Like most American kids that grew up in the 80's I watched the Indy 500 every year and became interested in motorsports thanks to that race, but I didn't really get hooked until I started watching Formula 1 racing in the late 90's. My favorite era were those years with the great Mika Hakkinen/Michael Schumacher battles. (I was a Mika Hakkinen fan) So my fondness for Formula 1 waned once Mika retired and Schumacher started winning everything, even at the expense of his teammate Rubens Barrichello. My interest in F1 has only been lukewarm since.

Then I turned to Champ Car racing here in the US for my motorsports fix. However that was quickly extinguished once Champ Car and Indy Car merged and we were stuck with Tony George and his many foibles. (It was entertaining to watch the Hulman/George drama I'll admit.) My interest has been less than lukewarm with Indy Car lately, even without Tony George at the helm.

Over time however, the excitement I once had for motorsports has slowly gone. Maybe it has to do with my age, I don't know. But I think I will pour my efforts into my Trooper and my interests in the outdoors to add excitement to my life.

Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it. I will still post racing news when I find something interesting or noteworthy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Unification doesn't look so bad now, does it?

from YAUMB: a motorsports blog
(yaumb.wordpress.com 12-8-08)
The bad news keeps flowing out of the motorsports industry at an alarming rate. The good news? The IndyCar series ironically has already proved it can continue competing with no money and 18 cars.

That’s right - in these hard recession-smacked economic times, a case could be made that the 10 years of the Split actually might prove to be worth something for open-wheel racing.

You could look at it this way - Tony George spent a decade learning how to operate open-wheel racing with very little corporate or fan interest, low car counts, and spending money out of his own pocket just to keep his series alive. Then unification happened, bringing just enough additional involvement from the defunct Champ Car series to keep car counts at their pre-unification levels going into one of racing’s leanest years in recent memory.

Make no mistake. If the two open-wheel series hadn’t unified before this economic crisis had hit, it would look a lot worse for IndyCar than it does right now. Champ Car would have still gone out of business but it’s questionable that the ex-Champ Car teams and drivers would have had the werewithal to move to IndyCars without the concessions George and the IRL had to make in terms of purses and subsidies in order for the unification to happen last season.

Now, let’s not give Tony any credit for having some sort of prescient foresight about this, because he didn’t. Rather, he got lucky again, just like he did in 1996 when the US 500 became a nationwide debacle and again when Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi decided to defect at the turn of the century. Still, you have to have done something right to be in a position to capitalize on luck, and it turns out that the current state of the IRL - no American automakers involved, no failing US corporations or banks taking critical sponsorship money away, and so forth - is one that is far more stable than many other domestic racing series such as ALMS and even NASCAR.

And it turns out that the 2011 introduction of the new IndyCar may be a delay that saves the series itself, since sinking that much capital into one’s inventory certainly doesn’t look as appetizing now that everyone is so pinched for cash.

No, Tony George isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, but you gotta admit that he’s a serendipity magnet.

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