Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 26, 2008

One of the Legacy Voices of Indy

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

Word has it Bob Jenkins will be the new anchor for Versus television coverage of the Indy Car Series. There may well be better choices in terms of edgy, and perhaps that is the direction something as new and bold as the Versus deal should have taken.

 

Jenkins, however, is a great link to the past and ties it together really nicely with the future. His voice is as soothing as chicken soup with smooth delivery to match. He is familiar and knowledgeable. It appears to be a great choice.

 

Continuity is important, and so is familiarity.  There will be plenty of time for budding superstars to rise to the top. Congratulations Bob, if the rumors are true!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving race fans…the blog returns after the holiday.

November 25, 2008

Fresh Idea for Mr. Chitwood or Mr. Gossage

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:41 am

Probably more Eddie for reasons to be understood in a moment. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has a radio show on XM Satellite Radio. It is actually a pretty un-boring show because he does not confine it to the standard boilerplate in which all he talks about is NASCAR in every granular detail. He features guests from all walks of life, including music, entertainment and other racing series.

 

Last Friday on his season closer, he had Danica Patrick on again. They discussed the relative differences between driving a ‘stock’ car and an Indy Car. Danica expressed willingness to trade and Dale was not turned away by the suggestion. He did say he could not do it at Indianapolis. He is like a lot of other NASCAR legends, most notably Richard Petty, who always enjoyed watching Indy but not driving an Indy Car there.

 

This is where Eddie comes in. He told Danica he would try a mile and half track in an Indy Car (he likes Chicagoland) and asked which one she thought was easiest. She told him Texas because you can still drive a ‘crap’ car fast.

 

There is the idea. Remember the publicity swap Jeff Gordon and Juan Montoya did a few years ago at Indianapolis? Just such a stunt with Danica and Dale could have the same type of attraction.

 

Perhaps it might even lure Dale Jr. from the ‘stock’ cars. More likely: Someone might talk Danica into becoming the next aspiring open wheeler to try the ‘stock’ cars for a living.

 

The publicity is probably worth an effort.

November 24, 2008

The End is Near. LOL.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:36 pm

The chicken little brigade has started the whining a little earlier than usual this year. Far and wide the shrill cacophony of squealing is already pegging the annoyance meter. The lousy economy from which most people are suffering makes a convenient excuse for the same old ‘IRL is almost dead—will there be 33 cars in May—Tony George screwed up the entire sport’ nonsense that proves these idiots wrong year after year.

 

 

Can’t they wait until after the holidays?  We know we’ll hear it continuously from January through May anyway. Why not give it a rest until after the holidays?

 

We know the economy is bad. We know the car count may be down next season. Turns out most of any reduction may come from ‘merged/crossover’ teams who were used to welfare anyway. In many ways it’s good riddance to some of them.

 

The Indy Car Series will find a way, just as it has since it was founded. You would think the critics would eventually grow a brain or simply grow up. All their ‘angst’ proves is that they are fans. Big fans. Big fans with OCD.

 

The only cure is for the 2009 to hurry up and arrive!

November 21, 2008

It’s Just Football Now…

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:29 pm

This is the part of the year in which all racing fans go into withdrawl. The way-too-long NASCAR season is over, along with most everything else. We have to wait until 2009 for more big time racing.  

 

What can tide you over? The Baja 1000 is in progress, and that is an outstanding event. If you want to get a feel for the spirit, rent or buy Dust to Glory. I enjoy it every time I watch it.

 

This off season will feature apprehension as the result of the lousy economy and pullbacks by everyone. The economic difficulties figure to affect NASCAR more than Indy Car due to its dependence on other peoples’ corporate money. Indy Racing has always done more with less. Time will tell.

 

We do know that the Indy Car Series delivers return on sponsorship far more efficiently than other series.  Joyce Julius & Associates figure Target received about $16 million of exposure. Motorola, 7-Eleven, GoDaddy.com and Mickey D’s were all well beyond $4 million each. Basically, 50% of the value is tied to the Indianapolis 500, and that reinforces the value of the rest of the schedule. That is food for thought for prospective sponsors.

