CHAMPCAR/CART: IRL: OWRS awarded CART assets

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Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC now owns the Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. assets, including the liabilities. Judge Frank Otte's ruling came after a long day of bidding by both OWRS and the Indy Racing League at the Birch Bayh Federal...

Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC now owns the Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. assets, including the liabilities. Judge Frank Otte's ruling came after a long day of bidding by both OWRS and the Indy Racing League at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and Courthouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The trials and tribulations of CART started long before the OWRS' partners, Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe started to buy CART stock. At that time, CART stock was low and was trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The three made their idea known to promoters, track owners and team owners prior to reaching an agreement of merger with CART on September 10, 2003.

Things went sour during the due diligence phase, though, until a new agreement was reached by OWRS and CART on December 15, 2003. At that time OWRS announced that they would buy the CART assets and liabilities pending on CART filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and finalized on the court's approval.

The horizon for Champ Car racing to continue appeared to be secured on December 30, 2003 when CART's Chapter 11 was heard by Judge Otte who scheduled January 28, 2004 as the day he would give his final decision.

However, Tony George's Indy Racing League tendered a bid to purchase some of CART's assets on January 22, 2004.

Today started with an ruling by Otte to allow the IRL bid which started the ongoing negotiations today at the courthouse. Both parties for the IRL and OWRS were sent to separate rooms to decide on their bids.

The IRL started the day with their original bid of $3.2 million, whereas OWRS' bid started at $1.6 million. OWRS came back to the judge with a matched bid.

The main difference was that OWRS' bid would cover CART's key liabilities, IRL's did not.

IRL returned with a higher bid that now included the liabilities up to $13.5 million, in what appeared to be an obvious move to have only one premier open wheel series in North America.

Judge Otte rejected the IRL bid late this afternoon and awarded the assets of CART to the OWRS to allow the Champ Cars to race this year. The first event is scheduled April 18 at Long Beach, California.

The ruling allows OWRS to acquire all assests, including race contracts and race-related equipment.

"We're extremely pleased Judge Otte agreed with the recommendations of Championship Auto Racing Teams and the Creditors' Committee," expressed Champ Car team owner and OWRS partner Gentilozzi. "This will allow us to preserve what we believe is the finest racing series in the world."

OWRS partner Kalkhoven added, "None of this would have been possible without the unbridled support of our valued race promoters and team owners and the fervent support of the fans. We are all acutely aware of the responsibility we now bear for the Champ Car community and we, along with everyone else in the series, will strive to exceed our expectations every day."

Motorsport.com published two earlier stories and our reporter, John Humason, will have a full wrap up tomorrow with a outlook on the future.

Bidding for CART assests has started
Judge Otte rules to allow IRL, OWRS to bid

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , INDYCAR