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« Live from Indianapolis, ABC, IMS Peek Into the Abyss on Bump Day and Danica is Buying Everyone a Round | Main | Nationwide Race in Iowa Draws 37,000 Fans, 1.6 TV Rating »

May 24, 2011


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This is why a racing series need's an "actions detrimental to racing." rule. Because this switch would fit that clause very well. Bet Mike Conway loves that he's not getting a ride bought for him even though he's 4th in points. Oh well. On the plus side, even with buying Hunter Reay a ride this could be the end of AA as even being a "big" team. If you're a sponsor or driver, probably time to run away. It's clearly the Marco Andretti Team. At this point, Panther, HVM, Sam Schmitt, and even SFR or DDR are a better option.

Gurney Eagle

Starting spots are now simply commodities to be bought and sold.
Dylan is right. It would be nice if Bernard would step in and stop this travesty but I won't hold my breath waiting.
Foyt is the last person I would have ever expected to pull an end run like this. His attempt to spin this would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting.
Apparently from now on the starting field will be determined by size of sponsorship rather than qualifying speed.

Jardine Bradley

Conway's struggle combined with Patrick suppose lack of knowledge on why she managed to pull that time out of the hat could explain AA's costly (in more than one way) hesitation when it came to what happened on Sunday. There's little doubt in my mind that Hunter-Reay could of pulled a fast time like Andretti had but lack of confidence held the team back.

The only thing I'd say is: What about Conway?! Surely he would be priority over his teammates in this situation?! Conway's 4th in the championship, Andretti and Patrick just outside the top ten and Hunter-Reay's...23rd...

It probably comes back to cash/sponsorship...doesn't it?

John S

Why go through the time\danger and money to attempt to qualify the old fashion way. Wait until the field is set, then get out your checkbook.

The Speedgeek

Just to clarify one thing, A.J. has done exactly this sort of thing before:

For anybody not wanting to read that whole thing, I'll summarize the part I'm talking about: George Snider put A.J.'s #84 car into the field. Tim Richmond missed the show, but had sponsors in hand (the #84 was basically unsponsored to that point), so he bought Snider's seat.

This sucks. There's no way to spin it. Well, OK, I'll try one meek attempt at spinning. This doesn't cheapen Tags' pole run, nor does it mean that Ganassi or Penske are in any better shape to win than they were 2 days ago. Yes, it means that one well-heeled team bought their way straight in without earning it, but I'd argue that there's still 32 drivers (i.e. 97% of the field) who did not do that (this is in contrast to the potential for up to 19% of NASCAR fields to get in via provisional, which I am definitely not a fan of). I do feel like the race and qualifying has been cheapened somewhat, but it's been cheapened in the same way that the new Ferrari FF is cheapened by having a Chrysler nav system in it. It's still a Ferrari, same as the 500 is still the 500. I guess that however awful what happened was, and however bad it is for Bruno (and it is bad, very bad) I just don't feel like something untoward like this that happened with 3% of the field is going to be the thing that makes or breaks TV ratings or drives away thousands of fans. If it starts happening every year, and with multiple teams, then by all means, I'll be up in arms about it, too. Just...I'm not to that point yet.

Brian McKay

It's show business, not a pure sport, an amateur sport. If Mr. Foyt, Mr. Junqueira, Mr. Andretti, Mr. Hunter-Reay, Mr. Belskus, Mr. Barnhart, and the rule book are satisfied, the deal is not my concern. It's not like R.H-R. is a slow-poke such as Milka Duno who'll be a rolling chicane. A.A's cars were somehow flawed.
"What about Conway?! ... 4th in the championship" He's not sponsored by DHL & Sun Drop and less experience racing on super speedways and is less likely to win.

Simona Fan

Meh. I'm okay with it. It isn't pretty, but it's not the end of the world. No one is going to not watch the race because of it. Besides RHR was 34th and given another 5 minutes in qualifying surely would have been in.

