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