Note: this is all made up. Fiction. Driven by frustration and for humor purposes only.
Leaders of the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series vowed today to match each other's shrinking entry count car-for-car.
The estimated 34,292 race fans who still pay attention to open-wheel racing in America have noticed that car counts for both series have dropped steadily this year. Both Champ Car and the IRL currently field about 18 cars. (Actual numbers fluctuate from day to day based on the work load of bill collectors.) Officials from both series vowed not to fall behind in the de-escalating cart count shrinkage race.
"Were here to compete with the IRL," said Rufus McEnders, Director of 'Competition' for Champ Car. "So if the IRL loses a car, by God we'll lose a car too. No way are we going to let them lose cars faster than us."
"The IRL has set out to prove that a 'major' racing series can still put on a race and actually charge people money to watch with as few cars as possible and we aim to accomplish that goal," said Jefferson Smithers, Director of 'Competition' for the IRL. Smithers said projections through the end of the year show, with some luck, that the IRL coudl be down to a dozen cars.
"But, don't forget, one of them will have Danica in it and the other will have Marco in it, so that's the main thing," said Smithers.
Both Smithers and McEnders said the deflating car count comes as a result of a lot of hard work to make the cost of competing in the IRL as high as possible, while driving down the return on sponsorship investment. "When you ask sponsors to invest $2 million to get a $500,000 return, it does wonders for weeding down the car count," said McEnders. Smithers added a reduction in the number of drivers walking around with $1 million checks they're willing to bring to a team has also helped.
In order to prop up fan interest, the IRL is supposedly considering starting a "Who is next to go" game on their Web site. Fans can predict which IRL car will drop out next. Some teams reportedly are one wreck away from calling it quits.
"On any given race day, if we have a 'big one' that could be it for a few teams," Smithers said. "We hope that's the kind of thing that gets fans to tune in and spend $40 to watch from the stands. That and seeing which Penske or Target Chip Ganassi car wins this week, of course."
Both series also report excellent shrinkage among their feeder series. The IRL's feeder, Infinity Pro Series has broken the double-digit barrier with just nine qualifying for the race at Milwaukee. Champ Car has lagged behind a bit with their feeder series shrinking from 28 at the start of the year to 20 last week. "Don't worry, we're working on it," said McEnders. "When it comes to car count, our motto is 'the Limbo.' You know, 'how low can you go?' "