Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 3, 2014

Allowing Pocono To Wither Again For IndyCar Would Reinforce The Abject Stupidity That Has Dogged It For Decades

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 8:41 pm

Pocono CredentialsOne of the very best tracks in the world has a place on the IndyCar schedule today. The ‘tricky triangle’ at Pocono is a track that was built for IndyCars. The Cliff Notes version of history saw the IndyCars race there for years after it opened. Then the management of IndyCar pissed off the proprietors. For twenty four years there was no IndyCar event. NASCAR began enjoying two dates.

Fast forward to 2013. IndyCars, under new management in both camps, returned. The event last year was utterly wonderful. The track and the facility is unique, not owned by ISC or SMI, and is a great venue.

Attendance last year was very good, but leaving the track was a nightmare. Between race traffic and folks headed home from their 4th of July holidays a high degree of frustration was encountered. This year the race falls on the same holiday weekend and ominous public statements by the track warn of sub-par attendance expectations and even an attempt to dump the third year. Huh?

StupidityHere is a statement along with suggestions. It would be a travesty to lose this outstanding venue again so soon after getting it going. It is a big oval that provides great racing. Many fans are optimistic management on both sides will not insert their heads into their behinds and find a way/excuse to drop the event.

If this is the second leg of a ‘triple crown’ why not do something other than offer extra points? What about a huge financial incentive? There should be an Indy 500 type field in terms of participants. Not 22 or 23 entrants. Where is the promotion? I have been in New York and the Northeast for months and have seen no promotion. None. How are fans expected to attend if they do not know about it? It has become obvious that current IndyCar management has all but forgotten how to present an event on an oval. That is just not acceptable.

Above all, think about moving the date away from the fourth of July. Bad traffic experiences cause second thoughts for people who sit in their cars for hours after an event.

Why is it so difficult to remain an IndyCar fan? Mr. Miles and Mr. Igdalsky need to figure this out this weekend. This venue is an absolute necessity. Do not allow it to die. Oh, and it is very poor form to blame fans for slow ticket sales. The kind of potential fan that needs to sample can’t sample if they have no idea it exists.



  1. Dear Defender:

    I made the mistake of visiting the Tricky Triangle for last year’s event and I would never go back for a bunch of reasons…starting with the insane heat of starting this race at midday, which also resulted in my missing the green flag because I was fighting traffic trying to enter the grounds…then there’s the issue of sight lines…I purchased good seats pretty high up and in the middle of the main grandstand and I could see very little of the track…and this is an oval? The lack of banking coupled with a grandstand that desperately needs serious elevation made watching the race like watching a road or street course….only got to see the cars when they passed by the main straight…and then there was the nightmare of leaving this facility and dealing with the fascists who posed as cops and security officers who were hell bent on misdirecting traffic back to the highway…if I did not disregard a fascists directions and bolt through the parking area illegally, I would probably still be waiting to reach the interstate….the concessions were poor and the crowd was not that large (plenty of empties all around us)….and since ABC is not broadcasting this event on over the air TV, why would the series start at noon on Sunday? No thanks for Pocono, I am on my way to the Iowa Corn Indy in two weeks where I am told there’s good sight lines, plenty of passing action and a night start.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — July 3, 2014 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

  2. July 4 weekend has never been a good one for IndyCar, especially when the race is in the Northeast. See Watkins Glen.

    Also, I live in Pennsylvania and have seen/heard no advertising on television, radio or in newspapers about the race. Stupid.

    Comment by spreadoption — July 4, 2014 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  3. The racing at Pocono was good, but it would probably would have been even better had there been more cars in the field. And it was SO depressing to see so few “fans in the stands”. Congrats to JPM; it shows he hasn’t lost his touch. Nice to see Bob Varsha as broadcast anchorman; don’t know why he left the F1 team. I liked the way PT gave his take on a few things–the competition HAS never been better, and promotion and marketing IS urgently needed. I do NOT agree with TB saying the engines need more horsepower. You can only go so fast, especially on street/road courses, and on ovals, it just results in broken equipment. I remember back in the ’70’s, when the speeds at Indy jumped so dramatically, they had more blown engines than anyone thought possible, a trend that continued until they slowed the cars down again, at least temporarily, in 1974.

    Comment by DOUG — July 7, 2014 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

    • The F1 coverage moved from SPEED/FS1 to NBC Sports but Varsha was still under contract with FS1. It would be more accurate to say the F1 team left him than vice versa. It is sort of weird that he’s doing IndyCar races on NBC Sports when he has a contract with FS1 though…

      Comment by arenasnow — July 7, 2014 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

    • Wrong again DOUG. In case you haven’t noticed ( and judging from your comments you haven’t). There’s been 40 YEARS of materials and engine control development since the seventies. The current Indycar engines could produce measurably more power and torque if needed, or allowed, without significantly impacting reliability.

