Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

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.


  1. That race was magnificent. Nascar couldn’t do that. Half the IRL schedule can’t do that, with races like Mid-Ohio where no one can remember a pass for the lead. Some of the Roadie Ride Buying Drivers were actually scared to be racing out there (if you heard the comments at the end of the Versus telecast). There is no doubt that oval racing is a league ahead of road racing parades. Somehow, I can’t imagine Al Unser or Johnny Rutherford or A.J. Foyt talking about being scared driving three and four wide (i.e. racing).

    What was it? Eleven different drivers leading laps and 26+ lead changes at 215 mph? Boogidy, boogidy boogidy. That’s real racing Mr. Waltrip.

    Of course this race will not be run next year. Nascar would love nothing more than to see the IRL become a road racing league. They know how that works out. And they just cannot compete with a race like we say Saturday at Chicagoland. And they know it.

    Will be at Kentucky on Saturday. Can’t wait!

    Comment by Bob F. — August 30, 2010 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

    • Hey Bob F, why the comments about Nascar couldn’t do that and telling Mr. Waltrip that is real racing? Do you have a complex about Nascar? Does it upset you that Nascar has much fuller grandstands than the IRL? I highly doubt Nascar cares much about Saturday night. Now their sister company ISC, likely wasn’t pleased with the low turnout.

      All you stupid bootlickers have always blamed someone else for the IRL’s problems. I’m guessing ISC would rather have Nascar and IRL events with lots of fans at their tracks.

      Comment by TroyM — August 30, 2010 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

      • Actually I am a fan of Nascar, and a season ticket holder to the Brickyard 400 (and soon to be Kentucky race). But I have to tell you they can’t put a race on like what we saw Saturday. That is why I have always loved Indy cars on ovals.

        Following Nascar, I know that their crowds have not been stellar either. Especially the Nationwide and Truck Series, but also Cup. The small crowd at the Chicagoland race goes beyond the IRL.

        Comment by Bob F. — August 30, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  2. Chicago does not want to pay for Indycar. There was a very sparse crowd and the sanctioning fee is twice what Nationwide charges. It was a fun race, but Chicagoland Speedway does not want Indycar to race there. So how is that Indycar’s fault?

    Editor’s Note: I don’t really give a damn about who’s ‘fault’ it is. I want a recognition by both parties that the Indy Car race is the most exciting race they have every year. I want an effort made to make it bigger. The lack of effort put forth in presenting everything but what happens on track is astounding. If Chicagoland is balking at the sanctioning fee, Indy Car ought to rent the track and promote it as it should be. This race must be preserved, nurtured and grown.

    Comment by redd — August 30, 2010 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

    • I’m not so sure that this current trend of ISC tracks dropping IndyCar races for much cheaper Nationbusch races is a completely over and done with thing. NASCAR has had to cut purses by 10-20% for next year in the Nationbusch series in order to hit those sanction fee targets, and so I think there’s a real possibility that NASCAR’s playing with some amount of fire in order to nudge IndyCar out of those tracks. Nationbusch fields are liable to drop, especially when it comes to teams with non-Cup drivers (i.e. teams with a lower level of sponsorship), and so tracks with a Nationwide headlining race may wind up asking fans to come drop $50 per ticket for folks to watch ten or so Cup drivers, a dozen or so young guys, 2-3 surviving start and park teams, plus Danica. That doesn’t sound like all that appealing of a product to me, but I’m not so sure I’m the target demo (in that NASCAR is dead to me, and may never see another dime of my money).

      My point: NASCAR is risking devaluing their show in order to do this. If IndyCar can shore up their on track product in the next 2-3 years (with improved cars, less ride buyers, more Americans, improved race stewardship leading to non-horrendous starts and restarts, etc.), possibly we could see the pendulum swing in the other direction with tracks attempting to add IndyCar races again by 2012 or 2013. Crazier things have happened.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — August 30, 2010 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  3. Magnificent race at Chicago, lousy turnout (as usual). I just CANNOT understand why that is–the racing doesn’t get any better than that. Isn’t that what oval racing is supposed to be about? I agree with Bob F., the old-timers would have been proud, in spite of the misgivings of wheel-to-wheel dicing of some of the drivers. That tells me they’ve been on road and street courses too long. They’ve forgotten what REAL racing is.

    Comment by DOUG — August 30, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  4. “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…”
    The racing looked great on television last Saturday and I wish I could have made it to Chicago last week. I would have gone there if it had been at all possible. It really hurts to see so many empty seats in the grandstands. I do attend the events that are close enough to me, specifically Long Beach, Las Vegas and Sonoma. I would hate to see Chicago get dropped. Last Saturday’s race made me wish I had been there. I would like to make preparations for next year’s race now, if we don’t lose it.

    Comment by Matsudai Olvidado — August 30, 2010 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  5. People don’t come to mile and a half irl races because they know it takes about as much throttle control as a brick to race on one. A USAC driver would get bored tooling around the track, stuck in aerodynamic formation like that.

    Editor’s Note: Lots of brave talking there from a non-participant. Typical.

    Comment by Offender — August 30, 2010 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  6. “I don’t really give a damn about who’s ‘fault’ it is. I want a recognition by both parties that the Indy Car race is the most exciting race they have every year. I want an effort made to make it bigger.”

    I understand and appreciate your anger, but that’s just not a realistic attitude. No one can force ISC to properly promote the amazing event at Chicago.

    It takes two to tango. Randy realizes this and is not willing to waste his energy when there are other tracks that are actively seeking to promote and grow an IICS race.

    Goodbye ISC… you pathetic fools.

    Comment by Demond Sanders — August 30, 2010 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  7. Thank you, Demond, for providing a rational point of view.

    I do understand what you’re saying, Defender, however, you are looking at things through the view of emotion rather than the view of logic. IndyCar can’t rent the Chicagoland Speedway-or any other track for that matter-if the owner-in this case ISC-doesn’t allow them to do so. Let me stress this-ISC has no moral, ethical or legal responsibility to allow IndyCar-or any non-NASCAR/ISC entity-to hold an event at any of their facilities if they choose not to. Whether the race is exciting or whether you or anyone eles wants it is irrelevant. I’m not defending ISC-I am not a fan of NASCAR and by extension not a fan of ISC-but facts are what they are. At this moment, ISC seems to have little to no interest at promoting or allowing any non-NASCAR events at their tracks. Rather than writing here, perhaps you would be better served trying to communicate directly with ISC about your views.

    Editor’s Note: Actually, I always do that first. If I get a response, it is nearly 100% boilerplate lip service. Also, Chicagoland would, in fact, rent out the track.

    Comment by Thesmartestguyintheroom — August 31, 2010 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  8. I gotta agree with some of the comments given in response to this message…while I have attended the Chicago race in the past and enjoy the close wheel to wheel action, the pathetic turnouts for most of the 1.5 mile oval events raced on ISC owned tracks continues to weigh down the series and promotes the misguided notion that Indy Car is dying and on the way out…Defender, I know you loathe the road and street events but when you see enthusiastic fans in large numbers (such as at Birmingham and Mid Ohio), it gives the appearance that this series has a future…negativity breeds negativity and I shutter to think about the laughs both the NASCAR crowd and the national media will get when we have another paltry turnout for my home race at Homestead in about a month.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — August 31, 2010 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

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