Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

December 9, 2011

Indy Car To Fans: GET LOST!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:08 am

Predictably, Indy Car took the most gutless, cowardly approach they could on Thursday, buying out of next year’s contract with Las Vegas. The grotesque way the Indy Car Series is being led is insulting. Did they stop racing on Toronto’s streets after Jeff Krosnoff met an almost identical fate? No. Has racing stopped ever stopped at Indy due to the high number of driver and non-driver deaths? No.

I thought the 2012 car was designed to minimize freak accidents. Guess not.

The most insidious aspects of the colossally stupid decisions being made at Indy Car threaten the future viability of this generation of the sport. The last remaining group of fans not already alienated by the self-serving interests of the actual leadership are being dispatched in droves with no regard to consequence.

Meanwhile, the types of venues they work the hardest to invent become bigger embarrassing blights to the sport with each passing day. What was once hailed as a rousing success in Baltimore has become a sea of red ink, hard feelings and unpaid bills. Is that what we really want for Indy Car? Seriously?

And are they really thinking about jettisoning the second largest draw in Indy Car at Texas? If they do they deserve the kind of death they seem to crave. It is time for Randy Bernard to nut up or leave. Those actually running the show have already failed multiple times and are following an almost identical plan.

Enough is enough. Do what it takes to balance the schedule or prepare for another failed version of the sport, guided primarily by abject stupidity and self interest. Do not say you have not been warned.

This is a very sad day for Indy Car. Fans deserve so much better.

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27 Comments »

  1. I have never been so dissapointed as an IndyCar fans as I’m now! It is so ridiculous not to go back to Las Vegas. You should show courage to go back and make it better. Make the necessary changes to the chassis and do like you do at IMS, win at all cost! That is what makes IndyCar better than other motorsports…or used to be! So, so sad!

    Comment by Jerry Cruz — December 9, 2011 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  2. So, is the ownership of IMS not culpable here? What difference does it make if they replace Bernard and Co. and give a new set of infinitely competent, Defender Approved (TM) management the same directives to achieve and the same budget to do it with? Everyone but them. Always.
    Editor’s Note: Like some blog commentors, the only thing IMS ownership suffers from consistently is apathetic stupidity. The decisions in Indy Car are being made by the same people who have tried to marginalize IMS for three decades. That is the single biggest reason the series is headed for the crapper.

    Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — December 9, 2011 @ 1:34 am | Reply

    • So the people at the top of the pyramid (ownership) have no responsibility because they delegated that out? Even though they dictate the terms? LOL. Please dude. The “apathetic stupidity” is why there’s no ovals. There is no separating that. I guess you’re fine with the ownership, even if they ride this one into the dirt.
      Editor’s Note: As long as the owners allow the Jerry Sanduskys to run the boys school we’re going to have these problems. I rather favor them taking a Big Bill France approach, even using loaded firearms as necessary (metaphorically speaking).

      Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — December 9, 2011 @ 2:32 am | Reply

      • Using your metaphor, the people in charge at Penn State were culpable for Jerry Sandusky’s actions because they enabled it to protect their self interests. You never seem willing to admit that the owners of the Speedway are culpable for what happens coming out of its offices though even though everything that happens is a reaction to them trying to save their money and have a profitable series above all else. Its a pretty obvious conclusion to make, and you refuse to do it. Is this because you have a philosophical issue calling out the ownership for lacking the skills required to be successful in running the sport? And would you rather see the sport die than admit that obvious fact?
        Editor’s Note: The people in charge of IMS are not bright enough for culpability. Their ignorance, like that of many of my blog respondents, truly is bliss. The current problems in the Indy Car Series center specifically around the cart holdover refugees now actually running the series. Randy Bernard has turned out to be nothing more than their puppet on strings. The kind of nonsense being pulled will kill this series just as has done twice before. The HG group does not really care and are mostly oblivious. They will always have the 500. That may well be the only race of the year if we continue to be forced down this path.

        Comment by godsonsafari — December 9, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

      • Wait, what? IMS ownership isn’t culpable because they’re too stupid to be? In real world terms, that means they’re culpable a thousand times over. Its their track. Maybe you should demand ownership that gives an damn and has a clue.
        Editor’s Note: It’s been that way since 1977. Get over it.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — December 9, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

      • You’re the one in denial here. Its obviously the ownership’s fault that the situation is like this. Maybe you need to “get over” the loss of ovals or the existence of the sport in general?
        Editor’s Note: The sport is well positioned to grow. The desired growth will not occur should leadership decide to follow a twice failed path.

