Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 6, 2011

Baltimore Indy Car Recap: A Huge Success or Just Typical Hype?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:02 pm

A new labor day tradition may have been born along the inner harbor of the city of Baltimore. The Indy Cars rapidly paraded around several walled off city streets, drawing almost a Texas-sized crowd downtown to the bars and restaurants ready to accept their money.

Anyone anywhere near a microphone predictably expressed glee that sounded beyond orgasmic every single time. Indy Car officials and participants were effusive with praise. City officials and politicians strutted about like proud roosters. The good old days of inflated ‘three day’ attendance estimates made a grand return with number that ranged from 150K to almost 300K. Yeah, right.

No one doubts the good time had by most. The calendar was full of racing and the diversions offered by the site location meant there was something for everyone. But let’s face facts for once. On Friday about 10,000 paid to get in. Saturday drew about 25,000 paid. Reliable estimates put the number of grandstand seats at between 20,000 and 30,000. If we split the difference and call it 25K and agree they were sold out, that would mean almost 100,000 got in via general admission. Come on. No one is that gullible. That said, the GA crowd was big, and 50,000 to 60,000 paid admissions is not a stretch on race day.

The torch toting Brian Barnhart witch hunters incorporated more ammo…someone in the safety crew screwed up a restart and found a truck running against speedy race traffic after a green. Ooops. Predictably, it’s all Brian Barnhart’s fault and cries for his head among the handful of haters is at a fever pitch.

The problem I have is that a crowd of 60,000 is considered great at an abomination of a circuit, but in the event Indy Car promoted, say, Kentucky as enthusiastically as they did Baltimore (not likely in our lifetime) 50,000 or 60,000 would be considered bad, mostly because there are twice that many seats. That is shortsighted, stupid and one of the most cheesy rationalizations in the sport. If these goddamned street circuits are as popular as Indy Car has wished itself into believing they are, why doesn’t NASCAR run any?

I will be anxious to see what happens with Baltimore once they clean up the mess and count the money they made then compare that to the money they spent. Typically these types of events do not make it three years. We’ll see.

The Indy Car enthusiast in me is quite happy the brand got great mid-Atlantic exposure in a desirable market and lots of people showed up. The cynical side of me hopes the jumping up and down happiness that has afflicted the Indy Car folks is not like a crack high that will leave them with long term impairment.


September 2, 2011

Indy Car Labor Day Tradition: Wait, Where Are We Racing This Year?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:34 am

Oh, that’s right. Another no-passing, narrow, no run-off street deal.

As the Indy Car Series heads to Baltimore for the first time for what they hope becomes a Labor Day tradition, reaction is mixed. Many are excited to see the fast parade along narrow city streets. Other natives are restless because the local government is propping this up with their money and screwing up traffic in Baltimore for the supposed greater good of ‘economic impact.’ Just as many people think this could become an annual event as those whose thinking is one and done a lot like ALMS at RFK Stadium in Washington DC a few years back.

Time will tell whether fans make it a regular stop. Many traditionalists in that region feel a return to Richmond and their actual permanent track is far more warranted. That said, the series has all but conceded oval racing to anyone else. Randy Bernard made Milwaukee an official ex-venue Thursday. Yeah, we understand the external promotion was lousy but why could Indy Car not have anticipated that? Alienation of legacy fans continues unabated. The new ‘three  biggest lies’ are:

1. This will only hurt a little.

2. I’ll only put in the head.

3. Randy Bernard saying Indy Car will help nurture and grow an event.

Another group of ‘fans’ seem to believe they know how to run the IZOD Indy Car Series better than those already running it. A small group of them has started a cute little ‘Fire Brian Barnhart’ page on Facebook, hoping to match the momentum others, like ‘Fire Donald Trump’ have in the past. Their approach is almost as tacky as their premise. Never mind that the CEO has flatly stated he supports Brian Barnhart 100%. As if Robin Miller behaving like a three year old on two national cable networks is not enough of an oozing, pus-filled lesion on Indy Car, these rocket scientists decided to include the screen capture of Will Power flying the double bird as the profile picture of their page. Of the few hundred who have ‘liked’ the page, many use traditional juvenile epithets; e.g., ‘Brainfart,’ to describe the guy they stupidly love to hate. Yeah, those approaches will be effective.

I remain dismayed about the continuing failure of the education system in our country.

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