Casualties of war

Posted by Iannucci | 2/29/2008 | 19 comments »
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Tuesday’s Kumbaya Konference featured more than one photo opportunity of the IRL’s Tony George and Champ Car’s Kevin Kalkhoven smiling, shaking hands, being chummy and doing everything but passing notes under the table to one another. (Although Mr George should have slipped Mr Kalkhoven a Ricola.) The scene was necessary because in recent years Kalkhoven had become the face of the CCWS leadership, but in reality there were three other men who also had pieces of ownership of the series – Gerry Forsythe, Dan Pettit and Paul Gentillozzi.

As noted yesterday, Forsythe – who poured over ONE HUNDRED MEEEELLION DOLLARS of his own money into Champ Car – decided he didn’t want to pay another dime to race in a series he did not own. After signing driver Paul Tracy to a multi-year contract in January Forsythe closed the doors and let Tracy go, and will now race only field entries in the Atlantic series, which of course he co-owns.

Dan Pettit has also walked away from the unified world, where he was also co-owner of Champ Car’s PKV (as in Pettit, Kalkhoven, Vasser) Racing. Some of us with less than optimal hearing originally missed this this quote from Mr Kalkhoven during the Kumbaya Konference.

I'm actually obviously going to be part of the series with my own team, which is now KV Racing, with my partner Jimmy Vasser.

And as for Gentilozzi, he has expressed the sentiment that his one-car Rocketsports team will likely go race somewhere else. While his departure is not certain, from a business standpoint it would leave the smiling, hand-shaking, “I AM MINDY!” badge-wearing Kalkhoven as the only one of the owners to have actually survived the prolonged open-wheel war.

So it's probably time to just say "Welcome to the party!" to Kevin, and thank him for not picking up his toys and stomping home like a spoiled brat. The more the merrier.

One last note: as of this morning there is another notable casualty – Today’s word of the day will be “schadenfreude”.

UPDATE: It appears CCF is back, for your viewing pleasure.


  1. Fred Hurley // February 29, 2008 9:13 AM  

    A.) Nice! Good to see the Champ Car Fanatics stick around to discuss the sport we all love in a welcoming, high-minded way. Oh, wait ...

    B.) I thought Pettit had become a partner in Forsythe team before the merger. Didn't he divest from PKV a year or so ago? I thought they just hadn't bothered to update the name, because, well, why bother?

    C.) You know what? I like Kevin Kalkhoven. He seems to be a genuinely smart, savvy guy, who truly loves racing. Good to see him stick around.

    D.) If Gentilozzi, Pettit, and Forsythe all decide to race in Atlantics, does that maybe give them some legitimacy as an alternative open wheel series? Probably not, and Kalkhoven retaining part ownership only helps prevent that. Any young talents in Atlantics can be funnelled by KK to IndyCar or IPS. I just get leery with three owners floating unafilliated. I'd much prefer to see them all land in ALMS or Grand-Am. Or maybe 12 years of split has me twitchy and pessimistic.

  2. Anonymous // February 29, 2008 9:37 AM  


    Bad news, bud: Like a cockroach, CCF is still alive.


    If ANYBODY with a pulse and measureable brain wave activity hires Paul "Paulie G-String" Gentilozzi to participate in ANYTHING remotely related to auto racing, they are possibly the biggest moron in sports.

    "So, Mr. Gentillozi, tell me about your background."

    "Well, I started my own racing team, Rocketsports, and raced in sports cars. Then I owned Trans-Am and raced in it, breaking the record for wins held by the late Mark Donohue. Until that went bankrupt, unfortunately. In the mean time I had started Motorock, and tried to have it run CART, but that didn't work out . . ."

    "And what was Motorock?"

    "Y'see, I had this GREAT idea to combine auto racing in city streets with rock concerts."

    "And how did that work out?"

    "Well, it didn't really. The idea kind of cratered around the time Trans Am went belly up."

    "mmm-hmmm. And what else have you been involved in, Mr. Gentilozzi?"

    "Well, back in 2004 I bought into the old CART series with Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe, and Dan Petit. By then I also became a team owner with Rocketsports Racing. At one point I was going to bring the Adult Entertainment Industry into racing as team sponsors. But CCWS just fell apart earlier this year and here I am, free to come to work for you."

    "Mr. Gentillozi, we'll get back to you".

  3. Anonymous // February 29, 2008 9:39 AM  


  4. Johnny // February 29, 2008 9:51 AM  


    Under what url for CCF? The forums seem completely obliterated.

    As far as Gentiloser, a certain information "channel" I have said that he'd gently tried to start flirting over in ALMS and was told to keep on walking. I can't imagine how bad p*ssing off that crew would work out for him.

  5. Anonymous // February 29, 2008 10:04 AM  

    Oh Ye Gods and Little Catfish!

    Now that the "Open Wheel Center O' Hate" is back up and functioning, The Crappies are turning on Paul Tracy!

    The goofier ones are DEMANDING he stick to his guns and stay OUT of the IRL. In addition, we are seeing the "Well, his best days are behind him" posts too.

