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Old 01-29-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
wvallwheeldrive
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Default Indycar 2009 the thread.

Well i searched and didn't find an 09 thread so i started one.

And the 2009 season starts on a sour note as Rahal-Letterman has pulled out saying lack of sponsorship means no money for the single car team.


Quote:
Rahal-Letterman team out of IRL, lacks sponsor

By MIKE HARRIS 4 hours ago
Rahal Letterman Racing has pulled out of the 2009 IndyCar Series because it cannot find a sponsor to support its program.
RLR becomes the latest racing team to be affected by the reeling economy. The team won the Indianapolis 500 with Buddy Rice in 2004 and brought Danica Patrick to the IndyCar Series.
"At this time Rahal Letterman will not be in the IRL in 2009," team co-owner Bobby Rahal told The Associated Press in an e-mail Thursday.
The team, which ran one car for American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay last season and won the race last July at Watkins Glen, will continue to seek sponsorship. RLR will concentrate on its sports car alliance with BMW in the American Le Mans Series.
RLR is co-owned by talk-show host David Letterman.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:04 PM   #2
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Uh, isn't that pretty old news, or am I having deja vu again?
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:18 PM   #3
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Here's a great season preview from Autosport.

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Originally Posted by Autosport.com

IndyCar Series: Season Preview

The second year of peace in North American open-wheel racing begins on the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend. Matt Beer examines the state of play 12 months on from unification

By Matt Beer
Autosport.com writer




One year on from unification and in a perfect world the IndyCar Series would be striding forward with a packed grid of talented drivers, a schedule combining the best Champ Car tracks with the established IndyCar dates, an exciting new technical package on the horizon, and starting to regain the ground lost to NASCAR during the split.

But when the Indy Racing League and Champ Car came together to start a bright new future last spring, they did not count on the world economy nosediving just as they hoped to be gaining momentum.

In the context of how bad things could have been if the two series had struggled on with their war into the recession, the 2009 IndyCar Series is in great shape. But some fans will no doubt be disappointed though that the championship is set to feature only 22 entrants (compared to the 35 that IndyCar and Champ Car were fielding between them in 2007) and a calendar that has gained only three ex-Champ Car events.

Sponsors deserted American open-wheel racing in droves during the split and now is not a great time to be trying to win them back, or to entice new investment. IndyCar also needs new engine manufacturers for its next generation rules package, but convincing struggling car makers to pour funds into motorsport is going to be tough too.


The US single-seater scene got its house in order just as the financial world went out of control and the championship organisers cannot be blamed for the timing. Losing Helio Castroneves, IndyCar's second biggest star after Danica Patrick, at least temporarily due to his tax situation was out of the IRL's hands as well.

Where the championship's judgement has been questioned is in the level of assistance it is providing to teams during the recession. Last year the IRL went out of its way to help the Champ Car converts, but several of the subsidy packages were one-year deals and have been withdrawn as planned despite the changing financial situation. Chassis supplier Dallara has reduced prices (though not enough in the eyes of many) and testing has been further restricted, but teams are still having to spend more than they did under the 2007 Champ Car rules.

However, this is not a championship in crisis. No motorsport series is immune to the downturn and actually IndyCar has fared better than many. KV, Dale Coyne and Conquest have cut back to single cars, and Rahal Letterman Racing has dropped out, but with Luczo Dragon stepping up to its first full season programme and Beck returning under the 3G title, the net reduction is just two entries, for only 24 actually managed full 2008 campaigns.

Plus while there was a flurry of late deals last week to boost the field, at least for the St. Petersburg opener, these were not pay drivers throwing in last minute cheques but racers of the calibre of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Darren Manning and Alex Tagliani. It is a shame they had to rely on 11th-hour deals, but better to have them on the grid in compromised circumstances than not at all.

The competition at the front ought to be closer this year. The former Champ Car teams were immediately on the pace on the road and street courses and by the end of the season they were also mixing it with the frontrunners on the ovals. A superspeedway win for what we will soon stop calling 'tranisition teams' would still be a surprise, but it no longer looks totally inconceivable.

Newman/Haas/Lanigan was always likely to be the first of the new arrivals to get on the pace of the long-time IndyCar teams. For much of the winter it looked like it was set to close the funding gap to the top squads by signing the well-financed Milka Duno for a third car to help subsidise Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos' campaigns, but even with that deal fizzling out before completion, testing suggests that NHLR has gained ground over the winter.

But when predicting the title contenders, it is hard to look beyond the Ganassi, Penske and Andretti-Green triumvirate that has maintained such an unbreakable stranglehold on the IndyCar Series since the first exodus from Champ Car in the early 2000s.

Ganassi not only retains reigning champion Scott Dixon, but has recruited the man who so narrowly beat him to the 2007 title - Dario Franchitti. Both are championship contenders, as are Andretti Green's 2004 title-winner Tony Kanaan and Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who raised his game considerably in the second half of 2008.


Will Power has been on Briscoe's pace in testing in the second Penske, although his prospects depend on the outcome of Castroneves's trial. It would be a remarkable story if a man who began 2009 as a stand-in ended the season as champion.

The loss of Rahal Letterman removes the team that had looked most likely to intrude on the big three's battle in 2008, but Panther Racing might get a look-in with Dan Wheldon back on board, while ex-RLR man Ryan Hunter-Reay's arrival at Vision Racing makes Tony George's squad a more serious contender too.

A reorganised schedule moves Homestead from season opener to season finale, with Motegi shifting to September to allow Long Beach to become a proper part of the IndyCar calendar after last year's Champ Car farewell one-off.

Toronto is the other new addition and its chances of success will be boosted greatly if someone can get Canadian hero Paul Tracy in a car for both this event and the following Edmonton round. 'PT' is otherwise set to remain conspicuously absent from the series, despite KV Racing boss Jimmy Vasser's efforts to find backing for him.

