Tag Archives: unification

one thing I’m sure of…

Tony George should not quit his day job to take up motivational speaking…
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Good God man! Drink a Red Bull or something! Is he always like that??? Cripes.

The infuriating technical problems, combined with Mr. Mumbles coma inducing monotone answers certainly made this assignment… challenging…
So, to save me having to re-write all of this again, & for those of you that might have missed the press conference here is my “official” take on it: Article at CCW.net
You can also find the Press Transcript there as well.

OK… that out of the way… I guess I expected more.
Sorry… expected more isn’t true. I expected exactly that. I wanted more… This was basically a glorified WindTunnel appearance.

I could hear the screams of exasperation and heads exploding all over the world as the two “leaders” stood infront of the impressive line up of drivers, shaking hands and smiling for the cameras. We knew it was coming. Didn’t make it any less cheesy (or to many, offensive)

Considering the location, and the fact that there isn’t an event attached to it (i.e. a race this weekend) that was one packed press room, proving that, like it or not, this is a big story, this is piquing the interest of the media, and this is perceived as a good thing.

I did find it amusing that they both kept touting this coming together as being for the “fans”, especially considering the abject ire being displayed all over the interweb. (honestly, I think some people just aren’t happy unless they are hating on someone or something… but that’s a debate for another day) In the long run it is going to be better for the fans, but it’s going to be a large, bitter pill for many to swallow initially.

Things I thought were apt and that I appreciated hearing:

- the key is not to disenfranchise anyone if possible. (hard task there, but good on them for being aware of that and not just blowing off anyone person or event with a shrug and an “oh well”)
– that they don’t want to waste time looking back at who is right and wrong, but wish to concentrate on moving forward. Sage advice for all me thinks.
– that the goal is to stabilize open wheel racing (in other words, stop the bleeding)
– that they realized that it’s going to take time before they see “success” results.

I was happy to hear that the Medical trailers are coming over with us, along with some of the key staff. I would certainly hope that Holmatro would also somehow be incorporated.

I was very happy to hear that the Atlantics will continue to run. It would be interesting to see the Atlantics continue to run with a variety of series on a variety of tracks (perhaps expanding their package to be outfitted for ovals to join up with us on a few events) The opportunity for the drivers graduating from the series would then be limitless as they would be well versed in all disciplines.

Disappointed about the lack of schedule confirmation, but I guess in a way it’s better that they didn’t have all the answers. It means that they aren’t being hasty and making decisions just to appease some needy deadline. (ie: it still gives us in Toronto some more time to potentially move our date and save our race for 08)

The elephant in the room? The constant mentions of and kudos to the elusive and glaringly obviously absent Jerry Forsythe.
I’m personally still very VERY uncomfortable at the lack of any news out of the Forsythe camp. I know that Jerry is practically mute & invisible at the best of times, so I shouldn’t expect him to be chatty Cathy now. That said, I would really like some confirmation on PT for the season. If Jerry is going to pack up his toys and stay home or help PG fund turbo lawn mower races in the everglades, that’s fine. To each their own. Just let Paul out of his contract so he can get a ride elsewhere. If Jerry is going to jump into the deep end with everyone else, LET US KNOW!! Let Paul know. Let him get out there with confidence and confirmation and start talking this thing up

ok… that’s it from me tonight.

oh, actually… Rus’l… you know I love ya right? Ok…
Sweetie, do you really think that all of this came about because Robin Miller wrote a couple of editorials??? Now who’s repping for “Team Naive”? ;-)
Guess we can share our koolaid recipes with each other this summer.

Oh hell, since I brought it up, perhaps someone can explain to me why his (and every other writer’s) credibility and influence as a journalist is legit only when it suits a specific agenda? Can’t have it both ways my friends. Gotta take the good with the bad. You don’t always have to agree with the point of view, but you can’t put someone on a pedestal one week then call them a hack or stick an F in front of their name the next (or vice versa). Likewise you (the collective) can’t continuously dismiss someone (Robin Miller) as having zero connections, credibility, or influence then turn around and credit (blame) him for the demise of the series. It just doesn’t work that way. This is of course my humble opinion, take it or leave it for what it is.

