Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 31, 2008

Singalong: It’s The Most Horrible Time of the Year…

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:47 am

This is the worst time of the year to be an Indy Car fan. The season is really over, even the mercy hump exhibition in Australia. The ONLY thing left is the post-season banquet in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino.


It’s Wednesday, November 5. Airfare should be cheap. Hell, lets all go.


News is scarce, and about the only thing rumored is that the package won’t change much for next season. That is probably a good thing given the state of the economy. The engines should be easier on the ears next season; they are going to change some of the settings and components of the exhaust system. That should result in a softer, sweeter tone for wimps who do not like it loud.


Hope for the off season: No one (like Helio) lands in jail for malfeasance, and no scandals. Perhaps Danica can lose the scowl for once.


October 30, 2008

Centennial Celebrating

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

As the Centennial Era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dawns, it is a good idea to take a good hard look at how the sport in this country came to be. It has long been my personal opinion that the entire sport as we know it owes a debt of gratitude to the folks who founded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, Carl Fisher and James Allison.



Since 1909, the track has set the standard for everything else that came after. Without the history that began so simply the sport would probably not exist.


What began nearly a century ago evolved elegantly, led by amazing people such as Eddie Rickenbacker, Wilbur Shaw and others. When Tony Hulman rescued the plant from almost certain death the mid 1940s, the gold standard was set for continuously making the place better the next year than it was the year before. That tradition continues unabated today.


IMS was the result of visionary investment by successful businessmen. As big as it is today, there is no doubt about NASCAR’s origin: Fleeing law enforcement while engaged in illegal production and distribution of moonshine. They were essentially the drug runners of their day.

NASCAR Family Tree

NASCAR Family Tree


Can you ever imagine Tony Hulman pulling a loaded pistol to enforce his racing rules?  Bill France did.

Hopefully everyone involved in the sport in 2009 will recognize and thank the folks at IMS currently evolving the sport, managing its history and continuing to lead the way into the next 100 years.

October 29, 2008

The Bloom is Off The NASCAR Rose

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:13 pm

Since NASCAR is the only thing left until spring, we might as well try to watch. There is even a ‘chase’ to try and add some more excitement. Kind of like a ‘playoff’ for the top ten cab drivers.


I could not help noticing that the race in Atlanta was sparsely attended again. Why on earth are there two Cup dates at that track? It seems a little embarrassing that right in the middle of the buckle of the NASCAR belt they cannot come close to selling it out.


There are many tracks out there without one Cup date that could use one. Kentucky. Iowa. Pikes Peak. If I was a member of the France family, I’d add seats at a few more of those types of venues, sell them out, and yank most two-date Cup arrangements at underperforming tracks like Atlanta and Fontana. You would expand the brand and make it more accessible. Additional opportunities could also be created for Indy car.



Unfortunately common sense and motor sports management have never been adequately paired.

October 28, 2008

Motor Mouth

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:20 pm

Is Robin Miller full of crap? Usually, yes. He has been around forever, has driven small race cars and gophered for teams, has been bitch slapped by Anthony Joseph Jr., and has been regarded as a top motorsports writer in the past. In the recent past he has been fired from just about every job he has tried to hold. Reasons usually involve his unfortunate propensity toward being a pompous, unprofessional jerk.


This Robin Miller Is More Attractive in Every Way

He has never done anything personally to me, but as a past employee of champcar he was personally responsible for much of the scorched earth that comprised cart/champcar philosophy after 1996, and that is personally offensive. His profanity laced tirade in the free weekly community paper Nuvo a few years ago in May is evidence. Although he is tolerated around IMS he is about as welcome as lice in a daycare center.


So is there really any reason to get jazzed up about his assurance that Audi is a shoe-in to join Indy Racing and Porsche cannot be far behind? Neither company has offered much commentary, much less confirmation.


Caution should be exercised before any exuberance sets in. If there is substance behind hot air European manufacturers going up against Honda is quite an intriguing possibility; much more so than another battle with Toyota or Nissan. It would probably also mean a race or two in Europe, about which most North American fans remain ambivalent.


