ISC/IRL rumor

UPDATE #4 This week's National Speed Sport News reports – The United States Auto Club, which celebrates its Golden Anniversary this season, will experience unprecedented expansion of its premier racing series in 2006. Development and realization of the recently unveiled futuristic USAC Silver Crown Championship race car will allow for racing at new high-profile venues for America's most competitive motorsports series. Homestead-Miami and Kansas Speedways are among tracks expected to be a part of the expanded 2006 racing calendar, with discussions in progress for new events at Kentucky and Nashville Speedways, in addition to already-existing Silver Crown venues. The series’ presence at these high-profile facilities and its potential inclusion with major traditional racing weekends is expected to generate increased exposure for the series through major media outlets and television. Accelerated prize money for events at tracks longer than one mile in length is also an element of the 2006 Silver Crown Series slate. 01/31/05 There is a long-standing rumor in the United States that there will soon be a joint announcement involving the International Speedway Corporation (NASCAR's sister organization) and Tony George. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation (IMSC) and ISC are already partners in The Motorsports Alliance, which ensures that their activities in circuit ownership do not conflict with one another. NASCAR uses Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one of its biggest events of the year and the IMSC-owned Indy Racing League regularly race on ISC circuits across the United States. This is in the interest of the ISC that the IRL remains healthy. The problem is that no one is quite sure what is going to be announced although logically ISC must see open-wheel racing as a good way to develop in the future now that NASCAR is reaching saturation point and international expansion is being considered. It may be that the parties consider that to be too a big a step and want to increase their hold on the racing scene across the United States. ISC has already made a foray into sports car racing with the Grand-Am championship, which it established in 1999 to bring stability to professional endurance road racing in America. This has been a big success and there has been speculation that ISC may now try to do the same thing with IRL, in league with George. It should be remembered that Grand-Am was one of the companies that showed interest when CART's assets were up for sale at the start of 2004. 01/21/05 It turns out the Jan. 29 announcement at the Copper World Classic in Phoenix has little to do with the IRL. International Speedway Corp. will detail its plan to stage five of the U.S. Auto Club's reworked Silver Crown races in 2006. USAC has developed a prototype speedway car that will allow the Silver Crown division to race on tracks larger than 1 mile in length. Previously, the series only raced on shorter tracks that have slower cornering speeds. According to USAC president Rollie Helmling, the Silver Crown series in 2006 will add three 1.5-mile tracks — Homestead, Kansas and Chicagoland — to go with the two ISC-owned tracks it currently utilizes (Phoenix and Richmond, Va.). 01/18/05 Other possibilities are the re-establishment of a 500-mile Triple Crown series of races paying a big purse. This speculation makes the most sense as it can involve ISC tracks. Recall that Bill France Jr. mentioned ISC, not NASCAR, as doing something with the IRL. 01/16/05 Bill France Jr. popped in the Daytona Speedway press room the other day and said the ISC could have some interesting Indy-car news in the next few weeks. Tony George's Indy Racing League has been struggling. The France family's ISC has a major interest in a viable IRL. Winston Salem Journal ……..And he did offer the tease that some Indy-car news might be breaking out in Phoenix later this month at the Copperworld Classic. Winston Salem Journal [Editor's Note: We suspect one of three things are in the works – 1) either the France family is going to buy the struggling IRL and bring it under the NASCAR family name and put their billions of dollars of marketing might behind it , or 2) the IRL is going to adopt the NASCAR engine formula after 2006 when the current formula expires, 3) NASCAR executives have already floated a proposal for a new "common" engine for the Nextel Cup series, looking toward the 2007 Daytona 500, the same date the IRL will have their new engines in place. With Honda and Toyota clearly on their way to Nextel Cup, and Chevy already in both, how convenient it would be to have an engine that is the same for both series. We do know that Toyota has proposed to NASCAR that they adopt the IRL engine as their future powerplant, but that was rejected because the existing engine builders would have to scrap their existing parts. However, it is going to have to happen sooner or later (new NASCAR engine formula) and doing it at the same time the IRL does it makes a lot of sense.]

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