Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 29, 2014

Question for Internet IndyCar EOEs (Experts on Everything)

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:27 pm

Elder AntonLet us say that one day the magic racing genie popped out of whatever you happened to be stroking to grant wishes. The most common theme among the obsessed is the one that eliminates any vestige of Hulman-George DNA from any part of ownership or management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or IndyCar Racing.

In a way that has already happened. Current management (at least at the upper levels) is separated from Hulman-George lineage. Ownership is still a different story.

If you had the opportunity to change the ownership into something other than Hulman & Companies, who/what would it be? Be specific. Tell me why. Make a case. Sell me. I would tend to rule out both anyone named France or Smith. It would need to be someone with a deep respect for history as well as a forward looking plan of action to take the sport to new heights.

West SideThis is not about what you dislike now. It is about potential. My opinion is that IndyCar and IMS should remain unique in the racing world and not a cookie cutter. We can talk about what changes you would make to the facility. Personally I would get the city to ‘eminent domain’ an area roughly bounded by Georgetown Road, 16th Street, Kessler Boulevard, Lafayette Road and 30th Street over to Moeller Road. They could transform the historic race track into a showplace but as long as the neighborhoods on three sides of it continue to deteriorate none of that will really matter.

In other words I would look at someone willing to transform the entire west side. The Speedway Redevelopment folks’ great effort aside, much more should be done. But by who?

That is the question, and be careful for what you might wish.



  1. I’ve been watching the very entertaining air strikes on ISIS lately. . . . I’d love to steer one of those fighters over Coppertree Apartments and fire away. That’s the first order of cleaning up the area.

    Comment by John E. Reble — September 29, 2014 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  2. I’ll take a shot at this, even though that A: you’ve proven time and time again to have limited comprehension skills, and B: you probably won’t believe me.

    Let’s start with what you’ll probably have the most difficulty believing: I think that the Hulman George family ( hereafter known as The Family) should retain ownership of the Speedway. Why? Because up until the beginning of the IRL, and the resulting drain on the Family finances, and the diversion that running a competing series caused, the Family, and the staff that was in place to operate the Speedway did an admirable job of it. I’ll wait until you catch your breath. ..Even the despised ( deservedly so) Anton was , while surrounded by an experienced staff, able to at least do an adequate job of keeping the Speedway a compelling and iconic venue. And clean and well kept.

    The issue always has been one of control; the thought that the CART owners well determined to marginalized the Speedway drove many of the decisions that ultimately damaged the sport, most likely permanently.
    Editor’s Note: Coherent thoughts, actually. Couple of problems though: 1) Any notion the IRL was a ‘competing series’ is a notion that cart framed primarily because it represented a threat to ‘their’ Indianapolis 500. 2) cart owners actually were intent on the marginalization of IMS.

    There is NO doubt that they ( the owners) wanted a bigger piece of the pie; it is equally true that, given the payout versus the costs of spending the entire month of May there that the owners were justified in wanting that. And in the ultimate irony, Tony George and the IRL/Indycar ended up truncating the month, along the lines of what the owners were asking for anyway. And we are all aware of your opinion that the CART owners “boycotted” the Speedway after the formation of the IRL and the 25/8 rule. Virtually no one that has covered the sport for a living shares your view, however. But all of it is water under the bridge. The current ICS suffers from low ratings, poor attendance and a technically uninteresting formula.
    Editor’s Note: And essentially the cart old guard is running the show.

