Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 18, 2011

The Biggest Threat to Indy Car Comes From Within

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:41 pm

The one thing about which Randy Bernard harped for months after becoming CEO of Indy Car was that the sport was never going to advance as long as any sort of civil war existed. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Obvious With A Cowboy Hat. I do not know of one person who does not agree in theory. What he and many others fail to grasp is that they cannot simply decree an end to all hostility then automatically expect mutual hugs and affection. The scorched earth remains scarred and scabs keep getting picked open, mostly by those with ties to cart’s past.

At what point do real racing fans who have supported Indy Car regardless of its dysfunctional politics since the first race they ever saw in any year realize their generous, sportsmanlike, conciliatory accommodation afforded those with a distinct preference to the twice defunct cart series has turned into becoming catchers of smarmy arrogance and boorish behavior which a large number of these individuals still continue to foist?

These niche fans never stopped fighting a war of bitter scorched earth they themselves caused, and if actual racing fans remain as complacent as they have throughout the entire period of Bernard happy talk thus far they will be bulldozed under a barrage of selfish ideology by those working hard every day to turn the clock back to 1995 in every possible way. This war is not being prolonged or even fought by Indy Car fans, but they had best realize that war continues anyway, that there are no winners and that the cart contingent must get on the same page as everyone else if there is ever to be an end.

I can sense the knees of Disciple critics far and wide jerking spasmodically, trying to turn the spotlight around and getting brusquely defensive about every word. Mostly, these people would like any opposition to their cause silenced as they impose their will. I believe they have gotten inside Randy Bernard’s head. Why? Here are some reasons:

Go look up Randy Bernard’s page on Facebook. Fans of the twice defunct series actively campaign every single day to return to 1995 and/or try to convert Indy Car to Americanized Euro racing, as evidenced by the following repeatedly expressed sentiments:

-An announcement that standing starts will be considered for road courses. That alone upends 100 years of history. Indy Car invented rolling starts. Attempting to emulate Formula 1 while selling a piece of your soul is neither healthy nor wise. ‘They worked in champcar’ is no reason why they should be included in Indy Car. Visiting a Formula 1 race is fine, but Bernard should not throw away 100 years of history to become a Euro copycat.

-‘Fire Brian Barnhart’ (and every other indirect link to Tony George).

-‘Throw local yellows instead of using ‘safety’ cars.’

-‘The new car sucks.’ ‘Go back to Lolas, Reynards and Swifts.’

-‘Return Laguna Seca, Road America and Cleveland onto the schedule ASAP.’

– Bernard himself saying Indy Car, owners and drivers are all ‘working together.’ That is potentially very dangerous. Drivers would bitch if they were hung with new rope. Owners are interested only in owners and as a group cannot be trusted. I want to know what happened to the ‘fans are most important’ sentiment. That tenet has seemingly vanished. Commiseration with remnants of a group that actively attempted to destroy the entire sport because their egos got hurt is dangerous for everyone. This after being assaulted for a year by Robin Miller.

The leading, officially sanctioned Indy Car fan forum is also complicit in allowing such insidious regression to fester. It is not so much that the proprietor of that site displays such selective intolerance in conjunction with often megalomaniacal tendencies, or even his thinly disguised multiple personality disorder. It is not even that often passionate discussion gets moderated like a kindergarten class. Claiming to push an agenda of peace is noble to be sure; trying to enforce one is both overreaching and impossible. Lambs are being led to slaughter while being forced to sing Kumbaya as if both sides are throwing flowers. They are not. ANY meaningful meaty dissension is rarely tolerated. Yet snarky, counterproductive sentiments like the following appear every single day:

-‘Get rid of two wide restarts.’ ‘The cowboy screwed up.’ ‘Do it like ALMS (another road racing series on the verge of collapse) does it.’

-‘ I still think standing starts are a great way to equalize the starts on road and street courses, I really enjoyed them when ChampCar introduced them and it made for a safer first turn, the sound of 20+ cars revving at the beginning was awesome.’ ‘RB asked drivers at the drivers meeting if they wanted standing starts and it was a unanimous yes.’

-‘ this is painful. The cars look terribly underpowered.’

-More ‘get rid of Brian Barnhart’ (and everything ever associated with Tony George) threads than can be imagined.

-‘ Good Old Days = 1911-1995’

-‘All I want is AOW back.’

Indy Car may have visited Motegi for the final time, but left a stench. The road course got snuck in even though people who were there, including Dario Franchitti, state there was not enough wrong with the oval to justify the switch.

