Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 24, 2010

The Karma of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:56 am

It rewards those who respect it and punishes those who do not. Tony Kanaan survived more bad luck in two weeks than any human should endure, wrecking both his cars in successive days. He and his crew never gave up and kept reaching. In the last hour of bump day he was able to put a cobbled together replacement in solidly. Tracy and crew, meanwhile, withdrew themselves from the bubble then failed to bump themselves back in. This came after a week of reminding people several times that he believes he actually won the 2002 race. Karma. It is real.

Milka Duno also tried but failed. Jay Howard’s team also made an ill advised withdrawl and failed. That left Herta’s team with a wrecked car and a spot in Row 11.

A.J. Foyt had a verbal spat on pit road with his grandson over the setup of #41, and that tiff caused Anthony to tell grandpa where he could stick the car. The sticking did not include getting it into the show even though Jaques Lazier tried. These days it’s a little too much to expect a once-a-year driver to banzai his way into the show on the last day. I love A.J., but his role on the team should probably be ‘guy on the golf cart who signs autographs and presses flesh.’ Let Larry and some other great people run the show. They proved at Kansas they can do just fine.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an amazing place and part of its magic has always been the immaculate condition in which it has been kept along with the friendliness of its people. In the new Belskus-led era, the counting of beans is depressingly evident this May. The whole place is dirtier. Trash in the stands was largely not picked up from Friday to Sunday.  Plumbing in several restrooms was leaking badly. No visible annual renewal project was visible anywhere. The change from last year to this year is stunning.

There are still good yellow shirts, but my party encountered several rude, surly, unhelpful idiots in that role this weekend. If my job was supervising those people there would be many who would find their positions eliminated tomorrow. Behavior I observed at the track by many is just not acceptable. Concessions are reasonably priced, but slippage of the condition of the plant is way too obvious.

If I want to visit an unkept dirty track filled with ambivalent people who are rude, I will patronize an ISC facility. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect that nonsense at IMS. Tony George ‘got it’ and still receives too little credit.



  1. mate i am pretty certain that tracy did win in 2002. it’s just you won’t admit it cause you think he couldn’t cause he was from champ car. Why don’t we meet in the middle and say he was the Champ car indy 500 winner from that year.

    Editor’s Note: I tend to rely on actual reality. The actual reality is he did not win. To claim otherwise is foolish and unsportsmanlike.

    Comment by nosh pitt — May 24, 2010 @ 3:21 am | Reply

  2. Speaking specifically of the speedway there are some bad trends. Some may be money related.

    I made the mistake of taking two of my kids (age 11 and 9 at the time) to Carb Day last year. It was the first time I had been to Indy since the 80’s where the place was out of control (I had attended the first Friday Carb Day with no problems). We made the mistake of walking though someone’s Corn hole game. Of course, you could not walk anywhere without walking though someone’s corn hole game. For that I was hit with the bag as hard as the horribly drunk individual (who was the only one playing) could throw it. It really was lucky for him that my kids were there. Security was non-existent that day and is why I am not going back this year.

    Security seemed better at practice Sunday and and Pole Day Saturday (but there is much fewer people there those days). I have heard they are actually trying to get the “biker crowd” back. Even trying to reinstitute the snake pit in turn 3. I liked the family friendly moves Tony George made and I hate to see they are going away.

    I still can’t believe Jay Howard went back out there at the end yesterday. Tracy was clearly having trouble with his car and I don’t think there was any way possible he would have qualified. But that is what makes Bump Day what it is.

    Comment by Bob F. — May 24, 2010 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  3. The biggest disappointment for me was Paul Tracy not getting in. He’s my favorite driver, and the ‘500 is going to be lacking something without him in it.

    Editor’s Note: It would have been interesting watching him try to charge ahead from row 11, and I am disappointed he did not make it. It looks to be a great race however.

    Comment by DOUG — May 24, 2010 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  4. Speaking of the yellow shirts, I wonder if the ones sitting in completely empty stands are being paid to sit there and watch race cars or if they’re being paid to stand under them and keep people out. Generally the ropes with “closed” signs work just fine.

    Comment by The dude — May 24, 2010 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  5. How long are you going to cry about Tony George not being in charge? Obviously, the financial performance of the place was lackking under his leadership. He was a complete idiot, who ran the place and the entire sport of indycar racing into the ground. I am amazed at you bootlickers who claim that he “gets it” and refer to him as a “visionary”.

    Editor’s Note: Obviously your reading comprehension skills are not improving. Judging from the increased attendance and buzz at the track last week and over the weekend I would have to say those in charge are very happy. Tony kept the physical plant in great shape year round regardless of expense. On Sunday I unwillingly stood in the pee of lots of other people in multiple restrooms with bad plumbing. Litter was not picked up. That kind of nonsense would not be tolerated under Tony. That was the point that eluded your grasp.

    Comment by TroyM — May 24, 2010 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

    • I think TroyM might be some kind of Tyler Durden-esque personality living in Defender’s mind…

      Editor’s Note: Actually, I think of him as nothing more than a monkey a zoo cage, eating with his feet and throwing feces at those more evolved.

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — May 24, 2010 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  6. Several years ago some of the old time yellow shirts in the suites in turn 2 were replaced, these guys had been there ever since they built the suites, they knew who belonged and who didn’t, after they were replaced it took just about an act of god to gain admittance to the suites, I always had a pass problem I didn’t carry the pass with me most of the times.

    I had a motorhome in the drivers lot for 9 years, in 2004 or 2005 they changed the yellow shirt that ran the front gate, after that when you drove into the lot you had to stop and let the yellow shirt see your parking pass, I remember one year you and your brother walking over to the lot and they would not let you in the lot, I had to come and get you guys.

