New Track Record’s Ten Worthless Opinions – Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
DISCLAIMER: Yes, this post is exactly one week late. I know this. Please refrain from pointing it out to me. I have been on a lonely mountain in West Virginia without cable or phone service. After leaving the mountain severely sunburned, I visited relatives in the Washington, D.C. area and will toss in a few worthless opinions regarding that.
I watched the race on Sunday, April 8. Please pretend the race just happened at Barber and that I did not read any other blogs or news services regarding said race. Today’s post is a time machine, if you will. And the opinions are still worthless, but I proudly present them to you.
1. NBC Sports must have read my last post! They used intro music that had a pumping beat that might actually, you know, WAKE YOU UP. Kudos. Now, how about grid girls? I cannot emphasize this enough.
2. I know it was reported that the ratings for the race were way down. Understood. Accepted. But I counted 26 different ads during the broadcast. True, some of them were NBC Sports advertising its own programming, but most were not. How many times on Versus last year did we watch the same Firestone, IZOD, Honda, and Versus ads over and over? Not this time. I’m guessing the marketing department for NBC swings a bigger stick than Versus and are anticipating (and can live with) a loss as the network ramps up. And Bob Jenkins mentioned the sponsors on the cars multiple times. Gee, who thought of that. Maybe they can become broadcast sponsors, too. I truly believe that IndyCar and hockey are positioned to be cornerstone properties of the network. Please get the lemmings off the ledge. To quote Kevin Bacon from Animal House, “Remain calm! All is well!” 
3. I love Bitchin’ Bob Jenkins. Really. He makes me laugh. From the race, we have the following: a. “Newt cars” b. “Grand pee” c. “Barber Spartan Park.” d. “Helio Castro.” You can’t make that stuff up. Unless you’re Bob Jenkins, that is.
4. Speaking of announcers, I am going to make a very unpopular comment: I like Kevin Lee on the prerace much more than I liked Lindy Thackston. That is not to say that I had anything against Lindy Thackston. She was perky, pretty, and perfectly fine. But Kevin Lee is better. He is more knowledgeable and a much better interviewer. In my WO, the broadcast is improved. Feel free to disagree.
5. Robin Miller needs a handler or a producer or something. His grid run was a joke. Do it or don’t do it. The potential is there for a fun and interesting segment. Right now it’s half-assed. NBC Sports, please add additional ass. And Robin, saying “hell” multiple times does not make you edgy.
6. Marty Snider and Townsend Bell were fine in the pits. Jon Beekhuis always tells me something new. The info about the pedals, while not thrilling, was informative. Look, I’m a fan of minutia. I like the esoteric. Jon Beekhuis completes me.
7. Oh, yeah. The cars raced. I mean they really raced. They passed for position on the track. They defended. Or blocked. Whatever. They nudged each other. It was fun to watch. I think that’s what the networks, fans, and drivers want, right? Most fans like to see the drivers mix it up. I’m still waiting for a WWE type heel to emerge. Marco Andretti, IndyCar’s CM Punk, is the favorite to fill that role. If these comments confuse you, then you need to watch Wrestlemania or see my post called “Can you smell what IndyCar is cookin’?”
8. The camera angles on the cars were great. ABC take note: the viewers like to actually see things. Complicated, it’s not. This is not long division.
9. NBC Sports showed passing throughout the pack and throughout the race. Hint: keep doing this. Believe it or not, many race fans actually like to see racing. Don’t over think it.
10. Here are some WO’s if you plan to visit the Washington, DC area. If you are at a bar and they make a point of posting the ABV (alcohol by volume) of their beers, TAKE NOTE. It becomes important later in the evening. Also, a trip to the open-air seafood restaurants at the docks on the Potomac is recommended if you don’t mind waiting. And waiting. The spicy peel-and-eat shrimp and the gumbo were both quite tasty. A recommendation: see the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Currently showing are Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage and The Art of Video Games. Culture is what separates the IndyCar fan from the NASCAR fan. Get some.
1. Here’s Kevin Bacon talking to IndyCar fans regarding the TV ratings. It was, I believe, his first film role. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro
2. In case you want to check out the American Art Museum’s offerings. http://americanart.si.edu/