2007 ChampCar News Thread.......

All about the Champ Car World Series (CCWS)

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2007 ChampCar News Thread.......

Post by mlittle » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:05 am

As with the 2005 and 2006 open-wheel news threads, this thread will contain news items of interest pertaining to the Champ Car World Series.....speaking of news,

ChampCar, Ford sever ties.......

The following statement was released by ChampCar President Steve Johnson concerning the severing of ties between ChampCar and Ford Motor Company......
Today's decision was made from a business standpoint on both sides and in no way should tarnish the long legacy of success that Ford Motor Company (has) established in Champ Car competition. We thank Ford for what it has done for the series, but we are continuing (to) build a bright future for the series and are exploring a number of other options for a manufacturer partner.
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Post by cmlean » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:30 pm

When does this occur? At the end of the 2007 series or now?

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Post by mlittle » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:40 pm

cmlean wrote:When does this occur? At the end of the 2007 series or now?
As far as I know, they severed ties starting this year; Ford's been an integral part of ChampCar's history going back to the series' beginning in 1979.....from what I can gather, ChampCar decided not to continue Ford's Pace Car Program, replacing it with the two-seater Formula 1 program new Minardi principal Paul Stoddart brought(....why they dropped the Pace Car Program is anybody's guess...... :x :shock: :shock: )

It is a shame they dropped it, cmlean; ChampCar's run its' Pace Car Program since the early 1980's(when the series was known as the PPG/CART IndyCar Series) as a way to bring fans closer to the action(by giving track rides to fans and so forth). By most accounts, though, all Ford brought to the table were money and their name, so its' not really a big loss.......then again, there's a lot of internet chatter as to who will replace Ford(Cadillac and Mazda are mentioned repeatedly..... :shock: :shock: :shock: )

My take......there's more to this than just a simple severing of the ties btwn. ChampCar and Ford.......but as to what it is, I don't think anyone really knows at the moment.

P.S. Now that I thought of it, I should have the results to the first off-season trivia quiz up on the other forum later tonight.....
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Denver dropped from 2007 schedule...

Post by mlittle » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:26 pm

ChampCar officials announced today that, due to scheduling concerns btwn. them and event promoters in Denver, that the 2007 race in Denver scheduled for 17-19 Aug. 2007 has been cancelled, citing the inability of promoters to find a suitable venue for the race.....in addition, the race will not be on the 2008 calendar due to the fact that Pepsi Center, where the race is centered upon, will play host to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

An updated 2007 schedule will be posted forthwith....... :(
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Post by mlittle » Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:04 am

mlittle wrote:
cmlean wrote:When does this occur? At the end of the 2007 series or now?
As far as I know, they severed ties starting this year; Ford's been an integral part of ChampCar's history going back to the series' beginning in 1979.....from what I can gather, ChampCar decided not to continue Ford's Pace Car Program, replacing it with the two-seater Formula 1 program new Minardi principal Paul Stoddart brought(....why they dropped the Pace Car Program is anybody's guess...... :x :shock: :shock: )

It is a shame they dropped it, cmlean; ChampCar's run its' Pace Car Program since the early 1980's(when the series was known as the PPG/CART IndyCar Series) as a way to bring fans closer to the action(by giving track rides to fans and so forth). By most accounts, though, all Ford brought to the table were money and their name, so its' not really a big loss.......then again, there's a lot of internet chatter as to who will replace Ford(Cadillac and Mazda are mentioned repeatedly..... :shock: :shock: :shock: )

My take......there's more to this than just a simple severing of the ties btwn. ChampCar and Ford.......but as to what it is, I don't think anyone really knows at the moment.

P.S. Now that I thought of it, I should have the results to the first off-season trivia quiz up on the other forum later tonight.....
cmlean, I think I've found out why. According to autoracing1.com, it was ChampCar that gave Ford Motor Co. the boot after Ford bosses, including Ford Racing director Dan Davis, found out that ChampCar had dropped not only the Pace Car Program but their Hot Lap Program, in which prospective Ford Motor Co. customers got laps around the track from both Ford officials and ChampCar personnel. The reason ChampCar junked Ford's program......with the tight timelines present in a race weekend, both programs Ford had used time better spent on racing activities; that and the fact that for all of ChampCar's troubles, Ford only paid ChampCar about 850-900K per year(less than $1 million USD). Normally, I don't agree with autoracing1.com('cause of their sometimes very blatant anti-IRL, anti-NASCAR and anti-Grand Am coverage) but in this case I agree with 'em. :shock2: :shock2:
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Post by cmlean » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:27 am

Well done mfer getting to the bottom of that.
Still, with both open wheel series struggling for financial support and viewers, a cool million in the hand is usually appreciated to offset the running costs of the series.

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Pagenaud signs with Team Australia for 2007......

