The departure from the motor sports scene of Tony George should be great news for those who despise him. Unfortunately the small but loud insolent clowns who steadfastly refuse to accept actual reality prove to this day that assumption is not the case. You need look no further for proof than the recycled, twisted dead horse whacking crapped out by one of ESPN’s ‘finest,’ John Oreovicz.
“No matter how true the statement actually is, Tony George will go down in history as the man who effectively destroyed Indy-car racing.”
How is it pundits like Oreovicz, who ordinarily seem somewhat bright, manage to trot out sentiments so dishonest, lazy and unoriginal with such amazing frequency? What, exactly, is the point? With each passing year it becomes easier to understand how those foolish enough to make such observations are genuinely among the most myopically retarded individuals on earth. These people, most of whom have no actual experience of any Indy Car racing prior to the inception of cart, honestly believe it really is as simple as ‘Tony George started the IRL therefore any problem, real or perceived, is his ‘fault.’ That is astounding.
If we are fortunate enough to get history written by those who are actually objective, it will explain:
-Tony George started the Indy Racing League as a complementary series to cart (not a competitor), stressing oval racing and providing a viable pathway and alternative for home grown talent (like Jeff Gordon) to pursue big time racing other than NASCAR.
-There was not much sinister ‘vision,’ just a desire to make the sport more accessible to those being increasingly shut out.
-Tony George made one mistake he admits was ill begotten, which was the 25/8 rule. Even that was not made until cart needlessly backed him into a corner. It lasted all of one year, and had cart not been so utterly stupid they STILL could have squished the infant IRL like a bug.
-Tony George is not AT ALL responsible for any real or perceived malaise in the sport for a variety of reasons.
-cart owner collective arrogance and ego led them to the one act that DID actually fracture the sport; the OTO US 500 (featuring the first lap crash fest with all the ‘stars n’ cars’) on the same day as the Indianapolis 500. Roger Penske later admitted that was the worst mistake of his professional career. Those of us who understand and respect the integrity of the sport who were in attendance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that May day in 1996 alternated between laughter and contempt for the REAL cause of a ‘split.’ It was on that day I vowed to see cart dead and buried.
-Tony George only made made one generously interpreted comment in fifteen years regarding taking a hammer to work, and that one comment along with 25/8 are used as the foundation for one of the most misguided assessments of blame in the entire written history of sports. Other than that, Tony’s mouth stayed shut. Tightly. For years.
-Compare that to hysterically bleating boycotters who waged an officially sponsored negative propaganda campaign that made contentious political campaigns look tame every day, nonstop and relentlessly, for nearly fifteen years. These people did ALL the trash talking. Now huffy revisionists like Oreovicz think Tony should apologize!? That is neither sane nor rational.
-If cart was the all powerful, cash-rich entity its supporters insist it was, how on earth could they have possibly gone bankrupt, not once but twice? Tony George had nothing at all to do with the failed management of that organization, just as he has nothing to do with the failing ALMS series or any of the many others that have failed over the past twenty years. Indy Car, contrary to dishonest perception being attempted, is alive and well.
Alive and Well And Still turning Wheels
-How could Tony George be perceived as a bumbling, mumbling idiot (and get called a variety of vulgar, sophomoric names continuously in the process) while simultaneously being blamed as some mastermind of cart destruction?
Given the lack of ethics, honesty and originality of motorsports writers in general these days, led by the disheveled, axe-grinding and oft-fired Robin Miller, an objective accounting of actual reality is not likely in our lifetime. Hell most of the writers were employed by cart or its successor organization at one time. I am personally sick and tired of gutless cowards revising history to fit their own hateful prejudice. Miller is the master and actually has the experience to know better. It is a shame people like Oreovicz are such gullible understudies.
This piece, however, deals directly with dung being flung by Oreovicz: “Since George inherited leadership of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1989 at the age of 29, Indy-car racing went from being a successful sport on the rise to a struggling, directionless entity, dwarfed in this country by stock car racing and virtually invisible in the overall sports spectrum. Even the Indianapolis 500, the powerful trump card that George used in an attempt to gain overall control of Indy-style racing, is a shadow of its former self, a poor second cousin to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in terms of impact and prestige.”
The Still Deceased cart Series
These types of paragraphs make the case that these people are the dumbest on the planet very easy to make. Imbeciles have a tendency to think with their prejudices instead of their brains. cart was swell while it lasted and very fun to watch, but what these people believe they saw has taken on such an inflated afterlife (the result of heaping helpings of nonsense) that no series will ever match the fantasy they have created for themselves. They forget facts that include:
-The Indianapolis 500 is the number ONE top sporting event in terms of the dollar impact on their areas every single year. They generate more than ANY NASCAR event (100 million more than Daytona) and more than ANY Super Bowl.
