Saturday, March 29, 2008

CCWS, Lost In Transition | No Parts! No Sponsors! No Problem!

Homestead-Miami Speedway (grandstands as depicted from a "wallpaper" image available from the website) site of round one of eighteen for the 2008 Indianapolis Racing League points championship. Image Credit:

CCWS, Lost In Transition No Parts! No Sponsors! No Problem!

With apologies to Kenny Chesney, this pretty much sums up the effects of the “merger” of the ChampCar World Series into the Indianapolis Racing League thus unifying professional open-wheel racing in North America.

Before this season opening weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway got underway, the ranks of the CCWS transitioned drivers and teams got hit with a couple of sad notes.

First off, Graham Rahal, while taking practice laps at the speedway, bottomed out and spun into the wall. He will not be able to field a car for the race because there were not enough replacement parts and very little time to turn the car around. It is interesting to note that both Dan Weldon (Ganassi Racing) and Jay Howard (Roth Racing) were able to get parts and repair their cars for the race - Roth Racing is a new team for this year, after not competeing last year, but not a CCWS transition team.

Second, due to the low quantity of replacement parts, the IRL Management informed all transitioning CCWS teams that they will be no replacement parts for the next few races (translation, only race hard enough to not damage the equipment otherwise you will end up like Graham Rahal and Newman/Hass/Lanigan).

Dan Wheldon is confident he can recover from his qualifying crash and be a major contender in tonight's IRL IndyCar Series season-opener at Homestead. /// The 2005 champion is chasing a record fourth consecutive win at the Miami oval, and was fastest in the opening practice session. /// But he crashed on his first lap in qualifying, spinning into the Turn 4 wall. Caption & Image Credit:

In the month or so leading up to this fist race of the season, it was hoped that most of the ten teams and at least nine or so of the 19 drivers that had competed in the 2007 CCWS season would be able to transition for a full season in the IRL for 2008.

Even in a perfect world, where the equipment was exactly the same from one series to the other, where sponsors would stick with the teams they supported and no conflicts with advertisers in effort funding existed, these hopeful projections on a positive transition for the CCWS merger into the IRL were, at best, very aggressive.

The facts of transition on the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 are not as robust as CCWS fans would like.

The CCWS drivers and teams from 2007 that made the show in Miami at qualifications yesterday add up as follows:

2007 CCWS Drivers
Justin Wilson (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), Will Power (KV Racing Technology), Oriol Servia (KV Racing Technology), Bruno Junqueira (Dale Coyne Racing)

Other drivers on CCWS teams
Enrique Bernoldi (Conquest Racing), Franck Perera (Conquest Racing), Ernesto Viso (HVM Racing), Mario Moraes (Dale Coyne Racing)

Final tally is four drivers and five teams (technically six, Forsythe Racing is acting a a consultant to Conquest Racing)

Missing drivers to not make the transition for the first race are:

Graham Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing) – Crash, Lack Of Parts

Drivers with No Team or No Seat
Sebastien Bourdais (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing) 2007 Champion, Robert Doornbos (Minardi Team USA) - 2007 3ird Place Championship Rookie Of The Year, Dan Clarke (Minardi Team USA), Paul Tracy (Forsythe Petit Racing), David Martinez (Forsythe Petit Racing), Alex Tagliani (Rocketsports Racing), Simon Pagenaud (Team Australia), Tristan Gommendy (PKV Racing), Neel Jani (PKV Racing), Mario Dominguez (Pacific Coast Motorsports), Alex Figge (Pacific Coast Motorsports), Ryan Dalziel (Pacific Coast Motorsports), Jan Heylen (Conquest Racing), Nelson Philippe (Conquest Racing), Kathren Legge (Dale Coyne Racing).

A sad decimation to a talented group of road race specialists – Drivers and Teams.

The GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 logo for the opening round race of the 2008 IRL season held at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Image Credit:

This excerpted from -

You can feel it

By Dave Lewandowski - 3-29-2008

Twenty-five drivers will compete on the 1.5-mile oval in front of an enthusiastic crowd and global TV audience for the first time since 1978 under a unified sanctioning body. The IndyCar Series carries the banner into a season with a diverse group of racetracks and drivers, but united in its message.
Seeing 25 cars practice and move into the qualifications line was gratifying for scores of people who doggedly pursued unification – since the Indy Racing League's first event in 1996 and even further back to 1979, when the Championship Auto Racing Teams was formed and splintered from USAC sanctioning. Now they'll watch the first competition matching some of the best race car drivers in the world.

"I hope it's memorable and historic," Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George, who gave impetus to a successful unification plan, said of the 200-lap race.
Reference Here>>

And with the attitudes expressed above (not one mention of the ChampCar World Series) it is little wonder that there are any CART/CCWS teams and drivers on the track at all!

