Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

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.



  1. Wasn’t that race called “Block That Move.com” or something? lol

    Comment by Robin Mueller — August 15, 2011 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  2. Brian Barnhart can’t possibly survive this, can he?

    Comment by Bob F. — August 15, 2011 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  3. It’s past time for Randy Bernard to step down. He hasn’t come through with anything productive – all talk, no results. He’s made more of a mockery of Indy Car than TG did.

    Resigning ABC was the final nail in Indy Car’s coffin. What a joke. No money for Indy Car to promote itself for at least 7 years, no incentive for sponsors, no money for team owners. Who’s going to pay for the new cars next year?? Oh, but I digress, there will be another camera on the car and you can watch online!!!

    This weekends race in New Hampshire was the most pathetic professional sporting event I’ve ever seen televised. From the commentary, to the officials, and everything in between it was less than ameteur. Will Power flipping the bird may be good for a laugh but what other professional sport let’s its athletes get away with such behavior. He should have been reprimanded and fined on the spot. So the stories this morning show Randy Bernard had some balls. Rather than a driver walking all over Indy Car and its officials.

    Rany Bernard give it up and let someone capable sort out this mess.

    Comment by Tim — August 15, 2011 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  4. I have read your blog for a long time. You are a good writer. Good enough, in fact, to come up with another comparison than the horrible Sylvia Likens torture, which few outside of the Indianapolis Metro area would even comprehend anyway. That, to me, is really inappropriate. You are better than that, Disciple.
    Editor’s Note: Good point, and one that I considered. But even after I thought about it (not to mention the fact that casual use of the word ‘kool-aid’ that references the suicide/murder of hundreds of people in Guyana whenever referring to someone who buys into a particular idea) the analogy fit, tasteless as it might be to some. When you think about it the Disney bunch increased the amount of money they pay, but their slow torture of the Indy Car brand and relegation of it to a dark basement continues unabated. Indy Car handed them a made for TV drama this weekend, led by Will Power’s two-fingered salute. ESPN completely ignored it. The race was not on their radar or in any of their coverage. They are actively attempting to kill the brand. Worse, Indy car is stupid enough to just allow it to happen. Utterly inexcusable. So my apologies if you believe it is harsh, but the point is made.

    Comment by Sean Daly — August 15, 2011 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  5. Another solid blog entry.

    Comment by IcyFog — August 15, 2011 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  6. I am not sure why everyone says the race was moved up 1/2 hour. My program said race start 3:30. The race started at 3:30. Even the program handed out at the Lenox 301 promoting the Indy race said race start is 3:30.

    Comment by Linda — August 16, 2011 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  7. Bernard’s still okay. Considering he has to juggle a split fan base, the Hulman-George family, IMS, two television networks, hard-headed owners, low ratings, Honda, Chevy and Lotus, Firestone’s and Danica’s departures and inconsistant race control, I’m surprised he’s not in the looney bin.

    I’d certainly give him every chance for at least another year and a half. I’ll be curious to see what the sponsors, ratings, drivers, cars, fans and schedule all look like and what the state of the series is by the time St. Pete rolls around in 2013.

    Comment by redcar — August 16, 2011 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

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