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December 22, 2011

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Doug

Why should ovals want IndyCar? We all clamored for Milwaukee and New Hampshire, then tens of us actually showed up. Hell, they GAVE away 80k tickets to Vegas and a mere 20k actually took enough notice to show up.

I don't understand what the problem is or why IndyCar simply can't draw fans to an oval circuit. The racing has been outstanding. But whether I understand it or not, there IS a problem. ...its a strange, strange puzzle.

Rick

Despentency? I need a little help with that word.

Adam Brewer

And amazingly, little ol' Iowa Speedway has crowds that exceed capacity year-in and year-out, despite the largest nearby metropolitan areas Des Moines (~570k) and Cedar Rapids (~255k) being 35 minutes and 90 minutes away.

Iowa Speedway's tickets aren't cheap and they had a complete cluster**** for parking their first year in 2007 and people *STILL* come out.

Perhaps the other oval tracks need to come take an internship from Iowa Speedway and learn how to put on a great oval race, because the boys at Newton do it great year-in and year-out.

pressdog

Despentcency means: too much cold medicine.

Dylan

I feel sleepy just looking at that schedule... so much for Indycar's "Growth" and "momentum" and whatever other crap we were told. This is a joke

DZ

Want to add more ovals? Buy a damned ticket and get 30 friends to go see it. Simple as that.

Money talks, BS walks.

All day long. Every Day.

S0CSeven

China but not Australia where the fan base is?? Go figure.

Why don’t Americans show up at the ovals? Better ask the nonshowerupers. You’re preaching to the choir here. Somebody should hit the streets & ASK!

I’m betting it’s because they think ……… it’s just ‘spec cars’ & one of the ‘usual suspects’ will win. No drama here.
But no, I don’t get it & I’ll never get it…………… what @Doug said......

Chris Lukens

It’s a shame, a real shame. Indycar had so much going for it in 2012; new cars, new engines, new teams, it had a real buzz going on and now this schedule just sucks the life out it.
I hear people say that they will watch/attend the 500, but that’s it. I don’t see how those fans can be sustained over the long haul. Why attend a single event a year that is supported by a series that does something completely different the rest of the year.

The sportycar drivers have won. They have changed forever American open wheel racing.

It makes me wonder how popular the Superbowl would be if we had to watch Manchester United play American football against FC Barcelona.

Ttomkat

I have to agree, I'm super disappointed in this schedule.
If I could afford it I'd be at every oval race no matter where it was held.
I'm very disappointed in IndyCar lately. Looks like I may sit this season out. (Sure, I say that now but as soon as the season starts I'll be watching, and probably at the Belle Isle race for sure, if not more.)

Titus Pullo

Street races are okay but the real sadness is the decline of the road courses where racing started and still at its best: left turns, right turns, elevation changes, weather.
Still there is something to be said for taking the races to where the people are. Do people really want to drive some 60-100 miles to a track, fight traffic, pay for tickets, food, etc when they can be at home with a 50" HDTV and 300 channels? Even NASCAR attendance is declining vs four years ago and there is also the economy.

Why Red China but not Australia? Look at the size of their economies and population.
Perhaps this is an illusion but as a number of businesses hope to get a piece of the China market.

pressdog

Great point on the lack of road courses, Titus. I hadn't thought of that. Road courses such as Road America have the same challenges as ovals, that being (in general) no government taxpayer sugar daddy to prop them up.

Dylan

So now I've had some time to get my thoughts together and my own blog on the subject up. The 2012 schedule is awful. I don't see a lot of good racing and I doubt this schedule is going to excite a lot of American fans. I find it interesting and a bit concerning that the dying Champcar series managed to make Road America and Cleveland work but Indycar cannot, and that the IRL managed to get Kentucky and Chicagoland and Kansas and Homestead but Indycar can't do any of those. That's not progress; that's regression. There's a ton of things to say but it comes down to the fact that next year's Indycar schedule looks really, really boring. I think the problem is Randy Bernard played a little too much hardball with the tracks and probably overestimated Indycar's strength relative to other racing series in the US. Notice that camping World Trucks and ARCA manage to make the ovals work. In fact many of the Indycar oval races that are gone were double headers with ARCA and Truck and those two series are still going to be at a lot of those, just without Indycar. AMA Pro Racing, ALMS, and Grand Am manage to make a lot of good road courses work but Indycar can't. It's pretty pathetic, really.

