Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Never Been Clearer Words of Wisdom

I've said it before but dabraham227 says it best:


"These "mock" BCS standings are stupid. Why would Alabama not be number one? They beat Clemson and Georgia... who has Oklahoma beat? TCU? Not quite the same as Georgia sorry"

Actually its not stupid, this is how they will look when the real standings come out. If you don't like the fact that Alabama has played better opponents then you should lobby your congressman, oh wait they are busy trying to pass a bailout bill. Everyone hated that OU and LSU played in the 2003 national championship game and USC got left out so the BCS was changed so that media darlings have the upper hand now with the polls counting for 2/3. I will say what I said then, when you put that much emphasis on the polls you are negating the whole reason the BCS was created in the first place (to eliminate the human element and create an unbiased championship game). Now we are right back where we started in 1997, you can blame USC for that.


Have Video Games Fully Arrived?

I mean, I've heard of NFL players being just as addicted to Madden as the rest of the world, and we know how some people use games as training for all kinds of situations, business, army tactical, quarterbacks etc.... but this has got to top them all....

from: IndyStar

"I planned on hitting the wall, but I didn't plan on the wall slowing me down that much," Edwards said. "In video games, you can just run into the wall and run it wide open. That's what I did, but it didn't quite work out the same as the video game."

Here's video if you haven't seen it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something about a Blind Squirrel and a nut..?

I'd like to think I get quite few good ideas in this head and recently came up with one that I thought I'd pass by Curt on the Q&A:

"Question: Obviously he's still concentrating on racing, but whenever he does finish, how do you think John Andretti would be in the broadcast booth? (Allen, Gainesville, Va.)

Answer: I think that's one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time. John would be terrific. He's incredibly versed and witty, and his sense of humor would come across very well in a broadcast, particularly of Indy-car racing. I hope the Versus people read this."

Glad it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks its a good idea. I like John a lot, he's incredibly friendly, smart, versatile and simply a good driver; as we witnessed him get back in IndyCar for the first time in a long time last year and quickly turn the Roth cars this year into contenders. I'd love to have him in the booth too. Versus has my and now Curt's vote.

maybe next I'll unveil my version (trust me there are plenty) for an NCAA Football playoff.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We don't need no stinking playoff?

I take a step away from IndyCar racing to say and ask...

There are currently 24 NCAA football teams still undefeated. Currently there is a mathematical possibility we can end with 9 undefeated teams:

Boise State
Ball State

Realistically if 6 of these teams pulled it off I don't think it'd be a huge shock to anyone... We've seen it happen with 3 before and that's all we need to say...

What then BCS?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

13 Notes from the 2008 IndyCar Season

Yes, technically there is a non-points race at Surfer's in late October, but lets call it what it is, 2009 Pre-season-exhibition; for all intents and purposes the 2008 season is over, and I can say that if this season is a sign of the IndyCar Series future, a HUGE thumbs up from me; but lets break it down to 13 very important notes...

13. Bump-day is Back! The Indy 500 done with field-fillers.
I can't tell you how heartbroken Mrs. Wedge and I were when it looked like Mario Dominguez and PCM had pulled out all their tricks all the stops and had Roth beat, only to end up in the wall. But the simple fact of the matter is that bump day featured 4 drivers fighting for the final spot in the field...no one this year or in future years will be allowed to just show up anymore.

12. Hillary Clinton and Cindy McCain make appearances.
It doesn't matter what your political views are; as an IndyCar fan you've got to be excited that prominent politicos are going to IndyCar races to be seen. No matter what you think about Dancing with the Stars, the fact is two very popular women who were on a show watched by 18 million then went to sing the anthem and wave the flag at the Indy 500.

11. Attendance and TV viewership is up across the board.
Pessimists would like to tell you that the numbers aren't amazing or they aren't 1992 numbers, but thats not what is important. Attendance and viewership was up across the board this year, and gradual increases are still increases; be a pessimist when the numbers are down across the board. Products don't get big by envying others, they do it by building on what they have.

10. With Car counts massivly up, Dallara is spent for parts.
Obviously in the forefront this is bad for teams, but the notion of it existing is great. Last week there were 8 cars out of the race and we still had 20 on the track. Its not only good for fan viewing, but this kind of car count plays to another aspect of fan viewership. The ability for teams to try out strategies. For the last few years its been heavy on the follow the leader strategy but in just the second week this year at mid race we got treated to a Top 5 completely void of the 'Big Three'. E.J. Viso, Enrique Bernoldi, Vitor Meira, Darren Manning & Jay Howard stood their ground at mid-race in St. Pete as no fluke, these guys were there for a good 15-20 laps until a caution and shortened race-time boggled up strategy again.

