Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 4, 2013

Dare We Affirm That IndyCar Is Headed in the Right Direction?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:28 pm

Guy in ChargeIt is hard to say what kind of magic Mark Miles brings to the sport of IndyCar racing. He certainly has the business chops. Whenever you can get cart-centric, bitter former cart employees/curmudgeons who refuse to budge from the previous century to write complimentary things about IndyCar direction and leadership in 2013, a corner certainly has been turned. That is precisely what has happened after both Michael Knight and Gordon Kirby spent time with Miles at Indy in May.

After spending the better part of twenty years trying to destroy the sport because their apple cart was upset their newfound enthusiasm and maturity is appreciated.

Some of Miles ideas are very well received, including putting Derrick Walker in charge of competition. One of their notions is that they can jigger the rules to enable record speeds, particularly at Indy. That seems great from a marketing standpoint, but I worry about the ‘engineering’ of speed by the leadership. A more natural approach, based on seeing all milestones from 150mph up fall with my own eyes through the years, is to allow that to occur creatively by opening up the rule book to allow for less strict specifications. No one can deny the raciness of the current package, but micromanaging advancement that leads to higher Fastspeeds seems risky. Fate is being tempted. The best stories involve a mad scientist theme. The late Tim Wardrup with Arie Luyendyk gave us just such a story when the records fell in the mid-90s.

If speed is the goal then facilities need to be able to handle circumstances that go awry. Auto racing in a general sense is at a critical point. Television ratings and crowds are sinking. Gimmicks only go so far, and the stories that result are short lived. What we need are organically grown stories that become legendary. Just one driver, or worse, spectator fatality could literally wipe out the sport for good. Miles and crew need to exercise caution.

My big hope is that he oversees a number of things important to a lot of people. Re-add strategic venues like Phoenix. Truly balance the schedule. Have an oval race before Indy. Fix IMS up in a meaningful way and operate it in such a way that half the crowd does not get alienated over stupidity. Make the brand attractive to track owners and promoters who bought into the negative stereotyping.

It is absolutely great that Miles has begun changing perception.

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19 Comments »

  1. Affirmation? The whole series is an iconic failure.
    Editor’s Note: Buy what measure? When will this ‘failure’ result in actual failure; i.e., no more series ala cart? Twice?

    Explain how the perception is changing?
    Editor’s Note: I thought I did. If Gordon Kirby AND Michael Knight, both bitter ex-cart employees who stayed aboard that ship as it sunk then stupidly blamed Tony George for the suicide they foisted on themselves, write positive words about series direction, that can change perception. Particularly among cart-centric idiots.

    Sunday’s display was appalling. When are they gonna get back to solid ICONIC values? These are the same values they never came close meeting. Affirm the direction and change perceptions? This series is paralyzed and clueless, and continues its spiral as you seek affirmation. Stop trying to fool yourself, the albatross is not a necktie.
    Editor’s Note: Well that was not unexpected. Three paragraphs of ranting with no substance. Perhaps you should arrange a sit-down with Miles. LOL.

    Comment by Goron Liddy — June 4, 2013 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

    • Riiight. The AOW landscape and perception can all be changed by Kirby and Knight. LOLz. They hold no power with the masses. If your world is filled with cart-centric hate I suppose this might be a change in perception. But it has no bearing on the abysmal TV ratings or low attendance for iZod indy racing. That perception even the great Speedway has been powerless to control.
      Editor’s Note: You need to edumacate yourself, son. Did not say the landscape could be changed by Kirby and Knight. My point, which obviously eluded your grasp/prejudice, was that I thought it amazing that two former cart employees who have spent the past seventeen years torching anything even remotely connected to the IMS-led IndyCar Series actually wrote something complimentary about the series. If those two pundits, now writing on a web page near you, can turn their thinking around, why can’t anyone? I have no ‘cart-centric hate.’ I simply do not care about it. It has not existed for many years. I enjoyed the product they had, but they killed themselves. Twice. So orient yourself in the here and now. I understand you believe ratings and attendance suck. So do your friends. Be thankful that won’t lead to a cart-like collapse.

