January 28, 2004 - Today was marked on many calendars as a "day of fireworks" as Judge Frank Otte, the presiding judge for the Chapter 11 filed by Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., will announce a final decision and oversee the transition of...
January 28, 2004 - Today was marked on many calendars as a "day of fireworks" as Judge Frank Otte, the presiding judge for the Chapter 11 filed by Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., will announce a final decision and oversee the transition of the CART assets.
At the Birch Bayh Federal Building and Courthouse in Indianapolis, those present for the ruling include CART's CEO Chris Pook, Indianapolis Racing League's founder and owner, Tony George and the Open Wheel Racing Series' partners, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven. Gerald Forsythe was notably missing, allowing his two OWRS partners to handle the issue with their attorneys and their announced CEO Richard P. Eidswick who was appointed in December to oversee the Bankruptcy filing and any transition.
In the audience were CART's John Lopes and former CEO Joe Heitzler, who represents the two Mexico races. Champ Car driver/team owner Adrian Fernandez, whose IRL team is currently at the Open Test in Homestead is also in attendance. Fernandez has an interest in both North America's premier open wheel series.
On hand were also Dale Coyne, Emerson Fittipaldi and representatives from many of the current Champ Car tracks, including California Speedway and Road America, both of whom have ongoing legal disagreements with CART after the 2003 season.
OWRS and CART reached a merger agreement on September 10, 2003. Due to a variety of issues, that agreement was rescinded and a new agreement was reached whereby OWRS would purchase certain assets of CART once the Chapter 11 was filed.
However, on January 13 of this year, 14 days after CART's initial appearance in court on December 30 of last year, the IRL also submitted a bid to buy certain CART assets, thus adding to the mix. OWRS countered that the IRL bid was too late to be considered.
Today, the fireworks started early as judge Otte disallowed OWRS request and granted IRL the right to bid. Now the auction of CART's assets begins.
Motorsport.com will continue to monitor the proceedings and will update as the day continues. John Humason will have a complete wrapup of the day later tonight.