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.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

de Ferran Dragon Shuts Down

(by Robin Miller 2-24-11)

What promised to be a re-energized Indy car team is now out of business and one of the best drivers on the circuit is again looking for a ride.

The de Ferran Dragon operation, which signed Tony Kanaan last December, officially closed its doors Thursday.

“We worked hard to fund this thing and tried everything we could but, at the end of the day, we just couldn’t raise enough funds to do it properly,” said Gil de Ferran, who was co-owner along with Jay Penske and Steve Luzco.

“It’s a shame because we kept our full crew (16 employees) through the winter, did a lot of R&D and I was confident we had a good season ahead of us.”

Founded in 2006, Luzco Dragon ran a limited schedule in 2008 before hiring Rafa Matos, who contested the full schedule in 2009 and 2010 with a best finish of fourth.

After Kanaan was cut loose by Andretti Autosport last fall, the 2004 IRL champion was approached by Panther Racing but opted to go with his fellow Brazilian.

“It’s a shame because we worked really hard the past couple months to try and find funding and I had 88 meetings with people looking for sponsorship,” said Kanaan, who had two more years left on his contract with Michael Andretti but was left with little choice but to take a buyout after 7/Eleven bailed.

“I had never been on that side before and now I know how fortunate I’ve been all this time to have a good deal.”

The 35-year-old veteran may be able to hook up with Dale Coyne but there’s not many options remaining.

“I’m available, I’m not going to give up,” he said. “I had offers to stay in Brazil and drive stock cars and Kyle Busch still wants me to drive his truck but I want to be in Indy car.

“I’ve still got the talent and the desire, I just need a ride.”

There had been talk that de Ferran/Dragon might run a partial schedule but the 2003 Indy 500 winner opted not to.

“Believe me, we looked at every scenario available, half a season, Indy, some races near the end but I couldn’t build a case for it,” he said.

Asked if he might try to re-surface as a team owner in 2012, he replied: “Speaking personally, I love auto racing it’s always been my life and I love Indy Cars. But I’m not going to make any immediate decisions about the future.”

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