03/20/07 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have to say that one thing which Tony George's crowd has figured out, which Champ Car still hasn't gotten, is the whole field of PR. Kind of like some past presidents (insert names of your own choosing), who were able to convince people that everything was great when it was really going down the drain.
One specific lesson I see being played out again and again… the IRL has figured out that getting their name in the papers is almost always a good thing. Hence, the almost daily news blurbs about the most miniscule and mundane things in the IRL realm. If an IRL driver participates in a small-town charity go-kart race, it gets a blurb (if not a full write-up). I hate to say it, but this is what Champ Car needs to do, too. That's how you get name recognition, cheap. Dave L., Los Angeles, CA
Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Another week gone by, Spring Training is a distant memory and STILL no announcement from either Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing or Champ Car regarding Graham Rahal? What first appeared to be another big Champ Car coup is now more fuel on the fire that Champ Car does not have its act together. Perhaps Champ Car is a little gun shy about Graham Rahal abandoning Champ Car after one year just like his former CART CEO dad did when Bobby left for F1 (disastrously, I might add)? Why wouldn't Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) just add a third IRL car for his son? Or maybe something bigger is looming and holding the deal up, including Champ Car opening up May for a Ganassi and RLR switch to Champ Car next year, bringing with them their old IRL cars for Indy-only runs. Richard Huffman, Missoula, Montana
Dear Richard, Champ Car needs a major infusion of cash from another investor or from sponsors before any teams are going to come into Champ Car. Currently it is running on the minimum budget that it can to survive, hence Champ Car appears to the media (evidence – numerous doom and gloom articles recently) and to fans and other constituents that it is teetering on the brink of self destruction. Sure Champ Car's new owners have spent a lot of money to bring it back from bankruptcy, but it's going to need to land some major sponsors (both team and series) before the predictions of death stop. Mark C.