Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

August 29, 2011

ATTENTION RANDY BERNARD: ‘Leaning Toward More Road Courses’ = NOT Acceptable in Indy Car

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:56 am

Randy Bernard is spending an increasing amount of time bending over for self-interested owners who have only their best interests in mind and certainly not the greater good of the series or its fans. Owners really ran amok this weekend, voting that Brian Barnhart be fired. That is unacceptable regardless of how you feel about Barnhart. They have spent the past few years promoting an anti-oval bias in favor of rich guy, euro-style, mostly private club-style racing with way too many non-American formula wannabes on non-ovals and streets. It is an out of control situation.

Let’s do some Indy Car math. Many believe the fee Indy Car charges a venue to hold a race is between $1.5 million and $1.75 million. Whether that is correct or not is not the primary concern. What really matters is that both Indy Car and the venue turn a profit. Indy Car may enjoy receiving $1.5 million when 25,000 fans show up, but chances are that will never work for venues. They just cannot sell that many overly inflated beers and hot dogs and track merchandise. Indy Car has never really offered much help other than ‘attaboy’ back slaps, so it is little wonder venues come and go more frequently than McDonalds hourly part-timers. It is also difficult to tell how the economics actually work for both parties, but in order to make certain types of venues draw more of a crowd Indy Car must dramatically enhance and reinvigorate the fan experience. Competition for attention these days demands that be done. Indy Car’s oval presentation off the track is stale, uninspired and boring. Great racing is simply NOT enough.

What follows are some ideas to enhance the Indy Car oval experience and economics for new fans:

-Increase the net amount Indy Car earns from each venue. Just raising sanctioning fees will get them tossed. They must get creative. One way may be to LOWER the sanctioning fee but add significantly to coffers by selling their own packaged corporate sponsorship. In EVERY market Indy Car races, there are headquarters of nationally recognized companies who should be engaged in sponsorship roles. That would allow Indy Car to lower venue sanctioning fees, allow tracks to generate their own non-competing corporate support, then allow Indy Car to engage national sponsors for entire seasons much like Formula 1. At specific venues national sponsors would hold exclusive event sponsorship rights and would also maintain a highly visible presence via signage, digital media and other means at all other venues. $1.75 million is a nice chunk of change, but $2.5 million or higher, for example, would be much better particularly if charging a venue perhaps less than a million. That opens up many more creative possibilities for both individual venues and Indy Car. It probably would not alienate venues scratching their heads trying to justify Indy Car races that lose them money.

Along with increasing corporate involvement, lower ticket prices for race fans and/or offer more creative packaging. The promote the heck out of it in meaningful ways. Corporate sponsorship is easier said than done, particularly in a challenging economy. IZOD has, by most accounts, been a great partner that has assisted Indy Car in tailoring the package to desired demographics. Why can’t other corporate involvement go the same way?

Let us take Texas and Kentucky for example. That part of the lone star state is home to over 80 nationally recognized firms, many of them Fortune 500. The list includes everything from AT&T to Exxon Mobil as well as widely used consumer brand/parents such as Kimberly-Clark, J.C. Penney, Dean Foods, Radio Shack, Frito-Lay, Chilis and more. Between Cincinnati and Louisville for Kentucky there are obvious entities such as Procter & Gamble with their many brands, to Kroger, Yum Brands, Humana, Sunny Delight and about everything in between. It would not be difficult for intelligent marketers to offer effective season packages with specific event sponsorships to bump up revenue. The same opportunities exist everywhere Indy Car races.

-Can you imagine an exciting, activity filled midway at every event filled with not only merchandise trailers but exponentially more interactive, appealing exhibits that represent all corporate sponsors and all manufacturers and provided by them?

-Indy Car decided it wise to re-up with the Disney family of channels and not even consider other offers. Given the abusive history of that relationship it is not a stretch to imagine ESPN will do virtually nothing in the future either, instead devoting 99.9% of their time, effort and money to NASCAR especially now that Danica is officially part of that series. That is why production and distribution of content by IMS Productions detailed below to not only partner entities but directly to local media all over the country is imperative.

