Dismayed at how merger was handled

A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As a longtime Champ Car fan from Europe, I honestly can say that it's a real shame the way the merger with the IRL was handled. First of all, why did it all happen THIS late?! There were rumors all winter long, as usual (isn't it sad to say this about a series anyway, that it's "usual" to be in doubt each winter?!), then they say "no no no, everything is going as planned" – then drivers walk away, even the race director walks away – then at the very latest it was more than clear for everyone to see that something was going more than wrong.

And as many others I'm disappointed that it's not even close to a merger, but simply a takeover – something we had been dreading for so many years. The new car, the new races, the loyal fan base (I'm more than sure that many will turn their backs), it's all just washed down the drain. The owners sold out and in the process screwed the fans, the teams, the drivers and the personnel who worked for the teams.

I wasn't surprised though when Forsythe announced they're not making the switch (for now) – however, I thought he should have made his reasons clearer, as I don't think it was for the lack of money but more a matter of principle.

Yesterday Walker announced they're shutting the doors – just a couple of weeks ago Walker was one who was all for the so-called "merger," and now his employees, including the drivers are out of work a couple weeks from the start of the season because Kalkhoven took his Team Australia sponsorship (rumor).

Probably, only about 3-4 teams are going to be left over in the end. I really feel sorry for all the team personnel and also for the drivers, especially those who thought they had a contract and a drive and now have to start looking again, at a time when most seats for the season are already taken anyway.

Looking at all these developments from Europe, i.e. outside the US, the first reaction is bewilderment, as we over here have so many different racing series, all existing happily alongside each other.

Of course, F1 is dominant here, but we have different touring car series, sportscars, other formulas (e.g. the World Series has lots of spectators, too), the variety is much bigger on a smaller piece of land and smaller budgets, too.

That's probably why we don't understand that in the US NASCAR is just so dominant; no, they are not dominant, they are the only thing existing, the rest hardly worth talking about in most people's views. Jutta Stoeppel, Germany

Dear Jutta, You are correct, the merger turned out very bad for the Champ Car camp, and it could have been handled much better. However, 3 or 4 years from now hopefully the IRL will be stronger and much of this will be forgotten. As far as NASCAR being so dominant, that may be more a testament to the 'split' and the complete mismanagement by the other series than to the credit of NASCAR. Mark C.

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