Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 2, 2013

Hell Has Frozen Over in the Whacky World of IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:47 pm

About timeThe naysayers said it would never happen. IndyCars would never return to the Pocono Speedway. Groups sprang up on the Internet lamenting that seemingly certain fate, much as they have for other tracks actually closed down such as Nazareth.

It seemed plausible for the longest time that there might never be a return even though the track had been constructed way back when specifically for IndyCars. After all, cart did what they were widely known for; i.e., alienating every other entity in motorsports primarily based on their collective arrogance. And so it was for twenty years or so. Cart self-immolated. Twice. The management of the track continued to hold a grudge. IMS-led IndyCar seemed content to simply demand a couple of million from tracks for the privilege of running IndyCars. Pocono fell into a state of minimal repair. After all, with two Cup dates a year why make much meaningful improvement?

Indy Cars At PoconoThen a curious thing happened. The owners of the track revitalized it. New pavement, SAFER barriers, improved fencing all the way around as well as improvements to infield retention systems. All of a sudden it became a viable IndyCar track again. Randy Bernard and crew managed to eliminate residual baggage from the cart era, craft a new deal and bring the IndyCars back after 24 years. Hell froze over.

Many fans could not be happier. As one of them it is my sincere hope a decent sized crowd appears to make it something other than another pointless one-off, and I’m taking at least four people with me as I put my money where my typing fingers are. The track itself is working very hard to promote it. IndyCar seems mostly content, as usual, to sit back and just see what happens. Miles and the new crew have crafted a fine long term plan for the series, but externally it appears the important aspect of venue promotion has been excluded. They even bent over for ESPN on ABC again after that ‘partner’ indicated they could only have a window big enough for a 400-mile race.

None of that matters headed into the holiday weekend. It’s the ‘tricky triangle’ with distinct corners modeled after Indy, Trenton and Milwaukee. This weekend cannot arrive fast enough for those of us lucky enough to attend. See you there!

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12 Comments »

  1. Have always loved this track. I hope one day to get there.

    I spent part of my vacation this year at the Milwaukee Mile for MilwaukeeFest. About a six hour drive from Cincinnati. A surprisingly nice facility and the race was fun to watch. They had a decent crowd for the race in spite of early morning rain. It was my first time to Milwaukee but won’t be the last. Probably going to try for Iowa next year. I too encourage Indycar fans to get out to some of the tracks, particularly the ovals.

    This league will not survive without at least 50% ovals. I hope the new management realizes that. CART proved that – twice. Still hoping for 8-9 ovals next year.

    Enjoy the race Defender!

    Comment by Bob F. — July 2, 2013 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

    • Perhaps what the series needs to do is create an oval division and a road division, with races alternating on different weekends. All races would be for National Championship points. This way those who are good on ovals like Carpenter could get most of his points on the ovals while others like Power could gobble up the road courses. If the Triple Crown races offered double points this would entice the road specialists to at least race at 3 ovals a year. Six oval races a year is not enough. Going back over 100 years Indy cars have been run mostly on ovalsbut in 1975 USAC co-sponsored the Formula 5000 series. If those races had been for National Championship points, today we might have good oval and road series complimenting each other and both equally important. Thank you.

      Comment by PB2Y — July 2, 2013 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  2. The entry list for the Pocono 400 is apparently not being shared with the public. It does not seem to be on either the IndyCar or Pocono websites and a Google search does not help. As the MAVTV 500 last year had 26 starters, this is what we may perhaps expect on Sunday. That will not be enough cars for such a large track. A full field of 33 is needed to give the race Triple Crown status (with a couple of cars that do not make the field just to keep it interesting!). Why not offer double points for the Triple Crown races to entice more entries?

    Comment by PB2Y — July 2, 2013 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  3. Despite what some people say, the allowance of older Indy Cars would allow this to change. Smaller teams, startup teams and new drivers could get both a financial break as well as track time before heading to a race like Indy. Filling the field and putting new names in front of fans would begin to mend some of the problems plaguing Indy Car.Waiting until 2019 before this can happen is only doing more to damage the sport than repair it.Having a real field of “qualified” race cars and sending some home for not qualifying would help to legitimize a 33 car field and the racing itself.

