Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 2, 2011

Indy Car in Brazil: A Monkey, Intercourse and a Football

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:34 pm

Far be it from me to sound like I’m griping (I cop to a lot of that already) but that goat circus from Brazil was an embarrassment. It is not that a race(s) in Brazil are bad. That country has a business and fan population that is rabidly enthusiastic. But the ‘best drivers in the world’ all appear to be rank amateurs when it’s wet, and only F-1 wannabes or washouts are brave enough to race without looking silly.

On the scheduled race day (with only the NBA and NHL as credible competition for eyeballs) we were treated to an impromptu infomercial while rain turned a temporary street circuit (always a bad idea anyway) into a badly ponded water park. Today we are seeing a yellow infested, wet, empty, timed ‘race’ (yet another twisted blight on the sport) on a niche network on a workday morning. More people are more interested in the Bin Laden obituary than a race at 8am on a Monday.

The worse part about this crap is that it is the lead in to the Indianapolis 500. Indy Car still has a long way to go in their battle for credibility. How about next year having a domestic oval as a lead in? And why can’t a real track get built around one of the most populated cities in the world? Street circuits are a joke under most circumstances, but water does not ‘equalize’ anything. It makes professionals look like amateurs, especially when they run it in the least possible viewing access window. Most of us don’t want to endure this nonsense. Find some real tracks and race professionally.

In the end Team Penske used its collective brain and Will Power’s talent to ensure success at the end. Graham Rahal and his team need to get some type of perseverance award for a hard fought 2nd. One of these days KV will break through. Takuma Sato led many of the laps, but an awkward, gambling pit strategy and E.J. Viso brain farts screwed them up.

Thank God we’re headed for Indy. I wish something other than dogs had been on the track on May 1.



  1. Wouldn’t the type of downpour that we saw yesterday in Sao Paulo have produced the same result (an hour at best of cars trying to circulate a track and 2+ hours of talking heads and coverage of guys with brooms) just about anywhere? Interlagos (the actual local “real” race track that you asked for, but which Bernie likely keeps The Series out of), a theoretical Brazilian oval, Kansas Speedway (where we kicked off the Month of May the last couple of years), any of those places, you dump that kind of water from the sky and we’re going to see the exact same result: either an aborted attempt to race or no racing at all until the next day.

    My point: the weather is uncontrollable. It’s too bad that we can’t lead into Indy at Phoenix or Homestead or somewhere where you’re nearly guaranteed to race in your prescribed time slot with little chance of rain delay, but sometimes you just can’t do anything about it. Oh, well. Race Day is less than 4 weeks away.

    Comment by The Speedgeek — May 2, 2011 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  2. Timed race. Apparently they had to get the race over with in a hurry. There was another convention moving into the hotel so the race had to be over this morning. Or so said Randy Bernard.

    Glad you don’t mind races in Brazil. Because this years “race” is being rewarded. Apparently, next year there will be two street races in Brazil.

    Two street races in Brazil is very disturbing and indicates to me that perhaps Randy Bernard does not get it.

    After the debacle of the first laps of the race yesterday, the network went to highlights of the 1991 Indy 500 race. The contrast was deafening for anyone who watched it.

    Comment by Bob F. — May 2, 2011 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • I guess you’re still not putting any stock at all into Randy Bernard’s repeated statements that he sees the Series’ calling card is the multiple types of tracks that it races on and that he’s going to do his absolute best to maintain a 50/50 road/oval split?

      Comment by The Speedgeek — May 2, 2011 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

      • I did, but events in the last year worry me.

        First, we don’t need more races going overseas. Lets leave that to F1. My opinion is the dominant “international flavor” of Indy Car right now, races and drivers, is not helping its popularity here.

        Second, it appears easiest for them to set up these street courses (no track owners to deal with?) and that seems to be the way they are going. I am no fan of road courses, but I agree with Defender that if we are going to have some, they ought to be real race courses and not the street variety.

        If Randy Bernard is going to say we need a 50/50 split and more American Drivers, he is not going to accomplish that by adding street courses overseas. Basically we have replaced one oval in Japan with two street courses in Brazil.

        Comment by Bob F. — May 3, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

      • Well, I think there’s still time to sort out the schedule going forward, in 2012 and beyond, and I think that we could yet see some other tracks (ovals, especially) getting in the mix for next year. I understand your concern about an increasing number of international races and street races, and I’d also prefer if we spent more time going to the Road Americas, Portlands, Phoenixes and Californias of the world instead of the Sao Paulos (which I like, but can understand why people are leery), Baltimores (though I hold out some hope that Baltimore could turn out to be good) and Houstons (which I hope doesn’t happen because that race was dire every year that CART/ChampCar went) of the world.

        I think the problem is that street course organizers can bamboozle the local governments into helping out and the near guarantee of a large on-site crowd for a mid-city event is more tantalizing to sponsors (more on-site eyeballs = better value for cash spent on banners or title sponsorship). My hope is that an increase in viewer eyeballs through all means that the Series is pursuing (better ladder system with more young Americans, hopefully better TV packages, more broadcast time, more TV ads from activating sponsors, new manufacturers next year who will want to use IndyCar as an advertising centerpiece, more events where in-person attendance is an increased factor, including the Vegas $5 Million Challenge) means that some of the natural road courses and other American ovals will more easily be able to attract title sponsorships (and therefore, be able to afford IndyCar’s sanctioning fee).

        Anyway, those are my hopes, and I think that that’s what Randy Bernard and the other folks within IndyCar are trying to do. Do what you can, and where you can, to increase the visibility of the series, attract fans (and therefore TV viewership) and build toward the future. It’s not a 1- or 2-year process, though. This is a long-term rebuilding.

        Comment by The Speedgeek — May 3, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  3. Dear Defender (and everybody else who reads this blog):

    I gotta admit that trying to race on an extremely uneven and difficult temp. street course in the wet may be too much for the ‘greatest drivers in the world’ to handle and perhaps Barnhart and Cotman should have red flagged this dog of a race before the green dropped…we could have avoided the crash fest that occurred and given the drivers and teams some dignity rather than expose them for the rank amateurs which they have apparently become in this spec series. I have no problem with racing in Brasil or anywhere else but the organizers should consult the weather charts to figure out whether torrential downpours will ruin the course and prevent any meaningful racing. That said, I was glad that the Versus man at the track had the chance to interview a bunch of drivers who were not distracted by either the thrill of a good finish or distraught over a mishap…the best scene was the Tony Cotman interview when a frantic Brian Barnhart ran behind him on camera…like a chicken with its head cut off…I agree with the Defender that the series needs at least one oval prior to the ‘500’ but we can forget about Phoenix, California or any of the ISC tracks…

    Comment by Neil Rubin — May 3, 2011 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

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