Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

December 27, 2013

IndyCar’s Continuing Propensity to Embrace Failed Directions Remains Frustrating

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:57 pm

State of the SportIn many ways the sport of IndyCar racing is sort of like the building that stands at 1701 Gent Street in Indianapolis. In the pre-WWII era, the Roger Penske of the 30s and 40s was owner Mike Boyle. His primary driver was Wilbur Shaw. The Indianapolis Star ran a feature story earlier in the week about the state of neglect of that particular historical edifice in the sphere of Indy style racing. Recently, the roof caved in. No one seems to care save for a precious few who are respectful of history but not equipped in the wallet to do anything except mourn.

Tradition TramplerThat story is very sad and something terrible has been allowed to occur. Those of us with hope and optimism hope the Mark Miles-led IndyCar series does not allow its roof to cave in any time soon. Regarding Miles, he says a lot of upbeat things but his definitive actions seem limited to items that historically have been repeatedly proven to be failures:

-IndyCars road racing imbalance. Road racing series have always failed in America. So what does he do? Re-create an oft-chided road course and puts in a points-paying road ‘race’ to ‘invigorate’ May. That approach may work for those in denial of reality and ignorant of the history that got us through the first century successfully. The road racing imbalance is now at 70/30. A proven prescription for failure.

-He proposes changing qualifications to something that involves jumping through even more circus hoops although no specifics have been offered.

I have an idea: Establish a structure that allows for meaningful innovation, reasonable cost of entry, alternatives to crated engines and inclusion of more participants. Trying to create drama with 34 entrants has always been, and will continue to be, a joke. Those trying to manufacture excitement from that look stupid. Stop it already.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs long as Dario Franchitti is going to lament driving cars from the waning days of cart and referring to current IndyCars as ‘not lookers’ in Racer magazine I am going to remain convinced that the active, ongoing attempts to ‘cartisize’ IndyCar by most holdovers from the twice failed entity will result in yet more failure because it always has.

In a discussion about Mark Miles somewhere in the closed playpen that is trackforum many squatting road racing/formula enthusiasts allowed to browbeat there think and position IndyCar as having to be a primary open wheel provider for the rest of the world. Why? It makes no sense. Look at the large number of formula series in Europe and elsewhere.  The more IndyCar gets removed from America the less popular it will become domestically. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Who says this product must be delivered globally?  Who does it really help?  Why would Americans want to support something they are unable to watch in person, particularly when it is running on the other side of the globe?  I thought that was what F1 was for.

This ‘let’s take over the world’ mindset is rooted in the delusional fantasy which has allowed cart enthusiasts to rewrite history to support their utopian view of something they convinced themselves they had. That kind of mental illness ultimately did it in. Twice.

IndyCar must return to some oval roots and stop jacking around with other countries trying to get one-offs. ALL of them have ALWAYS failed. There are plenty of early year venues at which IndyCar can run domestically. Miles must first establish a dialog then negotiate reasonably. It appears neither of those things has occurred. The best course of action is rooted in history and lies right in front of them. We should all hope the current occupiers eventually choose to employ common sense.


December 19, 2013

The IndyCar Idiot Repository

Filed under: Pointless Arguing About Things That Happened More Than 10 Years Ago — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:40 pm

This will be the blog thread in which the comment section will contain any/all present and future contributions that:

A)    Crappers Have nothing to do with topics for which they were intended

B)     Are barely literate

C)     Emanate from hate site sub-species mouth breathers

It has become somewhat tedious mining the spam folder to pull something potentially worthwhile from that particular pile of garbage so be sure to bookmark this blog contribution for future use in the event you are inclined toward the behavior of a second grader. I am not one to inhibit free speech even if it is characterized by outright and willful retardation.

You’re welcome.

