VERSUS shows love for Indy Lights

Posted by Iannucci | 2/09/2009 | 4 comments »
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Today VERSUS revealed the Firestone Indy Lights broadcast team, which is set to include Mike King and Arie Luyendyk Jr in the booth as well as Kevin Lee reporting from the pits. Note that last year Bob Jenkins and Robbie Buhl were the broadcast team for FIL races on ESPN, so maybe this is a ladder series for more than just the drivers. King was a pit reporter as well for those races for ESPN, but he literally had maybe 60 seconds of air time for any race.

The selection of Luyendyk Jr is indeed unexpected. A winner of just one of his 62 FIL starts (his last one, at that) it appears that as a driver he has little in common with his two-time Indy 500 winning father other than good hair. I haven't heard his few stints on IMS Radio, but I do know he's a licensed real estate agent, so on the off chance that he doesn't know what to say he could always discuss the housing markets of various driver's hometowns. Or not.

However the biggest news isn't the broadcast team - it's that although the races are still going to be shown tape-delayed they will now be a full hour in length. THANK YOU, VERSUS! These races are usually about an hour in duration, but ESPN had been airing them in a 30-minute form the past few years. This meant regular time travel through commercials, and boy there's nothing like skipping through 20 laps of green-flag racing and showing up just in time to watch 8 laps of yellow while the track crews clear the remains up Jon Brownson's car.

(Dear VERSUS, If you have to cut out laps then please cut out the ones under YELLOW. There are no pit stops in the FIL, and if we want to watch cars drive 55 mph we can go sit by the highway. Thank you.)

Now right now you might be saying "Whatever, dude. It's minor league racing and I don't know any of these drivers." Fair enough, my ignorant friend, but be advised you are missing pit-stop free sprints that often result in more passing than that occurring during the headline events. If you want to skip these races, which now with a one-hour window might now actually be seen in their entirety, then do so at your own peril. And by that I mean exactly two words: Cyndie Allemann.


  1. meeshbeer // February 09, 2009 7:11 PM  

    Note that last year Bob Jenkins and Robbie Buhl were the broadcast team for FIL races on ESPN, so maybe this is a ladder series for more than just the drivers.

    LOL! that's funny!

    I wonder if Mike will still be the radio guy for the main events?

  2. -Tom // February 10, 2009 3:29 PM  

    Good reporting on the Versus FIL staff, but what's up with the reference to Cyndie Allemann?

    I'm guessing you just want to see more of Cyndie off the track. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Ana Beatriz in 2009 - on the track and on the podium! When will women racers be judged by their talent?

  3. Iannucci // February 10, 2009 4:06 PM  

    It's truly a shame that Ana Beatriz isn't advancing to the IndyCar series this year, because by the end of the season she was quite possibly the best overall driver - of any gender - in Indy Lights series. So in that regard, yes, absolutely, she's a superior Indy Lights driver to Allemann.

    But I was talking about television and Allemann is quite easy on the eyes. So to answer your question "When will women racers be judged by their talent?" I answer "Now." Beatriz by her driving talent and Allemann by her non-driving assets.

  4. Chris // February 11, 2009 2:25 PM  

    Wow, it'll be the IMS Radio crew (or at least a good chunk of it) for the FIL broadcasts! Very cool! Unlike "Those Who Shall Remain Nameless", these guys get NUTS during the races! It would be great if IMS worked out a deal for a dual broadcast, radio & TV.

    "Imagine, IndyCar broadcasters who actually getting excited during a race..." he says as he floats away on a puffy cloud.