Monday, August 03, 2009


* Congratulations to the IRL management and its drivers for finally producing a compelling race this season, Saturday night at Kentucky, using new aero rules and Honda's version of Push-to-Pass. (You could tell by the tone of his voice Bob Jenkins was disappointed Ed Carpenter didn't win. By the way, guys, one good race does NOT mean the "IRL Is Back.") When, however, will League leaders get embarrassed about the lack of decision-making consistency that leaves so many in the industry disillusioned? Latest example: Last weekend's 2010 schedule announcement. It was only the other year that management's stated philosophy was to shorten/condense the schedule, to minimize conflicts with NFL, college football and NASCAR's Chase. To quote from the release on 2010: "More breaks also are built into the schedule . . ." Yes, we notice.

* My theory: The 2010 IRL schedule makes it at least a little more likely Danica Patrick will go to NASCAR. Two fewer ovals (Milwaukee and Richmond), replaced by two more road races (Brazil -- site hasn't even been determined -- and Alabama -- if Danica and her handlers think it's important for her to compete in Alabama, it will be at Talladega), a race in Brazil that does nothing for her non-stop push to celebrity, the oval in marketing-rich New Hampshire (Boston/New England) that went unsigned. Add this to the list of League management instability, yo-yo decision-making, micro viewership on Versus, etc.

* Kentucky: Another IRL weekend. Another "Danica Patrick is in no hurry to make a decision about her racing future" pre-race non-news story from a local AP reporter who apparently didn't bother to Google and see that basically the same thing has been written by every local AP writer before every IRL race for months. Enough!

* Ken Rosenthal, of Fox Sports, was quoted thusly last week in USA Today on the volume of false baseball trade rumors:

"When I started, the biggest sin of all was to be wrong. But it just blows my mind that people don't feel bad about being wrong. Our standards have dropped. And it botheres the hell out of me."

* Allstate was candid in explaining the end of its title sponsorship of NASCAR-at-Indianapolis:

“When we looked at all of our business results,” said Pam Hollander, Allstate’s director of sponsorships and promotions, “they were just stronger in other properties.”

* Steve Ballard, in an Indianapolis Star posting last week, wrote that "I am moving to another job at the Star, and while I expect to still be involved in the coverage of the major events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I won't be covering NASCAR on a regular basis."

* From the Journalists-as-Celebrities File: Katie Couric told David Letterman that Michael Jackson, though a friend, wanted to ask her out on a date. What made her think we should know that? Elsewhere, showing again how ridiculous cable news has become in too many cases, Geraldo interviewed Al Sharpton about -- get this -- the Cash for Clunkers program. Al Sharpton!

* The late PR legend Jim Chapman was a liberal and, I am sure, would have delighted in Barack Obama's election. But, I also am sure, Mr. Chapman would have cringed at a report last week: White House aides collected credit card numbers from business leaders who were invited to the White House for lunch with the president. An Obama mouthpiece said the execs were billed for their meals to avoid a conflict of interest. Jim would immediately have pointed out the importance of hospitality and following social convention.

* Here's a thought-provoking read from Susan Wade (yes, I'm mentioned) on and another from Gordon Kirby on his site:

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:

August 5 -- Newsmaker: Tony Schumacher. Panelists: Dave Kallmann, Susan Wade, Jon Asher.

August 12 -- Newsmakers: Vicki O'Connor (Atlantic series), John Doonan (Mazda), Clark Campbell (VW). Panelists: Jeremy Shaw, Mike Kerchner, Jamie Reynolds.

August 19 -- Newsmaker: Brian Wolfe (Ford North America Motorsports director). Panelists: Dustin Long, Larry Henry, Bob Margolis.

August 26 -- Newsmaker: Ashley Force Hood. Panelists: TBA.

[ Tony Schumacher news nugget Thursday . . . ]