A reader asks, It's clear Champ Car needs more manufacturers involved in the series, but how can they do that without letting costs get out of control again. Dave Westfield, Pittsburgh, PA
. Dear Dave, It's quite easy really. Various professional sports have salary caps. If I were running Champ Car I would offer up the spec Cosworth engine for multiple manufacturers to badge. For example, in 2006, 50% of the Cosworth engines should be badged by Ford, 50% by, say, Chevy. Each manufacturer then can spend a specified total amount of money supporting "their" teams, up to their salary or price cap. It is up to them to spend it wisely to help "their" teams win. This scenario keeps all costs in check, speeds in check, electronics in check, etc. This allows multiple manufacturers to compete knowing that their total cost for the year will be equal to the competition, all the engines will have equal HP, now go out and beat the opposition as a "team" with the only advantage for one side or the other being who can assemble the best teams within the price caps specified. It's called teamwork, and may the best team (driver, engineers, mechanics, etc) win. I would allow some R&D on aerodynamics and suspension/shocks, but all within their team price cap. That's it. The purists will insist that manufacturers won't buy into this model because they want to win by making the most HP. To that I say hogwash. We have seen what happened to many racing series when one manufacturer was willing to significantly outspend the opposition. It drives the other manufacturers out of the series and the race series dies. Champ Car must have complete control and set up an environment by which a manufacturer can compete on equal terms and win with teamwork, better strategy, and good old ingenuity. As they say, build it and they shall come. Mark C.