The Sad State of Motorsports in America

I've been a race fan for a very long time now, so it saddens me to see what has happened to racing in North America. Let's put this into perspective, the only popular racing series in the USA is NASCAR. Don't get me wrong, I think NASCAR is a great series, but the racing sort of gets stale. Nowadays those stock cars only experience close racing on two of the 30-something speedways. My gripe is with the state of American open-wheel racing. The most exciting racing existed in the 1990's in what was known as the CART Indycar World Series.
 

CART World Series
CART at the time was the biggest racing series in America, yes, even bigger than NASCAR. This series had everything; a mix of both oval and road/street course racing; all the big name sponsors; multiple chassis and engines; and some of the best names in racing. It was so popular that some said that had the series continue as is, it would have eclipsed Formula 1 as the world's most popular racing series. Names like Paul Tracy, Jacques Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, the Fittipaldis, the Andrettis, the Unsers, Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, among countless others. Of course the "main event" every year was the Indianapolis 500. That's where the trouble begins. Tony George is the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, heir of the founder, his grandfather. CART canned him from the board of directors because he was causing a ruckus. George was concerned that the series had become too international, that the series wasn't "grass roots" enough. So the spiteful man formed the Indy Racing League, an inferior ovals only series. It took the Indy 500 along with it.
 
Tony George, the man that ruined racing in America
The IRL emphasized an American only, spec series. The first season in 1996 only had three races on the schedule and used the leftover chassis and engine from CART's previous season. From than on, open-wheel race fans were split along two lines, all the while NASCAR gained popularity. Even though CART was the superior series in terms of racing quality, the IRL always had their trump card, the Indy 500. Soon enough the top teams from CART defected into the IRL. The CART racers were turbo-charged and could reach top speeds of 240 mph. While the IRL racers were ugly, slow and naturally aspirated. This meant that racing in the IRL was cheaper, thus why the teams shifted. The two series both lost popularity and revenue. In 2003 CART was rebranded as the Champ Car World Series and established itself as road/street course only. Both series in 2008 realised that a merger was necessary.
 

The car that raced one season
Unfortunately, the IRL took control from there, still utilising the IRL's uncompetitive chassis and engine. Over the next year, the former Champ Car team got used to the new series, the IndyCar Series. But unless some changes are made, this reunited series will never succeed and we may never see exciting racing ever again. All the big name drivers have since retired or gone on to other series, with the exception of few. The series are using the same Dallara chassis which since the early 2000's have not received drastic changes. Champ Car's last season featured a new redesigned Panoz chassis, unfortunately this beautiful chassis has not been tested on ovals and are now sitting in warehouses. The current series have for now returned to a 50/50 oval and road course schedule. But, since a new chassis and engine is not coming to fruition until 2012. They have made slight changes to the current chassis but this is just a quick fix. Also the series have signed a contract with TV network Versus to show a majority of the IndyCar races. Unfortunately many people do not have Versus and can't watch races. This year the average Nielson Rating was 0.2, which equates to about 200.000 households compared to NASCAR's 1.8s. Also many stands sit empty during these races. For now the series can only hope to rebuild it's fanbase and return to the status of North America's great motorsport achievement.
 
I now end this blog with a few CART tribute videos that showcased real racing and why it had been so popular.
 
   
   
  What are your thoughts on racing in America? Have I tried to hit it spot on or am I completely wrong? Please share your thoughts.
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Edited by FrankCanada97

I've been a race fan for a very long time now, so it saddens me to see what has happened to racing in North America. Let's put this into perspective, the only popular racing series in the USA is NASCAR. Don't get me wrong, I think NASCAR is a great series, but the racing sort of gets stale. Nowadays those stock cars only experience close racing on two of the 30-something speedways. My gripe is with the state of American open-wheel racing. The most exciting racing existed in the 1990's in what was known as the CART Indycar World Series.
 

CART World Series
CART at the time was the biggest racing series in America, yes, even bigger than NASCAR. This series had everything; a mix of both oval and road/street course racing; all the big name sponsors; multiple chassis and engines; and some of the best names in racing. It was so popular that some said that had the series continue as is, it would have eclipsed Formula 1 as the world's most popular racing series. Names like Paul Tracy, Jacques Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, the Fittipaldis, the Andrettis, the Unsers, Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, among countless others. Of course the "main event" every year was the Indianapolis 500. That's where the trouble begins. Tony George is the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, heir of the founder, his grandfather. CART canned him from the board of directors because he was causing a ruckus. George was concerned that the series had become too international, that the series wasn't "grass roots" enough. So the spiteful man formed the Indy Racing League, an inferior ovals only series. It took the Indy 500 along with it.
 
