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DATE News (chronologically)
11/22/08
irl
Barnhart: Smaller IndyCar fields in '09
Brian Barnhart failed to address how much the decision to sign with Versus for TV is hurting the league.  Sponsors have little interest if they are invisible on TV.
"With all of those events creating positive momentum, it's just amazing the bad timing that we have to be facing the world economic situation that we're facing," Brian Barnhart told Indianapolis radio station 1070 The Fan.

"That's going to affect not just the smaller teams, but the bigger teams. While we're getting a sense from KV, Newman/Haas, and everyone who contested this season, of how badly they want to continue in 2009, we have a full understanding that everyone is facing some significant economic challenges."

"I don't know that we could come back and run 26 full-time, just based on the economics we're seeing worldwide," said Barnhart.

"I would expect some sort of reduction, we're certainly hoping for a minimal one. I think something in the 22-24 range, I'd be tickled with."

Testing will not be cut out totally to reduce costs, but it will be significantly curtailed for the experienced teams.

"Cutting private testing completely away could have a different effect on our series than it does in Cup," Barnhart said.

"We're trying to balance sustainability of our existing owners with attracting new owners and new drivers. If a new team or a rookie driver is trying to come to your series and isn't allowed to test, there's not much likelihood that they're going to join your series. When you're sitting on 43-plus cars, like Cup is, that's probably not a situation they're too worried about, so a ban on testing may work for them.

"We'll probably have some form of testing, but it will certainly be controlled in 2009."

"We've had a couple of conversations with the team owners and it's been very productive," he said. "We've got an open mind and are listening to what they have to say. The intentions are good, and that's the most important aspect. They're looking at things that are truly in the best interests of the series."

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