Shortsighted idiots are proclaiming the news that Newman/Haas racing has left IndyCar and ceased operations. “Three decades of success has been ended due to lack of Sponsorship”. BULLSHIT!
Haas Racing has had five decades of success going back to the 1960’s in the Can Am series. Haas joined forces with Simoniz to bring “The Wax Wars” into the JWax, Roderick Campbell solicited, sponsored series with Driver Chuck Parsons and later Peter Revson. With L&M sponsorship, they would enter Jackie Stewart in the beautiful Lola T-260 in 1973–he would challenge, but not beat the Reynolds Aluminum McLarens of Denny Hulme and Peter Revson.
Then it was onto F5000 with dominance by Brian Redman driving the Lola T-332 in partnership with Chaparral maestro Jim Hall and sponsored by illegal-pyramid scheme oil company, Steed and then soap maker Boraxo. Further Dominance of a series came in the form of The “Single Seater Can Am” With Drivers Patrick Tambay, Alan Jones, Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti with Sponsorship from Banker Citicorp and Paint manufacturer Magicolor.
The short lived Super-Vee series was dominated by the Haas entered Lola driven by “Fast” Eddie Miller.
Then came the three decades of Open Wheel racing with longtime partner Paul Newman. Haas was one of the Key players in the formation of CART, which was essentially designed to give power of promotion and money back to the teams away from USAC–ala Ecclestone. Budweiser, a favorite beverage of the blue eyed movie star was an Early sponsor, followed by Texaco/Havoline and the unique Kmart sponsorship, where the vendors of the behemoth retailer took the lion share of the expense as part of their wholesaler deals. Target does the same today with Ganassi. The famed McDonald’s sponsorship of Sabastien Bourdais was a trade-off with Newman for the use of his Newman’s Own Salad Dressings.
A short Foray into F1 with the beautifully Broadley/Oatley/Braun designed Beatrice/Lola in the mid 1980’s proved unfruitful as a promised Ford Cosworth failed to materialize, leaving drivers Patrick Tambay and Alan Jones to struggle with the Hart (see Grenade) motor. Simultaneously, Beatrice also ran with the Newman/Haas CART Team.
Haas was also involved in NASCAR with Former Ford SVO Executive Michael Kranfuss and Boogity Boogity driver Darrell Waltrip.
Haas, now in his mid to late 80’s, has been an icon in American Racing and struggled with poor health for the past few years (rumor has it is it is Alzheimers). His wife, the forever lovely and sweet, Bernadette, stepped up and has essentially run the team. He was also a major race promoter (Road America, Milwaukee, Houston) and longest running board member of the SCCA.
It was easy to continue to race in IndyCar in the past few years as the chassis had been the same and long ago paid for by many teams. But considering the new chassis and capital investment to move forward, this would be an opportune time for Haas Racing to quietly exit from the scene.
If anyone was capable of attracting top-notch sponsorship over the years–it has been Haas and his crack team of promo people who were amongst the first to bring major sponsorship to the sport. People like my own dear old dad, Dick Stahler and Michael Knight. Haas is one of the few who have actually turned a profit in racing and paid his drivers!
Racing has been a victim of shifting paradigms with a particular nod to IndyCar’s inability to attract the talent to close the major deals and attract interest from the general public. This is not a Haas issue. This is an IndyCar issue. Barnard and his less than crack team need to take a long look in the mirror and figure out where they have gone wrong and consider bringing back the magical years of CART where you had wars from Engine, Chassis and tire manufacturers–then perhaps people (and sponsors) will be intrigued again.