    Great entertainment, if you can stomach it.


    Two things:

    1) I just clicked on the link Jeff posted and went to the main page, then clicked on the tombstone to get in, and the love flowed from there.

    2) I'm guessing ALMS has some people who remember when Paulie G-String was running in SCCA and Trans-Am, and don't want to make the mistake of being within 50 miles of him again.

  6. johnnyCynic // February 29, 2008 10:18 AM  

    CCF has morphed to New name, same old hate.

  7. John in Speedway // February 29, 2008 10:19 AM  

    I bet those losers at CCF will keep posting crap all season long, and try to point out every bad thing about every race (not that there are many). I had to drop by just to see what people are saying, and it's pathetic. A Tony George dartboard??? Are you kidding me? Come on fanatics. Grow up and move on.

  8. John in Speedway // February 29, 2008 10:21 AM  

    Here's another funny thing I discovered. Type in your browser, and read the message that pops up.

  9. Johnny // February 29, 2008 10:24 AM  

    Weird, because I can get crapwagon, but the links for

    Champ Car Fanatics and The CCF Forums, even when clicked from, just take me to Thats with 2 browsers and a cookie/cache dump on each.

    Anyway, I doubt they're gone for good. The fact they're turning on each other in such a caustic way is highly entertaining though.

  10. Allen Wedge // February 29, 2008 10:30 AM  

    haha that is hilarious... how can people be this consumed by this?

  11. Fred Hurley // February 29, 2008 10:36 AM  

    I sincerely hope that the money can be managed such that the rest of the Champ Car teams (ie, everyone except Forsythe, Pettit, and Gentilozzi, all three of whom were only two teams) can manage to make it work in the IndyCar Series for 2008. That way, it'll only reinforce in everyone's minds that IndyCar is THE series, and that G, F, & P simply walked away bitterly.

    Actually, this is likely the best outcome for the long-term health of the sport. The owners in Champ Car that seem genuinely committed to the sport are coming over, seemingly, and those who were most divisive, even among their own ranks, aren't, AND, there's nowhere for them to go where they can threaten IndyCar in any way, unless they can help ALMS really jump in popularity. Of course, the ALMS seems to have a good working relationship with the IRL, too, so that's unlikely. OK, I feel better now. Now let's get PT in a Rahal Letterman ride, and get a move on.

  12. The American Mutt // February 29, 2008 11:02 AM  

    Someone needs to tell someone that the champ car home page can come down now.

  13. Fred Hurley // February 29, 2008 11:08 AM  

    I also noticed that ESPN has removed the various Champ Car tabs on their site. Clicking on "Autos" still leads to a general "Open-Wheel" page, but it's a start. :-)

    I think that the momentum of ESPN and other related partners of open-wheel racing getting behind the merger is the driving force preventing a few people (G,F,&P) from trying to turn Atlantics into another Champ Car. They're just crazy (and rich) enough to try it. But with ESPN and other news sites proclaiming IndyCar as THE top open-wheel series, the bell cannot be unrung, short of IndyCar REALLY screwing up. Hee hee hee.

  14. Johnny // February 29, 2008 11:20 AM  

    Well, that and we don't know what kind of non-compete clause was in the CCWS sale. PG&F may not be able to run anything remotely like open wheel racing again for another two years, or even longer. And I'd also have to question their will to do so when they could have ostensibly bought Kalkoven's stake instead of selling to Mr. George.

    As far as the Atlantics go, the persistent rumor is that Panoz may be interested in them as a full time support series for the ALMS, something they desperately need.

  15. Fred Hurley // February 29, 2008 11:32 AM  

    Yeah, ideally, Panoz would buy out the Atlantics after this season, and run it as a support series using DP01's. That seems like a win, particularly if Kalkhoven can use some of his pull to get the American drivers in Atlantics to come over to IndyCars when they move up. That wasn't hype by KK - they have a few talented American drivers who are legit.

  16. Johnny // February 29, 2008 11:42 AM  

    Using DP01's isn't a win, they're too similar to the IRL market wise and they're way too expensive for the Atlantics.

  17. Anonymous // February 29, 2008 1:47 PM  

    I was just thinking, it's very amusing to consider the fact that most of the crappies are GOING to watch the entire season specifically to hate it. It's sort of sad too. I understand the bitterness of rivalries (damn that was an amazing superbowl), but it seems the sensible thing to do would be to watch the unified series, and root for NHL or Conquest or etc... I do understand the bemoaning of the chasis switch. I gotta give it to em... the panoz is a real pretty damn chasis compared to the Dallara...assuming the nose stays on.

  18. Johnny // February 29, 2008 2:50 PM  


    You make a salient point, but remember, you've just used "Crappies" and "sensible" in the same sentence. Need I say more?

  19. Puretone Audio // March 02, 2008 7:18 AM  

    My guess is the majority of the crappies, much like the non-ride buying racing public in general, have never attended a CCWS race live and in person