IRL: Discussion for the 2003 season.

TheRob

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IRL Chit Chat

Another defection from Cart? Ganassi is running two cars in CART as well, but what about next year?

(Feb 5) INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Chip Ganassi Racing confirmed it is in the process of starting a full-time Indy Racing League team that would most likely feature Jeff Ward as the driver on the 15-race 2002 schedule.

A major step in that effort came last week when the team asked to be considered for a spot on the IRL's Leader Circle Program -- an incentive program that is reserved for the top 24 full-time teams in the series.

"The application process is very defined and we first have to qualify in the application process to be considered to be part of the Leader Circle Program," said Mike Hull, Managing Director of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, which already races in CART and NASCAR. "We don't know if we qualify, so we have submitted an application.

"That means we have to show cause that we are going to run in the IRL full-time. We've been working on a full-time IRL program, but we do not have it done yet. We are working on, though. In motor racing, the deals that are made sometimes take some time and don't become public knowledge until they happen. But we are working on it and we want to be there."

Hull said Ward is at the top of the list as potential drivers. Hull said the list is very short but "Jeff is a very talented guy and he deserves an opportunity to drive in that series. He has certainly proven his worth there. We are a team that wants to win and he has proven he can do that. That's why his name is up there."

Ward has yet to win a race in the IRL, but has come close to victory on numerous occasions. Hull also said the sponsorship for the team would not be Target for 2002, but Ganassi's CART and IRL sponsor could back the full-time IRL effort in 2003, when Toyota joins the IRL as an engine supplier. Chip Ganassi Racing will serve as a Toyota test team in private IRL tests this year.

The 2002 IRL season begins at Homestead, Florida on March 2.

"If we are going to be in the Leader Circle Program, we will race at Homestead and the other 14 races in the IRL this season," Hull said. "We would very much like to run a car in the series and we don't want that in any way to take away from what we are doing with the cars in the CART series. We want to win races and championships in CART. If we undertake a program in the IRL, the reason this is taking a long time is in addition to being cautious, we are being very thorough.

Hull added that the team will do some testing for Toyota. If the team is going to test for Toyota the day after IRL events, it may as well compete in the race the day before, although it would have to be with either a Chevrolet or an Infiniti engine.

In addition to a possible IRL team, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing features 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack and Bruno Junqueira in CART as well as Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer in NASCAR.

Walker Racing and Mo Nunn Racing both run teams in IRL and CART. Marlboro Team Penske decided to leave CART altogether at the end of the 2001 season to participate full-time in the IRL this year with two-time CART champion Gil de Ferran and defending Indianapolis 500 Helio Castroneves as the drivers.

Target/Chip Ganassi Racing won four straight CART titles from 1996-99 with Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi (two years in a row) and Juan Montoya, who also won the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

"We are doing everything we can do night and day to make the IRL team happen," Hull said. "We are testing at Fontana, California on Wednesday with Bruno and Kenny Brack running.

"We are hoping by the time March 2 comes around, we'll have something to announce in the IRL."
 

Argyle

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I hope the old CART drivers dominate this series...

Dixon wins first career IRL race

Sports Ticker
3/2/2003

HOMESTEAD, Florida (Ticker) - Rookie Scott Dixon of New Zealand won Sunday's season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to become just the third driver to claim an IRL IndyCar Series race in his first start.

The 22-year-old Dixon, driving a Panoz G Force/Toyota combination for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, took the checkered flag by 0.5725 seconds over Brazilian Gil de Ferran's Dalara/Toyota.

The other drivers to win their IRL debuts were Buzz Calkins in the inaugural IndyCar Series race in January 1996 and Juan Montoya in the 2000 Indianapolis 500. Montoya also won for the Ganassi team.

Dixon led 53 laps and averaged 153.710 miles per hour. De Ferran was in front a race-high 92 laps.

De Ferran's Team Penske teammate and countryman Helio Castroneves was third, followed by pole sitter Tony Kanaan, also from Brazil. Scott Sharp rounded out the top five.

