Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 29, 2008

2nd Best Indy Racing Venue Outside Indy

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:54 pm

Richmond.  Despite the aggressive stupidity I saw last night in the first part of the race.  Here is something the drivers of Indy Racing may want to consider:  You are NOT going to win the race in the first half.  You can pass at Richmond, but it must be set up and executed using patience and strategy.  Too much aggression = wall.  Wall=expensive repair bills.  If I could be an owner I would have an independent group of experts judge stupidty vs. victim for my driver, then I would dock pay for the former to pay for crash damage.  Nevertheless, it was another really good event.  Some random observations:

-Far too many yellows. Too many people were being way too stupid. That must cease.  Aggression is great.  Agression mixed with stupidity or dwindling reflexes due to age (Team Roth) is dangerous. -The second half of the race was much better than the first.

-The crowd actually started booing at one point close to the halfway point with the one-yellow-after-another situation.

-Ryan Hunter Reay was a hoot to listen to. Before the accident he was observing they were in 10th place despite having a ‘piece of s#*$ car.’ When he and Moraes got together, they were jawing and shoving when they climbed out, in the safety truck (with an official betweeen them), in the care center, and outside the safety center. Funny line from RHR: I know these things happen and I expect if from time to time. But this happened with Mario Moraes!. Why couldn’t a front runner have attempted to race me? Classic.

-Brian Barnhart went nuts a couple of times.

-Drive of the night: Two folks. Jaime Camara and Twinkle Toes. Camara diced through basically the entire field, twice, and usually high. His car evenutally went away and caused his incident late, but that guy was a joy to watch the entire night. Helio ran a very good race. A couple of times you could see him fighting a palpable loose condition, and he kept it going.

-Servia was also very consistent. Danica Patrick evidently needs a 90-foot wide track to pass anyone or she cusses up a storm.

-John Andretti needs to be parked. He is a menace. Time to put Jay Howard back in the car. The majority of the reason the first part of the race appeared to suck can be directly attributed to his bonehead driving.

-Marty Roth is a hazard. (Good line from Danica’s folks one time when she was coming up on him…Danica you’re on lap 97 and Marty Roth is just ahead…he’s 100 laps down). He would make a much better owner than a driver. He needs to turn the seat over to someone with talent and be a Michael Andretti, who never won an Indy 500 as a driver either.

-Townsend Bell had a great run too.

-Darren Manning and the Foyt folks did everything they could to finish the race. They were fun to listen to as well.

-The crowd at Richmond was the largest ever at that track for the IRL. The majority of suites were filled, and they twice moved the safety tape between 1 and 2, and 3 and 3 to let more people get seated.



Before the race, I was locating and programming the AGR frequencies of the week on my scanner, and the Firehawk mascot was out on the track firing rolled up t-shirts into the crowd from a small cannon. Normally I don’t pay attention to that nonsense, but at one moment I looked up just in time to see a rolled up t-shirt missile coming from space. Got me squarely in the family jewels. I dropped the radio and the headphones and my refreshing beverage and uttered a few words not really fit for mixed company. Everyone in the vicinity began laughing, not knowing anything about the pain I was feeling.  I even gave the stupid shirt to a nearby kid.

Richmond remains my favorite Indycar venue behind Indy. For ISC, they keep that track in great shape.

Congratulations Tony Kanaan!





June 27, 2008

Grumpy Old Men

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:59 pm

It might be a good idea from time to time to point out blatant hypocrisy among those who refer to themselves as ‘fans’ where it exists, isolating it in its various forms. One of my favorites tumble forth from the fingertips of mostly bitter, crotchety old men whose ideas of perfect racing are lodged in the late 1950s and much of the 1960s.  



Their redundant whining generally involves front-engined roadsters, contains elements of ‘run what you brung’ (usually aboard a flatbed trailer towed with a pickup truck), the notion that real racing involves gunning it down a straightaway then lifting in a corner (presumably to ‘make the driver a bigger part of the equation’). These haggard fellows are steadfastly lodged in that era as if it still matters.


Here is a news flash:  It is 2008. How about orienting yourselves in the correct decade? Few have as much fondness and great memories of that period of time as I do. That is when I became a big fan. Other than at nostalgia events and a few parade laps at racing events today, however, I am most happy to leave that era where it belongs. In my memory and in museums. 



