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Villeneuve, Carpentier blame the IRL/CART owners
Jacques Villeneuve -- Canada's only CART champion and Indianapolis 500 winner -- said yesterday that the demise of open-wheel's Champ Car World Series wouldn't cause him any sleepless nights.

In an interview with Sun Media after final practice for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Gatorade Duel 150s, the 36-year-old native of Iberville, Que., said that there was room for only one form of racing at the top level in North America, and that was NASCAR.

But he criticized the owners of both Champ Car and the Indy Racing League for letting open-wheel racing die on this side of the ocean.

Villeneuve was the final winner of the unified CART series in 1995 before he moved to Formula One.

"They should never have split," he said. "It was great when I left after 1995 but it has just gone downhill since then."

The 1997 world champion said that if the owners of both Champ Car and the IRL couldn't see the damage caused by the rift, maybe they deserved what has come to pass.

"The split separated the talent; it separated the sponsors and the fans lost interest," Villeneuve said. "And once you lose the fans that's it."

Patrick Carpentier, another Canadian survivor of the open-wheel wars, said when he learned of the imminent demise of Champ Car, he was both angry and sad.

"That is sad," he said yesterday as he joined Villeneuve at the Daytona 500 practice. "I am so mad at these guys. If they could only see that what they were doing was going to kill open-wheel racing here." Toronto Sun

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