Bartender Rumors #7

Alright, I might had forgotten to get questions from Twitter, as I had originally planned to head over before the weekend, but then realized there was a race on Friday night, which changed my plans. So I bring you rumors only, no responses, sorry, I'll make up for it.

Anyways, I went by last night and here is what the good man had to tell you and me.

-He says LDR will be a two car team in 2010, no news on driver. He still expects Takuma Sato at LDR for Homestead.
-He says asides from the FAZZT Racing team with driver Alex Tagliani, you can expect one more new (or old) team for 2010, one that no one is talking about.
-Sponsorship packages are hurting for 2010. Teams are hoping that the Homestead numbers turn out to be very good being the championship deciding race. They figure that will finish the season off on a good note, and help sell sponsors on Versus.
-Vision will answer the call in 2010, but one other team won't.
-He says Brazil is 50/50 at the moment.
-A1GP is counting on Brazil happening because they want to be a support race, and have already held discussions with the IRL. They have scheduled their race in Brazil for the same weekend.
-VW may use the IRL as a way to introduce the high end Phaethon back to the USA. They are planning to relaunch the previously failed model to the US in 2011 or 2012.
-Milka is back full time for 2010.

Lots of stuff to go through here, what are your thoughts.


Time To Make A Stand

It's been a couple of years now since we've seen chassis diversity in the Indycar Series and who knows when we will see it again. During discussions about a new car, Indycar officials stated something along the lines of "Dallara will be the sole provided of the new chassis" when the car comes out in 2011 or 2012.

Well, the IRL has backed down from that, however, we still haven't heard anything official in regards to who would be allowed to build the new chassis' when the new car does come out some time in the next decade. I know some people still believe the IRL will go with one manufacturer because they believe it to be the cheapest, or maybe because, according the Robin Miller, the IRL gets kick backs from every part sold by Dallara.

Either way, most fans of the sport believe we need multiple engine manufacturers and multiple chassis manufacturers to keep the tradition of Indycar racing and Indianapolis alive. Spec racing can be fun, but I believe it has outlived it's welcome with ICS fans.

Throughout the engine summit, rumors have circulated about VW and Porshe and Alfa Romeo joining the series, but none of that has come through as fact. The latest rumor is that no one will join Honda in 2011. Indycar can't really control that, if engine manufacturers don't want to come on board, the IRL can't force their hand to do so.

However, chassis diversification can indeed be helped by Indycar seeing how there are multiple chassis manufacturers interested in the Indycar series. Imagine the step up the series would take if chassis' produced by Dallara competed with Panoz and Lola every week. Three different chassis manufacturers producing different cars that produce different levels of downforce would provide massive amounts of passing opportunities, and would bring in diversity to the sport again. Atleast it would make the fans we have now happier.

But in order to get the IRL to bring in these multiple chassis manufacturers, we the fans have to force their hand the best we can. Being the ones who buy the tickets and support the sponsors and watch the races on television, deserve to have some sort of say in the matter. So, I am hereby introducing the "Bring Chassis Diversity Back To The Indycar Series" Petition.

This petition will allow fans to voice their strong wishes for multiple chassis manufacturers for the new era of Indycar racing. Once we get enough votes, I will send this Petition on to the IRL. In the meantime, let's get as many signatures as we can. Send the link around, get your friends to sign it, any IRL fan you know, hell, any racing fan you know. Get the word out there, as this is our chance to have a say in the future of Indycar Racing in North America.


Let Danica Go To Nascab

I know, I ripped into Danica earlier this summer on the blog, and I got a good amount of heat for doing it. People couldn't believe I was ripping a strip off of the IRL's princess, oh well, these things happen. And if I ever feel the need to do it again, I probably will.

However, I will admit one thing, she has done rather well since then, staying in 5th place, even after a bunch of road courses which are her weak point. Even I have to give her credit. Being the best of the rest, atleast in terms of points, is a great accomplishment. Who knows, if she was in a Ganassi or Penske car, she could be near the top of the points standings and battling for a championship with two races to go.

So yes, I just gave her some props for her good runs. Bookmark this posting because it won't happen all that often.

Being an IRL blogger, I'm well aware that she is our biggest ticket in 2009, and probably will be for about 2 or 3 years along as she sticks around for a while. She brings in big ratings, is our biggest known driver, and her car consistently has the highest ROI in the end of season ratings.

