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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

The Forsythe Saga
(Episode 34)

3/3/3

BUFFALO GROVE, IL—It is significant whenever any corporation’s largest shareholder speaks about the possibility of his stock transferring to another individual. In the case of Gerald Forsythe—Championship Auto Racing Teams (a/k/a NYSE-MPH) former board-sitter, franchise/team owner, sponsor, race promoter and track investor—such a statement has reportedly been made.

"He [F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone] has been looking at it [CΛRT] for quite a few months," GF was quoted recently in the British print/e-magazine AUTOSPORT. "He's a very intelligent man and understands what the value of the company is and what the good points are for him in having a large share in the company. If it [Bernie the Boss’ MPH share acquisition] happened, it would be great for Champ Car. I don't see any downside,” Forsythe further opined.

The approximately 7,000,000 shares of MPH shares now held by Forsythe and his Indeck Energy Services, Inc. (http://biz.yahoo.com/t/53/381.html) make him a beneficial owner of CΛRT with, at the end of any given day, nearly 25% of MPH shares. Of course, Forsythe can hold sway over no more than 15% of company stock; the corporate board retains SEC-approved rights to vote on his surplus shares.

Another former board member and longtime investor in the Champ Car Company, James Grosfeld (and family) is the only other major stockholder that has amassed in excess of 10% of MPH shares. Together with Barber Dodge Pro Series driver, Jonathan Vannini, who is the holder of about 8% of shares, nearly half of Champ Car’s proxy has, to date, accrued to Forsythe, Grosfeld and Vannini. Whether this trio will coalesce as a bloc and ultimately win the board’s rubber-stamp approval of its every desire is anybody’s best guess.

Forsythe is also reported, by AUTOSPORT, to have sent his own personal appraisal of CΛRT and its governing body to Ecclestone. Proof of such a document appears to be borne-out by a Deep Throttle operative posing as a part-time janitor at Indeck’s suburban Chicago corporate headquarters.

Our anonymous source recently retrieved a crumpled handwritten document from Mr. Forsythe’s wastebasket. The complete text follows:

BE-

Pursuant to the publication of remarks attributed to me by your useful tool motorsports tabloid, the following is a list of the “good points” of the Champ Car series and its current management as they relate to F1 and, thereby, enhance your investment potential in CART:

  • The world’s primary automotive market—North America—is deliverable to every engine manufacturer (read: carmaker) by virtue of our extremely strong alignment with major cities, sponsors, venues and ancillary entities throughout the USA, Canada and Mexico.
  • A strong partnership with Ford, through its Cosworth subsidiary, provides natural entrée into our series for Jaguar and other assorted marques under the Blue Oval corporate logo. Naturally, competitors would follow.
  • Similarly, the world’s largest tire corporation, Bridgestone/Firestone, is a strong and deliverable marketing and manufacturing partner.
  • Current CEO Chris Pook and recently-hired COO, David Clare—two gentlemen whom you certainly know well and have spoken of fondly—are performing their functions admirably and have earned the respect of CART’s fans, stockholders and board members.
  • Pook’s ideas and efforts have not only helped change the face of the series for 2003 and beyond but have also served to put quite a positive counter-spin on what was previously extremely negative PR.
  • More than ever before CART’s driver roster is comprised of personalities who share knowledge of Formula One and its venues.
  • Similarly, technical and engineering personnel prove to be more than adaptable at transferring from either of our series to the other.
  • All current participants in the Champ Car World Series have, of their own volition, chosen to be where they are today; all known CART-bashing insiders and would-be saboteurs have removed themselves from our midst.
  • Implied identification with a competitive all-ovals open-wheel racing series, its home venue and its signature event has, of late, been forbidden.
  • Our fan base—as proven by a thus-far successful “watering down” experiment—is loyal to a fault. Should some sort of affiliation of our two series occur, it is likely to be embraced by fans that will, at least, adopt a “The enemy of our enemy is our friend” philosophy.

Regards,
-GF

It is not known whether a final draft of this document was ever sent to Bernie Ecclestone. It will be interesting to see whether CART stock will be impacted in Gerald Forsythe’s favor as a result of his early release of this information about Bernie Ecclestone’s alleged forthcoming buy-in.

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

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