Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 21, 2014

Post Toronto IndyCar Hangover

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:17 pm

DerrickIt has taken a day to absorb what I saw on television after a relatively chilled and wet weekend north of the border. Primary goal: Remain objective. It is difficult. Initial thought: IndyCar stepped all over its own genitals on national television for hours, akin aesthetically to the debacle the dying remnants of cart foisted on racing fans back in ’01 in Texas. That is a bit harsh, which is why I waited.

Even two days later it all seems amateur in most ways. After several false starts and lots of hem-hawing between IndyCar, teams and drivers the first day was scrapped late. The television audience spent the day dealing with indecision, a fluid rule book, fluid start times and an impression of the participants as prima donnas who say they can race in rain but won’t. And it was not even rain, really. Mostly just mist.

My wife, who is not a race fan and does not know any of the personalities, happened to catch Derrick Walker on camera at one point and asked who ‘the doddering old man’ is. A visiting family friend told her he is the hand-picked IndyCar executive whose primary job is to kiss the backsides of every driver and team owner in IndyCar. From that standpoint he seems to be doing a great job.

Back in bizReality is, of course, much more complicated. Street circuits are basically the same crappy roads on which the public drives most of the year with jersey barriers set up. Marshall Pruett of Racer magazine tweeted a photo of the temporary fencing in turn one that was not attached to the barrier. Yeah, that is probably not potentially dangerous at all.

In other words the twisted abominations known as street circuits are city streets or parking lots that contain the same bumps, dips, pavement changes, manholes, etc., that everyone else encounters. Rain on a street course is not like rain on a natural terrain, purpose built circuit. Even the pace car spun. Their solution? Bag Saturday and run two shortened races on Sunday.

Winners were interesting. Sebastien Bourdais finally won in this iteration of IndyCar, and Mike Conway continued making Ed Carpenter look like as good an owner as he is an oval driver. In between however we had ‘shunts’ all over the place. At times it resembled Keystone Kops in race cars. Fortunately it is all now over and two actual racing tracks are next up.

PreferentialIf what people were subjected to on the air was not bad enough there were other subtle problems. The supposedly smart people at IndyCar should be dealing with this forcefully but are evidently oblivious. During the entire Saturday broadcast of IndyCar almost every segment included promotion for either Formula 1 or NASCAR-in-the-future, and occasionally promotion of IndyCar the next day. During the F-1 broadcast that preceded IndyCar I do not believe any IndyCar promotion occurred. If it did it was elusive. Certainly not every or every other segment. Why?

IndyCar cannot really afford to drop any television turds any more, but they did this weekend.

July 18, 2014

IndyCar At Toronto in 2014….Still Fun and Still There

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:33 pm

As the Verizon IndyCar Series heads north of the border for another doubleheader weekend an age old argument stills rears its ugly head. Instead of enjoying a really fun city and an interesting long term IndyCar event some ‘fans’ feel obligated to publicly piss and moan about how nothing is as good as it was before 1996. I do not get that. The world is twenty years beyond that point. The sport remains great despite its warts.

Internet guyOn one Internet forum, for example, one contributor named Dave took on one or more of the continually defensive, often arrogant, always myopic ‘cart-back-in-the-day’ enthusiasts who seem to live to squat on the Internet and spout off about the perceived superiority they believe it had over everything else no matter what.

Dave opined: ‘I’m not allowed to directly talk about my admiration for Tony George’s vision and how he tried to save a sport that was already in long term trouble (despite this alleged ‘golden era of the 1990s’) but if others are going to make subtle insinuations that the split caused the decline rather than street courses, foreign drivers and the greed of the cart teams, I’ll make my insinuations too.’

