Today’s crop of drivers in the IZOD INDYCAR Series should be forced to watch every single IRL race that ran from 1997 through 2002. Those five years consistently featured the best Indy Car racing in the history of the sport. The close actual racing was fast, exciting and kept fans coming back. Most of the drivers of that day respected their competitors, and despite the presence occasionally of those with marginal qualifications the product was stellar.
The reason they should be forced to watch is because at the time most of them were still engaged in the futile pursuit of keeping the remnants of cart alive. This is important because for the first time in a very long time INDYCAR is led by a decisive, innovative leader who is taking the tenet of increasing the popularity of the sport very seriously and, more importantly, is putting his money where his mouth is.
Following the ‘state of the series’ address choreographed by Randy Bernard and the INDYCAR brass, several current INDYCAR drivers almost immediately began criticizing some of the changes, most vociferously against double wide restarts. Some of their concerns are legitimate; e.g., what happens when the guy inside gently nudges the guy on the outside slightly into the marbles to gain an advantage? The only logical answer if fans are truly important is BE CAREFUL and respect the other guy.
The racing post-cart asset sale became stale for a long time. Simpletons blame everything (old cars, Tony George, etc.) but the obvious. What was once grand racing at places like Richmond became parades, just like ‘the old days.’ So watch the recordings and aspire to provide entertainment of early IRL quality.
While I am venting I would truly like Mario Andretti, as great as he is, to put a definitive end to his primary and oft-expressed sourpuss opinion. It is the one he works into just about every conversation with any reporter he has. That one opinion involves ‘getting things back to the great way they were in the mid-1990s.’ What the hell is wrong with aspiring to making it greater than it ever has been in here in the 21st century? Why the twisted obsession with an evolutionary period that ended sixteen years ago?
Randy Bernard really ought to pull Mario, Dario, or anyone else spouting such twisted nostalgia aside and remind them what century we’re in, then kindly but firmly suggest they stick a sock in it if they know what is good for them. Tony George is nowhere to be found at this time and the sport has a visionary, experienced leader for the first time in its history. I hope Randy brought a bullwhip with him from his rodeo career. He needs to begin using it.