Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 19, 2012

Why Michael Andretti Is The Best IndyCar Owner

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:31 pm

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?




  1. ….all that good stuff and a tiny venue was still only half full at best. The good news….15 thousand at the mile is a ton better than 15 thousand at texas. The irl, good for 15 grand!

    Comment by J.B. — June 20, 2012 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  2. Good job by Michael Andretti. It would be great to see what he could do with tracks that were failures in the past. Too bad he was not in charge of New Hampshire last year, maybe it would still be on the schedule instead of the parade of street races. Michael has shown that oval tracks can do a good job for the fans. Michael, how about a Pennsylvania guy taking a close look at Pocono and Nazareth?

    Comment by J STEIN — June 20, 2012 @ 5:09 am | Reply

    • a close look a nazareth??? He’d need a gps to find it.

      Comment by J.B. — June 20, 2012 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  3. There will always be the Indy 500 and the IMS. He eventually might make a little noise, but in no way will Michael cut away from that single most important event again, so don’t worry about that D.

    I am happy that Andretti has found something, a formula that can take the street atmospshere and bring it to the oval. With this, he might be years ahead of the game. Last Saturday was a pivitol moment.

    Good to see you’re blogging again.


    Comment by Mike Miller — June 20, 2012 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  4. Hooray for Michael Andretti and Indy car. I hope it continues it’s rise in popularity. They need to find someone else to cover the races than ESPN and ABC, they do such a lousey job. Twice now in the last month they failed to cover the whole race. They kept us listening to their drivel for two hours and at the moment the green flag was thrown they left the race to cover something else. They only covered fifty-seven laps at Milwaulkie. This will only lead to fewer viewers who won’t bother.

    Comment by Richard Sweet — June 24, 2012 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

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