Ground(ed) Effects

Indycar and general autosport opinion


*edit* This post, begun on August 5th and not finished until today may appear to be a rough bit of ‘piling on’ or ‘givin’ Indycar the bizness‘, after all the hoopla surrounding Race Control’s call at the end of the MoveThatBlock.com 225 yesterday.  I assure you the negative tone of this rant was set following the announcement that the all-new 2009 chassis (which became the 2010 ICONIC competition) became the 2011 safety-cell chassis with aero kits, to be introduced in 2012, is now slated for 2013.  I will admit my tone is enhanced by Sunday’s double-birds and officiating hubris and ‘best justice available’…

Recently a blog commentor, anotherindycarblog, noted some of my off-season thoughts of November 2009, several of which almost resemble something akin to prophecy.  Emboldened by my newfound clairvoyance, I again put it ‘out there’ for the world to digest.


There’s a big ole bunch of Indycar badness headed our way. The size, strength, and threat of this badness reminds me of that fierce antagonist, Clubber Lang from Rocky III. Like Rocky Balboa, the current Indycar lives fairly comfortably on past success and we may or may not know the threat is even there, because our handlers (aka Indycar governors) will be coddling us, shielding us from harm, keeping us ‘safe’ from the very thing they fear, but what Rocky really wants… competition. 


So with no further delay, I give everyone the ‘Tale of the Tape’ for Indycar 2012 and beyond… (*hint* I pity the fools).

Rocky Balboa (Pro):
2012:

– The newest chassis debuts and elicits an overall positive response from fans.
– The new engines are well-received by fans and especially noticeable will be the turbo whine, maximized for the at-race fan’s enjoyment.
– Two historic ovals not on the 2011 race schedule come on board to fans’ delight.
– Two road/streets on the 2011 schedule DON’T come back to fans’ delight.
– The Indy 500 TV ratings are higher than they’ve been in 18 years, largely due to the added hype of the 2012 chassis, Danica’s return to Indycar for her one-off, and increased speeds at Indy which will approach the upper 230s during the month of May. The enthusiasm follows to the next several races as all of them enjoy double-digit increases in TV viewership and Ticket sales.

2013:

– by early 2013, we will have exactly three different manufacturers of aero kits for the 2012 chassis, which will be ballyhooed by what remains of Indycar’s PR machine.
– by late 2012, a third engine manufacturer will be testing adding a bit of momentum for the spring of 2013.

Clubber Lang (Con):
2012

– Danica leaves for NASCARland and things get seriously rainbows and kittens for her financial and retirement portfolio, in addition to finding that she actually prefers the slab-sided vehicles to the Indycar. Fans embrace her there and NASCAR’s popularity, judged by most common measures gets a double-digit uptick. NASCAR’s gain, Indycar’s loss once again.
– Nothing will change the presence of the ‘ride-buyer’, although part-time driving schedules will lead to even less success than in the ‘UberSpec’ 2003-2011 era.
– Barnhardt will remain in the Race Control supervising tech, but Indycar will shuffle in a new race steward who will fare little better as race referee, despite a much ballyhooed nomination to the post. More disillusionment with the leadership of Indycar ensues.
– The 78% of Indycar fans who aren’t on Twitter (and thereby don’t follow @pressdog or @oilpressureblog or @SBPopOffValve) will only now realize all the 2012 chassis are all EXACTLY THE SAME, question the absence of different chassis, and become disenfranchised (AGAIN) with Indycar’s governing ineptness. This group fractures into people who; begin watching WRC online, or foster their newfound interest in ALMS, largely due to the shockingly incredible performance at 24 Hours of LeMans by that Delta Wing thingy (Hey, why didn’t we get that thing for Indycar?).
– The 2012 motors, despite their well-received sound will all prove somewhat inconsistently-powered and somewhat unreliable. Fans of ‘three cars on the lead lap at midway’ or of ‘late-race motor-blowing which induces violent race standings shuffles’ will rejoice. Owners of said motors will not and publicly lament the loss of the yawn-inducing reliability of the Honda V8, (much to the dismay of Indycar PR).

2013:

– the two additional manufacturers of 2013 aero kits finally enter the Indycar stage but will all look so amazingly similar that it triggers a violent and palpable *ker-THUNK* as ICONIC’s decision for aero kits coupled with the Indycar owner-induced delay falls tremendously flat with nearly all Indycar fans. Many longtime fans will shake their heads and consider this the final-FINAL straw and leave for good.
– After numerous ‘lead balloon’ decisions and the Centennial Era a fading memory, Indycar is in a delicate state left with fewer fans than in 2011, a fractured TV coverage package, declining ratings, and a CEO teetering with his sport on the brink of total collapse…  Very hard decisions must be made… 


To continue to fight or retire? 



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