Friday, March 29, 2013

The Little Things

The 2013 Izod IndyCar Series season has started out as exciting and as unpredictable as any other season in IndyCar history and there is still so much to look forward to. Turbo, the Triple Crown, of course Indianapolis. I am sure the series will do their best to keep the attention on the racing and not the front office politics. However, I have a few little requests for IndyCar. They are not add an oval in September or bring in a third engine manufacture for 2014. Rather what seem to me as small promotional or public relations initiatives in my mind.

I am going to start with the Triple Crown.

Promote The Triple Crown As The Triple Crown
I like Mark Miles' background. He comes from the ATP which has been full of noticeable tennis players for well over 40 years. The one thing that worked with the ATP is that most people know the four Grand Slam tournaments. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open have been fixtures for years.

IndyCar should be promoting the Triple Crown as a whole. Everybody knows Indianapolis, but how many know about Pocono and Fontana? How many non-diehard IndyCar fans could name a leg of the Triple Crown that's not Indianapolis? IndyCar should promote the Triple Crown as one entity. Each race should be promoted as a Triple Crown event. During the whole month of May at Indianapolis, it should be promoted as the first leg of the Triple Crown, the same way the Kentucky Derby is promoted for horse racing. And at Indianapolis, IndyCar should be plugging the other two legs at Pocono and Fontana every chance they get. Not to forget mentioning the first two legs are on ABC, ABC should take it upon themselves to promote the first two legs because there is something to race for at Pocono for the Indianapolis 500 winner. Not only to have a shot of the Triple Crown going into Fontana but $250,000. It isn't the full million but it's much better than the usual $35,000 bonus a race winner gets.

Unity The Triple Crown History
Using the tennis example again, what works for the tennis Grand Slam is each event has a long history. For the three events of the IndyCar Triple Crown, one would think only Indianapolis has history. Pocono hasn't hosted a race in 24 years and Fontana didn't start hosting races until 1997, with a gap from 2005-2012 of hosting no race whatsoever. All that is true but if IndyCar can bring the record book all under one banner and recognize AJ Foyt with the most career IndyCar wins at 67, most championships at 7 and Mario Andretti with the record for most career poles at 65, why can't we bring the record book together for the Triple Crown? Fontana has only been hosting races since 1997 but why not combined the history of Fontana with that of the original California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway? Back to a tennis example, the U.S. Open hasn't alway been in Flushing Meadows, New York. It was first held in Newport, Rhode Island and has also been held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Forest Hills, New York. It would nice to see IndyCar have the same approach with the Triple Crown. It would not hurt to show the fans that while racing at a new track, historically a Triple Crown race has been hosted in Southern California.

Promote Winners
James Hinchcliffe should be getting every radio interview or TV spot available before the next IndyCar event at Barber Motorsports Park. Why? He just won and the same thing should happen for whoever wins Barber and Long Beach and São Paulo and so on. Average people love to follow winners and letting them know who is winning gives them a name to follow when they turn on a race. I know Dario Franchitti is a popular name, I know Helio Castroneves is a popular name, I know Graham Rahal not only has the name but the co-car owner to get him on TV whenever he wants. However, if these guys are not winning why do they deserve the time over a guy who wins and contends for the title?