Sure enough, one of those overly defensive cart enthusiasts chimed right in. Oddly, it was another guy named Dave: ‘And what those who supported TG’s vision fail to realize is, it was nothing but a power grab by IMS that failed miserably and scorched the earth for open wheel racing in this country. If Tony George’s intentions truly was to make American open wheel short trackers relevant at IMS again, the formula would have been front engine tube framed race cars similar to a gold crown or silver crown race car. There would have been dirt tracks on the original IRL schedule as well. I’m sorry, but the cries that Tony was just trying to save the Indianapolis 500 from these horrible foreigners and road racers are ludicrous. There were other intentions there, just accept it.’

cart entusiastHere is what I find amusing about what has become sort of a standard response from that bunch. They automatically believe the ‘vision’ of Tony George was primarily to make short track drivers relevant at Indy again. As is the case nearly 100% of the time these people say anything, they are completely misguided and have usually deluded themselves into believing clumsily crafted stereotypes. In reality the ‘vision’ was simply to make IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 more inclusive to a wider variety of drivers from many disciplines at lower cost. It is fun when a Tony Stewart moves from short tracks to Indy cars and does well. Problem is most of that type are not in cars long before they meet the wall. Conversely there are many talented road racing drivers like Mike Conway who also fail on ovals. The key challenge is finding a diverse field from multiple disciplines who can take on a variety of circuits (while they last).

These types also like variations of the gut busting phrase ‘nothing but a power grab by IMS that failed miserably and scorched the earth for open wheel racing in this country.’ Delusional fiction aside, it was not all about a power grab although that was an element. Then youthful Anton was most interested in preserving the family farm and in particular the 500. Describing the effort as ‘failed miserably’ is subjective at best but generally completely delusional to lunatic levels. After all which series actually failed (and by failed I mean ceased to exist in bankruptcy), twice, and which one has been around for twenty years? Tony and his minions were not responsible for the majority of scorched earth. That happened when the egos of those running cart perceived the IRL as a threat rather than a companion and changed not only their spec but their schedule to be in direct conflict. If they wanted it dead all they had to do was show up en masse for the first three events in equipment they already had on conflicting dates that they made necessary and that would have been that.

AntonDave continued the party line by throwing in tube frame car and dirt track references. Evidently this is one of their quaint little tenets. As a lifelong IndyCar fan I love the modern-era rear engine machines, and appreciate all the evolution that has led to where we are. If I want to watch tube framed cars on dirt tracks I will go to Paragon or Eldora or someplace like that. I do not want IndyCar engines in the front, and I don’t want them on dirt.

Inevitably contributors such as Dave continue the stereotype they have concocted with phrases like ‘the cries that Tony was just trying to save the Indianapolis 500 from these horrible foreigners and road racers…’ The nonsense these folks foist gets funnier with each passing decade. Foreigners and road racers in and of themselves are not bad things. Definitely not ‘horrible.’ Never have Ciggiesbeen. But too many of them competing in a series based in America will never hold any interest to a mass audience domestically. Diversity is great but must expand.

Memo to those stuck in a 90’s time warp. Do you know what made cart great while it lasted? Two things: A) The Indianapolis 500 and B) Tobacco money. When they walked away from one and had the other legislated away the end result was predictable. Failure. Twice. Do you know why IndyCar is still around today? The Indianapolis 500. Do you know why IndyCar does not meet the utopian fantasy you believed you had in the early 90s? No tobacco money. It is basically that simple.

So where are we today? Racing on an increasing number of non-ovals with a field heavily populated by foreign road racers. Future success will involve the inclusion Tony George desired, a truly BALANCED slate of venues with renewed emphasis and presentation of oval racing, a strong Indianapolis 500 and meaningful sponsorship that leads to meaningful promotion.

So now it’s off to a street circuit. The doubleheaders are great ideas and this weekend will be lots of fun. If you’re going have fun and we’ll see you there!

July 15, 2014

IndyCar At Iowa: Thumbs Up!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:24 pm

SponsoredWhat a grand and glorious short track IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway this past weekend! Despite interruption from thundershowers, the threat of weather more severe and a schedule that changed to conform to the bad weather they managed to get all 300 laps in despite a stoppage. When the track was green the racing pleased the fans.

Despite the bad weather they race was very well attended. Iowa is the kind of track that draws a lot of motor homes and various other campers, and those areas were full. The hospitality tent in turn one was also packed, probably from folks avoiding raindrops.

