Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 31, 2008

What a Great Start

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:55 pm

Homestead Miami Speedway was the location for the inaugural race for the Indy cars in 2008.  It also appears the Firestone Indy Lights put on a great show as well.  It’s about time the season began. Some brief observations: -Thank God for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. They actually come closest to conveying the excitement you can only get by being there.

-ESPN/Disney family o’ channels continues to crap out uninspired ‘coverage’ unabated. They do not get it. Scott Goodyear is not even needed any longer. You could simply use recorded clips over and over. No one would notice any difference.  And I like the guy.

-The quality of the racing has not skipped a beat. Even the champcar pilots did a great job of staying the hell out of the way. 

-The Milka experiment needs to end. A better job for her would be something akin to a modern day Miss Hurst lady, just walking around with most of her ample, round teats out.

-Bruno = deer in headlights. I haven’t seen someone that freaked out by an Indy Car on an oval since Nelson Piquet. 

-Kanaan had it figured out but strange things happen. I think Dixon is going to be on a mission all season. 

-The race was remarkably mostly wreck free and the action through the field was close and competitive. Just as we have come to expect. 

-It was pretty neat seeing that many cars on the track. It will be even more fun when they all get up to speed. 

-When Helio got the doughnut I do not understand how both drivers kept from saying hello to the wall. Amazing.

-I miss Scott Sharp in an Indy car.  He was the iron man from the start.  Whoever is responsible for his departure (and I’m told it’s more than one entity) ought to be slapped.  For that matter it would also be great to see Davey Hamilton actually driving the ovals now that he can. I also wish Tomas Scheckter was in a seat.

-All in all, a fine oval race and a nice way to kick off the season. Too bad the excitement level will drop a notch on a God-forsaken street temporary, non-real race track circuit.  It is St. Pete, however, and it’s always a fun time.  Racing needs to occur on proper tracks. 

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March 27, 2008

Saddle Up. Time to Go Racing.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:27 pm

Homestead Miami.  The track has gone from a sort of flat mini-Indy layout to a NASCAR-ized high bank track.  Oh well.  26 cars are expected to start, and one of the more interesting new aspects is oval qualifying.  Four laps, just like Indy.  Two veterans who would look good in victory lane are Vitor Miera and Danica Patrick.  Will one of those get the elusive first win?  How cool would that be? 

If you haven’t yet gone HD, now is the time.  The IRL has taken that step, and ESPN is said to be ready to emply some new camera angles. 

Pull up a chair, and for maximum enjoyment subscribe to XM Radio so you can listen to the IMS Radio Network instead of the TV crew.  Scott Goodyear has been around for a while now, and we all know what happens in that gray area and what marbles are.  Turn down the TV sound and turn Mike King and crew up. 

BRING IT ON!

March 23, 2008

Wood

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:42 pm

I miss trees inside the turns at Indy.  I have fond memories of them, including a daring act of carnal lust in the branches in the old Turn 1 snake pit back in 1971.  I have no idea how neither the girl who was up there with me or I did not fall out of it.  Trees around the track used to change the timbre of engine sounds as the cars circled the track.  You could be seated in the penthouse sections of stands and have your view blocked by lots and lots of trees.  You could always follow with your ears and Tom Carnegie and for many years that was normal.  We all understand forward evolution and the fact that IMS always does anything they do in a first class way, whether it’s making way for a world class Formula 1 circuit or fundamental modifications for motorcycle racing’s top series. Putting the legendary Turn 1 creek safely underground is pretty big.  I always miss the trees. I miss wooden grandstands, too.

I don’t miss cinder block outhouses in which you were forced to pee (or worse) into holes in the ground.  Graham Hill got that particular hygiene improvement ball rolling in the mid 1960s.  I do, however, miss the utter and complete debauchery of the snake pit.  It was not for everyone and I am well beyond the age of such participation, but it was a great experience while it lasted.

Whenever I am in Indianapolis, I inevitably end up at the track, in the museum and aboard the tour bus. Changes that have evolved over the years are striking. This year is no different.  As the 2008 open wheel season dawns, the center of the sport looks even better than ever.

March 19, 2008

What Indy Racing Should NOT Be

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:17 pm

The Indy STREET RACING Series.  Any more than two temporary circuits per season are too many. Racing needs to occur on proper tracks, not streets.  The notable exceptions where Indy racing is concerned are the bookended St. Petersburg in the East and Long Beach in the West.  Long Beach has a rich open wheel history and has been successful, and the St. Petersburg even was the first non-oval venture for Indy racing and has been successful since inception.  

