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Blinded by visions

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  • Blinded by visions

    Eight freakin' years, and we've still got armed factions of bitter fanatics battling over ancient history. It's like a Middle East political forum, minus the real-world dead bodies.

    The short-track set thinks the fans left Indy car racing because of the lack of down-home American stars. And they aren't completely wrong. The roadracing set thinks the fans left the sport because the IRL kicked the road-racing stars out of Indy. And they aren't completely wrong, either.

    But I've talked to literally hundreds of Indy locals on this subject over the last few years, and I can assure you that the #1 reason why Indy cars keep losing market share to NASCAR is because of all the nasty politics. For years, most news items about the Indy 500 had nothing to do with racing. Casual fans had no idea who was going to show up at any given race. And they were compelled to listen to mind-numbing explanations of political BS in order to figure out what was going on. NASCAR gave them household names, intriguing storylines, and an infinitely higher racing to politics ratio. Now explain to me why anyone who isn't a hard-core OW junkie wouldn't rather watch NASCAR? On NASCAR boards people argue Jeff vs. Dale Jr. People get into that. Indy car boards argue cr*pwagons vs. foreign ride buyers. My special market research has concluded that this sort of discussion appeals to exactly 187 people on planet earth.

    You want to blame somebody for the decline of Indy car racing? Let's all look in the ****ing mirror.

    As for the "original vision"? For five years, Tony tried his best to bring in the short-trackers. Owners balked, sponsors stayed away in droves, and other than Mr. Stewart, the USAC drivers who did get through the door had more excuses than results. CART teams showed up and stole the Borg-Warner without breaking much of a sweat. Ratings declined. Mr. George spent large amounts of his family fortune. We never saw more than 10 races per year. Tracks dropped IRL races from their schedule. And when the economy tanked, the fields would have become microscopic had the big manufacturers not brought in some hard cash.

    The racing? It was excellent. But that isn't always enough. The realities of the sport all drove Tony George into the difficult decisions he's made. He's a businessman... what's he supposed to do? Run his family business into the ground to stay loyal to the cultists? I'm fairly sure he wouldn't have split the sport if he had known how long it would take, and how much damage would be done, before the CART owners fell into line. But what's done is done. In a sport that depends entirely on corporate cash, which lacks the massive following that NASCAR has, the sponsors and manufacturers hold all the cards, and they always will. And all the whining in the world won't change that. You want American drivers in top rides? Talk to Target and 7-11.

    Tony George busted his butt for the original vision, AND IT FELL APART. Maybe, just maybe, the vision was a tad unrealistic in the first place. And as more and more of the original IRL die-hards reveal their true colors and are shown to care more about their political agendas than about the fact there's some pretty ****ing good racing going on, the less I care what they have to say. We've got 16 high-quality OW oval races per year, a major young American star who has wowed NASCAR fans one city at a time... and who may actually stick around awhile, we now once again have fairly equally competitive equipment. And very soon there may not even be a "split" anymore. There's endless room for improvement, but there's also ****loads of potential.

    I, for one, ain't going to spend the next eight years arguing about ratings and attendance. I'm going to encourage friends to watch IRL races and write everyone I can think of to support the drivers I want to see in sponsored rides. And I'm just simply going to enjoy my favorite sport, like I have since I was 6 years old. I hope some of you feel the same way.
    Quit whining. Enjoy the racing.

  • #2
    Re: Blinded by visions

    Originally posted by tom91
    I, for one, ain't going to spend the next eight years arguing about ratings and attendance. .....I'm just simply going to enjoy my favorite sport, like I have since I was 6 years old. I hope some of you feel the same way.
    I do.

    Great post.

    Comment


    • #3
      Tony George busted his butt for the original vision, AND IT FELL APART. Maybe, just maybe, the vision was a tad unrealistic in the first place. And as more and more of the original IRL die-hards reveal their true colors and are shown to care more about their political agendas than about the fact there's some pretty ****ing good racing going on, the less I care what they have to say.
      So let's see, short track fans back in 95 & 96 hear Tony George's vision for reconnecting the sport of Indy Car racing with the US grass roots oval track fan base and they happen to buy into it, they like what they hear and now suddenly they are the problem? Yea right.

      I guess if taking the what someone says at face value and assuming they really mean it is a crime, all those pesky short track are guilty as charged.

