Mark Decotis of Florida Today managed to track down IndyCar’s current lead broadcaster for some thoughts. Marty Reid has experience chatting up stock cars and dragsters, but the ICS is where he currently spends the bulk of his weekends. (However, we don’t know if he can match Paul Page’s resume which includes Street Luge.)
Curiously Decotis does not ask Mr Reid about the challenges of calling races on the new road and street courses or how he feels about constantly covering Danica! running in P8 or what he thought of Matsuura’s “Sofa King Dissapointed” comment. No, he does what many beat reporters seem to do in the weeks leading up the Indy 500, which is ask Read about (shocker!) open-wheel mergers. Perhaps surprisingly - or perhaps not - Reid has some honest thoughts and don’t exactly toe the company line with Tony George.
"Just personally speaking, not speaking for the network or anybody else, this issue never goes away," Reid said. "Until they find a way to bring all the best open-wheel drivers from both series under one umbrella, they're still going to have that hurdle.Why can’t we just talk about drivers or cars? Is that too much to ask?
"I don't know how you make two very wealthy guys with very different opinions put their minds together. It's going to be when one of them gets tired of losing more money than they want to spend.
"If open wheel can put their house in order and come under one umbrella, I think you'll see a resurgence," Reid said. "I think you'll see the whole marketing arm become the new juggernaut, because it will be an alternative to that fan who is looking for the next hot thing and there will be a reason to go back and look at open-wheel racing."
Look, sincerest thanks to Mr Reid for opening up and offering his opinion of different racing leagues in a venue that does not involve an actual ICS race like others have ( *cough* Rusty *cough* Wallace *cough cough*). However, as you know I completely disagree with Reid’s assessment because having Sea Bass or PT Barnum or Unbreakable Legge in the IRL wouldn’t make much of a ratings dent. (But yes, it would be fun to see.)
As I have said before, many (if not most) open-wheel fans are already divided into their respective camps. You could merge the leagues but it wouldn’t necessarily merge all of the fans. Decotis could look at responses on his own site to see how open-wheel fans are often “IndyCar” or “Champ Car” but rarely both.
Despite all of this, the most distressing part of the article occurs when it points out a recent four-letter network poll showing the NHRA as the second most popular form of racing. What? The seven seconds and no turns racing series? That’s like watching pit stops without the actual race! Excuse me while I check the strength of the rod holding my shower curtain.