SPEED to air “Amalgabsorbtification” press conference Live…

From SPEEDTV.com:

 SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET to broadcast coverage of the scheduled IndyCar Series press conference from Homestead-Miami Speedway formally announcing the merger with the Champ Car World Series for 2008. SPEED’s Robin Miller will be on-site providing commentary and perspective.

Yes that’s right kids! They will bump some tape delayed motocross & CORR programming in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week in February!! My goodness, whodda thunk it???

Ok, sarcasm aside, I find it funny that there is nothing about it at all on ESPN, the supposed broadcast partner of both CC & the IRL.

so, ya… let’s add lets get back with a TV promoter that seems to care to the list of “to-do’s” for the new series.

I had also heard a rumor earlier that Indystar.com would have a live podcast.  No confirmation on that yet though.

So what do we expect to hear? I’m guessing a finalized schedule. Perhaps some team/driver announcements, god willing a name change/alteration. “Indy Car World Series” would sound sooooooooo much more palatable no?

And then? Then we all move forward…  (well, most of us anyway)

Windtunnel – Feb 23/08 – recap

Segment 1:

“it’s about damn time…” – Robin Miller.

Well ain’t that the truth…

Lot’s of soundbytes from open wheel peeps past and present, giving the thumbs up.

“my goal tonight, get past the hate, and start figuring out where open wheel racing goes from here, and how it can be made better” – Dave Despain

Segment 2: TG & KK

Ha! funny quote segment. Careful what you say, it will come back to bite you…

A look back at the history and the split. Wow. When you see it laid out like that, it’s amazing either series lasted as long as it did. Does make you wonder “what if” though…

And there they are… the two now “most hated men” in American Open Wheel. LOL… “the press stayed out of it”… nice little dig at Robin from Kevin (with a shit eating grin and giggle)

hmmm… unanimous decision huh… LOL… tell that to conspiracywagon…

hmmm… both are being rather humble and congenial. Seems genuine.

*Ok… but that split screen with TG, RM & KK just made me LMAO. Photoshoppers around the world are making screen captures*

They are dodging a lot of the questions in lieu of the press conference on Wednesday. Understandable I guess. Probably still some details to sign off on between now and then too.

Segment 3: More TG & KK

hmm… vaguely laying out the game plan…. (good questions by RM) (he’s almost giddy… hehe)

2008… just get er done. Get the teams up to speed.

2009… “bring the best of both series” together. (I’m taking this as the addition of a few more former CC events)

2010 is still being talked about as the introduction of a new car (thank god) and schedule expansion.

Both agree that they would like to see a return to the 90’s in terms of track diversity. (oh the irony on both accounts there) New technologies, alternative fuels, etc…

Segment 4: More TG & KK

This is not the “magic bullet” A lot of work to be done starting tomorrow…

Again, confirmation that Atlantics will continue. No word on where, when and with whom though.

Curiously TG is referring to Indy Car future as an “international” series with “international” drivers and manufacturer participation. (I think that bodes well)

KK gives major props to Mario A. before signing off.

Segment 5: Bonjour Jacques!!

Mostly talk about his Nascar ride (or lack thereof) & the Pollack snafu.

Despain: “for what it’s worth, if you need any help with this, I think I could get you a ride at long beach…” LOL… ok… gotta admit, that was funny…

Segment 6: Mario Andretti

hmmm he was USAC IndyCar Champion the year I was born!

he’s glad it’s over so he no longer has to talk about all the negativity. (amen to that!)

what did he see as the biggest positive? Pointing out that Tony and KK were complimenting each other. (I noticed that too, and it did seem genuine)

If it were up to him, pick the assets from both sides and build on that.

Segment 7: Robin Miller final word…

“All you zealots on both sides of open wheel, get over it!”

wise words my friend…

Personal observations?

Jacques is growing into his looks… yum (sorry… girl moment…)

There seems to be a genuine respect (dare I say friendship?) between Tony George and Kevin Kalkhoven.