Post by mlittle » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:22 am

Add one more driver to the list of confirmed drivers for the 2007 ChampCar season, as Team Australia officials confirmed today during testing at the MSR-Houston racetrack that 2006 Atlantic Championship titleist Simon Pagenaud will be piloting one of the team's two Aussie Vineyards'-liveried Panoz DP01s' in 2007. Here are some quotes from those involved............

Derrick Walker, Co-Owner, Team Australia:
We are very happy to have Simon parterning with Will Power, completing our 2007 driver lineup. Craig Gore and I are glad to be coming back for our third season. Things are definitely coming together nicely. Simon was a part of our 2006 Atlantic Championship program and I expect he and Will (Power) will work really well together and make a positive impact on our Team Australia race program.
Craig Gore, Co-Owner, Team Australia:
The signing of Simon Pagenaud to our second Team Australia seat completes our driver lineup, which I think is a very strong combination. Simon did a terrific job for us in the Atlantic series in 2006 and I'm happy that we will have him become a part of our Champ Car operation. 2007 is going to be an exciting year for us on so many levels in Champ Car.
Simon Pagenaud, driver-Team Australia:
I'm so excited to be moving up to Champ Car and to be joining my old team from Atlantics' to drive the no. 15 Aussie Vineyards with Team Australia. We had a fantastic year with the Atlantic series, it was a great program. Derrick Walker and Craig Gore were very helpful to me last year and I am really looking forward to having a great season with them this year. With the new car and all the new changes, the Champ Car series is getting stronger and stronger; it will be a challenging year, but what can I say, I'm very happy where I am at this time and I'm ready to grow with the team and the series.
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DEA visits Conquest shop.......

Post by mlittle » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:11 am

Officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, along with law enforcement officials from the Netherlands conducted a question-and-search visit of Conquest Racing's west Indianapolis facility on Wednesday, interviewing team principal Eric Bachelart about any alleged links between his team, 2006 driver Charles Zwolsman and Zwolsman's father, Charles Zwolsman, Sr., who had been under investigation in the Netherlands for drug trafficking and had been arrested in late Nov. 2006 on said charges. In a statement, Bachelart said, "They just wanted to ask questions and look around. We have nothing to hide and we haven't done anything wrong. Everything is okay and we'll be up and running by tomorrow." When asked about the supposed link btwn. Zwolsman Sr. and his son, Bachelart added, "(As to his father), I didn't know any of that stuff about him when I signed Charles and I feel bad for him--he's a sweet kid. He's just a victim of what his father has been doing."

According to most AOWR analysts, this is reminiscent of what all but ended the racing career of John Paul, Jr. back in the early-to-mid 1980's. Like Zwolsman, Jr., J.P. Jr.'s father was involved in drug trafficking. In that instance, federal prosecutors tried to convince the son to testify agst. his father, who had been indicted on attempted murder charges......when the son refused to testify, truthfully claiming he had no knowledge of his dad's activities at the time, the feds locked J.P. jr in federal prison for 18 months; although John Paul, Jr. later became a top-notch sportscar driver, his Indy-car career was effectively deep-sixed as a result.
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Date changes on the horizon..........

Post by mlittle » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:38 am

According to SpeedTV's resident AOWR curmudegeon, a/k/a Robin Miller, ChampCar officials are in the process of moving several events around to different parts of the calendar......

~~Zhuhai, China would move from its' current date of 20 May to 28 October, one week after the 21 October round at Surfers Paradise, Australia
~~Zolder will move from 9 Sept. 2007 to 26 August 2007, going in front of Assen so as to not impinge upon the Sept. 16th's F1 race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium

There is a unintentional(.......?.........) benefit to moving the Zhuhai round; although it leaves a 6-week gap in the schedule between Houston and Portland, it does leaves the month of May open.......
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2007 ChampCar Announcers named...........

Post by mlittle » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:45 am

Champ Car World Series officials announced today the broadcasting lineup for the 2007 campaign; returning to the broadcast booth will be veteran announcer Rick Benjamin; joining him for color commentary/analysis will be Jon Beekhuis, moving up from his previous position as lead pit reporter the past two seasons. Bill Stephens, Cameron Steele and Michelle Beisner will serve as pit-road announcers during the season.
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Tag reunites with Rocketsports........

Post by mlittle » Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:10 am

Rocketsports Racing officials announced earlier today that veteran ChampCar driver Alex Tagliani will be returning to the team he formerly drove for in 2003-2004.........here are some quotes from those involved:

Paul Gentilozzi, Owner, Rocketsports Racing:
It is a real thrill to have Alex back aboard. We had two great years together and I look forward to reuniting with him as our driver for the 2007 season. He was our first open-wheel driver (at Rocketsports) and he helped us find ground while we were treading water our first two years in the series. He is an asset to have on any team; he puts in 100% on and off the track, and he goes above and beyond just being a driver. It will be an exciting year for all of us.
Alex Tagliani, Rocketsports Racing:
It is really good to be returning to Rocketsports; that is because it is nice to come back and see familiar faces, people that I worked with in the past. Everyone is very excited about the new car, for obivious reasons, but also because it gives us a chance to start from scratch. There is a lot to be done, so the chemistry between a team and the driver is very important, and we already have that; this place honestly feels like home. We want to win, and we know we are capable of doing that together.
One of the newer teams in the ChampCar paddock, the E. Lansing, Michigan-based Rocketsports Racing team began running in Champ Car back in 2003, taking on the likes of powerhouses Newman-Haas and Forsythe. For Tagliani, it means a return to the team which gave him his best successes to date, including his one win to date at Road America back in 2004.
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Newman-Haas expands, changes name........

