Defender of IndyCar

More Disciple Psycho Indy Car Ranting Before The Momentum Killing Japan Excursion

By now regular readers fully understand my stance on temporary street circuits. What many do not understand is my rationale. As a result many such knee jerkers go overboard in their over the top criticism, much like their condemnation of Brian Barnhart before facts (not their interpretation of events) are known. Most are cart revivalists who are more tuned in to Formula 1 anyway. More about that in a moment.

Many of us casually dismissed as ‘gomers’ or ‘kool-aid slurpers’ (or worse, usually involving something scatological) actually do not mind an occasional street circuit. Long Beach has Michaelian’d its way into a legacy event despite two separate suicides of the cart-centric series that began there. St. Pete offers a beachy respite right after winter, and it appears that if the dysfunctional promoting group behind the Baltimore Grand Prix can keep pulling wool over the eyes of politicians and constituents they might get an event that lasts for more than three years. Despite popularity in Canada they can’t seem to come up with a proper course so we’re stuck with temporary circuits in Toronto and perhaps Edmonton, which is quite shaky.

It is easy to appreciate the precision driving required to compete on a walled, narrow circuit of bumpy city streets. It is cool to see ONCE IN A WHILE. My biggest problem is lack of balance. Randy Bernard committed to a balanced schedule, a commitment that rapidly became an outright lie. At the moment the schedule is NOT balanced, and it appears it may never be again. The same people responsible for the self immolation, twice, of cart are now heavily influencing the direction of Indy Car today. They even have an ex-cart official making money on the side designing street circuits. This is NOT acceptable.

It does not help that typically arrogant Formula 1 squatters who consistently believe their feces have no fragrance seem to have an obsessed hobby of bashing Indy Car for no apparent reason. These people either need to go or grow up. We get that they also enjoyed cart before it killed itself. Twice. Then got bailed out by IMS. The one thing we cannot afford is any reconstitution of cart. We need a truly, meaningfully balanced Indy Car that keeps Indy at the center. We need series management that will put as much effort into an oval as they do for a non-oval.

This is not balanced (credit to my pal Grover):

-33% Road Races
-33% Street Festivals
-33% Airport Circuits

-Two weeks at Indy to pay for it.

This IS balanced:

-50% oval (bare minimum; 65% would be better….and a doubleheader at a track is NOT two ovals)

-50% non-oval, which includes road courses, street circuits and airports.

Randy Bernard must never lose sight of this. If he does he and Indy Car is doomed to fail, just like cart.

11 replies to “More Disciple Psycho Indy Car Ranting Before The Momentum Killing Japan Excursion

  1. It seems obvious the Indycar is more profit-driven that it was under Tony George. And it seems that–profit-wise and ratings-wise–centrally-located downtown street festivals that provide entertainment other than racing and also can be used as advertising and promotion of the city are what is profitable for Indycar now. It’s like people will support Indycar as long as it’s more than just a race. And when you attend an oval, you’re going just for the race.

    It makes me think that the only hope for ovals would be to do like Kansas is doing. Build a shopping mall, hotels and a casino around a track and give people multi-options for the weekend.

    1. That’s funny saying that IndyCar is more “profit driven” than it was under Tony George. The series was far from profitable during Tony’s tenure and he was kicked to the curb by his own family when he couldn’t produce a plan to make it profitable in the near future.

  2. What I think you fail to realize is that IICS can’t just show up at an oval and run it. It requires that the track is willing to pay the fee and want the series there. Not a lot are clamoring for IICS to come. We added one and I hear Richmond is on the docket. However, I think we are in the mode of beggars can’t be choosers at this stage. JMHO

  3. I am, as someone described it, a self-avowed “ovalista.” It is idiocy to me to build cars that will go very fast (in excess of 230 mph,) and then ask them to drive around a street ciruit at 15-180.

    I also believe that there is a great misperception that just because street circuits tend to draw well, that there is an increase in fan base. I think it is valuable to remember that probably better than half of the attendees at the “street party” don’t give two whoops in Hell about the racing–They’re there to party. (Might be intersting to inquire of the local constabulary in Baltimore what they saw in the way of “over-served” attendees.)

    Further, if the schedule does not end up balanced, there is a great risk that us “old dinosaurs” who grew up in the days when USAC ran “Champ Cars” on two racing venues, asphalt and dirt, will abandon the series altogether. I can tell you that I already watch as many or more NASCAR races than I do INDYCAR, (then again, there are more of them to watch.)

    Long and short, I could not agree more. If some sense of balance and equality is not a part of INDYCAR racing, Cart III will be doomed to fail.

  4. I don’t think street races bring in more people to the venue necessarily, but they bring more money to the venue. And the surrounding businesses. And they bring publicity to the city. So Indycar can ask more money. And they total fewer cars, so the owners like it too.

    I’m really not defending street races–I’m just trying to figure out common-sense-wise, why Indycar is headed that direction.

  5. Dear Defender:

    If fans would show up and support ovals other than Indy and perhaps Iowa, which appears to offer little in the way of entertainment in Newton on the Saturday night when Indy Car runs its event, then I would support an oval centric schedule since I agree with SkipinSC and his observation that it is difficult to watch cars designed for high speed ovals run slow speeds around street circuits like Toronto, etc.

    But let us face facts and understand that the pathetic turnouts at ovals like Homestead last year and both Milwaukee and Loudon this year fail to yield the required return to the teams and their sponsors necessary to justify the investment.

    Whether we blame the poor promotion of ISC, the tired old Dallara chassis, the boring two way championship battle between Penske and Ganassi for the last five years, the downturn in the economy, the lack of media coverage or quality TV broadcasts, the long distances between most ovals and city population centers, blah, blah, blah, we always come back to the inescapable reality that the American racing spectator has turned away from watching Open Wheeled Cars on oval tracks.

