Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 29, 2012

Who Might Be The Next CEO of IndyCar?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 6:26 pm

Finally, a small amount of rational thought has affected the oft-criticized Indy Car Series. The new man in charge of Hulman and Company, Mark Miles, has been paying a lot of attention to the Indy Car part of the organization. This is according to Anthony Schoettle of the Indiana Business Journal. The best news by far is that he is seeking a ‘czar’ with actual racing experience and a rolodex filled with potential sponsors.

According to IBJ, a likely group of potential Randy Bernard successors include Zak Brown, Scott Atherton (who ran the ALMS series), former NASCAR COO George Pyne, a former Jaguar Managing Director named Mike O’Driscoll and the former head of cart Andrew Craig.

If I were Miles I would immediately eliminate Atherton, O’Driscoll and Craig from consideration. Atherton may not be bad, but he presided over a road racing series that essentially failed. O’Driscoll is an older fellow who retired a few years back. IndyCar should be thinking younger. Any consideration of Andrew Craig calls into question the very sanity of anyone considering that as a choice. No better way to gain the support of owners than to hire someone they fired when they were actually in business.

That leaves Zak Brown and George Pyne. Both have motorsports, media and sponsor experience in the sport. That should be the short list. It is reasonable to assume Brown might be the most objective viewer of the ownership horror show that has characterized IndyCar for the past few years, and is mostly likely to take a pass. After all folks still state he will eventually take over for Bernie Eccelstone once that particular Napoleonic dwarf finally curls up all the way and goes the way of the wicked witch of the west. That leaves Pyne, who ran NASCAR until 2006. That may be the most intriguing possibility. He is not attached to the road racing niche (the soccer of racing in this country) and carries no baggage from the split-resultant boycott cart foisted on the sport. Plus, NASCAR grew immensely while he was in charge.

One thing is for certain: Jeff Belskus has no business being IndyCar CEO now or at any time in the future. He is an accountant with a penchant for not spending any money on anything. One drive under a tunnel at IMS proves that point. So good luck Mark Miles, and thanks for placing IndyCar at the top of the priority list. Make a wise choice and let whoever comes in do what they were hired to do.

Preferably before the end of the year.

November 15, 2012

Some of The Most Ignorant People In The World Are Obsessed With IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 6:57 pm

Alex Lloyd wrote a blog on a site called Jalopnik the other day commemorating the 67th anniversary of the rescue of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Tony Hulman. He also mentioned things that have occurred since. Especially the thing in 1996. That in turn inspired some of the most colossally stupid commentary that is possible to attempt to wade through. Evidently there are STILL a few obsessed hypocrites who have not yet evolved to upright, non-mouth breathing status. One might think that with the passage of nearly 17 years that such thought challenged sub-humans might at least mature a little.

But no.

Here is a sampling of some of their more fanatical lunacy:

‘Duckstu’ scribbled: ‘In my opinoion,.. the Indy 500 has not been run since 1995,.. and it’s shamefull that the George family puts the names of the IRL also-rans on the trophy.

duckstu

The Indy 500 was the U.S. Open of auto racing. Small privateers would buy year old cars,.. find engines for them and try to make the field. Drivers with no ride would hang around the speedway the week before and see if there was a seat available. Big teams might at the last minute stuff an engine into a spare chassis and let one of these drivers try to qualify. The week before the race was about the most exciting story in motorsport.

More than a few CART regulars would not make the race because some privateers had bumped them out. I would quietly cheer for the one-race-a-year teams that made the field,… and the announcers would keep you updated during the race on how the top privateers were doing.

Then in 1996 it all changed. 33 spots were reserved for IRL nobody’s. I stopped watching.

The cars need to be more powerful,.. they need 2 or 3 different chassis,…. and spots cannot be guaranteed to regualr series drivers.’

One thing that seems to set such ‘people’ apart is consistent borderline illiteracy. Lots of misspelled words, faulty punctuation and rampant hypocrisy. If ‘Duckstu’ quit watching in 1996, why on earth would it bother commenting on it in 2012?

Speaking of bitter hypocrites, a ‘kentskinner’ had this to screech:

Kent Skinner

‘It was all good till Tony fucked it up. Greedy little cock sucker. Guys like AJ Foyt (who I respect as a driver, but not as a person) made it worse by screaming about “ride buying Brazillionaires” and “we are going to return American Racing back to American drivers” just before he “hired” ride buying foreign drivers and the series added a few road courses.

I went to races. I watched them on TV. I bought souvenirs. I got friends to go to races.

After the series turned to shit (spec cars with spec motors, running on mostly ovals, with semi-pro drivers) I just stopped watching. I saw something I cared about turn to shit, because of Tony’s greed.

Let IMS rot. It doesn’t stand for anything any more.’

Once again, hypocrisy, profanity and illiteracy run rampant throughout the kid’s bitter text. Can you imagine what might have happened had these kids been alive in the early 1960s and there was internet and the Cooper Climax showed up?

In addition to wishing in vain that such non-thinking children would simply grow up and join actual, real racing fans in this century it would also be nice if all of them would stop trying to rewrite history to suit their quaint little prejudice. Had the object of their affection, cart, kept their inflated heads out of their collective behind for five minutes and understood the big picture importance of what they walked away from and actively tried to destroy, they would not have to worry about blaming Tony George for the destructive stupidity of cart.

