Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 12, 2010

Uh, Randy…Is the IZOD Indy Car Suggestion Box Open?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:44 am

If so, stop bending over for loud-mouthed, obnoxious malcontents who laughingly refer to themselves as racing fans. These are mostly enthusiasts of the twice defunct cart series. Getting rid of the ‘IRL’ acronym really does not matter in the big picture. Who cares? It has always been Indy Car or some close variant for decades. What is offensive to me is getting rid of it as the result of what no doubt has been incessant whining by those unworthy of offering such criticism.

Look, these people have put the sport through enough damage. If you want to really make a difference do something such as kicking ESPN, hard, right in their pompous ass. I am not sure whether they are still preceding classic Indy 500 re-airs on ESPN Classic with the word ‘NASCAR’ but they were. THAT matters. A partner who actively tries to kill the brand is far more potentially dangerous than blithering idiots who refuse to budge from 1995. And why are they not blanketing their programming grid this month with re-airs of ALL 40+ years of Indy 500’s instead of a randomly placed handful? ESPN/ABC has worn out their ‘partnership’ welcome. I am urging the Obama-led political machine to approve the Comcast purchase of NBC quickly so some more new doors open.

Seriously Randy…stop accommodating people who have spent the past fifteen years trying to kill the sport. Listen to those of us who have been fans since well before 1979. History is a GREAT teacher, and Indy Car has a lot more of it than just ‘split’ nonsense.

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18 Comments »

  1. Totally agree about ABC/ESPN.

    The good news is, based on recent interviews, Randy seems to know that fixing the TV situation is job number one. The ICS will be partially aired on NBC by the 2012 season if not sooner.

    Comment by Demond Sanders — May 12, 2010 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  2. You come across sounding like the whiner. This completes the merger. ChampCar/Cart fans have let those name go, you should do the same. Lets move forward the way it should be… IndyCar!

    Comment by Bill — May 12, 2010 @ 5:40 am | Reply

  3. In all fairness, I think the word “Indycar” is a lot more apt. Being neither a Champ Car nor IRL apologist, both those names only conjure up negative feelings with a lot of fans on both sides of the fence and I am with Bernard on this one.

    Comment by Leigh O'Gorman — May 12, 2010 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  4. “These are mostly enthusiasts of the twice defunct cart series.” As an enthusiast of the twice defunct cart series, I am just fine with the current series, since it is essentially a great recession, broke version of cart. On most of the blogs and dicussion forums, the malcontents are those who still think this series might ever star a bunch of American USAC drivers (or even include NASCAR drivers in the 500 (are you kidding me?)) and race exclusively on ovals. To me, that concept is what “IRL” represents – and I think Randy gets it. And that’s why it needs blown up.

    Editor’s Note: The closer this thing gets to cart 95 the closer to oblivion it becomes. No major road racing series has EVER made it long term in North America. I have never been a proponent of stuffing the field with USAC short trackers (they usually meet the wall relatively quickly–different discipline) but I do believe the Tony Stewarts, Davey Hamiltons, Jeff Gordons, etc., in the sport deserve an opportunity and not one closed door after another. I also believe more Americans must be involved in the series, and current owner pursuit of Euro or Brazilian formula racers with checkbooks all but guarantees the series will never be anything other than a niche. Oval racing is Americana, and my personal belief is that the series must be up to 65% oval; 50% bare minimum. Street ‘racing’ should be few and far between. Good natural terrain road courses are things of beauty. I agree with the elimination of the IRL acronym, but the way in which it is being eliminated is sleazy.

    Comment by PC — May 12, 2010 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  5. @Bill: Merger? CCWS went bankrupt. Saying that CCWS fans let the name go ignores the fact that they had no choice. Besides, if there were a significant number of CCWS fans, and, by extension, significant value in the CCWS, then why did they go bankrupt twice, have to purchase air time on SPEED, have to purchase street race venues from bankrupted promoters in order to have some place to race, etc.

    If all CCWS fans farted at the same time, they wouldn’t have enough gas to fill a party balloon. I don’t really care if the IRL wants to deprecate or even eliminate the IRL moniker—that could be justified without resorting to split politics as an explanation. But, right now R. Bernard is not just playing “small ball” with this idea of getting rid of “IRL,” he’s playing it in an empty stadium with the usual smattering of jobless partiers that always hang around until the bitter end of a 20 inning ball game.

