Overheard at Chicagoland – Sunday 1

Bruce Ashmore was seen in the Honda hospitality area still pushing his low downforce, high HP ideas for the next generation IndyCar. CART tried this one year, it ruined the racing and the cars become suicidal coffins on wheels. Road racing is one thing, but high banked ovals? Order the flowers and plan the funerals…….We hear that Enrique Bernoldi will not be back in IndyCar this year, having torn a ligament in his left thumb. We also hear he will not be returning to the Conquest Racing team next year either. The team is very happy with Alex Tagliani and are trying their best to put a sponsorship package together around him. Bernoldi is talking to a lot of other teams for 2009……We hear that AGR would consider a 5th IndyCar team in 2009 if the sponsorship was there. Rafael Matos, who just wrapped up the Indy Lights title for the team, would love to move up, but the money does not appear to be there. We hear he will run a Grand-Am race in Utah for the Michael Shank team and he will compete for the factory Mazda team at Road Atlanta as that manufacturer re-enters sports car racing. We hear Mazda likes Matos so don't be surprised if the IRL loses the very talented Matos to ALMS in 2009. Why wouldn't Matos want to drive for a factory team? He has had 8 Indy Car test days with AGR and has been very helpful to the team at some of the tracks he tested on. Even though he beat up on all those American drivers in his very first year in Lights, won the Atlantic championship last year, and is obviously very talented, it appears unlikely that a team will pick him up in IndyCar as it sits right now, and that is a travesty for open wheel racing because talented drivers continue to walk right out the door because of lack of sponsorship. Mark C. reporting from Chicagoland

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