Two-time defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. finished 10th after starting third. Hornish also was the two-time defending champion of this race.
CART driver wins opener

:wa:
 

cerebral smallsy

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CART is doomed. Let's face it, the sponsors follow the "names". Tracy, Carpentier and Vasser are the only names left. CART is big in Brazil and Canada but essentially a non-event in the States on a national level. Half decent crowd in St. Petersburg last week, but barely a blip on the sports map outside of that.

Really is a shame, as i consider IRL to be the equivalent to arena football. Oval tracks only? Only in America:rolleyes: ABC was offering a prize giveaway of Sarah Fisher's diary on today's broadcast....fcuk me!!!

I will continue to watch and follow CART as i'm a fan of real open wheel racing on various circuits, but the series will go the way of the dodo bird regardless of the strong Canadian and South American support.

smallsy'stwocentsworth.

p..s. ex-CART drivers will, not suprisingly continue to dominate the IRL.

p.p.s. for real life racing i highly reccomend a trip down to Skagit raceway for some dirt trackin'....a thing of redneck beauty!
 

TheRob

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More for the CART thread but........

CART won't die. It's too popular in Canada, Mexico, and Brazil(even though there isn't a race there. There could be one or two next year). Even in most of the American markets they run in now, they pretty much sell out. The dead weight races like Chicago, Nazereth have been turfed and for good reason. They have a great mix of tracks right now. I think they could use Michigan back on the sched though, but that will never happen.

As for the IRL? A joke. I watched a bit of it yesterday. It sucked. CART has a much better product especially when it comes to ovals. The attendence was brutal yesterday. I've read reports that they only sold about 4000 tickets. Marlboro gave away 5000 and Toyota gave away 5000. Pretty sad. In comparison, St. Petersburg will have to add Grandstands next year.

Did I mention that CART won't die? Bet on it.
 

Argyle

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Cart driver wins...

The only thing that really matters in this race was...

Cart drivers 2 - irl drivers 0

Kanaan wins IndyCar race

Sports Ticker

3/23/2003

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Tony Kanaan had the pole for the Indy Racing League season opener and couldn't hold it. It took him just three weeks to correct the problem.
Kanaan, the fifth driver in IndyCar Series history to earn consecutive pole positions, led the Purex Dial Indy 200 for the final 41 laps to win his first IRL race Sunday.
"When I made my decision to come to the IRL, it was probably because of having a team that's going to give me a car to win," said Kanaan, CART's rookie of the year in 1998.
Kanaan got his only CART victory at Michigan in 1999 and never placed higher than eighth in the series. Before this year, his only IRL race was the 2002 Indianapolis 500, where he finished 28th. He moved over from CART this season.
 

TheRob

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Poor Dario Wankiti

A motorcycle accident will force Dario Franchitti to miss this weekend's inaugural IRL race in Japan.

Franchitti was visiting family in Scotland on his way to Japan when the accident occurred.

"The motorcycle had a mechanical problem," said Franchitti. "I tried to slow down, but, of course, that was a bit difficult under the circumstances and I wound up crashing through a hedge and landing on my back."

Further tests and x-rays revealed he suffered a fracture of the L1 vertabra.

It's the first time in his 19 year racing career that Franchitti will miss an event due to injury.

The Scotsman is expected to be fully recovered in time for qualifications for the upcoming Indianapolis 500 next month.

Franchitti will be replaced by Dan Wheldon on the Andretti/Green Racing team.
If this isn't a desperate cry for help, I don't know what is.;)
 

Argyle

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CART driver did not win....

There were some hard hits, with a few injuries though.

Can't remember the winners name??????
 

TheRob

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I think it was Scott Sharp.

I heard or read somewhere that Sam Hornish wasn't very happy with the way the racing has been this year. He says there are too many guys blocking and getting pushy.:rolleyes: I guess all those years racing plumbers softened him up. now the big boys are there and he's average. Life's tough.
 

TheRob

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Tee hee.

Indy 500 struggling to field 33 cars

TSN.ca Staff

5/13/2003

For the first time since 1947, the Indianapolis 500 likely won't field its traditional 33-cars.

With 24 cars officially qualified, it does not appear there are another nine car/driver combinations left to fill out the field.

