Silly season just got a little sillier after this press release was issued late Wednesday. Lawyers are now engaged.
Rahal Letterman Racing announces that it has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court Southern District of Florida Miami Division today against Scott Sharp Sports, LLC, Scott Sharp Inc., driver Scott Sharp (collectively "Sharp") and sponsor Patrón Spirits.No idea what's going on here but if given three guesses:
The suit alleges, among other things, a breach by Sharp of a multi-year contract with Rahal Letterman Racing. The terms of the contract call for Sharp and Patrón Spirits to participate in the IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Racing through 2008. Rahal Letterman Racing's suit seeks damages for, among other things, Sharp's breach of contract and Patrón's interference with contractual relations as well as injunctive relief. Additionally, RLR will file an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction against Scott Sharp forthwith.
"We find it deeply unfortunate that Scott Sharp Sports and Scott personally have taken this course of action, given that they are contractually committed with Rahal Letterman Racing through 2008," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. "We have learned that Scott is interested in racing somewhere else. If that is his direction in the future, so be it, but not in violation of his 2008 commitments. Their attempted legal maneuver to break the contract early is totally without merit. As such, Rahal Letterman Racing will vigorously and aggressively pursue our claims against Sharp and Patrón and the remedies to which we are entitled, as well as defend our team against their unfounded allegations. We had hoped to avoid the ramifications of legal proceedings, but with the allegations against us becoming public record, it is important that we act quickly and decisively to obtain judicial intervention to protect our reputation and goodwill in the industry, as well as to prevent any interference with our relations with our sponsors and other business partners."
Sharp joined Rahal Letterman Racing in 2007 with Patrón, rejuvenating his career by finishing eighth in the IndyCar Series. He scored ten top-10 finishes, three top-fives and won his first pole since 2001 when he led qualifying in Texas. He also finished sixth in this year's Indianapolis 500, the best finish of his 13 career Indy 500 starts.
RLR expects to be successful in its suit and therefore is planning on moving ahead with its plans for the 2008 season, including taking part in December tests in both the IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series.
1. Sharp is taking his Patrón sponsorship and starting his own ICS team. Hey if Sarah Fisher can be considering this then The Immortal one would be darn near likely to do it.
2. Sharp is taking his Patrón sponsorship to Panther Racing. They aren't in the Big Three, but as an organization Panther seems to be the most stable of the remainder of teams.
3. Sharp is taking his Patrón sponsorship to ALMS. Sharp has been openly discussing dual participation in some other series and ALMS had come up since RLR has a team. However, this is probably more of a lawsuit to be settled with money than with custody, if you know what I"m sayin'.
If anyone has any insight please feel free to share. It's possible this affects other drivers since Scott could be taking a place at another team or considering hiring one of the many free agents to be a teammate. Seriously, I'm pulling stuff outta my backside here so guess along with me.