Early this morning the complete removal of Tony George from IndyCar racing was suddenly finalized by Curt Cavin.
Tony George's Indy-car team suspended operations today due to a lack of sponsorship, completing a downfall of his involvement with major open-wheel racing.And so it is that Vision Racing, for the time being at least, is gone. Excuse me while I react with the F-dash-dash-dash word.
Friends, this is nothing short of a tragedy because despite being neither an historic nor a dominant force in racing this team was head and shoulders above all others in one area: fan support. This team – particularly the PR team of Pat Caporali and Michael Kaltenmark – have built a fan base out of good ‘ol fashioned hard work, and they did it largely using the free medium of twitter.
This has truly been a case study of how to get people caring in your team, because a couple years ago this was just “Tony George’s team” that stepson Ed Carpenter drove for with occasional appearances by other drivers here and there. But while other teams continue to carefully choose what to say and when to say it, the folks at Vision were using twitter (and to a certain degree facebook and their web site) to say just about anything and everything, all of the time. We’re painting the car so here are some pics for you. We’re running test laps before a race and Ed says the car has too much push in Turn Three. We’re in the middle of the race and damn, that pit stop sucked. And if you sent them a note they would more than likely respond almost instantly.
Attention every other team in the universe: it’s this kind connection is that sports fans crave. It’s why some buy T-shirts, others rent race scanners and many more get garage passes to get oh-so-close to those magnificent machines and their pilots. I realize we fans often act like ex-girlfriends in chronic denial but we want to love you – please, for goodness sakes, let us love you! – but Vision’s unprecedented access and interaction was truly a model for making ANY team lovable.
Here, cobbled together from today’s tweets, is @VisionRacing’s own announcement.
It is with profound regret & heavy hearts that we share the following update with you all. Despite the team's best efforts, Vision Racing will be suspending all racing operations. We have an amazing group of people here that appreciate all the support you have given the team. Efforts to find a solid sponsor partnership have been difficult but will continue so that we may take to the track once again. We hope to see you all at the track in the near future.
"Racing is life... everything before and after is just waiting." - Steve McQueen
(Photo: Vision Racing)