Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 21, 2014

Post Toronto IndyCar Hangover

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:17 pm

DerrickIt has taken a day to absorb what I saw on television after a relatively chilled and wet weekend north of the border. Primary goal: Remain objective. It is difficult. Initial thought: IndyCar stepped all over its own genitals on national television for hours, akin aesthetically to the debacle the dying remnants of cart foisted on racing fans back in ’01 in Texas. That is a bit harsh, which is why I waited.

Even two days later it all seems amateur in most ways. After several false starts and lots of hem-hawing between IndyCar, teams and drivers the first day was scrapped late. The television audience spent the day dealing with indecision, a fluid rule book, fluid start times and an impression of the participants as prima donnas who say they can race in rain but won’t. And it was not even rain, really. Mostly just mist.

My wife, who is not a race fan and does not know any of the personalities, happened to catch Derrick Walker on camera at one point and asked who ‘the doddering old man’ is. A visiting family friend told her he is the hand-picked IndyCar executive whose primary job is to kiss the backsides of every driver and team owner in IndyCar. From that standpoint he seems to be doing a great job.

Back in bizReality is, of course, much more complicated. Street circuits are basically the same crappy roads on which the public drives most of the year with jersey barriers set up. Marshall Pruett of Racer magazine tweeted a photo of the temporary fencing in turn one that was not attached to the barrier. Yeah, that is probably not potentially dangerous at all.

In other words the twisted abominations known as street circuits are city streets or parking lots that contain the same bumps, dips, pavement changes, manholes, etc., that everyone else encounters. Rain on a street course is not like rain on a natural terrain, purpose built circuit. Even the pace car spun. Their solution? Bag Saturday and run two shortened races on Sunday.

Winners were interesting. Sebastien Bourdais finally won in this iteration of IndyCar, and Mike Conway continued making Ed Carpenter look like as good an owner as he is an oval driver. In between however we had ‘shunts’ all over the place. At times it resembled Keystone Kops in race cars. Fortunately it is all now over and two actual racing tracks are next up.

PreferentialIf what people were subjected to on the air was not bad enough there were other subtle problems. The supposedly smart people at IndyCar should be dealing with this forcefully but are evidently oblivious. During the entire Saturday broadcast of IndyCar almost every segment included promotion for either Formula 1 or NASCAR-in-the-future, and occasionally promotion of IndyCar the next day. During the F-1 broadcast that preceded IndyCar I do not believe any IndyCar promotion occurred. If it did it was elusive. Certainly not every or every other segment. Why?

IndyCar cannot really afford to drop any television turds any more, but they did this weekend.



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

    Comment by Olderfan — July 22, 2014 @ 3:29 am | Reply

  2. That’s what I started noticing about NBCSN too … during IndyCar races there are many ads for F1 races and NASCAR shows. During the F1 race this weekend there was no ad for the IndyCar races that day nor in the future. Diffey, during the wrap of the German GP, did mention the IndyCar race, but that’s all I saw and heard. I do not know if during the NASCAR races NBCSN mentions IndyCar though, because I don’t watch those shows.

    Comment by Jeff — July 22, 2014 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  3. Oh and a good way to describe the whole IndyCar weekend … a Keystone Kop affair. As usual though the racing was competitive.

    Comment by Jeff — July 22, 2014 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  4. I won’t repeat everything I said in my 7/21 reply to a previous blog post, I will say that I thought the show ( on track & on TV ) from Toronto was sub-par. I felt sorry for the TV guys on Saturday trying to make falling rain sound exciting ( and somebody tell Bob Varsha it’s a PACE car, not a safety car !! ).

    However, take a look at the week over week gain in viewer ship.
    368k @ Long Beach
    342k @ Pocono
    444k @ Iowa
    484k @ Toronto
    This is getting beyond the realm of statistical noise and starting to show a trend. This is actually good news.

    Comment by Chris Lukens — July 23, 2014 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

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