AJ ran the unsponsored back-up car as a separate entity. If Vitor crashed, Bruno was out of a car. If Vitor failed to qualify, Bruno was out of a car. Bruno knew this. He's a professional driver. He was paid to qualify the T car. Job well done. His boss, AJ, is happy. AA is happy (happier), RHR is happy. SunDrop/DHL is happy. The casual fans get another American in the show who should have qualified, so they're happy. IndyCar gets a series regular in the show, so they're happy.

It's happened before for various reasons that the 33 qualified were not the 33 that raced, so it shouldn't be particularly shocking to the die-hard fans. The five people who bought tickets specifically to see Bruno race will be pissed, but 5 out of 400,000 is a reasonable number.

With so much upside, and so little downside, I'm okay with it.


Good thing you dumped TK your "setup man" Mikey you doofus.

The Speedgeek

Right there with Simona Fan.

Just stopped back by to ask everybody a question. I'd assume that Michael had to pay A.J. somewhere in the neighborhood of $300-350k to put RHR in the car, in order to guarantee A.J. a better payday than last place starting money. Or, Michael is letting A.J. keep all the prize money, and is still fronting A.J. $100-200k for putting Ryan in A.J.'s car instead of Bruno. Whatever the deal is, does it make anybody feel any better if A.J. then uses that cash to either 1) make Vitor's car more competitive over the balance of the season, or 2) run Bruno (or Buddy Rice, or Townsend Bell, or Bubba Stewart) at Vegas? Or Kentucky? Just asking.

Ron Ford

I respectfully have to disagree with Brian. Certainly all major sports are influenced by money, but all too often in a negative way. I really believe this instance of ride buying cheapens the Indy500. I know it has happened before, but it was wrong then and it is wrong now.

I have been an open wheel racing fan for 60 years and I truly love the Indy500 with all its history and tradition. I think Randy Bernard is doing a great job. I don't hate Danica. I don't hate Tony George. I try to be positive about the current state of open wheel racing. I don't feel so positive today.

This year the one shot at the pole for the fastest nine was exciting. Bump day had plenty of drama. Then on Monday the news about the ride buy took much of the wind out of my sails. As Bill said: "Stuff like this just adds to the erosion".

The rule needs to be changed.
The rule


I realize this has happened before and it's part of the business of racing. Having said that...

Indy bump day has been historically--certainly was Sunday--one of the purest, most dramatic moments in sports. Courage, risk, desperation, danger, victory or heartbreak at 230 miles an hour.

And I think the rule that allows for a ride to be purchased invalidates that moment the sport and should be changed.


I have to respectfully disagree with S0CSeven

If the cars roll off poor and practises are constantly being rained off then, it's might not be so much you're lacking a set up guy as much as the time to actually do anything. If TK was still there and the team still struggled, what would be the reason...beside the fore mention poorly setup cars and rain delays?

Now, I'm going to presume that John's setup wasn't that different from the rest of the team for the next part.

Danica said she didn't know why she was fast, okay she might of said something different to the team, but, if she didn't, Mike, Ryan and Marco are going 'oh crap, she won't be able to give us any helpful feedback.'. The team was struggling, Mike hadn't been able to get in, Danica did but didn't know how and Ryan and Marco are there by the skin of their teeth. If I was a team owner I would have done the same as AA, kept Marco and Ryan in line, pulling them out if they were still safe. I wouldn't want to risk sending them out only for them to set a worse time than before and have them knocked out that way especially if I'm not sure if they can pull the same sort of times as Danica.

Basically, I agree with Jardine, AA hesitated an it costed them.

I'm just glad it was with Ryan than Marco. Yes, it would of been bad with Danica but can you imagine how it would of been with Marco?! He's gotten in people's bad books for bumping Ryan out (which, if Mike had been able to set a good enough time, he would of ended up doing anyway...and if it wasn't him then Alex would of), the guy just can't win at times...


