Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

August 23, 2013

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Is On The Verge Of One Of The Most Ill Advised Decisions In Their Entire 104-Year History

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 7:16 pm

Bend overThe big news this week involves road course testing at IMS for IndyCars in preparation for an act of desperation next May (a bad idea) and a possible ‘winter’ schedule for the IndyCars outside the United States (potentially great idea). We will tackle the winter schedule idea first. Why might it be a potentially great idea when prior attempts by a variety of series have failed? It all depends on how it structured. Derrick Walker’s notion that it would enhance the cash flow of teams that are idled for nearly half the year and thus keep teams busy (and presumably team members employed) all year has merit.

Running races across oceans would also facilitate and enable the shockingly obvious formula one-abee fantasies most of the owners and drivers espouse because probably 100% of the events would be either on road or temporary circuits in areas where that type of racing is actually popular. The notion of a winter championship might also carry potential for renewed interest by racing fans here and abroad.

The big ‘if’ is how it gets funded. Snagging a large corporate backer seems unlikely, and soaking local and regional governments for funding rarely lasts more than a year or two after they figure out they are more often victim than partner. The cost of travel becomes important when dealing with far flung locales. It is quite expensive to move cars, equipment and infrastructure across oceans.

The other question is when would such a schedule take place? In a perfect scheduling world, the IndyCar Series would run a 20-race event schedule domestically.  It would begin BEFORE the Daytona 500 (but after the Super Bowl) and end by Labor Day (completely avoiding the NFL). That is about thirty weeks. That leaves another twenty or so for offshore excursions. Winter weather for three months would be very iffy and warm weather sites would need to be selected. Logistically IndyCar would be lucky to squeeze 8 or 9 foreign races into the schedule given travel, holidays and weather.

Boog HanginWould the benefit outweigh the cost? Would it be profitable for teams? Who pays the freight? Smarter people than I can figure that out.

If the domestic schedule begins prior to Daytona, warm weather venues are absolutely necessary. And there would need to be SIX of them prior to May in Indy. The schedule needs TRUE balance and not Walker’s 67% non-oval imbalance. That means 10 ovals. Big ovals are Indy, Pocono and Fontana. Intermediate ovals would be Texas and either Kentucky or Chicagoland. Small ovals would be Iowa, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Memphis and Rockingham. Of the ten remaining venues five would be natural terrain road courses and five would be temporary circuits: Birmingham, Mid-Ohio, COTA, Watkins Glen, Sonoma, Long Beach, St. Pete, Detroit, Toronto and Baltimore. New IMS TicketTHAT is balance and there are plenty of alternate options for each type of circuit if scheduling or terms become problems.

One the most colossally bad ideas to come down the pike in a while is an idea hatched by complete outsiders with no real cognizance of the history of the 500, respect for its legacy or much less what it actually means today. That idea is an Indy road course race in May using Indy Cars. From a tangible standpoint it dilutes the May main event and probably will not generate much additional revenue. From an intangible standpoint it screws with mystique and slaps karma right across its face, and that seriously tempts fate. The last time something that brazen occurred was 1996 when the ‘stars n’ cars’ loudly hissed about how THEY and THEIR event were what was important that Memorial weekend in Michigan and not what was happening in Indianapolis. And then half the field of these ‘superior’ drivers drove right into the wall on the pace lap and the event was one and done. If history holds true many who are guiding decision making in 2013 retain the same combination of ignorance and arrogance that threatens the sport, and the floundering may continue. My prediction: A road course ‘race’ gets rubber-stamped by the IMS brass within a month and everybody basically says ‘f^(# the past 100 years . . . it’s just another track.’ Wonder when/if they start listening to ALL the fans? Looks like not in the lifetimes of anyone considered an ‘old timer.’ We all know they have to both think and act outside the box, but there are options that make sense and options that defy it. It is not difficult now to predict their course. Like any other real racing fan our only choice is rolling with the flow, but it feels more like biting a pillow considering the money many of us have spent there over the decades.



