Stung by the cries from teams who find it more and more difficult to afford to compete in the Indy Racing League, league officials today unveiled plans to "save teams hundreds of dollars on office supplies and other bulk-purchase items."
League director of Purchasing Bernadette Swarthow said that as of Nov. 21, all teams have been enrolled in the Office Depot Advantage Program and will receive complimentary memberships to Costco.
"We just want all the teams to know that the IRL has heard your concerns over the cost of racing and we're taking action," said Swarthow, who estimated savings from the two programs could be in the "high three figures" for each team. She added that the perks come "just in time for the holidays!"
Swarthow said the dramatic news comes after "many hours of negotiations" between the IRL and Office Depot and Costco. She pointed out that the Office Depot Advantage Program alone could help teams save up to $200 each on quality office supplies while Costco "is dedicated to bringing members the best possible prices on quality brand-name merchandise at hundreds of locations worldwide."
Some of the teams were skeptical that the steps would do much to offset the $4 million to $6 million required to run even a marginal Indy Car team.
"I mean, if Costco starts selling Dallara Automobili chasis, then we're talking," said one team owner. "But until then, I just don't know." Costco declined to comment on any plans for a racing chasis aisle.
Team insiders did admit that the programs would offer some meaningful savings to teams that use a lot of hair care products. "Danica (Patrick) and Dan (Wheldon) seemed pretty fired up about the Avada discounts," said one team member familiar with the drivers' grooming needs.
In other news, Gunter Yugoff, IRL Vice President of Spontaneity, praised the verbal sparing between rookie sensation Danica Patrick and veteran Jaques Lazier at the end of the IRL campaign. "I love the fire. I love the passion," Yugoff said. But Yugoff said he cannot condone any physical contact. "The news of the slapping or poking or whatever, it is very troubling. If they are going to do that, they should pop off their helmets and fight like hockey players right on the track."