Where Is Everybody?

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The IndyCar community has vanished.

We are not even six weeks into the off-season of the IZOD IndyCar Series and it feels like everyone has gone into hibernation for the winter. Many bloggers have gone on hiatus, but it’s not just bloggers that are missing in action. It seems that the mainstream news outlets are on vacation as well. The thing is, it has been a pretty busy offseason thus far, but things are decidedly quiet amongst fans, bloggers and media. To make things worse, last week we found out at the last minute that Trackside with Cavin & Kevin would not have a show last Thursday.

What’s going on? Last year at this time, there was very little drop-off in the “buzz” going around in the IndyCar world, once the season ended. Granted, it was about this time last year that IZOD was officially named as the series sponsor. We had also gotten word of a radical new chassis being designed by Ben Bowlby with the backing of Chip Ganassi. Speculation ran rampant about what it might look like. That drove the off-season for quite a while.

It’s not like nothing is going on right now. There are several key free-agent drivers in play. Silly season topics are always fun to speculate on, while trying to imagine who might be the best fit for which team. Tony Kanaan and his search for a new ride should still be driving some conversation throughout the IndyCar online community, but it has quickly gone quiet. Keep in mind that things are not yet set at Team Penske as they have yet to confirm whether or not they will continue to run three cars, and if Ryan Briscoe will still be in that third seat.

There is now some buzz about the possibility of GM coming back into the series in some capacity; but on Monday for every person that was excited about the potential for the automaker’s return, there were just as many people saying it was strictly a rumor. It was almost as if they were saying “Please be quiet with all of this GM talk. You’re disturbing our November slumber”. It was the same with the Fiat rumors, yesterday.

I understand sports are seasonal and everyone from fans to drivers, need to re-charge their batteries for next spring when things are getting into full swing. But I’m not sure I remember when things have gone as silent as they are now. Curt Cavin has gone into semi-seclusion and when Kevin Lee appears on Twitter – it’s regarding the Colts or the Pacers.

As soon as the season ended on October 2, I noticed a sharp decline in the number of visitors to this site. At first I was taking it personally, but then I noticed that other IndyCar bloggers had packed it in totally for the winter. Kudos to Tony Johns at Pop Off Valve. He now works three jobs, but still posts at a mid-season pace. Pressdog is still cranking it out, as is Chris Estrada; but many have gone on extended vacation. I won’t name any specific sites in a negative way, but many that I frequent seem to have turned out the lights. I wonder if some of them will return in the spring.

I don’t fault anyone for taking time off. I will take some time off from here myself, around Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as the odd day here and there. After all, it is the off-season. But I am also not simply talking about bloggers. It just seems that a sudden jolt of apathy has taken hold of the entire IZOD IndyCar community. Practically everyone I follow on twitter is related to motorsports, but Twitter is now more about football and driver’s workouts, than racing. I’m guilty of that myself, as I tend to tweet frequently about the Titans, although not so much the Vols – it’s a dismal year in Knoxville.

Am I wrong? Is it usually this dead in November and I just don’t remember it? I’ve been around long enough that I’m prone to have a senior moment now and then, so my memory may be jaded. But it sure seems like things have gone very dormant lately – especially when there is actually a good bit of news out there.

With the one-hundredth anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 just six months away, there should be lots of anticipation as the new season approaches. There are lots of pieces to fall into place before the green flag drops in St. Petersburg – many won’t fall until the few weeks preceding the start of the season. But there could be and should be a lot of discussion about the series going on. Hopefully, everyone is taking a short break before getting cranked up for 2011.

More ideas for Christmas: For those that are lucky enough to live in or near central Indiana, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be having their annual Retail Warehouse Sale this weekend. There will be bargains galore. Tee shirts and caps will go for $5.00. Polo’s will sell for $20 and you can buy hoodies and sweatshirts for $20-30. That’s about two-thirds off of what you can buy these items for in May. There will also be tons of souvenirs and collectables at bargain prices.

The sale will be this Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 4575 W. 16th Street, across the street from the main entrance of IMS. The entrance to the sale is on the west side of the building. Also, anyone that brings in five non-perishable food items to donate to their food drive will receive $5 off every $50 spent. Make a fellow race fan happy this Christmas and save yourself some money in the process.

George Phillips

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18 Responses to “Where Is Everybody?”

  1. Yes, there is such thing as an off-season. It happens with all sports. It happens with the changing of our earthly seasons. Who would get excited about pre-season then opening day if we were exposed to it everyday? It’s time for Oil Pressure to hibernate as well.

  2. I’m guilty of falling out of the IndyCar loop of late as I try to get another area of my life up and going. However, when I do check in, it seems like there isn’t much to check! I’m glad you’re still posting, George!!

  3. Don’t listen to Rick, George–let Hobbson hibernate (sleep it off) but don’t you. The off-season talk and speculation is very entertaining and something I look forward to.

    I think everyone’s in anticipation mode. Where will Kanaan go and where will the others follow? What’s up at Andretti? Is Chevy going to badge an engine, or an engine and an aero package, or nothing? Are they going with Ganassi who could then possibly run the Indy/Nascar double with J.P. Montoya? Is Danica going to finish 27th in every Nationwide race? What’s going on with Vegas–are they close or not? Who’s the big sponsor who’s coming on to activate the hell outta Indycar “on the level of Izod?” How’s Cotman coming with the engine/aero rules? Why is the CEO of Fiat going to be at Dallara’s groundbreaking? Will any of talented young drivers–Hinch, Pippa, Vernay–move up? Will the USAC winner really utilize his scholarship? Is Weldon really gone? Are they going back to Australia in 2012? When are they going to replace Edmonton and if they don’t how do we feel about a month-long hiatus in the middle of the season (not good.) Because of it being the last year for the old car, will that mean a ton of entries into the 500 or a lack? And who’s going to wave the flag to start the 500 that can ever top Jack Nicolson?

