Mike Hull of Target Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the most respected people in the IndyCar paddock and has been for years. His track record of success with multiple drivers speaks for itself. Immediately following the most recent IndyCar event at Sonoma in which Scott Dixon was penalized for sending two Penske crew members airborne while leaving the pits he remained the epitome of cool, collected and professional even on national television.
That all changed Monday. Hull appeared on a local Indianapolis radio show and proved why it is never wise to trust anyone with his lineage. It was bad enough he insinuated Penske crewmembers took a flop to draw a penalty and were acting in a manner he felt was less than above board. I get the gamesmanship. I even get criticism of race officiating. That would occur even if Jesus Christ made a second coming and decided to take over Barfield’s job. Harping and petty sniping from teams will always occur. It is the other subversive nonsense the sport can do without.
Hull was mentioning that he was getting ‘a ton’ of calls and e-mails from all over the world from people inside and outside of racing that watched what had happened. That is pretty amazing considering later in the very same interview he also claimed no one ever watches because the series is not popular. Oh yeah, and by the way his answer to the perceived malaise is more street racing. Oh yeah, and by the way sports car racing is going to explode in popularity over the next few years based mostly on OEM support.
Keep in mind this is the leader of a team that chose the exact wrong approach when the IRL was founded, and only slithered back once they understood their preferred series was unsustainable. Hull’s behavior on the radio so closely resembled the behavior of an average bitter squatting crapper that it was palpable. He even whipped out one of their tried and true tactics when he mentioned a former IndyCar team owner, nameless of course, who indicated that based on what happened during the race he is going sports car racing and that he is over it. Face it, if there is such a supposed owner and an official’s call during the race is the reason he won’t race IndyCars in the future then the sport is far better off without him.
I would like to hope Mark Miles looks at a far bigger picture than some in the paddock try to paint, but based on his selection so far of entrenched mutineers to guide direction how can anyone be optimistic? If Mark Miles listened to all of the necessary constituents he would have a much broader point of view.
There are better basic approaches. If NBCSN is such a great partner why don’t they feature IndyCar content prominently on their website? It was not until late Monday that anything showed up on the main page. IndyCar has suffered through bastard stepchild status on ESPN for decades now and IndyCar has been completely incapable of inspiring change.
My latest idea to ensure schedule balance and make it work: Mandate, by decree, that there will ALWAYS be an equal number of ovals and non-ovals. The owners can have as many non-ovals as they wish, but there must be an EQUAL number of ovals on the schedule. In other words if owners ensure the number of ovals is cut to, say, Indy and Iowa, then we will only have a four race schedule—they can pick the two non-ovals. If owners want 12 non-oval events, then we must have a 24 race schedule, and 12 will be ovals. Write it into the rule book. If they do not like it they can go sports car racing, which according to Hull, is going to explode in popularity.
Can you imagine how great IndyCar might be if all participants ever decided to row the boat in the same direction?