Ganassi VS Andretti-Green…”Rollerball” in Joliet?

HAMMOND, IN- In 1975, a thought-provoking film called
“Rollerball” was released. It suggested that the
future of professional sports would be the creation of
a new “game”…one which would see a limited number of
corporate teams battle “to the death” for the
championship. No one player would be allowed to become
bigger than the “game”.

Is it just me, or does the IRL…and NASCAR for that
matter…seem to rapidly approaching this sad state of

Team tactics have been an accepted part of Formula
One, and other forms of road racing, since the
beginning. However, such activities have only recently
become part of the landscape of American motorsport.
Since the trend toward larger multi-car teams and
fewer individual efforts has become reality, it seems
that the path toward “Rollerball” may be inevitable.

Andretti-Green driver Tony Kanaan may well be the
prototype “Rollerball” driver of the future. At the
California Speedway in 2004, Kanaan gave up a certain
victory by lifting in sight of the checkered flag to
allow teammate Dario Franchitti to blow by for the
win. Kanaan’s lame excuse of “electrical glitches”
certainly didn’t rig true then…or now.

Since then, blocking and other forms of artificial
maneuvering have become an unfortunate part of Indy
Car racing. A few weeks ago at Infineon Raceway,
Kanaan was up to his old tricks, assisting buddie
Dario by holding up Ganassi’s Scott Dixon in an effort
to help Franchitti maintain his point lead. And, like
his “California Gift” of 2004, Kanaan accomplished his
mission with little or no finesse. Shamefull…

And now, the IRL prepares to stage it’s final event of
the 2007 season at Chicagoland Speedway, with the
championship on the line. Ganassi’s two car team,
featuring championship contender Scott Dixon, and
defending race winner Dan Wheldon, will face off
against the Andretti-Green Juggernaut of point leader
Dario Franchitti, Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Danica

With so much on the line, can cooler heads prevail?
Have Franchitti’s two recent near-lethal un-scheduled
flights at Michigan and Kentucky reminded everyone
involved that Indy Cars on superspeedways can be VERY
dangerous if they touch? Can team tactics, involving
blocking, be safely employed in high speed, open wheel

The two team owners involved in the championship
fight, former drivers Chip Ganassi and Michael
Andretti, can only do so much. It’s up to the drivers
to present the type of exiting, safe, honest show that
fans and friends of Indy Car racing have come to
rightfully expect.

Let’s hope they can pull it off…because I don’t
think we’re ready for “Rollerball” just yet.

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