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June 06, 2008


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John S

When "super promoter Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway" talks, it would be wise to listen.





3 - superspeedways
5 - 1.5 milers
5 - short tracks
3 - road courses
3 - street courses

Dave R

Yeah that's what America wants, a cool dozen races where the drivers flat foot the pedal for 2 hours just like a Nascar restrictor plate race waiting for the big one to happen and to have another fatality. Yeap man, that's real racing.




I vote for Bash's proposed schedule.


I appreciate your comments Dave, but history has overwhelmingly established that Americans aren't in the market for street races. A cool dozen races on ovals is, in fact, what America wants. Whether you or I think it's real racing is an entirely separate issue. I personally find road/street racing interesting, but I'm in the 5%. Any business looking for $1 million+ from sponsors that appeals to 5% of the buying public is gong to go belly up. Economic facts of life. Champ Car's demise was just the latest in a huge pile of evidence.

Dave R

That may be true dog, but look at the 1995 season, only 6 ovals out of 18 races. and I could argue that open wheel racing had never been more popular. The last thing I would suggest is to have more street races, except for a handful of them they are boring and lack and real racing, but the ovals all now devolve into fuel conservation races as early as the 20th lap.

Dave R

Oh by the way dog, love your race notes. It's the first thing I read on Monday's


I don't mind some road courses, especially Mid-Ohio, and until St. Pete this year, I thought I would really dislike the streets. But, I have to say, we had a really good time, even if we were rained upon. I'd be up for at least a trial season with an even split, but honestly, if I'm there, I like the ovals better because I'm selfish, and can see it all for myself.


Well said dog!

I love the ovals and have never been a big fan of the street/road courses. I dispise a few of 'em like Belle Ilse. I enjoyed Cleveland but that place is unique.

I loved the so called Triple Crown days of the Indy 500, Michigan 500 and the Pocono 500. Bring back Michigan, Pocono and California as 500 milers.

To me the superspeedways add so much more to the race and drivers like Vitor, Tomas, Ed, Danicker, and guys with names like Buddy can actually pull off a true victory.

IRL should heed the fans' wishes in order to survive. But as ABC has shown us, they can go "side by side" just when things get exciting (which is "tiny by side" on my screen) only to "go back to the action" during yellow. This adds up to more commercials and more revenue. They know that I'll continue to watch no matter what. But what about tomorrow's fans?

Oh well, I gotta say that I'm jacked up about the Texas race and the dog's blog on Monday.

Keep it up dude.


The 6-6-6 scenario is just a scary bad idea. I've never been a big fan of road racing, but I think you have to have some it to keep things fresh. Besides, I'd rather have the drivers shooting for F1 fame than NASCAR fame.

I'd like something like an 11-7 ovals to street ratio. About what they have now. Both types of racing can be boring or thrilling. It depends on the cars and drivers.


Gossage is a blowhard and a poor man's Humpy Wheeler. His idea for 80% ovals is ludicrous. The IRL already tried that and proved that being a bastardized little sister of NASCAR only kills the sport.

Fact is, the young American talent that wants to go oval racing is headed straight for NASCAR. USAC has tailored their new Silver Crown cars to be front engined speedway-prep cars for aspiring NASCAR drivers, not rear-engined IndyCar drivers. The kids going into open-wheel racing from karting on up through the minor formulae are doing it by turning left AND right. IndyCar's gotta be there to nurture THOSE kids so they don't aspire to go to Europe instead.

The IRL has to offer what CART offered from '79 onward - a challenging, DIVERSE schedule of all types of races. Superspeedways, intermediate ovals, short ovals, natural roadies, street courses, and airports... sounds pretty awesome to me.

Forget the idea of chasing the NASCAR fans, man. The ones that drive up the ratings aren't going to get behind "rollerskate racing" even if they got Dale Jr. to drive against Danica. Open-wheel racing needs its own identity to thrive, and it's going to be a long-term solution at best.


