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The CART-IRL split

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003

THE INSTIGATOR: Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George sought more control over the sport and announced in March 1994 the formation of the Indy Racing League, reserving most of the spots in the Indianapolis 500 for his American-based overall series. He said his goals were to lower costs and develop more appeal for American-based sponsors and fans.

THE REACTION: The team owners who controlled CART objected, announcing a boycott of the 1996 Indianapolis 500. CART held the U.S. 500 to compete with Indy.

THE AFTERMATH: While fans have migrated toward NASCAR, open-wheel racing has struggled, particularly for sponsors and television ratings. Neither side has been willing to compromise enough to reconcile. More and more CART teams have begun to field entries in the Indy 500 to satisfy sponsors, but CART has vowed to continue as its own series.

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