A lot of them spend an inordinate amount of time trying to turn races into fast parades. First it was doing away with double wide restarts. Now it about allowing green-green-green acceleration to occur between turns three and four so that strung out cars in the back do not get a run. Wonder what they would do in a standing start situation, where fanning out and bonzai passing is the norm? I find myself longing for the kind of actual racing we saw in the early part of the last decade.
As an aside, the Barnhart haters have discovered the steward replacement, Beaux Barfield, is human after all. The absolute most hilarious drivel that consistently emanates from the jowls of the Indy Car-obsessed howlers usually has to do with either 12+ overnight audience estimates or the job performance of the steward. The observations are always laughable.
Randy Bernard has been keeping a low profile lately. It appears he has discovered the part of his job that has to do with handling a big bag of snakes. Frankly, he has not seemed like the same person since Dan Wheldon’s accident. His job is not getting any easier, either. After the champcar-like failure of an overseas event in China, the schedule will stay at only 15 events this season. The one venue that might have made sense given the short notice might have been a piggyback with ALMS at Road America, but I have a feeling the whole money thing probably put the kebosh on that.
We can look forward to a new 500-miler at Fontana, and with any luck at all we will have a triple crown next year. Pocono would be as nice as Michigan. They had best not throw Texas away. It would also be nice to see Kentucky re-added to the mix, and new ovals. Memphis seems like a natural, and I would do it in early May.
It is sort of a hiatus now as the series sort of disappears for a while. Next year we should never go more than two weeks without an event and they should always be accessible on television and in person. Maybe we will start seeing new types of fencing. IMS is putting research money behind an effort to look into it. We should probably wait for the rollout then watch NASCAR take credit for it.
For one thing he does more in terms of giving back to the sport than any other. He runs as many or more competitive cars than any other owner, and now has become the most successful promoter of events. Compare Milwaukee this year with Milwaukee last year. Last year the promoter ala carted the pricing for everything, scheduled the event on a Sunday when most folks would be doing something else, thought just cars on the track would be enough, then got rained on. Hardly anyone showed up.
This year Andretti’s folks dressed up the track. They promoted the event on short notice. The walls were painted and adorned with sponsors (all, coincidentally, Andretti’s). The infield was basically closed to parking and turned into a street festival, complete with a midway, refreshments, bands and hoopla. Pricing was restructured to allow easy access to the paddock and teams. It was accessible. Holding the race on Saturday before Father’s Day was also a great move. It attracted locals and out-of-towners. A lot more people showed up; enough of them to warrant an official announcement that it will be on the schedule next season. Compare his efforts to the Penske debacle in Detroit. Could anyone envision Penske being outshined in that manner?
For years it has been easy to laugh at IndyCar owners who have been trying in vain for over thirty years to take over control of the sport by going up against the Hulman-George family while self-immolating the entire sport. Their efforts have consistently failed. It must be galling to those gigantic egos given the bumbling way the family in control operates. We will probably not be able to resolve the class warfare that has plagued the sport for most of its existence.
All of this is why Michael Andretti may be the smartest one of the bunch. If this was a conspiracy theory topic it might be easy to make a case that Andretti is taking over the sport by using a very subtle under-the-radar approach. He runs a big team and participates in all of the ladders, and now promotes most of the successful events. He does not appear to be content just with the ones he has, and it is reasonable to anticipate his group will end up in charge of many more IndyCar events. What happens if/when he has the biggest team, most of the events and then gets angry? Interesting speculation.
For now, however, all IndyCar fans should be excited about an owner doing way more than his part to push the entire series forward. Can you imagine where we would be if he was just an owner?