The sport evolves. One facet of Indy Racing evolution occurred with the founding of the Indy Racing League. From around 1997 to the early part of the current decade, Indy Racing featured a phase that included drivers who would have never gotten an opportunity otherwise in unique equipment that could actually be worked on the old fashioned way. Small teams won. A.J. Foyt’s team, the ‘Petty Enterprises’ of Indy Racing, even won the Indianapolis 500. While the arrogant cart brigade was busy boycotting, the modern ‘shade tree mechanic’ phase of Indy Racing caught the aging eyes and ears of a few of these wobbly almost retirees.


I enjoyed watching Billy Boat and Davey Hamilton and Greg Ray and Jim Guthrie and that bunch as much as the next guy. It seems sad those types of drivers are forced by myopic, euro-centric owners to find other avenues to pursue. What I am not, however, is bitter. I enjoy the racing. A lot. Current owners have always listened to my suggestions about available talent. That works a lot better than moaning in cyberspace.


The preceding explanatory digression is necessary to set the stage to describe the brand of lying, hypocritical poor sportsmanship that is the subject of this post.  Most people who are actual racing fans either accept what they watch simply because they like and/or enjoy it, or they shift their interests to something they actually like and enjoy; e.g., NASCAR. I get it. The engines are in the front. They are slower. They lift in corners. They give the illusion of having a ‘shade tree mechanic’ orientation. The template for their entire format from start to finish is rooted in Indy Car racing. Fine. Enjoy it. I cannot begrudge anyone for doing so. I attempt to watch it a lot too even though there are moments I would rather ingest raw jalapeño peppers stuffed with shards of broken glass so that I could get an uncomfortable feeling from two different orifices.


The critical question remains that if the old men in question have decided they dislike Indy Racing so much that they prefer NASCAR (or others, like USAC) and NOT Indy Racing to the point of claiming not watching it ‘anymore,’ why, in the name of God Almighty, would they spend so much time in so many outlets for so many consecutive years telling anyone gullible or masochistic enough to pay attention to such frequently stated hysterical meanderings how much they hate the product and no longer watch it?


I have the answer. They are liars. Hypocritical liars. If these wrinkled prunes possessed even one ounce of sportsmanship, they would be content to have made their point once or twice, then simply enjoy and discuss what they actually prefer. But no. These clowns are worse than a bunch of fat old ladies gossiping at a quilting bee.


On a completely unrelated note, best wishes to Bryan Herta. The long time AGR and open wheel driver, most recently the chief AGR ALMS pilot, got fired yesterday. The timing sort of stinks, and everyone understands what happens when no winning occurs for a year and a half. Bryan is one of the good guys. Smart. Intense behind the wheel. If he is not ready to give up the behind the wheel part I hope he finds a good ride. If this event represents one door closing and another opening, my career suggestion for the guy would be Scott Goodyear’s replacement next year (hopefully on NBC). He does a great job on the weekly AGR show on XM.

June 26, 2008

…If I Only Had a Brain…

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:50 pm

Let us discuss stupid people and their quaint little straw man arguments. First, a little definition. Whacky-pedia, or whatever it’s called, offers a reasonable description:


Carefully presenting and refuting a weakened form of an opponent’s argument is not always itself a fallacy. It can refocus the scope of an argument or be a legitimate step of a proof by exhaustion. In contrast the straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern:

1. Person A has position X.

2. Person B ignores X and instead presents position Y. Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:

1.   Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent’s position and then refuting it, thus giving the appearance that the opponent’s actual position has been refuted.

2.   Quoting an opponent’s words out of context; i.e., choosing quotations that are not representative of the opponent’s actual intentions (see contextomy and quote mining).

3.   Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender and then refuting that person’s arguments, thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position, and thus the position itself, has been defeated.

4.   Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs that are criticized, such that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.

5.   Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking the simplified version.

3. Person B attacks position Y.

4. Person B draws a conclusion that X is false/incorrect/flawed. This sort of ‘reasoning’ is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself.


Now that we have established the premise, please allow me to present samples of ignorant parroting the idiot followers of the long dead cart series consistently trot out on various racing-themed fora. It is as if the results of what is essentially nothing more than cyber-defecation matters. In reality they provide a rich source of humor as well as affirmation that, yes, people really can be that stupid.