      The seventies were a time where independent engine shops (many small and barely solvent at that) performed engine services, with the resultant use of whatever voodoo science was fashionable. With the expectant results.

      Since that time, computer aided design and materials research have drastically improved the performance and reliability of virtually all purpose built race engines. Just think, in F1, WEC, indycar, NASCAR, etc how many outright engine failures are there? Not many. Again you’ve discounted 40 years of development, and the technologies used in development of engines, chassis, driveline components are drastically more sophisticated than what was available in the 70s. Even this year, where F1 power units are radically new and different, outright engine failures have been nearly non existent.

      I know that a lot of Indy fans seem trapped in the era of the 70s, but as Defender has said, it’s time to adapt. If anything needs to be improved or developed more, it’s the racetracks themselves. Ovals, in particular are quite possibly no longer suitable for the speeds (and forces) that modern, high powered race cars can produce.

      Comment by Olderfan — July 7, 2014 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  4. Maybe Varsha’s contract wasn’t as airtight as it should have been. Anyway, it’s good to have him instead of that Australian guy; I can’t even remember his name, but his voice is rather jarring in comparison. Thanks for the info, arenasnow.

    Comment by DOUG — July 7, 2014 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  5. Agree completely that it’s very poor form to blame the fans for slow ticket sales. Plates of food that are hardly touched are the fault of the chef, not the diner.
    Editor’s Note: Or maybe the eyes of the diner were bigger than their stomach capacity. Not really black and white.

    The Indycar product has been soundly rejected by the sporting (and racing) public
    Editor’s Note: I would not say that the product has been soundly rejected. If it had 300,000 would not have showed up for Indy and millions would not have watched on television. The problem is not the product (although it could use some improvement, as always) but the dissemination of it to the masses. IndyCar has not got that figured out, a chronic problem that has plagued it forever.

    As for the 10,000 or so there, I hope they enjoyed themselves enough to return next year (if they hold a race). Oh, and hopefully each of them can bring three friends. It may be the only hope for this race.
    Editor’s Note: More accurately, double your estimate and you will be closer. Still, it was down from last year. My section (226) was completely full. The walk-up crowd was impressive, but so was the weather. There are three big problems with that venue: 1) Having a race late in the day on the last day of a long holiday weekend is ill-advised. 2) Post-race traffic. The track did a remarkable job getting folks in and out, but if you happened to be headed east you had a two hour crawl for 15 miles to the Delaware River. That alone is a reason many from the population centers avoided it. 3) I work in the NYC Metro area and have a home in the Philadelphia DMA. How much promotion or marketing did I see? Zero. I am optimistic the track and the series will figure it out. I have contributed my thoughts to them in person.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 8, 2014 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

    • It’s not a case of eyes being bigger than stomachs, but stomachs unable to digest the bland, tasteless food unimaginatively and coldly served on a dirty plate.
      Editor’s Note: To each his own. From my seats the party of veteran IndyCar fans and newcomers we brought thoroughly enjoyed it. Our only wish was that the field was larger than 21.

      And, yes, the product has been soundly rejected. Two decades of falling attendance (even you said Indy attendance was just above 200,000, now you falsely claim 300,000),
      Editor’s Note: Total folks through the gates from the Friday before the race through Sunday afternoon exceeded 375K. Pretty good for a ‘rejected’ product. Perhaps they are just barely literate hypocrites like most of the obsessed squatters who inexplicably spend most of their waking hours screeching to actual fans about how badly they believe the sport is doing. LOL

      television ratings (this year’s 500 garnered the second lowest rating in history)
      Editor’s Note: you forgot ‘…mirroring the trend of the majority of sports and entertainment offerings available on television today.’ You’re welcome.

      and sponsorship (blank side pods are everywhere, with low 20’s car counts looking especially sparse on such a large track) is more than enough data to draw that conclusion. The sporting public has voted “no”.
      Editor’s Note: Uh, even though there were 22 cars at Pocono and 21 starters, not one sidepod was blank. So let’s get yourself beyond the braying and riddle me this: If the sport is on the verge of collapse when will it actually collapse? We’ve been listening to the exact same nonsense for twenty years from the same small group of IndyCar obsessed delayed adolescents, and for all twenty years your little group has looked increasingly stupid with each passing year. Grow up.

