Roth Racing may not be anywhere near as competitive as Andretti Green Racing, but the little team that couldn’t has certainly been doing their best to be as entertaining as a team like AGR.
While Marty has been furiously shredding equipment at nearly every venue he’s raced, the rest of his two-car team has been quite a newsworthy turnstile. Jay Howard has been in, then out, then in again. Engineer David Cripps was in, then out, along with a reported mass exodus of other crew members. Then Larry Curry came in and got the cars up to speed. Then John Andretti came in and had a few good runs, but it looks like he’s out. And now Larry Curry has joined the growing ranks of former employees, reportedly being fired or walking away from his second team this year.
And that’s just the stuff we know.
Since blogs are often chastised by the credentialed members of the media for being fast and loose with facts, My Name Is IRL tries valiantly to avoid rumor-mongering. However, in the interest of glasnost it should be noted that a few recent emails have hit the Inbox indicating that Roth Racing may soon be transforming into something less than what it currently is. Among items simply up for discussion and not to be confirmed in any way as fact until Cavin or Robin or Oreo or Olson declare them so:
• For whatever reason Marty himself was not at Watkins Glen, either as a driver, owner or IndyCar fan. Maybe he misplaced his “I (heart) N Y” shirt or maybe he checked his latest bank statement and went back to bed.
• After waiting several weeks to get back into an IndyCar, Jay Howard was substantially less than thrilled with the ride he inherited this weekend. Supposedly the steering wheel got stuck whenever he turned left, which isn’t a good thing unless you desperately want to make a snarky remark about the car being given the Roth Racing oval setup.
• Tony George has apparently inquired about buying or leasing one of the Roth cars. This could be because he wants to add an addendum to the TEAM plan by paying Marty to not race or because Mr George figures if you’re going to have someone destroy Dallaras at least Paul Tracy can do it at a more competitive speed.
• Lastly, perhaps most shockingly, is word that Tony Kanaan may be interested in purchasing assets of Roth Racing. That’s a head-scratcher, but this is silly season and with Rafael Matos reportedly guaranteed a ride in AGR’s 2009 IndyCar program the math says either Kanaan or Hideki Mutoh will be gone. On the surface this conflicts with the report in Autoweek that said Nariz was looking to extend his contract with AGR, although maybe he just wants some leverage and this is just part of the process of bending Michael Andretti’s arm behind his back until his wallet cries “Uncle”. The kids today would call this “bidness”.
For what it's worth both Howard and Roth are entered as drivers for the upcoming Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville, so for now Roth Racing is still a two-car team with the same two drivers they started the season. The rest of the team, well, you could call it a "dynamic" work environment.
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