Oh! I mentioned this to my grandfather, a big Mario fan back in his F1 days, who came out with this:

Well, Penske bought the win.

Now I'm going to presume he meant the 1981 race (thank you wiki for helping a poor Brit work out her grandfather's vague, grunted response) but...thoughts on that sort of comparison?


Solution: Bruno get's a FREE ride and a chance for the 5 MIL in VEGAS, paid for by Mikey and AA.


Really agree with Ron Ford's post on this.

It is one reason I think the 500 should be a no-points race. Although maybe that would make things worse.

What probably burns me the most though is exactly the "racing is a business" mantra. Vince Welch put that out there and I about wanted to scream.

The paddock media and some of the teams and League itself really need to stop separating themselves from the fans by trying to minimize their voice telling them they don't get it.

I've spent a good long time talking with the people involved in my favorite sport. I've been on sponsor outings with them, at the airport with them..all over. And while I am not an insider, I do get it. Racing IS a business, it costs a lot of money and these are hard times.

The process is cheapened by this. I don't care how long it's gone on. It doesn't matter. No amount of explaining it away matters.

The fans are the reason there's a series in the first place. The sponsors matter, sure but the fans in some ways matter more, and we're all pissed. Telling us we don't get it doesn't work. Acting like it doesn't matter just b/c it doesn't matter to them doesn't work.

Will I be there on Sunday, of course. But I won't support any AA team, and sadly I won't support RHR or Foyt in this year's race either. Beyond that I don't know. This has seriously damaged my opinion of Foyt.

Brian McKay

""racing is a business" ... Racing IS a business, it costs a lot of money and these are hard times. ... The fans are the reason there's a series in the first place"
Racing began before spectators.
Money is required for cars and fuel and tires.
Cars and fuel and tires are required for racing.
Racing is required for spectating.
Persons with money say, 'Let's form a racing series,' whether IndyCar, Can-Am, or A1GP. Persons with money decide to buy or lease cars and fuel them to race. Then fans come along: 'Look - they're racing interesting cars. Let's watch.'
If DHL and/or Dr. Pepper/Snapple's $pon$or$hip of RH-R's season of racing is contingent on RHR showing the colors in the 500, ...if one or the other would withhold megadollars if RHR were not in the 500...AA would be dumb to not do a deal. If B.J. and his wife were content to receive a payoff to not risk B.J.'s life in the race... I don't mind.


I understand it's business and I don't like it. But, if IndyCar and one of the competitive want to try to make this somewhat right, they should immediately make Bruno one of the 5 drivers to run for the $5M at Las Vegas in October.


Typo: I meant "competitive teams" not just "competitive"


Brian: how many sponsors do teams have if no fans come to watch? Zero. As I said above, losing a hundred fans here and another hundred there eventually adds up to where IndyCar is today -- dire economic straights.


it sucks to be sure. actually, it sucks REALLY hard. i don't like it, but i understand it ... kinda.

indycar is my thing. i've been through a lot of indaycar-related BS over the years. this RHR/Bruno is barely a blip on my radar. but that's just me.

....and scott speed didn't crash his car. i know you didn't state he was driving it when it was crased, but it seemed implied by the way i read it....


This totally sucks all the drama out of bump day.

As a Danica fan when she was sitting in the car and it started raining...I knew there was a good chance that she could miss the show. (The look in her eyes was so compelling as she was potentially coming to realize it might not happen this year.) But I also knew that if that happened AA would try and put her in another seat (to save GoDaddy) and I was hoping she would be one driver who has enough power to refuse to take it (not sure if that would have been the case but I was hoping). I knew that if that happened she would be roasted but also how can you feel good about any accomplishment you may have in the race when you didn't earn your way in.


Greatest spectacle in racing? Don't make me laugh.
Greatest auction in racing, more like.

Perhaps they should be more honest and just auction off grid spots on late night TV ...