Tony George, the man that ruined racing in America
The IRL emphasized an American only, spec series. The first season in 1996 only had three races on the schedule and used the leftover chassis and engine from CART's previous season. From than on, open-wheel race fans were split along two lines, all the while NASCAR gained popularity. Even though CART was the superior series in terms of racing quality, the IRL always had their trump card, the Indy 500. Soon enough the top teams from CART defected into the IRL. The CART racers were turbo-charged and could reach top speeds of 240 mph. While the IRL racers were ugly, slow and naturally aspirated. This meant that racing in the IRL was cheaper, thus why the teams shifted. The two series both lost popularity and revenue. In 2003 CART was rebranded as the Champ Car World Series and established itself as road/street course only. Both series in 2008 realised that a merger was necessary.
 

The car that raced one season
Unfortunately, the IRL took control from there, still utilising the IRL's uncompetitive chassis and engine. Over the next year, the former Champ Car team got used to the new series, the IndyCar Series. But unless some changes are made, this reunited series will never succeed and we may never see exciting racing ever again. All the big name drivers have since retired or gone on to other series, with the exception of few. The series are using the same Dallara chassis which since the early 2000's have not received drastic changes. Champ Car's last season featured a new redesigned Panoz chassis, unfortunately this beautiful chassis has not been tested on ovals and are now sitting in warehouses. The current series have for now returned to a 50/50 oval and road course schedule. But, since a new chassis and engine is not coming to fruition until 2012. They have made slight changes to the current chassis but this is just a quick fix. Also the series have signed a contract with TV network Versus to show a majority of the IndyCar races. Unfortunately many people do not have Versus and can't watch races. This year the average Nielson Rating was 0.2, which equates to about 200.000 households compared to NASCAR's 1.8s. Also many stands sit empty during these races. For now the series can only hope to rebuild it's fanbase and return to the status of North America's great motorsport achievement.
 
I now end this blog with a few CART tribute videos that showcased real racing and why it had been so popular.
 
   
   
  What are your thoughts on racing in America? Have I tried to hit it spot on or am I completely wrong? Please share your thoughts.
Posted by Coltonio7

Cars are cool.

Posted by AgentJ

I'll watch some motorsports, but I literally get no enjoyment from watching Nascar. I totally agree with the "they're making a left turn!" people. Those indy and stock car races are much more exciting, but they aren't on nearly as often

Posted by FrankCanada97
@AgentJ said:
" I'll watch some motorsports, but I literally get no enjoyment from watching Nascar. I totally agree with the "they're making a left turn!" people. Those indy and stock car races are much more exciting, but they aren't on nearly as often "
To clear up NASCAR is Stock Car racing, and yes they are only designed to turn left. It is literally a pain to watch drivers try to maneuver those tanks around a road course.
Posted by AgentJ
@FrankCanada97 said:
" @AgentJ said:
" I'll watch some motorsports, but I literally get no enjoyment from watching Nascar. I totally agree with the "they're making a left turn!" people. Those indy and stock car races are much more exciting, but they aren't on nearly as often "
To clear up NASCAR is Stock Car racing, and yes they are only designed to turn left. It is literally a pain to watch drivers try to maneuver those tanks around a road course. "
Oh, I'm obviously not knowledgable about either sport (since I dont watch Nascar and the others aren't on enough) but I meant like the races they had at the X games. Those are exciting. 
Posted by CactusWolf

I can't stand NASCAR.
 