Tell ya what: You put that all together in a great PowerPoint, hire the best pitch man on the planet and march into Levi Strauss and lay it all out. The very first thing they are going to ask is "what do I get in return for my $3 million?" When you say "a 1.5 rating" the security escort will swiftly remove you. The fundamental fact is that Americans have never watched street/road races en masse and aren't going to start soon especially with an oval alternative like N-word ready to take their money. Racing is littered with dead companies who thought they could build support for road racing in America long term. Not gonna happen no matter how brilliant the leadership and clever the marketing. The IRL either has to oval up or cut the price of competing (for a win) in half or some combination there off in order to create return on sponsors' investment. To me, it's that simple.


My limited take on oval racing is that while exciting at times (i.e. take Texas tonight) we are now overwhelmed by ovals. The Truck series, Nationwide, Sprint Cup, Indycar, ARCA, all of which are televised constantly...well except for when ABC/ESPN allows us on the west coast to watch the Indycar last week when we weren't able to...hint, hint, ABC.

This is different then 12 or 15 years ago. Indycar needs to find it's niche. It's mixed track series is the way to do it. If you noticed that the initial ratings on races is in some occasions better then the N-series races. Why you may ask...because initial Neilson's are performed on the top 54 markets...i.e. Cities. Stock car does much better in small and rural markets. But sponsors populate the cities, not small town America. What most fans forget is that most big sponsors do so not because of television time, but because of networking at the track, this is the domain of open wheel street races.

Don't confuse Champcar's failure because of the tracks it ran or markets it serviced, it is more a factor of a split series. I read report after report, after interview, that the biggest issue team owners had with sponsorship was spending most of it's time explaining to them the split, and the difference between the IRL and CART, and little of the time talking about the advantages of using them as a way to leverage their product.

If you don't believe me, watch the attendance of Cleveland, Long Beach, Mexico City, and Toronto next year. You will be surprised by the interest generated.


Those who presume to point at the demise of the old CART (pre-Champ Car days) series as an indication of lack of popularity are either in denial, or are historically illiterate. They speak without a foundation based in knowledge of the facts. Obviously they weren’t there or were too preoccupied with some other minutia detail to notice what was going on. Biased? Tell me, when I started my work with those cars in the USAC days, was there for the first split (the formation of CART) in 1978, and worked in both series afterward.

Those who think that Tony George’s “all oval” plan was a superior idea that better suited the fans’ interests, and that road and street courses were part of a flawed schedule that caused CART to fail are allowing their 2008 RPC (racing political correctness, aka Tony George and ISC/SMI kiss-ass) to obscure the actual facts.

I was keeping my mouth shut since the unification. That is going to change right here, right now.

CART was absolutely the best mix of races that ever existed. The reason(s) CART failed are as follows:

1) Tony George started a series and excluded CART teams from the most important race to that (or any) series, the Indy 500. It was the only place he could have any say, and it was the only race the new IRL had that was of any importance. The rest of IRL’s races were a joke, as was Indy itself during the formative years of the IRL.
2) Penske, Ganassi, Haas, Rahal, Forsythe, Arciero, and a list of other, less high-profile, team owners lost sight of what was in the best interest of racing, and started trying to make a fortune with the “business” of CART, including the choice to sell stock. [Example:Newman/Haas is a great race team, but ask the people who participated in the CART board meetings about the way Carl Haas would quietly leverage a vote with veiled threats of no parts for a smaller team's Lolas.]

Combine those two items above - that’s how it happened. Remove either of those two factors from the formula and CART is still alive.

Ask Robin Miller, who has repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the way it was all handled.

Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon see it clearly. Gossage would do well to listen to them.


'Dog, the IRL "ovals up" and you will see the series go the way of the dodo. Mark my words.

What exactly in that PowerPoint you mention would change if the IRL were all ovals? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There was a unification this year and Indy's ratings were lower than they've EVER been in recent memory. That means to me that this series HAS NO RELEVANCE outside of Danica and Twinkletoes. It will generate poor ratings and attendance at non-Indy events whether you're racing at Milwaukee or Mid-Ohio.