December 17, 2013

Indy Car Ratings and The Latest Attempt To Make 12+ Seem Important

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 8:03 pm

AndySome number crunching NASCAR enthusiast named Andrew Maness trotted out what looks like some sort of A+ school project on a website called ‘NASCARnomics’ and subsequently on trackforum that conclusively demonstrated IndyCar 12+ ratings have declined since 1996.

Big shocker there.

Mike Condre

Mike Condre

Allow me to say that it would be nice if people who went to Internet forums to type things put even half as much thought and effort into their analysis as this Andrew has. The Internet would be a far better place for discourse than it is now.  I am unsure how the gallery inside NASCAR forums interact when presented with such quality work because I never visit NASCAR forums. I simply do not care. Andrew goes by ASM on trackforum, and predictably he has been greeted in many cases by barely literate, often nonsense taunting that gets lost among the few intelligent comments allowed in. If authentic, knowledgeable IndyCar fans were allowed to post there (the schoolmarm hypocrisy of that particular failed potential site precludes it at the present time) an intelligent discussion might actually break out from time to time.

My only real questions might be why Sao Paulo and the Indianapolis 500 were excluded from the analysis. I understand excluding events interrupted by weather. I understand Motegi. It runs in the middle of the American night, although a case could be made for including the numbers for re-airs, even for delayed events. Does similar NASCAR analysis exclude the Daytona 500? Why 1996? Why not 2000? Or 1990? Or 1980? Or 2008?

As always, my biggest issue remains consistent. The only thing for which ANY analysis based on 12+ numbers is good is, essentially, waving genitalia around regardless of the degree of detail or presentation. It has no meaningful value in the world of television advertising sales, which the real reason ratings exist. I remain intrigued by the level of mostly subjective detail Andrew compiled. If I am to be impressed Andrew would have to give me the following:

-Analysis based on numbers agency buyers actually use to place ad deals. What he has offered is not that.Sliding Scale

-Consider the same demographic targets agency buyers do. 12+ is not that.

-Compare IndyCar numbers over his selected period or any other, say, five year period, with the vast majority of similarly positioned sports or entertainment entities with similar cable network/occasional OTA contracts.

-Analysis from the perspective of a buyer, who actually does base all buying decisions on multiple combinations of raw numbers. Just not the numbers trotted out on the Internet. One would have to consider things like daypart mix, CPP, HUTs, PUTs, etc. Again, Andrew’s analysis is not that.

It is easy to see a lot of what seems like backed into affirmation of things we already knew. Danica Patrick is kind of popular. Ovals are more popular than road courses. Cable networks with fewer household subscriptions or awkward provider channel positions draw fewer viewers than ESPN. Although there are points, they are based on numbers that do not mean anything in the actual commerce at which they hint.

Better try than most, though.

December 13, 2013

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and OPM

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

Drunken SailorsAmong off season IndyCar revelations this week were details on how some more of the 100 million tax dollars will be spent upgrading the grand old facility at 16th & Georgetown. One that has drawn a lot of commentary (which runs the gamut from approval to complete retardation based on perceptions borne of sheer ignorance) is the re-addition of the apron at the bottom of the track.

Its real intent, according to Doug Boles and crew, is to improve the quality of the racing for NASCAR at the Brickyard 400. For years that race been nothing more than a semi-fast parade with little of the type of action NASCAR fans are used to. Like many outsiders who do not ‘get’ Indy, IMS takes enough criticism from outside fans who complain about Cronieseverything from sightlines to the quality of what is on the track. As a result, attendance has plummeted for the Brickyard for most of the 2000s. Add to such criticism the incessant cackling of obsessed Euro-style open wheel enthusiasts who deride the road course and IMS finds itself in a no-win situation with some.

I say cut IMS some slack. Although moving at a mostly glacial pace current management is getting things done. The oft-maligned road course got a nice makeover, and additional viewing mounds (one of the better ways to watch the motorcycles) are in place. While this fan believes Formula 1 ought to race there every year and IndyCars should stick to the oval, breath will not be held until Mr. Eccelstone exhales for the final time and someone plants his Napoleonic, pompous small arse inside a golden shoebox.

