It’s the drivers stupid  UPDATE A reader writes, Good Morning AutoRacing1, With all the talk about needing talented American Racers in American Open Wheel Racing (AOWR) lately and the news of Red Bull expanding into all forms of racing now. Talk of unification or merger of two Series. The desire of all to get this fixed once and for all.
Where is the Red Bull Driver Search winner from last year, Casey Neal? He clearly displayed an amazing amount of speed and car control at the Sebring Finals.
I found this quote that sums up my point "Wednesday morning the Red Bull Semi-Finalist started on the pole as he took to the track for some very serious timed race sessions. Casey immediately set the fastest laps with no other drivers very close on the timing charts. Six sessions later the young star had won all the morning races.

"For the afternoon races Casey started off with the same results, winning the first two sessions by over 6 seconds. The Red Bull judges then decided to invert the field and with Casey starting last, he won both of those sessions by over 4 seconds. For the last few races the judges had the drivers change cars with Casey being assigned the slowest car from the earlier races. Casey then won that race from the pole and set an even faster lap time. With the field now inverted again and Casey starting last for the final race, he was in the lead by lap three and set his fastest lap time of the entire event, winning by 8 seconds. Amazing would be an understatement for what the young driver had accomplished".
Casey won every race and set the fastest 27 lap times turned in there and never put a tire off track. I know this to be true because my son was in the 2005 Driver Search. Casey gave my son and myself a lot to think about, we knew after that event that we had a lot of work to do to get to Casey’s level.
Why is this obviously very talented kid being overlooked today, I know his folks don't have a lot of money but that should be no excuse. This kid carries a commanding presence on the track, and is absolutely a thrill to watch. He is easy to talk to, very willing to help and give pointers where most drivers would not. He is exactly what is needed to give us fans a young American hero to root for. Just a OWR Fan from the Windy City

06/28/06 AutoRacing1.com has tried to pound it into the heads of the leaders of open wheel racing in the USA that it is the popularity of the drivers that will make the sport big again in the USA, not the cars, not the engines, and not the 'festival events'. It's the star-power of the athlete that drives any sport and that is largely lost on both Champ Car and the IRL, though the IRL does seem to be getting with the program because Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti are becoming household names. Danny Sullivan agrees. He told National Speed Sport News:

"There is no one thing that's going to turn it around. It's going to be a lot of work, and it's going to take a lot of vision," Sullivan said. "Ultimately, the biggest single thing is they've got to build stars. People come through the gates, and yeah, it's NASCAR racing and Toyota and Dodge and Chevy and Ford, but ultimately, they're coming through because of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale (Earnhardt) Junior.

"If you think back to the group that we had -- from the Andrettis, the Unsers, Bobby (Rahal), myself, Rick Mears, (Arie) Luyendyk, Emerson (Fittipaldi) ... everybody had a big following, and the crowds were really supportive of us. We all kind of benefited and fed off of that."