Markets where other street races have been held, including Cleveland, Toronto and others, are fine markets that need real tracks.  Preferably ovals. The Andretti-Green racing organization has done a lot of good for Indy racing and the sport in general, but buying rights to street events pulls the sport away from where it needs to be and toward a business model that in most cases does not work and is not sustainable.  Want to do something really bold?  Build a modern day natural terrain road circuit or buy one of the existing legacy circuits and bring it into the current century.

There are several natural terrain road circuits that could be considered in the US and Canada. I am of the opinion that given the speed, excitement and high quality of Indy racing at Richmond that a really smart move would be to help Andy Hillenburg revitalize Rockingham and send the Indy cars in there once a year.

Then again, I remain of the opinion that having a track the quality of Pikes Peak International Raceway shuttered is an unforgivable crime forced by ISC, who wants but probably will not get a race in Denver.  NIMBYs.  Perhaps they’ll be successful in getting the track somewhere near Limon. But not for many years.

Moral of the story:  Stop the rush toward street courses.  As a rule they cannot suck enough as racing venues.  Focus on proper tracks.  Not gypsy circuses. 

March 17, 2008

Run What You Brung

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 8:02 pm

That used to be the way it was at Indy and elsewhere along the ‘championship trail.’  There are those who profess it as the only way to effectively turn back the clock and return the sport to an evolutionary phase that appeals to them. It is a nice concept, but how do you go about managing it?

There are many ways to do it and there will always be ‘haves’ and have-nots.’  I say if we need to do it, we need to take a radical approach and welcome any new power plant provided it is NOT an internal combustion engine of any kind, and/or if it is, it burns no fossil fuel.  The Hondas used by the IRL are a model of reliability and that is a good thing.  Indy Racing has traditionally been ahead of the curve in new technology and safety improvement. Why stop now?  Why not encourage Honda and others to step up?  

If they want to get really adventurous, loosen up the chassis development process by mandating specific, basic safety features but let others develop something they believe can go fast and win. For those not endowed with Penske-level resources, keep variations of the current package up to snuff so that the sport is accessible and affordable for a wide cross section. Often the small teams provide the inspiration and epitomize the purity of the sport. It is also nice, however, to see the cutting edge up close.  

I really enjoyed several evolutionary phases in person, including the rear engine revolution, turbines, ground effects, and chassis evolution.  All have been fascinating.  Is it not time to try and give that type/spirit of evolution a whirl?  

March 13, 2008

Indy Racing: Two Weeks To Go

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

The 2008 Indy Racing season begins Saturday, March 29 at Homestead outside Miami.  This year features a fuller field and hopefully the excitement that has characterized most of the previous seasons.   Naturally the best way to watch is at the track.  Miami in late March is not a bad place to be.  

Second best is at the world’s greatest race course.  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway used to let legendary fan Railbird host a small gathering in the Flag Room of their motel outside the second turn, but every year more and more fans turned out. It has since moved to the larger pavilion outside, and it is there you will find many like-minded Indy Racing fans.  Additionally, it benefits Brian’s Wish, a worthwhile charitable effort near and dear to race fans’ hearts.  Another benefit is the ability to hoist a few and clog arteries with genuine Hoosier cuisine. 

The third way to watch is on the second tier ESPN2 cable network and hope above all else they will not have taken the quality of coverage down another few notches. Unfortunately that is the norm in this century. Over the past few years the high spots have been the beta testing of announcers and technology ultimately destined for NASCAR.  The race is a prime time show on Saturday night.  Evidently ABC might have some lowest common denominator reality show or some other crap deemed more important.  In any event, my personal hope is that ESPN2 won’t completely screw it up for the rest of the season. Time will tell.  One great thing:  The ICS goes HD this year. Oddly, I have seen very little promotion.  Surprise, surprise. 

No television?  No problem.  XM Satellite Radio will again feature all the Indy Car racing action, including lots of motor sports programming, time trials and other coverage, and the best part is the use of the great staff on the IMS Radio Network.  One way to overcome ESPN shortcomings is to turn the television sound down and XM up.   

From where I sit, a cheap flight to Miami seems like a very good idea.  If it comes to fruition, I’ll see you there.  Or perhaps in Indy.  Let’s drop the flag!

March 6, 2008

Letters To Anton

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:09 pm

Perhaps I’ll make this a series.  Your ideas are always welcome.  Drop me a private line any time at IRLDefender@aol.com.

Dear Anton,

Now that ‘unification’ is complete, I need to ask a favor.  Remember not to forget the reasons the Indy Racing Series was formed.  There are a large group of fans who believe an oval-centric orientation is the way to go.  That, I believe, is the correct approach.  It works for NASCAR, and it works for hundreds of small tracks all over North America. 

