Jourdain to drive in Mexico City

UPDATE #5 Here is the latest AutoRacing1.com editorial which outlines NASCAR's invasion of Mexico and its ability to strip the Champ Car paddock dry of all Mexican sponsors.

09/04/06 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Michel Jourdain Jr. said in the Mexican media today that he will definitively not drive in the last race of the year for Champ Car in Mexico City. He said that he had not heard from Newman/Haas in four weeks and that if Newman/Hass tried to contact him for a deal it would be too late to put together a competitive deal for the race. He said he will not drive an uncompetitive car for another team.

Even though Sebastien Bourdais now has an almost certain lock on the 2006 title, the fact that they never got back to Jourdain indicates Champ Car nor the team have no intention of running him. Add to that the fact that Mario Dominguez refuses to race in Mexico City in an uncompetitive car and Champ Car has the makings of a disaster on their hands. With no Mexican drivers in the field, the spectator turnout for Mexico City will be atrocious…..on the heels of last year's plummeting attendance.

After much promise the first two years, Champ Car can kiss the Mexican market goodbye. Since there are no Mexican sponsors in Champ Car now, it appears Champ Car has decided the Mexican market isn't worth the trouble. It will become a 'NASCAR-only' country. The rumor is that the Busch Series will add Monterrey to next year's schedule, to go with Mexico City. AutoRacing1.com has also been told by its Mexican sources that the France family is pumping significant amounts of money into the grassroots stock car series in Mexico and the Mexican race authorities now favor NASCAR, and that Carlos Slim Jr. is a big NASCAR fan now.

08/12/06 A Newman/Haas team spokesperson told AutoRacing1.com, "We believe Michel [Jourdain] is a good driver. Yes, he has spoken with NHR about running in Mexico City but a decision has yet to be made. Our foremost focus is on winning the championship and we would need to have wrapped up the title before running a third entry properly for Michel. As it's looking likely to be a hard battle until the season-finale, it might preclude us from doing this."

08/09/06 Radio station Imagen (this radio station broadcasts in more than 50 cities in Mexico) had a live interview with Michel Jourdain today. When asked about the rumor of driving a Champ Car for the last race of the season Jourdain said that he is still in negotiations, that he is indeed talking only with Newman/Haas Racing and if a deal that guarantees him a competitive car is presented to him he will sign it, but if he can't get the guarantee of a competitive car he will have to settle for a seat in the grandstands with his friends. J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico

08/08/06 This Mexican report also says Jourdain could drive for Newman/Haas in Mexico City.

08/08/06 Is this time for real? TV Azteca reported Monday night that Michel Jourdain Jr. will be driving a Champ Car in the last race of the season at Mexico City. According to TV Azteca Jourdain will sign a deal with Newman/Hass Racing. This is not the first time this rumor has surfaced, and although they are reporting it as a done deal we will have to wait to see if this is true. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

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