    So I’m sorta ready for some answers–or at least some wintertime speculation.

  4. And also–just read on Speed that it’s very possible that Lotus will sponsor two cars for KV racing next year and that the name of team will probably be Lotus/KV Racing. (And they’re talking about keeping the same drivers which means they’re prepping about 12,000 cars.) And they’ve already been talking to P. Tracy about next year also. And they’re going to recreate vintage Lotus paint schemes so what ain’t cool about that?

  5. I’m still here, George, although I admit I haven’t been able to chime in much lately. It’s a busy time of year for me, as my race season has ended (triathlon), and now I’m busy fixing all the stuff I wrecked this year and doing a lot of planning for next year.

    We also still have one week of what has been a very interesting F1 season, and I find myself over on the F1 sites a lot lately. As you have noticed, though, there hasn’t been a lot of blog activity in the IndyCar world lately.

    The biggest IndyCar thing I want to hear more about is what Tony Cotman has up his sleeve for the 2012 car. We’re getting close to the suggested deadlines for that, and I imagine we are going to be hit damn hard with a blizzard of 2012 car-related news soon. The potential GM announcement, more from Lotus and other potential aero kit manufacturers.

    Between 2012 and the Centennial era, there’s just so much in the queue, I imagine the dam is about to break. It’s a little slow now, but I think this will be a big off-season.

  6. For me some of it is just carry-over. I wasn’t pleased with a lot of the 2010 season, and the result is apathy now and no intense desire to get the new season started.

    • Bent Wickerbill Says:

      I agree with James O….. The 2010 season was like a broken record of the past couple of seasons. on top of which we have a another season of the SOS to look forward to in 2011. Regarding the pending announcements of great things for 2012, I must admit I have a low level of confidence that things are going as swimmingly as they need to be for the release of race ready product by the spring of 2012….

  7. I’ve been guilty of letting my site slip for the last couple of months, but I’m putting a conscience effort into reviving it during the offseason while other blogs are slow, so that when we enter the season, I’ll be going full steam.

    Today has been a big day in regards to articles and news, from Marshall Pruett, and I would expect the weekly mailbag from Robin Miller today.

    You can expect that if GM or FIAT or Ford or Cosworth announce something this week or next, people will come back to the internet forums, the blogs, and the news will return.

  8. Leigh O'Gorman Says:

    I think one of the problems George has been an inability for the series to seize on any of the post-season stories so far.
    For all those that claim Bernie Ecclestone is past it, in F1’s off-season, there is always something to keep it in the paper and if it is nothing major, then it gets twisted until it does become a story.
    The result is virtually 11-and-a-half months of constant news and stories that keeps the series high profile around much of the world.

    Maybe the ability to twist is what IndyCar is missing…

  9. Sorry I haven’t stopped by for a visit in a while. I have been out of the country on a diplomatic mission trying to get Hobbson released from a Turkish Prison. Long story…

  10. Tony Massey Says:

    I had really thought that there was some news and reporting on some facets, but I do agree that we don’t see enough. Believe me, and this is my first post here, I’m grateful for any news on the series. I really like this site! Keep up the good work!

  11. I agree with Leigh. IndyCar needs something to talk about, and that doesn’t necessarily mean doing a NASCAR and having a hundred million races.

    Needs more characters, and talk of drivers moving between teams and talk of which teams might take these new engines. I expect it’ll come in time as the series regrows. I expect this time in 2011 will be busier. I hope so.

    Anyway I won’t be stopping through the winter and I hope you and other bloggers aren’ t either. I wrote this about it yesterday, if you don’t mind a quick plug – http://toomuchracing.com/2010/11/09/dont-go-away/

  12. Yeah, things have been pretty dead. I’ve been just as guilty as the rest of the blogosphere – but at least I can blame the lack of output on college midterms. Although I promise I’ll be bringing my site back bigger and better next year… and you have me inspired to get back plugging at the season review posts I’ve been doing.

    But hey, we get three quality posts a week from you, George, and a lot at POV, and that’s still pretty damn good. No shortage of quality.

  13. Savage Henry Says:

    With the exception of the 100 year anniversary of the Indy 500, there’s just not that much to look forward to in 2011. Its going to be pretty much a repeat of 2008, 2009, and 2010. Mostly the same drivers, same teams, and exactly the same cars. The top 4 or 5 in the standings will be Penske and Ganassi. Penske or Ganassi will win the Indy 500. The only team that seemed to be capable of challenging the red cars just lost their lead driver.

    I fear that 2011 is going to be a throw-away year once things start to get cranked up for the new packages for 2012 (especially if there are several engine and aero providers entering the mix). All attention will shift to 2012 and 2011 will be a very lean year after Indy.

    The series should be thanking God that they have the huge event at the Indy 500 in 2011. Except for that, the entire year could be forgotten.

    On the bright side, I hope that we could have some fun racing because the teams will know that there is no reason to save their equipment for anything. It would be great to have a sense of wreckless abandon as everyone goes for the front and battles it out there.

    • Hmmm… Perhaps the last TBD event will be a demolition derby to get rid of all the old cars… lol!

      More seriously, I agree with your thoughts – if it wasn’t for the Centennial, the season could easily be forgotten. I do hope we’ll still enjoy some good racing with a few upsets.

  14. Well, jeff has written quite a few stories as of late. Though, I think we are going to be covering more than you can handle in the next few weeks. :)

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