Merger Fodder

Posted by Iannucci | 12/09/2007 | 10 comments »
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First off, a big hat tip to Zappatista of the blog with the mind-numbing title "YOU ARE ENTERING A WORLD OF PAIN!" (I think he may be related to MoneyCJ.) Mr Z picked up on something before mainstream journalists did by snooping out news the old-fashioned way: hanging out in a bar and talking with people who have been drinking.

The story which he tried in vain to get confirmed by regulars who cover the IRL is that earlier this week a dual series test was conducted at Homestead, with IndyCars and a Champ Car both conducting tire tests on the same track and on the same day.

Zappatista's premise that this was mostly to cut costs for Bridgestone/Firestone (who supplies the tires to both series) is likely correct, especially since Robin is confirming today - that would be SIX DAYS LATER - that there wasn't anything like a Dallara/Cosworth setup being run. That they did not allow journalists to cover the event is what makes tin foil hats go on heads, although your humble correspondent will abstain.

It's interesting to note that article by Robin also discusses how Paul Tracy (a.k.a. The Only Champ Car Driver You Know) may be out of a job. This is a bit of a corroboration with a post by Inside Track that earlier in the week claimed Tracy was sniffing out opportunities everywhere including the IndyCar series. It's also in total contradiction to this article from saying Tracy isn't going anywhere. But that would be Robin being Robin, wouldn't it?


  1. pressdog // December 10, 2007 6:49 AM  

    Forsythe: Contact? We don't care about no stinkin' contract.

  2. mmack // December 10, 2007 9:12 AM  


    GF's just following a trend in Champ Car. Why should he pay Paul Tracy when all the other owners have drivers that pay them?. This will seriously try PT's commitment to Champ Car. He tanked in the N-word's feeder series so that career path is closed. He coined the phrase "crap-wagon" and still thinks he won the 2002 Indianapolis 500 (which is news to Helio!), so the IRL isn't an option either, unless a man of his OUTSIZED ego can actually apologize and humble himself for a ride. If he quits, who does he drive for on that side of the fence, Dale Coyne?

  3. Johnny // December 11, 2007 6:08 AM  


    While PT certainly struggled during his limited run at the Busch Series, I'm not sure it closed the door forever. That team was on a shoestring and has since folded and people knew he was facing difficult circumstances. He could probably pull some kind of deal together, as NASCAR is increasingly trying to pull in more international talent.

  4. mmack // December 11, 2007 7:16 AM  


    In your opinion, would PT stand out from JV (Indy 500 ROTY and winner, 1995 CART champ and F1 World champ), Patrick Carpentier (2nd at Montreal, led @ Watkins Glen in '07), or even Andrew Ranger (CASCAR [Canadian N-word] Champion for '07) in the N-Word series? The only reason I ask is Tracy is older than those three drivers (damn near twice Ranger's age), and with the "Young Gun" movement, 39 - 40 in this day and age is late to be starting an N-Word career.

    Granted, while it would be fun to see Tracy in a car with proper bumpers racing against such famously tempered drivers as Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, or the Busch brothers, I just don't know if it would happen again. I'll take him over Whine Pablum Destroyer anyday, but I think PT would need to bring big Canadian bucks "South of the Border" to get a second look. N-word Truck Series maybe?

    Your thoughts?

  5. Johnny // December 11, 2007 10:03 AM  


    I think you're right about PT probably being over the hill for a CUP ride, but on the money about the trucks or soon-to-be Nationwide Series. He seems like a natural fit to either of those, especially the trucks, but since they're in such financial distress right now it's hard to call.

    It's true that there are other Canadian drivers that seem better positioned within stock cars, but you could combine the net sum of their personalities and not get something nearly as entertaining as PT in his stride, and personality sells. Also, those other three drivers are all Quebecois, whereas PT was born and bred in Ontario. While it may not seem like a big difference to us, most of the Canadian money in NASCAR comes from Ontario and that's certainly the fans you see at MIS, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc. So there may be a geopolitical advantage he brings as well.

    Finally I'm in total agreement in that it'd be totally fun, and almost his destiny to swap paint with the NASCAR's bad guys. Remember, it was him dispatching Tags that last got the CCWS on Sportscenter. That's a miraculous feat and with the ratings this year, think about how bad NASCAR needs that.

  6. Anonymous // December 11, 2007 9:10 PM  

    WHY the heck is everyone taling so much about Napcar ??? This IS a an IRL blog !

    and besides that, Paul tracy said he didn't care for nascar asfter he tried it, he didn't like how the cars drive , I could see him going to Grand-Am or the better Sports Car Series- ALMS.

  7. mmack // December 12, 2007 7:09 AM  


    Here's RM's take on the Tracy contract situation.

    IF what Miller says is true about Forsythe countering Monster Energy Drink's offer of sponsoring PT for 2007 with a demand for more $$$$$$$, I really have to wonder if Gerry is all that sharp of a business man. I agree (GULP!!!) with Robin's assessment that maybe as late as 1999-2000 you could ask for more than $3-5 Mil\season, but now?

    That said, it would be cool to see Tracy in the IRL, but someone (Honda? Canadian Tire? Tim Horton's Donuts?) would have to partner with him and bring the cash-ola. If Tracy took Monster's cash ($3-5 mil\season is not too shabby, it's a start and could be something better if partnered with associate sponsors) to Vision or Panther, they could see a win. However, would "Captain Crunch's" ego allow him to drive for a series he's insulted in the past?

    I do agree that it's big news if Tracy leaves The Official Rent-A-Ride Traveling Parking Lot Grand Prix Series, but I don't agree with RM that if Tracy leaves and goes to the IRL, game over for the other side. There's enough stubbornness on both sides to keep things going for years.

  8. Jeff Iannucci // December 12, 2007 9:26 AM  


    I'm not going to play a hypothetical game with Tracy's next season, but I will concur with your last statement. If he leaves CCWS now it may have some bearing on race promotion for that series, but it won't be the end of of the Champ Car world.

    To the contrary - the loss of his salary may fiscally help Forsythe field another car in a series full of anonymous ride buyers. I will now say a quiet prayer in thanks that the IRL has not fallen on to similar depths.

    Let's put this in perspective: Paul Tracy's name recognition in the US of A might be on par with Tony Kanaan, and at age 39 his skills are likely not at that same level. Personally I couldn't be more ambivalent about where he hangs his helmet, but I know his departure would still be news.

  9. Johnny // December 12, 2007 10:29 AM  

    But what (if any) credibility will be left to a 100% buy a ride series. Once its officially recognized as a playground for rich eurotrash wannabe's, it will only have the life expectancy of the current owners' checkbooks. They are sub AMA at this point.

  10. mmack // December 12, 2007 1:45 PM  

    Jeff and Johnny,

    One thing weighing on Forsythe's mind may be this. Champ Car says "we're planning sixteen races next year". FIA says "That's nice, you can have twelve".

    Might be really hard to get anybody to pony up $$$$$$$ if your series falls down to twelve races. (Looks like that European tour plan was a bust. So much for Spain in '08, and hence the rumors of racin' in Music City USA).

    Trying to read the tea leaves here, but with the recent addition of Dan Petit (so brilliantly parodied here by Pressdog), a demand to PT to renegotiate his contract, a tryout for Franck Perera last week (Mr. Tracy's replacement?), and a potentially shortened schedule, is Mr. Forsythe lookin' for the door?

    Time will tell, but The Crappies are in full frothing rage at all this.