The track was built as a drivers track and remains unique in its configuration. It is almost as bumpy as a typical street circuit. Even the anemic field of barely over twenty cars provided great racing.

WhoAlexIt is always better in person but a review of the DVR playback on NBCSN occasionally sounded odd. Imagine Darrell Waltrip calling a Formula 1 race. That is the same kind of feeling I get when the F-1 team and Paul Tracy take the mic. A few examples of things that make me cringe include ‘safety car’ (it is a PACE CAR over here, fellows), ‘shunt’ to describe a wreck (what’s wrong with ‘he hit the wall’ or ‘he hit the fence’ or ‘he had a wreck?’), or the lack of the word ‘the’ when talking about a driver visiting THE hospital. Saying ‘he was in hospital’ is strange. And why is Nigel Mansell’s name brought up so regularly? He was a cart flash in the pan in the early 90s who won a championship but not Indy after a nice run in F-1. What relevance does he have today? He remains, after all, one of those nose-in-the-air types with regard to IndyCar after ’95 so who cares? At least they have eased up on the papal-appointment-to-sainthood of Alex Zanardi, who is most famous (other than the accident) for making an illegal pass. But I digress. Let’s talk about the drivers of today on the broadcasts, many of whom could eventually become legends.

The usual Mark David Chapman-type squatters here will no doubt pull their chicken-little attendance shtick eventually, but as we know their ignorance will not prevent them from portension of doom over what they stupidly consider ‘bad’ attendance because a few ticket holders did not show up after seeing the forecast.

Ryan Hunter-ReayOn a similar note Robin Miller offered a column in Racer in which he bemoans the lack of effort on behalf of IndyCar with regard to ovals and the presentation of them (which is embarrassing), something pointed out over and over on this blog. Job one of IndyCar is to ensure a balanced schedule, something that is rapidly shrinking away given the proclivities of those making decisions. Even the often acrimonious relationship that has evolved over time with ISC and SMI should not prevent IndyCar from getting creative. There are plenty of non-ISC/SMI ovals to consider more seriously. The two that might be fascinating are Memphis and Rockingham. Gateway, Nashville and others are simply waiting. IndyCar also needs to be back at Chicagoland and Kentucky. They could even get creative. Chicago in even years and Kentucky in odd years with consistent dates.

Off the soap box and on to the next event in Toronto. After Mid-Ohio the fabulous Milwaukee Mile will be back in a month. See you at the track!

July 10, 2014

Political Correctness Run Amok: Screwing Up The Opie & Anthony Franchise on SiriusXM

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:22 am

And now my first offering ever outside the sphere of auto racing. Please pardon and/or enjoy the diversion. There is life outside the track, and one of my lifelong love affairs has been with the field of radio broadcasting. The one aspect of life today that drives me more crazy than any other is the arbitrary outrage of subjectively enforced political correctness, usually driven by rampant hypocrites.

Bastard StepchildrenOver the 4th of July weekend Anthony Cumia of the Opie & Anthony radio show on SiriusXM was fired over a series of tweets subjectively perceived as racist. As the story goes some anonymous black woman took umbrage at ending up in the frame of scenery snapshots Anthony was shooting in Times Square. She let him have it. Anthony responded in kind. The lady eventually resorted to physical assault. Anthony walked away. Then tweeted. A lot. Some of the tweeted name calling contained harsh language, but nothing racist. You do not have to be a black woman to be called a ‘pig’ or a ‘cunt.’ Insensitive? Certainly. But fairly normal in life especially on the streets of New York.

Here is the problem. A verbal altercation on the streets of New York City should not lead to job loss. Tweets that contain colorful language about the verbal altercation also should not lead to job loss, particularly when you are paid to be controversial. But it did for Anthony and is suspicious on a number of levels.

