Defender of IndyCar

IndyCar At Toronto in 2014….Still Fun and Still There

As the Verizon IndyCar Series heads north of the border for another doubleheader weekend an age old argument stills rears its ugly head. Instead of enjoying a really fun city and an interesting long term IndyCar event some ‘fans’ feel obligated to publicly piss and moan about how nothing is as good as it was before 1996. I do not get that. The world is twenty years beyond that point. The sport remains great despite its warts.

Internet guyOn one Internet forum, for example, one contributor named Dave took on one or more of the continually defensive, often arrogant, always myopic ‘cart-back-in-the-day’ enthusiasts who seem to live to squat on the Internet and spout off about the perceived superiority they believe it had over everything else no matter what.

Dave opined: ‘I’m not allowed to directly talk about my admiration for Tony George’s vision and how he tried to save a sport that was already in long term trouble (despite this alleged ‘golden era of the 1990s’) but if others are going to make subtle insinuations that the split caused the decline rather than street courses, foreign drivers and the greed of the cart teams, I’ll make my insinuations too.’

Sure enough, one of those overly defensive cart enthusiasts chimed right in. Oddly, it was another guy named Dave: ‘And what those who supported TG’s vision fail to realize is, it was nothing but a power grab by IMS that failed miserably and scorched the earth for open wheel racing in this country. If Tony George’s intentions truly was to make American open wheel short trackers relevant at IMS again, the formula would have been front engine tube framed race cars similar to a gold crown or silver crown race car. There would have been dirt tracks on the original IRL schedule as well. I’m sorry, but the cries that Tony was just trying to save the Indianapolis 500 from these horrible foreigners and road racers are ludicrous. There were other intentions there, just accept it.’

cart entusiastHere is what I find amusing about what has become sort of a standard response from that bunch. They automatically believe the ‘vision’ of Tony George was primarily to make short track drivers relevant at Indy again. As is the case nearly 100% of the time these people say anything, they are completely misguided and have usually deluded themselves into believing clumsily crafted stereotypes. In reality the ‘vision’ was simply to make IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 more inclusive to a wider variety of drivers from many disciplines at lower cost. It is fun when a Tony Stewart moves from short tracks to Indy cars and does well. Problem is most of that type are not in cars long before they meet the wall. Conversely there are many talented road racing drivers like Mike Conway who also fail on ovals. The key challenge is finding a diverse field from multiple disciplines who can take on a variety of circuits (while they last).

These types also like variations of the gut busting phrase ‘nothing but a power grab by IMS that failed miserably and scorched the earth for open wheel racing in this country.’ Delusional fiction aside, it was not all about a power grab although that was an element. Then youthful Anton was most interested in preserving the family farm and in particular the 500. Describing the effort as ‘failed miserably’ is subjective at best but generally completely delusional to lunatic levels. After all which series actually failed (and by failed I mean ceased to exist in bankruptcy), twice, and which one has been around for twenty years? Tony and his minions were not responsible for the majority of scorched earth. That happened when the egos of those running cart perceived the IRL as a threat rather than a companion and changed not only their spec but their schedule to be in direct conflict. If they wanted it dead all they had to do was show up en masse for the first three events in equipment they already had on conflicting dates that they made necessary and that would have been that.

AntonDave continued the party line by throwing in tube frame car and dirt track references. Evidently this is one of their quaint little tenets. As a lifelong IndyCar fan I love the modern-era rear engine machines, and appreciate all the evolution that has led to where we are. If I want to watch tube framed cars on dirt tracks I will go to Paragon or Eldora or someplace like that. I do not want IndyCar engines in the front, and I don’t want them on dirt.

Inevitably contributors such as Dave continue the stereotype they have concocted with phrases like ‘the cries that Tony was just trying to save the Indianapolis 500 from these horrible foreigners and road racers…’ The nonsense these folks foist gets funnier with each passing decade. Foreigners and road racers in and of themselves are not bad things. Definitely not ‘horrible.’ Never have Ciggiesbeen. But too many of them competing in a series based in America will never hold any interest to a mass audience domestically. Diversity is great but must expand.

Memo to those stuck in a 90’s time warp. Do you know what made cart great while it lasted? Two things: A) The Indianapolis 500 and B) Tobacco money. When they walked away from one and had the other legislated away the end result was predictable. Failure. Twice. Do you know why IndyCar is still around today? The Indianapolis 500. Do you know why IndyCar does not meet the utopian fantasy you believed you had in the early 90s? No tobacco money. It is basically that simple.

