Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 14, 2014

Evisceration of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:08 pm

Carpet Drape MismatchThe current occupants of the executive level suites at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continue trying way too hard to increase the gate for a limited number of days track activity is allowed during the long gutted month of May. In some ways the efforts are noble and well intentioned. Lord knows the track has seen one hundred years of better days as part of pop culture and public consciousness. In most cases, however, planned drastic changes appear to be desperate straw grasps devoid of much intelligent coherency or even minimal signs of respect for the traditions that made the 500 the iconic event it became over the decades. Some recent actions demonstrate unparalleled hubris, even when measured with the yardstick of, say, imbecilic Tony George haters who have been in a state of woefully misguided jihad since 1996 and remain generally completely insane.

A couple of years ago Bloomberg published a great list of signs that arrogance is running a company. Here are a couple:

  1. Circus ClownsYour company rationalizes its mistakes instead of learning from them.
  2. Your company focuses almost exclusively on financial success with little regard for legacy and social impact.

Even we increasingly aging baby boomer ticket buyers who have attended for decades understand why one week of time trials is enough. When only 34 identical cars try for 33 spots what is the point? That lack of any meaningful number of entrants or any real manufacturer competition has led to potentially dangerous gimmickry that trashed the wrenching drama that used to be associated with one balls-out four lap attempt that in most years was the most dramatic portion of the long month for most competitors.

Pole day and bump day. Simple and neat. Problem is the only bumping lately has been meaningless, concocted nonsense. Wonder how these BCG-influenced PT Barnums are going to feel when some driver pulls a Gordon Smiley on their sixth attempt to improve one spot on the grid?

Miles and crew have decided to tempt fate even further this year by moving ‘pole day’ (can we even call it that anymore?) to late in the day Sunday. May weather in Speedway is unpredictable at best and the worst parts of any of the four seasons are always possible then. IMS has been lucky since the gimmickry began but how long can that kind of luck hold out? Fate was slapped in the face when one entire qualifying weekend was nixed. Fate will be pummeled as pole qualifying moves to late Sunday. Hopefully they have a backup plan that is respectful of the long distances many fans travel to see qualifying.

As always many decades-long fans espouse the embrace of common sense, a concept that remains distant for many decision makers. Pole day and bump day could be meaningful on their own without any circus shenanigans again if:

IMS Today-Costs of entry and competition were aligned with actual reality.

-At least fifty serious entrants were allowed to try for 33 positions.

-Meaningful manufacturer competition was allowed.

-Artificial controls on the availability of parts and engines vanished.

IMS can control its own destiny in far more pragmatic ways than those of recent years, consisting primarily of raising prices for everything and adding additional wallet grabbing opportunities involving parking and access.  Want to improve the fan experience and get more people to attend the race? Bring back the drama associated with the hour or so before the race. In recent years IMS has allowed themselves to be raped by ESPN on ABC to conform to snippets that can be squeezed in between commercial breaks while the hundreds of thousands in the seats have been subjected to a disjointed variation of ‘tradition’ with long pauses and no continuity. Take a look at the ’91 pre-race, for example:

No commercial breaks. Flow. Drama. Almost as if you were there. I was, and miss the pre-race greatly. Paul Page didn’t even say a word for many minutes.

IMS should learn from and embrace the important parts of the traditions it created. Seeing most of it get trashed is sickening.



  1. She aint coming back, Dipsicle. Quit whining and find something else to do.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — January 15, 2014 @ 4:31 am | Reply

  2. Its amazing that under Miles almost every decision has been the wrong one.in my opinion. To worry about overseas races is nuts when they are having so many problems here. Fix it here. Also the Indy 500 is the strength of the product. Why are you messing that up? The month of May is being eviscerated. Tradition of many years tossed in to the garbage. What fools.

    Comment by Bob F. — January 16, 2014 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  3. It’s ironic you use 1991 as an example. That was right before TG decided he needed to fix things. It was on TG’s watch that everything started going downhill, but you never had an issue with it until he was fired. The new management is simply trying to build things back up that TG tore down.
    Editor’s Note: Enough with the cutesy crapper jihad, kid. Orient yourself in the current era. The problems of which I speak are related neither to cart nor Tony George. The problem is with the current management of IMS. The simple minded tend to blame Hulmans for that as well, but what else is new? Qualifications would not require unimaginative men to come up with gimmicks if more than 34 teams tried for a spot and there was diversity and availability in equipment selection.

    Comment by TroyM — January 21, 2014 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

    • So where were you when Tony George was in charge and 34 teams were trying for 33 spots?
      Editor’s Note: Bitching about it. You should know that. You were just as obsessed then.

      This is not a new thing, that was something that came about after he decided to fix things. But now you want to howl about it? You sound like all the hard core right wing crazies who scream about things that have been going on for decades and blaming the current president.
      Editor’s Note: Your ‘logic’ is, as usual, lower than additional y-chromosone levels. Had cart not let its ego get in the way there are 100 ways the utopia you allow yourselves to be deluded into believing you had could have actually come to pass. The HG collective may be incapable of running racing, but they have been in business continuously for well over a century. The same cannot be said for the ‘smart’ guys, who have actually failed. Twice.

      Comment by TroyM — January 22, 2014 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

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