Well this stinks. Tony Kanaan is officially looking for a ride after Andretti Autosport made his release from the team official. Just months ago he was the team leader at Andretti Autosport. The guy who set up the cars for everyone else. Former champion. Consistent race winner. A guy whose loyalty caused him to turn down a ride with Ganassi a couple of years ago.
I know he is Brazilian and all of that, but for those who believe American short trackers should be the main criteria he did give a car a try on dirt recently. He has connected with the public in a way few drivers can. He is certainly one of the most popular. I hope he is able to end his Lloyd Ruby-like luck at IMS during his career.
The end of his 7-11 primary sponsorship probably doomed his future with Andretti, but a guy with his talent, credentials and history should have no problem being hired by a top flight team under normal circumstances, right? The problem is aside from a few years of early IRL history circumstances have not been normal since cart began their occupation in 1979. How many times have we seen guys go from winner to beggar in less than a year?
If I owned a team I would be on the horn with him now, sponsor or not. Kanaan is a winner. Surround him with the right people and chemistry and you have a champion.
Here’s hoping for the best.
Some of our Canadian friends are all giddy about a rumor (or ‘rumour’ for my good friends up north) the goofy cart-centric pay web site AR1 is foisting that Graham Rahal is steering 7 million dollars of TBC sponsorship toward the Ganassi organization. More reputable, credible publications such as NSSN indicate Ganassi is sticking with two cars.
If we assume the rumor has legs, is it a good thing? Ganassi runs one of the top two organizations. The problem is he and Penske win all the races. If we are honest with ourselves how can that possibly be good? Fans want to see underdogs win.
If I had that kind of money and I was shopping I would try to enhance a team that is almost there. Panther would be my choice. They have a history of winning and with the right funding they run a first class operation. That seems like a marriage made in heaven.
Any number of other teams could become winners with that type of funding. Dryer & Reinbold, Fazzt, HVM, etc., could use a second car full time. There would be an added benefit of a two car team.
Indy Car fans are happy Graham has lined up the funding (by the way, where does that leave Jay Howard…was that not his sponsorship?) and we hope he drives for a team capable of winning other than one of the big 2.
There is a thorough, well written story by a lady named Julie Scharper of The Baltimore Sun that was published a couple of days ago about the upcoming Baltimore street race. Here are some of the key points made in the story:
-There is no title sponsor
-There are railroad tracks, and no one has figured out how to avoid a General Lee type situation akin to the way the ill-fated champcar series embarrassed itself at the one and done street abomination in San Jose.
-The population in Baltimore seemingly does not give a rip about having the Indy Cars in town on their streets.
The event does have millions of tax dollars for improvements from the lukewarm taxpayers, but the infrastructure has to be funded and right now it’s not. Robin Miller is quoted heavily, and given his sense of negativity and pessimism in general, the ominous tone of the article is enhanced by his contributions.
The race folks hope to sell $7 million of tickets. That seems high to me.
Here is my prediction, based on past performances: Lots of people will attend the first year because of the novelty. In subsequent years, not a lot of people will attend because the hype is better than the reality. The cars are not as impressive as they are on ovals. Spectators can’t see much of the course. It will be a hassle to get there and get around.
We are likely to end up with a Denver situation that fails after two years. That is the way it goes for street events. Not everything can be a Long Beach. Geographically Baltimore/Washington is an ideal market for Indy Cars. It is a shame someone won’t build a real track for them to race on.
IMS announced today that it is furnishing ‘assets’ to a Facebook Game called ‘Car Town’ and that IMS is the first motorsports facility that is doing so. Initially it will be pace cars; eventually it will be Indy Cars.
Some might say it seems stupid given the no-life dullards that play those idiotic, lowest common denominator games. The fact is, millions play those sill games every month, so in reality it is a great idea. Marketing of Indy Car to an audience of today is smart. Those efforts seem to be increasing. The ‘aw shucks’ efforts of the past seem to be a thing of the past, and from an evolution standpoint is very smart.
The first vehicles will be the pace car from 2010 as well as the Brickyard pace car. It gets released today along with IMS and IZOD Indy Car Series images. I still won’t play, but the millions who do will hopefully have a good time.
Kudos to IMS for making marketing efforts relevant.
One of the largest conventions Indianapolis has every year is the Future Farmers of America. There are tens of thousands of young FFA members in Indy right now taking care of their important business and seeing the sights around town.
Some of them visited the Andretti Autosport facility. What a great idea! How much more grassroots can you get than the FFA? These people are YOUNG, too. This is something all of the Indy-based racing teams should do—throw open their doors and encourage touring. Hopefully IMS does the same thing and gets the youngsters around the track.
Indy Car needs all the fans it can get, and the FFA folks could just as easily support something else. So way to go Andretti Autosport. They continue to do a lot off the track too.
Obsessed idiots critical of Indy Car and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continuously enjoy concocting ‘evidence’ that proves both are on the verge of imminent collapse, usually cloaked in a ‘Tony ruined everything’ theme. But what happens when economically unsupported entities are actually forced to end their existence?
That is precisely what is happening down south in Daytona. Former IMS boss Joie Chitwood is now in charge down there, and what did he announce this week? That Daytona International Speedway will close what has been billed as the ‘Official Attraction of NASCAR.’ It is called the Daytona 500 Experience, and it has been around since 1996. Next month, it closes. They are offering instead an extended tram tour of the facilities. There’s IMAX, several exhibits, cars and attractions inside 60,000 square feet. Now, those facilities will only be available for private events. People will also lose their jobs. Joie calls it ‘evolution.’ He says the research indicates people would rather tour the track.