        Comment by godsonsafari — December 12, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  3. Since you are so unhappy about the direction of the sport, maybe you should get lost. You and your ilk have done nothing but tear down open wheel racing since 1996. You and your type are a blight on the sport.
    Editor’s Note: If the refugees stay on the path they have hornswaggled Bernard into following there may not be much choice in that particular matter.

    Comment by TroyM — December 9, 2011 @ 2:08 am | Reply

  4. Is it time for IRL 2.0.?

    In 1995 there were 6 oval vs 11 street/road races which led to the formation of the IRL the very next year. The whole concept of the IRL was to return Indy Car racing to its roots, oval racing (leaving out board and dirt tracks!). The fields were weak and it could have better been called the Indy Crashing League the first few years. Then the CART teams began to drift over and the competition took an upswing. However, now it seems like a case of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Sort of like Manchester United joining the NFL and ten years later there is no tackling and they are trying to get a round ball into a big net.
    So perhaps some sort of cost effective formula (i.e. 1930’s junk formula) would draw car owners and builders into a series built around the Indy 500…or go the route of 2 divisions in one national championship, which seems more realistic.

    Soccer may be a legitimate sport but football fans would not accept it as a substitute.

    Comment by J STEIN — December 9, 2011 @ 2:09 am | Reply

    • In it’s early days, before some of Indy racing’s great teams defected over, everbody called the IRL the Indy Reject League.
      Editor’s Note: That was pretty heady bluster from a series that killed itself. Twice.

      Comment by USAUSAUSA — December 12, 2011 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  5. Without all the anger and frustration, there are two main problems here. First, everyone, and I mean BOTH sides of this equation want something that financially they’re not going to get. At the moment and for whatever reason, ovals are not selling. Randy GAVE away tickets to Vegas and couldn’t draw FLIES! When you consider that a ticket to any IndyCar race this year got you a FREE ticket to LVMS, that place should have been PACKED. It wasn’t, and like it or not, the lengths that Randy went to to try and make it an event can best be called a “push” in that they broke even. When you subtract the bad feelings all that promotional effort gave to other oval operators, it was a loser. And that’s before you consder the accident and the “woe is us” attitude that that left everyone,

    If someone can give me a way to turn all that into a positive, I’d love to hear it. So, bye bye Vegas. Maybe another time. NOT!

    But wait — the new car will stop all the cars from getting airborne.(Problem Two.) Can someone tell me the last time a car, designed by a committee, (even an ICONIC one,) with HUGE goals in mind (and a budget that allows for about half of them,) was successful? Those of us who have been out here for years waiting for a faster car, the return of turbos, and all that, are now left with a poor handling pig that has a weight distribution issue that is almost certain to eliminate all the weight loss advantage the new car was supposed to have. (Read Marshall Pruett for all the techie details.) So we add more boost to the turbos, right? Well, not unless you want to start all over with the engine leases, since you can no longer promise the engine life between rebuilds.

    We’d all love everyone to have unlimited choices as to chassis, engine, tires and all, but sadly, there just isn’t the money in this sport that there used to be, largely because some folks went a little hog wild with “OPM” back when there were way more eyes on open wheel racing. Fact is, it ALL costs money and it is a little hard to justify the expenditure in a series that few people watch and even fewer attend aside from Indianapolis.

    I’m as much of an oval guy as you can find, having spent more than my share of Mays at the corner of 16th and Georgetown in my younger days. I have to say, however, that since Randy Bernard has been on board, the emphasis on ovals has gone through a continuous diminution. Unfortunately, you can’t go where you aren’t wanted and, as I said earlier, ovals aren’t selling. So, you fill dates with races wherever you can get them.

    Editors Note: I would not be as frustrated if the put even minimal effort into the presentation of ovals. That aspect has fallen off a cliff over the past five years. I know. I have actually seen it with my own eyes at the actual tracks.

    Comment by SkipinSC — December 9, 2011 @ 5:05 am | Reply

  6. Put yourself in Bernard’s/Indycar’s place. You okay a race in Vegas next year and there’s another pile-up. How do you defend that choice? I don’t like this whole more street races/less ovals idea at all, but personally, I’d make the same decision.
    Editor’s Note: It’s a short sighted, knee jerk decision. The odds of something happening like that again are miniscule. And if fear was the primary motivator, how in the hell have they kept racing at Indy given all the cumulative carnage there?

