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November 26, 2012


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I agree about the Fan Fest thing in Indy, only not at the track but downtown. The people going to the track will go anyway. If I'm flying into Indy a vibrant downtown scene would be more attractive than a ferris wheel in the infield.

As far as reducing the 500 to one weekend, I'm not on board with that. The 500 is the only race most average Joes could even name in the Indycar series and it's the only one that can attract nation-wide or even world-wide interest. This one race support the entire series, as it is. The "month" has already been reduced to 2 + weeks. Why would you want to downgrade the biggest attraction on the schedule or tinker too much with--historically--one of the biggest sporting events of all time?

Ted Wolfram

Enjoyed your comments, and I agree in part with most of the ideas, but may I suggest one thing that I think is absolutely necessary to re-build fan appeal.

Pick up any book about open wheel racing and look at the pictures.....they are all about the CARS. Spend time on line looking at books about Indy and what you see is CARS with the drivers who drove them, men tuned them, and people owned them.

Auto racing is not about men (now women as well)it is about men/women driving RACE CARS, and the CARS have as much appeal, if not more than the drivers.

I bet you can't tell me about who tried to drive the Smokey Yunick's side-car at Indy, but I bet you have seen the car.

My point....BRING BACK INNOVATION...even if it takes a "junk" formula to get it.

NASCAR is kicking COT into the ditch...and bringing back stock looking try to re-ignite Ford, Chevy, Toyota lovers. IndyCar has a butt ugly, over designed piece of crap that look exactly like the next piece of crap.

I ask my family (5 generations) what is their favorite race car, and driver? Each one can tell me what the cars look like....Except the young ones and they mention only the driver.

BRING BACK WHAT WORKED...I'd rather have cars that were different, and had personal touches, and had what ever engine they could BUY within a formula (perhaps limited to 700 HP). It worked for years, and going back to the future in this case might just work.


mmmm, IndyCar scanner !!!
Where do I send my check?



Bernard blew many of us away at Sonoma. During the IndycarNation event he came, he spoke and then he met and shook hands with every fan in the room. Granted, Sonoma brings out a limited number of fans making this a doable proposition. But he made an impact, especially with the guests that we rabid fans dragged to the event. Solid points above!


Thanks for continuing to push these fan-centric ideas.

I also appreciate that you're willing to unflinchingly promote these ideas multiple times per year in hopes those in places of decision-making will see them.

They have been and continue to be solid, well-reasoned, and seemingly quite feasible solutions to assisting the promotion of Indycar to the existing and potential fanbase.

Jim Gallo

I love it and it all needs to be tried and tried again. Now, have you sent this word by word to the so called "powers to be"? Either in the recent past or since the latest turnover? Would love to hear if any responses were given back to you.
Thank you.


Some good ideas in there, Mr Dog.

redcar, pretty sure the 2 day Indy 500 thing is not to reduce the event to 2 days but rather make the race weekend more than just the race on Sunday. Support races, fan village, concerts, general festivities in the track and in town (a mini-superbowl area I would assume).

I don't know how good fan access is to drivers at IndyCar events (my last was a ChampCar - Surfers Paradise race) but I was actually disappointed as to what was available to NASCAR fans at Phoenix a few weeks ago. The fan garage pass gave them two platforms to stand on, the pre-race pass let them stand near the cars at least and in front of the driver intro stage but few of the drivers actually interacted with the fans (Danica was one of the best, in spite of the efforts of some of her cohort). Outside of the driver intros, I (with media access) only saw one driver not in a press conference. Because they can hide in the haulers, then walk to their cars (with almost no fans around) they are only seen at autograph sessions. To quote from the article above - "I find it difficult to believe that every driver is busy every minute of race weekend."

Funnily enough, the weekend felt like a normal V8 Supercar weekend in the media centre, sorry center. Of course the so-called poor quality media facilities had something to do with that. It wasn't until I saw the building at LVMS that I realised why people were complaining about Phoenix - to me, it was better than what you get at many Aus tracks. Food was much better at Phoenix than home tracks :)

One thing to add, which crosses over a few of the above ideas, IndyCar should be working with the team sponsors more. The efforts that some put in even for individual fans is amazing and needs to be replicated by more. The people at Fuzzys tried quite hard to get me a bottle of vodka to take home (foiled in the end by a surprisingly efficient Delta Airlines), including an offer of driving 1 hour to LAX to drop off a couple of bottles (luggage was checked through, unfortunately so couldn't do this). 4 people at some point tried to help. For two of them it was only a few minutes out of their day, for the others it would have been an hour or two or more over a few days in trying to help. That's a lot of effort to sell one or two bottles of $25 vodka to someone who is normally outside of their market with no access to their product. Of course the ROI is in things like this where I speak positively about their efforts - Fuzzys get it, I'm not sure why others don't and IndyCar needs to ensure they get it too because it's as important for them as it is for any sponsor.



I agree very much about being mostly useless for IndyCar news. I can't remember the last time I went there for news. I always go to your site, SPEED, IndyStar, Trackforum or other for news. IndyCar needs to also avoid updating their website (when I rarely check it) and there Facebook page and the team's Facebook pages with qualifying results before they air on tape delay on NBC Sports. The best way to get me not to watch their tape delay broadcast is to tell me what already happened. I complained about this before and people told me to completely avoid the internet and Facebook the entire day and I always inform them of the current year we live in and this may not always be possible. This is another "fan" thing you can talk about. Don't make it easy to skip your qualifying TV coverage.


I'll add one more, and that's sponsor cross promotion. There should be a group of people inside IndyCar, who's job it is to help the sponsors leverage their brand, and their marketing budgets to help sell the show.

