Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 30, 2009

Nil Bastardo Carborundum, Anton!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:34 am

Defender to the RescueSome of the more idiotic of the obsessed Defender followers seem to lump me (and many others) into a category of Tony George worship, usually accompanied by colorfully descriptive epithets. Names such as ‘boot licker’ or ‘kool-aid drinker’ are common. So are scatological references dealing with perceived intimate contact.

AntonThis has been a banner year for Tony’s howling critics. It is my sincere hope that the outrageous squealing since 1995 by imbeciles who have never truly understood the meaning of the words ‘ill advised boycott’ has not played any part in driving the man away. Tony is not responsible for the failure of cart; cart did that to themselves mostly because they stupidly believed they could de-emphasize Indy and remain successful.

Tony brought the sport back around for a time until the cart-centric personalities and ideals crept back in. The homogenized spec racing series we have today is a direct result of that return. The perceived problems Tony has run deeper than just yammering malcontents stuck in a prior decade. The sisters voted him off the island and mums is said to be miffed over the removal of the landmark outside turn 2. Then there is the money.

SistersMost people understand those types of politics. As generations pass, many times succeeding relatives dilute the purity of what ancestors built. Even those enamored of Hulmans and Georges occasionally wonder how a business operated mostly with cronyism and nepotism and all the sophistication of a lemonade stand got as big as it did. The future is up to others to decide now, but I have always thought the model of a visionary leader linked to someone capable of running a successful business works fine. Tony Hulman had immense vision and Joe Cloutier.

Visionary II would not blame Tony George if he gathered up all his toys, headed out to sea, then mooned the state of Indiana permanently. He has had more dung thrown his way than a bagger in a fertilizer factory. I hope he does not take that path. IMS is too valuable to place into others hands. It is possible his daughter has a spark, but I do not give the current young generation much credit in the vision area. I also do not see Mr. Belksus as a suitable Joe Cloutier successor, but it is early.

Vacation? Yep. But I would like to believe Tony will return and really kick some ass this time. Take no prisoners.

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September 29, 2009

Tony George: Empty Nester

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:32 am

It is great being a racing fan but it is very difficult for me to comprehend the odd fascination many have with some of the sport’s personalities. Tony George has hit a rough patch in recent months and remains the object of both affection and derision (and hatred, and delinquency and some might say worship) but is still at the center of way too much chatter.

Only 3 MillionThis week he put his house up for sale. It is not an ordinary house as you might imagine. It has twelve acres, tennis courts, stables, and lots of other accoutrements smack dab in the middle of Indianapolis. The reason for selling (for nearly 3 million) is because Tony and his wife are now empty nesters, and that is a lot of house to take care of.The Hulman George Folks

His critics have a different view. His admirers do too. I say good for him. He can live wherever he wants. When Mari Hulman George retires will she appoint Tony George as the new Chairman of the Board, or have all the recent dramatic changes to the IMS landscape forced an extended Tony time-out? Time will tell.

The best part of this real estate development is the way people are tripping over one another to discuss it. As if it is the business of anyone so obsessed. THAT is entertainment.

September 28, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing in Indy Car?

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

A couple of things happened last week that made IRL-obsessed critics who always portend doom for the series look foolish again. First, Honda reaffirmed its involvement for a few more years, and still welcomes all comers. The hottest rumors point to a German entity, but Indy Car fans have learned never to count on anything before a deal gets signed. That is because everyone who has ever been in charge of Indy Car who can competently flap their jowls unfailingly spout prodigious doses of bullsh*t every time they get near a live mic. But Honda involvement is great to a point.

Danica also announced she re-upped with AGR for three more years with Motorola-based sponsorship. That is good news from a personality marketing standpoint.

powered-by-honda_logoUsually when performing mundane tasks on non-Indy Car race weekends, I think about big picture items while performing other tasks so I don’t fall asleep when NASCAR is on. Honda in the series is a good deal overall because the reliability of their powerplant has never been surpassed by anything else in history. It is almost too reliable. Does the racing suffer, however, because everyone is limited to unpacking a crate and then bolting it in? I miss the days of multiple engine builders. Engine failure Penske Wins A Lothappened because teams took it to the limit. Is that not what racing is about? Finding a limit then stretching it?

Is Indy Car better off with teams like Penske and Ganassi? Of course it is. But Indy Car racing was a lot better and closer when those teams were engaged in their pointless boycott when cart/champcar was alive. Is the idea of parity flawed? It seems to favor the top teams. Of course it also works that way without parity because they spend more than everyone else.

Is That Tony StewartIt’s food for thought. Only one more chance for a Coyne-like upset this year, but I would not count on it.

