IRL bound Carpentier signs with Cheever.

UPDATE #13 Patrick Carpentier will almost certainly make the final Champ Car start of his career — at least for the foreseeable future — tomorrow from eighth spot on the grid. The French-Canadian confirmed today that he will be moving to the Indy Racing League in 2005, and although he did not specify the team by name, it is certain to be a Toyota-powered operation, most likely Team Cheever, which is poised to switch to Toyota engines for ’05. SPEED TV 11/06/04 Here's the latest with Patrick Carpentier – He has not signed with anyone yet. He was going to sign with Cheever Racing but there was a clause in the contract he did not like. A meeting is set for Wednesday in Indy to hopefully resolve the dispute. He still has no offers from a Champ Car team even though he has beaten his teammates this year, so it appears the IRL is his only option right now (though his teammate Paul Tracy had the following to say in a Toronto Star article: "One thing Pat's [Surfers] crash may have done is make him think twice about signing with the IRL as he seems to be on the verge of doing — especially because he has a wife and young child. I talked with Pat for a while about all this on the flight home to Las Vegas. As I told him, if he is going to sign with IRL, he'd better get used to having crashes worse than the one he just had — at least a couple each year. I don't know a single driver in that series who hasn't had a major injury. Though it may not affect them much now while they're in their 20s or 30s, when they're in their 50s the injuries that required them to have rods or pins put in their legs or backs will have a major impact on their lives.") Mark C. 10/18/04 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. According to this SPEED TV article, Patrick Carpentier's deal with Cheever has supposedly fallen through. Will he go to another Toyota or Honda team, or stay in Champ Car? 09/30/04 Patrick Carpentier denied reports yesterday that he has agreed to a contract with an Indy Racing League team, although he confirmed the chances are slim he will stay on the Champ Car circuit next year. Carpentier, 33, who drives for Forsythe Championship Racing, said he has spoken to four IndyCar Series teams — Andretti Green Racing, Patrick Racing, Mo Nunn Racing and Red Bull Cheever Racing — about jumping to the IRL's predominantly oval track series next year. "I haven't signed with anybody right now," Carpentier said. "We're talking to Cheever and Mo Nunn, and both are pretty serious. "It's looking good, but there are still a number of details to be worked out." Globe and Mail 09/29/04 Sources say to look for Carpentier to drive a third car at Team Cheever, i.e. Team Cheever will expend to a three-car outfit in 2005.. 09/26/04 A reader writes, Dear, Why would Patrick Carpentier ruin his career where he is winning poles and races in Champ Car to drive for a backmarker team like Cheever Racing who runs the Chevy engine? The only thing I can figure is that he, like Adrian Fernandez will get "the call" and win some races in the IRL to get some media coverage in Canada (similar to the coverage Fernandez got in Mexico after his wins) as the IRL tries to break into that market. There is no doubt the IRL is modeled after NASCAR where "the call" appears to be a common thing to boost "the show." I predict it now, out of the blue Eddie Cheever will all of a sudden win some IRL races with Patrick Carpentier at the wheel. Steven Lobe, Seattle Dear Steven, We don't know about your conspiracy theory, but it will be interesting to watch. We suspect it had more to do with putting food on the table. Forsythe Racing could not guarantee Carpentier a ride next year and we assume the Cheever deal guaranteed him a decent salary. He will also get more exposure in the IRL than Champ Car because they do manage to get their drivers on TV a lot more than Champ Car does, especially during the 1/2 month of May at Indy. Champ Car still doesn't get it. Their series will only gain a "true" fan following on the back of the drivers (the athletes). Putting on "big" events grows fans of the individual events, but it does not grow a fan base that will watch the Champ Car series week in and week out to grow the TV ratings like NASCAR has done. We spoke to one team owner in Vegas (who shall remain nameless) and that was one of his biggest complaints about the series, his drivers are largely invisible and the series needs to get them better exposure. Mark C. 09/26/04 Multiple sources tell us that Carpentier has signed a deal with Cheever Racing's IRL team for 2005. Mark C. 09/25/04 Robin Miller just reported on SPEED TV that Carpentier has signed with the IRL. He said it's a done deal. Did not release which team, but speculates Ganassi, or Penske. 