Before Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul
Gentilozzi formed OWRS and bought the remains of CART, Tony
George was winning one battle after another as he stripped
the CART paddock dry of teams, drivers, sponsors and
manufacturers. It was so bad for CART they ended up in
bankruptcy and Tony George was there to try and step in, buy
key remains and drive the final nail in CART's coffin.
Then in stepped Kalkhoven and company and Tony George had
a battle on his hands.
First Kalkhoven outmaneuvered George in bankruptcy court
and the judge pretty much tossed Tony George and his team
out of court. Tony tried to shut CART down when in
fact the case was in Chapter 11, not Chapter 13 bankruptcy,
and hence the judge wanted a plan to continue the business.
Kalkhoven and his team delivered and Tony George went home
empty handed (he tried to buy key races like Long Beach and
the Cosworth engines).
Next up was the sale of Cosworth by Ford Motor Company.
Tony George tried to buy Cosworth through Chip Ganassi,
presumably to shut Champ Car down by taking away its
2.65-liter turbo engines, but once again Kalkhoven and
company won the deal. That was strike two for Tony
Now today we learned that Kevin Kalkhoven was successful
in defeating Tony George for the third straight time.
Tony George wanted Long Beach but Kevin Kalkhoven was
successful in buying the event from Dover Motorsports.
By doing so Champ Car's future at Long Beach is secured,
which is what the fans wanted, what the city of Long Beach
wanted and of course what the entire Champ Car paddock
The details of the deal were not disclosed. The
France family and the Hulman-George family own their key
events so it makes sense for OWRS (owners of Champ Car) to
own their key event - Long Beach.
As I understand it, Jim Michaelian, chief executive
of the Grand Prix Assn., will remain, as will his staff.
"Now that we know who we'll be working for, it's time to
roll up our sleeves and start planning for next year's
race," Michaelian told the LA Times. "It's a relief to know
that the feeling of uncertainty about the future of the race
is over." Said Kalkhoven, "My experience with the management
of the Long Beach Grand Prix is, they've done a first-class
job and certainly we would like to work with them."
With this victory the tide appears to be turning
decidedly in Champ Car's favor as the media and fans are
beginning to sense that Champ Car is here to stay despite
Tony George's not so veiled attempts to eliminate it.
Meanwhile many people in the industry, including now
Honda, are sensing Tony George isn't going to win this war,
maybe he's the wrong horse to ride. If the sport of Indy Car
Racing is to be saved, it's going to take a merger, and a
fair way to do that, a first step, was outlined in this
Tony George has been the obstacle in every merger
attempt, and with Champ Car getting stronger with each
victory over George, and each new major race venue added,
some are starting to ask if they should merge with the IRL
at all, especially if Honda and Toyota both follow Chevy out
of the IRL as rumored. Because Honda and Toyota spend
so much in the IRL, if they leave, besides the Indy 500,
what will the IRL have left?
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