Indy racing chief Tony George is serious about reconciliation and moving forward with a truly unified racing series, and to that end is making several overtures to make the joining Champ Car teams feel more at home racing with this IRL teams.
Among the steps being considered is a name change to reflect the unification of the two erstwhile series. Acknowledging that the Indy Racing League name poses an inhospitable barrier for migrating Champ Car teams, George is suggesting the series return to the IndyCar World Series name used before the split. George would also like to use the Vanderbilt Cup, the oldest trophy in American motorsports that CART took with it on its departure. Meanwhile, George suggests that the calendar of the combined series could be split equally between oval tracks, road courses and temporary street circuits, with six races on each type of track, literally and metaphorically leveling the playing field for all those involved. Lastly, George finally owned up to his own mistake of locking out the bulk of the 1996 Indy 500 to only eight Champ Cars versus a 25-car IRL field, which prompted CART to boycott the event and widen the rift between the two series.
Their recent reunification initially drew heat from various people within the Champ Car world who felt it was really a take-over. If that is the case, George deserves all the more credit as the magnanimous victor extending a hand towards the defeated rival instead of taking a victory lap.
[Source: AutoWeek, Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty]