The glass is half full

Posted by Iannucci | 9/22/2007 | 6 comments »
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Amid the ignorant stories about the supposed impending death of the IRL, Holly Cain of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer manages to notice the obvious.

On the surface, the exodus to NASCAR doesn't look too good for open-wheel racing. But all the doom and gloom is superficial.

With all due respect to Franchitti and Hornish -- both great guys and talented drivers -- they weren't exactly household names while winning in the open-wheel ranks. Even Montoya and the well-pedigreed Villeneuve are unfamiliar to the average American race fan despite their success overseas in Formula One.

The bottom line is that the racing is awesome in the IndyCar Series -- easily the most exciting of any series this year. And it should remain that way, considering most of the competitors who make it so compelling -- Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan -- will be back, and there remains an Andretti (Marco) and Foyt (Anthony) for tradition's sake.
Can I get an "Amen, sister!"? Can I get an "Hallelujah!"?

I'll take those personalities along with Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves and Sarah Fisher and I will enjoy my "competition yellow" free racing, thank you very much. I mean, if you want to talk about a series in trouble then look elsewhere.

And speaking of good news, there is more from the new flatter "Value" payout plan. Despite how some inaccurately (but amusingly) portray it as communism, the plan is a huge step toward assuring more teams in the league. There's a boring but worthwhile summary in the Indianapolis Business Journal, but here's the one part that caught my eye.

"There is no cap on how many teams can qualify for the revenue-sharing plan."
That means whoever wants to participate can come on down and collect their $1.3M and start racing for more. By lowering the cost of racing the league is reducing the likelihood of becoming filled with a bunch of ride-buyers. Actual talented drivers will now have to raise less sponsorship to get in a car - and that's a good thing.

No, I haven't started drinking early this morning. As anyone can see revenue sharing works exceptionally well for the NFL and the NBA, and raising the base salary is a step towards making sure all teams are able to survive.

Put it this way: would you rather see Marty Roth only able to put himself on the track, or would you rather see him able to bring PJ Chesson along?


  1. pressdog // September 22, 2007 2:01 PM  

    Atta boy! Say No to the N-word. AMEN SISTER. Speak the righteousness. Glad to know there is more than one of us who doesn't think the IRL is going down the crapper just because some people bolt. Sha. Get a grip on yourselves.

  2. john c // September 22, 2007 3:15 PM  


  3. marc // September 22, 2007 4:18 PM  

    "As anyone can see revenue sharing works exceptionally well for the NFL and the NBA."

    And it's worked soooo well for perennial losers such as the Phoenix Cardinals and Texas Rangers.

    Not to mention the NY Yankees. Oh wait, it has worked for the Yanks, via "creative financing" and deferred payments.]

    Look for the AGR's and Penske's to do a variation of the same.

  4. Jeff Iannucci // September 22, 2007 4:44 PM  

    As a resident of Phoenix, I have read many reports indicating the Cardinals are one of the most profitable teams in the league. The fact that they suck every years seems not to bother the owners.

    And the revenue sharing plan for MLB and the Yankees is nothing like those of the other leagues, so that example doesn't apply.

    Of course Penske/Ganassi/Andretti will still acquire more sponsorship and be able to outspend their competitor - and that likely will translate into earning the extra money from finishing in the Top 5 higher paying spots, winning Indy or winning the championship. The point is to solidify the teams at the bottom with extra cash, not make the rich richer.

    I may be going down with the ship here, but the current plan incentivizes more competition, not less. The N-word doesn't need to do that since they already have over 43 cars showing up per event. Each situation demands different policies.

  5. john c // September 22, 2007 5:40 PM  

    Jeff, I think you are right on target in your thinking on the whole subsidy issue.

  6. mmack // September 24, 2007 7:19 AM  


    Stop posting these multi story threads. There's too much to respond to! I'm worked up into a frenzy of anger that I only reach when I watch Robin Miller on Wind Tunnel!

    First off, the Richmond paper's story. Hey ignoramus, RICHMOND may sell out, but have you noticed the crowd in California? Nope, neither have I. In fact, at many televised races NA$CAR has taken to focusing tight in on the cars and not the stands, a trick that the IRL was criticised for. And speaking of television, why don't you Google NASCAR Television Ratings 2007? Jayski has a nice tabular layout on his site that shows most races are off 1 - 2 ratings points from 2005 and 2006. In fact, an NFL Pregame Show earned higher ratings than your beloved Richmond race (5.8 to 4.2). Oh, and some IRL drivers are upset at the attention Danica Patrick gets? Why don't you troll around the garage area at a NA$CAR race and ask how drivers feel about all the attention lavished on The Second Coming of St. Dale of Kannapolis, aka Junior the Annointed One. Would you like to bet on which happens first: Danica winning in the IRL or Junior winning a NA$CAR Championship? Who wants a piece?

    Secondly, Ed Hinton is a no talent hack who sends love letters to NA$CAR because they let him graze at the press box buffet for free. I lost all respect for Dave Despain this year when he had Miller and Hinton on the first Wind Tunnel show of the season. Hinton whined about Dave jokingly calling him a "hater" and made him APOLOGIZE! Dave did, and I can't respect him anymore. At least Miller takes a perverse pride in the fact people think he's an SOB. In fact, I think if you walked up to Robin and yelled a stream of the ugliest profanities you could think of at him, he'd smile and thank you!

    I have a Sports Illustrated article covering the 1996 Indianapolis and US 500's that Hinton wrote where he praised Tony George and belittled CART's leadership. He's held a grudge against the IRL and Tony George since 1999 when Tony wouldn't allow Hinton to cover the race after SI published an exceptionally gory picture of the three spectators killed at the Charlotte race. Ever since then he's never missed a chance to dig at the IRL, especially in May to point out that the Indianapolis 500 has declined in stature. It's gotten so bad I've sent letters and e-mails to the Chicago Tribune asking if they know the difference between a reporter and a columnist, since Fat Eddie regularly adds in snarky little comments to his Indy 500 stories. Hey Ed, notice the empty seats at the Brickyard 400 this year? Hey Ed, 2007 Indy 500 4.6 ratings, 2007 Brickyard 400 4.1 ratings. So STFU about the NA$CAR race at Indianapolis being a higher draw than the 500.

    And BTW, the "real" NASCAR fans, the ones that remember Dale Sr. as a rookie, the ones who were "NASCAR before NASCAR was cool" hate Toyota, hate the Tank of Tomorrow, hate "The Chase", hate the hype over Jooonyer, and ESPECIALLY hate the "damned foreigners who can't speak English" coming over from the Open Wheel ranks. I've seen some pretty nasty comments posted at various racing sites about the above issues. And they've voted with their wallets, their feet, and their eyes and ears and have quit watching NA$CAR. I do feel sorry for them, since we as Open Wheel fans have gone through some dark times too, and know how they feel when something you love gets changed beyond recognition.

    Oh, and by the way, even as people poke fun at the IRL revenue sharing plan, what are team owners clamoring for in NA$CAR?


    That's right, they want a guaranteed spot in the big show.

    And now I'll save some electrons for someone else and close.