When Did Ride-Selling Become The Norm?

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Last week, I wrote about James Jakes being named to the second car at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Although I presented facts along with my own opinion regarding the racing prowess of James Jakes, I really considered it more of commentary on the practice of ride-buying.

But as I read through the comment section and seeing what everyone else had to say, I began wondering if this was a practice of ride-buying or ride-selling. Someone astutely pointed out that had Jakes or another driver not come forward with a big check for that second car at Schmidt – the car would have probably been parked for the year.

I’ve read and heard a lot of comments from people that I respect regarding ride-buying in the last few days. Their take is that ride-buying is a necessary evil and it is so rampant in today’s racing, that we should not even concern ourselves with it. They say if it weren’t for ride-buying (selling), there would be fewer cars in every series and in some cases – no series. Why is that?

Yes, I understand that ride-buying has been around for years. Even the infamous Joel Thorne of the late thirties could have been classified as a ride-buyer, except that he brought his own cars that he designed and built. The thing is; Thorne had the results to back him up. In his first three of the four Indianapolis 500’s he was entered in – he had three Top-Tens and one Top-Five, and was running at the end of all three. His final 500 was in 1941, when he crashed in Turn One on Lap Five and finished thirty-first. But George Robson won the 1946 race in a car built by Joel Thorne, so he wasn’t just a rich playboy that wanted to go racing.

But things are far different today. Drivers are expected to hunt around for sponsorship and bring it to the owners that have cars available to the highest bidder.

I have two questions that I really don’t have the answer to. First, when did this become the norm? Second, am I alone in thinking that owners have gotten lazy by making drivers go out and get their funding?

Comparing today’s racing to the sixties is like comparing apples to oranges, due to the cost of racing in today’s environment. A sponsor’s logo was rare on the car. The Bowes Seal Fast Special that took AJ Foyt to his first Indianapolis 500 victory in 1961 was the rare exception in those days. Ol’ Calhoun that Parnelli Jones made famous in the early sixties was officially known as the Willard Battery Special. These were sponsors that were gotten by the respective owners. Foyt and Jones didn’t go and make presentations to the sponsor.

It’s still that way among the big three teams in IndyCar. Roger Penske leveraged his board presence with Philip Morris to attain sponsors Marlboro and Miller Beer, which were both Philip Morris properties in the eighties and nineties. Penske has since networked his way with Verizon, Hitachi, PPG and others to help sponsor his growing four-car team.

Chip Ganassi has had an ongoing relationship with Target since 1990 – currently the longest running IndyCar sponsorship package in the paddock. Although he has earned the nickname “Cheap” Ganassi – he pays his drivers. They don’t pay him.

More recently, Michael Andretti has been a model on how to drum up and service sponsors. He has been creative in his marketing approach, being one of the first to bring liquor companies into racing. He has since brought on soft-drink brands such as Snapple, Dr. Pepper, RC Cola and Sun-Drop; as well as convenience store chain 7-Eleven. Andretti has also brought on major companies like XM Satellite Radio, Arca/Ex, Motorola, Go-Daddy and DHL. Michael Andretti has proven himself to be even more successful as an owner than he was in his very successful driving career.

Even AJ Foyt, who is not considered one of the front-running teams, has a long-running relationship with ABC Supply and provides a fully funded ride on the IndyCar grid. Ed Carpenter has what I’m assuming is full support from Fuzzy’s Vodka. But other than those mentioned, I’m not sure there are any other fully funded rides out there. Dale Coyne’s funding from the Boy Scouts is a little nebulous. I’m not sure exactly what the arrangement is, but I’m not sure they were fully funding Justin Wilson for the past few years.

My question again is when did it become the exception for a car-owner to have a fully funded ride and hire drivers based strictly on talent?

In my eyes, a car owner is already a successful businessperson. He or she should be well-connected with other businesspeople and be used to prospecting for business. In this case, they’re prospecting for sponsorship. They are already adept at making formal business presentations. Is it really to fair to throw a driver into a boardroom and expect he or she to interact on the same level with decision makers as skilled and experienced business people? I wouldn’t think so.

