The end is near

Posted by Iannucci | 2/19/2008 | 15 comments »
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Tomorrow is the day.

The Indy Racing League series will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce its unification with Champ Car, sources close to the series said. John Griffin, Indy Racing League vice president of public relations, said though the exact timing of an announcement has not been confirmed it is “a fair assumption” that there will be an announcement tomorrow. - Indianapolis Business Journal

Let's see if Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe dress accordingly. You know - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

UPDATE: Oreo says THURSDAY is the day.

NOT AN UPDATE: But Diecast Dude at Restrictor-Plate This has produced this amusing graphic in honor of the day's news.

15 comments

  1. mmack // February 19, 2008 10:42 AM  

    Be sure to dress accordingly

    "I AM Indy!" T-shirts and caps for IRL fans, basic black for The Crappies.

  2. John Edward // February 19, 2008 10:55 AM  

    finally.

  3. John // February 19, 2008 11:00 AM  

    Here we are again though, this from Curt Cavin on IndyStar:

    Paul Gentilozzi doesn’t expect to see very many, if any, Champ Car teams in the Indy Racing League this season.
    “I don’t know of a Champ Car team that is a go,” Gentilozzi said today. “(One owner) told me he’d run (the Indianapolis 500), but he will not run the season.”
    Walker Racing is the only Champ Car team that has confirmed its interest in joining the IRL, but team owner Derrick Walker reiterated today that he still doesn’t have the financial backing to make the move.

    More back and forth, back and forth. Maybe they are just trying to save face pending the official announcement to keep their phones from ringing off the hook.

  4. Tabernerus // February 19, 2008 11:05 AM  

    Look, there are many different sides to the whole open-wheel argument, and they're all right, and they're all wrong, but the one thing all can agree on is that Paul Gentilozzi needs to shut up.

  5. Tabernerus // February 19, 2008 11:09 AM  

    Wait a sec. Is Gentilozzi suggesting that teams with Rahal, Wilson, Power, Tracy, and Doornbos are just going to pack it up and not race this season? Or is he suggesting that those guys are going to ALMS or Grand-Am? Or does he think they're content to run in Atlantics? Or are they all going to try to drive stock cars? Or is he suggesting that there will be a Champ Car, which is becoming decreasingly likely? I mean, making a statement of defiance as he falls is certainly his right, but really.

  6. Johnny // February 19, 2008 11:15 AM  

    Haha, the Crappie implosion in the last 5 or so days has been something I'll remember for the ages. Thanks for keeping it interesting between Robin Miller stories guys!

  7. Bash // February 19, 2008 11:15 AM  

    The Crappies are quite comical these days...

  8. John // February 19, 2008 11:16 AM  

    Considering that a spokesman for the IRL said they are making the announcement tomorrow, I think Mr. Gent is misinformed and is just being a whiner. The IRL gets way more exposure than CC did, and I'm sure all the CC sponsors are happy now about a live TV package, a marketable product, a bright future, and....what else...hmmm...oh yeah.. THE INDY 500!!!

  9. Sand Wedge // February 19, 2008 11:18 AM  

    purely speculation: but most people rumored and thought PG himself was a major hurdle in the negotiations, and this could just be ego talking here;

    If NHL has already been sniffing for Vitor, they're already in, and there are reports that Walker is in with quotes from Power on the issue in Aussie papers, Tracy has been quoted on the issue, thats at least 5-6 cars there from those teams.... I imagine PG is either keeping people off his back or he's just miffed about the whole thing and won't take his team over to "stomp his feet"

  10. Jeff Iannucci // February 19, 2008 11:19 AM  

    I don't think it's unrealistic to presume a few CCWS teams WON'T come over to the IRL, given that many of their ride-buying drivers would rather be road racing all of the time.

    That said, we shall see if a unified series improves sponsorship opportunities for guys like Alex Barron, Roger Yasukawa, Jeff Simmons, and the Lazier brothers.

  11. chrisestrada // February 19, 2008 11:22 AM  

    Same here Jeff. I still think that Aguri was off his rocker dumping Roger for Kosuke in 2004...I bet he wants that one back.

  12. Tabernerus // February 19, 2008 11:30 AM  

    I think this will definitely help some teams secure sponsorship. However, there will likely be only a small bump inititally. Some potential sponsors will likely want to wait a year to let things shake out, to see which teams are staying, and which won't make it. For example, let's say D&R signed Barron to be the second driver behind Rice. He seems like a good sponsorship opportunity for a smaller sponsor. But right now, are you comfortable that D&R will be here in 2010? My guess is that 2008 will be a bit chaotic, 2009 will be smoother and better, and then 2010 will show some real improvement, both on the track and in the marketplace. As Mario has said, NASCAR's numbers have plateaued, and there's room to grab some of those casual fans. So I don't expect the world to shift on its axis tomorrow, however, better car count and real qualifying competition at Indy will be a boost, and by 2010, the house should be in better order, and then maybe some of the sponsors who don't feel NASCAR is giving them good ROI can reconsider. I'm looking at you, Red Bull, Crown Royal, and AT&T.

  13. mmack // February 19, 2008 12:14 PM  

    All I want to know is:

    Where's Derek Daly in all of this? Is he holding on to his hollyhocks, or is he in the whiskey?

    I can hear it on ESPN2 in the future: "And young Marco is getting dangerously squirrelly!"

  14. faniqgearhead // February 19, 2008 1:15 PM  

    Whatever happens, Rule #1 must be Don't Let Paul Gentilozzi Anywhere Near a Position of Power.

  15. Bash // February 19, 2008 5:51 PM  

    The chicken little graphic is CLASSIC! The Crappies will crap themselves over this one... :)