A racing series without fans is club racing. ALMS and Grand Am are dangerously close to becoming that. I was under the impression Indycar was a bit more than just a club race. Teams may be a business, but the series business involves the fans. So saying "it's just business, screw the fans" is one more step down the direction of saying screw the fans, we care more about sponsors/teams ect. But... in the end, without fans, no sponsors, and teams either have to self finance or ridebuy.


So much whining over nothing. Scheckter said something to the effect of(not a direct quote) "I get my deals made so stuff like this doesn't happen." He's right. They all know this can happen.

It doesn't cheapen bump day. Marco still had to pull that run out of his butt(Come on, you know that rear wing was all but laying on the ground.) to get in at the gun. They had no idea if it would stick. That's why Marco sat there until the last moment possible.

Maybe the league should look at changing it from the car qualifying to the driver but you can bet the owners won't like it one bit. AA was likely faced with a choice by the sponsor to make this happen or kiss the funding goodbye for the rest of the season. That probably would have parked Conway for the rest of the season too. Then how ticked would you be.

It's still promises to a very good race. And really, was Bruno anyone's favorite driver? Or are you people ticked because this involves Andretti?

FTR, I'm cheering for Graham.


Can't see what the big deal is all about to tell you the truth. AA essentialy bought the #41 from Foyt and fired the driver ... that's it anyway you look at it. Car owners can sell their cars. History buffs knows George Salih tried repeatedly to do that in '57 with that laydown Offy ... even after the car had qualified. Also quoted is the Junky/Tags replacement a few years ago. Rules are rules and it's the car that qualifies. Until the rules are changed folks we all should just settle down ... there's nothing we can do about it. Here's another thought ... let's say the rules are changed and sahy Sarah Fisher shows up next year with a killer auto kit, and she was the only one that has it, and the car is flying and everyone loves the car like the Whooshmobile of years gone bye. Then the driver takes ill but because of the rules the car is removed from the field and SFR is out of the 500. I'm sure there would be a whole lot of screaming about the rules from the other side too. I guess we just can't have it both ways.


My take, with no evidence whatsoever (that's the best kind of take), is that Michael had guaranteed DHL and SunDrop that they'd be in the 500, short of an accident. And there were penalties in the contract if they weren't. He could have insured himself against that risk, but didn't. He found it cheaper to buy the seat from AJ than pay off his sponsors.

My take is also that AJ is the bad guy in this. He, of all people, shouldn't have put his ride up for sale. He. Sold. Out. Hurt himself, hurt the speedway, hurt the race, hurt the sport. This deal show's he's thinking like an owner, not a racer. In owner's terms, Gilmore won a couple of 500s, and AJ's only won one, in a down year, with a foreign driver. AJ just busted himself in my book.

Brian McKay

IndyinNH: I hope that the rulebook is changed so that the drivers, not cars, qualify. If a racer who has qualified for the 500 becomes too ill or injured (verified by IndyCar's physician), the team could substitute a driver that it had declared as an alternate driver when it had entered/registered the car.

Mauri Rose

I frankly don't understand the rationale that "racing is a business". If it's meant that racing teams have to be run as a business, I agree. But racing on this level needs fans, just like any other professional sport. If the fans go, the sponsorship goes, and the series goes with it - as has been demonstrated numerous times. And these are hard times for all racing series, including NASCAR. Indy Car does not need this kind of bad PR, particularly in what should be a major showcase event.

The rule should be changed from here on out.


It seems that Indy fans--myself included--tend to see the end of the world, or at least Americanopenwheelpoclypse--about every other week lately.

This ride buy isn't anything new or even all that big a deal. But it might be time to change an old rule and let the driver hold the position and not the car.


