Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

August 31, 2010

More Great IZOD Indy Car Action on Tap at Kentucky Speedway

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:02 pm

Still no announcement about Chicagoland for next season, but the smart money is on track/series stupidity. After all, why have the consistently most exciting race in the country’s 3rd largest media market in the heart of the Midwest when another pointless street event could be held? Do I sound bitter? That is because it is not difficult to reach that point.

That said, a pretty good SMI oval in Kentucky that always provides a great race is on tap next, and it’s not owned by ISC. There are rumors that Bruton and crew are going to cookie cutter the track in the off season. That probably means higher banking and a closer pit lane.

Musical chairs continue in the series, most notably the Mike Conway 24 car. Ana Beatriz is out; Paul Tracy is in. He must have some money to spend. Personally I would much rather see an up-and-comer like Bia than a downhill slider like Tracy. But then again I only spend money as a fan, so my opinion does not really matter.

The Defender party will be there Friday and Saturday for what we hope is a great time again. See you there!

August 30, 2010

If Indy Car Drops/is Dropped by Chicagoland, Heads Need To Roll Because That Would Be Inexcusable

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:31 pm

One of the most common forms of lip service in motor racing is when team owners or some spokesperson for a series starts blathering about how this sport is nothing without its fans. When will they begin acting like it? More to the point, the owner ‘revolt’ at Sonoma and Chicagoland seemed to be more about their own interests. As a matter of fact, go back and re-read Dan Gurney’s white paper from the late 1970s, then compare its contents with what is being ejaculated by many modern day owners today. Sound familiar?

Mr. Bernard, how about coming to a meeting in which fans are bitching? If we are the most important part of the equation when do we get our hearing? Here’s the best part. We do not want ANY of your money. We want to spend OUR money. The only catch is we want to spend it where we want to spend it. Like at Chicagoland Speedway every year to watch 30 Indy Cars duking it out at well over 200 miles per hour every lap.

I do not care that ISC owns the track and I really don’t care about the politics involved. Craig Rust suggesting I visit his track the week after Indy to watch Danica Patrick in a grand national race is insulting to me and thousands of others. I am deeply saddened by the complete lack of promotional effort for Indy Cars at Chicagoland by both the track and the series. When people set themselves up to fail, they usually do.

A person would have to be either brain dead or completely stupid not to have enjoyed the show the Indy Cars gave us at Chicagoland gave us Saturday night. I rarely pay attention to the nervous nellies who decry pack racing at high speeds on mile-and-a-half ovals. The vast majority of those behind wheels are professional drivers and put on great shows. People like Robin Miller on Wind Tunnel repeating his fear of a car in a grandstand does a disservice. These races have a place on a diverse schedule.

The list of tracks fans have been screwed out of is long and tragic. Excluding Chicagoland would border on criminal negligence, particularly after the show Saturday night.

Please do not be stupid. We are begging you.

August 27, 2010

Are You Prepared for Another IRL Indy Car Legacy Venue To Die Needlessly and Without Regard for Fans?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:41 am

It is literally beyond belief that either Indy Car or ISC would let the traditionally most competitive oval race on the Indy Car schedule year after year fade into oblivion. That, however, appears to be precisely what will happen following the IZOD Indy Car event this Saturday night.

No one has said anything official. No one has said much of anything. We already know a rescheduled NASCAR Cup race next season precludes having an Indy Car race on this equivalent weekend next year. It is pretty much the same story at another neglected ISC oval outside Kansas City.

Oval fans can take comfort in a strengthening relationship with Bruton Smith’s SMI, but when a real racing fan decides which races to attend the ownership of the track does not really matter, particularly when the track offers spectacular racing. Randy Bernard has publicly stated his goal of a 50/50 mix of ovals and non-ovals going forward. The return of Loudon is nice. Closing the season in Las Vegas would also be nice. A street parade in Baltimore features the exact same empty hot air hype as all the rest, most of which have failed miserably.

That is not the issue. The issue involves oval tracks that just vanish after a degree of apathy and neglect by Indy Car brass that seems to increase every year. My group attended and spent money every year at each of the following Indy Car-defunct oval tracks while they were around:

-Richmond

-Pikes Peak

-Nashville

-WDW

-Milwaukee

-Gateway

-Michigan

-Fontana

We were occasional attendees at Phoenix and Las Vegas as well. When the Indy Car schedule for 2011 is announced, do not be surprised to see Kansas and Chicagoland on the former venue list. Most of the excuses these tracks are not around are mostly without merit and often stupid, and clearly demonstrates the ignoring of fans completely.  Dropping the traditionally most competitive oval race in the third largest media market in the country and within driving distance of the home of the sport goes well beyond the traditional kind of stupidity that removes oval races.

