Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 10, 2010

100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500: Where is all of the Meaningful Hoopla?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:21 pm

Here is a challenge to the Marketing folks at IMS. I have seen the billboards around the track that proclaim the 2011 Indianapolis 500 ‘The Most Important Race in History.’ I get it but I am in a shrinking minority in a crowded sports entertainment world. Do you realize May, 2011 is barely over six months away? When will the promotion of ‘The Most Important Race in History’ extend beyond the bounds of Speedway, Indiana? When will the rest of America and the world understand what is about to unfold? The time for resting on laurels has passed.

Here are a few goals to shoot for, although it is probably too late. Link up with HBO Sports and have them produce quality pieces to commemorate the 100th anniversary. Their recent work on topics such as the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, Magic and Larry, the 24/7 series (that has already featured NASCAR) and many other topics are top notch. Make that happen.

Also compel Ken Burns to do a PBS feature on the 100 years of Indy. His body of work speaks for itself and would live on for a long time. Can you even imagine what could happen if you got Ken Burns and Donald Davidson together in a collaboration? Make an effort to get niche cable channels engaged. The History Channel, Discovery Channel(s) and others could do a swell job.

The fact the broadcast ‘partner’ has not made even a miniscule effort to promote the 100th anniversary is stunning. Yet the NASCAR lowest common denominator crap keeps flowing unabated almost all the time. If they continue to be unwilling to act like a partner, offer lots of exclusive rights to Comcast/NBC. IMS owns the rights to the vast majority of historic footage. Let deserving filmmakers and content providers share it in elegant ways.

Time is running out. The time to move is now.



  1. It’s a dead horse, lease come to grips with this fact.

    Editor’s Note: At ‘lease’ try to be literate with your stupidity.

    Comment by jb — November 10, 2010 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  2. Comcast/NBC are likely not interested.

    Editor’s Note: ….and you know this because…

    Comment by TroyM — November 11, 2010 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  3. I am afraid if they did a history of racing by “outsiders” that the IRL/Cart split would be revisited again and again and be a big part of the program since its so recent.

    Indy itself could put the film together. But it would emphasize track records and those very close races. The pictures would be amazing to see. Indy needs to put the right face on this and should probably manage the product themselves.

    I can think of several things they should do to improve . This assumes getting rid of that abomination called the pole day shootout.

    Be sure the new car/engine in 2012 can threaten to break records. “That’s a new track record” is what they need. Not available for 2011, it would be for the 100th race.

    Bring back happy hour in qualifications by keeping the track open until 7:00. So much tradition is built on that last hour, and this would make up for Indiana’s change to Eastern Daylignt Time in May.

    They have already made one big change that has worked, and that is moving Carb Day to a Friday and having the Indy Lights race that day. They just need to get the hooligans under control.

    TV ratings have been terrible. So why keep moving the race further into the afternoon to try for better ratings. I would start the race no later than 12:00 and would prefer the traditional time of 11:00. It reinforces tradition and more. Lets be honest. Having a Tony Stewart or some of the other Nascar drivers participate would be a big plus. So work out the starting times between Indy and the Charlotte race that day. Its the biggest Indy Car race and one of the biggest Nascar races(at least the longest race in the world at 600 miles). Work off each other in this case to help each other.

    Whatever works for the Indy Racing League as a whole, the whole key to Indy is tradition. It’s the only race track that has the same feel as a Wrigley field or a Fenway Park. It drips history. Capitalize on that. Those advertisements for “Take me out to the Brickyard” were perfect in promoting that feeling and that tradition. We need more of that.

    I’m assuming that they will try to have every surviving winning driver at the race this year to be honored. Every one that could possibly come. If not, don’t limit it to a few. Try to get them all.

    And get those older cars on the track so that the people attending the race can see them in pre-race ceremonies. Or provide a special day in May will people can come and see them on the track.

    Comment by Bob F. — November 11, 2010 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  4. I’ve been a fan of the Indy 500 for fifty-seven years, but even I have a hard time with the moniker “Most Important Race in History”. I know Indy has a lot of tradition, but just how good a show the present competitors put on in 2011–plus the weather–will tell the tale. You know Americans–our attention span is very short, and maybe even six months is too far into the future for even the most ardent enthusiast. I’m confident something will come up as May gets closer, but it “may” be at the last moment.

    Comment by DOUG — November 11, 2010 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

    • The old cars are nice to look at, but as long as you are connecting past, present and future, why not come up with some kind of media campaign that emphasizes the field of 33 cars taking the green flag thusly? The Kurtis/Novi days, Watson roadsters, the first mid/rear engine days, eg., Cooper, Lotus, Brawner, maybe even STP/Paxton Tuebine the heck, you could circumvent the entire CART period and just cut to post-1995 G-Force and Dallaras taking the green flag. There’s nothing even remotely close to the sounds and sensations of the field of 33 taking the green flag. I would want to make sure that people saw as much of that as possible.

      Comment by Matsudai Olvidado — November 11, 2010 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

      • Please forget the tyops…obviously, I meant to say “the STP/Paxton Turbine.” Sorry about that.

        Comment by Matsudai Olvidado — November 11, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  5. It’s not part of the official hoopla but Simon and Schuster will publish my book BLOOD AND SMOKE: A TRUE TALE OF MYSTERY, MAYHEM AND THE BIRTH OF THE INDY 500 next May.

    Editor’s Note: Looking forward to it!

    Comment by Charles Leerhsen — November 12, 2010 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

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