Many drivers coming up today have, at least, some exposure to seeking cash. But some of the older drivers that are used to having fully funded rides, find themselves like a fish out of water. Case in point is Ryan Briscoe. The eight-time winner had a fully funded ride at Team Penske in between two fully funded stints at Chip Ganassi Racing. He has never had to go out and find money for himself to buy his way onto the grid. Now, he finds himself in a position to find money quickly or be sitting on the sidelines at St. Petersburg. Given his inexperience at looking for sponsorship, chances are he’ll be luck to land an Indy-only ride.

I keep going back to Conor Daly. He is an American driver with a large following and a wealth of talent. Does he ever stand a chance of getting hired on talent alone? Or does he have to get someone to pull whatever strings are necessary to find enough funding to put him into a car. Just like the real world – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I’ll go back even further. Al Unser, III appeared to have almost as much ability behind the wheel as his famous father, grandfather and great-uncle. Yet his career stalled out in 2008 after four partial seasons in Indy Lights. His desire or talent wasn’t lacking, but the funding was. Consequently – Mini Al, Just Al, Al III or whatever he wanted to be called, never once raced in an IndyCar. He is now thirty-two and his dream of continuing the family tradition is probably over. If he hasn’t set foot in any type of open-wheel car since the 2008 Freedom 100, it’s probably safe to say it isn’t going to happen for him. Almost seven years out of a car is too long.

I’ll reiterate – I understand the highly exaggerated cost of racing today versus fielding a car in the sixties. Some teams will run two cars I order to allow the second car to help cover the first. Is that fair? I don’t think so. If I was the marketing manager of XYZ Company and I had committed $10 million to fund Conor Daly in a second car at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports; I would be ticked to find out that $4 million was going to fund James Hinchcliffe’s ride in the first car.

Why can’t all car owners go out and find money. I know it’s a tough job, but if they don’t have time to do it themselves, they should go hire someone who specializes in finding sponsorship; rather than sitting around waiting on a driver to bring a big check.

I’m picking on Sam Schmidt and James Jakes because they are the most recent example – but does Schmidt really think that Jakes is going to be able to relay valuable technical feedback to the team and be able to push Hinchcliffe? Rather than taking money from someone that is probably a perennial backmarker, it seems that Schmidt would have been better served to go out and find funding, then hire the best driver available. That way, SPM would have a formidable one-two punch that could compete for the championship week in and week out.

I know many are saying that it’s easy for me to talk about finding money, but actually getting it is another thing. I didn’t say that it was easy. Succeeding in any business never is. It takes work – hard work. But look at the money that teams manage to find. Who would’ve thought that Fuzzy’s would cough up enough to fund a full-time car for several years? The money is out there, but car owners now seem content to let lesser drivers go get it instead of finding it themselves and building their team the way they want it with the drivers they want, rather than a driver that happens to bring the biggest check.

My friend John McLallen proposed this is a chicken or the egg thing. No, it’s not. It’s just that car owners have found that there are drivers out there desperate enough for a ride, that they’ll scrape up the money themselves. It’s less work for the owners, so they end up taking the path of least resistance.

Over time, the series suffers, because drivers are being hired that fans don’t care about. Some of these drivers are not near as qualified as other unemployed drivers, but they either have better connections or they are more adept at speaking in a boardroom. Apathy sets in among fans, drivers and other owners. It’s not a good situation if this becomes the norm, which is the direction things are headed if they haven’t gotten there already.

Perhaps IndyCar should mandate that teams be able to prove that they are providing a certain percentage of funding on each car, or they cannot run a car for the season. Will that motivate them to find more money? No. It’ll probably just significantly reduce car count.

But there’s got to be a better way than the current system of holding rides and drivers hostage through ride-selling to the highest bidder. I just can’t think what it might be.

George Phillips

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33 Responses to “When Did Ride-Selling Become The Norm?”

