01/19/08 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Well, that's it for me! The Rafael Matos and Tony Cotman stories are the beginning of the end. I agree with Robin Miller: Champ Car should just sell the good races to Tony George, and put the patient out of its misery.
I have not changed my mind one iota that TG is the man who ruined open-wheel racing. But to me, it's like George Witless Bush being elected president; you may not like it, but he is the guy in charge. Only one guy gets to have the White House or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
At least with the IRL, we know who will be racing. There are real teams with real contracts with drivers. In the CCWS, it's like a kindergarten where right before recess, the teacher tells the kids which teams they will be on. We are supposed to get excited about a yet-unproven Rahal, an aging Canadian past his prime, one decent Brit (who may have a ride???), and Oriol Servia, who is now my favorite CCWS driver. It's not enough. Somehow, we are supposed to be introduced to the newest crop of ride-buyers and form some loyalties. Why bother; most will be gone next year. Hell, some will be gone mid-season when their checks bounce, and a couple more will be replaced by Mexicans at the end of the year.
I am a big fan of Paul Newman; he is a man of great integrity. Clearly, though, he is stubborn. But I am asking him to consider how much fun it would be if open-wheel were again under one tent: then NHLR could thoroughly whup TG's "Vision" week in and week out. Consider the satisfaction of having TG hand your driver the Borg-Warner Trophy, while Michael Andretti watches. Imagine if the fields at Indy were full of actually competitive cars. Think about Indy qualifying ending without the Vision and Foyt teams having made the top 33.
It's time for even old TG-haters like me to see the handwriting on the wall. CCWS cannot win this fight off the track. But some of its teams could kick some serious butt in the IRL. Reunification would bring much needed media attention, and the biggest story in open-wheel racing would not be about a guy in a dancing contest.
Champ Car is done. Stick a fork in it. Dean Abramson, Raymond, Maine USA
Dear Dean, We received 1,507 letters just like yours so far. Most fans have thrown in the towel. Champ Car is going to have to respond with some pretty big announcements to offset the damage that has been done to the series just in this past week alone. Mark C.