It's nice to see several series in the formula car "ladder" seem to be doing well despite the economic recession, although others are struggling.

Indy Lights has really picked up strength in the past few years, after being pretty worthless in the early part of the decade. The current field is about 25 deep and features many capable drivers. The "unification" has helped the series as it is the direct feeder to IndyCar.

On the other hand, the demise of Champcar has really hurt the Atlantics series, although it is still surviving. The series is now kinda a feeder to nowhere but ALMS and Grand Am, and not that much cheaper then Indy Lights. Car counts are barely in double digits this year, although there are some pretty prominent drivers running it. I'm a little surprised the big prize purses and championship prize (a million bucks!) hasn't attracted more teams to the series. The Atlantic Championship is worth more then the Champcar championship in its last few years!

Below that, Star Mazda has really picked up strength this year. The race in Utah this weekend boosts a competitive field of 33! entrants. It's not surprising to me that Formula BMW has been struggling. Reportedly it costs the same as Star Mazda and offers IMO a lot less - no TV package, no big championship prize, etc. On the plus side it does have the international connection, which could be a benefit for guys trying to make it in europe.

At the bottom of what I'd consider the pro ladder is the F2000 championship series. Here's an interesting article about the series posted on their own website. The series has around 30-40 drivers! While star mazda and atlantics now run totally different cars from the SCCA, the F2000 series runs pretty much the same rules as the SCCA FC class, which allows club racers to cross over easily. Sure, there's no composite chassis and paddle shifters, but do you really need that to start out and have good racing? It just seems like a relatively affordable way to enter pro formula car racing, and I think there's a place for that. And they're also doing this without any manufacturer support.

So in the end it seems to me like the series that are offering a good value are succeeding. Not that surprising I guess. However, I'm not really sure what needs to happen to strengthen the ladder overall and make it sustainable. I'm sure some of these series will come and go in the next few years.

Thats just my opinions and I don't know much!