Without a press conference or official announcement, the Marty Roth
error era has officially ended. As the Toronto Star reports, Marty has cleared out his locker, filling up a box with tattered scoring sheets, crumpled Dallara parts, and all the bitterness he can carry. Here's the story he tells to Norris McDonald.
"I actually have not talked directly to the IRL about this," Roth told me in conversation this week. "I've called; they won't call me back. But this is what happened:The article indicates the IRL actually considered letting Roth run a few more races before Marty himself pulled the plug on the whole thing, and Roth – as well as the article’s author – seem to think this is an issue of Ageism. Which if you read nothing but this article of sunshine discussing Marty’s qualification times would make you think it is.
"I was approached by three men at the last race in Chicago who wanted to get involved with my team – to run it and to market it. That has always been a big problem for me, a lack of budgeting. That and a lack of testing really did me in. When I could test, I did well – including on the road courses. When I couldn't test – and they wouldn't let me test most of the time – I had a hard time.
"The IRL told them that they didn't want me driving any more, that they wanted me out of the cockpit and somebody else should drive. They wanted me to just be an owner. The quote was: `His demographic is as an owner, not as a driver.'”
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But it isn’t because he’s old; it’s because Marty sucked.
When discussing Roth, who by the way is no longer listed in IndyCar.com “Drivers” drop-down list, the first thing that comes to mind is how slow he is compared to his, uh, colleagues. And by slow we’re not talking about qualifications so eagerly mentioned in the article. No we’re talking about the kind of slow where the leaders try to avoid crashing when lapping repeatedly on race day when most fans are watching.
And speaking of crashing, that’s the second thing that comes to mind, because in four attempts at The Greatest Spectacle in Racing the youthful exuberance of Roth has managed to finish the race ZERO times. Accident, Handling, Accident, Contact - and that’s just at Indy. As mentioned before, he’s only finished 10 of all 21 ICS starts.
But those are only part of the reason for putting the kibosh on Roth’s IndyCar career. Being slow is one thing, being prone to crashing is another, but it’s how much it disrupts the other teams that gives the league valid reason for giving Roth and his racing license the heave ho.
With links mostly supplied by the braintrust at TrackSide Online, the un-official chroniclers or record of the Indy Racing League, here is the condensed version of the Marty Roth 2008 season. Check out not only how many times Marty crashed, but how many times practice sessions had to be cut short for all drivers due to his actions.
Homestead – Parked after 53 laps for going too slow.
St Pete (Did Not Start) – Full course yellow in practice on Friday. And Saturday. And Sunday.
Motegi – Crashed after 44 laps.
Kansas – Parked after 43 laps for going too slow, but not before running over Luczo Dragon Racing tire changer Simon Morely.
Indy – Crashed after 61 laps.
Milwaukee (Did Not Start) – Crashed in Saturday practice.
Texas – Finished 22nd, 7 laps back.
Iowa (Did Not Start) – Crashed in practice Saturday.
Richmond – Parked after 117 laps for going too slow.
Nashville – Finished 13th, 1 lap down, for his highest career finish.
Mid Ohio – Finished 21st, 5 laps back.
Edmonton – Off track in morning warmup. Finished 21st, 8 laps back.
Kentucky – Parked after 98 laps due to “mechanical” issues.
Infineon – Full course yellow in practice on Friday. Finished 25th, 4 laps back.
Detroit (Did Not Start) – Full course yellow in practice on Friday. And Saturday.
Chicagoland – Qualified 9th and finished 16th, but...
Marty Roth nearly ended Helio Castroneves' day before it started. Roth pitted before the start with radio issues, then zoomed around the field to re-take his ninth place on the grid. Helio did not see Marty coming and nearly collided with the Canadian as he warmed his tires. Race control tried to get Roth to move to the back but failed.Boy, from start to finish that’s a spectacular season there friends. In 16 races Marty started 12 times and finished 6 times – never on the lead lap. Astoundingly Marty says “When I could test, I did well – including on the road courses,” despite the fact he never finished in the Top 20 on ANY track that is not an oval. How Roth can complain “When I could test...” when he personally abbreviated so many practice sessions this year is an irony rich in either dishonesty or delusion.
Author McDonald ridiculously concludes in that article that if the IRL hasn’t sent the same “go away” message to all 15 drivers who finished behind Roth in the standings (including drivers who never finished behind Roth in a race) then Marty is owed an apology. Riiiiiight.
Sorry, but for being both a moving chicane on race day as well as regularly scheduled yellow flag during practice sessions it would stand to reason that it’s Marty that should be the one issuing the apologies, and he should be issuing them to every one of his former competitors.