Four drivers - Arie Luyendyk, Shigeaki Hattori, Jimmy Vasser and Billy Boat - will attempt to qualify this weekend. That would make the traditional 'bump day' - when slower cars are knocked out of the race by last minute qualifiers - a non-event this year.

IRL boss Tony George has said he will not pay for teams to field cars in order to bring the numbers up to 33. That means it will be up to the engine manufacturers and the teams.

Honda, which has two of the top three qualifiers, is not encouraging any of its teams to attempt to qualify additional cars. It is reportedly holding a spot open for a second entry from the Super Aguri-Fernandez Racing team. However, team co-owner Tom Anderson says he has just one spare car for rookie Roger Yasukawa.

Andretti-Green Racing - which will field four cars - says adding a fifth is not practical.

Toyota, which is in its first year of IRL competition along with Honda, says it's willing to supply three more teams, but has set a Wednesday deadline. Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi - two of the bigger funded Toyota teams - say they have no plans to field a third car.

Chevrolet expected to have as many as nine cars in the field, but only six managed to qualify last weekend. They have struggled to keep pace with both Honda and Toyota, admitting that its engine is down on power. Their best qualifier, Sam Hornish Jr., will start 18th.

Chevrolet runners PDM Racing says it lacks sufficient sponsorship and will not put a car in the race to simply increase the numbers. Panther Racing is holding out hope that Billy Boat will be able to qualify following last weekend's accident.

Team Menard boss John Menard is more blunt, saying he's not about to field an entry which has no chance of winning.

"What's the point? We have no power," he tells the Indianapolis Star. "Are we going to put 'Loser' on the sidepod for a sponsor?"

This year's shortage can be attributed to U.S. economy, a change in IndyCar equipment since last year and the ongoing popularity of NASCAR. The addition of Honda and Toyota to the engine wars has also increased the financial stakes for teams, making it more difficult to find adequate sponsors to foot the increasing bill.
Funny stuff. Only 24 cars at Indy? Unheard of two years ago. From what I've read elswhere, it isn't even close to being sold out either.:D IRL is dying. In a few years CART will be the only opne wheel series around. I just hope they don't let guys like Micheal Andretti, Tony Kannan, Helio, and Dario back in. Trader bastards.:mad:
 

Argyle

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Just call me the undertaker...

Indy driver Renna dies following crash


Associated Press

10/22/2003

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - IRL racer Tony Renna died Wednesday after crashing at 350 km/h during a test drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, team owner Chip Ganassi said.
Renna, 26, of Deland, Fla., crashed into the outside wall while exiting the track's third turn.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at Methodist Hospital, speedway spokesman Ron Green said, adding that the cause of the accident was not immediately known.
``Tony was a great young guy,'' Green said. ``I don't think anyone in the paddock ever had a bad thing to say about Tony.''
He is the 67th person fatally injured at the track since it opened in 1909. The last driver killed was Scott Brayton, who died in a crash during practice in 1996.
Ganassi said he was told Renna was on his fourth lap of the day when the car crashed.
Renna finished seventh in the Indianapolis 500 in May, and he joined the elite Ganassi Racing team this month, replacing Tomas Scheckter, who switched to Panther Racing.
Ganassi's lead driver, Scott Dixon, won the IRL championship in the just-concluded season and was among three drivers who began tire tests at the Speedway on Tuesday.
Renna drove in the Indy Lights series from 1998 to 2000, and he debuted in the IRL in 2002 as a substitute driver for Al Unser Jr.
Renna competed in seven IndyCar Series races with Kelley Racing, with five top-10 finishes, including a career-best fourth in 2002 at Michigan.
He began racing at age six, and he won 252 races in mini-sprints, go-karts, micro-sprints and quarter-midgets. He twice was national quarter-midget champion, then was the 1996 rookie of the year in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
He also raced in the Barber Dodge series in 1997 and the next year joined Indy Lights, the developmental series for CART.
 

TheRob

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There has to be a huge design flaw in those cars somewhere. At least five guys could have died this year. Keeny Brack a couple of weeks ago. Kannan. De Ferran, and a couple others. Now this.

Very bad for the IRL. Hopefully they'll get the cars figured out so this won't happen again.

I feel for this fellows family.
 

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