Happy New Year…and Happy Birthday Tony George

Youthful AntonHappy birthday to Tony George, grandson of the late great Tony Hulman. 1959 was the birth year for young Anton and was the year I first set foot inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Unfortunately any mention of Tony George in just about any context these days inevitably draws willfully retarded people out of their mothers’ basements with Tourette-like ‘FTGs’ as primary epithets. Generally that is the extent of the thought patterns of such embarrassing ‘fans.’ Some of the slightly more educated of that ilk also spin history to fit their prejudices without much if any regard for facts.  Both general groups continue fighting a civil war they actually began themselves twenty years earlier. The ‘split’ was merely an expansion of class genital waving that began in the early 1960s.  Crowing about how great they believed things were remains as foolish now as it did in the late 1990s.

Many of my friends have asked why the blogs are not more frequent lately. The primary reason is actual daytime job related. It has been extremely busy at work the past few months. A secondary reason is that many of us legacy fans are simply less interested in an evolution back toward what those mentioned above have convinced themselves they had twenty years ago. Until those running the series actually begin to understand how to run the series fantasizing about becoming more mainstream will remain unattainable.

The schedule for 2016 is 70% non-oval. Despite unleashing the single most exciting oval race of the past three decades the braintrust decided Fontana is expendable. They cite the weakest of excuses: Television windows. Fontana is not alone. Milwaukee, the kind of ovals even squatting road racers enjoy, is also gone. Perceived problems at both venues are rooted largely in woefully inconsistent dartboard-like scheduling. IndyCar management continues to ignore the importance of date equity in building events. Phoenix was re-added after many years and that is great but as long as two Cup races are run at that track there will only be so much local fans can afford. Boston still appears to be in the wet dream phase and has begun to smell like another Baltimore scheme. Obviously mistakes are not things from which to derive learning.

Instead of attending 6 to 8 events again this year my group may be down to Indy and one other; probably Pocono. We shall see. What a shame.

I genuinely appreciate the effort and contributions to the sport Tony George has made through the years. Obviously he was unable to go far enough.

10 replies to “Happy New Year…and Happy Birthday Tony George

  1. “I genuinely appreciate the effort and contributions to the sport Tony George has made through the years. Obviously he was unable to go far enough.”

    Well there’s a rather telling bit of insight into your thought process. Thanks to the inevitable results of Tony George’s idiocy, Indycar has, for you, gone from something that you’d invest your time and money into by attending 6 to 8 ( or more) events a year, and supplying the economy with that Defender “circle of friends” bump of up to ~$45K/year, down to a “one and done” for the 500.

    I’m sure that was his plan. LOL. And yet you defend him. Did your mom drop you on your head as a child?

    “Obviously he was unable to go far enough.” I agree with you there. Unfortunately Tony didn’t get to completely bankrupt the family, and force the liquidation of their assets, including the Speedway. Oh well. Can’t have everything.

    Enjoy the upcoming road racing season.

    Editor’s Note: Would it be too much to ask for contributions exclusively from mature adults with reading comprehension abilities in 2016? Thanks.

  2. Let’s make a quick comparison of two races from 2015:

    At Toronto:

    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. That’s because there was no passing for the last 25 laps of 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.

    At Fontana:

    About a thousand on-track passes.

    Now, tell me again why Tony George was wrong for wanting an all-oval series?

    1. Why was Tony wrong?

      Well, I guess that those ~4000 fans ( out of a max capacity of ~ 70k or more) would agree with you.

      But the pesky little fact of pathetic attendance at pretty much all of the ovals would be the best confirmation that he was wrong.

      The other fact the only two of the original “all oval series” tracks still exist on the schedule might be another indication. Although Phoenix, a late addition to the 2016 schedule, ( ok so that makes 3, wow) was there at the start, and that worked so well that it’s been gone for ages. And even Defender has already laid out the reasons/excuses for why it is likely to fail again. Just read one of his recent blogs.

      But if you like a series that plays to far less than capacity at any venue outside of the 500, then this is for you. And you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out. 🙂

  3. Tony George had the right ideas and, had they been successfully implemented, Indycar would be in a much stronger position today. But he faced a rebellion by the same people who rebelled against USAC. Namely a cabal of owners led then and now by Roger Penske. But for whatever reason, Tony was not the businessman, or perhaps the leader, to get done what had to be done.

    Spreadadoptions comments above are perfect and highlight the insanity of the current Indycar management. But the drive to F1 Lite continues, the drive Tony George tried to stop.

    I have never understood people, Indycar fans, who so vilified Tony George while giving those responsible for the decline of Indycar, and indeed the split, a pass. Indycar was actually in the beginning of its decline by the late 1980’s, mainly from moving more to road courses and road course drivers. If he can be blamed for anything, it would be to have unified the series and thereby given this cabal back much of its power.

  4. I hear exactly what you are saying D. I am starting to feel the same way I did back in the late ‘80’s – early ‘90’s. I’m not leaving Indycar. Indycar is leaving me. I think there are a lot of fans that feel the same way. And I don’t think I am the only one that see’s it. Read Robin Miller’s comment about trying to get IndyCar to have a presence at the Chilli Bowl.
    “I was told that the Chili Bowl crowd didn’t really meet IndyCar’s demographics
    so they were going to pass. That’s all you need to know.
    That’s all I need to know also.

    1. Appreciate your comment. I tracked down what Robin Miller had to say on this. Very, very bad. Just who are the “demographics” Indycar is going after if not oval racing enthusiasts?

  5. Good or bad…..Tony George wasn’t and isn’t the problem with Indy Car. The problem goes far further. Tony may of had a hand in it, but you have a whole host of characters to blame. He simply tried to break a stranglehold of one group of people hell bent on controlling everything indy car. Now…you have the very same thing with the Hulman/Georges doing the same. Doesn’t take any genuis to figure out that fans and competitiors left because of one thing…..control. No one wants to be controlled. Big or small. Welcome to our current society where control is the obiective.

  6. “But if you like a series that plays to far less than capacity at any venue outside of the 500, then this is for you. And you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out.”

    Wake me up when the next pass happens on a street/road course. I’ll be sleeping until there is one. You keep watching nothing happening. I’ll be good and refreshed and will have missed nothing. Between street/road races, all the street/road enthusiasts are invited to my house to watch some paint dry and trees grow. You seem to be into things like that.

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