Newman-Haas Racing announced yesterday they were pulling the plug on their 2012 effort and exiting business. That is hardly surprising as Paul Newman is deceased and Carl Haas is getting up there in terms of years. The primary problem is that Newman-Haas has some darned fine folks working in their organization. Come the end of December they are on their own. The rich legacy of NHR in cart aside, the people who currently make up that team did a whole lot with very little in 2011. Oriol Servia showed why he is still a top notch driver and they also made a star out of James Hinchcliffe.
Is this a bad thing for Indy Car? Probably not long term. Great teams come and great teams go. It happens over time and always has. The promise of new teams means great people who made NHR could end up on newly formed or existing potentially great teams. At least that is the hope. Newman-Haas always seemed to be one of those ‘unified’ teams with a chip on their shoulder about the past. Some on the team have used defiant, contrary language since they moved over. They even still tout themselves as on of cart’s most winning teams. In that regard it is probably good there won’t be a Newman-Haas Racing, but bad if they are not replaced by an even better team with none of that type of baggage.
What is most important is hoping the best of that team stay in the series and make teams they end up working for better. Oriol Servia and James Hinchcliffe are certainly worthy of quality rides in the series. What seems appropriate is thanks to Newman-Haas Racing for years of exciting competition and colorful, talented drivers in the cockpits supported by equally talented team members, especially in their glory days when cart was relevant.
The folks in my group of racing fans hopes for the very best with regard to those on the Newman-Haas team.