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February 09, 2010


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Trick Dickle

Come on, Dog. America just LOVES road and street racing. Especially when 75% of the drivers are foreign-born.

Those 4 parades that the IRL will put on before May, will be lucky to get a 2.4 rating COMBINED.

Pat W

That's... insane..


It spins your head around backwards. I buy advertising media for my day job and I assure you a 2.3 on any cable network gets my attention fast. As a buyer of media time, I wouldn't give Versus 0.2 - 0.4 a second look unless I had a really niche demo and possibly not then unless I had a lunatic budget which I seldom do.


Starting with 4 road/street courses is bad. The worst though, in my opinion, are the tracks. Good road courses, like Cleveland, Road America, Sebring and Road Atlanta could entertain fans too. But going to some random street course in Brazil, a track too narrow for motorcycles, another street course, and Long beach, even I find it a little hard to be pumped for that.

Personally, thats why I dislike grouping tracks into the road/street and oval. I'd rather watch Road America/Cleveland then Montegi/Nashville, but then I can't barely feel any excitement about Infenion/Barber/St.Pete/Brazil.

2.3 is a huge ratings for 4th tier stock car racing

The Speedgeek

Goddamn it. I blame myself. I could have left the race off, but noooooo. I just had to tune in to watch Milka and Nelsinho bounce off of things.


I'm not sure the lack of ovals is what is keeping fans away. Do ovals (on VS, not the 500) really have that much better ratings than twisties?


Yeah, me too, Geek. I don't get the "ratings are just a number" people a'tall. DonMedia, who is a media buyer, knows the power of ratings. Exact, inexact, flawed, whatever ... they are how advertisers decide how to spend their cash. (Big swig of scotch here.)

Fred Hurley

Dog, to be honest, I'd take last year's 1.45! How sad is THAT!? The DeltaWing chassis better be pretty effing sweet, huh!?


It's not just ovals or non-ovals, redd. Good point. The IndyCar product is just not exciting to the masses. Otherwise Danistar would do the same thing for IndyCar as she does for Fenderworld. I've whined extensively about why I think that is, so I won't go back over it now. Comes down to a lack of entertainment. The new CEO has a job in front of him.

Fred Hurley

Redd, you're right. I believe the ovals actually did worse than the twisties, but I seem to recall that there were fewer obvious scheduling conflicts with the twisties (like a big Cup race at the same exact time, of the NFL playoffs or something). Basically, the twisties had marginally better ratings, but with a cushier path to the number. We can talk our way into lots of road racing, and certainly there's a place for *good* road racing on the schedule, but I think early in the season and late in the season, you need some big-time oval events. Like, say, Phoenix. Yup, even if it means taking a pay cut to run Friday before the Cup race.

True or False: If IndyCar was running at Phoenix the night before the Cup race, and Danica was running the double that weekend in her home town, the IndyCar race would be the IRL's highest-rated race ever, excluding the Indy 500.

I say true.

The Speedgeek

Mmmm. I love scotch. Scotch, scotch, scotchy scotch.

I hope Randy Bernard can get us a scotch sponsorship.

Trick Dickle

"It's not just ovals or non-ovals, redd. Good point. The IndyCar product is just not exciting to the masses"

The "ovals versus twisties" thing is a PART of it. America enjoys oval racing more then road racing. Many, many more oval racing people out there then road racing people. Simply a fact.

But there are many other parts of it too. The product is stale (as Dog correctly put it). The drivers generally uninteresting and unmarketable (As ARCA's ratings show, DRIVERS matter). Indy Car is a bad "brand" now (if you called it the NASCAR Indy Racing series, I bet the ratings would go way up right away because of the NASCAR link). People are tired of the constant driver lineup changes, leadership changes and changes in "vision". Lack or recognizable sponsors (What the hell is a Formula Dream anyway?). Negative spin from guys like Miller, Kirby and Oreo have not helped things either (whether it was always warrented or not).

Its a BUNCH of things. One of those, is the makeup of the schedule and the number of bad TV races (which road/street races generally promote).

Rodeo Randy does have his work cut out for him.

Trick Dickle

"I hope Randy Bernard can get us a scotch sponsorship."

I hope Zak Brown can get us a skiing sponsorship. Or any sponsorship.

What exactly has the Zak Attack accomplished, since Indy Car "stole" him into the family? And why do all these marketing "genius's" suddenly lose their touch once they try to sell the Indy Car product?


you don't think this could help the indycar ratings?


Hope so, Frank. Sincerely. And if we started on an oval in the U.S. I'd be even more hopeful.

