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.

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.


16 responses to “ponder if you will…

  1. The only way your scenario will work is if the new owner goes on a massive PR and soothe-everything-over tour with all the players. The problem with that is I’ve never seen any indication that Forsythe is the type of guy who would ever do that, would ever enjoy doing that, and would ever be capable of doing that.

  2. Very true… but he does have Paul Tracy, who like it or not, is the face of the series and could be put into ambassador mode, with the help of Pat Caporali, whom he already has a working relationship with.

    hey, never said it was a realistic scenario… just another one…

  3. I think Scenario B is only valid for the true hardcores out there. It’s pretty obvious that nobody else – from drivers, teams, sponsors, promoters, etc – has the patience to keep the Jihad going for another year.

    The problem is (to rip off my own blog here) that those hardcores are interested in large part in Champ Car as a PRINCIPLE and not necessarily as a RACING SERIES or BUSINESS. The validity of Champ Car is more as a counterpoint to the “crapwagons” and “FTG,” and issues such as the inability to afford to pay drivers, find sponsors, or keep events from falling off the schedule are utterly secondary (or, in some cases, tertiary or worse :)).

  4. It’s not a matter of just being an ambassador. It’s a matter of the new owner reassuring from a business standpoint that he is in this for the long haul. He needs to tell this directly to all the sponsors, track promoters, networks, team owners, etc. The whole mess is so screwed up, nobody is going to believe anything unless it comes from the horse’s mouth in person. It’s not a job for Tracy (in fact that would backfire because these people would wonder why isn’t the series owner telling me directly his plans) and I don’t see it as a job that Forsythe likes to do.

  5. Yaumb: you are so right about that. I’m just throwing out options while we await our fate.
    Short of some mystery conglomerate stepping in in the 11th hour as title sponsor and new owner, I can’t think of anyone else with the means to stop this thing from happening other than Forsythe.
    And yes, most are so blinded by the “war” and the hate for Tony George, that they are incapable of seeing the reality of the situation and the downward spiral we are on.

    Rus’l: yes my friend, you are also right. On both accounts. But as we saw last year, Forsythe didn’t even come to the track past Portland to the point he almost took on the characteristics of a mythical character. He has rarely if ever, through this entire process, been the one to step up to the mic, on camera, and speak out.

  6. I admire GF for his commitment.

    BUT 😉 – I’ve never trusted that man. I think he’s eon’s smarter that TG, but also eon’s more shrewd and tough, which means he will do thing ONLY because he feels like it, improvment to the big picture be dammed. My opinion only.

  7. I tend to agree with you on that one too Padre.

  8. None of them have displayed any trustworthiness at all, IMO. And interesting theory, Meesh. I am afraid it is not going to happen, but it is a nice thought. My mind keeps spinning, looking for the way out, but this is not an accidental fire, this is arson.

  9. yup… I know friend. I was just throwing shit at the wall to see what would stick while awaiting the walk to the chamber ya know?

  10. Yeah, well, I understand.

    As I posted tonight elsewhere, Race Camp forever.

  11. indeed! If that was my last “Champ Car” race, it was sure a memorable one!

    Of course there is still Race Camp 08… I’m up for it if everyone else is.

  12. Race Camp 08– are you talking about Road America? I still may go. I still plan on my business trip to Fort Wayne that week, and heck, it would be a shame not to then drive up to RA for the weekend. After all, ALMS still rocks. As do the brats. And the Wisconsin beer.

  13. Sooo… anyone else see Robin’s column on Speed today?

    Now all we need is Kalkhoven’s second coming and we could have a virtual repeat of a few years ago… 🙂

  14. Yup. Falls in line with just about everything I’ve heard in the last 24hrs.

    LOL… Who would want to swoop in now and take this on???

    and yes Rus’l, Road America. I think once everyone is done crying in their beer, they’ll rally and decide that we need a good camping blowout in Wisconsin this summer!!

  15. I don’t think Angelo and I can wait that long, Meesh. We may have to come up to Toronto for some good Canadian beer with you.

  16. I would love that! Any time my friends! Any time!

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