Here we are in the slowest part of the year and there is not much on which to catch up. Another favorite racing blogger is hanging it up. Pressdog has published its last well written piece. A lot of these bloggers have some real talent and go out of their way to provide quality content along with interviews and carefully researched topics. That is appreciated. They take it much more seriously that I do. This blog, as I am the first to admit, is usually a goofy collection of often strong opinions about the state of the sport. It is done for fun, is not meant to provide a living, and is sort of a hobby that allows escape from real life. As a result, I write when I can and feel no pressure. I also genuinely appreciate the more serious efforts of others despite most of them trying to earn a living in the real world.
In actual IndyCar related news it was revealed that Bryan Herta Autosport was stiffed of most of the sponsorship commitment of Integrity Assets Group (Integrity, yeah right) who distributes the product that adorned the body work of the 98, Energee. This is another case ending in a court room. Note to current and prospective IndyCar owners: Steer clear of non-mainstream energy drink products. Most seem to define fly-by-night and you will end up either on the wrong end of either a pyramid or a Ponzi scheme, you will end up in a futile money chase and will end up stiffed. I hate that it happened to Herta but I would bet he has learned a thing or two. Sponsors who commit then stiff should be sent to jail. In the broadcast business we would accept advertising from sleazeballs, but only on a cash-in-advance basis AFTER the check had been cashed.
Someone credible is finally attempting a book about the ‘split.’ Sigur Whitaker is a descendant of James Allison, about whom her first book was penned. Then she wrote one about Tony Hulman. Both are pretty good. She is now tackling the ‘IndyCar Wars.’ Good luck. The most interesting part will be observation of objectivity. Even today some folks are still fighting that particular pointless battle.
The management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway made a major decision this past week in which they failed in any way to blunder any part of it or completely screw it up. As a matter of fact they hit one right out of the park. For that hearty congratulations are deserved all around. The first replacement for Jim Nabors for ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ is IU-bred and acclaimed acapella singing group Straight No Chaser. It is the most logical evolution possible. Naturally there are plenty of people who just do not get it who are posting up really stupid commentary slamming the choice. The most stupid usually involves playing recordings of Nabors in future years. Uh, no. Let’s charge ahead. Way to go IMS.
Finally, and speaking of blithering idiots living in the early 1990s, that particular group of cart fans has been reported by others to be in an absolute tizzy about a comment in a recent blog. The comment in question linked a WordPress page called ‘youthfulcartenthusiast’ that evidently linked all fatal or serious cart crashes through the ‘split’ years. It also evidently features other unoriginal ‘D’ buzzwords like ‘twice.’ Predictably, the blithering idiots in their simplistic mode of thought have assumed yours truly is responsible for that page. Anyone who might believe that is probably clinically insane or at the very least willfully retarded. Look, just because someone on the internet who is incapable of original thought and decides to mimic someone else to get a rise out of others is not a reason to have any angst. Stalkers are creepy. Ignore them.
If we do not communicate before Thursday have a great and prosperous 2015 and let’s watch the IndyCar drop at midnight!
The management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, often chided for repeatedly choosing the worst possible alternative when choices exist, hit one out of the park on Monday with an early Christmas present for its fans. The homegrown recording artists Straight No Chaser will take Jim Nabor’s place for ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ for the 2015 500.
This is an absolutely GREAT choice. Their rendition should jibe perfectly with the revered pre-race pageantry. What a wonderful choice that will appeal to multiple demographics. It fits right in with tradition and seems the most seamless possible choice as a post-Nabors bridge. Way to go!
As always, however, I have suggestions on behalf of those of us who actually attend every year. The single biggest problem with the 90 minutes before the big race is the way the structure is governed by ESPN on ABC. It should be the other way around. In prior decades the pre-race ceremonies had a certain rhythm and flow that was continuous. What may be made to fit between breaks on ABC has become choppy and disjointed for those of us in the stands. Bring that back, hand the schedule to ABC and tell them to figure out content versus breaks. A good place for a break, for example, is during Aunt Flo’s warbling of GBA, the pitch of which seems usually determined by how many drinkie-poos she has consumed up in the suite.
Next suggestion from the attendees: Find a ‘voice of God’ announcer (Note: Calabro ain’t that) and include the famous ‘homage’ speech. Bring back the marching bands and baton twirlers. Get A-list celebrities who want to be there.
But I digress. What a great choice in Straight No Chaser. Happy Holidays and we will see you in May!
Idle thoughts: The IndyCar off season is far too lengthy. The primary tidbits of things resembling news include a dramatic increase in the number of Euro-centric formula drivers who have publicly proclaimed their sights are set on IndyCar. That is all well and good but this is a game of musical chairs with only a few chairs and a lot more bodies angling for them. The state of the sport today dictates that whoever brings the best package can buy a chair, but even then there remain drivers with talent who say they want to compete but stand as much of a chance as I do.
The good news is that demand is there at least from the formula driving community. IndyCar has made their niche far more friendly to those types by continuously increasing the percentage of non-ovals and doing everything they can to kill off the few that remain. Miserably underwhelming weekend presentations and a stunning lack of meaningful promotion at great venues such as Pocono and Ontario are proof.
If IndyCar is smart (and few have ever accused the organization of that) they will make an effort to attract not just drivers but new teams and sponsors in which to place the drivers. It seems like a golden opportunity considering the way Formula 1 has priced some teams out of existence and no discernable path exists for junior formula series participants to advance. It certainly would be nice if IndyCar would actually emphasize the diversity about which it boasts.
Dan Anderson, oval averse as he is, actually continues to grow the Lights and other ladder series and that is commendable. IndyCar, however, could use an influx of professional teams.
About the only other amusing tidbit this week is another rehash on the web of the dark days of the sport written from the standpoint of a bitter, failed former cart employee for no apparent reason. Most of us legacy IndyCar fans who have stuck with the sport keep rooting for such hacks to die off (metaphorically speaking) before we do and that succeeding generations of racing fans alienated by mostly the sheer lack of coherent marketing over the years.