War of Indy-pendence 0
KV Racing Technology boss Kevin Kalkhoven reportedly led an attempt to oust IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. (Getty Images)
Okay, IZOD IndyCar Series fans, listen up.
You want to know why your favourite racing series sucks NASCAR’s exhaust fumes?
Look no further than the boys and girls in your own executive suites.
This week, several IndyCar team owners — and allegedly former IRL czar Tony George — decided that they didn’t like the way CEO Randy Bernard was running their show.
The group was apparently led by KV Racing Technology boss Kevin Kalkhoven who, remember, was the leading light in the doomed Champ Car series that brought in auto racing’s version of Dr. Kevorkian — Paul Gentilozzi — to run that organization into bankruptcy.
Now he’s on a similar mission in IndyCar.
Bernard admitted that a palace coup was in progress when he said on his Twitter account earlier this week: “It is true that an owner is calling others trying to get me fired. I have had several owners confirm this. Disappointing.”
All this came after the most successful — both competitively and financially — Indianapolis 500 in more than two decades.
The spilled milk had not even dried yet on the yard of bricks before Kalkhoven and his pals did what open wheel-racing team owners do best: Form a firing squad in a circle.
All of this stems from the owners’ anger at a marked increase in the projected cost of the new Dallara DW2 chassis — to $500,000 from $350,000 — and the handing out of fines of $10,000 and up to several teams after some race cars were found with unapproved parts in Long Beach and Sao Paulo.
Hey, team owners, that is how real racing series operate.
There is hope that a meeting of the minds can happen this weekend at the Detroit Grand Prix and all this nonsense can be stopped.
For those who think Kalkhoven and George can run things better, check out their record in Champ Car and the IRL to see how well that worked out.
ARPIN BACK IN ARCA
Fort Frances, Ont., native Steve Arpin has signed up with his old Venturini Motorsports team for three ARCA Racing Series events starting this weekend in the Akona 200 at Elko Speedway in Minneapolis.
Arpin, who is doing a part-time schedule this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, is no stranger at Elko, where he raced during his formative years.
“I can’t think of a better place to make my return to the ARCA Series with Venturini than Elko Speedway,” he said in a team release.
“This is a special opportunity and moment for me. It will be awesome to get back behind the wheel in the same area where I cut my teeth in racing.”
Arpin will make his 2012 ARCA debut driving the No.66 Loenbro Pipeline Solutions and Speed Shop Chevrolet.
In addition to Elko Speedway, he will drive for Venturini at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds later this summer.
The Ontario Honda Dealers Association has once again stepped up for Free Friday at next month’s Honda Indy Toronto. The dealers will pay the cost of admission for fans on July 6, the first of three days of racing at Exhibition Place. There will be some charitable fundraising as well, with donations going to the Make-A-Wish® foundation. Two previous Free Fridays raised more than $200,000 to make the wishes of children who are living with a life-threatening medical condition come true ... John King, the rookie who was the surprise winner of the Camping World Truck Series season-opening race at Daytona, is out of a job after sponsorship ran out. Red Horse Racing announced this week the No. 7 Toyota Tundra team would suspend operations until a sponsor could be found ... A similar dilemma has forced Dragon Racing to drop one of its two IndyCar rides with Sebastian Bourdais and Katherine Legge now sharing one car. Bourdais will drive the remaining road courses while Legge will drive the ovals. Bourdais will be behind the wheel at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Sunday, while Legge will take over in Texas on June 9 ... On the positive side of the IndyCar ledger, the series has signed a deal that will see Chevrolet named as official truck of the series and the Holmatro Safety Team. Probably not at the Honda Indy, of course ... Just in time for this week’s race in Detroit, Firestone has developed a new rain tire. That’s good because it is expected to be wet at the Belle Isle temporary street course.
EARNHARDT LIKES NFL’S PLAYBOOK
Dale Earnhardt Jr. thinks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series should take a page out of the National Football League’s play book.
He wants fewer Cup races and he thinks that will bring back the fans who lose interest when NASCAR’s season stretched from February to November — the longest in pro sports.
“The model that the NFL uses is a pretty productive model,” he said Friday at Dover International Speedway, where he was preparing for Sunday’s FEDEX 400. “They seem to have it about right. When you’re a football fan you can’t wait for the season to start and it seems like an eternity before it does, and when it’s here it’s gone just as fast and you can’t wait for the next one.”
Although he doubts it will ever happen, he is in favour of cutting about six races off the current 36-race schedule.
“I think that shortening the season would be a good thing and would definitely sort of change some things for the better,” Earnhardt said. “But I just don’t think that’s even a possibility, more of a daydream than anything else. It will never be a reality.”