Most people dismiss radio acts like Opie and Anthony or Howard Stern as ‘shock jocks.’ Anyone who does so misses the point. Within the frame of puerile, male-oriented humor there exists an intelligence that is actually very rare in media today, more so for Opie & Anthony (and Jim Norton) or Ron & Fez than Stern. Listeners who are capable of independent thought usually recognize thought provoking, insightful commentary that is always there to absorb, not to mention devilish humor that usually flies over the noggins of knee-jerkers. They are masters of their crafts. Many casual listeners are mentally or emotionally incapable of paying attention beyond talk of body parts or excretory functions and that is a waste of their brains.

WoofSiriusXM still advertises the Opie & Anthony channel/show on their web site, positioning it as ‘Intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy.’ Anthony’s tweets could certainly be construed as intense, edgy and uncensored. But they fired him anyway for commentary that was not even on their airways. At best it is highly hypocritical. Then again capricious knee-jerking is hardly unusual for that organization. Many fans of O & A have begun cancelling their subscriptions to Sirius XM. I cancelled the three I had four years ago not to make any sort of statement, but because after Sirius ‘merged’ with XM and took over, firing approximately 80% of the highly creative group that made the XM platform the most unique, diversified, listenable form of radio anywhere, the product became indistinguishable from any other corporate radio station. Its only advantage was no commercials (except promos) on most of the music stations. The brutally unoriginal lackeys who took over for the displaced truly creative folks were more concerned about polishing Mel Karmizan’s rectum with their noses than presenting compelling radio. Not much has changed since Karmizan retired. Most everything that was anything on XM became bastard stepchildren on Sirius.

The Senior Vice President who made the call to dismiss Cumia is Patrick Reilly. Evidently he can overlook things that actually are racist on the very airwaves he supervises. Like many ‘songs’ on their ‘uncut’ hip-hop channel, or when Sirius star Howard Stern asks aloud whether Patrick Ewing eats with his feet. It would be nice if Mr. Reilly and his peers were honest people but they are not. Their behavior is truly disgraceful and makes a laughable mockery of what they claim to be. If Reilly and selected peers had a shred of integrity they would fire themselves. Perhaps someday someone will flesh out the agenda that led to the dismissal. I keep thinking this Anthony stunt is some elaborate publicity stunt, but the sheer lack of mental agility of suits in charge makes that highly unlikely.

It is not difficult to listen to Opie & Anthony or Ron & Fez when time allows. YouTube searches turn up lots of content, and it’s free. When you listen, actually listen. You will begin to understand how completely foolish SiriusXM looks. What a waste. And now back to our regularly scheduled racing talk.

July 8, 2014

IndyCar 500 Mile Race at Pocono: Thumbs Up

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:52 pm

Pocono 500 AIt was a joyous weekend of IndyCar…the fastest 500 mile race in history. Pocono is one of those rare big tracks with personality. It is plopped into a scenic locale, is fan friendly and can provide great racing. Only two significant problems existed for my party, and one was not related to anything at the track.

The first problem is aesthetic. A 21 car field is too small for the venue. An Indy 500-sized field is best, and existing or potential teams should be properly incentivized to participate. Eight cars for Lights is a complete joke. Laughable.

The second problem has to do with I-80 East. From the point at which it merges with I-380 to the Delaware River (about 15 miles) it should never take 2 hours to drive. That is the problem with having the race late on a Sunday that is the last day of a long holiday weekend. Perhaps the series and the track should consider an alternate date.

Indycar at PoconoAnother general problem was the complete lack of any apparent marketing or coverage of the event. Both the track and IndyCar claimed promotion occurred but none was visible in either Philadelphia or New York coverage areas. Things that DID get plenty of coverage and promotion included a hot dog eating contest and the soap box derby. And NASCAR.

What a waste. The weather was Chamber of Commerce perfect and IndyCar put on a pretty good show. The crowd that looked so promising last year was smaller in 2014 despite strong walkup that clogged ticket windows on race day morning.

