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IRL trying to buy CART assets / APBA SBI OSS

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Old 01-24-2004, 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by puder
i though gentilozi and his buyer group bought cart and are attemptign to resurect it?
That's the "owners group" that I referred to above: Open Wheel Racing Series, or OWRS. It's Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkoven and Gerald Forsythe. They've had a business plan in the works for over four months to resurrect the series, and were the only bidders until a few days ago. Now, the IRL is looking to cherry-pick some of the choicer hard assets, but not the race contracts, schedules, or the series itself. Both parties had to submit their formal bids yesterday (Friday, Jauary 23, 2004), and the bankruptcy judge is scheduled to rule on Wednesday, the 28th. What he has to decide is whether or not it would be better to get what money they can for the hard assets that IRL wants, cut everyone's losses and call it quits, or whether or not the owners group can make it fly once again, make the money back and keep everyone employed.
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Old 01-24-2004, 12:35 PM
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fever mike... i used to race againt patrick carpantier in 98 when he one the atlantic championship
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Old 01-24-2004, 01:02 PM
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I love the first post "Man Tony George really messed up open-wheel racing in the US in 1996 when he started the IRL. "

Its a shame more people dont think this. I was a huge CART Fan for a short period of time and still do watch occasionaly. IRL cars should have fenders. Im sorry if I piss anyone off with that comment. When Montoya moved to F1 so did I. I still am a Tracy fan but F1 seems to have qualitys CART used to have.
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Old 01-24-2004, 01:04 PM
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and with that "Fender" comment, NASCAR is a great circuit but is not what open wheel racing should be about.
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Old 01-24-2004, 04:56 PM
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I have been to Indianapolis Speedway over 35 times. I listened to my first Indy 500 on the radio at age 12 in 1959 and have been hooked every since, at least until the formation of the IRL. I started going to Michigan Internatioal Speedway when it was built and had season tickets there up to this year when I failed to renew. So, I guess my point is I have seen many races.

What always amazed me is that the stands at Michigan would be packed with people for a Winston Cup race. Tickets were at a premium. But the racing did not compare to the CART racing at MIS. People love to sit and watch the stock cars run around in circles with sometimes lead changes only in the pits, but would not show up for the incredible shows CART put on.

I've gone back to Indy the last couple of years, because I love the place so much. Plus, my son is involved in the IRL engine development for GM. I thing what TG did to this sport and the reasons he did it are insane. He lives in a idealistic world, but still does not understand why the path to Indy is not like it was in 1955. The trouble is, there are many other people and don't understand either, and support this fool. Do you think I'm pissed? Your darn right I'm pissed!
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:48 AM
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Default Tony George's letter to IRL teams and sponsors:

Jan. 23, 2004

The Indy Racing League has made an important decision and I want you to know what it is and the reasons for it.

We have decided to bid on certain assets of the bankrupt CART racing series.

Let me give you background on this decision.

Since 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the primary steward of open-wheel racing in America. For the last 59 years, the Hulman-George family has taken enormous pride in operating IMS for the benefit of American auto racing. As part of that stewardship, it proved necessary to respond to problems undermining open-wheel racing. The Indy Racing League was founded in response to these concerns.

While the Indy Racing League was intended to serve racetracks and markets not served by CART, it was treated as an enemy by CART and by some others. We never measured our success against CART's, since we compete against all forms of entertainment in our economy. We go about our business with only one objective: to build our League.

Many of you have advocated a single, unified open-wheel series as a goal for some time. Towards that end, several times in recent years, various interested parties approached the League with the suggestion that we purchase CART. None of these proposals were commercially viable in our view. When CART announced its plan in September to merge with OWRS for $7.4 million subject to a stockholder vote, I declined again. In all of these cases, the complicated entanglements of purchasing a financially troubled series overcame the goal of unification that most desired.

However, when CART declared bankruptcy in December 2003 and announced it would not conduct a 2004 season, the situation changed. By filing for bankruptcy, CART made its assets available to the highest bidder, and the only bidder offered $1.63 million. I decided to give the situation another look. On Jan. 9, 2004, the IRL began an examination of physical assets and contracts, in order to determine whether or not to bid.

That decision has now been made. The Indy Racing League has decided to bid on certain available assets of the bankrupt CART. Thursday night, we submitted a substantial bid with CART and the unsecured creditors' committee; a bid we believe is fair and equitable for the assets we are seeking. As a member of our Indy Racing League community, it is important for you to understand how this bid fits into the future of open-wheel racing.

