Originally posted on August 14, 2003
I've argued for years that one of the biggest problems with the Indy Racing League is the lack of definition in its "vision". This has cultivated cliques of varying tastes and desires within an already challenged fan base.
Road racing makes sense to some and is an abomination to others, on one hand. On the other hand, the lack of US short trackers strongly inhibits the ability of many fans to maintain a passion for the IRL IndyCar Series.
Now that the addition of road racing seems inevitable, a large segment of the IndyCar fanbase represented on this forum feels alienated, disillusioned, and even betrayed by the IRL.
Perhaps understandably, in the interest of good business and growth, the IRL will one day soon add venues which require IndyCars to turn right. The core fanbase appears willing to accept road racing on a limited scale, although some refuse to believe that we won't one day soon experience the same influx of road racing that CART once did. And, of course, there are those who would love for the IRL to add as many road races as it sees fit.
These two groups or IRL fans will likely ride it out with the IRL no matter what. It is those who perceived "The Vision" to mean a re-opening of the traditional "Road to Indy" from the US short tracks to 16th and Geogetown Road who are getting ready to jump off the bandwagon, if they haven't already done so.
I have considered myself a member of that latter group. I have, in fact, considered throwing myself in front of the bandwagon and letting it crush me... a quick end to my misery.
However, knowing that road racing is part of the future, and encouraged by idea on this forum concerning the inclusion of Silver Crown racing into the championship, I'm still thinking of ways that the IRL can work for me... work for you... and, yes, even work for them!
I have come up with the following hypothetical (and hopefully eclectic) IRL schedule. It encompasses the USAC schedule into the IRL slate and adds some choice domestic road races. Silver Crown races could be run within the same week as some IndyCar races (Can you say, "Thursday Night Thunder" ?)
This schedule assumes alot of things, including...
1. CART will fold.
2. No racing outside the US.
So you don't have to count, there are 8 Speedways, 6 short ovals, 7 road courses, and 1 street race on the schedule for Indy cars. There are 11 races for Silver Crown cars, 6 of them being on dirt. Thats a total of 33 races on this busy schedule.
Week 1 Miami-Homestead Speedway (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 2 Phoenix International Raceway (Short Oval/SC)
Week 2 Phoenix International Raceway (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 3 Long Beach (Street - Indy)
Week 4 Tulsa Fairgrounds Speedway (Dirt/SC)
Week 4 Kansas Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 5 California Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 6 Portland International Raceway (Road - Indy)
Week 7 Cleveland (Road - Indy)
Week 8 Nashville Superspeedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 9 Terre Haute Action Track (Dirt/SC)
Week 10 Indiana State Fairgrounds (Dirt/SC)
Week 11 Indianapolis Raceway Park (Short Oval/SC)
Week 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 13 Milwaukee Mile (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 14 Pikes Peak International Raceway (Short Oval/SC)
Week 14 Pikes Peak International Raceway (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 15 Laguna Seca (Road - Indy)
Week 16 Richmond International Raceway (Short Oval/SC)
Week 16 Richmond International Raceway (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 17 Michigan International Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 18 Road America (Road - Indy)
Week 19 Mid-Ohio (Road - Indy)
Week 20 DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (Dirt/SC)
Week 20 Kentucky Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 21 New York State Fairgrounds (Dirt/SC)
Week 21 Walkins Glenn (Road - Indy)
Week 22 Nazareth Speedway (Short Oval/SC)
Week 22 Nazareth Speedway (Short Oval - Indy)
Week 23 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Dirt/SC)
Week 23 Chicagoland Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Week 24 Sears Point (Road - Indy)
Week 25 Texas Motor Speedway (Speedway - Indy)
Ok, let me have it! No need to be kind... I'll defend it the best I can and concede to any obvious flaws, of which I'm sure there are many.
Mainly, I'd like to know if you - as fans of the IRL - would ever support such a series.
Also, do you thing a series like this could ever compete with NASCAR in this country?