Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

February 14, 2011

Motor Sports In America: Time to REALLY Shake Thing Up, And Here’s How:

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:01 am

Now that the INDYCAR Series is enjoying significant resurgence it is high time some unexpected yet major interesting disruption affected the fortunes of the sport. There is one that would be extremely compelling.

The one I favor seems within the realm of possibility. NASCAR has entered a sort of panic mode given falling attendance, ratings and sponsorship. That decline has to be humbling but is probably inevitable particularly given their PT Barnum approach to building popularity over the years. The third generation of Frances now in charge have been compared by many to the third generation of Hulmans. Their place on that particular branch of the France family tree has not meant they no longer feel entitled to control the entire sport completely on their terms. The France sense of entitlement emboldens Brian to want to control the sport with as much ferocity as Big Bill.

That is bound to cause conflict, particularly given strong personalities outside the France inner circle. Bruton Smith, for example, loves to stir pots. IMS leadership remains ultra-conservative, risk-averse and hopelessly devoted to counting beans. You have to wonder how many potentially great deals wither on a vine solely due to non-boat rocking politics. I just hope Randy Bernard does not get frustrated or fed up with idea squishing practices borne of the nature of IMS structure.

Logical conclusion: There must be conflict all through the sport to keep it on edge. The type of disruption that would be the most entertaining is a NASCAR ‘split.’ What would happen if Bruton Smith bought into INDYCAR, then the two formed their own ‘stock’ car series? Imagine the possibilities. Bruton has been on a track buying spree, and now owns eight really fine properties including a road course. NASCAR/ISC owns twelve and also bought three really nice tracks they decided to shut.

Using Bruton’s tracks as the basis for a new series, the new series and INDYCAR could run many on the same weekend giving tremendous bang for the fan buck. IMS could even be used as the new series ‘Daytona’ with a Brickyard event expanded to 500 miles. There are plenty of independent tracks that could hold joint races.

Perhaps that sort of outlandish idea is not possible because it would mean pointing a middle finger at NASCAR. My guess is that the NASCAR folks who side primarily with either ISC or SMI do not want to kill any golden geese, and the memory of what cart did to INDYCAR is probably still fresh in their minds.

The possibilities, however, remain fairly tantalizing.



  1. You really are an idiot. Bruton isn’t stupid like Tony George, he won’t sit there and fund a money losing venture for years upon years with no end in sight until he is finally thrown out the door by his family. You think attendance is bad for the BY400 now? It would fall even further if some alternate series was running there. Of course, you and all of your bootlicking buddies could stand outside proclaiming that those who aren’t there are boycotting and/or not man enough to take on the challenge of Indy.

    Your idea has a ZERO chance of happening. IMS is still reeling from the damaging years of the split started by Tony George. I doubt they would want any part of your idea.

    Editor’s Note: Me neither. But it is entertaining winding up the thin skinned who hang on my every word. By the way, IMS is doing fine. cart died. Twice. Stop projecting that failure on a place and a series that is alive and well. That is just a foolish thing to do. Oh, and ‘bootlicker’ again? Classy.

    Comment by TroyM — February 14, 2011 @ 2:51 am | Reply

  2. Nascar may have peaked but they’re still very popular. And I’d be careful about putting all my eggs in the Bruton Smith basket. And I also don’t think Indycar needs to be paired with stock cars, I think they’re doing fine.

    Comment by redd — February 14, 2011 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  3. Spoken like a true Disciple bootlicker yourself, Troy. See you on the next topic.

    Comment by The Truth — February 14, 2011 @ 11:56 am | Reply

  4. As much as sometimes your posts rub me the wrong way, you actually make a good point. Essentially, Indycar/IMS could do exactly what Nascar encouraged Tony George to do by creating the IRL, killing AOWR. Indycar/IMS could do it on their own terms, and take a chunk out of NASCAR, especially if they align themselves with NBC, and are able to convince Penske and Ganassi to bring their Nascar teams over to the new Indycar stock car division.

    However, it’s not going to happen.

    Comment by Matt Chamois — February 14, 2011 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  5. As intriguing (sp?)as this idea sounds, I don’t think I’d trust Bruton Smith any further than I could throw him–certainly no more than Brian France. I think IndyCar would be making a deal with the devil, so to speak, if they involved him in any project or idea. You’re right–he likes to stir pots, especially if it means he’ll come out on top. I think we ought to let IndyCar and Randy Bernard get a few races–especially Indy 500’s–under their belts before trying anything drastic.

    Comment by DOUG — February 14, 2011 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  6. What’s up with the recycled idea? Pretty sure you wrote essentially the same post in September. Didn’t think much if the idea then; don’t think much of the idea now.

    I could see Bruton Smith considering starting his own series; he’s considered it before, there’s nothing stopping him considering it again. He’s got 8 tracks; figure two races at each, add some independents, and he could have a series. Doubt he’d be able to lure any of the top teams away from NASCAR, but that’s just me. (And no, Matt, Penske and Ganassi DON’T count as top NASCAR teams. And anyways, my guess is, they’d stay with the established series until it fails, or the new series proves it’s the place to be. Just like last time.)

    My question is this; why would he be interested in buying into INDYCAR as part of starting a rival series? Why would he need to? IndyCar’s biggest races are IMS, Texas, and probably Long Beach. He already owns Texas, stock cars at Long Beach would suck beyond comprehension, and unless his buy in included OWNERSHIP of IMS, it’d be a wasted investment. Actually, I’d think Bruton wanting to start a rival series would be a bad thing for IndyCar. IICS has already made their bed with SMI; if Bruton wanted to play hardball, he could leverage allowing IndyCar to race on his tracks against a bid for IMS ownership. If he decides not to host OWR at his tracks, the series as we know it is done like dinner.

    Let’s remember one thing; Bruton Smith is a promoter and a track owner. His main goal is to make money for SMI and Bruton Smith. If he can use Indycar to do it, he will; the moment the series doesn’t fit into his money making plans, SMI will give the series the same treatment ISC did.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — February 14, 2011 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  7. Steven, whether Penske and Ganassi’s Cup programs may not be big time teams, they do represent 4 cars in the series. Nascar Sprint Cup is struggling to reach 45 cars per week. Taking four cars out of Nascar, whether its Robby Gordon Racing, or DTG Daugherty Racing, or Penske, or Ganassi. Any established Cup teams would deliver a blow to Nascar, whether they are big names or not.

    If someone offered a stock car series with 30 races or so a year, with budgets around 10 to 12 million bucks, instead of 22 to 25 million bucks, it could gain some traction.

    Again, like I said, it will not happen.

    Comment by Matt Chamois — February 15, 2011 @ 1:51 am | Reply

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