Monday, January 21, 2008

Apparently it's "Official News Week" for Indy Cars

A lot has happened in Indy-Cars over the last week (and a half):

2 more girls - American Spirit Racing has signed a Swiss karting champion (Cyndie Allemann) ... while Sam Schmidt Motorsports has hired Ana Beatriz who shares their name with a swimsuit model (seriously try searching the name). Obviously the first thing the majority of fans and non alike notice is that both are female; and with Panther Racing already expected to sign Lelani Munter that would make 3 women in the Indy Pro Series and possibly 3 in the IRL... The most important thing to note: The 3 women in the IPS have more experience now than Milka Duno had (and probably even has even now) and they were smart enough to realize that the IPS is the place for them to go so they can get acclimated to the circuit and the new style of cars.

Who runs the show now? - Tony Cotman is resigning from the Champ Car World Series, for those who don't know he is the VP of Operations as well as the Race Director. He hasn't (nor has anyone) really made any kind of clarification as to why outside of the general "wanted to move on" statement. Coming at this time in the year, it looks more like either a bail-out or a switch to something else. I'd expect him to show up somewhere from IRL, ALMS or even back to Andretti-Green Racing sooner than later.

Yet another defection from CCWS - Raphael Matos is turning down the $2 mil. starting cash bonus for a ride in Champ Car World Series he receives as winner of the Atlantics series, to drive for the Andretti Green/AFS (Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.) Indy pro Series Car. Why is this news/big news in the word of Indy-Car? Simply because Matos essentially turned down a deal to race in the top level of one series to drive in the 2nd tier of the IRL. Obviously with the way AGR snagged up Hideki Mutoh
and not much history of graduating the IPS drivers, some would speculate whether or not this will lead to an AGR-IRL ride for Matos; and you'd be foolish to not think Matos doesn't know that; so with that said, what does it saw for the CCWS right now; Robin Miller seems to think this is the end; but its not the first time we've heard that the IRL or CCWS was done; however I have to say that I DO think this is the beginning of some kind of final change, be it the end of CCWS or some kind of buyout or merge; I honestly don't see a way out for CCWS to survive at this moment, too much flowing in the wrong direction now.

Oreo interviewed - In one great step for motorsports bloggers, and in a great move by ESPN's John Oreovicz, My Name is IRL has got a great Q and A with Oreo in response to the internet stirring article "Open-wheel held hostage: Year 13" and response (and I'm sure also stirring outside the internet as well, as he mentions being contacted by Tony George).

66 drivers? - well 66 passed physicals for the IRL. Does that mean we'll have 66 cars, obviously not, thats split between both IRL and IPS PLUS all the guys who think they have a ride and those who are planning Indy 500 one-offs and even guys who think that some crazy outside shot may happen and they can get a ride. This happens every year, so thats not the biggest story from it, for me its that Thomas Sheckter did not show up. Does it mean he's not racing, not entirely because you can get a physical anytime, but it surely doesn't look good.

Car #90210 - And finally there has finally been significant movement (I was waiting for movement of any kind) for a proposed/press released idea for a Indy-Car team. The well thoughtfully named Rubicon race team is owned/run by Jim Freudenberg, the former general manager of Kelley Racing & Jason Priestly (mostly known for Beverly Hills 90210 but also know as a former driver of the Indy Pro Series who stopped racing when he got in a big accident during a practice). The team idea was released a while back but what makes this more cemented is that this announcement included the names of team members, money supporters (Including the Colts Dallas Clark), and the information that the car is set to be setup by Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Great for the 500, IRL and hopefully motivation for D.B. Mann, Kingdom, Racing Professionals, Sarah fisher Racing, Curb/Beck Motorsports to try and get whatever details and money in line so they can follow suit.

Future - Next two weeks, looking for an official announcement from Panther Racing naming Vitor/Chesson as IRL drivers and Munter/Sherman as IPS drivers unless something big changes; The fun that is introducing my wife to the 24 Hours of Daytona race which includes basically the entire IRL line-up minus a few; and then hopefully official announcements from all the current/potential IRL and CCWS teams about who is driving their cars, and who isn't fielding cars we thought they would... because lets face it, testing is right around the corner...


Mike said...

The thing about signing girls is that I don't think it's news any more. It was interesting the first time, but now, I don't know... Black people sit where they want to on the bus and women can drive race cars professionally. I'm over it. Show me a girl playing linebacker for the Patriots and I'll consider it news.

Allen Wedge said...

I agree on a non-race-fans news radar, but the reason it's news to race fans is because the more recent girls are race car drivers and not marketing ploys; people were on Danica about being a play but now she consistently finishes top 10 and 5...

I guess the perfect analogy to this would be if college football coaches going to the NFL actually started being successful in the NFL