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.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Detroit street circuit jettisoned for 2009

(by Tony DiZinno on 12-18-08)

The IndyCar/American Le Mans Series double-header weekend at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, has been canceled for 2009. Late word today said that the event did not fit the business plans of race organizers amidst the current economic situation. IndyCar and ALMS teams agreed that the race "relied too much on corporate support".

The cancellation leaves IndyCar a 17-race schedule, with three weeks after the race at Chicagoland Speedway, a Saturday night event on August 29, and before the oval at Motegi, Japan on September 19. ALMS now scales back to ten events, leaving the weekend following Mosport, Canada open, with nearly a month-long break before Petit Le Mans.

Roger Penske oversaw and was the driving force to bring the event back to the streets of Detroit, and he has had a busy off-season. Penske Racing shifted their sportscar efforts from ALMS to Grand-Am's Rolex Series, with Porsche power, leaving their RS Spyder in the LM P2 class in the history books. Now, the race he helped get back on the schedule after giving the track a sizeable facelift is off.

Penske told Autoweek, "This is a real economic time of distress for everyone and we couldn't sit here and count on a lot of things happening that we know weren't going to happen, especially knowing we live in such a distressed area with unemployment and all the other things going on."

Detroit returned to an open-wheel calendar in 2007 following a six-year hiatus, and consecutive years at the track have featured good crowds if not great racing. Justin Wilson won this year's edition for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

Detroit. more than any other city, is feeling the pinch of the global economic crisis. The "big three" U.S. automakers, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are verging on bankruptcy and hoping for a bailout to survive this month and into next year, while hundreds or thousands lose their jobs.

And not only that, but Detroit could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of street races falling by the wayside. The series is scheduled to open with consecutive runs in the concrete canyons of St. Petersburg and Long Beach but could their events be next?

Each signed contracts to continue to at least 2013 earlier this year. However, with construction costs through the roof for these circuits, permanent road courses appear a better proposition at the moment.

Before today, Detroit was one of five temporary courses on the schedule, along with St. Pete and Long Beach and the two Canadian rounds in Toronto and Edmonton.

Official announcements from IndyCar and the ALMS are likely to come tomorrow.

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