Defender of IndyCar

Indy Car Welcomes All Fans, Even Ones That Are Idiots

It is always fun to laugh at the more darkly obsessed Indy Car fan. You know the type. They wear out their fingers feverishly searching for any bit of bad news so that they can boisterously proclaim the end is near. On Tuesday mornings after races they all of a sudden become Nielsen experts and offer often cockamamie ratings analysis. They are the first to find pictures of grandstands that are not filled with fans.

Two things that always give them away as blithering idiots are:

  1. ‘It is never as good as it was before 1995’ or similar sentiments more crudely expressed.
  2. Indy Car is positioned as the only sporting or entertainment venue having ratings or attendance problems.

Given this economy, competition for the entertainment dollar is more intense than ever. There are many more entertainment options, more content delivery methods, more new technologies and intense price competitiveness.

The degree to which NASCAR’s attendance and television ratings are decreasing, for example, is startling and yet they are not burdened with obsessed, childish creeps focused on an evolutionary period that ended fifteen or more years ago.

The only reason this is important is because it affects the perception of potential new fans Indy Car is trying to cultivate. I took a bunch of old friends to a race recently, and many liked what they saw enough to look into going again and trying to follow the sport more closely. When they do, they usually get led down a road that leads to the idiot brigade. It is almost as commonplace as e-scamming or porn.

One such potential fan called me the other day to ask who these people are. I told him they are a handful of nobodies fighting a cause that ended conclusively, twice, many years ago. So how do we fix that little problem? Cultivate more actual fans. The IZOD Indy Car Series is taking several great steps in that direction these days.

The best approach is to ignore such folks, although sometimes I enjoy pointing out their diminished mental and emotional states. 😉

4 replies to “Indy Car Welcomes All Fans, Even Ones That Are Idiots

  1. The attendance at the Nationwide race at New Hampshire this past weekend was shocking. More than half the seats were completely empty. Whole sections of seats. I know there are people angry about some of the Nascar changes of the past few years, but I truly believe that this may be showing just how bad our national economy is right now, more than any statement on the state of auto racing.

    I would say the crowd at Iowa was pretty darn good. The seats looked 95% full. In this environment, that can’t be anything but a huge positive.

  2. I think NASCAR is also experiencing a good old fashion correction. The crowd at Louden Sunday was far from full but it was a decent crowd, (for an IndyCar race that is). The recession hit and here’s the lay of the land.

    While IndyCar has been living on nuts and berries, NASCAR has been living on Steak and Lobster. IndyCar has only UP to go and if all the fans can get back on board and share a new direction that is neither CART or IRL, but IndyCar, the sport will be better for it.

    To those who worship the DP101, or 1995 or whatever, get on board now. Let your voices be heard but only if you have a desire to see the sport get back to solid ground. Because as the Beatles said, “if you talk about destruction, don’t you know you can count me out.” So, for those who only want to talk about destruction, as an IndyCar fan, I will count you out.

  3. I agree with you, Bob–not just the Nationwide race but the Sprint Cup race had a LOT of empty seats. Funny, I wonder if these aptly called “idiots” are just as critical of NASCAR’s falling attendance as they are the IndyCar series? I wish I’d been at Iowa–that was a heck of a show, and the environment reminds me of when I was attending Indy car races at Milwaukee in the 70’s. Good ‘ol down home folks and probably some of the best food a person could ask for. Midwest is best!

  4. Good takes, everybody. NASCAR’s got two things going against it at the moment:

    1) Fickle, non-longtime fans (attracted since 2001) are probably not real fond of one guy winning a lot of races and four straight championships, even if the reason for that is because that guy is really, really good. They’re likely starting to tune out. That’s why NASCAR’s TV numbers are starting to sag.

    2) Who does a bad economy hit first and hardest? Blue collar folks. Who’s NASCAR’s longstanding fanbase? Southern blue collar folks. Those are the people who are finding themselves priced out of a weekend at the track, and so that’s why NASCAR’s starting to see a lot more bare aluminum. It’ll take a large turnaround of the economy before that corrects itself, and even then NASCAR probably won’t return to the days where they drew sellout crowds everywhere they go.

    As Mr. Miller points out up there, NASCAR has generally nowhere to go but down and IndyCar has generally nowhere to go but up. DOUG is also correct in saying that Iowa was a great show and that he missed out on good times and good food by not being there. If you ever do make it to Iowa, the two porkchops for $10 deal is one not to miss.

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