Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Momentum Is Gone. But WE Can Get It Back

153 days gone, 37 remain. No leaders. No promotions. IndyCar's momentum from 2012 is gone.

A great race at Fontana, an American winner, an American champion who made a dramatic comeback, all was well. Since then all the air has been released from the balloon.

The bureaucracy of IndyCar and IMS could not help themselves from letting things be. The firing of Randy Bernard isn't the only reason for the deflation. PR guru Steve Shunck, who lived and breathed IndyCar was fired and he was the mastermind behind ideas such as getting Graham Rahal to deliver the Super Bowl picks for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown at Super Bowl XLVI.

What does IndyCar have? Currently a interim-CEO and no PR person in sight. The season is approaching and I have yet to see any promotion for the upcoming IndyCar season on NBC Sports Net (But I have for the MLS season which begins March 2). Sure there is plenty of time until St. Petersburg, but will someone in the offices of IndyCar and IMS step up, grab the bull by the horns and get the ball rolling? NASCAR drivers are going to have plenty of TV interviews and appearances over the next week as their season is on the door step. Will we see the same for IndyCar? Will our champion Ryan Hunter-Reay be interviewed by the national media and get a shot to promote the series on shows such as Mike & Mike or The Dan Patrick Show? Time will only tell.

If there is one person I have to give credit for being the best spokesperson, it's Josef Newgarden. Not only does he do "The Offseason" sketches with fellow drivers James Hinchcliffe, Will Power and Charlie Kimball, but has been the guy for the Twitter campaign, #Indy500orbust and does things like this. If we have to promote Newgarden as the "Rob Gronkowski of IndyCar," I am all for it. He is engaging, open and joyful. But more importantly, it appears he is doing it all naturally. He WANTS to be that guy. What fan roots against Josef Newgarden? I cannot think of one.

If we could get five, six or seven drivers to be half as entertaining as Newgarden, people will start to take notice. Hell, if Newgarden has to do "The Harlem Shake" at driver introductions at each race, I am all for it.

Anyway. The point being IndyCar has lost it's momentum. But we (yes we) fans, drivers, team owners, bloggers, journalists, front office executives, etc. have to give the ball of momentum a good quick swift kick in the ass. There are 37 days until St. Petersburg. 37 days to build momentum.