Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 31, 2008

Let’s Arrange Another Press Conference

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:13 pm

Five questions columnists with functional testicles should ask Terry Angstadt, Brian Barnhart or Tony George whenever they step in front of a microphone:

 

  1. If the management of Nashville Speedway counter offered something closer to rack rate for sanctioning fees to get the Indy Racing Series to return, why, specifically, were they told not to bother? Timing? A desire to deemphasize ovals? Something else? What?
  2. If Indy Racing is a predominately oval series, why is the balance suddenly 50/50 with more talk about Cleveland, Houston, Portland or a Las Vegas non-oval than any other oval?
  3. What are the specific reasons no agreement can be reached with the oval in Michigan?
  4. If Indy Racing will not discuss anything about their television partnership due to contractual language, why do broadcast partners seem to be doing it anyway?
  5. How many ovals are planned by the time the 2011 season arrives?

 

Serious Topic; Not Even Any Cutesy Pictures!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:01 am

Every once in a blue moon, I will opt for serious.  This is one of those times. The Indy Racing Series has released its schedule for the 2009 season. Not everyone is happy about it. More about that in a moment.

Fans who were supporters of the old cart were the first Indy Car fans to be completely alienated by what they interpreted as a power play by Tony George. The vast majority have forgiven neither Tony George nor Indy Racing and have either moved on to other interests or still tell anyone within earshot how big a screwing they feel they received. This is usually followed by calling Tony George a wide variety of vulgar names.

Some of the remaining fans of Indy Racing were treated for a few years with all ovals and many American grassroots racers, including Billy Boat, Davey Hamilton and a variety of others. When cart began to self immolate, their owners who boycotted the early IRL began defecting. This began what critics called the start of cart II. One by one, small IRL teams and grassroots drivers were forced out. This soon alienated the ‘grassroots/short trackers’ bunch.  Most of them can now be heard bleating like stuck hogs virtually every moment of every day on a variety of themed  ‘fan’ sites that have begun to center on an ‘I hate everything about Indy Racing because Tony George lied to me’ slant. Most of them are now primarily fans of NASCAR. They do stupid things like lift Tony George quotes from 1996 500 programs then pretend they are relevant in 2008. For those keeping score, 2/3 of the potential fan base has been shut out.

The remaining one third of the potential fan base is comprised of the folks who like Indy Racing just because Indy Racing is cool. They have a visceral attraction to speed, danger and the pure adrenaline-laced thrill of the sport. Politics, by and large, have never mattered. The current direction of the series could change that.

For 2009 there are ten ovals, five ‘temporary’ circuits and three natural terrain road courses. Here is the primary risk Indy Racing takes when they formulate a schedule like this one. The remaining third of the fan base does not like shedding American ovals for non-ovals, many of which are beyond the borders. Nashville is gone but two additional ‘temporary’ courses are new. The month of July (peak of the racing season) is basically being spent outside the country. SMI, a very important potential partner and owner of great oval tracks, does not seem happy about being shut out for Loudon (close proximity in the Northeast to Boston) or Las Vegas. The salt in the wound with regard to SMI is open IRL preference for a temporary course in Las Vegas, citing fear they will not draw a good crowd to the oval. That rationale is insane. What other venues are being discussed? Portland. A non-oval. Michigan International has simply been dismissed. That is simultaneously tragic and boneheaded. The apparent reaction of IRL brass: Tough shit. Deal with it.

Diversity is great. Moving from mostly ovals to mostly NON-ovals should be avoided at all costs. The group who advocates a mostly non-oval orientation are former cart owners who did not join Indy Racing until their boycott began to self destruct. If they want to road race most of the time, they should start an ALMS team and exploit that marquee-less niche.

Bottom line: Does the IRL really want to alienate last group of fans that have not already been so alienated? They will say they do not, but will do it anyway and  not even realize they have. It has been that way for decades. I can honestly not think of another time in history when simply being a fan was such a difficult task.

There are 18 races on the schedule. It needs to be at least 20 to be ‘major league.’ There is a two weekend gap in the middle of June. That hole must be plugged. One month between races at the end of the season with Japan in the middle is stupid. Leaving dates open around Japan on the chance there might be a race in Australia simply means the overall balance shifts to a 50% oval/50% non-oval orientation with nearly 25% of the schedule outside the United States. You might as well end the season with Belle Isle. Homestead in October will probably draw the same 35,000 people that go in late March. If I had my way, the only street races would be St. Pete and Long Beach. Canada has great racing fans. Real tracks in/around Toronto and Edmonton should be constructed to accommodate them.

