Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Open Wheel Merger Press Conference on SPEED And ESPNEWS


Certainly, that is an interesting group assembled in Homestead to unveil the merger between Champ Car and Indy Racing League.

If you feel that you can put your comment in the form of a TV-related opinion, you can do it below by clicking on the COMMENTS button.

This is a very interesting time, because this united series is the only competition to NASCAR in terms of oval racing in North America. One never knows what announcements might come out of this moment in time.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, I don't know if this is TV related. But growing up as a Indy fan as a kid. I am looking forward to this merger. And hope it is sucessful.

Lou
Kingston, NY

Daly Planet Editor said...

I noticed they never referenced NASCAR as one key reason they were forced to get together.

Anonymous said...

As I watch the news conference. It seems low key. And there is give and take on both sides. Which makes me think that after the split, they may have eaten some CROW. And because of this, it may have cost top dollar TV coverage. Hence the top dollar that NASCAR is getting

Lou
Kingston, NY

Anonymous said...

JD, I guess some of us can be arm chair q/backs. And what goes around comes around. I wish the best.

Lou
Kingston, NY

Alex said...

ESPNEWS carried the entire press conference live, and Speed had Robin Miller on scene to open and close their live coverage, from start to finish. No studio report from either station.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I found it amazing that no one asked about Dario leaving Indy Car to run in NASCAR. Many thought the migration of the open-wheel stars to NASCAR was the motivation behind this merger.

I found that fact that Robin Miller did not ask about this to be curious.

Photojosh said...

"I noticed they never referenced NASCAR as one key reason they were forced to get together."

I didn't see the press conference. But I don't think they, or anyone involved with open-wheel racing is hiding the fact that NASCAR's success was a driving force behind a re-unification effort.

But the fact is, they really screwed the pooch by splitting two open-wheel series. Everyone has known that from the start. NASCAR won, open wheel lost, and their fans lost more.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I like open-wheel again once things settle down. It won't ever be NASCAR for me, but good racing is good racing.

Anonymous said...

Darn it!!
just got in and missed the press conference.

I for one am thrilled they have merged and hope this vastly improves the competition in the next couple of years.

SOrry I missed Robin on the tv.

Sophiaz

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Glad you're back up, and I do hope you came thru the power outage unscathed.

I wonder whether the split would have lasted so long if Tony George had not had the added revenue (TV and attendance) from the Brickyard 400 to subsidize IRL?

Daly Planet Editor said...

I have a very long history with the old CART Series and open-wheel racing. This is going to be interesting to see how things play out once the schedule is set.

It should also make for a very interesting Indy 500 on ABC for the first time in a very long time.

That might be worth writing about and hosting comments as a one time special.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD
What Exactly is your Long History wit Open Wheel Racing?

Daly Planet Editor said...

When I worked at ESPN, the CART Series was a TV package produced by a third party. They would send an ESPN person out to be the Associate Director and deal with the on-air issues and scheduling while the program was on the air.

ESPN also produced its own open-wheel races for a while. I have been to some fun places that include both full-time circuits and street courses.

Most memorable was Sanair Speedway in St. Pie, Quebec, where they raced ground effect IndyCars on a .8 mile racetrack in the freezing cold. Ask Bobby Rahal about that one.

This merger could be very interesting right now for a wide variety of reasons. It should be interesting to see how the TV package sorts out after the deal is done.

I wonder what an IndyCar and Sprint Cup doubleheader on ABC would be like from the same track?

JD

Anonymous said...

I don't think they needed to ask about Dario because it's well known that Dario's wife very much wanted him out of Indy car b/c of those bad crashes. Since he won the 500 and the championship, it was the perfect time to leave.

What they should ask is if the merger will entice people like Wheldon and Castroneves to stay.

And the MAJOR question that should be asked is of Allmendinger: if he will be going back. A reunited series would let Allmendinger to shine as the American star for TV purposes (talented, personable, and wins in open wheel, unlike stock cars). Not as much money, but Robin said a while back that he's getting a $3 million dollar per year base NASCAR salary from Red Bull (way above the norm for many new and midpack drivers), so he can bank his six million from this year and last year - plus any purse winnings - and head on back.

Scott Speed, who is racing ARCA right now, is the the other one who should be interviewed. I bet he'll go back, unless Red Bull wants Allmendinger to go back and Speed to stay for NASCAR.

Truck Series Fan! said...

There's a problem here in Texas for the Grand Prix of Houston in April as the Champ cars are not running that weekend as in previous years. Some people are disappointed, especially the ones who already purchased tickets.

Anonymous said...

At least one track was interested in hosting an IRL and NASCAR doubleheader but NASCAR wanted no part of it for a variety of reasons. I'm not sure NASCAR was eager for fans to notice how much more side-by-side racing there is in the IRL on many intermediate tracks.

darbar said...

