Newman/Haas announces its withdrawal from the IndyCar series
Newman/Haas Racing announced today that it will not enter cars in the 2012 IndyCar Series.
|Paul Newman's death and Carl Haas' (above) failing health spelled doom for the 2nd winningest team in IndyCar history|
“The economic climate no longer enables Newman/Haas Racing to participate in open wheel racing at this time,” said Carl Haas, owner and co-founder of Newman/Haas Racing.
Newman/Haas Racing won 107 Indy car races from 1983-2011, a total that ranks second only to Penske Racing's 159 victories since 1971. Chip Ganassi Racing has earned 86 race wins since 1994.
Haas teamed up with actor and fellow SCCA Can-Am series team owner Paul Newman, forming Newman/Haas to enter the CART-sanctioned IndyCar World Series in 1983 with Mario Andretti as the driver. Andretti won the 1984 CART championship.
The team enjoyed its most successful era from 1989-92 when it expanded to two cars and Mario Andretti was teamed with his son, Michael.
The younger Andretti won the 1991 CART title, and Newman/Haas won additional championships with drivers Nigel Mansell (CART, 1993), Cristiano da Matta (CART, 2002) and Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car World Series, 2004-07).
Newman/Haas was one of the last teams to remain faithful to CART/Champ Car, but it scored IndyCar-sanctioned race wins with drivers Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson in 2008. During its final season in the IndyCar Series, NHR fielded cars for Oriol Servia, who finished fourth in the championship, and Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe.
Other notables who drove for the team include Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Bruno Junqueira.
Like many teams, Newman/Haas struggled to find sponsorship in recent years. That challenge increased after Newman's death in 2008. A partnership with businessman Mike Lanigan ended after two years.
Meanwhile, Carl Haas has experienced deteriorating health and was unable to attend races in the last two years. His wife Bernadette has largely been responsible for the executive management of the team in recent years.
The IndyCar Series is introducing a new chassis and engine package in 2012 that is expected to ultimately prove less expensive for competitors. But the new package requires an initial investment of about $3 million for chassis and spare parts. ESPN.com