From several contacts in and around IndyCar, it has become obvious to most observers that KV Racing is lacking: in performance, focus, management and enthusiasm to list just some of the many descriptions that illustrate the problems at KV Racing. And now, there are changes and transformations in the works at the Indianapolis based team.
GM gone as drivers disappoint
It was announced today that Mark Johnson, the longtime General Manager at KV Racing had resigned (source - Yahoo! Sports). Johnson had been with KV Racing since its days in ChampCar and was instrumental in their assimilation into IndyCar when the two governing bodies merged.
Much had been expected in 2012, what with three drivers including the addition of former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello to the organization this past season. Longtime veteran driver Tony Kanaan along with E. J. Viso rounded out a very good crop of drivers - but there weren't many positives to look back on in 2012.
Only Kanaan could eke out a Top 10 in points by the end of the season (9th overall). Barrichello had quite a learning curve and was only able to finish 12th overall. Viso was a disappointing 20th by year's end. And this is where the other changes will likely come in 2013.
Right now, only Kanaan is set to return to KV Racing next year. Rumors are Viso is trying to set up his own team while Barrichello is actively looking to move. All this is set with the backdrop of a lack of sponsorship funding - not an unusual situation considering the elongated recession.
Employees let go
So with these moves, there were serious questions as to whether the team would have three cars and now those thoughts are justified because they also laid off more than two dozen employees today.
With all these changes in the business and racing environment at KV Racing, it's no wonder rumors persisted that the team principals, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, were looking to merge their team with other smaller teams. If true, one has to wonder what happened and/or what is happening at KV Racing.
Questions without answers
That would be major speculation at this point but as a fan and marketer in the business for some time, the question has to arise: Why is Kalkhoven - who is one of the wealthier men in the world - trying to downsize his IndyCar team or merge with another? Yes, I know they don't like to use their own money but racing, unlike most other sports, is tough to make a profit at without major sponsorship. And again, with the drawn out downturn in the economy, it doesn't make any of this easier.
Where do they go from here? It would be pure conjecture and truthfully neither I nor likely anyone else really knows what will pan out over the coming months at KV Racing - but most assuredly more changes are in the air.
Sources - IndyCar, Winona Daily News
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- KV Racing
- Rubens Barrichello