Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 6, 2014

Second Home of IndyCar! Hello Eddie and all the Lone Star Fans…

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:40 pm

Lone StarThis weekend marks the IndyCar Series annual return to the site of some of the most thrilling IndyCar events ever held. Texas Motor Speedway and the gregarious guy who runs the joint, Eddie Gossage, is often positioned as the second home for IndyCar. They have been around since the earliest years of the IRL.

Through the years it has survived a number of otherwise venue killing misadventures. In the old days when the field was filled with drivers who actually enjoyed racing fast and close there 80,000 to 100,000 would show up every time. Even the then outside-looking-in cart folks felt the need to horn in and wave their genitals around in 2001 until they stepped on them and screwed thousands of racing fans again.

EddieAfter those teams and drivers were bailed out and became part of the present series the real whining began. 1.5 mile ovals. ‘Pack’ racing. Suddenly bad for the participants. A few times their spouting yaps have almost succeeded in getting themselves thrown out, and still could.

Hopefully the quality of the racing will return to the excitement level once a hallmark of that venue. Also hopefully people who are not lucky enough to attend will be able to find it on television. The ‘partner’ who began their IndyCar relationship with such promise and enthusiasm seems content to shuffle the series to unrelated cable channels like CNBC then back to the sports network without really letting providers know what is on the schedule. They have also become enamored of NASCAR and F-1, as evidenced by the amount of promotion and programming.

Speaking of ovals drivers don’t like, the Nashville Speedway was sold to new owners recently and they seem serious about having racing. IndyCar seems like a natural fit, but that was another track IndyCar left not because crowds or sponsors were a problem, but because the series did not want to be there. Personally IndyCar should be looking there and at Memphis as well, where there is another fine short oval largely being unused.

On a somewhat related note some of us fans of IndyCar oval racing have created a new Facebook group cheekily called 25/8 that celebrates the first five years of the IRL. Anyone who enjoyed that period is welcome to join.

Enjoy the racing this weekend! Texas should be fun. As always.

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16 Comments »

  1. They had a great promotion for the race this year. The Firestone Family 4-Pack. 4 Tickets, 4 Hot Dogs & Cokes for $79. I normally get the upper level tickets because of the obstructed back stretch view from the lower level but I couldn’t pass up this deal to take 11 year old son and nephew.
    Should be a great race.

    Comment by Tony Dinelli — June 6, 2014 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  2. Does the 25/8 blog really exist. I’ve looked for it but can’t find it.
    Editor’s Note: Not a blog…a Facebook group.

    Comment by Big Earl — June 8, 2014 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  3. Heard the crowd was a little sparse. Is oval racing going the way of deep fried tenderloins?
    Editor’s Note: Did not know deep fried tenderloins were going anywhere. They still seem tasty and widely available. Attendance was not bad; when they block off 3/4 of 190,000 permanent seats the 47,000 or so that sit along the start finish line look pretty sparse to the simple minded. My group had a great time though. It was hot in the pits and garage, but the suites from where we watched are very nice and comfy. We had our usual great time. Hopefully it returns.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — June 8, 2014 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  4. Those 47,000 seats were less than a third full, however. Very clearly, the DFW Metroplex has little time and less interest in Indycar, as the downward attendance trend undeniably demonstrates.
    Editor’s Note: Perhaps if I was an obsessed child speaking from a position of complete ignorance I might leap to the same conclusion. Fortunately, having attended the event and speaking with those who actually run the place, my observation is based on actual reality. Now I realize many of the usual youngsters who squat here with mischief on their minds freak out when they see a 191,000 seat stadium 3/4 empty on television, usually after claiming not to watch. All sorts of conclusion jumping then occurs, usually with an intent to portend doom for IndyCar. The fact that attendance there is half or less than what it was when actual racing by racers who loved the challenge occurred is hardly surprising, particularly given the fact the exact same thing has happened with NASCAR at that track over the same period. Perhaps auto racing in general is destined to become a nostalgic aspect of history. Hope not. That track remains great and I enjoyed the 25th time IndyCars ran there.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 8, 2014 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  5. By the way, the total seating capacity at TMS is under 130,000 (roughly 112,500 on the front stretch), rendering the 47,000 figure completely non-credible. Total attendance was much more likely in the 15,000-20,000 range, tops.
    Editor’s Note: Ignorance is bliss. Where were your seats?

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  6. The attendance figures I cited were from the official TMS website, which proves the 191,000 figure is a figment of someone’s imagination. Regardless, it simply isn’t factual in any way, as anyone with a brain can verifiably attest.
    Editor’s Note: Ignorance is bliss. Where were your seats?