    There isn’t going to be a flood of grateful morons (i.e. people who care so much about “IRL” that they are actually boycotting) that suddenly begin tuning in the races on their TVs, driving the IRL’s (oops!) ratings all the way up to a lofty 1.0. Sane people just don’t care one way or the other. (which serves as justification, if you think about it)

    OTOH, there are a few goofball “reporters” that keep recycling this bull**** over and over again, because they believe that they are owed something—a free ride, perhaps. What Bernard wants is positive stories about IndyCar racing, and post-Sao Paulo he actually got it. Now, however, things have slowly swung back to the negative memes of the CCWS cry babies, calling for apologies, kvetching about the cars, etc. I suspect that Bernard hopes this will shut them up. It’s being offered in lieu of an apology.

    We’ll see if the name of the corporate entity legally known as the Indy Racing League actually changes or not. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to. But, to me, this looks like an attempt to win over a small group of malcontents, so they stop saying mean things on the SPEED web site.

    Seems like a waste of time.

    Comment by Boo Boo — May 12, 2010 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  6. I’ve been thinking about this thing some more (only God knows why), and an alternate take on the situation occurred to me. Perhaps Bernard and Co. have decided to eliminate the IRL moniker for marketing/branding reasons, and are just selling it to the CCWS-aligned reporters and online commentariat in “healing the split” terms in the hope that they will drop these silly calls for an apology, etc. Two birds with one stone, if you will. In other words, “We were doing this anyway, and if it’ll get you to stop bellyaching, then sure… I can say it’s because of the split.”

    Instead of a waste of time, that would be pretty darn smart.

    Comment by Boo Boo — May 12, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  7. At least Randy Bernard is making clear where we are going. F1 Lite. The Indy 500 and a bunch of parade road courses. All driven by a different nationality.

    I hope he fails.

    Comment by Bob F. — May 12, 2010 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

    • Bob, you’ve mentioned that “F1 Lite” moniker about three or four times here and on other peoples’ blog comments (if memory serves). I guess you’re just going to ignore that Randy’s said that he wants a 50/50 oval/road split, in order to highlight and maintain the uniqueness of IndyCar among ALL worldwide motorsport series?

      Comment by The Speedgeek — May 12, 2010 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

      • I don’t see a 50/50 split being maintained. Especially when they are (1) hiring drivers with road course (and not oval) experience, (2) developing a car they have said they want to be more road course friendly, (3) are heavily dominated by old CART people who frankly believe road/street courses are the way to go.

        What I think we are going to end up with are a split of 7/6/5 with the 5 being four oval races with 6 road and 7 street courses. And I don’t think thats the way to go. They see Nascar filling the oval market and they want what is in effect an F1 League in the United States. The true believers in American Open Wheel oval racing are just not part of this group. All the trends go this way.

        If in the end there is a 50/50 split, I will be very surprised.

        Comment by Bob F. — May 13, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

      • See, that’s the part I dont’ get. Where are you getting seven street courses? We currently have five (Sao Paulo, St. Pete, Long Beach, Edmonton and Toronto) and there’s one more heavily rumored/nearing confirmation (Baltimore). Where’s your other one? And I thought that Edmonton was on the cusp of being dropped due to financial concerns. OK, with Baltimore in there, we’re back to five. Other than the Quebec City rumor (which I just don’t see happening) and the Gillette Stadium rumor (which sounds like it’s dead), there haven’t been any rumors of other street courses. Six road courses? We’ve got four right now. Where are your other two coming from? Meanwhile, only five ovals? I assume you mean Indy, Texas, Iowa, Kentucky, and just one other one (take your pick between Kansas, Homestead, Loudon, Vegas, Motegi, Milwaukee, Chicagoland, Charlotte, Atlanta, maybe a couple others)? I don’t see that happening either.

        To your points:
        1) The owners have been increasingly been hiring drivers with road course instead of oval experience since Emmerson Fittipaldi came into the series. That was almost 25 years ago. This is not a new trend, so this should be no surprise.
        2) The do want a car that’s more road course friendly because the current car was not designed to race on road courses AT ALL. When it was introduced, there were ZERO road courses on the schedule. Does this mean that they want a car that is ONLY made for road racing? I don’t think so, I think it just means that they’ll have a car that’s more adaptable between ovals and road courses.
        3) Again, having old CART people around is nothing new. Penske has been in the IRL since 2002. Ganassi since 2003.

        You’re seeing things that I’m not seeing, and I think you’re worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about right now. If you want to give yourself a dozen ulcers worrying about things that may never come true, feel free. In the meantime, I’m willing to give Randy some time to come through on what he’s been talking about.

        Comment by The Speedgeek — May 13, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  8. Getting rid of the IRL name tag is paramount. In the late 1980’s early 90’s IndyCar provided the best racing on the planet. IRL is the lamest sounding acronym for any sport I can think of. The IRL was a second rate mediocre junk ball of a racing series and it is now time to return IndyCar back to its rightful place.

