Down under and going under

Posted by Iannucci | 2/18/2008 | 20 comments »
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One of the three or so races from the CCWS schedule are mentioned as being acquired, err, "merged" into the IRL docket is the Surfer's Paradise race in Australia. This article from Gold Coast makes it sound like Champ Car has lost the date regardless.

The Bulletin understands that if the merger talks fail between the Indy Racing League (IRL) and Kevin Kalkhoven's Champ Car series, A1 GP may take over as the international component of the Surfers Paradise race.

The V8s are already an established part of the Surfers Paradise event, but to secure the $11 million in State Government sponsorship, Indy bosses must enshrine the international component.

(MORE from GoldCoast)
Crikey! Meanwhile back in the states Champ Car teams are pretty much doing NOTHING while waiting for a decision.

I spoke with a couple of local folks from Minden who are heavily invested in the Champ Car series. Katie Brannan does PR for the Pacific Coast Racing team and Richard Raeder manages the Sierra Sierra Formula Atlantic race team, defending series champions. Both of them told me that from the Champ Car/Atlantic side of things everything is up in the air with no official word coming out of the Champ Car offices and all the teams pretty much on hold.

"Our team owners have put a stop to all expenditures, and we have four chassis in-house that are pretty much paperweights at this point," Raeder told me.

(MORE from Nevada Appeal)


  1. Fred Hurley // February 18, 2008 9:56 AM  

    Hey, where are we going?

    And why are we in this handbasket??

  2. Anonymous // February 18, 2008 10:58 AM  

    It seems the story really is:
    "We're hearing that the (merger) deal between the IRL and the Champ Car series is a goer and that's certainly the best result for the Surfers Paradise race," (motorsports journalist Brett Murray) said.

    Further: "A secret deal has been stitched up between warring bosses from Champ Car and the IRL to save the struggling open wheel racing sport.

    The deal will cement the Gold Coast race as the No. 1 motorsport event in the country, particularly on the back of speculation that Melbourne's Formula One is all but dead."

    With Murray were Team Australia owner Craig Gore and former Formula One world champion Alan Jones. Gore might be thought a CCWS "insider", friend (and the rumored IRL team partner) of KK, no?

    So, who's going under down under?

  3. Iannucci // February 18, 2008 11:07 AM  

    I intentionally didn't post that quote you cited because it's from a "motorsports journalist" who presumably has nothing to do with any of the negotiations. We've had enough of that lately. Plus, this report is from Gold coast who "reported" a few days a that the deal was done.

    I just thought the article was interesting because it wasn't exactly saying "we're sure looking forward to the Champ Car race later this year". The fact that there is spoken ambiguity about "if this...then that" further echoes the fact that A LOT of racing people are in the dark on the status of the upcoming racing season.

    As for going under, that was related to the second part of the post.

  4. Fred Hurley // February 18, 2008 11:11 AM  

    I wonder how long until a promoter of a early-season race files suit against Champ Car for not providing adequate support for the race. The suit would likely go nowhere, but would serve to bring some sort of statement out of somebody.

  5. Anonymous // February 18, 2008 12:45 PM  

    At least we can probably say that Surfer's has a backup plan. I've seen enough races on TV from there to know that the event is a HUGE part of the Gold Coast's social calendar. If open-wheel is still standing in the future, I'm looking forward to seeing that race in person, whether as a journo or as a fan.

  6. SS Minnow // February 18, 2008 1:26 PM  

    Wow! I love the Aussie optimism.

    Anyway, just throwing it out there for random discussion....

    Do you think TG, KK and the others involved are holding back a few days to let the smoke clear from Daytona? Let them have their limelight, so to speak, and not be relegated to back page fodder?

    Also, this chassis thing is getting to me. We all know a new design is forthcoming in , by most reports, 2010. Possible TG wants to save some dough and is negotiating to incorporate components of the Panoz research/design into the "new" one therfore, letting the CC guys have the leftover D's in exchange?

