Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What really happened to Roth Racing?

Roth Racing has been in the IRL in some capacity since 2004 as a rich toy for owner/"driver" Marty Roth to play race car driver with. At first it was an Indy only thing with Roth qualifying for both the 2004 and 2005 500's in 32nd and 29th respectively as essentially a field filler. He did not finish either year but it did not deter him and the determined, if not slightly delusional, Roth pressed on and ran a few selected ovals in both 2006 and 2007 with a best finish being 18th (in a 19 car field). Re-unification came at the same time that Roth decided to go full time with a two car effot and the influx of talent from Champ Car exposed Roth's shortcomings in a drastic way as the 50 year old Toronto native was well off the pace, especially on the road courses, and quickly became the ridicule of the paddock for his on-track antics. His on-track antics were quickly matched by off-track shuffles in his second car as he unmercilessly fired rookie Jay Howard before the Indy 500 and replaced him with veteran John Andretti. The move appeared to have worked as Andretti put in some very good performances in the next few races, all ovals, before he had a particularly lousy weekend at Richmond and he himself was canned by Roth. The firing of Andretti was also the end of the line for the second Car as ROth decided to focus on his own efforts, which were dismal at best. Apart from a brief return of Howard at Watkin's Glen, it was Roth all the way in a very painful way. Little sponsorship and shitty driving did not appear to deter Roth as he planned for his 2009 assault, but then something went wrong......

What actually happened is a bit of a mystery, but what we do know is that Roth decided to close his doors because he though that the IRL wanted to revoke his license and he said, in no uncertain terms, that he was unhappy at this decision in an interview with Norris McDonald of the Toronto Star. It appeared black and white, the IRL was fed up with Roth's driving and revoked his license, sounds logical right? Well as it turns out not exactly. Roth apparantly was not actually contacted by anyone at the IRL confirming his lost license, and there was no offer of him doing "a bunch of ovals" as Roth claimed they said they offered him. The story goes that he heard he had lost his racing license through a third party. This was confirm a few days ago when someone from the IRL contacted McDonald saying that they had never told Roth that they were taking his license and they wanted to work with him to get sponsors. This does not exactly sound like the IRL was trying to prevent Roth from racing now does it. Whatever did happen, Brian Barnhart or another top IRL official should come out and actually tell us what is going on. I don't necessarily want to see Marty back in a car, but it seems rather silly that he would have shut down his team over hearsay, Roth is not an idiot. Believe what you want about this, but it seems all rather bizarre and might be a convenient excuse for Roth to pull out of the IRL and keep his dignity by trying to play the victim card. I will be watching this story closely and will post anything else.

I know that it seems a little trivial compared to the bigger news of the week like the loss of surfers paradise and the speculation surrounding the future of Helio Castroneves, but someone has to talk about it right?

Oh, and by the way, I plan on posting more often, probably daily or every second day from now on unless I announce otherwise.

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