There has been a lot of whining from teams and league officials and others about the tight scheduling of races in 2008. Not to be insensitive, but I have little sympathy. A tightly compressed schedule is exactly what was/is needed. What matters is fans, growth and momentum, not personal comfort.

Reading widely available transcripts of Indy Racing Series press events occasionally turns my stomach. The most recent has seemingly casual dismissal of legacy venues such as the oval in Michigan and open coveting of street racing in places like Houston or Cleveland.

Contractual obligations may prevent Indy Racing officials from commenting on television deals, but that does not seem to be true for partners. Will Indy Racing manage to successfully purge themselves of the ESPN albatross and replace it with something better, or will that get screwed up too?

The relatively early announcement of a schedule for the next season should be cause for celebration. The schedule by itself is not. It is going to take more than what is rapidly turning into an old cart schedule to spark anticipation and imagination. The Indy Racing Series should be taking steps to discontinue being screwed in every unprofessional way possible by their broadcast ‘partner.’ If they are going to jettison long-term relationships (such as oval tracks) why can’t that extend to ESPN?

Consider many of us underwhelmed.

July 28, 2008

Who Cares What The Stupid Fans Want

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

Proposed new rule for those in charge of Indy Racing:

As a fan, I am genuinely angry that the really nice concrete oval at Nashville with an eight year history is being yanked out from under us. This has happened with alarming regularity at other great ovals like Michigan, Phoenix, Fontana and Pikes Peak. I am even more angry the likely substitute is yet another idiotic street race outside the United States.

What fans want really does not matter, and has not ever mattered in the modern day. That said, let us examine the benefit of the doubt. Compare the ambivalence of the management of the Nashville track and their unwillingness to pay the going rate for a growing series to the sheer, unbridled enthusiasm of those who staged the Edmonton event (and paid full price). If you are a business person and compare the metrics, which one makes more sense? The event that pays full price and fills up their venue for a few days in a row or the one who waves at the fans coming in and calls that promotion, while continuing to expect the early adopter discount?

Tough choice. Personally, I wish they could figure out a way to accommodate both. At the very least I would have a potential sponsor put up $10 million for an Indy Car ‘triple crown.’ It would be nice to have more than one 500-miler. It would be nice to have the Michigan oval back on the schedule.

The panic button will not get pushed until the balance of predominately oval tracks gets shifted to predominately non-oval. If I were you, I would let Indy Racing management and the management of any/all oval tracks know how you feel.

The other ‘news’ of the day has the crappers all atwitter after someone found a Sports Business Journal column by a couple of guys who claim ESPN doesn’t care whether the IRL leaves or not and only wants the Indianapolis 500 next year. There is talk of some small network called ‘Versus’ that wants Indy Car events. The claim is that the IRL gets $10,000,000 for the Indianapolis 500 and neither ABC nor Fox wants to pay that.

Before any of the usual idiot critics get too smug, someone might want to actually discuss the matter with the IRL. Or NBC. Remember as well that 2009 begins the ‘Centennial Era’ which is a potential gold mine for broadcast/cable partner that is actually professional and is willing to actually market Indy Racing in the same way ESPN is willing to market NASCAR. Does anyone in their right mind actually believe the IRL will allow the 500 to be brokered separately from the rest of the series?  Sorry. You want the 500? You take the entire schedule.

See y’all in KY in less than two weeks (the race, not the jelly).

July 27, 2008

800 Pound Gorilla Falls On Its Arse

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:22 pm

If you are a fan of ten lap heat races, you probably enjoyed the NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you expected more from the top series in the country, you are not alone. The last time fans were subjected to a joke like that was in 2005 at the United States Grand Prix. At least after that debacle the tire manufacturer gave everyone their money back and two-for-one tickets for the next year.

NASCAR’s response? Que sera sera.

NASCAR Brass Meets After The Race

NASCAR Brass Meets After The Race

 

It’s a real shame NASCAR had to stink up my favorite track. Better luck next year. Hope the fans return. It looks as if many stayed away today.

Canadian Bakin’

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:41 pm

Here are a few random musings about a big race weekend. It is really kind of humorous watching the breathing challenged John Roberts along with his two hilljack partners doing all the NASCAR-TV fluff programming from OUTSIDE the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a bus parking lot across Georgetown Road from the track. I guess the riff-raff must be kept out. That looks almost as pathetic as when the IRL broadcast ‘partner’ ESPN gave up NASCAR then got locked out of every track. That did not stop them from sending two or three ‘reporters’ to stand outside tracks all over the country and use photographs to recap action.

