Thank goodness the standards of ESPN.com are so low.
Ed Hinton’s most recent attempt at humor in the form of an open letter to Tony George on ESPN’s web site (the one with a tab on their home page for their motor sports partner NASCAR but none for their other alleged motors sports partner Indy Car) fell flat. As a matter of fact it quickly turned downright pathetic. I actually feel sorry for people like Ed. He has been around the block several times and his homespun delivery of mostly NASCAR-centric cogitation through the years is quaint. He is capable of so much more maturity.
“The 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was a dog.”
It was? It was completely the opposite of the farce tossed out there last year with every-ten-lap yellows for shredded tires due mostly to lack of preparation and car setups that had them basically going sideways down the long straights. It was amusing watching Juan Pablo put the entire NASCAR field into his rear view for all but the last stint when he made a mistake and NASCAR decided to selectively enforce a rule.
For what it is worth I believe Montoya was guilty, but I remain convinced that NASCAR’s selective enforcement was solely to prevent him from winning. The story line and comparisons to the 2000 Indianapolis 500 would have been far too much for their hypersensitive egos to bear. That type of insecurity bears a striking resemblance to the sour dispositions of unprofessional columnists.
The Montoya speeding ticket was one of the few arrows Ed fired that hit a target. “NASCAR had to act like cops at a small-town speed trap, snuffing anything remotely fascinating about this race by busting Montoya for his hyperhaste down pit road with 35 laps to go.” Your description of such Barney Fife behavior as ‘nitpicking’ was spot on.
If that NASCAR race was a dog then most others must be a dog carcass. I managed to stay awake all the way through the Brickyard 400. The Indy Car race in Edmonton and F-1 in Hungary were more boring than the Brickyard 400.
“For better or worse, we had grown accustomed to your smirks and scowls with the ups and downs of this place these past 20 years when you had reigned, before your mother and three dear sisters threw you off the throne and under the bus last month.”
So smirks and scowls bother you? They seem to bother a lot of thin skinned, insecure dolts. Many of you remain, even after twenty years, too stupid to recognize the difference between shyness and arrogance. Even if smirks or scowls are intended, are they not justified given the abuse heaped upon the man by those mostly choosing to stand outside looking in? So what if Tony displays both shyness and arrogance? Why does it matter? My advice: Grow up. Look in a mirror.
“Before that, the snoring of the crowd might have drowned out the engine noise, except that these magnificent, once-proud grandstands were half full — and that’s being kind. Maybe 150,000 showed up, the humblest gathering I’ve ever seen for an oval-track race here — smaller even than the Formula One crowds the first year or two on the road-oval course. Your grandfather used to draw bigger crowds than this for Indy 500 time trials.”
That is a fact. Back when there were 4 television channels in any given town, no Internet, no personal communications devices, no PCs, no iPods, no wireless communication, a healthy print media that employed talented writers who covered actual stories and not people they obsessively disliked, a stock car series that used stock cars and raced only in the South and other realities routinely dismissed as part of most Tony-as-antichrist slamming. It also has little to do with the Brickyard 400.
Have you or any of your pompous brethren ever bothered to use fingers on calculator keys? If 150,000 people were there that means 150,000 tickets got sold. If those tickets averaged $60 per, $9,000,000 was added to IMS coffers. KACHING. If 150,000 dropped just $8 on average for refreshing beverages, tenderloins, track dogs or cheesy souvenirs, another $1,200,000 gets dropped into the kitty. KACHING. How many more millions does IMS make on suites, catering, corporate and private parking, corporate sponsorship or television and radio rights? You tell me, Mr. Reporter.
Do you know who would do about anything to sell 150,000 tickets to a one day event? ANY OTHER RACE TRACK ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. To position a crowd of 150,000 as some sort of disappointment makes you look utterly foolish, and I am being charitable.
“Well, the opposite scenario stunk up the show this time. After extensive testing here — duh — Goodyear came up with a more-than-adequate tire. Almost too good. There were only three cautions to bunch up the strung-out (as usual) field, and only two passes for the lead under the green flag all day.”
You people would bitch if you were hung with new rope. Do you demand this much perfection in the rest of your lives?
