Franchitti's rants good for IndyCar Series

June 20, 2011
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While I’m not sure Dario Franchitti’s semi-dominance is all that good for the IndyCar Series, his emergence as an outspoken personality is.

Last week in Texas, Franchitti complained loudly during a television broadcast that the blind draw for the second race at Texas Motor Speedway was garbage.

During his post-race TV interview Sunday in Milwaukee, while complimenting Tony Kanaan on the way he raced, the Scotsman derided Helio Castroneves for blocking.

“Helio I guess jumped us on the pit stop … then preceded to block on the re-start as usual,” Franchitti said. “Typical Helio.”

Franchitti would have raged longer, had the ABC telecast not cut away.

Franchitti inherited the lead with 25 laps to go when Castroneves was forced into the pits with a left rear tire pressure problem. Castroneves finished ninth. Franchitti told media members after the race that Castroneves got what he deserved.

In a series where the drivers are often vanilla and unwilling to speak their mind publicly, it’s refreshing to hear Franchitti’s candor. Race fans can only hope the series may actually develop some rivalries to spice things up.

Things seem to be heating up between Franchitti and Castroneves. After the race, Franchitti indicated that Castroneves is a habitual offender and has been warned before.

It feels like piling on to write about attendance at Sunday’s IndyCar Series race in Milwaukee. But it was hard not to miss all those empty seats on ABC’s national telecast.

Estimated attendance was 13,000, and that might be generous. The two-for-one ticket deal offered in the days before the race apparently came too late to make much of a difference. But it was the first major motorsports event at the Milwaukee Mile in two years, and IndyCar officials (at least some of them) still think they can build an audience in this once race-crazy town.

On the upside, there were 26 cars on the grid. Remember, not too long ago there was talk of not having a 33-strong grid for Indianapolis, and fields for other racer were flirting in the 20 range.
 

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  • Dario is part of the problem
    Anthony, nice effort, but the fact only 13,000 or so people attended a once great IndyCar venue yesterday, and I imagine the TV rating will not be very good, has a great deal to do with guys like Dario. He comes off as another foreiger, a whiny one, and pompous/elitist. The whole image of IndyCar is old, edgy, ugly cars driven by foreigners who whine. This on a sport who grew into prominence by men named Vukovich, Parnelli, Rutherford, and Foyt. Guys from Spokane, Bakersfield, and Ft. Worth, driving wicked fast sleeksters on fast ovals. Until IndyCar changes that, Anthony, moving from the perception of elitist/whuny foreigners driving on streets and the occasional oval they mostly complain about, the sport will never move up.

    I was in a San Diego sports bar yesterday and the race was not even on one of the six or seven screens in there, and that was on ABC.

    No, Anthony, we'll have to disagree. Nice effort, but "Dario" is part of the problem.
    • Room for Americans and foreigners
      I understand what you are saying, but I happen to think there is room for Americans and non-Americans in the sport. Yes, the series could use some good American drivers. But drivers with colorful personalities who engage with the fans, and who the fans can relate to, would be nice as well.
    • Dario
      A foreigner, as you call him, who happens to be married to an American and lives in Nashville. Also a true racer, intelligent and approachable. Sorry, Burl, your Dario rant don't stick.
      • Journalistic credibility
        Seems lacking in this piece.
        Stating the truth is piling on???

        The race was a dismal failure. Nobody showed and IMS/.1rl has their hands all over the promotion of this one. It was all hand picked Indiana folks trying to sell their lousy series, and they faied EPICALLY.

        http://www.avocadomotorsports.com/avocadomotorsports/Blog/Entries/2010/9/18_Avocado_To_Promote_Milwaukee_Mile_2011.html

        "The 2011 race will be managed and promoted by AB Promotions, LLC, a joint venture between two companies, Avocado, LLC and BMG Event Productions. The two companies combine strong IndyCar marketing and event management backgrounds. Additionally, Avocado has strong roots to the Milwaukee Mile and the State of Wisconsin.

