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Incoming -- A new book on the split by John Oreovicz

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  • Originally posted by stockblock View Post

    +1
    +2
    Is it May yet?
    Take me back to a world gone away-James Pankow

    Comment


    • Reviews to mull over of the Sigur Whitaker (https://speedreaders.info/17346-indy-car-wars/) / (https://jalopnik.com/the-indy-car-wa...f-f-1844908645) and Oreovicz books (https://speedreaders.info/23500-indy...d-indy-racing/) / (https://jalopnik.com/indy-split-is-t...ngs-1846997946).

      Given that I simply read the Oreovicz book to be reading it thanks to the topic, I did not keep a running list of items that caught my attention for one reason or another. I did go back and look at what Dees (very little) and White (a chapter) wrote about the Miller marine engine because I had forgotten much of what I knew about it. I was once again struck that reading the Gurney White Paper that one could easily gain the impression that it was Bernie Ecclestone who created the Formula One Constructors' Association (FOCA) in the early-1970s; the Formula 1 Constructors' Association (F1CA) was actually formed in early 1964 and generally concerned itself with travel arrangements as well as the usual financial dickering/bickering regarding starting monies. Ecclestone, however, did shake things up regarding the F1CA and shifted its focus rather significantly -- including the change from F1CA to FOCA in the mid-70s. Of course, the USAC/IMS/CART Split and the FIASCO (FISA/FOCA) War were contemporary events and not the first such rumblings in either world (1908 ACA/AAA or 1915 IMCA/AAA for example and there is a reason that the AIACR became the FIA in 1946...) once one begins nosing around.

      Oreovicz mentions that once again -- as it was in the contemporary accounts -- that the acquisition of the assets of Champ Car in 2008 included its "intellectual property" as well as "historical records dating to 1909." Hmmm. CART originally dated its records beginning with the 1979 season and Champ Car only lasted the 2004-2007/8 seasons. The AAA Racing Board was created in 1902 and replaced by the Contest Board -- under the Manufacturers' Contest Association -- in 1909, which in turn ceased operations in 1955 and finally wound down the following year. Initially, the USAC records began with the 1956 season and sort of still stumbles along it seems after a few miscues and resets. The IRL opened its record books with the 1996 season and with the change to INDYCAR in 2011 then seemed to absorb everything since 1902 as its "history" -- whether it was true or not, thanks to those wonderfully misinformed "auto racing historians" of yore (primarily Russ Catlin with a late assist from Bob Russo, although they have had plenty of help over the years, of course).

      I keep having this image of the CART/Champ Car guys sneaking into the basement of the IMS Museum and hauling off the file cabinets with what remains of the AAA Contest Board records (into which is mixed much later, non-contemporaneous material which becomes quite evident once the records are more closely examined, by the way...) and trucking them to the Irish Hills HQ of CART, and holding them hostage...

      While I was curious if Oreovicz had somehow gotten hold of a draft of a monograph on this topic that I wrote several years ago (but found no one interested in at the time so I put it aside), given how similar some of the thoughts were, I think one of the points raised by Blackstock is also one that I kept coming back to: it would have been nice to hear much more from the IRL side of the ledger if he were going to include those personal recollections on the topic. Of course, this is not an historical monograph, so more an observation than anything else regarding his choices.

      In many ways, neither side comes off looking all that great, but given the rather scorched earth tactics and the results employed by all involved, little wonder that this kept occurring to me as I read the book an and referred to the contemporary accounts. It was very much an excellent textbook example of a Pyrrhic "victory."

      While Tony George and his minions certainly do not come away smelling like roses, as it more often than not the reality in such cases, there is ample enough blame to go around that no one leaves the table empty-handed.

      Then, taking that proverbial step back, much of the problem seems to center -- like it or not -- upon three words: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As well as the derivative term that is also at the root of all this: "Indy car racing." After finishing the Oreovicz book, re-reading the Whitaker book, and then going back to a look at the contemporary material, my sensing is that this was very much a cultural clash that was intertwined with the usual accompanying issue of the politics of artifacts (see, Langdon Winner, "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" Daedalus (Winter 1980), 121-136; Bernward Joerges, "Do Politics have Artefacts?" Social Studies of Science (June 1999), 411-431).

      Perhaps, as is often the case, this is a topic relating to very much to cultural issues and their subsequent conflicts. Perhaps the Oreovicz book will in some small way encourage someone to examine the question as to what results when, as we now suggest in the realm of the study of motor sport history, the Cultural Turn Meets the First Turn.

      At any rate, just a few thoughts on the book.
      And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
      Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

      Comment


      • IMS and the “foundation” doesn’t even own the AAA records in the basement.

        AAA still does. It was a loan. Not a gift.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Don Capps View Post

          Then, taking that proverbial step back, much of the problem seems to center -- like it or not -- upon three words: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As well as the derivative term that is also at the root of all this: "Indy car racing." After finishing the Oreovicz book, re-reading the Whitaker book, and then going back to a look at the contemporary material, my sensing is that this was very much a cultural clash that was intertwined with the usual accompanying issue of the politics of artifacts (see, Langdon Winner, "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" Daedalus (Winter 1980), 121-136; Bernward Joerges, "Do Politics have Artefacts?" Social Studies of Science (June 1999), 411-431).