    Comment by redcar — December 9, 2011 @ 8:24 am | Reply

  7. There were around 20,000 people on hand at Las Vegas to watch the second most promoted (possibly most promoted) race of the year. Many of those in attendance had a free ticket. One of our best was killed in the race. 15 cars out of a field of 34 were taken out on lap 11. The whole thing was just bad. Had the seats been filled with paying customers, this might have turned out differently. I’m sad to see this race taken away, but I can’t say it is a big surprise.

    Comment by Robert — December 9, 2011 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  8. Is it time for the “B” word? Boycott?

    Comment by Bob F. — December 9, 2011 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

    • How could you tell?

      Comment by redcar — December 9, 2011 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  9. As a very new fan of Indycar, and, not having any depth of knowledge about the sport as is being posted here, it saddens me to read all of this. In the past several years, I have attended many races; reluctantly at first and then enthusiastically the more I watched (on TV or attending a race). This is the most fan friendly sport I have ever watched. I have learned what amazing athelets all these drivers are. (even Milka) I hope that this isn’t the beginning of the end of Indycar, as it sounds, from reading these articles and posts. As a new fan, I’m sure there are many more out there who would come to enjoy the sport. I would rather watch racing on an oval track then the kind of track at Watkins Glens.

    Comment by lkallen — December 9, 2011 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  10. I understand your anguish, Disciple. And I ask, where’s the justice? As you stated earlier, they didn’t stop racing at Daytona because of Dale Earnhardt’s death, or at Indy because of anyone’s death–although some people have tried to stop it–and I’d bet you that no one would advocate halting the Indy 500 now if Dan Wheldon was killed THERE. To me, it doesn’t matter what kind of track it is, a death is a death, and will always be part of auto racing, like it or not. It’s one of the crosses we have to bear as fans of this sport. It goes with the territory. I sounded a little different right after Wheldon was killed, but I’ve had time to reflect, and I don’t think IndyCar did enough of that before selling out. A few changes in both the cars and ways of racing on tracks of this type would probably do the trick. And critics might remember the majority of mile-and-a-half oval races were run safely for FOURTEEN years.

    Comment by DOUG — December 9, 2011 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

    • safely for 14 years? haha great laugh, davey hamilton (texas 2001) charlotte (2001, 3 people died) kenny brack (texas 2003) ryan birscoe (chicagoland 2005) buddy rice (chicagoland 2004) dario franchitti (2007 kentucky), weve been so lucky that only dan died at vegas, how about all of you a$#&*!es shut up already about 1.5 mile pack racing and look at the facts i just stated! i know we need ovals, so give me real ovals where the driver has to drive, i’m so glad the old IRL formula is gone! i can’t wait to race on real tracks from now on
      Editor’s Note: I see we’re joined by another spelling and grammar challenged, immature clown. What do you think about these stats:
      cart drivers killed in their 16 year run include:
      -Jim Hickman
      -Jeff Krosnoff
      -Gonzalo Rodriguez
      -Jovy Marcelo
      -Greg Moore
      Serious impairment:
      -Alex Zanardi
      -DaMatta
      Non-drivers and spectators:
      -Lyle Kurtenbach
      -Jean Patrick Hein
      -Gary Avrin
      -Kenneth Fox, Michael Terry Tautkus and Sheryl Ann Laster.
      That particular 16 year run between 1979 and 1995 (and then a few years without Indy) had its share of tragedy. Fortunately safety has always been advanced in tangible fashion by IMS and the Hulman-George family. Be thankful for evolution, and try to get a clue about the sport. It’s potentially dangerous. Always has been. Always will. To believe these types of problem are unique to 1.5 mile ovals is to admit you are one of the most clueless people on earth.

      Comment by birel 0499 — December 9, 2011 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

      • ” I see we’re joined by another spelling and grammar challenged, immature clown” please do tell me which words were mispelled, and where my grammar is challenged. My mom is an english teacher and see’s nothing wrong here.

        Editor’s Note: For starters, you have a huge problem with lack of capitalization, where appropriate. Let me illustrate the importance of this grammar tenet for you and your mom. Please review this sentence, capitalized correctly: ‘I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse.’ When capitalized incorrectly the meaning completely changes; e.g., ‘i helped my uncle jack off a horse.’ Bottom line: Your family has a long way to go. Do yourselves a favor and at least try to look smart.