Some of us remember a time when the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were somewhat happy at the level of competition that the Championship Auto Racing Teams sanctioning body delivered to the famed rectangle race track.

At its zenith, CART had several choices of manufacturer on which a car could be fielded. Choices on chassis, engine package, shock absorbers, and tires made it possible to have approximately 17 or so configurations on which to base a car’s set up. Even with this diversity of engineering template, the top 15 or so racers would consistently qualify within one second of each other on a closed road or street course – that’s competitive.

Today, the 25 competitors have two chassis choices, but realistically only one will be on the track, the Dallara (vs the Panoz G-Force), delivers the level of competition required to place in the top 18 out of 25, one engine and one tire.

When the cars take the track today only 10 cars of the 25 were within one second of each other on the closed “oval” course of the less than 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The beauty in all of this, there is only one management and sanctioning body on which to lay all of the blame or to give all of the accolades.

Welcome to the new and unified IndyCar 2008. Let the games begin.

Personally, here at The EDJE, we really want to give accolades.

Next race for the points championship is Saint Petersberg, Florida ... next big test for IRL Management, Long Beach.

... notes from The EDJE

Thursday, March 27, 2008

IRL Churn Turns To IRL Attrition - Rahal Out

Graham Rahal, second year driver for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, on a "hot lap" during second day qualifying for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - The EDJE 2007

IRL Churn Turns To IRL Attrition - Graham Rahal Out

With the transition of as many as nine new drivers, most from the former and merged ChampCar World Series, an unanticipated result claims its first victim for the season opener.

One of the premiere teams to merge with the IRL, if not THE premiere team, four time series champion Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has to pull one car out of the starting line-up. Graham Rahal, son of CART Series Champion and IRL team owner Rahal/Letterman - Bobby Rahal, has withdrawn from Saturday's Gainsco Auto Insurance Indy 300. The NHL Racing team felt that damage sustained in a Tuesday evening testing crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway was too severe to be repaired in time for the race.

The plan is to have the car ready to debut in Round 2 in St. Petersburg, Florida next weekend.

This excerpted from Racing One -

Rahal to Miss Opener

By J.J. O'Malley - RacingOne Contributor Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The short transition time for the former Champ Car World Series to prepare for the unified IndyCar Series opener has already taken its toll.
"We just don't have any parts," Rahal said. "Unfortunately, it's taken us out of it. We're just going to focus on next weekend, and that will be fine. That's what we should have done in a situation like this, and that's what we're going to do."
"The car bottomed and went around, and that was that," Rahal said. "That's how it goes. We were doing a good job. We were running quick and we had just passed Oriol (Servia) when it happened. Unfortunately, that's the way this kind of deal works."

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will field the No. 02 McDonald's Honda Dallara for Justin Wilson, among eight cars fielded by former Champ Car teams for the event.

Rahal's withdrawal drops the entry list to 25 for the 8 p.m. Saturday race. Practice and qualifying is set for Friday.

Reference Here>>

The Indianapolis Racing League needs to have more infrastructure support if the IRL plans to field between 25 to 30 cars for the 18 race 2008 season. It is a good thing that the Long Beach Grand Prix, which will have IRL points awarded, is running CCWS gear. With the attrition of ChampCar World Series teams actually being able to merge with the IRL … there should be plenty of PANOZ DP01 chassis' and parts to go around.

Further, Graham Rahal should be able to get back on the points track if he competes in Japan and Long Beach on the same weekend. At the very least, this would become a great open-wheel racing human interest coup!

UPDATE: Chatter from fan message boards have confirmed the following -

There has been an email confirmation issued from someone close to IRL Management that spare parts will not be readily available for new teams.

Odd that!

Maybe some concern that the CCWS guys might get up to speed a little quicker than the established guard would like them to be?

The best way to slow it down (reports showed Rahal was beginning to match some top veteran driver times before his spin ... even quicker than Servia) is to keep 'em off the track. If parts are tight, Rahal might just have company in the spectator stands before the first race even gets underway.

… notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pacific Coast Motorsports Hangs A Shingle

Pacific Coast Motorsports, Oxnard, California - An ultra professional organization with the facilities, personnel and equipment capable of competing at the highest levels of motorsport. Image Credit: PCM 2008

Pacific Coast Motorsports Hangs A Shingle

Yesterday, Tyler Tadevic, President and Team Director of Pacific Coast Motorsports issued an open statement posted at the PCM website.

