FOUNDER TONY GEORGE SAYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WILL CONTINUE INDEPENDENT COURSE INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 26, 1999 -- Tony George, founder of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, announced today that the Indy Racing League will continue to move...
FOUNDER TONY GEORGE SAYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WILL CONTINUE INDEPENDENT COURSE
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 26, 1999 -- Tony George, founder of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, announced today that the Indy Racing League will continue to move forward under current rules and regulations that are in effect through the 2004 season. "In recent months there has been much discussion and debate about the future direction of open-wheel racing, specifically about a series of discussions that have been conducted between representatives of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and the Indy Racing League. While we will continue to communicate as open-wheel racing organizations, it is important to clarify that both of our organizations are moving forward with our schedules for the 2000 season and beyond. "Speaking for the Indy Racing League, we are continuing to plan for race dates and sponsorships for the future. Our engine specifications through the 2004 season were announced in November 1998, new chassis will be ready this November, our new 3.5-liter engine is already being tested, and we are going forward. "The Indy Racing League will continue to operate as an independent body and will not be merging or otherwise unifying with CART, a publicly traded corporation. "We will continue to operate following the founding philosophy of the Indy Racing League:
1. Affordability based on controlled price engines and chassis.
2. Accessibility of equipment to any team.
3. Opportunity for drivers interested in competing in open-wheel cars on oval tracks.
4. Close, competitive racing in new markets for open-wheel racing.
"We believe this philosophy best serves the long-term future of open-wheel racing in the United States. In its first four years of on-track competition, the Indy Racing League has made great strides. We consistently have close, wheel-to-wheel competition among some of the best drivers in the business. Our engines and chassis have been established as excellent and dependable equipment. And we are offering opportunity for drivers in open-wheel competition that has not existed for decades. "In respect to discussion between CART and Indy Racing League, this has been time well spent for both series. Both of us offer quality racing products to fans of open-wheel racing. Despite much discussion back and forth, there remain differences of philosophy between us that cannot be papered over, nor resolved in the short run. I believe it is in the best interests of open-wheel racing for us to continue on our separate courses, but to continue to cooperate and communicate on those areas which are mutually beneficial to the sport of open-wheel racing. "However, the time has come for both of our organizations to reassure fans, sponsors and promoters that we both will continue to be in business separately, both conducting our race series separately, and both engaged in friendly competition for the attention of fans and sponsors.
"Once again, I reiterate that CART teams are welcome to compete in any Indy Racing League event, including the Indianapolis 500, under the same rules that apply to everybody. We will be happy to extend invitations to any and all CART teams that wish to compete. "The time representatives of the two series have spent during the last year talking with each other has not been in vain. We share many of the same values and many of the same goals. The representatives of CART have been forthcoming and positive in their attitude. The significant differences in our philosophies cannot be solved quickly. Answers to these may come over time, but in the meantime, at least for the next several years, both series need to be going about their business. "There will be those self-appointed guardians of the sport of open-wheel racing who will not agree with this course of action. Many of them are not comfortable with change, especially with the changes that have been brought about by the coming of the Indy Racing League. I believe the changes have been good. There are more open-wheel, oval races today than ever before. There are a variety of new owners and new sponsors investing in the future of open-wheel racing. There are more drivers who are products of short ovals involved than has been the case in decades. There is now a path to the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race for those competing on the short tracks of America. Open-wheel racing is being conducted in new markets on some of the newest and finest ovals in the country. And young drivers now have a viable choice other than NASCAR for their long-term future. "To those who are interested in a deal, any deal, it must be noted that a deal isn't good if it is a bad deal for one of the parties. "The Indy Racing League has a five-year contract with ABC and ESPN, and we are beginning to move into markets where we have grassroots strength-Kentucky in 2000, perhaps Kansas City and the Chicago market in 2001. Our long-term future is bright, and we are going to pursue it."