Post by mlittle » Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:54 am

Boy, has this been a busy news evening....... :lol: :lol: :lol: :shock:

~~Newman-Haas Racing, one of the most successful ChampCar teams of the past few years, announced earlier this evening that they have brought aboard former MiJack-Conquest co-owner Mike Lanigan aboard; the team will be known as Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing(see logo below......)

Image

~~PKV Racing officials announced earlier today their driver lineup.....a pair of rookies will pilot the team's two Panoz DP01's in 2007; Neel Jani(already confirmed last month) and former GP2 and Renault World Series competitor Tristan Gommedy(Gommedy will test with the teams tomorrow and Saturday)

~~Several drivers are still without rides confirmed for the 2007; they include '06 Surfers Paradise winner Nelson Phillipe, former PKV Racing driver Oriol Servia, former Rocketsports driver Mario Dominguez, along with 2006 rookie competitors Jan Heylen and Dan Clarke

~~Cooperation in the works.......? Reports from both Rocketsports and RuSport are that, while the teams will not be merging in 2007, they will cooperate on several fronts, including possibly running an additional car or two this year.... :shock:

~~Still in doubt...........Conquest Racing officials report that, while they are still looking for sponsors for 2007, they are "confident" they will answer the bell next month in Las Vegas

~~Finally, reports are that Dale Coyne Racing will announce part of their driver lineup for 2007; it is expected that former PKV Racing driver Katherine Legge will be confirmed as one of DCR's two drivers, with either Andrew Ranger or Bruno Junquiera as the team's second driver
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CCWS names new series VP......

Post by mlittle » Wed May 16, 2007 12:46 pm

ChampCar officials announced Monday the hiring of David Higdon as Vice President for Communications/Strategic Development; Higdon, who has served as Vice President of Communications for the ATP(the men's tennis tour association) will travel to London along with ChampCar president Steve Johnson and drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Justin Wilson and Robert Doornbos to promote the series's European rounds at Zolder, Belgium and Assen, Holland and to promote the series to European fans and potential sponsors. ChampCar's European tour began today in London, and travel on succesive days to Amsterdam, Holland; Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France during the week.
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PCM inks new sponsor for remainder of 2007........

Post by mlittle » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:11 am

Pacific Coast Motorsports will be sporting some new colors for the upcoming ChampCar round in Portland.......team officials announced Tuesday that Benicia, Ca., based Molecule Labs will be the primary sponsor for PCM driver Alex Figge and a co-primary sponsor(alongside Ironclad) for PCM driver Ryan Dalziel; following Portland, Molecule Labs will be an associate sponsor for both drivers the remainder of the year.

Molecule Labs is one of several companies on the West Coast that have been working on products to help protect both drivers and crewmembers in multiple series from thermal injuries(read....burns) that are a potential risk to them. Molecule's products are designed to, once applied to the Nomex firesuits drivers/crews wear, allow fuels and solvents that come in contact with the firesuits to bead away and off of the garments.
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Bridgestone renews ties with ChampCar............

Post by mlittle » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:46 am

Officials with the Champ Car World Series and Bridgestone/Firestone North America(NA subsidiairy of Bridgestone in Japan) confirmed today in Cleveland that Bridgestone will be the official tire supplier of the Champ Car World Series through 2009..........here are some quotes form those involved:

Steve Johnson, President, Champ Car World Series:
Bridgestone has a valuable and strong partner of (Champ Car) since the brand joined in 2002. We're delighted that Bridgestone (will) remain the Official Tire of Champ Car through 2009. At that time, BFNA will have been involved in Champ Car for at least 15 years. That longevity is a testament to the tremendous relationship we have cultivated, and it is much more than a sanctioning body/sponsor relationship. BFNA has activated its' position with Champ Car extensively, is a strong marketing partner and provides the best, most reliable tires in the business.
Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone/Firestone NA:
Our company has remained active in supporting Champ Car with more than just fine race tires. It is an ideal pairing between a global series and a global brand. We'll continue to remain actively involved and look to increase our involvement (through 2009). I can confidently say that both sides wanted to see this partnership continue, and we're all very excited to see that it will continue.
Note.......here are some of the things Bridgestone has done for ChampCar in the past............
--provider of Bridgestone Potenza racing slicks all at ChampCar events
--at every event, there is a Bridgestone Fan Forum/Autograph Session
--they're also the Official Tire of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Las Vegas Grand Prix and the Arizona Grand Prix
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