Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 30, 2009

More OVALtine Please…

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:17 am

During yesterday’s discussion of the 9th Indy Car race at Richmond, I completely forgot one of the points that should be made. The shortest track on the circuit can provide a great deal of excitement when the rules are not so micromanaged that it snuffs the life out of the competition. It is the hope of many people the IRL gets that worked out.

In the meantime, the Silver Crown cars do not cut it entirely as the opening act. It seems to me the Indy Lights cars are very well suited for that little track. I have heard the arguments against such an adventure and they do not really make much sense other that most of the people making them must be pansies. Run the Silver Crown cars after Indy qualifying on Friday night, then run the lights as the pre-race. 100 laps of fun.

There is supposed to be a meeting on Tuesday between the Indy Car leadership and Richmond. It is my hope they will not find a way to screw up a long marriage that has turned out great in years past. The proprietors of RIR are evidently upset with the parade the Indy Cars put out there.

Early Indy CarsThere is a cynical side that screams losing oval venues is something we should probably get used to. The current leadership is great at letting them slip away. Michigan, PPIR, Loudon, etc., have all been cast aside. The oval that seems next most likely to bite the dust (provide they IRL does not get tossed out on their arses by Richmond) is Milwaukee. That great flat one miler rivals Indy in terms of ancient history and it is a real shame that it is being mismanaged so completely. Most of us grew up with Milwaukee right after Indy.

Oval ranting aside, Watkins Glen is one the greatest road courses anywhere. The Indy Cars do the place proud. So now it’s on to the Finger Lakes region.

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June 29, 2009

Richmond: Great Time; Blown Opportunity

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:04 am

Scott DixonAhhh…Richmond. Next to Indianapolis, that has become my favorite oval. It is hard to figure why the meddlesome, tinkering brass of the Indy Car Series have micromanaged the technology to the point where they attempt to pass off a 155mph parade as racing, and with supposedly superior drivers from the IRL heyday in the late 1990’s and early this decade.

Criticism about the quality of racing is fully justified. I saw people asleep in the stands Saturday night. Normally I chide those who watch on television for not having a right to criticize something they do not attend because usually it is a lot more exciting in person, and the television cameras never catch that. This is especially true when the production entity does not use enough cameras. An inordinately high amount of breaks that feature the exact same spots over and over (especially that God forsaken, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard IZOD ad-are the ad agency folks too stupid or too lazy to change the copy?) will drive people away just as certainly as bad racing, even with a professionally presented broadcast at which the Versus folks have excelled.

Even the lying hypocrites who either run to or plop down their pompous loud mouths in various IRL hate sites who trip over themselves telling everyone they did not watch but criticize anyway even though every single one of them watched every single millisecond may actually have a rare valid point.

Still, my party had a really great time at the track. A lot of friends were there, the camaraderie was superb and we got a slice of Americana rarely seen anywhere but the south. The weather conditions were 100% perfect. My favorite moments occurred during driver introductions. Seated in front of my party were some really intoxicated, confederate flag wearing, what can be best described as loud (and foul) mouthed xenophobes. Every time a driver of non-American ancestry was introduced, the one finger salutes would begin and they would shout something vaguely resembling some twisted patriotism in that special southern way. My absolute favorite moment occurred during Hideki Mutoh’s (Honda’s paid Japanese driver) introduction, after which they suggested, loudly, that he ‘get on back to Mexico you f$#@ing wetback!’ I did not believe that type of ignorance was possible until I heard it with my own ears. But they stayed and watched and mostly enjoyed the parade.

I miss the every lap all-over-the-track pucker moments that used to be the hallmark of the IRL. I do not know who is responsible for the destruction of the quality of events we once enjoyed at tracks like Richmond, but perhaps it is time for those responsible to find another line of work.  What is really ironic is that the continuing homogenization of the product is designed to level the playing field, but Ganassi or Penske win every week anyway. If Penske or Ganassi is destined to continue winning every week, why not at least try to make the show in general more compelling? Even members of the winning team apologized.

The IRL can do better for fans who have come to expect a great product.

June 26, 2009

What a Weird Week Outside Racing

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:44 am

MJRIP Farah. That poster helped me figure out my special purpose as a youth. RIP Hoosier Michael Jackson. Eccentric dude, but most creative people are.  RIP Ed. The Tonight Show moved to heaven. Those folks enriched life, and life goes on.

