Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

November 11, 2013

Mark Miles Transformation to P.T. Barnum…Making The Indy 500 a Circus

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 6:08 pm

Latest MicromanagerSometimes Mark Miles seems brilliant. Other times he seems distant from having the first clue about the most well-known race in the world and how it should be presented. He floated some ‘what ifs’ last weekend about spicing up qualifying. He is not the first to radically screw around with the format.

In golden days of yesteryear Pole Day at Indy meant an all-in roll of the dice. If you failed you had other 3 other days on which to muster a challenge. If you were unfortunate enough to have to sweat out bump day late your entire season could change in less than a few minutes. Grizzled veterans always swore qualifying for Indy was the single most nerve wracking, tense thing they did all year.

Nowadays qualifying is so filled with lowest common denominator gimmickry that it has become a fate-tempting joke. It will unfortunately take the hard way for them to learn when some unlucky driver pulls a Gordon Smiley on their sixth attempt of the weekend.

Miles proposes having all 33 spots filled on Saturday, but only provisionally. Drivers would have to go out again on Sunday to decide the back third of the field, with a ‘shootout’ for the pole among the top nine.

Those ideas may seem rock solid for some but racing fans, current and potential, are not as stupid as IMS believes they are. As always I advocate paying attention to things that made the event famous and use the timeless elements of successful approaches. Here are a few:

-No one would have to worry about any gimmicky or shootouts or nonsense if 50 or 60 cars were trying for 33 spots. Artificial chassis and engine supplies capped at 33 or 34 constitutes colossal stupidity. Make it easier and worthwhile for more people to try.

-Almost every fan on earth has decried spec racing. We love Honda and Chevy and Dallara and Firestone, but the old boy network could end up killing the sport.

-Loosen the rules enough to allow innovation that allows for safety AND speed. Captivate and convert. Micromanagement of competition has sucked the purity and spirit out of the sport.

-Re-invent IMS. Re-paving an ordinary, oft-chided road course is an ill-advised way to spend a lot of money, especially when the only area most visitors are allowed to go most days of the year is beginning to look like the after effects of a natural disaster. Fans need better, more comfortable places to sit. When that is not provided, tickets stop being sold.

Mr. Miles, increasing the popularity of the sport is not as difficult as you might imagine.



  1. If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now. Mark Miles and those who hired him are a disaster for this sport. This will never work. Why can’t they see that, as Joe Garagiola was fond of saying “what got you here will get you out of here” meaning stick with what made you great. Indy car keeps doing everything backwards.

    After having messed up the league itself, now its time to finish off IMS and the Indy 500.

    Tragedy is fast becoming farce in the world of what once was the greatest specacle in racing.

    Saturday basically becomes a farce and a waste of time. They are conceding that there will never be over 33-35 cars trying to qualify. Big mistake. They messed up Pole Day and qualifications with the bogus shootout. Does this just finish it off?

    I’ve attended Pole Day 29 times. Other days in qualifications numerous times. Not sure I can go this year if they do this. Trash tradition at your peril!

    Comment by Bob F. — November 11, 2013 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  2. Are engine suppliers really capped at 34-35? I thought that was the case only during the debut year when Honda, Chevrolet, and Lotus were scrambling to build enough engines to satisfy their customers. The design was new, and the three suppliers were antsy to hit the track undo the unproven r&d that existed at that point. Hasn’t that landscape changed? If there were suddenly 50 entries this year at Indy couldn’t Honda and Chevrolet adjust, if given a reasonable amount of time to build engines ? Or is it predetermined in a contract before the season even starts and the powers that be know exactly how many entries there will be say by… Early 2014 in January ? I had no idea production numbers were capped.

    Comment by Dan — November 12, 2013 @ 1:57 am | Reply

  3. Wow. Another blog post criticizing the hapless IRL. I will ask again: if it sucks as much as you say it does, why watch? They dont do anything you agree with, and it has become the laughingstock of the sporting world. Just face the truth Super D. Its not the thing it once was. Just quit and imagine how much better you will feel. :thumbsup:
    Editor’s Note: You might understand my point of view a bit more if you were A) an adult and B) were not intoxicated a lot of the time. It is not a black and white issue. There are shades of gray. I have over fifty years of fandom behind me and am not ready for the retarded brand of blanket rejection characteristic of you and your small handful of pals. Being mostly sober and an adult is that way.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — November 13, 2013 @ 4:13 am | Reply

    • Afraid to answer the actual question, right? Attack the poster, right? Deflection as a way to skirt the issues? Answer the quaetions please.
      Editor’s Note: Ask a legitimate question; get a legitimate answer. Your assumption is that I am critical of ‘everything’ Indy Car and IMS and therefore should hate it all. That is an incorrect assumption.

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — November 13, 2013 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

    • Deleting comments now? tsk tsk.
      Editor’s Note: Got paranoia? Keep your pants up. I usually have to fish this crap out of the spam folder for bad spelling and bad words and that’s tough enough. Not to mention my day job.

      Comment by youowemeabeerasshole — November 13, 2013 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  4. Editor’s Note: Seriously. What makes adult-appearing, squatting, obsessed supposed human beings from acting in such sub-human ways? I just do not get it.
    “…Sure seems like it, you fat, immature hangeroner. I’d like you to stick a tenderloin up your ass. Is that better? Oh, and go fuck yourself! You hate IRL, just admit it. It is what you wanted it to be, isn’t it? Why all the sour grapes then? Can’t you just buy your ticket, just like you always have, and go and enjoy it? This blog is full of your bullcrap about evolution, isn’t this just another glorious phase of it? Don’t tell me you are a hypocrite afterall, ok?….”
    Editor’s Note: Are they really as retarded as they appear in print or are these merely their desperate cries for help?

    Comment by The Mentally Retarded (A Couple of the Crappers Have Escaped) — November 13, 2013 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

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