Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 11, 2014

RIP Panther Racing – A Loss for IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:29 am

PantherRacingLogoPlease allow me to use this space to thank the folks who have comprised Panther Racing over the years for sixteen years of great entertainment. Although John Barnes has been the face of the organization for many years this really is not about him. It is also about those who have worked behind the scenes and those who have gotten behind the wheel. The list of those people remains impressive.

Panther achieved many highs and suffered through as many lows during their run. That team made Sam Hornish a star. He won eleven times in their employ. Scott Goodyear made them legitimate early and even fan favorite Tomas Scheckter saw victory lane. Most fans, whether they admit it or not, pulled for Panther every year to win Indy, the one race the organization coveted more than any other. They came as close as you can four times in a row. When J.R. Hildebrand smacked the wall on the last turn of the last lap the pain that team was felt across the entire fan base, and yet the entire team handled the situation with JBgrace and dignity.

Meanwhile the lunatic fringe of IndyCar remains busy taking cheap shots at John Barnes without any meaningful awareness of the big picture.  The notion that smaller teams can compete is quaint and every so often it happens. Panther used to a lot. These days an occasional Coyne or Foyt win is cause for celebration. When Ed Carpenter wins it is a victory for the little guy. When one of these teams exits the paddock and no new team replaces them no celebration is warranted. Only sadness about the circumstances.

Thanks again to everyone who has ever been associated with Panther Racing. You provided immense thrills and made most real fans proud to support the series.



  1. Dear Defender:

    I am a real fan and I consider John Barnes one of the reasons why this series has become an example of everything wrong with America today…underhanded, conniving, lying, cheating and when things get tough, go ahead and sue…screw Barnes and his back marker team that has won zilch since the real teams migrated over from CART in 2003 to ensure that Marlboro, Target and Andretti’s sponsors had their presence at the only race which matters, the Indy 500…
    Editor’s Note: So I see you fall on the side of character assassination with no evidence other than opinion and innuendo. Underhanded, conniving, lying and cheating pretty much sums up the objects of your affection; i.e., the cart teams who actually did kill their own series, twice, before being mercy humped back into relevance by IMS with no questions asked. THAT is class.

    I guess he should get credit as one of the last IRL holdouts to survive the merger/capitulation but when you think about the likes of Helmegarn, Dryer and Reinbold and the rest of the IRL lot that really had no business running at top flight open wheel competition, then his demise is a long time coming…just sayin’…
    Editor’s Note: That team had a history of championships as well as remarkable Indy 500s with multiple drivers. To dismiss them as ‘an IRL team’ is actually what is wrong with the sport. When will you flat earthers grow up?

    Oh, lest I forget, Barnes is a loss for your bizarro world IRL, not for the reality of today’s Indy Car…perhaps he can share a stale beer with destroyer of American Open Wheel Racing Tony George where these fools can lament how the IRL undermined what was once a thriving series that ruled over NASCAR and even gave the mighty F1 a fright as the premier racing series the whole wide world…
    Editor’s Note: Tony George has never been the problem except in the deluded minds of imbeciles too stupid to understand the problems that resulted from the same kind of defensive arrogance that gets crapped out in these comment sections by a select few who are of like mind with the aforementioned multiple failure owners. in reality cart never threatened NASCAR or F-1 in the least, but keep telling yourself they did despite multiple failures. Also, Tony George has been completely out of the picture for years. Why continue crying over the milk you hypocrites spilled by yourselves?

    Comment by Neil Rubin — April 12, 2014 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • Evolution can be cruel but it never plays favorites. Those who adapt to the changing times can survive and even thrive, while those who do not are consigned to the dustbin of history. Panther obviously falls into the latter category (for a myriad of reasons) and they deservedly will fall by the wayside as a result. Editor’s Note: Curious as to what specifically relegates Panther to the ‘deservedly’ category.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — April 13, 2014 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

      • What delegates them to the “deservedly” category? Both their increasing inability to compete at the higher levels of the sport combined with their shameful habit of not honoring their financial commitments to drivers. I strongly suspect their inability to deliver value to their main sponsor hurt quite a bit, as well.
        Editor’s Note: Guess where the National Guard driver starts today? Last. That’s value. Also, does anyone have any sort of verifiable evidence of the purported instances of Barnes malfeasance, or is Internet rumor mongering good enough? Now I’ll admit Panther was no Andale Racing, Kent Baker Racing, TeamKar, Nu-Tech Motorsports, Mann Motorsports, PIG Racing, Gohr Racing, Bayside Motorsports, PPI Motorsports, US Engineering or Greenfield Racing from the ‘glory’ days of cart….but even the most jaded of flat earthers should give props to a team that, after the turn of the century, claimed multiple championships, fifteen wins in their history, and four second place finishes in a row at the 500.