As an example as a Verizon customer, I never see any signage, in the stores, or info in my bills that they are involved in the sport, where is Tony Kanaan in all these GEICO commercials, has Hinchcliffe been in any GoDaddy commercials?

Maybe they are during the race, but outside of the race, zip, zero, zilch, nada, hashtag fail.

One of the things that F1 and NASCAR do well, is that the sponsors promote the drivers and the stars with off track signage, advertising etc, if IndyCar wants to get something more than a .1 TV rating, then people need to be made aware that the series still exists.

Ted Wolfram

I have read all the comments, and each has some merit....but, until and unless, IndyCar gets a better on track visual, audio, and interesting product....everything external to the race will be a waste of money.

"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"...seems like an appropriate comment for IndyCar as it exists today.


All good points PDog! I know it won't suprise you when I say I like the backstage idea the most. There is little danger in the garage area since it's not hot. Let us take our kids and our grandkids behind the scenes. They just might me someone they may call a hero someday.

Former Editor of Hobbson

I commented on most of this before so maybe this is boring old news to you. However good points on the aspect and awareness of how off ganassi is about media (which I never knew he said - how could someone been so off?). I think the .com issues is inherent in the digital sports marketing world. Generally it's uroborus. They all came from some place from 4-5 years ago. NBC sports guys were abc before that and espn before that and usa today before that all with their little groups. The new blood is low level kids who they can burn out for little wages. The old guard stay at the top and things remain the same as they spent big money on huge tv contractors from places like Comcast. Take this example: kevin monagahan who runs is a biz development guy. He literally had no web experience yet he runs their website which was only built in 2005 the same year at this blog starting! Personally I had a job building websites before him yet I'm out in the cold - tell me how that works out. Their site sucks though and it's reflective of poor leadership and run as a business profit. has some issues but they've had some changes in leadership. In fact just under a year ago there was an opening I applied for but didn't get. Shame because....

At I fought a lot to get anything on the homepage but the fact is no one gave a shit about indycar. With that said I talked to a bunch of fan sites and got feedback on what they wanted and generally optimized the experience for them. People devoured the video's we had and loved that we could provide an outlet for lindy and hobbson. Check out this stat: More people viewed (on average) indycar clips than the NHL. Only cycling beat it out. Pageviews and uniques went up by 100% despite a 500,000 market traffic push that was lost. To me there obviously was an audience even if it wasn't the largest. Furthermore you make good points on the real writers. It's why I tossed aside the blowhard Bruce Martin who no one fucking likes and brought on Jeff Olson. I love his attitude and his style. I paid for Graham to talk about the elephants in the room because you need to say SOMETHING non-race related sometimes. Mostly people bitched back which I think is a problem though. And we all know the train wreck of hobbson. Who is fucking genius but literally hated by the NBC guys. Speaking of....

As for the nbc sports network. I personally don't think any of the big networks would pick up the series which is terribly sad so you're stuck with someone who doesn't like you - which they don't as told by the previous .com team I worked with.

I realize most of that is bitching/patting on the back stuff so I'd like to make an off the wall suggestion because I refuse to be an internet shitposter.

This is an off the wall idea but if you start biting away at the smaller obtainable crowd - think using paid search on bing rather than google - you might see some better numbers. One idea is I think the series needs to go after the app crowd on appletv. The install base is a decent amount and only growing. There are already sports leagues there and as a front runner to apps you might pick up some new fans. Run free races for half a season and then keep the cost really low for a season pass. Something so cheap it's like 9.99$. Only downside to my pie in the sky thought is I'm not aware of the install cost of an ap like that. Considering roku had 500 channels it might just be apple being picky. Regardless I think the idea stands: get your videos out there to as many people as possible while being smart with your limited funds......

I think that idea of going out and doing that huge 15 million marketing advertising push to solve problems is out of touch old guy thinking . It mostly doesn't work unless you get really lucky. I'm sure we could put many examples out there of brands spending huge amounts and getting zero in return - 3/4's of the superbowl add's (Do you remember ANY of those hashtag insane promotions). Or more recently about the hilariously pathetic ratings numbers on nbc sports network. They thought they would have this huge post olympics push because of all the damn advertising/events on there and look at them now. From guys who are obsessed with money how much did they lose by spending on all that "air time" to look at less than 100,000 viewers?

It's defeatist but guys like that stay in power because they have it. And if they're gone they the new one will be the same. Meet the new boss..same as the old boss.


Love the scanner idea. I'd pay for it in a heartbeat.

I would also LOVE if IndyCar radio would do more with that SiriusXM channel! I hate seeing it on my radio sitting dead most of the time. Last season they started broadcasting qualifying, which I thought was a good first step, but they used to have the Andretti/Green Report (and other content from teams) on every week and they need to get back to that kind of thing. Hell, have a blogger host a 1-hour call-in show. Get some of the new brass on there to talk to fans. It can't be THAT difficult...

Lisa Weber

Thank you so much for posting these. I enjoy reading logical, well thought out opinions about *anything*, but since I've grown to love motorsports its especially nice.

I preface this by saying that I personally felt welcomed by long-terms fans on sites like Trackforum when I was active on there. But to me, the elephant in the room is the disconnect between long term fans who (rightfully!) want to be rewarded for their years of loyalty/heartache and new fans like me who don't have personal ties to the past. Unless IndyCar is willing to limit itself to past fans who've left the sport, it needs to be understand that you can't force new people to accept your own experiences on face value.

It feels like just when I start to get really excited about some aspect of the sport I see a bunch of people complain how its a shell of the past, its dumbed down, and people like me must therefore be morons for actually having a good time. Its a huge turn-off. The suggestions in this post sound like really good ones and there's a way to incorporate change while still respecting the parts of the sport that have worked for so long.

I am guilty of being an eternal optimist:)

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