Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 2, 2010

Personal Reflection of the 94th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:34 am

My feelings remain mixed following the 94th running of the 500. The race itself was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it immensely. Action on the track was scintillating to follow, especially with the handy scanner. The only cringe moments occurred when the audience at the track missed the first fourth of the Anthem and much of taps because something/someone associated with the PA system screwed up. I wonder whether that was a direct result of cost milking?

If I were in charge I would improve the flow of pre-race events. There was a time when they did not worry about building things around ABC breaks, and something was always happening. The large gaps between traditional events tend to suck life out of the experience. I would also bring back bombs at the start of the race.

Those are suggestion box items. Admittedly IMS has bigger worries. The overnight ratings suck. There is no upward trend. My belief is that most of the problem is with ESPN on ABC. Indy Car has the storylines, they are just not being told in a manner befitting the series. It is also difficult to build an audience with old cars, homogenization of everything and a racing media still fixated (complete with bitter grudges) on an evolutionary period that ended fifteen years ago.

In our section we annually endure a revolving collection of NASCAR-centric rednecks that are collectively deprived of clothing with sleeves, teeth and a concept that water is better for hydration than 32 ounce cans of beer. One of them got tired of making restroom trips this year and first tried to pee it all back into a can. Then he decided to let it fly off the top of the stand. Advice for future 500 attendees: The cooling misters are located UNDER the stands. Avoid walking the perimeter during the event.

Our loudmouthed trash gaggle may have been obnoxious (particularly when singing along with every pre-race song out of key and with the wrong words) but the important thing is they attended the race and enjoyed it. They were happy ‘Darrell Franchitty’ (pronounced like ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’) won ‘because he’s from Kentucky.’ That’s OK. We need some more down home Americans in the series.

It is OK that Franchitti won again and he drove like a champion, although my overwhelming preference for a two-time winner would have been Dan Wheldon. Even better would have been anyone from Dryer & Reinbold. Alex Lloyd winning would have been shocking, but I do not feel anyone worked harder during every practice day than that team. Their high finish was a direct result.

It is not that Franchitti is bad; he is an articulate, camera ready winner who knows how to work the media. Having a semi-hot actress wife, albeit someone who tends to be as occasionally nuts as some members of the George family, does not hurt. The big problem is the smug smarminess he and his boss display. Ganassi is worse, particularly when he says stupid things like ‘getting it back to where it used to be,’ which is ironic given he was one of the primary scorchers of earth. How many more 500s could he have won had he not taken five years off being pompous? They talk about Jim Clark with reverence. I watched Clark’s dominating performance in 1965 and do not recall having the same conflicted feelings that I do about Dario.

The Ganassi team must be given their due in any event. They all figured it out better than anyone else and did not luck into a win. So far Ganassi has dominated ovals and Texas is next. Let’s see what Eddie has cooked up.


1 Comment »

  1. Clark’s win was greeted with a coolness–he even admitted it himself, according to Floyd Clymer’s 1965 Indy Yearbook. It was most likely because he was a “foreigner”, in fact, the first foreigner to win the ‘500 since Dario Resta in 1916. I think ANY dominating performance is going to be met with a degree of resentment, because Indy fans like to to have some real competition for their money, sometimes the only time they have paid to see a race the whole year. I know I would have liked to see some more lead changes in 1965, but because Clark hadn’t won before, I wasn’t TOO upset.

    Comment by DOUG — June 2, 2010 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

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