IRL thinks they can keep Honda

UPDATE A reader writes, What they didn't say: "We've been shopping engine rules packages to auto manufacturers for the last 6 months without any takers. Finally and reluctantly, we are releasing a rules package with nobody signed up, hoping somebody will bite before it's too late." Bob Williams, Long Beach, CA 06/28/05 Toyota will leave Indy-car racing following the 2006 season, the Japanese auto manufacturer confirmed Monday. The long-expected news is a blow to the Indy Racing League, which is scheduled to lose General Motors at the end of this season.

The IRL's third current manufacturer — Honda — does not want to be the sole engine provider, although a league spokesman said Monday that shouldn't happen. "We feel we're on a schedule (to announce) guidelines that will interest current and potential engine suppliers," said John Griffin, the league's vice president of public relations.

IRL president Brian Barnhart said he has settled on a new equipment package for 2007, although he has neither announced it nor shared it with the manufacturers.

League officials still hope GM will return through its Chevrolet brand after its stated absence in 2006. There are several engine suppliers that might be interested in the IRL's new rules, but the league requires them to carry the name of an auto manufacturer that sells vehicles in the U.S. Those companies must agree to promotional programs. Indy Star

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