I can understand the re-appointment of Brian Barnhart to Director of Race Control. He has experience and most of the rulebook along with the entire structure has been reworked to minimize exalted ruler-type proclamations by someone who got too big for his britches. Still, the choice is still being widely chided by some of the most juvenile excuses for fans of any sport. Words on the record about the subject thus far from Mr. Miles: Zero.
Mr. Miles also this week took long abused fans back down a familiar path: Widespread hype about a far-flung event on foreign soil and then a sudden cancellation. Miles fell into the same trap almost every other series ‘leader’ has when trying to make a lucrative splash. He pulled a pin from a hand grenade then threw the pin instead of the grenade.
His strengths are widely touted and he has verified major success in a variety of sports and media roles. Still, HG, IMS and IndyCar seem to continue to be the place where previously successful executives go to end up unsuccessful. We all had such high hopes for him. After all, he has the vocabulary of Joe Heitzler, the moxy of Chris Pook, the checkbook of Tony Hulman and the eyebrows of Andy Rooney. He has succeeded in purging the payroll of the parent and making the executive rung top heavy with credentialed but thus far invisible people who have, at least from an exterior point of view, done little more than collect a fat paycheck.
On a lighter note how about a Super Bowl prediction? Forget about the game. One of the teams is ethically bereft from the top down, cheats and plays dirty with complete arrogance. The other is a close second. The commissioner is even worse than IMS at attempting to extract money from everything any participant ever touches. No, my prediction is a little more predictable. Even though the Super Bowl will be on the OTA parent of the first motorsports broadcast partner of NBCSN there will be absolutely no promotion of any kind for the upcoming IndyCar season. There will, however, be a lot of promotion for NASCAR. They do not rejoin the network until JULY.
What is the point? IndyCar supposedly hired two blue chip marketing professionals with credentials from names like Ford and NASCAR. Yes, Verizon is the title sponsor. That seems great and you might think that since they are also so heavily involved in the Super Bowl there may be a tie-in to IndyCar as well. Uh, probably not.
The 2014 Indy 500 was a closely contested, exciting race won by an American in the prime of his career who is charismatic and willing to do anything to promote the series. Other than a Letterman appearance Ryan Hunter-Reay has been invisible on the national stage. When will the marketing people actually market?
Most had high hopes for Miles and his carefully assembled crew. Instead all fans ever receive is the same kind of obfuscation, deflection and silence that has helped doom the litany of failed regimes that marched through previously. Being an IndyCar fan is the most difficult endeavor racing enthusiasts can possible ever undertake.