LB journalist thinks race will switch horses

This Long Beach Press Telegram article says, It's the hunch here that Jim Michaelian and Dover Motorsports will wind up switching their Long Beach Grand Prix allegiance to Tony George and the Indy Racing League. It will be a reluctant decision because an overwhelming preponderance of Grand Prix patrons prefer Kevin Kalkhoven's Champ Car series and particularly despise George and the role he played in the bitter breakaway from CART that left that organization hemorrhaging in red ink and has left open wheel racing lagging far behind NASCAR.

But the feeling here is that the corporate muscle George's group has behind it Target, 7-Eleven, Toyota, Honda, Firestone, Marlboro as well its commitment to American venues 15 of its 16 races are in this country will be the decisive factors in ultimately gaining the IRL the Long Beach race. [Editor's Note: Marlboro is gone after 2006 due to tobacco regulations, Chip Ganassi and Target are rumored to be leaving, Toyota is rumored to be leaving and if they leave Honda won't be far behind. It will be interesting how this all plays out. Are the rumors true? If yes, is Dover smart enough to see that?]

Actually, I would like to see the status quo remain, because I think Kalkhoven has the Champ Car circuit on the upswing and that it will continue to make significant strides in the upcoming years. But, unfortunately, it will stage seven of its 14 races this year outside of American territory, which will not help its badly needed marketing in these parts. [Editor's Note: This is nonsense. What is the marketing doing for the IRL? 8,000 fans at Phoenix! Horrible TV ratings! George seriously damaged open wheel racing by creating the IRL. It's going to take years to rebuild. With NASCAR's stranglehold on the USA, Champ Car has decided, for now, to retain only key USA markets and branch out worldwide to become a 2nd F1 series, which will bring worldwide notoriety to Long Beach and their race as fans tune in around the globe in increasing numbers to watch the league's premier event.]

I think the Long Beach race can do without George's legendary arrogance and one keeps hearing many of the teams and drivers aren't exactly bursting with joy working under his tentacles.

But it's the goal of Michaelian and Dover Motorsports to maximize the potential i.e., profits of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Back-to-back race-day crowds of 75,000 although certainly respectable haven't exactly met their expectations [Editor's Note: Many say the attendance was actually much higher than that]. Jim Michaelian insists no decision has been made and I believe him. But the reality is that the IRL, detested by so many in the racing community, simply holds too many decisive advantages.

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