What’s Next? What’s the Score Here?

Jason Peters wrote an outstanding article about what needs to happen before IndyCar can become popular again. At the moment things look good because of the unification and the Dana-fication of the series. But the momentum can only last so long if steps are not taken perpetuate the progress made so far. He makes several excellent points regarding leveraging sponsors and improving television coverage.

I agree with everything he says. But I feel there is one more thing that needs to happen. As fans we have a responsibility also. IndyCar fans should share the same passion that Nascar fans do. Try telling a Nascar fan that the Cup series is inferior to F1. They will rattle off things like car counts, tv ratings, constant passing. Be prepared to combat those things. I feel that part of the reason why Nascar has become the de facto racing series here in the US is because, as fans, we have allowed it to happen. Partly because we had no feet to stand on, and partly because we were angry about someone or something. But this is our chance. We have one series, a good product, personable drivers, and the Month Of May. We have little excuse to not back up our series now.

We don’t need to be irritating or closed minded. But we do need to stand our ground. Occasionally I watch the rolling wash tubs to see what is going on, and I know one other person who watches it because it is broadcast in high def. Nothing wrong with that, but if we are going to talk racing, I guarantee you that IndyCar will be discussed. And you will not tell me that a 45 car count is what determines “real racing”.

As fans we can also support the sponsors, fly the colors, make fun of the “I Am Mindy” chant (ok, that might not help), and participate in the online forums and blogs.

I for one look forward to the day when, as fans, we can just concentrate on the racing and not the success or failure of the series. But for the moment we need to play a bigger part.

(No.. TG is not holding me hostage… (yes he is.. help) )

Featured Team Of The Month (May)

Void’s last post made me realize that we need to keep the coverage on the site well rounded. So, I took it upon myself to start a new feature on SGN, called the Featured Team Of The Month.

So to get started, this month we will be looking at Void’s current favorite ALMS team: Intersport Racing. 

Intersport Racing is owned and operated by Clint Field. The Ohio based team is one of the founding members of the ALMS series and runs a Lola B06/10-AER in the LMP1 class. The team drivers consist of Clint, Clint’s father Jon, and Richard Berry. Both Clint and Jon have won a P2 class championship in the past.

The team is currently running in 2nd place in the P1 class with 33 points. Believe it or not, they are ahead of the 2nd Audi team at the moment. This just goes to show that a team with an owner that also drives can have success in this series. And it shows that Void knows how to pick a team.

IndyCar Guest Drivers?

Ok, even I can’t possibly believe that Eddie Gossage’s offer to JR is going to work out. And I have run with some pretty crazy ideas in the past. But it presents an interesting thought. Could this be the beginning of many more track sponsored driver proposals? Why wouldn’t a track owner push for this type of publicity?

If TG continues to grow the Vision racing team, there is potentially a seat for “guest” drivers. I don’t believe that TG can run a profitable team in the traditional sense. They are starting to become competitive on the ovals, but thats about it. I doubt they will ever be competitive on the bendy courses. But the team could continue to serve its original purpose of supporting the series if they were able to provide rides for popular drivers. (Ahem.. PT) In order for any self respecting driver to consider this a car capable of running in the lead pack would be required. And if Vision can continue to progress on the ovals, they could be the answer.

Part of me likes the idea.. part of me doesn’t. It does have kind of a cheesy feeling to it. But I think if they could get some credible drivers in there, it could be really interesting. As long as they are competitive. And offering 100K to NASCAB’s top driver isn’t going to cut it. Either get some real money together, or shoot for someone who doesn’t burn cash in his fireplace.

Rookies Pass Indy 500 Bootcamp

Yesterday was day one of rookie orientation. Will Power was not only the first on the track, but also ended the day with a top speed of 220.694 mph. By comparison, last year Michael Andretti ran fastest on the first day with a speed of 219.871 mph. Not to bad for a guy new to ovals.

So, 10 of the 13 drivers passed the 4 phase test of skill and determination. And all of them lived. But it did take its toll on each driver. Lets examine exactly what horrors await an IndyCar rookie…

Test 1 (Test of Loyalty): Each driver is placed in a tiny room with no lighting. A series of questions are directed at the driver via a loud speaker. At some point in time, Gene Simmons will enter the room. Drivers tell us that everything gets hazy at this point, so no one is quite sure what happens.

Test 2 (Test of Strength and Speed): Each driver is forced to push AJ Foyt and his golf cart up a large hill. Upon arrival at the top, AJ will grab a wrench in a whiskey induced rage and chase the driver back down the hill.

Test 3: (Test of Courage): Each driver must stand several feet from Marty Roth’s pit stall while blindfolded. Any movement or soiling of oneself results in a failing grade.

Test 4: (The Final Test): This test is make it or break it for many of the rookies. Each rookie must complete 20 laps at full speed while blind folded. They can rely only on the instructions of their spotter, which is none other than Milka Duno.

Our hats off to the Rookies. We hope that one day, you will be able to forget the horrible memories.

Tony Stewart: Here Is Our Offer

Tony was back at IMS yesterday, looking to see some real racing action. They say he was there for his midget/sprint teams… but we all know the real reason. He has always been open to the idea of coming back. And not just for the 500.

“If I was going to come to Indianapolis again, I don’t want to come and show up and run the month of May.

If I’m going to do it, I need to start at Homestead, and I need to run all the races leading up to the month of May to really feel like I’m being fair to the team and fair to myself.”

I have always liked Tony, even though he drives for the dark side. He is one of the few drivers over there that doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid. And even with all of his complaining, it would be great to see him run again. So Tony… what if we…


We promise no Pop Off valves (until 2010…maybe…)

Pole Day, Paul Tracy, Indy Stuff For Me

Let the qualifications begin. It sounds like the weather will be nice today, hopefully a drastic change from the last week. Predictions are running wild and the rumor mill is churning.

The latest rumor is regarding none other than Paul Tracy. Not surprising since his name seems to come up on every instance of Ask The Expert these days. So rumor has it that if Penske can successfully qualify both drivers this weekend, he will make his spare car available to Walker Racing. Should this happen, PT could have a second weekend shot at qualifying. And with a Penske prepared car I think he would have a reasonable shot at a top 10 finish. But alas.. one must remind oneself that it is only a rumor.

In other cool news, I received my Indy 500 guest guide in the mail the other day. It also included a letter from Joie Chitwood. He said that he looks forward to having me there. And he even called me by name. That’s just how cool I am.

So here we go. I wish I could watch the coverage all day today, but I have to miss some of it. Luckily… I have a DVR.