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  • Unser Status

    This from the Indianapolis Star pretty much summarizes the situation as of today:

    Al Unser Jr. is running out of opportunities to compete in the Indy Racing League this season.

    With his former team, Galles Racing, sidelined without a major sponsor, Unser has been shopped to several other IRL teams. One of the series' best teams recently passed on Unser.

    Tom Kelley said he told IRL president Tony George there weren't enough good General Motors engines to field a three-car team. Kelley doesn't want to bump Scott Sharp or Greg Ray, who are signed through 2005.

    "I told Tony I'd love to help out, but I've got my hands full," Kelley said Monday. "I'm worried about having enough engines for two cars, let alone three.

    "The other thing is, we're just now getting things going well with Delphi (Sharp's sponsor). I don't want to strain the relationship."

    Delphi officials prefer to sponsor just one car after helping Kelley with Mark Dismore's last year.

    Kelley said the engine predicament is based on the new Chevrolet engines his team is using not being as fast in testing as last year's Oldsmobile, which does not have an abundance of spare parts. Sharp and Ray were consistently slower than the Infinitis of Eddie Cheever's team in last week's tests at Fontana, Calif., and Phoenix.

    Kelley said Unser had "some sponsors," although he did not know the extent of them. Unser could not be reached for comment.

    Kelley said he would consider running Unser at the Indianapolis 500 if the two-time Indy winner was still without a permanent ride.

    Unser also was turned down by A.J. Foyt last month. With the season just two weeks away, Unser appears to have only a couple of options left.

    Cheever considers Unser a finalist for his team's second car, but South African rookie Tomas Scheckter was among the fastest five drivers in all three days of testing last week. He was quicker than Cheever each day.
    For all of you who believe that Unser "deserves" a ride, please note that virtually every significant team in CART and the IRL has taken a pass on him. So have several major NASCAR teams. Whether you like the fact or not, not every one of these teams is a bad judge of drivers. Some of the situation just might be due to the driver himself, don't you think?

  • #2
    Sounds to me like Kelley is posturing for financial help from George in order to run a third car. I think Sharp, Ray, and Unser would be a tough team to beat week in and week out.
    "It's an honor to wear the IRL patch,'' Two-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves.

    Comment


    • #3
      why are all the engines behind schedual
      and why is there such a shortage???

      Unser will probobly land at Treadway.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Spencer Mac:
        <STRONG>Sounds to me like Kelley is posturing for financial help from George in order to run a third car. I think Sharp, Ray, and Unser would be a tough team to beat week in and week out.</STRONG>
        Money doesn't seem to be the problem, but the resources. Tom said Al has sponsors, but those are insignificant to his decision. Chevy's engine program is still new. Remember Infiniti's problem last year of getting engines to the cars.

        Meanwhile, will Robin Miller admit that he is wrong?
        He kani 'ano 'e loa kela. Ua 'ai nui anei 'oe ma ke kakahiaka?

        Comment


        • #5
          Finally these posts that Al jr will replace Greg Ray will finally be put to rest. The only team that can fund a three car team is Penske. John Menard could very well give Al Unser, Jr. a car and with plenty of engines...

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow. Several comments:

            1. It seems clear to me that TG is holding Unser's contract and is trying to place him somewhere.

            2. Fueler, what happened to your claim that Unser would land in a mostly red, single digit car? Were you referring to the #7 or the #5?

            3. If Unser gets a ride, it looks like it will be with a team that isn't enthusiastic about him, which can't be a good situation.

            4. If TG called Kelley, I'm sure he called Menard also.

            5. It looks like Unser is going to have to form his own team if he wants to keep racing.

            Comment


            • #7
              How exciting everybody's rumors and gossip! But, let's consider some simple business and racing principles:
              1: Delphi is interested in having someone of Unser's status (2 time Indy winner & 2 time CART champ) under their banner.
              2: Kelley might be having problems getting motors due to the fact they announced they would campaign Toyota engines in 2003. DUMB MOVE! Ilmor has been screwed in the past (i.e. Patrick & Alfa Romeo in 90'). Kelley received their Chevy's for the TITW on Saturday before the test, while other LOYAL Ilmor teams (Mo Nunn & Bradley) received their motors on Tuesday.
              3: REMEMBER Greg Ray packed up on Saturday morning at Phoenix. And there was NO mechanical problem.

              CONCLUSION: Tom Kelley's motor problems (supply or power) are his own fault. Delphi knows smart motorsports business, and that is AL Jr.. And finally, Greg Ray's check either didn't come or bounced higher than a tire without a swem.
              "speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?"

              Comment


              • #8
                The answer seems pretty obvious to me. Little Al should start his own team. If he wants to take the wheel, fine. If he wants to put someone else in, fine. He's got the resources, sponsors (potentially), Tony's support, and certainly has the connections.

                If Al truly has that 'fire in the belly', he can be at the 500 this year with as good a car as he brings. Lots of people want lots of things badly. Do they want it bad enough to spend their own money to achieve? That's the question.

                Comment


                • #9
                  What about Beck Motorsports?

                  If the fire still burns and marque teams are taking a pass then this may be what it takes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dream69:
                    <STRONG>What about Beck Motorsports?

                    If the fire still burns and marque teams are taking a pass then this may be what it takes.</STRONG>
                    Shiggy is going to Beck. He has a sponsor that can give 3 million dollars to the cause.
                    He kani 'ano 'e loa kela. Ua 'ai nui anei 'oe ma ke kakahiaka?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dreyerfan:
                      <STRONG>why are all the engines behind schedual
                      and why is there such a shortage???

                      Unser will probobly land at Treadway.</STRONG>
                      The way I read it, is that the Chevie is slower than the 01 Olds and the SHORTAGE of parts is for the 01 Olds. Of course there's a shortage, there is no new production only pipeline and spares available.
                      Gary Crossno

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fueler, what happened to your claim that Unser would land in a mostly red, single digit car? Were you referring to the #7 or the #5?
                        As I said in another post, have patience. This deal is a long way from having every aspect of it exposed to daylight.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fueler:
                          <STRONG>

                          As I said in another post, have patience. This deal is a long way from having every aspect of it exposed to daylight.</STRONG>
                          I'm guessing it's more like the 6 car, Gil goes to a once predicted 1 car team in CART to defend his title, Al & Helio team up for the year
                          Delta Force Theme... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQUeQOIlcDM You're Welcome

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The fact that Kelley "rejected" Unser doesn't concern me. Kelley is a bafoon in my opinion. If his team is so great, why doesn't he have a sponsor for Ray?

                            I find it hard to believe that Penske will change his plans at the last minute.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BSJracing:
                              <STRONG>

                              I'm guessing it's more like the 6 car, Gil goes to a once predicted 1 car team in CART to defend his title, Al & Helio team up for the year </STRONG>
                              This is a more realistic scenario. This would be a solid shot for Al, jr. I hope this rumor pans out.

                              Comment

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