Fred Hurley

Gee, wouldn't it be great if there was an oval in a warm-weather climate that happened to be hosting a weekend of big-time stock car racing just a few weeks ahead of the Brazil race, and might have a slot available on Saturday night? Even better would be if that track had a long history of hosting Indycar races. And man, it'd totally rock if that track were in the hometown of someone who is current showing a strong interest in running both Indycars and stock cars. I mean, that's be awesome, right? Too bad there's no such track. Oh wait!!!

Trick Dickle

One thing not mentioned in the ARCA ratings, was the HUGE snowstorm that crushed the NE (and many big media markets) last weekend.

Not saying Danicker wasn't a factor. But the snowstorm and generally bad weather over half the country, could have helped bring more folks to the sets.

Might have helped the Super Bowl become the most viewed TV show ever too.

The Speedgeek

"True or False: If IndyCar was running at Phoenix the night before the Cup race, and Danica was running the double that weekend in her home town, the IndyCar race would be the IRL's highest-rated race ever, excluding the Indy 500."

Definitely true. There's one problem with that scenario, though. Getting a Friday night gig the night before a Cup race would require the cooperation of NASCAR. NASCAR, I am convinced, is not interested in having any competition from any racing series that they don't fully own. If they wanted to assist IndyCar in any way, they'd have done so by now. Instead, they're (smartly) playing up a "defection" from one of IndyCar's star drivers to their side of the fence while belittling the limited accomplishments of other defectors so as to further glorify its own indiginous drivers.

If IndyCar were ever to get on the same bill with Cup, same track, same weekend, NASCAR would likely stick the IndyCar race in a portion of the "weekend" before the Cup haulers even arrived (like a Wednesday or Thursday), or put the IndyCar race at like 7:00 AM before a Cup night race. That's the treatment that they give GrandAm, and NASCAR entirely OWNS GrandAm. They don't want any eyes, fans' or sponsors', on any other series if they can help it.

The trick for IndyCar will be to either figure out how to make it worth NASCAR's while to play nice (highly doubtful) or to figure out how to go it alone (or how to go with some selective partners, like, say, ALMS). That's where the new car, and Randy's marketing experience (hopefully) come in, though hopefully not in that order.


It will help the indycar ratings, I'll break it down in my blog tomorrow.

Dylan - Stop busting on places that have never had an indycar race before. Things have to actually suck before you can proclaim that they do suck.

Barber could turn out to be the Mid O of the south. Lots of people on the premises having a good old time while the people at home not making the connection.

I am guardedly optimistic for Brazil. Three long straight aways should provide three braking zones for passing. First street course designed in the "The Past Street courses sucked, so how can we design them better in the first place era".

It's nice to say Phoenix this and Phoenix that, but until they want us there on something other than a tuesday night, it isn't going to happen.

Best opportunity to get an oval early is when California loses a cup date to Kansas after the casino opens.

The Speedgeek

Hear, hear, JP. Same as with the cars that are being unveiled, let's withhold judgement until we actually see a race at Brazil and Barber. Yes, there's a good chance that they won't be any good, but there's no real reason to pull our hair out until we know for sure. What's the alternative at this point, cancelling those races?

I've been doing some ruminating on my earlier IndyCar/ALMS statement, and I think I may be blogging about that in the next 24 hours...

Yikes. Sorry for the comment spam today, 'Dog. I'll clean that mess up later.


Yes, amen to the voice of reason. OK. Breathing into a bag. Brazil and Barber at least deserved to be judged on what they are, not what we expect. Fair is fair. Maybe this will drive home the urgency of building an audience to the new guy. Be sure and send him your letters with suggestions, etc.


I dissagree. How do I know Barbers going to be bad? Well, when a track's so narrow Motorcycles don't put on good shows there, i figure out what that will mean for Indycars. Mid Ohio is a good motorcycle track, but a terrible Indycar track. Now, hopefully a smaller car will improve that. How can you see Barber being Mid Ohio south as a good thing? Mid O is one of the most boring races on the scheduale!

As for Brazil, it does nothing to grow Indycar domseticly, which should be the goal. When tracks like Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Cleveland ect. don't have dates, and Infenion, Mid Ohio, ect. have dates, thats a problem.

The alternitive? How about not schedualing crappy races? That would be nice. And people wonder why ratings are .2?

And Dick, I have no idea why you would want Indycar to follow NASCAR's bussiness stratagey, NASCAR is DECLINING!!!


Okay,a few things.

Trick, do you have ANY PROOF that there are more Americans who like oval racing more than road racing? Please don't spew ratings to me as not every home has a Nielsen box so ratings are incredibly subjective. Yes I am aware that they do matter, but your "evidence" is your opinion, nothing more. I realize you hate IndyCar, so why are you here trolling?

