Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 10, 2010

Indy Car Vs. ISC: Stupid or Smart?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:47 pm

The relegation of ISC to bystander for Indy Car races is kind of like moving a big pile of poker chips to the center of the table hoping to bluff your way into a big payoff with just a pair of non-face cards. It could pay off big, but it could also backfire. Some conspiracy theorists believe it is only a matter of time before NASCAR in turn pulls the Brickyard 400 to squeeze IMS. That would be stupid, but more stupid things have happened.

Is this a declaration of war on NASCAR-owned ISC? Probably not. It will most likely not stop ignorant, illiterate, mullet-clad rednecks from spewing their brand of mispronounced folklore-ish fiction/hate that has long been their staple; e.g., Big Bill was thrown out of IMS way back when by Tony Hulman for asking that a NASCAR race be held at Indy.

Once you get past the flowery lip service sound bites manufactured by Randy Bernard and ISC officials and reduce all issues to their essence, the picture becomes relatively clear:

-Indy Car wants more in terms of sanctioning fees that ISC is willing to pay.

-ISC is willing to go to any length possible to promote their own NASCAR series, and they are the best in the business at that.

-ISC’s Indy Car promotional philosophy is to walk out to the gates on race day morning, open them, then wave for people to come on in.

-The Indy Car Disney family o’ channels network broadcast partner(s) devotes 99% of their time, effort, money and space promoting and cross-promoting NASCAR. The remaining 1% goes to the IRL, but usually only when there is a bad crash.

-Indy Car itself remains largely incapable of promoting itself effectively despite valiant efforts.

Randy and crew have leaned heavily toward Bruton Smith and SMI tracks. That is a gamble as well. Bruton is in his 80’s and the generation that will succeed him is questionable. What if they don’t want to pay the sanctioning fees? Outside Eddie Gossage who effectively promotes Indy Car? What if the SMI ovals fail again? Then what?

Politics is a dangerous game to play. Fans have been screwed royally by politics since day 1. That is how GREAT tracks like Chicagoland, Richmond, Michigan, etc., get cast aside — politics without any regard whatsoever for what fans actually want. Navigating that particular slippery slope presents a large future challenge.

Most hope the gamble pays off and that Indy Car continues to grow. In the long run it would be far better for Indy Car to deserve their asking price and get it. Resorting to borderline hostile actions that rob fans of certain great venues is not really a great long term solution.



  1. I think Nascar would have Indycar back in a heartbeat–as long as they made them a bunch of money. Right now, the investment is not worth the payoff.

    But N-car does own a bunch of ovals. And for the majority of the year, they sit empty. So if Indycar can somehow make itself more popular, and more profitable, it would make sense for both sides for Indycar to go back to some of these tracks.

    Comment by redd — September 10, 2010 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  2. Interesting post, Defender. Given that you have been one of the staunchest advocates of kicking ISC-and ESPN-to the curb, now you’re having second thougts?

    Editor’s Note: Uh, no.

    Is it a gamble? Yes, it is. However, I agree with what Randy Bernard is doing. He has said that he wants to be at venues where the series is promoted, as opposed to the ISC tracks where it seems that very little promotion is given to any non-NASCAR property.

    Will this plan work? Only time will tell. But having a plan is better than having no plan at all and better to be ruled by some form of logic as opposed to the emotionalism that you and so many “fans” do.

    Editor’s Note: Emotionalism. LOL.

    Comment by Thesmartestguyintheroom — September 10, 2010 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  3. Dear Defender,

    The IRL- ISC plays out like a cheap melodrama from Lifetime Network…at first the pair are happy and sharing, as TG runs his races at ISC tracks across the country, including old favorites like Phoenix, Michigan and California and NASCAR comes to IMS…but the relationship grows sour and the ISC becomes abusive and takes away the best tracks and leaves the IRL with the second tier tracks like Homestead, Kansas and Richmond…over time, ISC becomes even more abusive and takes away all but the scraps…but still retains the IRL’s crown jewel, IMS…in the end, you have to ask yourself how much abuse and mistreatment can the IRL, like an abused and neglected spouse, take? Perhaps a reconciliation will occur in the future if and when the Hulmans tell the Frances that IMS is off the table for NASCAR…but in this economy, even the best thought-out marriages end up on the rocks….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — September 10, 2010 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  4. I don’t know what else IndyCar could do to make itself “more popular and profitable”, Redd. The oval racing is the best you’ll ever see, no matter what kind of cars they are, and it has women, which should please those who like equality. Maybe you or someone else can shed some light on the subject.