My advice for anyone within reasonable distance of Joliet is to attend. Let’s at least send it out in style. It should be a party regardless of the uninspired management of it and despite the almost certainty of the latest screwing devoted fans will again endure. I sincerely hope I have to say I’m wrong after the race is renewed, but chances are I won’t.

August 26, 2010

Indy Car Owners: Repeating Mistakes But Hoping For Different Results

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:07 pm

Robin Miller, the oft-fired and controversy seeking gadfly motorsports writer now firing barbs at speedtv.com, has offered a humorous look at the latest counterproductive hi-jinks of some of the most narcissistic people on earth, most Indy Car owners.

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-robin-miller-speed-owners-reject-2012-car/

Evidently all but A.J. and Gil de Ferran got together at Sonoma (fittingly, wine country, or ‘whine’ as the case may be) to express their angst. Randy Bernard took the correct approach, essentially saying owners have had the chance to be heard throughout the ICONIC process. The owners appear to be miffed because they are not actually running the series.

Frankly, do you want them to? Look what they did to cart. Twice. Bad karma follows people like Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser around like a plague. They can’t even get through a weekend without wrecking race cars.

Here is what we know for sure:

-Costs for owners in 2012 will be markedly less than they are today. Guaranteed.

-The option for creative development exists for those so inclined.

-Owners are likely to have multiple engine choices.

-They are getting their precious turbochargers back, something they have bitched about since they slithered back.

Perhaps this is just a test of the mettle of Randy Bernard. If so I hope he turns out a little like Big Bill France in the 50s. Don’t like the rules? Leave. Enforced with firearms if necessary.

The last thing the sport needs is anything even remotely resembling an owner revolt. I suggest Bernard squish this little uprising quickly and with repercussion to anyone who chooses to remain contrary. These arrogant bastards have had more than enough chances to be heard. You do not wait until the process is complete then raise your concerns. That is just bush league. Owners need to get with the program and shut the hell up for three years. They have already proven twice they are unable to govern themselves. Let someone who knows what he is doing lead the way for a change.

August 25, 2010

Suggestion for IZOD Indy Car Brass: Leave Europe Across the Ocean Where it Belongs

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:25 am

Indy style racing has forged a unique identity over the decades in its various evolutionary iterations. One of the most fundamental traditions is the pronouncement of ‘Gentlemen Start Your Engines’ followed by a rolling start. Standing starts are uniquely European and have no real place in American oval-centric racing.

Why is discussion of this a big deal? Because Tony Cotman’s NZR Consulting tweeted: ‘Yes the 2012 car will be able to accommodate standing starts should the IRL choose to adopt them.’ Let’s connect some dots. In 2012 Cotman is going to be the guy in charge of the rules. Do you not imagine Cotman will not only influence rules but will be making them?

I want the Indy Cars to enhance the legacy they have built over decades. Trashing it is unwise. I like having Cotman around, but there are tangible reasons why cart/champcar went teats north. Twice. Stupid decisions that alienated fans is right up there at the top of the list. Do not try to emulate Formula 1. It needs to remain different. All you end up with is the high quality brand name and the knockoff store brand.

Why are Indy Car and those who run it so afraid of building on such a rich heritage? I have about had it with Eurocentric thinking in Indy Car. Influence is fine. That is what allowed us to see great drivers in the past such as Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart in the 60s and later names like Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell. The Indy Car field today is filled with ride buying Euros and South Americans (as well as a few who earned their seats). Diversity is a strong point. ALL of the Eurocentric folks now in charge MUST respect the traditions and history of Indy Car. That is absolutely necessary for future survival.

August 23, 2010

Indy Car Fans: Grab A Tube of KY and Prepare to Assume a Bent Over Position

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:58 pm

The good news for the next few weeks is that the IZOD Indy Car series finishes the season with four straight ovals. If scuttlebutt is accurate however, prepare to kiss ovals at Chicagoland, Kansas and Homestead goodbye. Chicagoland would hurt the most because that track has provided some of the most consistently entertaining Indy Car races and closest finishes of all time. It happens almost every year.

The IRL helped build that track. I can sort of understand Homestead. It is now an ISC track in an area of Florida where most people just do not go. Management of the facilities south of Miami and in Kansas are usually in lockstep with whatever their corporate ‘parent’ wishes. NASCAR/ISC tends to treat the IZOD Indy Car series, at worst, like a sexually transmitted disease. At best, they treat Indy Car as some sort of competitive threat—the ‘enemy.’

