When IndyCar Rumors Spiral Out Of Control…

Eat ItSomeone leaked/concocted a rumor yesterday about Road America being a 2016 possibility on the IndyCar schedule. From the moment the first whiff of that rumor hit John Q. Public the fan faction that has attempted to actively transform heritage IndyCar into a U.S.-based Formula 1, Junior spent the rest of their day fantasizing about twisty parades and bratwurst and such. Use of presumptuous terms such as ‘proper track’ are being bantered. The creaming of dungarees has barely subsided since.

Others are positioning the legendary Milwaukee Mile (an older track than Indy) as a lost cause. Another lost oval. Because, as many have foolishly deluded themselves into believing, ‘…ovals are just not as popular as they used to be.’ Just ignore the fact that NASCAR still nearly sells out about all of their ovals and IMS still bulges at the seams in May.

I do not understand the worry about Milwaukee. Why can’t both venues be part of the schedule and achieve success? Basic ideas to enhance Milwaukee AND add Road America include:

  1. The MileGive Milwaukee back its legacy position on the calendar: The weekend after Indy. Keep it there year after year and stop jacking around with scheduling.
  2. Promote the event. Get serious about it for once. This goes for the presenting organization, IndyCar, the venue and all participants.
  3. Bring the IMS in May experience to all other ovals. Outright neglect foisted over the past few years is outrageous.
  4. Attention Andretti folks: Price the venue so families with normal income can afford to attend. Presently that group is priced out of the market.
  5. Get serious about corporate sponsorship outside IMS. Given not only the corporate smoke that has been blown up our skirts by IMS since Mark Miles assumed control about increasing IndyCar popularity but also the fact that Miles has reconfigured the entire Indy Marketing wing with highly experienced people, why is there still, after all these years, no meaningful corporate sponsorship for venues like Milwaukee?
  6. Run all available support series every single time.

Bend Over IndyCarThese steps are absolutely crucial because as has been the case for nearly twenty years the primary broadcasting partners have reverted to treatment of IndyCar like disease-riddled bastard stepchildren chained by the ankles in the basement of a barn. Why? NBCSN overpaid for NASCAR (which does not start until next month on their platforms) and has been promoting NASCAR ten to fifteen times more often than IndyCar even on weeks IndyCar has races. NBC also overpaid for Formula 1, and that has been promoted usually five times as much. NBCSN offers no consistency in the booth. When F-1 is off they throw Steve Matchett in there. That makes the aforementioned twisty dungaree creamers gleeful. My group simply wishes he would stop grunting forced excitement as if on the verge of a coronary. Among words that should never be used to describe anything in IndyCar: A ‘shunt.’ A ‘safety cah.’ I digress. It is amazing IndyCar simply allows that type of treatment to be inflicted by an entity that claims to be a ‘partner.’ Trying to find any meaningful IndyCar content on their web pages is a mining expedition in a dry gulch. It is easier to find stories about literally anything else in sports.

Road America and the Milwaukee Mile are presented by different management entities. The most fan friendly thing both groups could possibly do is figure out a joint promotion strategy and offer some sort of package deal for both venues. There is no reason that could not work. On the other hand there is no reason why ovals at Chicagoland (3rd largest media DMA), Kentucky, Gateway, Memphis, Michigan, etc., can’t work. Imagine if IndyCar expended a level of effort higher than the zero level it has been for a decade or more.

We are also subjected to tales of cities interested in hosting a street festival o’ speed. After four decades of mostly failure with those a smart person might believe leadership would recognize a hint when it whacks them repeatedly. Norfolk? LOL. There is already an actual track nearby at which IndyCar has had success. Go there.

As a racing fan I would welcome the legacy natural terrain Road America. Just not at the expense of Milwaukee, which from a legacy and history standpoint, seems far more important.