-Leverage the relationship with Disney. Tony George and crew tried early and even built a great little oval just outside the Walt Disney World gates. Enhance the fan experience at every race by having Disney co-brand and provide some sort of elaborate ‘portable Disneyland’ that travels to each venue. It’s a win-win for Indy Car, the venue and Disney. All three could derive great exposure and sales.

Randy Bernard trumpeted about a year ago the opening of a Los Angeles Indy Car office to generate mass media attention. What have they done? They seem invisible. There is a mainly mainstream motion picture about a Formula One subject in theatres today, and a really mainstream Ron Howard movie about a Formula One subject in production. Given the 100 year history of Indy Car can this office not inspire interest out there?

Each venue, especially ovals, should have a carnival, festive atmosphere that last entire weekends. Give people tangible reasons to attend besides great racing. This also ensures that when inclement weather plagues a race weekend folks can still have a great time.

-Indy Car is directly affiliated with IMS Productions. That organization includes some very talented creative people who have access to the richest treasure trove of material in all of racing. Leverage it. Why not produce content for the Web? Or content to distribute in markets where races occur? Time the release of content to generate interest.  This is a technique that has worked for years for Formula One and NASCAR. Our ‘stock’ car brethren have distributed free content to media outlets for decades. Offer programming to broadcast partners. If the NFL can all of a sudden have new shows on Versus on the chance they will get part of an NFL contract there is no reason why Indy Car cannot produce great content, distribute it then get it aired?

-Having a worldwide presence is a noble goal. Indy Car can usually charge much higher rates to foreign entities. These foreign excursions, however, should bookend the meat of the season on Indy Car’s home continent. Schedule them before and after the meat of the season, and on this continent never allow more than two weeks to transpire except in May.

-It is essential that a viable, high dollar ‘triple crown’ be reinstated. That idea from Indy Car’s past was perhaps one of the very best. It has worked for decades in horse racing.

-Race all ladders in some form or fashion at EVERY venue. Offer on-track action all weekend.

-Get popular stars involved every week. Having a strong military presence is noble, but has gone overboard lately. Keep the military presence but increase the star power.

-Restore some of the special aspects. I am not saying these are specific answers but are the type of activities that must be reinstated. Many miss, for example, parachute teams that deliver flags before events, or flyovers. Make special events part of the show again.

-Attempt to make EVERY oval a Las Vegas-type spectacle that carries the Indy brand.

Indy car needs to stop rationalizing their way into a schedule that is predominately non-oval. That orientation has NEVER worked long term in this country. Repeating the same mistakes repeatedly and hoping for different results defines insanity according to Einstein. Randy Bernard should start listening to owners like Sarah Fisher and Sam Schmidt more frequently than Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi. He could well get a sense of what is good for the series and not individual owners if he did that. Balance is absolutely imperative.

There are opportunities for up to 24 races easily in North America alone. That means AT LEAST 12 ovals. Here is a viable pool from which to choose up to 12:

Indy Car Owners On The Way To 'Vote' About Something

-Indy
-Texas
-Iowa
-Kentucky
-Vegas
-Chicagoland
-Fontana
-Richmond
-Memphis
-Rockingham
-Charlotte
-Loudon
-Milwaukee
-Atlanta

That’s 14. That does not even include other great ovals like Michigan, Kansas, Phoenix, Pocono or Walt Disney World (some venues with improvements, of course). Many are also believers in going to court to get Pikes Peak unlocked from ISC and re-used. Gateway and Nashville are also in viable markets and deserve competent ownership. If management at Homestead could take their heads out of their nether regions that could be viable again. That’s 9 more. All of a sudden we’re up to at least 23 potential ovals.

Indy Car needs to re-invent the presentation of ovals and they need to do it quickly. A schedule heavily reliant upon non-ovals would be the culmination of a very slippery slope started when the series arrived in St. Petersburg. Balance is the most important thing Indy Car can maintain. Randy Bernard is a great promoter, but he needs to do more of it himself and with the series. Reliance on others to do it leads to a 2011 Milwaukee followed by a disingenuous blather of weak excuses that blame everyone but the series. Indy Car needs to finally learn from mistakes made repeatedly in the past.

