Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 30, 2010

Cause for Sadness: Race Tracks that Close

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:40 am

Idiots tend to blame Tony George for just about anything they feel is wrong within the sport of motor racing. The problem is the sport has always done a good job of killing itself. NASCAR is not immune from boneheaded moves as well.

ISC’s closing to big time racing of Pikes Peak International Raceway is a good example. When Nazareth closed it took a piece of the heart of the sport with it.

A company currently tripping over itself is Dover Motorsports. They own a bunch of tracks in Dover and Nashville as well as Gateway outside St. Louis and Memphis Motorsports Park. Memphis and St. Louis in a general sense are potentially great markets for motorsports and fill a clearly defined geographic space. The problem is Dover Motorsports is probably closing both. Yesterday they announced they would not seek sanction from NASCAR for their two Nationwide races and one truck race outside St. Louis. Indy Cars did not last long there either.

The last time I saw Gateway it appears that not a lot of routine maintenance has ever been performed. One problem with both has little to do with an obvious need for tracks in both markets, it is where the tracks are located. Both are in less than desirable areas. When tracks are left to wither and die a lot of genuine sadness results.

Over the past couple of decades countless small tracks in markets all over the country have closed. More efforts such as NASCAR’s ‘hometown tracks’ initiative are needed.

Perhaps someone ought to buy some grandstands and build real tracks either closer and more accessible to cities they serve, or in safer locations. Then market them effectively. And include the Indy Car Series in the schedule.

July 29, 2010

Looking Ahead to Indy Cars in 2012

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:01 am

2012 is a great time for American based manufacturers to jump back into Indy Car. They can provide powerplants and ‘clothing’ and brand the entire car as a Ford, Chevy, Dodge or something else. The cost is less, too. I also believe the idea of branding a car with the name of an aircraft manufacturer is cool as well. Adequate lead time is reality, and there has never been a more opportune moment.

It appears Indy Car brass is working that angle relatively heavily all over the world. The current Chrysler linkage with Fiat is interesting with regard to possibility. GM and Ford seem bound by forced conservatism, and although both have come a long way since the recession kicked in branding an Indy Car may not be in their immediate plans.

There exist many options for engines, and entities such as Cosworth seem logical as potential participants. It is high time someone challenged Honda. Their record of success is unquestioned, but as controller of many of the rules part of their reliability results from not having to stretch the envelope.

The ‘Big 4’ probably wonder why they spend so much money in NASCAR, which continues losing butts in seats, eyeballs in front of televisions and dollars from sponsors. A freshened, more wide open Indy Car spec could well be positioned as an efficient way for such manufacturers to get far more bang for their bucks.

The next season and a half will be made more interesting watching who decides to participate. Hopefully the announcements/press conferences will be regularly scheduled. Maybe I’ll find myself a competent rocket scientist, build a cutting edge aero kit, subcontract for fast motors and brand the creation a ‘Defender!’

July 28, 2010

Randy Bernard of Indy Car: Please Open the Suggestion Box and See What’s Inside

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:42 am

Hopefully Randy Bernard returns to the United States with more good news regarding manufacturer participation in the IZOD Indy Car Series. In the spirit of offering suggestions for moving forward, here are a few checklist items that have emerged as important over the past few months with the future in mind:

-Investigate credible allegations of corruption at the top of the series. Word is payoffs have been made by top teams to top officials to look the other way with regard to rules violations. If this is occurring you should find out, and any person or group who engages in such activity should be permanently excluded from participation in the series.

-Regardless of what turns up in such an investigation, it is high time to part ways with both Brian Barnhart and Kevin Blanch. This is not a witch hunt based on a bad call and bad behavior in one race. It is a necessary step based upon natural evolution. If Bernard wants to move beyond ‘IRL’ it is imperative that both Barnhart and Blanch get replaced.

-Figure out why Penske and Ganassi win every race, then create an environment that makes that more challenging for them. Fans are sick of the same two teams winning every race whether they cheat or not.

-Create a two-to-three day festival atmosphere at ALL tracks, not just idiotic street circuits. Give fans a lot of value for their money. Canned, scripted, fake pageantry is stale. Michael Young screaming into a mic as if he is Michael Buffer is amusing the first couple of times, but there is a reason repeat business suffers. Make the garage area more accessible (and cheaper) at all tracks. The tracks that protect garage areas as if they are Ft. Knox should be cut. Infields and midways at most tracks are ghost towns, and I would like to see merchandise that has something other than NASCAR-themed crap on it.  

