So another race weekend at Mid-Ohio; large turnout, loads of anticipation, no passing, no drama, no excitement. Sounds about right for a professional formula type series on a club racing course. Mid-Ohio is too narrow in its current set-up for cars as fast as the IZOD INDYCAR Series. It might produce great passing for a Honda Civic Si in Show Room Stock C, but it’s a cure for insomnia when really fast cars run there.
Also it needs upgrades beyond the race course, most notably wooden garages. Did everyone miss the fire at IMS back in the day? Sure they have no smoking in the garages around the cars, but accidents still happen. A fire with those old dry wooden beams, would put that place up into a bonfire quicker than you might think. (Just talk to any IAFF members and ask them what they see as a risk there. I suspect they may notice this hazard quickly too.)
Talking about A-B-C- as easy as 1-2-3? Baby look at me (IZOD INDYCAR Series)
So from 2013-18 the IZOD INDYCAR Series will call ABC/ESPN/Disney their exclusive broadcast home for the Indy 500 and several other races. I have a few thoughts on this matter. First, the upside of this.
Anyone who looks at the overnight ratings for the races knows very well, Versus sucks. I’m sorry, their broadcast crew is the BEST at covering the series. But Comcast has an awful deal with this channel on many competitors package deals. Not only did they not have Versus on satellite for sometime, but many “rival” cable providers still do not have Versus. Comcast does not like rivals having their products. Ask any RCN customer if they have Versus still.
Comcast has done a “ fecal” job at promoting the series on stations other than Versus. I pointed this out when Marco Andretti won Iowa. Comcast is based in the Philadelphia media market, Marco lives in said market, Comcast owned NBC10 said nodda on his win. Yet they always cover NASCAR news.
The series is going after the 18-35 demographic, yet Comcast never once did anything about INDYCAR on G4, their network JUST for that very same demographic and 15-17 year olds as well. (All important demographics for a racing series).
It will be better for the series to have a 2.3 on the Mickey Mouse sports network, than a .0058 on Versus. The only reason Versus got INDYCAR was because Tony George did not want to even negotiate with ABC/ESPN/Disney on the next TV deal for most of the races. (Yes, again Tony and his diplomatic genius, eh?)
The bad of this. (Possibly)
Well as Bruce Springsteen would do before introducing a former member of the E-Street Band; “Do I have to say his name!?!? Do I have to say his name!?!?”. Only this is not a sax player, but Marty Reid. Seriously, a college intern for your local CW affiliate would do more homework before an INDYCAR race than Marty Reid. Does this guy ever look at a press guide and jot notes before a race? He seems to be “sharper” with who the drivers and players are in NASCAR. Yet every time he announces INDYCAR on ABC/ESPN sounds like the first broadcast in racing history. How is this guy still employed?
So here is my request on the broadcast team for the future “Exclusive coverage”. Bob Jenkins or Paul Page should do play by play. Jan Beekhuis, needs to be one of the color commentators. Now I don’t have a problem with Wally Dallenbach Jr. as the other too. Wally is one of the few straight shooters in racing broadcasting. Most will sugar coat what the officials and stars do. Wally’s best asset is his lack of concern about hurting feelings.
Pit road should be first and foremost Vince Welch. Honestly this guy is maybe the only current ABC on-air talent worth holding on to. He is great at what he does, and would be a huge loss to the fans. Also on pit road should be Jake Query of IMS Radio and Firestone Indy Lights on Versus fame. He is one of the most down to Earth on-air talents in the business. Many people in broadcasting, print, and the blogosphere are not always as nice as they present themselves to fans. Jake is NOT one of them! He is also one of the most passionate fans you will find. (Perhaps only topped by Twitter legends @Indy44 and @IndyRam500 )
A few other people out there would be great to see on the broadcast team as well, too many to name them all. One name comes to mind, but I don’t know if they would like to be another pit reporter so I will not say it.
If they have this crew of on-air talent, well, look out NASCAR’s ratings! Well, maybe.
Well, I said take all three Penske cars for Mid-Parade-Ohio. Who knew that all three would have garbage days? I mean, seriously, the odds of that happening to Penske at that place, well their record there would make you think otherwise. But, that is racing, on any day, anything can happen. So I will take the loss in points, and the loss of street cred on this.
Below are my picks this week. Pull a Costanza and do the “opposite”.
Marco Andretti, one oval win already in 2011, could do well here at a short flat oval.
Takuma Sato, already a pole sitter at another short, flat oval, might gain a ton of points.
Tomas Scheckter, yes a replacement driver for Justin Wilson. He is good on ovals, and tall like Justin, should be an easy switch for a team that has worked with him in the past. Also he will be racing his butt off to make an impression.
Helio Castroneves, I picked him this week, again.
Ed Carpenter, I hate to say it, but the Dollar General team has been flatter than a bottle of Clear Pepsi post Indy. I love Sarah Fisher, (I am literally wearing a Sarah Fisher tee as I write this!) but her team is way behind at this point.
Danica Patrick, a piece of me wonders if she has been mailing it in since the checkered fell on the Indy 500. Don’t hold your breathe on any great run from her. Now excessive coverage of her is another story.
Due to some behind the scenes matters I missed Spike Day last week. However, I will be at New Hampshire this weekend. Be sure to keep checking Open Paddock for my daily reports from the track, and my Twitter account @SpikeRogan for news as it breaks.