20 August 2009

Changes a Comin' at AGR

Per Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star (story here), Michael Andretti will become the sole owner of Andretti Green Racing, while his partners at AGR, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, will split off to run the marketing/promotion efforts at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Honda Indy Toronto races, which AGR already does.

Now, not only does this make my Tony Kanaan hat slightly obsolete (the AGR logo on the side is no longer relavant), but it also goes back into some of the changes we suggested about a month ago, albeit we missed the part in which Michael Andretti assumed control of the team.

This should be an interesting move - obviously, it puts Andretti in a much larger position to lose if he cannot keep Danica Patrick in-house and find the funding for a four-car team. Perhaps Andretti wanted to keep a four-car team while Green and Savoree did not, causing them to split from the IndyCar operations.

Andretti Green Racing has not had a season up to their standards, with Patrick's fifth-place ranking in the points standing representing their best effort. One has to wonder if Andretti, Green and Savoree looked at everything AGR was attempting to do - operate the largest IndyCar team, an Indy Lights effort, an A1GP World Cup of Motorsport
effort and managing/promoting two IndyCar races and decided that maybe they were spread too thin to be effective in all aspects of the business.

Andretti's statement to Robin Miller on SpeedTV.com (full article here) seems to indicate that all three parties felt that a change was needed. From Miller's article:
"We owed it to our business to do this because neither side was getting 110 percent and both sides were suffering. Those two races are very vital to the series and they need to make them work. And hopefully I can focus on getting our race team back to where we were."
In their announcement, the two will be entirely separate entities, with Andretti will own and operate the racing operations, and Green and Savoree controlling the marketing and promotions.

With Green and Savoree off to run the marketing and promotions, Andretti will have the leeway to bring in knowledgable (not that Green and Savoree weren't knowledgable) racing people to run the operations for his drivers next year (only Kanaan is under contract for 2010, currently).

Either way, it should be interesting.

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