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Hey Racewriter,here's a thought....

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  • Hey Racewriter,here's a thought....

    Seeing as The Euro Speedway thinks there are'nt enough ovals And it is clear The Euro Speedway has used the open wheel OVAL track racer in a duplicitous and dispicable manner,let me propose this idea...
    I wonder if it is not time for the movers and shakers of open wheel oval track racing to get together,in some sort of summit meeting,and devise a plan for survival.It seems obvious to me that The Euro Speedway is in this entirely for itself,and is ssssooooo dysfuctional it is a hinderance,than a helper,to the advancement of this arm of the sport.
    I wonder if it is'nt time to get track promoters and owners(ie.Earl Baltes,ISC,SMI,),Sanctioning body heads(USAC,SCRA,WoO,...now that Ted Johnson is going away,SRL,ISMA),chassis builders(Gambler,Beast,Weld,Danny Drinan,Mac Miller ),engine builders and factories,(Gaerte,Rodeck,Chevy,Ford,Mopar),and drivers,together to come up with a solution to the 40 year old problem.
    What is needed is someone to devise an open wheel race car that can be run on a variety of ovals,using the mechanical characteristics that these people are in tune with,but goes beyond an upright Siver Crown car(witness Nashville '01).In otherwords,supine like a Super Mod,but not as rigid.
    It seems to me that these people are not wanted in Indy car racing,and they go towards stock car racing out of necessity and a paycheck(I don't blame them!!! )A fellow journalist,Ronnie LeMasters jr,has said that worse than what CART did to Indy car racing,is what is happening with drivers going stock car racing,as it guts the feeder systems of good talent.
    It seems to me,if the movers and shakers don't want to become a quasi NASCAR feeder system,something radical has to happen.If these people are fine with feeding stock car racing,then the whole thing is probably lost.If they are not,then it is incumbent on them to at least try and do something....Agree or disagree???

  • #2
    No one listened to me Greg, although my car had more aero to it than what you propose. If I could only hit that freakin' Powerball, I'd go see Dan Drinan and have a little talk.
    Proud to be a complainer.


    • #3
      I read your idea intently....And so did some other people..I liked it.I think this needs to be done independent of The Euro Speedway.I don't agree with the Gurney White Paper's vision of Indy car racing,but its salient point that The Speedway is the millstone around indy car racings neck cannot be dismissed.I just think this is necessary to keep open wheel oval track racing from another NASCAR feeder system.There are alot of ovals out there that need dates,it's time for an engine and chassis combo to be introduced to allow traditional feeder sytems something to focus on.


      • #4
        I agree totally. If you read my "rethinking Indy racing" thread of a few months ago, I proposed some ideas that would turn the tide.

        The key is this: The driver's ability to control the horsepower has to once again become more important than the driver's ability to fund the horsepower. I think a car that's a cross between a Super and a Silver Crown car is not a bad start. I'll even depart a bit and say that I don't care if they put the engine in the rear or the front, as long as they don't nail the car to the ground with aero downforce.

        Your list of people to work on it would be about right, IMO. Rollie Helmling is a guy that may actually have a "vision" for USAC. Is Johnny Capels still around? I'd include him, too - got the bum's rush from CART. His sins were knowing too much about racing, and having a lot of that knowledge coming from USAC. Toss Cary Agajanian and Vince Granatelli in, too.

        I don't know that I'd involve the factories in the initial planning stages. No reason - there's plenty of off-the-shelf componentry out there to make it happen. Involving them might complicate matters a tad. Of course, if they WANT to be involved - AFTER the rules are made - welcome aboard.

        Your biggest problem is this: Given the tatters that openwheel racing is now in, I think scheduling venues might be a project in itself. However, I think the people we've talked about could come up with an extremely promotable series, so that might be a wash.

        I like it.
        "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice


        • #5
          I don't think it can succeed without the involvement of IMS. It would always be considered a second rate series and that wouldn't really solve anything. It needs to be at the top level.

          I don't hate the idea of international involvement in American racing. The more the merrier. I just don't want to see it become a clone of what other people do just because they did it that way back in Bulgaria or wherever. I wouldn't want to see ovals in F1 either. I enjoy diversity but I don't want to see the same thing in every series. If I did, I'd suggest racing rear engined, fenderless stock cars with ground effects and wings on a big, high bank, dirt figure 8 track with a couple of chicanes.
          Proud to be a complainer.


          • #6
            I see the "crazies" are out again. Oops, I am one of them! Ok, in case anyone forgot, I am in favor of this idea.
            Some people will do nearly anything in order to be able to not do anything.


            • #7
              The only reason this didn't happen 35 years ago is because of one race in Indiana. It is ironic that the OW oval culture lacks a top tier because of one oval race.
              Definition of support series: A series that needs the support of the headliner class to draw a crowd.


