IRL delays 2006 schedule

UPDATE It is becoming apparent that the delay in the IRL schedule is because not all the race contracts are signed. According to the Forth Worth Press Telegram, Texas Motor Speedway just signed their one-year renewal, but Eddie Gossage has not received a countersigned copy back yet. Meanwhile the Dallas Morning News reports that Michigan and Fontana, both ISC tracks, are still up in the air for next year.

Could the delay be caused by what we have speculated would eventually happen – ISC and the France family will pull back from ties with the IRL once they did not need them anymore – i.e. the split and near destruction of Indy Car Racing nearing completion? With the France family moving in on USAC they are looking to complete their takeover of the entire oval track market – short track and speedway, open wheel and stock car….everything. From the major leagues right down through the grassroots level.

Looking over the entry list for this weekends Busch Series race at IRP the field is peppered with some of the best short track open wheel drivers in the country. These drivers may as well don their "Road to Daytona" hats now because they have long since burned their 'Road to Indy" hats.

Of course by taking over the entire oval track grassroots market the France family is cutting the legs right out from under Tony George and his open wheel oval track series, the IRL. If this theory is true, and all indications are that it is, why would ISC need the IRL at places like Fontana and Michigan, two tracks that could easily replace their IRL races with Busch Series races as the headline events and draw a far larger crowd than the IRL can. And the drivers in the Busch Series races would be none other than all the best short track open wheel drivers wearing Road to Daytona hats. It's becoming clearer by the day that the France family has used Tony George as a pawn in their drive to monopolize oval track auto racing in the USA.

Luckily for Champ Car, they are focused on road racing both domestically and internationally, and are not terribly affected by NASCAR's oval track moves. However, if road racing makes a resurgence in the USA under Champ Car's new leadership, look for NASCAR to make a move into that market as well. With that said, Kevin Kalkhoven is as shrewd as they come, and looks very far forward. We doubt that NASCAR's moves have gone unnoticed with him.

08/05/05 The Indy Racing League has delayed the announcement of its 2006 schedule until early September. The league originally planned to release the schedule, expected to be condensed to 16 races from 17 and run over a shorter time period, this week. Some think the delay is to add a new race the last minute. Quebec City has been rumored.

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