Fan favourites Cleveland and Elkhart Lake are still absent. But despite some of the more historic tracks remaining in the wilderness, the schedule is gradually losing its bias towards big ovals. This year features three street circuits, four road courses, three short ovals and seven superspeedways, with another non-oval event highly likely for 2010 in the form of Barber Motorsports Park after last month's highly successful test.

This is not the utopian unified championship that supporters had dreamed of, but its calendar offers a good all-round test of skill and its driver line-up has the potential to provide a three or four-way title fight. The merged IndyCar Series remains a work in progress, but given the financial backdrop, things could have been much, much worse.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:24 PM   #4
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and the 2009 schedule...

Quote:

1 5 Apr St. Petersburg -street circuit
2 19 Apr Long Beach -street circuit
3 26 Apr Kansas -oval
4 24 May Indianapolis -super speedway
5 31 May Milwaukee -short track oval
6 6 Jun Texas -oval
7 21 Jun Iowa -oval
8 27 Jun Richmond -oval
9 5 Jul Watkins Glen -road course
10 12 Jul Toronto -street circuit
11 26 Jul Edmonton -street circuit
12 1 Aug Kentucky -oval
13 9 Aug Mid-Ohio -road course
14 23 Aug Infineon -road course
15 29 Aug Chicago -oval
16 6 Sep Detroit -street circuit
17 19 Sep Motegi -oval
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Looking forward to watching open-wheel racing again. I haven't really been into it since the demise of CART in 2000-2001, but I'm planning on following the IRL as much as I can this year.

St. Petersburg qualifying is tommorrow afternoon (on Versus)...
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
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and the 2009 schedule...
I thought Detroit was gone?
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:33 PM   #7
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What was that?
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
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I do remember that being canceled... I pulled the dates off the IndyCar web site so either it's 'iffy' or they're a bit slow in updating.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:47 PM   #9
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I am the only one that really doesn't have much taste for street circuits? Better then ovals, but not nearly has good as road courses. It's not necessarily the venue, but the quality of the track. Formula 1 has Monaco and the street circuit at Valencia but those are master pieces. Not crappy bumpy cement downtown streets. All in all I shouldn't complain, at least it's some sort of american open wheel racing.

(Will be watching qualifying on Versus later today!)
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:09 PM   #10
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I don't like the point and squirt style circuits but Long Beach has some genuine character. St. Pete isn't too bad either as at least it has some overtaking spots. I agree with you though, in general the look and quality of the track surface itself is pretty low rent. Sadly there's a lot of that on our road courses as well.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:40 PM   #11
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I like St. Petersburg, but someone needs to take care of that huge rut on the exit of the final curve (leading onto the front stretch/runway). It nearly ended the day for both Franchitti and Rahal.
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:08 PM   #12
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Dammit Kanaan.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:25 PM   #13
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It was nice to see Wilson hustle the Dale-Coyne car around. Good race. A bit too many mistakes but that's a season opener for you.

I'm sorry to see the VS isn't really trying to do anything new with the coverage. Bob Jenkins might as well be calling a hotdog cook-off...but at least no more Scott Goodyear.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:12 PM   #14
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Good to have Dario, someone crazy enough to pull off those scary passes. Also, good to see Danica taken out. Versus coverage was fairly impressive, it should be great for the sport.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:20 PM   #15
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I'm not the world's biggest Danica fan but that was a lousy way to get taken out of a race.

Matos didn't impress me with his judgment.

Highspeed left right flick that's decidedly one line. That's a good place to stick your car on the inside right?
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I'm not the world's biggest Danica fan but that was a lousy way to get taken out of a race.

Matos didn't impress me with his judgment.

Highspeed left right flick that's decidedly one line. That's a good place to stick your car on the inside right?
That was a big shunt, too. Dallaras may be slow, but they're sturdy.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:19 AM   #17
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Sucked from Rahal to be taken out 1st turn 1st lap.

Also, what was Doornbos doing?
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:41 AM   #18
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Sucked from Rahal to be taken out 1st turn 1st lap.

Also, what was Doornbos doing?
Running into people.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:14 AM   #19
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I like Bobby D but what they were saying about him was BS. "He's European and can brake soooo much later than anyone else." Yeah, he just can't make the corner in the low downforce IRL.

Last I checked, that was kind of part of being a racing driver. Getting the most you can out of your own car. Not over-driving it.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:03 PM   #20
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I like Bobby D but what they were saying about him was BS. "He's European and can brake soooo much later than anyone else." Yeah, he just can't make the corner in the low downforce IRL.

Last I checked, that was kind of part of being a racing driver. Getting the most you can out of your own car. Not over-driving it.

I don't know how many times they mentioned it, but at one point I think they were fair, and called him out but said that he is aware that he needs to back up his braking points to get the most from the car.


Jon
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerjon1 View Post
I don't know how many times they mentioned it, but at one point I think they were fair, and called him out but said that he is aware that he needs to back up his braking points to get the most from the car.


Jon
In the interviews before qualifying he mentioned the lack of downforce kept getting him into trouble. He has had a quick transition, but he'll do just fine. Lot's of the drivers weren't aware of the tire marble issues either.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:32 PM   #22
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Didn't NHL drop Wilson because of lack of money? I didn't see any real sponsorship on Doornbos' car so that seemed odd.

I sound like a Doornbos basher but I actually think he is a good racer. I just don't know why the proven Justin Wilson got the boot.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:28 PM   #23
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Shameless bump for shameless plug. I feel dirty.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:34 PM   #24
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The Kentucky race was epic.

The aero tweeks IndyCar made to the rear wings closed up the racing nicely.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:58 PM   #25
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Good stuff.
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