If she happened to dissapear from the IRL and Indycar Series, it would hurt. But the latest rumors going around, specificially, Danica sticking with the IRL while doing a few ARCA, Trucker Series, and Busch League races for Tony Stewart's team could turn into a positive overall for the IRL.

Obviously, if she does run a few races in tin tops (which in my opinion, is a terrible career move for her, because she will most likely fail miserably), it most likely points towards her departure for Nascab in 2011 or 2012.

However, any fans she gains over there could follow her over to the Indycar Series race on ABC and Versus. Hell, if she is able to battle for the points title in 2010 in the ICS, as well as run competitively in some tin tops, she might even get some rednecks to tune in for the points race simply to follow her, and to see how Nascab's princess is doing. If these people happen to tune into Chicagoland and see the fabulous 3 wide racing these heroes put on in a few weeks ago, then maybe these Nascrap fans stick around to watch a little more often.

These additional fans might help turn Graham Rahal, Alex Lloyd, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tomas Scheckter and Ed Carpenter into more mainstream guys. Nascab fans know how to get behind a driver, and maybe they can do the same and teach some ICS fans to do the same.

Overall, Danica going to race in the various Nascrap series basically gives the IRL free advertising with potential for very high return on investment.

Thus, let her race tin tops. Whether she decides to leave full time for the taxi's or not, she will be doing the IRL a favor while trying them out.


Bartender Rumors #6

I headed down to the bar tonight for a pint and a chat. Figured after a nice long weekend, drinking on a tuesday would be a positive. Turns out I was too early for our favorite bartender, so I had to sit around an hour or so, gave me time to enjoy beer.

Anyways, when he did show up, he was lively and entertaining. I had shown up with a few questions in hand from some tweeps on Twitter. I got those questions answered and got a couple other tidbits for your enjoyment.

@indy44 wanted to know what the bartender thought about his theory in regards to the 2009/2010 silly season. "Dixon to De Ferran, Danica to Ganassi & AGR running 2 car team with TK and Marco".
  • He's not totally sure what is happening. Dixon all depends on the contract option, which no one seems to know if it is Dixon's option to return to TCGR in 2010, or Ganassi's option on Dixon for 2010. He says if Dixon can get out of the contract in 2010, Scott will be at De Ferran Motorsports asap. He says AGR runs three cars for Danica, Marco, and TK.

@PlanetIRLdotcom asked about where Dan Wheldon would end up in 2010.

  • He said he had heard a possibility where Wheldon ends up at De Ferran Motorsports to team with Simon Pagenaud, but it is nothing substantial right now. Dan wants to go back to AGR, but they don't have an interest in him apparently. Dan will have to wait and see how the cookie crumbles.

For future reference, I will always post on my twitter page within a day of when I head to the bar, so if you have questions for him, just tweet me.

He also had this to say.

  • He still expects Takuma Sato to be in a car at Homestead. Apparently Honda didn't want to break him in on ovals in front of his home crowd in case he had a bad outing.
  • He said AGR is the only good team that wants to put up with Danica running both Nascab and ICS.
  • He says to expect big things from HVM in 2010. Doornbos signed on with them for the rest of 2009 and all of 2010 because he was promised big improvements from his funding for the HVM Dallara's.
  • J.R. Hildebrand to Panther? Jonathan Bomarito to Coyne?

That's all for tonight, I'll be visiting him on Friday night after the local Ribfest. Should be a good night, and I'll have something for you guys on saturday or sunday.


The Dixon Chronicles

For anyone who believes in the 2010 Dixon to De Ferran rumors, you just got a little bit more news to nibble on. For those of you who don't believe he is going anywhere in 2010, well, keep reading for my sake.

SpeedTV is reporting that Dixon will be joining the young, and possibly ICS bound, Simon Pagenaud along with team owner Gil de Ferran behind the wheel of the race-winning #66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a prototype for Petit Le Mans.

This will be Scott's third time in a De Ferran Motorsports prepared prototype, and if rumors are true, he could be in a De Ferran Motorsports prepared Dallara in 2010 full-time. Leaving arguably the top Indycar team over the past 2 seasons and moving to a start up Indycar team (however, most likely backed by Honda) wouldn't seem the best career move, especially for a recent Champion. We've all seen what happened to Jacques Villeneuve's F1 career and his BAR fiasco.

