Motegi/Long Beach conflict close to being resolved?

UPDATE Regarding a date change to the Motegi Race, a Japanese Autosport Magazine website reported on February 12 (Japan time) that Motegi and IRL officials held a meeting, but the meeting ended without a date change to the Motegi race. According to the website the IRL will travel to Japan as scheduled, and will not be racing at Long Beach. Tony George and Robert Clarke came out of the meeting with Motegi officials saying they are very optimistic. Hmmm……could the merger deal be off?

02/12/08 The Indy Racing League apparently is armed with options to negotiate a reconciliation of open-wheel racing following a Monday meeting in Japan.

The IRL sought and likely gained permission from Honda to move its April 19 race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit north of Tokyo to accommodate the addition of Champ Car’s marquee event, the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix, which is obligated for April 20. If Champ Car is folded into the IRL, the Long Beach race will be one of several Champ Car World Series events added to this year’s IndyCar Series schedule.

To do so means moving the Motegi race. The options there include moving it to August, when the IRL has a break in its schedule, or to the end of the season as a non-points race. An other option is postponing the event for a year.

At least one of them apparently was approved by Honda because Robert Clarke, the former president of U.S.-based Honda Performance Development, said today that he is optimistic merger talks with Champ Car can continue.

“It was a good meeting, yes," said Clarke, who joined George and IRL presidents Brian Barnhart and Terry Angstadt in the meeting.

“Am I optimistic? I don’t see any reason why not (to be)."

Clarke said all other questions must be answered by George, who was not available for anything more than a brief e-mail comment. He is due back in Indianapolis Tuesday.

Motegi, a 1.5-mile oval track, has held IRL races since 2003 and was a Champ Car venue from 1998 to 2002.

In an e-mail to The Star, George warned that there are still no guarantees to ending the sport’s 13-year-old split.

“Nothing is going to happen quickly, if at all," he said. IndyStar

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :