You may not recognize the name, but this will have all kinds of IndyCar implications.
GOLD Coast business giant Craig Gore has quit motor racing. Speaking from a family holiday at Byron Bay, Mr Gore said he had an epiphany when he underwent life-saving surgery in London last month, forcing him to rethink life's priorities.To those wonder who this Gore fellow is, he’s not the same guy who served as Vice President of the US of A. Craig Gore is an Australian “businessman”, which is to say the son of a successful real estate developer. That’s all well and good, but here are the two points you need to know:
"I was given a week to live before my operation, and that's really changed my view of things," he said.
"I would rather spend time with my kids than race cars."
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1. Gore owns “Aussie Vinyards”, and as such the sponsorship the paid for the second KV Racing Technoligies entry drive by Will Power.
2. Gore runs the Surfer’s Paradise race, which has been speculated to be removed from the 2009 IndyCar series schedule due to issues related scheduling, which is to say issues due to “who’s gonna pay us to haul all of these cars and teams down here every year?”
So as you can see, if this story holds true then this could potentially be not only the end of a well-attended race but also create tremendous sponsorship problems for a prominent team. Remember, the “K” in “KV” is for Kevin Kalkhoven, also Australian but more noteworthy as the former head of Champ Car who famously shook hands with Tony George at the Bimergification Summit at Mount Homestead.
Looking beyond the "epiphany", this probably means that it won’t be long before there is word that the Surfer’s Paradise race is declared dead. In fact, Mr Gore telegraphed this exit as much a few weeks ago with some very telling quotes.
"I think Tony George's management has a huge influence over his decision-making process and in business you employ people to give you advice so you can understand the path forward…I just don't think he has the best people advising him."
"I just hope that Tony George and the rest of his boys of the IRL see sense and recognise that this is probably like throwing away the Indy 500.”
"It is far and away their second biggest race. They ... probably need to hand out corn cobs at some of the races to get people to some of them. This (Surfers) is an already made up and set up race for them."
"I can tell you now if there's no IRL on the Gold Coast, there's no Team Australia," he said. "I have invested $20 million into this event and this team and flying the Australian flag, and made a significant contribution to the state and the country. Hopefully we can win it this year so if I do have to walk away, I can say we that have achieved what we set out to do."
"Tony George needs to make a decision and needs to make that decision without the influence of his lower management. He needs to decide based on the merits of the event."
Hmm, not feeling the love there. And not to discount Mr Gore’s current health status but it sure reads like he already had one foot out the door.
Which in a way is lamentable because the Surfer’s Event surely seems popular with the folks down under, although as noted with other events of a street car nature it’s not very clear “popular” means “profitable”. My guess is that when a “businessman” like Gore walks away the answer isn’t too difficult to derive.
In the meantime let’s hope there aren’t giant virtual dominoes striking Mr Kalkhoven, Mr Power and everyone else on that racing team so forcefully that they aren’t able to show up for the 2009 season.
(Thanks to our sometime guest host "mmack" for bringing this to our attention)