Here’s a note to “Self” and others who have graciously taken the time to comment on the “Descending into scheduling madness” post - and that includes the entire Anonymous family.
Although sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, I try to stay on focused whenever I’m posting on a subject such as the above. In that instance my point was that this is a nation more impressed with oval racing, and as such adding non-ovals to the schedule - particularly street courses - seems to be counterintuitive to the growth of the league. That was what I was trying to say, using what ratings information I could find to corroborate that.
But I’m not blind, and as much as races like Watkins Glen and Mid Ohio appear to me to have huge helpings of dullness, I recognize that they are in fact popular with many other racing fans. In my best Richard M Nixon voice, “let me make this perfectly clear…”
At no time have I EVER said the schedule should be ALL ovals.
I just wanted to get that out there, so please reference that whenever necessary. I want the Indy Racing League to grow because I think it’s the best racing on earth, and I recognize that holding races at different types of circuits can be used to draw quality owners, drivers, team members and most importantly fans to the sport. I get that.
But (big but here) I am in NO WAY a proponent of adding races for any reason other than helping to grow the series. I’m not a fan of the “50-50” racing league officials spoke of because it sounds to me that the league is on some Quixotic quest in search of the perfect track formula. We’re talking about a racing schedule, not some sort of Sudoku box that has to perfectly balance.
The realities of scheduling are that some tracks have good promoters and some have bad ones. Some tracks are in areas that can draw lots of race fans and some aren’t. Some are in places with accommodating weather and some events just get rained on every year. Some have one racing groove, others more.
This is why I have never written down my dream schedule, because it would be forever incomplete. I guess my “dream list” would include Indy, Phoenix, Michigan, Texas, Chicagoland, Milwaukee and based on this year Iowa, but beyond that the rest could be filled with any other number of tracks so long as they contributed to helping grow the popularity of the sport so that it kept those first events in existence. I’m all about viability, which seems to be related more towards ovals.
And speaking of dream schedules, let’s try not to get too carried away with making it 1995 again. Yes, the PPG CART IndyCar Series was quite popular, drawing drivers from other series around the world while hosting a roster of impressive names. It was a wonderful time, the sky was always blue and the birds sang sweet songs and never pooped on your windshield.
You know what? It’s never going to be 1995 again. Or 1953. Or whenever you harken back to as your favorite era of racing. We are never going to have another Mario Andretti who competes successfully in nearly every racing series on four wheels. We are never going to have another AJ Foyt who races competitively for 35 years. We aren’t going to have another Unser family who collectively win 9 Indy 500s. Heck, we aren’t even going to have record crowds at Carb Day since they’ve wisely capped the speeds there.
On the other hand we do have a few things going for us in the here and now. We have the opportunity to showcase great drivers of both genders. We have incredible tools like High Definition broadcasts and live telemetry to bring each of us closer to the visceral thrill of racing. We’ve got drivers bearing the names of Andretti and Foyt and Rahal who connect us with those previous generations. We’ve got an incredible number of options for future engine development. And amazingly, we have a unified series built around the one race everyone would agree to have on his or her own dream schedule.
I just wanted to these things out there before I get accused of holding any more positions that I don’t have. As much as I don’t care for street races I could handle half a schedule full of them if they somehow gave me all of the few races on my “dream list” above. But it's not for you and me to decide - it's up to Mr Market - so hopefully the powers that be can secure enough viable events wherever to help grow the IndyCar series and showcase a superior form of entertainment for 2009 and beyond.
Thanks for hearing me out, and thanks for hanging around. You may now safely return to throwing bricks at me or any other commenters.
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