Cash shortage leaves Hearn sidelined

Richie Hearn has called on American companies to back US talent after being left on the sidelines due to his lack of finance

Cash shortage leaves Hearn sidelined

Della Penna Motorsports had to replace Hearn with Argentine driver Norberto Fontana in order to get the sponsorship to keep the team running through the season.

'We've heard so much about the lack of American drivers in open-wheel racing, but in this case an American sponsor wasn't willing to step up to the plate,' said Hearn.

'It's going to be difficult to watch someone (else) behind the wheel of a Della Penna Motorsports entry but I'd rather Norberto have the seat than for John to have to close the doors.'

Hearn has driven for Della Penna since the team arrived in CART during 1996. Primary sponsor Budweiser withdrew its backing at the end of 1999 and Della Penna faced an uncertain long-term future until Fontana arrived with backing from Argentine TV show VideoMatch.

'This has been a very difficult decision for me to make,' added team owner John Della Penna. 'Richie has been with us a long time, but we had to do what was best for the team as a whole. This isn't what I wanted for Richie.'

There is still a possibility that the team will expand and run a second car for Hearn if a sponsor comes forward later in the year.

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