Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Sunday America Rediscovered IndyCar?

Editor's note, This evening the NFL labor discussions were extended another 24 hours, but read on you'll get the point...
The Izod IndyCar series has a winning poker hand and now it waits.  It now waits so see how big the pot gets. 
That really is the situation the series has been in since the announcement of the Las Vegas sweepstakes.  Since its announcement everyone has been talking about the series that many forgot existed.  It has IndyCar fans interested and it has nascar drivers, media and fans talking.  Heck, Lance Armstrong just retweeted an offer from MaxPappis about splitting the prize with the Livestrong foundation to his 2.8 MILLION followers…This buzz in and of itself is a win for the league and unless they screw up the distribution of the 80k free tickets or one of the interloping drivers makes a mistake that costs a contender the title, the whole enterprise is will be a plus. 
Now the question becomes what other good fortune might help this event have even greater impact?
The first place to start will be the drivers that come.  I personally think Roger and Chip have agreed already to have at least one of their cup drivers available that weekend.  Roger took extraordinary measures to bring Chevrolet back in the fold, it seems like a much smaller thing for him to say to Kurt or Brad, “Get on the Plane”. To all those who cry “Practice”, “Experience” etc… Remember the Penske shop is in Charlotte, down the road and around the corner from Charlotte Motor speedway which bears a strong resemblance to LVMS. 
We also heard today that Chip is planning a driver swap, Jamie McMurray in an IndyCar at Barber and Scott Dixon in the Stock Car at Talledega, “For show”.  Suppose Chip will ask Jamie when he gets out of the car “So, what did you think?”  Throw in Brian Clausson and three driver slots are penciled in and now the waiting game begins to see if the league can do better than a former Cup champ, Daytona Champ and the reigning USAC champ.  The driver list is a win, the question becomes how much of one?
Then if things break right…
Some history first.  February 18, 1979…The Presidents day blizzard was paralyzing most the east and Midwestern parts of the country.  Football was over and lots of bored, home bound TV viewers began to scan their 3 available channels for something to watch…and they found it.  On that day, the very first live broadcast of any race in America was taking place, The Daytona 500 was airing live on CBS.  Until that day even Indy was tape delayed.  What’s more, the race was a good one and then on the final lap, Cale Yarborough attempted a sling ship pass on Donnie Allison who forced Cale into the grass where he lost control and took out Allison.  Richard Petty went on to win but no one much noticed because Donnie Allison’s brother showed up to the wreck and a fight broke out between the Allisons and Yarborough.  All who were watching were captivated, and nascar almost overnight went from being a regional southern sport to one of national prominence.  All because the weather, the race and the Hoo haa all broke right.
At this point, if this Post get posted something VERY important to the sport landscape of the country has occurred.  The clock will have struck midnight and the NFL lockout will have begun.  “Surely” you say “they have six more months to get this sorted out”. but honestly, the real posturing has just begun.  The first deadline has come and gone and there won’t be any reason to rush to a settlement.  The union will decertify and an anti-trust lawsuit will be filed.  It will get ugly and it may get harder to reconcile after blood has boiled. 
If there is a delay in the football season games won’t start immediately, schedules have to be set, training camps have to occur preseason games have to get played and even if the lockout ended mid September, there would be no real games until after October 16…
Which happens to be the date of…The IndyCar finale at Las Vegas.  And if it were raining across large portions of the country bored sports fans will begin to start flipping channels, No College football, No Nascar (they run Sat night), No basketball, no Baseball (because they choose to play their playoff games after midnight for most the country) so what might these action thirsty fans find on ABC that Sunday afternoon???
IndyCar has a winning hand – now the waiting begins to see how big the jackpot gets…

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