Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

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



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.



  1. FYI, here is the link to Kirby’s blog. (Okay, this is likely going to get this sent on a one-way trip to the Spam bin, but I’m going to risk it). http://gordonkirby.com/categories/columns/theway/2010/the_way_it_is_no249.html

    It’s a good read. And the amazing part is the points it makes and the conclusions it draws bear little, if any, resemblance to what Defender has characterized it as. Look up the phrase ‘Taken Out of Context’. You’ll see what I mean. You want specifics? Fine. For those of you not clicking through to the actual site…

    Per Defender: ‘Randy Bernard needs to hire Dan Gurney.'(Allegedly a quoye from Randy Lisles)
    Actual Quote: “I applaud the IRL for thinking outside the box and getting a new leader who may or may not be the marketing guru that everybody says he is,”…” They needed the other half–somebody who actually understood motor racing from the inside, its history and how it works.”. Hmmm. Don’t see anything about must hire Dan Gurney in there. But that second part makes a great deal of sense. Kinda sounds familiar. Hmmm. Kind of like ‘far better choices would be someone with motor racing experience’. Strangely like the same phrase YOU used yesterday to criticise the hire of Tony Cotman.

    Per Defender: ‘The only way for Indy Car to survive is to market as the US version of F1.’
    Actual Quote: Lisles thinks IndyCar’s only way forward is to sell itself as a bargain basement version of F1 with a focus on the American market. “The only chance we have is that Formula One is so ludicrously expensive that most companies do not have a chance of even getting a decal the size of a cigarette packet on the car,” he observed. “A number of those kinds of companies are casting around and for the kind of money for a cigarette packet-sized advert on a Formula One car you can have the better part, if not all of an IRL car for the year. “That might be the only chance we have of getting some international companies who are used to being in motor racing and say to themselves they can be at the Indy 500 and have the sidepod or the whole car for pretty much what they pay for not very much space at all on a Formula One car. Maybe that’s a better solution and it gives them North America to go and exploit. We look pretty good if you come at it from that perspective.”
    Again, a completely different meaning. Says that the series should market themselves to international companies and emphasize the VALUE that exists in Indycar and the Indy 500, as compared to F1. Nothing about an all road course series. He emphasizes bang for the buck for advertising dollars. The same thing Defender has been saying. Repeatedly.

    Per Defender: ‘A repackaged Dallara = DP01 and will fail like the DP01 did. ‘(Lisles) Added commentary:
    The DP01 was not involved a series centered around the Indianapolis 500. When will these dumb bastards ever really get it?
    What Lisles said: “The new car won’t make any difference,” Lisles declared. “I know that there seems to be a fear in the United States of looking at history and learning lessons from history. But you only have to go back a few years to look at the introduction of the Panoz DP01 which made zero difference to Champ Car.
    “And why should it make any difference? The only people who know that the car is different are the people who are already interested in the series. Sure, they’re your audience. But they’re not enough to sustain the system. You need a much bigger audience. You need to attract the people who don’t know about IndyCar racing. From a business point of view, it seems to me that the new car and new engine will make absolutely no difference to the series.”

    Again, misquoted, mischaracterized, and mirepresented. He acknowledges the failure of ChampCar, and says that simply getting a new car and engine package won’t serve as the panacea we all think it will.

    Regarding the Delta Wing:
    Defender: ‘The Delta Wing would have forced 13-year old boys to bring them to Indy Car races and the audience would have grown.’ (Lisles). So would the IZOD girl flopping her mammary glands out on camera whenever she horns into the shots.
    Lisles: “From what I’ve heard it was the seven to thirteen year-old kids who were really excited by the Delta Wing. And if you get them excited, dad will take them to the race to see it and that’s how you build an audience.” Gee this sounds familiar too. Go back and search the Defender archives for the post about how Defender became an IndyCar fan. About how his Grandmother took him to pole day, and then bump day, and then the races. (By the way, they’re REALLY good). And tell me how a 7 year old kid begging his dad to take him to Indy, or Texas, or Long Beach, or Iowa, or Milwaukee, or any race to see the cool new car is any different that it was for Defender back in 1959.