-I get the whole ‘family fun’ desire, but it is not practical given the demo you crave. When I was growing up, ‘show us your t!ts’ was a mantra. Lots of women whipped them out over the years. Granted political correctness, deathly fear of lawyers defending overly sensitive harassment ‘victims’ and people wearing frilly lace panties have ruined this type of fun for everyone, but debauchery has a place and needs to be brought back. Who doesn’t love t!ts? You do not have to openly encourage it, but you must allow it to happen. The whole works. Public drunkenness, sexual hijinks and an abundance of wardrobe malfunction-related nudity are essential. Stretch the envelope as far as it will go. People will follow. Drunk and high people spend LOTS of money. Build restrooms you can clean with fire hoses.

-Because many other fans are still wimpy, start re-building smaller grandstands with roofs. I would recommend something that can be mobile and used only for events. Use modern lightweight fabric. The technology works. Look no further than the roof of Denver International Airport for proof. People like shade or cover on hot or rainy days. Most tracks offer no such protection except under stands. That is not always pleasant given that most restrooms and concession areas are also there and those experiences each resemble hogs at a trough.

-Don’t allow the new car to screw up the experience. Encourage with all your power as much participation by as many manufacturers as possible. This is a great opportunity to open the playbook. The homogenization of the series over the past decade has nearly killed it.

-Fix the ladder rungs and encourage widespread participation. Run some or all of the rungs at every single venue (except perhaps the ocean-crossing adventures). Lights should run at every track. Try running some of the rung series at tracks where Indy Cars do not, perhaps with other external series. Get manufacturers who will become involved in Indy Car involved in the cars for the subsidiary series.

-Kick ESPN/ABC’s arse but good. Their neglectful mistreatment of Indy Car is shameful and probably violates contractual terms. You can’t make ratings headway with an awful broadcast partner. Making nice with those reprehensible bastards would be like Elin Nordegren renewing wedding vows with Tiger Woods.

-Have dinner with my brother and I. We have invested in trackside property and we would love to buy you dinner. RSVP to irldefender@aol.com.

July 27, 2010

Fans Indy Car Does NOT Need Still Include A Guy In Florida Who Continues Lacking Any Discernable Sign of Maturity or Sportsmanship

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:55 am

I would like to thank Steve from Orlando for reinforcing the non-racing fan stereotype I accurately portrayed after he wrote a whiny, rambling, self-crucifixion letter to Robin Miller of Speed TV’s web site that got published a few weeks ago. The tendency of weak-minded individuals is generally responding to an argument by using lots of cuss words and name calling.

Steve submitted a response to my blog of July 8 that was rescued from the spam folder of this blog after arriving there presumably for excessive foul language. Here is a quaint summary of Steve’s juvenile epithets for your review:

-Self-absorbed, pontificating douchebags

-Bitter, crochety old ass clown

Cuss word count: 

-hell (once

-crap (once)

-f*#k (twice)

-sh!t (thrice)

Does anyone beside me think it is unusual that Steve seems obsessed with either excretory or reproductive functions of the human body? He averages over one such scatological epithet per paragraph. It is probably best to let his words speak for themselves:

‘Thanks for the ink.  I didn’t realize my letter to Robin Miller would draw the ire of such a well-respected (cough)blogger as yourself.  Really, I appreciate the attention.  I do.’

Obviously, Steve. There is no other reasonable explanation for such a pathetic, public self-crucifixion. If you actually turned down round trip air fare, lodging, ground transportation and tickets to the Indy 500 solely because it is not what you think it ought to be, then you are fairly distant from:

-Even a basic understanding of it

-Basic respect for your spouse

-Using your brain effectively

. . . and I feel very sorry for you.

‘In answer to some of your points.  First, where the hell do you get off deciding who can and can’t be a fan of IndyCar racing?’

I do not decide who can or can’t. That is a personal choice. Most everyone is welcome. My personal war is to rid the sport of vile malcontents who seek to do it harm. As for determination as to who is a fan or not, I merely observe and pass judgment accordingly. It is mostly a self-designated right based upon physical attendance at that track in parts of seven consecutive decades. I attended my 46th 500 this past May. Over all of those decades I have become an astute judge of who is and who is not an actual, or even a casual, fan.  Most of the time those who are considered fans attend and/or watch. Those who are not find something else to occupy their time and do not act like whiny little girls about things they claim not to enjoy. Either way is OK with me. My biggest problem is with hypocrites who claim no longer to be, but offer far too much critical commentary anyway.