        Both companies are headquartered in Indianapolis metro and will be using complementary areas of expertise to develop and promote race activities and associated community events to provide an excellent, affordable way for families to celebrate the Father’s Day weekend."

        Last year, iman and his cronies said it was evil NASCAR tracks keeping crowds down. Well, this result proves that it's the lousy product that nobody wants to watch.

        TFF


      • Tips for Track Owners & Event Managers
        Since you are going to be giving away most of the tickets anyway, dont print any. This alone will save you thousands up front.

        If you want more of my tips on making your IRL weekend less unprofitable, follow me on the Twitter
      • Won't be dragged screaming and kicking
        The fans won't forget what you did to the sport Tony. All of the faux drama can't erase the memories of the great past in their minds.

        The forming of the IRL was the start of the downfall. You deserve all of it.
      • .1rl continues the decimal point ratings trend.
        0.9 and probably lower in the final.
        That can't help in negotiations for the new TV deal...

        http://pressdog.typepad.com/dogblog/2011/06/indycar-at-milwaukee-get-a-09-overnight-tv-rating-on-abc.html
      • Milwaukee disappointing
        I watched the start of the Milwaukee race and was stunned to see the grandstands darn close to empty. When the Canadian GP was cancelled last year, Montreal promoters worked extra hard to put 100,000+ spectators in the stands this year.

        So what happened in Milwaukee? Did the promoters not promote? Obviously. Is Milwaukee no longer a viable location for racing? Obviously. Did IndyCar miss a huge opportunity to boost their series. Uh, that would be obvious.

        But then, when you don't have the Indy 500 winner in the field and the racing is pretty boring (thanks in part to Helio's blocking), there's no reason to stay.

        Really disappointing to watch IndyCar try so hard (at least in spirit) to re-capture some relevance in racing circles and have very few fans care outside of Indianapolis.
      • Your arguments are OLD and TIRED
        Burl, jim, truth & chief: go tell it to someone who cares. It's not I nor all the silent majority. You clowns continue your same tired old rant year after year after year. Bring some actual intelligence to this forum or go post your insipid rants on your blogs that NO ONE READS.
      • Actual intellegence?
        Tired old rants? Friend, the 0.9's, 0.19's and the 10K in attendance are the stories of the day, year and lifetime of the IRL series.

        I want it better, you want it better, but the actual folks who need it better IGNORE the facts. This whistling by the graveyard approach is what's killing the sport and you are professing it yourself.

        US OPEN got a 5.1 rating by a kid who had a runaway lead. Face it, no one cares about the Indycars since Tony saved the sport.
      • Blogs nobody reads
        Defender of the .1rl is the guy who has a blog nobody reads. I just post snarky (but honest) comments on existing blogs.
        Don't like what I have to say??? Don't read it. Seems pretty simple to me...

        F1 in Canada packs em in @ full price after losing their race in 2009. They packed em in this year @ full price even in severe thunderstorms that caused a 2 hour rain delay.
        It rained in the morning and was clowdy for the Milwaukee race, and some place fans will say that the weather kept people away. F1 in Canada proves that if people want to see it, they'll show up in droves.
        Obviously, not many think the Indiana product is worth watching.

        Well, maybe there were 30,000 people hiding under the stands to escape the overcast sky...

        • Objectivity Without Teeth Gnashing
          And now, responsible commentary from an adult who was actually AT the track the entire weekend.

          -Crowd was not bad considering there was virtually no promotion, very little media, and whacko pricing that included nickel and diming customers not only for parking but also no coolers so they are forced to buy the overpriced junk food there.

          -Crowd was not bad considering it rained all morning.

          -Ratings aren't bad considering the clueless hack job ESPN on ABC continues to do.

          The series put on a show that featured all the ladder rungs they are trying to build. That is fantastic.