    Finally, Defender’s ‘HERE IT IS’ Moment.
    Per Defender: ‘-If it weren’t for the owners there would not be a series.’
    The Actual Quote: (And it’s written after a discussion of the financial difficulties of the system, and why the teams have to go with ride buyers).. The truth of the matter is the IRL is on financial life-support, largely paid for by the owners. If it wasn’t for the owners, there wouldn’t be a series anymore.”
    Again, where is the criticism here? You can’t debate that many owners have put their money, time, experience, and whole lives into this series to make it work. Everyone from Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi to Dennis Reinbold and Dale Coyne. From Sarah Fisher to the FAZZT guys to Sam Schmidt to the late Paul Newman. Without these guys (and girl) there wouldn’t be a sport. You know that. You’ve said that. He’s not talking about owners dictating terms of the series, he’s talking about in a horrible financial environment, these people are dedicated to keeping their race teams running.

    I invite you all to actually read Kirby’s interview with Brian Lisles and then see if you came to the following conclusion, as I did.

    For as long as I’ve been reading this blog, Defender’s pet harangue has been that ‘CART/ChampCar fans need to get over it…we need to acknowledge that the series failed…that we need to support the IndyCar series now…we need to stop living in the past…if we can’t bring new ideas to the table that help move the series forward, we should go away.’ Did I get that pretty much right?

    In his interview, Brian Lisles does JUST that. He addresses what he sees as the problems with the series; economics, vision, recognition of history, the whole shooting match. He gives suggestions, and then explains why he thinks his suggestions would be good. His ideas are intelligent, articulate, and damned if I can find ANYWHERE where he says that the CART way was better, other than to suggest in the early 90’s during the heyday that CART was challenging F1 for fans, viewers, popularity, and SPONSORSHIP DOLLARS. And why, I ask, is that a bad thing?

    In short, he does everything that Defender has demanded of CART fans. And he comes off as a fan of the sport who wants to see it grow, and grow forward. And Defender rips him for not being a team player. For not being a syncophant and toeing the party line, even when the line doesn’t make sense. And he does it using a series of mischaracterizations, misrepresentations, and quotes taken out of context to the point of factual distortion. There’s only one person in Defender’s blog post that comes off as whiny and unable to put the past behing them.

    And it isn’t Kirby. And it isn’t Lisles.

    Gee, I wonder who’s left?

    Editor’s Note: Elusive point: The re-cartization of open wheel racing will be its downfall unless enough courage is mustered to do it the right way. Recycled rehashing by old cart stooges will never do the trick. I hope Randy Bernard eventually wades through all the bullsh!t being heaped upon him by the self interested and forges a brave NEW path.

    Comment by Steve Kornya — August 17, 2010 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

    • Apparently it is an elusive point to me. Where, other than YOUR interpretations of what Lisles said, is he advocating for the ‘recartization’ of the sport? Seems to me that he’s addressing concerns that you, and many of us, have been pleading for for a long while. Sponsorships. A defined ladder. More American drivers. Less Ride Buyers. Experienced ‘car guys’ in the leadership. Yes, he has strong opinions on the Delta Wing. So what. The only place he comes off as a CART shill advocating a return to the days of a failed series are when you parse his quotes and take him out of context. And frankly, while the recycled rehashing by old cart stooges will never do the trick (you’re right on that) neither will the repetitive bleating ‘all is wells’ from the irl syncophants. (I’m not saying you are one, but they’re out there. You know it. I know it. And they’re hurting the sport just as much as the cart knuckleheads).

      Editor’s Note: Why so defensive?

      Comment by Steve Kornya — August 17, 2010 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  2. The Deltawing would have been a disaster. Its not an openwheel car. Don’t these idiots know this is American openwheel racing????? Apparently not.

    “The only way for Indy Car to survive is to market as the US version of F1.” There it is. This is CART thinking. Maybe we should go ahead and tear up the oval at Indy and only use the road course. Those mighty 20 mph turns again.

    Regardless of where you fall in the oval/road course debate, can anyone imagine the picture of the Deltawing on a road course? Just imagine it. Indy car dodged a big bullet.

