Monday, October 26, 2015

Musings From the Weekend: Heard It In A Press Release

Lewis Hamilton clinched his third World Drivers' Championship with victory in Austin after a hurricane of a weekend. Valentino Rossi controversially ended Marc Márquez's race. There was a blow out in Beijing. There was a dramatic victory at Surfers Paradise. Rally Catalunya was dramatically decided on the final stage and gave us a surprise winner. The NASCAR race was a mess. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

Heard It In A Press Release
Spencer Pigot announced whom he will be driving for in at least three races next season. The Indy Lights champion will be driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at St. Petersburg, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500.

How was the news broken? By an out-of-the-blue press release around 10:00 a.m. ET on a Tuesday.

Pigot deserved better than that. Look at it this way: This is IndyCar's top prospect. This is the #1 draft choice. This could be a future star and the news of his arrival to IndyCar couldn't have been announced any less spectacular. He deserved a press conference, not a teleconference. He should be made into a big deal and someone the fans should get excited about. A press release is what Dale Coyne's flavor of the month should get, not a respected up-and-coming driver who just won the second-tier championship in the Road to Indy ladder system.

People need to see Pigot in the flesh, not hearing his voice or reading his quotes. IndyCar, Indy Lights and Indianapolis Motor Speedway should have hosted a press conference for Pigot and had him speak with Bobby Rahal to his left and his new teammate Graham Rahal to his right. He should have been put on center stage. While diehard IndyCar fans might know who Pigot is, there will be those who haven't a clue who he is. There are probably media members who have only every heard Pigot's name in passing and have never seen him race. This could have been an opportunity for a proper introduction.

If IndyCar wants to be big time then it has to start treating drivers like they are big time. The larger purses and base salaries are harder to come by but exposure is as cheap as ever in this social media world. With the ridiculously long offseason it is very easy for IndyCar and its driver to go out of sight and out of mind. IndyCar can't let that happen if it wishes to grow. They need to make everything into a big deal. Driver announcements, sponsor announcements, schedule announcements (which might be coming Tuesday), whatever it is, it should be a promoted event and streamed online. I am not saying they should be at the 1990s Formula One team launch level but they should be events for the public to witness.

Winners From the Weekend
You know about Sébastien Buemi and Lewis Hamilton but did you know...

Dani Pedrosa won the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix.

Joey Logano won the NASCAR Cup race from Talladega.

Shane Van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb won race one of the Gold Coast 600. James Courtney won on his return weekend with Jack Perkins in race two.

Andreas Mikkelsen scored his first career World Rally Championship victory at Rally Catalunya after Volkswagen teammate Sébastien Ogier had an accident on the final stage while leading.

Johann Zarco won the Moto2 race from Malaysia. Miguel Oliveira won in Moto3 and kept his championship hopes alive as he trails Danny Kent by 24 points with 25 left on the table.

Timothy Peters won the NASCAR Truck races from Talladega.

Coming Up This Weekend
Formula One returns to Mexico for the first time since 1992.
FIA World Endurance Championship heads to its penultimate round at Shanghai.
NASCAR starts its semifinal round at Martinsville.
Super GT will be at Autopolis.
World Touring Car Championship will make its Thailand debut.