Indy Car fans have compromised for sixteen years. Since the remnants of cart were ‘unified,’ road courses have gone from nearly zero to well over half the schedule. Turbocharged engines return next season. One of the most significant demands involves getting rid of air boxes, primarily because cart never utilized them.

Indy Car fans have bent over whenever asked; cart enthusiasts still stinging from seeing their favorite series kill itself, twice, are subtle about their agenda but remain engaged in jihad to turn the clock back. They remain utterly convinced that a reconstitution of 1995 will cure all real or perceived problems and will bring with it millions more fans and ratings exactly like they were twenty years ago. They might as well promise sex with 72 virgins because in reality that is just as likely. They are willing to compromise provided everything is returned to exactly the way it was in 1995.

The courtesy extended by Indy-centric fans to those who boycotted is not mutual. Whenever Indy Car fans suggest a desire for more ovals and/or values aligned more closely with USA-based Indy Car they are often vilified as stuck in the past, impediments, haters or worse.

Tactics being used could well kill the sport. The problem, in actual reality, aside from the way in which the world has evolved, was that the legends of the sport, all of them, retired at more or less the exact same time. That time corresponded with NASCAR’s rise to prominence. The legends will never be back, and the next thing for which fans must prepare is the legends dying off. Owners who still want control have no clue about building new legends (notable exceptions lately include John Barnes), preferring instead to take checks from Euro-centric road racers primarily qualified by wallet instead of right foot.

The series has been going through the motions with regard to ovals for the past few years, but has been enthusiastically supportive of non-ovals. 35,000 people at an oval is considered a reason to dump it from the schedule. 35,000 at a non-oval means support is overwhelming and guarantees longevity. That is disingenuous, as is Bernard’s pledge to keep venues in a 50/50 balance.

Randy Bernard’s biggest problem at the moment mirrors that of every other leader of Indy Car. Recent actions threaten to alienate the last remaining group of fans not already shut out. Patient Indy Car fans who have supported the sport since before cart was white papered into existence may not have the strength to fight the battle any more. If the sport is allowed to regress instead of evolve the people who are allowing it to happen deserve what they will get.

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24 Comments »

  1. I like Bernard and think he’s doing his best to listen to fans and build the series while trying to make it a profitable venture. But ever since the abandonment of the 50/50 concept, I wonder if there’s a real plan or he’s just making it up as he goes?

    Comment by redcar — September 18, 2011 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

  2. Hey Disciple, did you ever read the novel “Atlas Shrugged”? It’s a poorly written book about 1000 pages too long but the story is that in a world going to shit, the few intelligent people left in society take a stand and “go on strike” removing themselves from society. Their premise: the madness won’t stop as long as you continue to support it/enable it.

    I urge you and all other true Indy racing fans to “go on strike”. Remove your support, stop watching, stop commenting on it. When all there is left is hate, the leaders will be forced to take notice and do something about it.
    Editor’s Note: At least that would be more honest and less hypocritical than others who claim they hate it but watch every second more intently than even the most fervent fan. Boycotting is not really my style (boycotting is mostly a cowardly act) and I actually really enjoy the sport and have through all its periods of evolution. If the leadership continues scheduling events outside the borders or on far flung temporary circuits I am likely not to have a choice when it comes to attendance. I remain acutely interested in the direction of future evolution. Will they be smart enough to learn from the past or stupid enough to repeat it? Time will tell.

    Comment by RenegadeX — September 18, 2011 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  3. Unfortunately, I fear the loudest, squeakiest wheels, those who killed CART/CCWS (twice,) seem to be getting the proverbial grease. Tired of fighting, I have written tome after tome, comment after comment that reflects the view of those of us who have watched this sport since it was run by USAC, and yet no one seems to be listening. At 58 years old, I am already watching as much or more NASCAR than INDYCAR, purely and simply because there is more of it to watch. And, admittedly, I am tired of watching parades around road courses that were never designed for INDYCARS. Sonoma was unwatchable. So was last night, and maybe, because of the lateness of the hour, I was counting down the laps and thinking seriously about turning it off and going to bed.