  1. I do know that some drivers, like Hollywood actors, gave “agents” who go out and try to find sponsorships for them. But, this also dilutes the dash, because now they have have to pay that agent a not insubstantial fee as well.

    Also, many of the young/new drivers would get paid nothing at all if they didn’t find their own sponsorships. I know in the past of several less well funded drivers, who might have been considered “backmarker”, who were making $30K for the season. They might have been considered backmarkers not for lack of talent so much as for lack of good equipment.

    Let’s face it tho, this isn’t F1, and Mark Miles is no Bernie when it comes to selling the series, either domestically or internationally. Without the eyes on the TVs and the asses in the seats, it’s tough to get anyone to invest in a team or driver. If something isn’t done to expand IndyCar from it’s increasingly smaller and smaller niche in the marketplace, the sponsor dollars will continue to dry up.

    And no, I’m not saying IndyCar needs to be looked F1! IndyCar just needs someone who knows how to market like F1, beginning with not hiring a group from Boston… 8-P

  2. It’s deflation on the driver market: drivers pay to get a ride. In F1, it is even worse these days.

    The hiring of Jakes by Schmidt is OK with me: he has proven he can drive and has scored a podium finish, too, on merit.

    Yet, who is Ryan Phinny? Has anyone of the followers of the oilpressure blog ever seen Ryan Phinny race in person? His wikipedia page does not list many outings at all. It’s almost as if you can count the number of races he has been in over the last 5 years on 2 hands. He recently tested with KV Racing Technology. Are the team’s choices really down to Phinny and Sebastian Saavedra now? Nothing personal against Phinny but these cars are not easy to drive. At least, Saavedra is experienced enough not to be black-flagged for “handling” – and he has got a pole position. If KV want IndyCar fans to support Phinny as much as his sponsors do, they should publish something about his testing times in relation to their other drivers
    so fans can understand what the team and the sponsor see in him. If they don’t, how is the sponsor going to get a reward for his investment?

    On another note, I’m happy to see Simona DeSilvestro is now first in line for a seat with Andretti Autosport at St. Petersburg, which from her stats is her strongest racetrack on the schedule. Congrats to her for getting this great opportunity. Here’s hoping she’ll make the most of it.

    • I think it comes down to marketing and promotion. I haven’t heard of Phinney either although I haven’t researched it. This is a perfect example of what fans have to go through to find out about a new driver. Isn’t this the marketing departments job? I’m not trying to disrespect the marketing in IndyCar but (and there is the but) what the hell are they doing? These big shots hired by Mark Miles? I don’t get it. Can someone smarter than me explain why we have not seen an improvement or even a noticeable change in advertising, and promoting new drivers or the series itself for that matter? It would be a shot in the arm for IndyCar if what you say about Simona is true.

      • Recently videos, produces by Indycar, have hit the internet featuring Hinch and Newgarden at Mardi Gras, Newgarden and Karam at the NFL combine and Indycar playing a significant role in Will Smith’s new movie.

        • Phil Kaiser Says:

          Hey Mark, did you watch any of the commercials during the Daytona 500? I did and I wish TO GOD that IndyCar had HALF the PR department intelligence and creativity that NASCAR’s PR dept. has. Commercial after commercial featuring their drivers, crew chiefs, cars, hell, I was so damned envious I was shouting at an inanimate object (the poor TV) halfway through the race! IndyCar isn’t even in the same league, let alone ballpark! I know, I know, you’re a fan looking for the silver lining with ol’ IndyCar and so am I. But let’s not kid ourselves here….

          • Phil Kaiser Says:

            By the way, that stuff was all on NETWORK TV, not the internet!

          • Those commercials are all paid for by the sponsoring companies, though, not NASCAR. The stuff that IndyCar’s marketing department (which I’m sure has a fraction of the budget of NASCAR’s marketing department, which in turn has a fraction of the marketing budget of said NASCAR-sponsoring companies) is able to pay for right now is stuff like what Mark is talking about. Putting stuff like that on network TV takes some large, large cash. IndyCar doesn’t have that at the moment.

