Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 31, 2009

Smoke Up Your Butt or Dead Silence? Which is Better?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:06 am

This weekend is Indy Racing under the lights at Kentucky on Bruton Smith’s latest acquisition. Fans who enjoy the current configuration of the track had best make a visit because Bruton does not like the layout and is likely to get the bulldozers out after the race to NASCAR-ize the banking and put the pits closer to the outside seats. Hopefully the track will not get unceremoniously jerked when they announce the 2011 schedule. The 2010 schedule will be unveiled before the race.

I would like to say a few words about Terry Angstadt and most of the people who run Indy Car. Whenever I have wanted to communicate with them about anything, whether by e-mail, phone, snail mail or in person, each and every one has consistently replied promptly. My most recent communication was with Angstadt regarding the Richmond absence from next year’s schedule. He replied within an hour. His response was a little too form-letterish with regard to answering my critical question; i.e., (paraphrased) what the &#@* happened with Richmond, but I appreciate his effort.

Gagged 2That is completely opposite the approach the folks at Richmond have taken. All I have received from them is complete silence. Everyone I know who has attempted to contact them has received no response of any kind from them either. This treatment of customers is baffling, particularly for management that has been enthusiastic in the past.

I will look Angstadt up at some point (I may even show up at Kentucky again) and ask him some direct questions, including:

No Comment-What efforts were made to replace Sun Trust at Richmond, and who made an effort?

-Given the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Richmond region, why would a package not be put together to attract one? Does the IRL not employ contractors to try and do just that?

-What is the logic of dumping a well attended for many years in a row race in the buckle of the NASCAR belt without an exhaustive effort to keep it? Other than racing in Florida, the southeast coast is underserved.

Enjoy one of the rapidly dwindling Indy Car ovals this weekend. Hopefully loosening of the restrictions that caused idiotic parades will add some additional excitement.

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July 30, 2009

How to Screw 60,000 Fans in One Fell Swoop

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:16 am

The Indy Car Series has officially alienated the very last remaining constituency it had. Races come and races go and it has always been like that (except in stable series such as NASCAR) but Indy Car just took strike three where this race fan is concerned. I am the kind of race fan who spends thousands of dollars every year sampling almost every track on which the Indy Car Series has run.

Screw 2My home track was PPIR. I attended every race the Indy Cars ever ran at that great one-miler. ISC stepped in with Denver track aspirations and shut it down. We are no closer to a track in Denver than the day paying customers got screwed in southern Colorado. That was strike one.

Strike two? Michigan, the site of some great open wheel wars over the years. Why? That depends on which side of the peeing contest gets you wet. Neither side has ever given a realistic answer, but as is always the case, fans remain screwed.

Screw 1Now there are no more jet fighters in gymnasiums. Richmond has been cast aside for no apparent reason. The IRL, of course, displays all kinds of happy face as they ‘move forward’ to Brazil and other far flung locales. Strike three. Screwed again.

There are a lot of people who enjoyed their own set of races that are now vaporized.  They are screwed as well.

Screw 3We have long lamented the lack of anything even remotely resembling competent marketing and promotion in the league over the years, and head scratching decisions such as allowing ESPN/ABC to carry Centennial Era Indianapolis 500s continues to baffle me. Over the past ten years ESPN/ABC has raped and subsequently devalued the franchise more completely than any other external entity.

Screw 5Fans of the defunct cart series should be gleeful, because current leadership views the early 1990’s as many of you do; i.e., some sort of fondly remembered utopian pinnacle. Now that Tony George has been cast aside, it is almost as if today’s Indy Car is starting from scratch after now having systematically purged every single group of fans one group at a time. 

Those of you who have been screeching like two year olds ever since the cart boycott of Indy began can now start watching again. We now have tire gimmicks, throttle gimmicks and most of the teams and drivers with familiar old cart connections. Turbos are on the way and the long-in-the-tooth Dallara is no doubt headed for scrap heaps. One by one, ovals are vanishing and street festivals are on the rise. Racing in Brazil lies ahead. Wonder whether Honda will tell the IRL to stick it in Toronto next year? Is Forsythe coming back now? When will drivers start getting dizzy at Texas and leave fans screwed at the gate? Hawaii anyone? How about some Asian island? Might as well repeat all history and hope for different results, right?