Before, during and after the race public proclamations by Brandon Igdalsky and IndyCar indicated both parties want to continue the event. No one has indicated whether the original deal will be honored, extended or modified. The race deserves promotion, a large number of teams and a purse that is commensurate with it being a leg of a ‘triple crown.’  In any event this race deserves a prominent place on the schedule and a primary focus should be making that happen. Just like Iowa, where IndyCar is headed next.

NASCARTThe other interesting piece of news that surfaced over the weekend was announcement by eight NASCAR teams that the owners have formed an organization to ‘have a voice’ in matters that NASCAR negotiates. This script is familiar. Benevolent dictatorships still rub owners, or ‘contractors’ as they are often characterized, the wrong way. All we need now is a plane crash to immobilize the top rung of the NASCAR management ladder, a coup d’état that puts owners in charge, a sport that completely changes, then some nascent France offspring to try and take it back. This does not bode well for peace and harmony and Big Bill is no longer around to enforce his will. Stock up on popcorn because this will be fun to watch.

July 3, 2014

Allowing Pocono To Wither Again For IndyCar Would Reinforce The Abject Stupidity That Has Dogged It For Decades

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 8:41 pm

Pocono CredentialsOne of the very best tracks in the world has a place on the IndyCar schedule today. The ‘tricky triangle’ at Pocono is a track that was built for IndyCars. The Cliff Notes version of history saw the IndyCars race there for years after it opened. Then the management of IndyCar pissed off the proprietors. For twenty four years there was no IndyCar event. NASCAR began enjoying two dates.

Fast forward to 2013. IndyCars, under new management in both camps, returned. The event last year was utterly wonderful. The track and the facility is unique, not owned by ISC or SMI, and is a great venue.

Attendance last year was very good, but leaving the track was a nightmare. Between race traffic and folks headed home from their 4th of July holidays a high degree of frustration was encountered. This year the race falls on the same holiday weekend and ominous public statements by the track warn of sub-par attendance expectations and even an attempt to dump the third year. Huh?

StupidityHere is a statement along with suggestions. It would be a travesty to lose this outstanding venue again so soon after getting it going. It is a big oval that provides great racing. Many fans are optimistic management on both sides will not insert their heads into their behinds and find a way/excuse to drop the event.

If this is the second leg of a ‘triple crown’ why not do something other than offer extra points? What about a huge financial incentive? There should be an Indy 500 type field in terms of participants. Not 22 or 23 entrants. Where is the promotion? I have been in New York and the Northeast for months and have seen no promotion. None. How are fans expected to attend if they do not know about it? It has become obvious that current IndyCar management has all but forgotten how to present an event on an oval. That is just not acceptable.

Above all, think about moving the date away from the fourth of July. Bad traffic experiences cause second thoughts for people who sit in their cars for hours after an event.

Why is it so difficult to remain an IndyCar fan? Mr. Miles and Mr. Igdalsky need to figure this out this weekend. This venue is an absolute necessity. Do not allow it to die. Oh, and it is very poor form to blame fans for slow ticket sales. The kind of potential fan that needs to sample can’t sample if they have no idea it exists.

June 30, 2014

Verizon IndyCar Series: Back in Business!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:56 pm

Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of HoustonThe Verizon IndyCar Series is back in business. Generally I dislike the principle of ‘doubleheaders’ as separate races, thinking it is a backdoor way to mask scheduling deficiencies. On the other hand when you have two events that turn out like night and day as was the case in Houston a strong case can be made for their validity.

Who might have imagined Dale Coyne’s second car winning and having a podium with three Colombians? Or that the podium would be swept on the dry day by two small teams? It was all very Winner 2compelling. One race in the wet (and rapidly drying) and one in the heat everyone expected. We even got to hear the legendary A.J. Foyt take the Lord’s name in vain on national television. That sometimes happens when there is an Andretti involved.