American racer Alex Figge’s #29 getting it together at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas 2007. Image Credit: PCM 2007

A New Direction
PCM Update March 24

Due to the sudden demise of the Champ Car World Series, Southern California-based Pacific Coast Motorsports would like to announce the availability of their services. We welcome the opportunity to put our exceptionally experienced and highly capable championship winning team to work on your motorsports project. We would like to speak with anyone looking at the IRL, Grand Am, ALMS, IPS and Formula Mazda or any other form of Motorsports. As an ultra professional organization with the facilities, personnel and equipment capable of competing at the highest levels of motorsport on this continent, racing is what we do best, and we would love to take you to the front of your respective field. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Tyler Tadevic, Team Owner: 760-831-0921
Michael Harvey, Team Manager: 805-760-1270

Reference Here>>

Team PCM jumping into action at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas 2007. Image Credit: LAT 2007 - via PCM Website

There are still a few great CCWS drivers out of the line up, maybe this is the last easy door that remains open … otherwise it would be start from absolute scratch.

Three drivers come to mind immediately, first, the lead driver for PCM was an American, Alex Figge, second would be Paul Tracy if he could secure releases from Forsythe Racing that would allow him to run in the IRL, and the 2007 Championship podium finisher at third in the points Dutchman Robert Doornbos (“Bobby-D”).

Any open sponsor organizations? The more the merrier!


We, at The EDJE, have been doing a little research on Pacific Coast Motorsports and here are a few surprising facts about a very competitive racing effort:

Pacific Coast Motorsports Team Accomplishment Highlights

Jon Fogarty (right, sitting on car) celebrates with the Pacific Coast Motorsports team after winning the 2004 Atlantic title. Image Credit:

• Won the 2004 Champ Car Atlantic title with Jon Fogarty
• Has raced in Atlantics, Grand-Am, ALMS and Champ Car World Series competition
• Won seven races in 2004 Atlantic season

Last year, PCM ran a full season Champ Car World Series in 2007, fielding a two-car team for Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year featuring Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge. Veteran Mario Dominguez filled in for Ryan Dalziel in the final two races.

The California-based squad brings vast experience to professional autosport racing having competed successfully in Champ Car World Series, Champ Car Atlantic Series, American LeMans Series and in the Rolex Grand American Road Racing Series in the last four years.

The team is most well-known in Champ Car circles for its dominating 2004 campaign when Jon Fogarty won six races and the Atlantic championship, outracing current PCM driver Ryan Dalziel for the title.

The team also visited Victory Lane with Alex Figge as the American driver scored his first Atlantic win with a victory in Monterrey, Mexico. Running its own Grand-Am program last year, the team of Dalziel and Figge had seven top-10 finishes paced by a second-place run at Phoenix and a third-place result at Laguna Seca.

The tandem of Figge and Dalziel made its debut in 2005 as the team moved to sports cars, competing part time in both the Grand-Am Cup Series and the American Le Mans Series, with a season-best finish of third coming at Portland.

The team moved up from Grand-Am Cup and into the prototypes for the last race of the 2005 season and finished sixth in its debut.

The team debuted in 2003, running a single-car effort for Alex Figge. The team earned its first-ever front-row start when Figge gridded second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a race where he went on to finish fifth. Pacific Coast started its debut season with five consecutive top-10 finishes including top-five runs at Long Beach and MRLS.

Tyler Tadevic Bio - PCM Team Director and President - Having worked his way through the sport after starting as a mechanic for Champ Car Atlantic competitor World Speed Motorsports, Tyler Tadevic is in his fifth season at the helm of Pacific Coast Motorsports, having overseen the team’s rampant growth from Atlantic standout, through sports cars and the Champ Car World Series 2007 season.

This question begs to be asked and answered - How many teams that compete at the highest levels in the world of open-wheel autosports can lay claim to winning a series championship - ever?

Not ... (fill in the blank with any number of famous name teams from Formula 3000, F1, CCWS Atlantic, CCWS, CART, Indy Lights, and the IRL)

UPDATE April 23, 2008:

Pacific Coast Motorsports to officially join in the 2008 IRL Championship Season at the Indianapolis 500 - Mario Dominguez to take the seat for the rest of the season in the "Visit Mexico City" Dallara.

… notes from The EDJE

Friday, March 21, 2008

CCWS Attrition Turns To IRL Churn

KV Racing's Oriol Servia taking hot laps at the former CCWS teams test of IRL gear at Sebring, Florida - Registers fastest lap on final day. Image Credit: Shawn Payne via

CCWS Attrition Turns To IRL Churn

At the beginning of the week, last week, things were looking pretty bleak for the fortunes of ChampCar’s transition into the IndyCar 2008 season.

By Tuesday of last week, only two teams had declared officially, and convinced the directors of the Indianapolis Racing League of their viability to be able to show up for the first race to be held at Homestead-Miami Raceway on March 29th, 2008. Truth is that the two teams were actually one full team – Newman/Haas/Lanigan, and two half teams forming from a combining of resources to run under the Conquest Racing name – Conquest Racing and Forsythe Racing (which had previously announced that it would not be able to field a team effort one week earlier).