      The pre-race ticket sales were roughly 8,500, according to the track. There wasn’t close to that amount in race day sales, and not one section anywhere was “completely full”. Not one. And the infield was a ghost town. Ten thousand may be generous, but the pictures make it inarguable.
      Editor’s Note: And now for actual accuracy based on A) attendance and B) conversations with track management. Presales were in the low five figures. Walk-up sales exceeded five figures. Do the math Einstein. That said, 65K would have been much better, and Igdalsky and crew stand a much better chance of attaining that by having then event on a non-holiday weekend. The weekend before or after would be better. I love how the rabidly obsessed try to tell me how the section in which I was seated, shoulder to shoulder with others, was not full. Not only are you hostile, childish and dangerously obsessed, you are completely delusional.

      Not hard to understand why Pocono officials are openly suggesting that the only way to continue is for a dramatic increase in attendance (only half to a third of last years attendees bothered to return) and / or a right sized sanction fee. Either way, the economics make no sense unless drastic changes occur. Disney, Charlotte, Atlanta, Richmond, New Hampshire, Nashville, Homestead, Michigan, Chicago, Kansas, Colorado Springs, Las Vegas, Phoenix . . . Will Pocono follow?
      Editor’s Note: Hopefully not. I’d hate to get into a situation like Atlanta, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cleveland, Denver I, Denver II, Detroit City, Gateway, Germany, Hawaii, Houston, Las Vegas I, Laguna Seca, Las Vegas II, Meadowlands, Mexico I, Mexico II, Miami I, Miami 2, Miami 3, Miami 4, Michigan, Monterrey, Nazareth, Netherlands, Ontario, Pocono, Portland, Quebec I, Quebec II, Riverside, Road America, Sanair, San Jose, Spain, Texas, Trenton, UK I, UK II, Vancouver or Watkins Glen like the twice failed predecessor entities that actually almost did kill the sport.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — July 9, 2014 @ 2:23 am | Reply

      • Indy attendance on race day was between 200k and 225k.
        Editor’s Note: 275K. Conservatively estimated.

        If you want to include the Concert Day attendance, perhaps another 50k would be added to that, with another 10k on Community Day. It wasn’t close to 375k.
        Editor’s Note: 85K for Carb Day, conservatively estimated. 15K for Community Day. Conservatively estimated. 275 + 85 + 15 = 375K. Conservatively estimated.

        Yes, there are large, blank areas on many cars, signifying a lack of sponsorship. Simply a fact of Indycar racing today.
        Editor’s Note: Also simply a fact of NASCAR, golf, and most other sports and entertainment entities. IndyCar has proved resilient.

        Five figure walk up sales? That’s not remotely accurate, and no track official has dared suggest such a laughable figure.
        Editor’s Note: Remind me to post a picture of the massive crowds at the ticket window a few hours before the green. It amazed me. The weather was great…sunshine and low humidity with temperatures topping out in the low 80s. Great day, and many in the area decided to take advantage.

        Of greatest importance, however, is the fact that over half of last year’s attendees chose to not return. That’s not a good sign. And, no, there were no “completely full” sections. Stating otherwise is laughably dishonest.
        Editor’s Note: Keep shouting that from your position of ignorance. It is better to let abject stupidity speak for itself. 226 was completely full for at least the first 50 laps. On another note I like the way Pocono has converted aluminum to holders of plastic backed seats that are space far enough apart to accommodate the girth of modern people. It is a nice touch. Perhaps if the race is moved to a date other than the holiday weekend and is promoted the gaps obsessed ITEs continuously screech about will be lessen. But this is something that needs to be figured out in most sports and entertainment offerings.

        Again, the current product has been soundly rejected. Though I haven’t predicted that the sport is on “the verge of collapse” (the Hulman family is obviously willing to incur substantial losses to keep it going), they’re starting to run out of venues who will host them. Most of us who enjoyed the sport for decades realize quite clearly that something must change.
        Editor’s Note: Again with the keen insight into the finances of a privately held company. LOL. Keep up the good work braniac.

        Comment by Bob Chinn — July 9, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

      • My party, consisting of three of us, choose not to return to Pocono this year due to the fact that vacationing in the NYC/Philadelphia area is expensive and last year’s race proved too cumbersome for us considering the brutal heat, the sparse facilities at Pocono (greasy carnival food, like every other oval), the lousy sight lines for an oval (could barely see the back straightaway and I was in the upper rows of the main grandstand), and the ho-hum racing on the track (this extra wide and very long track looks empty with a small car count)…and then there was the odyssey of leaving the track and driving back to Midtown…took four + hours and the track officials and local cops were rude and hell bent on misdirecting us away from the interstate… no thanks for Pocono on July 4th weekend, perhaps in the springtime after the first thaw or in the early fall when the leaves start to change….I am headed for Iowa tomorrow for the Corn 250 and I hope for some close racing and passing on this 7/8 mile bullring….
        Editor’s Note: Sorry we missed you at Pocono…egress was a lot easier this year except for the I-80 to the Delaware River part. 4th of July weekend is not optimal for this event. Iowa is a helluva lot of fun. Nice little track. We usually stay in Pella. Have a lot of fun!

