How CART will succeed with the IRL
The groundwork has been laid and the plan has been presented showing how CART will co-exist and succeed while the IRL continues too.
Pook said it when he said choose the IRL if you want a Chevy sort of series and CART if you want a BMW mercedes kind of series. Now that struck me an elitist and probably not a wise choice in today's climate. Then I thought about it some more and realized what Pook was saying.
If you want a Chevy sort of experience, you don't go to OW racing at all. You go NASCAR. The weak turnout at oval races is neither CART nor the IRL's fault, it is that the majority of oval fans want a NASCAR experience. The number of OW fans with similar tastes is small, maybe too small to sustain a series over the long haul.
So Pook knows this and says where do you get fans that aren't hooked on NASCAR? The wine and cheese crowd of course. Interestingly, they also have a lot of money, are mobile and buy expensive stuff. It's not lost on Pook that F-1 attracts the rich and famous and most could care less for the race, but they pack the venues at very big bucks.
That's all fine and good, but there's this problem. CART can't pull this off if it is losing teams to the IRL, but it can do just fine if CART teams run IRL teams, just like they do in NASCAR.
So Pook forces through a common formula. He knows, as does anyone who stops and thinks for a moment, that this only goes one way. CART guys can do great in the IRL (witness Phoenix), but there is little to fear of IRL guys coming over to CART. With the new formula, CART gets to develop very successful venues like Miami, Tampa/St. Pete, and ?. At the same time CART guys can run Michigan, Indy, and Fontana, the glamorous foreign ovals and leave the grunt tracks to the IRL.
When there are 6 CART - IRL teams then the CART guys are in the driver's seat. They've got the experience they need to cross over and they've got the equipment. Thanks to the prize structure of the IRL, they also get a lot of $$$ to corss over to the IRL, but they don't have to run their whole operation in the IRL like Penske chose to do this year.
No, it will be like the TCGR and Penske NASCAR operations with the added advantage that their CART teams can come over for the plums, while also supporting a full time Leadership Circle IRL operation.
Sure it's elitist, but that's where the money is and Pook's making it clear that survival of CART is not his goal. It is to dominate OW racing in America and compete directly with F-1 for the glamour racing dollar.
I think he's got better than a even chance of pulling it off.