No time to waste for IRL!

I may have under estimated how much trouble the IRL is in with its boring racing in my last post.  The race at Richmond last Saturday night could be used as an alternative for Ambien!

It was follow-the-leader, no passing, and once again, four cars on the lead lap at the end.  With the contract up to race at Richmond International Raceway, this wasn’t the kind of event that the IRL needed if it wanted to keep its date there.

There are at least two problems at work here.

One is that the technical specs for the IRL have been locked in for several years now and teams have taken the box they are in just about as far as they can.  That means the cars are pretty much even, at least those with the “Big 3” of the IRL, Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti-Green.

The rest of the field is out there just trying to somehow get into the top five each week.

Yes, occasionally there will be an exciting race on a road or street course, but that’s because of the nature of the racing.  It isn’t happening on ovals at all.

The second problem is what always is a problem in racing, money.  The haves (the Big 3) have it, the rest do not.

If you are barely surviving, you don’t have money to spend on engineering to come up with a better piece for the car.  That’s why you see so many cars not on the lead lap.

My solution is to open up the competition.  Let’s go back to the old days of Indy type racing where they established the specs and said, okay, go build whatever you like to fit those specs.  Same for the engine manufacturer.  Tires, I’m happy with one supplier because of safety concerns.

There is one man that the IRL should listen to that might have some answers to this snooze fest racing.  That’s Tony Cotman.

If  you don’t know who Tony is, he was crew chief and team manager back in the glory days of  Team Kool Green Racing and then with Andretti-Green Racing.  He later moved into race control with Champ Car before exiting and is now working with the IRL.

Tony knows racing inside and out.  He’s level-headed and listens to ideas from those that also understand the sport.

Will the IRL allow Tony to help save them?  I doubt it.

The IRL is full of power crazy people (and some that are just crazy) that protect their turf without any concern for hurting or helping the organization. Doing the right thing is the last item on their list.  Protecting their power and ego outweighs anything else.

It hurts me deeply that Indy type racing has fallen to this level.  I’m an open-wheel guy, but this isn’t the racing I want to see, and from the look in the stands and the almost non-existent TV ratings, neither does anyone else!

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1 Comment

  1. I grew up in an Indy house. I mean that. My Grandpa, who was from Indy, went to every 500 from 1926 until he was too frail to go back in 2001. Every year during the month of May, he would send me a subscription to the Star, so I could follow along from afar. Every year after the race, I would get a race program mailed to me from my Grandpa. It was like pure gold in my hands. I recall sitting on my back porch in Vero Beach, FL as a kid, lisening to the 500 on the radio with my Dad, also a Hoosier. We would keep a written list of drivers who went out of the race, on what lap, and the reason. We would also trecord a list of the top 10 every 25 laps. We had to wait to see a tape of the race later that night back in those days. (Somehow the TV broadcast was never as good as the radio broadcast, good luck even finding the 500 on the radio these days) My first trip to THE RACE was back in 1986. Grandpa invited me for a highschool graduation present. I cried as Gomer sang “Back Home” and cheered my ass off while standing on the top of the back of my seat back as Bobby Rahal beat Kevin Cogan and my hero Rick Mears to the yard of bricks. Fast forward 23 years. The 500 this year was a snooze fest. I saw many empty seats on TV. As for me, I live in VA now, and missed my first Richmond race after attending 3 years in a row. The track sucks for openwheel racing. They can’t even fill half of the stands. It was broadcast on an afterthought of a cable channel that most people have never heard of. The fact that they race at RIR in the first place speaks volumes to the fact that the form of racing I love is dying a slow and painful death. Its not worth my time and money to drive the 2.5 hours it takes to get to Richmond. I can’t imagine I’d pass up a chance to see the 500 champ race in person, but here I am sitting on my ass at home. I try to care, but I just can’t anymore. Tony George has finally accomplished something in the 13 years since starting the IRL. He killed MY passion for IndyCar racing, and that, my friends, was inconceivable to me just a few short years ago.


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