 

Only one thing is certain for this weekend: I may actually have to dip into the Honey-Do jar this weekend because there is now no excuse (except football).

 

 

November 20, 2008

Look, it’s Just Marketing.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:00 pm

Earlier this week Zak Brown of Just Marketing, the company hired by Indy Racing to secure a series title sponsor, announced it was turning its attention to 2010. Just weeks ago they said a signing for next season was imminent.

 

Given the state of the economy, it is no surprise there is no title sponsor. Que sera sera.

 

As usual, the same small cast of imbeciles who use any morsel of news perceived as bad as the next predictor of doom for Tony George and the Indy Car Series have trumpeted this as a colossal failure. That is quite predictable, just as it is safe to predict Indy Racing will be here long after all of us are not.

 

Here are the questions the imbeciles avoid answering:

 

How many years has the Indy Car Series gone without a title sponsor?

Has it had much of a negative impact?

Does this ‘development’ surprise anyone given the state of the economy?

 

It is a shame Indy Car can’t find a title sponsor; it is the best sponsorship value in motorsports. It is not catastrophic if they cannot.

 

The entire series is run in a fairly lean way, and that will ensure its survival in the hard times to come.

November 19, 2008

Brazil is Not Just A Town Near Terre Haute

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

Rahal Letterman Racing and Indy Racing are evidently losing primary sponsorship and support of the Ethanol folks in the United States.  The ethanol folks are finance challenged these days like many American industries.

 

Indy Racing has chosen a direction that partners them with APEX-Brasil, and includes cooperation from UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) to identify those interested in supplying ethanol to the series. Basically the goal is to partner with a U.S.-based ethanol company to supply the IndyCar Series with corn-based ethanol.

 

There is predictable howling from imbeciles who are predisposed toward irrational hatred of the series and Tony George in particular, and much of it includes colorful ‘angst’ such as taunts of Italian cars powered by Japanese engines fueled and driven by Brazilians. I get the xenophobia, even if it is contrived to fit a flawed argument. On the other hand, the United States ‘big 3’ are among the worst car companies on the planet, are looking to suckle the government/taxpayer teat to bail them out of their own stupidity and all have expressed no interest in supporting Indy Racing. My reaction? Screw ‘em. Honda and Dallara have been fantastic partners.

 

Indy Racing’s new fuel partnership could be great on a number of levels:

 

-It expands the reach of the series

-It allows involvement by big companies not confined to the United States

-It goes beyond limiting fuel sources to corn. Producing ethanol from corn is actually one of the least efficient ways to do it. Sugar beets and many grasses can give more bang for the buck in terms of production efficiency, and that will no doubt be explored.

The Indy Racing League has led the way with ethanol, and still will. Only the provider and backing companies will be different. The squealing critics may even be surprised once they learn much of the fuel could still originate in the United States.

Indy Racing gets fuel, marketing and advertising dollars and team sponsorship. That is wonderful considering the state of the economy.

 

Suggestion for the future: Keep looking for even more forms of alternative power. Do not limit thinking to internal combustion. Expand the spirit of innovation even more. Be even more bold than this.

November 18, 2008

Fluff Piece

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:18 am

OK…time for a gratuitous fawning for favorite Indy Car paintjobs of the last 15 years. One of those making a comment yesterday asked why I picked an ugly one to feature yesterday.  Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and for my money there is no greater color than Menard yellow.  Ed Carpenter featured it this year, but I prefer the classic look used by Tony Stewart and Greg Ray. The blue wasn’t bad either.

 

 

My all time IRL favorite was this in-your-face effort piloted by Jeff Ward:

 

 

One of Davey’s rides was pretty cool as well:

 

 

What’s your favorite?  Send me a link.  This could be fun.

