Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 10, 2012

IndyCar Direction Remains Ominous

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:01 pm

As the IZOD IndyCar Series continues to try and grow itself in the context of 2012, some of the same insidious tendencies that have caused conflict for decades continue to be obstacles. Let’s be honest. The primary issue for IndyCar continues to be class warfare forced by Euro-centric non-oval racing enthusiasts on the establishment that has been in place for over one hundred years. The ‘split’ was merely another manifestation of it.

The enthusiasts, unable to establish the kind of footing they desire on their own, continue to try and transform the Indy Car identity into something more to their preference. Whenever any group has tried to establish such a niche on their own without an identifiable brand like Indy, they have failed.

Since Randy Bernard became the CEO of IndyCar he has enabled such enthusiasts in again attempting to transform IndyCar into a domestic flavor of F-1 using the ‘variety’ moniker to make it appear they are better and faster. Devotees are convinced that if they ‘get back’ what they have convinced themselves  they had in the late 80s and early 90s everything will be peachy keen.

A lot of the enthusiasts, many of whom arrogantly dismiss legacy IndyCar fans as ‘gomers’ or worse, advise not to worry. Variety is the spice of life and all that. The only realistic way to judge is to use facts, and the facts since 2005 clearly demonstrate something touted as ‘balanced’ being anything but.

-2005: 5% non-ovals.

-2006: 21% non-ovals.

-2007: 29% non-ovals.

-2008 (the bailout year): 44% non-ovals.

-2009: 42% non-ovals.

-2010: 53% non-ovals.

-2011: 59% non-ovals.

Street Festival Economic Model

-2012: 69% non-ovals.

Pretty distant from ‘balanced’ and the trend is not encouraging. Worse, the ladder series are 100% road-racing series except for perhaps Indy Lights, and even they do not run at all the ovals. Every new rung added to the ladder; e.g., Skip Barber, is road-racing centric.

Despite obvious financial malfeasance associated with street festivals o’ speed; e.g., the mess in Baltimore where a new contract has not event been signed, the failure of most of these abominations, etc., Indy Car continues to pursue these dead end boondoggles.

Clearly my patience is wearing thin with this idiotic direction. I plan to actively encourage Randy Bernard and others to remove their faces from the hind ends of leaders of that particular class and broaden their horizons in a realistic way. I am tired of excuses and lip service.

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7 Comments »

  1. for every Baltimore–a huge success unfortunately mismanaged–there’s the success of a Barber or St. Pete. economics and safety have recently leaned the series toward twisties, but RBernard has said endlessly that he’s searching for appropriate ovals. and it looks like PHX and Pocono or maybe even Kansas could be in the mix for next year. maybe if ovals are safe and run properly–as we all hope Milwaukee is this year–the needle will move more in that direction. but meanwhile, I think a street race in Chicago would be awesome. I hope they get back to the 50/50 mix also, but it seems like you just cover your ears to what RBernard has explained over and over again. maybe your dislike of ex-CART people is so strong that it’s difficult for you to be objective in any way. personally, I don’t care who’s right or wrong, I just want Indycar to be exciting, gain new fans (as well as keep the old) and be successful. (to be fair you’d have to count the USAC scholarship–small as it is–as part of the ladder series because Clausen is running the 500 because of it. by the way, I never heard if you enjoyed Barber or not–I understand it was pretty nice.
    Editor’s Note: Barber was its typical spectacular self. It’e the ‘Augusta’ of race courses. And the museum is also great. We had another fantastic time at a track that is doing it the way the Hulmans used to.

    Comment by redcar — April 10, 2012 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  2. Nothing looks better on T.V. than a race staged in front of aluminum fans. Quite a spectacle!
    Editor’s Note: If no one is watching (another taunt from the challenged) then why would it matter? LOL

    Comment by J.B. — April 10, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

    • You’re right….no harm, no foul.

      Comment by J.B. — April 10, 2012 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  3. Dear Defender:

    While I am glad that you had such a blast at Barber, the lack of real seats and top flight hotels in the Birmingham area make this an unattractive destination for us to attend an Indy Car race. I am simply not going to shell out big $$$ to sit on a hill and stay at a Econolodge. And in thislogic lies the problem for us traveling fans with small market venues like Iowa, I am not going to spend thousands on flights, rental cars and lodging unless I am headed to a vacation destination such as Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas Motor Speedway), LA (Long Beach GP and Fontana), even Baltimore and Milwaukee where there is something to do (baseball, museums, etc.) to fill in the down time when there is nothing going on at the track….which is still a huge problem for Indy Car that should adopt Robin Miller’s suggestion and schedule the practice, qualifying and race all on the same day and allow other series access to the track on Friday and Saturday (or Friday and Sunday if Indy Car runs on Saturday night).