There are several instances of actual reality these Mensa-like prodigies consistently do not EVER take into consideration, including:

  NASCAR started getting big on a national basis due to a nationally televised fistfight between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison at the end of the Daytona 500 the very same year cart was hatched. It exploded about the time the Hulman-George family opened the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the ‘stock’ cars in 1994, the year before cart began its infamous boycott.

  In 1995, there was not a 300+ channel universe.

  In 1995, there was no widespread use of high speed Internet at home, much less on mobile communication devices.  

  In 1995, there was no satellite radio, and satellite television was in its infancy. 

  In 1995, widespread use of cellular and wireless communication was not possible.

  In 1995, many of the legends had not yet retired, but that cycle was in progress. 

  cart was in the process of attempting to minimize the relative importance to their entire series of the Indianapolis 500. That ALWAYS results in certain death. It always has and always will. Yet apologists of that twice failed business nightmare still advocate that fatal path. Many do so out of blind, ignorant hatred of one man they do not really know anything about. Are people not supposed to learn from their mistakes? 


Compounding of such abject stupidity occurs when a utopian view of what they consider successful is mistakenly held up as the gold standard. In other words, much of the perceived success of the cart series is a product of vivid imagination. That is not to say the series was not popular. It was. Just like the Indy Car series is today, despite increased and intense racing competition (NASCAR) and dramatically increased eyeball options (a fundamentally shifted communications universe). The most amusing aspect of such preaching is a reality that the very loudest cacklers are people who were not yet teenagers when cart began its Indianapolis boycott. 


Recent examples of smelly, feces-laden straw consistently tossed over forum fences include:


‘cart is back only it is half as big as it once was.’ Huh? Way to compare apples to apples, Einsteins. Facts:  cart, then champcar, both killed themselves. Bankrupt. Kaput. In embarrassing fashion. The current Indy Car schedule is, relatively speaking, more popular than ever. Simplistic positioning of the old cart as relevant to anything today is something not even the most thought-impaired imbecile would attempt. The youthful malcontents continue to try unabated. All the while they remain obsessed with anything and everything Indy Car. They will never, ever admit they are fans. Instead we will continue to receive their repeated outbursts of immaturity that make not only themselves, but the sport they laughingly claim to love look bad.


‘What were the last 13 years about again?’ The attempted destruction of an entire sport by poor sports that were collectively too stupid to leverage the popularity they built into ongoing viability but instead focused on destroying Tony George and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They could not have taken a more stupid, counterproductive approach.  


One of my favorite straw men nonsense arguments is taking fragments of Tony George umm- and aaaa-filled meanderings then holding them up as the gospel according to Tony. One of the favorites is ‘. . . preservation of oval racing heritage and a chance for short track drivers and small engine builders.’ The Indy Racing Series is predominately oval, always has been, and looks to stay that way. Check.  


Want to know what happens when greasy fingernailed engine folks have their periodic evolutionary phases? Lots of exploded parts at race tracks. Lots of oil spread on asphalt. Wall banging. How many Honda engines have exploded in the last three years? Which is better? Those who whine about sealed engines and no mechanics turning wrenches are completely unaware of evolutionary cycles.  IMS just got finished hosting lots of engine manufacturers with an eye toward the future. Evolution. It can be fascinating for those who pay attention to it.


‘The next thing you know they’ll bring back turbos.’ Yes, they could. Why would that be a copy of cart? I am hoping they go further than just that. I advocate all sorts of alternative propulsion. Electric. Solar. You name it. Why limit it? Again, evolution can be fascinating once prejudice is set aside.  


‘It has always been about control.’ Damned right. Deal with it. IMS won and you lost. That is just the way it is.  


Meanwhile, on a lighter note, I continue preparing for my jaunt down to Richmond this weekend for some of the best Indy Racing anywhere in a really cool bullpen. Hopefully the NASCAR buddies I have and will host enjoy the experience. I would take disenfranchised cart fans but I already have to listen to my lovely wife bitch up a storm. Who needs more of that?


June 25, 2008

Respect for My Elders

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:14 pm


One of my new motor sports heroes has suddenly become O. Bruton Smith.  One third of the current NASCAR schedule runs through his properties.  His tracks have consistently also held mostly successful Indy Racing events without much of the France family drama at tracks they own.  Those two things alone put him in a unique position to shake things up in multiple series.  It appears he is trying to do that, particularly after he put Humpy ‘drop-a-Caddy-from-a-crane-and-call-it-a-safety-test’ Wheeler out to pasture at Concord.  