Every once in a while the IRL does something cool, and the most cool is a new planned trip to Barber outside Birmingham. That is a fantastic showplace with a really great museum.

screw 7Despite being screwed fairly regularly, please do not misunderstand me. I do not share the infantile chicken little (or chicken s#@&, as the case may warrant) mentality of most lurkers. I do not believe Indy Car is in any real danger of failure. Its current leadership is busy harvesting large checks from sources far and wide (like Brazil). The bigger the check the more they will bend over. Guaranteed. That’s just business, even when tens of thousands of fans get screwed every so often. Obviously, that remains an acceptable cost/risk.

My concern is not IRL failure, it is fans getting screwed repeatedly as Indy Car chases after the next check. Why do they make it so difficult to simply be a paying customer? In recent years Texas (the ‘second home of the IRL’….wonder how long that will last), Chicago, Kentucky and Kansas have become regular stops for my group of peers, but the Richmond strike three is very late in the game. The legendary Milwaukee Mile appears to be headed for landfill like Nazareth. When will all ovals except Indy vanish? And if ovals are going to vanish why pursue idiotic street courses when quality venues like Road America sit there without Indy Cars? More importantly why are supposedly smart people now running Indy Car completely unwilling and unable to figure out how to make quality oval venues work? NASCAR does not seem to have a problem doing that.

The coup d’état is nearly complete. A rich oval heritage that Indy Car enjoyed has nearly concluded. The last group of fans not yet screwed should now lower their dungarees and assume the position. You might want to see if Dario has any leftover samples of last week’s sponsor.

Screw 4This racing fan is not yet prepared for the type of angst-riddled Internet self crucifixion that has made disenfranchised cart enthusiasts look foolish for fifteen years. I speak with my feet and wallet. Usually when schedules are announced for the next season my party plots what events we will attend almost immediately. As of now, Indy and Barber will probably be it, and I am certain we will have a great time at both. I still wish I could see Indy Cars at Richmond or Pikes Peak or Michigan or any one of the many ovals that vanish unexplained with nary a shrug.

July 29, 2009

It is Easy to Swing a Hatchet. It is Obviously Difficult to Write a Professional Column.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:20 am

Thank goodness the standards of ESPN.com are so low.

Mr EdEd 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.

France Family MemberThe 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.

Pagoda“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?

July 28, 2009

A Wish That Folks Who Call Themselves Racing Fans Would Fully Evolve

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:14 am
Typical Internet cart 'Fan'/Indy Car Critic

Typical Internet cart 'Fan'/Indy Car Critic

The incessant cackling of Internet chicken littles has reached a fever pitch. Their hysterical nonsense bleating continues to be a source of darkly retarded entertainment for those of us who are smarter, better and more mature racing fans than they are.

For fifteen years they have whined, screamed, yelped, and begged for Tony George to go away. Now that Anton has been fired has the noise dissipated? Not hardly. If anything, they are in an even more rambunctious mood.

With the predictably misspelled, grammatically incorrect yammering to which we are all assaulted one might think Indy Racing is doomed. The most ignorant of the bunch always present what they feel are plausible doomsday scenarios between cuss words.

My feeling is that while the series will continue to face challenges in the short term, the long term seems viable. There must, after all, be a series to support the Indianapolis 500. Any understanding of Indy Car evolution is not a strong suit for the Anton haters.

Those who would like to see Tony George not only out of the picture but, in many of the more vulgar scenarios…dead, should seriously consider what they wish for. Who has the vision to carry Indy Car into the middle of this century? The sisters? Uh, no. Mari Hulman-George does not have an indefinite shelf life, and it is my esteemed opinion that the best possible scenario would be a transition to Tony of the Chairmanship. A chair person must have vision. Tony does. That is his strength. His weakness is glaring lack of business acumen. The sisters are not much better.

What Tony needs is a board filled with competent business people and not teat suckling relatives. IMS needs to figure out a way to have the gals cash out, then butt out. The generation that follows Anton has potential, but they are unproven. They are, however, receiving a swell hands-on education.