November 17, 2008

Let’s Make Racing Recession Proof

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:09 pm

Other than the Baja 1000 and a few winter series involving motors and wheels, the season is now over. The buzzwords going into 2009 include ‘cost containment’ and ‘downsizing.’ Whether anyone in racing will admit it or not the current recession could take a huge bite out of the sport.

 

Team personnel in NASCAR are being laid off at astounding rates. The costs of fielding a team have skyrocketed as the biggest teams attempt to outspend their competition. It’s a far cry from 1992 when Alan Kulwicki ran the season and won the championship with $2 million.

 

Indy Racing is particularly vulnerable because they do not have the dedicated partner or attention that NASCAR does. NASCAR’s partner is willing to lose millions to carry them. Recent television features produced by the usual ex-cart-employee suspects always have the same themes:

 

-We need turbos

-We need more power

-Ovals are dangerous

 

All we get from the cart crowd is whining, then more whining. We should be longing for something worth reviving.

 

 

I believe the IRL must look to the past for direction through the current economic crisis. The best racing in Indy Car history occurred just before the cart crowd ended their boycott of Indy Racing. If you ever have a chance to watch most races between, say, 1998 and 2002, never pass it up. It is simply amazing. It cost less, too.

November 14, 2008

Disney for Adults

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:07 pm

The little oddly configured mile race track on the grounds of the Walt Disney World complex is the home of some of the best and worst moments in Indy Racing history. It kicked off the IRL and I remember asking ‘Buzz who!?’ more than once. What a great place for an oval. It was also the place where Sam Schmidt was paralyzed in 2000.

 

The increasingly popular ‘we couldn’t agree on a date’ excuse for no longer having races on ovals stole that great little track from fans. That saddens many fans. About the only thing that has run there is the Richard Petty NASCAR drive/ride-a-long deal. Until now.

 

Sinden Racing Services operates the Indy Car fleet of two seaters and also owns a bunch of old G-Force Indy Cars they have de-tuned and let ordinary folks drive. They made my year in 2007 when my brother and I got to take four hot laps in one of those late model Indy Cars around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the Monday after pole weekend. Amazing.

 

The Sinden folks announced this week they will set up shop at the Disney track in November. Suddenly there is a fresh new reason for adults to visit Walt Disney World!

 

I think I covered this topic once before, but my recommendation is that if you ever get a chance to do the Sinden thing at Indy…DO IT, although I wish they would give back the fourth lap. Also do it at WDW if you are there. If you want a somewhat faster and more realistic drive, I also highly recommend Mario Andretti’s deal (the old Driving 101), particularly on 1.5 miler (like Vegas).

 

Either venue is available this winter during the off-season. I have been dropping hints to the wife.

November 13, 2008

G’Day Mate

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:04 am

After one trip to the Australia Gold Coast as part of the champcar bailout agreement, the Indy Car Series will not return. Indy Car wanted to move the event to March; the Surfers folks wanted it to Stay in October. There was no meeting halfway.

 

In one sense it’s a shame. The defunct cart series ran the event every October since 1991. On the other hand it did not do much for the sponsors or fans of Indy Car, and it would be foolish to try and compete against the NFL.

 

There are some down under who have taken the popular (with some old cart fans anyway) ‘blame it all on Tony George’ approach. Really, who cares? That event was never really about the racing. It was about debauchery, scantily clad women, drinking and having a party. Besides, the ‘track’ is one of those God-forsaken temporary circuits. That is not racing. That is a fast parade. The less of those abominations the better. If that is the direction they want to go I would rather see a Cleveland on the schedule instead of some idiotic temporary street circuit gypsy carnival. Hell, Long Beach is on the schedule for 2009, so they are not going away.

 

A1GP is the announced replacement, and personally I believe that is a much better fit. That series could use the money and the crowd. More power to them. As long as they don’t lie and call it the ‘Indy’ I will be happy.

 

Adios Australia. We hardly knew you. Enjoy A1GP along with your supercars. Nice party.

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