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Bobby Rahal Talks CART
by Mark Cipolloni

7/22/00


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BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 22, 2000) - Here are the highlights from this mornings Bobby Rahal press conference

  • Schedule will be approved by Franchise Board next weekend in Chicago, at least that is his goal.

  • Germany on same weekend as the Italian GP should not be a problem from an attendance standpoint because Monza is over 90% Italian fans, not German fans.

  • Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta are very appealing and he thinks either race would be big.  Interestingly he said some of CART's highest TV ratings are in the Atlanta market.  He also said Watkins Glen needs a lot of safety upgrades so don't look for a CART race there until that investment is made by ISC.  He was at Road Atlanta recently and could not believe how different it was.  He was impressed with all the improvements Don Panoz has made.  We think you will see Road Atlanta added to the schedule before Watkins Glen.

  • HP will be reduced next year and the solution will be what the engine manufacturers recommend.  We assume that means lower boost pressure, but maybe not.  Aerodynamics will also be changed.

  • CART will have a new engine formula starting in 2003 and it sounds, based on what he said today, that the 1.8 liter turbo engine is the front running solution today.  The decision on it has been put off for a number of years because they thought that was standing in the way of them getting back together with the Speedway.  Now that it's clear both series are so different and have such different philosophies, different engines don't seem to be an issue any more.  Plus he said he like the muffling effect the turbos have for the street races

  • He believes tracks must have events to succeed and the rumors of ISC aligning with the IRL and against CART are nonsense.  They want successful events, be it NASCAR, IRL or CART.

  • He thinks CART would be a big hit in Montreal, but he still thinks Canada should only have two races, so Molstar would have t choose to drop Vancouver or Toronto first.  We don't fully understand his reasoning, but will ask him why later.  If all three races would be big hits, CART should be there.  Geographically Canada is very big, plenty big enough to host three CART races.

  • CART will never be like the IRL.  CART will continue to grow its series and the IRL will grow theirs.  He hopes the Indy 500 becomes the Super Bowl of Indy Car racing, much like the AFL vs. the NFL made the Super Bowl of football.

  • ISC would like to see CART at Phoenix.

  • He is VERY excited about having SFX negotiate their new TV deal.  He feels CART's best interest will be served.  He would not speculate whether the contract would go to a single bidder, or two like NASCAR did.

  • He was impressed how great Toronto was this year and wants all CART races to be like that.  He said we come to place like Michigan the next week and it's a whole different world.  He feels the Superspeedways are an important part of the series, but they have to make sense to both CART and to the promoter.

  • CART may race in the middle of May in 2001.  He would not say, but we think that means Nazareth will run on the 2nd weekend of Indy qualifying next year.  They are trying to make the schedule so they don't kill their teams and suppliers with too many consecutive races.

  • CART has a 150 day window to fix some key issues confronting the series

  •  

 

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