However, there were strong rumors about Dixon being frustrated or upset over the summer that included everything from having a teammate that can compete with him (Franchitti) to Danica Patrick running a third Ganassi car. Robin Miller first broke the news of a possible Dixon to de Ferran, and Miller hasn't been too far off lately.

Oh, and there is something about an option for 2010 in Dixon's contract, yet, no one seems to know if it is Dixon's option or TCGR's option on Dixon. Obviously, if it is Ganassi's option, this could all be a moot point.

Of course, I'm sure de Ferran is doing everything he can to woo over the 29 year old Dixon. Start a new team with Honda and Apex-Brazil backing, then sign a two-time (possibly three time) champion in your first season would be a pretty big step towards becoming competitive from the get go. And who better to have Simon Pagenaud learn off of then the Iceman?

Anyways, make of it what you will. Most of this stuff is probably blown out of proportion in the first place, but, it's fun to speculate. Atleast Dixon running in Petit Le Mans is a sure thing, the rest of it, not so much.


Come Back Time

Well, I'm finally back on the scene. Took some time off from the blog simply because I didn't have the time for it unfortunately. I was in Edmonton for the Founders Cup (Jr. B National Championship), and prior to that, we were going 110% to get ready for the tournament. Hopefully you guys can forgive me and I can get whatever followers I had on the blog back for the last couple races and into the off-season. I'm planning on doing a silly season page for the site to keep everyone up to date on the multiple situations regarding empty race seats and new teams.

Anyways, I missed the Sonoma race as I was flying back from Edmonton, saw the intro show on the plane, and got home to see the winner interview. I had heard about the Will Power/Nelson Philippe crash and am very happy Nelson was not hurt further then he was. Happy both men will be alright. If Will is ready for 2010 hopefully we'll see him in a Penske Dallara. As for Nelson, if he is ready to go, expect him back at Conquest for a lot more races, if not the full season under the i drive green banner.

Luckily, I planned timed into schedule last saturday to watch the Chicago race, and got to watch another race from start to finish. And what a race I got to watch. Close action lap after lap, passing, side by side racing, and a top four that didnt involve Red-Red-Red-Red (or in Dario's case, the yellow Lifelock livery).

Mario Moraes managed his best finish in his still short ICS career in a race dedicated to his father. Graham Rahal also made a strong push for first with a couple of laps to go. I know I was on the edge of my seat to see if Graham could make it stick around the outside and take the lead, but he just didn't have the help he wanted.

As for those who are complaining about the Indycar Series at Chicagoland being dangerous and contrived, I say to you, Chicagoland has always been a very tight track competition wise. Look back at the 2008 race and you'll see that the cars were just as tight, yet there were simply less cars able to hang with the Penske/Ganassi bunch last year. And if I recall correctly, I didn't hear anyone complaining last year about the pack racing. As for the danger involved in the close, sidepod to sidepod action, perhaps the danger involved will help teach the drivers on track to respect eachother a bit more. It seemed like drivers had learned to be fearless with all the new safety innovations, and can be attributed to some stupid accidents where drivers didn't mind putting someone in the wall at 220 mph. Hey, by the way, unfortunately, danger gets the viewers attention.

Now we have this Versus/Comcast/DirecTV issue coming up. Obviously, people aren't happy about this, especially those subscribed to DirecTV. As far as I'm concerned, give it time. They've got about two more weeks before you really need to worry about not being able to see Motegi.

By the way, big thumbs up to Alex Tagliani who managed to put something together to run full time in 2010 (atleast that's the plan) with entrepreneur Andre Azzi. This current and future unofficial Team Canada seems to have the makings of something good right off the bat. They bought the remnants of Marty Roth's ICS team, which includes 4 top of the line (yet heavily crash damaged) Dallara's. Those cars, according to Robin Miller, are all top of the line Dallara's, and Roth spent top dollar to buy all the little extra's for his cars. If Tag's can bring up James Hinchcliffe and Andrew Ranger once he retires, then his team will be a success.

Grand-Am Rolex Series at IMS? Screw that. If you want a sports car race there, run a 12 Hour ALMS race there. An Indy ALMS 12 or 24 hour race would bring in the same major entrants from across the pond as Petit Le Mans brings across for Road Atlanta. Grand-Am is slow, boring, and very low car counts, and it's Nascabish.

Alright, well, I will drop by the Gryphon and see if our favorite bartender still has his job, hopefully he will be working and can give the dish on some silly season stuff. Stay tuned folks.
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