Far CryIt is difficult to say which form of mostly insipid criticism is more meritless . . . the whining of NASCAR fans or the arrogant huffiness of the formula idiots. Logically the NASCAR crowd has valid points because they actually race there and would like to see the kind of action to which they are accustomed. That is the primary reason the apron is returning. The  SAFER barrier is also being extended at the end of turns. Part of that reasoning should appease panic stricken doom and gloomers that fear low apexing at high speed will result in catastrophic accidents with bad angles into walls. Additionally, nervous nellies may be relieved to know that catch fencing around the track is being enhanced.

Those of us who watched racing on what used to be a really large apron were amazed at some of the duels that took place down there when it existed. It should be interesting to watch. IMS gets high marks for finally making a logical decision. The only thing they should not ever consider is gradual banking to more than what the track is now. Leave it relatively flat, as it has been for over a century.

Additional dollars are allocated for fan experience-type enhancements, including improved ways to keep fans in the stands connected wirelessly both for audio and video. That is significant, but so are a new pylon (presumably tall like now only with enhanced electronics and video capabilities) and new video screens (about time). Also related to fan comfort are modernized restrooms (hopefully raw sewage onto shoes will cease to be a problem), improved concession choices and improved seating (hopefully wider and spread further apart).

There are also vague plans to improve ingress/egress and improved parking, fan experience zones and entertainment, but as is the Hulman custom details are scarce. One project they never mention that should be near the top of the list is the moonscape that is the museum parking lot and the crumbling sidewalks that lead into the building.

Headed into the dead of winter it appears the big ship is being turned around.

December 3, 2013

The Noble Recycling Efforts of IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:36 pm

Hes BackThe IndyCar Series recycling project included an announcement this week that Paul Page, the former ‘Voice of the 500’ who took over after the legendary Sid Collins expired in early May of 1977, is back after a 27-year absence.

From a fan of my age standpoint the re-hire of Page is great. He always did an outstanding job and effectively applied what he learned over the years from Sid Collins. The only potential problem is his age, currently 68, and how that might draw younger demographics. On the other hand how many millennials listen to the radio? Most are more likely to stream content, but they need pictures. So no matter how inspiring an audio picture Page will paint (and he is extremely good at that) it may only matter to those who listened to the radio before the Internet and before the 500 was broadcast live. Most wish Mike King all the best; he sat in the chair for fourteen years.

GrandmaAnother active recycle project involves the return of Juan Montoya after he washed out of NASCAR. His 5+ year absence does not seem to bother Team Penske who found a seat for him. It will be interesting to see how he does after all these years, and his pedigree is pretty much without parallel. Many cannot help wondering when the big teams will take a chance on a youngster with years of upside potential.

One of the chronic problems that have plagued the sport for years involves drivers who pay for their seats from owners willing to whore them out for such support. When Eric Bachelart was around his What it takes to drive an IndyCarConquest Racing outfit should have had a car rental sponsorship on sidepods. Dale Coyne has picked up that torch today, and now Sam Schmidt is doing it. It is easy to understand. The economics are difficult and the sponsor selling efforts are difficult given the ratings. But are these guys not perpetuating the malaise by continuing such habits? How difficult is it for potential new fans to get hooked when what happens to about half the field involves musical chairs for cash?

IndyCar recycling has also become enamored with former NASCAR-involved business folks. There are Vice Presidents of this and that popping up all over the organization chart. The NASCAR angle is probably smart. These people have contacts and know what it takes. But when? For well over a year we have heard lots and lots of ‘it’s going to be huge’ talk but we still have a spec car, two motors, one tire provider, a reduced schedule with hardly any ovals and continued pushing off of any meaningful innovation such as aero kits.

I wish them luck. I do not want to see the sport flail any more. Actions speak louder than words.

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