Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 30, 2015

IndyCar and Mark Miles: The Honeymoon Has Definitely Ended

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:22 pm

Bushy MoFosThat’s right. The bloom is off the rose for Mr. Miles. We will now see how well he manages damage control. All indications are that he will handle it as Tony George would have. With complete silence.

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.

DarwinismMr. 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.

PromotionOn 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 WinnerThe 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.



  1. I have long run out of words to express my frustration with this sport that I continue to love, in spite of every effort made by the PTB to make me go away. Like you, I have been around IndyCar racing since the 60’s and I have seen this sport at its zenith. And, also like you, I continue to marvel at how men who have been so successful in other endeavors can come to such sorrowful ends once they get involved with IndyCar.

    I continue to pay close attention to all things Indianapolis; that is unlikely to change. I still watch the 500’s live. I have, however, already lost my enthusiasm for watching road and street racing with the exceptions of Indy and Long Beach. With these exceptions, non-oval races are delegated to the DVR: I’d rather watch golf live.

    Unlike many of us “old guard” fans, I also watch NASCAR. Why? Because I have gotten to “know” many of the drivers, and have become a fan of several. For example, while NASCAR won’t turn a wheel in anger for another couple of weeks, I already know that I’m going to be watching Jeff Gordon’s “farewell tour.” I also know that one of my other faves, Tony Stewart is returning with a renewed enthusiasm for racing. I also know that this is a pivotal year in the career of Danica Patrick, who through her first two years in NASCAR, has gradually become more and more competitive. I also know that a certain driver will probably be looking over his shoulder for his “assassin” ex-girlfriend.

    Now, maybe that last story sounds a bit contrived (spell that WWE,) but it’s more than I’ve heard about ANY IndyCar driver since Labor Day. Meaning that the marketing “wizards” of IndyCar have had zero impact. In any other business, zero marketing impact means “You’re FIRED!” Still, the silence from the IndyCar executive suite is deafening. Meantime, I have to ask myself the question: “What happened to the “Super Bonus” sponsored by Fuzzy’s that was supposed to be paid to anyone who could win all three 500’s?” It seems to have gone down the same road as the IndyCar races in China and Brasilia.

    Comment by SkipinSC — January 30, 2015 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  2. I agree with all you’ve said, SkipinSC. I’ve also wondered about the disappearance of that “Super Bonus” for winning the “Triple Crown” (maybe they don’t actually call it that, but you know what I mean). Maybe it’s because the last time they offered a “bonus” for extra efforts it resulted in everyone’s worst nightmare at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I notice they haven’t done anything like that since. Maybe you or Disciple can offer some insight on that.
    Editor’s Note: I’m all for a big-buck triple crown. The Vegas thing was far more contrived. What are the odds they would have to part with the money?

    Comment by DOUG — January 30, 2015 @ 11:35 pm | Reply

  3. (THREE repetitive instances of off topic content relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

    Comment by Sonny Steele — January 31, 2015 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

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

    Comment by Ronnie Mund — January 31, 2015 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

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