Mixed signals

Posted by Iannucci | 2/21/2008 | 16 comments »
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Then again...

Canada's Paul Tracy said yesterday an expected merger between the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing league may not happen this week, or even this season.

In a telephone interview from his home in Las Vegas, Tracy said he had been told to cancel a scheduled trip to Indianapolis, that would have had him being fit for a seat in an IRL Dallara chassis in preparation for that series' opening race at Miami-Homestead Speedway on March 29.

"All I know is that three days ago there was a plan for me to go get ready to drive an IRL car; that there was going to be a merger," he said. "Now (yesterday) I was told: 'Don't bother coming to Indy' because the balls are all back in the air."

(MORE from Winnipeg Sun)
Years from now we'll all look back at this and have a big laugh, right?

NOT AN UPDATE: But just for the sake of reference.

"I'm not gonna drive one of those crapwagons!" - Paul Tracy (9/24/03)

16 comments

  1. Tabernerus // February 21, 2008 9:33 AM  

    I may just be overly optimistic, but given the press coverage this has gotten, we really are near a point where there's no going back.

    If the deal really does involve twin races in April (Motegi and Long Beach on the same day), then might they have cancelled the flurry of Dallara-ing because they'll need SOME testing to make Long Beach a safe event? If so, then it makes some sense to have the CC drivers go to Laguna Seca. Heck, one option is to start the season as two series, and merge at Indy, making the Month of May a huge, albeit chaotic, event. This works if the IRL schedules special testing sometime in late March or early April for the CC teams. Then they could run at Kansas to get some race time pre-Indy.

    Or maybe it's all falling apart, and we're all screwed. Who knows?

  2. Johnny // February 21, 2008 9:43 AM  

    tabernerus:

    Miller backs your version here. It looks like there will be a SimulRace™ in April between Motegi and Long Beach, and points for the combined championship will be given at both. Weird, but if that's the weirdest accommodation, so be it.

  3. SS Minnow // February 21, 2008 10:58 AM  

    Huh, I might even watch the Long Beach race this year.... Call it a "scouting" event if you will.

    Let's get this thing done, take the lumps this year and come back with a solid, unified 2009. It's scary to think that indeed both sides are looking longterm for a change.

  4. chrisestrada // February 21, 2008 11:05 AM  

    The twin race scenario between LB and Motegi has got to be one of the most bizarre ways to end a business feud I've ever seen.

    But then again, we've seen 12 years worth of bizarre things on both sides. Considering what's at stake here, what's another weekend?

  5. John // February 21, 2008 11:06 AM  

    An optimistic prediction is that they don't need Paul to come to Indy for a seat fitting just yet because the CC drivers aren't going to test at Homestead next week. Earlier articles said they will schedule a later date for the CC drivers to test at Homestead, therefore there's no rush to have anyone fitted for a seat "immediately". This is just a realistic and optimistic prediction. I really do hope they work out the LB/Motegi conflict.

  6. The American Mutt // February 21, 2008 11:39 AM  

    I tend to think Champ Car deserves a farewell race. Think about if from their perspective for a minute. I dont' understand the negativity of the crappies. It's all racing, but they prefer roads. That's cool. I myself like to watch both. and welcome a few more roads, as long as they get Michigan back in 09 dammit. I digress. They had to watch the season finale get canceled. Now...weeks before the start of the next season it all comes crashing down. They should have expected this with their TV package, but apparently didn't. Regardless. From a practical standpoint it'd be cheaper to do Long Beach than Motegi and if it's for the same points than so be it. Considering it was the biggest (though not the best...if this happens I want Cleveland on the schedule in 09) race on their schedule could definetly make a good finale. It's better than the blue balls they'd get with nothing. Is it the best solution? Probably not. Is it the worst? Probably not. If there's two races that weekend...well it wouldn't be the fist time I've watched two North American races in one weekend.

  7. Johnny // February 21, 2008 11:46 AM  

    The American Mutt:

    The problem with the two race scenario (which is still worth it over NOTHING) is that the CC teams will have to devote time to producing something resembling a competitive package with a dead man walking car. As Derrick Walker has already said, that will just take more time away from them being up to speed with the Dallaras.

