Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 28, 2013

Who Should Drive the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:21 am

Rufus and CrewWhile the hypersensitive continue to fret about meaningless trivial things such as why Paul Tracy in not listed as a winner on the Dan Wheldon memorial at St. Pete (hint: the race he won was in a series twice removed from IndyCar and they made no bones about the distance at the time and it was a one off two seasons removed from the fresh Indy start) other more important issues are arising as May draws near.

One of the most potentially important issues is who will drive the pace car. Just two years ago it was the 100th anniversary of the great race and the 50th anniversary of the first win of the most important lRufus and the Baby Borgegend of the place, A.J. Foyt. IMS, in an inexplicably egregious act of outright stupidity, chose Donald Trump to do the honor. Fan outrage was swift and decisive. That lapse of judgment was quickly corrected when A.J. was given the honor.

This year the new brain trust has a similar decision. Will it be another B-list Hollywood type or something that respects history and tradition? If they choose the latter there is only logical choice: Parnelli Jones on the 50th anniversary of his win. He was a driver, owner and manufacturer with a rich history at Indy. Old Calhoun is now legendary.

To those of us who deeply respect history this choice should be an absolute no-brainer.


March 25, 2013

IndyCar Race 1 of 2013 – Very Nice!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:00 pm

Hinch winsRandom thoughts after the IndyCar opener from St. Pete:

-It is refreshing to see the Penske/Ganassi level on the same level with most everyone else. The work of folks like Simona and Sato made it a compelling day.

-Hinch getting win #1 is a feel-good story for a variety of reasons.

-The champion had a rough day….but he also had a few last season.

-It would be nice to see J.R. Hildebrand and his team do better.

Can drive-Street races are an abomination, even though the current cars and drivers at least make it watchable.

-The NBC Sports Network coverage was outstanding. Leigh Diffey is very good, but his accent may be a detriment when attempting to attract new fans, even though it shouldn’t be. Not saying we need a domestic announcer, but it’s all about perception. Every member of that staff seems to be in the right place, and what we saw on air has been upgraded.

-Tire marbles from tires that degrade rapidly detract from the show, particularly when yellows are extended to sweep them up.

-9 cars in Lights is embarrassing, stupid and should not be tolerated. There are ways to fix the problem, and steps should start today.

-I hope Turbo does not bomb at the box office.

We’re off to a great start, and it’s about time!

March 24, 2013

Tony George Back In IndyCar Leadership; Deranged ‘Fans’ Flip Out

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:44 am

IndyCar founder Tony George became the 11th director on the board of Hulman & Company on Friday, five months after resigning to pursue a series acquisition effort with others. He was also voted to an at-large position on the IndyCar competition committee. Potentially the only bad decision IMS/IndyCar made was announcing it on the weekend of the season opening event. The dual announcements were predictably met with a Westboro Baptist Church-like cacophony of abject stupidity from ‘fans’ that have repeatedly stated they will never watch again but never actually go away.

17 years have gone by since Tony George decided to start what was designed to be a complementary series to cart that would not run on the same weekends. Unfortunately the powers that be at cart and their largely formula fan base freaked out and many have not stopped acting like screeching children since. Their levels of intelligence match their levels of maturity. Even though they and their preferred series bought the gasoline and the dynamite, lit the fuses, then began carpet bombing, napalm-style, anything and everything even remotely connected to IMS or IndyCar the only thing they actually killed was themselves. Twice. Then they stupidly blamed Tony George for ALL of their problems, always avoiding mirrors like vampires. Out there in the vacuum of empty thought that is the internet, incessant tirades about the latest return of Tony were swift:

Back On Board‘Ideally, I wish he just stayed away…’

‘Ugh. Just go away and stay there.’

‘Why does this guy have to keep causing trouble?’

‘Great, they got the conductor back to wave the baton at the front of the parade of stupid that is Hulman and Co.’

‘They reinstate a man who almost bankrupted the sport and helped kill its popularity. No thanks. They do know how divisive of a figure TG is right?’

‘He has not learned anything. He is untrainable.’

CrucifiedNot since Jesus Christ has one man been so crucified over fear, rampant misunderstanding of actual truth and misdirected blame assessment reflective of the failure of others. Worse, the kind of criticism to which we get subjected ad nauseum has no intellectual weight and is generally reflective of a level of maturity typically displayed by four-year-olds.

It is curious that folks who are generally the least qualified to manage any sort of business entity constantly spout off as if they could run the racing entities of Hulman & Company better than anyone they already have, especially Tony. Yet the people in charge (and most of the owners in the paddock) consistently value his participation.

Is it not time for the obsessed to stop clinging to the past and move forward? We have changed decades (and a century) since cart and its minions went nuclear on the sport. Enjoy the compelling product. One look at the top of the starting grid at St. Pete makes it appealing.

Above all, enjoy the season. If you say you hate it and won’t watch why not extend that philosophy (and courtesy) to inane, obsessive commentary about it as any actual adult would?

