Shortsighted IRL team owner makes outlandish statement
One of the Indy Racing League's longtime team owners is pushing the idea of IRL-NASCAR Nextel Cup combined events.
John Barnes, an owner and the general manager of Panther Racing, thinks that even if the IRL event was positioned as a support race, Indy-style racing would benefit.
"We would make it where we would race on Saturday to replace a Busch or ARCA race, and they would race on Sunday," he said. "I have no problem being second fiddle to them, I just want to get in front of their fans and show them what real racing is all about."
Terry Angstadt, the IRL's new president of its commercial division, said the IRL would not allow itself to be presented as a support race.
"We would love to make our series better, and we will open the thought waves of doing that," he said. "But at the same time, I think we are a tier one series, and certainly it would be hard to argue that the Indianapolis 500 is not a cornerstone event, if not the premier motor sports event in the world."
Barnes believes running IRL and Nextel Cup races together would open the door to NASCAR drivers running some Indy car races. That seems a long shot, though, since NASCAR team owners often have a say in what other forms of racing their drivers participate in.
It also seems unlikely that NASCAR would be interested in such a combined event since it already runs either a Busch series or Craftsman Truck race or both in conjunction with most Nextel Cup events. More at Tampa Tribune
[Editor's Note: John Barnes is like a cancer to the sport of Indy Car Racing. He has repeatedly called for no merger with Champ Car because if there was one his team would certainly be a backmarker. One might say it already is. Because of no merger Indy Car Racing continues to flounder. Now he's calling for Indy Car Racing to put the final nail in their coffin by playing second fiddle to NASCAR. Sponsorship-wise NASCAR has all the mouths to feed in their Busch and Truck Series and prefers to run them as support races to its Cup races. To think the France family is stupid enough to put a series they don't own in front of their huge Cup fan base so it can draw sponsorship and increase its popularity at the expense of the Busch and Truck series is simply preposterous.]