JD, I didn't get to see the press conference (packing to leave for the Las Vegas races), but was any mention made of changing the start time for the Indy 500, in order to accommodate any Nascar guys who might want to run both the 500 and 600? Now that would make for some interesting TV. Can you imagine the hype the networks would make of this? Tony Stewart, and I believe Robbie Gordon, did double duty, but when Tony George made the starting time later, this double duty became impossible. I personally think this would be a very smart move to put the 500 in the morning. I think TV viewership would be great if fans could see the likes of Dario, Stewart, Gordon (Robbie and Jeff) drive in both races.

Did they happen to mention when their schedule would be in place? I was a huge CART fan and went to the first weekend of qualifying and the race at Indy for many years,not to mention going to Michigan, Nazareth, Milwaukee Mile, Laguna Seca and Phoenix every year. But when the series split, I left and found Nascar. I was sitting right in front of the entrance to pit lane when Kevin Cogan hit the pit wall and his tire went flying up. Also saw the spin and win of Danny Sullivan.

You know, why doesn't ESPN do a show entitled "Where are they Now?". I would love to see what guys like Rutherford, Sullivan, Sneva and other "oldies but goodies" are up to now.

Anonymous said...

I do not think the sponsor dollars will be coming back right away, the new series will need to prove it's self first.
What hurt open wheel as much as the split was the loss of tobacco sponsorships.
I don't see a Sprint double, but maybe more Nationwide & Trucks.
BTW: Any news on the Truck series sponsor for next year?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:38,

ESPN Classic does not do any new programming, and the old CART footage is tied up in rights problems. My Sanair weekend is on You Tube, as are a lot of good old school open-wheel clips.

I think ABC would love to get things organized enough to promote an Indy 500 and Coke 600 double-header where drivers could choose to race in both.

It really should be interesting to see this new dynamic emerge.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

In response to a specific question about it, last summer or fall, 2007 Dario told Dave D on Wind Tunnel that Mrs. DF had not said she wanted him to leave IRL because of worries about his then recent crashes.

In the current environment I would assume Dario & other former open-wheelers are more likely to want to stay in NASCAR because I believe Jimmie Johnson won about 4 times as much in 2007 as NASCAR champion as Dario did as IRL & Indy 500 champion.

I am old enough to find the demise of "Indy car" racing truly amazing as I can remember when watching the Indy 500 was "must see" when it was on tape delayed the same day as the race.

kenn said...

JD, was the television schedule released? I agree with you about ABC wanting to see the Coca-Cola 600 moved back so some drivers could do the double. There would be huge interest from casual fans if this could be promoted, especially if some charismatic NASCAR full-timers like Robby Gordon, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart are in the field at the Brickyard. kenny

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kenn,

Not yet, but this is going to be fascinating to have a new player on the block. Especially right now when the Nationwide and Truck Series are struggling for sponsors.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD, according to indycar.com the Indy 500 will start at 12PM EDT on ABC.

Anonymous said...

The Speedway will never move back to an earlier start time. The tradition of having an 11:00 am starting time went back to when it took most of the afternoon to run the race. The Speedway and ABC moved the starting time to 1:00 pm in order to attract more west coast viewers.

I think the only chance we have of seeing drivers being able to try both races would be if one of the races moved to Monday.

Anonymous said...

With the economy heading to recession, this had to happen for both series survival.

Stil, even now, the sponsors dollars are spread very thin. They will start to come back only when the economy turns around.

Auto racing, more than any other sport, seems to be affected much more by the ups and downs of business cycles. Its essentialy an advertising business. The N-Wide and Craftsman truck teams are clearly feeling the pullback of the ad dollars.

Brian France lucked out when he signed the current TV contract. The economy was humming rather nicely, and the TV ratings were as high as they ever been. Its a different world now.

Alex said...

See, I don't understand this - if you promote an event well enough, you shouldn't have to cater to "west coast viewers." That has annoyed me to no end on the NASCAR side of things and every week we complain about late start times, but it's all for those (for some reason) coveted west coast audience.

Anonymous said...

Scott Speed, who is racing ARCA right now, is the the other one who should be interviewed. I bet he'll go back, unless Red Bull wants Allmendinger to go back and Speed to stay for NASCAR.

February 27, 2008 3:39 PM

Red Bull must want Speed to keep the NASCAR track for now. They just got him a two-race Truck ride (The #46, the same truck that Erin Crocker drove in the first two races.)

But I bet 'Dinger will go back to open wheel. He gives great interviews and would probably attract a good following with the unified series.

Seiko said...

Posted by JD I wonder what an IndyCar and Sprint Cup doubleheader on ABC would be like from the same track?

Never happen, can you see the ego overload..... wow....

But I sure hope they keep some of Carts good points, push to pass and some of the street course venues.

Tim in Fort Lauderdale said...

JD

I was wondering what the rites issues are with the old Cart Races? I thought it was pretty simple since ESPN owns all of them?