Overheard at Infineon Friday – 1

UPDATE As we rumored on Friday, the PCM team was in trouble and in this statement, the team owner states they are through for the year. Why are IRL teams having so much trouble getting sponsorship? Take for example Paul Tracy and Vision – they had a sponsor in the works with Subway, and they thought it was better to do 3 NASCAR races for more money, than do the whole IndyCar season. The problem is that the IRL like Champ Car has little value since the split because the TV ratings are so low. The costs to put the cars on the track are 10 times the value you would get on TV due to the low ratings (soon to get worse on Versus). The race yesterday changed channels 2 or 3 times because women's golf was running late, making it almost unwatchable.

And the IRL thinks it can grow the series strictly as a domestic product? We disagree strongly. With NASCAR being the monopoly that it is, they can steal every single sponsor out of the IRL paddock if they chose to go after them aggressively….as Vision Racing found out with Subway. Even Team Penske has been unable to find a replacement for Marlboro and they win on a regular basis. The only way IndyCar is going to be able to grow is to bring "new" money into the series from outside the USA. However, that is going to take international growth and a marketing staff with international experience, and currently that does not exist.

08/22/08 We hear that the Forsythe team had another layoff last week and they are down to a skeleton crew of about 7 people. Sure does not look like they will go IndyCar Racing next year as rumored unless they hire new people over the winter months…….We hear that the PCM team is in very bad shape financially. We are told the Mexican sponsors stopped paying and now team members paychecks have been delayed. The good news, if there is any, is that no one has quit the team as they believe in team owner Tyler Tadevic and are sticking it out in hopes a sponsor materializes…………So far all the teams we have canvassed, and though no one wants to be quoted on the record for fear of IRL repercussions, fail to see how the new Versus TV deal is anything but bad for the series. Sure it placates the hard-core fan with more programming hours, but it's all about TV ratings when it comes to landing sponsorship and Versus broadcasts simply won't get high TV Ratings. One owner said "That deal just cost every team owner in this paddock $1M to $2M a year in sponsorship." Let's just hope the engine manufacturers that may have come into the series don't now bow out leaving Honda to hold the bag. Mark C. reporting from Sonoma, CA

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