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  • Elkhart Lake standing in line...

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=722879

    Road America could be in IRL plans
    League still sorting out reunification
    By DAVE KALLMANN
    [email protected]
    Posted: Feb. 27, 2008
    The 2008 IndyCar Series schedule, cobbled together amid hasty reunification talks, still needs a few details to be worked out, but once they are, the task of shaping the sport's direction for the future will begin.

    Will such traditional Champ Car venues as Road America and Portland and Cleveland return?

    "In a couple, two, three weeks, we'll start having conversations with some of those," Indy Racing League founder Tony George said Wednesday during a news conference in Homestead, Fla.

    "Obviously they're going to need to be knowing how they're going to be planning for their future, one way or another."

    George and Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car's principal owner, met publicly for the first time since reaching agreement last week to bring their series together.

    The new IndyCar Series did not publish a revised schedule, but they said it would consist of the existing IndyCar Series events, plus Edmonton and Australia and what is being billed as the Champ Car finale April 20.

    The Long Beach race, which conflicts with the IndyCar Series event in Motegi, Japan, will go on as scheduled with Champ Car equipment but with IndyCar Series points awarded. The event then will be folded into the schedule beginning in 2009.

    The season is to open March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

    George would like a half-and-half mix of ovals and road courses totaling about 20 events, he said.

    Road America President George Bruggenthies has had preliminary discussions with the IRL but as of mid-afternoon Wednesday hadn't heard from Champ Car as to how their 2008 contract would be resolved.

    "Do I expect to have a race? No," Bruggenthies said from his office in Elkhart Lake. "I guess they've been so busy with those challenges that they haven't had time to worry about wrapping up their legal details.

    "I'm waiting for confirmation about 2008, and I'd like to be on the schedule for '09."

    The road course, generally considered the best in the country, has held CART and Champ Car races every year but one since 1982.

    Current and previous venues will be considered for future races, as will new opportunities, George said, but "some give and take" may be needed for the overall good of the sport, George said.

    The Milwaukee Mile is scheduled for a race June 1 and has a deal through 2009. Although the track has a 75-year history of Indy-car racing, its attendance last year was among the weakest of the 11 ovals on the circuit.

    "I really don't have any fears because I think we've built a good relationship with the IndyCar folks over the past two years," said Craig Stoehr, chairman of the Milwaukee Mile Marketing.

    "What we're really working on, which we would have even without the merger, is co-marketing, co-promotion initiatives and how we can piggyback off of the Indy 500 the weekend before. Hopefully the fact that they've merged now gives us a much better product to promote."

    Nothing said in the news conference made Bruggenthies any more or less hopeful about Road America's long-term prospects.

    "The only thing I'd say is if they're talking about adding road races, we'd have to be close to the top of the list for driver, team, sponsor and fan appreciation," Bruggenthies said. "We have a long history."

    If politics are involved in the decision, Houston and Cleveland, for example, could have an edge because they are promoted by Mike Lanigan, one of the partners in Newman / Haas / Lanigan Racing.

    Among the other details of the unified series:

    • Champ Car teams showing the budget to compete will be provided two chassis - probably one new and one used - as well as a one-year basic Honda engine lease. This is in addition to the $1.2 million per car in support provided under a plan announced in October to replace the event purse formula.

    • As many as 12 new entries fielded by current Champ Car teams could be on the grid for the March 29 season opener, said Brian Barnhart, chief operating officer of the Indy Racing League.

    • Participation could be limited by the availability of chassis and engines in such a short time frame, Barnhart said.

    • Champ Car teams will work with existing IndyCar teams to get up to speed. Pairings included Kalkhoven's team with Chip Ganassi's and Newman / Haas / Lanigan Racing with Rahal Letterman.
    No where in your rambling incoherent response did you come close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. We are all dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • #2
    It would be a great add to the schedule for 2008 if they could fit it in. Road America is one of the best road courses in the U.S.
    Read Studs Terkel

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    • #3
      The CART races of the 90s were if I'm not mistaken the largest sporting events in the state.

      Comment


      • #4
        By all means let's have Road America on the ICS schedule.

        I have spent many, many happy hours at Road America when I lived in Chicago. Saw every race there in the original Group 7 CAN/AM, the June Sprints, USRRC, &c. often, too. It is my favorite track. Anyone who loves road racing should go there at least once before they die.
        In my day it was 75 percent car and mechanic, 25 percent driver and luck. Today it's 95 percent car. - Juan Manuel Fangio

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        • #5
          ...if you're gonna road-race, then you have to include Road America on your schedule.
          ​a bad day at the race track beats a good day at work

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          • #6
            This would definitely be a "real" fan favorite, based on previous polls and threads here at TF.
            There's really no such thing as Gary the Moose, Sybil.