      Comment


      • #4
        You miss the point...

        The IRL spent years trying to build itself according to the "vision" that appealed to short-track fans (and I'm one of them, FWIW.)

        It didn't work, for reasons that were (mostly) out of Tony George's control.

        By continuing to show more devotion to the agenda than to the league, I think many of these fans are failing to grasp that the vision was untenable. Spridget drivers can't waltz into Indy cars and compete with the best of the best without first gaining RE formula car experience. And alienating half the fans and sponsors in OW racing from Day 1 put the IRL in a situation where it couldn't survive in the long term without subsidizing teams or cutting devil's deals with manufacturers to provide desperately needed cash and marketing.

        I share the frustration of many old-school IRL fans. But it seems to me that many folks care more about their agendas than they care about the racing. This is especially evident in all the threads pushing harebrained schemes to return Indy to FE cars with no aero. I'm sorry, but anyone who could seriously propose such a thing is not a fan of modern-day Indy car racing. Those are USAC fans who cherish the memory of a bygone era at Indy... and there's nothing wrong with that... but the IRL needs fans of its current product more than it needs bitter ideologues who take their toys and go home when things don't go exactly as they want.
        Quit whining. Enjoy the racing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe we aren't as harebrained as you think. Speaking for myself, my "scheme" had nothing to do with nostalgia for the good old days. In fact, the car itself was very "aero". However, when I see that something isn't working, I think it's a good idea to look into alternatives. Whatever the IRL is doing, it isn't working. The racing is great but for whatever reason, it isn't putting butts in the seats or in front of the tube. If that continues, it won't matter how great the racing is. There won't be any of it.

          My idea was posted before you joined. Maybe you didn't see it. If you had read it, you would have seen that it was a research proposal with no implementation until proven both technically and through market research with the fans. I don't think that's harebrained. Surely it's no more harebrained than what the league is doing now which is beginning to look like a reincarnation of CART. Why follow that course? We have seen where that leads.

          If you want to plow straight ahead at full speed, having a great time right up until you hit the iceberg, go right ahead. As for me, I'd look to do it another way. Of course, I'm harebrained aren't I?
          Proud to be a complainer.

          Comment


          • #6
            One more thing, Tom. Your "special market research" proves nothing. Maybe you should get out of Indianapolis and talk to some people. Lots of race fans live elsewhere.

            The agenda which you accuse us of having, is more of an agenda to see this league succeed. I fail to see what's wrong with that. If the present course was working, I'd be completely happy. It ain't.
            Proud to be a complainer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Tom,
              Thought you made a great post with great feeling for our sport.
              However, I don't share the idea that so-called spridget drivers need to go to school in order to drive these rear-engined beasts.
              Tony Stewart is the perfect example. He stepped in and won a championship. Then he went to Winston Cup and won a championship. In his few road-racing experiences with Cup, he has won.
              In the era we're talking about, the IRL DID create the atmosphere for guys like Stewart, Davey Hamilton, Joe Gosek, Paul Durant, Steve Kinser and Jack Hewitt, among others, to become Indianapolis 500 veterans. IMO, if the structure had been the same as '95, they would've never made it to the Speedway. The situation has changed now, but us short-track fans need to treasure the fact that many of our heroes made it to Indy in a difficult time....they earned the right for the opportunity and they made it. At least for a time, the oval-track heritage and lineage was preserved.

              Although times change, I will always remember the one bedsheet sign I've ever seen displayed at the Indianapolis 500 on Race Day in more than 40 years of attending. Just one sign. Ever. It said "Do it Hewitt."
              "The lunatic fringes on both sides need to be written off." -- stnky pete

              Comment


              • #8
                Outstanding, tom91!

                The business plan of the IRL has been modified a bit along the way. I can't think of any business plan that hasn't been adjusted at one time or another during the growing years.

                I don't know if the media has kept the 'split politics' going or if the politics have just taken on a life of their own, but you're right about one thing, the more talk about racing there is in the news, the better it will be for all.

