Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 29, 2009

Now That the Tony George Thing Is Out There, What About Danica?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:22 am

Lost in the Robin-Miller-led hysterical flagellation over his speculation that Tony George got ‘fired’ from IMS is a NASCAR wet dream they might attract Danica Patrick to their ‘stock’ cars after her AGR contract ends later this year.

danica-patrick-2My advice to Danica is to stay put in the Indy Car Series. Going to NASCAR would unleash a barrage of hostile stupidity not even seen during the initial rash of mostly unsuccessful crossovers of recent years. That type of cluelessness has, in fact, already begun. Gary Graves wrote an article in USA Today on Thursday that quotes Bruton Smith as saying ‘She’d add glamour … and I think we need that. But you have to drive these cars; you just have to aim those (IndyCar Series) cars. But she does that awfully well.’

NASCAR centrists are nearly as amusing as cart apologists stuck in 1995 in terms of pointless arrogance. One of them told me that even journeyman NASCAR drivers would be instant winners in Indy Car. I told him that perhaps someone ought to tell Stanton Barrett. A look of befuddlement followed.

If Juan Montoya or Sam Hornish cannot succeed what makes Danica think she could? She would most certainly cash rather large paychecks, but would be far better off in the long run in Indy Cars.

Danica has developed a really mature relationship with Michael Andretti, and that has evolved into a winning combination. If she keeps finishing higher than her teammates she will be number one on that team. It is not even beyond the realm of possibility that Chip Ganassi could find a way to land her.

Danica is a homegrown IRL star, and the series and its owners need to find a way not only to keep her, but find some more young guns.


May 28, 2009

Robin Miller Fired From Speed TV

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:24 am

See how easy it is to make things up then publish them? Yes, it COULD happen. Some day. Why? Because I said so.

One of the neat things about writing blogs, usually daily, is the tendency for events to write them for me. Wednesday provided a great example. The racing world was rocked by a report that Tony George had been ousted as CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. News and sports outlets far and wide picked up on the story:

Horses_ass_2“The controversial, ground-breaking, tumultuous 20-year reign of Tony George at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway appears to be over. SPEEDtv.com has learned George was voted out of power in a Tuesday night board meeting in Indianapolis.”

Soon after, the story began disappearing. Links no longer worked. The reason: A byline that said ‘Robin Miller.’ The same Robin Miller who has been fired from just about every job he has ever had. The same Robin Miller who has often articulated hatred of Tony George has clouded any sort of objectivity for years. He is a leader of aging, loud-mouthed cart-centric malcontents who refuse to budge from 1995 (or earlier) and do not really understand what Indy actually means.

Both Tony George and his mother refuted Miller in no uncertain terms.  They are as close to the perfect source as you can get, and both said in so many words that Robin remains as full of crap as ever. As of this writing, Tony has the exact same jobs he did yesterday. I do not doubt responsibilities for management of various Hulman-George business entities can change from time to time, but I do not understand how that gets translated to Tony George being ‘ousted’ by anyone but Miller. The story that initially went up on Speed has been sanitized a couple of times, and includes the word ‘rumored.’

Here are some more rumors often used to make up cockamamie ‘news’ stories:

-Tony George’s sisters are concerned about the money being spent.

-Any amount said to have been spent, even though IMS/IRL are private entities whose finances are not public knowledge and are not shared.

-There is a rift among family members. Even if that might be true, that family is great at keeping laundry in the hamper. That is one of the things that makes Robin’s meanderings amusing.

That kind of nonsense then finds its way into mainstream media, where lots of people then begin looking stupid. I listened to Miller for a while on WNDE online Wednesday, and he not only defended the tossing of his crap against a wall, but told people to watch it stick. I have never heard so many idiots on both sides of a microphone in a long time.

Here is the cruel reality Tony-hating flat-earthers like Miller will never comprehend: The world has changed, and most of those pining for previous decades have chosen to get left behind. Indy Racing does not care about increasingly elderly whiners. It wants and needs people younger than 40. It is doing a pretty good job, finally, of going for that. Efforts have not gone far enough, however.