    I can’t get back the hours I spent watching paint dry and cars parade around ANOTHER road course in Japan, (although I give credit to the Japanese fans for attending,) in spite of the fact that at least one driver saw no reason why the oval could not have been used. (Dario Franchitti is not a structural engineer and neither am I, but I’m just sayin’…)

    I do disagree on the point of Brian Barnhart. His inconsistent application of the admittedly open-ended rule book is almost a joke. I’m still trying to figure out the “penalty” that Dario got last ight for his admittedly stupid driving trick that almost took out three fourths of the Ganassi entries. If it had been a different driver, I suspect it would have resulted in a pass-through penalty. THis almost certainly would have affected the points standings for the championship. When even the booth announce team (albeit at an undisclosed domestic location) is questioning the call, maybe it’s time to look at the enforcement of said rules a little differently.

    Comment by SkipinSC — September 18, 2011 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  4. Indycar will live or die depending on if they can attract new, younger fans. Not whether they can placate an aging and shrinking hardcore fan base.
    Editor’s Note: Amen brother.

    Comment by Matt — September 18, 2011 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  5. “Fire Brian Barnhart (and every other indirect link to Tony George)” Barnhardt is incompetent, its nothing to do with Tony George at all. He simply can’t do his job and makes the rules up as he goes along.
    Editor’s Note: It’s spelled B-a-r-n-h-a-r-t without a D. I get the criticism. The Internet experts have been campaigning about it for months. Who should replace him?

    “Throw local yellows instead of using ‘safety’ cars” On road/street courses this makes a huge amount of sense and keeps the race flowing. Why on earth would you object to this? (other than because of who was saying it).
    Editor’s Note: Franly, I don’t. But I do believe the car that does come out when it’s a full course yellow should be called a ‘pace car.’

    “Return Laguna Seca, Road America and Cleveland onto the schedule ASAP” Those three tracks are three of the best in the USA. Why on earth would you object to this? (see above)
    Editor’s Note: Those are three non-oval venues. Nothing wrong with any of them. What other non-ovals would you drop and/or what ovals would you add to keep the 50/50 venue ratio in balance?

    “this is painful. The cars look terribly underpowered” Thats because at the moment the cars ARE underpowered. Let’s hope the new car is better.
    Editor’s Note? More underpowered than what? I have enjoyed watching these cars, especially on ovals.

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — September 19, 2011 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  6. What compromise took place in 1996? 1998? 2000? It doesn’t seem to me like “Indycar fans have been compromising for sixteen years” unless you want to argue that sticking with the sport in spite of all its name drivers leaving was in and of itself a compromise.
    Editor’s Note: Whenever any cart participants finally grew a brain in those early years and slithered back to Indy after all, they were met with a red carpet, no hostility and far more graciousness than they deserved.

    The reason those horrible CART fans are left is because there was always more of them than “pure” traditionalist Indycar fans. Add in the fact that traditionalists never numbered very many and have generally died out either by becoming irrelevant as consumers or literally dying of old age and health concerns that hit people in the 55+ bracket, and there’s no battle to be fought any more. Indycar as something other than what it is seeking to be at present would be to counteract the market’s will (again) and just lead to an even greater bleeding of money than is presently the case.
    Are the cart enthusiasts completely stupid or hypocritical? The Indy Car of today barely resembles the ‘Green Acres’ version those with few brains love to parody. Just look at what is on the horizon….turbochargers, twisty circuits, possibly standing starts, lots of festivals o’ speed, a field full of Euro formula buyers…it’s a virtual cart part deux. Why wouldn’t that get 12+ ratings up in the 20s, make billions in sponsorship and have at least 200,000 fans at every race…you know, like the good old days? LOL.

    Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

    • And allowing the CART participants back was a “compromise”? Words have definitions. You should learn them.
      Editor’s Note: More of an accommodation than a compromise. They were always welcome to join….from day one and all the way through their self immolating boycott. It took over a decade and two suicides for them to come to their senses, but when they did they found the red carpet fully extended and arms outstretched. That, my friend, is pur class.

      Indycar has decided to emulate CART because trying to appeal to the traditionalist short tracker sect turned out to be commercial suicide and at least people seemed to care about CART. Not to mention the business practices, however disingenuous as they were, gave better chances at breaking even for the people paying than trying to buy, build, or rent racetracks. But you realized that a long time ago when you came to the conclusion that races like Sao Paolo and Baltimore are a necessity in these times, right?
      Editor’s Note: If following that path is so great, where are the attendees and the ratings? Your little group claim they suck, so now that we’re cart-centric again, where are the results?

      Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

      • It is an accommodation to allow race teams who purchase the cars legal in the series to race them at Indy? What was the alternative? Flying Andy Evans to a country that doesn’t expedite criminals? Bringing Carl Hogan back from the dead and hoping he’d pay for a team out of pocket? LOL
        Editor’s Note: You’ve lost me in terms of attempted points. I am in 2011. What year are you in?

