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November 03, 2012

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Ted Wolfram

Very well said, and as a business consultant if I were advising the owners of the series...I would suggest they find a buyer and quickly....since based upon what has been written and said by long time fans...the current management has little if any chance of regaining approval from them.

Chunter16

Is this uproar larger than the uproar to save Ed Carpenter's ride?

To be devils advocate for a moment, at the core of IMS is a hell-actual family of related people who may or may not like each other from day to day. This is true about the France family as well, but the reason I bring this up is, I wonder how much of the "none of your business" posturing is just because these people think of certain information as actually none of the public's business? Would racing of all stripes be better if they became completely corporate, no longer family run things?

Just thoughts, none of the above is even my opinion.

bonnie yost

Awesome article. Wish the right people would listen.

Lynn Kromminga

I couldn' agree with your comments more. I'm not completely gone yet because there are a few drivers that I like to follow but the board changed me from an aggressive advocate to a passive observer. I spent a lot of time going to races last year and was left with them impression that except for Randy Bernard, the "paddock" consider the series their country club and the fans were just an unwanted aggravation.

Jeremy from Harrisburg

Someone needs to wallpaper this article all over 16th and Georgetown. You are no longer Bill. You are Saint Pressdog, Patron Saint of Racing Fans.

Maury

It's more than Randy sought and considered fan input; he took ACTION on ideas. Finally broke the chassis iceberg and paved the way for the DW12. Implemented double-file restarts. Got rid of the Turn 3 restarts at Indy. Restored 11 rows of 3 on the front straight. Scooted Barnhart out of the officiating booth and from the competition rulesmaking. Brought back a Triple Crown. Brought back Pocono. On and on. He ACTED.

Ttomkat

I can't imagine why anyone with a tiny shred of sense would unsubscribe from your "New Dog Blog Entry" notices unless they're the clueless drivers and team owners and management employees of the IMS board & the Hulman-George Co & Family.
I usually argee with you 100% and have no reason to change now.
I'm still debating with myself how much or how closely I'll follow INDYCAR next season, although I suspect once the season starts I just won't be able to help myself and will find my butt glued to the LazyBoy in front of flat screen or if possible, glued to a seat in the grandstands.
Something I would like to add is about how under RB the activities for the fan were vastly increased.
At the final race in 2009 at Homestead all that IndyCar had for the fan was the old walk through display trailer, the merchandise tent, and a small stage were not much happened.
There was a TweeUp being organized by Pat C who was a PR rep for Vision Racing (I think). To their credit IndyCar decided to participate in that tweetup and it was a fun event.
Things went pretty much the same for 2010 at least at the 3 or 4 races I went to that year.
This year at the season finale at Fontana there was a true "Fan Village" with tents and displays with a good number of sponsers and car manufacturers including Chevy, Honda, Madza, Verizon, NovaLog, plus l from most of the drivers at one time or another at the various displays. Truly a 1000% improvement from 3 years earlier.
I hope next year's fan experience is as good or even. better!

Steph

"Except for Randy Bernard, the paddock consider the series their country club and the fans were just an unwanted aggravation."

Everything Bill has said or I have said or any number of other people have said can be summed up with this one sentence.

The Board was blindsided by the fan response to RB's "dismissal" purely because the 1% in INDYCAR can't figure out why fans would care so much about what happens in the higher levels of the sport.

If fan investment comes as such a shock to them, none of the BS that comes out of that boardroom should come as a shock to us.

Tornado

Randy had earned the fans trust. He did it exactly the way that Bill described in his blog. What the IMS board should take from the backlash is that fans of Indycar have no trust in their ability to do the right thing for the sport we are so passionate about. Based on history, I see absolutely no reason to trust them to take the sport forward.

redcar

Ironically Bernard ultimately got the axe because he did listen to--and try to please--the fans. Not the owners. Not the drivers. Fans.

And that--Mr. Nameless Driver--is why Bernard was a bigger story to the fans than any driver.

chiefswon

Thanks for the great read Bill. Randy was an agent of change..and doing a great job in my opinion. I think the Hulman's and many of the owners have let time get away from them and don't understand that the key to success is to cast "fresh eyes" upon the processes of any business. It's a shame.

CorvetteKid

Bill,

You hit the nail on the head with your article.

I was a loyal IndyCar fan from the mid-1970's until last Sunday evening. After the announcement, I felt that I'd once again become another "forgotten fan."

I'm of the opinion that the only way I'll get anyone from IndyCar to understand how alieniated I now feel is to stop supporting them with my hard-earned money.

