Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century military theorist taught that "war
is the continuation of politics by other means"
When Honda announced they
were going to the IRL, Tony George was quoted as saying he brought his hammer
to work everyday when asked if he had nailed CART's coffin shut
On May 23, 2002, Robert Clarke sat in
the IMS media center and delivered what amounted to an "Ich Bin Ein IRL'er "
declaration. To me, he looked uncomfortable, ill at ease and a bit nervous.
Others said that he was "sweating". For Anton Hulman George, this had to be the
final "Coupe De Grace" in his "WAR" against CART. For CART was a Manufacturers
based series, and George now had two of its three remaining engine suppliers and
biggest sponsors in his camp. Plan the "Funeral" he thought, for CART cannot possibly
survive, especially with Roger S. Penske on his side.
I felt sympathy for Clarke, for he was
only the "good soldier" , the infantryman going into the trenches following "orders" from his Generals. Such is the nature of
"WAR", someone has to do the dirty work.
Why the "defection", many wondered? Honda had consistently voiced its antipathy to
building anything resembling IRL's low-tech rev-limited antiquated power-plant.
Honda had won the coveted Formula One Manufacturer's Trophy
numerous times aided by the prodigious talents of the late Ayrton Senna and Alain
Prost. Anyone doubting Honda's commitment to high-tech excellence only need to
visit the Honda Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi to stand in awe of their
massive accomplishments at the highest levels of international motorsports
competition. The sight of Senna's Lotus-Honda and the McLaren-Hondas stand as virtual
monuments in the annals of motorsports history.
Now Honda, in the words of Paul Tracy, are building a rev-limited engine for
formula "CRAPWAGON"? Why the sudden reversal? Yes, we know the cover story about
being angry at CART for the 2001 Detroit GP fiasco and specifically J. Kirk
Russell's inept handling of the entire affair. This was a matter that could have
been handled "privately" instead of ensuring public embarrassment.
politics and war, Detroit had all the intrigue of a CIA/KGB intelligence
operation. CART management and officials were bitterly attacked by Honda even
though Honda won the race.
that it no longer had faith in CART or its management. Reality or subterfuge by
Honda? Who knows, but Chris Pook even went to Japan and personally apologized
to Honda for the
matter. To no avail, they had already invited Anton Hulman George to visit
Motegi...Yes, On the weekend of CART's race! Such is the nature of "WAR".
If history is any guide at all, may Honda expect or be afforded better or more
reasonable and "Professional" management and officiating from IRL? Surely this is
a "red herring" diversion. Consider the 1995 Indy 500 with Tasman Motorsports Honda
driver Scott Goodyear leading with a scant few laps remaining and "jumped the restart" and
was summarily black flagged and disqualified. It was a draconian remedy, causing
many to wonder why the restart could not have been waved off, and restarted the
next lap. Steve Horne was outraged and believed it was nothing more than a
blatant device to deny Honda a "500" victory.
The victory instead went to eventual CART and F1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve,
ironically driving for Barry Green. In a strange bit of irony, Goodyear later
became one of the IRL original stalwarts, then its TV/Analyst/Apologist. On the
other hand, Villeneuve, along with another 500 winner and F1 driver, Juan Pablo
Montoya, developed the nasty habit of defecating on all things IRL.
Who could forget the debacle that befell last year's Indy 500 that ended in
protest, appeal, and then with "Chief Justice
Anton Hulman George's mumbling, bumbling and stumbling "Final Decision" that
defied not only the facts, reality and logic, but any notion of fairness or legal
rationale. It took nearly 7 weeks for George to say that Barry Green's appeal was
not subject to appeal despite the fact that his "Protest" was considered appealable by Brian Barnhart.
Some internet discussion forums were saying that this was in consideration of
Roger Penske's defection to the IRL. (See article "The
Unappealing Appeal. George Reigns in Georgetown").