Although the 500 beat the 600, ratings for both are off. NASCAR has gone for the lowest common denominator for years, but people are evidently growing tired of the product. That train wreck reality series, John and Kate Plus 8, drew almost 10 million viewers for its season premier. Why? Tabloid rumors either he and/or she were using their genitalia with people to whom they are not married. Perhaps the Indy Car Series ought to float rumors to tabloids that appeal to trashy millions: Danica is getting carnal with someone like, say, sharply dressed Charles the big boned bouncer who follows IRL folks around to prevent problems. Set Danica’s hubby up with her more mammary blessed little sister. Those rumors alone ought to be good for attracting another 5 or 6 million ADD-afflicted idiots.

There is plenty to complain about with regard to Indy Racing. It is a lot more boring now than ever and there are ways to fix that. I disagree with jumping to wild conclusions not based in fact as Miller does a lot. That is the job of idiots who run and contribute to Internet forums. And Robin Miller.

May 27, 2009

Best News of the Week

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:48 am

Paul Tracy subbing for Vitor at Foyt. This is the most potentially volatile partnership ever. It should be entertaining. IRL INDY 500

Now, the bad news: 4.2 overnight Nielsen rating on ABC, down 17.6% from a 5.1 overnight for the ’08 race. Tony and his minions made their bed with ABC, now they have to lay in it. Personally, I would have forsaken loyalty for business sense and dumped the clueless unprofessional franchise killers at ESPN/ABC at least five years ago.

The gleeful idiots at IRL hate/obsession sites will trumpet this as abject failure, but I would not go that far. I do believe the Versus deal is great, but IMS needs to distance itself as far as possible immediately from Disney before any more damage is done.

Fire them. Now.

May 26, 2009

We Have to Wait a Year!?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:33 am

Random thoughts about the 93rd running:

-I dislike fast parades on ovals and no mass green flag pit stops. It is a race. It needs to be contested, and variables like green flag pit stops are vital. Pit stops under yellow makes it too easy for top teams. Think about a rule that would limit yellow stops to one per race.

-IMS-led Safety innovations saved more lives on Sunday. That is the single best thing about which to be thankful.

-There were empty seats along the lower rows of the straightaway and in some of the fringe grandstands, but stands in all the turns were packed. So was the infield…I have never seen as many people along the backstretch and in turn three (the new snakepit). I am told IMS is very surprised and happy with attendance this year.

-The only really good thing about ABC coverage of the 500 are the produced opens. They are great every year. Why, though, use a fossil like Brent Musberger to open the show? Scott Goodyear is only marginally better than he was, and no one seems any more excited than they ever were. The effort Versus is putting forth sets a new standard.

-Whoever ordered staff to keep Helio from climbing out of the car to climb the fence needs to be fired. As I understand the situation, that was attempted to adhere to an ABC time window. Huh? It was the 500! Screw time windows. Take as much time as you need. We do not need great story lines trampled by people holding watches.

-The critics who bitch about every aspect of the 500 probably will avoid mentioning the 19 cars that finished on the lead lap.

-I have never seen Paul Tracy as respectful of an institution as he has been this month. I am impressed. Vasser’s team may not be as lactose intolerant as they once were.

jim-nabors-In the future, keep Florence Henderson supplied with liquor in the Hulman-George family suites, and keep her away from microphones. You are not going to attract many 18-34 demos by having her warble off key through a patriotic song. Miss America was at least kind of hot. Jim Nabors is an institution, and he actually seems to get better with age.

-Why didn’t Mario drive the pace car?  It would have been a nice gesture on the 40th anniversary of his win. They must have been going for the 18-34 year olds with the Transformers actor after they blew them off with Florence.

-Humpy Wheeler attended the 500. He may have some future function with IMS, and that would probably be good. The man can certainly promote better than about anyone. Hopefully he has gotten over his idea for a fendered Indy car.

Some of this may be nitpicking, and that is OK. The race, to me, was as spectacular as it usually is, and I have already renewed for my 46th event next May. It has been an outstanding month, and best of all, the weather held in Indianapolis. I feel bad for the fans in Charlotte, but they have next year too!

