AUTO RACING FANS MAY WELL face a dilemma next Memorial Day: Disgruntled team owners plan to run their own race, competing with the fabled Indianapolis 500, and chances look dim for a compromise. Says Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: "We're well past the window of opportunity" to settle differences.
The rift, which leaves such sponsors as PPG unsure whom to deal with, centers on the team owners' races on city streets and other road courses. Their group, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), boasts most of the top drivers (Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti). The Speedway wants to run only on oval tracks. At stake is who will block out the most racing dates for their series in this lucrative sport.
So the Speedway has set up the Indy Racing League series, starting Jan. 27 in Orlando. To qualify for 25 of the Indy 500's 33 spots, drivers must compete in the IRL races--which the CART owners refuse to do.