Posted by Iannucci | 2/20/2008 | 21 comments »
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IndyCar officials have scheduled a press conference for 11am on Friday in Indianapolis where they will announce the long American open-wheel racing war has come to an end.

Series officials had hoped to make the announcement on Thursday, but Champ Car principle Kevin Kalkhoven will not be back from England, where he is tending to family business.

Friday's announcement will end the 13-year feud that began when Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George announced the creation of a new racing series on March 20, 1994.

(MORE from The Press Association)
There's more in there about "intellectual rights" and the addition of the race in Mexico City, but at this point who knows what's actually accurate. It might as well say they're racing on Moon Base Alpha this year.

UPDATE: TrackSide Online says the following.

Initially the story said a press conference had been confirmed for Friday at 11:00am, though that has been changed a couple times and now reads: "IndyCar officials have tentatively scheduled a press conference for Friday in Indianapolis, where they likely will announce that the long American open-wheel racing war has come to an end."

TSO has spoken with IRL officials and they insist that a press conference has not been officially slated yet.
In the immortal words of Mr Incredible, "We get there when we get there!"

UPDATE 2: "We're (down to) just grinding out the details," (Kevin Kalkhoven) said by telephone from London. "You know what happens when you get attorneys involved." - IndyStar


  1. mmack // February 20, 2008 2:02 PM  

    This just in:

    The Champ Car World Series management has scheduled a press conference in Indianapolis for this Friday, 2/22/2008, at 11 AM CDT. The subject of the press conference is the announcement of when the next press conference covering the proposed unification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League will be, and where it will be held.

    At the rate this is going, I'm wondering if Dilbert's boss works at CCWS HQ.

  2. Bash // February 20, 2008 2:18 PM  

    From a similar Yahoo story: "I just hope it happens," said Chip Ganassi, who owns teams in IndyCar, NASCAR and Rolex Grand American Sports Car Racing. "There can't be five people on the planet that don't want it to happen, so let's hope it happens."

    The Chipster isn't reading the Crappie board lately, is he? LOL!

  3. Billy Coy // February 20, 2008 2:34 PM  

    it's great about the historical records being part of the deal

  4. John Edward // February 20, 2008 2:39 PM  

    I was scared to read the crappie board but something Christopher Mesta said gave me cause to go check them out. And I'm glad I did.

    Those wing-nuts are wacko. Tell them the sky is blue, they're argue it's fuchsia. There's way too much negativity over there for me to spend too much time. If I want negativity, I'll go visit my parents. (j/k)

  5. Sand Wedge // February 20, 2008 2:45 PM  

    I've read so many things from so many places at this point, but Cavin and a few other people have said there is a possibility Motegi and Long Beach both run the same weekend.... Unless they make Motegi a pointsless race, I'm not sure if there is a worse idea possible for that problem...and even that is a bad idea...

  6. Bash // February 20, 2008 2:59 PM  

    I have to take the Crappies in very small doses, but some of the rants in denial have been pretty humorous...

    Very curious to see what the Long Beach/Motegi deal is. Also very hopeful the extra testing for CC teams is a real thing - don't want these oval newbies making Milka look good...

  7. Anonymous // February 20, 2008 2:59 PM  

    so will the champion get the Vanderbilt Cup ? the cart lovers heads will assplode I bet

  8. John Edward // February 20, 2008 3:17 PM  

    I know, Bash... It's best just to take it in small doses... All the "FTG" references are a bit much to stomach. I wonder of TG ever reads crapwagon.

    I could never run for public office.... I'm too easily offended. =)

  9. Tabernerus // February 20, 2008 3:27 PM  

    I never did understand the negativity towards either league. The people in charge? Sure. In any such dispute, there is always blame, in some quantity, for everyone involved. But I watched a few Champ Car races last year. I think Bourdais is a hell of a driver, and I just wish we'd seen him race against Dario and Sam, so we'd have a clear answer to the obvious question. Maybe now, we'll know who the National Driving Champion is. And do I ever hope that starting in 2009, they refer to it as such, whichever piece of hardware that driver gets. A little historical arrogance in that department would be a good thing, I think That's why I was so happy to see that comment about the "intellectual property." I'm sure it's partly a way to buy out the principals without buying their debt, but it also lets us move forward knowing there is exactly one top-level automobile racing series in the US. Call the vehicles Indy cars, call them Champ cars, call them race cars for all I care. We'll have one series, with roots going back to 1909 - a hundred years of championship racing in America. My God, the shear unmitigated rightness of it!

  10. John Edward // February 20, 2008 3:40 PM  

    well said, Tabernerus.

    Open wheel racing has been my 1st love since I was 10 years old. I don't like all the negativity that came with the split.

    Funny, I never knew that AJ had lost his record of 67 career victories until this morning when I read about the historical records being part of the deal too ... In my own way, I'm glad he has those back. =)

  11. Anonymous // February 20, 2008 5:15 PM  

    Did anyone see the thread on the Crappies site begging Gerry Forsythe to Save Champ Car? It was pathetic, post after post with "please, please save us", one person even used the Princess Leia line from Star Wars "Help us, Obi Wan Forsythe, you're our only hope!". Other posts gave credit to GF's "true brillance and understanding of running a racing series". It was enough to make a sane person gag.
    Of course, I guess the keyword there is "sane"!