        Comment by Bob Chinn — April 13, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

  2. Well, their performances at Indy were characterized as “remarkable” even though they never won at the brickyard. And legal actions by honorable drivers, each claiming the same lack of honor on the part of Panther, are all the verification one would reasonably need.
    Editor’s Note: Glad that attitude does not guide the judicial system here considering the honorable drivers all got paid.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — April 14, 2014 @ 2:28 am | Reply

    • Each driver was ultimately paid as a result of the involvement of the “judicial system”, which necessarily compelled the less honorable party to live up to his contractual obligations. Thankfully, the law guides the system.
      Editor’s Note: And thank goodness for that. Odd that some are lauding the loss of a legacy team. That seems unsportsmanlike.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — April 14, 2014 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

    • Maybe I just think a little differently but…

      I’m not sure if I would classify someone, or some entity as “honorable” if I had to sue them to get the compensation that I was owed. If i’d hired a contractor to perform work on my house, and said contractor DID complete the job AFTER I had sued, you COULD contend that he/she/they lived up to their agreement, but I shouldn’t have to sue them to make them live up to their end of the bargain. I definately wouldn’t consider that “honorable”


      I don’t think you can call The IBJ an “internet rumor mongerer”.
      Editor’s Note: Not all who write for them. But Schoettle leans that way.

      Panther enjoyed some well earned success in the “old” IRL, but it has fallen on much harder times from a competitive standpoint over the last several seasons. Barnes should be commended for the team he put together, and no one can take away the race wins, and championships he/they earned. But as Bob Chin observed, evolution can be cruel; the series, and the pieces it takes to be successful have changed, and for whatever reason, Panther has not adapted to the new reality of Indycar circa 2014. Pointing out ONE race/qualifying result for the current holder of the National Guard Contract is at best, a cheap shot. I’d dare to say that Panther had its share of poor qualifying/race results as well. And in any case, trying to establish a “trend” based on a single data point is an invalid analytical technique.

      And, although I recently earned some praise from you, I’m going to risk some of that respect by pointing out something: US open wheel racing at the top level has endured some remarkable turnover in teams: Vision Racing, FAZZT, Roth Racing, Cheever Racing, Luyendyk Racing, American Dream Motorsports, SAMAX Motorsport, Jim Guthrie, CURB/Agajanian/3G Racing, amongst others, are all IRL/Indycar teams that have come and gone, yet you singled out only the former CART teams. There’s enough misery to go around for the sorry state of top level open wheel racing in the US. Biased observations don’t help your cause.
      Editor’s Note: I singled out a few cart teams from the early 90s in the context of what the critics were trying to compare Panther to. If you look back at history from, say, 1979 through 2000 you will see the same remarkable turnover there as well. It is not limited to the IRL era, despite the portrait many attempt. Bottom line: Teams come and go and always have. Probably always will, although in the rich guy club racing that has resulted from micromanaged spec racing it seems more like a membership deal these days….for better or worse.

      Comment by Skeptical1 — April 14, 2014 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  3. Evolution can be cruel but it never plays favorites. Those who adapt to the changing times can survive and even thrive, while those who do not are consigned to the dustbin of history. CART obviously fell into the latter category.

    Comment by spreadoption — April 14, 2014 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

    • Yes, Cart did fall by the wayside, as did the irl. As I said, evolution can be cruel, but it never plays favorites. But I thought the topic was the deserved demise of panther racing, no?
      Editor’s Note: Predictably, you missed the point of the topic. The topic is a thank you to Panther for sixteen seasons of enjoyable racing from a racing fan. Whether they ‘deserved’ their fate or not is a matter of debate mostly dependent on subjective prejudice.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — April 15, 2014 @ 1:14 am | Reply

      • Didn’t miss the point in any way, shape or form. And “deserve” was used in the context of the evolutionary process, which most people understand. It’s certainly sad for the rank and file employees of the team, though nearly all of them had already been dismissed by the owner. But, as I stated originally, the stronger of the species survive and sometimes even thrive, while the weak go away.
        Editor’s Note: No one disputes that, and it has been that way from the start. But injection of twisted interpretation is a diversion from the actual topic, which was, and remains, a thanks to Panther for sixteen seasons of compelling racing.

        Comment by Bob Chinn — April 15, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

  4. There was no “injection of twisted interpretation . . . “, period, and no cause for such a false allegation.
    Editor’s Note: You consistently and pathetically pick the oddest nits to pick. The topic celebrated the sixteen year run of Panther. Your take was essentially ‘good riddance.’ I merely pointed that out. If you choose to continue whine incessantly about some perceived slight to your typed commentary that has nothing to do with the actual topic you will once again find yourself talking to yourself in the comment section of the 12/19/13 thread.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — April 15, 2014 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

    • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/10/13 thread)

      Comment by Bob Chinn — April 15, 2014 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

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