The main problem is Bruton is 81 years old.  Sooner or later he’ll either retire or expire.  I find myself wishing the guy was 41 again only with all of his accumulated knowledge and wealth.  He has strongly hinted we could see Indy Racing back in New Hampshire and Las Vegas in the near future.  For that he deserves praise.  Indy Racing returning to New Hampshire would likely be met with more promotion than there used to be, which consisted primarily of members of the former owner Bahre family opening gates and waving at fans coming in.  Las Vegas presents interesting end-of-season scenarios and possibilities for Defender family travel excuses.  


He is also going to take NASCAR to Kentucky, which goes against the France grain. Anything he does that runs contrary to the NASCAR status quo is admirable.  He will make watching NASCAR politics more fun.  I am thinking de facto partnership with Indy Racing is mutually beneficial.


The one thing he could do that would REALLY be fascinating is start another ‘stock’ car series.  A ‘split,’ if you will, in that arena.  It could not get any better than that for jaded fans like myself who put up with that kind of nonsense for a dozen years in open wheel while NASCAR trampled over everything. As long as he does not resort to tacky gimmicks, I will be fine.  Maybe that is why he and Humpy divorced.


With the possibility of two new ovals instead of additional God forsaken temporary street circuits, there is hope for the current brain trust.  I am also curious to ask someone how their engine manufacturer summit held yesterday in Indianapolis went.  


Meantime, the main thing on the Defender radar is the always great Richmond race coming up Saturday.  It looks to be hot again, but Saturday night is a great time for it. See you there (with my new NASCAR friends/converts). 

June 24, 2008

I Thought I Died and Landed in Hee-Haw

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:50 am

I had the good fortune of conversing with some NASCAR fans over the weekend in their territory.  The occasion was a family reunion on the wife’s side.  I was basically dragged along as part of my marital duty.  The ‘for worse’ part.  She has first cousins who live in and around the eastern Tennessee part of the country.  Bristol is their home track.  They love their NASCAR.  It is not difficult to ascertain that reality simply by listening to them twist the English language into barely recognizable, grammatically destroyed phrasing.  God love ‘em.  Many of them even have original teeth. 

I slapped backs, ate the potato salad, ingested the baked beans, had a burger, and mercifully found the beer stash (family of mostly Baptists—lots of Lord praising, Republican agenda affirming and iced tea drinking, but precious little alcohol) after isolating the non-believers.  Turns out they all love NASCAR.  Go figure.  I swear this is true.  I bought a $900 Canon camera a few weeks ago with every option you can imagine.  It takes phenomenal pictures.  I took pictures of about six of these people and the thing broke. 

Not being the least bit interested in ad nauseum discussion about the gnarly branches of that particular family tree on what was going to be a really great race day prompted me to find a private room with a television.  There I was able to flip with fairly accurate dexterity between the replay of Formula 1’s Euro activity and the Indy Corn 250 from Newton, (if you build it they will come) Iowa.  Slowly, three or four of them found me and decided to offer commentary after reminding me that they had to ‘git home afore fav to see the reel race drivers in Cali-for-ni-a.’

‘Wail hail, Deefender, I reckoned all them roller skate pilots was a’-tryin’ Cup and gittin they asses kicked. You mean theys drivers left in them slot cars?’ ‘Hahahahahahaha.’  ‘Boy, if yew wunna see some racin’, git down heer ta Breestul.’  I agreed wholeheartedly about Bristol.  To me, that represents the very essence of Cup racing.  It rarely gets better.

I tried in my best buzzed diplomacy to espouse the virtues of Indy Car racing, a difficulty compounded by the continuing lack of dedication and professionalism of ESPN on ABC.  I even tried doing so sans biting retort designed to let their own abject stupidity expose them for what they are;  i.e., mostly dumb, uneducated fat rednecks with a great deal of prejudice.  One of the most vocal was a formerly gorgeous southern belle who, ten years ago, was an object of desire for every man with a pulse and not predisposed toward homosexuality.  Blond.  Shapely.  Very well endowed.  Ten years later after three kids then a marriage, she tips the scales at close to 300, which is not that far away from her husband.  I refrained from asking practical questions like how anyone could gain 200 pounds in ten years other than ignorance or gland issues.  She went on and on about NASCAR, oblivious to everything around her.  I tolerated it and stayed above that particular fray, regardless of the nasty thoughts ping-ponging about my noggin.