I attend the Indy 500 every year though.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@AgentJ said:
" @FrankCanada97 said:
" @AgentJ said:
" I'll watch some motorsports, but I literally get no enjoyment from watching Nascar. I totally agree with the "they're making a left turn!" people. Those indy and stock car races are much more exciting, but they aren't on nearly as often "
To clear up NASCAR is Stock Car racing, and yes they are only designed to turn left. It is literally a pain to watch drivers try to maneuver those tanks around a road course. "
Oh, I'm obviously not knowledgable about either sport (since I dont watch Nascar and the others aren't on enough) but I meant like the races they had at the X games. Those are exciting.  "
Oh you mean rally racing? The cars race on dirt tracks right?
Posted by AgentJ
@FrankCanada97 said:
" @AgentJ said:
" @FrankCanada97 said:
" @AgentJ said:
" I'll watch some motorsports, but I literally get no enjoyment from watching Nascar. I totally agree with the "they're making a left turn!" people. Those indy and stock car races are much more exciting, but they aren't on nearly as often "
To clear up NASCAR is Stock Car racing, and yes they are only designed to turn left. It is literally a pain to watch drivers try to maneuver those tanks around a road course. "
Oh, I'm obviously not knowledgable about either sport (since I dont watch Nascar and the others aren't on enough) but I meant like the races they had at the X games. Those are exciting.  "
Oh you mean rally racing? The cars race on dirt tracks right? "
I guess it is rally. They start off in the stadium on dirt, then go outside on the pavement
Posted by FrankCanada97
@wordsgohere: May I ask since what year?
Posted by CactusWolf
@FrankCanada97: I've been going as long as I can remember.  Can't give an exact year.
 
I'm only 16 though, for what it's worth.
Posted by FrankCanada97

By the way, how was my writing?

Posted by AgentJ
@FrankCanada97: It's pretty hard for someone that doesn't know anything about racing to understand, but if you were writing for a racing magazine I think it'd probably fit right in. 
Posted by FrankCanada97
@AgentJ: Thanks, I think its a good start. Did you enjoy the videos I posted?
Edited by AgentJ
@FrankCanada97:
I only watched the first one, but it was certainly entertaining. 
Posted by the_stig

The last few years the racing scene in North America hasn't been the best.  NASCAR isn't bad, I usually watch the big name oval events as well as the road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkings Glen.  There is no F1 at all in North America.  The 2005 F1 USGP was a joke of a race (thanks Michelin) and I still don't understand why Bernie Ecclestone cancelled the Canadian F1 GP.  I usually end up watching ALMS the most but due to the lack of competition isn't the most entertaining either.  At the least the ALMS still manages to go the the 24 Hours of Le Mans every.  I keep meaning to try and watch the Rolex Sports Car series which doesn't seem to be too bad.  I do miss some good open wheel racing in North America as well.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@the_stig: I usually catch the season opener of ALMS and the Rolex Sports Car series when the field is larger. I hear that the Canadian GP is returning in 2010 though.
Posted by RsistncE

Motor sport. That's definitely an oxymoron.

Posted by iam3green

i like nascar. i sometimes watch it when it's on. i don't like forumal 1 racing. the cars seem faster but idk i just don't like the series.

Posted by mikevanpwn

I used to be way into NASCAR, like watch 100% of all 36 races live on TV.  Don't have the time for that now.  Although I like that Rally Racing is becoming more popular in America, thats always fun to watch.

Posted by kmdrkul

I make it a point to go see the Long Beach Grand Prix every year.

Posted by HolyCrapItsAdam

Unfortunately, the majority of people in the U.S are only interested in Stock Car and Drag Racing. It seems that America doesn't like right hand turns that much. I can't stand either of the aforementioned forms of racing which is why I only watch Formula 1, Rally, SBK, MotoGP, LeMans and practically anything else that involves right turns. Im a rebel I guess.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@RsistncE: You have to understand that motorsports require tremendous athletic ability.
Posted by FrankCanada97
@kmdrkul said:
" I make it a point to go see the Long Beach Grand Prix every year. "
Did you see this year's long Beach Grand Prix? It was the first time the IndyCar series came there since Champ Car ceased to exist. How did it compare to past Champ Car races there?
Posted by crunchUK

NASCAR is so boring it's unbelievable. I cannot comprehend how more than 4 people in the world find it enjoyable. Really though im not much of a fan of any motorsport. I used to watch lots of F1 but dont you feel it's gotten so high tech it's silly? Nothing exciting really happens much, its too predictable. Which is why i reckon there should be a new regulation banning downforce. That would be sweet TV

