Overheard in Milwaukee – II

Overheard in Milwaukee that Dale Coyne is probably going to test Michael Valiante at Putnam Park next week with an eye toward running the rest of the season. Another rumor has Christian Fittipaldi in the seat, but our latest source says Valiante has a better shot. Dale Coyne did tell us that when they tested Valiante they were very impressed with him. We have long said that Valiante deserved a legitimate shot at a fulltime ride. Coyne assures us someone will be in the car in Portland……We hear as this year progresses we will see more cars on the grid…….One interesting rumor had Roger Penske buying into Ilmor (see other rumor) to produce engines for a unified IRL/Champ Car series going up against Honda and Cosworth/Ford and that Roger might become equal partners with Gerald Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Tony George in a new company that would own the unified series – an intriguing concept, the four making a very formidable force to be reckoned with……McLaren's F1 engine builder, Ilmor, will soon be '100 percent' owned by Mercedes' parent company, DaimlerChrysler. The carmaker announced on Thursday that it will sell Ilmor's 'Special Project Group' – mainly concerned with IRL and NASCAR – to Penske, Mario Illien and late Ilmor co-founder Paul Morgan's wife Elizabeth this month. ''This sale is the final logical step,'' read a DaimlerChrysler statement, ''in the acquisition process.'' Mercedes-Ilmor will also change its name to 'Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines.'………Hearing the Honda talks with Champ Car didn't really go too well.

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