    Comment by Bob F. — August 17, 2010 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

    • Bob: Did you bother to read the quotes about the Delta Wing or the F1 in context? ‘Market as the US version of F1’. He’s talking about going to Euro companies who are spending millions and millions of dollars to get miniscule space on the car, and saying ‘Look, for half the price, you can get 10 times the exposure and break into the NA market’. Last year, for example, FedEx spent $20 million with McLaren and they got the front wings. That’s it. That’s TWICE what IZOD pays to sponsor the entire series. What he’s saying is we need to convince these companies like Fedex, IBM, HP, Compaq, Computer Associates that IndyCar is a viable, more valuable choice for their sponsorship dollars. AND HE EMPHASIZES THE DRAW OF THE 500. As for the Delta Wing, yeah. It would have been a radical change. Probably too radical. But it, or something like it, would have drawn a hell of a lot more widespread media attention than the Dallara compromise did. And it would have made people who don’t currently watch the sport at least take a look at the new car. Because lets face it, if the owners didn’t even care enough to show up at the announcement of the ICONIC panel’s decision why should new fans be bothered to?

      As for your ‘Don’t these idiots know this is American Open Wheel Racing’ question? I don’t know your age, but I’m pretty sure that you (were you there) would have asked the same question back in 1963 when Jack Brabham and Colin Champman brought their rear-engine cars to the 500.

      Comment by Steve Kornya — August 17, 2010 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  3. No, No, the Defender is right. Don’t ever suggest a different direction. Tony George never made any mistakes and Indycar is always right. LOL.

    Comment by Bill B. — August 17, 2010 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  4. “Constantly be on the defensive” your name is defender dumb ass! Don’t get mad because Randy wants the irl to be CART, Randy Bernard is smart, you’ve said so many times and his “CART-centric views prove it! The irl blows and he sees that, why can’t you?

    Editor’s Note: Probably because my literacy and comprehension skills are more advanced than those of the cart kiddos.

    Comment by Offender — August 17, 2010 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  5. Will the CART crowd ever truly embrace it? This CART crowd member did. Now I’m an Indy Car open wheel fan. I’ve been to races for CART(Fontana, Greg Moore RIP,Gateway, Houston) & Champcar(Denver every year), IRL(Indy 500, inaugural races at Chicagoland and Kansas, more races than I can count at TMS). And I’ve enjoyed every single one. EVERY ONE. And I’m frankly tired of your incessant whining about CART. Give up the ghost already, move on, and you try embracing this series.

    I enjoy your writing style but your message is wearing thin.

    Comment by Tony D — August 18, 2010 @ 3:36 am | Reply

  6. @Steve Kornya: When you say that DW would have gotten way more media attention that what was chosen, that’s called an “assertion.”

    Y’all heard ’bout that “assertion?” You know, like when you claim something is true without providing any proof? As my grandfather used to say, “Sayin’ it doesn’t make it so.”

    There is no reason to believe that the “media” cares much one way or another about IndyCar, and there is no coherent rationale why choosing the DW would change that—it’s simply an article of faith for DW supporters.

    Y’all heard ’bout that tree? You know, the one that falls in the forest but doesn’t make a sound, because nobody is around to hear it? The ICS would have had to choose levitating, wheel-less sleds, powered by tiny nuclear reactors to get more than a handful of people to notice.

    As for crafting the ICS to be a replacement for F1: the only thing that really matters here is TV ratings. IndyCar is already so much cheaper than F1 it’s not even worth considering the incremental improvement in cost control that the DW *might* have offered over what ICONIC chose to do. The idea that the ICS could, in the foreseeable future, offer F1 sponsors 10 times the exposure… that is a full-on, belly-laughing joke.

    It’s hard to take anyone that makes that argument seriously.

    Oh yeah… almost forgot… it’s all Barnhart’s fault. The radicalized, extremist POV of these characters is proven by this obsession of theirs. The idea that ICONIC’s decision represents Barnhart’s defeat of the DW supporters is hare-brained. They discussed all the proposals, and they could not reach a consensus regarding the DW—either amongst themselves, nor among fans, stake holders, or potential partners like engine suppliers.

    It’s a pure myth that DW was defeated by the nefarious “TGBB.” To me, this idea is very revealing of the mentality of the people that keep trying to push it.

    Comment by Boo Boo — August 18, 2010 @ 5:14 am | Reply

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