09/23/04 This rumor is' near-fact today.' It appears as if Patrick Carpentier of Las Vegas will be leaving the Champ Car World Series for the rival Indy Racing League in 2005. Carpentier's contract with Forsythe Championship Racing expires at the end of this season and he said Tuesday that he has received no offers to drive in Champ Car next year. "Right now, the way it stands, I've got four teams that I've talked with and that are offering me something and I have none in (Champ Car)," Carpentier said. "They're all in the IRL." Carpentier said he is close to an agreement with one IRL team — which he declined to name — but said nothing is signed. "It's still not done so I want to keep all the options open," Carpentier said. "There are a couple of things we don't necessarily agree on … but I'm sure we'll work it through." Las Vegas Sun 09/22/04 In this interview published here on today, Patrick Carpentier says, "For me to stay in Champ Car next year I have to find some sponsorship, but right now I have four different offers to drive in the IRL next year, so those are my options. But we'll see how it goes. I really enjoyed my weekend at Laguna Seca and I think the Champ Cars are great to drive, but I've never done the Indy 500 and I'd like to take a shot at it some day." [Editor's Note: Based on his comments, we don't expect to see Carpentier in Champ Car in 2005. We expect he will find a ride in the IRL and be replaced by one, if not two, young Canadian drivers who have the potential to be Champ Car's next Canadian stars – Michael Valiante and/or Andrew Ranger. Champ Car has to invest in their future for their Canadian races, and while the current crop of Canadian drivers are still winning races, long-term their youth is their future……..or will Champ Car once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.] 09/03/04 This Las Vegas Sun article sheds a bit more light on this situation. Carpentier wants to be the No. 1 driver on a team. We are having a hard time figuring out which team he is talking to in the IRL that would bring him on as No. 1 as all the top teams appear set to keep their top driver. Would he drive for a backmarker team? 08/30/04 This Globe and Mail article says, Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier said Monday he's leaning towards the rival Indy Racing League as he ponders his future in racing. The 33-year-old native of Joliette, Que., said he has started preliminary talks with his Forsythe team, but has "much more interesting offers" from the IRL. "I know that (teammate) Paul Tracy has already signed with Forsythe," Carpentier told Radio-Canada's all-news channel RDI. "We aren't at the same point at all in our discussions compared to where I am with the IRL." The veteran driver, who finished second at Sunday's Montreal Molson Indy, won't say which teams have offered him a contract. He expects to make a final decision in the next three weeks. Carpentier has said he won't accept racing in Tracy's shadow, and wants to sign with a team where he'll be the featured driver. His preference for the IRL was evident in the interview Monday, as he talked about his love for the oval circuits that are the staple of the series. Carpentier also made it clear he wants to compete at the IRL's showcase event – the legendary Indianapolis 500. Sunday's race may have marked the last opportunity for Carpentier's rabid fans to see their hero in action at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But he said the decision on his future won't be dictated by nostalgia. "It won't be an emotional decision," said Carpentier, who's fifth in the standings just behind fellow Canadians Alex Tagliani and Tracy. [Editor's Note: Our sources told us weeks ago that Carpentier already had a deal done with Target Ganassi Racing to replace Darren Manning, but we never published it because Carpentier denied it when we asked him. We shall see, but based on his comments here, it appears he's a goner one way or the other so we are bumping this rumor up to 'strong.'] 08/27/04 This Globe and Mail article has more quotes from Patrick Carpentier on his future plans. 08/26/04 This weekend's Montreal Champ Car race may be the last time Patrick Carpentier gets to race in Canada. There have been rumors that he is off to the IRL and he does not deny that he has a number of offers there. In this Canadian Press article he hints at his departure, "I don't know if I'll be back next year. It's kind of a special weekend." Meanwhile, rumors are starting that young Canadian sensation Andrew Ranger, currently racing in the Toyota Atlantic Series, might move up to Champ Car next year and fill Carpentier's shoes

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