IndyCar Picks the Dallara as Chassis of the Future by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

“The pain of change must be outweighed by the pain of staying the same.” Aristotle

I guess the pain of the status quo just isn’t great enough yet, so IndyCar took the easy road.  There is an opening for an aggressive and nimble racing series to gain market share, but IndyCar won’t claim that anytime soon as its various committees and councils of elders made the safe choice and simply hopes that by calling something new, people will believe it is new.

The first clue that a bold choice in chassis wouldn’t be made came when Scott Hoch walked to the microphone.  Scott is a good versatile broadcaster, but edgy is not among Scott’s attributes.  Doing the narration for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s salute to sports film soundtracks, Scott is excellent.  As the host of a 15-minute program announcing a new and exciting future for a series and race dear to the hearts of Indy race fans, Hoch was, let’s just say not dynamic.

Randy Bernard, the new president of IndyCar, followed Scott and paced around the stage like he was selling us something.  He moved and gestured like a pitchman as he thanked everyone involved in the process of selecting the new chassis.  Here’s a tip – those new-fangled headset microphones look dorky.  A podium and standard mike conveys more professionalism and confidence than the mobility provided by the portable headsets.

Here’s another tip – if nearly 100% of the audience for the announcement is via live TV and radio, get to the point.  The people in the place where I watched the announcement were excited for the first two minutes, and then went about their business.  By the time the announcement came, I was damn near alone.  I’m not sure who’s advising IndyCar on their production for events like this, but I’m sure they are the same yahoos who put together the Indy 500 Awards Dinner we get to see on TV every year, where each of the 33 drivers is introduced and questioned about their 500 experience before getting their check.  It is as close to unwatchable as any mess ever on TV.

I’m filled with tips today, but IndyCar should produce TV shows rather than televise events.  Everything on TV about your product must be compelling and magical.  To showcase your product in an arrogantly tedious fashion beats people away.  The people I was with were ready to be wowed.  Before the announcement, one woman said to no one in particular, “Can you imagine how many people would show up to watch that Delta thing go?”  She went from excited to bored to gone, all before the announcement was made.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built by men unafraid to innovate.  Now, faced with nearly total anonymity on the national sports stage, IndyCar took a fancy holographic step sideways.  I know that it’s cost prohibitive for five different chassis manufacturers to produce 10 each, but I would love for the gloves to come off to allow the teams to run different competing cars.

In the seemingly endless preamble to the announcement, virtually everything was explained but the criteria for the choice.  What would energize the fan base must have been down the list beneath ease of transporting from venue to venue.

It sure was interesting to watch the seven guys vote on their Verizon Droids though.  A show of hands would have been too simple and transparent, and not salable to Verizon.

What IndyCar did today was nothing more than slap a big “NEW” sticker on the same old product.  This was the least exciting, least courageous choice possible presented in a stupefyingly boring manner at a time when IndyCar needs excitement and courage more than ever.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You got it right. Nothing left to say!

Comment by Neil Dixon

It’s obvious that the guy writing this article is not and probably never was a fan of Indy Car racing. This was EXACTLY the choice they needed to make. They have opened the door and eliminated “spec series” racing. They have also listened to what the fans and team owners wanted. You could copy this article and post it on a NASCAR web-site and it would make a lot more sense. Nice try though…

Comment by Josh

I have always been an IndyCar fan, particularly since 1993 when I moved here. Always go to Pole Day, Bump Day, and the race. I watch the races on TV when I remember they are on Versus. I want to see IndyCar succeed, not just because I’m a fan of the IMS and Tony George (his legacy of independence in running a major league and incredible venue), but because the economy of Indianapolis is so closely linked to IndyCar success.

The City of Indianapolis just agreed to write a $33.5 million check to the Pacers to keep them here because of the economic damage the Pacers leaving might do. Does anyone in Indianapolis want to think about the impact of the Indy 500 going away?

Comment by kentsterling

Josh – How does this end spec series racing? And how does this answer the concerns of fans?

Comment by kentsterling

Headset microphones are really nice because they are very convenient to use. I always use them whenever i am on a videoconference..*’.`

Warmest regards
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Comment by Regan




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