Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 29, 2012

IndyCar at Birmingham This Weekend…and Houston Next Year.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:47 pm

If you have no plans this weekend my suggestion is to head for Birmingham to watch Indy Cars take on the most beautiful natural terrain road course possibly anywhere. George Barber’s magnificent facility outside Leeds has become an annual stop for the Disciple crew. The track that has been crafted from the remains of a former strip mine is truly a thing of beauty. Any visit to the track is also not complete without a visit to the museum there. If you are a fan of racing on two wheels you will be in heaven. There is enough of everything there, however, to keep real racing fans occupied for hours.

Every year they try to make the experience a little better. It’s a relatively cheap weekend too with lots of dining and lodging options. On the narrow track you are not supposed to be able to pass easily, but the Indy Cars have traditionally made it a better show than people anticipate. If you are headed south we will see you there.

In other news, the uncomfortable reality that IndyCar leadership says one thing but continuously does another continued. News yesterday included the addition of yet another idiotic temporary street course race in Houston, an event that has already failed multiple times. It’s a five year deal with Shell sponsorship, Penske support and Randy Bernard load swallowing. The only way to make lemonade of this pile of lemons might be to craft a ‘Texas Three Step’ event in which Indy Cars would race on the streets of Houston, the Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, and at Texas Motor Speedway with a million dollar (or higher) bonus if you win all three. If brains were used and egos were set aside I would get Eddie Gossage on board to co-promote and make the Texas Motor Speedway event the highlight.

What will probably happen is Eddie will get completely alienated and we fans will lose the second best attended and most exciting race on the schedule over the politics. If that happens IndyCar will have completely failed to meet their responsibility to fans, and it will be time again for change at the top. Now is probably a good time to remind the puppet leadership about balance. It is not what Roger Penske believes it should be; i.e., 1/3 oval, 1/3 street and 1/3 road course. That is a 70/30 imbalance. Balance equals 50% oval and 50% non-oval. Period.  Anything less is unacceptable. Get that through your thick heads.



  1. Roger Penske has been a disaster to IndyCar racing. So much of what people blamed Tony George and others for should truly be laid at the feet of Roger Penske and his cabal of owners.

    Alabama sounds like a nice place to watch the Indy Car exhibition run on the track as they prepare for real racing in May.

    There is no doubt that those road courses were made for motorcycles. I’ve watched a few of those races and it takes unbelievable courage to do what they do. No doubt it will be outlawed soon as being too dangerous.

    Your comments to the puppet leadership could not be better. The Houston race, yet another farce.

    Comment by Bob F. — March 29, 2012 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

  2. Let this serve as a warning to Randy Bernard: DO NOT lose Texas Motor Speedway as an oval. Many of us LONG TERM fans could not care less about two more street parades around Texas metropoli; if however, you take away TMS, I’ll go back to watching Indy and only Indy until SOMEONE comes along who cares what the fans think.

    Look, I get it that not a lot of places are clamoring to open their doors to have 20,000 race fans attend. The Milwaukeee “Andretti-fest” seems like a good start toward keeping another oval in the fold. Certainly, if Pocono is showing some interest in bringing IndyCars back there (as Curt Cavin’s column indicates,) I would sit up and take notice.

    But please, let’s not alienate the most successful promoter we have on the circuit by running two more street races in the state of Texas.

    Comment by SkipinSC — March 29, 2012 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  3. What did I say a couple of days ago?

    “Hand it over to a bunch of guys who failed twice? Didn’t they already have to ostensibly do that in order to keep cars on the grid? Isn’t that the cause of 95% of your angry, misguided ramblings? LOL indeed.”

    The conspiracy against Indy by Indy for Indy indivisible by Indy continues. I also continue to LOL.
    Editor’s Note: Instead of LOL’ing you might want to consider the cultivation of rational thought for a change.

    Comment by cashmoneytrillionaires — March 29, 2012 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  4. It’s a business now. It’s about making money. Without turning a profit, there will be no business. And as long as street races are more profitable than ovals, they will run street races. And we’re also taking about major sponsorship for Houston–Shell/Pennzoil–that is something to build on. Besides, Bernard is still talking with Phoenix, Kansas and Pocono about ovals in the near future. And they’re going to Fontana this year in spite of the fact that they’ll run in front of about 5,000 fans who got lost looking for the casino. I think the call to replace Randy Bernard borders on lunacy. Few people could face the challenges he has without wilting. He is determined to make Indycar a successful series and I think he’s doing a great job.

    Sorry Disciple, I think you’re way off base this time.
    Editor’s Note: If Randy Bernard actually ran the series I might have less of a problem. But with each passing month he appears merely to be a puppet in much the same way that Joe Heitzler, Chris Pook, etc., were.

    Comment by redcar — March 29, 2012 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  5. Eddie Gassage is in bed with Nascar and that is the problem. Texas is an awesome track and IndyCar should continue racing there but Eddie is determined to undercut the sanctioning fees with negative media hype. The next issue is that the track did a good job with marketing until the Nascar clan showed up. I believe that these issues are far more reaching than we all know. The track has always welcomed open wheel but until recent public statements by Eddie about safety concerns by the IndyCar drivers he is determined to cast a shadow on how his track is above any new changes. Yes the track had new pavement changes but to say nothing has ever happened with wrecks we all should remember Kenny Bracks wreck in which Kenny has never raced since that day. Just my opnion.
    Editor’s Note: One thing to note about Brack’s accident at Texas; it was not the result of ‘pack racing.’ It was an isolated two-car accident. And didn’t Brack come back and race at Indy again?

    Comment by steve — March 29, 2012 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  6. “…the most beautiful natural terrain road course possibly anywhere”

    Apart from Road America, Road Atlanta, Mosport, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Spa-Francorchamps, Nurburgring-Nordschleife…need I go on?

    Don’t get me wrong, Barber is a good track (even though it’s layout is better suited to motorbike racing) but to say its the most beautiful anywhere is a collosal overstatement
    Editor’s Note: I have been to all of them, and my claim about Barber stands. Have you ever been there?

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — March 31, 2012 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

    • I’ve been to none,
      Editor’s Note: Imagine my surprise.

      given that transatlantic flights are rather expensive and i’m saving for a house at the moment so any trips to the continent are out of the question financially. All those tracks are on the list though. I have however seen multiple races at all of the above tracks on TV and to say that Barber is somehow on the same level as places like Spa or the Nordscheife is somewhat ridiculous. Its a very good track with nice scenery but its not a AAA road course like ones i’ve mentioned above, it’s a AA track (and theres nothing wrong with that)
      Editor’s Note: Take it from someone who has been to all of them. They are all nice (I cannot describe the feeling I had at Spa Francorchamps, for example) but the most beautiful of them all is Barber for a variety of reasons. Do yourself a favor. Go.

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — April 1, 2012 @ 6:37 am | Reply

      • I will go eventually, most likely to see AMA there (assuming that Nascar haven’t completely ruined it by then) but it would after i’ve been to see the Indy 500, Daytona 500, Coke 600, Petit Le Mans, ALMS at Road America & Mosport, Nascar at Watkins Glen & Bristol, the Spa 24 Hours and Nurburgring 24 Hours, TT Assen, the Isle of Man TT, the Italian Grand Prix and the Canadian GP.

        Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — April 1, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

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