SBD/March 13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Long Offseason Taking Away IndyCar Momentum; Writer Questions Why Media Day Not In Indy

IndyCar has restricted testing times in an effort to cut costs
It has been half a year since the Izod IndyCar Series season ended, but it “may as well have been half a lifetime,” according to John Oreovicz of ESPN.com. Out of sight “equals out of mind, especially when the NASCAR and Formula One seasons run through the end of November.” Meanwhile, IndyCar teams are “prevented from testing their unchanged spec cars from a year ago and the offseason was dominated by politics, chiefly the ouster of popular former CEO Randy Bernard.” Testing has been “severely restricted in an effort to cut costs," and Ryan Hunter-Reay, the series' first American champ in six years, "got virtually zero publicity over the long offseason.” Although it is “almost impossible" to go up against the 38-week NASCAR season, IndyCar "must somehow find a way to keep itself relevant when it's not in action every couple of weeks.” This year's schedule “extends to mid-October, which will help, but starting the 2014 season a month earlier would provide additional benefit.” Oreovicz noted the press gathered for IndyCar’s media day Monday “found itself battling Internet and PA issues in an unheated warehouse on a chilly, rainy day" during testing at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, "500 miles from Indianapolis and the heart of the sport.” Oreovicz: “Is on-track action really necessary for the media, just 11 days before the start of the new season, after a six-month offseason? I think it would make more sense to gather the media in Indianapolis” (ESPN.com, 3/12).

EXAMINE & EVALUATE: IndyCar yesterday announced the formation of an advisory competition committee that will consist of a minimum of seven members to meet regularly throughout the year. The committee will make recommendations to the sanctioning body, with final decisions made by IndyCar management. The committee will consist of two IndyCar management reps appointed by the series CEO, two team reps, two drivers, four manufacturer members and one at-large member appointed by its CEO. Additionally, the committee chair can invite other key stakeholders such as promoters, track officials and broadcast partners to attend meetings (IndyCar). SPEEDTV.com’s Marshall Pruett noted one member of the new committee who, despite “the predictable panning of 'yet another committee being formed,' believes it will make a positive impact on the series going forward.” Meanwhile, a “mandatory dinner meeting for IndyCar drivers was held Tuesday night to allow Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, interim IndyCar CEO Jeff Belskus and interim IndyCar CFO Robbie Greene a chance to meet drivers one-on-one” (SPEEDTV.com, 3/12).
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