Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 28, 2011

Indy Car And Religion…Do They Mix?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:06 am

The other day the folks at Kingdom Racing got up in their Internet pulpit and started preaching about ‘God’s will’ with regard to the Dan Wheldon death at Las Vegas. The gist, among all the flowery bible passages and such, was that Dan’s accident resulted because God wanted it to. I am a person who believes any other person should believe whatever they choose to believe, and I tend to give religious pontificators a wide berth no matter how over the top they go. It is a supposedly free country and folks are free to worship whatever real or imagined character strikes their fancies.

I cannot help but believe, however, that anyone who takes their beliefs to such extremes belong in the same general category as any other zealot; e.g., 1995 flat earthers who have spent the better part of the last twenty years deriding Indy Car with stereotypes such as ‘stab-and-steer,’ 1.5 ovals are evil, Tony George is evil, etc.

My opinion is that if there was a ‘God’ Dan Wheldon would still be walking around. Too many people confuse fate with religion. If there was a God many horrible accidents would not have occurred. Eddie Sachs would be an elder statesman.  Vitor Miera would have a ride with Penske. Panther would win more races. Rahal Letterman would be full time. cart enthusiasts would grow up. Catch fencing systems would evolve the way concrete walls have. There are hundreds of things that would be easier.

In short, if there was a God who is supposedly so loving the entire world would not be such an inhospitable place. In terms of racing, I want a God who also enjoys dicey, green flag racing from start to finish with no accidents but lots of drama, a variety of winning drivers and teams, camaraderie with other racing fans, consumption of a variety of beverages and food that is not great for you, plenty of shade with no rain, and ample teats flopping about in as free a fashion as they can get, preferably attached to something attractive and proportionate.  How can God’s will include cellulite-riddled fat gals waddling around race tracks who somehow believe they look good in spandex and halters? Or their boyfriends/husbands who choose not to wear shirts?

No wonder religious people constantly strive for that ever elusive eternal reward.

October 26, 2011

The Biggest Problem Faced By Indy Car’s Randy Bernard

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:14 am

Randy Bernard gave the Associated Press an interview a week after the much ballyhooed season closer in Las Vegas turned bad. The most troubling portion of the interview referenced hate mail accusing him of sacrificing safety for show business. He will not say what I am about to, but I will.

Anyone who writes hate mail to Randy Bernard pounds out their missives based on emotion and not facts. The vast majority of these meddling imbeciles have probably never even seen or watched an open wheel race lately. They have no business making themselves God.

Randy is deeply involved in crisis management and finding out what went wrong. It does not take a great deal of brain power for critics to pick out one aspect and harp on it like a bitching wife. It is not 1.5 mile ovals. It is not 34 cars. It is not Dallaras. What happened were the laws of physics taking a one-in-a-million turn.

My group of actual Indy Racing fans…you know, those of us who actually spend our money to attend Indy Car races far and wide several times every year…had a closed door meeting this week as well. What we fear is that the anti-oval bias of the current crop of owners and drivers will lead to a grotesquely unbalanced schedule of non-ovals heavy on the street festivals o’ speed. That is not acceptable. We want at least a 50/50 mix of ovals to non-ovals. Of the 50% ovals we want a mix of short, medium and large ovals. Fontana and Indy are good for large ovals (so would Michigan or even Pocono), and Loudon, Richmond, Iowa and others are good for short ovals. We damned sure should never lose Texas or Kentucky and getting Chicagoland back on track (originally built by IMS for Indy Cars) should be a priority.

Going back to Vegas is essential, but please NO STREET RACING there. Making the walls taller and coming up with a better retaining system would be ideal. There is enough street parading as it is, and between Long Beach, Baltimore and St. Pete you’re covered. Belle Isle is getting shoved down our throats.

My group of fans encourages Randy Bernard to stick to his guns with regard to an even split. We also encourage him not to listen much to the litany of circus clowns posing as racing fans who position themselves as having all the answers.

October 23, 2011

Indy Car, Dan Wheldon and Fans One Week Later

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:45 pm

This past weekend marked an intimate remembrance of a great Indy Car champion. Dan Wheldon was remembered in his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg at his funeral, and at a large memorial service at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It was all classy, dignified and memorable. Some great stories were told too.

