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If CART Fails, The Owners' Greed Is To Blame

A lot has happened in CART this past year. In fact, the last two years. CART went from being the clear cut favorite to win the open wheel war to leaving many fans wondering whether it would even make it to the year 2002. All that in just two years.

Why? Well first, let us say that CART is not going to disappear before 2002. Before 2003 is another question. But we are not here to answer will CART fail, and if so, when. We are here to tell you that if CART fails, it will be for one reason and one reason only -- the owners' greed.

All the other symptoms, faults, and problems CART has -- all of them -- stem from that one sole issue. The greed of the owners. All of them.

Ironically, it was this greed that allowed CART to be formed. And it was this greed that helped CART grow into a premier series, perhaps the best in the world, during the late 80s to mid-90s.

Greed too often gets a bad rap. Greed is merely the word used in business where sports use the word competitiveness. Just like an athlete becomes successful and reaches the top of his game thanks to an innate inner competitiveness, so does the successful business person.

In sports, every competitor wants to beat their opponent. Beat them over and over again, every time they step on the field. Score as many points as they can, ruthlessly and without sympathy. So it is in business, where the competitors want to beat their opponent. Gain as much money, consumers, and sales as they can, ruthlessly and without sympathy. Except in business, we call that greed, while in sports we call it being a winner.

When Dan Gurney wrote the now famous White Paper, he did not advocate the creation of a breakaway sanctioning body. Rather, he wanted to urge USAC to listen to the owners concerns and work together for a solution. For various reasons, USAC was unwilling to, so the owners, being the competitive lot they are, or greed as some would say, took it to the next step, eventually forming CART to get their way.

That competitiveness, or greed, got CART up and running. After the usual initial growing pains, it was that competitiveness, or greed, that enabled CART to grow and prosper.

However, sometimes in sports, you need to put some competitiveness aside for the good of the team. Sometimes, the star quarterback playing hurt has to sacrifice his own competitiveness and tell the coach to let the backup play because that will be beneficial to the team overall.

The same goes for business and CART. And that hasn't happened in the past two years. Rather, the owners have raised their level of competitiveness, and greed, to such levels that the organization is being torn asunder. The greed of collecting Toyota's money has allowed those owners to force the organization to kowtow to the newest member of the engine corps at the expense of longtime supporters, Honda and Ford.

The greed of the sponsorship hunt has caused Mo Nunn to move one car to the IRL, Derrick Walker to run an uncompetitive IRL team, and Chip Ganassi to buddy up to the enemy. And in the worse case of all, the ultimate greed monger, and most competitive owner in CART, Roger Penske, displays the least amount of integrity in the history of the sport. Ultimately, he is exactly the type of star quarterback you never want on your team.

Now some of you may be saying that the owners are simply doing what they need to do to stay in business. To that I would answer, of course they are. It is exactly that competitiveness, that greed, that is dictating their behavior. It did so for good results in the first 20 years of CART's existence. However, it is that unwillingness to take one for the team, to put aside their competitiveness, their greed, that will be the sole cause of CART's demise.

That is why I no longer want to hear the owners crying me a river. They only have themselves to blame, and it is up to them to turn that inner competitiveness, greed, outward towards the good of CART. Otherwise, they will have no right to complain about how Tony George is jerking them around when they are all forced to run in the IRL without having any say in the decision making, and wishing Dan Gurney would write another White Paper.

Is there hope? Yes. In fact, CART is getting a Christmas present this year -- their last chance. It's called Chris Pook.

Copyright © 2001 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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