  12. Johnny // February 20, 2008 5:51 PM  

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Crappies have even passed us Superbike fans in their delusions of grandeur and loosened grasp of reality. Think about that.

  13. Tabernerus // February 20, 2008 5:55 PM  

    Wow. Yeah, save us Gerry Forsythe! Use your witchcraft! :-)

  14. Nancy // February 21, 2008 12:07 AM  

    Family business in England, or dancing with the penquins again...I demand to know!

  15. Billy Coy // February 21, 2008 5:30 AM  

    Moon Base Alpha !
    I ate at the restaurant once. The food was pretty good but it didn't have any atmosphere

  16. mmack // February 21, 2008 7:42 AM  

    Since the Chicago Tribune had a Curt Cavin story about a merger on Page 2 of the Sports section yesterday, and lead today's Sports section Press Box feature on Auto Racing with a blurb entitled Lawyers Working on Merger Details (Ahead of a blurb about the N-word passing out penalties like candy after the Daytona races, even to The Annointed Son), it's obvious that like it or not for the Champ Car principals and rabid fans, the unification\merger\whatever you need to call it has taken on a life of its own, and the news of it is now bigger than any person involved. Something will happen soon. At this point, if, GOD FORBID, Gerry Forsythe listens to Gentilozzi (and I have serious doubts about Forsythe's vaunted business accumen for just allowing Paulie G-String to be part of ANY racing series) and tries to go it on his own with the tattered remnants of Champ Car, he will look like the biggest IDIOT in sports. Because then it's not about sound business planning, it's about spite.

    At some point, everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize, in the paraphrased words of Michael Corleone, "It's not personal, it's strictly business". Put aside passions and look at cold, hard numbers. A business plan of two separate racing series trying to split the same shrinking pie of sponsors, press coverage, and fans will never work. The series that was CART went bankrupt once, and its reincarnated remains are probably bankrupt again. The Indy Racing League holds on in somewhat better shape, but all of us who are fans of the League must admit that it is difficult seeing car counts at races that are barely in the high teens. If we can get twenty four cars entered by financially solvent teams at races outside of the Indianapolis 500, that will be a huge accomplishment. And a thumb in the eye of press nay-sayers everywhere.

    The rabid Crappie fanbase at places like Champ Car Fanatics, Auto Racing One, Track Forum, etc. remind me of a friend of mine who "Isn't happy unless he's got something to complain about." If you don't like the IRL, be an adult and don't attend the races, don't watch television, and move on with your life. They also remind me of someone who can't get over a breakup with a loved one, and just stew with resentment over the thought that they were dumped.

    Will a unified American open wheel series be bigger than NASCAR? In my honest opinion, probably not. If it ever is, it will take years going on decades of effort to build the sport back to something close to what it was at the pinnicle of it's popularity. But with one series, we can clear up the confusion in the minds of sponsors and potential fans. With one series we can lose the coverage by lazy hack journalists who dredge up "The Split" every spring. And with solidly focused marketing and positive press, we can develop and grow a series that is an exciting alternative for those racing fans who cannot care less about the N-word.

    And that would definitely be a good thing.

  17. Tabernerus // February 21, 2008 8:12 AM  

    If a fan wants a series dedicated to road racing, with no ovals, they can watch ALMS or Grand-Am, both of which provide entertaining road racing with high levels of competition, and neither or which suffer from embarrasing failures of "competition enhancements," like Power2Pass, mid-race. Watch ALMS, all you Champ Car nuts. You'll enjoy it, and we'll all go home happy.

    As for the long-term health of IndyCar (and I love that I will soon not have to say open-wheel), it clearly won't be a serious threat to NASCAR during the rest of this decade, but if the next chassis and engine formula is a success, and the merger yields the sponsorship bump that it could, then come 2010 to 2012, they'll be a legitimate force again. Also, NASCAR has largely won the motorsports fanbase by default over the last decade. If you are a casual fan, and you like seeing bright cars go really fast, and like the human drama of racing, it's been very easy to just sort of fall into saloon racing - Oops, I mean NASCAR. I myself certainly enjoy watching (I know - I'm in the minority around here). If NASCAR wants to go "back to their roots" a little bit, and let the drivers be themselves, this will certainly strengthen their base, but will casual fans still watch if things get a little to Southern for their tastes? Who knows? But 15 years ago, CART and NASCAR were neck-and-neck for dominance, and there's no reason it can't swing back in the same amount of time.

  18. John Edward // February 21, 2008 8:28 AM  

    I can't help be reminded of Alec Baldwin's line in Glengarry Glen Ross, "A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing."

    This merger deal needs to close so I can get back to work.

  19. Tabernerus // February 21, 2008 8:29 AM  

    John Edward:

    Amen to that.

  20. SS Minnow // February 21, 2008 10:51 AM  

    "Coffee's for closers!"

    Let's hope someone's brewing a fresh pot.

  21. John Edward // February 21, 2008 12:01 PM  

    Let's hope Al Pacino doesn't flip his lid over the merger.