Valiante to Grand-Am

Could Champ Car be about to lose yet another Toyota Atlantic Series sensation to a rival series? Word on the street is that Michael Valiante will drive for Finlay Ten Motorsports in the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona on February 3-4, 2005. Another Champ Car hopeful, Memo Gidley will be one of his co-drivers along with 19-year old Michael McDowell. Whether this leads to a full-time ride in the Grand-Am for Valiante remains to be seen, but like Jon Fogarty who signed with an ALMS team, these talented drivers have to put food on the table and can't wait for the slim chance a Champ Car team will offer them a ride. Far too many Champ Car teams require a driver to bring money, and isn't that the most ridiculous thing? These young drivers, some fresh out of high school, and with acne, are supposed to go knock on doors of major corporations to bring sponsorship, yet the teams who have a staff and more senior individuals who are better equipped to sell to a corporation are waiting around for these kids to hand them a bag full of cash. In NASCAR the teams find the sponsor and then hire the best driver they can. The Champ Car model of ride-buying is broken and must be fixed. Why can't the teams hire a sales staff that works on commissions to find sponsors we ask? Mark C.

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