NASCAR-TV Pre-Race Broadcast Crew

NASCAR-TV Pre-Race Broadcast Crew

 

Speaking of Indy racing’s broadcast ‘partner,’ ESPN decided to gut key members of the Indy Racing broadcast crew to cover the NASCAR B-team at Raceway Park instead of a regular IRL race in Canada. They were considerate enough to leave the broadcast team back markers and plug in old favorite Bob Jenkins and cart refugee Jon Beekhuis.

Bob Jenkins

Bob Jenkins

Here is a sad observation. Bob Jenkins fits like a comfy pair of old slippers. He always provides smooth, consistent delivery that reflects a love of the sport. Last night it sounded as if Bob had popped a couple of downers before the broadcast. Despite the way-too-mellow approach, he managed to do two important things:

1.   Convince me that even impaired Jenkins is better than Marty Reid.

2.   Make Scott Goodyear sound excited.

Then there is Jon Beekhuis. It was good to hear him again, but it quickly became apparent he needs a reminder of two things:

1.   cart/champcar is dead.

Better Than Brianne

Better Than Brianne

2.   There are other drivers and team members to interview or keep track of other than former cart/champcar teams.

A really great gesture by ESPN would be to re-hire Jenkins for play-by-play, plug Eddie Cheever in to replace Scott Goodyear, and send Ms. Pedigo packing in favor of Gary Gerould. THAT would be GREAT.

OK, on to the Indy Car race. Races on temporary circuits suck. Every break last night (and there were plenty) began with a spot promoting what a great place Edmonton is. While I do not disagree, if everything is so great why can’t they build a real track?

Timed races suck worse and should be outlawed. I do not care if SportsCenter has to be delayed. The ‘partner’ should not either. The timed aspect yesterday completely screwed up the finish of that race. That is completely unacceptable.

Drama was provided by Tinkerbell and the team owner’s boy. Maaco Andretti got up into poop chute and knocked her offline.

One of the best drives of the day was turned in by Paul Tracy, who took what is probably a Vision one-off mercy humped over to Derrick Walker and drove it, wreck free, from 15th to 4th. That is great. He spent a lot of his time talking about proving himself and deserving a ride. My thought is that over the years Paul has reaped what he has sown. He has not had to act like a jackassed poor sport after blowing an Indy 500 win primarily over being boneheaded. He has not had to spout off about ‘crapwagons’ or negative perceptions of Indy Racing. He has not had to race for the most anti-IRL militant in the entire split, although even Gerry Forsythe seems to have found religion now. In other words, a little less running of his mouth and a little more sportsmanship could have easily resulted in a full time Indy ride whenever he wanted one. Personally I would not have thrown away the prime of my career pursuing a dead end as he did.

Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy

A.J. Foyt IV did something Paul Tracy did not. Led laps under green. He ran great and also stayed out of trouble. Enrique Bernoldi finally had a reasonably good race despite a late spin. E.J. Viso angered a few more folks.

The Indy Car series takes a well deserved week off before the oval at Kentucky. The Defender family can hardly wait and will be there en masse to cheer on the teams.

See you there! 

Oh, by the way…a hearty Defender shout out to another great site to add to your daily reading diet: www.mynameisirl.com.  Thanks for the ‘D’ link!

July 25, 2008

Random Race Weekend Musing

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:02 pm

Welcome to race weekend!  NASCAR takes center stage at the hallowed track that gave the entire sport its legitimacy in a 180 mph parade of semi-fast driving all over the ESPN and ABC platforms to a degree not seen since the last Super Bowl. ESPN’s bastard stepchild ‘partner’ series Indy Racing gets relegated to cable on Saturday.  

 

Wonder whether Special Ed Hinton will be welcomed into IMS as if he had not written some of the most scathing, needless hostility in recent memory against Indy Racing? Perhaps the most effective punitive punishment IMS could enforce (pulling his press credentials after the Charlotte hatchet job backfired when his fellow hand-that-feeds-them biters played the whiny victim card and nailed themselves en masse to crosses in their various media outlets) would be to block his access to the free food in the media center. It might help his health situation as well. 