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            • #7
              It would also be great if they were able to somehow continue the double header with ALMS at RA. It makes for a great weekend. I guess it would depend on scheduals and if ALMS and RA are willing to work with IRL to do so...
              My Blog:
              www.startinggridnews.com

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              • #8
                To not add RA would be criminal.... I remember when JV was in F1 and he made a bunch of Europeans scratch their heads when he described Spa as "The Road America of the F1 circuit."

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                • #9
                  I love RA, but why have the fans abandoned that track over the years? I know the product was weak, but I would have thought there was more loyalty out there, especially for such a great venue.

                  If going to RA means a repeat of Sonoma and the Glen, I would take a pass.
                  ...the spice must flow.....

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                  • #10
                    ALMS

                    Aug 9th - Road America
                    Aug 24th - Mosport

                    IRL
                    Aug 9th - Kentucy
                    Aug 24th - Sears Points

                    Road America
                    Aug 9th - ALMS/Atlantics
                    Sep 16th - Vintage Festival

                    ALMS and Road America could easily push the RA date one week later to the 16th. I see no reason why Tony could not squeeze in a drive away race between Kentucy and Sears Point.

                    It would be difficult but doable. It would also go along way as a solid gesture to the CC fans.

                    Unfortunately it would also cost me about $2000.00.
                    Some people are like a Slinky .... Not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile
                    when you shove them down the stairs.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey Mike! This could mean ribeyes on the hillsides!

                      ...---...

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                      • #12
                        Does the ALMS have a race the week before RA. If not maybe they could move the race back a week.

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                        • #13
                          I would say this will be somewhat up to Road America. As has been stated, Tony probably won't be in the 'track rental' business (as was the case with CCWS last year). But, In order for RA to agree with a date, I'm sure they will also require similar to what Michelle Truman does at Mid-Ohio, and that would be a network TV coverage, or at the very least ESPN. I guess the other question will be how far is ABC/ESPN going to go in terms of including new races to the IRL schedule in the upcoming years?

                          Lots of questions, and no answers as of yet. Would I prefer RA over the likes of temp courses like St Pete, Belle Island, etc?? You bet. But first, the numbers have to work, and first and foremost that takes the possibility of a very good TV package to get sponsors on board for the promoter/track owner. As much as I dislike the temp circuits, there is little doubt that the two races mentioned are a positive for the IRL in terms of 'the deal'.
                          Brian W Keske
                          bwkdesign.wordpress.com

                          "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
                          -- Thomas Jefferson

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CorvetteFan
                            Does the ALMS have a race the week before RA. If not maybe they could move the race back a week.
                            This would be a better solution. No, ALMS does not race the week before, but if you move RA up one week you get RA - Mosport - Detroit all in a row; IRL is worse because you tack Kentucky on to the start of that, and Chicago after that.
                            ... Since all men live in darkness, who believes something is not a test of whether it is true or false. I have spent years trying to get people to ask simple questions: What is the evidence, and what does it mean?

                            -Bill James

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bkeske
                              I would say this will be somewhat up to Road America. As has been stated, Tony probably won't be in the 'track rental' business (as was the case with CCWS last year). But, In order for RA to agree with a date, I'm sure they will also require similar to what Michelle Truman does at Mid-Ohio, and that would be a network TV coverage, or at the very least ESPN. I guess the other question will be how far is ABC/ESPN going to go in terms of including new races to the IRL schedule in the upcoming years?

                              Lots of questions, and no answers as of yet. Would I prefer RA over the likes of temp courses like St Pete, Belle Island, etc?? You bet. But first, the numbers have to work, and first and foremost that takes the possibility of a very good TV package to get sponsors on board for the promoter/track owner. As much as I dislike the temp circuits, there is little doubt that the two races mentioned are a positive for the IRL in terms of 'the deal'.
                              TV is a good point. Having been to RA and watched it on TV, to cover the race with enough cameras so many turns spread out over such a large area it is likely the most expensive production after Indy. Being 4 miles it's tough to direct as well, they can either follow the leaders or a close battle and much of the now expanded field is going to be ignored.

                              A real road course would be preferrable to any temp course but if people have been less than enthused about going to a more urban and accessible Milwaukee, RA is an hour farther north and with not much around. Is it going to attract a major sponsor so the promoter can make money? The best excuse for street races is to get into a market without a permanent facility, Sheboygan isn't the the market you're looking for, there's already Milwaukee and Chicago

                              The heart of a fan says go to RA but show how it makes business sense.
                              "You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
                              "They're criminals"
                              "Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"

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