The DW-12 continues demonstrating that it is a race car strong enough for even stupid mistakes. My complaints remain relatively minor, including a continuing general disdain for temporary circuits in parking lots. Many folks are nearly orgasmic over the announcing job of Steve Matchett. I am not quite that effusive but his energy and enthusiasm is a welcome addition. There are fingernails on Tricky Trianglechalkboard moments; e.g., when did the ‘pace car’ become a ‘safety car?’ I wonder how close we are to changing the name of the series to ‘Verizon Formula Indy’ since we seem to be back on the ‘rival-to-Formula 1’ kick. And Paul Tracy? Not as robotic as Scott Goodyear but just about equal on the monotone scale.

Meanwhile we are preparing for an actual big oval race. 500 miles. Pocono. Big deal, right? The track is within driving distance of the largest population concentration in the country near the top media market. How much advertising has been seen? None by me. That is a real shame. The crowd last year was good, and I would like to believe it would improve in year two. If no one knows about it, however, how can that happen? My group is going again this year, and there will be at least six of us. The recent transformation of that track originally built for Indy cars is nothing short of miraculous. It is a unique, well managed, fan friendly legacy track. It is an outstanding way to spend a holiday weekend, and we hope to see a lot of our friends there.

June 26, 2014

Someone From Verizon IndyCar Series Marketing Speaks

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:35 pm

MalsherRacer’s Editor David Malsher published an interesting interview with C.J. O’Donnell, Chief Marketing Officer of Hulman Motorsports. The problem is many of us are left with that feeling one often gets an hour after eating Chinese food. Hunger. Full disclosure: I am a subscriber to the print edition of Racer and believe it is a must have item for any serious racing fan. Coverage, photography and content is all top notch.

That is why I am somewhat disappointed in the interview. My initial impression is that Malsher took sort of a mild Gordon Kirby-like approach to questioning (only without the hysterics and as blatant an agenda), but still allowed O’Donnell to answer most questions in a corporate-speak manner that is really long on sugar but preciously short on fiber.

So while observing IndyCar as ‘the greatest series no one knows about on either side of May,’ a snarky observation as part of a question that asks about priorities, O’Donnell discussed a methodical 5-year plan plus attendance and ratings gains through Detroit, all couched in hopeless generality. You could plug in any leader from Randy Bernard to Jeff Belskus over the past five years and get the exact same boilerplate, obfuscation-riddled buzzwords. Why not at least ask what the key milestones are for each year of the next five? Better yet, ask what specific steps are being taken to get media in general, but broadcast partners in particular, to actively promote the series on a season long basis instead of ignoring it wholesale. I might also have asked how Indy-based momentum is expected to continue with a three-week hole Racerin June and no significant sports competition.

Asking legitimate questions about what IMS learned from the re-vamped month of May is great. Positioning May as ‘dead in the water for some years’ as part of the question is the kind of gratuitous tripe one might stumble across on an IRL hate site. As usual the implication is that the 500 is the only sports or entertainment entity with unrealistic expectation problems in 2014. The problem is the expectations of those who spout such hyperbole are not always based in reality and are usually rooted somewhere in the late 80s or early 90s. Still. O’Donnell again let buzzwords fly, repeated Mark Miles sound bites, and congratulated the team on a great month. While C.J. was mentioning the second and third years my follow-up would have asked how qualifying will be tweaked, what changes to keep the month fresh are planned, and what steps are being taken to fill up the garages with race hopefuls to avoid another suspense-less field of 33 pre-ordained and micro-managed starters.

IMS SuitLater, in another postioning-statement-within-a-question, Malsher observed ‘oval track attendance has looked poor for all venues except Indy.’ Then, just as I had earlier observed about writer expectations, Malsher actually asked about ‘recapturing the mojo of the 80s and 90s.’ If it is that easy why not recapture the mojo of the late 60s and early 70s? That period was second to none in terms of innovation, speed, and consistent drive to advance beyond rules.

Jesus H. Christ. Is there not enough to worry about in 2014?

Oval attendance is poor at ovals but not non-ovals? At least O’Donnell disagreed. The thing he didn’t do was answer the question about how to increase attendance, other than increased points for ‘triple crown’ events. I might have asked why there is not a sponsored 5 or 10 million dollar prize for any triple crown winner. Can you imagine attendance at Fontana if, say RHR also won Pocono after Indy and was in line for the big bonus?

