Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

December 6, 2010

IZOD IndyCar Teams: The Rich Get Richer

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:12 pm

I would really like to understand the inner workings of what appears to be sponsor poaching by Team Penske from Andretti Autosport. Obviously the record of Team Penske speaks for itself. The Andretti folks have not been slouches in the past, but have appeared goofy and dysfunctional the past couple of seasons. They fired the one driver left with multiple wins and a championship (not to mention arguably the most popular in the series), and his sponsor all but left too.

Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay has been IZOD’s poster boy, and they made sure he had a ride for most of the season last year. Their car sponsorship contained caveats, and the main one was that they sponsored the series, not cars. Today we learned that is not the case. Ryan Briscoe gets IZOD primary, and the other two get big associate packages.

Team Penske also took over the Meijer sponsorship long associated with Andretti as well.

This particular silly season has really become silly. Andretti Autosport has long provided quality rides for top drivers since their formation and currently have an all American team. They have done more for the series than most. Here’s hoping they are not imploding and can find their way back so we fans can have at least a ‘big three’ once again. Watching Penske and Ganassi win every race is not very enjoyable and will not hold the attention of casual fans for long.



  1. Marco and Danica were mistakes, and Andretti Autosport’s loyalty to them is what hurt the team. If you want an all-American team, go for J.R. Hildebrand, Buddy Rice, John Edwards, Jonathan Summerton, Graham Rahal, etc… Those would all be improvements over Marco and Danica, and most don’t have rides at the moment. I understand why Marco and Danica remain, because Danica brings great sponsorship dollars (she’s really effectively a ride-buyer if she can maintain a ride at that level), and Marco because he’s Michael’s son. But neither of them proved capable at car setups and they’re both fairly mediocre drivers. Yes, they can both run well on occasion, but they’re not weekly threats like Kanaan, Wheldon, and Franchitti were when they were there. It’s disappointing that they’re the only two American drivers who seem to be regularly secure (okay now Rahal, Hunter-Reay, and apparently Kimball…a choice that also blows my mind since he hasn’t won in Lights yet while Hildebrand and Edwards are rideless…)

    Comment by Sean — December 7, 2010 @ 6:58 am | Reply

  2. i am fine with all of this because this is back to where we started . the vision had its chance and it went ka-put on america. the series died on tony georges watch. fans left in droves. a split occurred with such animosity never before seen in any sport. infighting killed the irl. lack of direction killed the irl. lack of leadership killed the irl. wwe style tactics killed the irl.
    the irl killed american open wheel.
    now Director penske is back in charge just like the old days and everybody knows it, from randy bernard to brian barnhart to angstadt to the sisters and momma mari, who undoubtedly approve of captain rogers leadership charge. Why? It’s simple. Because Roger can and because roger will, and if it is roger’s will, then so it shall his will be done. the vagina monologue ownership knows that this is the last chance to gets some zigs and some zags in a flat line code blue emergency on irl street. dr Penske is about to perform a life saving procedure by 1. assuming control (wash first and wear rubber gloves – we’re dealing with massive infection here). done. 2. taking over the financial reigns. done 3. organizing and bringing in multiple engines. done 4. weilding a mighty and powerful sword over his puppets. done 5. buying ims from the va-jay-jay four. soon to be done.

    In a world of powerplays….your blog cries about a minor act in a major play.

    will Les miserables indy make it to the big stage again.

    only captain comeback penske knows.

    the PHOENIX has risen!!!!!!
    Phoenix~ “I’m an Actor”

    “If you ever come…late…
    You’d better give me what I want

    I’m addicted
    It’s growing strong
    It’s growing strong again
    The consequences
    I leave those things for someone else
    Don’t say I’m doing fine
    I’m not even trying to

    Bring it on & on & on & on & on & on & on
    Bring it on & on & on & on & on & on & on
    On & on

    I’m an Actor”

    Editor’s Note: It is nearly beyond my level of comprehension to believe there are still people that stupid running around. The manner in which clueless idiots twist their prejudices into indictments of open wheel racing is simultaneously enormously entertaining and deserving of considerable pity. Would it not be great if everyone who stopped by were actual racing fans?

    Comment by Phoenix — December 7, 2010 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

    • Penske is taking over. But in this case the Fox has just taken control of the hen house.

      Comment by Bob F. — December 7, 2010 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  3. I’ve heard that IZOD wanted to take RHR to Penske, however, AA signed Ryan which put the brakes on that. Also, Michael has known about these developments for some time, does not come as a suprise. I’m thinking he has new sponsorship options for AA.

    This is not as much about Penske Poaching sponsors as much as Andretti losing them. When the Penske side pods went blank and RJ Reynolds cut their ties, I imagine there were lots of sponors wanting to go to roger. All I can say for Brisco is that he looks like he could be one of the Bee Gees. But to come back after that Chicagoland Crash shows dedication.

    Comment by M. Miller — December 7, 2010 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  4. RJ Reynolds own CAMEL & WINSTON… I think you mean Phillip Morris & their MARLBORO brand.

    Your other points are spot on… Indycar sponsorship is severely undervalued. Meijer gets all 3 Penske cars or many races huge on the side pod of Mid-pack Marco’s #26. Meijer gets potential business from Shell Pennzoil & now maybe IZOD? Penske played nice & dropped long time fashion sponsor HUGO BOSS… perhaps this is payback?

    Comment by AZZO45 — December 7, 2010 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  5. I agree with M. Miller. I’m not sure I would call what has happened sponsor poaching unless we know for a fact that Penske approached Van Heusen-IZOD’s parent company-about leaving AA. Since none of us know the inner workings of what goes on with the teams, we can’t say that for certain.

    The bigger question for me is why is AA losing sponsors. In the last few years, AA has lost Boost Mobile, 7-11, Meijer, and now IZOD as primary sponsors. Is it solely because of their on-track struggles? Or is it something we don’t know about?

    Comment by Edward — December 8, 2010 @ 1:55 am | Reply

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