Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 26, 2012

The Disciple Recap of IndyCar’s Opening Weekend

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

The IndyCar season began the 2012 season on a beautiful day in Florida before a really nice crowd of enthusiastic event fans. Many of the purists lament the fact that it was a street event, but some compelling stories unfolded. Virtually all of them, however, eluded the grasp of ESPN on ABC. Other than a moving piece about the death of Dan Wheldon in the introductory portion viewers were put to sleep by the same old uninspired televised tranquilization on the air. Absolutely nothing new or different was added. Promotion for the event on ABC was also non-existent. The NASCAR Nationwide Series on ESPN, however, has been regularly promoted all season. ESPN did run a few promos before the season opener.

When I went to the ESPN website this morning the only thing I could find was a lower left reference to a John Oreovicz article. Otherwise it was all about the Fontana rainout won by Tony Stewart. Same story. Different year.

Indy Car St. Pete Viewing Party

What a shame. The fact that IndyCar has new cars, several compelling driver stories, new personnel and approaches should be reason enough for better coverage, but unfortunately presentation has not improved for at least ten years. During one stretch in the heart of the broadcast, they averaged a two minute break every four minutes. Between an on-air booth that puts viewers to sleep and a spot load that ruins any continuity in coverage, how do they expect viewers to remain tuned in?

Among the most important items they missed were several inspired drives, including Josef Newgarden, Mike Conway, Sebastien Bourdais and others. Also missed were important passes and coherent explanations of strategies that unfolded.

The broadcast ‘partner’ and IndyCar have had an entire long off season to prepare, but what unfolded seemed disorganized and bush league at best. One thing touted in the off season was ESPN3 in car cameras. That is a lie. No such capability was possible. Timing and scoring and radio audio from the new web site was abominable. No streaming video from any source continues to be inexcusable.

Best line from an obsessed idiot who watched every second anyway: ‘I’ve seen better looking race cars at the Malibu Grand Prix.’ As opposed to what…current year F-1 cars or the bricks on wheels NASCAR runs?

Having said all of that the fact the Indy Car season is underway is great. The drivers actually drove that race like professionals with no carnage in the first turn and mutual respect throughout the race. Some of the pit crews still have some work to do. In the end, despite all the new equipment, personnel and changes, the top teams remained at the top and the others are still trying. Hopefully the really great stories that will emerge this season will get told.



  1. I have to agree with you 100% on this one Disciple. How ABC and the Thorazine twins can butcher a telecast so badly is beyond me. Why can’t we have someone like Leigh Diffey or Ben Edwards calling these races. Is there really no one better then Marty and Eddie that can call an IndyCar race? Listening to the race on Sirius you would have thought there was a different race going on then the one ABC showed. How they missed almost every pass or the general lack of information when guys like Bourdais disappeared is incredible. I personally thought that Marty, Eddie and the director must have smoked a huge bag of the good stuff to be that out of it and incoherent. Next time they light up they should at least share.

    Comment by Brian in NY — March 26, 2012 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Defender:

    With a broadcast partner like ABC, you are assured zero visibility and an absolute lack of concern for production quality….what happened to NBC picking up the Indy 500 and a few races on free TV to match its coverage on NBC Sports Network? Sure, ABC/ESPN ponied up $$$ that no other network wanted to offer but why in the world does ABC bother when the network clearly has no interest in promoting the product or spending any time making the telecasts enjoyable or informative….now, regarding the race where I was live in attendance, I was very pleased with the clean racing and the lack of stupid crashes…. I think that Danica’s move out of the series has relaxed the remaining drivers and lessened the pressure across the board….it was quite amazing that Helio pulled off the win since his pit stops were very slow, especially for a Penske team….while I was on the fence about the look of the new Dallara, after a couple of laps at speed I came to appreciate the new chassis as well as the smooth sound of the turbos…. only major complaint: with MacDill AFB just a few minutes away (as well as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and the reserve base in Homestead) the best our service branches could muster for a fly over was a slow moving Coast Guard chopper….hats off to the proud service men in the Coast Guard but a few jets would have been a nice touch to kick off the season….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — March 26, 2012 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  3. What cars are running at Malibu? Can the irl get them?
    Editor’s Note: Just when it looks like commentary from the crappers can’t get any more inane, along comes a surprise.

    Comment by J.B. — March 26, 2012 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  4. You have to admit that this years mclaren is better looking than the dw12.
    Editor’s Note: To each his own.

    Comment by Vinesh Kumar — March 28, 2012 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  5. I agree that the drivers showed respect for each other (for once) and the racing was clean, but it wasn’t especially exciting. What was there, one pass? The drivers and the fans alike probably didn’t mind that there wasn’t that much excitement, with the debacle at Las Vegas still fresh in their minds, but the series can’t sustain itself for the rest of the season if all the races are going to be like this. The ovals probably won’t be, but with only four ovals, it doesn’t sound too promising. Here’s hoping this situation changes at Barber’s Park.

    Comment by DOUG — March 29, 2012 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  6. Hey, nobody did anything stupid, especially at the first corner on the first lap, there was no rain, the racing was clean…of course, I’m sure somewhere there are idiots who can’t wait to regurgitate attendance figures, overnight ratings, and the usual hooey, but they’re about as significant as grease spots on pit lane. Bring on Alabama!!

    Comment by Matsudai Olvidado — March 29, 2012 @ 5:27 am | Reply

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