RACER Mailbag, November 9

RACER Mailbag, November 9

Welcome to the RACER mailbag. Questions for any of the RACER writers can be sent to mailbag@racer.com. Due to the huge amount of questions received, we cannot guarantee that every letter will be published, but we will answer as many questions as possible. Posted questions can be edited for length and clarity. Questions received after 3 PM ET will appear every Monday of the following week.

Q: First I would like to say that I know there is no magic wand. I’ve been a big fan of IndyCar since the early 80’s. I try not to complain too much because I love the IndyCar and everything Indy 500. But it’s time for tough love.

IndyCar is lost. It’s like those 16-year-olds and Georgetown have an “all is well” mentality.

I came from a time when we watched local news from Indianapolis just so we could get a glimpse of the new chassis and new chassis in Phoenix or Long Beach, not to mention all the different cars/engines and teams. Gone are the days when small teams would buy a year-old chassis and engine and could start in a 500. IndyCar is growing, but we barely make 33 cars for a 500.

I’m not complaining, I’m worried. All Penske has done since 2020 is apply a fresh coat of paint to the IMS. Although this is appreciated, I would prefer to see more manufacturers involved in IndyCar, and more than one chassis. We’ve basically only had two chassis designs (or three, I think) in the last 20 years and we’re still only two OEMs. Doesn’t it matter to anyone else that no car company in the world other than Honda or Chevy wants to take part in the world’s greatest race? Wasn’t one of the reasons for creating IRL was that TG was concerned that engine manufacturers had too much in-chain power? Isn’t that exactly what we have now?

Don’t get me started on IndyCar Merch, because this stuff is cheap looking and the designs are boring and lazy. Team Penske has the finest merchandise because the guy who designs his NASCAR merchandise also does IndyCar. In fact, no other team is actually doing their own thing anymore.

Now we have Indy NXT, because it’s meant to appeal to younger fans. Is this really going to appeal to young fans? This “challenge everything” or whatever has been idle from the start as well. How about making exciting cars, selling driver figures, and getting some cool products? If they need a logo, how about “IndyCar, faster than mommy *****”

I’ll take a hard tag and a photographers jacket instead of paying to use my logo.

Chris, Kokomo, IN

MP: How much do you think Gene Simmons will cost us to write a new song about your logo, Chris? Joking aside, I don’t want to turn this into a weekly outing on the same topic, but there is a growing disconnect between the series’ ownership group and its drivers, and some fans who visit every week.

Ask the folks at the top of IndyCar, and it’s “everything cool.” There’s been a slight increase in overall TV audience size, Hy-Vee Iowa IndyCar Weekend is a hit, Belle Isle has moved to downtown Detroit, etc. at risk. It’s been many years since I’ve heard of this level of concern.

In isolation, IndyCar isn’t doing anything particularly wrong. But when you bring the series out of isolation and compare it to everything new and growth that exists within the series that poses the greatest danger – NASCAR, F1 and IMSA – it is easy to fear its future. If there are four houses in the building and three of them are either undergoing renovation or have already been renovated, the old fourth house is largely untouched, and not in a good way. This is where the concerns are focused. Rather than acknowledging the need for a massive remodel, the owners of this old home are convinced that it’s just fine as it is, all while getting ugly sitting next to flashy modern properties.

Latest shocker: When more than 40,000 people show up on the streets of Las Vegas like they did on Sunday to see a demo run by Lewis Hamilton, and I’m confident to say that’s more than we had on race day in Texas, Portland and Laguna Seca combined, we have a problem.

We have no shortage of fans of open-wheel racing in America. We’re short on open-wheel racing fans who know IndyCar exists or think it’s interesting enough to follow.

#RACER #Mailbag #November

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