Making History - Perspectives


Since the introduction of the chassis vendor proposals for the 2012 formula for IndyCars, the industry infrastructure has been buzzing from the lowly fan to the pinnacle of movers and shakers.
New Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard received a vote of confidence from the not always easily to please super-promoter Eddie Gossage, the king of Texas Motor Speedway. That was important as Gossage is easily the most successful promoter in selling the IndyCar product at a venue beyond the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Another voice was Gil De Ferran, the 2003 champion of the Indianapolis 500. De Ferran recently joined forces with the Luczo-Dragon IndyCar racing team. From his comments, one could get the impression is not enamored with the Delta Wing concept as he expressed concern that whatever the League did, that it not divert too far from what is commonly seen as an IndyCar. This is interesting in that if true, it puts him at odds with what I understand to be the consensus of most of the team owners.
Motor sports reporter John Oreovicz, a long-time follower of the sport was one of many in the media to offer perspective on the formula dilemma. Another, perhaps more controversial reporter following the sport is Robin Miller, who, in my view, has been excessively strident in the past, zeroes in on an issue of perhaps even larger importance: the increasingly fewer American drivers in the IndyCar field. This has been a trend for years for several reasons, all of which involve financial backing for team owners stuggling to fund expensive operations. This perspective is shared by Indianapolis Business Journal columnist Anthony Schoettle.
When you are trying to field a race team the last thing you want to hear is someone with no skin in your game complaining that you should forego funding to run a driver from the "home country" because that's what's good for sport or that's just the right thing to do. People with strong opinions could help solve the problem by starting their own race teams and put whoever the heck they want in the car.
Conversely, there is a disturbing reality to the situation. Just as in the Olympics that are going on as I type this blog post, there would be no interest without an American team. There would be little interest even with an American team if they failed to be competitive. So, that is the grim circumstance - that American drivers - in competitive equipment - are desperately needed for the sport to grow. The situation is a chicken or egg scenario and not one with obvious solutions. But without American drivers, I am not sure it will matter what kind of car anyone is driving. By the way, last year was the first year in the history of the Indianapolis 500 that fewer than half (10) of  the drivers in the glorious race were American born.