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 12:25 am | Reply

  7. There aren’t 191,000 seats at TMS. The frontstretch grandstands contains over 112,000 seats, of which only 1/4 of them were open. So, even if we round up a bit, it appears at most 40,000 seats were available. Of those 40,000, they were lucky if half the seats were full…….I’m sure you will tell us the suites were totally packed since it wasn’t shown on TV to verify. Even if that is true, not even close to 47,000. But if it makes you feel better to inflate attendance stats, go right ahead.
    Editor’s Note: Ignorance is bliss. Where were your seats?

    Comment by TroyM — June 9, 2014 @ 12:42 am | Reply

  8. Montreal was packed. Racing is dead?
    Editor’s Note: What does Montreal have to do with Texas? The blog topic is the IndyCar race at Texas. F-1 had a nice crowd, but ‘packed?’ LOL.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — June 9, 2014 @ 1:25 am | Reply

  9. Sorry, but I’ve been there. Not a chance that there was anyway near 47,000 in attendance.

    I know that you’re sometimes not amenable to hearing/confronting the reality of the situation, but the trend lines for attendance and overall ratings has to be troubling. I know that you and I have exchanged some dialogue regarding ratings (and their relative importance, or lack thereof), but the overall outlook has become a bit bleak.

    The racing? No argument there-competitive, hard fought. The drivers? The quality of the field is improving steadily. Only someone with his/her head in the sand would argue otherwise. The changes allowed to the engines this year have produced a bit more power (always good), and have gotten both manufacturers on a pretty level playing field.

    So what’s the problem? Damned if I know. I’ll admit to being turned off after the IRL was started, (and that conversation could be a book, all in itself) and it’s taken some time to get a product on track that has, at least on the surface, has all the participants fully commitied to. I don’t think you can pin all the blame on the teams re:lack of ovals. Attendance and sponsorship hasn’t been particularly good for that side of the series over a number of years now.

    Did the conflict between the competing series turn off a generation of fans ( and their kids) to the point that they’ve moved on to something else, never to return? It’s starting to look like it. Because when you take into consideration all of the positives-a competitive (though homely) car in the DW 12, pretty well matched engines (Honda & Chevy), a new title sponsor (Verizon) that at least for now IS featuring their involvement with the series in their advertising, and a mixture of permanent road, street, and some ovals, nothing is moving the needle much.

    I think the long term fear is that it is going to “devolve” into what it used to be, coverage wise-the Indy 500, and a bunch of races like the Trenton 200, covered for 15-20 minutes on a Wide World of Sports type show. I may have not been a fan of the IRL, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.
    Editor’s Note: The seating capacity of the entire track is around 191,000, including those seats on the backstretch they no longer sell, even for Cup. The one optical illusion that freaks out critics and proponents alike is visual shots on television of sections and sections of contiguous closed stands and the aluminum that reflects. When folks eliminate that visual and focus on the bodies that WERE there and you end up with a normal good IndyCar crowd outside Indy; i.e., 45,000 to 47,000 folks. Troubling at Texas considering its propensity to draw twice that many in years past but reality in terms of the present day. As to why there are a couple of factors. One, IndyCar management has tinkered with its already micromanaged spec to eliminate the possibility drivers will actually race like they stole it. Two, the current crop of Euro formula-centric road racers does not resonate with the locals, particularly when many of them bad mouth the kind of racing that put that track on the map. That is why the fact Ed Carpenter won is so great. The track was as happy as they could have been given the attitude and watered down product they were handed, and I tend to judge crowds on the entire facility (suites, for example, are never seen on television), not just what is seen in random television shots. The real, most important question is whether Eddie Gossage and SMI feel it is worth continuing. The one thing that has been consistent over the past few years is the continuous poisoning of that well by IndyCar. For those of us who have enthusiastically looked forward to watching or attending that race every year the petulant, arrogant behavior that has characterized that relationship lately is revolting.

    Comment by Skeptical1 — June 9, 2014 @ 3:58 am | Reply

  10. The seating capacity of the entire facility is roughly 183,000, if one includes 50,000 in the infield. In other words, there are roughly 123,000 permanent seats, 112,000 of which are on the front straight. Of those, only a quarter (or around 28,000) were open for seating Saturday night. And those seats, as everyone saw, were perhaps 50% occupied (generously). So, 15,000-20,000 was the likely attendance. Pity, too, as the race was enjoyable to watch.
    Editor’s Note: As previously stated, ignorance is bliss. As previously asked, where were your seats?

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  11. “Ignorance is bliss.” One can only assume that’s a self-descriptive statement, given the inarguable facts I’ve presented.
    Editor’s Note: As usual, you have presented no facts. You have presented conjecture based upon television viewing. As previously stated, ignorance remains bliss. TMS estimated the attendance at 65K. Actual reality: Somewhere between the laughably low estimates obsessed squatters continue pontificating about (ignorance) and the optimistic estimate crowed about by the track (hype). Orient yourself in reality. This is just about the most stupid, pointless argument you could possibly pick.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  12. If you haven’t noticed, attendance for all racing in the country has fallen off dramatically. Anyone see the NASCAR race at Bristol this year? The attendance was embarrassingly bad at a place that used to be the toughest ticket in racing.
    Editor’s Note: SShhhhhh. Don’t confuse the critics with facts. LOL.

