Deal done, work starts

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, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

Jim Haskins wasn't expecting to get many hours of sleep between now and July.

How about half a dozen?

"That's more than I expected!" the prez and GM of Edmonton's Grand Prix race said yesterday.

"So that'd be good."

And likely none of that sleep will come this weekend.

While a deal was signed yesterday ending a dozen years of acrimony between two open-wheel racing factions, no official word has been relayed to Haskins that a schedule for a unified IndyCar series.

Haskins said he is unable to comment on any negotiations that have or may have taken place in regards to a potential schedule.

A formal media conference is scheduled for next week in Indianapolis, where, in all likelihood (and in fact, little choice not to!) a schedule will be announced.

"I think we all hope it's sooner, rather than later," Haskins understated.

But, he sounded confident that if he had to make a pitch on Edmonton's behalf, he has a couple of fastballs he could throw.

"We believe that Edmonton is an exceptional venue and believe that the IRL will want to be part of an event in Edmonton," Haskins said.

"We welcome the opportunity to partner with the unified circuit under the IRL, just as we did with Champ Car."

MAD SCRAMBLE

While it will me a mad scramble in all corners of the open-wheel racing world, many organizations haven't been blind to the possible outcome.

Everyone has been making "Contingency plans."

Whether they know if the IRL is coming north or not, the Edmonton organizers have to be prepared from a logistical standpoint.

Like, for instance, one of the reasons for this whole deal is to get car counts back up to standards that create a visual spectacle for fans. And potential infrastructure nightmares for site planners.

No problem here, says Haskins. In fact, he says they were already heading in those directions.

"There's lots of stuff we had already been considering," he said. "Two years ago when we moved the suites back and we changed the track between years 1 and 2, well we did so with the thought in mind of an increased grid," he said, with thoughts of better car counts dancing in his head even then.

"So we have that space. We don't have a problem there. And another beautiful thing about our site is that there is lots of paddock room.

"There's lots of work that has to be done in very, very short order.

"There's a ton of things (for the race series) to deal with. You're dealing with millions of dollars, you're dealing with a lot of people."

HARD TO THE FINISH

It can be a crazy business, this racing thing.

Drivers just want to race. Owners just want to, well, own stuff! Fans just want to see a mess of drivers, cars and stuff going hard to a finish line.

As I've said, this is not a cure for everything that ails open-wheel.

From my point of view, it's been business decisions that have often spoiled the enjoyment.

But unification offers the best chance in years to make enough right decisions in order that the whole thing doesn't take yet another left turn down a dark alley.

"It's very good news for fans of open-wheel racing in North America," Haskins said. He's admitted all along, ever since he was appointed as general manager of the Edmonton event, a racing fan is what he has always been.

"We've all felt for many years that unification was the only way we we're going to be able to grow open-wheel back to the glory days that we all remember."

Ah. The good ol' days.


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