CHAMPCAR/CART: OWRS responds to IRL assertions

Open Wheel Racing Series responds to IRL's recent assertions on its commitment to open wheel racing. LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 26, 2004) -- According to a recent published report, Indy Racing League ("IRL") president, Tony George, stated his...

Open Wheel Racing Series responds to IRL's recent assertions on its commitment to open wheel racing.

LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 26, 2004) -- According to a recent published report, Indy Racing League ("IRL") president, Tony George, stated his commitment to open-wheel racing while suggesting that his appreciation for the sport surpassed that of the Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC ("OWRS") partners, collectively.

"Tony (George) has a funny way of demonstrating his commitment to open-wheel racing," explained OWRS partner Paul Gentilozzi. "His willingness to split from CART several years ago to form the IRL is largely responsible for the tenuous state of open-wheel racing today. His only commitment is to buy the assets to keep Champ Car from racing. Our commitment is to rebuild what he, in essence, has destroyed.

"He claims to have an appreciation for open-wheel racing," continued Gentilozzi, referencing George's comments in the Jan. 25 edition of the Indianapolis Star. "But in the end, his intentions have nothing to do with the future of open-wheel competition, but rather the future and profitability of his IRL series. He has every right to bid on the assets, but we take issue with his audacity to veil his intentions under the guise of unification. To challenge our appreciation and commitment to open-wheel racing is a direct assault on our integrity."

OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven reiterated that in addition to commitment and a plan for the future, it will take more than just upfront cash to be awarded the assets. "We will continue the operation of the Champ Car World Series and what could better benefit the creditors, teams, and sponsors," said Kalkhoven. "We aren't just buying the assets, but we're also assuming the liabilities which could amount to tens of millions of dollars.

"In order to adequately compare the two bids, the Court will look at which bid will ultimately deliver the highest distribution to the creditors and which is in the best interest of the estate," explained Kalkhoven. "The judge will assess the elements of each bid to determine how they influence the total amount of the unsecured claims. Since the IRL bid is purported not to assume the majority of the liabilities, the other promoter contacts would become unsecured claims. The damages suffered would be very real, very significant, and very costly.

"In the end, approval of the IRL bid could dramatically increase the amount of unsecured claims which certainly is not in the best interest of the creditors," concluded Kalkhoven.

The IRL submitted a last-minute bid for selected CART assets late Thursday, Jan. 22, just hours before the legal deadline. OWRS had previously been approved as a qualified bidder. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Otte will render a final decision on the disposition of the CART assets in an auction set to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28 in Indianapolis.

-owrs-

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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Tony George , Kevin Kalkhoven