    Comment by spreadoption — June 9, 2014 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

    • Yes, and what’s the connection? (or at least one of the connections). An overly stage managed, restricted “spec” formula (the DW12 & the next gen COT), gimmicks such as “lucky dog” rules (NASCAR), “puss to pass” (IndyCar), phantom cautions ? (at least that wasn’t the case at Texas).

      I think the general population has caught on. While the crowds may never be what they were, as I think the “flavor of the month” crowd has moved on, (especially as it relates to NASCAR), I think there IS an audience for a sport that allows technical freedom, and promotes straight up competition-not wave arounds, chase for the championships, fast nine/pole day/not really pole day/whatever it was day. It’s going to take some time to build that up, but better to put forward a product based on some basic honesty, both in the technical regulations and the running of the events themselves.

      And if the “Euro centric” road racers are really the problem, then why is NASCAR facing some serious issues with attendance and ratings? Last time I checked, there aren’t many ‘euro-centric” pilots on the grid at a Cup race, and with only 2 of them, it can’t be the road racing that’s turning off the fans. And like it or not, CART (I know, I know) was at it’s most popular, as was open wheel in this country, when the grid had a pretty sizeable foreign contingent along with American drivers. Which is pretty much what exists now in IndyCar, but it (IndyCar) doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.

      Like I said in an earlier post, I’m damned if I can tell you why that is. As for attendance Saturday? Please. 65K? 45-47K? Sorry, not a chance. I was at Texas (2003) when Brack had his massive accident, and if memory serves me correctly the figure given for attendance at that race was ~75K. There were WAY more people there that year than this year. Not even close.

      Comment by Skeptical1 — June 9, 2014 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  13. I refuted the incorrect (and easily disproved) assertion that TMS has a seating capacity of 191,000 by offering verifiable facts to the contrary.
    Editor’s Note: You offered web based estimates and observation based on television viewing. Neither is verifiable nor factual. A better approach might be actual attendance at the event and discussion with people who run the place, as I did.

    In other words, saying “As usual, you have presented no facts.” Is, in and of itself, not a factual statement. Further, the 1/4 seating area (of 112,000 front straight seats) was based on your statement that 3/4 of the seats were blocked off. And any view of the crowd shows the occupied areas were, at best, half full. Again, these are simply facts.
    Editor’s Note: If I use your math formula based upon your ‘facts’ (LOL) that means only 14,000 fans were at the race. That is insane. Full blown nutty. It is the bottom end of the extreme estimates typical of the IndyCar obsessed critics squatting all over any web site even remotely related to IndyCar. Just as nutty is the hype that 65,000 showed up. Realistically, 47K is correct. But here is the bigger question. Who gets to judge whether 47,000 is good or bad? I know it’s half what it did in the IRL days, but attendance has slipped badly for almost all sports and entertainment ventures these days. So even if the crowd is 25,000 or 30,000 is that ‘bad?’ What would the television watching, judgement pronouncing, internet attendance experts deem ‘good?’

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  14. The seating details come directly from TMS so, yes, they would be considered factual.
    Editor’s Note: More correctly, a TMS web site.

    Further, the 1/4 of stands open for the race was easily verified by ticket offerings from the TMS official website. Again, fact. Finally, less than half of the available seats were full. Any photo while clearly show this as fact. Attendance was likely in the 15,000-20,000 based on that information. If you can refute any of that with verifiable facts, great.
    Editor’s Note: Anything anyone spouts on the Internet is taken, at least by me, with a grain of salt. People who were actually there; e.g., Eddie Gossage, ticket folks, management personnel, indicate 65,000 paid for a ticket. But as with the obsessed comment section squatters here and elsewhere, I take it with a grain of salt. Based on my own eyes from actually being there, both extremes are goofy, particularly the low estimates which result primarily from ignorance. Any estimate less than 20K denotes severe, willful retardation. A complete denial of actual reality. Similarly (but without the retardation) an estimate of 65K also seems unusual. Perhaps they sold that many tickets (they told me they did), but there were not that many people there. As previously stated a few sections of attended aluminum surrounded by swaths of empty sections tend to freak folks out. Understandable. But cute little screen shots usually only show enough to concoct a viewpoint (usually pointless and inevitably negative) and do not consider all actual available occupied seating. Fortunately, Eddie seems to like the series direction and management, so things remain optimistic for IndyCar continuing at that great venue.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — June 9, 2014 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  15. (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    Comment by Eddie G — June 9, 2014 @ 7:07 pm | Reply


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