We believe in the integrity of our analysis and bid, and we believe in the success of our plan, should we prevail in this proceeding. If we are successful with our bid, our intention is to work quickly and effectively to create a unified, market-driven North American open-wheel series. We believe there is a window of opportunity right now to accomplish this and position open-wheel racing among the highest quality and most successful sports entertainment in North America.

When the Indy Racing League was announced in June 1994, the official news release said that ovals and road courses would be included. Our concentration has been on oval tracks since our first season and we will continue to be a predominately oval series in the future. But we are committed to expand our schedule to preserve and protect key traditional road and street races in North America, since CART is no longer able to do so.

Clearly, it is in the best interests of open wheel racing to move forward into the 21st century with one series, based on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500, taking advantage of the many new oval venues built in the last decade and incorporating historic road and street courses which are important to fans and sponsors.

From a modest beginning, the League is now regarded by impartial observers as the premier American open-wheel series. The Indy Racing League, backed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a wide array of sponsors, teams, drivers and fans, is the sanctioning body best positioned to offer leadership in open-wheel racing.

Regardless of the outcome of our bid, the Indy Racing League will continue to adhere to our founding principles, will continue to be a predominately oval series, and will expand our existing schedule to include road and street races in North America.

I hope this helps you understand what we are doing and why, and I hope to have your support in this very important endeavor.

Sincerely,

Tony George
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:50 AM
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Default The press's take on it all....

IRL doubles competitor's bid for CART

Judge will decide open-wheel racing series' fate Wednesday.

By Curt Cavin
[email protected]
January 24, 2004

The Indy Racing League offered $3.3 million for selected assets of bankrupt rival Championship Auto Racing Teams, according to several sources with knowledge of the bid.

The offer was double the amount offered by the Open Wheel Racing Series group last month, the only other bidder to emerge before Friday's deadline.

Judge Frank J. Otte is scheduled to choose between the offers Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy court in Indianapolis. The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m.

IRL spokesman Fred Nation said the assets on which league president Tony George bid were similar to those bid on by OWRS. The difference was the IRL is seeking only one of CART's races, the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the most successful event in series history. Nation said the IRL is confident it can acquire some of CART's other races on its own.

"The hard items we bid on were the same (as OWRS) to make it easier for the judge to compare apples and apples," Nation said.

No other bids were received by Friday morning's deadline. The Grand American Road Racing Series had considered a bid, but its officials opted to pass.

George, who is also the president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, started the Indy Racing League in 1996 as an alternative to CART. The two series have competed for fans, sponsors, drivers and racing teams.

OWRS co-owner Paul Gentilozzi said the primary items in the IRL's bid are the Long Beach race and the Ford engines used by the champ-car racing series.

The latter is significant because the IRL has contracts with engine manufacturers Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet and Cosworth, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford. If the IRL prevails, champ-car racing wouldn't have engines in place in time to stage the 2004 season.

Long Beach officials were one of three creditors to officially file an objection with the bankruptcy court Friday. The others were 88 Corp., a company owned by the International Speedway Corp., and the promoter of CART's race in Australia.

Both the IRL and OWRS will have the opportunity to revise their bids before Wednesday's hearing.

"It's clear what (the IRL's) intentions are when you look at which assets they want to purchase," Gentilozzi said. "They just want to kill the series by taking the engines and cherry-pick Long Beach.

"If you can do that and take away your competition, I guess you try to do that. But it won't work."

George declined to comment Friday, but he faxed a statement to IRL teams, sponsors and promoters to highlight his reasons for pursuing key assets of CART, which last month filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"If we are successful with our bid, our intention is to work quickly and effectively to create a unified, market-driven North American open-wheel series," he wrote. "We believe there is a window of opportunity right now to accomplish this."

The IRL's offer seemed low, according to one of Gentilozzi's partners, Kevin Kalkhoven.

"Not so much the dollar amount, but because the offer doesn't take into account any of the liabilities, which will run in the tens of millions of dollars (if the series doesn't continue)," Kalkhoven said. "Those are critical concerns, so it doesn't matter how much money you put up if it all disappears in liabilities."

The IRL's bid will be reviewed by members of CART's creditors' committee. Walker, a race team owner and member of the committee, said it will meet this weekend to discuss the two bids. He said the judge will have the option to make his own selection.

"Either way, I'm personally disappointed by what's happened," said Walker, who was one of CART's board of directors when the company lost $78 million through the first three quarters of 2003. "This (auction) doesn't really help anybody in the long run.

"I guess the judge is going to decide if we're going to have one series or two series."

Otte declined comment through a representative Friday.
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