The INDYCAR Fraternity: Welcome to Animal House
The recent events at 16th and Georgetown have shown the disconnect between the fans and the core constituencies of INDYCAR, as defined by new INDYCAR Grand Potentate Jeff Belklus. INDYCAR’s core constituencies,as defined by Belklus, are the owners, drivers, vendors, and business partners. He did manage to publish an open letter to fans, quite likely ghosted by a PR wonk, hoping that this one missive posted online would let the fans know how important they were. This cavalier, high-handed attitude toward the fans reminded me of someone: Dean Wormer in Animal House. It’s time for New Track Record to head back to the movies, comparing the principals in the current INDYCAR morass to characters in the movie Animal House. “Toga! Toga!”
Dean Vernon Wormer: Greg, what is the worst fraternity on this campus?
Greg Marmalard: Well that would be hard to say, sir. They’re each outstanding in their own way.
Dean Vernon Wormer: Cut the horseshit, son. I’ve got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.
Greg Marmalard: You’re talking about Delta, sir.
Dean Vernon Wormer: Of course I’m talking about Delta, you TWERP!
This is Dean Wormer talking to his co-conspirator Greg Marmalard of the Omegas about the boys at Delta house. This is a perfect fit. Just assume that the Deltas are the fans and Dean Wormer is Jeff Belskus or any of the owners who are bothered by the pesky people who continue to show up at races to have a good time. The boys at the top are exasperated over the fact that the FANS have certain expectations of treatment and have had the unmitigated gall to actually like Randy Bernard. The next thing you know, the great unwashed will want everyone to communicate with them. The audacity.
Stork: What the hell are we supposed to do, ya moron? We’re all expelled. There’s nothing to fight for anymore.
D-Day: [to Bluto] Let it go. War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: [to Boon] Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.
Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough…
[thinks hard of something to say]
Bluto: The tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!
[Bluto runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the f- – – happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst. “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer…
Otter: Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic… but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!
Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
D-Day: [stands up] Yeah, I agree. Let’s go get ’em.
Boon: Let’s do it.
Bluto: [shouting] “Let’s do it”!
[all of the Deltas stand up and run out with Bluto]
Bluto: Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the f – – – ing Peace Corps.
Hoover: Don’t screw around, they’re serious this time!
Otter: Take it easy, I’m pre-law.
Boon: I thought you were pre-med.
Otter: What’s the difference?
[Addressing the room]
Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests – we did.
[winks at Dean Wormer]
Otter: But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!
[Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner]
Otter: Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f – – – ed up. You trusted us! Hey, make the best of it! Maybe we can help.
Flounder: [crying] That’s easy for you to say! What am I going to tell Fred?
Otter: I’ll tell you what. We’ll tell Fred you were doing a great job taking care of his car, but you parked it out back last night and this morning… it was gone. We report it as stolen to the police. D-Day takes care of the wreck. Your brother’s insurance company buys him a new car.
Flounder: Will that work?
Otter: Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.
Bluto: [thrusting six-pack into Flounder’s hands] My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder, he’s in pre-med.
D-Day: [firing up blow-torch] There you go now, just leave everything to me.
Greg Marmalard: But Delta’s already on probation.
Dean Vernon Wormer: They are? Well, as of this moment, they’re on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!
Dean Vernon Wormer: Carmine, I don’t think it’s right that you should extort money from the college.
Mayor Carmine De Pasto: Look, these parades you throw are very expensive. You using my police, my sanitation people, and my Oldsmobiles free of charge. So, if you mention extortion again, I’ll have your legs broken.
The final three sentences of this post say it all. INDYCAR had better sit up and really listen. As you said, there in fact other options.
When you have the toga party, I want in.
PS Wait’ll Otis sees us, HE LOVES US!
Was that supposed to be funny or informative? It didn’t seem like either to me. Just more hand wringing and failure to understand how Tony and family has killed this sport since the original tantrum of 1996. I am laughing at you all for falling for this crap. Indycar is in the toilet and needs to be shut down. We need to go back to a CART type series. Tony ironically seems to be for it this time. Told you all so then that this would happen but nobody would listen. You “placefans” will never get it.
Not funny? That really hurts. Someone once said “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Sorry it wasn’t to your taste. As far as being a “placefan,” I assume you mean a fan of IMS and the Indy 500. Guilty as charged with no apology offered. One suggestion as you try to persuade people: watch out for “absolute” words like “never” and “always.” They undermine your ability to convince people since so few things are ever absolute. Now, please excuse me while I attend to my handwringing.