Posted by FrankCanada97
@crunchUK said:
" NASCAR is so boring it's unbelievable. I cannot comprehend how more than 4 people in the world find it enjoyable. Really though im not much of a fan of any motorsport. I used to watch lots of F1 but dont you feel it's gotten so high tech it's silly? Nothing exciting really happens much, its too predictable. Which is why i reckon there should be a new regulation banning downforce. That would be sweet TV "
Yeah, that's the problem with Formula One, usually after the first lap, the race is decided. In the IndyCar Series the main problem that inhibits passing is the downforce.
Posted by RsistncE
@FrankCanada97: You're kidding...right?
Posted by crunchUK
@RsistncE said:
" @FrankCanada97: You're kidding...right? "
You obviously haven't watched that episode of top gear where richard hammond drives an F1 car
Posted by RsistncE
@crunchUK: Obviously I have watched MOST episodes of Top Gear.
 
I'm fully aware of the forces put on the body while driving really fast. None of these compare to REAL athletics though. Hammond isn't exactly in great shape anyways from what I've seen of him. The fact that ultra old people can do well racing cars tells you that physical shape will improve your odds of winning but they aren't really all that necessary. It's really no different than saying, "Video games are a sport because being in good shape improves your odds of winning."
Posted by Capitalism

I wish motosports would go away forever

Posted by AngryKraut

Paul Tracy recently visited the base here in Edmonton. Kind of a meet and greet the troops I guess. I didn't go, but some of my buddies said he was a cool *shrug*.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@AngryKraut: I think that was the week they had a race in Edmonton a  month ago, his sponsor that week was woundedwarriors.ca. So he was doing some charity work during that time.
Posted by FrankCanada97
@RsistncE said:
" @crunchUK: Obviously I have watched MOST episodes of Top Gear.  I'm fully aware of the forces put on the body while driving really fast. None of these compare to REAL athletics though. Hammond isn't exactly in great shape anyways from what I've seen of him. The fact that ultra old people can do well racing cars tells you that physical shape will improve your odds of winning but they aren't really all that necessary. It's really no different than saying, "Video games are a sport because being in good shape improves your odds of winning." "
Ultra old people can do well in NASCAR, but hardly anything else.
Posted by RsistncE
@FrankCanada97: That's just got to do with the fact that older people have frail bodies that can't handle the higher forces enacted on them in higher speed situations. Really all you need is biomass that can handle those forces and you're good to go. That's hardly athletic.
Posted by MachoFantastico

We use to get Indy Car over here in the UK (maybe still do, I don't have the premium sports channels anymore) and I use to enjoy that series quite a lot. But then that whole mess happened and well, I lost what interest I had. Though if I'm honest I've always been a Formula One fan more then anything. Concerning thing is, the same thing that happened to Indy Car almost happened to F1 this year and might still do. But hopefully it's safe for a short while.  
 
I might upset some folks on here but Nascar I found to be absolute trash (my opinion). Maybe I missed something but it was a truly boring series to watch and I watched it often on Sunday nights. Indy Car on the other hand was exciting and worth watching, but Nascar was (as you said) 'stale' at times. I think American still as a lot to offer motorsport on a global standpoint, what's your opinion on USF1 coming into the championship next year and who do you think will be their two drivers?

Posted by AngryKraut
@FrankCanada97: Ya it was. Everyone on base was given free tickets to the races. I think i had plans for that weekend, so i didn't go.
Edited by FrankCanada97
@TrueEnglishGent said:

" We use to get Indy Car over here in the UK (maybe still do, I don't have the premium sports channels anymore) and I use to enjoy that series quite a lot. But then that whole mess happened and well, I lost what interest I had. Though if I'm honest I've always been a Formula One fan more then anything. Concerning thing is, the same thing that happened to Indy Car almost happened to F1 this year and might still do. But hopefully it's safe for a short while.   I might upset some folks on here but Nascar I found to be absolute trash (my opinion). Maybe I missed something but it was a truly boring series to watch and I watched it often on Sunday nights. Indy Car on the other hand was exciting and worth watching, but Nascar was (as you said) 'stale' at times. I think American still as a lot to offer motorsport on a global standpoint, what's your opinion on USF1 coming into the championship next year and who do you think will be their two drivers? "

