So yesterday, out of frustration, I wrote an op-ed piece for CCW.net, writing about the lack of any solid information coming from anyone anywhere since the “big announcement” (take your pick on that…)
As Murphy’s law would have it, shortly after going live with that, two more black cloud announcements dropped into my inbox.
The Grand Prix of Houston officially announced the cancellation of their race. That, in and of itself, was neither shocking nor surprising. Houston was never on the “maybe” list for 2008, and Lanigan had already made public statements intimating this would be the outcome. What was disturbing to learn however, was that the entire event has been scrapped. The ALMS, and all it’s support races, lose an event on their already sparse schedule. Ah … the trickle down effect.
Moments later, the bigger bombshell: Sierra Sierra announced they were pulling out of the Atlantic Championship. This, to me, was the bigger and more messy announcement. The ramifications of this one are much larger. This is the defending championship team. This is one of the better funded/sponsored teams. If they are convinced that this is going to damage them and their bottom line, what the hell does this mean for the smaller, less funded teams.
A couple of thoughts:
I too thought the same thing when I heard the Atlantics were going out on their own (or hitching up with IMSA) What is the end game from there? The direct path to a seat in the big show is now a detour. This can’t be appealing to either sponsors or drivers, unless their idea of the big show is ALMS and not Indy.
Next, I wonder how much of their decision stemmed from the bitterness over the shitty handling of Raphael Matos and the “2 million” in scholarship money. I sensed from conversations I had with folks directly involved with the team that this left a real bad taste in their mouth.
My sense is that they will jump over the the IPS.
(what should have happened is that the IPS was “absorbed” into the Atlantics, and the Atlantics became the official feeder series to the Indy Racing League, but that is merely my humble opinion)
So how many more shoes will drop? I predict a cloud burst of Uggs and Nikes in the next week. Stay on the porch kids. They don’t make umbrellas strong enough for this kind of shit storm.