        “To believe these types of problem are unique to 1.5 mile ovals is to admit you are one of the most clueless people on earth.” haha seriously you give everybody on here so many great laughs with comments like this, including my family! please keep it up, we only read this blog to read your nonsense articles that are 100 percent biased towards IRL all oval formula, for someone who is “over the split and wants to move the sport forward” why don’t you forget the past and move forward with the rest of us fans who know what we’re talking about. Please get a clue! I am begging you!! or you and your dumb blog page can live in the past with the formula that failed miserably (IRL). I am so pleased with Randy Bernard right now for making the easy (and right) call on vegas, now i’m sure we will go back to texas (even though we should not) all because 60,000 fans show up and its a money maker but that needs to go as well. I can’t wait for real ovals to return, without packs and without finishes of .0024 of a second all because everybody has the exact same car and engine and nobody could ever get away from each other, was never racing, and will never be considered racing, good riddance to those days, “IRL Defender” i suggest you go to youtube from now on and watch those races because they are not coming back! YES

        Editor’s Note: This sport would be so much better off without the kind of clueless vermin that has infested it. Most of these indignant idiots are too young to have any sort of clue about what Indy Car actually is, but that does not stop them from pontificating about essentially nothing even though none of them have ever actually been to an Indy Car race at a 1.5 mile oval, much less anywhere else. As evidenced above they certainly have no debating skill. The scary part is that’s the generation Bernard is trying to attract.

        Comment by birel 0499 — December 10, 2011 @ 7:41 am

  11. Thanks Disciple, it’s time somebody speaks up for the fans of Indycar. Not that it will make any difference. The powers that be in this sport seem hell bent on running it to extinction — for the third time — with decisions like this. With each day, Indycar becomes closer to being Formula One lite. Maybe it should be called Formula One-Half because of all the street/road courses we’re getting stuck with. Oh, and by the way, if NASCAR’s leadership was as weak as Indycar’s NASCAR wouldn’t be running at Daytona because Dale Eranhardt died there.

    Comment by spreadoption — December 9, 2011 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  12. You claim to be over the split but you can’t seem to stop blaming everything on the car owners and “road racer” drivers. I think you had this wet dream that Tony George would win the open wheel war, and be some kind of holy emperor of IndyCar racing that ruled with an iron fist. IMS would be like the holy kingdom that everything revolved around. Too bad when reunification happened in 2008, Tony needed the owners so he wouldn’t have to keep supporting so many cars on the grid. You like to claim he bailed them out, but based on what happened to TG in 2009, I’m guessing he was feeling the heat back then to quit bleeding so much IMS money away. You are no racing fan, you are only a fan of IMS being king of the world. And that is not happening right now and it pisses you off.
    Editor’s Note: I don’t know a delicate or sanitized way to put this, so I’ll just come out with it. You are the single most ignorant person that replies obsessively to these blogs. Your only redeeming quality is that you don’t curse for no apparent reason and spell most of your words correctly. My big wish is simply that you grow up. The whacko assumptions you incorrectly make are beyond tin foil hat. Seriously, get a clue.

    Comment by TroyM — December 9, 2011 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  13. The biggest problem it seems Indycar has is that everytime they have to do something or make a decision they seem to screw it up somehow. Quite honestly I don’t care what happens anymore but it seems like 95% of all decisions made in either series in the last 15 years have done far more worse than good.

    Comment by Tim — December 10, 2011 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  14. Let’s face it, the irl is failing,but I think management is heading in the right direction. First, they tried charging admission to their events and failure endured. They then tried free admission(a step in the right direction!) but still can’t draw flies. I’m thinking that the management should consider paying people to attend irl events. Can’t hurt. If they start in the $400-500 range per person, who knows? They might get a crowd. If not, just up the price till they achieve success! If they got up around a grand, I might even show up. (earplugs would need to be supplied as well thou)
    Editor’s Note: Quick reminders….it has not been called ‘IRL’ for two seasons. It drew 1,327,000 (give or take) this season. Ratings were also up, which enabled the series to sell out all the avails nationally. They have a great title sponsor. Pay attention.

    Comment by J.B. — December 10, 2011 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

    • yea and the ratings are up, and attendance is up too, racing on more road courses than ovals….. hmm do i see a trend here!?
      Editor’s Note: Yes. Legacy owners with a history of mutiny and destruction are influencing the direction of the series toward the type of failure they wrought twice. I am actively trying to prevent that, as should any real racing fan.

