Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CEO-Gate Wrap-Up

For those that missed this bizarre news cycle, let me sum it up for you:
  • Robin Miller claimed that Tony George had been ousted from the position of CEO at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • The Indycar metasphere of posters and bloggers lit up like a roman candle.
  • Two hours later, Tony George held a press conference and said the reports were incorrect and that he remained as the CEO.
Sounds like the end of the story, but it isn't:
  • Robin Miller then announced that his source was impeccable and he stands behind his story.
Most analysis are now saying that Robin Miller's source probably meant that Tony George will step down "someday", but somewhere between the source's lips and Robin's keyboard a misunderstanding occurred.

The Racemind Take: TrackSideOnline was extremely cheritable to Miller when they said that "there does appear to be some truth to Miller's initial report". That truth only exists if at some point in the future George actually steps down, but for today I don't see a shred of truth in Robin's article. Remember, the original article began with ""The controversial, ground-breaking, tumultuous 20-year reign of Tony George at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over." That's a bit like annoucing in 1989 that terrorists just attacked the New York City, and then throwing your hands in the air on September 12th 2001 and declaring, "See! I got the story right except for the date."

Robin Miller: FAIL.

Tony George... Errr, Nevermind

Unbreaking News: For two hours today, the Indycar world burned with the news the Tony George was "ousted" by the IMS board, according to Robin Miller.

Only it is not true.

It appears that Robin Miller was given some information (the details of which are still unknown), and he interpreted it to mean that Tony George was ousted. How many times have we seen this already? Anyone remember Robin saying that F1 boss Bernie Eccelstone was buying CART?

I know, I know, good ole' Racemind passed the news along too. Yep. I got Miller'ed. I take some solace in seeing pressdog, MyNameIsIRL, 16thAndGeorgeTown, and a few others get Miller'ed as well. How about a beer, guys?

This ought to officially end The Robin Miller era as a credible source.

Some updates:
  • appears to be down at this moment. Wouldn't surprise me if it was overwhelmed with traffic.
  • continues to keep it's suspect article posted, along with the unaltered opening declaration "The controversial, ground-breaking, tumultuous 20-year reign of Tony George at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over." Cue the sound of air escaping that balloon.
  • The Indianapolis Star posted a spashy article by Curt Cavin: "Tony George: I'm Still In Charge of IMS".

Tony George, We Hardly Knew Ya

Breaking News: According to, Tony George has been voted out as CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He will remain as CEO of the Indycar Series.

This will certainly be the "Topic of the Day" in the Indycar world. Trackforum is discussing it here, and check the blogroll on the right as the major bloggers weigh in.

My primary concern at this point is the process for deciding on new leadership at IMS. If any parties from rival racing series find their way into IMS leadership, this could be a grave mistake.

Update: Or Did We Know Ya Afterall? Tony George is reportedly denying Robin Miller's report.

Luczo Dragon's New Marines Livery

Pretty sharp! Nice work as always, aowzone.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Twitter Makes Indy 2009 a New Experience

Dan Wheldon tweets about the car's handling, while Sarah has her crew broadcast out tweets while she's driving. Tony Kanaan's been keeping us in stitches all month. Heck, even Danica's gotten into the act.

For better or worse, this level in interconnectivity has been the story of the month.

The old-guard media like Curt Cavin have seemingly moved effortlessly to twitter's handheld-based medium, and the power of the technology really shines at a sprawling facility like Indy, where stories can happen a long way from the media center. When blogger MyNameIsIRL ran into Dan Wheldon and asked "Dan, what do you look for when cars bunch up?", we got Dan's response almost as it happened: "Paul Tracy."

Of course all this comes with a downside. Certain nameless young well-pedigreed drivers tend to tweet out the prosaic: "fried chicken for lunch, yum!" And do we really need to know how often the Vision drivers pass gas in their own motorcoaches?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vision Gets Hunter-Reay's Car Right

Well, the paint job anyway...

Now *this* is nice livery. Vision went from having one of the poorest examples of sponsor placement to perhaps having the easiest sponsor logo to read at speed.

Tony Kanaan and Wallace: Separated at Birth?

Tony Kanaan sent out this picture via twitter:

Separated at birth? You decide.

Calm Before the Storm at IMS Media Center

MyNameIsIRL has a great photo of a currently-empty media center room for bloggers at the Speedway. Might have to get a pass next year and blog from the track.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


In non-Indy news...

TV wins some... and loses some. TNT cancels one of the sharpest shows on TV, Trust Me, while NBC renewed geek-chic Chuck for another season.

From Ryan Hunter-Reay's Mailbag

Dear Ryan Hunter-Reay,

It's not you. It's me.

Your Car

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Time to Shorten The Month of May

Yes, I know. I've committed Indy 500 heresy. Summon the ghost of Hulman and purify me with ethanol.

But as we all sit around with no activity on the track on this gorgeous 70-degree Tuesday, we owe it to ourselves to ask: do we really need 20 days to run the Indy 500?

Just take a look at the track schedule, which is empty for yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We have two days off next week too. Couldn't we focus the attention of the racing world a little better if the action went for, say, 15 days without abatement?

