Yeah, about that recent merger frenzy? Not so much. The intrepid Curt Cavin says this deal is dead for now as he follows up in the IndyStar.
George, the IRL's chief executive officer, said that in meetings last fall with Champ Car's leadership, he offered to help its teams pay for IRL cars on the condition they participated in his series for at least two seasons. When none came forward in a timely manner, George chose to scrap his plan.Reading between the lines it appears Mr George was trying to secure more vehicles for the coming seasons by extending the longstanding concept of "Tonybucks" and not with gratis vehicles. George knows his contract with Honda is up in two years (what a coincidence!), so it's certainly in the IRL's best interest to elevate it's product with more competitors in that timeframe.
"Teams started coming to me in December and January, and there's not much I can do at that point," George said. "I needed to know earlier so we could get the cars ordered."
George said he told Kalkhoven and Forsythe in separate meetings that he would help teams acquire a new car and a used one as a backup for each full-season driver supported by a proper budget. He would not have bought the cars outright.
"I wasn't going to wholesale make that offer," George said. "I would make sure they had equipment; it would not necessarily be free."
(MORE from IndyStar.com)
So if there's one thing these new details tell us it's that George is more concerned with looking after his own product than with looking after Champ Car. If there's a second thing, it's that something happened between "last fall" and "December and January" that spooked a lot of Champ Car teams. If there's a third it's that Kevin "I never, ever saw an offer from Tony George" Kalkhoven would make a fine Sergeant Schultz.