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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

Captain Crunch Time
5/29/03

ATHENS, NY—Just when you thought you had heard every possible type of anti-CΛRT propaganda that the inheritor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his PR henchman were capable of inventing within the limitations of their meager intellectual resources, a racing/business personality who is thought of by most as being extremely intelligent inserts himself into the spin cycle, obviously to run interference for the aforementioned gray matter-challenged duo.

Thus far, Roger Penske’s attempt to play motorsports fans like a fiddle for the fools that they always turn out to be, is going well. That is, if wellness is to be measured by the apparent number of folks who have bought into Penske’s pronouncements in the belief that they are objective and truthful.

"I think open-wheel racing today is certainly on a lot more solid ground that it's been in the past,” Penske begins. “People might disagree with me, but we have a vision. CΛRT obviously has decided to be international…in markets outside the U.S. and to focus on road racing, whereas the IRL has focused on ovals and major U.S. markets. And I can say from our sponsors, they're a lot more interested in the U.S. markets.”

Is the Captain telling us that we have been conned into believing that open-wheel racing currently stands on the shakiest ground on which it has ever found itself; that it is completely untrue that, as a result the unstable economy, corporate spending cut-backs, high technology costs, inhibited travel and declining TV viewership—not to mention “the split” which he has done much to perpetuate of late—that it has become impossible to run one strong American open-wheel series let alone two?

Would Roger Penske have us believe that his suddenly overpriced, parochial ovals-only deal which visits such burgeoning American metropoli as Nashville, Richmond, Pikes Peak and Nazareth covers significantly more major market US cities than CΛRT—Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Greater Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Miami, St. Petersburg? Nearby Canadian and Mexican super markets, in which American products and services predominate, only make the Champ Car World Series more alluring to potential US-based sponsors and corporate partners in a normal business climate.

That the Champ Car Company is still chasing the self-marketing which might endear it to domestic companies continues to be the primary reason for CΛRT’s failings in that arena. And besides, with the increasing number of Brazilian, Japanese and assorted ride-buying foreigners now participating, the IRL’s sponsor base is naturally becoming decidedly less American every day.

"But what has to happen as we go forward is, in order to sustain 25 or 30 vehicles, there's got to be some combination coming together, and that's going to happen by itself,” Roger Penske continues. “No one has the silver bullet that will change the situation. The economy will dictate what happens.”

Yes, it will certainly have to “happen by itself” O Captain my Captain. Unfortunately, that is because the clown whose shill you have become has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that he is not about to negotiate with anyone on the subject of re-unification.

If, Mr. Penske, your buddy the spoilsport has somehow convinced you otherwise and/or led you to believe that the power of your fortune might prevail, at some future time, over his grandparents’ stack of cash then you have become lamentably delusional in your old age.

Penske’s Propaganda Pitch concludes: “This is a great sport today and unification would obviously be terrific—at least in my mind. But it will take time. The business principles of the two organizations will ultimately determine the outcome. The returns to the shareholders, to the owners, to the drivers, to the tracks…will drive it. It's going to happen."

Of course, the irony of ironies—often reiterated within these cyber-spatial coordinates—is that when crunch time came for CΛRT, its Captain was already conspicuous by his absence. And never once during his co-founder’s tenure in our beloved speed sport did Roger Penske ever personally fight for the re-unification that he speaks of so freely since he has abandoned us.

Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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