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Champ Car & the IRL Finally Merge

  After 12 years of damaging rivalry Champ Car and the Indy Racing League have signed a deal to merge their series effective immediately Some details, such as which races will go into the unified series, are still to be finalized but after many abortive attempts, the deal is done. This will result in a much stronger US open wheel racing scene and hopefully return the series to the heights it enjoyed in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  The owners of the two series issued a short statement on Friday night which read; “Owners of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League completed an agreement in principle Friday that will unify the sport for 2008. Gerald Forsythe, co-owner of Champ Car, signed an agreement in principle in Chicago, joining his partner Kevin Kalkhoven and Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George who had signed late Thursday in Indianapolis.”


Just how many Champ Car teams will join the IRL is still to be confirmed but most of the large teams, Newman Haas, Forsythe & Team Australia/Walker Motorsports will be sure to join.


  Team Australia chief, Derrick Walker, was at the announcement and had this to say; “It's been a long road, but it has finally come together. One open-wheel racing series in the United States has long been recognized as what fans and sponsors want to have, and I'm happy to say that Walker Racing embraces the decision. I also want to give a special thanks to all the past and present CART/Champ Car officials for all their hard work in giving us some great seasons."


  IRL team bosses, Bobby Rahal and Michael Andretti also expressed their delight at the merger. "This is a great day for open-wheel racing and one that I and my Rahal Letterman Racing team have looked forward to for a long time," Rahal said in a statement.  Michael Andretti said "This is a huge day for the IRL and for our sport as a whole. Over the years as a driver, team owner, and promoter, I've always wanted a unified sport.”


Sam Snape