In the week that has passed since his fatal accident, the sport of Indy Car has been under relentless attack, usually by meddling malcontents usually completely disconnected from the sport. This is unfortunate. Part of the criticism is predictable and originates from within Euro-centric road racing enthusiasts, whose main screech involves close racing on 1.5 mile ovals. Other criticism emanates from people who have barely, if ever, even seen an Indy Car race. These meddlers run the gamut from completely clueless bloggers like Megan Greenwell (has never seen an Indy Car event) to reputable publications like the New York Times. They published a story by Ken Belson and Jerry Garrett that is basically a hatchet job on Randy Bernard. They claim there are ‘racing executives’ working for his ouster, presumably to return the sport to the stellar way it has always been run. LOL. Anyone working toward getting rid of Randy Bernard probably ought to be careful about their wishes, and probably get their heads examined.

This weekend saw the tragic, graphic death of another racer. Marco Simoncelli was a star in the MotoGP world, and he lost his life in a brutal collision in Malaysia on the second lap of a subsequently cancelled event. People outside the racing community did not hear about this one. It did not lead the news. It did not inspire the harsh cackling of critics decrying ‘that kind of racing.’ It did not force howls that drivers be enclosed or that close racing should be banned or that motorcycles should be completely re-engineered.  There was no venue slamming or calling management decisions into question.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Indy Car was allowed to work through their own issues without second guessing from mostly idiots? It won’t get any easier for Randy Bernard. On Monday he holds a drivers only summit.

The important thing for awhile is simply remembering the joy Dan Wheldon brought to the sport. That is really all that matters for actual fans of Indy Car.

October 20, 2011

Help Prevent The Systematic Destruction of Indy Car

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:40 am

Here are suggestions for Indy Car for 2012:

-Figure out a way to improve catch fencing so they do not become death traps when freak accidents cause cars to go airborne. Install the system at Indianapolis, then wait for NASCAR to install the system at their tracks and take credit for it.

-Encourage Indy Car drivers openly condemning ovals to drive somewhere else besides Indy Cars. The list of qualified drivers willing to tackle any oval in an Indy Car is longer than there are seats. I encourage the whiniest of the whining to relinquish their rides to drivers who actually want to race. There are plenty of potential American stars ready, willing and able to accept the challenge.

-Instruct existing second guessing stars to support the series or leave.

When Indy Car rescued the remnants of cart and graciously called it ‘unification’ the devolution of a great series centered around oval racing began in earnest. The very foundation of Indy Car racing is being dismantled right before our eyes.

The cause is not helped by a colossally inept media hell bent on assessing blame. This is especially contemptible considering the media screaming the loudest otherwise completely ignore Indy Car.

It is time to take a stand. What we are seeing is not acceptable.

October 18, 2011

The Future of Indy Car Is Threatened. Time To Get Serious About A Fight To Save It From Extinction.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:44 pm

Whenever a driver dies on the track as Dan Wheldon did on Sunday, actual fans of the sport grieve. In an age of anonymity on the Internet and cluelessness in media, two other things usually accompany the mourning:

-Stupidity

-Vermin

Indy Car racing is once again under siege by opportunistic meddlers sticking their noses where they do not belong. These malcontents will not be happy until there are no ovals except Indianapolis, and even then they will probably favor a shift to the road course. It is high time we declared war once and for all on each and every single one of these festering idiots. Racing is a sport where lives of drivers, crew or fans can end in a split second regardless of venue. Everyone who shows up accepts the risks, especially brave racers. Those complaining the loudest rarely show up and usually go out of their way to inform anyone who will listen that they do not watch or attend. When they seize an opportunity to latch onto an accident the hypocrisy of their words and actions remains utterly classless.

What took one hundred years to build could well be destroyed in a matter of hours simply by the jerking of knees and gnashing of teeth, mostly by stupid people hell bent on complete destruction of the sport. Randy Bernard is said to be devastated about the accident. All real racing fans are. Someone needs to find a way to shield Bernard from the hailstorm of stupidity by vermin latching onto this tragedy to force a myopic agenda.

It is time to fight and win this war once and for all.

The diversity of Indy Car is its primary strength. It takes the bravest and most talented drivers in the world to race on multiple sizes of ovals, road courses and street circuits. But make no mistake. High banked 1.5 mile ovals have just as much a place as, say, Barber. Idiots crusading for their removal are not forced to watch. I appreciate the skill and balls it takes to run on such tracks. Does anyone really believe A.J. Foyt would have ever whined about perceived danger of a track? Neither did Dan Wheldon.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is not the problem. It is a magnificent facility that has more fan friendly amenities than most. 34 cars is not the problem. Perceived skill levels is not the problem. Not even old Dallaras are the problem. Freaky quirks in the laws of physics that happen by chance are the problem, and in any style of racing that is a variable that cannot be controlled. I remain thankful I support a series that has done more to advance the cause of safety over the years than probably all others combined.

