Is the end near for Indy Car?

I still chuckle when I remember all the hoopla that surrounded the “unification” of the IRL and Champ Car a year ago.  Why Indy-type racing had been saved and the bloody war, which should never have happened, was over.  It was to be all blue skies from then on. Nothing was farther from the truth then and now.

The masterminds (now that’s a misnomer!) who run Indy Car have no plan that is visible to anyone with half a brain how they are going to bring the series out of the ashes.

First, a television deal with Versus, a cable outlet that most Americans do not get unless they pay for additional channels, was asinine.  All one has to do is ask NHL players or fans since that league put a lot of their games on the channel including the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now Versus is telling Direct TV that it wants more money from them to carry the IndyCar Series and Direct TV is threatening to drop the channel.  If that happens, even fewer people get the telecasts. (Oh, if you didn’t know, Versus is owned by cable giant Comcast!)

Second, how does a domestic U.S.A. race not get a green flag until almost 10PM ET on a Saturday night?  That’s what happened for the Chicagoland race this past Saturday.  I went to bed around halfway as I’m sure most of those that were watching (all six of us) did.

Was there a big bull riding event Versus needed to carry earlier that pushed IndyCar back into the twilight zone?  Oh, did I mention, there was no Nascar race to battle on Saturday afternoon?

Let’s look at the wonderful 2010 IndyCar schedule.

Having not learned from the mistakes of CART, IndyCar starts the campaign in BRAZIL!  Now don’t get me wrong, I loved visiting Brazil with CART but it does nothing for the sponsors of the IndyCar teams and doesn’t help television ratings.

The only reason IndyCar is going to Brazil, is that they’ve been promised a big pay day.  I just hope they get the money upfront as there is a history of non-payment from Brazilian events.

You’d think Indy Car would try and build on the momentum of the only event they have that the general public cares about the Indianapolis 500.  However, the series holds only two races in the entire month of June following Indy!

Let’s go to the end of the 2010 season.  The final three races are all separated by two weeks..and the middle one of the three is in JAPAN! Wow that should build momentum into what is billed as the championship showdown at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Another thing that IndyCar lacks, any promotion of its drivers.  I know who the drivers are but the general racing public has no clue who Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hideki Mutoh, Mike Conway, Ed Carpenter, Robert Doornbos, and even Ryan Briscoe are.  The league does very little in building up the drivers.

It all comes down to leadership and there really hasn’t been any in any type of IndyCar racing for at least 15 years and if it doesn’t happen soon, this series will die.  Without the financial aid that Tony George was giving small teams to keep them afloat the last 14 years, the end is nearer than any of us would like to believe.

It would not shock me at all if Nascar at some point took over the IRL and added it to its property list. SMI the company owned by Bruton Smiths that features tracks such as Lowes, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Bristol, New Hampshire, and Infineon raceways could also be a buyer.

Would that save IndyCar?  Possibly, but at what cost?  That to me would be the big question.

Unless quality and definable leadership emerges in Indianapolis for the IRL in the next 12 months, I see no hope of survival and that saddens me deeply.

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1 Comment

  1. The fact that you published this article back in August, and mine is the first comment, speaks volumes about the imminent death of Indycar. Nobody cares anymore.


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