This won't affect how many people watch the race. No fewer people would have shut down the tv if RHR remained out of the race than if Bruno had his legs cut out from under him.
BUT, this race is about speed and you qualify based on speed. Bruno had it. RHR did not.
Yes, racing is a business, but saying this is within the rules is like saying an investment firm can play roulette with subprime mortgages. Yes, it is within the rules, but is it right?
Is jerking Bruno from his ride so a Mountain Dew and UPS rip-off can have their logo on the sidepod right?
I feel most people on this board who are okay with this situation can answer that question with a no. No, this situation is not right. Not just. Not ethical. As Bob Kravitz said today, Michael and A.J. should be ashamed and RHR should feel about two inches tall for getting into that seat.

Titus Pullo

I don't like this and I wish the rule was changed. But even NASCAR, far more popular than IndyCar, has this. I remember Michael Waltrip buying Derrike Cope's spot a few years ago (and the team the 1990 Daytona 500 winner was driving for eventually went out of business).

Bobbi Fleckman ("This is Spinal Tap") quote time.

Jake LaMar

"It doesn't cheapen bump day."

Ohh, that is pure bullshit. IT certainly does cheapen it. Mr. P-Dog already said he feels like he was raped and duped. He paid good money to drag his ass from Iowa to watch that farce. He and everyone else who paid money to sit through the rain, deserve something that is REAL.

Marco didn't have pull out jackshit. If he runs 100 MPH and misses the race, he is the one in the #41 and not Whiner Hunter-Reay. If it rains out and NASCAR's Danica Patrick doesn't qualify, then she and and Go-Daddy can pick whoever they want to buy out. She was never in danger either.

The only REAL run on Bump Day? Alex Lloyd. That was real. The Andretti stuff? A farce. Andretti himself? A terrible leader of a team. Hunter-Reay should have been MAN enough to say no. Foyt? A senile hypocrite who should retire and head to the ranch. IMS and the Indy 500? Losers again in the PR battle. The fans who (for some reason) are still watching this crap? Losers with a capital 'L'.

You dorks who don't think there is anything wrong with it? Get a clue. The avalanche of support against you is building.

Mike R

Foyt, Andretti, RHR and Bernard will all be (if they're not already...and I'm sure they are) Crystal-Clear on how unpopular this move is when RHR gets introduced on Sunday. So will the DHL/Sun-Drop people in attendance. I doubt that anybody will be able to hear the few who may still cheer for him through the chorus of negative response. Is negative publicity better than none at all? I don't think so.

That, in and of itself, will likely lead to a change of the rules.


Why not change the rule so that a driver who qualifies can only be replaced by a driver who has not made a qualifying attempt that year. That way this situation is avoided, but if a driver gets hurt in a Carb Day crash, for example, that entry can still be raced by a veteran on the sidelines, and the sponsors stay happy.

Mauri Rose

The driver who qualifies the car should keep the car and the position unless unfit for some reason. The driver who qualifies the car has earned it.


+1 to everything that Jake said.

I was there this last weekend, as I have been in several past years. This year was shaping up to be the best bump weekend in years. And for awhile it was. Then this. RHR is a whore and Andretti is his pimp. AJ? Might as well have Trump back in the pace car if you want a loathsome corporate blowhard.

I was debating as to whether or not to attend the 100th anniversary Indy 500 or the just as historic AMA Grand National Flattrack motorcycle races in Springfield, IL. Thanks Indycar for making my mind up for me.


And before anyone jumps to RHR's defense, get this. In the link below from the Andretti Motorsport website RHR claims that he knew nothing of the deal until his team came to him after they had talked with Foyt:

But, in the link below from the Indycar site it states that Andretti initially approached Foyt at the suggestion of RHR:

What a weasel. Hope the honey badgers rip him a new one Sunday.


Milka always qualified for the 500, as opposed to buying your way in like RHR. No wonder IICS can't draw flies. It's all just checkbook racing.


It makes sense to me, and I still enjoyed the heck out of watching Bump Day live at the track. No harm, no foul, although hopefully Bruno get's his sometime in the near future...

Consultoria RH

Este blog é uma representação exata de competências. Eu gosto da sua recomendação. Um grande conceito que reflete os pensamentos do escritor. Consultoria RH

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