I remain angry after reading and hearing some of the nonsense being spouted by opportunists using this death as an excuse for an anti-oval agenda. You read it all over the place. Even Jimmie Johnson is sticking his nose in. What would he say if a two-time Daytona winner met his end at Talladega in some ‘big one’ freak accident? Would restrictor plate racing seem OK in that scenario?

The foundation of the history of Indy Car racing is oval racing. It is nice that we are striving for balance, but elimination of ovals because they might be ‘too dangerous’ is one of the most ridiculous, cowardly things I have ever heard.

Auto racing is inherently dangerous anywhere a race is run. People forget that. It cannot really be sanitized.

If I want to see open wheel cars driving single file racing against a clock I will watch and be enthusiastic about Formula 1. If I want to see full bodied cars driving relatively slowly around ovals in packs I will cheer for NASCAR. There is a place for both. I love Indy Cars on small ovals, mid-sized ovals and big ovals. The variety of some road and street courses enhances the appeal. The more they race close and with aggression, the better. There is no such thing as a track that is ‘too dangerous.’ Spreading a field out for a whole race is simply not exciting to many.

Dan Wheldon spent days and countless hours getting a brand new car ready specifically designed to avoid the kinds of accidents that happened at Las Vegas. Real fans owe it to his memory to see how the new car does on great oval tracks like Texas, Iowa or Chicagoland.

The out of the box presentation of the Vegas race was just what Indy Car needed and I commend Randy Bernard. It is a genuine shame the big wreck put a damper into the end of this chapter. I hope leadership has the courage to move forward without being influenced by those STILL trying to kill Indy Car.

October 17, 2011

Dan Wheldon – An Appreciation for an Indy Car Champion

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:48 pm

One of the most interesting journeys for an Indy Car fan over the past decade has been watching the evolution of Dan Wheldon. When he parlayed an early Panther ride into being part of the early Andretti Green super team we enjoyed his cocky approach and fearless driving style. His sense of humor was always dry and sharp. Before his first Indy win he flipped his AGR car in the 500, yet was still able to communicate by radio. His first words, calmly and while upside down, were ‘….well that was interesting.’

When he did finally win the big race it was overshadowed by a media frenzy that birthed ‘Danicamania.’ For Dan that was always a source of amusement. In the years that followed he unleashed a string of some of the best finishes there in the history of the place, and did so with multiple teams. Notable aspects of his 16-win career in Indy Car include being the winner of the first non-oval race of the IRL-sanctioned Indy Car Series. He won the race the day of the last Indy Car driver death on race day in 2006. He won his first race as a Ganassi driver. He came to the series with a reputation as a road racer but became one of the best oval racers in series history. At the time of his accident he was very clearly intent on claiming the $5 million prize set aside for him. He had already passed an average of one car a lap before all hell broke loose.

As the years progressed, Dan grew up before our eyes. He changed a lot of things from teeth to hair style to approach. He also married a fine woman and become the doting father of two great children. From the time he emerged into the Indy Car scene until the drop of the green flag on Sunday he was one of the rare breed who always, without fail, made time for fans. Indy Car features many drivers who are extraordinarily fan friendly even though it can be a huge pain. There are also pretty boys who rarely interact with fans unless forced or threatened. Dan was one of the former every year he was involved, and even poked fun at the latter occasionally.

This year was perhaps his most interesting. A contract dispute with Panther Racing left him rideless after 2010. His 500 prospects even looked dim until Bryan Herta cobbled together the right mix of equipment, sponsors and personnel with help from Sam Schmidt. Dan won the race on the last turn of the last lap after the talented young new Panther hotshot failed to make the 800th turn. Still, not enough funding for the rest of the season emerged. As a result he became not only a refreshingly great broadcaster, but the official test driver for the brand new 2012 Indy Car, the Dallara with body work specifically designed to prevent the kind of airborne tragedy witnessed at LVMS.

My brother I saw Dan a lot in action this year. We were fortunate enough to attend over half of the Indy Car events. Dan was present at each one either as a driver or an ambassador, and his demeanor was always the same every single time. That is what we will remember. During May he stopped to say hello, pose or sign for just about anyone that asked. It was the same at every other track, even though he was the Indy 500 champion again. At Milwaukee this year he was shooting the breeze on a golf cart outside the Panther hauler with J.R. Hildebrand and a couple of others. We used it as a photo op, and both gave us smiles.

