Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 17, 2014

Thumb Twiddling Until IndyCar Begins

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:42 am
Formula 1 Season Opener

Formula 1 Season Opener

The racing events of this past weekend left many of us with mixed emotions. It would be nice if IndyCar was not the last series out of the gate.

The 12 Hours of Sebring was OK in a slightly less than boring way. At least it was racing. It would have been more entertaining in person. NASCAR tried to play Bristol in front of a sparse crowd, but mother nature applied the brakes before the real rubbin’ and racin’ began. It is my continuing belief Fox should subtitle all broadcasts that feature DW and Larry Mac. That way we could get English interpretations of phrases such as ‘Jimmee sled up the heel’ or ‘torlet paper.’

Thank goodness for DVRs. As one who appreciates the value of sleep on a long weekend I was more than happy to record the overnight programming devoted to Formula 1 then watch it while nursing breakfast. I know the usual suspects like to chime in about how ugly they believe IndyCars are but most of the F-1 grid contains designs only a mother or an anteater could love. Under the body work the guts have evolved into a Rube Goldberg-like series of interconnected acronym-laden ‘units’ that break down a lot. The cars also sound different. For those who appreciate variety the podium ended up with fresh faces and favorites fell by the wayside early. During my thumb clicks of the fast forward button when commercials were playing I did not happen to notice any promotion of the upcoming IndyCar season by the Nice Ringpeacock partner.

Perhaps that will change now that Verizon is officially on board with the series. $12 million or so every year in cash, marketing and technology should make a meaningful dent in the vacuum that has passed for IndyCar marketing in recent years.

Gary BThe flip side of emotions race fans feel when cars take the track is abrupt sadness when we lose a family member. At some point during the Sunday racing activity 72-year-old Gary Bettenhausen suddenly dropped dead. Gary B was a throwback to IndyCar days when drivers raced whatever they could get their hands on whenever they could in whatever series happened to be racing. He was a short track hero and champion when that was normal for IndyCar drivers. He won a lot and came close to chugging milk at Indy more than once. He raced IndyCars before, during and after cart. He did things on his terms, never gave up and competed with all he had every single time. Despite his family’s lack of 500 wins they are as much a part of the fabric of the place as even the Unser family, and arguably as colorful. The history books remain enriched with Bettenhausens included. Gary was a soldier and a hero. RIP.



  1. Sponsorship is nice but only goes so far. If they were able to use some of the money to lower the track fees it might really do some good. But sponsorship does not replace a sound business and marketing plan and I am not sure they have it.

    The name Gary Bettenhausen brings back some found memories of Indy’s past. RIP.

    Comment by Bob F. — March 17, 2014 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  2. I didn’t know Gary Bettenhausen had died, Bob. Our newspaper is so obsessed with basketball that we get very little in the way of racing. It’s quite a shocker. I too, remember GB very well, as well as his father and brothers. A name that is truly synonymous with the sport and the Speedway, along with Unser, Andretti, and Foyt.

    Comment by DOUG — March 17, 2014 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  3. Dear Defender:

    I wholeheartedly agree that the series must take action to start the season sooner and not wait around until sports cars have run ’36 Hours of Florida’, NASCAR has already run its Super Bowl and then three more events before California on March 30 and F1 gets the jump down under with its new formula and gizmos….if the fools that run the series had a clue, we would start the season the weeks immediately after the Super Bowl, in advance of the Daytona 500, down here in the Sun Belt and try to drum up interest in this dying series…instead, we are the last series to start its season right in the middle of this college basketball bull-sh_t when otherwise normal sports fans obsess over meaningless teams for the thrill of gambling on ‘brackets’. Good to hear that Verizon has become the series’ sponsor but $10-$12 million may not go very far in terms of effective advertising if the series’ other sponsors do not get serious about promoting the drivers….when will Mr. Letterman and his millions join the sponsorship party? And what about Target featuring some of Ganassi’s drivers in some spots on regular broadcast TV? We can only reminisce about the days when Target included Vassar and Texaco featured Michael Andretti and so forth back in the good ol’ days….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — March 17, 2014 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  4. Imagine what it will feel like when the season ends in August? It starts too late and ends too early. It’s difficult to make a splash when you are third out of the gate. NASCAR will be going on their 5th race by the time IndyCar hits the streets of St. Petersburg.

    Comment by Dan — March 18, 2014 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

    • Dear Dan:

      Not the third out of the gate, but the fourth….sports cars have already run two events, NASCAR has run four events (and a fifth at the end of the month) and F1 started on Sunday and will run a second race at the end of the month….here is my thought: start the series at Homestead, on a street course in Fort Lauderdale, in front of who ever shows up at Sebring, at the NOLA track in Louisiana, in Phoenix, in California, anywhere along the Sun Belt the week or two after the Super Bowl…if you front load the schedule, then ending at the start of football season does not look as desperate….however, starting at the end of March, long after all the other series have already started, and then end in August (really, August?) this is shameful….

      Comment by Neil Rubin — March 18, 2014 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  5. No signs of Indy Racing League/IRL/IndyCar anywhere on Verizon websites. That $5million in cash must not be a very big deal considering their annual revenue of $120 BILLION. Wonder why they aren’t out front of this amazing sponsorship?
    Editor’s Note: Excellent question. Logic might suggest that if this deal was in the works for as long as it was rumored some of those recently hired IndyCar VPs might have figured a way to ensure activation from day 1. Or that all components of the web would be updated. Or that new apparel with appropriate branding would be available. You must remember, however, that we’re dealing with IndyCar. If we use that excuse for our crutch then we can logically assume your crowd, which is prone to continuous second guessing, straw-manning and unsuccessful doomsday predicting under ANY circumstance, might want to wait at least a week before your screeching reaches its usual profane crescendo.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 19, 2014 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

    • Why wait when you can hate today. They gve us so many opportunities.
      Editor’s Note: Hate is for losers. I just want to see cars on the track. Pretty simple.

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 19, 2014 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

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