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IRL won't let sprint car champion into their clubhouse

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  • IRL won't let sprint car champion into their clubhouse

    Well, folks, the IRL has finally shown its true colors. The talk about more opportunities for deserving American drivers was a lie. TSO has reported that Cory Kruseman has been refused entry into the final two races of the IRL season. This, despite passing his rookie test in March with rave reviews from Paul Diatlovich, and despite putting his own team together, finding his own finances, and lining up his own equipment and crew.

    Kruseman is one of the top open-wheel, oval drivers in America today. He’s the 2001 SCRA sprint car champ, the 2000 Chili Bowl Midget champ, and the owner of well over 150 short-track feature wins. Indiana Sprint Week drew an average car count of 45 sprinters for 7 races, and Cory won 4 of them, against the top guys in USAC and elsewhere. In fact, he’s won more races than most IRL drivers have started.

    He had hoped to get a ride after his rookie test. When that fell through, he played the game the way the road racers play it – by finding money and putting his own deal together. Doing it this way had allowed such “accomplished” drivers as go-karter George Mack, businessman John DeVries, Coca-Cola heir Jon Herb, and others on IRL tracks this year. You can even prove yourself a menace on the track, maim one of the league’s stars, and hang around (Tomas Sheckter). Yet, the IRL still won’t have Kruseman. Why not?

    The explanation from the league is that they don’t want new drivers on the track to interfere with the points race. Of course, British road racer Dan Wheldon is making his own debut at Chicago. And, considering that the IRL has had tight point races in the past, yet such superstars as Zak Morioka and Ricky Treadway have been allowed to start, what’s new about this year? Whoops, that’s right – Penske, Brian Barnhart’s old boss, is in the race now. The truth is that this ruling is completely arbitrary, inconsistent with past and present policy (little-qualified Will Langhorne made his initial start just two races ago, and moving chicane Hideki Noda returned last weekend) and discriminatory toward the short-track drivers.

    It’s pathetic that the league that started out as “providing opportunities to deserving American drivers” and billed itself as “all American, all oval” prefers a British road racer whose lone oval win came over 9 other cars in Lights last year, to a genuine openwheel oval champion. The truth is that the IRL is club racing, and Cory Kruseman is not to be allowed into the club.

    Want to flame me for saying this? Go right ahead. I don’t give a rip. Want to whine about me being negative? So be it. But at least recognize the hypocrisy of this action, as well as your own words. We complained for years about CART owners not giving rides to oval trackers (some even said that CART owners “banned” short trackers), but CART – the organization – NEVER DID THIS. NEVER refused entry to an accomplished short tracker with a team and car. Can’t blame John Menard, Roger Penske, or A.J. Foyt for this one. This is strictly the IRL, the sanctioning body, turning away a champion sprint car racer – and it goes against everything the IRL purported itself to be. And every reason I supported the IRL, in 1996.

    Jetdoc – tell me again how it’s sprint car drivers’ fault for just waiting on the phone to ring.

    Mattndallas – tell me again how, if CART dies and the IRL sticks to all ovals, the F1-abees will go elsewhere, and oval track studs will populate the IRL.

    Cory did it the IRL’s way. And they spit in his face. Bottom line for me is that if the IRL doesn’t want short-track drivers, then they don’t want short-track fans. I am a short-track fan. I have a Cory Kruseman T-shirt that I bought a couple of weeks ago. When I talked to him at that time, he very much wanted to go Indy car racing, and was working on the deal. NASCAR was a second choice to him. I’d imagine – and hope – that this has changed. The window of opportunity for a Kruseman to put together a deal like this slams shut at the end of this year. New equipment means much higher costs (Sam Schmidt estimates $2 million more per year). No way can he put together this type of a deal.

    Folks, enjoy the IRL. Enjoy Honda. And Toyota. And Vitor. And Shinji. And 25,000 crowds and 0.9 ratings. I guess I’m back to where I was in 1992 – a NASCAR and short-track fan. I’ll probably watch an occasional IRL race, if there’s nothing else on. And I may pop in from time to time here. I hope I still have some friends left here. But I backed the IRL in 1996 on principle, and I can’t do that anymore. I’ve spent my last dollar on IRL merchandise, or anything else connected with the league. I won’t become a CART fan – CART doesn’t appeal to me any more now than it did 10 years ago – but I don’t watch club racing. And that is what the IRL is.
    "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice

  • #2
    Looks like you've been waiting a long time for something like this.

    I don't agree with it, either, but I'm not ready to trash the whole series over it.

    If this gets your undies in that big of a bunch, I can't imagine how much you love CART.


    • #3
      Lets see, the sun came up today, we all have jobs that provide a meal, home and security.....we don't have to worry about getting killed by members of a police state....and the biggest worry is whether or not a sprint car driver gets to compete in the last two IRL races of the year.

      Just want to offer a little perspective on life.

      Racing is a happy diversion in my life. I'm passionate about it, I like it and I have a lot of opinions how racing can or can't succeed.

      But when it all the dust settles, racing is nothing but a happy diversion. Does it REALLY matter?

      I know this is a message board for rabid fans to pontificate, but sometimes we need to take a step back and get perspective.

