Panther Racing lawsuit against IndyCar and RLL dismissed

A Federal judge has thrown out Panther Racing's lawsuit against Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and IndyCar over the 2014 National Guard sponsorship

Panther Racing lawsuit against IndyCar and RLL dismissed

The now-defunct team sued RLL and IndyCar for what owner John Barnes claimed were bid-rigging and other improprieties relating to the National Guard deal, which had been with Panther since 2008 before moving to RLL for 2014. The 2014 sponsorship was worth $13.1 million.

The suit sought unspecified damages for what Panther claimed was a breach of contract by IndyCar relating to what Panther claimed were exclusive rights to the National Guard for the Fan Village at every race, and also claimed that IndyCar had interfered with its National Guard contract for 2013.

It also claimed that IndyCar CEO Mark Miles wrote a letter in November 2013 while Rahal was pursuing the contract saying Rahal had the right to provide that access to the Fan Village, and also alleged that Rahal was aware of Panther's exclusive Fan Village rights and had falsely claimed ownership of that contractual right.

The lawsuit, which followed Barnes's unsuccessful initial appeal to the US Government Accountability Office, was dismissed in late March by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the US District Court in Indianapolis.

"The Miles letter merely stated what IndyCar believed it had a right to do, which was to grant another race team, Rahal, space in the Fan Village for its potential sponsor, [the Army National Guard]," she wrote.

Pratt also said that the facts showed that the National Guard had made its own decision not to continue with Panther in 2014, and stated that Panther's claim to exclusive rights in 2014 "defies common sense".

The National Guard, which had also backed Dale Earnhardt Jr in NASCAR, withdrew from all of its motorsport sponsorships at the end of last season, while Panther - which won a pair of IndyCar titles with Sam Hornish Jr - closed its doors last August.

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