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Old 01-12-2004, 21:31   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.:CART Racing Closing

The Auto Channel

DETROIT January 12, 2004; Sharon Silke Carty writing for Dow Jones reported that the company that once listed Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta as its race car drivers said Monday that its board of directors has resigned and it plans to close up operations soon.

Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. filed for bankruptcy Dec. 16 after it signed a deal with Open Wheel Racing Series. Open Wheel plans to buy the assets of CART, if a bankruptcy court judge approves on Jan. 23, for a total of $1.5 million. The deal calls for Open Wheel to pay $3 million for the assets, minus $1.5 million in outstanding prize money earned by race drivers.

Open Wheel intends to continue running CART races.

For Ford Motor Co., the recently announced plan means more sitting by and waiting. Spokesman Kevin Kennedy said the company -- which is one of two major sponsors of CART racing -- has been waiting a long time for the whole deal to work out.

Mr. Kennedy said CART racing is the company's third-largest racing partner. The company sponsors races through the Champ Car World Series, and also sponsors engines used to power the race cars through its Cosworth Racing Inc. subsidiary.

The company is waiting to hear from the bankruptcy court whether its agreements with CART will be honored by the new owner. Mr. Kennedy wouldn't say how much money Ford has tied up with CART.

Reading through CART's SEC filings is like reading a lesson on how to lose money. The company posted losses of $84 million in 2003, and paid subsidies of $ 31 million to maintain its 13 teams and 19-car racing pool.

Under the 10-K heading of "Bad Debt," CART said it took a $6.3 million charge in 2000 after a sponsorship contract fell through. The company has paid more than $6.1 million in severance payments to its former chief executive, spent millions on flying its racing teams to Europe and elsewhere, and has battled five serious lawsuits in the last four years.

The company said Monday that James F. Hardymon, James A. Henderson, Rafael A. Sanchez and Frederick T. Tucker resigned as members of CART Inc.'s board as of Jan. 9.
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Old 01-12-2004, 22:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.:CART Racing Closing

I think Ford should forget about the CART series altogether and either get involved more fully in IRL (actually compete against other manufacturers..) or divert the cash to the WRC effort and NASCAR..
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Old 01-12-2004, 22:16   #3 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.:CART Racing Closing

Was waiting for this to happen. No real suprises when IRL took half the teams when the regulations went stupid. Loved the racing in it's glory days though...

If they don't resume, or do in a smaller capacity, the Indy 300 on the Gold Coast will surely die (or just become a V8 event?)

Cheers... Tim
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