The single and most consistent best friend IndyCar has in the track management business is Eddie Gossage. That may pain some to acknowledge, but those who fail to do so seem willfully stupid. He is a lifelong Indy racing fan and although he makes his living primarily from NASCAR-related activity those who check his roots quickly learn about his past.
Eddie was there from the earliest days of the IRL when he routinely delivered more than 85,000 fans twice a year to watch great racing. He was there in 2001 when most participants in IndyCar today screwed him on race day morning after realizing they had not done due diligence. He has been there ever since delivering tens of thousands ever year despite incessant whining over 1.5-mile D-shaped ovals primarily by road racing enthusiasts, fees that are not aligned for mutual benefit and mostly unnecessary conflicts with various IndyCar management personnel.
Many folks within IndyCar and a good number of fans dismiss Eddie as a grandstanding, malcontented blowhard looking for discounted rates and making his case publicly. He is, after all, a maestro of showmanship and promotion, in many cases self-promotion. Plus, he works for a throwback guy in his 80s who chases skirts, rankles feathers and can take or leave IndyCar. That rubs many the wrong way and is understandable. The problem is Indy Car leadership has always approached business as if their fecal matter had no odor and that it is acceptable to drop a pile anywhere and not clean it up themselves.
IndyCar is no longer in a position to act like that and has not been for many years. That is why IndyCar having enthusiastic dialog with the Circuit of the Americas folks in Austin is curious, particularly since they officially have a street festival o’ speed scheduled for Houston as they try to resurrect yet another failed cart venture again. Have they reached out to Eddie for his thoughts? Texas is a big state and can definitely support three events but would it not be prudent to work with Eddie to get a concept buy-in? And if he can prove two other races dilute his event is some type of adjustment not in order?
It is difficult to predict how this latest soap opera will conclude. If that magnificent oval outside Ft. Worth and the best promoter in the business are casualties, particularly over something like COTA, then IndyCar leadership deserves to lose their jobs. Losing Texas and the active involvement of Eddie Gossage is simply not acceptable. Ever.