  7. The American Mutt // February 18, 2008 2:29 PM  

    I'd like the writer from the Nevada paper to explain to me HOW he could think a "four hour nail biter" was possible. A four hour/do your laundry, play gameboy, read political blogs, maybe go work on a painting, check and see where Sam is, Oh finally the last twenty laps..oh they wrecked...oh they wrecked...oh they wrecked again...oh they wrecked again HOW the fuck am I supposed to believe THIS is the premier racing in this country when they can barely keep the car on the track? BTW It was cute when he said we May have to go "overdrive"--it's like overtime but there's more laps...that's not five hundred miles now is it? I hate yellow flag finishes too, but that's racing.

  8. John in Speedway // February 18, 2008 3:09 PM  

    Let's not forget about the qualifying procedure. And also, in addition to doing laundry and cleaning the house, don't forget "constantly checking the internet for updates on the open wheel merger".

  9. Anonymous // February 18, 2008 4:42 PM  

    The doozy of the day for N-word is watching Darrell "Boogity Boogity Boogity" Waltrip explain on WindTunnel that the Top 35 rule is "like franchising" for the N-word Sprint Cup series.

    Oh, yeah, now I understand Darrell. Makes perfect sense. :^/

  10. pressdog // February 18, 2008 4:46 PM  

    Surfers is one of the best-attended, most frothed up events Champ Car does. But I think they'd get as frothed and liquored up and wild if it was sports cars. They just love a party down there. God love 'em. Oh yeah, and I was feeling the rage whenever anyone tried to at like the Daytona Nap Fest was the biggest damn deal in American racing. Ah .... is this Memorial Day weekend? Didn't think so, so shut yer CAKE HOLE.

  11. John in Speedway // February 18, 2008 7:35 PM  

    Seriously, watching an entire N-Word race without falling asleep is a true test of one's attention span. That's why you have to keep yourself occupied by doing something else until the last 10 laps.

  12. Anonymous // February 18, 2008 7:37 PM  


    I don't think it was a "nap fest," but I'm definitely sensing a vibe of superiority amongst the Fox/SPEED guys. You can't blame them, but it's starting to get really annoying.

  13. Johnny // February 19, 2008 5:13 AM  


    I caught that one too, and while inarticulately presented, Waltrip's point was essentially valid, especially in light of NASCAR's recent approvals of what basically amounts to sales of owner's points. But his further claims about Daytona being bigger and better than Indy, to somebody who has been to both, were mind boggling.

  14. John in Speedway // February 19, 2008 6:43 AM  

    Robin and the caped crusader are at it again. Only this time, Gotham City may truly be getting a make over. Check out

  15. pressdog // February 19, 2008 7:21 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  16. Fred Hurley // February 19, 2008 7:25 AM  

    So it looks like my Wednesday prediciton was correct - I just picked the wrong Wednesday. Doh.

    Though if the deal as loosely described by Mr. Miller goes through, do you think a mysterious free Dallara ends up in the garage at Foyt Enterprises? "I have no idea how that got there. Ignore the tag that says it's from Tony!"

  17. Anonymous // February 19, 2008 7:28 AM  

    Am I wrong in thinking that if this is true...maybe...just maybe...for once...Robin should have kept his mouth shut, and not given it away before a press conference?

  18. Fred Hurley // February 19, 2008 7:32 AM  

    American Mutt:

    Yeah, I know how you feel - ego can still make this all fall apart. But then again, it's his job, and how he supports himself. A few owners seem to have commented, and all are from the Champ Car side, so my guess is that it'll have no effect. I hope. Man, I hope the press conference is today. That'll be the point after which there's (almost) no going back.

    But yeah, if a press conference really could happen by tomorrow, then I half-wish the cat was left in the bag.

  19. Anonymous // February 19, 2008 7:41 AM  


    Letting the cat out of the bag is exactly what I meant. We've been waiting for this for years--if it's going to happen let us have it from their mouths officially. I don't know...either way it doesn't long as it's true. Jeff...start hunting for photos.

  20. Fred Hurley // February 19, 2008 7:58 AM  

    At this point, if THIS derails a merger that everyone agrees is a good idea, then I'll just become an ALMS fan. Screw 'em.