Olds Fallout Remains Unclear

When General Motors announced Tuesday that it was phasing out its Oldsmobile division, the questions and speculation about how the decision would affect the Indy Racing Northern Light Series began.

Would GM cease to supply motors to the IRNLS? Will GM rebadge its IRNLS motor as a Chevy and basically continue as is? How soon before Olds bows out of the IRNLS?

The answers to those questions are still unclear, but if you believe IRNLS founder Tony George, the death of Olds won’t mean much to his all-oval racing series.

"General Motors Corporation has communicated to us its commitment to the long-term growth of open wheel racing through GM's involvement in the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," George said Tuesday afternoon without specifically mentioning Oldsmobile.

On Wednesday, Steve Shannon, executive director of marketing services at Oldsmobile, had this to say.

"Oldsmobile will continue its full participation in the Indy Racing League's 2001 season," Shannon said. "Looking beyond the 2001 season, General Motors continues to be committed to the long-term growth of open wheel racing through our involvement in the IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

Shannon’s distinction between Oldsmobile and GM lends credence to the speculation that GM would simply call its IRNLS engines Chevrolets after the Olds phase-out is complete.

"Oldsmobile is enthusiastically committed to its IRL program in 2001, and is looking forward to continuing its unprecedented winning record," Shannon added.

Oldsmobile engines have swept the IRL manufacturer, driver, team, and rookie championships for four consecutive seasons.

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