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Old Indy 500 Broadcasts: What Attracts Us?

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  • Originally posted by staytuned View Post
    They seem to go back and forth with it. Sometimes a turn 1 guy, sometimes not.
    So looking back, they eliminated it for 2010.

    Then they brought it back for 2011 because that year they went to double wide restarts.

    After that one year it was gone again. Then when Paul Page returned as chief announcer, he reinstated turn one (I assume because he insisted on retaining the tradition, etc.

    Now it’s gone again. Note too that in some years when turn one was empty, the turn two reporter moved more towards the south chute, to have better eyes on the whole south end.
    Doctorindy.com

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    • Been listening to 500 radio broadcasts on the Tune-In App on my phone while out and about. They played 1988 and 2018 yesterday, and the difference between the two was quite interesting.

      In 1988, for instance, there was 1, maybe 2 cars, on the lead lap for the majority of the race. And it was usually that way in the 'golden days.' Never more than a handful of cars in legitimate contention. When that's the case, the announcers can spend a lot more time focusing on the various stories within the race. They can ramble. They can paint pictures with their words. They had more time to fill when Mears was checked out by an entire lap over literally everybody. So, the old broadcasts do take on a baseball game type of feel.

      Nowadays, with upward 20-plus cars on the lead lap going to the checkers, there's hardly any time to take a breath. The lead is never really safe anymore. So, the play-calling, by necessity, is more frantic, and the turn reports are clipped. You don't get a full picture as much as you get rapid-fire sketches. Your mind has to work quicker to stitch it all together. This is why I used the timing and scoring app on my phone at the track last year during the race, cause I knew it would fill in the gaps for me that radio no longer could.

      Makes me wonder if, when people romanticize the older races, they aren't really desiring a return to that competition level (if a race finished with only one or two cars on the lead lap today, people would completely freak out). But maybe, in an age of information overload, people just pine for the slower, gentler pace the race was given to them. But I don't think there's any way to get that back with how competitive the event now is.
      Power #12 (2014 Champ, 2018 Indy 500 Winner) - Pagenaud #22 (2016 Champ) - Newgarden #1 (2017 Champ)

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      • Originally posted by Field Mouse View Post
        Been listening to 500 radio broadcasts on the Tune-In App on my phone while out and about. They played 1988 and 2018 yesterday, and the difference between the two was quite interesting.

        In 1988, for instance, there was 1, maybe 2 cars, on the lead lap for the majority of the race. And it was usually that way in the 'golden days.' Never more than a handful of cars in legitimate contention. When that's the case, the announcers can spend a lot more time focusing on the various stories within the race. They can ramble. They can paint pictures with their words. They had more time to fill when Mears was checked out by an entire lap over literally everybody. So, the old broadcasts do take on a baseball game type of feel.

        Nowadays, with upward 20-plus cars on the lead lap going to the checkers, there's hardly any time to take a breath. The lead is never really safe anymore. So, the play-calling, by necessity, is more frantic, and the turn reports are clipped. You don't get a full picture as much as you get rapid-fire sketches. Your mind has to work quicker to stitch it all together. This is why I used the timing and scoring app on my phone at the track last year during the race, cause I knew it would fill in the gaps for me that radio no longer could.

        Makes me wonder if, when people romanticize the older races, they aren't really desiring a return to that competition level (if a race finished with only one or two cars on the lead lap today, people would completely freak out). But maybe, in an age of information overload, people just pine for the slower, gentler pace the race was given to them. But I don't think there's any way to get that back with how competitive the event now is.
        Interesting Observation! Where can I get the timing and scoring app?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Field Mouse View Post
          ....

          In 1988, for instance, there was 1, maybe 2 cars, on the lead lap for the majority of the race. And it was usually that way in the 'golden days.' Never more than a handful of cars in legitimate contention. ......................The lead is never really safe anymore. So, the play-calling, by necessity, is more frantic, ..................................

          Makes me wonder if, when people romanticize the older races, they aren't really desiring a return to that competition level (if a race finished with only one or two cars on the lead lap today, people would completely freak out). .............
          There is no way to really compare 1988 racing to that of today. There are way too many differences.