In one instance during a yellow caution period, I indicated the yellow lap speeds of Indy cars were only slightly less than racing speeds for Cup cars.  They disagreed.  😉  Then I began discussing the 15-second lap times at Iowa and Richmond the IRL offers. 

Slowly but surely their barely literate skepticism was replaced by relative excitement, and they began asking legitimate questions.  Motor and chassis things.  Weight jacking.  Wing angles.  Drafting.  Radios.  Danica.  Ganassi and Penske.  Andrettis.  Foyts.  We found common ground.  For that I am happy. 

As a matter of fact I am hosting at least four of them this weekend for the Indy Cars at Richmond.  Even though they can drink without fear of the wrath of God I have encouraged them to limit the consumption and take in the racing. If you are going this weekend keep your eyes peeled for us.  I’ll be the guy who some say is good looking with at least four obese southern redneck-looking guys and gals most likely wearing goofy NASCAR-themed clothing in as tacky a style possible.  I have decided their wardrobe choices will not be held against them, nor will their inability to communicate intelligently. 

I love taking NASCAR stalwarts to Indy Car races.  It’s the highlight of my year.  I am certain we will all have a great time, and I will offer a follow-up report next week.

June 18, 2008

Fun With Numbers

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:18 pm

Observations of the week:


The track Rusty Wallace built in Iowa is a thing of beauty.  Last year was the inaugural Indy Racing event.  As races go it was only so-so and many people at the sold out race had a hard time getting out.  


This year may be better.  Firestone has been seeking the right compounds and the Indy Racing folks have been trying to find the right package.  That track is wide enough for wide open racing, and there will probably be more of that this weekend.  It should be fun!  It should be a welcome change for folks who have dealt with considerable bad weather there.  


Attention those who hang on my every word for media pontificating:  Sports broadcasting can still be lucrative IF presented by taking advantage of all available distribution channels.  There is a moral here; more about that in a moment.  I like auto racing and believe it is the most exciting sport on earth in a general sense.  Personalities are also important.  That is basically why NASCAR, despite relative slowness, is so popular.  


Here is your case study:  Golf’s US Open.  This past Monday the overtime round made ESPN, NBC and NBC.com a lot of money. ESPN carried the playoff from noon to 2pm, and it earned a 4.2HH rating with 4.7 million viewers.  At 2, the coverage moved to NBC.  It ended just before 5pm and drew a 7.6HH overnight rating. NBC hasn’t had golf ratings that high since 1978.  Tiger Woods was 3 then.  


Here is where it gets interesting:  The USGA claims it delivered 2.5 million streams to 3.5 million unique visitors.  NBCSports.com recorded 9.14 million views and attracted over 2 million uniques. They claim more than 1.5 million streams, with each averaging 17 minutes, were delivered.


Those numbers are exactly why a comprehensive multimedia strategy is essential.  The moral?  Given the continuing neglect bordering on outright abuse of the Indy Racing franchise by ESPN as a direct result of their obsessive fawning over everything NASCAR, NOW is the time for Indy Racing to take the next step.  


Leave the abusive dysfunctional relationship their unfaithful, cheating partner of 40+ years has screwed up.  NBC offers class, professionalism, an extensive multimedia network and, most of all, respect for the brand.  It is time.  All roads lead to Indy.  If NBC can generate those kinds of numbers across multiple platforms for golf, imagine what they can do for something that actually is life and death and goes much faster?  ESPN fell in love with the fat girl, and now is the time to make them sleep with her every night. 



I don’t mean to pile on to NASCAR.  God love ‘em, but they certainly make criticism easy.  


Before the sparsely attended (relatively speaking) Michigan race last week, Mike Helton did his best impression of Chinese government to try and stop dissidents from spouting off, mostly about how badly the drivers believe the ‘car of tomorrow’ is (the one with the tuner-wing-looking thing in the back sort of like an Indy Car).  This is after Brian France didn’t express dismay about the racial allegations in that big lawsuit, but instead expressed dismay the lady who filed the suit did not follow the NASCAR procedure.  







