Economy biting into IRL future

July 24, 2009
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indyI know new Indy Racing League boss Jeffrey Belskus can count to 16. By all accounts, the former chief financial officer is an accounting whiz. So he should realize he has a problem.

This week in Edmonton, only 16 cars will line up for the Firestone IndyLights race. It seems the swooning economy is drying up the developmental pipeline to the IRL.

Indy Lights teams are often grass roots efforts funded by family, friends and sponsors with a personal connection to team owners or drivers. Those backers are often the first to bail when the economy goes south. Even some of the feeder series’ more deep pocketed owners have downsized the season after their Wall Street portfolios have been battered.

Last year, the IndyLights series averaged nearly 23 cars per race for its 16-race schedule. There was no race with fewer than 20 entrants and only one below 22. This year, through 10 races (including tomorrow’s Edmonton race), the entrant list is averaging 21, with two 18-car fields and two 16-car fields.

Belskus surely knows that IndyLights is a key training ground not only for drivers, but crew members and team owners who could (and should) populate the highest level of the sport in the next five to 10 years.

In recent years, there’s been a lot of focus on what’s just around the corner for open-wheel.
Now that we’re unified …
Just wait until we get a title sponsor next week, month, year …
When the new Versus TV deal gains traction …
When the economy turns around, then we’ll …
Now that Tony George is gone …

After a while, these statements become a blur of high-speed quips that are more hope than promise for near-term success that still seems as elusive as a vapor. Meanwhile, the stars of whatever tomorrow this series may have are vaporizing before our eyes.

And the long-term future of the series …
  • WEll HElls BElles if that aint a hate article I dont know waht is. YOU been gone to lunch with RObin MIller? CHeeze of peats man, ITs the IRL, they race at INdy. AInt that enough? WHo the hell wants to go to EDmonton anyways? THey got running water there? HAHhahahahaa RUnnin on an airport out in the middel of some backwater CANdien town taht I never heard of until a couple of years ago. NO wodner no ones there. AINt the IRLs fault. IF CHAmp CAR dint bring that baggage along weed neve have to deal with it. ITS all there fault.

    JUSt wate till SPArta, youll see a full field.
  • Anthony, you are finally starting to see the light.
  • The fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree. The IRL mothership has been propping that series up as well. The ONLY reason the economy is an excuse is because it exposed TONY GEORGE as the first and foremost sponsor for everything Indy related. And guess what bit him right in the arse. Couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow either...too bad his POOR judgement destroyed AOW as well. Successful businessman my ass....
  • Lets see, go away for a few days and come back and the haters are still here. Although some of the names have changed, still the same hit list. A positive IRL article comes out, the response is either the article is wrong or Anthony is smoking something. A negative article comes out and Anthony is a genius.

    I guess you guys have not been paying attention to NASCAR Trucks or the Nationwide series or many of the feeder series for other sports. The economy is bad and many are losing sponsors and teams. When the economy turns around, they will come back. But of course the haters know best. I mean I am sure they are all captains of industries and could run a race series better than those who run them now.
  • Hate is all that is left.
  • Mazda (open wheel), and Atlantics (open wheel) are all racing in Joliet, IL this weekend (Autobahn Country Club). Arguably many of those drivers and teams should be preparing for a future in whatever top tier US Open Wheel Series exists. Why aren't those series packaged along with Indy Lights and all run on the same track, on the same weekend? Rhetorical, I know the answer is a couple of obvious things....ego....competition....I could go on an on. But the point remains, the IRL just doesn't pack in enough interest for the fans on any given weekend.

    I'm an IMS fan, Racing Fan, and IndyCar that order. I continue to believe, and have for years (maybe with false hope), that cooler heads would prevail, and that constructive criticism would go a long way in improving the product. I have to admit though, after all of these years, I'm really starting to wonder. Please Mr. Belskus, listen to the criticism of those of us that ARE fans. The haters have some good points every now and then, but their motives usually aren't genuine. But if there are more folks like myself that are fans and losing patience....there isn't much time.
  • iman...blah blah blah...blah blah blah...blah blah with $600,000,000 and the track, it wouldn't be a least if your name isn't Tony George
  • Dahooey,

    That is sad, but it explains your post. Anger and hate are sad things to only have left. I hope things go better for you.