              • #8
                Sorry Slinger,I think open wheel oval track racing should divorce itself completely from the Euro Speedway.It has proven,up to this point,that it is incapable of doing what is good for the sport on this continent.Its,"vision",or lack thereof,is for the betterment of itself and not the sport,(not unlike CART).Indy car racing is headed down the path of a CARTesque schedule,so it will always look 2nd rate to fans of that type of racing.The Euro car set looks down at everything that is'nt Eurocentric in nature,so why pander to them?NASCAR does'nt do anything high techand,unless I'm missing something,they're doing pretty good.
                If you divorce yourself from The Speedway,not only do you get out from underneath its duplicitous hand,but you shine a light on the IRL's upcoming descent into irrelevency.
                It seems to me that if there was a group of entreprising people,there is alot of money to be made.When George started the IRL,he struck a chord with those of us that wanted to see the open wheel oval track racer back as a viable force in Indy car racing.8 years later,he and his minions have struck out.Racewriter has already shown proof that the TV ratings were at least 1 point higher than they are now,with more grassroots drivers participating.There is an obvious void in the sport that needs to be exploited
                Try and look at things like this:On the left havd side you have CART,The ALMS,IRLIPS,Atlantics and other high end sports car and formula car series.For the most part they are rear engine,extraneously expensive,and,exclusionary.
                On the right hand side you have this Leviathan in NASCAR and all its various feeder systems.It has become so immense that it has begun to co-opt drivers from a smaller,but just as viable,middle group.
                In the middle,is open wheel oval track racing,(USAC,WoO,SCRA,ISL,ISMA,AllStars,SOD,ESS).F airly fractious,but with a rabid fanbase.Certainly much larger than the group on the left.Now,I love this form of racing.It's probably my favourite.But I can admit that sprint and midget racing is,generally speaking,not an end.It has traditionally been a means to an end.That end WAS Indianapolis.It clearly is'nt anymore.The drivers here are now going to NASCAR,not because they want to(Ryan Newman excluded),But because they are being systematically kept out of Indy car racing.If people want to keep the middle form of racing as something other than a NASCAR feeder system,they can by exploiting the void.
                By the way Racewriter,I agree with you on the factories,keep them out for as long as possible.


                • #9
                  irlgreg, I don't usually disagree with slinger, but in this case, I'm with you. In fact I've even proposed a series that doesn't include Indy or call the cars Indy cars. And I would require owners pick drivers from an approved list of winning short track drivers, I could consider a few exceptions, like loyal IRL road racers that still aren't getting a shot even though they have proved they could get the job done, like RBM, but that list would be pretty short. Quotas? Maybe. Affirmative Action for short trackers. I suppose. The detractors could call it what ever they wanted to for all I care. The key to me would be making sure that the cost of running a team could be supported by the fan base, sponsors, and TV. If we aimed too high like I personally think TG did, although his first shot was certainly in the right direction, then we should readjust the aim and fire again. If the aim was too low, then that adjustment could be made too.
                  Some people will do nearly anything in order to be able to not do anything.


                  • #10
                    Lucky, I'm sad to say that I disagree with all of that. You will never sell that idea to either fans, sponsors or TV. Ecxluding drivers will only result in making it look like the ones you favor couldn't beat anybody else. The whole thing would look rigged and second rate. Unless you want a series that looks like pro wrestling, you'll never sell it.

                    As for Indianapolis, remember that the Speedway has carried major league OW racing on it's back from the get go. Trying to buck it has resulted in failure. Look at CART. They had the stars, the cars, the engines, the races and a 17 year history going into 1996. All the IRL had was the 500. Who won?

                    Although some may want to blame the Speedway for what has happened, it's not entirely their fault. It has always been an international race. There's nothing new in that. It has always welcomed foreign competitors. When they came in the '60s, it was a different world. The invaders were the best from Grand Prix racing. The fields in the middle '60s were the finest in the history of the event and the 500 became racing's Super Bowl. The change to rear engine cars happened very quickly and most of them were built right here. We did it better. The foreigners, as good as they were, won only in 1965 and '66. The only other win by a road racer was in 1972, when Donohue won. It would be 1985 before another road racer won and 1989 before another foreigner won.

                    What did happen was that USAC failed to keep up with the times and, at the same time, the best of foreign drivers stopped coming. F1 expanded and that was the end of that. No one could have forseen that in 1961. The Speedway was overtaken by events over which they had no control. Hulman died, along came the CART rebellion and the die was cast. The problem isn't the Speedway itself. It's the way the sport evolved in the '80s when there was really no one at the helm over at 16th and Georgetown Rd.

