Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 18, 2009

IndyCar Success Means Not Repeating cart Mistakes

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:41 am

Anthony Schoettle is a columnist/blogger for the Indiana Business Journal, and he has made an attempt to evaluate recent moves made by the new management at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Anthony also speculates about what might happen going forward.

The first and most obvious move was the jettisoning of the livelihoods of about 40 people. Whether that was a sound move or not depends upon who you talk to. Losing a job always stinks.

So what about other promised changes in the off-season? Anthony believes big changes are on the way. Ticket prices to the MotoGP were cut, and you can go on race day only if you would like. Those two moves seem certain to put more bodies in seats on the main day. Almost too much common sense is being used.

Anthony still makes comparisons of today’s IndyCar to yesterday’s cart/champcar; specifically in the area of team propping. Mr. Belksus wants to do away with subsidies. Schoettle believes that one of the things that killed champcar. In reality it was their boycott of Indy and refusal to accept it as the sole reason for their existence. Long term it does not make sense to offer welfare to teams willing to accept it. Short term, given an economy that is the worst it has been since the 1930s, it is a necessary evil, particularly when the series enriches itself with a quality title sponsorship. Without quality teams you have no series. What Belksus and crew should facilitate is a definitive lower overall operating cost structure.

Another prediction is that Belskus will be swayed by the voodoo short term on-paper gain economics of road and street courses and ultimately dump most oval races at great, exciting venues such as Kentucky, Iowa and even Chicagoland. If Belksus and crew are sincere about learning from history, that approach is not really different than putting a loaded gun to your temple and pulling the trigger. Every single fan group of Indy Car has been alienated at one time or another since the mid-1990s, and that type of twisted equal opportunity might seem poised to screw everyone.

Schoettle also believes Belksus might slice the month of May by a week. Why? It has already been sliced enough. Why not employ the same strategies successful Major League Baseball teams enjoy? Push special, targeted promotions and make each day a special occasion for the widest possible variety of fans. The month of May in Indy is sacred. Anyone who screws with it is doomed to fail. It needs to be a full month, and it is incumbent upon Belksus and crew to make it worthwhile to go. Shutting the gates would be a cheesy copout. The month of May is the centerpiece and reason for existence of the entire track.

Schoettle’s sentiments seem eerily similar to cart enthusiasts stuck in 1995. His talk of Belksus inheriting an oil slick is arrogant. People who directly or indirectly blame Tony George for any and all perceived problems are myopic. If the economy of North America was not in the tank we would not be reading such sentiments; just the same brand of irrational hatred of Tony George twelve year olds and/or privileged ownership not allowed to cook their own hot dogs inside the track concocted in 1995 and tried shoving down our throats non-stop ever since.

My belief is that Belksus and crew should go forward and continue redeveloping the entire surrounding area. Make IMS a year-round destination resort. Someone also needs to play an eminent domain card for the vicinity surrounding the 30th Street side of the track. That entire area cannot be bulldozed quickly enough. Creeping blight will eventually hurt the track.

The sheer potential of the legendary track makes re-investment as sound as ever. The one practice Mr. Belksus must keep alive is the notion that continuous reinvestment in the physical plant pays off. Not doing that results in the average ISC track, and there really is no comparison.



  1. Positions that are superfluous or could be outsourced seem to be the ones being cut. This actually makes sense in these economic times, the worst since the great depression. Tony George’s hiring practices had made the IMS staff top heavy. To go off on a wild speculation frenzy such as the IBJ article is to say one would burn his yard to get rid of a few weeds.

    It seems to me the job cuts are a means to keep the BY 400 and Moto GP going, to continue to improve the IMS and surrounding area. But since the rumors of the “IMS for SALE” of “END of the IRL” have been squashed, now is the time to reinvent this rant with new rumors. So here we go again!!!

    Nothing but negative noise with from those with a bone to pick with the Speedway, Tony George and his family; and those who perpetrate this misinformation will once again be proven wrong. Then we’ll move on to something else. I’ll help them.