Road racing is a nice niche, but no road racing series with big time aspirations has ever succeeded in the United States over the long haul.  NASCAR varies only twice a season.  The road circuits used by Indy Racing are nice, but use of temporary circuits should be minimized.  A series with the quality of the ICS needs to race on proper tracks.  St. Petersburg and Long Beach are probably nice bookends, but why have any more?   If you want to road race and tout variety, do so on natural terrain tracks and keep the total at 35% or less.  PLEASE.

Racing internationally is also prestigious, but you need to ask yourself if doing that will help at this juncture.  It did not help the post-split cart or champcar.  Is picking up such scraps right now likely to make fans of those failed series flock to Indy Racing?  Not likely.  It will be a slow process, and now there is a much more formidable NASCAR.  Concentrate on successful ovals, and return a triple crown of 500-mile events, preferably on large ovals; e.g., Fontana and Michigan.  Listen to FANS.  Do not bend over every time a former cart owner or manufacturer demands it.  What will result if you do is a not-too-big niche that frustrates and befuddles sponsors, fans, television networks and manufacturers. 

While you’re at it, ESPN and ABC need to have their backsides whipped into shape once and for all.  Their level of professionalism as relates to the IRL is nonexistent.  Their treatment of this franchise is an abomination, and needs to be fixed now. 

Thanks for listening.

March 4, 2008

Indianapolis 500 Attendees

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:44 pm

In typically arrogant fashion, many ‘fans’ who profess an attachment to the circa-199x version of cart have indicated they may ‘return’ to the Indianapolis 500 this year since ‘all the teams will be there.’   Do not bother if it puts you out.  You were not missed over the past twelve.  It is obvious you do not understand the event anyway.   

In the event you do ‘return’ I hope you discover the humility and respect needed to walk in. Oh, and thanks for the upgrades.  Those of us who never stopped attending appreciated not only a lot of great racing but better seats, too.   

In all seriousness, everyone is always welcome and that is the way it should be.  Politics has always been left outside.  The experience renders the politics irrelevant. May is coming up quickly, and it will be another great one.  As this ‘unification’ rolls out, we should all remember the great racing the IRL consistently delivered.

March 2, 2008

A Vivid Example of The Most Stupid People On Earth

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:34 pm

Now I know how Japanese soldiers shot down and exiled on deserted Pacific islands still fought the war twenty years later.  Are there really people out there in the world this devoid of sportsmanship, class, integrity and any discernable ability to actually fire two synapses together?  Holy moly. 

Official crapwagon.com Statement Crapwagon.com has always stood for truth, and not just the historical truth of open wheel racing in North America, but also the truth about how we feel about it. For almost six years crapwagon.com has discussed the creation of the IRL as the power play it plainly was. All the “ideals” that Tony George laid out were a smokescreen, his only goal to gain ultimate control over all North American open wheel racing. He has finally succeeded in realizing that goal, but at such a terrible cost.

The last 12 years have destroyed North American open wheel racing, leaving behind an empty shell of what we once loved. Tony George may have finally won the war, but the earth is so scorched, that it will take years for Open Wheel racing to gain any traction in the general racing fan’s mind — if it ever does. The current formula being used by the IRL is not just the most dangerous, but quite possibly the ugliest, most foul sounding formula ever devised for racing in the world. The majority of the tracks that Tony George has chosen to race his series on are not suitable by any means for top-tier open wheel race cars or their drivers. They lack simple safety precautions and standards.

Crapwagon.com recognizes these facts, and will continue to champion the truth about what has become of open wheel racing in North America. We will not allow the present situation to blind us to the truth that, as we watch today, the “IndyCar series” isn’t taken seriously by anyone — including sponsors, tracks, and its competition — and is in no way connected to the heritage of big-time, open wheel racing in North America.

We will continue to champion the heritage that began with North American open wheel racing, and continued with the CART era, and the Champ Car era after that. We will keep our eyes and our ears and our hearts open to all the people hurt by this charade, but we will not be blinded by false history, false statistics, or the false series. Crapwagon.com remains here as a bastion of truth and the legacy of the REAL North American open wheel tradition.  

The hostility of these children aside, is it possible there are those who are actually that unintelligent?   News flash:  Your series plummeted into non-existence again.  That’s twice now.  Tony George did not cause that.  The ‘leadership’ of your unsuccessful series (which changed more often than Italian governments) spiraled the plane into the earth.  Twice.  You LOST.  Get past it.  You will be happier.  I promise.

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