Here are three things to chew on this chilly Tuesday morning:
– If Bill Elliott (who, I think, has a very good chance of winning next Sunday’s Daytona 500 in this Year of the Old Guy) says his team has been working "flat out" on the chassis of his Wood Brothers Racing Ford since the 2009 season ended at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, how can the Campos and USF1 teams keep saying they’ll be ready and raring to go when the Formula One season opens in Bahrain in about five weeks?
Has anyone seen a car from either of those two?
They’re not the only ones in financial difficulty. Force India is teetering. And Renault is reportedly $25 million short of a budget for a full season.
It’s going to be an interesting month.
– Year of the Old Guy? Elliott is 54, Mark Martin is 51, Joe Nemechek is 46, Bobby Labonte is 45, Michael Schumacher is 41 – the list (and the beat) goes on.
All those men are competitors – and competitive. Three of the five will likely win races this season and the other two will be right in there.
And will Mark Martin finally win his championship? Don’t bet against it.
– Some people are working themselves into a dither over the Indy Racing League’s issuing of specifications for a new chassis, to be introduced in 2012, in advance of the unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show this week of the new Delta Wing chassis that’s apparently being funded by a current Indy car owner or group of owners.
(I happen to think, by the way, that there’s nothing wrong with a sanctioning body establishing rules and regulations. Isn’t that its job?)
That I then received emailed press releases from chassis manufacturers Dallara, Lola and Swift shows, to me, that there is great interest and enthusiasm in the Indy car series.
To this point, the IRL has signaled that it would prefer that a single manufacturer (as Dallara has done previously) continue to provide cars to all competitors in the series, just as Honda supplies all the engines.
But there are two things to think about here:
1, if all these manufacturers are interested in building cars, I suggest it’s possible that they might all be invited to participate so long as their chassis conform to the above-mentioned specifications.
2, the single-supplier focus is the work of people employed by the "old" Indy Racing League. There’s a new sheriff in town, a guy named Randy Bernard, who was hired last week to be the new CEO. Bernard is the guy who took the Professional Bull Riders organization from stock shows and rodeos to Las Vegas.
I think Mr. Bernard might have something to say about the chassis-supplier restriction.
In fact, if the single chassis-supplier restriction is loosened or dropped altogether, can another engine supplier or suppliers be far behind?
What made the Indianapolis 500 great, and the CART series of the 1980s-early 1990s so interesting, was innovation and the philosophy that if you followed the rules, anybody could play.
The IRL has an opportunity here to recapture some past glories. It would be wise to take note.