    More of the same, you could just put blah blah blah and that would be the sum total of your posts on here. No info, no ideas, just hate. At least Dahooey has realized that is what he has to offer. I am sure, in time, you will realize it as well.
  • With rumors of IMS looking at a sports car race (24 hours at Indy?), and with new leadership, I think you will see new thinking that TG could not, or would not embrace. I hope many of the traditions at Indy will remain and that the George family will honor those. That said, as I have said for months, a change in leadership could do what Irsay stepping down from running the Colts did years ago. And that is allow true professionals to step in and make it more successful. TG did great things. Bring NASCAR here which created the largest NASCAR race in the world. Brought F1 here which created the largest F1 race in the world. Brought Moto GP which created one of the largest motorcycle races in the world. Created the IRL which like it or hate it, probably saved OW in the US at a time when cart was beginning their death spiral. (argue as you want, but again if cart was so successful, why did it bankrupt twice in 15 years with the loss of only one race?) But he also made mistakes. I hope the new leadership will respect tradition while it brings new ideas and new blood to IMS.
  • All of that is easy to do when you are burning up the fambly trust and don't have to show a decent bottom line....

    the IRL: who wants it?
  • Created the IRL which like it or hate it, probably saved OW in the US at a time when cart was beginning their death spiral. (argue as you want, but again if cart was so successful, why did it bankrupt twice in 15 years with the loss of only one race?)

    :lol: You're still spewing this complete load of Hulmanista fiction? Your statement contains nothing factual (other than Anton the stupid starting the cancer that is the earl). There is nothing to argue with. You are completely, totally, full of crap. Not surprising from a Hulmanista, gomer shillbag.

    You know, there's medications available for delusional thoughts. You clearly need them.

    Hey Anthony, this site doesn't work for me in FireFox! The box to enter the security code doesn't show up! Using Innernet Exploder is almost as evil as the earl. Funny article, but point the blame where it belongs - Anton, who started the mess. It is enjoyable to watch it fail miserably repeatedly, but it's long past time for it to just keel over and die.
  • Never mind on the FireFox issue, it was a problem with the NoScript addon. Update fixed it.
  • because someone spent $600 million
  • Rather than going broke trying to beat FTG and the .irl, they just joined them and made the family spend all their money.
  • Can someone provide a link to CART going bankrupt twice? Or stop posting lies. You and about three others are the only ones too stupid to believe that or too lazy to look it up.
  • Can someone provide a link to CART going bankrupt twice?

    What the idiot is failingly attempting to refer to is the bankruptcy after the 2003 season which ended up with Anton the brilliant bringing the wrong currency (and some horrendously overpaid legal counsel lacking even a basic understanding of the proceedings) to the court when KK, GF and PG bought the remnants of CART and turned it into CC. The second time would be when CC folded up for mergification (there was a bankruptcy filing to wind up the company).

    Both happened a long time away from 1996 when Anton was getting his farce rolling, flying and spine-busting. It's one of many issues that show the utter absurdity and delusion of earlboi repeatedly asking the same 'question' that is nothing but a diatribe of made up nonsense.

    If someone were to repeatedly ask here why the green and purple horsies in the sky are always breathing fire, it would have the same merit - none.

    It's garbage masquerading as actual people like him that add fuel to the abject hate and indifference the 'league' has repeatedly earned over its miserable, worthless existence. It's not as if anyone except the very few other Hulmanista vermin believe his delusional drivel, I don't know why they persist in this campaign of flat-out lies, it hasn't helped their cause at all. But asking the delusional for explanations for their actions is rather pointless. He would just make up more nonsense as an answer anyway.

    What's ultimately even more insane about his repeated belaboring of his fiction is that he's trying to use it to portray the earl as something that is somehow 'better'. As if it would have lasted more than a day without the Hulman trust pumping hundreds of millions into it, never turning a profit ever. If it was a real business, it would have folded in under a year. Just pathetic. And incredibly stupid to try to use as some sort of argument in favor of the rotten 'league' existing. Stunningly dense. Mental ward-level crazy.

    Anthony - could you ask some of the other business writers at the IBJ what they would like to see become of the land IMS is on after the place is bulldozed? :lol:
  • Dahooey and SSD,

    Talk about fantasy, the Hulmans have not spent $600 million on the IRL, the number I have seen most often is half that, but even that is just a guess. What is funny, though is that you think that such a wonderfully run race series with the entertaining races you claim they had, and the Stars and the Cars and the big dollar sponsors, and the big dollar teams and the big races except for one could somehow be out spent? That is rather laughable. It really has more to do with the mismanagement of cart and all of its successors.


