Posted by Iannucci | 2/13/2008 | 7 comments »
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Forget comparisons to the Titanic, Champ Car appears to be exploding into pieces like the Hindenburg. If this report is to be believed, the series formerly known as CART has just suffered yet another split, because the word is now that Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe are no longer BFFs.

By Monday, many had come to the conclusion that the inevitable was just around the corner. While it is widely agreed upon that a single unified series is what is needed to rebuild and grow open wheel in America, this was not the unification that anyone was willing to accept. This was total capitulation. This was rushed and messy and ugly and a hollow victory for AOW. By late Monday evening things started to appear worse than previously thought, and rumors of a bankruptcy filing began to circulate. Champ Car as we knew it would be no more. The epitaphs and eulogies were free flowing as there was nothing else to do but await our fate.

This morning sources inside the Champ Car HQ's confirmed that indeed the Pi data acquisition folks had begun to remove equipment and Kevin Kalkhoven's belongings were being packed up and removed. And that's when things got interesting.

A late afternoon staff meeting at Champ Car headquarters allegedly revealed that Champ Car would not be declaring bankruptcy, but rather would push forward with the 2008 season. However, it is being speculated that it will be without longtime majority co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven, again lending credence to the wide spread belief that there was fire behind the smoky whispers of discord amongst the leadership of the series. Worse than just losing an owner however, there are additional rumors that Kalkhoven could be taking his team, PKV racing, with him over to the IRL, with the possibility of other teams following. In fact an AP article posted late this evening is stating that Derrick Walker is so exasperated by the back and forth and lack of communication that he is concentrating solely on an IRL entry for 2008 unless something changes drastically, and soon.

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Good times, eh? The braintrust at Trackside Online says there are reasons to believe Kalkhoven may be bringing several other - but not all - Champ Car teams along to the IRL as well. However...

Additionally, this causes HUGE problems because not only were Forsythe and Kalkhoven partners in the CCWS, they also co-owned several races (Long Beach, Toronto), along with PI Research and Cosworth. How those two settle up will be a major issue.

If Forsythe keeps Long Beach (and from his perspective, that only makes sense), then obviously the IRL doesn't get that race. Even if Forsythe is just delaying for a better deal, then there are time problems that need addressed.

(MORE from TrackSide Online)
Oh, the humanity!

Incedentally, if you're sitting by the computer just hitting refresh you could instead do yourself a favor and drop $19 for a subscription to TrackSide Online. They're an IndyCar ONLY news service that will send to your email box not only their proprietary updates but also every press release from every IRL team and track. Plus not only can you check out their snappy photo galleries, you can also compete in their fantasy league with people like me and pressdog. (Assuming of course he wants to try to defeat me again this season.)


  1. Bash // February 13, 2008 4:10 PM  

    More props from me for TSO - love the service. Dunno if it's still true, but in the past, members of the Downforce fan club could get TSO subscriptions for a discount. Either way, it's $19 bucks well spent.

  2. John // February 13, 2008 5:33 PM  

    You are correct. I'm a downforce member and I got 50% off, if I'm not mistaken. It was around $9 or $10, so that sounds about right.

  3. Tabernerus // February 13, 2008 6:16 PM  

    I just signed up. Pretty cool!

  4. Chris Estrada // February 13, 2008 7:21 PM  

    Methinks I'll have to get one of these:)

  5. mmack // February 13, 2008 7:47 PM  


    If it's a mutiny, instead of the Hindenburg a better comparison might be the USS Caine or the HMS Bounty. Is Gerald Forsythe playing Capt. Queeg or Captain Bligh?

    "Mr. KALKHOVEN!"

    "I'll live to see you - all of you - hung from the highest scoring pylon in the Champ Car World Series!"

  6. Tabernerus // February 13, 2008 8:08 PM  

    Triangulating the various rumors, it looks like Gerry Forsythe is pretty much single-handedly standing athwart the tracks of reunification, crying, "Stop." He thinks that to give in now is to admit defeat in this decade-old war. How can he admit defeat, and acquiesce to the man he believe almost destroyed the sport. He, and apparently only he, truly understands what is at stake here! The rest are so cravenly driven by profit that they are ready to run back to Tony George with open arms. But not Gerry! Gerry knows better!

    Someone needs to step in here and stop this. We're so damn close, after too many years. Can't anybody talk sense into him? What does he want, a field half-full of Atlantic drivers, with only five teams ready for Long Beach? That's how the series that gave us Zanardi going off-track at Laguna Seca for the win, and Max Papis falling just short at Michigan, will end? With a whimper? Mr. Forsythe, it's time to realize that the moment is at hand to admit the now inevitable truth. Champ Car is finished. IndyCar has the strength and the backing to lead open-wheel's fight back into relevancy, but only if ALL of the top drivers can join together in the name of racing. We need Wilson, Power, Doornbos, and Rahal. We need Helio, Kanaan, Andretti, and Patrick. We need them racing in one series, on a mix of tracks, giving us once again a true National Driving Championship. And apparently, we can have all of this, if Gerry Forsythe can manage to swallow his pride. It's time. Now.

  7. Jeff Iannucci // February 13, 2008 8:09 PM  

    Yeah yeah, mutiny and Hindenburg aren't exactly synonymous. But they do both apply. Kinda. Sorta.

    Besides, I was always partial to goofier stuff like "Mister Roberts". I think James Cagney's words ring true in this case.

    "I don't have to take it any more. There's a war on, and I'm captain of this vessel, and now YOU can take it for a change! The worst thing I can do to you... is to keep you right here, Mister, and here is where you're going to stay. Now, GET OUT!"