This lack of participation from the field of ten ChampCar teams not only made the “merger” announcement on February 21, 2008 seem a little hollow, it was going to make one of the most respected temporary street races run through the streets of Long Beach be little more than a funeral procession for the vitality of unification. Adding fuel to this perception … the IRL has yet, to this day, to note this IRL sanctioned race on its schedule or anywhere on its webpage.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week saw the declaration and movement of ChampCar teams increase to the point the driver roster for the IRL 2008 season lists 26 drivers. This represents one of the largest rosters for a premiere international open-wheel racing series. Five seats will be occupied with drivers from the former ChampCar Series (from a real potential of 14 drivers of 20 that drove in 2007 – 6 drivers from last year have declared to run in other racing series).

Six former Champ Car entries took part in their first IRL IndyCar Series test, which began at Sebring, Wednesday 3-19-2008, with KV Racing's Will Power setting the quickest time. Image Credit:

With the announcements of intention run in the 2008 season from Walker Racing - now declared out and threating to sue, HVM Racing (the remains of the Minardi Team USA), KV Racing (formally PKV Racing with one-half team funding provided by former Walker partner), Conquest, and Dale Coyne showing up to test at Sebring with two cars each (still undeclared are Pacific Coast Motorsports, Rocketsports, and RuSPORT) the driver roster could balloon to an additional two or three seats, maybe more.

The roster for the Homestead-Miami season opener released yesterday (3-20-2008) includes the following transitioning teams and drivers.

The total number of teams to transition in time for the first race is 5 (6 if one accounts for Forsythe combining forces with Conquest).

The total number of cars/drivers fielded is 9 of the 26.

The total number of CCWS Drivers to transition for the first race with IndyCar Series gear is 5 (Will Power & Oriol Servia - KV Racing Justin Wilson & Graham Rahal - Newman/Hass/Lanigan Bruno Junquiera - Dale Coyne Racing). The other four drivers are new to the highest level of American Style professional open-wheel racing (Franck Perera & Enrique Bernoldi - Conquest [and Forsythe] Ernesta Viso - HVM [formerly Minardi Team USA] Mario Morales - Dale Coyne Racing), however it has to be noted that Franck Perera was a former Champion of the Atlantic Series, feederseries to the CCWS and is familiar with many of the American Style CCWS venues.

One of KV Racing's Aussie Vineyard’s Dallara chassis driven by Will Power getting a good working over in the pits at the Sebring test. Image Credit: Shawn Payne via

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach racing plans – information from various sources.

FROM The Talkback Pages at

Qdoba Addict
LBGP is the ChampCar Farewell
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 2008 is the farewell to ChampCar race. As far as I know it will be sanctioned by Champ Car World Series not the Indy Racing League. Indycar points are being paid so that former Champcar drivers don't fall behind in the IndyCar championship. With the Motegi conflict and the short time involved they simply couldn't transform the race into a proper Indycar event.

As of today 16 Champ cars are confirmed for Long Beach per this article:

That is only 1 car less than last years count is it not?

Enjoy the LBGP for what it is a farewell to Champ car. And come back and enjoy a bigger better show in 2009. :)

This excerpted and edited from the Long Beach Press Telegram –

Michaelian extends LBGP passion to fans

Doug Krikorian, Sports columnist - Article Launched: 03/14/2008 12:02:24 AM PDT

Civic-minded Jim Michaelian never has had political aspirations.
The fact that he's been heavily involved in a major downtown open wheel car race since its inception in 1975 - it's now known as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - might have something to do with such feelings.

Still, Mr. Michaelian is always working feverishly on behalf of Long Beach, the latest proof of which is the extra downtown activities he has instituted 72 hours before the race that will be free to the citizenry and that is geared to getting all segments of the society involved in this city's biggest annual attraction.
The Long Beach Grand Prix no longer can be called a three-day extravaganza.

It's a four-day one now with its proceedings this year starting on Thursday at 11 a.m. with the inductions of Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones and Gary Gabelich (posthumously) on the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center.

After that, there will be a potpourri of events to sate the appetite of not only racing patrons, but also those who have a special fascination for fish, as the popular Shark Lagoon at the Aquarium of the Pacific will be open to the public between 6 and 9 p.m. and even will include live music.
For the first time in the history of the Long Beach race, cars also will be zipping around the 11-turn, 1.97-mile course on Thursday, as both the sports and drifting ones will be doing practice laps between 3 and 5:45.

