Here are portions of the Disciple suggested game plan to return Indy Car to prominence in motor sports. I am certain lots of cloud toting critics will be along to inform us how the plan could never work, but hear me out anyway.
It is, and always has been, about what you can control. NASCAR gets a pass for being basically more spec than most, owning a lot of their own venues, and to a lot of people slow and boring. The Disciple Plan requires the courage it will take for Indy Car to grab their own destiny and ride to new heights. NASCAR controls their own destiny. Why shouldn’t Indy Car?
Jeff Belskus (and Randy Bernard by association) has his nose so far up Brian France’s arse that Brian’s larynx tickles. That must cease immediately despite the easy alternative (and thus typical IMS preferred choice) of simply maintaining status quo and a brown nose.
Indy Car could strengthen an alliance with SMI or do it on their own. The series I would build would include:
-Indy Cars, called Indy Pro (or some other suitable name). The Indy Cars would be much like we know them today.
-Indy Stock (or some other suitable name). This division would mimic NASCAR stock cars. Instead of mostly vanilla brand nameplates, the Indy Stocks would incorporate the more sporty models of participating automaker offerings . . . Corvettes, Acura NSX, etc.
-If a manufacturer desires to provide power to one branch, they must provide power for the other. Same with tires and other equipment.
-Those two marquees would run together every weekend except Indy. If this idea got off the ground one of the first things the Frances might do is pull out of the Brickyard. The lone exception to running the two series together every weekend would be Indy Stocks and associated series taking over on Brickyard weekend.
-In addition to the primary open wheel and the primary stock car series, each would have a ‘junior varsity.’ Indy Cars would have Indy Lights and Indy Stock would have Stock Lights. Both would also run every weekend except Indy. Already we are up to four series events every weekend.
-Each Indy Car ladder would also run most weekends, especially twisties.
-Indy Car must also invent an oval-only ladder rung that runs on ALL ovals in cars that have the same balance and power ratio characteristics as Indy Cars.
-Each venue would have a minimum of six races every weekend.
-Incorporate a meaningful, sponsored, high dollar ‘Triple Crown’ that includes one of each type of venue: Oval, natural terrain road course and festival o’ speed.
-Turn manufacturer partners into activating sponsors. Make each venue a mini-auto show that features all the new makes of all the participating manufacturers. Encourage manufacturers to give away, say, different denominations of vouchers that allow race fans to buy new cars at local dealers for, say, $500 to $1,000 off depending on a voucher they pick. Have tire manufacturers give away $50 coupons off a new set of their tires. Use local dealers in active promotion.
-Get all sponsors involved every weekend.
-Offer realistic weekend and single event pricing for individuals and families. Make every weekend ticket a garage pass on Fridays and Saturdays.
-Incorporate sponsor-driven, SHADY and PROTECTED hospitality and picnic areas for all patrons and not just VIPS (who would still have their own areas as well).
-Price merchandise realistically. Instead of selling $50 polo shirts, sell $25 polo shirts.
-Provide musical entertainment by name bands at every single event.
-Incorporate some form of extreme sport at every event.
-Cultivate (finally) a meaningful relationship with a television partner, preferably not ESPN, who has been in the tank for NASCAR since the mid-1990s. This would be a perfect opportunity for a new NBC Sports brand.
-What about venues? If aligned with SMI, all of their tracks could be involved. If not so aligned he would be happy to either rent or make some other arrangement.
-Forget ISC. That relationship should take a back seat to an Indy Car return to prominence.
-Hire a staff that knows how to manage an effective Web presence.
-Employ dedicated feet-on-the-ground personnel to occupy venue cities weeks before each event solely to create buzz.
-Pikes Peak (go to court to re-open and promote heavily only in Colorado Springs and Pueblo)
-Other SMI venues such as Charlotte, Atlanta and Loudon.
-If common sense rules, Chicagoland and Kentucky are must haves.
-Virginia Motorsports Park
-Austin (if it ever opens)
-Miller Motorsports Park
-Something in Canada
-Something in Mexico
Festivals o’ Speed:
-Something in Canada
-Craft a schedule of ten ovals and ten non-ovals and we have a WINNER.
One great aspect of the plan is every car that races is controlled by Indy Car. No outside series will have to be paid to run. Manufacturers get a meaningful stage on which to promote their wares, and the fan experience will be consistent regardless of venue.
This sport could be headed toward the highest heights ever right now.