Indy Racing League spokesman Fred Nation has revealed that the Canadian and Mexican races would not be the only ones to disappear from the US open-wheel calendar if the IRL wins in the battle for CART assets this week, admitting that Long Beach, too, could be omitted.

The Californian street race is reckoned to be the second most popular US single-seater event after the Indianapolis 500, and is a key asset being targeted by the IRL bid, but Nation said that it was not guaranteed a slot on the schedule - particularly in 2004 - because its date conflicts with an IRL race in Japan.

Betting on the outcome of bankruptcy judge Frank Otte's decision tomorrow [Wednesday] is divided between those who feel that the IRL is well positioned to win because of its superior financial position, and those who feel that the OWRS campaign will succeed because it plans to maintain a full Champ Car schedule that would mean the loss of fewer jobs and income associated with events.

The OWRS was also boosted by the news that the organisers of the annual Long Beach event had dropped their objections to the way it had handled the demise of CART, and now backed its bid to keep the Champ Car series as the annual visitor to the city.

"As we've said before, our preference would be to continue on with our existing relationship and run the Champ Car race as the headline event," a spokesman for Dover Motorsports Inc said.

"The objection placed by Dover Motorsports and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach was done as a procedural move necessary to protect our rights and obtain certain basic information and 'adequate assurances' from OWRS in the bankruptcy proceeding.

"As a public company, Dover Motorsports and GPALB have a responsibility to seek information regarding the ongoing viability of the series. We have now received a response to the questions we were asking and, as a result, have withdrawn our objection to OWRS' bid.

"We await the judge's decision on this matter."



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