This particular weekend life is going on in Richmond. I like that little track a lot. Versus gets the coverage back so it will be watchable if you can’t attend. But if you are anywhere near the track, go. You will not be sorry.

Hopefully it is fast and safe! Whatever racing you enjoy be sure to enjoy it this weekend!

June 25, 2009

Brazil is Not Necessarily A Town Near Terre Haute

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:37 am

BrazilThe Indy Car Series has made it all but official about Brazil. Some park in a city in the sugar cane country. Street deal. Be still my beating heart. Those always work so well over the long haul.

The bottom line is money. Indy Car is getting a lot of it thrown their way and that is something new venues in the United States cannot do right now without backlash. Besides, many of the drivers and all of the fuel sponsorship originates there so a Japanese-style back scratching is not bad, particularly since it will happen early. But a street course? If I had the time and could scrounge up the bucks, I would go. It has always been a pretty good time in that part of the world in the past.

The IRL is touting an 18 race schedule. That’s fine, but for most Americans travel to Brazil and Japan is not in the cards. That leaves 16. Not too many will make a trek to Edmonton or even Toronto (well, maybe some Indy Car fans in Buffalo). That leaves 14. Rumor has it we’re losing another oval in this country.  Can Europe or China be far behind?

Formula One decided not to cart itself into non-existence this week, and the Nazi role playing spank happy old man who became a lightning rod for all sorts of unrelated criticism won’t be a part of the festivities going forward. Is it not about time for Bernie to retire as well? Perhaps the greed that prevented fans from seeing Grand Prix events in Canada and Indy will subside and with it the needless screwing of loyal fans.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway sent me an e-survey today. I took twenty minutes to fill it out. It did not offer a section for extemporaneous comments, but if it had I was all prepared to ask who was in charge and who commissioned the survey. The sisters, members of the Krisiloff family, Tony, Mari, Chitwood?  I would have been curious.

I am champing at the bit to get to Richmond. That, to me, is the second best event behind Indy, and both offer completely different types of excitement.

June 24, 2009

Saturday Night SPECIAL

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:11 am

IRL Richmond Auto RacingThings I would like to see this weekend in Richmond:

-No cautions.

-That would mean green flag pit stops. At that track green flag pitstops would REALLY make it interesting.

-Good weather. Richmond is magical, especially after dark.

-Someone other than a Penske or Ganassi car winning. Preferably not AGR, either, although any of that team’s members would be great in victory lane. Someone from D & R would be great.

-Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso to have great races.

-Indy Lights on that track.

If you are going, you will have a great time. If you are not, you really ought to. It is quite an experience.

June 23, 2009

It’s All About Indy Car

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:30 am

Silly season has been a non-stop adventure in the Indy Car Series all season. There is no more off-season for the obsession. The doozies lately include:

animotion-Potential destinations for Danica

-(insert current or former F1 driver name here) will join the IRL. Alonzo, Sato, etc., funded by a variety of entities.

-Gil DeFerran will start a team that is the destination for (insert name here).

-18 races next year, and only 9 ovals. Maybe the name of the series ought to change to ‘Can’t Always Race Tri-ovals.’ It would be accurate.

-Tony George to get rid of Vision.

-Push to pass.

-Welcome to Brazil.

-Humpy Wheeler new job(s).

-American Dream swaps out Japanese drivers.

-The F1’split’ combined with an ALMS collapse will drive players toward Indy Car.

Who really knows how much of any of these contain truth? Several grains of salt are advised. One thing is certain. There is a buzz about Indy Car that keeps getting bigger. I am currently making plans to attend the race at Richmond on Saturday, and hope to see you there!

June 22, 2009

Grab a Banjo and Pull Up a Log

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

Reading niche forums loosely based on some form of racing are amusing to read simply for their intrinsic entertainment value. In years past my favorite targets for pointing out hypocrisy, arrogance and outright stupidity have been sites populated primarily by fans of the defunct cart series. These people tend to also like F1 and about anything else that does not race on ovals. They almost universally seem to hate Tony George but many fail to make rational arguments to defend mostly futile attempts at a point and come off looking bitter and hostile. I particularly enjoy allowing them to expose their own brand of immaturity.

Frankly, toying with that ilk has gotten boring, particularly since their preferred series failed. Twice. Now it appears Formula One as we know it is preparing to shoot itself in the head as fans stand helplessly by.

