Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cart, Irl Feud in High Gear

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cart, Irl Feud in High Gear

Article excerpt

So what if the new Indy Racing League makes its debut at Disney World next January; the existing PPG Indy Car World Series will carry on.

That's the word from St. Louisan Carl Hogan, who has been a key player in Championship Auto Racing Teams the last couple of years.

Hogan, 65, has negotiated business deals over the years with some of the nation's most powerful men, including the late Jimmy Hoffa.

Sitting in a boardroom talking racing is no big deal to him. Hogan suggested that Andrew Craig of England become the next czar of CART, and Craig has pushed the sport up to a new level.

So Hogan isn't exactly worried about Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George and the new IRL.

"We'll open our season the next March at the new track in Homestead, Fla.," Hogan said.

There's a major feud brewing in IndyCar racing, and Hogan, who co-owns Rahal-Hogan Racing, has been involved in it from the beginning. He has been in negotiations between CART and the IRL.

"At one point, it looked like there might be the possibility of a compromise," Hogan said. "The way it is now, I see no way that we can get together, at least not in the foreseeable future."

Hogan said CART had been backing a proposal for a new board of directors made up of "car owners and promoters and sponsors, people knowledgeable about the sport."

"They turned that down," Hogan said, which led him to believe that George and his close-knit group wanted to be totally in charge.

The IRL then proposed a compromise that would have separated the oval races from the rest of the PPG Cup Series, in that the U.S. Auto Club would officiate all of the events on oval tracks.

"There was no way we were going to allow that to happen," Hogan said. "We think we do a good job of officiating them now. As far as we're concerned, we don't feel there should be two different sanctioning bodies."

In the middle of the early negotiations, Hogan said, the IRL announced its first race at Disney World.

"(CART) had had discussions with Disney and turned them down," Hogan said. "Then they made their announcement. It put a big crimp in the negotiations."

CART is happy with its blend of races on superspeedways, and short-track, road-course and street-course races.

The new tracks being built in Homestead and in California by CART member Roger Penske will be added to the schedule.

But don't the owners in CART have to have access to the Indy 500 to keep their sponsors for the rest of the season?

"(George) has said that this will be open next year," Hogan said. "I think he has alienated some of the sponsors. They're sitting back thinking, `Do we want one guy in control of everything?'

"I'd doubt very much that he would try to keep us from racing here. I think that's one thing that can't be touched. He needs us, too. Can he really afford to run the Indy 500 without Al Unser and Bobby Rahal? …

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