Oddly, I do not read or hear any howling about any imminent collapse of either Daytona or NASCAR. Too bad, though. For ‘stock’ car fans, that was a fine place to spend a day.
ESPN bends over again tonight for NASCAR with a Tim Richmond special brought to us by the same guy responsible for ‘Dale.’ The selection of Tim Richmond as a subject seems curious. He is positioned as something other than the big hatted, big belt buckled southern redneck that dominated NASCAR back in the day. Truth is (and this get mentioned) he liked whores and promiscuity. Hey, who among us doesn’t? Evidently he liked it a bit dirtier than most considering AIDS killed him.
I remember watching him in Indy Cars and seeing a potential star. NASCAR fans saw the same thing as he won races and took on their best. It will interesting to see how much of the program will focus on the racing and how much will focus on how he used his genitals. Is it not ironic that his family and friends urged him to leave the Indy Cars because stock cars were considered safer, but it was ultimately sex that killed him?
I sincerely hope they capture the intangibles that made him a star. That is the main part of the sport today that is missing. It is often hard to think of foreign ride buyers as personalities, and galling when an ungrateful champion implies the championship is not as fulfilling as it would have been fifteen years ago.
The IZOD Indy Car critics out there often point to two things they ‘hate’ about the series (and yet they continue to watch-interesting):
-They call the current Dallara/Honda models ‘crapwagons’ (or worse).
-They wail hysterically about the lack of variety of chassis/engine combos.
Now that the 2012 package has been announced with Dallara as the base, their pig-like squealing has intensified. Only the most pessimistic, dark outcome is likely through their myopic eyes.
I have a few questions for the hissy fit throwers. How can anyone other than a cart fan that refuses to budge from 1995 tell the difference between a current IRL model, old cart cars and many recent vintage F-1 cars? Truth is they can’t. The shriekers actually have a point with chassis/engine variety. I have not met a fan yet, whether they are a normal, mature, casual fan or an entrenched cart idiot, who does not want variety. The real issue is who pays for the variety. With only 28 or less entries on non-Indy weekends, how can manufacturers make any money unless they win all the time? And if they win all the time won’t everyone want that package? That is how it usually works.
Perhaps those who insist variety is the only way to go can lay out a framework that describes how it will work financially without driving the costs up for teams.
I am really hoping astute manufacturers will see the value of badging bases with their own aero kits and brand names. That seems like an economical way to compromise.
There are people pining for a return of Indy 500 intros that use Alan Silvestri’s theme music from the 1986 movie ‘Delta Force.’ My only question is why? That seems foolish in this century. Too many people look backward instead of looking forward. Leave those intros in the past and remember them fondly. Paul Page, like the Delta Force theme, had his moment. The place for “Delta Force’ is, in fact, in the past.
The Indy 500 intros of the past few years have been among the best ever, winning Emmy awards almost every year. The talent and creativity that has gone into those, including ‘All Roads Lead to Indy’ with Jeremy Irons narrating in 2007, ‘It is Time’ in 2006, ‘Racing’s Perfect Storm,’ ‘Speed City,’ Powers Booth’s narrative trip through the past last year, and this past year’s ‘keeper of the prize’ piece by a Canadian company was spine chilling. The only problem with some of them is that they are not possible to find on the Web. They have been pulled for copyright violations. That is a real pain in the behind.
We all enjoyed the Delta Force/Paul Page pieces of the early 90’s. Compared to what we have today, however, that stuff seems like cable access quality. Whenever anyone searches youtube to relive some of those moments there is always some idiot who uses the Delta Force theme over their own video images for current made up 500 intros. That seems pointless and stupid. Personally, I can hardly wait to see what the creative minds dream up for the 100th anniversary. Using ‘Delta Force’ for 2010 (or any future year) would almost be insulting. I know that was a period remembered fondly, but we’re not even in that century any more. Let us all move forward.
Concerned IZOD Indy Car fans like myself are concerned with replacement of 7-11 as the primary sponsor for one of Indy Car’s most popular drivers, Tony Kanaan. That company recently announced they were shifting primary sponsorship from Kanaan to associate levels for Danica Patrick in Indy Car and possibly Jeff Gordon’s 24 car in NASCAR.
If we look for replacement convenience stores, which ones would work? There are a few, and most any of them could leverage coop advertising dollars from manufacturers that supply their sellable products.
-Speedway seems like a natural. They are located all over the Midwest and have over 1,600 stores. That makes them top 5 in the U.S.A. Plus, can you imagine a race car with that logo? With Kanaan behind the wheel?
-Along those same lines is Race Trac with over 500 stores. Problem is they are mostly in old NASCAR country. But what another natural fit. Perhaps Indy Car ought to venture further into NASCAR country since their popularity is slipping.
-Pennsylvania-based Wawa has nearly 600 stores, but the fact that it’s called Wawa might be a better fit for either Danica Patrick or Marco Andretti. Particularly Andretti. It’s based in their home state, and just saying the name of that company screams Andretti.
-Considering Tony’s propensity to (allegedly) ‘Tiger’ any attractive female that walks by then do the ‘ol ‘pump and dump’ routine, perhaps the Midwestern-based Kum & Go chain would be right up his alley. It would be a nice tie-in to the little oval in Iowa, too.
In any event, this guy needs to be in the series, and hopefully Andretti Autosport works it out in the next few months.