Sometimes I miss the all oval, 2 chassis, 2 motor IRL. I acknowledge the need to evolve, but people rarely admit how good they have it.

October 27, 2008

Congratulations Mr. Briscoe

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

He has come into his own at Penske and is a hero in his homeland. It was a fine parade and seeing the Indy Cars one final time in ’08 was sweet. BUT…

Canadians and Australians have an inflated view of their place within the Indy Racing hierarchy. The latest example of the exact same type of arrogant lunacy that killed cart and champcar reared its ugly head again before the exhibition Indy Car race at Surfers Paradise.

Craig Gore, a rich Aussie who also finances the Team Australia effort for Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, warned Anton that he was out of Indy Car if Surfers Paradise stayed missing from the 2009 schedule. He also positioned Mr. George as the victim of bad advice from others. The idiotic rhetoric continued when suggestions were made that Chicagoland or Kentucky could be sacrificed for a race that if lost ‘would be like throwing away the Indy 500.’

Uh, Craig, no it is NOT like throwing away the Indy 500. It is not even close. The Australia event is basically nothing more than a carnival where youthful Australians go to get their drunk on and leer at scantily clad young ladies.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Gore also said: ‘I can tell you now if there’s no IRL on the Gold Coast, there’s no Team Australia. I have invested $20 million into this event and this team and flying the Australian flag, and made a significant contribution to the state and the country. Hopefully we can win it this year so if I do have to walk away, I can say we that have achieved what we set out to do.’

Hey Craig, do not let the screen door hit you on your pompous arse on the way out.


The Australian press has heaped the type of vulgar rhetoric on Indy Racing not seen since cart and champcar were flopping around in their death throes. If I know Indy Racing management this could well be a tactic. IMS and Indy Car ALWAYS negotiate quietly but firmly. During such negotiation, they never say a word. I cannot say whether or not Surfers Paradise will return. There is a lot of money at stake, however, and the Indy Racing folks could extract even more.


As a fan, I could care less about it. It takes place on the other side of the planet and is inconvenient to watch. Plus, it is one of those abominable temporary courses. I urge the Indy Racing folks to concentrate on North America. Get that right before taking an F-1-like route.

October 24, 2008

Music To My Ears

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:16 pm

The Indy Cars are in action this weekend. Man, do those words sound good. So do the cars. The only downside is the fact that it occurs on a temporary street circuit. That makes what you will see if you stay up on Saturday night a really fast parade. Or maybe not.


Surfers Paradise offers other diversions for Aussies and others who attend, including consumption of a great deal of alcohol, varying degrees of nudity on balconies, and other such youthful hi-jinks geared toward youth.


The racing may actually be better than usual because there is no reason to be conservative. It will be racing for the sake of racing. Dario is back as well, Wheldon goes for Panther and Vitor Miera runs with the Foyt team.


Watching practice online yesterday was a giant pain in the arse and I have about the most bandwidth and speed you can get with Verizon FIOS. Good thing the broadcast ‘partner’ is featuring this exciting event prominently across their platform. Oh wait. ‘Partner?’ LOL. It’s on ESPN Classic. Ooh baby. NASCAR had best watch its back.


About the funniest part of the online pixelation interruption fest yesterday was a comment that ‘pulled pork’ has a far different meaning in Australia than it does in North Carolina.


All in all it is difficult to complain. We all get to see the Indy Cars one more time before the long winter sets in. The 2009 season should be great!

October 23, 2008

Little Old Ladies

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:36 pm

One of the reasons silly season is so much fun is because lots of normally rational people turn into gossiping old ladies at a church social. It is really rather entertaining. Here are two of the more interesting rumors making the rounds:


-Sebastien Bourdais may be on the verge of losing his F-1 drive on the Toro Rosso B-Team, and may join the Indy Car Series. I would probably welcome him as would everyone in Indy Racing, but I would hold his feet to the fire regarding critical comments he has made in the past between his champcar years and his time in F-1. I once saw the guy go from worst to first on a temporary circuit in the parking lot of the Pepsi Center in Denver when champcar was renting that facility to race in front of a sparse crowd. His attempts at intimidation in his one and only Indy 500 appearance ended predictably in the wall. Perhaps next time he will arrive with a bit more respect. The Indy Car Series always likes good drivers, especially now that Marty has evidently been unceremoniously shown the exit.


