Quote of the day

Posted by Iannucci | 11/21/2008 | 16 comments »
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Many years (ago) at Toronto, when there were some 60,000 people packed into the grandstands, I said to a friend of mine, “Why would anybody pay $80 to watch 100 feet of cars going by?” I can’t explain street racing, other than it’s worked in big cities because it’s a 3-day festival of noise, drinking, eating and pretty women. It’s not racing, as we know it, and watching a 200 mph Indy car creep around a corner at 20 mph is not exactly thrilling.Robin Miller, proving that I am not the only person that doesn’t get street racing. No offense to fans of city circuits, but if I ever run into Robin I’ll gladly spot him a Pepsi for this admission.


  1. Pat W // November 21, 2008 11:51 AM  

    Sure but he also says:

    "It does take a special skill to negotiate the concrete jungle for two hours but TV never does it justice – it all looks so easy and so slow. It’s not."

    Personally I don't mind two, maybe three, per series per year. Say LB and St Pete, plus a Canadian one. I'm not sold on airport tracks either.
    Lose the streets and bring in Road America, Mont Tremblant, and Michigan.

  2. Iannucci // November 21, 2008 11:57 AM  

    Sure, but it also takes a special skill to make a proper soufflé. I'm reluctant to pay for the opportunity to watch Darren Manning do either.

  3. Anonymous // November 21, 2008 3:24 PM  

    Leave the boring twisty-turny tracks to F1. Bring on the side-by-side, 2 & 3 wide, win by a thousanth of a second, ovals.

  4. Carrie // November 21, 2008 4:44 PM  

    Sure, but it also takes a special skill to make a proper soufflé. I'm reluctant to pay for the opportunity to watch Darren Manning do either.

    I would!

  5. Anonymous // November 21, 2008 4:49 PM  

    Yes, but would you pay to see Darren Manning both drive at Long Beach and make a soufflé simultaneously?

  6. Anonymous // November 21, 2008 5:36 PM  

    Darren's arms would be tired by the time the souffle had to come out of the oven.

  7. Pat W // November 22, 2008 5:43 AM  

    Maybe not, but would you pay to watch Gordon Ramsay in an IRL car - no matter what kind of track?

    I wouldn't pay to watch drag racing so if a style of racing isn't for you then fair enough.

    There are a lot more bad street tracks than good ones. Long Beach is the best of the lot, and I mean worldwide.

    At least with road courses there are several good ones, it just so happens that IRL doesn't visit any. Mid-Ohio has potential if they widen it.

  8. Iannucci // November 22, 2008 8:22 AM  

    Drive a car, no, but I'm firmly confident Chef Ramsay would make possibly the greatest car owner racing had ever seen.

    "How can you call yourself a driver when you're turning [bleep] laps like that [bleep] you just did? Where's the PASSION?"

    "Your driving with you're head up your arse, you know that, right?"

    "You call that a pit stop? It's [bleep] is what it is! I've had enough - shut it down!"

    I'm totally hijacking this thread, but if I'm Tony George I'm calling Versus in to start taping "Racing Nightmares with Vision Racing" and I'm calling them today.

  9. pressdog // November 22, 2008 2:33 PM  

    In the Indy Racing League's continuing quest to serve fans, they've hit on the breakthrough strategy of adding races nobody actually wants to watch, including street/road race fans. Detroit, for example. Serve the fans (the CUSTOMERS) or die. Period.

  10. Carrie // November 22, 2008 2:38 PM  

    Yes, but would you pay to see Darren Manning both drive at Long Beach and make a soufflé simultaneously?

    No. But only for the sake of the souffle. The ride might make it fall.

  11. Pat W // November 22, 2008 4:55 PM  

    I'm getting visions of episode 1 of Racing Nightmares, featuring Marty Roth - or since he's gone, that stunt car guy whatever he's called - works for me!
    He could sit on the pitwall with a portable stove.. "let's see if he can complete a lap before I can cook an omelette.."
    And they'd be at Richmond.