      Comment by Goron Liddy — June 4, 2013 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Defender:

    While I am encouraged that fellow CART-centric “idiots” Kirby and Knight express enthusiasm about the future of the series under Miles, we cannot escape the fact that our broadcast ‘partners’ at ABC/ESPN continue to televise the 500 and a few other races on regular TV, presumably compensating the series for the rights, yet there is nary a word about the events on the ESPN scroll, even though ESPN can scroll meaningless stats about ladies college softball, etc….if this is the best treatment that the series can expect with ABC/ESPN, then the series profile will continue to suffer…and what about increasing the profile of the drivers? I watched the NASCAR race from Dover on Fox and commercial after commercial featured colorless and humorless and just plain ugly NASCAR drivers like Kyle Bush, who is an alien…. I know that NBC Sports has some series called ‘Indy 36’ where the cameras follow our colorless and humorless drivers but this is way too little exposure to bring more fans into the tent….now, one of the biggest obstacles to expanding the series, including the addition of your beloved ovals, remains the excessive ‘sanctioning’ fee that Indy car charges tracks and promoters to bring the circus to town…when your fan base continues to shrink and your broadcast partner submarines your exposure on TV, would it not benefit the series to self-promote some events, especially in NASCAR country where the tin tops are also experiencing a decline (the stands at Dover looked pretty empty on TV) and expand the series’ reach across the country? If the series would start right after the Super Bowl, in advance of the Daytona 500, and run through Labor Day, you could add Phoenix, another race in Florida such as Homestead, and get the ovals that the series desperately needs during the lead up to the Indy 500…just some thoughts from a fan who spends $$$ to travel to events and has followed and will continue to support the series even if TG and his cronies are still waiting the wings to re-assume control in the near future….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — June 4, 2013 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  3. The following was posted at one of the IndyCar hate sites by longtime schitzo RealRaceFan. Yep, you are right, for a group that despises they sure do keep up don’t they. “I’m so pleased to see the state of the IRHellivent… My heart is skipping beats as I’m so excited to know that this slowly sinking ship of fools is close to tearing itself apart on a giant iceberg of falling ratings and a mounting pile of debt. I’m loving each and every second of this slow agonizing death march to oblivion. I relish watching every twist of the knife as its plunged ever deeper into the collective backsides of the Hulman George Klan! Not being a proponent of abortion… I do, however, wish that FTG’s skank hoe mother had pulled the trigger on this one!vThe final script has not been written for the IRHell, but it’s damn near perfect what’s happening so far this year! I have a thermonuclear hatred for every minute aspect of this dog and pony show and I’m going to leap for joy when the curtain finally draws to a close…. Stage is Dark… FTG is 6 feet under! What could possibly be better than that for long suffering fans of REAL North American Openwheel Racing! FTG bitches… FTG”—–RealRaceFan

    Editor’s Note: And that, my friends, is what willful mental retardation looks like. My guess is that the majority of participants on such sites are probably teenagers and/or were not even born in 1996. They inherited a prejudice that looks goofier by the day. None of their epithets are relevant, timely, or logical. They spew bile because they have not bothered to educate themselves. The handful of so called adults that frequent such sites is dwindling, victims of their own Darwinian natural progression. The good news is that in reality most follow the sport rabidly. The bad news is they have not evolved beyond the 4th grade in terms of intellect or maturity. The one thing on which we can all count is that their prediction percentage is nearly 100% incorrect. My advice: Ignore them. Eventually scabs heal. If they keep getting picked at, it takes longer. They are not relevant enough to be cancerous.

    Comment by Harry Sachs — June 5, 2013 @ 3:23 am | Reply

    • if his heart is skipping beats now, realracefan must have had a heart attack from how fast cart killed itself. twice.

