Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 9, 2012

The Curse of INDYCAR

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:47 pm

It is both palpable and inexplicable. It seems to get worse with each passing decade. What is the curse? It is the tendency of whoever is in charge to take the most stupidly possible action in each and every situation that requires critical decision making.

This year is no different despite having a successful outsider in charge that was supposed to have much more on the ball than the favorite target of ignorant haters far and wide, Tony George. The initially released schedule for 2012 only has fifteen events. That is said to be one less than contractual minimums required for IZOD.

That has not prevented all sorts of flowery lip service about adding more races later—the dreaded ‘TBA.’ The Baltimore fiasco is evidently not even being considered endangered, even though it is teetering. The hot air blown up our undies after that labor day festival o’ speed has devolved, predictably, into lawsuits, unpaid bills, city governments holding bags, and plenty of pointed fingers. With only four total ovals on the calendar for 2012 what is the leadership trumpeting as a great new season closer? That’s right. A festival o’ speed on the streets of Fort Lauderdale. Right in the middle of hurricane season too!

Perhaps I just do not understand the need to attract that magic 18-24 year old demo. That is probably why IMS hired remnant musical fossils Lynyrd Skynyrd to headline Carb Day. And I probably do not understand that ovals just are not popular anymore, despite Indy Car’s traditional drunken dartboard method of scheduling them every year and NASCAR’s journeys to them 34 times a year in Cup.

It is disheartening to believe that Indy Car management can not get any more out of touch then having that particular bar lowered every single year.  



  1. Ok, I get most of your rant. I will however, disagree on the Lynard Skynard commentary. My nephew is one of those 20-somethings that IICS is trying deperately to attract and he is a BIG Skynard fan, as are many of his contemporaries. That aside, much of what you say is true.

    What scares me even more however, was the suggestion that a Milwaukee race mysteriously appear in the month of June. With a year to promote the race there last year, we didn’t draw flies. If this is taken as another “afterthought” just to add an oval, what will be the attendance expectation for that event? The series needs to start doing things to promote ovals, not just cobble them together so they can later say, “We tried that and it didn’t work.” That means promotion.

    Now, if you want to try something different and radical, how about someone place a call to the Sand Hills of North Carolina to the sleepy little town of Rockingham? There is a track looking for a race. If that works, try Darlington. NASCAR treated the folks in South Carolina rather badly a few years back and only a strong effort by the local promoter kept the cabs running there at all. NASCAR used to run two races at “The track too tough to tame,” but now they only run the Mother’s Day Eve race there, leaving the early fall season completely open.

    Frankly, I’d happily attend both if given the chance. It’s sure a lot easier than riding 12 hours to get to Indy or more to get almost anywhere else on the schedule. In spite of this being the epicenter of NASCAR country, there are IndyCar fans here too.

    Comment by SkipinSC — January 10, 2012 @ 2:44 am | Reply

  2. You can keep beating that horse but (at least for this year) it’s dead. There’s a couple reasons Indycar has lost ovals. There is some trepidation due to the horrific crash at Vegas. Not just Weldon’s death–but what “could have been.” It’s a miracle more people weren’t killed. So some tracks are suspect now due to safety reasons (slanty N-car 1 and 1/2’s.) Previously Nascar and Indycar had a falling out at some oval tracks (Chicagoland, Michigan, etc.) about money and lack of interest. Other tracks (Nashville) were cancelled by Indycar due to (I assume) lack of interest by sponsors and lack of competition on the track. Meanwhile, street courses have been profitable, so there you go. And Nascar (even their attendance was down) is Nascar, not Indycar, and there’s a big difference.

    I want ovals back, but I get the economics. I realize that for this year, it’s all about the twisties. I believe Bernard is doing his best to schedule ovals for a series that (apparently) no one wants to watch on TV or schedule or sponsor.

    I don’t believe the series will violate an Izod contract, so if sixteen is the minimum, they’ll have sixteen if they have to race the IMS infield.

    Comment by redcar — January 10, 2012 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  3. I look at the attendance numbers, and the TV numbers from 2011, and there is no indication that street or road courses are more popular than ovals in Indycar. That is the big lie we keep hearing, but the evidence is not there. But what is easier for the league is to get easy money as part of a municipal festival. Then they don’t have to work to get sponsorship. And they can play with the attendance figures. It also plays into the skill level of their drivers, which on ovals is shockingly low.

    The problem in Indy car is not the tracks. Its the drivers first and foremost. A significant number of them have very little experience on ovals. How can they be expected to handle challenging tracks like Las Vegas? This was a finding in the investigation of Dan Wheldon’s death and Indycar pledged to look into driver qualifications further. However, since the first day, I have not seen that reported (for obvious reasons?)

    The issue with ovals is just as bad with true road course venues. While we only have four ovals at speedways, we only have three road courses at “speedways.” And those we have are basically motorcycle courses. The imbalance is being caused by the easy municipality money. And you know Baltimore is just the tip of the iceberg. What happens when the easy money implodes?

    I think the league will continue to decline though 2012. In 2013, I think we will really see the …… hit the fan. When the resignation of Randy Bernard comes in 2013, you will really begin to see the wheels coming off. Watch and see if I am right.

    Comment by Bob F. — January 10, 2012 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

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