Dan was a prankster as well. His exchanges with former AGR teammates became legendary. During our Milwaukee photo op a shapely blond public relations type rode up on scooter to ask Dan a question. When she was ready to depart Dan reached out and twisted the accelerator of the scooter to full throttle for a split second, which scared a large scream out of the lady on it. Dan and his small entourage got a huge laugh out of that.

We enjoyed watching Dan shake down the oval and non-oval versions of the 2012 Dallara. Somehow we felt they had exactly the right driver for the task of integrating the new car. That is what my brother and I wanted to talk to him about this weekend. We saw him all over Las Vegas in the days leading up to the race. On Saturday he was spotted chatting up folks at Mandalay Bay during Indy Car functions there. Saturday evening he attended a party at the Stratosphere after the NASCAR truck race. For a while they only admitted folks with a ticket to the truck race. Its primary purpose was to watch the Charlotte NASCAR Chase race on big screens in a theater. Yet they were touting personal appearances by reigning 500 champion Dan Wheldon and three Indy Lights drivers. Dan showed up first and signed autographs, posed for pictures and yucked it up with everyone, mostly hardcore NASCAR fans, who lined up. Immediately following my brother and I got about fifteen minutes or so of great one on one time with him.

We wished him well in his pursuit of the $5 million, but wanted to talk about the new car more. He was delighted! With arms waving, Dan indicated the balance points are much different, it is lighter but handles really well. He said that up until the Iowa test they had just been primarily stress testing, but at the small midwestern oval they let him open it up a bit. He was proud to claim a speed within 2 miles per hour of this year’s pole speed, and in 57-degree weather with 30 mph winds. As we strolled the garage area early Sunday morning Dan was smiling, beaming and waving like any other day. That spirit came through as ABC talked to him via radio on the pace lap at the start.

It is certain Dan would not have chosen to exit the earth in the fashion he did or at this juncture in his personal evolution. His wife and two beautiful children certainly did not deserve to see it end this way. Fans feel a sense of being cheated because this was the last race ever for that generation of Dallaras and Dan did not have a chance to drive the new car in competition. Dan did understand and accept all of the risks, however, and had become enthusiastic of the close competition mid-sized ovals offer for Indy Cars. For those of us lucky enough to have watched him over the years, his star always glowed brightly. He won his first 500 like an Andretti, and his second like a Mears. Both were enjoyable to watch. In between the two he provided landmark moments. Rest in peace young man.

October 13, 2011

Hey Look…ANOTHER New Indy Car Trophy

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:54 pm

I would hate to be Randy Bernard on most days. As a decisive, action-oriented fellow I would make decisions then be forced to spend a year or two listening to constituents bitch non-stop about them until I changed my mind.

It appears that is precisely what happened with the Indy Car trophy. Last year, with much fanfare, a new 45-pound trophy was introduced that featured a stainless steel sculpture of a naked man whose arms were outstretched on a single wheel on a rich base of African Pedauk hardwood. The sculptor is Ted Gall who also did the impressive sculptures outside the Barber Motorsports Museum.

It was positioned as ‘not a bowling trophy’ and something brand new in the era of ‘unification.’ The only problem is that many members of the traditional racing fraternity are unable to use both sides of their brains. They cannot get past the fact that a naked guy on a unicycle is supposed to represent their sport. They do not get it. My guess is that Randy Bernard has had to endure incessant whining about it for a year since its introduction.

As a result the Indy Car Series has caved in, raided the basement, and has come up with….a bowling trophy. A 96-year-old one. It is the Astor Challenge Cup that was awarded to winners of a race in New York at the beginning of the last century.

Bernard’s lemonade from lemons consisted of ‘…we sought to blend heritage and tradition with our future. It was very important for us to find a trophy that was a piece of art that drivers would truly be honored to win. At the same time, I think it’s very important for us to solidify the fact that INDYCAR is Indy car and we have placed every champion from 1909 on that trophy. We are recognizing every sanctioning body that has governed Indy car racing. It is a trophy that not only reminds us of our past but links our future.’ In other words, Indy Car bent over some more for long time mutineers.

I am surprised they didn’t recycle the Vanderbilt Trophy. I know all this business is about nothing more than a trophy, but the process smells. We should probably consider giving all drivers a ribbon because there are no losers.

