Did 12-year split between Champ Car, IRL cause irreparable damage?

A lot has happened since the big open-wheel split of '95. The IRL was born. CART became Champ Car. And NASCAR dominated. The big question is, can American open-wheel racing be saved?

Updated: February 22, 2008, 9:42 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

As the big hand hit the 7 p.m. mark along the East Coast on Sunday night, it rang in one hell of an hour in the world of American motorsports.

Somewhere in the Midwest, the top brass of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series were meeting behind closed doors, smoothing out the final jagged edges of a merger between the two series, essentially the absorption of what is left of CCWS by the IRL.

A decade ago, the idea of such a meeting would have created ...

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