I’m excited about the potential going forward. I too want to talk about the racing and not the war, or the split or the differences.

I was amused throughout the show picturing the heads of fans on both side of the split exploding with each question/answer.

As Miller said… get over it. Let’s drop the fucking flag and just go racing.

Ok… off to read the melt downs on the interweb…

Time of your life…

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life
.

tombstone-ccws.jpg

The trickle down effect…

what we don’t see can hurt us… or can it?

While the approximately 384 open wheel fans that still give a shit wait with bated breath for the great open wheel conspiracy of 08 to be solved, thousands of people’s livelihoods sit in limbo.

Anybody who does anything directly or indirectly with Champ Car or the IRL continues to circle in a frustrating holding pattern. Nothing can be marketed, signed, released or booked until this penis measuring contest is over.

For Champ Car alone that is 14 events and all of their personnel, sponsors, contractors, & charitable associations. 9 Teams and their personnel, drivers, crew members, & sponsors.

And what of the feeder series? The Atlantics alone have 24 teams & 12 events. Office personnel, team personnel, event personnel, etc… etc… etc…

But why stop there? What about all of the other series that are sharing the bill on any number of the Champ Car or IRL events? ALMS, Grand Am, BMW, Star Mazda…

Thousands of people all just sitting there. Waiting.
All. On. Hold.

I wonder if the handful of men at the top are giving any thought to that as they go about their pissing match, seemingly ignorant of the pleading for any information, good or bad, so that we can all just get on with it.

They bitch and moan about the misinformation being bantered about, yet do nothing to rectify it.

In the meantime drivers are negotiating alternative deals. Staff on every level are cleaning out their desks and taking jobs elsewhere out of frustration or desperation, and fans, in some bizarre Stockholm syndrome state, defend and protect and grasp at any hope, while continuing to be inconsiderably held hostage.

And still… we wait.

It’s been a full week now since this really blew up into the public arena.
That’s 7 days of work not done, tickets not sold, events not secured and possibly irreparable damage done.

Enough.
Fix this NOW!

Um…. WHAT?!?!?!

ok… no really… WHAT?!?!?!

This morning amidst rumours of imminent bankruptcy filings, the folks from Pi and KK cleared out their stuff from Indy HQ.

3pm – Staff Meeting.

We all await the inevitable announcement… then comes this:

“Srap.

Evidently SJ got up in fron of the class and told them 08 is on. repeat 08 is on. BOD meeting tomorrow, with a budget to be approved. Ziggy (not ours ) has quit, and he has no idea where these rumors are coming from.

At the same time, the PKV crews were told they are leaving CCWS for ICS for 08. Yes, 08.

So, wtf is going on?
Unka Gerra going it alone for 08? with Paulie & Pettit?
Oh, the drama……I cannot f’in believe this crap.”

So… The much rumoured but poopoo’d dissent between the owners… TRUE. (again, validation… but this ain’t about me…)

Apparently my Ponder if you will essay was not so far off the mark huh boys? *big cheeky grin*

So, Jerry Forsythe, who wouldn’t pay for hospitality for his team, and got into a contract dispute with his driver over money, just forked out a grand canyon sized crater of cash in the 11th hour to “save” this thing. Doubtful that Pettit opened his wallet. (otherwise there would have been 10 teams on the docket for this year… RIP RuSPORT) and we all know that Gentilozzi doesn’t have 2 dimes to rub together.

A friend on the insided offered this possible scenario:

*KK gets Pi, Long Beach, Surfers and Edmonton to take with him to the IRL

*GF gets Toronto, Mexico City and Cosworth as well as CCWS

Great… the split just turned into a fault line. Let the mud-slinging and side taking begin!

And what of the teams?