August 25, 2011

Indy Car Says Sayonara to Mrs. Hospenthal

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:44 pm

Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons trotted his leather clad commercial face out today to announce the worst kept secret in motorsports. I honestly wish Danica well as she foregoes her oft-stated Indy 500 dreams for the slower, fendered behemoths. After all we are no longer dealing with a driver or even an accessible personality. We are dealing with a steel-faced brand managed by an entity whose only goal is raking in as many dollars as quickly and efficiently as is humanly possible. That brand has a shelf life. Even though Indy Car helped transform her from a driver/personality into a brand, a sub-brand is not what Indy Car needs. It needs to keep building its own brand and there is not really room for two different brands in the Indy Car brand maximization plan.

I did not used to feel that way but have talked to enough people in the sport to understand that promotion of a brand other than the core is probably a bad thing long term. What the sport needs are relatable, accessible personalities. Not individual brands.

We will definitely miss the scads of mostly hefty women who purchase bright green spandex then wedge themselves into it because in their minds they believe they can look like or relate closely to Danica. Their money spends really well and they drop a lot of it…more than for any other driver. That is perhaps the thing Indy Car will miss the most.

When Danica became a brand odd things began to happen. She is accompanied everywhere now by a foul-tempered chunky gal who acts (and occasionally looks) like a bulldog and moves folks out of the way. She uses a covered ‘popemobile’ golf cart. This May they moved her practice pit stall location from just north of Gasoline Alley to really far north, beyond the point where fans are allowed to go. That may have been to avoid the traffic jam of large green spandex bobbling flesh that clogged that vicinity like the 405 in rush hour.

There is really nothing wrong with Danica the person. The problem is now you have to dig through layers of needless subterfuge to find her. She may even drive the ‘stock’ cars pretty well.   From a brand culture standpoint she is probably a better fit in the NASCAR circus, where access to personalities is heavily scripted.

Indy Car has not lost a great driver. It has a lost a brand. It lost the personality she brought a few years ago. There are similar personalities that pre-dated her (Sarah Fisher) and there are similar personalities who can charm fans without having a brand in the way (Simona and Pippa). When folks do not concern themselves with gender new stars are being created all season (Hildebrand and Hinchcliffe).

So basically it is a time to feel good about a lot of things. Danica’s agency gets to leverage their brand and Indy Car gets to refocus on ALL the personalities that make it great. We already know the racing will be just as good, so no big deal. The right thing to do is wish her well and follow from afar if we choose.

August 24, 2011

Indy Car Renders A Decision About New Hampshire

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:37 pm

Well, we know now for sure that Ryan Hunter-Reay is still the winner of the Indy Car return to New Hampshire last week. Too bad for the protest filers. I do not have any problem with the decision. It was unanimous and decisive.

Many of the torch carrying witch hunters still want Barnhart’s head on the end of one of the stakes, and that is unsurprising as well given their proclivity toward simplistic thought and a lingering anti-George bias.

What real energy should be devoted to how obvious wet conditions on an oval led to the confusion in the first place. I remain of the opinion that Barnhart’s play calling is heavily influenced. That is the story that needs to be fleshed out. I have my doubts that will happen.

Too bad for Oriol Servia. It would be nice to see what is left of Newman Haas get another victory after all these years. They have been close and a win before the end of the year would be sweet. An honest win would be even sweeter. Hopefully they do not get discouraged.

The thing many of us are most concerned about is whether Loudon will be a stop next season. Hopefully it will. It needs three years to be fully developed, and SMI can do that. If they are really a partner they will help make it happen. That is a quality oval in a geographically desirable area.

August 22, 2011

The Official Indy Car Witch Hunt In Full Swing

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:39 pm

The negative nabob portion of the Internet Indy Racing community remains perplexed. They seem steadfast in their demand that Brian Barnhart be fired for his call at the conclusion of the Loudon race last weekend. Some cite what they feel is a continuing pattern. Some cite how unacceptable it is to put drivers at risk on a wet oval. All of them and even some actual racing fans want Brian outta there.