September 25, 2009

DirecTV Vs. Versus…What Round Are We In?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:14 am

One group of people who seem serious about resolving the DirecTV Versus carriage issue are those who run Versus. The only way to really begin to understand the issue to is determine why there is a fight that has reached the point of depriving service to paying customers. Versus has been wide open about their stance; DirecTV somewhat but mostly business-speak lip service.

The good news is that negotiation continues but that light you may see at the end of the tunnel is still flickering.

DirecTV says Versus wants 20% more money and desires placement on a tier that reaches all DirecTV subscribers. The real fight where Versus is concerned does not concern licensing fees per se (they are seeking current market rate), but rather placement of the channel. The money question differs from numbers some of us have been led to believe are true but probably are not; e.g., Versus is seeking ESPN-level rates.

Market rates do not necessarily equal ESPN rates. DirecTV, according to Versus, wants to place the channel on a tier that would mean an immediate loss of 6 million households.

Stuck in the MiddleAs it now stands the absence of DirecTV’s 14 million subscribers puts a real dent in the 75 million homes where Versus has been available, and despite expanded previewing from Dish and some other cable pickups those 14 million subscribers are very important.

Versus actually responds to those from whom they hear, and if you are either a DirecTV subscriber now without Versus or subscribe to a cable system that does not currently carry Versus, you ought to let all parties know.

DirecTV CustomerI applaud those who jumped through hoops to dump DirecTV to get Dish, but you probably should not sign any long-term deals because Versus and Dish have to renegotiate before 2013. In any event, jumping through hoops to watch Versus should not have to happen.

It is almost time for the Indy Car season closer, college football is in full swing and the NHL season starts in a week. If I were you I would keep the heat on both parties to get a deal done. This customer-in-the-middle-of-a-standoff nonsense is just not acceptable. If you have not let your feelings be known, what are you waiting for?

September 24, 2009

Juan Pablo Montoya: Ass

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:03 am

Jim Crandell is a sports broadcaster in Sacramento at KTXL. That is a local station that serves a population with a lot of racing fans in California. The other day Crandell was the last in line of a pool of local reporters queued up for a Q & A session with Juan Pablo Montoya, he of the NASCAR ‘chase’ 2009. Every other TV talking head got to ask their 2 to 3 typically inane questions. Crandell unluckily happened to be the last one in line, and when 5pm arrived JPM decided he needed to be somewhere else instead of spending just another 3 to 4 minutes being a professional. Before Crandell had a chance to utter a single word, JPM was removing the sound gear and saying so long in an abrupt way, basically walking out. Naturally, Crandell left disappointed and unhappy.

http://www.fox40.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=027b811e-6268-4c76-b8eb-a0bfc822efd2&src=front

Juan Pablo MontoyaMontoya’s disrespectful behavior is curious at a time when ratings and popularity for the tin tops is slipping. ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway only reached a 2.5 overnight Nielsen rating.  That’s almost 22% down from the prior year, and is continuing a trend.

0 Championship PointsThe predictable reaction of those predisposed toward knee jerking will no doubt include unrelated slamming of Indy Car for no apparent reason as commentary. Stupidity in public is not limited to just one former Formula 1 pilot. Now that Nelson Piquet II finds himself out on his arse overseas, rumors abound that he may try and horn in on an Indy Car ride instead of, oh, seeing a deserving Lights driver get promoted. The former cart owners now running the asylum seem content to continue making all the popular mistakes of the past. If Piquet Jr. is anything like his father he probably will not need to crash on purpose.

Most of us grudgingly admire Montoya’s arrogance at times, but mostly it reflects badly on himself and the sport.

September 23, 2009

Making Versus the ‘Next ESPN’

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:51 am

Comcast Sucks As WellOur friends at Versus announced they are adding a new show to their lineup. They will spotlight NASCAR ‘Chase’ drivers for half an hour a week. Some question their commitment to the Indy Car Series. Realistically this is not a bad development. It has the opportunity to draw eyeballs. Besides, this year the ‘chase’ is a good story with guys like Mark Martin and Juan Pablo fighting for the title.

Now that one Indy Car race has passed while the tiff between Versus and DirecTV continues to simmer, I have a suggestion for Comcast. Sell/spin off Versus to an entity who will not screw their customers. The ownership of cable provider services and content networks is awkward, particularly when marketing the content networks to competitors.

NBC ClassicMy suggestion: NBC Universal. They are probably the only entity out there that could make the dream of making Versus ‘the next ESPN’ come to pass. Charging cable operators ESPN prices is unrealistic and customers are getting screwed in the process.

It is not the style of the Indy Car Series to go guerilla when 18 million television households just vanish, but perhaps the NHL will take umbrage as their season begins.

I am eagerly awaiting Homestead!

September 22, 2009

Racing for Old Men

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:01 am

JPMThere are a few things NASCAR does that inspire me to try and watch their races on a relatively consistent basis. I do not know of many racing fans from any discipline that do not in some way like Juan Pablo Montoya. He is cocky and talented in that rare way that allows effective driving in a variety of disciplines. He is having a banner year this year in the tin tops.