    Comment by oldwrench — July 2, 2013 @ 11:21 pm | Reply

  4. (Yet another child of the cart/Internet television executive offering a completely off-topic diversion into an area A) completely away from the blog topic, and B) he/she/it knows nothing about, as usual.)

    Comment by panchess — July 3, 2013 @ 2:41 am | Reply

  5. Thank you Ralph, my over sight. Nevertheless, 24 entries proves the point that the race will be not be up to expectations. This is just too small a field for such a large track that used to fielded 33 cars for an Indy race. If 3-4 drop out early there will be a lot of empty track to look at! I hope IndyCar sees this as a problem and puts some importance on the Triple Crown races by doubling the points or any other ideas out there. It is marvelous that Pocono has made the improvements that are detailed in the blog, so now if the time for IndyCar to make it a race designed for a 2 1/2 mile track.

    Comment by PB2Y — July 3, 2013 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  6. What is comical is the fact that you scour the web for any articles talking about CART and you scold the author in your blog to leave them in the past. Then you write a blog post on the Pocono race and half of it is spent talking about CART. By the way, looked like a pretty thin crowd on TV.
    Editor’s Note: Actually what is REALLY comical is observing folks like you who miss the point of nearly every blog post. As someone who attended the return to Pocono I can say with certainty the crowd exceeded the expectations of the owners of the track, and was pretty good. My section was full and it took an inordinate amount of time to leave after the race even well after the race. The handful of people still walking around with old cart apparel looked retarded. Those of us actually in 2013 had a great weekend.

    Comment by TroyM — July 8, 2013 @ 2:17 am | Reply

    • Dear Defender:

      Sunday at Pocono, I wore my Target Racing Tee-Shirt that I purchased at a Target in Portland, Oregon back in the late 90’s when Target still sold open wheeled themed merchandise, unlike today where you cannot find any evidence in the store that the company actually sponsors the Chipster’s team….now, am I retarded for wearing an older shirt for a team that formerly competed in CART but now competes full time in today’s series (whatever the hell it’s called now)?
      Editor’s Note: If it contains a cart logo, yes. You would look retarded.

      Comment by Neil Rubin — July 12, 2013 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

      • Dear Defender:

        No CART logo, but I have a bunch of other shirts that bear the CART logo, as well as the IRL logo…so, are these equal since the series has re-named itself in a thinly veiled attempt to distance itself from the stench of TG and his failed vision?
        Editor’s Note: Unless you are sporting current branding, you look retarded IMHO. I’m all for nostalgia, but I tend to laugh at folks who wear that crap to a race track. My foremost concern is comfort, and I rarely pay the inflated prices for clothing. I have always believed that if I am a walking billboard they should pay me. That would not be retarded.

        Comment by Neil Rubin — July 12, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

      • Dear Defender:

        I purchased a tee shirt at Macy’s with the current logo but it is of poor Van Heusen quality and will become outdated next year when Izod dumps its sponsorship of the series after realizing that it’s wasted its advertising dollars on this sinking ship of a series…I guess any of us wearing Izod apparel next season will be retarded as you claim….
        Editor’s Note: In actual fact the people responsible for the deal have consistently expressed nothing but satisfaction with their return on investment. IZOD has kept their end of the contract bargain and the money is still flowing. Any premature exit will include a full buyout. Verizon is likely to take their place. Many of the obsessed, squatting critics seem to ignore the actual fact that the focus of IZOD shifted when the executive management of PVH changed a couple of years ago and subsequently their marketing focus. It is evidently more important for the new brass to market toward golfers and yachters and such. Nice try on your quaint li’l hostile yet completely clueless supposition, however. Typical. I still have an IZOD IndyCar polo, but it’s likely headed for Goodwill when/if their involvement concludes.

        Comment by Neil Rubin — July 15, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  7. Dear Defender:

    You’re nuts if you think that I would part with any of my classic Tees from NASCAR (Intimidator No. 3 forever, baby), my F1 garb from the 80’s (Mansell is God) or my CART/Champ Car stuff simply because the series changes sponsors like tampons….and I still have my ‘Northern Lights Series’ tee from around 2001…
    Editor’s Note: Please don’t misinterpret. I’m genuinely happy you have a nostalgia for old shirts. That’s cool that you are a collector. But my personal feeling is that people who wear such garb to races in 2013 look retarded. Obviously, YMMV.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — July 15, 2013 @ 8:35 pm | Reply


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