Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 8, 2010

A Refreshing New Chapter In Indy Car Gets Written This Weekend at Barber

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:35 am

The Indy Car Series races for the first time this weekend in Birmingham at a home grown venue that has no ties to the politics of the past. The venue is the Barber Motorsports Park, a reclaimed strip mine that has been transformed by George Barber and his people into what some have called the Augusta of race tracks. Not too many critical remarks are possible, other than possibly concern about how Indy Cars are going to race on a track designed primarily for motorcycles.

What will be really refreshing is seeing thousands of actual racing fans with no stupid predisposition to compare any of this to 1995 invade the place over the weekend (the weather is supposed to be chamber of commerce stuff) to watch the current stars of the sport compete. Alabama is actually a hotbed for a variety of motor sports. Everyone knows about Talladega just down the road, but the Barber folks have built an impressive list of activities at their track, and it stays busy most of the year. To see it is to appreciate it, and the museum is stunning. The horticulture and art that accent the landscape are both beautiful and quirky.

The local news media has tended to write about Indy Car racing, the event and the personalities. The track is promoting the event with slick messaging on TV and radio and outdoor. Conspicuously absent is much talk about the ‘split’ or any other similar dead horse whipping. That is completely refreshing. The national media still seems stuck in that rut, but even they are coming around.

A genuine shame, however, is ESPN continuing to be the worst ‘partner’ in the entire history of television sport. Randy Bernard really ought to have disposing of them in his top five tasks when Comcast takes over NBC. I foolishly went to the ESPN site today to check the advance coverage for Barber and there was, uh, nothing. They had a NASCAR link up there at the top, but no hint about how to get to ‘other’ racing. When I managed to find a way in, there was, uh, nothing about the race. They needed to be fired years ago. You simply should not maintain ties with a ‘partner’ actively attempting to kill your brand. We should be thankful Versus has the coverage for this weekend.

With enough fresh new venues like Barber (preferably ovals or a limited number of natural terrain road courses and no more of those street abominations) the rediscovery of Indy Car by new fans not jaded by past politics will help energize enthusiasm for the sport in an unobstructed way. Those of us on the way to Barber are looking forward to an outstanding weekend of racing by a variety of series.


1 Comment »

  1. I agree. Something must be done about the ABC/ESPN/Indycar relationship. On one hand you have ABC using Good Morning America and Helio to strike up attention, and on the other you have ESPN promoting the bajeezus out of NASCAR. The ESPN side-by-side coverage on ABC is seriously a joke. The only time we hear about Indycar on ESPN is when they announce the winner of the 500. I like NASCAR, but it is still slower, dumber, and uglier than Indycar. In the age of “everything comes at the push of a button” you would think that people would want to watch the fastest racing possible. Let’s keep riding the bull that is VERSUS and keep our excellent Indycar coverage!

    Comment by Robert — April 12, 2010 @ 1:42 am | Reply

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