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January 06, 2010


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Trick Dickle

Good synopsis from Miller. Its amazing the sport is still breathing, after all the mis-steps and morons running it into the ground for over a decade (it actually started in the early 1990's).

One correction from the article....Sarah didn't "win a podium" at Homestead. She didn't get to stand on a little league stand and get a medal and spray champaign with the winner of the race. Podiums weren't apart of the IRL, until the CART-inization of the league started in the mid 2000's.

Thank goodness the folks the run the Indy 500 and Texas Motor Speedway understand the lameness of this road racing/formula car "tradition".

The Speedgeek

A good summary, indeed, but now that the '00s are over, might there be a chance that Robin'll give that dead horse a rest? I'm as history-philic as the next guy, and maybe more, but could he do some looking forward instead of the twice-weekly looking over his shoulder at the wreckage of what IndyCar racing used to be? Maybe the quicker he can do that, the quicker we can get everybody pulling in the direction of a "new" Golden Age for the sport.

Leigh O'Gorman

PDog; apologies in advance...

@ Trickie,

Everywhere I see you post, you seem to constantly have a go at drivers of non-US origin or non-US sports/traditions.

What's wrong with the podium tradition? If I were to tell my friend's here in Ireland that the Indy 500 winner drinks milk in victory lane, it might raise an eyebrow or two, but I doubt many would denigrate such a tradition.
Although mainly used in motorsports, many other sports or events use the podium tradition too; most notably cycling and the Olympics?
By the way, the podium tradition actually originated in Canada, or do you have a problem with Canada too or do you just like spew on anything remotely European?

I'm a big fan of the IRL and I loved CART back in the day, but in the modern age the idea that it should be purely US drivers (etc...) is an absurd one. It failed in the late-90's and it would fail again now.
If I had a choice between watching some of the best drivers from every possible country or watching mediocre US drivers, I would pick the former every time.

You call it an American sport and in many ways it is, but I don't you realise how popular Indycar is across the world - probably more so than in the US - and I can guarantee you that's because of the talent of the drivers and good racing as opposed to driver nationalities.

(Rant over)


THANK YOU!, Leigh! You said it far better-with far less rancor-than I did when I addressed Trick Bickle's frequent rants about how bad IndyCar is because it doesn't fit their beliefs.


I agree with Leigh.
I think I've said this before, but what Indycar needs is a mix of American USAC, Road Racing drivers and the international drivers. That is what makes it compelling. Yes, Indycar does need more American drivers, but the International drivers are an important element of the series, and should be embraced. Beating an international group of drivers makes the drivers who can win in Indycar that much greater. Unlike NASCAR, where your beating top Americans, but very few international.


I agree, Geek. I rarely read the retrospectives full of lamentation of "the split" and all the carnage and blah blah blah. There's a difference between learning from past experiences/successes/mistakes and flogging a dead horse every week. I like to live life looking ahead, not looking behind.

Trick Dickle

Leigh, you live in Ireland. I think that makes my point for me.

Here in America, podiums don't jive with American forms of racing. Its nice you think they are cool. You have grown up with them as part of your racing culture. Its a European/Non-American thing. Its also a "Road Racing-type" of deal. That's fine too.

But the folks that run the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Texas Motorspeedway, think that they don't belong. And I agree with them.

And this sport won't ever make it (or survive much longer) without it being DOMINATED by American drivers. I am sorry that the "mis-mash" potpourri of drivers from all over the world (many of whom are only here because they bought their way into their ride) haven't resonated with the American public. The truth is, that all of the teams are based here. Most of the races are run here. Most of the fans live here. And continuing to think that a series with a handful of American drivers and a bunch of other guys from all over the planet will ever sell is just being ignorant.

The sport is broken. Its broken when a guy in the prime of his career, who won the sport's biggest (and only important) race just 6 years ago, can't get a ride anymore with anyone just because he doesn't have the dignity to write a check for his efforts. Its broken when 98% of American kids under the age of 24, aren't even looking at Indy Cars anymore or dreaming about being a Indy 500 winner anymore. That is a major problem.

Until the sport becomes popular again HERE, its going nowhere.

(My rant over).


I'm a 13th-generation American (seriously) and I like podiums. I like acknowledging second and third. It's usually a good display of sportsmanship as well when everyone congratulates each other, etc.

Trick Dickle

P-Dog, sorry for the above rant. Like you said, continuing to trot out the mis-steps of the past couple of decades (like Miller likes to do), only leads to this type of angst and disagreement among fans. Even with my dismay at the current state (as P-Dog also occasionaly shares as well) of the sport, I am still a Indy Car guy first. And its sad to see it in the state its in today.

I enjoy the "good" foreign contingent of drivers. But I also recognize that having way too few American kids in the top series (and not keeping the good older Americans you cultivate) is not good business.

In this case, I thought Miller did a good job laying out what happened in each year of the past decade. I had almost forgotten some of the things that happened.