Speedgeek is right. There is no way that NASCAR will give IndyCar any kind of good slot on any race weekend like that. One possible way that might happen would be for IndyCar to threaten to pull Indy away from NAASCAR in exchange for dates at ISC tracks. Otherwise, that's a nice fantasy, but a race in Phoenix is unlikely to happen in reality.

Dylan: There is absolutely no FACTUAL evidence to subscribe to the theory that because a motorcycle race at a track was boring-or exciting-means that an auto race at the same track will be the same. You may wish to deal in anecdotal evidence-which is what that is, but factually there is no PROOF of that. You also misspelled domestically and schedule, which also brings into question the validity of the rest of your argument. If one part doesn't stand up to scrutiny, then it's fair to surmise that the rest doesn't hold water either.

Thankfully, we have pressdog and JP, who along with a select-a very small select few others, myself included-view things through the prism of what IS, not what was or what we want things to be, and if it isn't what we want it to be, then everyone else is stupid for failing to acknowledge the brilliance that is us.


Ed, the reason the bike thing works involves the fact that a Motorcycle is significantly smaller than an Indycar. Hence, if motorcycles cannot pass at a track, then why would Indycars? Besides, at the test last year, the lack of passing zones was referanced. As for spelling errors, well, I'm sorry about that.


Edward: I didn't realize this was a spelling bee. Also, there should be a space after the comma in "Okay,a few things." which calls into question your entire argument. Plus, Davey Hamilton has said he thinks it will be impossible to pass at Barber. He said an Indy Lights car could successfully hold up an IndyCar there, in his opinion, since there are zero overtaking areas. Heard him say it myself right on the radio. I think Barber will be a travesty, but I'm willing to wait and see before we talk too much smack about them.

Tom G.

Pdog, and Speedgeek, Scotch is exactly what is wrong with Indycar racing today. No red blooded American sports fan is willing to go out and buy some "furrin" drink like that. Indycar needs a good Ol' Kentucky Bourbon sponsorship if it is ever going to reclaim it's rightful place at the center of American racing.

OK, and maybe we throw in a Canadian Whiskey sponsorship too just to get PT back in the series and appease our Northern neighbors.


I really don't get the ovals-only contingent at all. Since the merger, the road/street races have been more interesting because there are actually more than 4 possible winners (okay, now 5). The ovals are basically 100% car now, and in my opinion, that makes them hugely boring. Bring back tracks like Milwaukee, Phoenix, Nazareth (I know dead), Pikes Peak (ditto), and then we're talking, but the ovals that are left except Indy and Iowa are generally boring cookie cutters that while they might have lots of passing (and even that's usually only Texas and Chicagoland), they're kind of reminiscent of plate races in that the passing is more or less meaningless because passing takes extremely minimal effort when you have a superior car. Sure Texas and Chicagoland deserve their place, but Homestead? Motegi? Kansas? Really? I'll accept with Michigan and Kentucky in that vein, ideally, but I can't stand the oval-only stance when today's ovals suck.

While I don't believe ratings are just a number, I think quality is more important than ratings. This highly-rated race was a restrictor plate race for a joke series with generally talentless drivers. I mean, Scott Speed who sucks in NASCAR should have won the ARCA title, David Stremme LAPPED THE FIELD in a race, Jason Jarrett and Kerry Earnhardt have won races, and people take this seriously? And the IRL should be mimicking godawful minor-league restrictor plate races to increase the ratings? Well, that is what it's always done on the ovals, rather than having quality short ovals.

And apart from Indy, I'd say the ovals and road courses on ABC and Versus get the same audience pretty much (as the other races on the respective network). People are probably more likely to watch SPEED than VS. anyway because SPEED has a lot of NASCAR stuff and VS. doesn't. A far more oval-centric series would just be pandering to the NASCAR audience like the old IRL tried to do when it thought NASCAR was an ally.

By the way, the best race last year in my opinion was at Toronto. Yes, street courses are often boring, but I don't see the criticism of natural road courses at all, and the ovals have been even more boring than the street courses because until the new chassis arrives, only a Penske or Ganassi car can win. With no cautions, the three championship contenders lapped the field. Exactly reminiscent of NASCAR on those same cookie cutter ovals where only Hendrick, Gibbs, Roush, or Stewart-Haas can win, but there's even more parity there, and that's not a good thing...

Forgive me for sounding like a crapwagoner. I'm not exactly some big street fan or something, but I think the current ovals are even worse, especially with this package.

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