        Comment by Neil Rubin — July 9, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  6. The ridiculously overstated attendance figures at Indy and Pocono notwithstanding, the key question is why so many who sample the product elect to not attend again (St. Pete, Indy, Houston and Pocono were all down, with half to two thirds of last year’s Pocono crowd failing to return). Simply put, they try the product and aren’t compelled enough to try it again. After two decades, someone needs to realize that the product must change.
    Editor’s Note: To what, exactly?

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 10, 2014 @ 2:42 am | Reply

    • To one where the drivers need to actually to do more than “stomp and steer”.
      Editor’s Note: That is one of the most ignorant statements you have ever typed. Clearly you do not understand what it takes to drive an IndyCar.

      Put more horsepower in the engines and take downforce out of the identically prepared, ugly spec cars.
      Editor’s Note: Now we’re getting somewhere. Many agree with you, although ‘ugly’ is an eye of the beholder thing. The DW-12 has proven to be a good race car. I would also like more chassis diversity.

      With a combined attendance and television audience that barely crested 350,000, it’s clear that the product has been rejected.
      Editor’s Note: Only to those whose myopia fails to recognize what else is happening in the world or realizes that the current year is 2014.

      Make the driver the star or you’ll get guys who have never, ever run in the series (someone derisively called one a “journeyman”) and yet show up for the most famous race and finish a comfortable sixth. Hardly a test of man and machine, as it used to be.
      Editor’s Note: And yet the actual participants in the sport seem to feel the level of competition and depth of the field has never been higher. But what do they know? LOL.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 12:04 am | Reply

      • The Mysterian, Protoform, Citation, Caracal are also good race cars (Formula V). And they share something with their “big brother” open wheel Indycars-they provide good racing that virtually no one pays to watch.
        Editor’s Note: Also, they don’t have two national television deals and have 275K show up for their signature race.

        As far as what the participants feel about the quality of the competition? What exactly do you think they would say-“Well I’m looking around here, and given the ride buyers, virtual unknowns and in general failures at every other series they’ve been in, I think that I’ve got a good shot here today.” I’m sure their sponsers would be happy to hear that little gem. Of course the participants think its better then it’s ever been. That’s all they know.
        Editor’s Note: Several non-driver content experts have also spoken highly of the diverse and deep field they feel is participating today.

        Comment by Olderfan — July 11, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

  7. Ridicule my comments (and those of many fans) all you like, but you should probably take the time to read what racers like Al Unser, Alain Prost, and many others have said about the current state of Indycar racing and the folly of driving over-aeroed, under powered cars. They’re no bigger fans of “stomp and steer” than anyone else. And, while you and the series may deride the view of fans (and former fans), they’re leaving in droves because they no longer value the product (in spite of the extremely competitive ticket prices).
    Editor’s Note: I ridicule your comments because they are made from a position of ignorance and hostility and mirror the kind of crap that has been spewed from the same handful of children for almost twenty years. I don’t care what Al Unser or Alain Prost have to say about IndyCar today. Their days behind the wheel have passed. Things a Ryan Hunter-Reay has to say are far more relevant. That is also not why there are fewer fans in the stands. Societal evolution has far more to do with what you perceive as ‘leaving in droves’ than ‘stomp and steer.’

    As for the DW12, saying it’s provided “good racing” is like saying McDonald’s provides good cheeseburgers (minus the “billions and billions served”). It’s a generic, fendered, bumpered, not-fully-open wheel car with a de-tuned engine. The local go cart track has a similar stable of machines for their customers. You just aren’t allowed to pass in the pit or win races based on fuel mileage. It’s McRacing.
    Editor’s Note: And I enjoy the shows it and the drivers behind the wheel give me. Most of those go kart pilots would not last one turn at speed in a DW-12.

    As for the audience, the numbers don’t lie. And no other sport has seen the nearly two decade drop that Indycar has in terms of attendance, television ratings and sponsorship. Sorry, but facts are facts, no matter how unpleasant you may find them. And the product (and the poor stewardship of the series) is to blame.
    Editor’s Note: Actually most other sports have seen significant drops in all three areas over the past twenty years. That is the societal evolution I have been talking about. You’re right about numbers not lying; IndyCar remains one of the highest rated properties on NBCSN, and coverage is being expanded this weekend. There are many ways the product can improve, and hopefully ways will be found to do it economically given the societal landscape in which the sport is operating.