          The Milwaukee Mile is a racy flat oval that has a history that stretches longer than IMS. It is my sincere hope Randy and crew give it the time it needs to recover.
        • Where is Pablos blog?
          I wonder if he is as bossy on his own blog as he is on someone elses blog
        • Some observations
          1)The sport came to prominence when it was not necessary for drivers to bring sponsorship money. There were always ride buyers, but now they dominate. The only solution is a HUGE influx of series and team sponsorship dollars, and while some progress has been made, there's a long way to go. Note that NASCAR is declining...though I'm not sure that will benefit IndyCar.
          2)Real race fans don't care a bit about a driver's nationality.
          3)Anthony, the car count problem returns next year with the new chassis, unless arrangements are made to grandfather existing cars for a year or two or give teams money to field cars (which ain't gonna happen.)
          4)Quit whining about Tony already and give Randy a chance.
          5)PLEASE stop making comparisons to F1. There just aren't any to be made.
        • Berwick is right
          Those things are all true about Dario. But how do you explain that against the Milwaukee attendance, the Miami-Homestead attendance when he was gunning for the Championship, the fact he has virtually no name recognition beyond the association with his B-list wife, and his second Indy 500 win garnering the lowest TV rating ever, his defense of that title the second lowest? No, Berwick, it sticks. It sticks quite well.

          As for Anthony's comments...yes, a foreigner or two enhances the sport. A foreigner or two. When Teo Fabi or Emerson Fittipaldi showed up, it brought international flavor aganist a backdrop of red, white, and blue, burgers, beers, and Saturday night racers and New Mexican and Texas open-wheel superstars. The sport was popular then. Milwaukee has two races a season. Michigan was a sell-out. The sport was popular then. Not so much anymore. Hhhhhmmmmmm......
        • Hey John
          a dog scratching a flea gets no promotion and very little media attention as well. The IRL and a dog scratching a flea, about the same importance.
        • J.E. is right too
          Real race fans do not care about a driver's nationality, real IndyCar race fans, that is. The problem is, they are so few, the sport barely registers on the radar screen. Real IndyCar fans number fewer than 300,000 according to many sources connected to the sport in 2011.

          J.E. must therefore, concede the sport is miniscule and niche. Which it is. Reason being, Americans are not interested in gusy from Scotland and New Zealand.

          As for Dicsiple's comments....they make our argument. Discipe....note: Excuses do nto cut it any longer. We all love the same sport you do. But the fact remains: It is dying. Milwaukee is simply the latest evidence. Sad.

          Once again, I applaud Anthony's thoughts on Dario. It bares consideration. But overall, I think that gusy like Dario, Power, Dixon, even Helio, do nothing to move the proverbial needle. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise.
          • It isn't dead yet...
            but IndyCar is very ill. Still, I choose to be optimistic.
          • Franchitti's rants good for IndyCar Series
            Could future .1rl promos look something like this???

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBMBoO8QTxw

            :lol:
          • golf likes dem ferinners
            coach once said: "you are what your record
            says you are." USOpen 5 Indycar 1...and golf
            did it with a Euro in a runaway without Tiger.
            this looks really really bad + Red Bull is
            quitting NASCAR. won't be long now.
          • The Dipsicle of iNdyCAR
            16 years and still blaming others for the IRLs suckage. Hey, when is that breakout season again?
          • I want the IRL at my next barbeque
            cause I heard it cant draw flies
          • Spurious application of caution flags?
            I was reading about how quickly the caution flags flew at Milwaukee, typically a second after some one brushed the wall.

            Yet, at Indy someone clouts the wall and it takes 8 seconds to throw a caution flag that decides the winner.

            You see, the IRL can't apply rules consistantly...here's another example...Dario hits a tire and gets no penalty, yet Sato hits a tire and get a penalty.