    Time for my speculation: ISC will annex the city of Indianapolis and take control of Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Field House, O’Riely Raceway Park (IRP), and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Eventually the Colts, Pacers, Indy Ice, Indiana Fever, and the IRL will all be under the ISC umbrella.

    Comment by Mike Miller — November 18, 2009 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

    • Job cuts to keep the MotoGP and BY400 going?????? What the heck are you talking about? Are you saying those are money losing ventures and they have to lay people off in order to make money on those ventures? Bottom line is IMS is not bringing in near the revenue they did 10 years ago. During May AND August. I think it is funny how all of you Tony bootlickers like to claim the Indy 500 has lost none of its luster and it is all Nascar’s fault and apparently, MotoGP’s fault.

      Editor’s Note: As a compassionate adult, my wish for the uneducated casual skimmers who lurk on the Internet is that they seek out remedial education to facilitate comprehension of the written word. By the way, what is a ‘bootlicker?’

      Comment by TroyM — November 19, 2009 @ 1:49 am | Reply

      • Speaking of remedial education, I was directing that post to Mike Miller. You will notice how it appeared under his post and it is formatted as such. Of course, most of the so-called defender supporters on here are usually you anyway.

        Editor’s Note: Did you ingest lead paint chips as a youngster?

        Job cuts at IMS follow a general pattern in the economy these days…the economic impact of the major events held at IMS do make money for the owners (and, as a matter of fact, have economic impacts that are greater than Super Bowls for the area); the owners want to make MORE money.

        Comment by TroyM — November 20, 2009 @ 2:16 am

      • How mature. Once again, my specific question was not answered. I did not need to know what the layoffs at IMS were following a general pattern Mr. obvious. I asked if he was implying the layoffs were to keep the MotoGP and BY400 going, which is what he said. He seemed to imply those events lose money for the speedway and didn’t mention the IRL or the 500.

        Editor’s Note: Speaking of maturity and questions not being answered, what is a ‘bootlicker?’ Not to speak for the intelligent contributor who asked the questions to which you have taken umbrage…all three events make money for IMS. The 500 has seen increased attendance over the past few years. Layoffs, I believe, are designed to bolster the IMS bottom line; i.e., get the family the amount of money that makes them comfy. My hope is that they again find a way to get Formula One back to the track in a way that makes economic sense.

        Comment by TroyM — November 20, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  2. It must hurt pretty bad when you have to watch your hero Tony George get his ass handed to him by his family and then have to watch his successor undo the mistakes that were made under Tony’s leadership.

    Editor’s Note: Well that is one way of looking at it. A tremendously misinformed, typically hostile way, but a way nonetheless. This blog is open to commentary of all types, regardless of the degree of stupidity.

    Comment by TroyM — November 18, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  3. Schoettle’s sentiments seem eerily similar to cart enthusiasts stuck in 1995. His talk of Belksus inheriting an oil slick is arrogant. People who directly or indirectly blame Tony George for any and all perceived problems are myopic.

    For review:

    -Tony started the IRL and made the 500 a laughing stock to anyone not living in Indiana.
    -Tony managed the IRL into never making a profit for 15 years.
    -Under Tony’s management, all the American drivers left anyways, the racing became too expensive to small teams and short trackers, and the series is now dominated by Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi and their foreign road course racers.
    -Tony’s expertise led the IRL into having the lowest consistent cable ratings of their entire existence this year, as well as the lowest TV rating for the Indy 500 in its history.

    Well, I guess he killed CART. I guess if that’s what he was shooting for and driving the sport into irrelevance and near collapse was an acceptable outcome to make it happen, he was wildly successful. But hey, at least they gave away all their IPs in return for some cool stickers on the sides of cars. I’m sure that will get Donny Schatz in a Dallara any second.

    Comment by lulzasaurus — November 19, 2009 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  4. I’m picturing a suburban basement made up like a television studio. And Troy (with a fake moustache and a polyester sports coat) screaming at a cardboard cut-out of Tony George.

    Comment by redd — November 20, 2009 @ 1:00 am | Reply

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