Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 31, 2014

The 2014 IndyCar Season Is Underway!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:23 pm

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg…and it is about time. After weeks of waiting a few aspects about racing became apparent. The biggest item involves confirmation of the level of relative insanity the most vociferous IndyCar critics possess. In Formula 1 these days crowds are down, many liveries are just colors, many cars are flat ugly and the new sound of F-1 is widely panned often in even less complimentary fashion than ‘farting pigs.’ Legacy NASCAR venues are far from full, ratings are trending downward and entire empty grandstands have been covered over by billboards (which is probably a good idea; revenue generation from empty seats is always good).

The point? IndyCar did not have to do much to be welcomed back with open arms. True to form, not much was done. Do not misunderstand. Unlike the other venues of the day the weather in St. Pete was utterly perfect for Allenrace day and a nice sized crowd turned out. Allen Bestwick in the television booth is a definite step up, and he even seems to elevated the games of Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear. Paul Page on the radio is nostalgic and there is something comforting about having an old friend around. Personally I would have moved someone like a Kevin Lee into that position as a forward-looking strategy, but why not enjoy Paul while we can?

What about aesthetics? In their continuing Walker-led attempts to cherry pick the best parts of Formula One (never successful long term in the United States) to incorporate into IndyCar the grid girls (or whatever they call them) are always easy on the eyes. But necessary? One guy I like a lot personally is Michael Young. IndyCar takes him along for PA duties. But enough with the ‘….are you ready’ screeching before the start of every race. It is Michael Young not Michael Buffer. Memo to the Sinden folks: You had the longest off season in decades to make sure the two-seater would fire up. A better plan B is warranted. 22 cars on the grid constitutes another step in the wrong direction.

IndyCar continues an annoying tendency not to exploit good fortune that gets dropped into their laps. Verizon title sponsorship is outstanding. When Verizon-centric IndyCar on air promos during the race attempt to sell tickets for a race that is already halfway completed, what is the point? Would it not be better to try and sell tickets to Long Beach or Indy? Allen Bestwick elevated the broadcast but it appeared IMS Productions used the ‘Vaseline lens cam’ for the opening sequence. Sato on the pole? Great story. But why recycle a piece from Indy last year to tell that story? It is not as if Sato is Foyt’s ‘new’ driver any more.

Will is Gayly CelebratingSpeaking of Walker and crew, it appears his modus operandi will simply be to kowtow to whatever whims the biggest drivers have. Like no double wide restarts. I can almost see it for street circuits with a narrowed and slow turn one, but not for ovals and especially not for Indy. Fans appreciate the potential variables. Drivers need to act like the professionals they are supposed to be. It was also easy to surmise yesterday that IndyCar officials will be rules sticklers for smaller teams but give excessive leeway to the big guns.

All in all it was a successful 2014 season kickoff. The IndyCars put on a nice show and the ladder rung series also presented professionally. For a street circuit St. Pete has earned its niche although it was easy to envision the slippery slope they eventually slid down when the then-IRL made it their first non-oval. Fast forward less than ten years and ovals have been relegated to a mere handful of events. That said, the season is underway, it has a great title sponsor and Indy is less than two months away.

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5 Comments »

  1. .6 overnights cant be a good sign, can they?
    Editor’s Note: Probably not if you are clueless about how they work, are prone to superficial generalization, are predisposed toward portending doom incorrectly for twenty years and/or are just up to the usual mischief. In terms of actual reality, however, the number is actually pretty good considering ‘elite 8′ competition on CBS and NASCAR on Fox, both head to head. I did not set the schedule, however.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 31, 2014 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

    • OK. I guess if it was anybody but me bringing that up….still better than CART got, right? (twice) because accourse IRL survived.
      Editor’s Note: Does not matter who brings it up. The overnight 12+ estimates were great considering the competition. Only person mentioning cart is you. The topic of the blog is the IndyCar season opener for 2014. Why not confine commentary to that?

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 31, 2014 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

      • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13)

        Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — April 1, 2014 @ 1:23 am

    • Isn’t 0.6 pretty close to the average for any IRL road race shown on ABC? I wouldn’t call the rating good, but, historically, it’s not bad either.
      I think the outlook for Indycar may actually be getting better. Hopefully that oxymoron known as IndyCar Marketing will pick up a few pointers from the Verizon marketing department.

      Comment by Chris Lukens — April 1, 2014 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  2. To my way of thinking, there have been three major upgrades during the off-season, and they’re obvious: Allen Bestwick in the TV booth, Paul Page in the radio booth (particularly with the pairing of Pippa Mann,) and Verizon as Title Sponsor for the series.(I agree that Kevin Lee deserves a shot at bigger and better things, but my feeling from what Kevin has said repeatedly is that his field of interest is in TV and probably not exclusively in racing.) The other thing I noticed is that leading up to St. Pete, there seemed to be a LOT more promos for the St. Pete race across the ESPN platforms. That may be just me and wishful thinking, but I asked a couple of other bloggers if they’d noticed it as well. Perhaps that could be ESPN/ABC beginning a courtship of IndyCar for the period when the tintops go racing on NBC? Whether or not that is the case, I suspect that this will continue at least through Indianapolis.

    Comment by SkipinSC — April 1, 2014 @ 1:03 am | Reply


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