You dig? Here is a real life example. I would rather ingest then subsequently pass through my colon a bucket full of dirty glass shards than watch even 30 seconds of any professional soccer match. That is my personal choice, however, and I keep it to myself. What I could never do is write an idiotic e-mail to Andres Cantor to tell him my wife bought me birthday tickets to the World Cup but I chose instead to visit some white trash tourist trap I thought would be more fun because soccer lost its luster about the time I went to high school. Why? Because I fully support the right of everyone else to be gleeful about soccer. Even though it is not my cup of tea there are millions who rabidly enjoy it. Who am I to impose my critical opinion on such people? What purpose would it serve? As a mature adult I would simply choose to enjoy the other attraction and hope those at the World Cup enjoyed themselves immensely as well. That is how it works in a world of grown-ups.

‘ I’m pretty sure I’ve never met you (I have a pretty good memory for self-absorbed, pontificating douchebags), so who are you to determine whether I do, or don’t, have an understanding of the sport?  Whether or not I liked CART in 1995 (I did) doesn’t matter for crap.  Over the past 15 years both the IRL AND CART pretty much battled to see who could screw up open wheel racing more.  And it took both of them to f*#k it up and bring it to this point.’

What ‘point’ is that? cart died, twice, and Indy Car is alive and well. It has a national television contract that pays it millions every year. It has quality title sponsorship from IZOD. Series sponsorship is on the rise in a tough economy. Attendance at most venues is up. A new chassis and engine platform has been officially announced, and those of us who have clamored for more diversity in manufacturers and a departure from ‘spec’ are excited about the possibilities. Are you one of a dwindling, boisterous handful who tries to compare 2010 to 1995 or some other unrealistic evolutionary period that has no bearing on the state of sports and entertainment offerings today? If so, please orient yourself in the current decade.

‘As to your realities:

1)  Cart is dead.  Really?  No Sh!t, Sherlock.

2)  Indy Car Racing is nothing without Indy?  At one point did I suggest it wasn’t.  Again, No Sh!t, Sherlock. 

3)  Tony George is out of the picture?  Really?  Didn’t realize he was the object of my hate, but thanks for pointing that out.  Can we get another No Sh!t, Sherlock from the peanut gallery.

4)  I don’t care what Barnard makes it, and how he does it.  As long as its not a spec series with everyone playing follow the leader behing Penske and Ganassi, I’m fine with it.  And while he’s at it, maybe should try and return to some of the IRL’s core principles?  Maybe find a way to get Chad Boat, JR Hildebrand, Dave Darling, and other qualified American drivers a ride in America’s Greatest Race?’

Just because they are Chad Boat, JR Hildebrand or Dave Darling? The only one climbing the right ladder is Hildebrand. If the others want to try the current reality is they need to bring sponsorship money. Wish it was not that way, but that is reality. Steve, if you were able to look at a bigger picture you might understand that Indy Car evolves significantly every five years or so. The first time I walked into the gate everyone drove a roadster powered by an Offy. Isn’t ‘Barnard’ a famous cardiologist? If you actually mean BERnard, as in Randy, I am pleased so far with his work. 2012 looks great in terms of evolution.

‘And by the way, while I wasn’t a ‘teenager’ when the split happened, I’m probably a lot younger than you are.  So it’ll be you that dies off before me.  Unless you just ACT like a bitter, crochety, old ass clown.’ 

Based upon our relative maturity levels, I am OK with that. As a lifelong fan who has never fair-weathered my way on or off a bandwagon I understand and accept evolution in Indy Car. I do not really like having seen the series spec’d and micromanaged into something that is occasionally difficult to watch. I know from experience, however, that it is bound to change. Just because I disagree with an evolutionary phase does not mean I will not watch. That would mean I am not really a fan.

‘Thanks again for the attention.  I really did appreciate it.  By the way, SeaWorld was a blast.  The new Shamu show really is spectacular. Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Respectfully.  Go F*#k Yourself.

You have very effectively captured the essence of why I reached my original conclusions about your ilk. I have no use for any of you, and your continuing intrusion into a sport you say you do not watch but offer commentary on anyway is not only hypocritical, but usually vulgar, stupid and juvenile. Again I ask that you concentrate on cultivating maturity necessary to be called a racing fan. If you can’t why not simply seethe quietly on your own and have enough courtesy to let actual fans enjoy their sport? You can enjoy Shamu and we’ll all be happy.