Here's my proposed schedule for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 that cuts out the empty days and adds more days of practice to boot:

  • Fri May 14: Centennial Era Balloon Festival.
  • Sat May 15: Centennial Era Balloon Festival.
  • Sun May 16: Rookie Orientation.
  • Mon May 17: Track opens for practice.
  • Tue May 18: Practice.
  • Wed May 19: Practice.
  • Thu May 20: Practice.
  • Fri May 21: Fast Friday.
  • Sat May 22: Pole Day Qualifying.
  • Sun May 23: 2nd Day Qualifying / Coke Zero Music Festival.
  • Mon May 24: Bump Day Qualifying / Armed Forces Day.
  • Tue May 25: Indy Lights Practice (Rain Day Indycar Qualifying).
  • Wed May 26: Festival Community Day / Indy Lights Practice.
  • Thu May 27: Indy Lights Qualifying.
  • Fri May 28: Indy Lights Freedom 100 / Miller Lite Carb Day
  • Sat May 29: Festival Parade, Public Drivers Meeting, Autograph Session
  • Sun May 30: Indy 500
It's just a first draft, and I'm sure I left something off. I'm sure those living in Indianapolis would love for the festivities to draw on as long as possible, but packing all the fun into two weeks just might entice some visitors to stay for a week. Or two.

(Photo Credit: Humane Society of Indianapolis)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Have and Have-Not at Vision

I agree with some twitterers that have interpreted Ryan Hunter-Reay's comments as suggesting that Ed Carpenter's car is getting a speed treatment that his isn't. But it's borne out by the evidence: Hunter-Reay, a solid oval driver last year with mid-quality Rahal equipment, was embarrassingly slow at Kansas and hasn't looked any better at Indy.

And it seems like it's got to be more than lower-quality oil. Both Foyt cars made it into the field today while Hunter-Reay simply had to wave-off his attempt. What does Foyt have that Vision doesn't?

One year ago, I thought Vision was a team on the rise. But today when their cars have such a vast performance disparity, I'd say they've taken a huge step backward.

Friday, May 8, 2009


  • Tony Kanaan showed good team support by hanging out in the garage with his team while they thrashed his new car. Crew wrenches will tell you that they roll their eyes when drivers do this, but secretly nothing is more aloof than for a driver to disappear to his coach while the team stays up working of his car. The team sent him off to bed around 11:25pm.
  • I have big concerns about Ryan Hunter-Reay even making the field unless they change something.
  • Paul Tracy is driving that car on the knife's edge. He has a shot at the first 11, and I hope he makes it just to shake things up a little.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

So Who Is DAFCA Software?

A possible sponsor for the #17 Rahal Letterman entry got a bottom-of-the-page mention over at Furious Wedge: DAFCA Software. Who no one has ever heard of -- unless you are a chiphead.

Trying to connect the dots, I wandered over to It turns out that they produce post-silicon waffer validation systems, otherwise known as chip testing software. Now why would they want to be on the side of an Indycar?

Recall Danica's new livery for the Indy 500, which no longer carries Motorola and now features Boost Mobile in cross-promotion deal with Motorola. I'm going to go on a limb here and speculate that DAFCA is a leftover part of Motorola's cross-promotion. In short, Rahal took Andretti's castoff sponsor.

Now there's several things that still don't line up here... for example, why not just put DAFCA on Danica's car (or Marco's) as an associate? And why would DAFCA want Servia in the car instead of 2004 Indy 500 Champion Buddy Rice?

I may be off on some details, but I'm betting on a DAFCA - Motorola tie-in here.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Conquest Expected to Tap Alex Tagliani

Breaking News: After the today's post about Indy TBA's and Conquest Racing, I've received word now that Conquest will name Alex Tagliani for the Indy 500.

After I speculated about Tomas Scheckter and Alex Tagliani, I was told "You are correct about one of those two, and it isn't Scheckter." Sly, huh?

Nevertheless, this isn't a shock as Tagliani was the presumptive driver if Conquest answered the bell. But it's one more piece of the TBA puzzle.

Some Clues About Indy 500 TBA's

The two Conquest Racing Indy 500 entries are still listed as TBA (driver To Be Announced), but there's some signs of activity.

First, the team twitter ( sent out a teaser pic of a black-and-yellow bit of body work with this caption: "Our car will have a new paint scheme for Indy. We can't show what the car will look like just yet but you can try and guess!"

And guess I shall. The use of "our car" suggests they are planning to run just one car, not two. And the paint scheme looks vaguely like the Symantec car from last year:

(Photo Credit:

Now the word is that Symantec is not in a good financial position to be sponsoring Indycars, but it begs the obvious question: could this be a car for Tomas Scheckter?

...Or could it be for Alex Tagliani, Conquest's driver at Long Beach? Curt Cavin listed Tagliani as one of the Indy 500 rookies, even though Tagliani does not appear on the Indy 500 entry list.

Conquest has schedule an announcement for Tuesday, and I expect we will hear about either the sponsor or the driver -- hopefully both.