  3. It’s hard to pinpoint when ride buying/selling became common in racing. The only thing you can say is that as the costs go up and the popularity goes down driver contribution becomes more prevalent. You make a point with Conor Daly. Compare him with Kyle Larson who is the same age. Daly spent most of his career in Europe pursuing the fantasy of an F1 career. He had some minor success in GP2 and GP3. He won an F2000 championship in India. He had a “straight line” F1 test. He’s dabbled in Indy Lights and has a single IndyCar start. He is essentially unemployed with little hope for a ride, unless he comes up with $4-5 M. Kyle Larson did all of his racing in the US, first in open wheel cars (Sprints, Midgets, and Silver Crown – USAC and WOO). He had IndyCar aspirations but he say the prospects weren’t there. He was “in the conversation” with open wheel fans since he was a teenager. Ganassi recognized the talent and got him in his driver development program. He paid his dues in Pro Series cars, moved up the ladder to ARCA, CWTS, NXS, and finally Cup. Say what you might about NASCAR racing (and I’ve said plenty) Kyle Larson has a paying ride, with a national sponsor (who places him in TV ads) in a series that will still be around when he retires. Does this comparison have something to say about the talent of the drivers or the quality of the management and ownership of the 2 series?

  4. I have a bunch more thoughts that I’ll have to get to later when I’m not also trying to get two small girls ready for school, but I’ll put out there now that with Penske, Ganassi and Andretti, the sponsors are paying, in effect, to have those three gentlemen be the face of their company in racing. For all the other teams who are less well known, they’re paying for the driver to be the face of the company. That could be why outside of the big three, sponsors wind up being largely tied to drivers instead of teams.

  5. This is prevalent in all forms of racing including short-track racing. The days of a driver being paid to run a car are pretty much gone and those that do expect to be paid for risking their lives for a 20% portion of the purse are sitting regardless of talent.

    The first thing out of any car owners mouth to me when I try to help a friend get into a supermodified ride is “What can he bring to the table?” Followed closely by “Will he sign a crash clause?” Usually for our purposes, it’s at least a set of tires and fuel for the night. Guess I can’t blame the owners-they are the ones footing the bill.

  6. It depends for me. If it is Saavedra, I think it’s crap because I don’t view him as qualified. I am sick of Briscoe and honestly sick of hearing about Daly. I am not sure what the answer is, I just know that Indycar is a fickle place to be. The americans aren’t likeable for the most part (Rahal, Andretti and Danica a few years ago) but we “need” them. So we are force fed these drivers while the best american driver in many years, RHR is almost forgotten by the series despite winning. I just feel like more and more we are told who to like, not the way it should be which is popular drivers become, well, popular!

  7. billytheskink Says:

    Ride-selling has probably never been terribly uncommon for weaker and poorly-funded teams, it is just that weak and poorly-funded teams make up a larger portion of the grid than they ever have before. I think we tend to forget about the ones of the past because they were rarely competitive and rarely lasted long.

    I don’t know if Indy Car team owners see selling rides as preferable to the old model. I would guess that they don’t because being at the economic whim of a driver’s money rarely fetches a top-flight driver or much driver-team continuity even today, and team owners generally desire to be competitive. Most drivers surely don’t prefer it either, probably not even many of the “ride-buyers”.

    Not a perfect analogue, but this is not unlike a trend I’m seeing in the local single family home development industry, which I deal with regularly in my line of work.
    Traditionally, land developers (team owners) would place all of the infrastructure on their property and sell ready-to-build-on lots directly to homebuilders (drivers). This is the traditional norm because it allows both parties to play to their strengths. However, in recent tough economic times, many developers struggled to get the financing they needed to develop houses traditionally. Large developers continued to do things traditionally (like Penske, Ganassi, Andretti) while large homebuilders sometimes entered the development game themselves (kinda like Ed Carpenter). For the surviving smaller developers, a compromise solution emerged, selling “pods” (rides) to homebuilders. Developers prepare the gateway infrastructure and marketing of the housing development while builders buy a “pod”, a pre-planned tract of land within the development, and take responsibility for putting in the roads, mailboxes, etc. within their tract, in addition to building and selling houses.
    Like ride-buying/selling in Indycar, this pod scheme keeps both parties in the game, even though both prefer the traditional model.