July 26, 2010

Indy Car Unleashes Worst Joke Since Texas ’97

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:12 am

The time has arrived for the Indy Car Series to take its next evolutionary step. In 1997 USAC screwed up some restarts at the Indianapolis 500. At the next race in Texas that year they neglected to score some laps for the actual winner of that race, which resulted in a nationally televised A.J. Foyt bitch slap of Arie Luyendyk in Victory Lane after the race. Action by the Indy Racing League was swift and decisive. USAC was fired from Timing and Scoring and the task was moved in house.

Yesterday at the end of the Edmonton race, Brian Barnhart decided Helio Castroneves was blocking on a restart with 2 laps to go. Whether he was or was not is debatable. Helio is a notorious serial blocker but does not often get penalized. Yesterday’s ‘infraction’ was minor by comparison, and enforcement seemed excessive and random. In short, it was a joke that made the selective way the series is officiated a laughingstock.

That straw was the last. It is time for Randy Bernard to commit to replacing Brian Barnhart at the end of the season. His course has run. It is time to make the change. While he is at it, he also needs to replace Kevin Blanch. The series needs to evolve past their remnant ‘aw shucks’ phase quickly. Tony Cotman and most other former cart/champcar officials are NOT the answer, by the way. The series needs a FRESH approach and not another recycled one.

What happened yesterday was a joke. Brian Barnhart’s time at chief steward has passed. He needs to go. If he won’t go volutarily he needs to be cut loose.

July 22, 2010

Are The Leaders of Indy Car and Its Top Teams Corrupt? Let’s Find Out.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:59 am

OK enterprising journalists eager to make your mark . . . here is a golden opportunity to put your best investigative journalistic skills to work. Who has the courage to dig into an accusation by a very reliable, highly credible source that something well beyond cheating is occurring right now in Indy Car, and the individuals charged with keeping the playing field level are not only looking the other way but are being paid for their selective blindness? Cheating is one thing. It is, after all, motor racing. Alleged corruption is quite another.

I smell scandal. Is there still enough IRL hate in the media to make this worthwhile, or will your current love affairs with Randy Bernard cloud any deep dives for solid evidence? Add it to the high profile resignation yesterday of John Lewis and this one could be very juicy, especially when alleged puzzle pieces get sorted out:

-The highest profile teams allegedly using parts that are not legal.

A Smitten Robin Miller Prepares for a Dinner Date With Randy Bernard

-Brian Barnhart allegedly telling his enforcement people to look the other way.

-Alleged cash, under the table payoffs to officials at the top for not enforcing rules; payoffs that have gone unexposed for a while, and are scheduled through the end of 2011.

-Inference that if Indy Car does not play ball, the top teams will take almost half the field someplace else. (Oh really? Where? Did that tactic not backfire already? It is all about Indy. Always has been. Always will be.).

There are other seemingly minor pieces; e.g., Ganassi replacing an engine the morning of a race and not being scrutinized in any meaningful way, no investigation into why two Penske rear wings failed in one race a couple of years back, etc.

Perhaps ESPN.com could unleash a certified Indy Car hater like Ed Hinton on it. Or maybe a former cart employee such as John Oreovicz. Gordon Kirby is bitter enough to make it harsh. Believe it or not I am not sure Robin Miller is right for the assignment. He has what appears to have a full blown school girl crush on Randy Bernard. Someone needs to do it, though. When the very integrity of the series gets called into question by a credible whistleblower, an investigation is warranted. Whoever does the digging must also have the courage to objectively report ALL points of view and/or evidence. One side of a story, even if sensational, is not enough for an expose. Even if no media member is brave enough to tackle it (and I am speculating no one will), Randy needs to follow the money internally and clean up any messes he finds. The credibility of the sport might well depend on it.

July 21, 2010

Indy Racing Stays North as the NASCAR Nation Invades Indy

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:54 am

The Hoosier State welcomes the fine folks from NASCAR this weekend for the annual Brickyard 400. That is always a fun time. It could be a bit more troubling for both those now carefully counting each bean at IMS and for NASCAR in terms of attendance.

