On the surface, the exodus to NASCAR doesn't look too good for open-wheel racing. But all the doom and gloom is superficial.Can I get an "Amen, sister!"? Can I get an "Hallelujah!"?
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.
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?