Cracks forming in the IRL

UPDATE A reader responds, Dear, I agree there needs to be one open wheel series not two. I also think that Kalkhoven & friends should not give in to Tony George's demands just because he has the Indy 500. Champ Car is guaranteed to have more cars then the IRL next year unless Penske and Ganassi grow to 4-car teams like AGR (not likely). From a Champ Car fans perspective, it was hard to see Honda, Toyota, sponsors & teams jump from CART to the IRL.

We deserve the enjoyment we are going to get from the same thing happening in reverse. The only thing holding the IRL afloat is the Indy 500. Champ Car is in a better position than the IRL right now. Next year, will be a breakthrough year for Champ Cars. New less expensive chassis, new teams, new races like Las Vegas, it will be great. Rahal, Ganassi & others will not go down with the ship like Tony George will. Ganassi, if he leaves the IRL, might just do NASCAR & leave open wheel racing. Roger Penske is smart. He probably already has a life raft planned. Rahal is second guessing his decision of leaving the series at Long Beach a couple of years ago. You can tell by his comments this past couple of days that he would rather be in Champ Car.

With Champ Cars picking up steam the IRL cannot survive with the Indy 500 alone, that’s why you see Tony George doing Street/Road courses this year. He is trying whatever he can to keep his head above water. The IRL needs a merger more than Champ Car does. The longer the split goes on the less Tony George has chips to deal with. This merger talk all of a sudden, why? Rahal commented that Ganassi, Penske and themselves are 50/50 right now on switching series. Could Tony have possibly sensed something and decided he needed to start talking merger? It's a real possibility.

A merger can't happen in 2007 with all the logistics (track contracts, prior commitments, etc.). It could happen in 2008. All it would need is two out of those three teams mentioned in this article to jump ship back to Champ Car. They have all jumped a sinking ship before so doing it a second time should come easier for them. One thing is for sure, whoever doesn't do it in 2007 will be a year behind on developing the new Panoz chassis. I hope they come to their senses soon, because they can make this merger happen by themselves. Here is to the future. "The Champ Car IndyCar Series". Rod, Orlando, FL.

07/24/06 A week after Cheever Racing suspended operations, the Indy Racing League is in danger of losing another team.

Indianapolis-based Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which has been in business since team co-owner Robbie Buhl drove the car to a win in its 2000 debut at Walt Disney World Speedway, does not have the funds to race next weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Assuming a deal doesn't come together quickly, Dreyer & Reinbold's absence will leave the IRL with 17 cars, its fewest ever.

"The window on (our participation) is closing fast," Buhl said Saturday from the Milwaukee Mile, where Ryan Briscoe will drive the team's car.
Briscoe crashed the primary car in Friday's practice and will start last in the 18-car field of today's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Indy 225.

Dreyer & Reinbold had hoped a program for Sarah Fisher would come together for Michigan, but she needed a test after being out of an Indy car for three seasons. Briscoe is committed to drive the car at the IRL's Aug. 27 road-course race in Sonoma, Calif.

Whether the IRL can come up with an 18th car at Michigan remains to be seen. Marty Roth, whose only league experience is two starts in the Indianapolis 500, had hoped to participate.

There has been talk of Tony George's Vision Racing team fielding an extra car for Townsend Bell, but George said Friday "that's not on our radar."

Eighteen cars is the fewest the IRL has fielded in its 11-year existence, and both of those races have come in the past two weeks. Indy Star [Editor's Note: Anyone who thinks the IRL does not need a merger with Champ Car ASAP had better pull their head out of the sand now.]

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