        Following that path is following the lone path, at present, of potential commercial viability for the series. You’re out here suggesting that they sell it to a media conglomerate. Who would want the series? If there’s anything they’d have interest in having a piece of, its the Speedway. How would you feel about Tony rubber stamping a sale of 51% of IMS to Comcast, Disciple?
        Editor’s Note: I would be opposed. 49%? OK. Anything higher? Not OK. That is not something about which we have to worry, however.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

      • I am talking about your claim that Indycar either “accommodated” or “compromised” with CART from the start. Neither happened. What did occur is a bunch of teams switching leagues and forcing a change in the focus for the league, conveniently at a time in which the original IRL teams were in disarray.
        Editor’s Note: Here we go again. For all of those readers who stupidly believe I keep ‘the split’ alive, what about folks like this obsessed youngster who keeps on commenting and commenting and commenting? When Tony George founded the IRL, he did so as a complementary series to cart and invited them to participate using equipment they had on non-competing weekends. cart insisted on making every stupid move they could. As cart and its teams failed in the dead end they were in, cart teams that decided to join the IRL were treated like royalty in every single instance. Asses were kissed and red carpets rolled. The Indy Car Series segment that began in 1996 has been going ever since. Never bankrupt. Never in the ‘disarray’ you people attempt foolishly to position. Grow up. The end game occurred when the second iteration of cart went teats up and got bailed out by that nasty human being Tony George. Be thankful for once that your preferred form of racing got rescued. He could just as easily have suggested having aeronautical intercourse with a rotating pastry.

        Tell me Disciple: Why would a Comcast/NBC or Disney/ABC want a piece of the Indycar Series when they can’t even get exclusive rights to all the races for 7 years? Even if it was given to them for free, what makes you think they’d want to invest money into it? “Growth potential”? They can save the money and buy MLB rights next year. The only thing of value, as you love to say, is the 500. And if you’re a media conglomerate, the only thing that might interest you is having controlling interest of the racetrack. You’re right though – it won’t happen because there really isn’t any interest from anyone who isn’t ISC to go around buying race tracks.
        Editor’s Note: Actually one of the popular trends in television is ownership of the content. Several national entities pay a lot of money to own the content. That gives them flexibility and libraries. Given the 100+ year history of Indy Car I am willing to bet owning some of that content is attractive.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

      • “Editor’s Note: If following that path is so great, where are the attendees and the ratings? Your little group claim they suck, so now that we’re cart-centric again, where are the results?”

        “Editor’s Note: More than what? Some subjective utopia in the distant past? Professional people pay attention to trends generally over a two year period.
        The Indy Car Series over the past two years is showing positive trends in all areas that matter.”

        Just wondering, which is it? Are you unhappy with the ratings, or crowing because they are showing positive trends that matter?
        Editor’s Note: Well hi there, Steve. Excellent questions. Here is how my observations originated. Enthusiasts of the past have spent most of the past sixteen years crowing about how great they thought everything was up until around 1995 when ‘Tony ruined everything’ and other such clueless lunacy. These people continuously pine for those utopian days of yore and offer them up as a ‘solution’ to the ‘woes’ of Indy Car today. My observation is that even with a product that is regressing very rapidly to 1995, they are incorrect about ratings. The bad news for many is that 12+ overnights ‘suck’ in their opinion. Of course they are only comparing 12+ overnights of today with 12+ overnights of 16 to 20 years ago. That is something that people in television never do. Why? Because it would be stupid. They also do not sell spots based on 12+ overnights. Content is bought based upon the demographic targets they deliver. What matters to actual television professionals are demo specific ratings and trends for the past two years (or so). On that basis Indy Car has seen some tangible progress. That said, ratings across all demos would certainly benefit Indy Car. Here is the takeaway: Regression to a 1995-like platform with most of its people is not moving the needle any more than anything else.

        Is it a good thing that the series drew 1.2 million fans last year (and will likely draw more this year) as you have previously stated, or do you have questions about the ratings. Are the ratings increases that we’re seeing simply 12+ ratings that we don’t understand and really don’t mean anything, or are they indicators of vibrant increases in key metrics?
        Editor’s Note: Fantastic unoriginal use of three words in that last sentence. You know I would take you more seriously if you could generate original thought, right? But to answer your prodding, 12+ ratings only mean something to people who form opinions based on the most simplistic possible data. That type of conclusion jumping is epidemic in the short attention society in which we live. The numbers that sell the spots are demo specific, and are numbers zap2it does not have. Why? Because the people who use them pay good money for them. So, again, both the 12+ overnights and all demo specific estimates could always be better. For the time and place we currently occupy, they are not great, but just OK.

