Series may Exclude Outside Engine Manufacturers for Foreseeable Future

In an interview with Dick Eidswick he has indicated that there are no plans to open up the engine requirements of the series to outside manufacturers.

"We have discussed it, but it is the belief of the ownership of this series that we want to have racing that concentrates on the drivers and the driver skills. That’s why we have such a variety of races – to test those drivers, no matter where they go. Having everyone run the same tires and the same engine gives the drivers an even playing field. In our racing, anyone can win. Some teams are stronger than others, but anyone can win, and we think that’s a good thing. Our tendency is to continue along with that pattern."

Follow link for complete interview CCWS

WickerBill sez;

Ah ha, just as I expected. In my article The Cosworth Spin I suggested that this was a possibility but I didn't think it could be done. Let's hope this coup de e'ssai doesn't turn into a coup de grace!


Not as in the state but as in the Japanese greeting for good morning give or take the goziamas. The Champ Car web site is reporting this morning that Kevin and his boys have been negoatiating with Japanese officials to hold a race in Japan in 2007.

WickerBill sez;

The W in CCWS grows even larger!


Robin Miller

Hey Robin, thanks for the update I bugged you for. Although there hasn't been much change in the driver line up yet it was nice to hear some of the reasons.

Also glad to hear your estimate of the Phoenix IRL race attendance wasn't far off. As I have said many times; 30,000 is not a crowd........then neither is 8000.

Glock + Lock = Maybe?

Rumor has it that Timo Glock has signed with Rocketsports but conditionally, if F1 calls then he goes there......maybe!

WickerBill sez;

Ain't this fun?

Sebring Testing Results

Day 1
1).. 51.47 Paul Tracy, Forsythe
2).. 51.64 Timo Glock, Rocketsports
3).. 51.82 Jos Verstappen, HVM
4).. 51.97 Andrew Ranger, Mi-Jack/Conquest
5).. 52.06 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Rocketsports
6).. 52.10 Rodolfo Lavin, Forsythe
7) ..52.13 Nelson Philippe, Mi-Jack/Conquest
8).. 52.39 Jimmy Vasser, PKV
9).. 52.57 Alex Tagliani, Walker
10).. 52.60 Oriol Servia, Dale Coyne
11) ..52.60 Marcus Marshall, Walker
12).. 52.62 Ronnie Bremer, HVM
13).. 52.92 Bjorn Wirdheim, Dale Coyne

Day 2
1).. 50.96 Timo Glock, Rocketsports
2).. 51.09 Jimmy Vasser, PKV
3).. 51.14 Rodolfo Lavin, Forsythe
4).. 51.15 Sebastien Bourdais, Newman-Hass
5).. 51.18 Alex Tagliani, Walker
6).. 51.22 Cristiano da Matta, PKV
7).. 51.22 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Rocketsports
8).. 51.30 Andrew Ranger, Mi-Jack/Conquest
9).. 51.36 Paul Tracy, Forsythe
10).. 51.42 Oriol Servia, Dale Coyne
11).. 51.42 Mario Dominguez, HVM
12).. 51.63 Roberto Gonzales, HVM
13).. 51.63 Nelson Philippe, Mi-Jack/Conquest
14).. 51.90 Bjorn Wirdheim, Dale Coyne
15).. 52.59 Marcus Marshall, Walker

Times provided by Cosworth Racing

Dominguez out of Work

The Long Beach Press telegram is reporting that Mario Dominguez has lost his ride at HVM due to a last minute sponsorship fall out. The Press Telegram reports that the deal fell through Wednesday.

WickerBill sez;

If true this deals a serious blow to the coffers at CCW$ since they will no doubt have to subsidize the HVM effort until they get sponsorship, which could be all season.

China - you bet!

CCWS has reached an agreement to hold an event in China.

Click link to read full story China

WickerBill sez;

Another venue NASCAR and the IRL can follow us to.
The W in CCWS gets stronger, perhaps a new name is in order, uhmm..... F something.
I hope we don't make Bernie mad!

CCWS in Argentina

The Edmonton Sun is reporting that Champ Car is close to a deal that would bring their show to Argentina. When.......... soon they say.