 Anyway, with regard to the gag order on drivers, instead of dealing with their own quaint little issue some, like Kevin Harvick, offered criticism of something they know little about; basically lumping the ‘car of tomorrow’ to his impression of the Indy car of today and not liking it: “Well, that’s never been what NASCAR racing is all about. If they want something they can hold wide open, they need to go race IndyCars and ride around in a pack like that.” Kevin should either stick to driving ‘stock’ cars or climb into an Indy car.  He, like most others of his breed, would no doubt find the SAFER barrier in a short amount of time.


This week the Cup series ventures to a road course.  Let’s see whether the transplanted open wheel road racers like Montoya move to the front this week for a change.   


Have a great racing weekend!

June 16, 2008

Double Standards

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:07 pm

The ‘NASCAR nation’ is peeing itself silly over Dale, Jr.’s win at Michigan yesterday. Oddly, many of the same mental giants who have been gnashing teeth over what they feel was a ‘call’ to enable Danica Patrick to win in Japan are too busy being gleeful to engage in any merely stupid rhetoric.  Their previous insinuation that a fuel conservation win is not really a win does not seem to be an issue when Dale, Jr. does it.  I’m thinking there are more than just a few geniuses at work.   


Speaking of NASCAR geniuses, when will the powers-that-be realize that in order to maximize the popularity of the brand and keep it fresh that they will need to diversify even more?  This is not a racial thing, although the court activity regarding the behavior of some officials ought to be entertaining.  Diversification means dump the second Cup race from most tracks with two.  


It seems obvious by the sheer lack of people in many parts of Michigan that it may be time to consider opening up new venues that do not have one race such as Kentucky.  When I think ‘Kentucky,’ one of the things I think about besides horses are, frankly, NASCAR demographics.  



One Cup date at most tracks would increase the popularity of the remaining one.  Limit the supply to increase the demand.  Simple concept.  It would also open dates for Indy Racing on legacy tracks.  There is no more non-Indy legacy venue than Michigan. 


I know that most of the IRL and Roger Penske have their heads up the arses of Detroit with the Belle Isle cheek smooch and I understand the business necessity of the rat-infested mercy hump that is that ‘race.’  That said, Indy cars at Michigan have always been a thing of beauty.  We can only hope all parties involved in bringing that venue back with take their heads out long enough to talk to actually one another and put the interests of the majority of their actual fans at the top of their noggins.


One less Cup date at places like Phoenix, Fontana and others would make for interesting scheduling possibilities as well.  The most important thing for Indy Racing is that they maintain a schedule that is predominately oval.  IRL owners increasingly repeating the pointless business plans of the failed cart series on ‘temporary’ circuits should have their heads examined.  A couple or three as variety pillars is OK.  So are a few natural terrain road courses.  Keep the focus on ovals, however.  Always. 

June 13, 2008

NASCAR? Racist!? Could it Be!?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:02 pm

The most entertaining thing in motor sports today is watching NASCAR apologists in person, print and/or cyberspace twist and turn continuously in silly looking attempts to deflect virtually any discussion whatsoever about the racial and sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former NASCAR official Mauricia Grant.  The complaint alleges some very specific actions, most of them vile and disgusting.  Brian France is inexplicably being stupid about it, telling people she did not follow the formal processes before offering a token ‘no comment.’  



The real problem is the stereotype that NASCAR and most of its fans are still, even a few decades removed from running moonshine through backwoods hollows, nothing more than ignorant, trailer-dwelling, mullet-clad, Confederate-flag-flying, teeth-missing, gingivitis-riddled, beer-swilling, gas-passing, funny-talking racist rednecks.  Listening to most of the boogity-containing television commentary reinforces some of the stereotyping.  The type of behavior alleged in Grant’s complaint reinforces it a whole lot more.



Placed into the shoes of Brian France, I would attempt to extinguish this lit match with a fire hose.  Quickly.  Why?  Damage control before it becomes an inferno.  Suspend everyone involved until resolution occurs.  Hire scum-sucking, aggressive, maniac lawyers.  What if Mauricia Grant is nothing more than a greedy, opportunistic, easy-way-out shakedown artist hijacking a legitimate cause to make herself rich (another stereotype becoming popular about her race)?  That is certainly possible as well.  Anything is possible when lawyers get involved.  Especially sleazy ones who make a mockery of their profession.