 -The Milwaukee Mile is on its last legs. Folks blame mismanagement, lack of interest and other such excuses. Personally, now that it has returned to its rightful place right in back of Indy, all is right. We can only hope that management gets itself righted and that Indy Cars will be back for decades. That track predates almost all of the rest. It would be a shame for it to go the way of Nazareth.

October 22, 2008

Marty Roth: An Appreciation

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:15 pm

That’s right…an appreciation. Various rumor mills and Canadian columnists have framed Marty as a victim of sheer arrogance foisted by the Indy Car Series. The story goes he was told he will not be granted an unrestricted license and will only be allowed on a few select big ovals. Marty is said to be very angry and is selling his racing team.


The actual truth probably lies somewhere in between. Marty is not really talking and neither the ICS nor IMS ever talks about anything publicly unless they hold a press conference and have good news.


If I ran the show my approach would be a little different. I would kill Marty with kindness and let him know in no uncertain terms how valuable I felt he is to the series. I would wine and dine him and treat him like gold. In that context it would be a lot easier to convince him he could be the next Roger Penske instead of the next Rick Mears. That is the reality. Marty has money and business sense. His driving ‘talent’ leaves a lot to be desired. He is a 50-year-old guy trying to a live a fantasy geared for someone half his age.


Neither Chip Ganassi nor Roger Penske were known as world class drivers, but both are cream of the crop as owners. Let’s face it, legacy owners are not going to be around forever. Half of Newman-Haas is gone and Carl is not getting younger. Penske is in his 70’s. The Indy Car Series should be recruiting smart, talented owners with as much intensity as they have for up and coming drivers.


I like the idea of phasing out any type of ride buy by mostly untalented rich guys, but not by burning the bridge. It is my continuing opinion that Indy Racing needs Marty Roth as potentially the next great owner instead of a screwed, angry critic. There are already enough of those.

October 21, 2008

Wonder What It Will SOUND Like?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:28 am

One of the more interesting aspects of the off season will be clarification of the engine manufacturers that will join Honda in providing power plants for Indy Racing. Some of the rumors are exotic, including Porsche, Audi and Alfa-Romeo. No doubt we will have turbochargers. It appears Chevy, Ford and Chrysler have a few other issues. Some of the foreign manufacturers got screwed the first time around with the cart series.



I like the idea of innovation but why limit innovation to what manufacturers can provide in a crate? Even badging can be interesting.


My idea of innovation is not limiting technology to internal combustion. The Indy Car Series would garner a lot of ‘green’ publicity if they went that route and even opened alternative fuels a technology a little wider.


Props given where props are due to Honda for providing such a bulletproof power plant over the past few years

October 20, 2008

G’Day Mate

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:20 pm

The boys and girls are one the way over the Pacific to throw an exhibition at the ‘Indy’ car event at Surfers Paradise in Australia. For many years the Aussies glommed onto the ‘Indy’ brand even though real Indy Cars did not run there. All is right with the world now, however. Hopefully agreement can be reached on a date that will enable Indy Car to schedule Japan and Australia in the same trip. As long as they don’t start blowing hot air up my skirt regarding China or South Korea or Hawaii we will all be fine.


Congratulations to Indy Car driver Tony Kanaan, who won his class in ALMS with AGR at Laguna Seca along with driving partner Franck Montagny. Tony made a great pass toward the end. 

 With all the football, I sort of missed Martinsville. Hopefully it was good. I’ve begin to appreciate NASCAR on the small tracks again.


Wouldn’t it be great to take an Australian vacation about now?



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