Ever since North America’s open wheel racing series was torn apart by Tony George and his American only plan, I, like many fans have dreamed of the day the two series would quit struggling and get back together. At its peak, CART offered some of the best racing in the world. What followed would be years of lackluster racing, sponsorship woes and odd business practices. Little did I dream that when the marriage between the two series, our Toronto race would be a victim of the battle.
Most importantly here is the sport and the news that the 2 series will once again become one is indeed the best thing that has happened to open wheel racing in North America the world since George announced his oval only, American only series back in 1994. Obviously George was right in excluding Europeans & South Americans from his good old boys series, as his sponsorship deals flourished while the CART/CCWS series never recovered. It’s a shame when good business practice equates to subtle bigotry. Of course the model has changed over the years and the IRL has drivers from around the world and road courses too. Shame on the American race fan for their small mindedness and short memories.
Certainly, we are going to see some great racing for 2008 with the best fields in years, but is all well with the unification? The story went up on the IndyCar site late on Friday and the Toronto Grand Prix website is already redirected to the news. The CCWS series site on the other hand has made no changes. Somehow methinks the CCWS management are in a bar somewhere licking their wounds.
With any battle, there are casualties. Unfortunately the Toronto race is one of the wounded soldiers from this battle, suffering from a conflicting date. According to Toronto Tourism, the loss of the race will cost the local economy over $50 million. On the bright side, it looks like organizers may have plans to bring the event back on another weekend for 2009. That should give Toronto organizers time to find a new, more reliable title sponsor for the event by the lake.
Until then, we’ll have to make due with watching some great racing on television or maybe a visit to Mid-Ohio. Maybe we can even look at some of last year’s photos.