"And what's nice is people can come out and watch and there is absolutely no cost," says Michaelian proudly. "And between 3 and 6, our Lifestyle and Alternative Energy Expo at the Convention Center also will be open to the public. And so will the paddocks where the people can get an up-close glimpse at the inner-workings of the racing teams."
And, of course, what has become a hallowed affair - natch, it's known by the corporate handle of Tecate's Thursday Thunder on Pine.
Jim Michaelian has been quite excited ever since Champ Car and the IRL merged - and that he was assured that Champ Car would be making its final appearance at the 34th Long Beach Grand Prix.
16 Champ Cars already are committed for Long Beach.

Alas, Champ Car's highest profile driver, Paul Tracy, four-time winner here, still doesn't have a ride.
The only woman ever to race for Champ Car, Katherine Legge - she was in the past two Long Beach Grand Prixs - is now participating on the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) circuit. I look for the affable Great Britain native to one day return to open-wheel racing.

Reference Here>>

Paul Tracy, sitting the first race of the Indianapolis Racing League series season on March 29, 2008 out. Image Credit:

And the latest Churn happenings on Paul Tracy from AutoSport –

Tracy resigned to missing IRL opener

By Matt Beer - AutoSport - Friday, March 21st 2008, 10:18 GMT

Paul Tracy says he has resigned himself to missing the IRL IndyCar Series opener at Homestead next weekend, and admits that the only open wheel race he currently has lined up is the Champ Car finale at Long Beach.
"My options right now are pretty limited," Tracy told Indianapolis radio station 1070 The Fan.

"I've got to sort my contract situation out with Forsythe and we haven't been able to achieve that yet.”

"I could get in a car right now and do it, but it's not going to happen by (Homestead) next week. As of right now, the only time I know I'm going to be in a car is at Long Beach, and from there I don't know. I'd like to be in an IndyCar, I'd like to be in a good car and to have the opportunity to run at Indy.”
"Right now, I don't have any options in an IndyCar, but there are some options to do some stuff in Grand-Am and hopefully do some Nationwide races, like the race in Canada.”

"With my contract I can race other stuff, but I'd like to go IndyCar racing, and I can't get an answer out of my team."
Reference Here>>

Finally, I talked with Pacific Coast Motorsports President & Team Director, Tyler Tadevic, on the phone Wednesday (3-19-2008) and things haven't gelled together as hoped just yet. The intention is to be able to get there with a full two car team for the season.

PCM is already committed to Formula Atlantic with a two car effort for the season and nothing has changed there.

I know Tyler wants to be able to keep the structure of team and drivers he had going into the 2008 CCWS season. It strikes me that a discussion and match-up with Paul Tracy and his 4 million dollar sponsor, Monster Energy (Forsythe and Conquest are full with two drivers) just might get the team over the top - I am just talking from afar so don't think that I know anything ... again just talking.

… notes from The EDJE

Friday, March 14, 2008



It's official, the Champ Car Inner Circle of Champions fan website is down for the count.

Here is the full statement sent to all 5,000 members who enjoyed the community of like minded, fun loving, open-wheel race fans.

From the Chief Steward:

Dear Champions,

Champ Car would like to thank all of you for participating and contributing to the Inner Circle Fan Club. You’ve proven to be among the most dedicated and loyal fans of a racing series. We know that some of you have mixed feelings about what has transpired, but we hope that you will support the teams and drivers that made Champ Car so great in their future endeavors, whether it be in the IndyCar Series, the Atlantic Championship or another form of racing. We wish all of you the best and thank each and every one of you for your support over the years.

- The Champ Car Team

Thank you Chief, may we see you in the Paddock of the next race we, as Champions, attend. Long live the spirit of the CCIC!

... notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Attrition Of Open-Wheel Unification

The PANOZ DP01 of Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing's Sebastian Bourdais (then, three-time CCWS champion) on the second day of qualifications for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing, after capturing its fourth consecutive CCWS championship with Sebastian Bourdais, will be able to transition over to the IRL for the 2008 season - fielding two cars to be driven by Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2007 The EDJE

The Attrition Of Open-Wheel Unification

It has been less than one month since the announcement of the “merger” between the two major open-wheel automobile racing series here in North America and the aftermath of the one-way move to limited and old equipment is taking its toll.

Forsythe Racing's transporter parked in the pits for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2007 The EDJE

Today, Forsythe Racing, which had announced that it would not field a team for the 2008 IRL season, combined resources with Conquest Racing, the first team to declare that it would race the full season in transition from ChampCar to IndyCar. This leaves the door open for ChampCar Champion Paul Tracy to contest for the open seat of Conquest Racing’s second car.

Still in the "pits" without an IRL ride - 2003 ChampCar World Series Champion Paul Tracy's transporter in the pits for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2007 The EDJE

This excerpted from an article by Steven English, Auto Sport –

Former Champ Car team Conquest Racing have teamed up with part of Gerry Forsythe's operation for their switch to the Indy Racing League this season.

