Thursday, February 21, 2008

Open wheel reunification

It appears IndyCar and Champ Car are on the verge of reuniting after the split in 1996. The news should be greeted with cheers and relief from the open wheel community, but I take the bah-humbug approach because it's 12 years too late. The split divided open wheel drivers, teams, sponsors and fans.

I enjoyed watching CART in the late 1990s when Alex Zanardi, Jimmy Vasser, Greg Moore and Paul Tracy were mixing it up. The series lost steam at the turn of the century when CART titans Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi hopped to the IRL in order to race at Indy and compete full-time in the IndyCar Series. With the driving talent split between both series, neither could claim a legitimate champion.

Meanwhile, NASCAR took advantage as its rating and popularity soared. Now some of the best from Indy are driving south to Sprint Cup, including Dario Franchitti, last year's IndyCar champ. It's a good thing that open wheel racing will be under one roof, but it's too little too late, in my mind.

1 comment:

El Duffo O Muerte said...

You're pretty much dead-on. The only attraction open-wheel has left is watching a cute girl try to race against men, and IRL & Champ are pretty much done once Danica finally wins a damn race and signs a SPRINT cup contract the next day. They should scrap the idea in the U.S. and have the NASCAR boys drive open wheel once a year in the Indy 500 for the sheer tailgate party atmosphere of it all.