    When Brian Barnhart was hired by Tony George he was hired as the head maintenance man, he did oversee the entire complex, I remember him saying that it took a road map to get around that place, I will give Tony credit, he did run a very clean operation there all year, the mens rest room by the pagoda did get a complete inspection every day, same for the restrooms that were open during the Month of May, the stands were always cleaned after each days events.

    Comment by rosco — May 24, 2010 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  7. shut the hell up. paul tracy, the 2002 winner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_frzAK-Md8), doesn’t respect Indy? learn something about racing before starting a blog

    Editor’s Note: Please learn how to both accept reality and interact with others with minimal maturity prior to offering any response. The last time I checked the big trophy, Tracy’s face was not on it.

    Comment by chris — May 24, 2010 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  8. It would be nice if this guy TroyM was at least literate. Maybe then his rants would be halfway creditable. But when you have all those misspelled words and punctuation errors (not to mention the tiresome “bootlickers” expression), it’s pretty hard to take him seriously. Your description of him, Defender, was probably not far off the mark. It’s sad, really.

    Comment by DOUG — May 24, 2010 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  9. mate i had a look at teh 02 race and tracy defs won – also wikipedia says so, so you are wrong as wikipedia is always right

    Editor’s Note: With all due respect, has your clinical insanity been fully diagnosed? Also, there is this remarkable feature known as ‘spell check.’ Perhaps you should look into it.

    Comment by nosh pitt — May 25, 2010 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  10. Dear Defender: After watching about fourteen hours of qualifying coverage on Versus this past weekend, I am left with the following observations:

    Editor’s Note: You are a trooper. I DVR’d it and fast forwarded through the commercials. I rally enjoyed being there a lot more. The weather was fabulous.

    Best moment of the weekend: Watching the Chipster chew out Brian Barnhart at the end of the fast nine shoot-out about Penske playing ‘dirty pool’

    Editor’s Note: Chip has always done ‘asshole’ really well. Barnhart gets yelled at a lot.

    Worst moment of the weekend: Watching empty stands in the background at all hours of qualifying when these stands were full before the split (i.e. 1995)

    Editor’s Note: The crowds both days this weekend were significantly better than they have been in years. The weather had a lot to do with that. The yellow shirts only opened selected stands so folks were packed into the ones that were open pretty well. The garage area and the Pagoda plaza were also very crowded all day. I firmly believe that claiming crowds are lower today than in 1995 because of ‘the split’ is a non sequitur. It makes no sense. The world has changed significantly. If by some remote chance I bought into that flawed logic I would have to wonder why all stands were not packed seeing how Tony is out on his arse and most of the cart boycotters slithered back. And, having attended qualifications every year since 1959, I can say with certainty exaggerated attendance claims by cart enthusiasts are as ridiculous now as ever. The monthly routine has also changed dramatically; Carb Day the Friday before now regularly draws well over 100K. It never did that back in the utopian era.

    Most Disturbing moment of the weekend: Jack Arute and Jan Beekhus’ interview of Randy Bernard and witnessing Bernard winch and shutter with every question, including his hesitation and sigh when Jan asked about progress on the new chassis…without saying it, you could tell that Ropin’ Randy was struggling with this one and that we will not have consensus or even a new chassis before 2013

    I thought he did OK. He’s still getting acclimated. He will be fine.

    Most Unnerving moment of the weekend: Having to endure the same handful of commercials featuring Danica hawking Peak products or that innate Izod race to nowhere contest…

    Editor’s Note: No sh!t. Last year that ‘everythingsgonnabealright’ spot became fingernails on a chalkboard; this year at least they have four pieces of copy, but it’s the same goddamned spot. So this year it’s waterboarding torture. I love IZOD, but spending money on creative that won’t get annoying after the first 5,000 airings is fundamental. Because I attend the events and DVR the coverage, I can zap right through them.

    Explain to us Defender how NASCAR and its sponsors seem to slot their drivers into commercial after commercial, even featuring butt ugly Kyle Bush, while only Danica is used in promoting any of products hawked by the Indy Car sponsors

    Editor’s Note: NASCAR has perfected the marketing of themselves. Relatively speaking, Indy Car has just learned how to walk.

    Dishonorable Mention: The contrived and quite pointless Fast Nine Shoot-Out Concept…it was really the Roger and Chip show and demonstrated how far apart Penske and Ganassi have separated themselves from the rest of the underfunded and shorthanded field…

    Editor’s Note: Good point. If Penske and Ganassi are that far ahead in a micromanaged spec series designed not to give anyone an edge, why not open it up significantly to innovation? My big problem with the fast nine is that it trivializes how difficult those four laps really are. I’m all for gimmicks that get ADD-afflicted idiots to watch but they need to come up with a better way. I’d hate to see someone get seriously hurt or end up like Gordon Smiley.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — May 25, 2010 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

    • What’s the alternative to the Fast 9 shootout, though? Randy and Brian Barnhart cooked that up in the last two months. If they’d instead said “OK, open aero specs!” then we’d have probably have been looking at Penske and Ganassi being 4-5 MPH faster than everybody else instead of 1-2 MPH, and no action of any consequence in the last 90 minutes, unless one of those 5 cars withdrew their time (like what we’ve seen for the last 4-5 years). Contrived? Yeah, a little, but don’t we need to try some stuff to get some more eyeballs while avoiding making most of the teams go broke (those who aren’t already almost broke) doing last minute wind tunnel testing of mirrors, flick-ups and wheel ramps? Personally, other than Helio kind of sucking the air our of the room at the beginning of the Shootout, I thought it was pretty fantastic.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — May 25, 2010 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

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