Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 29, 2015

Ding Dong The IndyCar Witch is NOT Dead

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:11 pm

MasochistThe way-too-long IndyCar off season can always use anything even remotely resembling news and this week provided the most entertaining possible news. Brian Barnhart was re-appointed the head guy in race control. Predictably, the Internet melted down almost immediately.

As a lifelong fan of IndyCar the single most frustrating part of trying to maintain much enthusiasm for the sport is actually not boneheaded decisions every leader of the sport has ever made with alarming regularity. It is the comical, mostly hysterical, floor fits of those who presume to have better answers. Barnhart’s re-appointment was a red letter day in the fan juvenile delinquency department.

Most casual fans understand he has traditionally not been very popular. The worst thing I can say is that Mark Miles obviously does not listen to his constituency and clearly does not care what they think. An obvious conclusion is that Barnhart is probably the only person alive masochistic enough to accept it. If Beaux Barfield did not have thick enough skin Circus Clownto take second guessing from nutjob fans, mostly lazy and often hostile members of the media, everyone else in the paddock and everyone even remotely connected to executive management then Barnhart seems to fit the bill for the only person crazy enough to willingly accept that type of abuse. And Barfield was known as a ‘good choice’ by the pining-for-the-past press. It would be nice if IndyCar fans would simply grow up and offer constructive suggestions instead of turning the Internet into a childish toilet of swirling immaturity for once.

The only racing writer who offered a balanced take on the appointment was Marshall Pruett in Racer.  It was pragmatic and humorous. Just about everyone else sounds like the average brain damaged Internet contributor and often just as vile. About the only difference between most of the supposedly professional racing press corps and the average internet feces tosser is better spelling and grammar.

Predictably, those who continue to choose to live in a previous century used the opportunity to bleat about all sorts of unrelated nonsense, including Tony George, Paul Tracy in the 2002 Indy 500, the split, etc.

In the meantime the super duper executive marketing team assembled by Mark Miles continues toiling in complete obscurity as one of the primary broadcast partners, NBCSN, begins promoting their NASCAR activity that begins in July right now while the IndyCar season that starts four months earlier is never mentioned anywhere unless someone with access to column space chides the Barnhart hire. ESPN still features NASCAR coverage but nary a peep about its now primary broadcast partner.

Is it any wonder folks lament their notion that the entire sport is in the crapper?



  1. The second Barnhart elected to restart an oval race in the rain, jeopardizing both participants and their equipment, he lost the confidence of many fans and observers of the series. It’s really that simple.
    Editor’s Note: You should have been around when folks like Harlan Fengler and Tom Binford took heat for perceived stupidity. Jesus Christ could take that job and would eventually get re-crucified. How about offering something constructive; e.g., who would be better than Barnhart and why? It takes neither intelligence nor maturity to chide. Why not try something more useful in terms of discussion?

    As for both the series’ marketing efforts and cable broadcast partner, neither have demonstrated any credibility in respect of Indy Car, and neither deserves the respect of the few fans who watch or attend the races. Most knew he NBCSN (and previous iterations) contract was a disaster the minute it was signed, but the series had no other options that paid them money. It’s never been a surprise that NBC has treated them so poorly.
    Editor’s Note: Please elaborate. Given your apparent expertise in the television business, television rights negotiation, and the structure of such deals perhaps you could offer the correct alternative ‘most’ (by the way, who are ‘most?’) have missed. LOL.

    Comment by Sonny Steele — January 29, 2015 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  2. I was merely pointing out that Barnhart was so heavily criticized by fans, owners, drivers and observers. His incompetence directly endangered competitors and their equipment.
    Editor’s Note: Anyone in that position will be heavily criticized by fans, owners, drivers and observers. It has always been that way and always will be.

    The commitment of the cable television partner is essentially non-existent, as observers can readily see. Unfortunately, the simple fact is no other television provider was prepared to pay the series to broadcast the races not on ABC/ESPN. Just a fact, as is well known.
    Editor’s Note: Wrong again. No other potential partner was ever engaged. The HG folks rubber stamped an ESPN/ABC renewal.

    Comment by Sonny Steele — January 30, 2015 @ 3:19 am | Reply

    • Two points: I don’t recall any previous stewards / race directors being so roundly criticized for endangering the competitors. For various rules issues during races? Yes. But not for endangering the racers. That’s the distinction between Barnhart and the others.
      Editor’s Note: You needed to be an attending fan who paid attention since the 1950s. You appear not to be that.

      As for television, other parties (notably NBC) were engaged. They declined to participate.
      Editor’s Note: That is factually incorrect.

      Comment by Sonny Steele — January 30, 2015 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

      • (Ten instances of repetitive, pointless, and/or off topic commentary indicative of mental illness relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

        Comment by Sonny Steele — January 30, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

  3. To fully answer your question, Barnhart’s “re-appointment” is likely the result of a lack of interest from other professionals within the racing community. It’s why no names were ever associated with the job once Barfield left.

    Comment by Sonny Steele — January 30, 2015 @ 3:22 am | Reply

  4. your phrase: “lack of interest” is appropriate for IndyCar.
    1. NBCSN ratings are in tenths. yes, it’s “up” from hundredths.
    2. track attendance is really bad. the buzz-word “opticals” look worse.
    3. marketing/promotion/word-of-mouth hurts Honda and they’ve said so.

    yes, the aero package gets most of the current blame for the recent results.
    NBCSN, attendance, and marketing have been diagnostic information data-points.
    bottom line: will enough people PAY to watch IndyCar? in my opinion, they will…..
    AFTER gambling is allowed in the Lottery States. that will jump-start ALL sports.
    yes, Nevada doesn’t have a State Lottery, but they’re already ahead of the curve.

    Comment by john of sparta — July 29, 2015 @ 2:04 am | Reply

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