At each NASCAR race the past few seasons more and more seats remain empty. They may be lucky to fill IMS halfway up which would still be NASCAR’s largest crowd of the season, but might look bad on television. That usually matters to such folks way more than fan experiences. I would imagine there are still a few idiots who will howl that lack of butts in seats is somehow related to Tony George. Whatever. With NASCAR, it’s all about the experience. The weak economy has affected all sports and entertainment options.

A small gang of acquaintances and I have decided to attend after missing many years. It is a great opportunity to see the ‘stock’ car stars on the world’s greatest track on the cheap. Their core fans are some of the most loyal anywhere and most are great folks. The wide variety of seating available will give us a chance to try some new vantage points at the opposite end of the track from where we normally plop. Tickets are plentiful and cheap, so if you are in the neighborhood BUY SOME. We’ll see you there. Go to the museum too.

The Indy Cars will be north of the border in Edmonton racing on airport runways. At least there is room to pass on that type of temporary, bumpy course.

If the weather holds this should be a really good weekend for racing fans all over North America.

July 20, 2010

Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Institution That Paved The Way For The Entire Sport

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:50 pm

Some of the most interesting rumors foisted by the IMS/IRL-obsessed involve the financial situation of the Hulman-George family and their companies. The most common are:

-One or more of the family members lost millions to Bernie Madoff.

-The trust that Tony Hulman established runs out in (insert the number of an upcoming year here).

-The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is for sale.

-An offer above 300 million was made by Gene Simmons and (insert business partner here) and was dismissed.

-Roger Penske is preparing an offer.

-The gals want to make to it the 100th anniversary, then cash out.

-The family is ripped apart by infighting, drug and alcohol abuse and/or mental illness.

Whether any of this gossip is true (or not) is merely speculation. It is not really the business of anyone to ponder, although if there were any real reporters with journalistic skills left in the world that particular empire would definitely make a good story. Unfortunately all we have are either:

-Lap dogs that rely on perks and throw nothing but softballs.

-Idiots predisposed toward Tony George/IMS/IRL hatred still pining for the cart evolutionary period of 1979-1995.

-Not much in between.

As a lifelong fan of the institution I have suggestions as a concerned fan in the event the Hulman-George family is not long for IMS ownership:

-Do not sell to Roger Penske, ISC or even SMI. That would mean the end of the road in relatively short order.

-What is needed is another Tony Hulman. A successful Hoosier who cares about history, present, and most important, the future. There are plenty of potentially great owners, and any new one(s) need to be local. For all real or perceived dysfunction, the Hulman-George family are the rightful caretakers at least for now.

All race fans are watching with interest. Perhaps someone with credentials will fill in some blanks for the curious.

July 19, 2010

Indy Car (and NASCAR) Racing Weekend….and ESPN on ABC is Finally Done for 2010.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:58 am

Yo, Mr. Davis. Are the folks who run ESPN aware of widespread discontent about the way that family of channels treats some of its partners and millions of its customers? There are relevant threads on TrackForum.com: http://www.trackforum.com/forums/showthread.php?139806-The-ESPN-hate….appears-to-be-growing-outside-of-IndyCar-nation/page2 or http://www.trackforum.com/forums/showthread.php?139873-Dumb-and-Dumber!!!-Featuring-Scott-Goodyear-and-Marty-Reid. Too funny.

If those of us who watch get a response, it is likely to be arrogant. Business as usual. The group I was with yesterday to watch the Toronto event applauded when Marty indicated on air that this was the final Indy Car race of the year on ABC. That is pretty sad. In prior years I could not imagine applauding not being on national television on an OTA network. That is what happens when the life gets sucked out of a franchise by a distribution partner who is ambivalent and does not understand it anyway.

I hope and pray Versus emerges as the first widely distributed, credible threat to what is essentially a sports television monopoly. ESPN must be knocked from their throne, IMHO.

The race in Toronto turned out to be a crashfest as the supposedly best drivers in the world consistently took turns running out of talent. And this was AFTER they pulled Milka off the course. That is another reason why street ‘racing’ has very little place on the Indy Car schedule. It remains a twisted perversion of the purity of the sport. It is an abomination. It also appears based on crowd shots the people of Toronto don’t care either. Hey, and what do you know…Penske and Ganassi finished 1-2. There are rumors a Penske cheating scandal is about to break, and that will be fun to digest. Perhaps ESPN could break it, but that is highly unlikely.

