by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowApril 10, 2009 7:36 am UTC 3 Comments
Ganassi-DEI Racing with Felix Sabates is shutting down the once important no. 8 team. The poor economy is being roundly blamed. Three years of mis-management, poor performance on the track and, well, just a bunch of boneheaded business moves apparently are a coincidence.
Bram at Backstretch Motorsports has a must read post on the economy, politics and auto racing. And Richard Petty’s announced entry in the Indy 500 as an owner has its own political implications. At least in my little mind. And that is my Tight in Turn 2 topic this week.
The King is taking John Andretti – and a Petty Blue no. 43 car – to the Indy 500 this year. Is the King slapping NASCAR in the face?
Charlie: I was happy to hear of the plan. Still am. But I don’t think that the Family France was pleased. The Petty brand – and that special blue color and iconic number – is part of the fabric of NASCAR. And make no mistake, Tony George’s Indy Racing League is still the enemy to NASCAR.
Bill France Jr helped support the IRL’s effort get off the ground, but that support had more to do with assisting George as he tore apart the IRL and Champ Car’s predecessor CART. Championship Auto Racing Teams was a serious competitor of NASCAR in the 70s and 80s. Tony George destroyed it and Bill France Jr greased the slope that reduced the Indy 500 to second fiddle behind the Daytona 500.
Petty’s Indy entry won’t raise open wheel racing to its former status. But the France family want their own sports car league - Grand Am – to be number two to stockers, not Indy Cars. And the King’s move wasn’t a “team player” move.
Bruce: Beside not being a team player move, I’m just not sure how Petty can successfully field an Indy car when his own shop had to bring in outside support to keep his NASCAR franchise going. A one shot deal? Sure. But what if Andretti has a really good day? Then what?
Aside from that, I’d almost seem to think there might be something going on in the background that no one has caught wind of yet with Petty and France. Is this that first public step out, or is it just a one time deal to help John Andretti get some wheel and TV time.
Considering we haven’t heard anything of a negative nature, I’d lean towards the latter option first. A fellow NASCAR owner helping out a NASCAR driver, in any way he can.
That’s the public image the Petty legacy has given us and I hope that I am right. Otherwise, this could get interesting, indeed.
That’s what we think. What do you think? Leave us a comment.
Last weekend the rule was passed down, no, reinforced that radio traffic will remain public domain between teams. Do teams need some privacy?