        You’re perfectly willing to trumpet the total attendance increases for the series; yet reticent to acknowledge that those improving numbers are largely due to increases at the street festivals and road courses which you so frequently decry. You trumpet the increases in television ratings and ‘key metrics’ (without providing specifics, mind you), yet never acknowledge that the races that pull the best numbers (outside of Indy) aren’t your beloved ovals. Toronto, Edmonton, and Baltimore got higher ratings than any other race on Versus; St. Pete pulled better numbers than any other race on ABC.
        Editor’s Note: Let’s first clear up some additional misunderstandings your kind continues to incorrectly assume. I do not decry road course and festivals o’ speed in and of themselves; I decry the way in which they are being shoved down throats, skewing the balance of oval to non-oval. I do advocate a balanced schedule. I would like to see 65% oval, but I do not believe my wish will ever come to pass unless some new ‘Tony decides to take his ball and go home again.’ My best compromise is 50/50. Anything more is unacceptable. Big time road racing series have never worked in this country with ultimately failing. I advocate incorporating the best ones to complement the oval racing in which Indy Car has always specialized. Attendance is a tough nut to crack because of the differences in hype between ovals and non-ovals. With ovals you have a finite number of seats that everyone can see. Not true for non-ovals. As a result, estimates vary widely because it is more likely that a lie will hold up for a non-oval. This year the only oval that truly stunk in terms of attendance was Milwaukee. Indy drew nearly 600,000 for the half a month it was open, and having attended each day the track was open I can state with certainty that the qualifying days were larger than in years, it had the biggest carb day crowd ever, and the race was better attended than in many recent years. There were great crowds on practice days as well. Texas is always great for a huge crowd. Iowa sold out. Baltimore exceeded the expectations of most and will be interesting to see if it holds up longer than, say, a Denver or a San Jose. To your point, trying to make a case that non-ovals get better ratings than ovals depends a lot on the time and channel…but is also like claiming you are the richest guy in the trailer park.

        You ask ‘What other non-ovals would you drop and/or what ovals would you add to keep the 50/50 venue ratio in balance?’ As the series hasn’t been 50/50 in two years, two years which have seen, as you put it, positive trends in all areas that matter, wouldn’t returning to 50/50 be taking a step backward? I thought you were in favor of moving forward, not going back. Whether or not you like it, or even admit it, the increases in attendance, ratings, and sponsorship has coincided with the shift away from a 50/50 balance. While correlation may not necessarily imply causation, it doesn’t necessarily rule it out.
        Editor’s Note: Does not matter to me. I demand a 50/50 balance, and will continue working hard to ensure Indy Car gets that message. If they choose to ignore it and follow the regressive path they are on based on the ideals of a series that failed twice, they too will fail everywhere but Indy.

        You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t trumpet the success, while ignoring some of the reasons for that success. Frankly, its disingenuous at best, and flat out hypocritical at worst.
        Editor’s Note: Again, I really do prefer original thought. I am flattered by your continuing selective retention, but I have generously spelled out, again, the clarification. I might suggest you try to absorb it.

        Comment by Steven Kornya — September 19, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

      • CART teams didn’t have the red carpet rolled out for them extra special by Indy’s management – they bought chassis like everyone else and had to qualify like all the others. It is hard to call 25/8 an “accomodation” to the CART squads or Indycar “compromising” with them. That that is why you feel necessary to tell a history lesson about CART’s promotional death instead of actually answering my question, right?
        Editor’s Note: 25/8 lasted one year and was only implemented after cart told Tony George to stick the IRL up his arse. In other words, they took the most stupid possible action they possibly could. That type of boneheaded stupidity led directly to their shameful demise. Twice. Do we really need to cover this idiotic groun some more or are you prepared to be an adult, orient yourself in this century, and look toward the future? How much more of this pointless badgering are you going to foist?

        As for the interest in purchasing the library of Indycar – uhh, for what? This isn’t a sitcom or drama that has value in being sold out in syndication. It is a professional sport, and professional sports on tape delay are typically failures. The Olympics are the one exception to the rule, but even there NBC is presently decades behind all the other networks in terms of the way it runs coverage. Of course, the Indy 500 isn’t the Olympics. The value of classic sports programming is exceedingly low – see also; ESPN dropping Classic to second and third cable/DSS tiers in order to move ESPN U up.
        Editor’s Note: 100 years of history means lots of content is available for packaging. The right partner could make some hay.