    BTW, I’m a Brit and Formula 1 through and through. But the best racing series EVER was IndyCar from 1986 through 1994/5. Formula 1 is enthralling but lame – it does not deliver good racing except when it rains. If the new IndyCar tech specs get it right, then F1 is beatable on pure sporting entertainment grounds and a scenario where top F1 drivers begin to move over to IndyCar is a distinct possibility.

    I still maintain that the best race I ever saw with the race long 1993 New Hampshire IndyCar scrap between Mansell and Tracy and Fittipaldi. Get back to that, and IndyCar will boom globally.

    Editor’s Note: I wish everyone had the chance to see what Indy Car was like in the 60s and 70s. I chuckle when people talk about the ‘greatness’ of the cart period. There is a whole lot more to it than just that one evolutionary period. If they were as great as they are positioned how could they possibly have gone teats up twice?

    Comment by Ed — May 12, 2010 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  9. So we are going to abandon, or disavow a recognizable trademark for what? It take years of marketing reinforcement to establish a brand. If IndyCar needs to re-invent itself they better get it right with relevance to the future and not worry about trying to re-invent the good old days. New vintage throwback historic racing is not going to draw eyeballs because it is available on YouTube, and memories are always better………

    Comment by Tim Nothhelfer — May 12, 2010 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

    • “IndyCar” is a far, far, far more recognisable name than IRL has ever been.

      Comment by Leigh O'Gorman — May 14, 2010 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  10. Bob F = nonsense. You just simply hope Randy fails, nothing else. Pure rubbish.

    ‘IndyCar’ needs to be heard more and more. IRL is a title that was chosen when CART still had the rights to “Indy”. I think at least putting IRL in the backgroun in favor of IndyCar is wise.

    There has been great IndyCar racing since 1909, so much before our time. Let’s move forward and enjoy the racing. There’s been too much complancency over the last 30 years. Randy Benard is anything but that.

    Comment by M. Miller — May 12, 2010 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  11. CART going bankrupt twice keeps coming up – it happened for one main reason. You can’t have “IndyCars” without the Indy 500. CART was bulding momentum up through the early nineties, road courses, foreigners, and all, right up until they thought they could go on without the 500. The other reasons just make nice excuses.

    This sport will go nowhere until we all accept that it will never but what TG promised – all ovals, all American – AND it will never be CART 93-97. The IRL represents TG’s failed promise. CART represents, well, CART. Both need blown up. One already has been.

    This has nothing to do with appeazing the bitter CART fans. Both sides are equally guilty of hanging on to the past and harbouring bitterness for this not being what exactly THEY want it to be. It never will be.

    Comment by PC — May 12, 2010 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  12. “No major road racing series has EVER made it long term in North America.”

    And no IRL oval event outside Indy has ever drawn more fans than longbeach. You would have to be kidding yourself to believe that road racing was the reason for the demise of CART after 20 years.

    It seems to me that most of the CART fans have moved on and simply want to see Indycar fix the problems that keep it from being great again. The staunch IRL fans need to realize that the Hulman family’s crutches are gone and it is time for the Series to stand on it’s own. Without these changes that won’t happen.

    Editor’s Note: cart failed because they boycotted Indy. Long Beach attendance numbers have always been concocted fantasy. Texas routinely draws between 80,000 and 100,000. No North American road racing series with big time aspirations has ever made it over the long haul, Indy or no Indy. That is fact.

    Comment by Scott — May 13, 2010 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

    • Exactly, CART failed because they boycotted Indy… NOT because they were a road racing series. Hence, you have to be kidding yourself to believe that CART failed because of road racing. Indy or no Indy? No road racing series with Indy on the schedule has ever failed so you must be citing your imagination there.

      If you don’t like Long Beach’s figures, what about the concocted attendance figures that constantly float around for Indy? Speaking of which… how about the fact that it is looking like Surfer’s Paradise is preparing for an influx of 400,000 visitors for the V8 supercar race this fall. You know, the one that will feature more people who have won an open wheel race in the U.S. than the 500? There are 4-5 current IRL drivers on the wait list just in case a one of the first picks drops out and drivers are getting in line in hopes of a spot in the 2nd or 3rd opportunity to get in this event.

      Editor’s Note: Whoa…slow down there cowboy. cart failed, twice, primarily because they boycotted Indy. Secondarily because they became a predominately non-oval based series. Thus, they were destined to fail. The good people of Australia are isolated by geography. The fact that thousands of them show up for a glorified party (what street ‘races’ are) is no surprise. I am certain that if scheduling and pricing could be worked out, Indy cars would go back. I think this time the Indy Car brass is probably telling the truth when citing scheduling and pricing.

      Comment by Scott — May 14, 2010 @ 2:03 am | Reply

  13. By the way, the mailbox is gone, isn’t it?

    Comment by Scott — May 13, 2010 @ 12:28 pm | Reply


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