IndyCar loses momentum gained after successful Indianapolis 500

  • Follow Nascar

T here’s a lot of attention on IndyCar right now, some of it for the right reasons – the competition, the stars and the storylines – and some it for the same old problems that seem to plague the series.

Last week was a perfect mix of the good and bad for IndyCar, which sailed out of a successful Indianapolis 500 hoping to capitalize on a nice television rating and strong buzz around the series. Then the excitement was snuffed out two days after the race by roughly 140 characters on Twitter.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard tweeted last Tuesday that a team owner was trying to get him fired, proving that some things never change for a series that’s constantly held back by internal bickering and personal agendas. So just like that, the talk shifted from Dario Franchitti’s third Indy 500 victory to the poisonous politics of open-wheel racing.

Even worse, when the opportunity arrived for the attention to shift back to the track, things literally fell apart.

Curious fans who tuned in Sunday to see IndyCar return to Detroit for the first time since 2008 were subjected instead to a 2-hour delay because portions of the Belle Isle street course began to crumble.

The surface came apart in chunks, and the severity wasn’t realized until James Hinchcliffe drove over a pot hole that sent his car sailing into a tire barrier.

The sold-out crowd headed for the gates as crews furiously worked to fill the gaps in the track with expoxy. When the race finally resumed, it was shortened 30 laps to create a 15-lap shootout to the finish.

It might have made the best out of a bad situation, but reaction to the move was decidedly mixed.

The delay in Detroit was certainly not the follow IndyCar needed after Indianapolis. But sometimes things happen despite all the best efforts to put on a first-class show, and all anyone can do is try to roll with it.

Sadly, some people won’t see it that way. They’ll throw their hands up in disgust and use the shoddy track conditions as yet another example of IndyCar screwing up everything it touches. Some might even point to Bernard, who seems to take the blame for every issue that ails IndyCar.

There’s no overnight fix for IndyCar, and it’s terribly unfair to think Bernard should have turned it all around in his 27 months on the job.

Yes, he’s made mistakes, and because he’s a promoter at heart and lacks any racing background, team owners have legitimate gripes about some of Bernard’s decisions. But, more important, he’s brought an energy back into IndyCar.

People are paying attention again, just maybe not in the numbers that the sport needs.

BUSCH SUSPENDED

NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch for one week for verbally abusing a media member.

NASCAR says that Busch’s behavior after Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover was in violation of his probation, which he was put on after an altercation with Ryan Newman’s crew members

That probation is now extended through the end of the year.

Busch was asked by a reporter from The Sporting News on Saturday if being on probation changed the way he raced. Busch’s responded by saying being on probation stopped him from beating up the reporter for asking stupid questions.

Busch will not be allowed to enter a NASCAR-sanctioned race until June 13.

– Associated Press


Top headlines

Holiday will see cops, cheap gas

Authorities in Georgia and South Carolina are teaming up this weekend to target impaired drivers and protect the 1.2 million motorists in the two states who plan to travel in what AAA projects ...
Search Augusta jobs