CHAMPCAR/CART: OWRS reaffirms 2004 racing season

Open Wheel Racing Series reaffirms its intention to conduct a complete 2004 racing season. LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 21, 2004) -- Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC ("OWRS") today reaffirmed its intention to conduct a full 2004 Champ Car World Series...

Open Wheel Racing Series reaffirms its intention to conduct a complete 2004 racing season.

LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 21, 2004) -- Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC ("OWRS") today reaffirmed its intention to conduct a full 2004 Champ Car World Series racing season, beginning with the 30th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, scheduled for April 18.

OWRS, according to partner Paul Gentilozzi, has been fully engaged in the planning and implementation of all operational details necessary to conduct the 2004 Champ Car season, as CART, Inc. continues to navigate the bankruptcy process.

"We have letters of intent from the teams representing more than 18 cars, we've got a television package ready to announce, as well as the confirmed 2004 race schedule," revealed Gentilozzi. "We believe the loyalty of the fans, teams, sponsors, and promoters will be justified and rewarded when the current bankruptcy proceedings are completed."

Any other parties submitting a competing bid must do so no later than Jan. 23. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Otte will issue a final decision on Jan. 28.

"OWRS' intentions have been clear from the start," continued Gentilozzi. "We believe in the value of the Champ Car series. Is it imperfect? Yes. Can it be improved? Absolutely.

"The series already has all the basic elements in place," said Gentilozzi. "We have a plan and we will do whatever it takes to restore the Champ Car series to its rightful status as the best open-wheel series. We don't need or want those guys across town.

"The web sites have been overwhelmed with fan comments," explained Gentilozzi. "The momentum is decidedly against unification with the IRL and to hold firm in our efforts to maintain the forms of racing that Champ Car has established.

"The emotion in support of our efforts is a groundswell that we had not anticipated. The IRL's late game involvement and its admission that it is not prepared to go road racing in 2004 has awakened years of mistrust and anger for the breach in open-wheel racing," concluded Gentilozzi.

OWRS partner Kevin Kalkhoven elaborated, "While we are aware of the interest shown by other parties, OWRS is committed to assuming all the liabilities associated with the bankruptcy. These liabilities may well run into tens of millions of dollars. With an initial commitment of $15 million of working capital and an assumption of these liabilities, OWRS is laying the foundation for the Champ Car series to be successful for many years into the future.

"IRL spokesman Fred Nation is on record, stating the IRL doesn't have the ability to add any street or road races to its 2004 schedule," said Kalkhoven. "The loss of the Champ Car series would mean the teams--all based in the United States--would close down, resulting in the loss of hundreds, maybe thousands, of American jobs. Promoters could not hold their events and sponsors would lose any momentum for open-wheel racing in the United States. A great North American tradition would be lost.

"We're confident that our fans, teams, sponsors, and promoters will continue make their voices heard. As we've said before, the IRL wants to bury -- OWRS wants to build; that's the difference," concluded Kalkhoven.

-owrs-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Kevin Kalkhoven