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“We’ll have to see, talk is cheap,” Ganassi said. “Everybody’s wound up about one conversation that Zanardi had with Vasser and me, and that’s it. We’ve already talked about it more here today than was talked about on the phone. But it would be a dream come true to bring him back. It would be as big as it gets.”

Still, Ganassi has always been hesitant to put drivers he considers friends in his cars, and recalled a conversation he had years ago with Zanardi about the wisdom of a comeback.

“One conversation Zanardi and I had years ago was `Do you really go back? Is that the smart thing to do to go back and put something together and try to recreate?’” Ganassi said. “There are lots of stories out there in sports trying to recreate magic that kind of turns into …. duds than there are heroes when it comes to trying to recreate something. That’s what you have to be careful of.”

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BUSY OFFSEASON: As the IndyCar season comes to a close, CEO Randy Bernard is still trying to put together important elements for 2013.

His most important concern is finalizing next year’s schedule, which he had hoped to have done by now. Instead, he’s now calling Oct. 1 the “hard deadline” in part because of the lessons he learned from this year’s canceled event in China.

“What we’re making sure happens this year is we want signed contracts before we put them on the schedule,” he said.

IndyCar has already announced one new venue, a street race in Houston, but Bernard was mum on the addition of Pocono Raceway or a street race in Providence, R.I., which he called “an interesting market.”

“We’ll put all of our schedule out on the same day, but I think everyone knows Pocono is on our target list as well as some of these other cities,” Bernard said.

He’s got a meeting next week with the IndyCar board of directors to discuss his idea of double-headers at some venues, which Bernard is hopeful to do for at least two race weekends next season.

But team owner Roger Penske said Saturday he’s not as concerned about how many races are on the IndyCar schedule as he is about the quality of the events. He also said it’s important to announce a schedule with enough time to give tracks a chance to promote the events.

“I’ve said to Randy, `We don’t need more races, we just need good races at the same venues year after year,’ ” Penske said. “When you are promoting races three months out, you just can’t have the success you need. I think the schedule that is consistent is important.”

Bernard also must consider changes to a rule that penalizes teams for making unapproved engine changes, particularly after 14 teams were hit with 10-spot grid penalties before Saturday night’s race. The rule on changing engines was adopted this season as a way to contain costs for the engine makers, but teams have argued it’s unfair for the driver to be punished after a manufacturer failure.

And, he’s not sure what’s going to happen with Lotus, the weakest of the three manufacturers this season. After three teams defected before the Indianapolis 500, Lotus ran the rest of the season with just one car. Now HVM Racing is shopping for a new manufacturer, and Lotus appears headed for the exits with no teams signed for next season.

Bernard said he was unsure of Lotus’ plans.

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