Conquest will receive technical and engineering help from Forsythe Performance Research, which is a subsidiary of Forsythe Racing, throughout the 2008 season. The announcement comes just two weeks after the Forsythe team abandoned their plan to join the IRL this season and closed down.

Conquest boss Eric Bachelart hopes the expertise at Forsythe will help his team to get on the pace in the IRL as quickly as possible.

"We're working very hard on our transition from Champ Car," he said. "We're excited about this partnership with Forsythe because their knowledge and experience will accelerate our efforts to become a front running team in the IndyCar series."

Forsythe's Neil Micklewright added: "We're very pleased to be able to enter into this mutually beneficial arrangement. With the extensive racing background of Forsythe and the fine team Conquest have created, we feel assured that 2008 will be exciting. We look forward to helping Conquest unleash their potential."
Reference Here>>

So, from two teams comes one.

Walker Racing's Aussie Vinyards DP01 driven by Simon Pagenaud being rolled out of Technical Inspection on Day Two Qualifications for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2007 The EDJE

This announcement comes soon after one of the most seasoned teams, and a team followed very closely by our friends in Surfers Paradise, Walker Racing, issued a statement that it was pulling out from its previously announced intentions to show up on the IRL dance card for 2008.

This excerpted from an article by Steven English, Auto Sport –

Monday, March 10th 2008, 11:14 GMT

Former Champ Car team Walker Racing have abandoned their plan to join the Indy Racing League this season after failing to raise the necessary sponsorship.

The team originally planned to run Will Power and Simon Pagenaud under the Team Australia banner in Champ Car this year, and boss Derrick Walker was one of the most vocal supporters of the merger with the IRL.

But he couldn't raise the required funds to get the IndyCar programme off the ground and officially withdrew at the weekend, leaving both drivers currently without a seat this season.
"I dropped the bomb on my team on Friday and it was the toughest thing I've ever had to do. Everybody was shocked because I'd been optimistic that we were going to get the sponsorship." ----
Walker still plans to field cars in Champ Car Atlantic this season, although the future of that series is also uncertain, and he hopes to be able to join the IRL next season.
Walker formed his team in 1991 after working in Roger Penske's IndyCar operation for 15 years. Their best result was finishing runner-up in the CART standings in 1997 with Gil de Ferran.
"It's very sad because the Team Australia concept was working [finished fourth in 2008] and this impacts a lot of good people," said Walker, who employs 40 staff at the team's Indianapolis headquarters and is now looking at other series for this season.

"I'm going to Mexico to check on the A1GP series to see if they need any personnel, because this team's biggest asset is its people."

Reference Here>>

So where does this leave the rest of the teams that remain?

Pacific Coast Motorsports says it intends to be at the season opener in Miami, but this statement is over two weeks old and with the demise of two top rated teams – Walker Racing’s Team Australia, and Forsythe Racing’s effort being combined and downsized with Conquest Racing, – ChampCar is suffering from a competition “brain drain”.

UPDATE: Minardi Team USA – OUT

In another blow to paint this unification as a “Merger”, one of the brightest lights to enter ChampCar competition last year, and posting a third in the championship series with rookie driver, Holland’s Robert Doornbos, will leave the 2008 season uncontested.

"Bobby-D", Robert Doornbos - Arguably The Netherland's most talented open-wheel race car driver is left without a ride with the announcement that Minardi Team USA is out of the IRL picture for 2008. Image Credit: Champ Car World Series 2007

This excerpted from Auto Sport –

Stoddart rules out IRL campaign
By Jonathan Noble & Steven English - AutoSport - Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 08:47 GMT

Paul Stoddart has decided not to enter his Minardi Team USA in the Indy Racing League this season.

He doesn't think the team, who ran Robert Doornbos to third in the Champ Car standings last season, could be competitive in their first year of IRL with the merger coming together so close to the start of the season.
"I think realistically 2010 is the first opportunity for Champ Car teams to become competitive, when the new car comes."

Stoddart believes the unification of open-wheel racing in North America was for the best, but doesn't think many Champ Car teams will make the switch for 2008.

"What happened was good for North American motorsport, it had to happen. But it wasn't beneficial for any of the Champ Car teams. In anything like this there are winners and losers and all the Champ Car teams were the losers.
But Stoddart will field cars in the one-off Champ Car event at Long Beach next month.

"We're going to have fun! I'm going to really enjoy that weekend and we're going all out to do the best job we can for the last ever Champ Car race.