Special Ed Hinton

Special Ed Hinton

One of the more potentially interesting components of the off season may well be watching whether or not Indy Racing has the guts to tell ESPN and the Disney family o’ channels to take a hike. ESPN is the entity that has in the past intentionally blocked page views to Indy Racing after yours truly pointed it out (ESPN cited ‘software glitches’) and hired champcar employees before that group self immolated itself. Twice. It took them way too long to fire the most bitter of the malcontented, Robin Miller. In his place there is John Oreovicz, a former champcar employee who is scared to death of ovals and has often taken the low road in criticism of that discipline, Tony George and the Indy Racing Series. Then you have Ed Hinton, who goes out of his way in a NASCAR-themed column to slam Indy Racing for no apparent reason.

Blight On Society Robin Miller

Blight on Society Robin Miller

Little Man John Oreovicz

Little Man John Oreovicz

Watching the Edmonton practices was pretty interesting on a variety of levels. Hopefully those often referred to as great drivers can manage to keep the cars on the actual track for a change before being broadcast on actual cable television.

Over the years, the more loudmouthed of the champcar idiot apologists who steadfastly refuse to budge from 1995 have whined about a lot of things, including what they feel are ugly Indy cars. The average fan, of course, could care less. These are the same simplistic poor sport blights on society who also believe it is worthwhile to chide the Indy Cars for being a second or two slower a lap than cars that are now in pieces in a warehouse. Usually the only thing such hypocrites deserve is being ignored, but part of the ‘ugly car’ criticism may actually have merit.

Indy Racing Choo-Choo Trains

Indy Car Choo-Choo Trains

A few weeks ago vertical pieces were noticed on front wings on the RLR car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. Now many more teams have them, and they are becoming more pronounced. They actually do resemble cow catchers on the front of a locomotive. More of a concern to me than looks is safety. One of those flying at the wrong angle could easily slice off a limb. With Paul Tracy on the grid, the chances for accidents increase exponentially. Thank goodness most of the ‘track’ is in the middle of an airport. We can only hope this ugly front wing experiment in aerodynamics is short lived. Before someone gets hurt. Visually or physically.

 

Meantime, let’s go racing. It will be a full weekend.

July 24, 2008

A Horse Is A Horse Of Course Of Course

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:10 am

The ESPN stringer Ed Hinton lies exposed yesterday drew a record number of views and commentary. I have decided an even worse kind of poor sport than youthful cart enthusiasts who failed to cease running their yaps for thirteen years are NASCAR ‘fans’ who spout self-perceived superiority basically because NASCAR is the current occupant of the top of the racing mountain.

They engage in even more inane taunting than cart kids, calling Indy Cars ‘roller skates’ and continuously calling into question their perceptions of the talent level of open wheel drivers. 

A NASCAR Fan Called Troy

Obnoxious NASCAR Buddy 2

A NASCAR Fan Called Lee

Obnoxious NASCAR Buddy 1

 

 

 

 My reaction, generally, is who cares? Their ignorance is prominently on display every time they begin grunting hostility, so why should anyone care? They are not even funny. The important thing is that both an Indy Racing event and NASCAR’s second biggest event will both be run this weekend, and that is where fans should focus their attention. OK…lecture concluded. 

Back to Ed. I will be the first to admit how petty I probably am about his clueless, factually incorrect, agenda riddled rabble rousing sanctioned by the television partner of Indy Racing. Someone has to point out unprofessional, ethics-challenged behavior. It might as well be me.

 

Ed Hinton Receives An Insider Tip From Bill France

Ed Hinton Receives An Insider Tip From Bill France

 

OK, about the picture. I’m just kidding. I think. Seriously, on the week before the second biggest date for NASCAR, why on earth would anyone who is NASCAR-centric waste ANY time slamming Indy Racing instead of writing any legitimate story about NASCAR, its personalities or many story lines?  Why take disingenuous swipes at Tony George, IMS and Indy Racing? Why from a writer with a long and fairly distinguished career? These crybabies got their ‘unification.’ Why such continuing hostile stupidity on their part? I simply do not get it. Perhaps one of the Robin Millers or Ed Hintons of the world can explain this to us. I suspect they will remain cowardly gutless and will neither apologize nor explain. Lesson:  Life is way too short to worry about it.

The race in Edmonton should be interesting because although it will occur on a cheesy ‘temporary’ circuit, the transition drivers have experience with it and the Indy Car stalwarts do not. Due to the red headed stepchild status of Indy Car, the bend-over this week includes practice on Thursday, qualifications on Friday, and the race on ESPN at the peak viewing time of 5pm Eastern. Full resources will be devoted, of course, to NASCAR. Coverage of the ‘stock’ cars switches to the Disney channels for the rest of the season. Although Indy Racing has five more races in its season, no one will ever know now.