“Personal question here: I’m hearing that your sisters might have overthrown you for more than just spending a cool half-billion of the family fortune propping up your beloved spawn, the Indy Racing League, and getting your pocket picked for another hundred mil or so by Formula One.”
Ed, do you or any single one of your cronies want to really impress me? Here’s how: Lay out exactly how every dollar of the widely quoted-as-gospel $500 to $600 million you so willingly swallow like dessert items from a gratis press room buffet table is spent. Make a case. Not even reputable journalists at respected publications such as the Indiana Business Journal have attempted that deep a dive. While you are at it, try to account for every dollar of revenue from all sources. Has the Indy Car series lost money? Probably. Everyone in charge says so. How much? Go be a reporter and find out. We already know at least one family member is a rat and can be convinced to prattle. Anyone who says $500 to $600 million is the amount lost need to have their heads examined. Even more amusing is the fact there are imbeciles walking around who are gullible enough to accept that number as serious.
“I’m getting vibes of serious sibling quibbling — issues such as who got the big family jet on which weekends, and why your stepson has been fully funded to race while some of your nephews haven’t.”
Has ESPN become TMZ? Why pander to the lowest possible intelligence levels? Be an adult. Who gives a crap? Most hostility seems borne of petty jealousy.
“Hey, this joint would have been a shopping mall decades ago if your late grandfather, Tony Hulman, hadn’t saved it at the end of World War II. That’s why your IRL believers said the Indy 500 was yours to do with as you pleased, even though I countered that, no, the American people owned the Indy 500. They made it.”
They do not own it, however. And under the leadership of Tony George, the place has remade itself several times, we have been fortunate enough to see not only Indy Cars but Formula One, NASCAR and Moto GP all within the same walls. What real racing fan finds that bad? Tony George facilitated a paradigm shift in the area of safety. Those convinced he is guilty of financial irresponsibility should remember he told Bernie Eccelstone to take a hike once his vig got ridiculous. That new pagoda is a much finer place to enjoy free grub than any former location. My hope is that any newfound frugality is not the same kind that saw the place become a weed farm in the 1940’s.
“I really did miss you this past weekend. Regardless of the business of motor racing and how you conducted it, and how I criticized you for it, I’ve always liked you as a person. Through our roller-coaster years, you would always stop to talk and shake hands, no matter how adversarial our relationship might be at a given time.” Damn I miss Bob Collins.
You should try to learn and implement a little of the type of dignified class Tony employs, Ed. It is rare these days.
“The only thing is, you lost. Terribly. You have a lot more than a quarter left in your pocket, maybe even a quarter of a billion — yeah, with a B — but you still lost horrifically. And you took the American public on the ride with you, so that the late actor/racer Paul Newman once opined to me grimly that it was “damn near criminal what he’s done,” dividing and devastating Indy car racing.”
Still fighting the same idiotic battles I see. Here are a few facts: Paul Newman is as dead as cart and champcar. All but Paul killed themselves, and the same type of arrogance for which Tony is decried is the primary reason. You people are fond of telling me how great cart was. That was primarily because it is what was there. If it was as great as you think it was, it would not have killed itself so quickly and completely. Alas, that is what happens when folks crap where they eat.
“Oh, on a brighter note, I almost forgot! We see that you’re blogging now, on your racing team’s Web site, Visionracing.com. Your latest installment was a big hit around the media center Sunday morning.”
Again, the challenge for the pompous holier-than-thous suckling away on IMS teat while pointing and chuckling like kidergarten students after the fat boy farts is to investigate and then write something meaningful, such as an accounting of IMS spending versus revenue. Or you could merely continue one of the more idiotic jihads in the history of sports writing and acting like petulant children. That approach is certainly easier, particularly for those predisposed toward laziness.
“Olympus has been razed, the Indy 500 toppled from the pinnacle, 100-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway humbled.”
Prove it without making yourselves look foolish or causing us to laugh at you.
“Indy survived two world wars and the Great Depression, standing staunch for a century. But now I can’t help wondering whether it will survive NASCAR and the deal you made that looked so brilliant at the time.”
Ask Tony Stewart how he feels about the joint. He is more in touch with the rest of us than you are.
Do these people ever tire of re-hashing the same trite nonsense all the time? Now that Tony George is mostly out of the picture, when will you move forward and begin doing the sport and its fans an actual service?