            IRL continues to be a sham and real race fans know why. That's why this series is undergoing DEATHBLOW 2011! Fortunately no one saw it, at track or on TV.
          • Can I Use the Free Tickets They Gave Me for Milwaukee
            to get my free tickets for Las Vegas? Man, how are those guys making money?
          • Where's Bowie Kuhn when you need him?
            It has always been my opinion that IndyCar racing should be run more like Major League Baseball. True, the owners there ultimatley run the show, as they do in racing. Almost all professional sports are that way. However, a Board-appointed (board consisting of multiple entities in the sport including a fan rep) "Commissioner" with deputies of officiating powers(i.e. the American and National League Presidents, with real authority and accountability, would be a huge step in the right direction of making sport what is truly a professional league. Nothig is perfect and fool-proof. Not even this suggestion. However, it would be a far better way of managing the affairs and competition of the sport than what it is today. And what that is, essentially, is a poor man's America's Cup/hobby sport masquerading as a professional sports entity.

            The officiating and organization of the IndyCar Series is circumspect and amateur. It is obviously an entity is disarray and with many inept decisions in the past and present that make it a psuedo-sport with the end result being little to no interest outside the approximately 300,000 people in the country who follow it.

            A complete and total overhaul of the sport, making in more in line with other sports entities such as MLB, NFL, and NBA, is needed to save it. Otherwise, it is doomed in today's world of sports and entertainment.

            And further, no there are allegations the league may have been dishonest in the tech lines in both the Lights and IndyCar series, long suspected. Contrivance, ultimately, may be what finishes the sport off. Randy, if you are reading, unless integrity and professionalism is restored and advanced, there is nothing you can gimmick and contrive to make anyone outside the small, very small, group of hardcores care an iota about what you have to offer. And that is hard fact. Make it a real league, professional, organized, efficient, with the owners in check, or call it off.
          • Disciple for Dummies
            And now, the teeth gnashing version if you thought the "serenity now" version was a bit soft on delivery:

            -Milwaukee concessions stunk and overcharged for it
            -Milwaukee crowd stunk
            -Milwaukee had limited media coverage
            -Milwaukee had limited promotion
            -ABC coverage stunk
            -Mother Nature hates the IRL/Speedway/Series
            -TV ratings for race stunk
            -USAC feeders didn't put butts in the seats
            -You know you suck when free tix can't even save an event
          • If an IRLcar Driver Rants
            and there is nobody there to hear it, did he really rant?
          • So it has come down to this?
            If Indycar is hoping some emotional rants from a driver is good for Indycar...then the sport has fallen down further than even the most fanatical fan like disciple can try to bluster away.

            remember when it was about the cars speed and the drivers. Now everyone thinks the right drivers from the right country on the answer...and no one seemsto figure in the cars and the speed.

            And I do not mean spec cars with add on doodads to make them appear different...let them build to a set of rules and then race.
          • Speaking of rants....
            Diehard IRLer's are taking the gas-pipe with the revelation the series really does SUCK. Texas and Milwaukee are perfect examples of just how little the Indy 500 is driving this series or the sport. All the stunts and gags can't help now. Deathblow 2011 continues!
          • Reality is...
            ...IndyCar racing is the Indy 500 and maybe three or four other venues where the sport has soem modicum of popularity. That is it. A genuine schedule would be: Phoenix, the Indy 500, Texas, Chicagoland, Michigan, Mid-Ohio, and maybe Fontana just to make sure they have a Cali race. Seven, eight races tops. That is all they will be able to sustain and even then, only maybe three of those will be sure bets.

            The verdict is out on Iowa this weekend. But it cannot help to have 20 of 26 drivers being foreigners in Italian-made cars with Japanese engines, sponsored by the likes of Telemundo and Brazilian companies nobody even knows what they do in the cornfields of the Heartland of America. No, can't help at all.