CC:
Forsythe
Rocketspurts (guess Jerry is gonna have to foot his bill now that Kevin is gone)
Conquest
PCM

Indy:
Team Australia (already rumoured to have jumped)
PKV

Wild cards:
NHL (I’m thinking they will jump with Kevin, or run both?)
DCR (with the right insentive ($$$) will jump)
Minardi (KK brought him in, and was rumoured to be funding… will likely jump unless Jerry opens his wallet again)

And let’s not forget the drivers! Only 6 (7?) were signed before the merger talks, half of which could hop the fence with their teams. The ones who didn’t I’m sure are wondering who to pin their future hopes on. (some have already signed elsewhere according to rumours)

Oh ya, and now we have no data acquisition, no race director, no head of tech, and the Manager of the Cosworth Engine program resigned a month ago too. (those are just the resignations I know of)

So… Best case scenario Champ Car now has:

7 Teams, 11 races (several not actually inked) and a tv package that rivals an infomercial. (at least infomercials are on network) & Steve Johnson

You know the movie Weekend at Bernies? Champ Car is Bernie.
How long will they be able to prop him up and drag him around the world before folks figure out he’s dead?

My gut says enjoy 2008, collect your souvenirs, take your pictures, say farewell.

Guess we wait now for the “official” press release and explanation. (oh ya, and the IRL will be waaaaaaay ahead of us out of the gate there too, as they actually have several people, a PR/MEDIA staff if you will, that do that)

I wish I could be happy, but I’m to busy being confused.

ponder if you will…

the against all odds possibility that this some how turns around in the next few days.
(no I’m not sharing a crack pipe, stranger things have happened, and I’m just putting something else out there)

It’s now painfully obvious that merger talks were/are happening. It apparently hinges on Honda moving a race date. (I do believe that is just one of the smoke/mirrors aspects of this move)
It’s also painfully obvious that for whatever reason (and trust me, from what I’ve heard over the last year the man has many legitimate reasons) Kevin Kalkhoven has had enough and that there is trouble in paradise between the owners/amigos/horsemen/rich guys with big toys, big egos and bigger bank accounts, whatever you wish to call them, despite their media spun show of solidarity last year.

So… what happens next?

Honda says go for it, moves the date, provides the engines and seed money for the absorbed CC teams, we spend the summer ignoring crapwagons and wondering how it all went so horribly wrong. War is over.
or…

Jerry Forsythe steps up in the 11th hour, buys out KK, (OWRS) and thereby the other two “owners” (CCWS,LLC), and becomes Champ Car’s Tony George, the sole owner and decision maker. Game on.

Scenario A, while definitely not palatable, kick starts the healing and eventual re-birth of AOW. No guarantees that it will survive past 2008 however…

Scenario B, while heroic and fantastical, puts Champ Car at the back of the grid, with a busted front wing and a tire going down. It will take a Tracy like drive to win this race. The fans will cheer and rally and decry “we will not go down without a fight!!” As in scenario A, there are no guarantees that it will survive past 2008…

Teams and drivers will be wary, as will event venues, promoters and those ever elusive sponsors. How can any of them be convinced that this is not going to happen again? It’s like the precarious balancing act people do after discovering their significant other was cheating on them, yet they are trying to work it out.
Mistrust, fake smiles, stilted conversations, lots of bravado… however, the wound never heals. You either stick it out always looking over your shoulder, or you move on.

If, IF, Champ Car’s execution gets a stay from the governor this week, what do we have?
6 Signed drivers, 9 teams* (this is assuming Walker hasn’t jumped, Bachelart stays, and PKV becomes Vasser Racer racing cause the P is gone and it’s highly unlikely the K is gonna stick around) 14 confirmed races, (11 of which now are likely run by now very pissed off & suspicious promoters who spent the latter part of the week watching their hard work circle the drain), no title sponsor, a handful of legit team sponsors, a shitty TV package, no Marketing/Media/PR team to spin this thing, an exasperated mainstream & motorsport media (who were used as a pawn & made to be the bad guys, which will only endear them to play nice in the future… NOT) and a battle weary fanbase who may or may not at this point be interested in still playing in our sandbox.

Either way this all shakes out, there will be a lot of questions, likely not very many answers that aren’t canned PR speak, and a possibly insurmountable new mountain to climb.