"More above anything else, Champ Car stood for entertainment and fun. I will be sad afterwards as it's the end of an era, but it's overwhelmingly right for North American motorsport to reunify."
Reference Here>>

Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsports DP01 at speed down the short Pine Avenue straightaway during qualifications for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Paul Gentilozzi stepped up his unwavering commitment to motorsports in 2004 when he joined Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe as co-owners of the series. One wonders what is going on with Paul Gentilozzi now that the merger is almost one month old. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2007 The EDJE

This leaves Dale Coyne Racing, Rocketsports Racing, and RuSPORT … and since Rocketsports and RuSPORT ran in combination last year while looking to go it alone for 2008 ChampCar season … this does not look good.

Officially, the IRL website shows only the addition of Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing, and Conquest Racing (in combination with Forsythe Racing) which makes to date that One (1) and Two/Half (1/2+1/2) teams make it into the IRL show. Two (2) out of Ten (10) full teams is a pretty poor showing in able to call this thing a merger. This may actually be one of the worst showings at Long Beach in the previous 33 years would suggest now that the wrting is clearly on the wall. Without the involved support of the Indianapolis Racing League (something more than just sanctioning the race since there are ONLY TWO teams in the IRL) this year will be a bust.

With these teams unable to pull up to the starting line in the IRL, this leaves many good and competitive drivers out in the cold without a ride as well. The Long Beach Grand Prix may be the last time we see some of these open-wheel race drivers for a while. The most prominent names include (for now) Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Paul Tracy, Robert Doornbos, Oriol Servia, Dan Clarke, Tristan Gommendy, David Martinez, Alex Figge, and Katherine Legge.

The saddest part of this transition is how little respect the 34th race in the streets of Long Beach is getting. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for 2008 can not even get a mention on the official Indianapolis Racing League website. What a sad end to a proud racing tradition.

UPDATE: News is breaking today after three weeks of little or no movement.

This excerpted from -

Servia, Power join KV Racing Technology in series
By staff - Wednesday, March 12, 2008

KV Racing Technology co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser announced that the team will campaign two cars during the 2008 IndyCar Series season.

"In conjunction with our commitment to the IndyCar Series, we have re-branded the team as KV Racing Technology and agreed to a sponsorship arrangement with Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia. This will allow Will Power to join teammate Oriol Servia in what I believe will be the most competitive and exciting open-wheel racing series. We want to welcome both Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia and Will Power to our team and we look forward to a very successful season in 2008 and for many years to come."

KV Racing Technology is entering its sixth year of competition and its first in the IndyCar Series. Servia, who came to an agreement with the team earlier this year, will be behind the wheel of the KV Racing Technology No. 32 Honda/Dallara//Firestone entry. Power will drive the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia car.
Reference Here>>

Forum Response

… notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Universal City Gets "smart"

What's So Smart About The "smart" Car? - The name "smart" came from a combination of Swatch (the orininal designer), Mercedes (the manufacturer) and the word "art." The company also markets the cars with the brand and model name in lowercase to emphasize their small size. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2008, The EDJE

Universal City Gets “smart”

Last month saw the launching of the invasion by Mercedes Car Group, a Daimler AG Company of the “smart” Car here in Los Angeles. In a space that was once the longtime house of fashion for designer, Lane Davies, located on Lankershim Boulevard just North of Universal City, the smart Car has moved in and ready to become your personal scoot-about-town transportation device.

An idea that got its start a little over a decade ago (EDJE first caught sight of a Hugo Boss logo-painted smart Car while walking through a "Rodeo Drive" type section of Amsterdam), the smart Car was supposed to be a place where designer fashion meets affordable efficiency in short hop transportation. It’s small, cute, conservative on fuel, environmentally responsible, and easy to park in small spaces.

>>smart Car fortwo - The base pure model comes standard with convenience features such as a 5-speed automated manual transmission with manual or automatic mode, central remote locking system, 2-spoke leather steering wheel, radio-ready console, and more. Air conditioning, power windows and alloy wheels are optional. Caption Credit: smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2008, The EDJE

With the size of the smart Car being only 8 feet, 2.5 inches long, less than 5 feet wide and about 5 feet tall, one can imagine that it would be easy for three smart Cars to park curbside where the typical stretch limousine once took up space.

smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group, is the exclusive distributor for smart in North America and Puerto Rico. smart USA is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. smart center Universal City is located at 4227 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91603 – Contact Ken Crossman - (818) 762-7875

Good things come in small packages and the smart fortwo is no exception. Each model’s revolutionary design conveys innovation, functionality and joy of life. Caption & Image Credit: smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group

This excerpted from How Stuff Works -

How the Smart Car Works
Ed Grabianowski – How Stuff Works – March 11, 2008

gas prices at historic highs in the United States and fuel-efficient cars in vog­ue, the time might be perfect for DaimlerChrysler to introduce the Smart Car to U.S. markets. Al­ready popular in Europe, the Smart Car is small in stature but big on economy. The updated Smart Fortwo (named because it's "for two" people) is ready for release in 2008, so we could be seeing a lot more Smart Cars on the road in the near future.