But again, it all comes down to your long-term plan. If you are interested in sacrificing long-term growth and nurturing your young prospect drivers, you don't "oval up" in a vain attempt to latch onto NASCAR's coattails. Because that's what you're doing. And NASCAR does ovals FAR better than IndyCars can because their cars are capable of close racing without catastrophic wrecks that take 15 laps to clean up. That's just the reality of it.


s/sacrificing/encouraging... senior moment.

At some point I might entertain everyone with my war stories about sales and marketing meetings with potential sponsors on both the IRL and Champ Car side... it might help illuminate the reasons why IndyCar is considered by many companies to be a sour lemon.


Just for some context, I watched the F1 race today and listened to last night’s Texas IRL race (no cable). I enjoyed them both. Pressdog, I hope somebody high up in the IRL is reading your blog and all your fan comments.

My rambling take, for what it’s worth. It seems to me that the IRL trying to please Champ Car drivers and teams, Champ Car fans, and the racing press (particularly them) with this proposed schedule.

Here’s a clue: they’re never going to like you. There is no amount of concession or appeasement that will win them over. No matter what you do, or how far you will go, it will never be enough. (I could make a political analogy between conservatives and liberals in Washington here, but I’ll refrain.) More over, your current IRL diehards will end up leaving you for NASCAR, so they can watch their oval racing.

You made your bed with the split and will have to live with it. Attempting to follow a failed formula (poor-man’s F1) can only end in failure. You must focus on what you do best. If it doesn’t work, it wasn’t meant to be. If it does, then your current detractors will fall in line and say that they were with you all along.

What you’re good at:
--An International and domestic mix of drivers (Good lads and lasses, at that.)
--Good promotion of the drivers (At least some of them. Could be worse. I watched several Champ Car races last year and didn’t even know what Graham Rahal looked like until this year.)
--The most diverse set of racing venues (NASCAR runs two road courses and I think they’d run a street course if they could. I’d love to see the Indycars at Cleveland and Laguna Seca, and am looking forward to Edmonton.)
--Unparalleled, daredevil side-by-side action (Like at Texas last night. Let’s hope for more of that. NASCAR can’t compete with your product at it’s best.)
--“The greatest spectacle in racing.” Indy.

What you’re not good at can be summed up simply: Trying to be F1. This series is not going to be a ladder to F1 or even a competitor any time soon. It needs to be an end unto itself. You have to concentrate on the American market, which means competitive American drivers, mostly American venues, and mostly ovals. You saw what happened to (and picked up the pieces of) Champ Car, when they failed to do this. Don’t abandon your current fans.


I agree with Dave R. The old (ancient?) CART format...pre-split...was the best.

I think 50% ovals (super, mid, and short) and 50% road course (which would include Cleveland and Edmonton..they're just temporary road course...NOT street races) is the way to go.

The really cramped street races...Denver, San Jose, Miami...just never got into those.

But you can't throw out Road America, Cleveland, Surfer's, etc. and expect anyone who has followed the series for 20 years to be happy.


I agree with Dave R. The old (ancient?) CART format...pre-split...was the best.

I think 50% ovals (super, mid, and short) and 50% road course (which would include Cleveland and Edmonton..they're just temporary road course...NOT street races) is the way to go.

The really cramped street races...Denver, San Jose, Miami...just never got into those.

But you can't throw out Road America, Cleveland, Surfer's, etc. and expect anyone who has followed the series for 20 years to be happy.


really, bash's proposed schedule looks pretty good to me. and if some of the street and road courses are overseas, then so much the better. americans who enjoy road racing will watch and foreign markets can get some love as well.

personally, i watch a lot of racing (f1, irl, alms, champ car, motogp, wsb, and rally) so i get my fix one way or another.

but i like a good mix of venues.

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