Since the end of the 2008 season Tony George and his IndyCar series have been kicked in the nuts time and time again with bad news. Granted, economic times are not making things easy but with the series now unified things should be looking up instead of down.
1. Helio Castroneves, 2 time Indy 500 winner and Dancing with the Stars champ is hauled into Federal court to face tax evasion charges. He in turn looses his seat with Penske Racing and could spend significant time in jail.
2. After their television contract with the IRL ends ABC decides to no longer air any races on ESPN and only signs to air 5 races on ABC.
3. The IRL is forced to take whatever they can get in terms of television coverage for their remaining races, they then sign a deal with the little known Versus channel.
4. The IRL looses their "presented by" sponsorship with Direct TV due to their deal with Versus since VS is owned by Comcast, Direct TV's biggest competitor.
5. Citing economic reasons the Grand Prix of Detroit is cancelled.
6. After the price of oil falls dramatically and gas becomes cheaper than Ethanol the American company that produced the ethanol the IRL used to fuel their cars goes out of business.
7. The IRL is forced to get their fuel through APEX-Brasil, a company that makes ethanol from Brasilian sugarcane, angering the IRL's corn growing midwestern fanbase.
8. Rahal Letterman Racing looses their Ethanol sponsorship and cannot find a replacement. They announce unless they can find a last minute sponsor they will not compete in 2009.
9. KV racing (the K stands for Kevin Kalkhoven, the man that engineered the sale of ChampCar to TG) announces they most likely will cut down to a one car effort due to lack of sponsorship dollars.
10. It is announced that IndyCar magazine is going out of print due to lack of interest.
A "Kicked in the Nuts" Update
* Helio Castroneves beat the rap. Lucky for him and lucky for Tony.
* The coverage on the Versus channel has been excellent, it was something IndyCar needed, the only problem is nobody is watching.
* IndyCar's tv ratings have been absolutely horrible this season.
0.3 - St. Pete - VS
0.5 - Long Beach - VS
0.15 - Kansas - VS
3.9 - Indy 500 - ABC
0.6 - Milwaukee - ABC
0.36 - Texas - VS
0.8 - Iowa - ABC
0.22 - Richmond - VS
0.9 - Watkins Glen - ABC
1.0 - Toronto - ABC
0.23 - Edmonton - VS
0.14 - Kentucky - VS
0.2 - Mid Ohio - VS
0.25 - Sonoma - VS
0.24 - Chicago - VS
0.14 - Motegi - VS
(On the same weekend as the Milwaukee race more people watched women's college softball on ESPN than watched IndyCar, oh my.)
Now this is really getting kicked in the nuts, Tony has resigned as IRL CEO after being removed as IMS CEO by his mother and sisters. Ouch.