Such is the nature of war. IRL was not going to allow CART to come
on to its turf and win for the third year in a row. The final results of the 2002
Indy 500? Barry Green was livid; Paul Tracy became an "overnight folk HERO";
Roger S. Penske expanded his "Doctrine of the Unfair Advantage" by withholding the
throttle mapping on Helio's "WINNING" car with the excuse that it had somehow been
"erased." That was a novel explanation that left many incredulous. In
fact, not since Richard Nixon's missing "18 minute gap" on the Watergate Tapes
have we seen such implausibility. In both cases, the obliteration of highly
probative evidentiary material remains under suspicion. As for the IRL's
rules/appeals process? This type of Kangaroo Court justice hasn't been in vogue
since the time of Josef Stalin's military tribunals in the frozen "GULAGS" of
Eastern Siberia. Lest we forget the real victim.....the legitimacy and
integrity of the once sacrosanct Indy 500.
And Honda has no faith in CART Management or Officiating? Hmmm.....surely
thou doth protest too much. They want to get to NASCAR's "Promised Land". The
Winston Cup and it's marketing/merchandising bonanza because their chief rival and
competitor Toyota is on it's way and they do not want to be left out of the US
domestic market. Who can blame them? They can still reach their Global
and upscale markets through Formula One.
The question that many are pondering is "What becomes of the IRL, after
Toyota and Honda become card carrying members of Winston Cup? The IRL's
tracks are either redundant with NASCAR, or, are in secondary or tertiary
media markets. Those markets are saturated with NASCAR, leaving slim
pick en's for the IRL.
Honda's defection, however, cannot be
viewed as an isolated event, but must be
considered in the continuum of events that unfolded from April 2001 through its
announcement on May 23, 2003, and beyond. Consider the chronology of events;
In April of 2001 at the Long Beach GP, Toyota announced that they would
only build an IRL Spec 3.5 liter engine beginning in 2003.
October 2001 Houston GP CART Franchise
Owners Meeting. They voted, under threat of "defecting to IRL" from Penske and
Ganassi , to adopt the IRL engine. All Owners also raised their right hands
and swore allegiance to CART").
December 2001, Penske defects to the
IRL citing business/sponsor reasons 1) not wanting any overseas venues, 2) leaving
the NY market (Nazareth Speedway). (A prominent CART team owner told me
quite simply. "What Roger did was wrong".)
April 26, 2002 Anton Hulman George
magically materializes at Twin Ring Motegi the day before CART's race.
May 16, 2002, Roger Penske in a Skip Myslenski Chicago Tribune interview says
that there will be only one open wheel series in the US, and that the "SPONSOR"
will make that decision. (NOTES; 1) this was a change in his views from his
CART days, when he said he preferred a "merger", 2) How could he be so
prescient about the future? Did he have a crystal ball?
May 2002, ABC TV's Howard Katz says
that only one open wheel series can survive. There is not enough money to
support two series (was Mr. Katz reading off the same script as Mr. Penske?).
May 23. The Honda IRL bombshell announcement.
Penske moves to Toyota IRL engines for
2003. Lets see, Penske dumps Honda in 2001 to run Chevys in the
IRL in 2002; He dumps Chevy in 2002 to use Toyota in 2003; He dumps Ford in NASCAR
to use Dodge in 2003. Should he be cited by the EPA for illegal dumping?.
Chip Ganassi announces his complete defection to the IRL
with two cars
Michael Andretti and co-owner Kevin Savoree announce they
are taking Team Green's 3-car CART team to the IRL (now called Andretti
Green Racing) with backing from Honda
Even though there is no IRL race in Mexico, Fernández
Racing announces they will field a car in the IRL with backing from Honda
Bobby Rahal enters a car full-time in the IRL for Kenny
Mo Nunn moves both of his cars to the IRL with backing
December 2002 - Toyota and NASCAR announce Toyota's move to the
NASCAR truck series for
(note; NASCAR websites are running rampant with rumors that Penske and
Toyota will join forces in 2007 in Winston Cup. Again, this would
necessitate Penske "Dumping Dodge").
Rumors of both Toyota and Honda to
NASCAR Winston CUP are rampant on racing discussion forums.
For Chris Pook and Paul Tracy the transparency of these events were more than a
sequence of inexplicable coincidences and clearly smacked of orchestration.
They called it a CONSPIRACY TO KILL CART. To me, it resembled Hitler's World War
II plan for the Holocaust..........The Final Solution. To Chris Pook, who was born
in Somerset, England during WW II, it looked like the German Luftwaffe's London
The hearse and coffin were
ready, but they had no corpse
For Fred Nation, he said that Pook was
seeing a "Grassy Knoll," implying that he was suffering from a form of
paranoia. In the meantime, Anton Hulman George was planning CART's
At this point, Pook took off the gloves
and abandoned any thoughts of
reconciliation. Just before the 500, CART countered with a move to
Indianapolis, right in the backyard of the IRL (i.e. CART had a Indianapolis
address now too, which probably raised the hair on the back of Anton George).