    Finally, most of the participants in today’s Indycar are there first and foremost because of the size of their checkbook, rather than their skills as racers. They’d gladly buy their way into a swankier, more exclusive club if they were only invited. Every golfer wants to be a member at Medinah or Shinnecock Hills or Augusta or Bel Air (to name a few). Most, however, have to be satisfied with something much more pedestrian (and decidedly less exclusive).
    Editor’s Note: It has been this way since the early 1980s. Why has it become such a bad thing all of a sudden? LOL

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  8. “I don’t care what Al Unser or Alain Prost have to say about IndyCar today. Their days behind the wheel have passed. Things a Ryan Hunter-Reay has to say are far more relevant.” I’ll be thinking of the Lloyd Bentsen – Dan Quayle Vice presidential debate all day long. Thanks.
    Editor’s Note: When Al Unser or Alain Prost raced were they ever in a race in which 81% of the field was a previous winner in their respective series? That is what Pocono had. The parity is borne out by the numbers.

    No other surviving sports have seen the drops that Indycar has seen during that period, though I’m certainly willing to look at any data you can provide that would refute that.
    Editor’s Note: Television industry research shows declines for just about everything in sports and entertainment except the NFL and soccer. The number of people actually watching television is also way down. So are traditional cable subscriptions. IndyCar is far from alone in the malaise you continue trying so desperately to frame.

    Finally, if the woes of the sport are simply due to “societal evolution”, what possibly is going to change that will forestall the extinction of the sport? Short of capturing, breeding and otherwise shielding the species from the inevitability of its demise (what the Hulman family has been doing since the mid-90’s), evolution cannot and will not be reversed (unless you consider Darwin as irrelevant as Unser and Prost).
    Editor’s Note: The biggest challenge is getting millenials interested in cars, much less racing them. It is not a sport that registers with younger demos. That has nothing to do with either the Hulmans or the mid-90s. And Hulmans have been in charge of Indy and IndyCar for most of the past 69 years. Al Unser and Alain Prost are old men. They deserve respect for their accomplishments, but relying on them to guide the future of the sport is like having a buggy whip manufacturer try to run a car company. The problem with the Hulman folk is they could not promote hookers to sailors on shore leave after 6 months on the water. But what else is new? As long as there is Indy there will be a sport. The challenge is continuity of interest through succeeding generations.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  9. Parity is a function of spec racing, not a level of driver skill.
    Editor’s Note: The majority of actual drivers in the series today disagree with that assessment.

    When everyone essentially gets the same car and the same sealed motor, driver ability is greatly discounted. Today, Unser (and Prost, if he had been in Indycar), would just be two other drivers. Again, McDonald’s makes billions of cheeseburgers, but nobody argues that they’re very good. But they’re the same in Indy or New York or London or Beijing, and that’s good for undiscriminating palates.
    Editor’s Note: Cheeseburger analogies aside, as a fan what I do NOT want to see is a couple of drivers lap the field and have finishes that are not close. I like my racing close and intense. You know. RACING.

    No other sport has seen the precipitous drop of Indycar. Not one. Not basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis . . . with the possible exception of boxing (which has lost the evolutionary battle to MMA). Of course, MMA is free of incompetent and corrupt management. Hmm . . .Many, however, have seen worldwide growth and significant interest from outside the U.S., with growing television and merchandising deals everywhere. Not so for Indycar, which continues to shrink.
    Editor’s Note: So your belief is that IndyCar is alone on that particular island. If so you have less sanity that I previously believed.

    Part of the reason millennials lack interest is because their parents who supported the sport have been driven away from it by the boneheaded decision to split the sport 20 years ago. When your role models lose interest, you never develop interest. Thus, a whole generation of potential fans are lost due to the actions of the stewards of the sport. So, no succession is occurring, and it won’t occur.
    Editor’s Note: That statement is even more insane. IndyCar has always held the same relative position in the sports pecking order. The fluff and over-hyped bullshit cart supporters still like to spew was never as grand as it is positioned (mostly by people whose only frame of reference is some of those years). The only time IndyCar was truly mainstream was the 50s through the early 60s. So saying millenials are not interested in IndyCar because their parents were cart fans is just about as stupid and shortsighted as it can possibly get. LOL.

    That, of course, is made infinitely worse by the combined (and wholly incompetent) efforts of the HG family. Their inability to hit their plate with their spoon and fork on just about every issue related to the sport is stunning. And sad.
    Editor’s Note: But normal for 69 years. At least they are consistent and did not drive themselves out of business twice.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

    • You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. Indycar/USAC/Championship Car (aka the “Big Cars”) were mainstream in the 60s? If you count closed circuit broadcasts of the Indy 500, with the crappy sound and video, and the 10 minutes of highlights on Wide World of Sports. I guess in your world that’s mainstream. The 500 was the only thing that got any national press. Everything else was largely ignored outside of Indianapolis.
      Editor’s Note: Glad to know I have so many delusional, obsessed ‘fans.’ Look, pal…I was old enough to pay attention back then. The Indy 500 was then, as it is now, the marquee. But the stars also raced a lot on the east coast (big media) and west coast and got as much coverage as anything else. Way more than now. Way more than the cart years. Television back then was usually 3 channels and an independent in any given market, and cable television was still a wet dream for people that even had sets. Newspapers and magazines were mainstream media (and radio) and coverage was regular and steady.