March 20, 2013

A Problem The Leadership of IndyCar MUST Tackle TODAY

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:40 pm

Another Ignorant PartnerI have been on record for a long while as supportive of the IndyCar/NBC Sports Network deal as ‘ahead of its time.’ In most ways the potential exists. But once again the brass at IndyCar is allowing the opportunity to be squandered. It is time, right now, to demand a meeting with the folks running the show at NBC Sports Network. Why? While browsing this morning for information about the IndyCar season opener THIS weekend on their website, I found no visible trace of the series anywhere. On the front page you need to scroll all the way to the bottom and the only motor sports story is F-1. When navigating to the ‘Motors’ page, there are eight motorsports stories/links. All are F-1 related. No IndyCar anywhere.

This is simply unacceptable. Will IndyCar simply roll over for them as all previous administrative configurations have done for ESPN, or will they take swift and dramatic action? They need to do the latter Original Bad Partnerbecause no visibility the week of the season opener cannot ever be allowed.

Even the Boston Consulting Group mentioned this increasing lack of respect and suggested breach of contract. Part of the reason IndyCar is accused of being invisible by its critics is nonsense like this. NBC Sports Network is supposed to be a partner. In this case, as with ESPN, the media partner shuns the brand like a mixed race bastard stepchild at a redneck family reunion. Why? How is the message not being delivered in crystal clear fashion?

For Mark Miles and crew this is a failure waiting to explode. Something needs to be done about this TODAY.

March 3, 2013

What Did The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Get For Their Consulting Dollars?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:09 am

Boston Consulting Grope 1The folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently commissioned the Boston Consulting Group to evaluate and offer recommendations to Hulman and Company with regard to business operations throughout the enterprise. Hopefully it did not cost them much money. Based upon snippets of information that found its way into the mainstream a couple of things are clear. BCG has little cognizance of Indy Car history, either past or recent. Some might argue that is a good thing.

What about some of the basic ideas?

-A 15-race IndyCar schedule in major American cities held over 19 weeks and off season forays into distant lands for no points. I say make it 16 to 18 in North America over 20 weeks and we have a decent domestic schedule. Hopefully by ‘major cities’ they do not mean God-forsaken temporary circuits. Many large metropolitan areas have perfectly good ovals; e.g., Chicago, Phoenix, etc. This would also be a great chance to make schedule balance an actual reality. Four or five (or more) international events in the domestic off-season is also a great idea. They could even concoct an ‘international’ championship. It would keep teams busy and the sport in the public eye.

-A three race playoff. Wasn’t Randy Bernard dumped partially because he was talking playoffs? And have the fans not spoken when Mark Miles floated such an idea? How would it be formatted?

-A season finale at the IMS road course. Bad idea. It would dilute the product and not really attract anyone from outside the immediate area. Other venues are more suited to a finale. Any IndyCar event at IMS other than the 500 would damage the product.

Boston Consulting Grope 2-A new marketing strategy promoting IndyCar’s daredevil drivers. Everyone agrees a comprehensive marketing approach is wise, but they need to be careful playing up the danger aspects. And if there is even one word anywhere in the report about marketing to OTTs/Millenials and maximizing use of all online channels it has not been made public. They do say a new website is needed, but duh. Strong emphasis on personalities IS the right choice, but they need captivating personalities. Josef Newgarden, RHR and Hinch can only go so far.

-Use just one U.S. television partner, with intimation they should try to get out of the NBCSN deal. Yeah, how is that going to work? ESPN is over-saturated, and it is unlikely every IndyCar race can be on ABC. What about other networks? Why stick with ESPN on ABC for the 500? ESPN has done IndyCar no favors, and I believe has actively damaged the brand since the 1990s. They are the least deserving ‘partners’ ever. And what is wrong with NBCSN? Yeah, they are enamored of F-1 and covet NASCAR, but could that not potentially enhance IndyCar if promoted correctly? Perhaps IndyCar should concentrate on enforcement of their deal with NBCSN.

Boston Consulting Grope 3-Decreased TEAM payouts and increase purses. Good idea, but also might be a good idea to allow some innovation among teams (unique aero kits, for example)  and also reduce the Dallara vig for spare parts or eliminate by allowing fabrication by teams.

-Change the ticket pricing model by increasing Indy 500 tickets and reducing BY400 and MotoGP prices. Good in theory, but the amount of increase for the 500 is insane. $50 per ticket higher? That would ensure wide swaths of aluminum. A more prudent approach is to raise prices for the seats that sell out (but not $50 each) and leave the others alone. IMS has already raised the price creatively by assessing annoying nickel-and-dime ‘convenience’ charges.

-Do not sell the Speedway or IndyCar. Good idea. Let us reserve judgment for the day we get our mitts on the entire study. Based on the bullet points IMS may have been taken for a bit of a ride.

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