                I grimace while reading the cr*pwagon.com references made by Mr. Pook during his press conferences. I think if everyone takes the high road, the view will be better for all.
                "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
                -John Morley

                Comment


                • #9
                  An APOLOGY is needed

                  Originally posted by tom91
                  The realities of the sport all drove Tony George into the difficult decisions he's made. He's a businessman... what's he supposed to do
                  He could start by sincerely apologizing to the millions of Indy 500 fans he offended. You'd be amazed at the results.
                  I find facts to be neither insulting nor complimentary; the facts just are. - doitagain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    originally posted by tom91
                    I share the frustration of many old-school IRL fans. But it seems to me that many folks care more about their agendas than they care about the racing. This is especially evident in all the threads pushing harebrained schemes to return Indy to FE cars with no aero. I'm sorry, but anyone who could seriously propose such a thing is not a fan of modern-day Indy car racing. Those are USAC fans who cherish the memory of a bygone era at Indy... and there's nothing wrong with that... but the IRL needs fans of its current product more than it needs bitter ideologues who take their toys and go home when things don't go exactly as they want.
                    My,My you've obviously been getting your share of the koolaid. You need to move over and let a few others take a drink before they split for other forms of racing.

                    Modern Indy car racing?? Let's see, the RE formula car came here from Europe and the F1 trail.

                    That's a road racing series!!!!!!!

                    The FE car IS an Indy car. It's still in use today at tracks around the country.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trac-champ
                      The FE car IS an Indy car.
                      FE was an Indy car. Current rules outlaw it.

                      Tony Hulman invited RE to run at the Speedway and it proved to be a superior design. If the rules change, then teams will run whatever the rules call for.

                      But knowing Tony George, he'd probably phase them in with a silly rule guaranteeing 25 of the newer FE cars starting slots while restricting the RE runners to the remaining 8.

                      Do you think that would work?
                      I find facts to be neither insulting nor complimentary; the facts just are. - doitagain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: An APOLOGY is needed

                        Originally posted by timinglights
                        He could start by sincerely apologizing to the millions of Indy 500 fans he offended. You'd be amazed at the results.
                        When was the last time you apologized for doing what you felt was the right thing for the right reasons?

                        We would probably agree that one wouldn't bet one that apology happening soon.
                        "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
                        -John Morley

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Re: An APOLOGY is needed

                          Originally posted by JBaiza
                          When was the last time you apologized for doing what you felt was the right thing for the right reasons?
                          As soon as I realized that my original actions were wrong. There is no statute of limitations on integrity.

                          We would probably agree that one wouldn't bet on that apology happening soon.
                          Nor do we expect to see the ratings of the 500 improve until it happens.
                          I find facts to be neither insulting nor complimentary; the facts just are. - doitagain

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OK, TG killed openwheeled racing. Cart was the real saviour who soldiered on valiantly, always taking the high road but just unfortunately outgunned by the league that had the Indy 500.



                            All that's needed to improve the Indy 500 ratings is an "I'm sorry." It's all so clear to me now.





                            All yours kids.
                            "You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
                            -John Morley

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JBaiza All that's needed to improve the Indy 500 ratings is an "I'm sorry." It's all so clear to me now. [/B]
                              Why don't we get bill clinton to do it? He's apologoized for just about everthing else except his own conduct.

                              While we're on the apology thing, does anyone want to examine what cart has to apologize for? Yeah, not only would that take an entire thread, it would take an entire forum.

                              So I will just mention one and then it's Wilke's turn. I think we've already covered the rats trying to eat everyone at Belle island, but it might be fun to revisit that one. Comedy is tooooo sweeeet and cart certainly has plenty of bad comedy to apologize for.

                              It was bad enough to leave the fans standing at the gate at the last minute. Maybe they didn't have a choice, but the transporters rolled and cart kept the fan's money until TMS was forced to sue them for it.

                              It's bad enough to have pitiful excuses for races. Or shortened races. Or even races cancelled a reasonable amount of time beforehand. Even running a race under caution until everone had pitted except the guy they wanted to win was pretty pitiful, but leaving town with the money of the fans in their pocket, with no intention of returning it until they were forced to.......

                              Well, that's pretty slimey.

                              Oh, and how about the purposely designed spew of deception Hietzler insulted us with? Yeah, you can call any of us that didn't understand it illiterate, but it was pretty clear Uncle Joe's plan was to baffle everyone with.....errrrrrr, you know.

                              Ooooooh. just talking about it makes me feel all slimed.

                              How'de I do, Wilke?
                              "Is that my *** that I smell burning?" ... Helmet Stogie from "Death spasms of the Mabuchi"

                              Comment

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