Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 13, 2013

Additional Free Consulting For IndyCar and IMS

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 4:23 pm

Fishers idea….because I care and want my great grandchildren to be able to watch.  As IndyCar limps to the end of a discombobulated season with a 500 mile race on an increasingly rare oval that should be absolutely great, it is in the best interests of everyone interested in the sport to look ahead. Mark Miles has been in office for a year but about the only thing we have seen or heard is jargon-filled rhetoric about all the good things that are going to happen in the future. Most fans crave something more substantive right now.

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Boles and crew are busy spending taxpayer money rejiggering an infield road course most have universally panned since it was installed in preparation for a road race in freaking May at Indy.

Do the folks running the show have the ability or willingness to think really, REALLY big? Carl Fisher was a classic dreamer, and one of the current IMS sound bites trumpets the fact that Fisher dreamt of a road course. Never mind It was envisioned inside a 3 mile oval or that he realized a saturation of races was a bad idea but a huge main event was a great idea and that is how the 500 was born. Dreamers these days are very scarce. People who count beans and take the most conservative possible approaches are a dime a dozen and it shows.

Clean er upThe following is an example of thinking big. Folks who love the Speedway, respect its history and ground themselves in reality see immense potential. The west side of Indianapolis excluding some parts of Speedway has become a decrepit, dilapidated shell of its former self. Much of the region is a Section 8 haven in which crime is rampant and police calls plentiful. 38th Street from 465 to Kessler is a ghost town ghetto with relics of once vibrant businesses long departed. Lafayette Square was once the nicest place in the city to shop. Today it is the best place to get shot in the face for no apparent reason. The outstanding efforts of those gentrifying Speedway aside, the west side of the city is largely forgotten. That means the value of real estate and land has plummeted. That creates opportunity for visionaries.

Indianapolis has touted itself for years as the amateur sports capital of the world. The city has played host to a Super Bowl, several NCAA basketball tournament events and countless other venues. The pro sports teams are big draws. Indianapolis gets rave reviews from those who visit for such events.

Why notFans have heard for decades how great a dedicated 50 year partnership between Disney-owned ABC and IMS is (never mind that outside May the corporate parent forgets IndyCar exists and the coverage they offer is substandard in almost every way). If the love fest is actually mutual and not the kind of shallow lip service jive to which racing fans have become accustomed why not meaningfully leverage it? The Disney parent operates and continuously reinvents the two most popular destination resorts in the history of the world on both coasts. The location of DisneyLand in Anaheim surprised many people in the 50s because Walt plopped it into the same sort of run down third world-type vicinity that has now consumed the west side of Indianapolis.

The solution is not a third mid-continent Disney World (although that might be fun) but a destination resort that features sports as its theme and IMS as the centerpiece. It is my belief that NO ONE involved Magic Kingdomin the sport today is capable of reinventing it and making it appealing to succeeding generations. The folks at Disney could. Brand it more ESPN than Disney but make it a must visit year round destination.

The opportunity seems limitless. Plentiful land that is dirt cheap and an opportunity for meaningful gentrification. IMS needs that type of investment and neither the city nor the track seems capable of the necessary vision. It might even be a great idea to consider selling a large share of the track and the series to Disney. 100K and change can only go so far at IMS, and outside the Speedway revitalization efforts the west side is likely to continue its regression toward Detroit-like status. Comparison of what IMS has done since the 90s to what Disney has done since the 90s is startling.

If the brand of IndyCar is to be effectively re-invented an entity that knows how to do that is required. The only thing the current braintrust seems able to do is repeat past mistakes the resulted in failure. Enough is enough. Think big then do something about it.



  1. How can one reinvent a sport when its owners constantly pushes away both fan and competitor? The failing of Speedway, Indiana rests with all. Failure to support laws that protect its residents as well as businesses. Same applies to the folks that own that dog & pony show at 16th & Georgetown Road. When they decide that the idea Tony Hulman put in place back when he first purchased the place is the correct business model again, people will return. Failure to respect ones customers and its suppliers (racers) only send ones business elsewhere. That is simply bad business and no one can or will support arrogance or stupidity! Its owners lack character simply because they are more concerned with an agenda than a successful business model. Time has shown that over the last 17 years.

    Comment by oldwrench — October 13, 2013 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  2. Disney already has such a destination. It’s called the “ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex” at Walt Disney World, and Disney makes enormous sums of money by forcing organizations who wish to use it to pay exorbitant license fees and requiring hotel/theme park ticket purchases as part of participating. Pop Warner teams (for example) have been bitching for years, but since management w/the organization gets a cut, they’ll keep going. Even if you want to give half the city to Disney, there’s not gonna be an ounce of interest. There’s nothing there for them.
    Editor’s Note: Where Does Indy sign up?