    One has to wonder what sponsors and team principals must think when they show up for an oval event and the stands are not even 1/4 full…hell, my first hand account placed the crowd at Homestead’s finale last season at less than 10,000…how many showed up this season at any oval, other than Indy? I attended Texas last season and the stands were perhaps half full even at a venue with heavy promotion and an enthusiastic fan base.

    Bottom line, Ropin’ Randy and his bean counter bosses need the street festivals, despite the impossibility to pass or to demonstrate the sheer speed of the cars or drivers, simply to bring in revenue and draw some interest in this series.

  6. This should not be an either or situation. In 1975 USAC co-sponsored Formula 5000 resulting in some minor interest from USAC teams. If USAC had taken matters one step further by offering Championship points for F5000 races then there would have been 2 viable divisions counting towards a National Championship. The problem with the current mixed schedule is that there is no clear identity as to what constitutes a Championship. Oval specialists have to wait several weeks between races and likewise road course drivers. With 2 separate divisions there would be continuality so, for example, Ed Carpenter could run a full season of oval races and still accumulate points. If their were 12-14 races in each division there would be room for more drivers and more teams. Also, the road race cars should be built to meet those conditions not simply be modified oval cars. With the oval cars on a street course they just seem too wide and clunky leading to all these pileups at the tight corners. It would make more sense to race nimbler cars that can turn tighter on those hairpins!

  7. i have to correct your opinion, the one that states that the same people who killed CART, twice (again, your own words), are the same ones heavily influencing the direction of indy car nowadays. pure and utter BS, and you know it. the hulman-george clan makes all the final calls, and people who have influence are guys like bernard, belskus (is that how you spell it?), along with the likes of foyt and gossage.

    if the ex-CART contingent had any pull, barnhart would be gone, races would take place in cleveland, surfer’s paradise and road america, and the DP-01 chassis would be in play.

    indy car has only one thing in common with it’s former self, when it was known as the Cart PPG Indy Car series, and that is the name only. the sport of indy car racing has been fractured so badly, that they now have to go where ever the money dictates them to be. if you and the guys of your ilk who love ovals so badly cannot understand this, may i suggest you open up your wallets as much as you do your mouths, pony up some cash and then you can have the indy cars drive wherever you desire.

    in the meantime, you can thank the usual suspects for putting our beloved sport in this predicament in the first place. before you start with your usual youthful deliquent champ car/CART malcontent drivel, i put blame on both sides of the fence. if you have an agenda, surely you would then try and wrongfully blame the other side.

    as for Formula 1, it is at a whole different level than the sport of indy car is. that would entail being financially helthy, with venues paying huge sanction fees, fans, blue-chip sponsors, major manufacturers, network television exposure, etc;. taking shots at it to try and put indy cars in a good light, truly shows your agenda, along with your lack of intellect.

    The Truth

  8. Defender, I would put to you that Tony Georges idea failed not CART. What happened to the the all oval, american drivers, all INDY focused league that was the IRL. It lost mountains of money to the point that Tony was forced from his position and the IRL drifted back towards the CART model, but with what IMS always wanted control. Now after spending hundred of millions of dollars and driving off most of the fan base, INDY is forced to try and rebuild under new leadership. Did all these “non american drivers” come in the last year? When did they start going to road and street tracks? Randy has been here two years and has to play the hand he was dealt with the job that was given to him by the board to stop losing money.
    The facts are that ISC (NASCAR) which owns most of the oval tracks has no desire to promote or stage INDY CAR races. The France family was all helpful with Tony when the split started because it was in there interest to kill their chief competition. With the split over, what good does it do NASCAR to promote and stage an INDY CAR race? Why do you think SMI tracks are willing to promote and pay the fees because they are not owned by NASCAR. You can’t force ISC to stage a race on one of there tracks, or force them to pay the santion fee. Randy’s job is two-fold, stop losing money and rebuild the series. Tony’s job was to win at all cost and bankrupt CART. The difference is that Tony could spend whatever he needed to do and Randy can’t.
    INDY CARS problem has been that they are a one trick pony. The promote the 500 like it’s the only race that matters and then are surpised when no one shows up for another race. This worked in the long ago past during the USAC days, but it’s no way to build a vialble series today. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’S biggist race, but it doesn’t dominate the whole season like the 500 does. People love Bristal, Talledaga, Charlotte, Martinsville, etc. Formula 1 also is more then a one race series. Theres Monoco, but you have Spa, Monza, Silverstone, Brazil, Susuki with each race being an event. In order for the series to move forward they need to build and deveop stand alone events besides the 500 that fans can enjoy. Only then will the series survive. When I started watching INDY CARS it wasn’t just the 500, but Long Beach, Toronto, Clevland, Michigan, and Milwalkee. It was also the drivers and the teams that I followed. Mario, Rick, Bobby, Emo, Newman Haase, Penske, etc. CART was INDY, but so much more. Know we are left with just the 500 and the future is not so bright.

    Editor’s Note: How many times is a series with that philosophy going to have to fail before all of you figure out that model is unsustainable? Is twice not enough?

  9. How much longer are you going to spew your revisionist history split garbage? Do you really think the teams in champcar were “bailed out” by IMS? Why would Tony do such a thing? Because he is such a classy individual? The reality is, he was getting desperate for cars to fill the grid at Indy and other races and it was getting expensive to subsidize a good chunk of the starting field. By “bailing out” (your words) the champcar teams, he was probably spending alot of money, but figured it would be a quicker way towards teams that were self sustaining, and ending the subsidies to fill the field. He was likely getting heat from the IMS board at this time too over the runaway cost of the IRL.

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