    You really show your hate for the IRL, TG, and the IMS. You need to realize you hate and that is why you lash out with attacks and insults when people try to have mature conversations on these blogs. As a wise man once said, once you have to resort to insults and attacks, you have lost the argument. The sooner you realize that, the better off you will be. Address the hate in your life, and learn to control it, otherwise it will control you. Ok, enough of the Dr. Phil moment.


    While I am not a fan of Wikipedia for facts, it has the most readily available info on it.

    Because of the loss of its title sponsor and two engine providers, CART's shares plummeted to 25¢ (USD) per share. It declared bankruptcy during the 2003 off-season and the assets of CART were liquidated.

    In early February, 2008, the CCWS Board of Managers authorized bankruptcy, to be filed on February 14, 2008. On February 22, 2008, an agreement in principal was reached and signed that merged the Champ Car Series with the IRL. The memorandum sold the CCWS' sanctioning contracts (notably Long Beach) and intangible assets, along with the Champ Car Mobile Medical Unit (at the time known as the Holmatro Safety Team), to the IRL for $6 million.

    The assets of CCWS were sold at auction on June 3, 2008.

    It was fairly simple to look up, but glad to help you out.

    And of course since you were all silent on the rest of my post, it appears that you are agreeing that the rest is correct. I know it is hard for you to admit TG has done anything right, but your silence speaks loudly enough.
  • It must feel special to have your no-good mint julep sippin, dysfunctional never had a job in her life sister hang your ass out to dry in public.
  • 1/2 of 600 million is incompetence
  • Lights goes belly up after next season. ICS goes belly up the season after.

    It is all over but the internet forum shouting folks. Two and one half seasons to go, barely, and game over for Indy Cars.
  • The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, released on the World Wide Web via Twitter that the city will host the opening stage of the Indycars in 2010, a street circuit in the landfill
  • I have the FireFox No_Veritas plug-in installed, and it's funny, but all of Indyman's posts come up blah blah blah blah blah blah I guess someone has already submitted his user ID to the No Veritas database
  • Toney: In fact, I know that in the case of the IRL, every team that has ever competed in the series, since inception, has received support to some degree.
  • Sorry SSD that you cannot hear or handle the truth. But typically those who want to ignore the truth only hear what they want to hear. Maybe someday you will open your mind and your ears and listen to what others say. Until then, I guess you will only believe your theory of the truth. It does explain why most of your answers ignore what others say and become little rants that seem to provide you with much entertainment.
  • bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • Look at the world-beater Versus rating Edmonton got. News out shortly. Wow-weeee!!!! Everypne is such an Indy Car fan!
  • Stanley the Magnificent.

    You may be correct about many issues, however I'm so relieved that you are so much wiser than men like Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, Kim Green, Carl Haas, et al.

    Too bad you couldn't have turned your wisdom into a workable plan for the dastardly villains you have so much hate and scorn for. Not saying you're wrong, but man, you are so filled with hate, you must be yelling at the world (perhaps including yourself in the mirror).
  • As much as the one race is touted by the one poster around here, one would expect the series with the one race to make three hundred million dollars, not lose three hundred million dollars. I guess the one race isn't all that or a bag a chips after all.
  • the IRL: leading the failwagon @ 16th & Jonestown.
  • SSD,

    I am not touting one race, I am asking why a successful series as you claim it to have been would fail repeatedly. I mean wasn't it the greatest thing since sliced bread?
  • Indyman:

    Yes it was the greatest thing since sliced bread!

    NO forriners
    NO Jap motors
    NO Enjun leases
    NO street parades
    NO Road courses
    NO brazilionaires

    ONLY ovals
    ONLY 'Mericans
    ONLY Ford Chebby and maybe Dodge
    ONLY gomers


    how did that work out?

    The IRL: It didn't work out...
  • God, you guys are a bunch of losers.
  • Why?
  • becoz u supported my stupid shitty series called owrs
  • top 2/3rd of TOneys grid wish they had OWRS to race in

    we want better cars...wahwahwah
    we want turbo engines....wahwahwah
    on and on and freakin on
  • read the last comment in this blog entry for some fun
  • :D
  • Hay IRl fans, how's that push to pass going to work for you. wonder where they came up with that idea.
  • next up? standing starts for 12 car grids.

    The IRL: never a new idea, only worser.

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