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IRL, Champ Car Could Announce Merger Today

Last updated on Friday, February 22, 2008

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - The twelve-year split of North American open wheel racing could officially come to an end today.

Indy Racing League FOUNDER Tony George and Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven met Thursday night to discuss unifying the two series under the IndyCar banner.

The IRL and Champ Car released a joint statement late last night saying that talks would resume today and that there is no news conference planned. There were reports on Thursday night that a news conference would take place late this morning.

The statement also says that there will be no confirmation of the unification of the two series until a final agreement is in place.

One of the sticking points in the merger talks has been the status of the IndyCar series race in Motegi, Japan on April 19th and the Champ Car race through the streets of Long Beach, California on April 20th. The Long Beach race is probably the major event on the Champ Car schedule and contractually cannot be moved. The IndyCar series would have logistical problems moving the Motegi race.

Speed-TV reported on Thursday that both races are expected to go on as originally scheduled with current IndyCar series teams racing in Japan and current Champ Car teams heading to Long Beach. Both races would reward points toward the IndyCar series championship. It is not known if the status of those races will be discussed at today's news conference.

The two series have competed for open-wheel fans and sponsors since 1996 when George formed the Indy Racing League as an alternative to Champ Car's predecessor - Cart.

Cart went bankrupt in 2004 with Kalkhoven and other team owners buying its assets to form the Champ Car World Series.

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