Guys like Miller and Kirby need to get on with things though and quit writing the same article over-and-over again

Drayton Sawyer

I too am a proud American and thing podiums are a good idea, points championships only need to becwon by one point so the first three spots are important. As far as American drivers goes, I've raced at turkey night for the last 5 years and none of those USAC boys want to run Indy, they all wanna be Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. But one thing that nobody ever mentions in regard with Americans in open wheel racing is that no American companies are willing to sponsor American racers at a young age, and if they do it's for NASCAR. Gone are the days when teams just get sponsorship and drivers just bring their helmets ( unless your name is Roger, Chip or AJ but they don't hire Americans anymore). Most teams are struggling for sponsorship Ryan Hunter Reay and Marco bring their own money (Marcos manager anyway) even danica is bringing her own money this year. Graham is the only American driver left in AOW that shows up with just a helmet (and a bitchin Ferrari) hope he's not the last.

Leigh O'Gorman

@ Trickie,

Right now, it a case of the economy too. It's happened before and will happen again - throughout the history of motor-racing, there's always been good drivers on the sidelines while also-rans with big money drive when the economy is in the schtick. Even F1 falls foul of that during the tough times...


Dick, when Eddie Gossange (misspelled, but hey, hopefully PDog won't ban me) made those comments about podiums, personally he came across as and A**. So I wouldn't tout that one around. Yes, we need more American drivers, and we need a way to get them here. But we shouldn't exclude forgien drivers, and we should embrace the fact that unlike NASCAR, Indycar has diversity, in tracks, nationality, gender, race ect.

Trick Dickle


I think Eddie Gossage is brilliant and someone who should be in position to run this sport (if he wanted to do that).

He "gets it". He understands his audience. He understands "what works" and "what don't" in American racing and for his particular speedway (and SMI).

Podiums are cool for F1 (and I enjoy F1 for what it is). They are fine for road racing. But if (and with the current direction, that is a big "if") the sport still considers ovals to be important, I am not sure bringing more of a "foreign element" into the sport, makes much sense.

The problem with your "diversity" line, is that AOW has less and less "diversity" every year. Because the one group it needs MOST (American fans and American drivers) continue to leave the sport or ignore the sport. They aren't being "diverse" when they completely ignore most of AOW (which is dominated by oval racing and oval racing drivers) and now are in the process of ignoring most of AOW road racing as well (with many of the best young AOW road racers also now looking at NASCAR first and Sports Cars next).

Unfortunately, we aren't getting anything close to the best American racers anymore and we aren't getting anything close to the best foreign-born racers either (and never will).

Leigh O'Gorman

I think the problem with having ovals and street / road courses is the simple the fact the many of the oval tracks that have cropped up in recent years are simple cookie cutters.

Ovals need to be just as diverse and road circuits (and no, I am not a fan of "street races" - Long Beach + Toronto are enough!!), but many of them are identical; in much the same way that I despise most of the new F1 circuits too.

I do agree that there is a need for good drivers to be up there, but the split fractured the chances somewhat; however there is hope with the new feeder system. Anything of clarity that points directly toward the IRL is a good thing.

But as I have said before, these things take time...


You really only need three street courses, Toronto, Long Beach, and Cleveland. Then add Sebring, Road America, Road Atlanta,the three premire Road Courses in America, and then add Watkins Glen, Miller, Portland, ect.

I don't get how turning Indycar into NASCAR without fenders is making things any better, hasn't that been tried before? I'd put Scott Dixon and Tony Kannan up against anyone in the world, talent wise. Scott in the Brawn Car would have destroyed Button.
I think that for more American drivers to get involved, sprint cars do need to be involved, but really, as Miller has said, the teams are at fault for that, since they are the ones hiring.

Trick Dickle

"I don't get how turning Indycar into NASCAR without fenders is making things any better, hasn't that been tried before?"


Trick Dickle

"I think the problem with having ovals and street / road courses is the simple the fact the many of the oval tracks that have cropped up in recent years are simple cookie cutters."

Leigh, you are correct in the sense that many of the newer "big car" ovals that have been constructed in the past 15 years in America, have been similar in many ways.

But there are still MANY ovals out there that ARE diverse and challenging and different. Phoenix, Nashville, Michigan, Loudon, Richmond, Milwaukee and Pikes Peak were all VASTLY different from one another and unique and all were dumped by the IRL in the past several years.


IRL 1997-2005= NASCAR without fenders.

Trick Dickle

"IRL 1997-2005= NASCAR without fenders."

No, it was more like CART without non-ovals.

Indy Car hasn't TRULY embraced the American oval track racer or fan since the early 80's or so. From time-to-time, some like Stewart, Fox, Boat, Hamilton and Vogler have gotten shots. Early on in the IRL's inception, there was more smoke then fire about "the Road to Indy" and better linking the Indy Car series to the vast majority of the rest of AOW. But overall, its only been token gestures.

NASCAR has embraced much of AOW's fans and drivers for a couple of decades now. Hence the record TV/attendance numbers that series has seen and continued decline in our series during the same time period.

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