Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

December 8, 2011

Indy Car: Please Stop Allowing Destruction Of The Sport.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:13 pm

The root of ALL current Indy Car problems, both real and perceived, can be traced directly to one single event: ‘Unification.’ Since that occurred the sport has been almost completely destroyed again from within. It is unacceptable. Unless people wake up quickly, what has actually become cart III will fail with as much certainty as cart I and cart II before it.

The arrogant, self-serving sleaziness that now fully characterizes the way things are today began in February, 2008. Worse, this one topic has been declared off limits by everyone from Randy Bernard to even the most obscure kissers of behinds throughout the sport. I believe I am one of the few who speaks for a majority of people who have simply wearied of being shouted down at every step by overly defensive cart-centric cretins since 1995 and as a result remain either silent or gone.

It is high time not only to deal with the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but to put a bullet in its head, dissect it, then burn the carcass, then ground the ashes to a fine dust, then put them onto a Soviet spacecraft and shoot them to a place that is not anywhere near our galaxy. The Indy Car Series of 2012 is a bad Planet of The Apes movie that has actually come to life.

The ungrateful bastards who had their livelihoods rescued with virtually no conditions have been neither humble nor have they not lost any of the baggage they carried after they destroyed their own series. Twice. Unless these specific people are singled out and dealt with firmly and with authority there is really no point in having a series. As it stands today, every single event my party attended outside of Indy every single year since 1996 has been eliminated, usually replaced by a street circuit.

I may be the only one left who cares enough to take a stand, and perhaps that explains why the sport is no longer popular. ‘Unification’ has not only not moved that needle, it has gone backward into the red. Everyone with even a casual interest has been either scared or shouted away.

The moment that cemented the way things are right now was the death of Dan Wheldon. That particular racing accident was one of the saddest moments in the sport. It ranks right up there in terms of sadness and impact with Bill Vukovich or Eddie Sachs in Indy Car, Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR or Ayrton Senna in Formula One. None of those events, however, caused entire portions of the sport to grind to a halt while insolent children threw floor fits centered mainly around the types of tracks on which they do not like racing. Instead of just mourning the loss of a great driver then moving forward (which is the very thing Dan Wheldon would have wanted) they have turned the event into a tawdry freak show to advance a flawed agenda that decries ‘pack racing’ and all 1.5 mile ovals. This is extreme to a point where Indy Car is seriously considering jettisoning the second largest event on the calendar! Never mind Jeff Krosnoff died almost exactly the same way Wheldon did only on a street circuit. Where was the outrage and indignation then?

Guess what? ‘Pack racing’ and 1.5 mile ovals were not ‘problems’ before February 2008, although that never stopped cart refugees from sticking their noses in and bitching from the outside. We got our first clue of their ineptitude in April, 2001, when in an attempt to prove their superiority over Indy Car they shot another of their appendages off in a colossal display of stupidity at Texas. Given the way many of the same participants raced there is it any wonder the Vegas accident occurred in the first place? Again, racing on those types of tracks was never a problem until they showed up.

Here are the kind of drivers Indy Car needs: Davey Hamilton. He was the iron man of the old IRL, competing in every race until his Texas accident. Davey did not spend his entire recovery pissing and moaning about 1.5 mile ovals, perceived danger or ‘pack racing.’ He spent an inordinately high amount of time pushing his recovery to an extreme level, then willingly gave up all insurance funding and coverage solely to get back into a race car and race again at that very track! THAT is the kind of driver Indy Car needs in every car. Not road racing pretty boys who get the best opportunities, teams and equipment but still do little more than whine, bitch and complain, even when they win.

Sadly, I am likely talking to a wall. Current Indy Car leadership proves over and over they simply do not care what fans want. They decide what fans are going to get, usually after extreme influence by those who either joined the series because there was no other choice in February, 2008 or those who saw the writing on the wall and joined before their own series failed again. Even after obvious attempts to turn back the clock to 1995, they STILL bitch. Current targets include the Dallara, air scoops, IMS, Tony George (why…I do not know, other than needless grudges they obviously never let go of), anyone who ever worked for Tony George, any oval except flat one mile ovals, and on and on and on.