The worst part about the sport is not the sport itself or even who runs it. It is dealing with obsessed hypocrites sporting the mental and emotional agility of 6-year-olds who claim not to watch but offer commentary continuously. Just once it would be nice for this handful of nutjobs to put their money where their typing fingers are.

November 14, 2012

Why Allowing Jeff Belskus To Remain In Charge Of Indycar Is A Horrible Idea

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:01 pm

Check The Roof

The one thing that should scare the absolute bejeezus out of any fan of IndyCar or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is Jeff Belskus running both entities. His track record is one of extreme risk aversion, avoidance of any type of conflict with anyone, and strict bean counting. My criteria for judging the guy is not based on first hand dealings. It is based on appearances, the most outward of which is the condition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he assumed control.

If casket cams existed for Clarence Cagle and Tony Hulman we would probably see them spinning like rotisserie meat. The first impression many people get of IMS is a drive through the 16th Street tunnel and into the museum parking lot. That lot is literally falling apart. Cracked and broken pavement abounds. Most neighbors will at least apply sealer to their decrepit old pavement, but IMS will not even do that. What kind of impression does that make?

Much of the history of the place has been lost over the years, and preserving in the name of history what is left should be paramount. That is what makes driving past the old barn outside Turn 2 near Olin Avenue so depressing. It badly needs roof repair and is not receiving it.

Vision

Since Belskus assumed control at IMS the plant has begun to resemble the mostly dilapidated, ramshackle post-WWII neighborhoods that exist on three sides of the track and have been falling apart for years. It sits there decaying for six months and then around late April they may mow the grass once in a while until two or three days before the track opens in mid-May. That is when a gaggle of folks work sunrise to sunset to make up for 11 months of management neglect, enabling once-a-year visitors to get the right vibe. With regard to scoring towers, some stands and lots of fences, a little Rustoleum goes a long way. But no. Going the natural oxidation route does not cost money right now. Never mind the future cost of prematurely having to replace in a few years what could be maintained presently for much less money.

Given what the average person can see with their own eyes at IMS, having that guy in charge of IndyCar threatens its very existence. If Belskus wants to do the right thing he will hire a CEO that has racing chops, understands the politics and can effectively deal with them, and simply turn him/her loose with no encumbering. Many ideas Randy Bernard had that never saw the light of day were squashed out of the gate. Meaningful autonomy is desperately needed but given history that seems highly unlikely. Look no further than the clumsy, classless, sleazy way they parted ways with Bernard for validation. That may be why there is not a line of truly qualified applicants beating a path to 16th and Georgetown.

Let us hope Belskus does the right thing and remains ‘interim’ for a very short time. He has bigger fish to fry, like allowing historic structures to cave in on themselves.

November 2, 2012

IndyCar Team Owners, Management and FANS!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 5:46 pm

It has been a busy few days in the never dull world of IndyCar racing. Many, including myself, have weighed in on the Randy Bernard bum’s rush and the tawdry ways in which it played out. Many have made great points about the relative dysfunction of the Hulman-George clan, the self-serving nature of the owners and the kiddie games they all play.

It is difficult not to notice the tone and reaction of those who call themselves fans, and that is the focus for today. I tend to dismiss the ones who use any real or perceived misstep whatsoever to heap mostly illiterate condemnation on Tony George for ‘ruining’ everything. That small group concocts identical rants whenever anything happens. You know the type—their frame of reference is usually the early 90’s and nothing else matters. It is my personal belief such people are mentally ill and incapable of moving forward. Such boorish behavior is unsurprising considering their confusion about the difference between a self-immolating boycott and a punitive action against the object of their affection, not to mention youth and immaturity. They are too ignorant to understand that team owners involved in scorched earth that characterized ‘the split’ are displaying the exact same sort of self-serving stupidity that led directly to Randy Bernard’s ouster.

My favorites that have emerged are those who have declared this to be the final straw. They are leaving and not coming back. Period. They state that over and over again. It is also my belief that 95% of such folks are liars. They are not going anywhere. I wish the 5% who may actually not be hypocrites would reconsider given that actual enthusiasm is supposed to be for what they see on the track. That is what made me a racing fan, and I have been through everything from USAC (original incarnation) to the IRL and everything in between.

Fortunately most fans that expressed misgivings about the departure of Randy Bernard are in it for the racing and not the politics, and to that I exclaim ‘Bravo!’ They understand that dealing with owners is as impossible as negotiating fellatio with a badly cramped pre-menstrual woman who would just as soon bite it all the way off and then spit it back at you. Worse, that is only part of it. The reason the Hulman-George clan makes such an easy target in general is because they have no sense about coherent marketing or public relations and they tend to dismiss fan input, positive or negative, with flowery lip service and buzzwords. It is usually all about the deal and what is in it for them, and they never talk publicly about anything, which is out of step in a social media age.

No matter how much warranted or unwarranted criticism anyone heaps upon team owners or IMS/IndyCar, both are always willing to sell me a ticket, merchandise or refreshments for every single event. THAT is what it is all about. In summary the dismissal of Randy Bernard rubs me the wrong way, but will not stop me from going to races or watching them on television. If IndyCar was smart they would leverage his marketing expertise for two more years, but I have a feeling they will simply cut him  checks and buy his silence. If they do hire another CEO, it needs to be someone that enjoys being treated like a dog walked simultaneously by several constituencies, all of whom with their own leashes and different destinations and do never allow him to bark or bite or pee on the yard without the ongoing fear of euthanasia. Good luck.

Is it wrong to opine how enjoyable the silly season has become in a driving slowly past a train wreck kind of way?

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