It is not difficult to understand knee jerking. It is humorous in some ways to see what began as a few hysterically screaming youthful cart enthusiasts propagate into what seems like a torch-toting mob of pitchfork waving witch hunters. In reality it is what it has always been:  Mutineers who did not get their way after Tony George started the IRL. They boycotted the one event that gave them all of their legitimacy, forced some of the best drivers in the world to waste the prime of their careers in a dead end, and have spent the better part of the past sixteen years trying to impose their will on the sport. Anything and everything associated with Tony George must go, or at least that is the common theme. Also amusing is watching the hecklers explore the furthest regions of their intellect to come up with clever initials such as ‘TGBB’ (led by a guy with the least amount of ethics) and intentional name misspellings like ‘Brian Brainfart.’

It would be nice if all such reactionary chicken littles allowed due process to run its course. Brian Barnhart accepted responsibility for a bad call and that was noble of him. What is it was not really his call? We cannot count on the travelling press to report such a story. Their livelihoods are enhanced by the perks of their profession. There is no way they let go of that teat. Any major expose would certainly mean the end of the fun as they know it. Folks inside say you do not want to

Indy Car Writers On The Job

run afoul of the cowboy or his cronies.

Is this really a bad thing, however? Many of us have long advocated a benevolent dictatorship manipulated by a strong individual with iron testicles. It is the approach Bill France used to build NASCAR. Same with Bernie Eccelstone. If Randy Bernard takes Indy Car to the destination to which he is aiming, will people care about how he got there?

I feel sorry for Brian Barnhart. He is basically just an order following lieutenant in the Bernard army. If the shrieking idiots had a brain in their collective noggins they might recognize that, not to mention every other aspect of the evolution of the sport that has passed most of them by.

August 18, 2011

Danica Defection From Indy Car…When Rumors Become News

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:46 pm

The mostly lapdog NASCAR-centric press has once again worked itself into a pre-orgasmic frenzy about the rumored possibility of Danica Patrick taking her talents Souf. Or ‘South’ as normal people refer to it. It is just about the only thing they consider news in the slower, fendered behemoth branch of the sport.

If you are not already sick and tired of mostly ignorant, lowest common denominator media hacks positioning Danica for half a decade in Indy Car as the female coming of Christ, you have not seen anything yet. Once she gets into NASCAR full time the hype about her will be deafening. NASCAR will get a taste of hundreds of otherwise worthwhile stories getting lost in the shuffle as the queen is coronated then worshipped by lazy, unoriginal, mostly ignorant media blowhards. This cacophony of shrill, empty hype will be led, no doubt, by our mutual broadcast partner, who will relegate Indy Car to an even darker place in their basement.

The only real negative I see about Danica taking her ‘brand’ to NASCAR is that the hundreds of Danica wannabes, mostly female of all ages, who bought her merchandise by the trailer load will now be spending those dollars in NASCAR trailers.

Her oft-stated dream of putting a Borg in her trophy case might be a big fat lie. After all, running NASCAR races in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend won’t get her any closer to that ‘dream.’ The money will be good, though. Maybe folks will now begin to realize Dan Wheldon is a two time winner of the 500.

Thing is Danica, when not in the public eye and no cameras are around, is a really nice, down to earth person who likes to laugh and just shoot the breeze. What we see with her publicly is the dark side of having your life and most every movement micromanaged. In a way I feel sorry for her, but the money may cause her to go along with the milking of the ‘brand’ until she is past her prime.

Sorry about the loss of her Indy 500 dreams. Too bad she was not able to attain it.

August 17, 2011

Whacko ‘Indy Car is Almost Dead’ Conspiracy Theories

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:40 pm

Just when you think there is peace, harmony and ‘unification’ in the sport of American open wheel racing, along comes some tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist to offer some nonsense hypothesis about some other purported ‘split.’ I am only highlighting it here because some comment contributor using the handle ‘Cowboy’ from southern California basically engaged in a tit-for-tat in an older blog comment section. Some of you may not go backward to read such things.