Malsher asked O’Donnell about series sponsors and observed not seeing as many. C.J. reinforced what Verizon, Honda and Chevrolet do and extolled the virtues of B2B relationships, but did not really address the underlying issue. When will more of them become involved?

I applaud the attempt at a potentially worthwhile interview but urge trying again. Next time ask questions without bias and frame them to extract specific answers untinged with flowery smokescreens.

June 25, 2014

What Does Soccer Have To Do With IndyCar?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:59 pm

SoccerIndyCar critics who squat on the Internet and continuously portend doom for the Verizon IndyCar Series seem to have concocted a brand new rant fashioned into a weapon with which to take swipes. The soccer World Cup being held in Brazil has been doing very well domestically in the television ratings 12+ overnight category. The big matches can draw anywhere from 10 to 25 million sets of eyeballs. It is well promoted, well positioned and has multiple network partners also engaged in heavy promotion.

Good for them. Many in the USA have hopped aboard a bandwagon that has had a huge worldwide presence for decades. My only involvement this year in the hoopla was eating lunch in a bar in New York City yesterday that had Uruguay and Italy on their big screens. About half the bar was Italian and the other half Uruguayan. Whenever something halfway exciting occurred one side or the other of the bar would shriek with delight. I just wanted my damned food and the check afterward. The only thing I found compelling and noteworthy (other than lousy service) was the fact that a stunningly gorgeous late-20-something Uruguayan woman was seated at the bar with a very loose fitting sleeveless shirt on and no bra underneath. I was continually distracted by a very nice looking breast that would emerge from the clothing with startling regularity.

Kickin itThe thing obsessed critics seem to be creaming their dungarees over are the high ratings for World Cup soccer, and how they are so much ‘better’ than those of IndyCar. How, even in the most stretched version of the alternate universe within which such kiddies dwell, did this become any sort of valid comparison? What happened to apples and apples instead of apples and bricks? Some of the same youngsters are even asking stupid questions like ‘what can IndyCar learn from the World Cup?’


It is not difficult to come up with valid critique points for today’s IndyCar. But comparing it to soccer? Really? Comparing motor sports to a stick n’ ball sport? Evidently I am not retarded enough to make such an illogical leap. Perhaps one of the Einstein-like regulars can enlighten me with regard to any sort of point.

June 21, 2014

IndyCar Needs to Make Its Own Luck

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:38 pm

WTFIndyCar management is often derided for making decisions that defy logic, sometimes correctly but often due to lack of recognition of whatever the bigger picture may be. This particular instance of lack of vision and foresight seems egregious.

The sweetest of sweet spots of any summertime IndyCar schedule is the month of June. Why? Both hockey and basketball playoffs are wrapped up. The NFL is completely dormant. Baseball is in its mid-season period of ‘blah’ before end of season pennant battles materialize. Other than the occasional World Cup hoopla there is very little going on the sports world.

CalendarSo why on earth is there three-week hole in the IndyCar schedule dead center in the sweet spot? It does not make any sense. No gains in either attendance or ratings will materialize if there are no events. NASCAR and Formula 1 races. Why should IndyCar not? The Indianapolis 500 was absolutely great, and could have provided season-long momentum. Races immediately following Indy were compelling, but this three week, momentum-killing gap sticks out like a sore thumb.

Given the number of available venues it is unlikely ‘date conflicts’ are a factor. It is easy to understand why teams prefer a break, but the month of June should have none. Most sports with which IndyCar must share the stage are inactive at the moment. Why not take advantage?

When IndyCar finally gets back into action on the 28th it will be a street circuit in the summer heat of Houston, which will be incredibly uncomfortable for fans brave enough to attend. Any momentum built from the Indianapolis 500 will have been forgotten by most fans.

Future lesson: The heaviest and most exciting part of the IndyCar schedule going forward should be during the month of June. Instead of creating situations that enhance luck this part of the schedule is merely another self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. That remains frustrating.

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