WickerBill sez:

Looks like the W in CCWS is coming to pass.

2005 Driver Line-Up Coming into Focus

WickerBill Sez:

Information as of today has the following line up of Driver/Teams for the 05 Season. Unconfirmed drivers in Italics

Upadated 3/30/04 Walker sold to Team Australia
Updated 3/31/05 Dominguez confirmed at Forsythe
Updated 4/1/05 Autosport confirms Wirdheim at HVM
Upadted 4/4/05 Bremer announced by HVM
Updated 5/7/05 R. Sperafico and Servia confirmed by Gurneyflap @paddock talk Forum
Updated 5/8/05 Del Monte confirmed by Toronto Sun for 1 Off at Long Beach

Newman Hass....................... Bordais / Junqueira
Team Australia...................... Tagliani / Marshall
PKV......................................Vasser / daMAtta
HVM..................................... Wirdheim / Bremer
Forsythe............................... Tracy / Dominguez
Rusport................................. Wilson /Allmendinger
Mi-Jack Conquest................. Ranger / Phillippe
Rocketsports........................ Hunter-Reay / Glock
Coyne.................................... Servia / R. Sperafico
Jensen.................................. Del Monte

NASCAR on the Streets of Toronto!

The Winston- Salem Journal recently indicated that NASACR has a desire to race in Canada. To that end they report that NACSAR will be on a fact finding tour in Montreal and Toronto. They also indicate that that CCWS's contracts could easliy be bought out.

WickerBill sez:


Give me a break.... 43 3400 pound behemoths on a street course, they'll wear out the yellow flag.

At least they're beginning to understand that racing is more than running in circles!

Post correction courtesy john rodman 3/26

Jensen to Announce Driver

Just spoke to Jensen MotorSport about the driver for their new Champ Car effort. They say the driver will not be Eric Jensen. They are set to announce on March 30.


Robin Miller- Straight from the Gearbox;

In your March 14 article over at the Champ Car World Series website you make a big deal of the unamed drivers for the 2005 season. Well don't leave us hanging....what's happening?

Newman Hass to Help Fill Indy 500 Field

IndyStar is saying that Newman Hass is dusting of their IRL chassis for a run at Indy this year, one for Bruno and one for Seabass.

Apparently Honda has found more money in their discretionary funds drawer or perhaps the budget was a well kept secret! Well, if they have to be there I hope they win.

Phoenix Attendance Update

IndyStar is putting the attendance at 15,000, much lower than my generous estimate of 30,000 in yesterday's comments. The basics don't change 15,000 or 30,000, either one ain't a crowd!

Attendance for First two IRL Races Abysmal

IndyStar generously puts the Homestead race attendance at 30,000. Without counting heads I would say that is a well spun number. Today’s attendance at Phoenix couldn’t have been any better judging from what I saw from the few peeks I could get of the crowd during the race. It seems that after 100 events over 10 years that having so few attending would be a wake up call for the business. Even with the so called high profile teams from CART the IRL continues to struggle with their attendance. You can spin the numbers anyway you want but if 30,000 is a problem then 31,000 is not the answer.

I believe CCWS is right thinking in their approach to have events only where it makes business sense, and good attendance is one of the fundamentals to that end. As I have said many times, one of these two series will likely not survive and the one that does will be the best business.

Verstappen to CCWS

Jo$ Ver$tappen is again rumored to be coming to CCW$, can you guess what he might bring to the game????

Jensen MotorSport ups the Ante

From Jensen website:

<Jensen MotorSport

Jensen Motor Sport is pleased to announce that our program will be considerably expanded to include competition at all fourteen (14) ChampCar World Series races in 2005.

Among many reasons why this news is special, is that this will be the first time in over twenty years that a Canadian based racing team will be competing at the top level of professional racing.

Jensen, based in Ontario Canada, expects to announce our driver for the ChampCar at a press event in Toronto on March 30th.

Team owner Eric Jensen states, "There are quite a few terrific driver prospects available to us. Our original plan was to participate in only four or five races in 2005, starting at the Molson Indy Toronto in July. However, we have had a terrific spring and some new corporate partners are providing us with the resources we need to run the whole season."