                    If you want to change OW racing, the best way to do it is to find a way to change the system. The Speedway is too powerful to fight and too important to ignore. You would have destroy the 500 and if you do that, OW racing will be as dead as the dodo, at least at the top level. If all you want is some kind of little series to make the short track fans happy, that's fine. However, if you want a true top tier, you'd need hundreds of millions of dollars to get it off the ground. You'd have to buy TV time. Even WoO can't get a TV contract and it's a well established series. Moreover, you'd have to be prepared to lose your shirt propping it all up for a number of years. I just don't think it will work.

                    I think the system can be changed without tearing down the sport. If your way fails, we are left with nothing. I don't want to wake up someday and have NASCAR as my only choice.
                    Last edited by slinger; 08-08-2003, 05:45 AM.
                    Proud to be a complainer.


                    • #11
                      slinger, I see what you are saying, but while the idea is not likely to happen, I don't see it as a replacement for Indy cars. It's more like a place to go when Indy cars (the series) becomes irrelevant to short trackers and their fans. That's pretty much already happened for short trackers and at least some of their fans.
                      Some people will do nearly anything in order to be able to not do anything.


                      • #12
                        There is a way to make it relevant again. The only way to make a go of it without the Speedway, is to find some way to pay NASCAR type money for Silver Crown type events. That won't happen. Far better to do it from within. It's possible.
                        Proud to be a complainer.


                        • #13
                          Slinger,I hear ya..BUT....If the 500 is a diminished event,(and it is,whether the Indy shills want to admit it or not),by its own hand no less,what is the problem with having a destination series for open wheel oval track racers?You would agree that unless Indy car racing does something this drastic,it will never be a destination series?I agree with the Gurney White Paper in this respect:Too much emphasis has been put on The Speedway for too long.Comments and direction over the last few monthsprove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Indy is only interested in Indy,everything else is irrelevent.When I hear Brian Barnhardt make absurd comments like there are'nt enough suitable ovals to race on,it's like a flashback to 1982.This is the same drivel that we heared then.Back then there was a case to be made,but it is a non starter now.
                          If The Speedway wants to go down the Eurocentric road to marginalization let them do it.Most people will realize that The IRL,or whatever it morphs into,will be a 2nd rate F1 underling series,that few will care about.People in the know know that the hardcore formula car fanbase in minicule.They also know that the short track fanbase is exponentially larger.It seems to me that if you reconnect with that fanbase,and those feeder systems,you can have the genesis of a series irrespective of what The Euro Speedway does.


                          • #14
                            To my eyes it would seem that the problem with big league American open-wheel oval racing is that it is more than a bit schizophrenic.

                            1956 was the first year of the USAC-sanctioned National Championship. The Championship Trail consisted of front-engined roadsters (i.e., Champ cars), sprint cars, and midgets racing on paved and dirt oval tracks throughout the country. The Indy 500 was the centerpiece of the National Championship and its participants were made up mostly of drivers from this series. In 1961, John Cooper's modified rear-engined Formula One car caused amusement among the Indy establishment before the start of the 500, and troubled looks after it finished 9th. The "rear-engine revolution" was underway. The season-opener at Phoenix, in March 1965, was the last win by a front-engined roadster on pavement. By the late 60's, Championship races at paved tracks with rear-engined cars became more popular than those on dirt tracks. In 1971, USAC split the National Championship into separate paved speedway (Gold Crown) and dirt (Silver Crown) championships. In 1974, USAC banned rear-engined sprint cars, which remain front-engined to this day. And the die was cast.

                            It is inherently nonsensical to have the top tier of American open-wheel oval racing based on racing rear-engined cars on paved tracks and hope to supply its drivers from the ranks of various series based on front-engined cars racing on dirt tracks.

                            Add in NASCAR, front-engined cars racing on paved tracks, and one has three different paradigms of racing with different physical dynamics. One would submit, however, that from a dynamic perspective NASCAR is much closer to the physics of short-track sprint cars than rear-engined Indy cars. Thus, starting in the early 70's, Indy car drivers started coming from the ranks of the SCCA's F5000 and, later, CART and its feeder series (e.g. Indy Lights), while all but a few Silver Crown drivers started gravitating toward NASCAR.

                            With CART on the verge of collapse, the top tier of American oval racing is about to be cut off from its "feeder" series. There is a small pool of talented drivers specialized in racing rear-engined cars on pavement left but they will be exhausted in a decade and IPS, so far, seems incapable of meeting any future demand.

                            The notion of a top tier "middle" series, between IndyCar and NASCAR, seems nothing more than a restatement of USAC's 1971 decision. If one wants IndyCar to be the premier American open-wheel oval series, it would appear to make more sense to revisit USAC's 1974 decision banning rear-engined sprint cars. Decide differently this time and America's Silver Crown, etc. drivers would have more in common with IndyCar than NASCAR and the IRL might have its feeder series and the support of the spriget fan base.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by indycoolest

                              The Championship Trail consisted of front-engined roadsters (i.e., Champ cars), sprint cars, and midgets racing on paved and dirt oval tracks throughout the country.


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