Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10 ideas to help INDYCAR heading into 2011 - Part 1

10 ideas to help INDYCAR heading into 2011 – Part 1

INDYCAR teams will be testing throughout the next two weeks as part of their pre-season tune up for the opening round of the 2011 season at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. INDYCAR has drastic new look too it, compared to a year ago, so with positive momentum going into 2011, IndyCar Garage gives you ten suggestions for INDYCAR heading into 2011. Part one is below and part two will be published tomorrow on

1. Get T.V. Ratings and attendance back to respectability

The only thing that will bring INDYCAR back to black ink is solid T.V. ratings and packed stands on race weekends. Motorsports in general, live off of sponsorships that invest in the sport to get a return on investment, in short get more people to know about their brand or product because of the eyes that watch racing. When no one watches your race, why would sponsors invest in your sport? INDYCAR has five network T.V. races on ABC, the only one that has drawn ratings worthy of NASCAR type numbers is the Indy 500. Normal ABC races since the merger has been a stretch to draw over a 1.0 rating, that’s unacceptable. Versus ratings have been in the tank since they took over INDYCAR broadcasts in 2009, the championship race at Homestead in 2010, drew a .3, that’s horrible. Versus ratings need to be over 1.0 and ABC races need to be around the 1.5 – 2.0 range, both of those numbers will be stretch for 2011. Race attendance isn’t as gloomy as T.V. ratings, but for some races, attendance has looked horribly low on tracks that have large grand stands. Giving away 80,000K for the Vegas race was a start in the right direction.

2. Get Graham Rahal, J.R. Hildebrand, and Simona De Silverstro into victory circle

If you were to look into INDYCAR’s future in five years, all three of the drivers listed above should be competing for championships and Indy 500 wins. Rahal, 22, Hildebrand 23, and De Silvestro, 22, all have solid rides for 2011 and all have talent to win. Rahal is the youngest ever driver to win a INDYCAR race, Hildebrand was the 2009 Lights champ and De Silverstro showed flashes of greatness on a underfunded team last season. INDYCAR can’t determine who wins races, well at least in most cases (Helio 2002 Indy 500), but they can capitalize off of Rahal, Hildebrand and De Silverstro winning races. Rahal and Hildebrand are both young Americans that INDYCAR build their brand on, and De Silverstro is the new Danica Patrick, but with better road/street skills. I would do back flips if Rahal won again at St. Pete, Hildebrand at Barber, and De Silverstro at Long Beach.

3. Keep Tony George’s presence off the radar

Tony George had his time and place to manage INDYCAR , and based off who you talked with, George had mixed results from 1996 – 2009. Tony’s return to the Hulman & Company board sends the wrong message to all fans of INDYCAR. Randy Bernard might be a wild character with crazy ideas, but the perception of INDYCAR (not IRL) after Randy’s first year is mostly if not all, POSITIVE! George’s name brings a negative association with INDYCAR and its nasty 12 year split. Nothing against Tony personally, my thought is that Tony had his time, now its Randy’s time.

4. Develop your ladder system and continue too build it

The official ladder system of American open wheel racing is officially called the MAZDA Road to Indy. The three step ladder to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series includes USF2000, Star Mazda, and Firestone Indy Lights. Scholarships are part of a program developed through INDYCAR to help the champion of each series to advance onto the next step in the ladder. The Road to Indy will be entering its second year of existence, and positive news appears too be emerging. Zach Veach, Sage Karam, Spencer Pigot, Shannon McIntosh, Conor Daly, and Bryan Clauson all will compete in various races throughout the 2011 MAZDA Road to Indy season and they all represent a growing development, AMERICAN DRIVERS. The most important aspects of the MAZDA Road to Indy, are two fold, allow for young drivers to have a chance to enter the ladder system, and two, allow drivers too move all the way up into the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indy 500. Click the link here to listen to several MAZDA Road to Indy drivers that have been guest on IndyCar Garage Weekly.

5. Capitalize on the 2012 car introduction

INDYCAR has built a lot of their new marketing strategy on the 2012 new IndyCar package. INDYCAR will have two show cars at the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May that will be built by Dallara, but won’t be official Dallara aero kits, as Dallara isn’t unveiling their aero kits until later in 2011. Chevy, Lotus and Honda will all build engines, and Chevy, Lotus, and Dallara will also build aero kits for the new cars. INDYCAR needs too build up so much momentum heading into 2012 car that new fans are attracted to the sport. Diehard and longtime fans didn’t want a spec series and Randy Bernard delivered on his promise by listening too those fans by introducing different looking cars and multiple engine manufactures. 2012 will need too be a home run year for INDYCAR, there is much too lose if the cars don’t impress.

Coming tomorrow Part 2 on: Oval racing, 2011 Indy 500, Bang for your buck, Brand development for your drivers, and VEGAS BABY


Tom said...

Simona is the new Danica? Next you'll tell me that Ellen and Tyra Banks are nearly identical because they are both female TV hosts! The two couldn't be more different. Simona's goal is to win so many races that no one even thinks about her gender. Danica will probably move to NASCAR because it's a bigger platform for the "Danica brand". When she goes, INDYCAR should fill the "sex-kitten driver" role with Maryeve Dufault - actually that would be an UPGRADE!

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