Fans getting screwed is probably something we should be used to by now. ISC tracks that have held Indy Car races that I attended every single year and always with someone else that have been pissed away include:

-Michigan

-Fontana

-Pikes Peak

-Richmond

-Kansas (Prediction: That track is a goner too).

-Phoenix

The one thing these tracks have in common is ISC, but holding races at their tracks is a two-way street. Both entities need to listen to those who pay many of the bills. Without fans there is no sport. I understand the difficult of running on two-Cup-date tracks. Losing Chicagoland, however, would be well beyond normal stupidity; an absolute insult to annual attendees. It is the third largest market in the country. My group can say with certainty that NASCAR does not ever receive even one penny of our money at any of their cancelled Indy Car tracks.

Suggestion for Indy Car management and ISC: Find a way to keep both Chicagoland and Kansas. Get it done.

August 20, 2010

IZOD Indy Cars in Action in California: From What Location Will You Watch?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:34 pm

Most Indy Car fans can’t just pick up and go to all Indy Car races, such as the one being held in Sonoma this weekend. In years past many loyal Indy Car fans chose to gather at the location that has been the heart and soul of the sport, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The preferred spot was mostly the cramped but always lively Flag Room just off of what was the lobby of the recently demolished motel.

The first and last races of the year were always popular there, and all races in between were always also well attended. Lately, however, the ambivalence of IMS about its rich history has basically sent a message to fans that pays its bills that they are not really welcome there now. Its menu was recently gutted and now only includes a few basic bland bar food items.

This makes Indy Car fans sad. The presence of spirits around that particular compound is palpable. Reasons why the motel was demolished are sound, but was it wise? Probably not. Destruction of that much history cannot be good from a karma standpoint. IMS has created for itself vast open, graveled wasteland devoid of any personality or history around 16th and Georgetown, and the neighborhoods on three sides of the great track have become run-down slums, ghettos or barrios. Cost saving measures are painfully obvious in many parts of the facility.

Other than green-lighting the destruction of the historic motel, Tony George had his fingers on the pulse of IMS and kept it in a state of continual renewal. We hope his successors and other members of his family grow to understand why it became the legendary institution it did over decades. Systematic destruction of its fabric does not bode well.

The ONE lesson Tony Hulman taught by example was nurturing the place and making it better the next year than it was the year before. That lesson appears to have been lost on the people now in charge.

August 19, 2010

IZOD Indy Car: Go West Young Men (and Women) and Pundits

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:33 pm

The Indy Cars are out west this weekend at Infineon outside Sonoma. This is one of those poorly attended road races the Indy Car movers and shakers refer to as ‘strategically important.’ In that sense it’s like Watkins Glen. Very few people show up, but somehow it is ‘strategically important.’

Why can’t ovals that actually do draw a crowd be ‘strategically important?’ The actual history over the years is that ovals get dumped at the drop of a hat. It does not matter whether there is any ‘strategic importance’ or not.

Thank God for Eddie Gossage, who actually gets it.

Robin Miller was on the old WIBC AM frequency last night with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee. For someone who is such a talented writer he consistently has a difficult time communicating with his mouth. Stumbling, bumbling, talking too fast, almost as many ‘you knows’ as Al Jr., and all-about-me arrogance combine to yield a very entertaining slice. His nearly continuous man worship of Tony Cotman is as genuinely creepy as his virulent dislike of Brian Barnhart. Robin consistently makes very good points about both; e.g., Cotman’s experience and Barnhart’s over-the-top orchestration of all on-track action, but the manner in which he makes them probably explains his frequent job dismissals and relegation to a cable channel web site for employment.

The rest of his err-ummm-filled appearance included:

-We showed Randy why short trackers need to be in Indy Car again

-The Delta Wing was fine but it was not going to make a difference

-I was right all along about Tony George being fired

The sport is fortunate to have personalities like it does on and off the track. It would be nice if many of them were not as sleazy as they are.

August 18, 2010

A Recycled Indy Car Idea That May Work Well

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:08 am

Eddie Gossage is the best big time promoter in the business, and he has done it again at his big track in Texas. For the first time in THIRTY years the Indy Cars will be running two races in the same night. Eddie calls it the ‘Texas Two Step.’ Each race will be 275 kilometers in length. ‘Twin 275’s’ is definitely much sexier sounding than ‘Twin 170.88s,’ which is how many miles each is.

This is a throwback to an oval gimmick many enjoyed back in Indy Car’s heyday. Rick Mears won a bunch of bookended races. This goes a long way to freshening an oval entertainment package that has gotten stale, mostly as the result of uninspired presentation, homogenized racing that has robbed fans of the exciting side-by-side they came to expect prior to 2002 and the same equipment driven by mostly non-Americans, many of whom buy their way into their seats.