October 12, 2011

Indy Car: Welcome Back Chevy (Along With All The Baggage)

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:56 pm

The strings have been attached to all of Mr. Bernard’s appendages. The best we can hope for may be that he does not get tangled up as the various puppeteers controlling them wobble him to and fro. It is absolutely great that Chevy has returned to Indy Car. They belong in the sport. Hopefully they will make the most of this opportunity this time.

Today Roger Penske and Chevrolet formally announced that as part of Chevy’s return to Indy Car there will be another temporary circuit ‘festival o’ speed’ immediately following the Indianapolis 500 on what Chevrolet calls the ‘picturesque’ Belle Isle, which is actually a rat-infested parcel of land in Detroit. General Motors rarely listens to its customers, which is the primary reason they have been nearly teats up as a company for many years. Belle Isle is no exception. That won’t showcase a product. It will only showcase corporate excess and public drunkenness. If they really wanted to listen to fans and showcase their product they would schedule a 500 mile race at Michigan International Speedway. Anyone get a sound bite from Eddie Gossage by the way?

Randy has sounded an optimistic note in that 48 new Dallaras have been ordered along with expectations of 25 to 28 cars on the grid on average next season. Those prone to worrying about things should probably direct their angst toward Lotus. It looks more and more as if that fantasy is a DOA wet dream. From a practical standpoint we need to figure out either who replaces that effort (Judd badged as Judd or something else) or whether Chevy and Honda can absorb all the teams that need motors. And has any work been underway to eventually replace Firestone? It’s not like that will sneak up on anyone.

Meanwhile, out bags are packed for Vegas, and if you are also on your way we’ll see you there!

October 10, 2011

Hey Indy Car: Let’s Have Another Split. This Time Make It Epic!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:06 pm

A rumor circulating about the sport claims Randy Bernard is being courted by NASCAR. For what we do not know. If we assume it is even remotely true (and you know what they say about ‘assume’) then an old idea of mine has new merit once again.

The M.O. of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (and by association the Indy Car Series) with regard to NASCAR has been to wet kiss their backside up one side and down the other, usually with tongues-a-waggin’.  Meanwhile, NASCAR never has second thoughts about poaching sponsors, talent or intellectual property.

I remain a firm advocate of a meaningful ‘split’ in which a second ‘stock’ car series under the sanction of Indy Car is formed. Ideally it would be in partnership with Bruton Smith. Tweaking the France family like that would probably giving him as much of a thrill as chasing skirts 1/3 his age.

My idea remains running the ‘stock’ cars on the same tracks as Indy Cars on the same weekends. Two ‘main events’ if you will. Also run all the rungs on the ladder, including an Indy Car version of the Nationwide deal. Support it with sponsorship and emphasize ovals. Between Bruton’s properties and the independents a viable series could be expanded. Television coverage could also be enhanced given the orientation of most youthful television folks toward ‘stock’ cars.

Randy needs to dig in and think out of the box like this. After all, he turned professional bull riding from a novelty sideshow afterthought into a main event attraction. Why not combine the two most popular forms of auto racing into one venue week after week? There is admittedly not a lot of crossover between fans of each discipline, but each discipline could be evolved to bring the best of both to fans.

Win/win if you ask me.

October 3, 2011

Why Does All Great Indy Car News Have To Be Accompanied By Equal Parts Bad News?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:08 pm

The Indy Car event at Kentucky Motor Speedway on Sunday was absolutely great for a variety of reasons. The racing was close, safe and side by side throughout much of the field for the majority of the day. With that excitement, of course, comes deriding from obsessed twisty snobs with their ignorant jeering about ‘stab n’ steer.’ It is a genuine shame television is unable to capture the excitement felt by the 40,000 or so folks who attended for viewers. Bruton Smith increased capacity to about 108,000, and 40,000 scattered into that many seats will always draw critical commentary borne of ignorance. Still, that track used to draw almost twice that number for Indy Car. Re-‘unification’ evidently did not have the desired effect enthusiasts of that philosophy claimed it would. As a matter of fact, it seems the opposite has occurred.

For every really great Indy Car occurrence comes at least equal parts bad news. That makes it inordinately difficult to build fan loyalty in all but the most masochistic die-hard supporters. That last group left standing is currently being alienated as well as the oval count hurtles rapidly toward one. Yesterday was a perfect example of good news/awful news at the same time:

-Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher Racing pulled off a David vs. Goliath feat. Ed raced the cream of the crop hard for the last 23 laps side by side the entire time, out smarted Dario on management of push-to-pass and came away with the first victory for him and that deserving team. BUT, Sarah says sponsor Dollar General has big plans for next season that do not include her team. My guess is either a NASCAR package or a poaching by a bigger Indy Car team.

