Where’s the noise? – the silence of IndyCar management.
Listen. Can you hear anything? I know, Robin Miller is still rattling some cages in “Miller’s Mailbag,” and Track Forum is always Track Forum: someone is always saying something over there. But other than the recent test at Barber Motorsports Park, what is there to talk about?
And yes, I see the irony in my managing to write about the fact that there really isn’t anything about which to write. The question is whether that is a good thing or not. I believe there are two schools of thought on the subject.
The first school of thought is the drone of the dour doubters on “Miller’s Mailbag” and at Track Forum.¹ From their point of view, the silence of the post Randy Bernard regime is borderline criminal. How can the series grow if the leaders of the series are not constantly out promoting the product? My god, we are up the creek in a barbed-wire canoe! We are going straight to a hell where we will be forced to watch NASCAR and listen to Darrell Waltrip tell us how that series invented the breaded tenderloin and steering wheels! This school of thought sees a Hindenburg of a series just tossing the mooring lines out at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Oh, the humanity!
The other perspective is a little more restrained. They see the silence of the management team as a sign that a deliberate and thoughtful plan is in place to move the series forward that does not include the bosses being the story. Randy Bernard’s popularity with the fans (which was much deserved) stuck in the craw of some of the drivers who believed (and rightly so) that they were the stars of the series. This new low-key style was played out at Barber this week when a decidedly unpublicized meeting took place with Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, IndyCar CEO Jeff Belklus, and IndyCar COO Robby Greene meeting with IndyCar drivers and team principals. This would have been press conference material in the recent past. The agenda would have been leaked and dissected before the event. Interviews and comments about the meeting would have found their way into Curt Cavin’s “Pit Pass” as well as a snarky column from Robin Miller. This year? Crickets. No press release, no leaks, no videos, no snarky comments. What in the world is going on here? This may be a sign that IndyCar is becoming a serious business. The focus was on the product.
In any case, it appears that a new management model is in place. That may be good news for IndyCar, but it is absolute hell on bloggers who need the series dysfunction that had become the norm so we have something about which to write. A successful IndyCar series would silence the snark. So come on, IndyCar people, do something stupid. I cannot keep writing about nothing. This is not Seinfeld, you know.
1. I love “Miller’s Mailbag” and Track Forum. And I’m not just saying that so the maniacs there don’t feel the need to verbally attack me here, although that would make a lot of sense. The fact is we need the maniacal and the fanatical. Every sports entertainment property needs the hard-core fans. They are the sourdough needed to make new bread. You have to have yeast, and I am sure there are very doughy body types single finger typing behind those 10-year-old HP computers. I appreciate the passion. We need more of it.
Paying attention to Danica because I’ve been a fan since PowerBlock days and reveling in all the new buzz she’s creating for Sprint Cup, hearing lot’s about ALMS/GrandAm, F1 and even NHRA, and just wondering where the hell IndyCar expects to get any respect when they are just so damn invisible to all except the 237 remaining fans?
(insert sound of crickets here) This media day wasn’t real buzzy, IMO. But at least the buzz wasn’t about the leadership. So no buzz is better than the wrong buzz? That’s the current approach, IMO.
We could talk about how much faster Barber testing was this year than last year, or how the car has managed to be over 4 seconds faster than the old Dallara as of this test.
It’s the calm before the storm, there’s not a lot to talk about. We’re all just waiting for St. Petersburg.