11/6/09

What's Next?


Yesterday we saw the marvelous unveiling of Izod as the "first legitimate title sponsor" the league has seen. The now branded Izod Indycar Series (has a nice ring to it I think) got a big boost yesterday and is now in a much better position in the minds of fans and anyone related to the IRL and ICS, as well as financially. Obviously this isn't the thing that means the IRL will suddenly rise to the top of the motorsports scene, but it's a start. It's a partner who believes in the Indycar Series and is willing to put major dough behind it to increase it's profile in North America.

Izod sees the IICS as "an amazing sport with so many different stories and we see it as an under-developed asset and brand." I have not heard sponsors speak so highly (while at the same time, demeaning) of the series, and referring to it as an asset. Of course, company's that throw money around to sponsor the IRL or their teams obviously regard it as an asset, or they wouldn't do it, but I think this is the first time I've actually seen a company refer to the IRL as an asset in public.

That's one announcement down, but what is next in the "Hey, look! The sun is out everyone!" Izod Indycar Series? I mean, we've been strung along for a while now in regards to the Title Sponsorship, while there are obviously more announcements that need to be made.

So, first of all, Brazil needs to be announced. Whether that means that we are announcing the cancellation of the race, or the location of the confirmed race, fans and sponsors need to hear something, positive or negative, soon. This race is spinning out of control, and it is making the IRL look bad right now, and they are hurting other peoples plans for the race and 2010 season. Right now, anyone in North America is most likely holding off to book their flights down to Rio, or wherever this race might occur, simply so they don't get stuck with a plane ticket for the trip down for a nice 3 day vacation with no racing. Aside from that, De Ferran Motorsports is waiting word regarding the Brazil race to determine their 2010 plans. When Curt Cavin said that Gil de Ferran was bringing his team to Indycars in 2010, it would be with APEX-Brazil money for one car and possibly Formula Dream for the other. I would think that APEX-Brazil wants to make sure they have a race in Brazil before they dish out the money to support a full year effort with de Ferran.

Next on the list of announcements is the future of the Dallara and Honda engines. It's been a while since this has seen the mainstream on Indycar news, simply because of the Brazil and Title Sponsor/Izod rumors and news, but this is still obviously a big concern for Indycar fans. People are getting antsy, and simply want to know the deadline for a new car to hit ovals and road courses in North America. It's such a long and drawn out process that seemed like it was going well when the IRL held those engine discussion groups a while back, but since then, not much has happened. Just rumors of people not being interested, except the Audi/VW/Porsche group. Hey, IRL, atleast give us the feeling you're still working on this. Leak some rumors out to Curt Cavin or something, just get this back in the news, please. We want more manufacturers of both engines and chassis', and I'd think Izod does too.

Another announcement that needs to be looked at is the US-F2000 series and the FIL series. A schedule has been announced for the US-F2000 series which is good, however, not much else. But I'm more concerned with how this fits into the future ladder of North America's open wheel scene. There were rumors that Mazda would be involved with the US-F2000 series, and that they would also badge the Firestone Indy Lights series engines as a way to re-structure their ladder system to the AOWR big leagues (ie: IRL). Getting Mazda into the FIL series would be a big plus money wise and promotion wise. They were big in Champ Car during it's final season, even though they weren't the engine manufacturers. They provided money to advertising, and ran commercials at most, if not all races. They are currently the Atlantic Series engine badger, but they must be realizing, as we all are now (unfortunately) that the Atlantic Series is on it's last legs. If they want to continue providing a path to the Indy 500, they need to be in the US-F2000 series and the Firestone Indy Lights series. And simply put, the Firestone Indy Lights need an automotive giant to provide the engines. They've been nameless too long.

And the last announcement I am hoping for, and is almost nessicary based on the TV Ratings this year, is the NBC/Comcast deal. It's rumored the takeover of NBC by Comcast is imminent, and TV experts see a new Comcast NBC with Versus by it's side as a potential terror for ESPN and ESPN2. If we can get involved with NBC somehow, instead of ABC who could care less about us, we would be in much better shape then we are right now, and people would be a lot more willing to invest in the IRL knowing about a connection to network television.

Hopefully we hear about all this stuff soon, as we are on a wave of momentum right now. The IRL needs to ride this as best they can and approach all opportunities positively, and with an open mind. If they do that, we'll be good for a while, and will have the opportunity to grow back to what AOWR used to be.

11/5/09

The Day Is Here

Boy, the IRL is good at keeping secrets aren't they? I mean todays announcement could be anything from the sale of IMS to the announcement of new cars for the Indycar Series and FIL.

Obviously, if we are told anything except for the title sponsor announcement today when the IRL officials gather at IMS, I think there will be a revolt. Robin Miller, Curt Cavin, and anyone with a brother who has an uncle working on an IRL team somehow has some inside info on the Izod deal worth approximately $10,000,000, of which, will be split among the teams, the series, marketing, and finding Ryan Hunter-Reay a real ride (Hooray!).

This is all good news, and it is pretty obvious it is going to happen today around 2:00pm. I'm hoping, somewhere in there, is a hidden announcement about Brazil. If that happens, I'll fall off my seat and finally breath easily.

So where does RHR land? According to both Cavin and Miller, he will join Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, and Marco Andretti at Team Michael Andretti Green Motorsports Racing. Miller says that 7 digits of the Izod title sponsorship is geared towards sponsoring RHR in a real ride (sorry AJ, you just don't count anymore), and Cavin is saying RHR is keeping his mouth shut seeing how he has signed a non-disclosure agreement with whatever team it is.

So, let's look at the big picture here. In 2010, we will have Izod sponsorship for the "Izod Indycar Series". Add to that, that we will most likely see Izod on the car of RHR in 2010 in a major way. We should also see HER Energy in 2010 at NHL Racing with Alex Lloyd behind the wheel. Don't forget about the APEX Brazil money we should see coming into the series if we get a race finally confirmed in Brazil.

All in all, 2010 is shaping up to look alright. I mean, considering most people think the sky is falling, I think we will do alright.
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