Next year is going to be really rough for fans, unless you have a fascination with slow speed parades, in which case you'll be super excited. Otherwise though I don't see a lot of positives. I hope the 2012 car is at least decent on the ovals so Indy, Iowa,Texas and Fontana are exciting. Otherwise 2012 might make 2009 look good... Remember when 2012 was suppose to be the year everything turned around? That feels like awhile ago.

jdh417

Champ Car has won.

I honestly think that the IRL's best hope is to somehow get offically affilated with F1. Get rid of all the ovals, except Indy and become the Western Hemisphere feeder system for the big show. It would give them legtimacy (as opposed to being "racing, but not NASCAR" as it is now) and a potentially larger international audience.

No, I don't like this idea. Yes, I want three-wide, open wheel oval racing. But given continuing developments in the IRL's schedule and the Lionheart's death, I don't see any other viability, just slow death.

Brian McKay in Florida

I already have tickets to Saint Petersburg and Barber races. IF Baltimore hosts a race againm, I'll go. I love ALMS and IndyCar on street courses and natural-terrain road courses. I'll happily watch Belle Isle and Mid-Ohio on TV.

DZ

Many ideals of Indycar simply don't translate to reality today for whatever reason.

Personally, I'd love appx 6 of the great historic ovals, 6 natural road courses, and 6 streets.

Iowa and Texas will be great ovals, I'm not sold on California...yet.

Totally agree w Titus re: natural terrain road courses, but most have proven difficult to convince it's worth paying the sanctioning fee to host Indycar.

GeorgeK

The series is reacting to what the market seemingly wants. If the "fan" base and sponsors want to be road race oriented so be it; once economic health is restored I'll bet money the oval tracks will work their way back on to the schedule. In other words I don't think its as bad as it looks.

On the other hand maybe before resurrection comes death? If Indycar manages to shoot themselves in their collective heads, what will come next to fill the racing void? Some thing for sure, but I don't have the vision to come up with the answer.

Tom G.

I've said it before, but I think the best long term business proposition for American Open Wheel racing is selling out to the France Family Inc. and becoming just another piece of their racing portfolio.

For Indycar it would mean access to tracks, and shared events with Grand Am, and Nationwide/Trucks, that would give them worlds more exposure for sponsors. NASCAR is also the only entity that can strong arm TV into broadcasting open wheel.

For NASCAR they would pick up a property that would expand their market in a new direction, and among a new demographic, something they need to do to continue to grow. It would also give them a property to wield against their only real global competition for sponsorship $, F1. Making Indycar into an F1 North America, keeps Bernie out of their backyard.

The France's running Indycar? Heresy, yes. But it would work.

GeorgeK

Wow Tom, you just drew up a plan for not only survival but potential prosperity!

The only fly in the ointment? Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500 remaining in the George family hands. If Tony G's Mom and sisters could agree to sell a majority stake in the speed way then the France's would have incentive to take on the entire series, with the 500 remaining as the center piece for a business based revival plan.

If we can see this surely there are other factors keeping this scenario out of the realm of possibilities?


John

Sad. I will be watching less next year. Do I really need to know the length of a course to the 0.001 ?

ThatGuy

What happened to that 2nd Brazil race that was lighting up the message boards before and after the Sao Paulo race this past year? Dead, or just back-burnered in favor of China?

pressdog

It's a good idea, Tom G., and I'm sure it has flitted across a few of the minds of the high and mighty. There has to be profit in it for NASCAR, though. Maybe if they got a fixed percentage of the Indy 500 that would help. I can't see enough upside for NASCAR in acquiring IndyCar, although I do admit to less-than-comprehensive knowledge of all the factors in play.

Leigh O'Gorman

@ThatGuy
The second Brazil race was put on the back burner a couple of months back.§

Dylan

As bad as things are in Indycar I don't see a NASCAR buyout as a great thing. NASCAR dumb's things down and I don't see them loving watching Indycar's go faster (much faster)than the cup cars so if that were to happen expect to never see cars above 200MPH. On road/street courses they probably wouldn't care as AMA and Grand Am (I think) outrun the Cup cars which are not designed for road racing. I could see NASCAR doing it however as the idea of controling all of racing in North America is appealing to them. It would give them something extra to use at ISC tracks without paying any money and it would give them control of every race in North America that matters (24 hours of Daytona, Long Beach GP, Daytona 500, Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Daytona 200) outside of ALMS and MotoGP/F1. But I just don't think it would be a good thing. NASCAR ultimietly want's to protect their three main series and so they'd keep it from it's potential. That said it would be fun to watch the France's smack the team owners and drivers who think they run things around. I'll admit that would be amusing.

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