  8. It’s an interesting question and discussion. I think team owners don’t do more to find money because they don’t have to in today’s market. If a team owner has five drivers coming at you with money, why would he kill him or herself to find a team sponsor? Just pick the best combination of talent and money available and giddy up. So I see it as driven by the market. I don’t think team owners necessarily just look at cash. I think (hope) it’s the combination of the quality of driver and how much he or she brings that they look at. That being said, the owners probably keep a bigger piece of the action for themselves when they go out and find sponsors (example: Chippy). Finally, my recurring theme: ride buying and selling is inversely proportional to the size of the fan base.

  9. DZ-groundedeffects Says:

    George, I’ll throw one other variable at you – The Leaders Circle Cash. It’s my hunch that this cash has contributed much the ride buyer scenario.

    Considering the ability for the league/teams to keep more cars in the field when coupled with Ride Buyer money, it’s little wonder to me actually.

    I don’t begrudge the Ride Buyer honestly. In fact they’re almost a non-traditional, oft-maligned underdog of sorts to me and I kind of like them (some of them anyway).

    David “Salt” Walther, Danny Ongais might be ones I’d point to as an early form of “ride-buyer” but still not quite as we know them today.

    I think when costs to produce a competitive racing car began including the considerable use of carbon fiber, additional engines/parts for qualifying trims, and the requirements of the added variety of non-oval circuits (all symptomatic of the CART era), costs skyrocketed and the big money didn’t follow for more than 10 years (mid-80s to mid-90s) before the ROI/debt hit the fan.

    I’m going to make a t-shirt –
    Have You Hugged
    Your Ride-Buyer Today?

    I hope Kevin Kalkoven is my first customer.

    • billytheskink Says:

      The Leader’s Circle seems like it could work both ways, though I think we know which way it is actually working now. With that prize money guaranteed, teams would ought to have more financial flexibility to hire a driver regardless of funding. On the other hand, and what I presume you were driving at, is that the guaranteed prize money in the Leader’s Circle does not give teams much incentive to seek a more talented unfunded driver over a funded one.

      Unrelated to that, I just realized that one of my favorite Donald Davidson stories, Sheldon Kinser’s trip to New York to pitch sponsorship to Sergio Valente jeans on 500 sponsorship, is a ride buyer/seller scenario.
      As I recall hearing Davidson say, Kinser did not have a ride for the 81 Indy 500 lined up before acquiring the Sergio Valente backing. Kinser brough his sponsor to a second car at Bobby Hillin’s largely self-funded Longhorn Racing and drove to a very impressive 6th place finish. I don’t believe that Hillin ever before or again fielded a second car.

    • Phil Kaiser Says:

      If he’s not I want to be!

  10. As I threatened earlier, I have more thoughts:

    First, how prevalent is ride buying, really? I’ve been working on breaking this down in my head all morning, but now I’m gonna do it with the help of this here keyboard (and skip on down to the last paragraph, if you don’t want to read my pixel vomit).

    Guys who (as far as I can tell) have drives this season for reasons other than “they bring money” or “the sponsor/manufacturer wants them in this car”: Dixon, Kanaan, Karam (though he does have a couple personal sponsors who will be on the side of his car, the fact that Chip signed him to a long term contract means he’s there largely on talent), Power, Pagenaud, Montoya, Helio, RHR, Munoz (car appears to be funded by an amalgam of small sponsors and funds from other cars…since I don’t think that Andretti.TV is a money paying sponsor), Marco (“driving for Dad” is a reason other than the two I listed above), Rahal (ditto), Newgarden, Carpenter (“I own the team” is also a reason other than the two I listed above), Bourdais, Hawksworth (I’ve heard people say that he’s at Foyt because of Honda, but he’d never been associated with Honda before last year, so I think the more likely answer here is “he’s fast and cheap, with a ton of potential upside”), Hinchcliffe, Chaves (I’m not counting “I’m here because of the MRTI scholarship and a couple other little sponsors coming on board, oh, plus I’m fast” as one of the above reasons, either). That’s 16 1/2 seats (counting Ed as 1/2).