Meanwhile, as NASCAR continues to draw smaller crowds and television ratings, new arrogant hypocrites who really are stupid have begun to emerge. It is beyond the level of comprehension of most rational people to understand why any strong supporter of the 800-pound-gorilla series, the one with the majority of the television audience and money, the most races and the most participants, would waste any bandwidth whatsoever on anything related to Indy Car racing.

General Lee

General Lee

Here is a prime example of someone so afflicted. The guy appears to be a mid-50’s die-hard NASCAR ‘fan’ who is barely literate (judging by the brutal way he treats both grammar and spelling), does not have much money, lives in the deep south, and claims to enjoy only the NASCAR-style of racing. He is what many picture when someone utters admittedly insensitive words such as ‘ignorant redneck.’ Yet he spends an inordinate amount of time obsessing on the Indy Car Series. He expresses disgust at Big Bill France allegedly being thrown out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the big war but does not offer a peep about any of Big Bill’s behavior, including using a loaded pistol to enforce his rules at some tracks and throwing drivers out who made him mad. Never mind the moonshine running origins of NASCAR.

Let us jokingly refer to that type of stereotypical hill jack as ‘General Lee.’ That description seems appropriate because he appears to fit the redneck persona, enjoys racing boxy cars preferably adorned with the racist confederate flag, is not blessed with a great command of the English language or the use of it and lacks maturity.

One troll features a pointless question of how a NASCAR regular can sit on pole at Infeneon (General Lee spelling) while a former F1 driver teammate has to buy his way into the race at a road course. Then equally obsessed hypocrite sycophants predictably chime in with predictable immaturity. At the end of the day a bunch of the disdained open wheelers ended up in the top 15 after a clown-like display of demolition derbying by slow template cars piloted by many drivers completely out of their element. The Indy Cars did not fare much better in terms of stupid crashing at Iowa, and hopefully next week’s race at Richmond will not be a repeat of either Iowa or Richmond last year.  

Another blatant troll asked: ‘What are you going to do when your league and along with it, your big race fails?’ That was followed by: ‘What would do or would you be willing to accept to save your big race and/or your league? Just curious to see how those here that are fans of that race and that series’

Curious my bulbous rear end. The Indianapolis 500 has twice the history of Daytona and is the most recognized, well attended auto race in the world. It will not fail within the lifetimes of anyone alive today. The Indy Car Series is likely to evolve, just as every other predecessor series has. Any notion the Indianapolis 500 will every need ‘saving’ is indicative of a high degree of abject stupidity combined with obvious immaturity. If I were a NASCAR fan I would be worried about how I could draw more than 100,000 people to a track that can hold three times that many. People who just do not understand the Indianapolis 500 should probably just stop running their yaps. They usually look foolish enough going in.

So why would I bother making light of such emotionally challenged adult children? The answer is obvious. All of those who toss out such trolls are huge fans of Indy Car who lie to themselves about being fans. Many of these NASCAR-centric oddballs generally fit into the category of really liking the Indy Car Series when it went through its shade tree mechanic/journeyman driver phase. They have a point. The racing has rarely been better than the last portion of that evolutionary phase.

As is the case with all things Indy Car, one or more groups of core fans will always be screwed. At Iowa this week the former cart management now operating the Indy Car series let slip that next year will hit the 50% oval/50% non-oval level for the first time. My question would be which oval goes? The ones left are all pretty good. There are quite a few like Michigan and New Hampshire that need to return. The cart fans got alienated early and many still lack the maturity and courage to evolve. The early IRL fans were forgotten when cart slithered back after their pointless boycotts failed. It is not always easy to be a fan of the sport. What people do as fans can say a lot.

I wish fans who disgrace the sport would find another hobby. The best way to be a fan is to work in positive ways to affect future evolution of the sport. Personally, I like most all forms of motorsports and today was a great day to watch many diverse disciplines. Generally there is nothing wrong with any of the racing this weekend. I wish I could say the same about those who have the temerity to refer to themselves as fans.

June 19, 2009

Constipation Over. It’s Time for Relief.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:49 am

Iowa IndyApologies for being remiss in the rumination department the past few days. Real world responsibilities have a way of keeping me busy.

