Mario Andretti thinks CART can one day get back up to speed.
As usual, the outspoken Andretti has some pointed views on the troubled racing series, which has lost sponsors, teams and fans in the past few years.
Last month, CART, a publicly traded company, hired Wall Street investment firm Bear Stearns to help with its restructuring while exploring the possibility of selling the series.
Andretti, one of racing's best ambassadors, is confident CART will survive, and he can foresee a day when it will merge with IRL.
"I feel damn good about it," he said. "There are a lot of things that are happening. I'm hearing good things about the series, a title sponsor, things like that."
Andretti, who will step down from CART's board of directors in two weeks to become the series' spokesman, believes the best way to get open-wheel racing to catch up with NASCAR's popularity is for CART and IRL to work out their differences.
"I haven't given up the idea of bringing the two series together," he said. "I might make enough noise that they'll start talking. Both series have assets and we need to bring them together."