    Guys who are probably in a seat because of a close relationship with a sponsor or manufacturer (though, mind you, I think they’re all pretty solidly talented): Kimball (who I think is good enough to be in IndyCar on his own merits, his personal sponsorship and apparent permanency in the #38 car gives off a faint whiff of “ride buyer” to some…though again, I think he’s good enough even without cash), Sato (ostensibly is in IndyCar due to his association with Honda, though I think he’s plenty talented in his own right), Jakes (though he’s shown flashes of speed, Dad’s company has always been on his sidepod, which is the knock against him). That’s 3 seats.

    Guy who I’m not sure what his deal is: Filippi (as far as I can tell, fast enough to be in IndyCar on his own merits, though some claim he is a ride buyer, many of those folks have said the ride buy is because of Honda…but now he’s driving a Chevy in an already fully-sponsored ride, so how do you explain that?). That’s 1/2 of a seat.

    That puts us up to the 20 already announced full time cars, with 4-5 yet to be announced (that’s one at KV, two at Coyne and 1-2 at Andretti). Even if you count Filippi as a “ride buyer” (I don’t, really), and even if all 5 available seats go to “ride buyers” (they may, they may not…do we count Simona as a “ride buyer”? Or Alexander Rossi? And if Justin Wilson lands somewhere, you certainly don’t count him in that category), 2/3rds the field (16 1/2 drivers out of 25) is here on talent alone. Is that percentage higher than it was in, say, 1995? Yeah, a little (“ride buyers” on the ’95 grid for the majority of races: Riberio [brought sponsors], Gugelmin [ditto], Salazar [ditto], Zampedri [ditto], Matsushita [ditto], Marco Greco [ditto] and Carlos Guerrero [ditto]; that’s 7 of the top-30 in points, meaning that 77% were non-buyers). Or 1980? Yeah, probably (this sort of thing would be WAAAYYYY harder to figure out back then, since guys could scrape together $100,000 from various places and then go run a quarter of the schedule).

    So, TL:DR, to answer George’s question, “ride selling” became the norm when the visibility of the Series decreased to the point where “blue chip” sponsors (many of whom were tobacco-based, and had to leave the sport, anyway) stopped lining up to put their names on the side pods of even mid-pack cars, simply because they’d appear on TV 15 or so times a year in races that’d pull 3.0-4.0 ratings, and then the one giant one that’d pull a 8.0-10.0. So, that’s the challenge: get that visibility back up while keeping the price to play semi-low (team budgets that I’ve heard thrown around nowadays are half to a third of what I remember being thrown around in the CART days…that’s not a bad thing) and we can hopefully see “talent” trump “guy with cash” even in the smallest teams that have to rely on “guy with cash” to get on the grid now. This is gonna take a couple more years…

    • BOOM. The Geek Mega Comment lives on at OilPressure …

      • Phil Kaiser Says:

        Hey man, why didn’t you tell HIM to go get his own blog?

        LOL! Apologies if he already had one and gave it up liiiiiiike…

        Just messing with you again P’dog because I so dearly loved your blog and your incredible sense of humor and had only recently found it when you quit. Still pisses me off. 🙂

  11. It seems to me that when we get upset with ride buying it generally involves one of them furriners, or someone we have not heard of, or someone we judge to have not paid their dues.

    On the other hand, if the ride buyer is a ‘merrican, a woman, or someone we feel has paid their dues, or (gasp) the trifecta, then we are more than happy to roll out the red carpet as the truckload of cash backs in. Particularly for Simona. And why not?!

