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Old 05-17-2006, 04:55 AM
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I sure hope they kiss and make up...

Champ Car, IRL discussing merger
Unification of the feuding rivals would change motor sports and affect racing in Portland
Monday, May 15, 2006; PAUL BUKER

HOUSTON -- The 10-year feud between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League has crippled open-wheel racing and helped turn NASCAR into a multibillion-dollar industry. But the hostilities could end soon.

It appears that Champ Car principal owner Kevin Kalkhoven and IRL founder Tony George are close to announcing unification of the two series -- perhaps later this month at Indianapolis.

A merger would be the most significant change in motor sports since creation of the Indy Racing League in 1994 and could add urgency to the debate over auto racing's place in Portland.

Kalkhoven and George have tried to keep the discussions private, but merger talk was prevalent during Champ Car's stop in Houston this weekend. When Paul Tracy, one of Champ Car's premier drivers, announced he was signing a five-year extension with Forsythe Racing, the potential merger was part of the discussion.

"Potentially, and we all can cross our fingers, there will be a combined championship (in 2007)," Tracy said. "If it happens, it's going to be great for open-wheel racing. And if it happens, I'd like to be part of the landscape."

The possible end to the Champ Car-IRL split also was on everybody's mind at Champ Car's season-opening race in Long Beach, Calif., last month. A few weeks earlier, media reports surfaced that Kalkhoven and George had a chance meeting in December at a ski resort and later conferred at an auto show in Paris. A dialogue ensued, and the two men found out they actually enjoyed each other's company.

George acknowledged for the first time, at least publically, that he felt a merger would be in the best interests of open-wheel racing. He said conversations and e-mails with Kalkhoven have been ongoing.

IRL owners Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal and Chip Ganassi have spoken with Champ Car officials about the logistics of combining the two series. Kalkhoven and George have discussed who would control a combined series, what the equipment would be, and where the combined series would race. One suggested schedule had 18 races -- 12 ovals, six street or road courses -- while another had 22 races with a more balanced mix.

"The very worst thing that could happen for the sport is to merge the two series and have it not work," Kalkhoven told reporters in Houston, trying to be cautious. "If we can get it done in time for next year, that would be great. If it takes a little longer, that would be OK, too."

Champ Car (formerly Championship Auto Racing Teams, or CART) was formed by a group of car owners in 1978 over frustrations with the United States Auto Racing Club, which sanctioned American open-wheel racing's premier event, the Indianapolis 500. CART teams continued to run in the Indy 500, however, until Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George announced in 1994 that he was founding his own separate racing series, the Indy Racing League.

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Old 05-17-2006, 05:29 AM
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Sweet, they can combine to take 7.5% of motorsports fans in the US.

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/mo...s/14586564.htm
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Balzz,May 17 2006, 08:29 AM
Sweet, they can combine to take 7.5% of motorsports fans in the US.
And people say I'm negative

Warren
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Balzz,May 17 2006, 08:29 AM
Sweet, they can combine to take 7.5% of motorsports fans in the US.
I honestly believe if they could get back together they could grow their audience.

NASCAR got 59.5 percent of the votes
National Hot Rod Association with 13.4 percent
Motorcycle racing with 9.7 percent
Formula One with 6.3 percent
IndyCar Series with 6.1 percent
Champ Car with 1.4 percent

Really sad to see just how low F1 is here...
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:27 AM
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Agreed, I used to enjoy CART in the early 90s. Sundays were fun..F1 in the morning, CART in the afternoon.
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Balzz,May 17 2006, 11:27 AM
Agreed, I used to enjoy CART in the early 90s. Sundays were fun..F1 in the morning, CART in the afternoon.


and hopefully CART continue their visits to international circuits
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by s2ksimon,May 17 2006, 11:28 AM


and hopefully CART continue their visits to international circuits


And hopefully IRL continue their visits to road courses, because the CART street courses are often lousy races to watch, they are somehow worse than Monaco...
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Old 05-21-2006, 04:05 PM
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as long as those guys are turning left AND right with different angles on turns, i'm all for it. nothing's worse than going round and round in circles...
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:54 PM
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They better keep racing at the Glen.
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mingster,May 21 2006, 05:05 PM
as long as those guys are turning left AND right with different angles on turns, i'm all for it. nothing's worse than going round and round in circles...
Obviously opinions vary, but I find street circuits extremely boring. A nice road course is better than an oval which is better than a street circuit.

In many ways, rally stages are the best. Too bad WRC coverage in the US went from some to damn little to none.
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