Confirm Something For Brazil
The leaves are falling along with the temperatures as we are nearing November. The beginning of the next IndyCar season is scheduled to begin in just four and a half months, yet we still have no idea where it will be. A story broke last week that the details for a street race in Rio had been settled, but we later found out that it was erroneous. The release was dated Oct 31, which was about ten days later than when the story broke. Apparently, the IRL had a press release ready to go out on that date so it may still happen…or maybe not.
Time was growing short when an announcement failed to materialize at the Chicago race. That was the end of August. From what I understand, to properly promote a race requires a minimum of six months lead-time. I get that information from people that know the ins and outs of race promotion more than I do. But we are dealing with a completely new venue to the series, wherever they choose to race in Brazil. It’s not as if you can fall back on last year’s plan. This is a clean sheet of paper we are dealing with.
Assuming there is such an announcement on Oct 31, everything will now have to fall in place in 132 days before the first practice session begins. That includes the massive logistical undertaking that will have to be worked out to ship cars, teams, equipment, etc into Brazil. There are also tickets to print, promote, sell and distribute in a little over four months. It also doesn’t allow much preparation time for any US fans that might want to go to the race. I’m sure the Brazilian fans would like to know which city they will be traveling to in March.
It appears that the IRL has gone into lockdown mode ever since the management transition took place in July. Anything that has to do with Terry Angstadt’s side of the business, which is the commercial side, seems to be a closely guarded state secret. The silence on the Versus-DirecTV issue has been deafening. Granted…the league’s hands are tied on that problem, but those fans that are affected by it (which I am not) are entitled to at least hear something on the matter. Angstadt appears to become more entrenched in his bunker on 16th street as time goes on.
The release of the 2010 schedule went way beyond its expected date. Then, Angstadt did his best Baghdad Bob imitation by telling us how thrilled we should all be about it. The teasing of a title sponsor has grown tiresome to the point of being laughable. If and when Izod is announced, we’ll all be told how fortunate we are to be associated with such a first-rate product. Forgetting the bad commercial for a moment – have you seen their shirts?
I won’t pretend to know what the hold-up is on the Brazil race. I will give Terry Angstadt that much of the benefit of the doubt to assume that there is actually a holdout and he’s not just dragging his feet. But it seems as if every time an announcement has been expected from the commercial division of the IRL this year, it continually gets pushed back. The official announcement for the site of the Brazil race has been supposedly coming “next week” since it was first confirmed in mid-August. More than two months later, we’re still waiting. What gives?
Meanwhile, most experts that are familiar with all of the nuances that go into planning an event like this agree that we are already beyond the “drop dead” date of finalizing a site. If that’s the case, I think the IRL would do better to just let it go for 2010. If the intent is to start the season off in Brazil, it’s better to postpone it a year and do it right, rather than running the risk of trying to pull off some half-hearted attempt at the last minute. Trying to pull everything together in the eleventh hour could be a public relations nightmare that I think the IRL would be wise to avoid.
But it’s beyond time to confirm something…even if it is to confirm that something’s not happening. Unless there has been an unseen flurry of activity for the past couple of months and they are simply clearing up the final details, it would appear that the IRL is too late. If that is the case, I would hope that Terry Angstadt would rather deal with a little egg on his face this fall, lest he has a whole lot more to clean off next March.