IndyCar imbalancing act

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

In just four days either Will Power or Dario Franchitti will hoist the IZOD IndyCar Series trophy given to the winner of the 2010 season championship.

Not even the dancing devil himself, Helio Castroneves, can catch them. His 501 points are 86 behind Power and 74 behind Franchitti.

It is as it should be as both Power -- who has whipped the field at most of IndyCar's road and street courses -- and Franchitti -- who has the most balanced points totals between going right and left and strictly left this season -- have been the class of the grid all season long.

What should be worrisome for IndyCar boss Randy Bernard is the imbalance at the team level --between Penske Racing, Ganassi Racing and the rest of the field -- that was evident in the very first round of racing back in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March.

And what has become even more evident -- indeed downright scary -- as the season wore on is that Penske and Ganassi look like they will continue their dominant ways for seasons to come.

In an era of economic uncertainty both Penske and Ganassi appear bullet proof with solid backing from giant retailer Target for Ganassi and telecommunications leader Verizon for Penske in the bag.

Not even a five-car team like Andretti Autosport can compete one-on-one with the deep pockets that Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske bring to the table.

This is not to suggest that Bernard should ask either Penske or Ganassi to share the wealth -- that would be ludicrous. But he should be finding ways to help the smaller teams like Canada's FAZZT Racing with Alex Tagliani behind the wheel.

Tagliani and team owner Andre Azzi have been beating the bushes in Canada to keep that team afloat this season -- including a contribution from Sun Media's corporate coffers --but the result pales in comparison to the big two.

The IndyCar series under Bernard is still trying to find its feet, but a good first step has already been taken with the introduction of a cost-effective new chassis, and possibly new engines in 2012.

That should level the track just enough so that the series doesn't morph into the Penske-Ganassi Series.

FINISH LINES

Just how ugly is the financial footings these days in NASCAR's Nationwide Series? This week alone two of the brightest stars in the NNS -- Trevor Bayne and Brian Scott -- have been fired from Michael Waltrip Racing and Braun Racing respectively. And the reason for losing their jobs had nothing to do with performance. In fact both are universally regarded as can't-miss kids in the sport. In Scott's case, he let the team know he was taking his sponsorship to a new team next season and in Bayne's case he allegedly reneged on a deal to bring added sponsorship to MWR... Sunday's telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway earned a final national household coverage rating of 2.8 in the U.S., averaging 3,965,722 viewers. Last year's race aired on ABC and earned a 3.1 rating in the U.S. with 5.08 million viewers. ... Lewis Hamilton had a DNF at Singapore but returned home to live out a boyhood dream: Take a few laps in Ayrton Senna's legendary McLaren MP4/4, the most successful Formula One car in history at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. "I love this car, it's amazing," Lewis said."

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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