-The twelfth event at that track was comprised of nearly thirty cars, was competitive from start to finish, and kept 40,000 on the edge of their seats. BUT, Bruton Smith says forget about returning unless a title sponsor is found. Same for Loudon. As a result, Indy Car fans are expected to get screwed out of ANOTHER GREAT oval venue AGAIN.

Randy Bernard has a reputation as a great promoter and deal maker but lately has appeared to be nothing more than the latest reincarnation of Chris Pook or Joe Heitzler, and just about as ineffective at moving the needle. Most of his recent actions and statements make it clear the ‘Nard Dog’ has become a ‘lap dog.’

Losing Kentucky would be just as unacceptable as losing Chicagoland or Michigan or any of the other great venues Indy Car has frittered away for generally stupid reasons. Having a 17 race schedule for 2012 with only six ovals is NOT ACCEPTABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Indy Car has a hard time with that loud and clear message, and the last group of core supporters is about to fall by the wayside.

If Randy Bernard leaves before the five years is up and the sisters reach out to Disciple, here is part of my plan of action:

-Find someone who has the promoting talent of a Randy Bernard or an Eddie Gossage, only with the fortitude and comfort to operate a benevolent dictatorship unafraid to tell self-interested owners the way things will be.

-Stop kissing NASCAR’s ass once and for all. We’re in a battle for bodies. We should not be taking any prisoners and we should never bend over for them. Ever. We’re usually 40 to 50 mph faster than they are, are more diverse and have compelling personalities and stories. Exploit it for all it’s worth.

-Fire anyone who espouses more non-ovals than ovals. Period.

-Every ticket sold automatically becomes a full-access garage pass on Saturdays (or the day before a race). Steal that page from drag racing. Access on race day costs a few more bucks.

-Target a diverse set of ovals and make them work. It is time to drop the current business model once and for all. The days of asking for a sanctioning fee to show up are over. Negotiate a track rental, then use the Vegas model for everything but Indy. Here is a list of a really good preferred 10:

1. Indy. The heart and soul of the sport.

2. Chicagoland. Any inability to create title sponsorship in the 3rd largest market in the country is inexcusable.

3. Fontana. See above only for the 2nd largest market. Make it a 500-miler.

4. Richmond. Hotbed of racing fans with plenty of sponsorship opportunity available and is also a desirable east coast area.

5. Phoenix. That track will work if you take ISC out of the equation. This assumes Indy Car will eventually figure out how to effectively promote itself.

6. Texas. 2nd home to Indy Racing since the IRL days. 2nd largest crowds and fast, exciting oval. Cannot ever leave it off.

7. Kentucky. Close to Indy, Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington. There is no reason why 75,000 folks cannot be attracted.

8. Iowa. Great track in the heartland and a rabid regional base of support.

9. Pick one. Loudon fills a northeast geographic hole in a beautiful location. Pikes Peak does the same out west. How would a new Michigan 500 go over instead of a new attempt at a multiple failure on a rat-infested island temporary course? Mid-south anyone? Nashville or Memphis would make great additions.

10. Las Vegas. Bigger than life season closer should be an annual event.

Randy has the power to reinvent the oval presentation and he is showing how to do it in Vegas. Indy Car MUST restore the balance above ALL else.  If any from the list about fails, there is an equally large pool of potential replacements.

-We need to elevate television coverage once and for all. It has become clear that NBC cares no more about Indy Car than ESPN does. The old format of 2 or 3 in the booth and roving pit reporters is boring and stale. It needs to be picked up. Good suggestions include fast track new technology. The Raytheon heads up display idea has merit. Even if does not make it to helmets yet, it can be brought to the screen. Do not filter or censor radio transmissions. Let fans hear everything. Quit showing just a few cars going around the track. Make the majority of shots in car and let that tell the story. No one really knew about the problems Ed Carpenter had yesterday on one stint while driving with one hand and holding his visor down with the other. Or how many drivers were complaining about the driving of J.R. Hildebrand. Put the viewers into the car and not at a table with announcers.

-Above all (most important): Achieve a reasonable balance of ovals to road courses. The imbalance being bantered about will quickly kill this evolutionary phase sport as inevitably as it did for cart. Twice. Start learning from history and stop being doomed to repeat it.

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