When I watched CART I was 18 years old and was fascinated by oval racing and the daring drivers. When CART went full blast with road and street racing I lost interest. The foreign drivers were not an issue for me (my favorite driver at the time was Emerson Fittipaldi) as it brought the best in the world to the sport.
The IRL brought back the daring drivers, the ovals, and the excitement toward IndyCar racing until 2006. After that, the model went slowly but surely the CART model but with spec cars.
Now, we need more Americans to be able to get rides. You cannot keep losing the Jeff Gordon’s, Hildebrand’s, Larson’s and so forth. That right there is INDYCAR’s mistake. You need to be able to bring those people into the series. It all about funding and sponsors.
First, be realistic, the sanctioning fee for ovals HAS to be LOWER. Help the promoter get its investment on track.
Second, bring sponsors that ARE business partners. Is not all about the money (CASH) but how you promote and sell your brand. In the heyday you would see lots of commercial make reference to IndyCar and its drivers (by the way, Emerson was in a few of those).
Third, enough talk about how costs cannot bring technology and new chassis or grandfather old ones. That right there is what sold tickets before. You can name it whatever you want, people came to see the drivers race fast in those beautiful AND different car combinations: THE CARS ARE THE STARS!
Fourth, You have to make the Indy 500 exciting again but not with false aero tricks to have 68 passes for the lead. Make qualifying difficult and an honor as it used to be. Pay more to the entrants; a minimum of $350,000 so it covers the costs if one team does not make the show (more on this on another later post). Bring more entrepreneurs to be enamored with the mystic and tradition IMS brings.
This four (4) items should be a blueprint to bring back INDYCAR where it should be. Anything less is just band-aids and to procrastinate the problem. Think big and you will get there…think small and with fear and you will get nothing. IT IS THAT SIMPLE IN BUSINESS!