I've been sitting on the sideline these past few weeks watching the old CART vs IRL battle lines being drawn all over again, so here are the thoughts of someone who loved CART during the early 90s, especially the ovals and has been watching the Indy 500 as long as I can remember.
Things people are throwing around on trackforum:
- CART/CCWS failed because it was a road racing series - Wrong
, it failed because it lost the two things needed to survive, the Indy 500 and millions of sponsor dollars. It was packing in crowds at both road courses and ovals, and yes, often because of thousands of sponsor-provided freebies.
- The IRL was successful as an oval-only series - Wrong
, it had millions of dollars from the Hulman trust fund keeping teams and events going. Remember that even the IRL was cutting ovals and adding road courses before the merger.
- We just need to run more ovals - Wrong
, we need to find events that fans attend, sponsors pay to be a part of and get television ratings regardless of type of course. Obviously, we all think the type of course we love will make that happen.
- Randy is out to get ovals - Wrong
, he is simply trying to do the best he can with the situation he has been given. If ovals were selling out, he'd sign as many to the schedule as he could! Iím sure heíd love to have the 50/50 split heís talked about, but he is tasked with making money with IndyCar and there arenít 10 ovals making him money right now running IndyCars.
- Everything was better in 1995 - Wrong
, as much as CART fans think going back to the cars and tracks from 1995 will make things better, it wonít. IndyCar racing was headed for a fall before the split (not because of road racers, cutting ovals, engine type or even closeness of finish) because the world was changing as NASCAR became king, niche cable and the internet took off and the US economy changed for sponsors of all types as the 90s came to an end. The split just made it easy for fans to leave and sponsors to not renew their programs.
- Road racers are ruining the sport - Wrong
, road racers have been oval racing in America for many years (and en masse since the mid-90s) and were a part of the old IRL during its time too. There isnít a driverís union actively trying to kill ovals, but pack racing has become the norm and I do think most drivers are trying to kill that, regardless of their background. Drivers donít mind racing being dangerous, they mind pack racing removing any of their skills they perceive as being better than the next guy and keeping them from being hurt or killed.
- Street racing is the way to go Ė Wrong
, street races just have an easier time attracting people to the event, not necessarily make new fans. Oval tracks arenít in downtowns and many of them donít seem to realize that you need to provide entertainment for an entire day to get people to show up. Street courses do that and many oval promoters seem to think the NASCAR model works for all racing and it doesnít.
For IndyCar to survive, the current fans need to give Randy a chance to try to turn this around. If you aren't going to stick around, it might be in everyone's best interest if you just pack it in. Hanging around and moaning about how terrible the series is now isn't helping anything. If you were a new fan and came to trackforum, would you want to stick around and watch the same 30 guys argue about CART vs IRL or ovals vs road courses?