I promptly got online and cancelled our hotel rooms for next years races at Long Beach, Indy and Fontana.

Called the Speedway ticket office last Monday morning and asked if I could receive credit for my recent renewal for our 2013 Brickyard 400 tickets. We've had the same tickets since the first race in 1994, so the decision while difficult, was necessary as I can no longer justify supporting the Hulman-George family.

The customer service person at the Speedway ticket office asked why I wanted a refund. When I explained my postion regarding Randy's sudden "departure" she replied "we've received numerous calls this morning regarding this issue and a lot of people are not happy."

She went on to say that while the tickets were "non-refundable" the Speedway management was asking for contact information from the callers and "might" call me back.

I didn't expect a return call from Speedway management and as of this morning, haven't received one.

No surprise there, eh?

Needless to say, I won't be renewing those tickets again.

The 2012 IndyCar season was one of the most competitive and exciting seasons in recent memory. My two friends and I left Fontana on that warm (ok, hotter than Hell) Saturday night excited about the racing we'd witnessed, the crowning of the first American born IndyCar champion in several years and the prospect of an even more exciting 2013 season. I contacted both friends after Sunday's announcement and they agreed with me: No more IndyCar races for them.

Unfortunately IndyCar, I've filed for "divorce." What grounds? Well, there's "Fan Abandonment" "Psychological Abuse" and "Communication Breakdown."

Guess it's time to attend some Grand-AM, ALMS and NHRA events.

MrAnalog

The sad thing is the driver that made this comment has a ride and Pippa Mann who is the exact opposite can't get a ride. I can see now why see doesn't. The owner don't want or need fan interaction nor do they want someone who seeks it. It is pretty much give us your money and GTFO!

Sandy

SO MUCH truth here! What little interaction I've had with drivers at races has been awesome and it surely didn't seem to take much effort on the drivers' parts. Why can't they understand something so simple?

TheAmericanMutt

Not to go off script with the "you're so right" brigade screaming into a vacuum, but you at no point address whether or not he was actually good at his job beyond the fans. This article comes across as a pile of sanctimonious bullshit. not trolling, just being honest.

China lost with no money (and they could've put up front cash, or a fee even if they backed out into the contract), check
The people who actually put their lives on the line not listened to, check
the people who spend a hell of a lot more money on this series (owners) not being listened to, check
The board losing a shitastic amount of money, check

The dude clearly only did one part of his job well, and sucked at the rest.\

I'm sorry, I agree, fans come first, but NOT SOLELY.

Most of you will obviously disagree so flame away boys.

Tom G.

After years of dis-illusionment, and frustration, I've come to the realization that Indycar is not a business. It is a private club for a select few. The real disconnection on the ends of the ownership is expecting to make money at this. Clearly they need to accept that losing $ is just the cost of their membership dues to be a part of the club.

redcar

I feel so bad for the car owners. When I imagine how awful it would be to have to live the life of Ganassi or Penske or Andretti, my eyes fill with tears of sympathy. Clearly, they are the true victims here.

Marty J in Des Moines

I'm gonna have to say that I agree with Mario Andretti in that I think we're all concentrating on the political side of this too much...

The races are what it's all about, and there's been some great racing this year...

I'm still thrilled by seeing Marco trying to get around Tony at Iowa, or RHR on the podium this year...

elephino

As Mr Dog has stated, it doesn't take a lot of time to interact enough with fans for them to feel a part of the team/driver/series and that someone is interested in hearing from them.

If you look at F1, NASCAR & V8 Supercars, you can see varying levels of interaction individually but even those who do it the most, it's not large chunks. Some driver's twitter/facebook feeds are 100% PR written while others, it's the driver themself (and others with a combination) - it actually doesn't matter which way. So if the driver says "but I don't have time" then they can just have the person they're already paying to do it.

David Williams

This is what I would say to anyone who wants to learn how a driver can (and should) help the series survive: Seize every opportunity to learn how Pippa Mann relates to fans; read anything written by Pippa Mann, on her fan club site, her blogs, her Facebook page.

NaBUru38

Here's Randy Bernard's philosophy on sports business: "We need to make sure our fans experience great competition and entertainment at a great value at each and every event." Enough said, let's work!

cartracer20

MrAnalog and David, I had the exact same thought on Pippa as I was reading this. She's gone so far as to give a recent shout out on her blog allowing the fans to post their wishes/complaints for IndyCar in the hopes of making some of it heard FOR THE FANS.

What a breath of fresh air!

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