Phantom of the debris

Posted by Iannucci | 6/08/2009 | 6 comments »
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The following is NOT an actual internal memo circulating the offices of VERSUS this morning...but it should be.

Dearest Members of the VERSUS family,

We have heard today that many of you are fielding numerous calls from viewers who are angry that there was no visible footage of the debris that brought about the caution at Lap 150 of Saturday Night's IndyCar race. We apologize for placing you in the position and assure you the debris was real. Probably. Members of the Delphi Safety Team could CLEARLY be seen for at least three seconds backing up and stepping out of their Honda Ridgeline at the exit of Turn Two during the caution period, but we couldn't see what they actually might have picked up.

As you may have noticed it was a rather hot weekend in Texas, and quite frankly none of the camera crew wanted to venture beyond the air-conditioned trailers to set up cameras on the back stretch. As a consequence, only one was set up along the inside wall right next to a beer vendor, which may have had some bearing on the camera work.

Of course, without adequate television coverage the exit of Turn Two turned out to be quite a happening place. Graham Rahal took out two drivers in the opening laps and we couldn't see one of them (EJ Viso). Later in the race when AJ Foyt IV put it in the wall we had literally nothing. Honestly, we didn't even know he was still in the race at that point.

We realize this makes our Indy Racing League partner look bad, especially Brian Barnhart who has now risks becoming the lone gunman of phantom debris. Please do not share this with those outside of the VERSUS family, but we were told the debris was first noticed only by Jaques Lazier, either because it came from the jalopy Team 3G stuck him with or because he was the only driver traveling slow enough to see it.

Lazier and his team informed Race Control about the debris early in the race, but unfortunately Barnhart had fallen asleep around Lap 50 after devouring a healthy portion of Nachos. When he awoke about 100 laps later he became visibly angry when he realized that racers had completed a round of green flag pitstops during his slumber. Barnhart asked if any debris had been noticed, and when informed of Lazier's report nearly an hour prior Barnhart immediately called for a caution.

Like many of you, we too heard the ironic possibility that this caution period may have been brought about by then-leader Ryan Briscoe brushing the wall. This remains unconfirmed because this incident would have occurred during the 13 seconds of the race we were not showing Penske cars on Saturday. We had Robbie Floyd ask Roger Penske off-camera if Briscoe had touched the wall, but the conversation was not unlike when John Stossel questioned professional wrestler "Dr Death" David Schultz. Needless to say, this will foreveer be a mystery.

Again, we apologize for our logistical errors in not being able to accurately show the debris, but rest assured that steps are being taken so that in the future we will be able to televise the entirety of the racing track at Texas Motor Speedway. Have have ordered more cameras, portable air-conditioning units, and a yearlong supply of amphetamines for our friends in the IRL.


The Management


  1. llilly // June 08, 2009 12:50 PM  

    The nachos look good.

  2. Steve Simpson // June 08, 2009 1:15 PM  

    There were also so many commercials apparently, that I actually had to text a friend what was happening during the race (I was watching the New Broadcast Media on the Web). A similar letter must have circulated around IMS Radio and the Web guys:

    "While our broadcast partner carried some great commercials from our corporate broadcast sponsors, we were stuck airing the race video uninterrupted, and the audio only occasionally interrupted. While we realize this is a great way for the fans to enjoy the race, it doesn't bode well for the future of Internet coverage of events.

    We must find a way to constantly interrupt our video feed with mundane, senseless and inappropriate advertising content so as to keep our audience on their toes during a race.

    In fact, let's send our fans back to the glory days of radio, and let them simply bask in the sounds of Mike King and his crew as they provide expert commentary on each race.

    A suggestion box for video interruption techniques has been placed next to water cooler."

    Any body know a good VGA to NTSC adapter?

  3. Iannucci // June 08, 2009 4:17 PM  

    Forgive for asking, but brilliant comment notwithstanding you wouldn't happen to be the Steve Simpson from the Indy Pro series of '07, would you?

  4. Leigh // June 08, 2009 7:00 PM  

    i actually swore at my screen when this came up
    not a happy bunny

  5. TJ Pendergast // June 08, 2009 7:09 PM  

    If only the guy sitting to the left me had not stood up EVERY SINGLE TIME Danica went by to point at her car, I could have seen turn 4 and maybe seen "the phantom Briscoe touch"

    The nachos DO look good btw.

  6. Steve Simpson // June 10, 2009 4:27 AM  

    IRL, wish I was, er, he's not me.