The family will be traveling to Kentucky to see the Indy Cars, and hopefully the season closer in Chicagoland. It should be fun for all. Have a great weekend regardless of your series preference.

Saturday at 5 Eastern on ESPN

Saturday at 5 Eastern on ESPN

July 23, 2008

A Lesson in Dishonesty

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:29 am

If anyone ever needed any proof the Indy Racing Series television partner is actively trying to kill the brand, look no further than the latest ramblings of Ed Hinton, now no longer employed at Tribune but by ESPN. I get a kick from hearing him pontificate about a variety of topics that are mostly NASCAR related. Robin Miller used to work for a respectable entity as well before he was fired several times. Let us review just a taste of the word crafting magic of Mr. Hinton:

“George spoke of his concerns in June 1992, standing behind the Williams pits at the Canadian Grand Prix, where he was flirting with yet another of his tradition-trampling notions: bringing Formula One to Indy.”

Tradition trampling? Excuse me? There is not a person alive who respects that place more than he does. I have been walking through the gates since 1959, and remain utterly amazed at the way the place gets transformed every single year.  It always gets better in some way. It is 2008. Not 1965. Having one race at that track in this day and age is well beyond stupid to anyone except flat-earthers.

“Already he had stirred an outcry from traditionalists. Never, since the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, had any type of race cars other than Indy cars been allowed at the place known worldwide simply as “The Speedway.”

Traditionalists should come to grips with the fact the earth is round.

“Not until 1979 did I hear anyone even imagine putting stock cars onto Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was on a cross-country trip with a young NASCAR driver so underfunded he drove his own truck, hauling his No. 3 Chevrolet on a trailer.

Richard Childress and I were bound from Riverside, Calif., up to Michigan when we hit Interstate 465, the beltway around Indianapolis. Suddenly he sat up straight in the cab, with a notion: “Hey! You know how to get to The Speedway? Man, I’d love to see that place.” “Sure. Take the Crawfordsville Road exit, up about a mile, and I’ll show you from there.” He parked his battered rig on Georgetown Road, where we found an open gate. He virtually sprinted inside, speechless at the sight of the most massive grandstands on the face of the Earth.

Then he began to survey the old track, following it with his eyes from the fourth turn down the front stretch and into the first turn. “We could do it,” he said. “What? You mean race stock cars, here?” “Oh, hell, yeah,” he said. “It’s just like Ontario.”

Coincidentally, I happened to locate a picture of the precise moment Childress and Hinton had together in that truck parked along Georgetown Road.

“And they have come back … and come back … and come back … annually electrified to their satisfaction by what little of the old track they can see. In the economy of recent years, there have been a few gaps in the grandstands, but not as wide as those for the Indy 500 itself. The 400 remains NASCAR’s best-attended race, with crowds of more than 250,000 even in off years.”

Why do columnists feel compelled to so shamelessly lie? Hinton’s dishonesty in that paragraph is stunning. What else, however, could be expected from an ESPN stringer with his nose so far up the France family hind end that all traces of objectivity simply vanish?   

“The grandest grandstands anywhere get filled up when NASCAR visits Indy.”

 

No, Ed, they do not. Not anymore. If they did I would not be receiving recorded spam messages on my home telephone from Jeff Gordon urging me to buy tickets a few days before the race along with e-mails every day asking me to purchase. 

Ed Hinton Ponders His Next Column

Ed Hinton Ponders His Next Column

 “But the success of this marriage has aided and abetted the devastation of the lovely old American institution called the Indianapolis 500.”

See?  This type of dishonesty is precisely what proves Hinton to be so ruthlessly gutless. The Indianapolis 500 has been around twice as long as NASCAR, and the 500 has remained the top draw for decades. It is OK that Hinton can lie to himself, but for ESPN.com to allow him to lie to their audience is devoid of any ethics.

 

“Emboldened by the enormous revenues from his NASCAR race, George could afford to found the Indy Racing League and go to war with CART, to return control of Indy car racing to Indy. A few years ago, as CART teams began defecting to the IRL, George indicated to me that he’d poured about $250 million of the Hulman-George family fortune into subsidizing the IRL, and that without question, the huge profits of bringing NASCAR to Indy had enabled him to fight.”