          In 1988 you didn't have pit closures. When the yellow came out anyone that wanted to pit could do so no matter where they were running. And it was the length of a cleanup under the yellow that determined the length of the caution. Today the officials manipulate the yellows at times to allow television to air their commercials. And they also extend yellows toward the end of the race to make sure that the leaders have enough fuel to get to the finish if it is close on mileage. They even wave lapped cars around the pace car at times and allow them to top off their tanks before going green again on the whim of the officials. Today's 500 is totally manipulated to put on a "show"; hopefully one with a close finish. In 1988 the 500 was much more an actual race than it is today.

          And as for just a few cars on the lead lap that's what you often had in the past when you had different designs and teams able to run all kinds of different bodywork and wings as well as actually (perish the thought) work on and build their own engines if they wanted to do so.

          Look back at a lot of those old races on the radio broadcasts. Off the top of my head Foyt beat Sachs by (I think) something like 9 seconds in 1961 and they were the only cars on the lead lap. That's incredible that after 500 miles of total racing that two cars are only separated by a few seconds. There were no bunch ups behind a pace car so you never got a chance to make up any track position at all in those days on a caution. The pits were always open. Everything all day long was part of the race. Today's 500 is a series of do overs where the actual race doesn't really start until the either the last pit stop or the last caution. Everything up until then the race is just window dressing.

          Even with today's identical spec cars if you went back to the rules as they were in 1988 you might still have only a few cars on the lead lap at the end.

          It's the mainly the rules that keep more cars in possible contention today.



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          • Originally posted by redlegs75 View Post

            Interesting Observation! Where can I get the timing and scoring app?
            It's part of the official IndyCar app. Used to be Verizon customers only, but with NTT, it's now open to all carriers. Has timing and scoring available during all sessions.
            Power #12 (2014 Champ, 2018 Indy 500 Winner) - Pagenaud #22 (2016 Champ) - Newgarden #1 (2017 Champ)

            Comment


            • Originally posted by indyrjc View Post

              It's the mainly the rules that keep more cars in possible contention today.
              Yeah, there are a lot of factors, for sure. Rules, reliability of the tech/engines, everyone having the same year/make of chassis, etc.

              I still enjoy the radio call today, and would never go without it, but it's constant adrenaline vs. the more easygoing nature of the older ones. Makes the older ones hold up better as background listening. It's hard to listen to newer broadcasts if you're not paying close attention, cause you can lose track of things very easily.

              All this is probably a reflection on society today, where perception of what's 'exciting' has shifted due to the explosion of media and entertainment options, making it harder to draw and keep people without closer, constant thrills.
              Power #12 (2014 Champ, 2018 Indy 500 Winner) - Pagenaud #22 (2016 Champ) - Newgarden #1 (2017 Champ)

              Comment


              • And of course in the Sid Collins era the race broadcasts were never really about following the action constantly but were very laid back in "past tense" format. Only in 1960 with the Rathmann-Ward duel was there a more constant on-edge feeling of competition up to the end of the race, but for the most part, barring late turn of events like Sachs pitting in 61 and Jones going out in 67 the nature of racing competition did indeed make for a more easy-form style of listening.

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                • Originally posted by Field Mouse View Post

                  Yeah, there are a lot of factors, for sure. Rules, reliability of the tech/engines, everyone having the same year/make of chassis, etc.

                  I still enjoy the radio call today, and would never go without it, but it's constant adrenaline vs. the more easygoing nature of the older ones. Makes the older ones hold up better as background listening. It's hard to listen to newer broadcasts if you're not paying close attention, cause you can lose track of things very easily.

                  All this is probably a reflection on society today, where perception of what's 'exciting' has shifted due to the explosion of media and entertainment options, making it harder to draw and keep people without closer, constant thrills.
                  I agree that the call is different today. And in it's own way just as good as ever.

                  As for the fans themselves I really don't think it matters when it comes to the 500 itself since it's an event as much as it is a race. Fans back in 1988 (or even earlier) thought the 500 was a great sporting event just as do the fans who attend today. And the vast majority of "fans" who attend the race or listen to the radio broadcast will likely not attend or listen to another race the rest of the year.

                  Perception is everything sometimes. Formula One is arguably often the most boring of all motorsports (at least by some standards) where the winning car usually has a huge lead with the outcome never in question. And yet it is considered the pinnacle of racing in terms of money, attendance, and television viewers.

                  If the 500 is still around in another 30 years any radio call will probably be just as different when compared to today as it is when looking back to 1988 is now.

                  Thanks for the great starter post!

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