The Smart Car began with Nicolas Hayek, the man who invented Swatch watches.
The Swatch Company collaborated with Daimler-Benz (after a failed venture with Volkswagen) to create the first City Coupe under the company name Micro Compact Car (MCC).

Development began in 1994, and the first car was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997. The MCC went on sale the following year, but Hayek was disappointed with the use of a conventional
engine -- he'd wanted a hybrid or pure electric motor -- and the price of the car, which was higher than expected.

When initial sales were slow, Swatch pulled out of the partnership, leaving Daimler-Benz (now DaimlerChrysler) full owner of the Smart division. Today, Smart is part of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes group.
One of the major problems with very small, light automobiles is that they can be unsafe in a collision. The Smart solution is the Tridion steel safety shell. Image Credit: ©1998-2006 DaimlerChrysler via How Stuff Works

The Smart solution is the Tridion steel safety shell. This hemispherical steel "cage" encloses the interior of the car and also forms the bulk of the Smart's chassis. A small energy-absorbing crumple zone at the front of the car lessens impacts, and the engine lives in the trunk of the car instead of the front.

While a 1,500-lb. car will never be as safe for the occupants as a larger vehicle, the Tridion shell holds up remarkably well in
crash tests. A 70 mph crash test conducted by British TV show "Top Gear" revealed that the Smart Fortwo's body remained mostly intact when compared to that of a conventional subcompact car.
Both the 50- and 61-hp engines are three cylinder engines, with cooled
turbochargers. According to Smart, the 61-hp engine can go from zero to 60 mph in about 15 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 84 mph for the driver's safety (cars as small and light as the Fortwo become very unstable at high speeds).

In city driving, the Fortwo gets a reported 46.3 mpg, while highway driving is an even more impressive 68.9 mpg. The 50-hp engine accelerates more slowly, but the electronic speed limit is the same, and the mpg ratings are the same as well.
Reference Here>>

Overall, the smart Car has style, size, and the Mercedes glow working for it, but this IS Los Angeles where Freeways function as Boulevards, Boulevards are Streets, Streets are Avenues, Avenues are Alleys … and Alleys are NOT any place one wants to be if one is, well, smart, especially in a “smart”.

Please excuse me for now, I need to get to the corner 76 Station … I need to fill up my Tahoe (at nearly $4.00 a gallon), get to the Ralph’s strip shopping center (one mile away), battle for the closest COMPACT labeled & stripped parking space because I am just dying for a Starbuck’s Grande blend of the day.

While I’m at it, I’ll go online and post this story up at Blogger.

… notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Support Series Captures Guinness Book World Record

Logan Gomez stated upon hearing about the Guinness Book Record confirmation, "I was happy just to get my first win at Chicagoland, but if you're going set a world record, I can't think of any better way than to win a race, even if it's by a very slim margin." (click photo to launch event video) – Image Credit: The EDJE 2008 (via video from

Support Series Captures Guinness Book World Record

The official “feeder series” to the Indianapolis Racing League (IRL) that was designed to develop young drivers to compete at the highest levels of Open-Wheel automobile racing captured a mark yesterday that IndyCar, ChampCar, A1GP, and F1 may never reach.

The IndyPro Series was awarded the Guinness Book of World Records recognition for the closest margin of victory in a car race.

Logan Gomez sits in IndyPro car, helmet on and ready to race. (click photo to launch event video) - Image Credit: The EDJE 2008 (via video from

The race in question was decided by an estimated 1.65 inches by two cars traveling at 190 miles per hour where the car driven by Logan Gomez beat out Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Alex Lloyd by an incredible 0.0005 seconds.

Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (click photo to launch event video) – Image Credit: The EDJE 2008 (via video from

The feat was marked at an IndyPro Series season-finale race run at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois – “Chicagoland 100” Sunday, September 9, 2007

Logan Gomez of IndyPro Series Sam Schmidt Racing wins first open-wheel race on the way to the record books. - Image Credit:

This quote excerpted from -

Closest finish recognized as world record
By staff - Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"It's a great honor to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records," said Gomez, a Crown Point, Ind., native who will return for his second season in the Indy Pro Series with Guthrie Racing in 2008. "I was happy just to get my first win at Chicagoland, but if you're going set a world record, I can't think of any better way than to win a race, even if it's by a very slim margin."

Reference Here>>

I guess it can be said that the IndyPro Series is not only "The Fast Track" TO INDY but the recognized world record setting track as well.

So this announcement comes just as the professional open-wheel racing series in North America agreed to become unified - I guess we all can look upon this as a pleasant wedding present!

... notes fron The EDJE