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Veteran Tantos back on Champ Car scene

Retired US racing veteran Joe Tantos has been drafted in to Carl Henry's Champ Car squad to partner rookie Jimmy Blye.

Tantos will take on a mentor role for Blye, who has struggled with the Henry team's Reynard-Mercedes cars so far this year, and is also said to be distracted by personal problems off the track.

What the…? Jimmy Blye? Joe who, we hear you say?

If you think you know a little about the US racing scene, then it's odds-on you may be a little confused by the above story. But that's to be expected, since these are the key players in Sylvester Stallone's new racing movie, currently shooting in and around the CART Fed-Ex World Series.

Stallone plays the 43-year-old Tantos, with Burt Reynolds taking on the role of Carl Henry. Reynolds' true-life racing pedigree includes part-ownership of the now defunct drag racing and stock car teams he formed with stunt legend Hal Needham.

Stallone, for his part, has been a regular visitor to Formula 1 races over the last couple of years, but switched his story to Champ Cars after alleged problems of access to the Grand Prix fraternity.

The other main roles are taken by relative unknowns, and first impressions suggest that a bizarre name may have been a prime factor in the casting process. Kip Padue plays Blye and Til Schweiger is cast in the role of Formula 1 World Champion Beau Brandenberg. Or is Beau Brandenberg playing the part of Til Schweiger?

Model Estella Warren plays Sophia, the woman bringing problems to Blye's life away from the track, while up-and-coming Flemish actor Monk de Wally de Honk and Canadian soap star Cochese Wind are also said to be in the frame for major parts.

Filming cranked up a gear at Detroit last weekend, and existing Champ Car teams and liveries are featured heavily in the movie. PacWest takes a starring role, with Stallone/Tantos driving Mauricio Gugelmin's Reynard and Padue/Blye behind the wheel of Mark Blundell's car. Brandenberg/Schweiger drives Chip Ganassi Racing's Lola-Toyota.

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