            An Oriol is a bird. An Helio is a chopper to those folks.
          • dario allways whine hey dario how about whine awful road racing on schedule like danica and be more american
            mile croud is not shocking if you push base fans away which is oval fans that what you get formula indy is a joke and it has gone on too long at this rate there not going to be any oval on the schedule most at fan at these oval are irl fans not like street party fans and natural terrain road racing fans and road racing extremist fascists fans and champcar fans only fans watching indycar is foreigner exotic racing fans and irl fans 50/50 is joke because kill only good thing left that a oval driver is the champ and is not like f1 our foreign racing little money irl get from it does not beat the cost every series have to take there lumps some how can you run a series when ruin a popular race texas and run a race at patroit stadium i think why they race so much road racing to get special ed off ovals angstadt has to go tg should take the of blame in split years irl should have been in a better shape in a split level track people wants bumpers because there scared the car will going in to the stands these car will still go air burn because they do not have fenders and are low like gokart and light weight if you are scared get out of open wheel business randy cried about phoenix not taking his call who would isc got eyes and i do not blame them
          • What the dude above me...
            ...is trying to say is, it is too late because the traditional IndyCar fan, an oval racing fan, left long ago or is leaving now because for too long the series has been focusing on road courses and street races, which is a different type of fan. And that fan will not support ovals. And there are few and far between of that type of fan for IndyCars because they are inferior to what other road racing series, namely F1, had to offer. That is essentially what he is saying. And that ovals are dangerous and Angstadt has to scoot. Oh, and the league effed up Tejas.

            To that end there is a reason the Brickyard racem while poorly attended, draws a great Indy TV number. The traditional Midwestern racing fan likes Americans and red, white, and blue racing. They most likely would prefer the much sleeker, faster, and exciting IndyCars, but they can't get into whiny crybabies like Dario, personality-plus cats like Dixon, fakes like Helio, and crappy officiating, and ugly cars and foreign left right left twisty-turn this and that.

            The whole thing is a mess. The Indy 500 somehow, amazingly, sustains. Honestly, the series needs to go away. In needs to be replaced with a six or seven race oval season at venues that are fast and furious such as Texas, Chicagoland, Fontana, Michigan, and Vegas if it works, if not, maybe Kentucky can hang in there. If that doesn't work, they need to buy Pikes Peak, fix it up, and run a double-header out there in the Summer. Six, seven races, eight if they can stretch it. Don't expect some of these venues to get more than 20,000 early on. More will come. And some may even get 50,000, but the glory days are over. It is back to the 70's all over again, with the Indy 500 being everything, as it should, and fie or six decent races spread out over the April to October time frame.

            Mostly American drivers, better looking cars, American engine makers, along with a Lotus or a Honda, and better officiating and business decisions that realize a downscale economic model and not some world-wide, super series concept. That will not happen.

            More Dave Darland's, fewer Dario's. When the occasional Bertrand comes along it adds color and intrigue. Focusing on the current cast of weenies is not getting it.

            Milwaukee is heartland. Dario's and Helio's do not resonate. Nobody cares. Case closed.
          • Why did the IRL fail?
            All ovals, all americans...yada yadda. What happened>? Why was the IRL a flop?

            Why it won't work now? :D
          • formula 1
            not one foreigner driver whine about lot of road track only a american did f1 long face is tough sell to american foreigner diver have mind somewhere in a other league yeah they really love the league and drinking the kool aid time for angstadt ruin miami know he want a street parade in miami area why hell did he move race to the final near nascar date croud when down race was going up ever year talk all that crap does want open with emty seats rather open a track not helping series most of there fan base does not care about was not a big deal race was not sell out because every body know miami was tough sport town opener get a lot of hype it nice building ground for race and league but jerk want to show nascar who is boss yeah that best for league this guy has no plan for growing the ovals f1 is going to grow oval in america and save american open wheel ask champcar how that when out 50/50 crap mite as well get rid of all ovals
          • tg sister angstadt bad mangerment ruin the irl and randy bull too
            i saw that they had bad mangermant in the past but i thought they grow out of it but i was wrong they got worst and keep failing awful job riping fans off with milking the merger crying about economy even thou they done well and silly spin and propoganda for a few dollars show is all they got they thing they can get away putting any crap out there expect people to watch while buying new yacht if it was all about money they would not be a irl they turn corner there they can turn corner now just like that for the better future i am done with irl after this year i know what the schedule is 10 ovals r11 or 9 ovals r12 10ovals 12r a nother joke they push series back to 5-10 years and i am talking about making to a niche sport i am done waiting not going wast to my time and give fans selfish crap rating when up when merger happen so fans did cut corners all league does is whine every year year we are hurting me me me me me its whining league biggest joke in sport dixon whine just like dario that why they get along so well
          • One bad thing...
            ...Simona de Silvestrey has wadded up so much IndyCar of late she took a bell ringing that had forced her sit out the Iowa race. That can't bode well for a seried who has gotten behind her. They may have made a mistake because she sure crashes a ton.