9. The Series can afford to ask Marty Roth to step aside for 2009.
As it has been rumored in the past few days, Marty Roth has been asked by the league to step out of the cockpit and he should have been, he was simply detrimental on road courses, and while he qualified well on ovals his race manner has been nothing short of always dropping like a rock. Marty aside, the fact that the IRL has such a good talent pool now and can afford to ask Marty to step out is a great thing. Dario was so intrigued that he's returning and there are news/rumors that Anthony Davidson & Sebastien Bordais are interested. Obviously the series is doing something right when drivers are interested in racing in it... The Free agent pool has never been better; and John Andretti, in turning the Roth machines into Top 5 running material, proved it more than ever before that the drivers matter just as much as the cars, on ovals too.

8. Iowa got rubbered in!
Pay no attention to the name on the wall and look at that picture. Imagine I showed that to you a year ago and told you that Iowa would have multiple passes and multiple moments of three-wide racing. You'd never have believed me, but I sure think we've got a new race to highly anticipate watching each year. Now if we could just get some of the road courses to be widened we honestly wouldn't have a guaranteed bad spot on the schedule.

7. Brian Barnhart called blocking!?
Not since Dixon in 2006 can I actually remember blocking being called and we got it twice at Detroit. Not only called but called in regards to a leader. Whether or not you want people to give up positions or a black flag, having blocking called is great for the league and SHOULD have been done 4 different time at Nashville when Helio kept chopping Danica. Now that we finally got to see BB have the balls to call it, lets see if he can make it consistent enough that drivers actually stop blocking.

6. Danica got her first win.
A fan of hers or not, unless you are stupid enough to think you can dispute how she won; the fact is she won, and this couldn't be better for the league. No longer can Danica (who finished 6th in the championship btw) be called a PR stunt by the league. She can now be called an IndyCar Series winner. Now we can just hope at least one of two things happen next season, she wins again and/or contends for the season title.

5. Coca-Cola, DirecTV, Frank's, IZOD, Subway, Natonal Guard, Nintendo, LucasFilms, William Rast, Menards, etc. all try out sponsorship.
Some will stay, some won't, some may upgrade, we may have a title-sponsor on our hands, who knows? The fact is you defnitely havn't seen this kind of sponsor-openness in at least 7-8 years. It not only bodes well for the series and teams financially, but it shows that sponsors, 1 of the 3 most important pieces of a racing for financial and PR reasons, are looking at IndyCars as a very viable option to try out.

4. The IRL is being forced to pick tracks for the IndyCar Series.
Toronto and Edmonton have been added this year instead of trying random experiments like Detroit (which really needs to go). Sure they turned down Cleveland, Las Vegas and New Hampshire; all races fans really want to see, but it shows major health in the series to have that option. How it affects KV Racing aside, seeing the IRL stand its ground with Surfer's Paradise is monumental. In the past 7-8 years we really hadn't seen either the IRL or CART/Champ stand their ground and do what was best for the series in any decision that may have adversly affected a specific shareholder or team. Losing Aussie Vineyards would surely be unfortunate, but holding Surfer's at the end of October is just foolish for schedule cohesion as well as monetarily, especially after we watched scheduling that killed ChampCar each year they took 3-5 week breaks between races.

The only quick fix I think the schedule needs is to make sure the first 2 weeks of racing feature the most important aspect of IndyCar Racing: diversity. We need to start with a Road Course and an Oval in consecutive weeks, those two weeks need to serve as an introduction to the Series' season.

3. IZOD on board AND activating!
Nothing else really needs to be said here, just go read that post... Fans and non-fans (the 2nd part of the 3 most important parts to a racing series) get much needed fashionable apparel and IZOD is activating like no other sponsor has in recent history.

2. Versus plans to give IndyCar and its fans the much needed exposure.
A lot of pepole will gripe about the Versus avilability issue, which I completely understand and is viable, but Versus needed to happen; and happening as a split with ABC/ESPN starting next year is actually the best option, I think. We hear Versus is giving us qualifying, pre-race, post-race, mid-week, and race replays that most likely won't be at the unviewable 7am Monday morning slot on ESPN Classic.

With getting the information and more of it that fans want, ESPN/ABC will inevitably finally be forced to care about their race coverage for their 5 races. The LAST thing ESPN is going to allow, is for Versus to outdo their coverage of anything so publicly, because at the heart of all this remember that Versus is ESPN's competition. Just look at their NASCAR coverage vs. TNT or Fox's. Whether its better or worse in your opinion, its still relatively on par.

1. Some Parity at Last!
(The 3rd piece of the 3 most important parts to a race series):
The best thing we saw this season, There were 10 different winners this year!

That's 10 different driver-specific fan bases that got to see their driver win this season. And for us who just like the racing we'll never complain about parity. But breaking in for a win is one thing for some complainers as they call them flukes but this is even more telling:

22 different drivers garnerd Top 5 finishes. Subtract the "Big Three's" eight and that would be 14 non-"Big Three" drivers that got their way into contention and most did so on multiple occasions. Thats what is importan to fans and viewers, unpredictability, and the hope that your driver can win at any given race. Parity is the biggest key to any racing series and right now IndyCar has it and is building further upon it.

I don't know about you, but as an IndyCar Series fan, I'm happy, anxious and excited!