So where are we today? Racing on an increasing number of non-ovals with a field heavily populated by foreign road racers. Future success will involve the inclusion Tony George desired, a truly BALANCED slate of venues with renewed emphasis and presentation of oval racing, a strong Indianapolis 500 and meaningful sponsorship that leads to meaningful promotion.

So now it’s off to a street circuit. The doubleheaders are great ideas and this weekend will be lots of fun. If you’re going have fun and we’ll see you there!

21 replies to “IndyCar At Toronto in 2014….Still Fun and Still There

  1. At the end of the day, the sport is in worse shape than its ever been. And the buck stops squarely on the desk of the IMS/IRL/Hulman Racing/whoever is running the show at 16th street. Too bad you cant see that. Guess it just doesn’t fit your agenda of IMS apologist.

    But then how do you reconcile that internally when 27 of your last 30 blog entries have contained “criticisms” (to be generous) of the same folks?
    Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading! I guess current condition is a matter of personal prejudice, and I reserve the right to make fun of those who choose to remain willfully stupid.

  2. (This one falls under the ‘idiot’ category a little more than the ‘off topic’ one, and so has been mercifully relocated to the comment section of the 12/19/13 blog)

  3. George took control because he thought he knew better how to run the series, even though just about everyone understood he was an incapable leader.
    Editor’s Note: The grandiose fantasy you kids have concocted for yourselves vis-a-vis Tony George is always humorous. It was not so much ‘running the series’ as it was creating a series to run the 500, with more accessibility and lower cost; not as competition to cart but as a complementary series.

    The fact that he ran things into the ground and was terminated by his mother and sisters confirms that the job was simply well beyond his modest abilities. Not sure why anyone would choose to argue against these incontrovertible facts. They are inarguable.
    Editor’s Note: The only facts that are inarguable are these: cart failed. Twice. IndyCar in its current incarnation has been around continuously since Tony George hatched his series. Those are the only relevant facts.

    1. It was never intended as a “complementary series” to anything. No one who understands anything about the sport would argue that. It’s simply not true. Just as untrue, I fact, as the fantasy that it was intended to create “more accessibility and lower cost.” It did neither, though it did drain substantial amounts of money from the Hulman George family fortune, leaving Mari and her daughters with no choice but to remove him from his leadership position. Prior to that, however, was the failure of both series (the name IRL has been banished by the series, a sure sign of its total failure).
      Editor’s Note: I’ll defer to your infinite revisionist wisdom, Also don’t forget the louder and more frequently you scream it the more believable it might become. LOL

      1. You should keep that last statement in mind D-boi.
        Editor’s Note: So let me get this straight…an obsessed blog comment section contributor whose untreated mental illness remains on prominent display begins his latest tirade with an epithet borrowed from our friends in the lesbian community that refers to yours truly as a young transgendered, androgynous, masculine person who is biologically female and presents himself in a young, boyish way. Yeah, that’s the best way I know of to establish or build any sort of credibility.

        You’ve been trying to tell everyone for YEARS, here, and on TrackForum, (edited for tact) cart centric hate sites and IBJ.COM that kind hearted Tony was just trying to give those poor old USACers a way to get to Indy, and poor wittle Tony was just misunderstood. (Sniff, sniff). I’ll bet you even believe that by now.
        Editor’s Note: I cannot decide which is funnier. The crudely concocted fantasies of obsessed, squatting enthusiasts of a brief past period of time with the mental and emotional agility of the average four year old, or acting like the aforementioned four year old attempting to express them. I can’t ever recall making up a word like ‘wittle’ much less using it in a sentence.

        Fortunately the rest of us can read, and the history of the IRL, Tony George, Jack Long & Leo Mehl and their actual end game are quite different than your little delusional fantasy. Keep it up, genius. We all need a laugh now and again.
        Editor’s Note: I prefer actual grounding in reality as an adult. Four things that have not been around in any meaningful sense for years: IRL, Tony George, Jack Long & Leo Mehl. One thing that has been around for nearly twenty: IndyCar lineage spawned from Tony’s IRL. Two things that are not: cart and champcar as viable, non-bankrupt entities. IMS controls the whole shootin’ match. I know that drives your ilk nuts, but thanks for continuing to watch. You are the sports’ biggest fans.

      2. (Duplicated off topic commentary repeatedly relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    2. i haven’t bothered to comment here for awhile because there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it-nothing really ever gets solved, and the people that currently run the series seem to trip over their own feet on a pretty regular basis. But that’s another story.

