Gossage warns IRL to stick to ovals UPDATE #2 Some driver scorned Gossage's comments about racing on 80 percent ovals, while others simply brushed them off.
"If that's the way he feels, then we shouldn't race here," Tony Kanaan said. "It amazes me that he said that. If somebody who has such good vision and can organize a race as good as this thinks we should be racing on 80 percent ovals, (then he) isn't looking out for the series' best interests. He's looking out for his own interests. We don't need those people around if that's the way they think."
Series points leader and Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon smiled when told of Gossage's opinion.
"Eddie should stick to running his track and let the series run itself," Dixon said. "He's probably a little biased because he's got an oval. Everybody is going to have different views. I'm biased because I like road courses. He's just putting that out there because he and his owners (Speedway Motorsports Inc.) have a long list of racetracks, and most of them are ovals."
[Editor's Note: The majority of drivers think Gossage is an idiot for saying they should race on 80% ovals. One driver, who shall remain nameless, said, "It's not his life on the line now is it.?" In a related article, this author also calls Gossage nuts.]
06/06/08 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Eddie Gossage is so far off base it's ridiculous.
1. The ALL OVAL STRATEGY by the original IRL failed miserably. Look at Phoenix, Fontana, Loudon, Dover, Michigan and the diminution of the INDY 500.
2. Look at the cost of running an all oval series, as well as the injuries.
3. IRL "WON" because Penske came over and brought Toyota and Honda to IRL's prime event and the Biggest Show in Open Wheel the INDY 500 Steve Levinson
06/06/08 Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has a warning for the newly merged IndyCar Series:
Stick to the oval tracks if you want to make the merger work.
"IndyCar officials have to understand that it will take 80 percent ovals to truly succeed," Gossage said. "Otherwise, this is nothing more than a niche sport.
"If they're comfortable with that, fine, but I don't think they are. The Indy 500 and high-speed ovals like TMS are why the IRL won this war."
Gossage is concerned that the IndyCar Series will add too many road and street courses that were part of the Champ Car schedule.
Long Beach, which was run as a separate event this year, will be part of the IndyCar schedule next year. The Edmonton Grand Prix was added to this year's schedule, and the Toronto Grand Prix probably will be part of the 2009 schedule.
All three events are successful street races that were part of the Champ Car schedule.
"Along with all the good this merger brings, the IRL also had to absorb some bad from Champ Car," Gossage said. "They had to take on some baggage with the transition. But the American public has made it very clear they will not accept European-style road racing. It's not even an arguable point. It's a fact. I'm telling you that would be a big mistake."
The Bombardier Learjet 550 on Saturday night (10 p.m., ESPN2) will be the first time back at TMS for some Champ Car competitors since the infamous day in 2001 when the race was canceled two hours before the scheduled start.
The turbocharged cars were reaching speeds in excess of 236 mph, making it unsafe to stage the event. An angry crowd of more than 60,000 left without seeing a race.
Gossage says it's "water under the bridge" now, but it does bring back bad memories. He knows some Champ Car enthusiasts believe open-wheel cars shouldn't race on high-banked ovals like TMS.
"The truth is it's not for them to decide," Gossage said. "They lost this fight. I hope that's not something the IRL is struggling with, and I don't think they are.
"But they need to look back and see that model [Champ Car] is failed history. There's a littered battlefield left behind them from USAC to CART to Champ Car. You have to learn from that." [Editor's Note: As usual Gossage opens his mouth and speaks nonsense. CART and Champ Car failed because of mismanagement and not having the Indy 500 as part of the schedule. Not because they had too many road races. In fact it was their oval races that had the poorest attendance. Period end of story. Gossage does like to hear himself talk especially when he has an agenda. He's a good race promoter, and needs to stick to what he does best. The business of running a race series isn't one of them.]
Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, is the man in charge of the league's sanctioning agreements and future scheduling decisions. Angstadt said the league has no plans to cut back on its ovals.
"This series is based on the history and heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Angstadt said. "That alone speaks volumes of how we feel of oval-track racing. We will continue to have a large percentage of our races on ovals.
"However, I do think as evident by its worldwide popularity, it's good to show a bit of diversity with road and street racing. It's a great test of driver skill. But that's not to say that our ovals are going away."
When asked about Gossage's concerns, Angstadt said: "Eddie is a great promoter, but with all due respect, he doesn't have a say in planning our future."
Neither does Danica Patrick, but she also has a fondness for the high-banked ovals. She earned her first victory in April on the 1.5-mile oval at Motegi, Japan.
"We can't forget where we came from," Patrick said. "The league started as an all-oval series. These cars were built to be on ovals. I know some people say these tracks are dangerous. Yes, they are dangerous, but it's much safer than it used to be. A lot of our fans really enjoy this type of racing, and I do, too.
"The Champ Car guys want the road courses because that's what they did. But they'll get used to the ovals. The key is to have a balance." ESPN.com