An Open Letter To Randy Bernard and Eddie Gossage
Dear Randy And Eddie,
It is not difficult to see that conflict between the two entities you represent is not being resolved amicably, and has begun to mutually fester with what appears to be pompous animosity. That is a genuine shame and is completely unacceptable. I am speaking purely as a fan, and probably represent other fans as well. As an American racing fan that enjoys Indy Cars on ovals far more than Indy Cars on non-ovals, I do not EVER want to see the Texas Motor Speedway annual event ever go away for any reason.
Randy, Eddie built that event from scratch. For fifteen years it has been second only to Indy in the number of people who attend. Eddie has done more for Indy Car than any other track operator outside Indy. Do not be stupid. Letting that event wither and die, especially over personality conflicts and lack of respect (not to mention a seemingly noble direction that preaches balance but in reality practices imbalance), would be the most incredibly foolish thing an Indy Car CEO has ever done. The list of incredibly foolish things Indy-style racing CEOs have already done through the decades is extraordinarily long but that feat would take over the top slot. Fans always bear the brunt of such ill-advised foolishness and most of us have had enough of either sheer ignorance or insolence (or both) putting absolutely great venues at risk.
Eddie, I offer the same sort of advice. I understand Indy Car has never afforded you the kind of respect you deserve. Join the club. Whatever entity that has been in charge has mostly always alienated peers, partners and many fans consistently for decades. Dealing with Indy Car for long periods of time requires really thick skin and a penchant for masochism on multiple levels. Further, I do not really care about how deals get put together, just that they are. If you are able to make some money with the Indy Car event every year, that should make everyone happy. If Indy Car prevents you from making money by jacking up the price every year, why not gripe about that publicly and work it out privately? That is relevant. I do not care that you and Randy butt heads for whatever reason. I do not care that you seem to hold a grudge about something that happened over ten years ago. Just stop it. You risk further punishing fans that regularly support the events, buy the tickets and the merchandise, and watch on television.
Randy and Eddie, just work it out. Be adults. Divorce is not the answer. Losing the great Texas oval is definitely not an answer regardless of how divergent the general Indy Car direction gets. Remember the fans FIRST, and stop both bickering and posturing. It is tawdry and counterproductive.
Also, a note to Indy Car drivers: Climb into the cars and just race. We want to see you run the cars. Not your mouths. The new car has not even turned a wheel in competition on any oval, much less that one. Further, it is designed to minimize the kind of airborne mishap that puts drivers at risk of one-in-a-million accident. I have also been told the fencing/mesh at Texas is on the outside of the posts, which are closer together than at other tracks. Why is any of this still an issue?
You can also stop posturing about Eddie’s reaction to April of 2001 as well. My party was the third car in line at one of the gates as they closed them and turned everyone away. This after driving a few hundred miles to get there. It does not really matter how good the reason was for calling it off, fans got screwed that day too. By the thousands. I am over it, but fully understand Eddie’s wariness given the cast of characters then, many of whom dominate Indy Car today.
Finally, it is difficult enough to be an Indy Car fan over time anyway given the economy, rampant inconsistency in race scheduling, increasing inaccessibility, willy-nilly dropping of events that have been around for years, a procession of mostly no-name foreign formula drivers with money who come and go…not to mention an increasing predisposition away from what made Indy Car great in the first place. When you add in the kind of catty backbiting being reported by folks like Speed and TSO, the fans get left in the crosshairs and that is not good.
Straighten this out once and for all, and please keep the Texas event on the schedule after 2012 no matter what. A lot of fans actually care.
-The Patience Has Worn Thin Disciple of INDYCAR