    If the Family was to sell anything, it should sell the ICS. Sell it to the owners, forge a long term agreement to provide the field for the 500, and just as important the Speedway needs to enter into a long term agreement to NOT start a competing ( complementary-LOL!) series. Let the owners bear the responsibility for managing and promoting and growing the series. If it dies again under their control it should be relatively easy, and cheap to pick up the pieces, and no one could fault the Family for doing so.
    But independent ownership control was the only time in the last 50 years that AOW got any notice beyond a relatively small hard core group of fans and media. Let the Family do the one thing that, at least for a number of decades it showed a proclivity for: manage and maintain the Speedway.
    Editor’s Note: First, myth correction. I know cart enthusiasts enjoy claiming their short period was the high point of the entire history. It was no doubt a popular period, but pretty far from the highest of highs. Indy racing after WWII was arguably much more mainstream in an organic sense in the 50’s, 60’s and most of the 70’s. Almost any person would immediately recognize Mario, A.J. or Parnelli. During cart’s heydey they were not even the most popular domestic motor sports series, unlike Indycar of the 50’s through the 70’s. A combination of tobacco money and ego allowed them to foist all kinds of nonsense. As for their potential series ownership that is a slippery slope. Potentially great but damage would be done to key relationships; e.g., Dallara.

    As far as government sanctioned/ directed ” gentrification”, that’s a dangerous path to go down.



    Amongst the many horror stories that involve eminent domain, that is a particularly egregious one.
    Editor’s Note: I noticed that the seven homeowners in that small Connecticut town did not have an iconic landmark in their neighborhood.

    Comment by Olderfan — September 30, 2014 @ 2:06 am | Reply

    • I’m not going to bother with a rebuttal to your comments outside this following, narrowly focused one: the link I included regarding the abuse of eminent domain is just ONE of a series of transgressions and misuse of eminent domain law. There are dozens, if not hundreds of examples available online and in your local library.

      The Pfizer one is an excellent example of abusing eminent domain to benefit a wealthy company/private enterprise.

      Whether or not the Speedway is an “iconic landmark” should have no bearing; the chief beneficiary of such actions would be a privately owned and privately controlled company, with the resultant benefit of making a privately owned property MORE valuable. That is NOT an acceptable use of eminent domain law. Public Works projects, such as bridges, rail and transportation infrastructure, public park/open spaces, etc that carry a benefit to a community or society as a whole, ARE among the proper uses of such law.

      Gentrification rarely works as intended when “forced” on a community or neighborhood through the use of such methods as eminent domain. Local and state governments try to pursue that strategy when catering to potential donors and people of influence that can help keep them in office. Just see the lengths most of them will go to to hand over land and public monies for sports palaces such as Lucas Oil Stadium, for example. Gentrification works best when private ownership uses private capital to rehab and renew neighborhoods and communities.

      Visit fieldofschemes.com to get an education on the LACK of benefits to the public that sports venues of all kinds share. While the Speedway is iconic to you, and many others, removal of residents and small businesses located around it for the primary benefit of the speedway is NOT a proper use of eminent domain. The “historic” status of the venue is not a valid justification.
      Editor’s Note: I understand the arguments against and the potential slippery slope eminent domain represents, and most such arguments have merit.

      Still, The Speedway Redevelopment folks, for example, have done a remarkable job in their little corner of that town. It just has not gone far enough. I personally believe it is in the best interests of Indianapolis and central Indiana as a whole to support gentrification efforts around the Speedway. Seeding private gentrification is important. Indianapolis in particular suffers from the need for most middle class and above to relocate outside 465. I am all for some sort of incentives to motivate such people to rediscover the inside of 465, particularly on the west side.

      Comment by Olderfan — September 30, 2014 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  3. Yeah, because businesses are just linng up to open in Speedway, Indiana.
    Editor’s Note: ‘Linng?’ What are you attempting to say?

    Huh? Let IMs bulldoze that whole 6 block area around them. They kow what they are doing.
    Editor’s Note: ‘kow?’ Like ‘moo?’ IMS over the years has bulldozed a lot of the immediate area. Just not enough of the burgeoning hood.

    They are masters of promotion and marketing and have a mdas touch. Let the money flow!
    Editor’s Note: I am assuming the effect for which you are reaching is one of facetiousness. Difficult to say, however, given your overall lack of literacy.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — October 7, 2014 @ 3:01 am | Reply

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

    Comment by b.a. rock — October 7, 2014 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

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