        Comment by chickens go for 30 — September 20, 2011 @ 12:21 am

      • So Indycar is regressing in terms of its product while alternately the ratings are increasing and getting much vaunted gains in key demographics. What is the point you’re trying to make again?
        Editor’s Note: Your lack of reading comprehension ability is impressive. I’ll slow down. Regression is a term I have applied to those who want to turn the clock back to 1995. The management of Indy Car and the smartest fans are far more focused on a bright future, not some irrational longing for the past. Ratings increases in target demos over two years is an entirely separate discussion. Do we need to review that again as well?

        Comment by chickens go for 30 — September 20, 2011 @ 1:05 am

      • As I said. There was no compromise. No accommodation. Unless, of course, you consider the manufacturers coming over from CART and shifting the rulebook in the direction they desired to be “accommodation”. The fact that you can’t give me an actual example of it is telling.

        Editor’s Note: It no longer matters. It hasn’t for almost twenty years. The spilled milk has already been cried over. It is time to focus on the future. Is your dwindling group emotionally prepared to focus on the future?

        100 years of history is only valuable if someone wants to see it. Where is this demand for old Indycar races? There is no demand for current Indycar races.

        Editor’s Note: Predictably the simple way in which your mind works makes it difficult process what the potential is with regard to linkage to Indy Car content.

        As for the item about ratings: You rail against the sport resembling CART while the steps that simulate CART seem to be accompanied by raises in key demos. Shouldn’t that not be happening? Shouldn’t the ratings over the last two years stagnate or decline further if they’re negative changes?

        Editor’s Note: Are you proud of any of the ratings are not? If you are then you should admit cart was a failure. What you should be doing is focusing on the future. Not the past. I am more interested in seeing what Randy Bernard is cooking up with Raytheon and EA. That intrigues me more than additional, pointless ‘split’ crap. Move forward.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 21, 2011 @ 3:25 am

      • It doesn’t matter if there was/wasn’t accommodation, etc. ? So why make it a bullet point in your original tract? LOL

        I know your argument is that “someone smart could figure out something to do with it!” But there is no historical precedent there. ESPN very rarely bothers to show edited versions of races they have the broadcast rights for NASCAR, much less Indy, simply because it doesn’t generate viewership. Hell, the whole Classic sports network doesn’t generate viewership. That’s why it got shuttled off to digital packages to begin with.

        You are the person who is proud of ratings that are where they are in spite of the sport transitioning back to something that its CEO admits is being pattered after CART. So you tell me: If that is the model being followed, and chief demographics are going up, why is it bad?