      I’ll disagree with you (Defender) on a few issues. One-cart failed once. After the bankruptcy proceedings, the entity that arose from the outcome of that decision really only had one link to the old cart series in Gerry Forsythe. Now history tells us that the OWRS(?) Champ Car series did not last long, but that is beside the point. The reasoning behind the courts ruling was that by giving control or approving the plan forwarded by Forsythe, Kalkoven and Gentilozzi, existing creditors and promoters with race dates and contracts for the next season stood a much better chance of being paid, or having their commitments fulfilled with the OWRS group, in the short term. There was no real consideration given to the long term possibilites of the Champ car venture-it was about how to try to get as much compensation into the hands of those who stood to lose out, should the cart series shutdown completely. My recollection of the position of Tony George at the time was that he/IRL was not willing or able to make the same types of guarantees vis a vis the creditors.

      Looked at objectively, the original “vision” (and how I hate that term, for many a reason) for the IRL ceased to exist the moment the two series merged. The original IRL concept failed as well (once). The current Indycar series is struggling to get to a critical mass in the eyes of the media and motorsports public, but due to it’s connection to the Indy 500, it will probably hang around indefinitely.

      As far as the IRL/Indycar series creating more accesibilty to the 500, at a lower cost, at this point I would think you would have to give it (IRL/Indycar) a failing grade. Car counts are way off at the 500, and the cost really has not been reigned in. And even if you want to make the argument that the total car cost IS lower (and it really is not), the loss of sponsor revenue to the teams makes the effective cost of competing every bit as high, if not higher, than it ever was.

      I’m sorry, but I remain pessimistic about the long term viability of Indycar; as I have said earlier, and in other postings, I don’t think it is going away anytime soon, but I do not see it expanding it’s commercial viability significantly.

  4. Something has been bothering me since the Houston race, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It may have been entertaining but that race had the feeling of a combo go-cart / figure 8 race. To some extent Toronto had the same feeling.

    When the DW12 was introduced I made the comment that the rear bumpers, the wheels pulled inside the body work, the sponsor blocker, were all a mistake. That with as little on-track respect as the drivers show each other, when these guys realize “rubbing is racin,” either the on track show would suffer or somebody was going to get hurt. Well, we are getting there. Even Paul Tracy sees it, see his comment about the “side horn.”

    A quick comment about TF. That place is starting to remind me of the old IndyStar forum ( minus the porn, but just as vicious ). At one time I considered joining TF, but quickly realized that it would only take about 8-10 posts before I would be banished to Paff-land.

    1. Speaking of “somebody’s going to get hurt” check out this little gem from the people who brought you the Houston catch fencing: Or is Pruett a CART syncophant, too. You can’t make this sh!t up.
      Editor’s Note: Well what do you know….something that actually resembles the topic of the blog! Amazing. Pruett is a good and thorough writer. cart has nothing to do with just about anything today. He took a picture of a turn one catch fence not attached to anything. Someone needs to be fired over that considering a similar system cost Franchitti the end of his career. If IndyCar is smart (LOL) they will get out in front of this and make the necessary changes.

      1. IF Indycar is smart? That’d be the day. Who got fired over the Houston debacle? Oh, that’s right- NO ONE. Or a season or two ago, when the keystone cops in the Honda Ridgeline watched Simona Di Silvestro ‘ s car burn with HER IN IT! And this weekend? The whole lot of them in race control should go. They can’t even figure out how to apply the (maleable) INDYCAR rule book. But why should this surprise anyone? This is the M.O. of this rolling cluster f#@k since day one. ( Anyone remember Texas with AJ and Arie Luyendieck? Or the decision to award Falcon a chassis contact over Lola Cars, when Falcon had yet to produce a SINGLE CHASSIS for ANY series. All you fans that supported this crud, congratulations. You got what you wanted.
        Editor’s Note: You forgot to toss in references to Racin Gardner, Brad Murphy or Jack Miller, not to mention the correctly spelled word Luyendyk. C’mon….get with the agenda.

  5. Who got fired over the Toronto debacle that caused the sudden retirement of Jeff Krosnoff? That’s right – NO ONE.

    1. Hey Herman, you jackass:

      The Kronoff incident happened, like so many do as a confluence of factors. The two cars touching wheels, and Krosnoffs car got picked up and struck the catch fence where it was in front of (but too close to) a light post.

