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Thank God The IRL Was Created
It's The Savior For Penske and Brazilian Drivers

Thank God the IRL was created.

Without the IRL, Roger Penske would not have an amazing 13 Indy 500 victories, including the last three in a row, with back-to-back one-two finishes. Penske was just starting to come back from being an also ran, when the IRL opened the door for him to once again dominate at the Brickyard, in some ways even more so than the stock block creaming of 1994.

Without the IRL, Brazilian drivers would not have been able to replace the Midwest short track drivers as the stars of the great Memorial Day classic by winning three 500's in a row, finishing one-two last year, and taking the top three spots this year. It also enabled Helio Castroneves to rake up an amazing record in his first three years with two firsts and a second, a streak that rivals that of Bill Vukovich.

And let's not forget Airton Dare and Felipe Giaffone who have repeatedly gotten opportunities that may not have existed without the formation of the IRL. A great series to help those up and coming Brazilian drivers.

The IRL has also been a great asset to Japanese drivers as well, not to mention their manufacturers. Thanks to the IRL, Toyota and Honda were able to walk in the first year and bury Chevrolet. Toyota single handedly did the job, but Honda got their kicks in as well. In the end, a Japanese engine won the Indy 500 for the first time.

Then, of course, those manufacturers gave their native drivers opportunities in the IRL. Shigeaki Hattori -- well, actually, Shiggy was also helped by IRL stalwart and foreign driver supporter (Eliseo Salazer, Kenny Brack, Airton Dare) A.J. Foyt -- Shinji Nakano, and Tora Takagi all were given opportunities at the famed oval they otherwise would not have had.

The IRL also provides great entertainment. Once again, we were able to hear those immortal words, "Andretti is slowing down." We were also able to see Sarah Fisher crash out of the race, again, and finish 31st, again. And of course, the IRL now provides us with Fill Day instead of Bump Day with the added benefit of allowing fans to claim entire grandstands all to their own during qualifying.

The IRL has also done the wonderful service of virtually driving out the engine rebuilders and bringing back into vogue the loveable lease programs, which of course are completely controlled by the engine manufacturers, who dictate who gets their engines. And thus dictate how large the field is.

Money is flowing much better with the IRL. Those aforementioned engine manufacturers are now throwing around millions of dollars -- of course only to the lucky teams in their good graces. All this money is allowing many already rich owners to get even richer. Which is a good thing because they need those extra vacation homes. The IRL is doing a good deed by not allowing those owners on small budgets to keep up. Weeding out the weak allows the big money teams to win.

Penske domination. Brazilians winning. Japanese drivers given rides by their patriotic engine manufacturers. Engine leases. High budget teams driving out the little guys. It's CART reincarnated.

Thank God the IRL was created.

Copyright © 2003 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
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