Like most American kids that grew up in the 80's I watched the Indy 500 every year and became interested in motorsports thanks to that race, but I didn't really get hooked until I started watching Formula 1 racing in the late 90's. My favorite era were those years with the great Mika Hakkinen/Michael Schumacher battles. (I was a Mika Hakkinen fan) So my fondness for Formula 1 waned once Mika retired and Schumacher started winning everything, even at the expense of his teammate Rubens Barrichello. My interest in F1 has only been lukewarm since.

Then I turned to Champ Car racing here in the US for my motorsports fix. However that was quickly extinguished once Champ Car and Indy Car merged and we were stuck with Tony George and his many foibles. (It was entertaining to watch the Hulman/George drama I'll admit.) My interest has been less than lukewarm with Indy Car lately, even without Tony George at the helm.

Over time however, the excitement I once had for motorsports has slowly gone. Maybe it has to do with my age, I don't know. But I think I will pour my efforts into my Trooper and my interests in the outdoors to add excitement to my life.

Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it. I will still post racing news when I find something interesting or noteworthy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

CART vs IRL: a timeline of the war

(continuation of above article)

November 1945: Tony Hulman buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for a reported $750,000, resumes famed race in 1946.

June 1955: Sanctioning body AAA drops racing after 80 spectators killed at Le Mans. Hulman helps start United States Auto Club.

Late 1950s: USAC thrives with front-engine Indy cars, sprints, midgets.

1971: USAC National Championship Indy-car series goes all pavement.

Mid-1970s: Indy-car owners begin grumbling about USAC management.

October 1977: Tony Hulman, 76, dies.

Early 1978: Dan Gurney proposes uniting car owners into "Championship Auto Racing Teams" (CART).

April 1978: Plane crash kills eight USAC officials returning from race at Trenton.

November 1978: Car owners create CART after USAC rejects their proposal for new, balanced board to govern Indy-car racing.

March 1979: CART holds first race, sanctioned by SCCA, at Phoenix.

April 1979: IMS rejects CART entries to 500. Court orders IMS to accept them.

November 1979: CART lands PPG sponsorship, starts PPG Indy Car World Series.

1979-81: Track owners jump from USAC to CART.

April 1980: USAC and CART compromise, form Championship Racing League (CRL).

July 1980: IMS dissatisfied with CRL; USAC pulls out, CART continues.

1982: Indy 500 becomes the only USAC-sanctioned Indy-car race.

Mid-1980s: CART grows, adds street races, including Long Beach.

January 1990: Just 30, Tony George, grandson of Tony Hulman, becomes IMS president.

November 1991: George proposes new board structure for Indy-car racing. CART rejects it.

Mid-1992: Tony George granted nonvoting seat on CART board.

Late 1993: George criticizes lack of track-owner input at CART.

January 1994: CART hires British sports marketer Andrew Craig as president to expand series. George resigns seat on CART board.

March 1994: George announces early plans for Indy Racing League (IRL).

July 1995: IRL unveils 25/8 rule: 25 spots in 1996 Indy 500 are reserved for IRL drivers.

Late 1995: CART announces 500-mile race at Michigan International Speedway to compete with Indy 500.

January 1996: IRL, sanctioned by USAC, holds its first race in Orlando, Florida.

May 26, 1996: Indy 500 and U.S. 500.

August 1996: IRL unveils its new cars for 1997, with 4.0-liter naturally aspirated engines. IRL and CART cars are now incompatible.

July 1997: IRL boots USAC as sanctioning body after timing and scoring errors at Texas.

October 1997: Former USAC sprint-car champion Tony Stewart becomes first IRL champion.

December 1997: FedEx becomes CART's main sponsor, and cars are renamed Champ Cars.

March 1998: CART stock goes public on New York Stock Exchange at $16 per share.

May 2000: Target Chip Ganassi Racing is first major CART team to enter Indy 500 in five years. Driver Juan Montoya wins.

June 2000: CART in turmoil, Craig resigns.

December 2000: Joe Heitzler, former TV sports executive, is named CART president.

April 2001: Toyota announces it is leaving CART, Honda follows in May 2002.

May 2001: More CART regulars participate in Indy 500, take top six spots.

Summer 2001: CART missteps include canceled races and officiating errors.

December 2001: Heitzler removed. Long Beach GP founder Chris Pook named CART president.

Summer 2002: IRL's oval races become consistently competitive, but attendance lags. CART's oval races lag, but road and street races thrive. October 2002: FedEx bails out as CART sponsor.

2003: CART spends millions subsidizing teams. Pays CBS for air time and production costs. Oddly, gives broadcasts free to Speed Channel.

2003: IRL is now dominated by former CART teams. Original teams falling by wayside.

September 2003: Newcomers Paul Gentilozzi, et al., propose CART takeover, offer 56 cents for stock worth 55. Hang on.

October 2003: CART's MotoRock rock-and-racing combo flops at first event.

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