. I've been an open-wheel racing fan since 1982, when I first went to IMS with my father for Pole Day qualifying. From 1986 to 2002 I attended CART races at Road America, Milwaukee, Gateway, and Chicago Motor Speedway (In 2000 I attended races at all the tracks I just listed). I even tried to stay faithful to CART and didn't buy tickets for the 1998 and '99 Indianapolis 500 (I was angry at TG for running the 1997 race on Tuesday, when I couldn't use my tickets since I was back at work). But I couldn't stay away from Indianapolis, and taking my nephew back for Pole Day qualifying in 1999 reminded me what I loved about open wheel racing.

    CART lost me as a fan with the screwed-up officiating at the 2001 race at Road America and the screwed up attempt to promote and officiate the 2002 race at Chicago Motor Speedway. I contrasted that with the first IRL event outside of the Indy 500 that I attended at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001. I got the impression that the IRL wanted me as a fan and were going out of their way to win me over. My impression of CART was that they could give a damn about me as long as I paid for my tickets.

    I feel sorry for the teams who will be stuck with DP-01's they can't unload, especially local boy Dale Coyne (his racing shop is two towns over from where I live). I feel sorry too for the drivers and crews who will be scrambling for work when this all goes down. Hopefully either Mikey hires Justin or CDW follows through on the rumor of starting their own two-pronged IRL and ALMS effort. Maybe CDW can bring some bucks to Vision Racing in exchange for Justin getting Sheckter's seat. And I hope those who can bring solid sponsors come to the IRL.

    About the only ones I won't feel sorry for if what's left of OWRS\CCWS\"It's only a flesh wound" closes are the die-hard "Crappies". The IRL is not perfect by a long shot, but after twelve years of FTG posts and constant snipes about IRL teams leaving, IRL races leaving, and the gloating over the superiority of their series, I can only ask them "How ya' like me now?"

  5. Johnny // October 18, 2007 7:04 AM  

    Mmack:

    Actually since sponsorship dollars are marching out of NASCAR at a fairly alarming pace right now, they're settling that whole ATT/Sprint thing, as well as many others that have flown under the radar, quietly and behind closed doors now. If CDW wanted in, they'd find them a place. With the way things are now though, they'd probably get a better ROI and visibility in the Truck series than CCWS.

    I also totally agree with you on the Crappies. They're worse than the people left that the AMA hasn't completely pissed off by a wide margin, and that says a lot.

    Pressdog:

    Agree with you also. Wilson is a solid driver and seemingly extremely marketable. And IRL or ALMS ride would definitely let him live up to his potential more than his current situation.

  6. mmack // October 18, 2007 11:51 AM  

    Robin Miller weighs in:

    Don’t look for a third Target car in ’08 because, ideally, Ganassi would like to farm Lloyd out to another IRL team for 2008 and let him get miles and experience. Maybe a Dreyer & Reinbold, running the Brit with Chip’s cars and engines.

    “I have every intention of having (Scott) Dixon and (Dan) Wheldon in my cars for years to come, but my team was really impressed with Alex when he tested – they raved about him."


    More speculation, tidbits, and outrages here. Just remember to take what Robin says with a not just a grain, but rather a water softener sized block of salt.

  7. mmack // October 18, 2007 11:58 AM  

    Miller throws in $.02 on Wilson as well. He thinks NHL (via same link):

    "We told you several weeks ago that CDW was getting out of Champ Car and likely heading for ALMS, but staying with Wilson at Newman/Haas/Lanigan might still be an option.

    CDW is in Chicago, like N/H/L, and it’s believed the software clearing house is interested in getting involved with Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camps. And CDW would be treated with a lot more class than they have been the past several months."

  8. Johnny // October 18, 2007 12:07 PM  

    Still strongly hearing ALMS for CDW. They court those types of businesses major. That paired with a shaky outlook for the CCWS suggests they will be sports car racing in 2008.

  9. Jeff Iannucci // October 19, 2007 12:35 PM  

    Seriously, mmack - you need your own blog.

  10. mmack // October 19, 2007 1:19 PM  

    Jeff,

    I am a "semi-official" corresponent for pressdog.com. As such I cannot spare time for a blog. :^P

  11. mmack // October 19, 2007 1:21 PM  

    Of course, the "semi-official" thing may be news to Pressdog. :^)