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 21, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  7. Disciple, should we add the hill climb back for 2012 like they did in the 60’s. How about go back to Silverstone or Brands Hatch like they did in 79. Maybe back to Argentina like in 1970 or maybe Mosport. Even better we can add dirt ovals back to the schedule or we can race at the same seven or eight tracks two or three times like we did in the late 70’s. If USAC was so awesome, what happened after 85? It failed as a national series (I know they still have the dirt cars). Just like you like to point out about CART failing you seem to ignore USAC. My point is times change and for those of you that think life was good in the USAC days your a bunch of liars. What TV coverage besides the 500 did we have? What major sponcers? Who made money? One family made money and the owners who you slander as greedy made nothing except gave their blood and sweat to the sport.
    The fact that the owners wanted to work with USAC and develop the series, but USAC refused is lost on people like you. What should the owners have done? The fact is that times change and for people like yourself that view history with rose colored glasses it’s quite sad. NASCAR doesn’t run on the beach anymore or have a convertable division is this a bad thing? Should NASCAR have stayed true to it’s dirt track roots? I’m sure they would have been even bigger, right? Maybe F1 should have not changed as well when they formed FOCA. We know what a failure thats been for them with 300 million watching each race. They should have stayed with an eight race schedule with a driver dying everyweek and the tracks telling them to get bent. Your right those were they good old days. INDY CAR could have been as big as F1 if the folks at IMS and USAC didn’t let their greed get in the way. CART for all it’s issues was still head and shoulders above USAC.
    As far as officating, it’s about on par with USAC was (1981 INDY or Texas), so I don’t know why people complain they have always been bad. You keep at Disciple maybe we do Trenton, Ontario, Illinois Fair Grounds twice a year again.
    As far as standing starts, BB doesn’t want rolling starts either, so I guess we shouldn’t entertain anything that might make the racing better. We know how bad it’s worked for F1 and everyother open wheel series in the world.
    The last thing I don’t think you understand is the vast majority of fans of INDYCAR came their with CART not USAC. Unless your over 50, INDYCAR has been CART. So, lets stop talking about all the “CART fans” trying to kill INDYCAR because they are the vast majority of fans watching. Maybe it’s people like you that are killing the sport.
    Editor’s Note: You seem to have a lot of misconceptions. Let’s address each one:
    -The Pikes Peak Hill Climb would actually be spectacular. Problem these days is the tree huggers have robbed that legacy event of all its uniqueness as pavement gets extended all the way to the top.
    -Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Argentina and Mosport all have merit, and given the proclivity of current management anyone willing to cough up a few million and pay all the expenses can have a race.
    -I am one of those people who doesn’t really care about USAC or short track racing. There is nothing wrong with it and I have attended many. It is not my favorite and I do not go out of my way to attend. For the past several decades the Indy Car evolution of going rear engine with heavy aero dependence and a variety of venues means the path US short trackers points at NASCAR. I am not sure where you got the idea USAC was not popular; it is at many tracks and NASCAR is the 600 pound bubba these days. Whenever a USAC driver gets an Indy Car ride they usually find the wall pretty fast. In reality there is far more interest among the ownership in Conor Daly than Bryan Clauson. Ideally it would not be an either/or and there would be room for both in the series.
    -Indy Car owners as a group are a pack of rats. They should never be trusted, and their primary interests are their own, not the good of the sport. They have also proven themselves to be lousy series operators, having failed twice. If Randy Bernard lets those foxes into the henhouse, Indy Car is doomed again. Spare me the tears about owners not making money. All of them are independently rich. The Hulman George family has done more for the sport than all owners combined, and they continue giving back. You people need to get over the hostility you feel for them. Without them the sport would have died decades ago.
    -cart legacy fans are older and sixteen years removed from 1995. I’m told millions of them left. If that’s true they should be roaring back because we now have more non-ovals than ovals, a field of mostly Euro formula racers, turbos are back next season and essentially a reincarnation of cart complete with owner meddling. Plus, the red carpet is out. As someone far more interested in the future than the past, however, I am interested in cultivating support and enthusiasm from a younger crowd…the ‘lost’ generation that never became aware of Indy Car in the first place, primarily because cart insisted on a war that screwed up the entire sport.

    Comment by Brian from NY — September 19, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

    • Are there any USAC sanctioned races even aired on TV in 2011? I’m talking even on a tape delayed basis. If you aren’t on TV, you’re pretty much completely irrelevant.
      Editor’s Note: Good question. I do not follow them except occasionally in person, so I’m not the person to ask.

      Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

    • You wrote: “Spare me the tears about owners not making money. All of them are independently rich. The Hulman George family has done more for the sport than all owners combined, and they continue giving back. You people need to get over the hostility you feel for them. Without them the sport would have died decades ago.”

      So are you saying the owners are only allowed to make as much money in the sport as the Hulman George family allows them too? Seems the top concern of you and your fellow knuckle draggers is the Hulman George family and IMS being the so-called “King” of the sport. You imbeciles always point to the Gurney White paper as such a bad thing, but if you bothered reading it, the main purpose was to grow the sport, something IMS/USAC was not doing. But you saw it as a threat to the IMS kingdom. Do you have some kind of delusion where the car owners just show up and do what IMS says?
      Editor’s Note: It is apparent they would never do that. After all, they have already cut off their noses to spite their faces multiple times. When they thought they could strike out on their own without Indy they died. Twice. This is fact. The Hulman George family is unlikely to relinquish much control after seeing what happened in an owner-managed series. White paper tenets aside, if they embrace mutual cooperation everyone could get richer. In any event the only thing I see working is a benevolent dictatorship. It works in NASCAR quite well. So again, I urge Indy Car owners to not ride the high horse primarily because they have already proven they can’t.