May 25, 2009

Back Home Again In Indiana!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:48 am

HelioThe day after race day in Indianapolis is always depressing because we have to wait a year before the 94th running. The racing gods are not smiling on Concord, and maybe it’s about time. King Richard spent his day in Indianapolis.

Let us all hope Vitor Miera is doing OK today. His racing luck was horrible a couple of times yesterday. I am as tired as anyone of spec Dallaras with Honda engines and the single file droning they lead to, but the entire package did its job again and combined with SAFER and competent response it appears everyone is doing well. Do you know it has been 45 years since there was a fatal accident at the track during the race, and 36 years since a driver died of an injury sustained in the race? That is amazing.

My initial impressions (have to see the recorded version first) are that people like Townsend Bell and Oriol Servia need rides. The expense of running a team has to come down. Rides that paid for by drivers but not necessarily earned is a horrible reality that makes being a fan a challenge.

No one can deny Helio’s day, but kudos must also go out to Panther and Wheldon for a great race, and Danica too. It looks like Tony Kanaan is the Lloyd Ruby of this generation.

More race commentary this week, but since the Internet seems to be a haven for those who like to complain, here are my two of the week:

1.  Camp and Brew is an amazing gathering of racing fans from all walks of life. It is a great social event. It raises money for ALS research and remembers one of the best Indy fans ever. Attending used to be fairly simple; park across the Coke lot driveway and attend. This year the Penske hospitality people assimilated all the pieces of the parking area they had not yet absorbed, and Camp & Brew attendees had no place to park. Even IMS could not arrange anything, and worse, did/do not seem to care. The off the beaten path spot they occupy is not prime real estate, but it used to be the most convenient. Glenn and Tommy and everyone who bust their tails making it better every year deserve a whole lot better than the ‘so what’ treatment they are receiving. 

2.  Radio broadcasting in May in Indianapolis is an abomination. The Indianapolis Star, despite their frugal ownership, has begun coming around again. But radio in general, and in particular the 1070 AM frequency and WIBC on FM, is awful. I used to think Emmis knew how to do it, but compared to many recent years they have slipped badly. Except for the occasional segment or show with a person like Mike King or Donald Davidson (who is as real on the air as it gets), the rest of anyone doing local sports talk on Indianapolis radio do not even deserve to be on the radio on a small market daytimer. I heard clueless idiots all month doing nothing but stick & ball rambling, even while they were at the track.

Radio needs knowledgeable homers in May, not idiots in love with the sounds of their voices. Some of the clueless nonsense that tumbled out made me cringe every single day I heard them. Whoever is programming for Emmis needs to go back and listen to, say, Fairbanks-era recordings of WIBC for May inspiration. The current incarnation of once great properties is embarrassing. It is little wonder radio is failing so badly.

Other than those two problems, it has been a GREAT month, and more about the race and the month this week!

May 22, 2009

A Tip of the Cup

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:15 am

Drunk FoolSorry yours truly is scarce this week; it is the best week of the year and I am fully involved in all the May activites in Indianapolis. Indianpolis weather is expected to be the best it has been in years and the group is on the way to Carb Day festivities this morning.

We do not really care about listening to the band afterward, so our destination is Camp & Brew, near the outside of turn 4 in the Coke lot. If you are a race fan and want to drop a few bucks for a really nice charitable cause (Brian’s Wish) while meeting fellow die hard fans, that is the place to visit.

So far so good at Indy ’09!

May 20, 2009

The Best Week of the Year

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:56 am

The only thing that is ever worrisome in the days leading up to the Indianapolis 500 is the weather forecast. No matter what it predicts the opportunity for rain is omnipresent. Rain is the only thing that can make attending a challenge, primarily because the cars cannot run. Just about any other type of condition can be dealt with, whether high heat or 1992-style cold. Here is hoping for sunshine and high 70’s on Sunday.

fisherSarah Fisher was on the Daily Show last night, and she actually did very well. Even Jon Stewart was genial. It was refreshing that no mentions of either:

-The ‘split’


. . . surfaced.