      Comment by thanksforpaying attention — June 5, 2013 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

      • Yes, CART killed itself twice…at the brutal and inhuman hands of TG and his cabal of butchers…TG and his failed vision, which included 25/8 and bringing his hammer to work everyday, has led to Indy Car’s virtual disappearance from the broader national sports scene…face it, we have become a fringe sport that can’t even crack ESPN’s scroll that is filled with other fringe sports such as soccer, ladies’ college softball and my favorite, the WNBA and the Ladies Final Four…good grief, look at far we’ve fallen….I hope that boot-licker nation is satisfied with the results…
        Editor’s Note: Neil, are you channeling TroyM today? ‘Bootlicker nation?’ Really? What cart did it did to itself. Tony started the IRL as a complementary series to cart with no intention to even run on the same weeks. The gigantic egos of the idiots running cart could simply not handle it. The result was a combination scorching of the earth and juvenile temper tantrum. AND they boycotted Indy and tried to run a competing event featuring ‘cars and stars’ who piled them up on the first lap. If that wasn’t enough they decided to try and wave their dicks around in Texas and failed miserably there too. Remember ‘Cowards Aren’t Racing Today?’ That group has done more to alienate fans than any other organized sports entity in history. I still find it amusing that on the one hand you people think Tony George is an imbecile incapable of even basic speech, and on the other he is a dastardly mastermind. Here’s a news flash. cart was not nearly as popular as the hype machine perceived it, and IndyCar is not in as bad a shape as its critics position it. The entire world has changed since 1996. That water under the bridge no longer matters, and the sooner the handful of you get past the whacko logic the better off all fans will be.

        Comment by Neil Rubin — June 5, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

      • Dear Defender: We will always bring up the past because the mistakes of yesterday have resulted in the mess where we find ourselves today…and TG and his cabal of kiss ass lackeys remains waiting in the wings to re-assume control of the series’ management and we must guard against this ever taking place….
        Editor’s Note: In a perfect world I would appoint Tony George to run IMS and limit it to that. The family and employees doing that now are doing a horrible job. I believe that was a job for which Tony was born. I am liking the professional business approach Mark Miles is taking. If I can turn on SportsCenter any given day and hear stories about tennis, you know the guy has laid some great groundwork. The next few years should be interesting.

        you can convince yourself that the greatness of TG’s failed vision led to CART’s demise
        Editor’s Note: The ‘vision’ did not cause cart’s demise. cart caused cart’s demise all by themselves. Twice.

        but never lose sight of the fact that the Indy 500 calls the tune in American Open Wheel racing and CART’s sponsors simply could not justify the expense without having their names flashed on ABC during the 500 telecast. You can also convince yourself that TG started the IRL as ‘complementary’ series even though he admittedly brought his hammer to work everyday, presumably to make much needed repairs to the IMS physical plant. The IRL was a joke of a series that held the most important event on the calendar and the Indy 500’s irresistible force compelled both CART’s top sponsors and eventually its top teams to leave the series and join TG’s ship of fools, plain and simple…
        Editor’s Note: As previously stated, I am gratified a group with actual brains (sponsors forced outside by the sheer stupidity of cart) inspired them to do the right thing.

        Comment by Neil Rubin — June 6, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

  4. Going for new speed records at Indy. Technology improvements at least though aerokits. If they carry though with this it will be the first real positive changes I have seen in quite a while from Indycar. Speed and technology is what has always separated Indy car from its cousin in Nascar. Anything that moves in some fashion away from spec rating will attract fans, including some Nascar fans. Just watch.

    Comment by Bob F. — June 5, 2013 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  5. yeah, what disciple said. if a pile of dog dung is more intelligent than tg as what’s been yelped since 1996 then it didn’t take much to bring that failure down now, did it? if it were so successful why didn’t it survive? piss poor management and greed. i know, i followed it from 1979 till the end. i spent far more money on cart than the irl. i watched it shoot itself to death. that was painful and embarrassing. especially both times when it put itself out of its misery. if anyone killed the sport it was them. and the fact that everyone with a name retired.

