Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oct. 4 newsstand: TEAM, Dario & Dancing

Finally, a bit of a breather in the schedule (a non-stop schedule involving my day job, my night job and punctuated by some extremely late-night baseball watching).

A TEAM announcement
The IRL has finally announced its revenue-sharing plan.
The details:
$1.2 million per full-time car next year (includes a guaranteed $300,000 minimum Indy purse)
Bonuses paid for Top 5 finishes in races + the top 5 finish in the season standings.
Record purse for the Indy 500, with $2.5 million guaranteed to the winner, $300,000 guaranteed to all starters from full-time teams and $270,000 guaranteed to one-off qualifiers.
TEAM money is guaranteed to 24 teams.

Indianapolis Star
Says Brian Barnhart: "We're just trying to provide a stable platform. It's difficult to look into the crystal ball, but this moves us in the right direction from a business standpoint. It gives our teams an opportunity to hire the best people and retain the best people, including drivers."

SpeedTV's Robin Miller compares the new revenue sharing system to CART's old franchise system. Robin also talks to a lot of Champ Car owners, none of which are considering switching.'s John Oreovicz checks in
Says Eddie Gossage, TMS whiz: "I think all IndyCar Series fans want to see 30-car fields from a competition standpoint, as do the promoters. If this program ensures full fields for promoters and stability for the team owners, I think it's a great concept for the health of the sport."

Associated Press
Press conference transcript
The official IRL news & notes have a lot of items about TEAM
Says John Barnes: "I think this is something that needed to happen for a long time. This moves the IndyCar Series from the way it was in the early 20th century to something we needed to move us into this century."
Says Greg Beck: The program gives us an opportunity to get back in the series full time, which is what we've been trying to do. This gives us a great base to work from. We've already talked to some of our sponsors and they are willing to participate because there's already some funding in place."

It's finally official
The world's worst-kept secret is out: Dario Franchitti is a taxicab driver. His first ARCA race is this weekend at Talladega.
Indianapolis Star
Says Chip: "When good drivers are available, I think you have to look at them and take them. You are doing your team an injustice if you don't. No. 2, I am not raiding the IRL. Nobody is a bigger supporter of open-wheel racing than me."
Says Dario: "I've been doing open-wheel racing for so long that it was time to try something else. I love the competition of (stock cars) and learning something completely different, something that I really at this point have got no clue about. Winning the Indy 500 and the championship made that decision even easier because I had achieved what I wanted to achieve."

USA Today Q&A
Says Dario: "It's the toughest challenge in my career, but it's probably the reason I'm doing it. I was lucky this year to achieve everything I wanted to achieve in the IndyCar Series, and I was looking for that next challenge, and life without a challenge can be kind of boring. I think the IndyCar Series is very difficult, but this is something completely new."

Says Chip: Last year, he called Dario and said. "I'd like for you to drive for us.' He said 'I'd like to drive for you. Let's do something.' I had the unenviable position to call him up a few days later and tell him: 'You know what? There is one guy on the planet that could have called and knocked you out of that seat (Juan Montoya) and he and I had that conversation so that seat is no longer available.'"

Tampa Tribune
Says Dario: "It is going to be a heck of a challenge to learn everything. You know, just sitting here with the experience of zero, and I am going to be relying a lot on my new teammates."'s John Orevicz says this could be an obvious fit, while ESPN's David Newton notes that Chip is now fielding NASCAR international.

The Hartford Courant notes that Dario will not likely attempt to defend his Indy 500 win.
New York Times
UK Sporting Life
Associated Press: Oct. 3 and Associated Press Oct. 2
The official CGR press release.
SpeedTV: AGR releases Franchitti

And, finally, one of my favorite NASCAR bloggers takes on the Dario-to-NASCAR backlash in a humorous way.
Quote: "If the objective of these comments left in regard to Franchitti is reinforcing the image of NASCAR's fan base consisting of white trailer trash, they're doing an excellent job."

The sky isn't falling, however
No matter what everyone parroting the company line from Daytona Beach says, the world in open-wheel racing isn't caving in, according to a few IRL drivers.
Says Scott Dixon: "I think our series is definitely on the up. It's producing a lot of great drivers. I think a lot of what's going on is what the drivers are feeling and what they want to do. But you're going to have plenty of talent that's going to come in and fill those spots."
Says Dan Wheldon: "Times change and people want to move on. I'm sure both of those seats are going to be filled with talented individuals."

Dario's AGR teammates react to the move.
Says Marco Andretti: "It does hurt the series, because you lose a name you’ve had forever. But it also hurts me because I was able to look at his data and learn from him. He’s a unique individual and a very talented individual, and was very tough to beat. It’s going to hurt me to lose a teammate like that – but as a competitor, it’s one less guy to beat.”

Iowa testing
AGR, TCGR and Penske drivers are at Iowa Speedway trying to get the package right.
Quotable: From Danica: "We don’t want to come back with the same package we did last year. If you want the same results, just keep doing what you’re doing. And we’re not doing that. I have no doubt the racing will be more racy and more exciting ... To me, it defeats the purpose of making cars uncomfortable if you can’t get close to (each other),” Patrick said. “We’re trying to figure out what would be the best approach. We’re throwing out ideas, and we’ll work on them. By process of elimination, we’ll come up with what’s best. Hopefully we’ll come back at the beginning of next year with a better idea as to what will work."

SpeedTV checks in, as well.

The Des Moines Register notes that Helio Castroneves has been shifting a lot, from DWTS to the No. 3 car.

Alabama testing
The IRL hits a new venue to test: Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. The goal -- test road-course package changes.
The Birmingham News fetes the "star drivers" coming. (Wait, didn't this Southern paper get the fax from Daytona that all of the "stars" are in NASCAR now?)
A possible future event venue, according to track president Gene Hallman: "It will be the first step for exploring a possible event in 2009. It's early but we want to know what it would take to accommodate the IRL. It is the premier open-wheel series in the U.S. and it draws tremendous crowds." (My comment: Barber is much like Mid-Ohio in that it's probably too small for IndyCars, but it might be a great testing venue. While the schedule needs to expand, the IRL needs to concentrate on getting more ovals on the schedule before adding parades).

It can't be an IRL blog without dancing references anymore, can it?
Curt Cavin spent a few days in LA and told us how Helio went Hollywood. notes that Helio "won" Week 2.
Heck, even Motor Trend is getting in on the story.
Brian Barnhart is doing his part to vote for Helio.
And this blogger thinks Helio is the favorite.

Guys who are staying running in the off-season
AGR's team, with Vitor, readies for Petit Le Mans
Herta, Kanaan and Meira will be gunning for the LMP2 title at Road Atlanta. says the development never stops for AGR.
Darren Manning will also be running PLM in an LMP2 for Embassy Racing.
SpeedTV's David Phillips notes that ALMS doesn't seem to care much for TV ratings.

The first IRL guy to go south
Tony Stewart discusses a few things, including the differences between an IndyCar and a stock car, in a Joe Gibbs Racing Q&A.

Attendance & stuff
ISC's quarterly earnings report notes that Richmond had a 25% increase in weekend attendance, bolstered by the SunTrust Indy Challenge.

IPS news
The Indy Pro Series schedule is out. The highlight is the Freedom 100 at Indy on Carb Day. Doubleheaders at St. Pete, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Infineon, with 16 total races on the docket.

Oh, and go Cubs!


Zappatista said...

ISC earnings, well they ain't doing it with spelling, one "Scott Dickson" said.....


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