          Perhaps, as is often the case, this is a topic relating to very much to cultural issues and their subsequent conflicts. Perhaps the Oreovicz book will in some small way encourage someone to examine the question as to what results when, as we now suggest in the realm of the study of motor sport history, the Cultural Turn Meets the First Turn.
          I don't really have much to add beyond this: as I see TV ratings increasing rather dramatically for F1, I can't help but think that the orthodox viewpoints of the past are just that. Nothing but orthodox viewpoints of the past. People know what they know, but also don't necessarily don't know what they don't know. The TV rights battle currently underway in the US over English Premier League rights is a great example of how things have shifted in terms of the globalization of sport and the interest of Americans in non-American athletes and franchises/clubs. The culture war represented by the two parties in the split, regardless of how seriously both sides believed in the philosophy attached to them, is still to some degree not concluded and you can argue it is representative of the old/new factions for NASCAR now that it's viewership and attendance is in the dumps. If we continue to see road racing make inroads in the US over the next 20-30 years (even if it comes parallel to growth of dirt track racing), that will change the historical narrative of what happened in the mid 90s quite drastically.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
            IMS and the “foundation” doesn’t even own the AAA records in the basement.

            AAA still does. It was a loan. Not a gift.
            Exactly...
            And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
            Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

            Comment


            • As for the book in question lacking input from IRL personality.

              Could this be because of the author being known to have a history that is said to be biased toward CART and because of that such people refusing to talk with him on the record for the book?
              Understandable perhaps, but still a lost opportunity to at least use the chance to tell the things and have them published, even if phrasing it could be a bit twisted.


              My copy is to arrive within a few days ans as promised in an earlier post: I will put out my observations about it then.


              Comment


              • Originally posted by Indyote View Post
                As for the book in question lacking input from IRL personality.

                Could this be because of the author being known to have a history that is said to be biased toward CART and because of that such people refusing to talk with him on the record for the book?
                Understandable perhaps, but still a lost opportunity to at least use the chance to tell the things and have them published, even if phrasing it could be a bit twisted.


                My copy is to arrive within a few days ans as promised in an earlier post: I will put out my observations about it then.

                Well, who is there to speak on behalf of the IRL vs. who is there to speak on behalf of CART? Serious question.

                Comment


                • Blackstock at Jalopnik appears to think that the lack is any IRL voices in the epilogue/perspectives might be an issue. My perception that the epilogue/perspectives seems to be tacked on so as to use some of the material Oreovicz developed while writing the book. Not to mention quite possibly making some of his previous points clear. To obsess over the perspectives/epilogue is to miss/overlook what seems to be one of the points of the book: Neither party really comes off looking very good when the entire affair is looked at in context.

                  A better epilogue might have been to paraphrase The Who: "New INDYCAR same as the old IndyCar..."
                  And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
                  Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

                  Comment


                  • A lot comes down to who is willing to talk, and who is able to talk.
                    "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

                    Comment


                    • Of course, given that the "talk" from those within the racing community tends at times to be at a variance with those inconvenient things known as "facts" there are many good reasons that there is often a huge difference between an interview by a journalist and an oral history interview by a scholarly historian. A good interview by a journalist who is well-prepared is certainly very helpful and generally quite useful, but...

                      I would suggest that those who were/are IRL supporters will continue to be IRL supporters and ditto for the CART supporters, regardless of whatever Whitaker or Oreovicz or anyone else were to write about The Split.

                      As always, follow the money and the paper trail.

                      Fundamentally, The Split was an ideological/cultural event with the racing itself being almost incidental. It was a cultural conflict over power and how and with whom that power would reside.

                      That NASCAR has basically imploded, along with sports car (IMSA) racing in the USA, is scarcely a surprise in many ways. F1 for all its touting of its self-evident greatness lives off a combination of corporate welfare and handouts from autocratic states.

                      For all the bleating and moaning about the "foreign" drivers in CART/IRL/Champ Car/INDYCAR, one need only to take a look at US racing in its early years...

                      Pyrrhus would certainly sympathize with Tony George and all the others involved with the IRL victory.
                      And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
                      Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by VirtualBalboa View Post

                        Well, who is there to speak on behalf of the IRL vs. who is there to speak on behalf of CART? Serious question.
                        The original IRL entrants, for starters. Those who got to race at Indy only because of the split. Those who managed to kickstart their career as a result. Just on the driver side, Buzz Calkins, Buddy Lazier, Stan Wattles, Dr Jack, Joe Gosek, Racin Gardner - all have different stories to tell and different perspectives.
                        "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

                        Comment


                        • Just finished the book today. No comments from me. Don Capps as usual hits all the marks.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by ensign14 View Post

                            The original IRL entrants, for starters. Those who got to race at Indy only because of the split. Those who managed to kickstart their career as a result. Just on the driver side, Buzz Calkins, Buddy Lazier, Stan Wattles, Dr Jack, Joe Gosek, Racin Gardner - all have different stories to tell and different perspectives.
                            Few, if any,of the people named, had anything to do with the actual organization and maintenance of the IRL. They were competitors that filled fields, but unlike CART (where the team owners had direct input) the IRL was more of an autocracy. That said, the IRL certainly had people in positions of power who did the boring administration and finance stuff. I don't know who they were or what they thought. Does this book talk to them? If not, who are they and who has consulted with them?

                            Comment


                            • A sanctioning club and a race promoter can't agree terms. Happens on an almost daily basis, and no one blinks an eye. Why this one should be any different continues to baffle me!

                              Comment


                              • Because it turned the biggest race on the planet into a regional clubbie for half-a-decade.
                                "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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