Posted on: July 31, 2008 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2008 11:11 pm

Thoughts on the 2009 IndyCar schedule

I personally don't like the direction IndyCar has headed adding more and more road- and street-course events.

Eight races on the 2009 schedule will be of the twisty-course variety. That's three more than the series had in 2007. And there's a possibility a ninth road-course race is added (more on that a few graphs down).

Michigan (oval) got dropped before this season with Australia (road course) a very late addition. How late? Australia wasn't even confirmed as an event on this year's schedule until Wednesdays' announcement of the 2009 schedule. However, the race won't count toward the championship. So basically it's an exhibition, but anyhow, moving on .... 

Then came the merger with Champ Car adding two more road courses -- Long Beach and Edmonton.

In 2009, yet another road course (Toronto) has been added while another oval (Nashville) has been dropped. 

And from the sounds of things they'd like to add more road/street courses as Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, said the series was interested in expanding into Cleveland and Houston, which most certainly would be street races.

Also, Australia isn't currently on the 2009 tentative schedule. However, the series and organizers are still in negotiations. So there very well could be a ninth road course in 2009. And maybe next year the event would actually count in the standings.

Speedway Motorsports seemed somewhat stunned to see a couple of its tracks -- Las Vegas and New Hampshire -- excluded from the schedule. In particular, Las Vegas was looking to host the season finale. But apparently negotiations fell through because the series wished to run on the Vegas road course rather than utilize the oval, which is what SMI wanted to showcase.

I prefer the IRL in its original incarnation, when it featured only ovals. I didn't pay much attention to CART aside from the Indy 500 back in the day.

Over the past 10 or so years, with its oval-dominated schedule, IndyCar had managed to pull some of my attention away from NASCAR, but if it's going to trend back toward road courses now that it has finally gobbled up Champ Car, I can't say it's going to hold my interest as much.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: IndyCar, IRL
Posted on: June 10, 2008 1:28 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2008 1:33 pm

Texas TV coverage a disservice to Indy fans

OK, I know I should have written this at least a couple of days ago, but something always came up before I could get to it. However, I didn't want to let this go without throwing my two cents out there.

Anybody try to catch the IndyCar race on Saturday night? ESPN (or ESPN2 as it were) scheduled a racing double-header with the Nationwide race, with the Indy race scheduled to go on air at 10 p.m.. Of course the Nationwide race ran long, as races are wont to do somtimes, and didn't quite fit into the window that ESPN had planned out.

So what does ESPN do? Does it move the start of the Indy race to another member of its family of networks, oh I don't know, like ESPN Classic? Nope, it tells fans they can catch the race on ESPN360. 1. I bet more than half the audience had no clue what ESPN360 was, and 2. How many people have access to ESPN360? My particular internet provider does not provide me access.

Now fortunately for some, indycar.com was making live video available. However, the quality was poor and didn't work particularly well on my computers.

In any case, when the Nationwide race did end, I figured ESPN would join the race in progress. I mean, after Indianpolis, many consider Texas the best race on the schedule. At first I had no clue what was going on. I heard live audio from the in-progress race, but the pictures were the typical prerace packaged video. I thought it was a temporary glitch and that someone had managed to flip the wrong video feed. How sadly mistaken I was, for when ESPN returned from commercial it was prerace commentary and interviews we were seeing -- and now hearing.

No live race. I couldn't believe it. And there was no note that it was tape delayed anywhere on the screen that I could remember. No more scroll that said if you actually wanted to watch live go to ESPN360 or indycar.com. Basically it was played as if it was live. I'm sure some folks were fooled or didn't care that it wasn't live.

Was I the only one taken back by this?

It was bad enough that race was penned in for a 10 p.m. ET start time -- not exactly the best way to grow a fanbase if you ask me -- but then ESPN can't show it live? I'm curious as to what IndyCar officials thought of this move.

And if that wasn't a big enough kick in the gut, the race ended under caution. Just like the previous week's event.

I'd say for all the good that's happened to IndyCar this season with the merger and Danica winning, the events of Texas this past weekend shows the series still has a lot of growing up to do. Basically the IndyCar series played second fiddle to a second tier NASCAR series. Not good.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: IndyCar
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com