Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 2, 2011

The Concerted Effort To Eliminate 1.5 Mile Ovals From Indy Car

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:36 pm

The pressure is on. cart-centric writers near and far have slithered out of their various holes in the wake of the downer of an Indy Car season closer to drill a specific agenda into the consciousness of anyone gullible enough not to see through it. They want all 1.5 mile ovals eliminated from Indy Car.

The agenda is usually put right out there. Earlier this week two former cart employees known for their bitterness, attachment to the past and complete unwillingness to join the rest of us in the 21st century let their missives fly. We would expect no less from Gordon Kirby or Michael Knight.

Marshall Pruett on the SpeedTV website joined the fray this week. Normally he takes a very detailed, analytic approach to whatever he writes. Race fans who enjoy such depth appreciate that. This week, however, he joins other writers trying to make a case to get rid of ALL 1.5 mile ovals.

That is not acceptable. Many of us who buy the tickets cannot imagine Indy Car not running at places like Texas or Kentucky. Chicagoland, a track built by Tony George and others a few years back for Indy Car and NASCAR was ripped away unceremoniously this year. Kansas, a nice, wide, flat 1.5 miler was stolen as well. We like the occasional packs. We like sitting on the edge of our seats. These types of venues MUST remain a part of the mix.

Pruett led his story in a pathetic way by positioning 1995 cart as some type of model, even though that series killed itself, twice. The pie-in-the-sky view about which these pundits reminisce; e.g., multiple engines, chassis, etc., was practical sixteen years ago. Today? It is an entirely different world.

What Pruett advocates is what all cart-centric obsessed wish. A non-oval heavy schedule with Indy, a couple of 2 milers and a handful of small ovals. No 1.5 milers.

Pruett gets Bryan Herta to talk about a ‘tide’ that is turning back toward road racing. Never mind that no big time road racing series has ever survived long term in the U.S. Certainly not 100 years as oval-centric Indy Racing. Will Power expounded on the glory of 1995 cart. They even asked the question about why NASCAR doesn’t race at Long Beach!

I sincerely hope Randy Bernard is not stupid enough to buy into any portion of this line of agenda-riddled horseshit and that he listens to all constituencies, not simply the foxes who laid waste to the hen house the last time.

Balance is good. But balance MUST include legacy and newly successful non-ovals on streets and great new venues like Barber AND an equal number of all types of ovals. Small 1 milers (and sub=1 milers like Richmond and Iowa), legacy 1.5 milers like Texas, Chicagoland and Kentucky (I would love to see Kansas return, only this time coherently scheduled and promoted), and large ovals with Indy at the center with Fontana and Michigan on the wings. Even a new and improved Pocono would be a welcome addition.

Panic over 1.5 milers by cart-centric chicken littles is utterly ridiculous, counterproductive and foolish. I am not attempting to make a case for a season full of them, but choose three and let’s go racing. If any of the current crop is too afraid to race on them they should just walk away like they did at Texas in 2001. There are plenty of willing, talented drivers in line to take their places.

And come on, writers. Find something topical and worthwhile about which to write. Pining for old cart like a lost first girlfriend makes all of you look incredibly desperate and way out of touch with 2011.



  1. Here’s an idea. Run at places where the track and the series can make money, which is the object of the business. I’ve covered almost every race at Chicagoland (unless assigned elsewhere). The best attendance for an open-wheel race was barely half-full, and I’m being generous. Once that track abandoned it’s season ticket policy of only buying two weekends (NASCAR and IRL/IndyCar), the revenue plummeted. Why host a race if you’ll lose money?

    Editor’s Note: Competent, consistent scheduling, coherent promotion and non-micromanaged racing is the key. There is absolutely no reason why an Indy Car race can’t work at an oval they built in the third largest media market in the country…even with 2 Cup events.

    Comment by A fan — November 3, 2011 @ 1:05 am | Reply

  2. I don’t get how you are using the word legacy for 1.5 milers. Legacy defined as “something from past: something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation or time.” The history on those tracks is shorter than Long Beach and many other street and road venues. 10 years is legacy. Join us in the new indycar that isn’t going to let the invention of pack racing in what is now consider by most fans an crappy period in American open wheel racing history and wants to return to its peak and glory, like when fans showed up for races and all races got good coverage. This isn’t the IRL. This is INDYCAR. Leave the past and join us in this century. Or you could be an idiot wishing for the years of a series that is no longer with us in name or goals and was never that popular when it was around.

    Editor’s Note: Texas qualifies as legacy. They have been around since the early years of the IRL and have been a staple ever since. Even cart had a sniff. People who chide ‘pack racing’ usually do not really understand what they are talking about and generally never go anyway, so they do not matter. The 80,000+ who show up at Texas like clockwork every year enjoy the product on the track.

    Comment by Too young to be a cart enthusiast. — November 3, 2011 @ 4:11 am | Reply

    • There is no irl anymore. It goals failed. Join us in the future of indycar.
      Only pack race with people is Texas. The rest are empty.

      Editor’s Note: Thanks for your concern. Sincerely, Iowa and Indianapolis.

      Comment by indycar fan — November 3, 2011 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

      • Not 1.5 milers. Those are the ones people want to shut down fool. Nobody wants to take Indy and Iowa away.

        Comment by INDYCAR Fan — November 4, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  3. Agreed I’m so freaking tired of the oval haters right now

    Comment by dylanpt24 — November 3, 2011 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  4. As an oval guy, I’m now concerned about speeds and safety at Chicago and Texas. I want ovals, but I’m afraid I agree that flat ovals are better for the future of the sport. I know any track is inherently dangerous, but some are more dangerous than others. I’d like to see RBernard use his Vegas model and get Indycar back to some good flat tracks (like Kansas) rather than return to tracks with very high banking.

    Comment by redcar — November 3, 2011 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  5. Hell, even Lee knew he’d been beat after Gettysburg.

    Comment by atb73 — November 4, 2011 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  6. Road/street courses = ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    No passing, no excitement. Good only for catching up on some ZZZs on a Sunday afternoon. Road/street courses are better than Tylenol PM

    Comment by spreadoption — November 10, 2011 @ 2:15 am | Reply

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