Now let's get the car count over 18.............!

Walker Racing to Field Two Lolas

Walker Racing announced that the team would field two Lolas this season ending speculation about the team's demise. The team also finds a home for Alex Tagliani, long time Champ car driver that has struggled to get a ride this year after being dumped from the Forsythe team. Partnering with Tagliani will be Marcus Marshall, who has competed in several European formulae ranging from Formula Renault to F3 and of late, Carrera Cup.

Walker said, “Media speculation had us gone from the series and closing our doors but the reality is we have had the elements of our two car multi-year commitment for nearly two months now. It takes time to find new sponsor partners. This commitment is clearly an indication of how the series is gaining strength and the renewed interest of companies in the future of the Champ Car World Series.”

So Long Road America

I say so long and not goodbye because although the Champ Cars are not scheduled to run at Road America in 2005 I still hold out hope that they will someday return. Although I no longer live in Milwaukee I would still make the pilgrimage there to see them run if they come back. After moving to Milwaukee in 1991, Road America quickly became my favorite road racing course and the annual trip to see the Champ Cars was highly regarded as a favorite summertime activity. The window for summertime activity in Wisconsin can be very narrow as many of the natives will admit. I even made some new Champ Car fans by asking them to join me on my annual trek. During the more than a decade I was privileged to go there I can honestly say I never had a bad experience. Even sitting in the rain with a poncho and umbrella trying to keep dry wasn’t enough to detract from the thrill of the event.

Champ Cars first raced at Road America in 1982 when Hector Rebaque a Formula 1 driver scored his first and only Champ Car win. He led only two miles of the entire race but it was the most important two as Unser ran out of fuel on the last lap giving the lead and win to Hector. A similar fate befell Al Jr. in 1996 when his engine went up in smoke in Canada corner on the last lap giving Michael Andretti his third Road America win shutting out the Unser’s from ever winning at Road America. Both Michael and Mario scored three peats at Road America the most by any driver in the 23 years of racing there.

Attendance at the 82 Champ Car race was estimated to be approximately 40,000. Attendance at the last race in 2004 was estimated to be 35,000. It’s little wonder that it has been omitted from the 2005 schedule. After 23 years of racing Champ Cars at Road America there was a net loss of approximately 5000 in attendance. However during the peak years in the 90’s attendance was very good. I can remember at one race there was an announcement that came over the PA system proclaiming the race was being attended by the largest crowd ever to see a sporting event in the state of Wisconsin. I don’t know the exact number but it must have been in the range of 85 to 90,000. In those days you couldn’t always find a good seat to watch the race from if you didn’t go early and reserve it. There was some unwritten rule which allowed you to unofficially reserve a seat or spot by placing a blanket or some other identifying object over the seats you wanted. I always thought it was very presumptuous of the fans to assume they would still have their belongings much less the spots they were trying to reserve come race time but it always seemed to work out, I never saw any disagreements over the process when the fans returned to lay claim. Also, in it’s heyday you waited in line to get eats, the paddocks were full of fans with huge crowds gathered around the most popular teams even the Neon paddock had crowds. And getting out of the facility after the race was an art in itself. At the 2003 race, my last, it was as though I was the only one there. No waiting for any of the facilities, my years of learning the best escape route after the race wasn’t even needed. It was a sad commentary for what used to be a really great event.

One of my fondest memories will always be the pace car ride I got. I knew that by not being invited as a sponsor or other support member, which the pace car rides were reserved for, I was not likely to get a ride, but after a lot of finagling and some very helpful advice found on the internet I scored a ride. And, oh yeah, you do have to sign away your life before you get in! The rides began and ended at the turn five cut through. After I got in and buckled up, the driver a very nice young lady, yes I said lady, who later told me see would also be driving in the Neon race, took off up the hill to turn six. As we entered six I became convinced that it would not be possible to go that fast through this turn. As we exited the turn my whole outlook on the speeds through these turns was altered forever. When you are watching from trackside it is night and day different than when you are actually doing it! After turn six Hurry Downs and the Carousel was a piece of cake. As we exited the carousel and accelerated towards the Kink I glanced down at the speedometer to see it approaching 100. The Kink began to look more like a 90 degree turn to my rookie eyes than a kink. But once we were through it I thought, this is really fun where do I get a license. I don’t even remember Canada corner, said to be named after the large crowds of Canadians which gathered there in the track’s early days, so I assumed by then I was getting used to the speed. When we arrived back at the cut though and what should have been the end of the ride there was no one waiting for a ride, the driver looked at me and said this is your lucky day and off we went for another lap. This time I was completely prepared for turn six I even secretly wished she would have tried going faster.