The best and most valid question Tony has asked to date is: ‘…My question for the board has been not one of who is going to manage the company, but rather, who is going to lead it?  There is a distinction.’ I am one who does not want to see the facility devolve into a weed field again. That is going to take someone with real vision and not simply bean counting or legal skills.

Internet Commentators L to R: cart Fan, NASCAR Fan, Incy Car Fan

Internet Critics L to R: cart Fan, NASCAR Fan, Indy Car Fan

Curiously, many of the ignorant IRL haters frequently focus their clueless angst on things that are relatively unimportant, including assuming folks like yours truly claimed there were never any financial subsidies to Indy Car teams. They point to Tony’s own words as ‘proof’ of their assumption: ‘Now, I don’t think it is a secret that most IndyCar and Champ Car teams have relied heavily on financial support from series owners to fund or subsidize their operations over the last 5 years.  In fact, I know that in the case of the IRL, every team that has ever competed in the series, since inception, has received support to some degree.’ Duh. Evidently subsidies have not been enough to keep those unable to get sponsorship around. Many of the same kids enjoy pointing out team failures. I wonder how they reconcile  ‘…it is a testament to the commitment of the teams and sponsors in the series today that they have persevered this season without any subsidy from the League.’

I’ll focus additional commentary later, but in the meantime it is obvious to me that with all the attention Indy Car, its principals and its fans receive, the league is in little danger of failure. I would be genuinely worried if yapping cretins just stopped offering commentary altogether. It is unlikely that will ever happen. In the meantime, I would settle for even an illusion these squawking naysayers actually enjoy the sport.

July 27, 2009

Fascinating Weekend

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:28 am

Massa 0709It was quite an interesting race weekend. It began somberly with very serious head injuries to Felipe Massa in Hungary. The freak accident involved an iron spring that hit him in the head at while both were traveling over 120 miles per hour in opposite directions. It appears he will be OK in time, but for now he is being kept in an induced coma to reduce brain swelling. Best wishes for his speedy return to 100%. The Formula 1 safety crew effort continues to be as big a joke as ever. Despite the amount of money thrown around over there, the way and speed in which they administer to injured drivers has not even yet reached a level of mild incompetence. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, who got the monkey off his back this season.

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

One race many thought they would hate turned out to be really good. The Brickyard 400 needed that after their idiotic farce last year. It appears they needed that good run judging from the shiny aluminum all around the track. Juan Pablo Montoya had the field absolutely covered from start to nearly the finish in a 2000 Indy 500 sort of way. Conspiracy theories have already been circulated about NASCAR’s perceived insecurity about the 500 and how there is no way they would have let Montoya win. Tripping electronic pit speed traps twice seems conclusive, but it does stink.

The second choice of this increasingly elderly writer was Mark Martin. That was also not to be. Good for Jimmy Johnson, another off road racer making good on ovals, but he is as plain as white bread. Montoya or Martin or even Stewart would have been better stories.

IMG_0871Will Power proved once again that he belongs in a cockpit full time and not in Penske merchandise trailers selling overpriced shirts to chunky women. That wide open airport circuit in Edmonton is fun, but bouncing Indy Cars is weird. The television coverage on Versus is still fine, but the Indy Car package is way too long in the tooth, and those responsible for continuity within national commercial breaks should lose their jobs. Watching the same 3 or 4 spots over and over and over will ultimately be responsible for crappy ratings, much more so than what happens between frequent (way too frequent) breaks.

A great bright spot was the leak that Indy Car is headed for the outskirts of Birmingham next season. Barber Motorsports park is the destination, and even though it is not an oval, George Barber has built a racing showplace. If you go (and you definitely should), allocate at least one extra day to spend in the museum. Do not let the relatively high price into it deter you; it is well worth every penny. There are a few of us trying to figure out a way to get to Kentucky under the lights next weekend…that should be a great return to the ovals.

July 24, 2009

Never Underestimate the Abject Stupidity of Nasal-ly Radio Talk Show Hosts

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:49 am

HilljacksThis afternoon on the way home from work I heard the single most idiotic racing-related poll question in the history of not only radio, but the entire sport. It was aimed at NASCAR fans and it was about the Brickyard 400.