            They'll have to get behind Beatriz now but trouble is, think about it, not a bad race car driver, but she looks like TK in drag. Could be problematic.
          • $20 million for winning Mindy 500 and Coke 600
            who won that pile of cash?
          • Oh yeah, another STEWARD snafu
            I see the IRL medical crew allowed Simona to start the Milwaukee race, yet she's OUT of the IOWA race because of post-concussion syndrome.

            Who is responsible for this IRL mess up? Combine that with the Indy lights mess up's and the non-penalties for Dario and the Japanese driver and the Indy mess up's and you got some spurious application of rules that lends NO CREDIBILITY to this series at all.
          • Milwaukee GONER
            Yep...Ol' Randy sez barely 15K and no national TV...it was a LOSER!

            On to mess up the next market....Road America.

            Does ANYONE at the SPEEDWAY understand that NO ONE wants the IRL? WHY is it SO hard to understand you have a dead product that NO ONE is buying?

            SELL the series IMMEDIATELY to someone who'll bury it and start fresh. The track rental cost someone $$$$. Now over $700M by best estimates.
          • if the IRL had any fans
            the stands at Iowa Speedway wouldn\'t have been totally empty on Friday
          • Bob jenkins apologized for the not-looking-like-a-sellout sellout?
            Comical!!!!

            Apparently Jenkins, one of the few remaining IRL/George dingleberrys, apologized for the Iowa sellout not looking like a sellout...cause, you know they had rain in the morning (or some-such).

            Now, that will convince the fans this is major league racing....all 0.19 of them.
          • mclaren indycar 2013
            milwaukee has 1 percent chance of return next year oval track takes years to fill up what are irl plan to fill up oval tracks formula indy a plan with no race fan but a plan to push fans away fascist road fan want all oval gone to watch foreigner exotic race fan want america racing foreign race fan are not stupit they know its american racing they want there real gold not the fake kind final some life in the irl final say race double at the week end at oval tracks after 4 years of formula indy thats irl mangerment for you isc-nascar tell irl do that 4 years ago but irl ego was so big because irl did not find that idea first so it was wrong they rather put fans to sleep with the awful show hello fans got a mind too yeah oval night and day race are cool you here that lazy angstadt and randy irl say same old points for each race no say on split laps and realalty tv tire show you know classic irl they are going to split the laps all had do in texas add more laps use same points like the rest of race this year and you could had 50/50 nonsence but this is irl this really should happen next year open at homestead speedyway at new years day fireworks at new year its win win you get music star to come do there act that good for tough market and important market for series and sponser and its a glam city and that will get isc listen about phoenix you have to give isc something good to get phoenix fans get entertining opener every body wins yeah growth texas gets 2 -224 lap race at weekend 2 payed raced eddie is happy and drop awful street parade at houston mile get the race after indy yeah eddie happy with 2 race so he leave mile alone he got something good in return california speedway gets 2 race at weekend 1 payed race 1 free race iowa get 2 race payed weekend and get rid of sonoma replace with atlanta motor speedway have the race before indy drop awful brazil 2 race that 13 oval 8r next year schedule not a great oval buffer zone but its ok and its ok for now the series will look like american racing and have more oval race since 2007 final with some sort of growth irl champ allways should win on oval its not a show if you do something differant

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