Heavy TonyTony Stewart has always drawn interest because he is another of those throwback drivers with an attitude and a ton of talent. Lately the fortunes of Mark Martin have drawn my eyeballs toward the ‘stock’ cars because he is up there in the years department like many of us. He had a great race day this past weekend. He even has something in common these days with Danica Patrick (well, other than chest size) with an announcement that Godaddy is joining his sponsorship efforts.

79722337JH006_Daytona_500_FThat said, I always walk away slightly disappointed. It is not the lack of effort of the participants. The racing is just way too slow for my personal taste. I like it much faster. Indy Cars give that to me.

The NFL football game on Sunday night drew 21 million sets of eyeballs and was the number one show on television. Indy Car and even NASCAR wish they had that problem these days. What does the NFL do? I have begun to believe the biggest thing is parity. Any given Sunday. In Indy Car, only one other team besides Ganassi and Penske have won this year. Over the past few years it has been three teams. Honest parity will do more to inspire interest in the series than anything else. Even NASCAR features surprise winners relatively frequently.

That is a noble goal for next season.

September 21, 2009

Motegi: Not Boring. Not Edge of the Seat. Good Track, Though.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:28 am

DixieThe weekend racing highlight for many was the Indy Car race in Japan, won by a red car (gee, how often has that happened?) piloted by Scott Dixon. Ryan Briscoe had a critical brain fade at an inopportune moment. We have one more chance for a Justin Wilson/Dale Coyne-type story at Homestead, by that time well into football along with baseball playoffs. Given the heads up the rear ends of brass at Comcast and DirecTV, the ratings will be way down as well. That stinks.

Pissed Off DanicaIt should, however, be a party and we should all try to sneak away!

Memo to last year’s Motegi victor…Danica, please stop yelling on your radio for Michael to try and get people to move over so you can pass. It is called ‘racing’ because the goal is to pass by being a better driver than the one in front. If you try to pull that crap in NASCAR the good ol’ boys will plant your arse into the SAFER.

Party at HomesteadKudos to Versus and IMS Productions and whoever the Japanese contractors were…they erased years of what appeared to be Vaseline-smeared lenses on television cameras on the family o’ Disney channels.

This is the worst part of the season for Indy Car fans; the last race is looming and the off season is too long!

September 17, 2009

Motegi! I Really Think So Doo Doo Dooooo Doo Doo Doo

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:29 am

Remember that song by The Vapors back in the really bad part musical part of the 80’s? I am unable to remove it from my noggin. Probably because that is where the boys (and girls) are. Can Danica make it two straight?

Everybody! Let’s sing along!

Danica FansI’ve got your picture of me and you
You wrote “I love you” I wrote “me too”
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do
Oh it’s in color Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel And soft as clouds
Gentlemen Start Your Turning JapaneseI often kiss you when there’s no one else around

I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture
I’d like a million of you all round my cell
I want a doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You’ve got me turning up and turning down
And turning in and turning ’round

Turning JapaneseI’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
I’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so

I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture
I’d like a million of them all round my cell
I want the doctor to take a picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You’ve got me turning up and turning down and turning in and turning ’round

JapanicaI’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
I’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark
Everyone around me is a total stranger
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger
That’s why I’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
I’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so

Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so
(think so think so think so)
Turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so

I will be up late this weekend…you?

September 16, 2009

An Indy Car Potpourri

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

Pardon the day delay in the ‘ol blog. I am commuting to New York about once a week, and in a meeting today with representatives of a couple of big sports leagues (involving balls, not engines) I learned that even the biggest are worried about the effect the continuing sour economy will have on their bottom lines over the next two years. A side conversation with a couple of folks indicated smaller leagues had the best chance of improvement, including major league soccer and Indy Car.

Its All DownI know the tendency of the current management of Indy Car is to eschew ovals at all cost in order to extract ‘easy’ millions from gullible street ‘racing’ marks willing to buy into the voodoo economics associated with such farcical perversions of the sport. This is further proven by the fact that NASCAR has its truck and B-team races scheduled there again in 2010. Earlier they announced no racing until they got paid. They must have gotten paid. Did the IRL? If they did will they return (as they should)? Here is hoping common sense prevails.

Comcast BlowsI am looking forward to the Japan Indy Car event on Versus this weekend in the wee hours. I would have thought DirecTV and Comcast would have worked something out by now. It looks like the IRL will have many fewer million potential households, and fans will continue getting screwed. Hey DirecTV and Comcast, here is a great suggestion. Submit to arbitration from a neutral arbitrator. You both have a point, but that does not stop fans from being screwed. Paying customers are your first responsibility, and you have forgotten that. Fix this situation NOW.

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