Counter Invasion

Posted by Iannucci | 2/19/2008 | 13 comments »
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This just showed up in the email, but darned if I can find a link anywhere. Anyhow - Behold! The first of surely (ahem) many N-word drivers is immigrating to the (allegedly) newly unified world of open-wheel racing!

Sherman joins Panther Racing: Panther Racing has signed veteran Brent Sherman to drive its Indy Pro Series car for the 2008 season. Sherman recently completed a test with Panther on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Panther team owner John Barnes believes the Minnesota-born driver can lead his Indy Pro Series team to another championship season.

"It says a lot about the Indy Pro Series when a driver of Brent Sherman's caliber wants to make this historic move from NASCAR to open-wheel racing," Barnes said. "I was surprised when I got the first call from Brent, but after getting to know him and seeing his talent first-hand in Panther's (Indy Pro Series) car, I realized this is a guy that can win races and deliver another championship to our race team."

Sherman competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and Grand Am before making the move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2004. He racked up more than 60 starts in the Nationwide Series from 2004-2007. He began the 2006 season as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver with BAM Racing.

"Open-wheel racing is where I started my career and I'm happy to be back with a team like Panther Racing," Sherman said. "I want to be successful, and I'm here to win races and championships. I've been a lot of places in my career, but the opportunity to drive for a championship caliber team like Panther is the opportunity I haven't had elsewhere."

"I'm just really excited to join Panther Racing and a great series like the Indy Pro Series," Sherman said. "I don't think a lot of guys in NASCAR realize the kind of opportunities the Indy Racing League has. Guys down there are scraping together all the money they can find to run a partial season or a test in ARCA, Craftsman Trucks or the (Nationwide) Series when they could run a full season of Indy Pro Series. I'm happy to be here."


Panther has indicated in their Ask the Pack section that it is possible they may have multiple Indy Pro drivers this year. This is noted so Leilani Münter fans can come off the ledge until further notice.

13 comments

  1. Carrie // February 19, 2008 5:02 PM  

    Wow. I'm really dumbfounded by Barnes comments.

    "It says a lot about the Indy Pro Series when a driver of Brent Sherman's caliber wants to make this historic move from NASCAR to open-wheel racing."

    Give me a break, John. We're talking Brent Sherman here, not Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson or Dale Earnhardt Junior. It's hardly even worth mentioning Sherman's "career" in NASCAR.

  2. Anonymous // February 19, 2008 5:25 PM  

    Maybe this Barnes is being nice.

  3. Jeff Iannucci // February 19, 2008 5:30 PM  

    What, you didn't hear? Jeff Gordon has decided he's rather race for for Minardi.

    Seriously though, in Barnes' defense it's from a Press Release, so overstating things a bit is par for the course. Heck, those words were probably written by someone other than him.

    Either way, I will agree that "historic" might not have been the best adjective available.

  4. John // February 19, 2008 6:41 PM  

    Well if TG can combine the old IRL marketing strategy with the reality that he finally may be in full control of AOWR, perhaps he will eventually still try and make the IRL an option for American race car drivers (aka USAC and dirt car drivers etc). The hard selling point is the road/street races. I have a friend who races open wheel dirt modifieds, and he always comments during our IRL/CC conversations how he'd love a shot at racing in the IPS. The only drawback (aside from cost and sponsorship) is road/street races, which he has no desire to partake in. The same could be said for foreign road/street racers, who are not so akin to ovals. The beauty of the IRL is it is "the most diverse schedule in motorsports." Utopia says that if someone wants to prove themself as the best all around race car driver, the IRL is the place to be.

  5. John // February 19, 2008 9:10 PM  

    My recent message sent to my fellow open wheel purist here in Speedway:

    The state of open wheel racing could be in a major transitional state. Had it not been for the date conflict of Road America and Kentucky, I may have joined you at Road America. Nonetheless, this is what's best for American Open Wheel Racing. All purists must agree. What other series can truly define a "race car driver" without incorporating 200+ mph speeds, short ovals, long ovals, road courses, street courses, and ....what else.....oh yeah.. Indianapolis??? The 4 hour WWE commercial that the "N-Word" has become may see some competition in a few years.
    I have a feeling that this year on Bump Day (yes, that deserves caps), there will be more than just Jimmy Kite trying to squeeze in along with one other driver spinning out in the short chute. I'm sure you enjoyed the "N-word's" version of the 500 this weekend, but the truth lies in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Don't sell your house just yet. This is the beginnig of a new era.

  6. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // February 19, 2008 9:17 PM  

    and dario went to nascar for the challenge? seems like this would be more like the challenge...

  7. John // February 19, 2008 9:29 PM  

    I think Dario reached the height of his career by winning the 500 and the ICS Championship. After flipping upside down twice in one season, Ashley convinced him to hop behind an enclosed shell of sheet metal for a few years, earn a few more bucks, and retire. Can you blame him?

  8. Sand Wedge // February 19, 2008 10:46 PM  

    Actually what a lot of people seem to have forgotten is that Dario himself stated that he planned on retiring last year... and Andretti convinced him to come back for 1 more year (hence Andretti's comments later on about motivation) and again Dario said he was planning on retiring, and Chip came calling, As Dario himself stated its not that he chose NASCAR over Indy he chose it over retirement...

  9. SS Minnow // February 19, 2008 10:57 PM  

    Some pretty interesting quotes from Larry Curry in this article:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/racing/02/19/indycar.resolution/index.html

  10. Dale Nixon // February 20, 2008 6:34 AM  

    I think the last line was translated wrong:

    "I realized this is a guy that can write checks and the bank will accept them for our race team."

  11. mmack // February 20, 2008 7:01 AM  

    What, you didn't hear? Jeff Gordon has decided he'd rather race for for Minardi.

    Well, if it keeps him from being eclipsed by Jimmie Johnson, I can see it. To be honest, I would have figured he'd rate a ride with Super Aguri in F-1. :^)

  12. Johnny // February 20, 2008 7:31 AM  

    John:

    I think your premise is correct about building a foundation up for AOWR but I'm not so sure that many dirt guys want in at this point, at least sprints or late models, although I could see modifieds. The money and freedom are too good where they are at now to give it up and hitch up to a regular series like the IRL. TG will have to build something really BIG to attract those guys.

  13. Justin // February 20, 2008 9:51 AM  

    Oh no! Tell all the Nascar people that the "Tin-top" invasion has began. Now this gives the IRL television crew freedom to over exaggerate his accomplishments and repeatedly talk about him during race.