Ground(ed) Effects

Indycar and general autosport opinion

With an innate sense of purpose, I’ve refused to post anything regarding the firing of Randy Bernard. Most of you have already heard my initial viewpoint via Twitter anyway (“I’m DONE with constantly being taken for a ride down a dark alley by Indycar”).

Now 40 days on, and hopefully with the shock of the dismissal largely over, I wanted to fully assess what is going on with Indycar before I open my yapper.

Those who have read much I’ve written know I’ve been at different times supportive, critical, realistic, fatalistic, fanatical, and possibly overall even-handed with regard to Indycar, but above all, one stance I’ve maintained consistently over the many years since 1995 – apologist.  ‘Apologist’ is a noun defined by Merriam-Webster as “one who speaks or writes in defense of something.” I’m finding that position unbearable anymore.

Beginning with the dawn of the IRL in 1995, my position as fan has always been under attack either from the opposing side of the open-wheel war, lacking TV coverage, from the burgeoning masses clamoring for the lower common denominator that is NASCAR, to the fractious within IRL itself. 

The history of the ‘whys and wherefores’ is out there to be read and re-read and evaluated for perspective and factual basis, ad nauseum, AND, unlike more recent fans, I can actually recall living it. The fact remains that since the mid-90s, Indycar has put the sport and especially the fan in consistently less tenable positions.

So, Indycar, here’s about where I am at this point: 
(NOT counting the 15 years following the sport prior to 1994) During your current 18-year slide into oblivion, I’ve done the following; 

  • defended the sport, 
  • supported the sport, 
  • cajoled friends to watch on TV, 
  • cajoled friends and family to see a race, 
  • organized groups of 4-13 people to see 34 races, 
  • bought numerous race tickets, 
  • bought numerous camping passes, 
  • bought merchandise, food, books, hats, shirts, videos, games, flags, museum trips, 
  • made thousands of dollars in product sponsor purchases, 
  • taken bus rides, taken indycar rides, 
  • fan group memberships, bought paddock passes, 


and JUST when I begin to feel like maybe things were on the uptick and I can begin to think about not having to be an Apologist for the sport, you:

  • eliminate the most fan-focused CEO of the sport since Tony Hulman, 
  • replace Bernard with a prior, lackluster, and fan-indifferent CEO,
  • proclaim status quo for 2013,
  • promise to ‘reach out to stakeholders’ (i.e. everyone BUT the fans),
  • eliminate the West Coast office which had a conduit to all the media and marketing potential that is L.A.,
  • continued talk of ‘paring down’ budgets,
  • look at extending already bad TV deals beyond 2018,
  • lose IZOD as title sponsor prematurely,

And you’re surprised that I am done taking your crap?!

You’re goddamned right I am. Yes, I apparently am STILL mad as hell (truthfully since 1994), and I am NOT taking it anymore.

It is unfortunate that you, Indycar, are that unbelievably, stunningly, hopelessly out of touch with your most loyal, longest running, and engaged suckers ehr.. fans.

So you see, Indycar, it is not me who is letting you down, it is you. 

Don’t worry about me though, Indycar, I’ll be fine. I still have people I consider friends who understand where I’m coming from. I have old memories of how great it once was. I have tons of enjoyment to be found on old videos and YouTube and other sparkly internet places where we can recall a day when the product was a premium and the fan was well-served.

I won’t be your apologist anymore.



2 thoughts on “Indycar Fan Adrift for 40 Days and 40 Nights

  1. Don says:

    I think the Grand Panjandrums at 16th and Georgetown are about to discover the hard way there are more than a few of us no longer willing to make the emotional and financial investment in a sport which operates solely as a private country club for rich, whiny owners.In hiring Mark Miles and retaining Belskus, the Hulman George family has indicated they still have a small town, small thinking mentality. As long as that persists, IndyCar will never learn from the past or grow significantly beyond the Indianapolis/Bloomington/Kokomo/Muncie area.

    Like

  2. DZ says:

    Thanks much for your perspective Don! I've been battling about what my next post might be since the bomb dropped back around Halloween, but I guess to simply admit to myself I still have these feelings is the most honest thing I could write. The local muni golf course became a country club w CART, and much like actual country clubs now, they're wondering why nobody fawns over them and why membership continues to dwindle.

    Like

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