      I for one will continue to passionately support the IRL and enjoy it and other forms of racing that appeal to me.

      [ August 29, 2002: Message edited by: MS ]


      • #4
        Without knowing the circumstances it's a bit premature to pass judgement. But since you have anyway...

        Bye. Don't let the screen door hit you in the rear.


        • #5
          So ... any reason from the IRL office as to why Weldon COULD race and NOT affect the points race ??
          "Don't believe the hype!"


          • #6
            I would like verification of the lock out! If I found it I would email Brian and everyone at the IRL I could find an email address for. This is uncalled for.



            • #7
              The IRL is doing the right thing at the wrong time.

              They want "qualified" drivers on the track? Fine.

              But where was that attitude at Homestead?

              You can't change your attitude in the middle of the season.

              You either let the new guys in, just like you let the other new guys in...

              Or you ban the vvanker drivers.

              It's that simple. Do anything else and you look stupid.


              • #8
                That is absolutely pathetic news. If Kruseman has passed the proper tests and his equipment is safe, then the IRL has no business denying him entry, especially considering the losers they have allowed on the track in the past. I mean it would be just about impossible for the Kruser being any more of hazard then say Mack, Salazar or the Wrecker. If this decision is coming from Brain Barnhart, then he is making a huge mistake.


                • #9
                  Grow up. There are two races left. A points battle.

                  Perhaps the IRL took your earlier advice when you implied (more than once) they ought to do something about stopping novices from using actual races for their own practice.

                  Look, if true, I could see how fans with a narrow focus might get aggravated. I'll give you that. But let's get real. Look where the last two races are.

                  I'm glad some initiative has been taken. The league, however, will be much bigger and better next season and I'd bet my next paycheck this kind of initiative will be wolcomed then. I am of the opinion that if you get all bent out of shape over this simple issue, then you ought not to let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

                  Give them credit for a good short term decision.

                  [ August 29, 2002: Message edited by: Defender ]
                  Supporting Indy Car racing since 1959


                  • #10
                    I agree with MNKYWRNCH on this one. Right decision, but very bad timing. They should have never let some of the drivers on the track in the first place.

                    However, how much real-engine formula car experience does Cory have? Why can't he start in the IPS instead? Why wouldn't he want to start in the IPS instead of the IRL?

                    The difference between him and Meira is that Vitor has plenty of experience driving cars similar to IRL cars. Is that so hard to understand? Not that I like the Vitor Meira's of the world driving in the IRL.
                    "You make one **** of a caucasian Jackie." The Dude Lebowski


                    • #11
                      You're right, RW, this stinks.

                      Although not a big short-track fan myself, I'd love to see a reasonable number of those guys mixing it up with the drivers with road racing pedigrees on the fastest ovals in the country. I have a huge admiration for those guys and their talent, and I was excited to hear that Cory was making a serious effort to put a sponsorship deal together for himself, actually going out and knocking on doors instead of waiting for his phone to ring.

                      Whatever happened to "buy legal equipment and show up"? Or was this directed only at CART teams?

                      Unlike you, RW, I'll still follow the IRL religiously. It's still the best oval track racing in the world. But put me down as disappointed. Very disappointed.
                      "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

                      RIP, Dan. You will always be one of my heroes.


                      • #12
                        The current IRL car configuation is more familar to the foriegn kart trained drivers and the IRL will attract the F1 oriented drivers who come to the realization that a F1 career is not going to happen. Want the foriegn drivers to loose interest and get the spriget drivers in, put the engine in front of the driver.


                        • #13
                          I agree with everything Writer says.

                          I want to see this guy in action, and IMO, this ruling is BS.

                          He obviously is more qualified than many of the "spares" we have seen roll through the league this year, and has made his opportunity.

                          In additon to him, I'd like to see Foyt and any other IPS guy that wanted to take a shot at the last couple races.

                          What's the IRL's fear? That he hasn't got enough "race" experience in a RE formula car.

                          This still doesn't deter my hopes that USAC-then-IPS studs will populate the IRL in the future.

                          If Kruesman isn't let in, than either should Weldon.

                          Common sense should prevail here, but it does stink of a "Penske requesting the track be kept clean" scenario. Panther doesn't seem to have a problem with rookies cluttering the track, therefore the reasoning points in one direction.

                          Bad ruling.

                          LET HIM PLAY!
                          LET HIM PLAY!
                          LET HIM PLAY!

                          Name the movie the above was paraphrased from.
                          "Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and your going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down." -- Edward Blume


                          • #14
                            George Mack has ALREADY impacted the points race when he hit Hornish from behind at Nashville.

                            It's the right decision at the WRONG time... and the two don't cancel each other out.

                            Given some of the absolute stinkers they've let on the track in past season finales, and some of the stinkers who WILL be on the track at Chicago and Texas, what are the odds Kruseman is going to be WORSE?

                            And of all the guys to get religion on, you do it with one of the short-trackers you claim to want to see move up?

                            [ August 29, 2002: Message edited by: mnkywrch ]


                            • #15
                              Professor Joe
                              Lost in Indy

                              "So many of these guys know how to preserve their tires, how to handle traffic and how to win a race. They really deserve to be in Indy cars." - Bob East


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