Ed, I thought the column was supposed to be about the Brickyard 400. Why on earth are you still stuck on ‘split’ talking points? That ended, Ed. So your best buddy Anton indicated that is where the early funding for the IRL originated? Liar. Cowardly liar. Have you ever gotten over having your press credentials temporarily held up after the SI hatchet job following Charlotte? Why/how on earth would Anton ever share such closely guarded data with the likes of you? The answer is that he would never do that.

“Then just this spring, after George had won his war and surveyed the barren outcome, IndyCar racing was reunified. No telling when, if ever, the 500’s original prestige might be restored.”

For a column supposedly about the Brickyard 400, Hinton certainly spends an inordinate amount of time bashing the one institution that gave NASCAR legitimacy in the first place. Hinton’s delinquency is inexcusable, unwarranted and childish. What a sick joke, sort of like my illustrations, only he is serious. 

Ed Hnton as a Child

Ed Hinton As a Child

 Thanks, ‘partner.’  Keep up the stellar work.

July 22, 2008

Catfight

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

By now you have probably seen or heard about the spat between Danica Patrick and Milka Dunno in the Citgo pit at Mid-Ohio this past weekend. Someone managed to catch ‘Tinkerbell’ (that is how Danica known among many of the teams) getting into the face of Milka, often called the ‘Charo’ of Indy Racing.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milka did not appreciate the questioning. Towels were tossed. Middle fingers were extended. My take is that Milka is decidedly slower than Danica. Lots of other drivers are too.  Danica thought Milka should have moved over. Perhaps Danica could figure out how to aggressively pass Milka instead. Her teammate, the owner’s son, has that mentality. Make the pass or crash the car(s). Danica should probably align herself more toward that philosophy while she is still relatively young.  

 

The best part of the entire road rage episode was Danica storming off with a threat to have Brian Barnhart get involved. Good luck with that. 

 

Brian Barnhart

Brian Barnhart

 

 
 

 

Next time I want hair pulling and preferably mammary glands exposed. I remain partial to those attached to Milka. 

 

 

On the business side, ratings are up despite continuing screwing by ESPN on ABC and the race was remarkably well attended despite two thundershowers before the event. This weekend there is a stupid temporary ‘circuit’ on the schedule, remnants of the IRL bend-over for champcar. Edmonton is a fine city up there in Canada, and the crowd will probably be good for that one too. Ratings will suck, as usual, given the low-tier status by the broadcasting ‘partner.’ 

 

All that means is that as long as the check clears this event will enjoy a long life on the Indy Car schedule. As opposed to a legacy oval like Phoenix or Michigan. I wish the folks in charge could figure out a way to make the sport easier to enjoy for its most diehard fans. I will not hold my breath. Fan friendliness is one item rarely included on any agenda.

If you are going, have fun. If you are attempting to watch, good luck.  With just five events left in the season, it may be too late to start the Scott Goodyear drinking game. If he is retained for 2009 I will make a note to myself to define the parameters.

July 20, 2008

Mid-Ohio Analysis

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:10 pm

Should the IRL decide to continue their ‘partnership’ with ESPN/ABC after the current season, that will constitute one of the most inept sports management decisions in history.  It continues to be one stunt after another by the Disney bunch.  37 minutes of extra golf coverage?  Are you kidding me? 

Worse, the announce staff kept warning of a timed race.  Can you imagine the Open folks deciding the final round would only have 15 holes?  Indy Racing cannot afford to keep screwing around with the unprofessionalism and brand killing efforts being foisted by ESPN.  It is unacceptable.  What little post-race coverage there was got preempted in many large markets by paid programming on local affiliate stations.

The bastard stepchild status of Indy Racing will only get worse once the NASCAR coverage begins in earnest.  Fans have had it.  Dump these people before it is too late. 

The worst part of continuing with these idiots are the story lines that get missed.  The race at Mid-Ohio was very well attended, closely contested (lots of lead changes) and action throughout the pack.  There was a sideshow provided by the lady drivers cat fighting and the ‘crossover’ drivers did well. 

Next week it’s on to Edmonton (be still my beating heart) for a ‘race’ on a temporary circuit/non-real race ‘track.’  It does look as if fans of ovals at Homestead and Nashville will, in fact, get screwed as more non-ovals get added.  We’ll see. 

It was actually a great weekend to watch racing on television.  F-1, ALMS and Indy Car.  I have to get back to Mid-Ohio next year.  That place has always been a fun place to make it a weekend.    

Congratulations Team Penske and Ryan Briscoe!

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