One might think that I’ve changed my opinion of IndyCar CEO Mark Miles, simply because I’ve said complimentary things about IndyCar President of Competition Jay Frye and the recent decisions of IndyCar’s upper management. On Monday, Robin Miller wrote an article on Racer.com that reinforced my original perception of Mr. Miles – one who is buried so deep within his bunker, that he has no idea what fans want. I also perceive him to be very stubborn. That is, when he’s convinced he’s right – rather than listening to fans and trying to understand why fans might be offering a different viewpoint, he digs in deeper to further uphold his stance on a topic.
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Some might consider what I’m about to say as heresy with us on the verge of a brand new IndyCar season. Perhaps the timing isn’t great for those that love nothing but giggles and smiles, but I think in order to appreciate the current state of racing we are enjoying in today’s Verizon IndyCar Series, we need to take a step back and see where we’ve come from. This topic happened to pop into my head over the weekend. Rather than file it away and forget some of the things that were running through my head, I thought I would run with it.
Exactly one week from today, practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will officially begin. On the eve of the beginning of another season for the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s not too soon to start talking about 2018.
Without trying to stir up a political discussion here, there has been a lot of noise lately about fake news. One of the many things I enjoy about sports in general and IndyCar in particular, is the escape that they provide from the continuous drone of politics, work, paying bills and our everyday lives. While many claim that today’s news outlets are fake and agenda-driven; you’ll rarely, if ever, hear that claim in sports or racing journalism.
For those that hate NASCAR and come here strictly for IndyCar news and views, I apologize for writing the second NASCAR-related post in as many days. But something caught my eye over the weekend that got me to thinking about how it relates to IndyCar and all motorsports. No, it wasn’t yesterday’s crash-filled Daytona 500 won by 2014 Indianapolis 500 starter Kurt Busch. Instead it involved former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, who finished thirty-third yesterday after getting involved in a crash while spending most of the day in the Top-Ten.
By now I know many of you have seen the article that ran in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago regarding NASCAR and how the bloom may be off the rose. In fact, the title of the article is a lot more harsh than that – saying that NASCAR has “hit the skids”. A few of you e-mailed the article to me. It’s a good article that not only points out what we already knew about NASCAR’s woes in attendance, sponsorship and ratings – but it goes much further. It digs deep into the schism within the France family that founded NASCAR.
This past Monday was the eightieth birthday for legendary car-owner Roger Penske. He has always been one of my idols. He set the standard for the way racing teams prepare for today’s racing. Like him or not, there is no denying that he is one of the most influential figures in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and open-wheel racing, and he shows no signs of slowing down. His team is always a threat to win the IndyCar championship, just as it did last season. He has amassed sixteen Indianapolis 500 victories as a car-owner and is probably the odds-on favorite to win another this May.