Feeling CH-IRLish

Posted by Iannucci | 2/08/2008 | 10 comments »
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Here’s a updated braindump on the possible acquisition of Champ Car by the IRL (call it unification if you must, but when one party buys the other it’s not a merger). Please be sure to read all the way to the end.

If the merger happens, there are only three tracks on the Champ Car 2008 schedule that the IRL would be interesting in adding tot their current 16 event calendar. They are Long Beach, Edmonton (Canada) and Surfer's Paradise (Australia) -- all temporary circuits. - Motorsport

The Long Beach street race date is not flexible because a contract is in place to close the roads for the event only on that specific weekend, so Motegi would have to be rescheduled. - Autosport

"As long as Honda won't move Motegi, there won't be a merger," Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven told The Associated Press on Friday. "It's certainly a major hurdle, but not the only one." - MLive

The Motegi organisers were agreeable to moving back one week, which is currently the date for the IRL race at Kansas City. The ISC-owned facility reportedly declined the request because it's already a sell-out for the NASCAR/IRL package. - Auto123

Some issues are just plain difficult. Many contractual commitments have been made with suppliers and service companies based on two open-wheel organizations moving forward separately in 2008. Each of those contracts will have impacts that could have significant ramifications for sanctioning bodies, promoters, tracks, sponsors, teams and others. - Inside Indiana Business

BTW, one scenario we'd heard has the CCWS running Long Beach with their cars in 2008 - as kind of a wrap up party. This would require some point adjustments, or other consideration for CCWS teams moving to the full ICS schedule, but there are ways to make this happen. We believe that the CCWS needs to run Long Beach or they might lose the right to promote the event in the future, or be forced to change the contract terms to something less than favorable.

Who knows - it's all up in the air right now!

Here are some blogger reactions.

I'll wait for details before I do any kind of big report, but what makes Robin's report look good is that it has quotes from the big players and owners all acknowledging that some kind of deal has been agreed to and is being hammered out... - Furious Wedge

Although if this cancels Elkhart Lake I'm out $40 for a non-refundable hotel room. I'm not complaining. Even if it's not 100% accurate and buttoned up, it's difficult to argue Robin's story doesn't serve readers well. - pressdog

To hell with the presumptive press conference; the lot of them can bring a dead horse to the dais, stick a Champ Car hat on its head for symbolism and have Robin Miller or John Oreovicz punch it to show that, like Champ Car, it’s not coming back to life. I wouldn’t even believe that. And yes, I know that this is a gross exaggeration, thank you.

But such is the skepticism I have right now. I don’t want to have it, but history has taught me that in this messed-up realm of motorsport, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
- Indy Racing Revolution

And lastly, a love letter from from Kevin Kalkhoven to Robin.

"Once again, as has happened previously in the past four years, somebody has leaked a story to the press, and the press has turned it into a tornado," he said. "Now it has everyone running around in a circle. It's almost malicious, and it disappoints and infuriates me.” - IndyStar

Which has brought us to this late breaking story.

Officials from the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series confirmed Friday morning that negotiations have recently taken place geared toward folding elements of the Champ Car World Series into the IRL IndyCar Series.

However, the ongoing saga of American open-wheel racing unification took another turn shortly after lunch when Champ Car issued a statement claiming that those talks have stalled.
- ESPN.com

So don't get too up or down just yet. Tony George AND former Honda honcho Robert Clarke are reportedly off to Japan to see if they can sort things out over the next few days. In other words, hurry up and wait.


  1. faniqgearhead // February 08, 2008 1:38 PM  

    Well, if nothing else, this has destroyed my productivity for the day.

  2. chrisestrada // February 08, 2008 1:42 PM  

    How much ya wanna bet that the statement was put out to calm down promoters, teams, drivers and sponsors that are gonna be stuck holding the bag?

    Either that, or Kevin has a really annoying habit of blaming people that are trying to do their job.

  3. pressdog // February 08, 2008 2:14 PM  

    KK is priceless. Hey, go ahead and call it off for a year, Kevin. Then the IRL will just pick through the bones of your series. KK dislikes Robin, and the feeling is mutual.

  4. pressdog // February 08, 2008 2:21 PM  

    IIRC, Tony's offer to Champ Car teams was off the table, according to the Indy Star ... oh, wait ... KK: If fans want a series that doesn't suck, they should just stop paying attention to it, shut up send in their ticket money and wait for us to decide what to tell them. Maybe -- just maybe -- if Tony and Kev did a better job of keeping the fans informed as to what was going on, and not trying to operate in total secrecy, there wouldn't be a feeding frenzy when any bit of info came out. Maybe.

  5. Kevin Kalkhoven // February 08, 2008 2:58 PM  

    "I shall hold Tony George and the IRL hostage for fifty . . . FIVE DP-01's"

  6. Jeff Iannucci // February 08, 2008 3:01 PM  

    LOL - I had to shudder for a moment went the Blogger service notified me of a comment from "Kevin Kalkhoven". Very nice.

  7. Sand Wedge // February 08, 2008 3:50 PM  

    I think my favorite part about the latest round of talks are all the various pictures of Tony George people bring out... especially TSN; I think they make sure to use a different picture each time, today's picture is "chipmink in suit with sunglasses"

  8. Doug // February 08, 2008 3:56 PM  

    I think you were absolutely correct to call this a possible acquisition, and not a merger. If this deal does go down, CCWS will be assimilated into the IRL rather than the two series merging as equals to form a new unified series. As for KK's complaints about the fervor and buzz surrounding the speculations in the media and blogosphere, he should see it as a good sign. It means that people care about the sport and are eager to see it move into a more successful era. If no one were talking about these current negotiations, it would mean that AOWR was truly dead. I say thank God for fanatic fans like us to forgo our day's productivity to talk excitedly about this opportunity!

  9. John Edward // February 08, 2008 4:07 PM  

    I agree with faniggearhead... i got very little accomplished today thanks to this story. =)

    And of course, the best is still yet to come!

  10. Zappatista // February 09, 2008 12:28 AM  

    "Ev'rybody's building the big ships and the boats,
    Some are building monuments,
    Others, jotting down notes,
    Ev'rybody's in despair,
    Ev'ry girl and boy
    But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,
    Ev'rybody's gonna jump for joy.
    Come all without, come all within,
    You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn."

    yes, yes..... wouldn't we all agree that HONDA would do anything in it's power to afford the situation?....no? why? well... is it really Motegi or is it the ..N..word? Of course isc doesn't want to change a date, the dominate show would be their worst nightmare!

    viva! la revolution!