    Comment by thanksforpaying attention — June 5, 2013 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

    • Dear Thanks For Paying Attention:

      That’s bullshit that CART only had itself to blame for its demise…TG held all the cards with the Indy 500 and none of the other events ever mattered, even today, the biggest draw for sponsors remains the 500…
      Editor’s Note: I’m happy you recognize the 500 is the center of the sport. Many cart apologists still refuse to acknowledge that. If it’s true (and anyone with a brain knows it is) why on earth would cart have chosen to boycott it? Talk about stupid. Even with 25/8 they could have waltzed in there with equipment they already had and put the IRL out of business after three races. But when ego and arrogance get in the way of judgement the end result is the type of failure they DID TO THEMSELVES.

      sure, CART hung on for a few years after TG ill advised decision to start the IRL to profile his “has been and never were starts” like Billy Boat, Dismore, Richie Hearn, Elieseo Salazar and Greg Ray…after a few years, sponsors started to notice that the $$$ they spent on CART did not include exposure at the 500 and this sealed CART’s fate…why in the world would Penske, Ganassi and even Andretti bolt for the substandard IRL and its cookie cutter 1.5 ovals and normally aspirated engines and lousy drivers? Because Marlboro, Target and other big sponsors demanded exposure on the Sunday before Memorial Day…
      Editor’s Note: So it took sponsors to jar the cart boycotters out of their arrogance-driven snit. Not common sense. What happened? They killed themselves. Twice.

      just imagine if CART held the rights to the Indy 500 and some fool like TG wanted to start a competing series that featured all American racers and only oval events….how long would that pile of dung lasted without the exposure of the Crown Jewel of American Open Wheel racing?\
      Editor’s Note: I would never spend even a second pondering that type of what if. Why? It would never happen. Again, it’s all about Indy.

      It’s no wonder that almost immediately after Penske, Ganassi and Andretti moved to the IRL that their teams and drivers started to dominate and crowd out the IRL’s original crop of drivers…come to think of it, Penske (’06), Ganassi (’03, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11) and Andretti (’04, ’05, ’07, ’12) have won every IRL title since moving over from CART…talk about utter and complete domination by a group of plunderers and invaders….
      Editor’s Note: It’s about time they grew collective brains. The arrogance is still intact, however. Many of the apologists are demanding their boycott-era records be counted as official IndyCar statistics. I say hell no. This season must be driving the ‘cart was/is superior’ crowd nuts. Penske and Ganassi have not sniffed a win, and the number of first time winners is high. Even Sato for Foyt! If you are a racing fan, cart no longer matters except nostalgia. It’s IndyCar….as it always should have been. I forgive cart for it’s collective stupidity, but I still have a hard time forgetting the damage they did to the sport.

      Comment by Neil Rubin — June 6, 2013 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

      • Dear Defender: You are truly insane…did you train with the Taliban over in the Middle East because your unwavering love and support of TG and his failed vision remains extraordinary…
        Editor’s Note: Neil, you probably ought to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. A) Where do you get ‘unwavering love and support?’ I enjoyed the IRL years and believe cart forfeited their right to exist simply because of their boycott and earth scorching, but I also tremendously enjoyed the period of time cart ran the whole sport legitimately, and in person for twenty years before cart was even a Dan Gurney wet dream. B) ‘Failed vision?’ Excuse me? cart killed itself, twice, and IndyCar ultimately picked up their remnants in a glorified asset sale, then mercy humped the corpse by calling it a ‘merger.’ LOL.

        in my experience, there are two kinds of fanatical fans that you cannot reason with or find common ground, NY Jet fans and Florida Gator fans…and now these two groups of rabid and militant fans are joined by the Defender and his extreme views…you are very similar to the Terminator character popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger and will never cease in your hatred of CART and its followers even after the unification or merger or whatever you want to call it….
        Editor’s Note: Again with the reading comprehension…I did not hate cart. I despised the arrogance of its management, however, and squarely blame them for setting the sport back.

        I am very curious to watch this season play out as a Penske (Helio), a Ganassi (Dixon) and an Andretti driver are all in the top four in points and yes, these were the top teams in CART who came over to dominate the little troll teams which blindly supported TG…so much for your beloved backmarker IRL teams….LOL….lest we forget what Montoya did to the Indy 500 field his first time out in an IRL ride…or what Helio did the following year…or how Helio and CART stalwart Paul Tracy upended the establishment during the 2002 race…shall I continue?
        Editor’s Note: Why? Are we supposed to be waving our dicks around? Or is your insecurity about the gang that killed themselves, twice, rearing its ugly head again? cart has been gone so long that those tenuous links to what it was now reek of pathetic desperation. I’m happy they are competing under the IndyCar banner as they should have all along, or at least since their ‘leadership’ lemming-jumped all of them off cliffs. Twice. And no one has ever been able to intelligently answer my oft-stated query that asks if these guys were all that how could their series have possibly failed not once, but twice? Look. Based on the hysterical screeching of cart fanatics my observation is this. Those who continuously pine for that particular decomposed corpse are more necrophiliac than racing fan. Which is a shame. Not to mention it makes those spouting such irrational jibberish look like fourth graders. So enjoy what we have and work toward making it better in the future. Nothing can be done about the past. It’s time to join the rest of us here in the current century.