As a result, I captured the essence of the theory, and encourage others to comment freely. Essentially, here are the highlights of what we need to watch for:

-Randy Bernard has more to worry about than Tony George or Brian Barnhart.

-A NEW open wheel series is preparing to bring lots of cash and instant credibility.

-‘Ol Cowboy intimates that the parent is Formula One.

-They will go after Indy Car head on and expressly attempt to ‘take out a competitor.’

-Formula One does not regard Indianapolis as the center of anything except a cornfield.

-Cowboy also pigeonholed worldwide Formula One TV numbers.

As usual the taunt/troll is heavy on intimation but woefully short on facts. It is essentially the same cry for attention we have heard for years from cart-centric nutjobs. ‘Indianapolis does not mean anything.’ ‘It needs to be known as an entire series.’

My reaction is the same as always. History is a good teacher. Those with the same philosophy and plan of attack tried it and failed miserably. Twice. Anyone who believes you can beat Indy Car without Indy is an imbecile. Would these people believe the sponsor and manufacturer money would just line up for them simply because they are Formula One and have no marquee? And the most important point of all…if we were faced with a scenario like this wouldn’t someone than some anonymous blog comment contributor be discussing it publicly? Maybe it’s top secret. LOL.

I know it takes all kinds, but will we ever see the arrogant bitterness of such reprobrates subside even a little?

August 16, 2011

Indy Car and ESPN (on ABC): A One-Way ‘Partnership’ From Hell We Are Stuck With For Most of the Decade

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 6:23 pm

Now that we know ESPN on ABC has renewed Indy Car for six more seasons at a ‘substantially higher amount’ we should review what they have done (or not done as the case may be) in the few days since the announcement was trumpeted.

Nothing. Literally.

Indy Car returned to New Hampshire after thirteen years away. Story lines and pictures abounded. Video highlights were led by a two fisted bird shoot at Race Control by Will Power. Owners, drivers and team members were angry in palpable ways and did not hold out.

Drivers crashed. Even Danica crashed. Someone other than a Ganassi or Penske driver won an oval race.

We should review some of the highlights of the SportsCenter rotation following the race for 24 hours or so.

-The heads spent minutes going over granular details of the NASCAR rainout at Watkins Glen.

-The only real mention Indy Car got was negative. ‘NASCAR wants to run on rain tires some day but they want to avoid an embarrassing moment like Indy Car had in new Hampshire.’

-Jeremy Schaap combined Tiger Woods and Dale Junior into a feature about big name athletes who have not won in three years.

-When not discussing NASCAR or big time stick n’ ball, SportsCenter featured a four minute segment about Ugandan little league baseball players.

-No Indy Car news hit the on-screen crawl, either. Mexican Soccer League results, however, did.

Here are some Indy Car tidbits other media showed, discussed and featured, but not Indy Car’s newly extended ‘partner,’ ESPN:

-Points leader and race dominator crashes on a restart

-Danica crashes

-Will Power’s salute to Brian Barnhart

-Tony Kanaan flipping his car

-Multiple owners, drivers and team principals angry and squawking

It was the same story on their idiotic web site. Lots of stick n’ ball and NASCAR, but Indy Car, as usual, is buried in a non-intuitive ‘other sports’ link.

This type of neglect week in and week out is inexcusable. I want answers from the people who thought this renewal was a swell idea.

-How will ESPN/ABC help Indy Car stand out in their crowded field of sports properties?

-When will Indy Car get a link on the ESPN home page as their other motorsports partner, NASCAR, has had since day one?

There is no web presence.

-What does ESPN intend to do to elevate the stature of the brand?

-How long will we be stuck with the abominable coverage with which we have been plagued for the past decade?

-What sort of on-air or Web video offerings besides in car cameras will be offered?

The only good thing this contract renewal accomplished was an increase in cash flow. None of the core problems, however, have been addressed. Unless they are, and soon, the fact that no negotiations took place with anyone else looks even more suspicious. Is IMS really that shortsighted? Come on, folks.

