NOVEMBER 14, 2006

The future of Rusport

The word in Champ Car circles is that Carl Russo, the boss of the Rusport team is to leave the series next year. It remains to be seen what will happen with the team but new owners are being sought. The team has had discussions with Paul Stoddart, PKV partner Dan Pettit, a hugely-wealthy venture capitalist in the telecommunications business, and even with Gulfstream, a sponsor of PKV's Oriol Servia, but at the moment it is not clear what is going to happen, although the company president Jeremy Dale says that the team will be back next year, with its sponsorship from the CDW Corporation, an Illinois-based computer retailer.

Russo has had a bad year. The team made the mistake of firing AJ Allmendinger who then joined Forsythe Racing and immediately began winning races. This was followed by an accident which left Cristiano da Matta with serious head injuries. Justin Wilson has managed to win races and finished second in the championship but he is on the market and is believed to be talking to Forsythe Racing and to Paul Stoddart. It would be astonishing if he were not also talking to Newman Haas Racing.

Russo is said to be pulling out because he wants to concentrate on an IPO for his current company Calix, a Petaluma, California, based supplier of advanced telecommunications equipment which gives service providers the opportunity to deliver voice, data and video services, including Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). The company is seen to be hugely valuable because of the potential of video-on-demand services.

Russo joined Calix after making his name (and a considerable fortune) with Xircom, which he sold to Intel, followed by Cerent, which he sold to Cisco Systems.