Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 14, 2011

A Tradition Among Pre-IRL IndyCar Participants: Whining

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:03 am

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.

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7 Comments »

  1. Mario seems to think the good old days ended when he retired. And I wonder if the post disappearing phenomenon will appear here like it has at another forum, when their illiterate haters attempt to post here. We shall see.

    Comment by MTroy — January 14, 2011 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  2. Defender, I could not agree with you more on all points. I am so jealous of your talent.

    Comment by jb — January 14, 2011 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  3. “Something is wrong, Mario’s slowing down…”

    Comment by Bob F. — January 14, 2011 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  4. I think Mario is upset because another Andretti has not won the big one SINCE he retired. He probably would have a different attitude if Michael or Marco had been at least as lucky as he was to have won once. In fact, if Marco had been winning as much as Dario, Scott, Will, or Helio he would think this is the greatest time ever for Indy car racing.

    Comment by DOUG — January 14, 2011 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  5. Personally I’d suggest they watch a 1994 race from Milwaukee or Loudon, but that’s just me. You say tomato, I say tomatoe. It doesn’t really matter.
    That being said, 1997-2002 may have been fast, it may have been exciting, but I don’t accept your assertion that it kept the fans coming back. Series don’t dump tracks (and vice versa) if fans are coming; it isn’t in anyone’s best interest. Look at the tracks the series was at during the period you cited: the vast majority of them are no longer on the IndyCar schedule. And its not because fans were showing up in droves. Yes, Texas has built into a success. But what about Phoenix? Or Nashville? Or Dover, Pikes Peak, Chicago, Atlanta, and Charlotte? Yes, Loudon and Vegas (allegedly) are back this year, but if they had kept the fans coming back, why would they have gone away for a decade?

    Also, how are the DRIVERS engaged in keeping the remnants of CART alive? Owners, I can buy, but drivers? Please. Why would they? Castroneves was a mid-packer in CART. So was Kanaan. Dario was decent, but never had great success until coming over with Ganassi. Dixon got there after the marquee teams had already left. Power, Briscoe, Wilson? Were somewhere else. For the most part, all the drivers who came through CART (and are still around) have enjoyed far greater success in the IRL/IndyCar series than they did in CART/ChampCar. Why would they want to go back? Simple, they wouldn’t. Some of them whined about their concern about double file restarts; I agree with you. Tell them to shut up, get in the car, and deal with it.
    Finally, you can’t have it both ways. If the racing in the post-CART asset sale is so bad, then why is the popularity of the series increasing? Are the CART remnants ruining the series, or enhancing it? As you so oft point out, attendance is up, television ratings are up, and the numbers in the 18-34 demo are up 40%. All since the post-CART asset sale. For whatever reason, the fans like the new model more than the previous edition…you know, the model that seems to get more and more similar to mid-90’s era, pre-boycott/split evolution every year,
    Finally, you suggest that Mario needs to get over wanting to get back to the way things were in the mid-90’s. You know what? You’re right. He does. He does have an obsession with an era that ended 16 years ago. Much as you have an obsession with an era (all ovals, no CART drivers in the series) that ended a decade ago. Perhaps you should heed your own advice; it’s actually quite good. Get over the past, whether it be 1998 IRL or 1996 CART and let the series move forward; we finally have a guy at the top who seems to know what that means.

    Comment by Steve Kornya — January 14, 2011 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

    • ^What he said

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — January 15, 2011 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  6. Randy Bernard obviously aspires to make INDYCAR like CART was in the 90’s; turbocharged engines, ground effects, mixed schedule, cars designed for road course racing, so why fight it. If he wanted to relive that evolutionary period in the sport (irl 97-02) the cars would be designed for ovals only and be powered by Pontiac Grand Prix engines. The future of INDYCAR looks a lot like CART and you’re just gonna have to grin and bear it.

    Editor’s Note: Randy Bernard does not know enough about cart in the early 90’s to matter. What he is actually doing is aspiring toward something greater than at any one stop in the evolutionary cycle, and he is succeeding. What really matters is the following: IMS is the controlling entity. The person in charge is not affiliated in any official way with the owners. cart died. Twice. By their own hand. He does not want to be like that. That would be stupid. But his attempts to convince huffy, knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, flat earth assholes they should not stay lodged in the last decade whining like little girls is evidently working. Why not go ahead and admit your fanhood. The sport welcomes anyone.

    Comment by Reality — January 15, 2011 @ 6:13 am | Reply


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