    Like us fans who have supported BOTH SERIES for years have complained about, we all enjoy ovals but Indy Car’s disasterous marketing and promotions coupled with the inability or unwillingness of the ISC tracks like Chicago, Michigan and Homestead to spend a dime on advertising has relegated most of the ovals to our memory….if Ropin’ Randy and the Hulman-George family are serious about growing the series and attracting new fans, the series would allocate and spend real dollars on exposure on free TV, not some cable station that nobody can find, where the widest audience could experience the exiting racing, the superior technology and learn about the interesting and engaging drivers and teams….and please, stop scheduling races at the same time as NASCAR….despite the tin tops decline in viewership and attendance, NASCAR still beats out Indy Car in every measurable TV viewship category despite your claims to the contrary and will continue to dominate the ratings for years to come.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — April 10, 2012 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  4. Somewhat hypocritical of you Disciple. First you embrace the CART owners and drivers in your desperate way to crush CART/CCWS. Then you called Mike Andretti a best owner. Then you want all CART owners to pay for theirs sins against the Indy holy grail. Now you want them castrated because they apparently sway Randall’s oval aspirations. Seems apparent to me IMS can’t run a series to save their life, thats the root cause of the problems. Forever.
    Editor’s Note: Two points to ponder. 1) You still have a way to go with the whole comprehension concept. 2) The only consistent thing about Indy Car over the past 100 years is control of the sport by IMS. Others that have tried have failed.

    Comment by Goran Liddy — April 11, 2012 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  5. Without IMS there would be no IndyCar or CART or Champ car. It is easy to blame and bitch and attack others opinions.If it is soooo bad than just watch Nascar.

    Comment by steve — April 15, 2012 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  6. I watched the IRL occasionally when it was all ovals. Didn’t enjoy it, and I’m generally a stockcar racing fan. The IRL going back to all ovals will not make me watch, especially not if they’re all Super Speedways.

    I like the mix. It doesn’t have to be “F1 Junior” to have a balanced schedule. I think NASCAR should have a few more road courses tossed in too. If you’re supposed to be “the best in the world” you should be able to excel at both. The simple truth is, Super Speedway racing is A) obscenely dangerous in Indycars and B) like restrictor plate racing in NASCAR, it’s contrived excitement. The race is MOSTLY taken out of the hands of the driver, it’s all about who got their aero package just right, who has the horsepower, and who can keep their nerve up the longest while running wheel-to-wheel for 2 hours. I don’t find it entertaining, I find it terrifying and exasperating.

    I LOVE watching Indycars on ovals they’re INTENDED to race on, like Iowa and Milwaukee. The racing is always great, the passing challenging and exciting, the strategy important. Like a lot of drivers have said, give them an oval track where they have to lift off the throttle and turn the car, and suddenly it becomes a race again. I really, really hope what was above is true, and that they’re looking at a schedule that has Loudon, Phoenix, Pocono, Iowa, Richmond and other interesting flat and/or short ovals to race on. Keep Indy as the one big Super Speedway, have it be the novelty, and be done with it.

    As for street racing, I can’t comment on the economic end of it at all, but I’ve always felt that if the course is well thought out, the rest of it falls into place. The fact it’s tight and treacherous is part of the appeal, but there still needs to be one or two good passing zones, and at least a couple of corners that really challenge the driver, rather than just a random series of 90 degree 2nd gear corners. That’s why Monaco, Long Beach, Trois-Rivieres, and the old Vancouver Indy were so fun to watch, while others fall completely flat.
    Editor’s Note: The pre-2002-or-so IRL consistently provided some of the most exciting racing ever seen on ovals, and many were 1.5 mile speedways. It was not until the cart contingent decided to end their boycott and return that it got really f#(&@d up. I also do not advocate a full schedule of them, but ovals of all styles and sizes must be part of the mix.

    Comment by tigeraid — April 26, 2012 @ 4:39 pm | Reply


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