Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Rants, Volume 1

The Owners and Aero kits…
As with pretty much everyone else on the face of the earth:  The owner’s are selfish and crazy, bring on the Aero kits in 2012. 
But still…the thought lingers…Why is this going on?  Realistically even if the owners do have a fundamental difference with the league over the kits, they had to know before taking the vote and a stance against the kits, that Bernard would eventually go public and they were going be on the wrong side of a PR beating.  SO why do this? 
MyThought's are this, for the beefy teams, the 15-0-1 vote had nothing to do with aero kits in 2012 or 2013 (for the ankle biters it may still be) but for the Penske’s, Ganassi's and Andretti’s of the world, siding with the smaller teams on this issue was a way of posturing for a benefit further down the road.  A collective “We are united and got each other’s back” for something bigger…But what? 
My theory…2015.  It has been said several places that the expectation is that this formula will have a three year life span.  My thought is that the posturing today is to plant the seeds for the owners to have more input into the when and how the next generation of car is created.  With how the Iconic committee was formed and then input obtained, I suspect the owners feel like they were completely left out of the process. 
In theory, they had an owner, Gil DeFerren who was charged with getting their input, which is great, but there is a difference between the functions of input and review in a decision making process.  Their input went into the design, but it is clear they had no opportunity to provide commentary on and review the decision that was finally made.  Throw in the fact that their representative in the process is now on the sidelines of the sport, they may feel like the 13 colonies answering to a parliament in which they had no representation. 
One thing that has come from this that has me, as a fan very optimistic.  The Fan’s voice matters.  It seems we are destined to see League vs Team; League vs Driver or Team vs Driver conflicts break out and be resolved by appealing to a higher power, namely the fans.  Now on three occasions: Lucky Dog, Elimination of Double file restarts (the John Barnes tweet) and now Aero kits, as a conflict has arisen, one side has chosen to throw it to the fans to see where the public opinion falls and the decisions (assuming there are Aero kits in 2012) have always fallen in line with the outcry of the fans.  In essence, we have been serving as the Supreme Court of sorts, a final arbiter of conflict resolution.  Enjoy the power friends… Not sure if there is another sport where your voice carries such sway as it does right now in IndyCar.

The whole Dump Trump campaign has built a head of steam in recent weeks as Mr Trump decided that he was going to pitch a gimme over to the obsessed denialists and give their Obama birth theories a supporting believer with national prominence.  Many more these days are doubting that he should be driving the pace car this year.
For the record, I think Trump is a pompous nutball, I am a moderate Republican and frankly if he somehow wins the nomination for 2012 I might be in quite the quandary come election day (expect a single write in for Dick Lugar)  But I have also been publically ambivalent about him driving the pace car.  Celebrities driving the pace car is nothing new so landing one who’s television show is seen by 8M viewers an episode makes him a more than viable candidate based on historical precedent. 
But with that ambivalence came an expectation that there’s more behind the curtain.  That there is some plan that Trump’s pace car appearance brings with it either the placement of an IndyCar driver like Simona DeSilvestro on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice or Trump Casinos stepping up to be involved with some sponsorship angle with the League and the Vegas race or both.  Money and exposure are both items the league desperately needs right now and if Trump brought both, then allowing him the same privilege previously shared by the former Mrs Mellencamp and Josh Duhamel is a non starter and I have said so. 
At this point, out of disgust, I follow politics so infrequently, I don't feel like I know enough to judge whether his birther alignment is so aggregious as to outweigh the benefits of his celebrity and wealth after the 500.  I just hope Jewel sings the national anthem again.
As it stands now however, this is shaping up to be a mess.  If Trump has fallen in love with the idea of driving the pace car, he may not take a snub of removal quietly and I would imagine that his supporters nationally would be offended and turned off to the Indy 500 completely.  At the end of the day, their eyes would have tracked as nicely in a Neilson rating as much as anyone else’s.  If Trump is removed from Pace Car duties, I hope all the people who have signed up for the Dump Trump facebook page or particpated in the twitter war at least do the Speedway the courtesy of Buying a ticket.
I miss the days when people could disagree on politics but still respect the dignity and humanity of the people expressing their opinions.  But hate is the popular new social ethos in this country and it is practiced by both end of the political spectrum in equally as vile of doses.  This country is a much less relevant and noble character in the book of history as long as dualistic McCarthy-ism carries the day.
So if no Trump, Who. 
The elephant in the room is this, many people want Foyt behind the wheel, but they disguise this motive by saying a “former driver”. 
Pressdog makes a valid point that the problem with choosing one driver to drive the car for the 100th anniversary is to say that the others aren’t as worthy.  So an honor for Foyt is a snub for Unser, Mears, and Andretti.  I would add this to the argument, if you can go through 100 years of history and conclusively identify a single person above all others, then that does not say much for the depth of greatness participating in the event.  If an event like the 500 truly has the history of greatness we all want to attach to it, then it should contain a list of arguably inseparable icons as long as the list of Super Heroes that reside in the DC Comics Hall of Justice.
If a decision cannot be made from a list of recognized titans, then perhaps the honor of driving the pace car for this unique event could be defined not so much as a reaffirmation of greatness but perhaps as an affirmation of greatness to someone denied the opportunity of competing on that grand stage.
Tragic circumstances, both in a political and personal sense, kept Alex Zanardi from ever racing in the 500, but the indications are, based on both his accomplishments in the sport and by those who filled his shoes, that Zanardi would have excelled at Indy if he had ever been given the chance.  I would rather see the greats extend an honor to accept another into their ranks than for a spitting match over their personal standing within the group commence.

More Rants on Friday.

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