August 15, 2011

Strangest Week In Indy Car…Perhaps Ever

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:41 am

One of the strangest weeks in Indy Car history came to a merciful end on Sunday in New Hampshire. The week before the race on Sunday included:

Randy Bernard and ESPN Announce A New Deal

Indy Car Owners Prepare To Vote

-A bend over for owners that will delay the highly touted aero kits for one year, primarily because of the whining victim card played by the owners crying poverty. The very same owners who willingly doubled the amount they have to pay for tires. As usual the condescending responses of many of them and Randy Bernard imply fans are just ignorant of the facts. Bottom line: Everyone gets to drive the same new spec car for another year. At least they will be powered by three different motors. Maybe.

-After listening to at least ten years of critical howls about abominable ways in which the Indy Car brand has been neglected and abused by ESPN on ABC, series management did not even entertain ANY negotiation with anyone else before re-upping with ESPN on ABC for six more years. Bernard and crew implied a lot more money was involved and that everyone should be gleeful. Ooh baby. That is like asking someone to being happy about Gertrude Baniszewski increasing portion sizes of meals served to Sylvia Likens down there in the basement. Randy, if you want criticism to recede, tell us exactly how ESPN on ABC will treat Indy Car over the next six years. Live in-car cameras on an ESPN web site and a 30-minute pre-race show before Las Vegas do not exactly bowl us over. Tell me there will be a minimum number of promo spins on all Disney channels for Indy Car. Also tell me about guaranteed Sports Center coverage. Tell me how the quality of the broadcasts will be enhanced. Give us something substantive.

For the first time in many years the Indy Cars returned to Loudon, New Hampshire to one of Bruton Smith’s latest acquisitions. As usual, the odds were stacked against Indy Car. The weather was threatening and series officials decided without really telling anyone that the start time would be moved up half an hour to try and get the race completed before rain. As

Will Power Summarizes Feelings In The Paddock About Race Control

a result fans who had to drive for a few hours to get there missed the start (just as well as the ‘fastest drivers in the world’ quickly ran out of patience/talent again), which looked awful on television.

Eventually around 35,000 showed up but already the usual idiots are howling about ‘Milwaukee II’ and other such nonsense. For the most part the race was OK. Changes made to that track did not really screw it up that much, and it is my belief that is one oval that must stay. Hopefully

Race Control On The Job

Indy Car has the wisdom to give it at least three years to get re-established.

Princess Dario seemed poised to run away with the race, lapping almost everyone until he and Takuma Sato got together on a restart. Dario’s day ended in the wall. Predictably, petulant small child behavior followed. That set up a certain win on an oval by someone other than a Ganassi or a Penske (although Scott Dixon is coming on strong)  along with an impressive charge by Will Power, who had all but been written off early on.

With a handful of laps left, weather threatening and a looming restart battle between Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servia, the Keystone Kops made another appearance. Despite Rutherford running windshield wipers in the pace car, spotters screaming to stay yellow, team owners throwing headphones and drivers pleading, Race Control threw a green with a handful of laps left. Predictably almost half of what was left of the field wadded itself up. Then, inexplicably, Race Control basically said ‘…never mind. Race over.’

Prior to that confused end many owners came unglued. Will Power summed up the feelings of most everyone with just two fingers. The upside is that if Indy Car is able to laugh at itself (unlikely) the antics of Power and others would make for a really compelling promo. Calls for the head of Brian Barnhart have increased exponentially.

Perhaps the owners can vote or something equally cute. It seems to work quite well these days as de-evolution to the worst fox-in-the-henhouse days of the twice-failed cart series seems nearly complete.

August 11, 2011

Indy Car TV Deal: WTF?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:38 pm

The braniacs at Indy Car/IMS signed a six-year renewal deal with the Disney broadcast bunch earlier this week. Second verse same as the first. The one thing that popped into my mind almost immediately were two Albert Einstein quotes:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

What the two parties signed appears to be merely a continuation of the same thing we have had for years only for more money. That may matter to bean counters actually running the show. Randy Bernard’s limited public statements seem nothing more than flowery lip service.

Here is what we know for sure:

-ABC gets to keep the Indianapolis 500 through 2018.

-Four other races will be on ABC.

