I don't have any illusions about where the series is, as I'm usually the one grounding the discussions in actual stats rather than emotional baggage, but I find it fascinating that you can read my mind.
Tell me what I'm thinking now
"Each day well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this one day for it, and it alone, is life"
~ Sanskrit poem attributed to Kalidasa, "Salutation to the Dawn"
Not trying to read your mind in the least. I'd simply be happy to read something of substance, if / when that's presented as an option. And it doesn't need to be now, but it would be nice if occurred sometime.
That was the opportunity that Tony blew. Either make a legitimate offer to buy all the franchises out at the '91 Houston meetings and take control or buy into the series via a franchise and work from within. He did neither and as Racing Truth said
OW racing at the time was pulling an average of 2.5 - 3.0 on network/cable TV. Not the kind of numbers that are capable of being "split" by the creation of a second, competing racing series.it needed to be far more radical than just a cheaper, oval-only version of CART.
By the time the DP01 came along CCWS was a dead duck. A series attempting to survive by selling a City street carnival that included a race. One need only look at the history of A-L-L the street races in the history of CART pre - 2003 to see that those type of races are very, very fragile. Their continuity is almost soley based on city politics and the acceptance of each race can change every election year. Musical chair venues are no way to build a racing series or a fanbase.In many ways, even the spec racers were a direct result of that sustained deficiency, as ChampCar determined when it was their turn to try and make the numbers work, and wound up with the DP01 and a raft of Cosworths.
And during that time, it was more important than ever for Indy car racing to focus on a direction in the face of that competition. Dividing the fanbase into an us vs them via the creation of a 2nd series was the last thing the sport needed. Furthermore, the transparent attempts of Tony George to appeal to the "oval racing, short track fanbase" as a means of creating a quick following for his races merely solidified that fracture in the fanbase that was not as apparent pre-split. It was the gorilla in the room nobody ever talked about. Too bad that it was all talk. It was about "opportunities" and not about the real changes needed in Indy car racing in order to reattach it to it's short track OW racing roots.Even before 1996, there was a slow split going on, of popularity moving increasingly towards other series, even as IndyCar maintained appearances. Opinions vary, of course, but it's not that hard to look at the IRL as a misdirected attempt to recapture that popular appeal, as much or more than it was a "powergrab". And for a while, at least, it did inflate the overall number of fans through the gates and on the tube watching one or the other "IndyCar"-based series, though it went down every year and hurt the Indy 500 itself, which it was supposed to protect, more than ever.
I don't have a problem with the Howards or the Paffs of the boards and their criticism of where the series has gone. The series started by telling those very type of fans that it was going to put the kind of racing on the tracks they wanted to see. It never really did and there's a lot of pizzed off posters, most who don't even bother to show and post here anymore, who have a reason to be.
Their dissatisfaction has been misdirected for years though. They're holding onto to something and wishfully wanting something that hasn't been around for many, many years. Even before the white paper was penned.
NASCAR has the advantage of having a talent pool to draw from that's almost primarily from the US. Nowhere else in the world do they run FE stock type cars on ovals. OTOH, Indy car racing has for many years now, had a talent pool to draw from that spans the entire globe. When you are running road race cars modified slightly in order to run on ovals, you're going to have a glut of talented foreign born race car drivers who couldn't get into F1 in line for rides. Many of those drivers have loads of cash in their pockets to get those rides. I guess it has to do with how foreigners in many countries view racing vs. how racing is viewed in this one. It's not going to change, ever.
Or, we can also learn to always very carefully look before we leap.The lesson we can all take from this is that when we split, we lose, and when we find ways to work it out and merge / stay together, we at least stop losing as badly Let's try to do more of what brings us together, and avoid saying / doing things that keep us apart.
For the kids of the next generation
I do - it was those fans who advocated the Split, and it was those fans who never materialized in the promised numbers. It's also those fans who, along with their counterparts on the other side, continue to stifle growth and extend animosity by perpetuating the antagonism of the Split - from both sides.I don't have a problem with the Howards or the Paffs of the boards and their criticism of where the series has gone. The series started by telling those very type of fans that it was going to put the kind of racing on the tracks they wanted to see.
IMO, Tony's creation of the IRL can be a case history for business classes for years to come, especially in the study of the sports business. It's quite possible his formation of the series along with his methodology of attempting to strong arm CART into participation in the series is one of the biggest sports business blunders of all time. And certainly would rank in the business world as well.
Promised numbers??? Prior to 1996, they weren't knocking down the doors nor wearing out the turnstyles to get into the local dirt tracks to watch the USAC series nor the WoO. Certainly not the numbers needed to support a racing series that was going to run on big tracks with multiple tens of thousands of attendance needed in order to fill those tracks. That would be on Tony and a lack of research into the potential audience the racing series he was creating could reach.I do - it was those fans who advocated the Split, and it was those fans who never materialized in the promised numbers. It's also those fans who, along with their counterparts on the other side, continue to stifle growth and extend animosity by perpetuating the antagonism of the Split - from both sides.
Then again, just how well did the IRL meet their needs? Perhaps those fans saw nothing more than a cheap copy of CART, RE aero style road race cars modified for oval racing. The early drivers in the IRL all too often were nothing more than CART trained journeymen that couldn't cut it in CART. Too few of the short track guys ever made it to the IRL. The series never made the changes for those guys to make the leap easier, IE; going with a front engine race car. I don't think it's any stretch now to understand that it never was being geared for those fans and instead, was using them until CART capitulated.
Last edited by Indyknut; 03-19-2012 at 10:39 AM.
Guess notOriginally Posted by Turn13
What to tell the next generation?
"Enjoy what you have, as it is, while you have it; because like everything else it doesn't last forever."
And probably not too long after that: "They're just geezers with chemically-altered memories. Ignore them."
I'm just glad that the split is over and the IMS is on the same page as everyone else. Now, the further we keep those who screwed this up away from control, the better off we are. I think that's what we're arguing about here.
"Unfortunately, the business types who now permeate the sport don't share this same gut centered devotion. I can only hope that the truly addicted will prevail, and that the original spirit of open wheel competition will somehow manage to survive and prosper into the future."
-Dr. Stephen Olvey