Defender of IndyCar

Indy Car Street Abomination in Baltimore: Bag it. Or is that BagUETTE?

Eric Bachelart sold a Conquest seat to a Belgian driver this week…24 year old guy named Bertrand Baguette. If nothing else that is a darned cool name, just like fellow Belgian Wym Eyckmans before him. This latest in a long succession of non-Americans behind Indy Car steering wheels has some solid credentials, winning the 2009 World Series by Renault, and had some serious sniffing being done by Formula 1 teams. He starts at Barber and will be in St. Pete to take a close look this weekend at the second of the three God forsaken street circuits that pollute the early IZOD Indy Car schedule before the first of an ever-dwindling number of ovals. At least St. Pete has a bumpy runway and relatively pretty scenery.

Speaking of pointless gypsy street festivals with fast parades that nearly always eventually alienate cities, the citizens of Baltimore and fans of actual racing across the country are about to get another one unceremoniously shoved up their keisters as early as next season. They will fly helicopters over the streets where they want the ‘track’ to be so they can ‘survey’ it this weekend.

Hey Baltimore…if you want an event that might actually last for more than a couple of years before everyone in town gets torch-carrying angry about the colossal amount of money you will end up throwing away for hype that is mainly just hot air, why not bulldoze some of the numerous blighted areas in or close to downtown and build a REAL race track? There are parts of downtown Baltimore that are WAY worse than, say, the 30th St. side of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It would cost you less in the long run and if you did it correctly you could have Indy Car, NASCAR and any number of other quality series on your schedule. If that does not work, Dover is nearby. If people in Baltimore did not show up when Indy Cars ran there, why would they show up now?

Your hotels won’t be sold out, the hundreds of millions you expect in economic impact is a cart-style wet dream, and what you will have by Sunday night are pissed off citizens who could not get from point A to point B for over a week, litter strewn streets downtown, puke covered sidewalks and a massive clean-up effort that will cost big bucks. Build a real track. Streets are not race tracks.

15 replies to “Indy Car Street Abomination in Baltimore: Bag it. Or is that BagUETTE?

  1. Thanks for that. It just dawned on me that clicking on your page might give you, or some one else, a measure of vadildation for the material you produce. I won’t be stepping in again.

    Editor’s Note: Mr. Bernstein, we’re all just having fun here. This site may not be the right cup of tea for the easily offended. I wish you well in your future endeavors. You are welcome here any time in the event you change your mind.

  2. Wow, your absolute hatred for street races is impressive. I am sarcastic, but your level of bitterness is truely awe inspiring.

    Editor’s Note: I may reach for material sometimes, but street parading is a twisted perversion of the purity of the sport. An abomination. The more of these Indy Car allows themselves to be whored into, the worse off the sport becomes.

  3. I like some street races but there are enough already. They do add an extra element to the schedule but in large numbers they take away the diversity of the series venues.

    I think they should go back to Ricmhond or Dover. But it you HAVE to give in the street race that the City of Baltimore seems to want, why not make it an oval? To my knowledge, an oval street race has never been done. That would be unique.

  4. While I’m no great fan of street races, I am a fan of the IIRS and anything that promotes the series in these lean times is okay by me. I’m going to assume that a street race will last only if it provides decent racing and brings in money to the promoter. If they don’t, they’ll fold like any other venue. And if street races are successful and bring in some new fans, then maybe the series will grow to the point where more ovals are added also. And I feel the same way about American-born drivers–they will come (and by that I mean their sponsors will come) if the series continues to grow.

    I hope that Randy Bernard is smart enough to cut races that don’t work and to attempt also to get some historical/traditional ovals back on the schedule in the future. But I’m willing to be patient and I’m also willing to accept compromise.

  5. Last time I looked the steering wheels on cars turned both ways. I find driving around in circles at least as boring as you apparently find street racing. There should be room for everyone here. When IRL was oval only, I almost never watched. If you want to drive around in circles do it in the dirt. Sprint car racing is exciting because you are up close.

    Have you ever attended a street race or a road course race?

    Editor’s Note: Yes. Several, including some of the post-boycott champcar events (Toronto and Denver to name two—saw that Bourdais run from worst to first in Denver). I do not mind right turns. I just hate them on city streets in most cases. I am willing to accept up to three of these abominations such as one on each coast and perhaps one north of the border, but the proliferation of these pointless excuses for young people to get drunk and watch a fast parade while the citizens of whatever town the gypsy carnival invades get royally screwed. How hard would it be for Baltimore to gentrify a slum and build a proper race track? It doesn’t even have to be an oval.

  6. And by “rceivership”, I don’t mean they want to sell the business but simply put it in hands of those who don’t have 30 years of fingerprints on their brains.

  7. Your Baltimore street oval is a little crazy. Otherwise, I’d have to agree with most of your article. Baguette doesn’t add any fans the the series.

    Everyone says “street races make economic sense”. So where’s champcar? Why does ALMS run 2 street courses? Why does F1 hold 3? Grand Am, MotoGP,and World Super Bike have none(unless Montreal is counted for GA, and of course street courses aren’t safe for motorcycle racing). International Pay drivers running around temporary street courses has historicly been the most successful economic model in history. Just ask Champcar. Oh, wait….

    1. Street races make economic sense for *IndyCar*, not the cities putting them on. IndyCar gets its sanctioning check from the promoter, and then doesn’t have to worry about how much money the event loses. Frankly, I’m not sure why any city tries to start up a new street event. Long Beach has 35 years of equity going for it. Monaco has 90. Everybody else? Not so much. They’re financial boondoggles, and I think it’s a matter of time before governments figure that out.

      In the meantime, I understand why IndyCar is entertaining doing more street races. In the financial situation they’re in, they don’t have a whole lot of other options right this second. Yes, oval tracks should be looking for other revenue streams than NASCAR, and the IndyCar brass should be going to those tracks to point out that they could provide another revenue stream, but…Randy’s only been on the job for 25 days now. Also, there have only been 5 NASCAR weekends this year, so many tracks might not fully understand the situation they’re in with reduced ticket sales. Let’s give him a little time, shall we?

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