Why Do People Hate IndyCar?
When I saw the question, my first thought was “I didn’t know that they do”. As I read on however, I understood his angst. The bulk of his e-mail is pasted, without editing, as follows:
Why do people hate Indycar?
Okay, I know I probably shouldn’t read Miller’s Mailbox. Or the comments sections in any Indycar blog for that matter. But I’ve been wondering why there’s so many people who don’t just hate Indycar, but actively and consistently campaign against it. Are there really that many disgruntled CART fans who want to see the "IRL" fail too? Tony George haters? Nascar supporters who hate open- wheel? Roadster fans? Ovals only fanatics? F1 snobs? I don’t know.
I enjoy Indycar. I think it will be around for a long time. It may change (as it has changed in the past and is changing now) but I’ll follow it in whatever incarnation it takes. I think Randy Bernard has had to deal with a extraordinary amount of difficulties since he took over but is doing a pretty decent job. But I’m amazed at the number of people who actively follow it, yet claim it’s bad racing by bad drivers in bad cars under bad management in a bad series.
I thought that his was an interesting set of questions. I’d think–logically–that if I suddenly disliked Indycar, I would just stop watching it, reading about it or following the blogs. I would just ignore it. That’s all. I wouldn’t go on a campaign against it, but that’s just me.
I am a fan of Robin Miller. I can remember while growing up, my father would subscribe to The Indianapolis Star each May. I can recall reading Miller’s work in the late sixties and early seventies. When I finally got a computer in the nineties, one of the first things I found online was Robin Miller’s Q&A at IndyStar.com. I have always appreciated his sense of humor, his writing style, his candor and his ability to get to the truth. Some may disagree with me on that point, but Miller has shown an uncanny ability to put some seemingly outlandish theories out there, only to see them become fact a few months later.
But I agree with the reader about Miller’s Mailbag, a weekly feature on SpeedTV.com. Miller still has his sense of humor, but those that write in seem to be filled with anger and hatred towards open-wheel racing. There is a segment of fans out there who sided with CART the moment the idea of the IRL was first announced at Phoenix in March of 1994. You know what? I was one of them.
Throughout the early days of the split, I was angered by Tony George’s creation. I watched few IRL races in the early days, and always winced when I watched the Indianapolis 500 in the late nineties. To me, it was the Indianapolis 500 in name only. Jim Nabors still sang, they still launched balloons before the start and they always awarded the Borg-Warner trophy to whoever was drinking milk in Victory Lane. But it wasn’t the Indianapolis 500 that I had been following since the mid-sixties.
By the turn of the millennium, it had become obvious that the IRL could outlive CART as long as they could still race at 16th and Georgetown. CART suffered many self-inflicted wounds of their own. It became readily apparent that one of the series needed to go. At that point I didn’t really care which one went away, so long as one did. After Marlboro Team Penske migrated full-time to the IRL in 2002 and Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti-Green came over in 2003, it was clear which series needed to go. My allegiance had completely shifted.
Call me a fair-weather fan or spineless or whatever, but my main hope was that the Indianapolis 500 would regain some of its lost stature – no matter who won or lost. Now that that has happened to some extent, I’ve done my best to forget about the split. Apparently, some have not.
The haters are not starving for energy, no matter how negative it is. I don’t know whether or not I agree with the reader who says that it seems like some not only hate IndyCar, but actively campaign against it. If you read Track Forum at all, it may seem that way. But I’m convinced that most people over at Track Forum probably hate just about everything in their lives anyway. That’s why I stay away from there for the most part. I come across many members of the “Legions of the Miserable” in my daily life, why would I want to seek them out while trying to escape into my hobby.
One thing that has always baffled me however, is the phenomenon that causes people to constantly peruse IndyCar sites and continue to comment about how terrible things are and how the sport is headed to certain demise. If you don’t like it, why even bother to follow it? I don’t care for the NBA at all. If it went away for good, I wouldn’t miss it a bit. But I don’t surf NBA sites and continue to blast those that are passionate about it. I just choose to ignore it. Life is too short to be that bitter about something as trivial as a sport you don’t like.
So to the reader that sent me this, I can certainly relate to your frustration. You need to be thick-skinned and sometimes put blinders on in order to be a fan of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Fortunately, he shares my optimism about the leadership that Randy Bernard is providing. It was easy to buy into all the garbage that was in the mainstream media this past October regarding Randy Bernard and the series. Predictably, most of the negative press disappeared as quickly as it showed up. They moved on to the next bit of sensationalistic gossip.
And to those that sometimes get caught up in discussions about the split (as we all do), just look forward. At this point, it does no good to keep harping on what happened and who was at fault. I fully believe there are much better days ahead for our sport – and much sooner than later.