    Something that does not get talked about a lot is the cost of doing business these days in all forms of racing. Penske keeps a guy on payroll just to keep his haulers clean and his scooters lined up in a straight line. Long gone are the days when cars were pulled on a flatbed trailer and the drivers and crew rode in the station wagon. I see expensive haulers at my local snowmobile races and some of the racers are kids. So that poses the question: Does the ride buyer get to ride in the fancy hauler or does he or she have to tag along in their vintage van?

    Derrick Walker just floated the idea of upgrading the driver’s steering wheel with fancy new electronics and apps. Drivers will now be able to tweet George while they are racing (but not BB). Somebody has to pay for that.

  12. For anyone who has the skills, smarts, desire and money to compete at Indianapolis I say go for it.

  13. Tobacco money, tobacco money, tobacco money…it left, the series split, ratings nose dived, and costs skyrocketed. It was the perfect storm.

    Conversely, F1 preys on totalitarian regimes and NASCAR stole IndyCar’s ratings during the split so sponsorship is actually seen. Even so, both series still have funding and cost issues, but they are coping much better.

    Conclusion: Blame Cigarettes and Tony George.

    • You can add to the blame list the current IndyCar management and owners who have done noting to revive the series.

    • Indycar has ride buyers because the Leaders Circle program doesn’t cover everyone. NASCAR has ‘Start-and-Park’ entries who are paid to essentially NOT race and are just field fillers.

      Either way, the tail end of the grid is hurting in both series.

    • Phil Kaiser Says:

      NOT cigarettes, it was the US government who did this. The US government FORCED tobacco companies to stop advertising, it’s the US GOVERNMENT (specifically the Clinton Administration) who passed the laws that forced tobacco (a legal product) to stop advertising ANYWHERE in ANY medium. They are to blame even more than Tony, CART, IRL, or anything else.

  14. Phil Kaiser Says:

    Hey NOMEX, here’s Phil Kaiser’s OCD comment of the day!:

    Sentence one, paragraph 11 in this article says: “Even AJ Foyt, who is not considered one of the front-running teams, has a long-running relationship with ABC Supply and provides a fully funded ride on the IndyCar grid.”

    Actually this year AJ’s team has two “fully funded ride(s) on the IndyCar grid.” Jack Hawkesworth only has to bring his helmet for his full time ride in the #41 car this year, and I believe having a second car was almost an order from ABC Supply, who tasted victory at Long Beach a couple of years ago and asked the Foyts what it would take to win more. When the Foyts both replied “a second car,” ABC Supply said “do it.”

  15. Ride-buying seem to become the norm after “the split.” CART certainly had its fair share by the late 1990s/early 2000s. A lot of F3000 drivers began looking at CART as a way to continue racing when F1 did not want them. Exchange rates help with that a lot. Never underestimate that one million British pounds is equal to $1.5 million. Think about how much you can buy if you have $500,000 more than the next guy.

  16. There has been a solution for ride buying/selling for this sport for nearly 20 years now, but the top players in the sport don’t want to do it. They like their system just fine. In fact, a top individual (probably THE most recognizable name in the sport) said to me “I have no doubt this would be tremendously successful. But that’s the problem. It would attract the wrong element into the sport. We are fine just the way things are”

    I wonder what he meant by that…hmmm.

    IndyCar is well aware of this plan, as is Anderson and many others. They say they would welcome it to the sport, but aren’t willing to invest anything into it. In other words, if you want to cook a giant buffet meal and bring it all over to their house, with some good wine, they will be happy to eat and drink it all for you. THIS is why IndyCar fails.

    Amazingly intelligent and shrewd businessmen, who suddenly fall stupid when it comes to race cars, like a geeky kid in school when the head cheerleader smiles at him.

    AR1 has mentioned this plan several times, and even did an April Fools day spoof article on it. and ended up pissing a lot of people off when they found out it wasn’t true.

    Collegiate racing.

    Want to know more? Id be happy to tell you.

    But ultimately, it would create a system where a driver would never have to write another check. AND it would grow the IndyCar fan base exponentially.

    Scott Morris

    205-378-9108

    Sent from Windows Mail

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