Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

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.



  1. I have been preaching the past 4 years for a new director of racing or competition director, otherwise, replace Barnhart

    Comment by rosco — June 29, 2009 @ 4:09 am | Reply

  2. The racing package I know can and will be fixed. It needs to be treated with the attention of a full blown crisis.

    The issue of fans flipping off the non-US drivers might take a little more time to resolve.

    Comment by Mike Miller — June 29, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  3. How can you criticize the xenophobic fans, but at the same time complain about the lack of american drivers? They’re just a more extreme version of the same thing.

    Comment by The American Mutt — June 30, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

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