The question:

‘Should NASCAR keep running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or build a new track on which to run in Indianapolis?’

General LeePerhaps there should be little surprise given the lowest common denominator crowd that is evidently their target. Some people actually answered yes. I am astounded. Chances are most never visited. Many who have still do not get it.

NASCAR Fans Headed for IndyThe Brickyard is the only place in Indy they should run. I know that many of the thought challenged individuals who answered yes are used to the cookie cutters NASCAR has installed throughout the country, and given the fact that NASCAR’s most legendary track has half the history and years of existence as Indy, why should anyone expect a different reaction.

Perhaps if I was not well into middle age I might understand that point of view. The first time I walked into IMS the Daytona track did not exist. Neither did the majority of others on which NASCAR runs.

To me, they either need to race at IMS and be grateful or leave town. Here’s hoping it does not rain and they bring tires that will last.

I will be trying to watch the Edmonton deal and Formula 1 as well.

Have an outstanding racing weekend!

July 23, 2009

Indianapolis: The Center of The Racing Universe

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:40 am

As the next running of the Brickyard 400 draws near, now is as good a time as any to state the obvious: EVERYTHING else in motor sports in this country is measured against the Indianapolis 500. All of the links furnished below lead to stories either about NASCAR in the context of Indy, or just Indy related material. One of the links takes you directly to the NASCAR web site.

Monkey See Monkey PooIt has gotten downright amusing reading the pompous pontification of columnists who purport to know how much it has cost to keep the IRL ‘propped up’ or how the Brickyard 400 financed the venture. These lazy, unoriginal writers pass off their speculation as gospel and expect anyone who reads it to swallow all of it whole without asking any questions. Do you know what would really impress me? In the unlikely event one of these self-proclaimed experts went about laying out actual numbers as support for their quaint hypotheses, many of us would be grateful and impressed. None ever have, and none will probably ever give it a whirl. Instead what we get is laziness and more pontification.

New IMS President a less dynamic public speaker than Anton? That must be important. Brickyard ticket sales down so it must be the IRL’s fault? Check. Tony George outfoxed by most anyone? We’ve heard that before, so why is that even an issue?

Hey Hey Were the MonkeyThese people pander to the most stupid 95%. These are the idiots whose pessimistic doom and gloom scenarios are consistently over the top. They squat on message boards making asses of themselves and smelling up any promising conversation. No site is immune. There is only one reason why such behavior exists: The vast majority of people operating or contributing to Internet dialog are ignorant. They are not real racing fans. They are disgraceful. The 5% who seek out intelligent conversation with like minded fans are generally out of luck. Why are these people idiots? Because they do not attend races, do not contribute in positive ways, and do not engage participants in meaningful banter. They simply toss turds like caged monkeys in a zoo. That is all their intelligence allows.

Why not do what any real racing fan will do this weekend? Enjoy a full slate of a wide variety of venues and disciplines. This is a great weekend to try being a fan.

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=newton_david&id=4346230

http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/opinion/07/22/inside.line.dcaraviello.indy/index.html

http://www.indystar.com/article/20090722/SPORTS15/907220320/1034/SPORTS15/New+Speedway+boss+is+a+man+of+few+words

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=4341003

July 22, 2009

Urban Renewal

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:03 am

Hard HatIdeas and unsolicited free advice for the post-Tony leadership of IMS:

-Lose any bean counter mentality you may be attempting to get talked into or lean toward. The only consistent theme at the track since 1946 has been constant improvement to the physical plant. Spend it to make it. Recession will not last forever. IMS will last a very long time unless it gets neglected and not nurtured.

-Get on board with Speedway redevelopment. The town of Speedway has. The area around three of four sides has become way too ghetto/barrio/trailer trash-ish to ignore. Drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the place will be easier if both access and aesthetics are improved. That is money well spent.

New Suites-The Turn 2 suites are getting long in the tooth. How about a guaranteed recurring revenue source? Build multi-story condos with trackside balconies along the outside of the backstretch. You could even repurpose some of the increasingly unused grandstands at the entrance to Turn 3 and replace them with such suites. The architectural possibilities are enormous.