The important thing is that everyone works through the process.  Meantime, what has happened thus far will do little to erase redneck stereotyping of NASCAR and many of its fans.  People often criticize me for these views, but more often than not I get the distinct impression they are clearly uncomfortable with that particular spotlight.  Then again, they seem to enjoy watching 42-car parades of really slow packs of ‘stock’ cars whose owners are beginning to spend money approaching F-1 levels for no apparent reason as they whore themselves out in every imaginable way resulting in an onslaught of spam-like message exposure in every available frame.  Sooner or later the weight they have gained will collapse in on itself.  This year, however, we’ll endure predictable rhetoric from many usual idiots about how ratings are up or how they are ‘connected to the people’ or other such feel-good babble.  While NASCAR is defending itself against alleged Ku Klux Klan-like behavior.  



Speaking of whoring yourself out, did anyone happen to catch Jack Arute’s interview before the Indianapolis 500 with Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon?  Both were prominently holding cans of Diet Pepsi (even being careful to make sure the logo on the can was visible) and pretending to sip beverage out of them.  They are great race car drivers but really bad actors.  They need to work on their selling skills.  I wonder how much money that blatant stunt earned?  The more I watch that clip, the more humorous it becomes.  


 Hopefully it stops raining long enough in Newton, Iowa for another great IRL race on Rusty’s small, wide oval.  Bring it on!

June 11, 2008

Lots of Potential Idiots

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:09 pm

I do not know whether Michael Knight is an idiot or not.  He occasionally makes some great points, but his history is firmly aligned with cart and cart teams, and that prejudice oozes in both his blogs and as I.N. Sider on the Valvoline site.  

Quote:  “The first was for George and Kalkhoven to apologize to disenfranchised fans and disenchanted sponsors for 12 years of strife and a $2 billion blunder. The fact neither has done so is sadder than Sarah Fisher after her collision with Tony Kanaan. But, it’s no more surprising than Scott Dixon’s victory.”

Why would Tony George need to apologize for anything?  He didn’t boycott the most important race in the world for US open wheelers then spend the next few years trying in vain to kill it before killing themselves.  Twice.  If anything, Tony George is owed apology.  I suspect neither will happen.  What I genuinely wish WOULD happen is cart apologists and former employees orienting themselves into the current decade and century and doing something positive to make the sport more popular in 2008.  Telling me how great they thought it was in 1995 serves no purpose except to make themselves look like whiny children.  

The abomination known as champcar after cart’s failure was a mistake on which few real racing fans dwell, except the same sort of apologists who thought THAT was great.  It died a merciful, embarrassing death as well. To Kevin Kalkhoven’s credit, his recent rhetoric has been positive and he has kept a very low profile.  

Quote: “Every former Champ Car driver or owner I’ve asked says the same thing: “They better listen to Cotman.” While specific opinions vary as much as track conditions during May, the emerging general consensus seems to favor: A small-block turbocharged engine – technically interesting to attract multiple manufacturers – and a chassis versatile enough for both ovals and road courses without drastic modifications.  For many reasons, I’m in favor of a turbo. It’s been proven to work in this form of racing. It can be adjusted, if necessary, to reduce speeds. And – not to be overlooked – it makes it easier for people to actually talk to one another during events!”

Why do virtually all champcar apologists and former employees want turbos?  Why should the clock should be turned back?  Go forward.  Turbos are not innovative.  Innovation is what is needed.  Why think in such narrow terms?  Why not encourage alternative power plants?  What about something that does not require internal combustion?  Indy Racing has got Ethanol for fuel.  Even though that’s mostly just a glorified publicity stunt why not take it to the next level?  Electric cars?  Even more odd alternative fuels?  New body styles?  The possibilities are unlimited.  I hope they begin embracing innovation in a meaningful way soon.  But turbos?  Let it go.  

Quote:  “I want some downforce taken off the cars. I want driver skill to matter more – every fan agrees with that – and that means enough power and not enough downforce so that drivers actually have to lift entering the turns.”

I want average laps at around 220.  Not 250 on the straight and 180 in turns.  That concept worked for roadsters.  That evolutionary phase has passed.  I also want close racing at every venue.  That’s one reason why the godforsaken street course plans being foisted by primarily the AGR folks should be limited to what they have.  Find real courses.  Not ‘temporary’ anything. 