My only New Year wish is that Indy Car gets the benevolent dictator leadership it deserves, although with each passing day that seems less likely. Many important positions get filled by former cart employees, which is roughly akin to operating a school for ten year old boys then hiring Jerry Sandusky, Michael Jackson and Bernie Fine to run it. Between the dysfunctional politics of IMS on one side and the presence of self-interested mutineers on the other, Randy Bernard has the most difficult job in the sport, and thus far has made no real progress. He needs to take more of a Big Bill France approach in dealing with entities in the series in 2012.

If I were in charge I would simply throw most of those who slithered back in or slightly before February, 2008 out and take my chances going forward. The odds of long term success would certainly improve.



  1. You say “those who came back in Feb 2008” but you don’t name any names? You say CART in one sentence then Champ Car the next. Names some names, who are these “people” and how are they
    “ruining” Indycar? Last I checked 2011 was the closest the series has ever been to breaking even financially and Randy Bernard predicts they will be in the black next year with fewer ovals on the calender. Sounds like the series is headed in the right direction to me.
    Editor’s Note: Interesting how their argument changes and conforms to particular situations.

    Comment by B.C. — December 8, 2011 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  2. Disciple. I think your battle with CART-types is clouding your perspective a bit. I don’t think it’s the influence of CART-supporters that is changing Indycar. I think (& sorry to be repetitive) it’s two things–money and Dan Weldon’s death. TG ran the series with open pursestrings. As a result of that financial loss, the family canned him and hired Bernard with a mandate to (if not make, then) save money. Bernard doesn’t have the freedom to lose money that TG had. I think most of his decisions are made with the bottom line in mind. I also think the general public is less likely to look at racing accidents in the same way as in the past. Fatal accidents used to occur at an alarming rate in open-wheel racing yet were somehow “acceptable,” since everyone understood that racing was very dangerous. It seems to me that people are no longer willing to accept death as a part of what is really just a sport. And the series is now reconsidering racetracks and methods to try to minimize risk.

    I don’t think I’m explaining this very well, and I apologize in advance for my lack of clarity, but I think the new look at ovals is a result of changing society.

    Comment by redcar — December 8, 2011 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

    • yes, you actually get whats going on here!! thank you

      Comment by birel 0499 — December 8, 2011 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  3. I had concerns when the “unification” came and discussed with friends at that time that we might come to rue the day that “unification” happened. That day has arrived.

    What is going on is obvious, and of great concern. Here are my two cents about the problems and the possible solutions.

    1. We have a bunch of ride buyers who are F1 wannabees and have precious little experience on ovals. No wonder the drivers are afraid of 1.5 mile high banked ovals. So they begin to reduce the number of ovals. SOLUTION – minimum driver requirements including experience on various types of oval car racing. Make it a requirement to run in the Indy 500 like they used to do. That might also help with the lack of American drivers currently in the sport and help the feeder series at the same time.

    2. Municipal street parades are easy money. Like everyone else in America today (it seems) Indy car is willing to live on the government nipple rather than get real business people and race promoters in here. They are taking the path of least resistance. They don’t car that they have reduced Indy car racing to the status of the demolition derby at the county fair. SOLUTION – This is a very short term decision that might kill the sport. Baltimore is the tip of the iceberg as municipalities rebel against the cost of the parades. Time to get true promoters into the sport and those who have a true long term vision and stick to it. This may be the most difficult of all. Find someone who was seriously involved in the Sport back in the 80’s and is a supporter of ovals and true road racing. One who was not involved with the owners in the early 90’s as they began the demise of CART. While they may be older, they are out there.

    3. Lack of available track facilities – Nascar has bought up many of the available tracks, and has deliberately destroyed others. Nascar knows they have the winning formula and would love nothing more than see Indycar go out of existence in the collapse of CART III. SOLUTION. And it is long term, is that Indycar is going to have to begin investing in race tracks, both oval and road courses that offer real racing (not motorcycle tracks). But, get the right people in there, and they could begin moving in that direction. Indy car does not have to do all this themselves, but needs someone who can build investor groups for various projects. Buy one of the major tracks. Buy a Michigan or a Phoenix to kick it into gear. Now.

    4. Lack of Promotion. This is obvious even with what they tried to do in Las Vegas. SOLUTION – Look to what worked in the past. Pre 1990 before the owners began the demise of CART with the same issues we see today. Also look at their rival in Nascar. It likely would require the promotion of ovals and a 2/3 oval, 1/3 street/road course schedule to really make an impact in my opinion. Have a triple crown of Indy, another oval, and the best road course available (which currently is not on their schedule). Get a meaningful TV contract. Now. Those supporting Versus in the long run have some good points, but the league may not be here in the long run. Renegotiate or move with another partner.