      And to use on of your favorite expressions, try boning up on your reading and comprehension skills. What he and so many others have said is that the split drove many fans away, not just CART fans. And those fans have kids, who now aren’t going to events because their parents aren’t going. I don’t know of too many children that can get to these races on their own, so if their parents aren’t going, neither are they.
      Editor’s Note: Effects of the ‘split’ remain largely the stuff of concocted fantasy based mostly on prejudice. What history teaches is that left to their own devices ownership groups will kill even the most admired series. Had cart not killed itself twice the situation we have today would be, at best, exactly as it is, or at worst just like cart ended up. Twice.

      Nature abhors a vacuum. These families have found other interests and they’re not coming back anytime soon. Attendance is stable at BEST, and trending the wrong way at most venues. And that is NOT the trend of most of the major league sports in the USA. Discounting strike years, attendance at NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA has been remarkably stable.
      Editor’s Note: NFL excepted, the numbers simply do not back you up. IndyCar remains in the same relative place in the pecking order as it mostly always has been.

      Your wholesale support of whatever the Hulman George clan foists off on you is touching, if not altogether commendable. It doesn’t, however make you right. In fact your bias shows through virtually everything you comment on. And casts real doubt on the rest of your assertions regarding Indycar.
      Editor’s Note: And you wonder why I chide your kind about reading comprehension? Those capable of both reading and intelligent thought know I have plenty of criticism of the way the private ly held family company runs the sport. That said, it beats the alternative. I’ll take underachievement over bankrupt and out of business every single time.

      Comment by Olderfan — July 11, 2014 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

      • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

        Comment by Olderfan — July 12, 2014 @ 11:00 am

      • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

        Comment by Olderfan — July 13, 2014 @ 10:58 am

      • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

        Comment by Olderfan — July 14, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  10. So the majority of today’s drivers don’t want to acknowledge that they’re not as good as their more daring and skilled predecessors? Shocking!
    Editor’s Note: According to them they are the best the sport has ever seen. They are good, but not really any better or worse than any other generation as a whole. As an actual fan I have seen many of the legends, including all four of AJ Foyt’s 500 wins.

    As stated, you like manufactured outcomes where talent and innovation are largely removed from the equation and parity and equality are the most valued commodities. To each his own, but you’re in a minority that shrinks with each season.
    Editor’s Note: I haven’t seen a ‘manufactured outcome’ at an IndyCar race ever. Too many variables. Just because they drive spec cars does not mean the drivers or teams are spec. I would not say I am in a minority. I would say I’m in a group that appreciates the skill and effort and has the ability to use their brains.

    Indycar does exist on the Island of Misfit Toys, along with boxing (another dying sport, as I mentioned). It’s highly likely the last boat for the mainland is long gone.
    Editor’s Note: I’ve been hearing the same cackling for twenty years from the same people, and for twenty years you kids have been incorrect. The boys crying wolf nonsense stopped being relevant around 1997.

    Yes, millions of fans left the sport due to the split (that’s “settled science”, so to speak). And, no, those fans don’t pass along their former love of the sport to their kids and / or heirs. Quite to the contrary, their memories are mostly negative due to the destruction of something they enjoyed. It’s one of the reasons you see so few young people at the events. In other words, it’s decidedly not being passed from generation to generation, as anyone can plainly see.
    Editor’s Note: The actual problem has nothing to do with bitter ex-cart fans. Actual racing fans still watch. The ‘problem’ is the lack of resonance regarding internal combustion engines and cars in general among millenials. Most of the parents of this group don’t know the difference between the racing cart and a shopping cart. Negativity about the split has been perpetuated by a screeching minority and ex-cart employees with access to column space, both of whom have decided not to budge from 1995. My thought about that fringe? Fuck ’em. They are irrelevant and do not deserve to be considered fans.

    Finally, the only reason the HG family hasn’t driven themselves out of business is because they answer only to themselves. Those of us with actual experience in the business world (specifically, publicly held companies) understand how this works quite clearly. They’re certainly free to lose their money in any way they choose (Tony George acknowledged that they were in the red from day one of the split), but they survive only because they, in effect, “choose to lose”. It’s one of the few choices they’ve made that’s gone as planned.
    Editor’s Note: Again with the keen insight into the finances of a closely held private company. LOL. Too funny.