A note to Randy Bernard: Do what you can with ESPN/ABC. The way they treat the Indy Car Series is not acceptable. Second, stop bending over for whiny cart apologists. Your statement about the toxicity of the IRL acronym and name is insulting to those of us who have spent thousands of dollars supporting Indy Car since well before even cart was formed. It has always been Indy Car Racing to me. The term ‘Indy Racing League’ has never bothered me. Neither did the term ‘cart.’ The hypersensitivity of those who it does bother is worthy of scorn and ridicule. My advice to such people is to get over it and grow up.  This ‘war’ you are worried about cleaning up after was forced by the ego and arrogance of the crowd that is now whining. Screw them and their agenda. Move the series forward by forging a NEW direction. Resist the temptation to revert to one evolutionary period that failed. Twice. Someone needs to maintain the courage to keep mutinous boycotters in their place.

In other racing news, Carl Edwards tried to murder Brad Keselowski again on Saturday night. I have come to the conclusion that Edwards is mentally unbalanced and not fit to race professionally. Hopefully someone will hook up with him in back of a trailer out of the reach of NASCAR and cameras and knock some sense into that thick skull of his. Keselowski’s father was prepared to go all Sam Hornish Sr. on Carl’s rear end. Someone needs to.

Speaking of slower, heavier ‘stock’ cars…I’ll see you at the BY400 in less than a week!

July 16, 2010

Let Us Hope Many Indy Car Owners and Some Entrenched Fans Don’t Go Down the ‘Stupid’ Path Again

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:03 am

One thing I have chosen not to do yet is check the popular press for reaction to Indy Car’s announcement of their new car strategy in 2012. Only a few items have been sampled, including the racing show Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin do on the old WIBC 1070 frequency. I figure they are as balanced a source as any, and they discuss most sides of the argument. It appears many out here in fan land refuse to evolve and believe it is a horrible decision. That is probably an easy excuse for people stuck in previous years to jerk their knees and shriek. That has been a common form of immaturity for over fifteen years now.

One of the few persons who captured the spirit of this announcement correctly is Eddie Gossage, who essentially said it’s time for people who call themselves racing fans to shut the hell up and start working together to move the sport forward. I agree.

About the only disturbing aspect of the big announcement was the lack of attendance by the majority of owners. Does their ‘boycott’ of the event signal unhappiness? I also heard Ben Bowlby was upset and issued a snippy press release that alluded to their intent to continue the Delta Wing project, although that apparently does not involve being bolted to a Dallara tub.  So what’s the plan? Another boycott induced split? After twice killing themselves? Hopefully malcontents don’t combine abject stupidity with uppity angst again. That strategy did not work out so well in the past. Twice.

It is easy to understand simplistic dismissal of the new strategy by some. But the strategy mirrors how many cars are built today anyway. And isn’t this remarkably close to the NASCAR strategy? Aren’t their cars template frames with template bodies and template parts? The only things that really separate a Ford from a Chevy from a Dodge are decals and motors, essentially. Why isn’t anyone screaming about innovation there?

Davey Hamilton has been around a long time, and he reminded folks that Indy Car has had up to three chassis manufacturers in the past, including G-Force, Riley & Scott and Dallara. Why is there not more than one? Because the other two left. Dallara was the chassis that won the most races. With less than 30 cars most weeks, how are two chassis manufacturers supposed to make it unless the field is divided half and half? That won’t happen. The only thing that is certain with that strategy is higher cost. That is why Indy Car has only Honda as well. No one else is willing to spend what it takes to beat them. The new strategy accommodates meaningful innovation without excessive cost. The parameters outlined on Wednesday offer tremendous potential. New motor specs may also encourage new participation at lower cost. Time will tell.

The new car strategy is only part of the equation. I wish 16th & Georgetown had the stones to finally end their toxic relationship with ESPN. IMS has spent forty years fellating ABC and now ESPN (they even flew the entire 500 field to Bristol for a day this year), and for the first thirty or so years, the favor got returned. Now, however, ESPN continues actively attempting to kill the Indy Car brand. This is evident in many subtle and not so subtle ways. ABC’s coverage of recent Indy Car events that are not the 500 are utterly abominable and virtually unwatchable. At ESPN’s self-congratulating ‘ESPY’ awards, they introduced Danica Patrick as ‘NASCAR’s own.’ Enough. It is time to shoot that ‘partnership’ in the head and move on. They do not deserve the 2011 100th anniversary 500 nor do they deserve the 100th running of race in a few years. We need a major network that respects its partner.

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