One other aspect that makes Eddie Gossage particularly happy is the position of the Indy Car race as the first race after the Indianapolis 500. There is still no word on Milwaukee for next season in any slot.

Gossage re-tooled the NASCAR schedule a bit, and it includes that track’s first ever Saturday night Cup event.

There are few tracks anywhere that can match the fan friendliness and amenities of Texas Motor Speedway. The sport should be grateful to have someone running a track with the ability to put great ideas into action. Eddie has another hit on his hands.

August 17, 2010

‘Unification’ in Indy Car: Will The cart Crowd Ever Truly Embrace It?

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

cart

champcar

Gordon Kirby crapped out some more propaganda on his quaint little web site the other day, predictably fawning over the words of a cart-centric former F1 personality, Brian Lisles. Brian has spent a couple of decades with Newman-Haas during the cart evolutionary phase, the boycott and now the Indy Car Series.

The Cliff Notes version of the ‘points’ attempted are listed below, accompanied by practical, common sense commentary:

-Lisles seems agitated, is second guessing Indy Car direction and has thrown a controlled hissy fit Kirby happily decided to accommodate.

So what else is new with these people? Their self-interested mutiny of the sport has been attempted almost continuously since a bunch of USAC officials died in a plane crash in the late 1970s.

-The ICONIC committee was wrong. They should have chosen the Delta Wing. Costs won’t go down. They made a ‘half-hearted’ attempt.

It Did NOT Get Chosen. Move Past It.

Way to be team players, get behind the decision made by a representative cross section, and work for the betterment of the sport Brian and Gordon. Your team spirit and willingness to move forward is inspiring.

-The Delta Wing would have forced 13-year old boys to bring them to Indy Car races and the audience would have grown.

So would the IZOD girl flopping her mammary glands out on camera whenever she horns into the shots. But that is not going to happen either. So a more practical approach is to be TEAM PLAYERS.

-F1 will adapt much of the Delta Wing concept in 2013, and as a result they will grow. Indy Car blew a chance to have threatened F1 again (‘like cart did in the nineties’).

Right before they killed themselves off. Twice.

-Randy Bernard needs to hire Dan Gurney.

How old is Dan Gurney? 90? He was a childhood hero and his racing career was a big part of what made me a fan. He has given a lot to the sport. I wish he had taken a better approach. I wouldn’t worry about Randy Bernard and cart apologist hires. At the rate it is going that entire sordid gang will be back together sooner rather than later. I hope Randy Bernard gets past his own accommodating ignorance relatively quickly before he lets all the foxes back in to the hen house.

-Eliminate refueling.

Pit action is part of the drama. There are limits to fuel capacity, and some limits should never be stretched.

-A repackaged Dallara = DP01 and will fail like the DP01 did.

The DP01 was not involved a series centered around the Indianapolis 500. When will these dumb bastards ever really get it?

-Indy car attendance and ratings suck.

Gee, there’s a shock. So what are you doing about it other than whining like the petulant, petty narcissists you are?

-Rides are sold, not earned.

That trend began in earnest during those glorious cart utopian years. Don’t blame Anton’s IRL for that crap.

-If it weren’t for the owners there would not be a series.

There it is. I wondered how long it would take for that arrogance to slither in.

-The only way for Indy Car to survive is to market as the US version of F1.

Yeah…that’ll work. Road racing with a bunch of foreign no-names. Let’s just forget about all those pesky ovals, shall we? It has always worked in the past, right?

-And now the punch line: Gordon Kirby thinks of Lisles as an optimist.

Everyone gets old (if we’re lucky) and occasionally we turn senile.

Even funnier are some of the idiot fans who offer equally insane supportive commentary:

-ICONIC clearly decided to go with the short term local benefits of a tax break from the Indiana Governor and getting a score of workers for a Dallara facility.

How in the world is building a factory and other adjacent businesses, hiring local people to build cars in America, and locating right next to the greatest race course in the world ‘short term?’

-American open wheel racing will rue the day it turned its back on Plan Delta.

I guess that’s a chance we’ll have to take. More mature approach: Get behind the selection that WAS made and work in positive ways to move the sport forward.

-TGBB and the Marion County Mafia got their way, to the detriment of the sport.

cart apologist playbook fundamentals:

-Insult those in charge. All are incompetent.

-Think of clever names to call anyone associated with Indy Car and use them often.

-Constantly be on the defensive

-Always position Indy Car as destroyers of the sport instead of looking in a mirror.

Primary takeaway: I am well aware the boycott is over. Great. ‘Unification.’

Do not EVER trust ANYONE ever deeply associated with cart. You WILL end up with a knife in your back. This gets proven regularly.

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