11 replies to “When IndyCar Rumors Spiral Out Of Control…

  1. Dear Defender:

    I agree with moving the Milwaukee date back to the week following the Indy 500 to keep the momentum generated by the Indy 500 moving forward to another oval…having the series travel from Indy to Detroit for a race on a narrow “street” course (what else can we call the awful layout at Belle Isle), especially this year for what amounted to a disaster from the weather to the qualifying to the endless stream of yellows and aero kit splinters littering the course, killed the good feelings that we had after enjoying a memorable Indy 500…and have the Milwaukee race start at 1 PM so fans from across the area can attend the race and make it home to get to work on Monday and set the prices so that families can attend without breaking the bank and promote the race properly….of course, the brain dead leadership at Indy Car HQ, as well as at Andretti’s marketing arm, will never heed these manifestly reasonable and just steps and continue down the road to having this race poorly attended again and eventually falling off the schedule in the same manner as almost all other ovals…we are sure to have Pocono end at the expiration of the current deal and Iowa, once packed with interested fans, will end up on the scrap heap of failed events on the Indy Car schedule….as for NBCSP’s coverage, I am very pleased with the commentators, both in the booth and in the pits and I enjoy Steve Matchett’s commentary so I disagree with your assessment…at least he shows a genuine interest on the on-track product unlike the stiffs over on ABC who can barely stay awake during a telecast and continually talk down to us as if we have never watched an auto race before….regard Road America, its the same old song that we hear about all kinds of other venues which were once stalwarts of the schedule but fell away….Indy Car demands too high of a sanctioning fee and turns away track owners and promoters who cannot justify the risk of spending big $$$ to secure a date only to have nobody show up and the series fail to spend a dime toward advertising, marketing and promotion….there are trolls over on the Racer.com site who like to blast me when I suggest that the series reach into its pocket to pay some of the promotional expenses but that’s what good partners in sports do….share the risk and rake in the reward…Indy Car’s current austerity policy drives away all comers, from track owners and promoters to team sponsors to even us fans….

  2. Ovals in Indy car are declining in popularity. That is simply fact confirmed by verifiable data.
    Editor’s Note: If I apply that generalized, unsubstantiated subjectivity (you mention ‘verifiable’ data but, of course, do not cite any specific morsels or sources of it) to the entire IndyCar schedule then road and street courses are also declining in popularity. Unless the folks chiding Toronto are hypocrites. LOL.

    And Indy was not “bulging at the seams” this past May. Tens of thousands of seats were clearly not filled on race day, even as the overal capacity of IMS continues to shrink.
    Editor’s Note: So in your world hundreds of thousands of attendees is BAD. Duly noted. LOL.

    Further, Chicago, Michigan, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Richmond, Phoenix and several other failed due to an obvious lack of fan support.
    Editor’s Note: Again with the simplistic generalization. Why not offer commentary about WHY fan support waned? There are reasons they either show up or don’t. I stated ROOT causes. Not symptoms.

    No promoter or track owner wants to host a money losing event, and no false charges regarding a lack of promotion will change that.
    Editor’s Note: How is the actual reality of no series self-promotion or event presentation ‘false?’ In your alternate universe anything seems possible.

    As for the television partner, many of us knew this arrangement would never work, so there’s little surprise that it has not, even as some naively claimed it was “visionary”. Knowledgable observers weren’t so easily fooled.
    Editor’s Note: Are you related to that Bob Chinn or ‘Olderfan’ fellas who ‘contribute’ here almost obsessively? Same MO. Same effervescent personalities. Same seemingly decades of experience in the world of national television. Weird.

  3. Attendance and television ratings are down. We know this as fact.
    Editor’s Note: Who is ‘we,’ and where is your evidence? Anyone can spout whatever they want on the Internet, but if you desire credibility please support your taunting with evidence. Thanks.

    Indy still gets close to 200,000, which is wonderful, but no one disputes that attendance there continues to fall.
    Editor’s Note: …just as the majority of other sports and entertainment options have. IndyCar and IMS are comforted by the fact that despite decreases more pay to show up to this race than to any other. Your youthful angst seems misplaced, and you seem incapable of offering any sort of solution. Once you learn to cultivate and subsequently nurture such adult behavior it might be interesting to read such potential solutions.

    The tracks you mention mostly had NASCAR track packs that required fans to buy tickets. When they attended and sampled the product, they chose to not return.
    Editor’s Note: Welcome to 1997. If I dig deep enough into your taunt it appears you believe the product is the problem. That differs from most rationally thinking actual racing fans; i.e., non-krapper klatch kiddies squatting on IndyCar sites obsessing over every part of it. Still general. Still subjective. Still unsubstantiated. Still not backed by empirical evidence. But good job on the attempt. Keep working on it.

    No one ever believed NBC would be a good partner. They were the only partner. Again, just the facts.
    Editor’s Note: Who is ‘no one?’ Where is the evidence? How do you derive ‘facts’ from krapper konjecture? Your little fantasy world is an interesting place.

    And now NOLA, portrayed by some as a great new venue, is likely a one and done. Many of us knew it was a disaster waiting to happen.
    Editor’s Note: Kindly keep your ‘comments’ confined to the topic of the blog. There will be one on the NOLA topic at some point beyond the knee jerk hyperbole of obsessed squatters that began as soon as their google news alerts let them know something was happening that involved IndyCar.

