Champ Car on the ropes?

UPDATE #2 Another reader writes, Like Mark Cipolloni has told us in a number of his fine articles in the past, schedules and TV need to be announced in August and September so the teams have time to get sponsorship. Now it's almost Nov. 1 and we're being sold a limited scheduled with TBAs??? The Big 3 need to become more decisive and stop acting like women at a shoe sale unable to make up their minds on which races they want on the schedule. If a race doesn't have its act together on Sept. 1, what makes anyone think they'll be ready to answer the bell on March 1? The whole South Korea escapade this season was embarrassing when they didn't even cancel the event until late Sept. when AR1 was telling us it wouldn't happen way back in the spring. The series needs stability and someone to make the hard decisions. Because they've waited so long to announce a partial schedule, none of us should be surprised when all the rent-a-riders come back again next year because the teams haven't had sufficient time to find the sponsors that would allow them to pay the best drivers in the world to race in a Champ Car. Even worse is it's almost Nov. 1 and there's been no decisions made on chassis and engines for 2006. Well, the clock is ticking and if they make a change, they basically have one year before the new equipment has to begin off-season testing. I'll live with these big, slow tanks unable to pass on tight little Mickey Mouse street circuits for one more year, but after that my patience is starting to grow thin watching equipment that wasn't designed for what it's racing on provide me with more parades than it does racing. Richard G., Springfield, Ohio 10/28/04 A reader chimes in, Dear, If this Indy Star report is correct, Champ Car is in worse shape than any of us thought. It looks like when it comes to signing on the dotted line, the race promoters won't. I think you are right, the product Champ Car is selling is old and tired and in need of a major overhaul. While the IRL is expanding to 18 races, and F1 to 19 in 2005 and 20 in 2006, Champ Car is shrinking to 14? In addition, where's the rumored title sponsor deal? Any new teams for 2005? Any new manufacturers coming into the series? Where's Ford's advertising around Champ Car? Where's Champ Car's marketing department, asleep at the wheel? The series is nearly invisible but for a few of us hardcore fans. Cliff Browne, Vail, Co. Dear Cliff, The facts will speak for themselves. We must base our judgment on the official announcements or lack thereof. It appears the jury is still out. Mark C. 10/28/04 If this Indy Star article is to be believed, Champ Car will announce a pathetically small 14-race schedule in Indianapolis today. Although the Indy Star is not always correct when it comes to Champ Car, if they are correct this time, and Champ Car was only able to sign up 14 races this late in the ballgame for 2005, it is an indication the series is still on the ropes and scrambling. With rumors of so many new venues, and almost none of them materializing, Champ Car fans may once again be let down by the beleaguered league's inability to deliver. Rumors say the Indy Star is wrong again and that a 16 or 17 race schedule will be announced. We shall see. Article – The Champ Car World Series today will announce a 14-race schedule for 2005 that includes new events in Canada and California. Series officials are hoping to add at least two races to the schedule, which currently lists the same number of events as this year. Discussions are ongoing with current venues in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Elkhart Lake, Wis., neither of which is on the schedule that will be formally unveiled at a news conference at Champ Car's Indianapolis headquarters. The new races are in Edmonton, Alberta, and San Jose, Calif. As was the case this year, the only oval tracks on the schedule are The Milwaukee Mile and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas race could be moved to a downtown street venue, but that is unlikely. The 2005 season is due to begin April 10 at Long Beach, Calif., and end Nov. 6 at Mexico City. Champ Car would like to begin its season earlier and is looking to add a race ahead of Long Beach, which doesn't want to move from its traditional date.

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