NASCAR being crap seems to be the general opinion here. Anyways, I've heard rumors that Scotsman and current IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti has been linked to a seat as well as American Graham Rahal. I think that it's good to have another team in F1, since BMW is more than likely dropping out, also their engine supplier, Cosworth will be returning, which is good news for the owners. (Former Champ Car owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven)
Posted by crunchUK
@RsistncE said:
" @FrankCanada97: That's just got to do with the fact that older people have frail bodies that can't handle the higher forces enacted on them in higher speed situations. Really all you need is biomass that can handle those forces and you're good to go. That's hardly athletic. "
Last time i looked, micheal schumacher ISN'T going to stand in for felipe masa after all. Remind me why that was.......
Posted by RsistncE
@crunchUK: Not really sure what you're alluding to...but ok.
Posted by FrankCanada97
@HolyCrapItsAdam said:
" Unfortunately, the majority of people in the U.S are only interested in Stock Car and Drag Racing. It seems that America doesn't like right hand turns that much. I can't stand either of the aforementioned forms of racing which is why I only watch Formula 1, Rally, SBK, MotoGP, LeMans and practically anything else that involves right turns. Im a rebel I guess. "
You aren't alone, those people were the ones that kept Champ Car alive for 5 seasons, when it went to an all road/street course format.
Posted by kmdrkul
@RsistncE said:
" @crunchUK: Obviously I have watched MOST episodes of Top Gear.  I'm fully aware of the forces put on the body while driving really fast. None of these compare to REAL athletics though. Hammond isn't exactly in great shape anyways from what I've seen of him. The fact that ultra old people can do well racing cars tells you that physical shape will improve your odds of winning but they aren't really all that necessary. It's really no different than saying, "Video games are a sport because being in good shape improves your odds of winning." "
If bowling and golf are considered sports, then motorsports can be too :P
Posted by RsistncE
@kmdrkul: Oh man, bowling and golf are definitely NOT sports.
Posted by animateria

I absolutely adore Rally Championships. (Used to watch a lot of WRC)
 
Any TOCA championships are fairly exciting as well. 

Though honestly living in the US, I can't get much footage anywhere.
 

IF ANYONE HAS A LINK TO A GOOD WEBSITE PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME!
 
 
Ahem...
 
Overall though, with a lot of teams dropping out of championships around the globe,  it's getting less and less exciting.

Posted by Jared

I cannot stand watching NASCAR, too boring in my opinion. Now Rally Racing is another story, that's actually fun to watch.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@animateria:
@Jared:
Rally racing is fun, but most Americans have been conditioned to watch "side-by-side" racing, which of course hasn't been happening here in a long time.
Posted by Claude

I grew up in Nascar country, North Carolina. I respect the other driving sports, but Nascar brings more of a soap opera to the sport of racing. I wish Nascar would open up some more, restrictor plate racing sucks. My home town has a small oval track which I used to frequent when I was a kid. From where I live, I can still hear the Saturday night races.
 
I like oval tracks, even in video games. Oval tracks are different from track to track and thus, it comes down to team work and how you set your car up for every track. I think Nascar is feeling the pinch of the purse, they're not growing like they once did. I've seen some good races and even had an opportunity to go to a few events. Good times.

Posted by FrankCanada97
@Claude: I think we can agree that all forms of racing have been in decline as of late.
Posted by crunchUK
@RsistncE said:
" @crunchUK: Not really sure what you're alluding to...but ok. "
My point being, F1 drivers retire at an earlier age then permiership footballers due to physical condition
Posted by FrankCanada97
@crunchUK said:
" @RsistncE said:
" @crunchUK: Not really sure what you're alluding to...but ok. "
My point being, F1 drivers retire at an earlier age then permiership footballers due to physical condition "
Of course, there are some exceptions to that statement.
Posted by FrankCanada97
@RsistncE said:
" @kmdrkul: Oh man, bowling and golf are definitely NOT sports. "
Breaking news! Golf is being considered for addition to the 2016 Olympic Games!
Posted by TwoOneFive

I stilly love INDY. Can't wait till next year, theyre bringing back the super charged vehicles.   And I watch LeMans anytime i get a chance, which is not often here in the states. 
I also have tremendous respect, sure its just left turns all day but i hate it when people assume its easier than other motorsports, all I do is point them towards all of the racers from different racing sports who decided to have a go a NASCAR. Time and Time again you will find them failig miserably. NASCAR drivers are incredibly talented. just wanted to say that. 

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