  12. Anonymous // November 22, 2008 5:23 PM  

    I personally will watch whatever AOWR decides to race on. I much prefer to watch road courses or street circuits as I was brought up in Canada attending Mosport International Raceway and love watching cars turn both left and right.

    However, I do admire the bravery it takes to run 210 mph at most ovals, as well as the skill, and as I am a fan of AOWR (not nessicarily a fan of the IRL yet), I will sit down and watch a street course, road course or oval simply because I love AOWR.

    I do think that one of the main successes of street courses is that people want to say they attended a (place your series here) event, and in most locations, even being remotely close to the event makes you lucky. Living close to Toronto, I have attended the Molson Indy when I was younger because it was as close as we could get to my heros. We wanted to see the characters that feature weekly on television, the fast cars drive past us, and watch the lives of these hero's unfold. If I was given the choice of free tickets between an IRL event at Mosport International Raceway or attending the 2009 Honda Indy in Toronto, I would definately take the tickets to the best natural terrain road course in Canada. However, since we do not nessicarily get to choose where the IRL races (unfortunately), I am stuck, if I do attend an IRL race this coming season, to attend the Honda Indy on the Streets of Toronto. I think I'll survive as I get to see the cars (though they are ugly) and see the speed (though they aren't as fast as they could be) and the heroes and watch their lives unfold for a few days.

  13. Anonymous // November 22, 2008 6:09 PM  

    a mix of oval and curvy is fine as long as both are competitive.

    most curvy's are not very competitive, so why not make them competitive?

    and as usual the answer is money, I suppose. or more recently--lack of money.

  14. Anonymous // November 23, 2008 7:12 AM  

    In all seriousness, having attended multiple street races (including Belle Isle), the party atmosphere is one thing; the racing is a sideshow.

    Street racing is the most remote form, most of the speed element is lost because there are no viewing points of the straights (see Belle Isle, the former Houston circuit)...as for festivals, party atmosphere, multiple excellent viewing spots and average per-person Jaegermeister consumption, nothing can touch Road America.

    It's time to put the real tracks (Laguna Seca, Road America, Portland International) back on the schedule and get rid of the Belle Isles and Torontos. Mosport would also make a great destination although my understanding is that the track is too bumpy for the ICS and would need expanded run-off areas.

    In conclusion, less temporary fences, more Armcos...

  15. Anonymous // November 24, 2008 8:06 PM  

    and yet last year, on a miserable, wet rainy Toronto STREET COURSE race day, Miller , soaking wet like the rest of us, looked like a kid in a candy store, grinning from ear to ear, like the cat that swallowed the canary, telling me it was one of the best races he had seen...

    I think street races are the sum of all it's parts. The atmosphere, the track, the constant and plentiful on and off track activities. Everyone has their favorite spot to sit or stand, depending on the action you enjoy. In Toronto for instance, the new grandstand in turn 3 at the end of Thunder Alley had everyone all abuzz last year as that's were the carnage is.

    I personally prefer Grandstand 21 with it's view of the start/finish, pit in/pit out, the long fast front stretch and the first corner. Complete with jumbotron across the way to watch the rest of the action.

    Toronto is awesome and fast, there are no 20 mph corners. I know having experienced it twice in a pace car.

    I hate ovals. Especially on tv. But I did understand their appeal when I finally saw one live.

    Airport courses are the best of all worlds. Cleveland needs to reappear. No if's ands or buts.

    I believe variety is the spice of life, and keeps the drivers challenged and the fans interested.

  16. Anonymous // November 25, 2008 1:26 AM  

    Note that Robin wrote, "Many years [ago] at Toronto" So why grab RM's admission that "many years" (ago) he stood in a location where he could'nt see too far and misuse it to try to discredit street racing?

    Cars began racing on streets (and beaches) in U.S. and Europe!

    I agree with Meesh that many street and airport courses in U.S. and Canada have offered alot of excellent viewing! Also, see natural terrain road courses!

    Don't let your oval bias blind you, and don't try to persuade us that street races are unobservable & unenjoyable.