Two other observations on somewhat unrelated topics:

1.     ESPN has been taking deserved heat all week over that cable-access-like turd dump they foisted, delayed, from Texas.  Fans, newspapers, television broadcasters, columnists and lots of others have been chiding ESPN for their outright neglect of Indy Racing.  Despite the lack of anything even remotely resembling a professional effort, the race earned a 1.0 rating on ESPN2.  Too bad it was earned on what was the worst Indy Car broadcast ESPN has ever bungled.  I hope the IRL leaves whatever sentimentality they may have over the 40+-year partnership on the shelf.  The IRL has always been plagued by a lack of ruthlessness.  ESPN must be tossed out on their behinds soon.  They jumped into bed with NASCAR and forgot about Indy Racing. They do not deserve the product they are neglecting so badly.  

2.     I am somewhat amused by a lawsuit that has been filed by a former NASCAR B-team official named Mauricia Grant, a black woman.  $225 million.  Racial harassment.  Sexual discrimination.  Wrongful termination.  You can read all about the lawsuit from a variety of sources, and the prudent thing is to await judgment. That said, I have some predictions:

ü  It won’t be long before Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and God knows who else slither forth in angst-riddled attempts to join the shakedown and crusade against this latest injustice.  

ü  Every single person employed by NASCAR will be forced take ‘sensitivity’ or some such indoctrination.  

ü  We will never hear any other side of the story.  

ü  Lawyers will get rich.  

This case will provide great non-racing entertainment.

Next stop:  Iowa!  Great track. 

June 9, 2008

Racing and Chain Jerking-A Nice Combo

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:03 am

I’d like to welcome all the newly exposed fans of the D.  Seems this quaint little blog has attracted some attention in certain fanatic, obsessive, stalker-crazed nether regions of the Internet.  Hey, the more the merrier.  All are welcome here even if you are not the sharpest tool in the shed. 

I saw a pretty good racing weekend with F-1, NASCAR, the Indy Racing Series and others running this weekend.  I’d like to ruminate about the ‘big three’ if I might.  I can take or leave F-1.  I enjoy watching, but I can only take so much arrogance and pompous holier than thou in what is nothing more than a micromanaged traveling  circus.  If I want pompousness or arrogance these days I do not have to look much further than NASCAR.  Or the mirror.  😉

Have any improvements been made to Pocono since 1978 or so?  Good Lord.  Oh, I know…they’ve got some SAFER up in the corners.  That track just looks worn down.  I try every week to watch NASCAR but if I don’t find something else by which to occupy my time I’ll fall asleep.  It’s too slow.  Half the time I can’t tell whether they are under yellow or are racing.  Today what got me through the hours of slow speeds and wanton butchering of the English language was my Bradley Smoker.  I spent the day doing some turkey breasts and finishing a couple of pork butts.  MMMmmmmm.  How can anyone not actually at a track sit there and just watch that stuff?  I don’t get it.  I try, but it remains difficult.  I can’t even do it half drunk or baked.

Despite ESPN’s ongoing attempts to kill the Indy Racing franchise, I tried watching the wholesale mangling of Indy Racing from Texas last night; the event that was tape delayed to allow the NASCAR B-team to take mostly yellow laps for 45 minutes.  Thank God for Internet streaming and the IMS Radio Network (even though virtually every member sounded as if they all had a few pops before the thing began). 

Negotiate heavily with NBC and their family of channels and media components; e.g., Universal.  Jim McKay’s passing is symbolic in a way.  It’s time for Indy racing’s 40+ year partnership with ESPN and ABC to end.  Anyone who had the ability to nurture and build that relationship on the broadcast side has been replaced by delinquent unprofessional clowns who see no further than NASCAR. 

The type of racing real racing fans came to enjoy at Texas returned, albeit for far too few laps.  The ‘transition’ drivers haven’t got the hang of it yet, but they are learning.  Once they get it that racing will again be as spectacular as it used to be.  Ryan Hunter Reay gave the Rahal car a great ride until he and Marco got together.   Marco’s high line was pretty cool for most of the night. 

The racing gets much better now.  Why does the best racing always happen after Indy?  Iowa and Richmond both look to be spectacular.  If you are in or near Richmond, that’s my next IRL trip and I hope to see you there. 

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