Everyone that has been there agrees the food at Road America is great. It goes beyond the usual hot dog or hamburger that is commonly available at other venues. My first stop after arriving at the track was always Siebkens in the Champ Car paddock for some of their Cajon potatoes. It was not unusual to have to wait for them to finishing cooking a batch as they were very popular. You could get a brat at almost any of the stands around the track. My favorite was to get one from the Johnsonville barbeque; a huge promotional Barbie made the size of an 18 wheeler, to promote the Johnsonville brand.

Every October the track sponsors a walk and run for the American Cancer Society and all of the entry fees are donated. Everyone entering gets a nice long sleeve T shirt. Long sleeved you ask, hey it’s Wisconsin. After losing a friend to cancer I decided to get off my can and at least enter the walk part. It was an opportunity to see the track close up and besides I could use the exercise. This trip was almost enlightening a as my pace car ride. When I took off walking I saw that there were some very serious runners also in this event. Before I reached the first of the watering stations, which were set up at one mile increments, the PA announcer was excitedly reporting seeing the first runner crossing the finish line. Sure glad I signed up for the walk part!

For the sake of future generations I hope Champ Car and Road America can work through their differences and find a way to co-promote an event at this beautiful track. I would love to go back there to experience some more of the many thrills I have had there. Perhaps Champ Car can revive itself to the popularity it once had, then maybe it will be easier for the two parties to get together. If it doesn’t happen I may have seen my last race there. I certainly hope not.

Bill Sheets
© Copyright 2005

IRL Fails to Impress

I couldn’t help tuning in to the IRL Homestead event yesterday after I found out that Scheckter had won the pole. It’s not that I have any particular fondness for Scheckter and definitely not for the IRL but my interest was how the Chevrolet, assisted by Cosworth, engine would do in the race.

It certainly seemed to me that the Chevrolet was up to the challenge especially in the early stages of the race. Of course it’s hard to tell exactly what all of the team strategies are without first hand knowledge so the early domination by the Panther driver may have been as a result of more conservative fuel strategies by the other teams. As the race developed it became clear that Scheckter had the power to dominate. It appeared that the Panther team pit stops were costing track position as each time they pitted he came out down in position from where he entered. Of course it was the final yellow that cost Scheckter any chance of showing what the Chevy was made of as the melee on the restart took him and several others out.

That final yellow thrown by race control for a very minor grass fire along the pit roadway was, in my opinion, unnecessary. The yellow flag syndrome just seems to get worse. At some point racing may need to be renamed for color of it’s caution flag.

The other draw to the race had nothing to do with the action on the track but the television coverage offered up by ESPN. The idea of having a small box in one part of the screen and another larger box in another part of the screen running a commercial so we didn’t miss out on the action during commercials was a bust. On my 27 inch screen the action box, which in this race was only showing the parade of yellow flag action, was too small to keep my interest. I can’t imagine a sponsor ever signing up for that again.

Over all the show was unimpressive, oh and what about the close racing......forget it, you mean yellow flag induced close racing!
 Posted by Hello


I found this tidbit on a website which shall remain nameless. I can certainly see why such speculation might exist given the IRL's history of teaming up with NASCAR to help the attendance at their events. I would hope that this is only rumor and nothing ever comes of it but if it does come to pass I hope that Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn't a part of the deal.

WickerBill sez;

I’ve been critical of Tony George's business acumen since long before he split open wheel racing. Perhaps if this is true it gives even more credence to my criticism. Why? -- He won't make a dime from the deal!

What could this mean to the Champ Car series? Who knows, I think it would largely depend on what NASCAR has up their sleeve. Do you think Kalkhoven has enough money to wrest IMS from TG?

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