I leave bright and early for Indianapolis in the morning, and look forward to seeing and interacting with real racing fans in person. Usually the only people out there are idiots on the Internet who do not really get it but never let their ignorance get in the way of immaturity as they stupidly portend doom for the world’s greatest race, then end up looking stupid year after year. This whole centennial era theme has really got them worked up, so watching them writhe in agony is humorous. They will be watching too.

It should be great!

May 19, 2009

Who Drives the #37?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:45 am

Not That There Is Anything Wrong With a Person's Orientation

The week leading up to the Indianapolis 500 usually features a lot of media and publicity, including loading all 33 up on a plane and heading for New York. This year they blew off Times Square and instead shot a group photo in front of Macy’s, the retailer that carries the hideously overpriced and relatively (compared to the swag the IRL folks sport) fugly Izod merchandise that seems unavailable in most Macy’s locations outside central Indiana. That commercial tie-in makes a lot of sense.

In racing field news Conquest replaced Bruno Junquiera with Alex Tagliani, who was bumped and was not able to bump back in. That has to be rough on Bruno, who pulled off a limited lap run and put it in the show. There are sponsorship obligations Tags must meet, so the decision was made. At least Anthony IV will have less to worry about come race day.

The Defender jet leaves for Indy Thursday morning, and I can hardly wait. Everything else is of secondary importance this week.

May 18, 2009

Bump Day! With Bumping!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:22 am

Qualifications are over, and 11/11/11 warts and all the format worked great. There was drama and strategy every day. Terrific stories evolved in the end. John Andretti and his D & R team never gave up and persistence, luck and tweaks all peaked at exactly the right moment. The story of Ryan Hunter-Reay is equally intriguing and his entrance to the field by milliseconds was the perfect way to close the day.

DJohn-Andretti_2espite what mindless criticism idiot critics with no hope of ever understanding anything about the month of May may toss out there, there are people going home. Quality folks like Buddy Lazier, Alex Tagliani and Indy Car regular Stanton Barrett. Buddy Rice evidently did not make it off his couch in Phoenix. I find it telling that all through the web the primary topic of racing discussion is Indy, even though folks like Tony Stewart and Sam Hornish did really well in the NASCAR events.

The week leading up to the race is upon us, and it’s time to wrap up business before I my annual race week trek to the Crossroads of America begins. It is popular to make picks. Common sense says to take about any of the Ganassi or Penske teams. That’s safe, and Ryan Briscoe may be a great choice. But why be safe?

I keep hoping Tony Kanaan does not become the Lloyd Ruby of this generation. Tony needs to win. The driver who has had a quiet month and has done about everything exactly correctly is Danica. It would not surprise most (especially since a female horse won a big horse race) to see her in Victory Lane. I would love to see Dan Wheldon lead Panther to the big win. There are any number of potential Cinderellas out there as well.

Stand by for the best week of the year!

May 15, 2009

Things That Go Bump

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:01 pm

Time Trials – Weekend II. It will again be an interesting weekend. It appears Tomas Scheckter has a ride with Dale Coyne, and that could turn out pretty good if Tomas keeps it off the wall. Bruno Junqueira is said to be on the grounds looking forlorn; it would be nice to see him in a ride now that he has learned the proper respect for the place after he took Anthony and himself out a few years back.

Some of the hot rumors making the rounds has Sebastien Bourdais getting the heave-ho from Formula 1 and joining the Indy Car Series (will believe it when I see it) and Honda bringing some ALMS teams to Indy Car after Indy. Buddy Rice is also said to be bringing a personal sponsor to a TBA team.

JaquesThere are also good 500 drivers from the past who stand no chance due to the economics; people like Jaques Lazier and Jeff Simmons. That’s a real shame because there are a lot of drivers like that who are empty handed.

In any event, we have eleven spots and more than eleven will try to nab them. Again. Let’s hope the weather holds and let’s have a GREAT bump weekend.

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