Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 17, 2010

ISC Behavior in the Wake of IZOD Indy Car Pullout

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:11 pm

Randy Bernard took a bold, defining, radical step in not renewing ISC tracks for IZOD Indy Car races in 2011. ISC, of course, came out swinging in the spin control area. They always do. The excuses they come up with are always amusing. Divorce is rarely amicable.

After a successful run for several years with good crowds at Richmond, for example, Indy Car was not renewed this season. The disingenuous management of that ISC track blamed attendance and bad racing. Reports are they just wanted to poach Sun Trust Indy Car sponsorship to replace lost NASCAR sponsorship. If they are concerned about low attendance and bad racing why do they keep running the Grand National cars? They cannot keep that event and say what they do about Indy Car without being hypocrites.

The management of Watkins Glen is the latest to squawk. Evidently Indy car wants $1.5 mil to run at the Glen, and management is crying over a 30% increase and lack of people. My advice: Promote the event. Inspire people to get there. Schedule it on a realistic weekend. I don’t hear, say, Barber griping about the fee. They made a serious effort in terms of promotion and created a great weekend. There is no reason a legendary track like Watkins Glen can’t do the same.

The same sort of whiny excuse making occurs at every step. This is a tough sacrifice for fans. We feel completely screwed that we have ended a race at a track built by Indy Car that featured the best racing action every single year in Chicagoland. But this is a necessary wake-up call for ISC that is long overdue. It is clear Randy Bernard is not comfortable being a red-headed bastard stepchild any longer. It is also a gamble. Aligning with SMI is risky because their primary bread and butter is also NASCAR. Time will tell.

Hopefully this move helps the IZOD Indy Car Series in the long run. Perhaps ISC will do things differently next time. Indy Car needs to work on improving the presentation of their weekends as well. Hopefully this step back will afford both entities opportunities to freshen everything up.

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6 Comments »

  1. ISC will tell you “We’re a separate entity from NASCAR” and in a technical/legal sense that may be true.
    What has to be remembered is that at ISC tracks, NASCAR is the cash cow.
    When NASCAR was at it’s peak, ISC didn’t mind working with IRL/ISC as it was considered additional revenue.
    Now that NASCAR is losing fans, ISC views any other races as money that should be going to the NASCAR events so they’ll find reasons to eliminate them.
    As you point out, the hypocrisy is evident by the recent RIR Nationwide race where there were fewer fans by far in attendance than at any IRL race there but you won’t see the race dropped.
    It’s a shame anytime good tracks are lost but ISC was never Indycar’s friend.

    Comment by Jack Marahrens — September 17, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  2. Great post. I completely agree with your statements.

    Comment by Tony — September 17, 2010 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  3. I completely agree with you and good on ya for changing your website title.

    Comment by Bill B. — September 17, 2010 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  4. At Chicagoland, ISC would rather have a Nationwide-ARCA one day affair, with Nationwide’s $800K sanctioning fee (and pennies going to ARCA) rather than spend $1.4 or $1.5 million for an IRL show, with or without Trucks. ISC did little local promotion of this year’s IRL weekend beyond some last-minute newspaper ads and a bit of radio, which distressed Bernard. In contrast, there was much more advertising of the Cup-Nationwide weekend.

    And all advertising was way down compared to three years ago, when the economy was good.

    Properly promoted, a Chicagoland race would work. That would cost money, and given the reluctance to spend it on advertising, it’s logical the track will say no to the sanctioning fee.

    Here’s the math. About 20,000 watched this year’s race (including the camper crowd). A sellout of the 75,000 seats would mean $20 per person would go to the sanctioning fee, which is hefty. Spread the $1.5 million sanctioning fee across 20,000, and it’s $75 a person, which is impossible.

    There may be a middle ground, but I can’t see one where both the track and the sanctioning body make money, and there’s the rub.

    Comment by Golf In Chicago — September 17, 2010 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  5. Anything to ding neckcar is good in my book. Mouthbrewthers driving in a slow circle for 4 hours is lame. So is being the second fastest racing series.

    Comment by Patrick — September 18, 2010 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  6. WHAT!? You mean Nascar only cares about Nascar!?

    Totally shocking!

    (Not)

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — September 18, 2010 @ 6:04 pm | Reply


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