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

      Comment by Olderfan — July 12, 2014 @ 11:17 am | Reply

    • You MAY have a point ( a small one, perhaps, but that’s better than your usual track record) in that actual (YOUR emphasis/characterization, not mine) still watch. But, predictably, you missed the larger point: the NUMBER of fans that show up (and, more importantly, PAY for their tickets, not get freebies) is dropping.
      Editor’s Note: I am curious….how many tickets were given away for Pocono?

      A large part of that are the fans/families that simply stopped going after awhile, due to the stupidity of the royal family of the IMS. Ignore that as you wish, but as I said earlier, if the parents aren’t going (and they are not), well, its going to be tough to get their kids hooked on the sport, since they are never there to see it.
      Editor’s Note: Robin Miller wrote an interesting piece in Racer today.

      And as I think about it, I may give you credit for actually having TWO relevant points (a record, for you, I’m sure). The younger generation is not as interested in things automotive as their previous generations were. This makes it doubly tough to engage them. However, they have shown a decided interest in extreme sports, one of which is Rallycross, and variations of Supercross, and its’ X-Game derivations(gee, motorsports). I’d dare say that Travis Pastrana (whom some of your sycophantic “fans” were drooling over, what with his reported interest in Indycar) is more known amongst these non-motorsport millenials than anyone in the current Indycar series is. Like it, or not Indycar lost a generation of fans, and with them, their kids. You don’t want to blame the Speedway/Tony George? Good for you. The problem remains: they’re gone, and they took their children with them. And the current product doesn’t interest them enough to come back.
      Editor’s Note: That is why IndyCar ‘Marketing’ needs to forget about us old farts and concentrate on millennials.

      1 million total attendance for the season? Questionable, at best. ( and a between a quarter and a third-LOL! of it from one event). Far less than what it should have been by now? Not even debatable. Significantly less than CART? Yep. Trending upward? Only if you kid yourself.
      Editor’s Note: I prefer relying on factual data that conclusively proves my point of another of your unrelated observations/obsessed talking points.

      Come to think of it, maybe Tony George (and the Hulmans) was more successful than we imagined. If the goal was to “re-establish” the Indy 500 as the only US open wheel race anyone paid attention to, well, mission accomplished. So what if it gets half the ratings it used to. And the sea of now empty seats where there once were fans isn’t a stirring endorsement of his (and current administrations) managerial skills. Although, given the (lack of) crowds everywhere else, track owners and promoters would die for that crowd. But, the Hulmans never cared about that stuff; it’s all about Indy.
      Editor’s Note: Always has been. Probably always will be.

      Comment by Olderfan — July 14, 2014 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

  11. I’ve seen AJF’s wins, as well. None of that changes the point I made, which you wisely chose to not counter. NAND they’re as good as their predecessors only in their minds. No one else believes that.
    Editor’s Note: I did not discern a point. I watch the current group with the same amount of enthusiasm as the field that raced in the 60s. Or 70s. Or 80s. Or 90s. They are all great. Some greater than others. As an actual fan I appreciate all of it.

    Spec racing is “manufactured” in that eliminating as many variables as possible is one of the obvious objectives. McDonald’s does the same thing with cheeseburgers, as those of us with business experience understand. But it doesn’t make them chefs or purveyors of fine cuisine, but rather mass producers of a generic product. Absent the “mass” aspect, Indycar is no different.
    Editor’s Note: I got your point the first time you made it. I also wish the formula was far less spec. But I am intelligent enough to appreciate nuances and find the way teams and drivers approach the formula compelling.

    The vast majority of racing fans actually uttered your inelegant command to the powers that be after the Split, which is why the popularity of the sport and its marquee event have fallen so precipitously. And, logically, that means generational perpetuation is not and will not occur in meaningful numbers, as we are clearly witnessing.
    Editor’s Note: And I state flatly that you are full of shit. We’re a generation removed from cart’s boycott. Generational perception has little or nothing to do with ‘split’ and almost everything to do with the fact that millenials live in a world that is completely and fundamentally different than 20 years ago. Attraction of new audience should have nothing to do with blithering idiots still holding their breath and turning blue over the ‘split.’ Those who perpetuate that particular ideology would best serve the sport by dying.

    My insight in the family finances came from Tony George, who predicted the end of the series in 2013 due to the hemmorage of red ink. And it is, of course, undeniable that any publicly held entity run this way would have become insolvent many years ago. Again, the HG is welcome to use their cash as firewood, if they so choose. It might be the only method of disposing of it quicker.
    Editor’s Note: Tony George no longer controls the purse strings. Supposition about corporate red ink by outsiders usually makes those supposing look foolish, particularly when oft-predicted demise never seems to happen even decades after they first predicted the sky to be falling. Laughable. Nowthen….would you kindly confine your comments to the actual topic, which in this case is Pocono?