-Partner up with a large entertainment/hotel chain (besides Disney, who has spent the last fifteen or twenty years abusing the franchise) and build a resort. Have George Barber show you how to build things that are aesthetically pleasing (like a new museum). If he can turn a strip mine into a jewel of a race course, he can help turn slums upscale.

Big Arse Bulldozer-Convince Eccelstone or whoever ends up running F-1 they need to make Indy their permanent home in the USA.

-Stop forsaking ovals. They are as important to the heritage of Indy Car as anything else.

-Flowery rhetoric from those with fancy titles is usually bullsh!t and folks see right through it. Start a trend of brutal honesty and let the chips fall where they may.

-Wonder whether federal stimulus funding could be had for rail service between Speedway and downtown?

-There is no place for any rats in the organization. Find motivated business people with a passion not only for racing but for the track. People who ‘get it.’

-Keep making it great every day.

July 21, 2009

The Thrill Is Gone

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:41 am

Joie ChitwoodThe big news today is another defection from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joie Chitwood is the guy who actually ran the place for a long time, and a lot of great things happened while he was there. As a matter of fact, he was one of the very first people hired with the Indy Car Series was founded. He also helped get Chicagoland going.Chitwood Car

He is headed for ISC. Perhaps he can slap some sense into that bunch, but since it is a public company, he may have his work cut out. As if the France family was not enough with which to contend. Theer is no real bridge burning, and the folks in Indy seem genuinely sad to see him go.

I hope whoever ends up running the place (looks like Mr. Belksus for now) can contend with ‘the sisters,’ plug the leaks and exterminate the rat infestation.

By the way, RIP to John Surtees’ son…killed in a freak accident over the weekend by a flying tire. That stinks. Horrible.

July 20, 2009

Indy Car Is Like a Baseball Game

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:40 am

Obviously, your mileage may vary. BUT, where my wallet and my eyeballs are concerned, Indy Car already has two strikes. Strike one was Pikes Peak. I understand that was largely out of Indy Car’s hands and has ISC anti-fan, monopolistic wet dreaming written all over that bungled nonsense. It would have been swell for them to wait until an actual track in the Denver area began construction. PPIR was my home track and I attended every Indy Car race held at that fantastic 1-miler. Today it just sits there primarily for club racers and car shows and there is still no track in or near the big city. What a waste. No big time racing is even allowed at PPIR.

Strike two was the loss of Michigan International. For an Indy car fan, that remains unforgiveable. Again, ISC is involved, and the peeing contest waged by the participants since the pullout was announced leaves fans excluded again.

Strike three will be the loss of Richmond in the event that particular game of post-race chicken continues to escalate. Again, absolutely no regard for loyal fans is evidently being considered, and losing that unique track right in the buckle of the NASCAR belt would be inexcusable, particularly if its replacement turned out to be a second road race in Brazil.

What happens after strike three? The last remaining group of fans not yet alienated by the occasionally schizophrenic business practices of Indy Car and the partners with whom they have flings will throw in the towel and become Indy-only fans, as they became during the latter part of the cart occupation of the sport.

People on all sides usually find a way to blame one side or another, but does that even matter? Neither ever actually listens to their fans despite truckloads of flowery lip service to the contrary. .

ISC Logo2PPIR, MIS and RIR are one thing, but what about all the other tracks (like Phoenix and Nashville and Fontana, etc.), overwhelmingly oval, that just get dropped leaving many other fans in the lurch? One by one, away they go. How soon will Chicagoland, Kansas, Homestead and the others meet the same fate?

Richmond is the most unique track on the schedule. The track has for years rolled out the red carpet for Indy Car and its fans, and as ISC tracks go, that is one of the very best. Additionally, it actually draws a nice crowd. I understand that last year was a crashfest and this year was a parade. That is no reason to bag a really nice history at that track in that location.devil

Is Indy Car raising their rate and Richmond is balking? Could be. It would not be shocking to learn the IRL pricing model is probably flawed and unrealistic.

In any event, my bottom line remains: No Richmond? Strike three.

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