At Portland, Pook announced his survival plan. The return to a
2.65 turbo engine and the Entrant Support Program (ESP).
The summer met with the inevitable Michael Andretti "defection" and with it the
perfunctory 'it was just a business decision' used by Penske and Ganassi.
Many CART fans were angered over what they considered Andretti's treachery and
disloyalty. These misguided fools actually believed that loyalty and friendship
has some currency in today's societal values. Friends, in this "WAR" you will be
swept aside in a tidal wave of greed and avarice.
In war, and racing , politics make for some strange bedfellows, remember the US
once supported Saddam Hussein in their war against Iran, and we also supported Osama
Bin Ladin and his Mujahadeen fighters in their battle against the Soviet Infidels
in Afghanistan. And remember, "PUCK FENSKE" tee shirts were sold on Georgetown Road
when Roger was a CART team owner.
In Geo Politics, bizarre political alliances are justified as expedient and
necessary for "National Security." In racing, it is "just business" borrowing a
phrase from the "Cosa Nostra" "it's business, not personal".
Early fall, and things were still fairly sedentary, Anton Hulman George continued
to prepare for the funeral. He put his Pall Bearers on "Stand By Alert".
Then came the Bridgestone announcement at Fontana; The 176,000 fans at Mexico
City; The Rahal, Walker and Gentilozzi Team Announcements (Gentilozzi forsaking
IRL); FORD announced in December.
January arrived, and with it,
Stefan Johansson, and, none other than former BAR F1 Principal, Craig
Pollock announced his team..... Bernie's former right-hand man David Clare
was summoned from his work in South Korea and came
on board as CART Chief Operating Officer to run day-to-day affairs in
Indianapolis. There must have been some substance to it, because, Roger S. Penske now
referred to Chris Pook "as a very shrewd business man". A change in tone
from his previous "Unilateralist" One Series rhetoric.
At this point it became clear that
CART wasn't "DEAD". Too bad for all the journalists who wrote the doom and
gloom stories. On January 15, 2003 Anton Hulman George told the Automotive
World News Conference that there would be no merger with CART, meaning that CART
would survive, as if CART needs his "APPROVAL" to conduct business.
The driver and team defections have
been dismissed by Chris Pook as nothing more than a necessary sanitary cleansing
process to rid CART of its most self serving , disloyal members. In other
words, there's nothing like an enema to cleanse the body of excrementitious
To our friends who have given CART the
black flag and taken the "GREEN" in the IRL; Andretti, Franchitti,
Kanaan, Dixon and Brack. We wish you God Speed on your journey into the
IRL's school of hard knocks. You'll need it (see
There's more than handwriting on the
wall...and here's the concrete facts") Your health and safety are beyond
our mere mortal assistance. From now on, you'll have to rely on Medical science for
any future help.
As for Anton Hulman George and his
hammer.... well the coffin
has been returned to Flanner & Buchannan; the flowers were sent to the trash,
the stale Pork Rinds, moldy Chili Dogs and Chicken Fried steaks were dispatched to
the hogs down at the farm in Terre haute. The Tuxedos were returned, even
size 55 one for the guy from Texas. Oh yes, the music has been changed from "If I had
a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning" to Led Zeppelin's "DAZED and
Recurring nightmares of being
attacked by a corpse
JANUARY 20th News Bulletin From WIBC
Radio in Indy;
Marion County Sheriff Deputies Jack Newton and Ralph Boswell found a homeless man
wandering near the 30th and Georgetown Indianapolis Motor Speedway entrance. When
they arrived he was climbing the fence and appeared to be shivering, disoriented
and very incoherent. They reported that he initially refused to come down
from the fence and was heard to be mumbling and repeating " half a billion dollars
and the bastards are still alive....half a billion dollars and the bastards are
still alive". he was taken into "protective custody" without further incident,
but complained of recurring nightmares that a corpse was after him.
Cancel the funeral, CART has
survived, and its back with a vengeance.
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