  8. Edmund // February 21, 2008 12:25 PM  

    But what's to keep CCWS teams from showing up at Long Beach in their Dallaras? That eliminates the need to continue testing the Pazoz, and gives the CCWS teams a real weekend to get used to the new package without being laughed at by the IRL teams.

    Too, from a practical perspective, if there are two IRL points paying races in one weekend, couldn't some IRL teams choose to go to LB instead of Motegi?

    My head hurts.

  9. Johnny // February 21, 2008 12:29 PM  

    Well, for one, the CCWS teams REALLY need oval experience, maybe even more so than Dallara experience.

    Also there is the fact that the current course was built for the Panoz, so there may be some issues there. There may also be Dallara supply issues, although I'm sure TG could mitigate that.

  10. The American Mutt // February 21, 2008 12:36 PM  

    The oval experience of Motegi is a solid point, one I was thinking of when typing that comment. I don't really think there is a good solution at this point, but from a strictly Fan perspective--I'm just saying I think it'd be nice for them to have a finale. I'll give the champ car fans this (though I hate to agree with anything those incessantly negative people say) the panoz is a much more aesthetically pleasing car to look at--though I don't think the Dallara is ugly--that is of course when the Panoz keeps it's nose on. Has anyone determined whether or not the chasis could still be used for the road courses?

  11. Tabernerus // February 21, 2008 12:47 PM  

    Two comments:

    1.) I thought there was an issue with the Honda package meeting local noise regulations in some areas. Though St. Pete seems OK with it, so maybe that's not an issue. I do recall Honda working on a silencer package for just such a reason.

    2.) When the DP01 was first unveiled, I thought there was chatter about a possible oval aero package being tested, but I can't find anything to back this up, so I may be wrong. Also, I thought there was similar chatter about the Honda engine being able to fit in the chassis, perhaps with some modification. But who knows? At this point, it's more likely that it becomes a testbed for some safety mods that'll make it into the 2010 or 2011 chassis package.

    And about that package, any leaks about what direction they'll head in? I suppose it partly depends upon what the schedule looks like in 2009.

  12. Johnny // February 21, 2008 1:01 PM  

    The silencers are supposedly going on everywhere, I thought that was a done deal. I'm not sure what their status was at Nashville last year, but they are already very quiet, at least in comparison to a race trim level Ducati and not even close to the piercing shriek of an F1 car. Honestly, green racing and everything aside, the IRL needs louder cars. Pull the necessary permits and threaten the local govt with pulling out if that's what it takes, a series needs a signature auditory note that mandates attention to the what's going on trackside.

    I don't think the Honda will fit because of the natural aspiration vs. turbo thing. Also I don't know how realistic any further DP01 usage would be because they were done on a case by case basis by the manufacturer, and the supply will stay as is until somebody pays the factory to make more, which would seem incredibly backward.

    As far as leaving the CCWS fans with something, I guess that's subjective. I'm not sure a 10 car parade of futility would be a proper send off, or really even fulfill the contractual obligations of the event.

  13. Anonymous // February 21, 2008 4:49 PM  

    I know! Let's send the CC folks to Motegi, for the oval experiene, of course. And send the IRL teams to Long Beach, for the street course experience. Both points races. How's that for a solution??

  14. Tim Wohlford // February 21, 2008 9:34 PM  

    The DP01 would be 2 seconds a lap quicker at LB than the Dallara.

    That's not to say that the DP01 is better, or tougher to drive, it's just saying that the CCWS package is quicker.

    So, if the two would be run at the same time at LB, the Cosworth and Honda formulas would have to be considerably altered to match the two cars, possibly some weight added, etc. There isn't the time or the business case for that.

    The oval package was never completed for the DP01.

    The CCWS and Formula Atlantics will hopefully find a home in the SCCA as a premium open-wheel series car. However, I wonder if I could find a DP01 for a autocross car? Can you imagine that thing in a parking lot, driving around cones?

  15. Tim Wohlford // February 21, 2008 9:35 PM  

    Can any of the CCWS teams afford to go to Japan right now, especially since they'll be buying tons of equipment in the next couple of weeks?

  16. Anonymous // February 21, 2008 9:52 PM  

    Time for Paul Tracy to eat Crow !!