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Posted by Iannucci | 2/22/2008 | 18 comments »
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Good morning friends, and fasten your seatbelts! This is final approach.

Unification talks continue

Joint statement: The ongoing talks between the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series will continue into at least (Feb. 22) in regards to the unification of open-wheel racing.

Any confirmation will be made once an agreement is in place. There are no plans for a news conference at this time. Much progress has been made toward unifying the sport.
- IndyCar.com

Open-wheel racing still had two series after meetings between owners of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series ended Thursday night.

Another round of meetings is scheduled for today, according to IRL spokesman Fred Nation.

Nation said there is no cause for concern even though a news conference planned for this morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was put on hold.

"Absolutely not," he said. "They made a heck of a lot of progress, but they're not over the hump yet."
- IndyStar

“I don’t think there’s any fatal problem, they just didn’t quite get everything done,” said Fred Nation, the IMS vice president of communications.

“They stopped for the evening and they’ll resume in the morning.”
- SpeedTV

The final details of the deal, according to David Higdon, executive vice-president of strategic development for Champ Car, were being put together last night by George and Kalkhoven.

"Kevin and Tony George met yesterday to finalize an agreement that all sides wanted to see happen," Higdon told Sun Media in a phone interview from Indianapolis, where the talks took place.

"There will be a public announcement tomorrow," he said.
- Toronto Sun

IRL officials have made arrangements to stage a press conference to confirm and detail the open-wheel "merger" when terms are finally agreed. However, with the series' official media day scheduled for Tuesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, they may decide to delay the announcement until then.

The IRL's first open test session of the season occurs February 27-28 at Homestead's 1.5-mile oval, followed by four days of road course testing at Sebring International Raceway in Florida on March 3-6.

In the meantime, look to Curt Cavin's blog for updated "absorption" and power-broker breakfast information.

"Can you merge me now?"

UPDATE: Cavin says Kalkhoven has left the building, as well as the city.

Curt's note: My guy in the sky said KK's plane left Indy at 11:41 a.m., according to flight logs. Guess that means no announcement today. Still waiting on word from the IRL.

No conmfirmation on whether or not Anthony Fedele was on that plane.

UPDATE 2: Cavin is simply on fire.

Kalkhoven could not be reached for comment, and George admitted to being "anxious" that details are still not resolved after a lengthy dinner meeting Thursday night at a downtown restaurant.

"We're still not where we need to be, and the more time passes the more challenging it becomes," he said.

(MORE from IndyStar)


  1. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 8:43 AM  

    Oh, man, I hope they don't wait for their media day on Tuesday. Let's get this done! Three days is a long time for people to have second thoughts! Yikes!

  2. Jennifer Coomer // February 22, 2008 9:25 AM  

    Patience is a virtue.

    It's going to happen.

  3. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 10:47 AM  

    Another day without a deal. There is a limit on the amount of time that can pass before this falls apart. This needs to get done.

  4. Anonymous // February 22, 2008 11:00 AM  

    I'm guessing Kevin had to fly to see Danica on "Ellen" !

    Have a great weekend everybody !

  5. Deron Ertel // February 22, 2008 11:05 AM  

    This stinks of being one of two things. First, it could be that a deal has been struck and they are waiting for their moment in the sun (Indiana sports is pretty focused on a coach about to get fired today). Or, the second option is that it could be that they agree to disagree. I guess we'll see.

  6. Iannucci // February 22, 2008 11:08 AM  

    Do you think Kalkhoven really has the option of "aggreeing to disagree" at this point?

  7. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 11:12 AM  

    Well, in the end, the Champ Car folks can take their ball and go home. It'd be silly, given that everyone has been reporting a done deal for the better part of a week, and if they call it off, they still face the same shrinking schedule and poor TV coverage (By the way, can I buy some tickets to Jerez? That race will totally happen!). I feel like it has to happen, but if they don't like what they're hearing, then they can walk off if they want, and really, are we going to believe, now, after all we've seen, that everyone involved has sublimated their ego?

  8. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 11:23 AM  

    I mean, we've come too far, right? This has to happen, right? What else is left for Champ Car?

  9. pressdog // February 22, 2008 11:26 AM  

    The big question is, where did Cavin get a plane fast enough to keep up with KK's? Expect minute-by-minute fight vector reports. "He's on final approach to Detroit. I think I see Roger Penske on the runway .. hard to tell because of cloud cover ...

  10. Allen Wedge // February 22, 2008 11:33 AM  

    I think the attention should actually be paid to the teams right now. At this point you have to realistically think most teams are preparing for Dallaras, right?

    You'd think at least Walker (cause of his comments)and N/H/L (shopping for Vitor) are beyond their point of no return and may even plan to be at ICS tests next week. Rahal and Hunter-Reay are doing PR together?

    I think what people may lose sight of is that George and Kalkhoven at this point are probably hammering out lawyer-money details...

  11. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 11:40 AM  

    Sand Wedge:

    You're probably right. I just worry that with the particular egos involved (on both sides), the longer this goes, the greater the chance that someone says, "Screw it! I can't deal with you people!" Normally, I would assume rational behavior from a functional human, but in this case ... well ... you know. I just feel like once there's both an official announcement, and a press conference featuring both parties, it'll be damn near impossible to undo. But until that's done ...

  12. Anonymous // February 22, 2008 11:44 AM  

    This is the merger that never ends.
    First it's on then off my friends.
    Someone started planning it not knowing what it was,
    and they'll continue planning it forever just because,

    Repeat verse forever


  13. Anonymous // February 22, 2008 11:44 AM  


    I'm remaining skeptical until the first green flag of the season drops on a unified league.

  14. John in Speedway // February 22, 2008 11:46 AM  

    I think Sandwedge said it best. The details involved in something of this proportion are extensive. I just really would like to hear that at least the Dallaras are in transit and the CC teams are at least preparing for the IRL. It's not a good sign if CC teams are still just sitting around waiting to see what will happen.

  15. Johnny // February 22, 2008 12:09 PM  


    If it doesn't happen, CCWS will likely declare bankruptcy. Obviously at this point in the game the exodus has begun one way or another, what would KK have to gain from walking away?

  16. Fred Hurley // February 22, 2008 1:41 PM  


    OK, so maybe it's all sort of still OK. If they can't make an announcement today, Tuesday wouldn't be bad, particularly if they leak SOME indication of success on Monday, or even better, over the weekend, just to lock everything in as best they can.

  17. Allen Wedge // February 22, 2008 2:07 PM  

    Get Happy People!!

    Cavin's blog:
    "It's 3:55 p.m. and Kevin Kalkhoven just told me an announcement about a deal is imminent. Like minutes away. Kalkhoven said they don't everything completely done, but it's apparently close enough to move forward with an announcement."

  18. Anonymous // March 09, 2008 10:16 AM  

    This is Anthony, or Turtle From Michaels enterouge. I was not on KK's Plane, I was actually on Mikes jet on my way to get a new pair of Air Force 1's.... But no dorito's on this flight. I have to be in shape for the upcoming season, we cant let mikes "Muscle" get thrown around by old men now can we.....