• Jan 29, 2008


Newman-Haas' Sebastien Bourdais at the 89th Indy 500

At several points in the last thirteen years since American open-wheel racing split, the two parties have tried to come to an agreement that would allow them to reunite, but none have yielded fruit. Carl Haas is tired of waiting, and has announced that deal or no deal, he's taking his team to the IndyCar Series by 2009.

Haas is co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, the most dominant team in Champ Cars. With Sebastien Bourdais driving, the team took the title the past four years running, for a total of eight championships – second only to Penske Racing, which also defected to the IRL in 2005. The next most successful team, Chip Ganassi Racing, moved to IndyCars in 2002.

The news is a further blow to the dying Champ Cars series, which was recently snubbed by rising star Rafa Matos who refused a $2 million grant from Champ Cars in favor of IndyCars. The major obstacle keeping the two series from rejoining has reportedly been Indy boss Tony George's insistence on controlling the combined series, but with the Champ Car World Series barely limping towards the finish line, George is rumored to have made another offer to Champ Car executives to "merge". Once Haas is gone, there may be nothing left for George to take over.

[Source: Autosport, Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's easy to say Champ Car is dying if you don't attend their packed events. Want the truth about Newman-Haas? This post is at best misleading and at worst a total falsehood based on third-hand sourcing from a fired ex-Champ Car employee, Robin Miller.

      The quote, which I don't buy because the source is Miller, is supposedly: "It hasn't happened yet but we've certainly considered going," he said. "It may not happen this year, but it's highly probable we'll do it in 2009..."

      Even if you buy that quote with complete accuracy, it is not close to a guaranteed defection. We have an entire year of racing, while the Indy 500 gets weaker, Honda threatens to quit the IRL, Wheldon is leaving after 2008, etc., etc., etc....when it comes down to it, in the position he's going to be in after '08, TG will have to compromise more than just trying to get some teams to form a mutiny.

      Don't have to take my word for it. Just sit back and watch.
      petemx5
      • 6 Years Ago
      It’s been painful watching Champ Car self destruct. As far as I’m concerned, once Champ Car is gone, so am I. I will follow ALMS and F1 (maybe some Grand Am, World Challange, Star Mazda...) but not anything sanctioned by TG.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As much as I hate Tony George, I would love to see the two series back together. The split has totally ruined open wheel racing in the U.S.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The problem is that if T.G. is in control there won't be a merged series. It will just be IRL with a few more teams and that is something I would watch maybe once a year for the 500. I'm a huge open wheel fan but I can't stand ovals, if they they do merge I hope they find a similar balance of road course and oval that CART had.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Very true. Bourdais would have had more competition last year if there was only one series.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's title is more than a bit deceptive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...it's consistent with the picture.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Champ car hasn't been dying. Champ car is the one who took the series to the streets and generated a lot more interest, as well as came up with developmental programs. Additionally, they did have the better drivers, including Bordais who just went to F1.

      But I do agree, losing Bourdais, Matos and now Newman-Haas does indicate problems for Champ Car. I always felt the IRL would be natural winner because they owned the Indy 500. But Champ car does have Long Beach and the Aussie GP, so it's not over yet.
      petemx5
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can say that again. I'd say its a pretty safe bet that NewmanHaasLanigan will not be going to the IRL. Maybe HaasLanigan (or just Haas) but not Newman.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds like a near death blow to Champ Car. Okay, I give in. Let George run the whole show. Just as a concession, use the Panoz and not those hideous anteater IRL cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I honestly hope this is true. Regardless of whether this would be a death blow to Champ Car or not, IRL could benefit from having more full time teams. The Indy 500 field needs to be full of strong contenders and not field fillers. If there are decent numbers for the rest of the Indy series races, the series will have the potential to grow again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This isn't accurate - in fact, Newman-Haas announced their driver line-up for the 2008 Champ Car season today - Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.

      http://www.newman-haas.com/content2008/release_01_29_2008_wilson_rahal.html
        • 6 Years Ago
        FNG - Read the article,, it states a move in 2009,, not 2008.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I really wanted Champ Car to win the battle over IRL; but at this point I just want to see the best open-wheel drivers compete against each other for once.
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