• UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM:

Monday, July 27, 2009

THIS IS IT

It's the show you -- and I -- have been waiting for.

Since I began hosting The Race Reporters just over two months ago, I've wanted to get Robin Miller and Gordon Kirby together for a one-hour roundtable discussion. Timing is everything. Given the recent executive management chaos at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League, the timing is perfect.

So, we'll do it Wednesday, for one hour, 7 p.m. EDT on http://powerupchannel.com/ . Combined, we'll bring to the show about 125 years of Indy Car reporting and industry experience. We'll devote the entire show to the current state, and the future, of IMS, the Indy 500, and the IRL.

Even better, Dario Franchitti (left) will join us, as Newsmaker of the Week.

No HYPE -- you will not want to miss this one. I intend to say some things I previously haven't revealed relating to my own up-close-and-personal experiences. Things which help explain how and why things have gotten to this perilous point.

No, this won't be a bomb-throwing session. I would say this to the IMS/IRL can-do-no-wrong chatroomers: Tune-in with an open mind, because, if you LISTEN, you'll LEARN.

And, if you didn't hear it, we made some news on last week's The Race Reporters. Ed Hinton, the very well-known and experienced ESPN.com writer, said his reporting indicates the price tag for IMS -- even in a buyer's market -- could reach $1.5 billion. And Ray Evernham left open the possibility he could join Hendrick Motorsports at some point, perhaps to work on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team. You can listen to that show using this link:
http://www.modavox.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=39886
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* It really doesn't matter if Joie Chitwood departs IMS of his own choice, because he thinks his new job at ISC is better, for family reasons, or if it's a vote of no-confidence in the Hulman-George family ownership. What is a FACT is it's more management instability, which continues to undercut the Speedway, and the IRL. This was reinforced by Tony George's posting on his Vision team's website Sunday (no coincidence this was done the day of the Brickyard) in which he admitted to being "perplexed" by the family Board's decision to remove him as CEO and added he had "not received a reasonable explanation as to why." George also conceded he was "dismissed." I can tell you there has been a widely-held belief within the industry for decades of extreme disfunction within the H-G family and it's all proven to be TRUE despite the by-rote denials from the mouthpieces, who should now be thoroughly embarrassed.
http://www.visionracing.com/news/index.cfm?cid=23194

* I'm glad to see pro-active PR hasn't totally gone the way of the Offy. The most active PR man in the land last week likely was Andy Hall, getting ESPN announcers interviewed in newspapers and on radio shows, in the run-up to the start of the ESPN/ABC portion of the Sprint Cup season at Indy. Yes, somebody out there is actually MAKING it happen.

* I wish series' broadcasters who constantly use "we, us, our" would understand how it undercuts their own credibility.

* Windy McDonald, the voice of now-closed Manzanita Speedway, says he'll retire after 52 years behind a microphone. Windy says he'll wrap up with a couple of Arizona short track announcing assignments this fall.

* Sadly, and terribly, this is what "journalism" has come to: Adam Cooper's posting on SpeedTV.com just hours after Felipe Massa's accident last Saturday (bold emphasis mine): "Could Michael Schumacher prove to be the ideal candidate to stand in for Felipe Massa at the European GP . . . While it is way too early for the team to make any comment, and we are just throwing this into the mix . . ." Just throwing this into the mix -- whatever happened to editors who would have insisted on some facts or spiked such copy, or these days, pressed the delete button?

* How could you tell President Obama's prime-time news conference last week didn't go well? MSNBC egomaniac Chris Matthews quickly tried to change the subject -- back to former Vice President Cheney and his aide, Scooter Libby. (!)
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A couple of links of significance from last week:

Sports Business Journal's report on the decline of sports coverage in daily newspapers. Be sure to read the sidebars to see how some leagues/teams are trying to compensate. It's an excellent package.
http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/63034

Plus, Ed Hinton's great ESPN.com column on the changing balance-of-power in American motorsports, as controlled by the Hulman-George, France and Smith families.
http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=4341003

[ Dario Franchitti news nuggest Thursday . . . ]