League blamed for devastating American Open Wheel Racing bids adieu
Adieu Indy Racing League. Thanks for splitting apart the open-wheel world, which allowed NASCAR to move in as the top racing series in the country. Hopefully, you'll take all that baggage with you.
The 2010 IndyCar Series closes out this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Will Power and Dario Franchitti separated by a dozen points for the championship going into the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300.
It'll also be the last IRL and/or IndyCar Series event at Homestead, long a schedule staple. It also will mark the end of the IRL/IndyCar Series relationship with International Speedway Corp., which owns Homestead and Auto Club Speedway.
As for the IRL, this is the last race under that banner. Even the champion's trophy is out since IRL had a prominent spot,
The new trophy, unveiled earlier this month, is from sculptor Ted Gall and features a stainless steel man with outstretched arms balanced on a single wheel, mounted on a wooden base.
Rather unusual to be sure, but it closely resembles the character Thor in a B.C. comic strip.
The race for the title represents what the IndyCar Series is all about: Roger Penske (Power) against Chip Ganassi (Franchitti). Power has rebounded from a broken back suffered last year and Franchitti, seeking to tie Sam Hornish Jr. with a record third title, has silenced his critics since returning from a brief dip into NASCAR.
Helio Castroneves, another Penske driver, and Scott Dixon, from the
Ganassi stable, are third and fourth, respectively, but long shots for the title.
Randy Bernard, the sanctioning body's CEO, acknowledged the split still is a topic.
"We have to let the fan base know that it is one series now," he said. "We are going to focus on attracting the best and most versatile drivers."
That would be a good start to winning back those fans. Bernard, however, has a specific plan for American fans.
"Everyone says we need more Americans and I think that would be great," he said. "But we don't need just any Americans. We need the best young American drivers." SBSun.com