    No one or two of these will do any good. Indy car needs to move forward on all these fronts or the demise of CART III will happen just as soon as the municipal money runs out. But the current course is just as Defender has said, and it has ended up in bankrupcy twice. I think the situation is even worse than before, with the reliance on municipal money, and leaves this league even more vulnerable.

    Comment by Bob F. — December 8, 2011 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  4. Just a little bone to pick with redcar (who writes a very good letter). You say people aren’t willing to accept death like they use to where racing is concerned. They still come to watch races, and I’m sure they’re aware that death is ever present. Yet when it happens it’s unacceptable? You can’t have it both ways–it’ll always be waiting in the wings no matter what. Maybe you’re right–maybe that’s the way they genuinely feel in Indycar, but Dale Earnhardt’s death in NASCAR didn’t change those fan’s feelings about their sport, and it certainly didn’t affect the attendance, the recession did. I’m afraid the first part of your argument was more accurate–Indycar’s woes go far deeper than the death of one man.

    Comment by DOUG — December 8, 2011 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  5. LOL, is this your reactionary piece to the Vegas cancellation? What was that you said?
    Editor’s Note: No. This piece was written before Vegas was officially cancelled.

    “Editor’s Note: Yep. In the adult way in which the world operates, actual grown-ups without agendas will probably be more than happy to re-boot for next year. In a few months the shock of this accident will have passed. That is how human beings operate.”

    The obvious, predictable outcome ignored based on some completely irrational reading of the situation, the participants involved, etc. Plz post moar crying baby pictures. Maybe you can bitch a little more about how they should clean house of everyone and bring in all these qualified people to run the series and participate as racers. You know, more middle aged guys like Davey Hamilton that would be considered well past their prime in any elite racing series. I’m sure a field of Joe Goseks driving half assed Formula Supermods is what the world is waiting for.
    Editor’s Note: You aptly reinforce many of the points I made today. The sport would be far better off without your ilk involved in following it.

    Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — December 8, 2011 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  6. If it weren’t for teams ‘who slithered back in 2008’ Davey Hamilton’s ass would be sitting in a commentators booth or a skybox. Because Dennis Reinbold and Jay Penske are the team owners who have given him a ride the last three years.

    Just a question. You’ve trumpeted about the increases in attendance, television ratings, and your beloved vibrant metrics. You’d think if the carpetbagging bastards were truly ruining the sport, that these numbers would have trended DOWN since unification. But that’s not the case…am I missing something?

    Really. You want to throw the teams who came back after unification out of the sport. Why stop there? Why not throw all the teams who were on the CART/CCWS side of the split out. After you get done telling Penske Racing, TCGR, and Andretti Autosport that they’re no longer welcome, you can cordially tell D&R, KV, and Dale Coyne to get stuffed. Then you could take a short break for a pork tenderloin sandwich and a root beer, and finish up your afternoon by telling HVM, Conquest, and Rahal/Letterman to drop dead…and then you could wrap up your day by doing a happy dance that Newman-Haas folded up before you had to give them the boot.

    Then you could go to sleep, dream sweet dreams…and then wake up the next morning and wonder how the hell you’d run a series with 1 car from AJ Foyt, 1 car from Sam Schmidt, 1 car from Ed Carpenter, and 1 car from Michael Shank. Because that’s all that would be left.
    Editor’s Note: That would be a far easier problem to overcome than the ones with which they are faced. Which, in a nutshell, is:
    2006: 11 ovals / 3 Road and street
    2007: 12 ovals / 5 Road and street
    2008: 11 ovals / 6 Road and street (‘unification’ year)
    2009: 10 ovals / 7 Road and street
    2010: 8 ovals / 9 Road and street
    2011: 7 ovals / 10 Road and street
    2012: 3 or so ovals / 8-9 Road and street

    See a trend? Oh, and you missed the point about Davey Hamilton. I don’t necessarily want to see him behind the wheel today. I want drivers who would go through what he did in terms of conquering. It’s inspirational. I want race car drivers. Not Euros wearing panties.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — December 9, 2011 @ 5:19 am | Reply

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