Had I pontificated, my topics would have been:

1. Laughing some more at the bitter, vindictive Robin Miller, who continues publishing Hulman-George laundry he hopes is dirty based on rumors originating most likely from current and/or former family member(s) of the Krisiloff genetic strain. His doom and gloom ‘end-is-near-for-Tony-George’ scenarios seem more desperate every day. He has even conjured up some of the old favorite names such as Gerald Forsythe as ‘saviors.’ I keep thinking that given his age and history he will eventually rediscover the magic that made him passionate in the first place and leave the primate exhibit behavior to idiots on Internet forums, especially the ones where IRL hate is front and center. But you probably should not hold your breath.

2. Danica’s tune has changed considerably since she signed with IMG. I get all the posturing for a better contract by fawning over NASCAR. If she is really thinking about that as a career option she is completely stupid unless she goes the Jeff Gordon route several times deeper; i.e., go to school, start on lower rungs, and rise slowly and deliberately. Many racing fans, especially the more arrogant of the cart variety, spent years telling us how Juan Montoya was the greatest driver in the world, having mastered Indy (so easy even his grandmother could do it) and F-1 (while snooting at all things oval). In NASCAR, he’s a mid-packer except for most of the minute number of road courses NASCAR attempts. It is fairly easy to understand the Chip and Roger scenarios, but personally I think the burgeoning chemistry between Danica and Michael is potentially VERY potent. Why wouldn’t she stay put given the right package?

3. Jeff Gordon has been all over the press release/soundbite circuit guaranteeing tires won’t be a problem at Indy when the BY400 is run. Racing fans have obviously tired of being screwed by tire debacles at Indy, and the ‘stock’ car race last year was just as big a joke as the Michelin F-1 stunt. For proof one needs look no further than the anemic ticket sales. It is my opinion that anyone who blames the track surface at Indy and the diamond grinding that occurred a few years back is dense.

Meanwhile, it’s time for Iowa! Here’s looking forward to some great short tracking at Iowa!

June 16, 2009

Meaningful Innovation

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:23 am

Dave_DespainSpeed TV was great when it went on the air. Then Fox and NASCAR and other special interests got their mitts on it and it became something different. As an avid racing fan I still watch more than my fair share, and I enjoy their coverage of Formula 1 and other open wheel and sports car racing.

The NASCAR centricity of the effort has alienated me for the most part. When it’s not NASCAR, the dosage of low common denominator programming for that type of fan assaults those tuned in. Wind Tunnel is OK, but any network that features Robin Miller is questionable from an ethics standpoint.

This past Sunday one of the Dave topics was a notion that motor sports should be ‘greener.’ I actually wholeheartedly agree. Dave needs to remember the Indy Car Series has actually led the way again in terms of new fuels, and is now 100% fuel grade ethanol.

Despain proposed the idea of a 50 mpg Indy Car in time for the big 100th race, and that is a noble and lofty wish.

Odd CarPart of innovation for me is the opening of the rule book to allow for not just development of higher mileage motors, but alternative propulsion as well. The turbines were a remarkable chapter in Indy Car history and lore, but I remember how freaked out the establishment was for the few years they lasted. I have often said why limit innovation to something powered by internal combustion? If we are going to think outside what is conventional, why not go all out?

As big a fan as I am, the current format is getting really old really fast. One of the great attractions of Indy Car racing is evolution. Let’s evolve some more.

June 15, 2009

I Miss the Irish Hills

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

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is always a treat in which to tune in from time to time over this particular weekend, and Peugeot gave the home crowd lots of reasons to cheer. The history of that event is rich and enjoyable.

The NASCAR event at Michigan was also fun to watch; us 50+ folks like it when an old guy wins. The amount of shiny aluminum must be cause for concern for NASCAR and MIS. The ratings are still in decline as well. TNT does an admirable job with the coverage.

First Indy Car Winner at MIS

First Indy Car Winner at MIS

I do not know of one Indy Car fan who does not believe Indy Cars at Michigan are necessary. A frequent source of befuddlement is why the two sides cannot put something together to return to that legacy Indy Car venue. Do the fans not deserve a return trip? There were some classic events that starred the Indy Cars before, during and after cart. The first big race ever run there was an Indy Car event back in ’68.

Should NASCAR attendance continue dwindling, ISC may get more aggressive in trying to secure other forms of racing at that great track. Indy Cars cannot return quickly enough!

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