  1. A road course race can’t affect the traditions of IMS any more than adding a NASCAR race. Or even worse, a NATIONWIDE race. I’m okay with trying something as long as they alter the course to make for better racing. If they don’t change the track, the race will suck and no one will go.

    As far as a separate overseas schedule? I don’t understand it. If they’re going to race overseas, it should be part of the INDYCAR schedule. Otherwise, don’t do it. It’s once again–oval champ, twisty champ, total champ, standing start, double-wide start, double-header, drawing for positions, month of May, week and a half of May, single wide start, totally effed up starts, blocking/no blocking, push-to-pass, red tires/black tires, qualifying prelim races, fast six quals, 4 lap quals, 1 lap quals–too confusing.

    Comment by redcar — August 23, 2013 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  2. This means that we can now ignore this fiasco both in the summer and the winter. Neat…..can I get a ” I Ignore Indy Car ” t-shirt now? How much more of this foolishness are they going to throw at us? You can’t fill seats until you give people a product that they want. Sending it overseas only means the rest of the world will now ignore it. BRILLIANT!!!!

    Comment by oldwrench — August 24, 2013 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  3. It’s a little late to be worrying about IMS whoring itself out for quick cash. That ship sailed 20 years ago.

    As for a ‘winter’ season: This just treating the symptoms of a dying series. Palliative care at best, when they need to address why nobody goes to the races or watches them on TV.

    Comment by ferrovia — August 24, 2013 @ 5:49 am | Reply

  4. If I marry a future Marion County Judge can I come on here and spew bullshit and become a member of a website where I get to talk down about the very people that elect my wife?

    Comment by Long Dong George — August 25, 2013 @ 2:25 am | Reply

    • Certainly you can. That is what makes for good media. So I take it that your wife likes Indy Car? I guess she and the 8 other people that watch it or attend it can have a sewing circle that dedicates itself to tea, crumpets & crappy racing.

      Comment by oldwrench — August 25, 2013 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

      • “Crappy racing”? So what is your idea of not crappy racing? I would be really interested at what your answer is.

        Comment by Dan — August 25, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  5. Non crappy racing? Easy. Non spec cars, non spec engines, innovation, a rule book, a balance of both ovals and road courses (disciple has this totally correct), a wide array of drivers from all types of disciplines from all over the world, older cars vs newer, (technology relevant) engines of various design and fuel source, new track records & pole speeds, choice of any gearbox or power transmission systems. and the list goes on. We had that. Now we have “Crapwagon-The Next Generation”.Since the formation of “spec” racing most racing fans have turn their eyes to two forms of racing…Formula 1 or WEC (LeMans). They have all that and then some. Indy Car had it when USAC had a rule book. If you consider this great racing….enjoy it. But you won’t pry one thin dime from my hand (or the hands of others) for this ego driven, childish dog & pony show. I don’t support the wealthy unless I get what I want and that is in part stated above. Now if you will excuse me…..my steak is almost done and my drink needs to be refreshed.

    Comment by oldwrench — August 25, 2013 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

    • But some want to demean the very people that elect their spouse regardless of the racing. How do they get away with that?
      Editor’s Note: What kind of obtuse, off-topic crapper references are you kids attempting?

      Comment by Willey Fistergasche — August 25, 2013 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

  6. Using the Indy road course is a bad idea. To use it in the Month of May is insane. Its amazing how clueless they are.

    I would love for them to move any foreign races to the middle of the winter where they would not interfere with the summer schedule. Please do that.

    Never has a business gotten such bad advice for their money.

    Comment by Bob F. — August 26, 2013 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  7. This Indy road race is just what the series needs to kickstart the month of May. Yes, kickstart the 500, to the curb. I think this and the international winter series will place Indycar far ahead of it’s competitors in the race for the bottom. Bottoms up you oval lovers.
    Editor’s Note: As opposed to…a philosophy that is a twice-proven failure? Smart. LOL

    Comment by Goron Liddy — August 26, 2013 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  8. A road race at Indy in May…?!?!?! Can’t say I’m surprised. After all, 33 is just a number… 🙂

    Comment by AndrewC — September 2, 2013 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

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