      Comment by TroyM — September 20, 2011 @ 12:40 am | Reply

      • Ah, your beloved “benevolent dictatorship” where IMS is the holy kingdom that all owners bow to. And with Tony George in charge if you could have your way. Maybe we could go back to the entire month of May spent running practice laps at Indy even though teams can’t get the sponsorship money to pay for it, since only you and a handful of other knuckle draggers are there are practice days. Heck, even IMS doesn’t make enough money with the few of you to keep the gates open. Perhaps the holy kingdom could charge the evil owners a special fee to insure IMS at least breaks even. The owners would just pay it and shut up in your perfect little world. Oh, and CART was successful from 1979 to 1995, right up until some ignorant jackass at 16th and Georgetown decided to start his own series and scorched the open wheel earth.
        Editor’s Note: Well isn’t this sweet? Another disenfranchised cart idiot still wanting to fight. Look, son:
        -Benevolent Dictatorship works quite well for the France family, and they own a lot more than one track.
        -Tony George would fit in Jeff Belskus’ role.
        -An entire month of May would be great. That is nostalgia I could enjoy. ‘Knuckle draggers?’ How mature.
        -When did IMS let you see their books?
        -The owner would be better served by shutting up a little more than they like, paying attention to making their teams the best they can, and let professionals worry about running the series.
        -So some ‘ignorant jackass’ caused the enormously successful cart to kill itself, twice? What does that say about the enormously successful? LOL.

        Let it go. Just let it go. Move forward with you life. Evolve.

        Comment by TroyM — September 20, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

      • You telling me to “let it go,” “move on,” and “evolve” has to be one of the most hypocritical things ever. You can hardly go a day without trying to bring up past history, telling us cart failed twice, crying about the owners voting on things, claiming they f*#%d up the sport in the past, talking about “cart enthusiasts,” etc, etc, etc.
        Editor’s Note: My commentary is usually always in reaction to the nonsense that tumbles from the fingertips of your kind. I let it go in 1996 and have been oriented in the present day ever since. 2011 is pretty great. You should join us, or find something else to enjoy.

        Comment by TroyM — September 20, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

  8. This feels like same post/different day. “I hate CART and it’s fans, I love IndyCar, and hate that it now looks like CART”. For f*&ks sake, don’t watch then. I absolutely love open wheel and have limited exposure to live events being in Oklahoma. Been to TMS numerous times, Kansas(great site lines), Denver GP(actually had a blast, imagine that at a street venue), Gateway(awesome short track race-never seen anyone drive as loose as Montoya did that day), & Joliet(ditto from Kansas).
    The simple fact is that many people are just not interested in racing like they used to be. They may consider it ‘boring’ or too costly(which it is many places). It will always be a second tier sport compared to the stick & ball brigade.
    So please(not that it will matter), quit the constant b*tching about CART vs IndyCar; you just perpetuate the fight.
    Whew!
    Now that I’ve got that off my chest, what a sh*tty race in Japan. Dario punting most of the Ganassi team and not receiving a penalty, maybe the most fugly start & re-starts I have ever seen, and a dominating performance by Dixon. I don’t think Power had anything for him.
    Off to Kentucky now!
    Editor’s Note: The point eludes you. My orientation is focused on the future and what we need to do, which is not trying to reconstitute cart. The point of the topic was to lament the approach many of the owners and former cart fans take, which is reconstitution of something that evolved away. I advocate moving forward, not backward. It is really that simple. Can I clear this up any further?

    Comment by Tony — September 19, 2011 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  9. I want more ovals and more American drivers in IndyCar.
    I would love to see Chicago, Richmond, Atlanta and Nashville back. I would love to see Pocono on the schedule. I would attend those races. I have little to no interest in seeing another road or street course race in person again.
    Racers I’d like see back in IndyCar are Sam Hornish and Tony Stewart. NASCAR can keep the rest, including Danica. I’m glad she’s leaving.
    Loved Mr. Ashley Judd’s comment about the oval. I was thinking to myself Disciple is going to have a field day that comment.

    Comment by IcyFog — September 19, 2011 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  10. Jesus. I think I’m done reading this. I’m tired of both sides of this “debate”.

    Comment by The Speedgeek — September 20, 2011 @ 2:12 am | Reply

    • Good point.

      Comment by Tony — September 20, 2011 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  11. ‘ this is painful. The cars look terribly underpowered.’

    Thanks for quoting me disciple. Pity you rushed to an illogical conclusion that i must be some bitter angry cartisan,Look at my trackforum user title : kiwi OVAL fan. I agree whole heartedly with you about most issues, especially the 50/50 road/oval split. An observation that the cars looked appallingly bad going down the main straight at motegi is not an attempt to go back to 1995, more an honest observation.

    Comment by chris — September 20, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Reply


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