All photo's from indycar.com except the one of Ryan Hunter-Reay from IZOD.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now THIS is Activation!

THIS IS EXACTLY what the IndyCar Series needs! This is why they very much need Subway to be the new title sponsor:

"Expect to see IndyCar Series displays and maybe even a driver or two next year in some of the nation’s leading department stores, like Macy’s, thanks to Izod’s new line of IndyCar-branded apparel.

Izod unveiled a new line of vintage jeans and shirts with IndyCar prints last week at the Magic Marketplace in Las Vegas, which is regarded as the leading trade show in the fashion industry."


"Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will be prominent in Izod’s commercials, which were shot Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway, and will run on broadcast and in cinema. Izod also will use IndyCar Series displays in stores to accent its new line of IndyCar-branded wear for men and women."

I'll be honest I owned maybe 1 or 2 items from IZOD already, but this:

"IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway released its nearly 100-year-old archive of images to Izod for use on its clothing. Those images, including the iconic winged wheel, became prints on the apparel."

...is not only the kind of notice and activation the series really needs; but also triply as important, the quality and tasteful apparel the fans so desperately want (instead of the tacky NASCAR/WWE-ish stuff we've got right now).

First Photo by : Troy Plota/IZOD
Second Photo from indycar.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Panther Racing taking after Chinese Government?

Anyone else notice that Panther's Q&A section is now suddenly missing the recent questions where they said they were in the process of re-signing Vitor for 2009 and working on a 2nd car to go along with him?

I guess next we're going to find out that Dan Wheldon's passports and birth certificates do not match the age he put on his Indy Lights entry forms.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Championship Weekend... shoot, Silly Season is upon us!

Again I apologize for the lack of posting; we are still in the process of moving as we are currently guest bedroom hopping as we wait to close on our new home... but lets get right into this:

Sure, we still have a championship to settle coming into this last race but Dario is Back, Wheldon is returning to his roots and stealing Vitor's ride in the process... who was told of all this via an e-mail and Franck Perera is getting his second chance at the big leagues... with A.J. Foyt!?

Silly Season is truly upon us and if you are an IndyCar fan of any kind you've got to be excited. A year ago we had just lost one of the best tracks on the schedule, and were losing our two most recent champions and sponsors and car counts were going by the wayside...

fast forward a year: we're unified with turbos and most likely multiple engine manufacturers coming back in the future, and car counts are very much up to the extent that two races already this year had to remark pit sizes to accomodate the cars, the series is finally getting a TV partner who wants them, and in a position to actually turn down tracks as their are more suitors than there are open slots.

The only thing for me that can complete this picture really only comes down to one final wish for next season...

- Vitor gets hired on somewhere, (hopefully RLR where he once did very well garnering 2 of his three most popular finishes, one a top 5 closest ever finish, the other finishing 2nd at Indy)

- The reason for this wish is simply domino effect... Vitor lost his ride at Rahal Letterman Racing due to lack of carrying sponsorship, and in fact is losing his ride at Panther for the same reason. If Vitor were able to get on at a team for 2009 we would truly see the most important aspect this league needs: teams hiring talent over ride-buyers.

See the full wish list goes like this:

- Vitor gets on at RLR, HVM, Conquest, Coyne, LDR, SFR, Forsythe or Panther etc. Vitor is a good fit anywhere he goes.

- That if he ends up still in the league, wherever Vitor ends up he does better than Wheldon for the year. I don't dislike Panther for letting him go, thats a racing deal, happens all the time, I do however wish they had the balls to talk to Vitor rather than to send him an e-mail.

- Sarah Fisher Racing, Luzco Dragon Racing, Forsythe, Fernandez are all able to put together full time 2009 rides; and HVM, RLR and Foyt are able to put together the 2nd car that they want.

- Hopefully Sarah Fisher whose ambitions really only tie to ovals, would make the car full time and get someone in the car for the road courses and eventually turn the car over to him/her when she decides to start the family with Andy.

- The series lands its title sponsor, but more hopefully, it lands Subway; because of the three potential sponsors we've heard out there Subway really has by far the best activation possibilities.

and the last two most importantly:

- D&R does well enough with sponsors that they are finally able to put Townsend Bell/Alex Barron anyone else but Milka in the second car like we all know they really want to.

- Enough teams and rides are put together that Marty Roth will have no choice but to put John Andretti or Jay Howard or anyone else in his car simply to get the car(s) qualified. I believe this scenairo would work out tremendously for Roth Racing and turn them into something very promising. You see this would allow Roth to bow out looking like he made the decision to go and not having been forced out by the league. I think Roth would truly then see the joy in ownership and take his team to the level we all know it can be at.

Plus then Roth can enter himself in an additional 3rd car for the Indy 500 which we all know is his big dream and he'd be able to still do that without comprimising his teams season and he imself would have a better shot at making the field with a season's worth of great information from real full time drivers.

Thats all... none of it really unrealistic in any shot... but we'll just have to wait and see...