Questions on merger

UPDATE #2 Another reader asks, Dear, Why is any concrete news of a merger taking so long to materialize? Dan Brown

Dear Dan, When these rumors first surfaced we were the first to point out that trying to do it for 2008 would be near impossible and made no sense whatsoever. We suggested they announce it now but do it for the 2009 season. We suspect the powers to be are finding some of the many roadblocks we mentioned in trying to put this thing together. Sure they can force it to happen for 2008 but what a mess it will be and the lawsuits will be numerous. We still maintain that the merger should be announced now, whichever Champ Car teams could afford to run the 2008 Indy 500 should, but the real merger should be properly planned and happen starting in 2009. Do it right or don't do it. Mark C.

02/13/08 Another reader writes, Dear, I’ve been following the merger talks/rumors with great interest, I’m a CART/Champ Car fan, but I will agree it needs to happen. My question is, with Honda as the engine supplier, do you think that turbo engines and suitable chassis will be introduced with the IRL’s new car? An updated version of the current Panoz would make sense, since it has already passed all the FIA testing and is fit for turbo usage John Swope

Dear John, That would make the most sense, and turbos are back in favor for passenger cars. In fact the after-market for turbo kits for Hondas is huge. The sidepods of the Panoz would have to be beefed up for the high-speed ovals we are told. Mark C.

02/13/08 A reader asks, Dear, Why would IRL not take the Toronto race this year? There are always 60-70000 fans in the stands and even last year a real buzz in the grounds. What oval race besides Indy and Texas gets that kind of crowds?

Even though there is a lot of anti-IRL sentiment in Canada – they would support a merged series although I wouldn't want to be Michael Andretti or Roger Penske – the boos could be deafening.

Why wouldn't they use the new Panoz? Faster – closer racing, better looking, standing starts, sound better, etc. Bill Brittain

Dear Bill, Valid questions. If common sense were to prevail, for a merger to have the best chance for success, the best of both series would be used. If the rumors are to be believed, only a token few races would be moved over from Champ Car to the IRL leaving such races as Toronto on the outside looking in….and that is a travesty.

As for the Panoz vs. the hideous looking and sounding IRL Dallara (that flies better than some airplanes), I suspect it's a case of car availability in this the 11th hour and the 2008 season upon us. One would certainly hope that in 2009 or 2010 when the IRL rolls out their new car, a lot of what's incorporated in the Champ Car and some of its ideas such as standing starts and push-to-pass can be incorporated. For the time being Champ Car fans are going to have to grin and bear it knowing that in the long run a merger is what is best for all involved. Mark C.

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