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 11, 2014 @ 8:43 pm | Reply

    • The point of Pocono remains the same: Half to two thirds of last years crowd chose to not return, leaving the grandstands painfully empty (10,000 were there, at most). That, along with the plethora of empty seats at St. Pete, Alabama, Indy, Detroit and Texas, makes it undeniably clear to any rational observer that the sporting public has soundly rejected the current version of Indycar.

      Television ratings and sponsorship levels are similarly falling at an alarming rate, further proof that the series has no traction in today’s sporting world (regardless of the empty excuse of some that it’s merely a function of the failing fortunes of all sports). Indycar must change or they’ll continue on their one way path to extinction. Again, any thinking person and all true fans of the sport can plainly see this.
      Editor’s Note: And now a dose of actual reality from an adult. Almost everything you kids have been shouting about over the past twenty years right through almost everything in the post above has proven to be incorrect. A boy can only cry wolf so many times before being perceived as mentally deficient. Can you last twenty more years? LOL.

      Comment by Bob Chinn — July 12, 2014 @ 1:16 am | Reply

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        Comment by Bob Chinn — July 12, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

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        Comment by Bob Chinn — July 12, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

    • Keep to the actual topic? Hmmm…something you appear to have difficulty doing, but since you asked: Crowd: MAYBE half of last year’s, estimated (generously) at ~15k by reporters that cover the series at every event. And that’s WITH the supposed “stellar” walk up trade. (Sure)
      Editor’s Note: You are free to delude yourself into believing whatever you want. Until you attend and talk to the folks in charge, however, I’ll just continue taking your obsessive meandering with several grains of salt.

      The racing? A bit of a bore fest, what with 21 ” cars and stars” droning around. Unless you count the near homocidal/suicidal blocking moves of Will Power, whose attempts to kill his own teammate were the only real excitement generated.
      Editor’s Note: I actually enjoyed the action, much of it away from the lead. 21 cars is way too few for that great track.

      Any other drivers that regularly pulled the bone headed maneuvers that Power does would be fortunate to be employed driving the Pocono lawn tractor, much less a “top level”(LOL) open wheeler. But that’s another story.
      Editor’s Note: They want to win. Sometimes race drivers do dumb things. It happens.

      Promotion? Non existent. Seems the track has evaluated it’s possibilities with Indycar, and found it (Indycar) wanting. No surprise there. Just ask Louden, Richmond, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Kentucky, Nazareth, Baltimore, Walt Disney World et al.
      Editor’s Note: The most recent chance they had at Loudon was a weekend plagued with bad weather. Richmond was a case of sponsor poaching by NASCAR. Crowds were always good. Charlotte got gun shy after spectator deaths. Las Vegas is another SMI track and the Euro formula folks now occupying the series automatically think ‘pack racing.’ Kentucky was the victim of excessive, nonsensical date switching. Nazareth? Seriously? Have you seen that track lately? ISC put that one out of business for IndyCar much like Pikes Peak. Baltimore is a crystal clear example of the voodoo economics on which street ‘racing’ is based. Walt Disney World wanted a date in January. IndyCar says no. Fortunately, there is a lot of catching up to those ‘glory years’ such as Atlanta, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cleveland, Denver I, Denver II, Detroit City, Gateway, Germany, Hawaii, Houston, Las Vegas I, Laguna Seca, Las Vegas II, Meadowlands, Mexico I, Mexico II, Miami I, Miami 2, Miami 3, Miami 4, Michigan, Monterrey, Nazareth, Netherlands, Ontario, Pocono, Portland, Quebec I, Quebec II, Riverside, Road America, Sanair, San Jose, Spain, Texas, Trenton, UK I, UK II, Vancouver and Watkins Glen, presented by FedEx, Havoline, K-Mart, Bridgestone, Ford, Cosworth, Lola, Swift, Reynard, Jimmy and various primary colors. Twice.

      There you go big boy. We’ll wait for you to post your “facts” and the concurrent supporting references (har-de-har-har!)
      Editor’s Note: Done. Y’all come back now, ya hear?

      Comment by Olderfan — July 13, 2014 @ 2:43 am | Reply

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 12:56 am

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 10:52 am

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

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        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

  12. (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    Comment by Bob Chinn — July 12, 2014 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  13. (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    Comment by Olderfan — July 12, 2014 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

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    Comment by Olderfan — July 12, 2014 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

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    Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

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      Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

      • (The same exact copy/paste off topic diatribe/commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog; identical off-topic commentary has been resubmitted with identical relocation TWENTY-TWO times. Someone should intervene and convince you to seek professional mental health treatment. Seriously.)

        Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

  16. (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    Comment by Olderfan — July 15, 2014 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

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