        Comment by Neil Rubin — June 7, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

      • Dear Defender/Terminator:

        We can hurl insults and call each other names from here to eternity but the fact remains that the TV audiences and lives spectators who came out to support American Open Wheel before the split are not coming back and our core of loyal die-hard fans are dwindling with age by the day….sad but true….I am 44 this month and not getting any younger and Generation Y, Z and the Millenials are not interested in motor racing but extreme sports like motocross and that junk on ESPN X-Games…and you? You’ve got to be middle aged and part of the older generation that I watched struggle with hiking up ramps and narrow staircases at IMS…perhaps Miles and the brain trust should start offering us knee replacements along with our tix to future events since the younger demographic has little if any interest in this series. Enjoy Texas this evening and we can continue the debate and argue whether TG is a village idiot like Geo. W Bush or just an arrogant businessman in the model of Donald Trump….

        Comment by Neil Rubin — June 8, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  6. if only they’d given tg a voice on the board. we wouldn’t be having this discussion today. it really is all about indy.

    Comment by thanksforpaying attention — June 7, 2013 @ 2:39 am | Reply

    • Maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t CART suffer the same fate as leisure suits? Those things happen to bad ideas.

      Comment by Spreadoption — June 10, 2013 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

      • Gee, SpreadOption, you are a funny one…I guess you’ll write the same dumb ass remark when the whole damn series folds for lack of interest…did you not see the empty stands at Texas on Saturday night? Did you not read about the abysmal TV ratings for what was an excellent Indy 500…what about the fact that the Hulman-George family has turned off the cash flow to the series? When Indy Car ceases operations in a few years when the sponsors dry up you can say that Indy Car went the way of leisure suits…those things happen when you have stupid ideas like bringing your hammer to work everyday and implementing rules like 25/8….and hiring Gene Simmons to sing your theme song, and sell the TV rights to Versus, etc…..

        Comment by Neil Rubin — June 10, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  7. “When Indy Car ceases operations in a few years” I laugh.
    Editor’s Note: Me too.

    Comment by spreadoption — June 14, 2013 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  8. Looking forward to the Indy Car series death. Makes Indy 500 a stand alone event again and maybe the return of USAC/Cart type rules again. Spec racing is for idiots.
    Editor’s Note: We’ve all heard ‘Indy Car series death’ for seventeen years. With each passing one you kids look even more stupid.

    Comment by oldwrench — June 20, 2013 @ 2:01 am | Reply

    • The editor needs to take a look a failure. Its right in front of him. Its been failure since 1997. Or has that escaped your intelligence? The only stupid one is your comments. You might try offering a valid argument rather than insults. It only lowers you opinion in the eyes of others, dimwit.
      Editor’s Note: 1997 through 2013. That seems like an awfully long time to constitute failure. I am certain your measurement criteria is subjective and probably compared to the utopia you believed existed before cart killed itself and actually did fail. Twice.

      Comment by oldwrench — June 20, 2013 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

      • Cart killed itself because it could. Greedy owners and outrageous costs sent Cart to its end. It deserved to die. The IRL never took hold and still hasn’t. People don’t wish to see a top tiered sport as a “spec” series. If they did the NFL fans wouldn’t have noticed during the strikes. Bottom line…..this isn’t going anywhere and it won’t until considerable thought has been given to both the fan base and the competitors operating costs & equipment choices. Both can be remedied, but it is not going to happen under present management. The primary concern here is about who controls Indy Car. And with that money stays in peoples pockets and TV sets remain turned off.

        Comment by oldwrench — June 20, 2013 @ 11:16 pm


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