Merged series might have too many cars

Some pit lanes cannot accommodate more than 30 cars and Honda can produce and maintain more than a certain number of engines, but the prospect remains that over 30 cars might try to qualify for some IRL race in 2008 now that they have merged with Champ Car.

Sixteen car-and-driver combinations are testing here this week as Indy Racing League regulars, and several more are preparing to join the fold. Among them is a car for Indy Pro Series champion Alex Lloyd, soon to be confirmed at Vision Racing. Jay Howard (Marty Roth Racing) had not completed his rookie test.

Part-time cars are in the works for Tomas Scheckter (Luczo Dragon Racing), Sarah Fisher (Sarah Fisher Racing), Max Papis (Rubicon Racing) and Roger Yasukawa (likely Beck Motorsports), and there might be others.

At least nine of the former Champ Car World Series competitors confirmed plans Wednesday to be at the IRL's season-opening race here March 29. They include: two cars each for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, PK Racing (formerly PKV), Conquest Racing and Dale Coyne Racing. Walker Racing is sure it will field at least one, but is preparing for two.

Also in the mix are three teams that fielded two cars in Champ Car last season: Forsythe Pettit Racing, Team Minardi USA and Pacific Coast Motorsports. Even officials from the one-car Rocketsports Racing, which is owned by merger critic Paul Gentilozzi, attended the IRL's orientation meeting at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday.

At some point (too many cars) is a problem," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development. "We've only got so many engines . . . but it's a good problem to have." To which we say – why can't they engage Cosworth to help build and maintain more engines?

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