-ABC seems to be the exclusive over-the-air network; i.e, no races on NBC. Just leftovers on Versus/NBC Sports Channel.

That is the same thing as right now. How can that possibly be considered an improvement? The only actual improvement is in-car views on ESPN3.com. Still missing is a realistic online presence. What about practice? What about qualifying?

The announcement this week drew virtually no attention. As a matter of fact another couple of ESPN-related announcement got a lot more national play. Jerry Rice and Bill Parcells are joining football coverage on the network. ESPN will no doubt promote that.

Here are questions that must be answered before any intelligent conclusions may be drawn:

-Will ESPN be allowed to continue treating the Indy Car Series as a red headed bastard stepchild?

-Will Indy Car have any sort of meaningful Internet presence on ESPN’s web site other than buried, non-intuitive links that are largely hidden from view?

-Will NASCAR coverage continue to remain center stage at the expense of Indy Car?

-Will ESPN on ABC coverage still stink to high heaven outside Indy?

-Will ESPN on ABC continue throwing fossils like Brent Musberger at the marquee event?

-Will Versus/NBC Sports Channel continue relegating Indy Car to obscurity? Their editorial philosophy lately has been to relegate Indy Car to obscurity, especially on the Web.

I am not worried about leftover coverage on Versus/NBC Sports Channel. They have and will probably continue to do a stellar job except online. What worries many the most is the mediocrity in coverage too many people have accepted as normal. The ABC deal as announced seems almost as exciting as a second helping of food at a Golden Corral.

Here is some unsolicited advice to Indy Car. The framework is the same old thing. What substance is there? The ABC relationship began as a stable marriage. It fell apart when they took a fat country girl as a mistress. Then they essentially divorced Indy Car, married the fat country girl and paid child support to Indy Car. Then they discovered Viagra and began horndogging any other sport they thought had merit.

What we have today is a continuing ABC/ESPN marriage to a fat country girl, an increase in child support to Indy Car and ongoing dalliance with so many others that Indy Car is simply ignored even more. Indy Car has accepted a little more money but acceded to a continuing and egregious lack of respect.

Randy Bernard has seemed very distant lately. Gone is bubbling enthusiasm for growth of the brand. Also missing is the candor that endears him to fans. What fans want to know is simple. Other than six more years of the same old thing, what is there to be excited about? And please do not tell me we are lucky to get what we have. What we have with regard to television is mediocrity, and that looks unlikely to improve.

August 4, 2011

Indy Car News of the Week: So Long Danica and Hello Mid-Ohio

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:12 pm

The sports community is abuzz over the rumored departure from Indy Car to NASCAR of the usually scowling Danica Patrick. Most Indy Car fans are over it. Who can blame her? She will get rich beyond her wildest imagination for being a journeywoman and gets to escape the dysfunctional arrangement she had at Andretti.  NASCAR has claimed her as their own for two years, so what is the difference? Good luck…NASCAR will market you as a female Christ with a second coming.

Speaking of Christ and in follow-up to a blog topic last week, I was walking my dog around the Georgetown side of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway amazed at how fast the trash the gets left behind gets picked up. Do you know what STILL litters fields and yards for miles, however? Religious pamphlets with checkered flags on them that zealous nutjobs left on cars, in doorways and anywhere else they could stick one. Guess where they all ended up? On the ground. They are still there. How Christian is it to litter God’s green earth with all that cartoony propaganda?

Mid-Ohio is this weekend and another great crowd is expected for the Indy Car Series. All the camping spots are sold out. The upcoming Baltimore street ‘race’ has been getting some press as well…the track goes over TWO railroad crossings.

Formula One head dipshit Bernie Eccelstone still wants two Grand Prix events in the USA…Austin and a street course in or near New York. What is wrong with Indy? Uh, Bernie…we even have a really nice new JW Marriott now. No need to overnight in Chicago. Indy will get you 125,000 fans into the joint. Hard to say when the Austin deal will come off. Latest rumor is now November, 2012. Indy already has a fully functional facility, and much of it just got repaved. Come on back!

See y’all in Ohio this weekend.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: