Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CCWS IRL Merger Update

According to the Indy Star.

1. TG and KK have agreed conceptuallyto share ownership. Needed is a mediator for resolving disagreements!
2. Talks are continuing to have Champ Car teams run Indy in 2007.


WickerBill Sez;

Who will own the American League and who will own the International League?

Mario Andretti and Rick Mears have both been mentioned as possible mediators for the new series. Frankly I don't think either has what it takes to be Commisioner. This arrangement will fail without a single strong leader. Right Dan Gurney?

Finally as I have said before, an overnight coming together won't happen it will have to be a phased operation. At least that looks like what they are considering.

Allmendinger Makes it Two Straight

57,000 watched as AJ not only avoided the wall Sunday he mostly avoided the agricultural racing that the other competitiors were participating in. Except for a brief shunt at the begining of the race which required some minor repairs he ran another very good race winning the Cleveland event.

It was a rather dizzying race with all of the spins and shunts that occured. PT and SB came together again, this time bullet proof Bourdais got the short end of the deal and was taken out and taken to the hospital for CT scans. Tracy's car climbed over Bourdais cockpit, the bottom of Tracy's car clobbered Bourdais helmet knocking him out. Bourdais was cleared at the hospital with no injurys and is expected to run at the next event in Tronto.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Allmendinger Aviods Walls - Wins Portland

Quote: Robin Miller's Straight from the Gear Box

As races go, it was a cracker -- no cautions and 105 laps of qualifying to quote runner-up Justin Wilson. As crowds go, it was one of the best in several years here in Portland and certainly one of the most animated. As storylines go, well, it couldn't get any better for Champ Car.
In one of the wildest weeks of dramatic turns and surprise moves, A.J. Allmendinger went from out of a job to back in a car to victory lane.

How he got there was a script so made-for-television perfect that you would have thought NASCAR ordered it.

"I think it was good for the series and I think it was good for somebody else to get up there on the top step of the podium besides Sebastian (Bourdais)," said Gerry Forsythe, whose opinion understandably might be a little skewed since he's the one who replaced Mario Dominguez with Allmendinger.

"A.J. did a helluva job and I don't think he put a wheel wrong all day."
Forsythe had to watch his cars sweep Sunday's show (James Hinchcliffe captured the Atlantic race) on television because he was attending a wedding and missed his first race of 2006.
What the co-owner of Champ Car missed was an affirmation party for the only American in his series.

Why Carl Russo gave up on his 24-year-old protege remains up for speculation and discussion but it certainly shocked everyone in the Champ Car paddock since RuSPORT became a reality because of Allmendinger's success in Barber Dodge & Atlantics and Russo's affection for him.
One thing Russo said all week, and again Sunday afternoon when he congratulated his former driver in victory lane, was that A.J. had an abundance of talent and would be a winner some day.
It's just that nobody imagined it would be in his debut for Forsythe Racing.

"Did we think A.J. could win races?'' said Mike Cannon, engineer for Allmendinger. "Definitely. Did we think he'd win today in his first drive for us? Of course not. But I guess if somebody wants to know what we thought of him, well, obviously we know he can win races."

He did it in convincing and impressive style -- leading 100 of the 105 laps and withstanding immense pressure from his pal and former teammate Wilson. Unlike a year ago, when he threw away a win at Edmonton, A.J. never missed an apex or tripped over a lapped car.

In this instant gratification world we live in, so much emphasis is put on immediate results and people were saying crazy things like "When is this kid going to win?" and the truth is he's only been in 32 races. Jenson Button is zero-for-105 and Casey Mears hasn't won in over 100 Cup starts but there were such high expectations for Allmendinger.

"I was sick of finishing second and nobody put any more pressure on me than I did because I've always won and I expect to win," said Allmendinger, who jumped up to third in the point standings. "I can't begin to describe how this feels because of all the things that have happened in the past few days.

"Forsythe Racing made it fun again for me and I'll never be able to thank them enough."
Of course this wasn't just a one-act play. Cristiano da Matta, who took a ride with Dale Coyne because he still has passion to race in this series and didn't want to sit on the sidelines, was rewarded for his attitude with A.J.'s ride at RuSPORT.

Dominguez, who was leading at Houston after winning the pole position, wound up as the loser in this transaction when Forsythe cut him loose after his second accident involving teammate Paul Tracy.

He drove here for Coyne, who is always the good soldier in these deals, and Champ Car still needs Mario to be competitive since it ends the season in Mexico City.

Another Mario, last name Andretti, was in the pits at Portland and made the following astute observation: "This is one of those deals that appears to be good for both guys (Allmendinger and da Matta)," said the two-time CART champion.

It certainly was well received by the fans, who chanted USA, USA and stuck around to help A.J. sing the national anthem. Funny thing, Americans appreciate the many talented foreign drivers who have made Champ Car their home during the past 27 years but they still love to cheer for one of their own.

Bourdais is a super star who had a great run and appears to be headed for a third consecutive championship. But Forsythe was right -- this series needed a new winner and having someone named after A.J. Foyt worked out nicely.

As for the original terms of Allmendinger's employment (a two-race deal and then it would be appraised), Forsythe said the kid passed the audition and has the ride the rest of '06.
"I'm sure of that," he said. "No doubt. We'll keep him."

The last time Forsythe had an American driver was Danny Sullivan in 1982. He went on to do some pretty big things and maybe this is the beginning of a good red, white and blue relationship.

WickerBill Sez;

What Robin said and the 77,000 attendance was a 20 percent improvement over last year.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bullet Proof Bourdais

Sebastien Bourdais appeared bullet proof as he claimed his fourth victory at the Milwaukee mile Sunday, a track that had bested him in previous attempts. Bourdais suffered a punctured right rear tire on lap twenty and pitting under green for a change put him a lap down to the field.

The rest of the field, small though it may have been due to yet another first lap crash that took out four cars of the 16 starters, must have been licking their chops at the thought of SB being a lap down. – Note to Champ Car, getting tired of first lap carnage, do something -.

On lap twenty six another yellow helped Bourdais to regain some track position and when the leaders pitted in a sort of out of sequence strategy Katherine Legg who started 8th and finished 6th, inherited the lead, becoming the first female to ever lead a Champ car race. When the race went green she was able to hold of Wilson quite well but finally succumbed to him while overtaking lapped traffic.

Mean while Bourdais was slowly working his way back to the front, inheriting the lead during the leader’s second stop and was able to race away from everyone the rest of the way, winning his fourth race in as many starts.

Attendance - promoters announced a ticket distribution of 28,357 for the Champ Car World Series event, about 2,000 more than one year earlier. Actual attendance was estimated at 20,000. Although attendance is less than half of the peak of a decade ago, the crowd Sunday was at least double the size of that for the 2005 race.