-The Indianapolis 500 draws more people into that one stadium every single year than any other single day sporting event on earth.
-The Indianapolis 500 earns higher television ratings than any non-NASCAR racing event. Yes, they have slipped. So has virtually everything else.
-NASCAR had already surpassed Indy Car by the early 1990s. The same sort of stagnancy and evolution away from ovals had begun in earnest.
Probably the single most clueless point these people try cramming down others’ throats is that the 500 is a ‘shadow of its former self.’ That only works for those who have created the aforementioned cart fantasy that is bigger in revisionist memories than it was in real life.
“Which means that George’s decision in 1994 to create the Indy Racing League as a competing alternative to the existing cart IndyCar World Series could not have come at a worse time.” The ONLY problem, John, is that the IRL was NOT created as a ‘competing alternative.’ That point could not have been made more clearly at the time. It only became a ‘competing alternative’ in the twisted, arrogant minds of cart-centric crybabies who were, and are today, completely mistaken. Revisionist history will simply not stand.
“The formation of the IRL, which began staging races in 1996, sparked a 13-year battle for control of Indy-car racing and ultimately led to a mass exodus by fans, sponsors and manufacturers. NASCAR’s impressive growth in that period almost exactly coincided with Indy car’s decline.” There did not have to be a ‘battle’ and the exodus that occurred over time was not much of one. That perception is 100% the fault of cart and its apologists. So is ALL of the scorched earth associated with their ‘battle.’
“While the Brickyard has been a big money-maker for the Speedway, the other key changes during the Tony George era required huge expenditures — especially the formation and running of the IRL. It was that massive drain on the Hulman family trust — estimated at upward of half a billion dollars — that ultimately led his mother and three sisters (who make up two-thirds of the Hulman & Co. board) to orchestrate his ouster.” That one always makes me laugh too. The figure tossed out by those who really have no clue is $600,000,000.00. That is also insane. Want to be a real reporter? Go get me some actual numbers. Trying to pass off speculation as fact without any real source is dishonest.
“I strongly believe that Indy-car racing’s former fans — and there are millions of them — aren’t going to embrace the IRL until the man who created it accepts some responsibility for the detrimental actions he forced upon the sport they love.” I disagree. If there are people who actually think that way I do not want them anywhere near my favorite sport because they are a toxic cancer. They have no place or business near it. Stay away. That includes any hypocrite who has spent fifteen years screaming loudly about how badly they hate it but continue a daily obsession with it.
“And all of Izod’s millions of dollars of marketing clout won’t achieve anything until George breaks his silence to apologize for his role in putting Indy-car racing in the downtrodden position it occupies.” If I were Tony George it would be at this point that I would request that you, and anyone displaying such lack of class and sportsmanship, simply kiss my ass. But he won’t. He is above the type of poor sportsmanship and dishonesty you condone. Oh, and IZOD is actually promoting the series and paying handsomely for it. National spots in both football conference championship games were spun this past weekend. There is also a long term, forward-thinking television/multimedia deal that is earning the more efficiently operated series tens of millions more. Yeah, that is certainly downtrodden. When will Oreovicz and his ilk at least begin being honest with themselves, much less those who read their words?
If I was Oreovicz or any of the other agenda riddled whiners with access to column space, I would focus on the future. Most of the cart-era owners are long in the tooth and are closer to retirement or death than is comfortable to ponder. Who will replace them? The cigars Carl Haas sticks in his mouth are bigger around than he is. Will we ever really be able to cultivate superstars that are not Danica-like anomalies? Jimmie Johnson is the next Rick Mears, but he races in NASCAR. How can Indy Racing cultivate its own, particularly given the ride-buying musical chairs that happens annually? In other words, writers, pay attention to things that are actually important.
“The Tony George era may be gone. But it certainly won’t be forgotten by anyone who cares about Indy-car racing.” As a real racing fan who has been watching since the late 1950s, my thought is that the IRL era has been a compelling and interesting part of Indy Car evolution, just as cart was. Those who still waste their time bitching about Tony George are pretty distant from even fundamental understanding of either the sport or sportsmanship. Tony George is neither a hero nor a villain. He was a caretaker, and a fine one at that. Those who owe apologies to the rest of the sport are those associated with cart who sought, for no good reason, to destroy it.