Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

February 19, 2010

Indy Car Owner Business Model

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:07 am

The thing about Indy Car since the whole cart thing got hatched in ’79 is the notion for three decades that you move forward by taking two steps backward. There was a time when Indy Car meant innovation and the chance to root for your favorite American driver. In the past many European Grand Prix racers mixed it up with the hometown heroes. Jim Clark’s dominant performance in 1965 was fun to watch. Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart were popular gentlemen as were a host of others. At the end of the day all the American stars were still around and winning most of the races in American cars. My favorite 500s were those that contained stars the 500 made along with Grand Prix drivers and NASCAR’s finest, all in the same race.

Why do mistakes of the past keep getting made? Why do we have a spec series with owners clamoring for a new ‘revolutionary’ spec series as they hire paying drivers from outside the United States? The Danica brand can only go so far. Graham Rahal has the potential to be a great star with a personality that far outshines, say, Marco. How does he not get a ride but Takuma Sato does? Wait. I know the answer. Someone probably ought to tell Honda that many of their products are manufactured not too far from where Graham Rahal lives.

Musical chairs among ride buying non-Americans is not going to cut it much longer. Sorry if that seems xenophobic; that is not intended. Most of the drivers are likeable enough regardless of where they are from. It is not really bad to have a seven year F-1 vet on the grid, but the series needs more stars than Danica and gimmicks. She is likely to bolt anyway given the obscene amount of money she is beginning to get thrown at her. I wonder if Randy Bernard will notice? I have not seen many Brazilians riding bulls in his previous venture.

If I know the owners their solution will be to race in the countries where the drivers come from. On a temporary circuit with high three day attendance numbers. It should not be this challenging to follow the sport.



  1. Something needs to happen to get Graham Rahal in a car. He really has potential and you’d think his dad would have enough connections to make it happen. I guess not? I am still hopefull we’ll see him on the grid this year.

    Yes, we need more than just Danica. To be safe the series should consider her gone after two years because by that time, she will bolt or her star will have faded again. With all the money being thrown at her, she might not have to do anything???? Just show up to few NASCAR races, do some commercials, and make millions. The old guard over there is starting to get upset about this Danica thing,,, stay tuned.

    If the Delta concept can work, and the cars made to look viewable, the lower cost will bring back some local blood. If the Delta concept could be combined with that of the Lola idea of FILS and ICS common parts, it could mean an explosion of teams and drivers. This will mean more US drivers as well.

    Comment by Mike Miller — February 19, 2010 @ 1:54 am | Reply

  2. You sound like a frustrated fan whose series has placed you on the ledge. let me help you jump 😉 Karl

    Editor’s Note: Actually, I have been a fan since May of 1959. Non-stop. Through the good and the bad. I understand evolution and that things will shift, as they always have. I have no plans to plant a stake in one brief period then act like a blithering idiot for the next fifteen years defending some retarded ideology.

    (so….let me get this straight, if I may….. A Zero flag flying, ride buyer, with loads of manufacturer Honda yen, outbid a Brazilian ride buyer for a single seat on a condensed team owned by a former CART champion and former owner of the Champcar Series. Oh my. Dude, that’s worse than the Bowlby Enema Wagon Special thats gonna be darting through the catch fences of Indy, if that race is still around in a year or two)

    Editor’s Note: Again, you are woefully off base, as is the case with all of your daily fake, obsessive, stalking identities. Everything in moderation, kid. Here are some of the points that again eluded your grasp: More Americans are needed. It is nice to have Formula 1 stars (not necessarily F-1 rejects). It would be nice to also have some NASCAR stars. Ride buying should never happen. Drivers should be engaged solely on the basis of talent. The Bowlby creation is fine provided they allow multiple chassis/engine combinations on the same tracks. Evolution is good. Those who feel this race may not be around in a year or two are among the single most clueless people on earth.

    Comment by Karl Wallenda — February 19, 2010 @ 2:40 am | Reply

  3. “If I know the owners their solution will be to race in the countries where the drivers come from. On a temporary circuit with high three day attendance numbers.”

    That is EXACTLY what the owners will do. In my book the definition of xenophobe is “Patriot”. We need more American Drivers. It is part of what killed CART (that and road/street racing). Baseball is about to do the same stupid thing with the new world series with Japan. They don’t get it either. I don’t mind the occassional driver from Australia, Japan or Britian. But come on.

    Hang in there Defender. I think its going to get worse before it gets better. I base that on the people know running the sport. At some point the lesson will be learned for yet another time.

    Comment by Bob F. — February 19, 2010 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

    • Hi Bob,
      I don’t necessarily think it’s the inclusion of road/street courses that is damaging – it’s the inclusion of bad road/street courses that do the damage.

      Comment by Leigh O'Gorman — February 19, 2010 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  4. I think you’ve got some of this equation a little backward. Just about every owner would love to put a great young American driver in a car, such as Graham, and to build a brand around that driver for years to come. Unfortunately, with the exception of only Penske and Ganassi, owners are no longer have sponsors lined up with the ability to then choose drivers. Other than the fairly long-term contract ABC Supply signed with Foyt, I can’t remember a team signing a sponsor recently, rather than a driver bringing the sponsor. This was the case with Formula Dream, Monavie, Izod and now Sato. I love Indycar as does everyone reading this page, but unfortunately there aren’t enough of us. Sponsors know that and get a much bigger audience and loyalty rating from Nascar. Randy Bernard was brought in because the ability to lure sponsors to Indycar had been diminished. He was able to build a brand from nothing in PBR and we all hope he can do the same in Indycar. And for the record, 2-3 of the biggest stars in PBR are Brazilian.

    Comment by Mike — February 19, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  5. One thing I will say for Sato is that he’s not a bad driver at all – if fact he’s the most successful Japanese driver in F1 history. Should he get his head around ovals, I think he will be a nice addition to the series.
    Unlike, for example Mutoh, Sato’s English is excellent and has always come across as a pleasant and affable person. I wish him well in the series.

    Comment by Leigh O'Gorman — February 19, 2010 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  6. I like the variety of courses and drivers. The courses that encourage close racing and passing with drivers with talent and the ability to pass……

    Comment by tim nothhelfer — February 20, 2010 @ 12:41 am | Reply

  7. [QUOTE]I have not seen many Brazilians riding bulls in his previous venture.[/QUOTE]

    Brazilians have won several Bull Riding Championships the past few years plus many do compete in the NFR every year in Las Vegas. I would still take a Champion like Ty Murray.


    Bodacious is maybe the Delta Wing, no cowboy could ride him, I do not believe any current driver will be able to drive a car designed like the Delta Wing

    Comment by Rosco — February 20, 2010 @ 3:41 am | Reply

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