Defender of IndyCar

IndyCar Post-Sonoma: Let’s Enjoy Some More Needless Controversy and Subversive Behavior

Bitter old manMike 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.

Drive throughHull 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.

Dick moveI 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?

9 replies to “IndyCar Post-Sonoma: Let’s Enjoy Some More Needless Controversy and Subversive Behavior

  1. What I get out of this: Everything is still CART’s fault 5 years after it died for the second time. Even all the decisions IMS makes about the series it has controlled for half a decade.
    Editor’s Note: Amagione my surprise. LOL.

    1. 1979 would have been great too. Somehow though, I doubt IMS wanted in the boat. They had theirs and wouldn’t share. It is too bad that all parties didn’t realize the mutual benefits of cooperation and have a true feeling for what all sides added to the history and the bottom line.

      Do you think IMS is truly capable of running a series? It seems they have no clue and flail about trying to hire the right leader but have no feel for what the leader should offer. Auto racing is a unique sport and sometimes mainline sports people don’t seem to understand it.

      First thing I would say they need to remember is they have to keep the emphasis on “auto” in auto racing. It was the car that pioneered racing and the track at IMS. With dictated spec cars that are around way past their born-on date, the allure of ‘autos’ is wiped clean. Get some advanced creative cars and you might find the sport recovering. Might. And if anyone says who is going to pay for it, I would say the entire sport is paying for the lack of autos in auto racing. The longer it stays spec and uncreative, the more it will wither. What does that cost?
      Editor’s Note: ‘They had theirs and wouldn’t share.’ Why would they have wanted to, particularly given the self-serving nature of those who wanted bigger pieces? ‘Do you think IMS is truly capable of running a series?’ No. But the people they hire are. If just one of them can figure out a way to effectively deal with owners we may have something. I like auto package creativity as much as the next guy. I’m all for it. More importantly I believe IndyCar needs to figure out a way to market itself with a NASCAR level of fervor.

  2. Aside from the self aggrandizement of all things Gannasi and the unsourced crack about an owner going sporty car racing ( which is what most of these guys want to do anyway, since they can’t be in F1), I thought the most interesting thing was he admitted that the owners, drivers, sponsors and the general hangeroners, in the pits ( or should I say paddock ) recognize that the product that they are offering is failing. They see it right in front of their own eyes and still refuse to do anything other than offer up more of the same failing ideas. It’s Tuesday afternoon and not even a hint at what the overnights were. Is it possible we got an 0.04 ??

  3. One of the big problems with Indy racing and some other series is the over use of gimmicks. I do not understand the requirement in Indy (and F1) of using 2 tire compounds during a race. Why can’t the teams use the tires they want from the manufacturers they want? It does not make sense. Also the cars have become just spec cars with a little tweeking allowed. Why not encourage diversity by limiting the number of teams a chassis manufacturer can supply to, say, 2 teams? Sure Penske and Ganassi would get the Dalara, but why not some competition. Also, make the cars true open wheel, not semi – enclosed as the DW-12 is. Ban all body work in front of and behind the tires. (except for safety bars, etc.)

    What happened to the “Foyt Trophy”? Looks like it’s not as important as the “Andretti Trophy”. In fact, I don’t think they have been mentioned on TV all year!

    Indy racing has to go back to it’s roots….start playing football instead of pretending it’s a soccer league!

    Diversity: 1/3 paved ovals, 1/3 road/street (cut the street races to Long Beach and one other) /airport (remember those? they’re all gone now! Races such as Burke Lakefront were far more interesting than most of the street races), 1/3 dirt ovals (well, maybe, that might be too radical, if no dirt ovals then 1/2 split.) Separately run divisions run by the folks that specialize in them. All races count for the National Championship.

    again, Defender,.. I think Indy races should be run after Labor Day….just avoid NFL Sunday times…..use Friday or Saturday nights at least through October ( i.e. ovals under the lights…Indy should be able to compete with college football which seems to be on about 150 channels so that audience is pretty scattered… the real competition might come from the baseball playoffs…..but if those games are dull or involve teams that people in other cities don’t care about then maybe more fans would tune into the races…

  4. A schedule that might work would be: the road division starts in February with St. Pete , Long Beach and Barber and one other until April and then start the oval division with one race before Indy. Between June and August the divisions could alternate with the road division closing the year with Sonoma in late August. The oval division would then run night races in September and October.

  5. Has anyone figured out that Indy Car will only 9 people shortly. Six to carry the casket, two for road guards & one to call cadence. Turn it over because its almost done.

  6. To Mike Hull: This was about as easy of a decision for race control to make as there ever was. If your car is in another team’s pitbox and you hit a crew member of that team, then it’s your fault for being in the opponent’s pitbox. No gray area there.

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