De Lorenzo slams Champ Car

Here is what Peter De Lorenzo at Autoextremist had to say this week about open wheel racing in the USA…….

As for Champ Car, any connection to the "glory days" of CART has long since evaporated into a scatter-shot, second-tier racing series that exists solely for the egos of the ownership group running it. Yes, you could certainly say the same thing about Tony George and his IRL, but the big difference between the two series is that the IRL has Indy, and Champ Car has no signature event. And no, Long Beach doesn't meet the criteria to be one, either. A happening, a circus, a party? Yes, of course, Long Beach is certainly all of that. But one of the world's great races on the order of the Indy 500, the Monaco GP or the 24 Hours of Le Mans? Not even close. Without any real focus or signature race, Champ Car has become the vagabond traveling circus of major league auto racing, a race series that will come to your city or country (if the price is right, of course) and put on a fairly decent show – one utterly devoid of recognizable stars or continuity or any connection to significant racing history – other than the fact that the racing team formerly known as Newman/Haas hangs its hat there. Not to take anything away from the brilliant Sebastien Bourdais, but the rest of the Champ Car lineup (other than maybe Paul Tracy and Graham Rahal) is virtually invisible and could pass for a decent Formula Atlantic/GP2 grid. And none of this, of course, is conducive to building fan loyalty or holding fan interest, let alone getting fans seriously interested in what's going on to begin with. These two series (Champ Car, IRL) conduct their individual slants on racing in a vacuum. The fact that they exist in their own separate little borderline irrelevant worlds is unconscionable and a disgrace. The time for a unification of some kind has come and gone so many times that the average fan doesn't even care let alone ask, "Why not?" Hell, even the hard-core racing enthusiasts on both sides don't have the stomach to get exercised about it anymore. At this point, I reserve particular ire for the Champ Car ownership group in this matter. Without a signature event to cling to and without any serious sponsors to speak of (save for N/H/L's McDonald's), these guys have become nothing more than malicious obstacles preventing major league open-wheel racing from gaining back at least a shred of relevance in this country. But then again, Big Checkbooks Ã- Big Egos Ã- Flat-Out Stupidity has equaled bad news since the very beginnings of this sport. Come to think about it, the brain trust that runs Champ Car can align with that bit of history, for what it's worth. Autoextremist.com

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