    Comment by trap lord — October 13, 2013 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

    • IMS can try it on their own. But Disney isn’t going to compete with themselves.
      Editor’s Note: Seemingly elusive point: IMS is not capable of doing it themselves. I would at least try to leverage what is supposed to be a good relationship with Disney. If that does not work go to Universal (NBC). Thinking out of the box.

      Comment by trap lord — October 14, 2013 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  3. Also – Disneyland wasn’t built in the middle of sprawl hell. The development came afterwards. In fact, the development coming to Disneyland was what convinced Walt that when he did it again, he needed to buy so much land that no one could infringe on his creation. Walt Disney World was effectively conceived.
    Editor’s Note: When Disneyland went up in the early 50s the immediate area was surrounded by flophouses and run down areas. Residents of Southern California were initially skeptical it would work. They discovered it was not like any other amusement park and the rest is history.

    Comment by trap lord — October 13, 2013 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

    • Here’s a picture of Disneyland, circa 1956: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Disneyland_aerial_view_in_1956.jpg
      Just like Indycar fans disguise themselves as bleachers, those flop houses disguised themselves as orange groves and berry farms, apparently. Hot tip: stick to things you can at least pretend to have knowledge about, like FM music programming or something.
      Editor’s Note: My source is Disney funded content aired on Discovery’s Destination America. Take it up with them. I was born but just barely then. Also, way to be a dick. You got the superfluous talking points in: IndyCar slam, Defender slam. Grow up.

      Comment by trap lord — October 14, 2013 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  4. As strange as it may sound, ABC may actually NEED IndyCar come 2015. Consider that they are losing ALL of their NASCAR programming to NBC. If there was EVER an opportunity for some forward thinking between IMS and Disney, this would seem to be the time. Of course, from the IMS point of view, you would need to make Disney a sufficiently significant partner that they would have no choice but to take a more active (and interested) role in IndyCar. At the very least, it’s safe to say that the Disney folks would ensure that a lot of the regular maintenance issues around IMS would be taken care of and RIGHT F*****G NOW!. (Never been to a Disney property with crappy restrooms or crumbling asphalt parking lots.)

    Involvement of Disney has a second advantage: It guarantees inclusion of kids, the next generation of fans to replace those of us who are, to say it gently, long in the tooth.

    Comment by SkipinSC — October 14, 2013 @ 2:06 am | Reply

  5. IndyWorld. I like it.

    Comment by redcar — October 14, 2013 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  6. Jesus. A + for creativity. But just like yourhot date w Jenny Aniston, it aint gone happen. Theres a guy in Florida selling Tarps could ude your expertise.
    Editor’s Note: ‘Ude?’ Have another drink.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — October 14, 2013 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, I will. Doesnt change the fact that your league is fallng apart. Bye Honda.
      Editor’s Note: Get back to me when they have a Robert Clarke smoke coming out his ears moment after cart f@#$ed ’em in Toronto back in the day. Of course many of the same people are now involved in the f@#$ing today so who knows. Drink up, Mr. Literacy.

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — October 15, 2013 @ 7:08 am | Reply

  7. Another road race. I guess that’s one more Sunday I can spend napping.

    Comment by spreadoption — October 17, 2013 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  8. Whenever Defender gets his ass handed to him, he makes a comment about drinking. Wo, so original. So how about this new condensed schedule for 14? Laughingstock of the racing world. Street races, no title sponsors, no international stuff. Doubleheaders…..
    Editor’s Note: Apologies. I am busy out here at Fontana where I am going to enjoy the final race of the season. Schedule is fine….I like that there are no big gaps and no trips off the continent in the middle of the season. They need to add some more ovals. As for the drinking, I call ’em as I see ’em. Speaking of laughingstocks, when is the 2014 cart schedule being announced. Oh. That’s right. Never mind. I saw a couple of cart idiots at the track wearing old Havoline, FedEx, etc., shirts. I complimented them on their nostalgic wear. They were offended. LOL.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — October 18, 2013 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

    • Oh, my bad, its all CARTs fault! You guys swallow anything those knuckleheads on 16th street spew out. Looks a little “condensed” for big league racing. And on that personal level, you have met me I believe 3 times in the last 10 years. So, call em like you see em? Tsk tsk.
      Editor’s Note: Your illiteracy, defensiveness, taunting and other juvenile behavior may come naturally, but is obviously enhanced by substance abuse.

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — October 19, 2013 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

    • You should be so proud of yourself for offending a couple of fans at the race. Perhaps they won’t bother to show up next year since they were harassed by one of the hardcore fans. Way to grow the sport and influence people. Oh wait, you don’t need those people anyways, right?
      Editor’s Note: Way to stay on topic kid. Grow up.

      Comment by TroyM — October 19, 2013 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

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