SBD/21/Leagues Governing Bodies

INDYCAR OWNERS BEGIN TO RALLY AROUND ALTERNATE-INDY IDEA

     IndyCar Owners are preparing for a meeting "that will decide
whether they will go through with a proposed boycott" of next
May's Indy 500, according to this morning's DETROIT NEWS.  The
boycott would be in response to the Indy 500's new qualifying
format.  Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George, who
is leading the upstart Indy Racing League, enacted the changes
which require 25 of 33 qualifying spots be reserved for IRL
drivers.  Although IndyCar President & CEO Andrew Craig refused
to comment, some IndyCar owners indicate they are preparing for
an alternative race.  Walker Racing Owner Derrick Walker: "There
is some serious testing of the water, but the button hasn't been
pushed yet."  Walker added that "there will be an owners meeting
real soon," and "there is no doubt" IndyCar teams "will be racing
Memorial Day.  There's no way the teams and sponsors can afford
not to ... and I guarantee it will be on television."  Several
sources indicate an alternate race could be held at Michigan
International Speedway, in Brooklyn, MI, owned by Roger Penske
(Angelique Chengelis, DETROIT NEWS, 9/21).  Car Owner Chip
Ganassi said talk of a boycott is real: "We have a position and
we've made it known to Tony.  I hope cooler heads prevail"
(BOSTON HERALD, 9/21).  Michael Andretti:  "I would hate to see
it happen, because Indy is a great race.  But Tony's got to
understand it's not the only race" (DETROIT NEWS, 9/21).
     FROM THE OTHER SIDE:  Tony George was in Loudon, NH,
yesterday promoting the New England 200, which will be part of
the '96 IRL schedule.  George said he was surprised at talk of a
boycott, according to this morning's BOSTON HERALD.  George, on
IndyCAR and CART Owners: "Boycott is something that I though was
not in their vocabulary. ...We expect to have a field of
competition that may or may not include that specific group of
owners or drivers.  But that's totally up to them."  Car owner
Dick Simon said he would not boycott Indy "because of obligations
to his team and sponsors."  Simon: "I have to look at the fact
we've already signed an agreement to run Indy. ... I'll do my
best to do whatever it takes to make sure our sponsors and our
team are at the Indianapolis 500.  I have to do that."  Driver
Eddie Cheever said he will be at the Brickyard on Memorial Day
Weekend.  Cheever: "When I came to the States, my sole objective
was to win the Indianapolis 500."  Cheever added that a boycott
by top teams "would not hurt the race."  Cheever:  "There was no
Penske car last year and it didn't kill the race" (Stephen
Grabowski BOSTON HERALD, 9/21).
     LESSONS FROM BASEBALL?  In a piece in the current INSIDE
SPORTS, Lewis Franck notes that without an alternative to the
Indy 500, drivers will risk not running in "the race your
sponsors care most about."  George says the new series will
reduce costs, but Franck notes that many think it will destroy
the sport.  Mario Andretti: "We're not competing with other
series -- we're competing with other sports.  I've told Tony, 'I
don't care how you put it -- there's not room for two series.
One has to die.'"  Franck writes:  "Hasn't anyone learned the
lessons from baseball?  Fans don't want to see replacement
players.  They don't care about which acronym sanctions what
race, or about those behind-the-scenes power grabs.  They just
want a good show" (INSIDE SPORTS, 10/95 issue).
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