      Comment by birel 0499 — December 12, 2011 @ 1:43 am | Reply

    • Maybe for the oval races they should just let all the local’s in for free.

      Comment by USAUSAUSA — December 12, 2011 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

  15. i don’t get you. you spend most of your time ripping the series and all of its fans but you never have solutions.
    Editor’s Note: Then you should learn how to read. These blogs contain all types of solutions. Read them.

    I want more ovals but no one shows and promoters don’t want a money loser so how you fix that problem lets be productive and get over the split and move the sport forward.
    Editor’s Note: The ‘split’ ended a long time ago. No one cares. One of my issues is the insidious way owners make many of the decisions. They have proven, twice, that they fail when left in charge.

    Comment by Todd Johnson — December 10, 2011 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  16. disciple. I wouldn’t be too quick to pin the loss of ovals this year on Randy Bernard. I think a not-so-perfect storm of poor marketing, poor attendance, loss of Nascar tracks, The Accident and profitability of street races have combined to reduce ovals to nearly nothing. But I also think–aside from being very cautious, which is understandable to me–that Bernard is sincere about the 50/50 oval/twisty split and is working on it, if not for next year, then for 2013. I’ve already heard PHX may be on the schedule and there seems to be some Disney talk out there. This season may be a long one for you, but I believe it will improve in the future.

    Comment by redcar — December 13, 2011 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  17. I think the issue here is that you miss the main point disciple.

    I will give you the CART race in Texas, that the driver’s claimed was completely unsafe (driver’s blacking out in their cars due to the extreme G-forces). The series listened, and called the race, even knowing all the troubles doing so would cause.

    We will now look to the ill-fated Vegas race. Many driver’s are on record from the opening practice laps on the Friday, as saying the race was not going to safe, and that accidents were going to be spectactular, with the possibilty of some being catastrophic (how prophetic those statements would prove to be). Did the series listen? Nope.

    Editor’s Note: Actually, they did. The drivers and teams were told repeatedly about the dangers and the importance of giving ne another space. Over and over and over. Even Tommy Lasorda gave that advice. And yet the drivers willingly went ahead.

    In one instance, even at the risk of peeving off a packed tracked, and also irritating a major TV network that was broadcasting the race, and many sponsors, the series still put it’s own driver’s safety first and foremost. In the other instance, with a hardly anyone in the stands, and not many sponsors anyways, they put the gimmicks and games ahead of the safety of their own drivers.

    Editor’s Note: Gimmicks my ass. It was a race. The safety of the drivers was at the top of the agenda for Indy Car all weekend. I was there. And there actually were a lot more people there than the dismissive critics, most of whom were not.

    The answer is pretty easy, if they wish to continue racing on these high-banked ovals…less downforce, and more horsepower, then you take away the contrived pack racing we now see. While the possibility of an accident will always be there, you now give the drivers back a few things…number one being the ability to drive the cars once again, not just foot to the floor brainless racing. You also spread the field out, and the better driver’s will not have to worry about being side by side with inferior talent, lap after lap.

    Editor’s Note: I love how the ignorant always play the ‘contrived pack racing’ card. All of the great old IRL races that people stupidly refer to as ‘pack racing’ were great with not a lot of ‘pack racing.’ Cars would often race side by side in small groups, but the difference between then and now is mostly in the cockpit. Now we have elitist road racers without requisite experience for that type of racing.

    In terms of the lack of ovals, do you not think if the series put a better product on the track, the fans would start to show up once again, and along with them, the sponsor’s, followed by TV, then tracks, etc;. Sorry to say, contrived pack racing the series has given the fans since it’s inception in ’96, might fool the casual and simple minded fan, but the serious racing fans know better.

    Editor’s Note: IMHO the ‘serious racing fans’ should take their arrogant asses over to Speed and watch F-1 exclusively.

    I will agree with you that some of the street courses should be gone, but then again, you have a perfect track that draws massive crowds in australia? Why did Indy car stop going there? What about nice permanent road courses like Montreal (If they can’t race the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, then Mont Tremblant), and Laguna Seca? A nice airport track sits in Cleveland, that has a history of great races. Mexico has nice tracks, and a pretty diehard fan base they could and should be tapping in to (last time I looked, the series could use all the fans they can). Oval tracks and their owners will start calling when the series starts putting out a product worthy of being there.

    Editor’s Note: We need more qualified oval specialists instead of formula wannabees who prefer non-ovals.

    Comment by J — December 16, 2011 @ 2:02 pm | Reply


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