      The angle of impact and where Jeffs head struck the fixture is what contributed to his death. Much as the way Dan Wheldons head impacted the catch fence post. And just as in Wheldons case, the fence and post WERE properly installed.

      The following year the configuration and placement of the fence had been changed; in response to the lessons learned from Jeffs fatality.

      Now, let’s contrast that with what happened recently. In Houston, Dario’s car was lifted off the track ( similar to what happened to Krosnoffs car) and stuck the fence. Unlike in Toronto, where the fence didn’t fail, ( but was not placed perfectly) the catch fence FAILED, mostly due to the fact that it was IMPROPERLY INSTALLED. With missing supports and insufficient bracing and no retainers at the top of the fence sections. We all know what happened; that section of the fence ended up in the grandstand, where fortunately it only caused very minor injuries. And Dario survived possibly due to improvements in car construction since Jeff ‘ s accident, lower initall speed, as well as the fact that Dario’s head didn’t contact anything with sufficient force to kill him.

      After the incident in Houston, series officials examined all the particulars, and pledged to not let this happen again. More care would be placed in the construction of the fencing. Fast forward to Toronto; after all that was learned in Houston, THE CATCH FENCING WAS IMPROPERLY INSTALLED AGAIN. Even Defender agrees that someone should be fired for this.

      If morons like you can’t tell the difference between what happened to Jeff Krosnoff, and what’s gone on with the negligent construction of the catch fencing, then no amount of education and information is going to make it clear to you.

      The salient fact is this:after Jeffs accident series officials reconfigured the fencing to try to prevent the same thing from happening again. After Houston, the same mistake (improper fence construction) was made AGAIN.

      1. Krosnoff’s accident involved a tree behind the fence (since removed), a light post, a stupid move by car-n-star Stefan Johanssen, and innocent track workers standing directly in harm’s way. You claim the fence didn’t fail, but it also didn’t prevent him from hitting the tree. Educate yourself. Watch the Youtube frame by frame video. So the fence was properly installed when the cars-n-stars were there causing two deaths, but today it wasn’t? Got it. You sound like a real expert lol. And your obsession is amusing by the way.

      2. Apparently, and not surprisingly, you’ve COMPLETELY missed the point.

        Anyone that has watched the events of that day is pretty familiar with the circumstances surrounding Jeff’s accident. The catch fence WAS improperly placed, given the circumstances that manifested themselves that day. The fence had been in that configuration in all of the previous events there, and had not been seen as a possible issue. Krosnoff’s fatal accident caused officials to re-examine the placement of the fence, and its’ proximity to the tree (which was removed prior to next years event), and the light post. When the series returned to Toronto the following year, those changes were made, having learned from the incident.

        And I hardly need to educate myself; I was THERE that day, and watched it countless times after that. A terrible tragedy for Jeff, his family, Gary Arvin’s family, and all the the volunteers that spend so much of their own time, and money to try to provide for the safety of the drivers. And since I actually HAVE raced (D-Sports, SCCA) I have gotten to be forever grateful for the volunteers, like Gary, who help keep us safe. And Gary’s death followed the death of another track worker several years earlier in Vancouver, which caused series officials to review procedures for track workers to be exposed to “hot” track conditions, and led to the use of more full course cautions.

        But tell me, genius, what’s the difference between Jeff’s accident, and the one that killed Dan Wheldon? Started by a stupid move by another driver, that ended up collecting Dan. I guess, in your estimation, that the fence @ Las Vegas wasn’t properly installed either, since Dan died that day. Even though nothing was found “wrong” with the fencing, which at the time of Dan’s accident, was considered state of the art for such tracks.

        And Dario @ Houston? Another bonehead move in front of him, with maybe a slight mis-judgement from Dario. Result? Wheels touched, car gets launched into the fence, DESPITE the rear wheel guards designed to prevent that from happening. And the fence? It ended up in the grandstand. Why? As per the investigation by Indycar, the fence was IMPROPERLY INSTALLED. That was NOT the case in Toronto for Jeff.

        So compare the two actions; after Krosnoff’s fatality, the fence was repositioned, the tree was removed, as an application of the lessons so painfully learned. After Dario’s near miss, the circumstances were evaluated, plans were made, and several months later the catch fencing was IMPROPERLY INSTALLED. AGAIN. Even Defender believes someone should get canned over this, so I’m not sure what is so difficult for you to understand; other than to attribute that difficulty to your abject stupidity.

  6. Racing on an increasing number of non-ovals with a field heavily populated by foreign road racers.


    And we wonder why Americans aren’t watching?


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