  4. (Three strikes per fake identity and you’re out. Four instances of repetitive, unsubstantiated, pointless commentary unceremoniously relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog. Sorry to adult readers for the pollution.)

  5. Perhaps, my friend, you should post some actual ratings numbers that NBCSN has “achieved” for their extensive (and expensive) F-1 endeavor. (Although I don’t know for certain, my suspicion is they’re not that much better than IndyCar, for which the network paid substantially less.)

    I personally don’t think the F-1 product is worth watching, particularly since that series is now dominated by two cars of the same team and the only excitement I get from any of it is wondering which will win this week. All this in contrast to IndyCar where a “little” team just managed a 1-2 finish; can you imagine the apoplexy that would result if an “little” F-1 team were to do the same? Why, the wine spew alone could be epic.

    NBCSN would be well advised to divorce themselves from using off-weekend F-1 commentators. After listening to Brian Till, I can do without Leigh Diffey just fine, thank you, and I don’t say that to denigrate Mr. Diffey. Plus, the addition of all the off-duty F-1 folks is scarily reminiscent of the days when Rusty Wallace was doing IndyCar races and I think we all recall how successful that move was.

    Sure, if you want, have David Hobbs join the team for Milwaukee as a “guest star.” At least he’s has DRIVEN an IndyCar at one point in his career. Beyond that, stick to people who live, eat, sleep, and breathe IndyCar racing: Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell fit that bill, as would Dario Franchitti if he could take the time off from his responsibilities with Chipster. Arie Luyenduyk might be an interesting choice as well, at least until one of the personable Brazilians (Kanaan or Castroneves) hangs it up.

  6. Like your choices for someone new, Skip, and I like BT, PT, and TB; they work just fine. Plus, to give it even more variety, how about considering Lynn St. James? She’s definitely been there, done that, and is very knowledgeable. Plus I think she would jump at the chance. As for your assessment of F1, it isn’t even a question of who’ll finish first or second, it’s THIRD and beyond. And some people think IndyCar racing is boring?

  7. i love indycar oval track racing. I caught the bug when my dad first took me to the 500 in ’73. I’ve missed maybe two Milwaukee races in the last 20 years – cart, champ car, irl or indycar. I’ve never been to RA. The crowd at the Mile was absolutely horrible for several years recently, and not good but increasingly better for the last couple. My concern is that the race there will go away due to multiple factors.

    I currently take my boys to 3-4 races per year. It’s called indoctrination. I’m fortunate that I can afford to do so. Going to races is a financial strain for many. One thing that I think would help indycar would be to sell kids’ tickets for $5, at least at non-Indy 500 oval events where there’s always plenty of empty seats, and then to advertise this heavily. Very family-friendly pricing would put more butts in the stands, and kids would start developing life-long interest in the sport.

    Also, although it would be contrary to my interests, I wonder what you think about having races at the Mile alternate yearly with races at RA?
    Editor’s Note: That may well be the choice we get stuck with, but I would prefer having some sort of ala carte or package pricing choice for those who could attend both. For me I would prefer just Milwaukee. For road courses and atmosphere I prefer Barber over RA.

  8. Yet another reason why anybody who likes road/street courses should be banned from having anything to do with IndyCar:

    After the Toronto race, stammering idiot Paul Tracy said, “That was one of the best races I’ve seen at Toronto.”

    Best? Really? Well, here is what the “best” included:

    The last on-track pass shown by NBC Sports Net came with 19 laps remaining and was shown during a side-by-side break. A car exiting the pits (might have been Helio) was passed before it got up to full speed. The same thing happened to another car and was shown with 21 laps remaining. The last on-track pass made of a car that was up to full speed and shown on TV was made by Sebastien Bourdais with 25 laps left in the race. The remainder of the day, it was a freight train around the track. Nothing happening. A great time for viewers to take a nap because they missed nothing that was unexpected.

    If you like freight-train street/road course racing, then God help you. As P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Apparently, the majority of those suckers have taken a liking to IndyCar.

  9. Once again, a heavily promoted oval (and one rich in history) draws fewer fans than previous years.
    Editor’s Note: Word from people who actually run the event is that attendance was steady or slightly higher.

    On a perfect summer day. With great ticket options and heavy promotion. And under threat that poor attendance could mean the end of Indy racing at the Mile. With all that, the stands were a third full, at best.
    Editor’s Note: Good enough to continue to grow. Perhaps if the folks in charge ever settle on a consistent date and a reasonable start time for attendees. Yesterday is thought to be a success by thought-capable adults.

    1. (Two instances of repetitive, argumentative trolling relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

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