    Comment by DOUG — September 10, 2010 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  5. Yes Defender, it all to do with politics.

    Nothing to do with the woeful attendance at all.

    Not in the slightest…

    Editor’s Note: Blaming attendance for a lot of things is usually a weak excuse borne of anti-Indy Car prejudice. Politics is a primary reason, as is presentation and promotion of the product.

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — September 10, 2010 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  6. I don’t know what to do, but I’m increidbly depressed about the loss of Chicagoland and Watkins Glen, not to mention this means my hometrack of MIS is never returning. I remeber this June, the rumor MIS might return started…. now, we’ll be lucky to ever see it again. Same with Phoenix. I feel like even if a good case could be made to leave Homestead and Kansas, lossing all of them is a mistake, and if fontana and Vegas both want to be on the scheudale, then ADD THEM BOTH! Then you’d have 9 ovals and 9 road/street races! But this is Indycar, so they’re not going to do that.

    Comment by dylanpt24 — September 11, 2010 @ 5:33 am | Reply

  7. I think it is time IMS tells Nascar they are no longer welcome at the Brickyard 400. Nascar likely gets a sanction fee bigger than they deserve anyway. It’s time for Jeff to pick up the phone and talk to ARCA. I have no doubt, huge crowds would still show up, IMS makes the stars, the stars don’t make the speedway. Perhaps IMS needs to become partners with ARCA and compete more head to head with Nascar.

    Comment by bjh — September 11, 2010 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

    • Sanction fees aren’t about what a particular series deserves. But I’d say, if IMS can put 150,000 fans in the stands and, after promotion/operating costs and sanction fee, make a pile of cash, then the sanction fee isn’t too high. Is it higher than IndyCar? Yeah, it is. Why? Because NASCAR puts more butts in seats, and more $$$ in promoters/track owners pockets.

      As to your other point…

      Name one ARCA driver. One.

      I’m waiting. Still waiting.

      I’m as much for telling NASCAR to get the hell out of IMS and don’t let the door hit them in the ass when they do so as the next guy, but to suggest that a third-tier stock car series with no name drivers would be an even substitute for a NASCAR race is just flat out ludicrous. And while IMS MAY make the stars (by the way, how’s that star thing working for Buddy Lazier and Buddy Rice lately) in Open Wheel, don’t kid yourself it’s that way for the tintops. NASCAR/Grand National/ARCA stars are made on International Speedway Blvd., not 16th and Georgetown.

      Oh, and I’m still waiting for the name of that ARCA driver. Maybe you could ask the huge crowds of people that would come out for an ARCA race at the Brickyard to help you out with that?

      Comment by Steven Kornya — September 11, 2010 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  8. i have heard rumblings that there could be an oval race at calder park on the thunderdome, this could also be twinned with a normal race on a proper circuit at either phillip island or on a street circuit, possibly in sydney.

    Comment by nosh pitt — September 11, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

  9. I don’t think ISC seemed overly concerned with promoting the series. Let’s see what SMI can do.

    Additionally, I’d love to show NASCAR the door at the Brickyard, but what do you replace it with? I’m not quite convinced ARCA would be the fix.

    Comment by Zachary — September 12, 2010 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  10. Doesn’t have a lot to do with the main point of the blog entry, but back in the day Bill France Sr. was tossed from the IMS garage…for not having the proper credentials.The story he swore eternal revenge appeared years late, after NASCAR had already become a money-maker.Sometimes there’s a grain of truth in a “myth-that isn’t”.
    Hell, back then Clarence Cagle would have tossed God if he didn’t have the right pass.

    Comment by Jack Marahrens — September 15, 2010 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

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