Confirm Something For Brazil

The leaves are falling along with the temperatures as we are nearing November. The beginning of the next IndyCar season is scheduled to begin in just four and a half months, yet we still have no idea where it will be. A story broke last week that the details for a street race in Rio had been settled, but we later found out that it was erroneous. The release was dated Oct 31, which was about ten days later than when the story broke. Apparently, the IRL had a press release ready to go out on that date so it may still happen…or maybe not.

Time was growing short when an announcement failed to materialize at the Chicago race. That was the end of August. From what I understand, to properly promote a race requires a minimum of six months lead-time. I get that information from people that know the ins and outs of race promotion more than I do. But we are dealing with a completely new venue to the series, wherever they choose to race in Brazil. It’s not as if you can fall back on last year’s plan. This is a clean sheet of paper we are dealing with.

Assuming there is such an announcement on Oct 31, everything will now have to fall in place in 132 days before the first practice session begins. That includes the massive logistical undertaking that will have to be worked out to ship cars, teams, equipment, etc into Brazil. There are also tickets to print, promote, sell and distribute in a little over four months. It also doesn’t allow much preparation time for any US fans that might want to go to the race. I’m sure the Brazilian fans would like to know which city they will be traveling to in March.

It appears that the IRL has gone into lockdown mode ever since the management transition took place in July. Anything that has to do with Terry Angstadt’s side of the business, which is the commercial side, seems to be a closely guarded state secret. The silence on the Versus-DirecTV issue has been deafening. Granted…the league’s hands are tied on that problem, but those fans that are affected by it (which I am not) are entitled to at least hear something on the matter. Angstadt appears to become more entrenched in his bunker on 16th street as time goes on.

The release of the 2010 schedule went way beyond its expected date. Then, Angstadt did his best Baghdad Bob imitation by telling us how thrilled we should all be about it. The teasing of a title sponsor has grown tiresome to the point of being laughable. If and when Izod is announced, we’ll all be told how fortunate we are to be associated with such a first-rate product. Forgetting the bad commercial for a moment – have you seen their shirts?

I won’t pretend to know what the hold-up is on the Brazil race. I will give Terry Angstadt that much of the benefit of the doubt to assume that there is actually a holdout and he’s not just dragging his feet. But it seems as if every time an announcement has been expected from the commercial division of the IRL this year, it continually gets pushed back. The official announcement for the site of the Brazil race has been supposedly coming “next week” since it was first confirmed in mid-August. More than two months later, we’re still waiting. What gives?

Meanwhile, most experts that are familiar with all of the nuances that go into planning an event like this agree that we are already beyond the “drop dead” date of finalizing a site. If that’s the case, I think the IRL would do better to just let it go for 2010. If the intent is to start the season off in Brazil, it’s better to postpone it a year and do it right, rather than running the risk of trying to pull off some half-hearted attempt at the last minute. Trying to pull everything together in the eleventh hour could be a public relations nightmare that I think the IRL would be wise to avoid.

But it’s beyond time to confirm something…even if it is to confirm that something’s not happening. Unless there has been an unseen flurry of activity for the past couple of months and they are simply clearing up the final details, it would appear that the IRL is too late. If that is the case, I would hope that Terry Angstadt would rather deal with a little egg on his face this fall, lest he has a whole lot more to clean off next March.

George Phillips

17 Responses to “Confirm Something For Brazil”

  1. Why does “Indycar” struggle so much with things they have been doing for 100 years?

  2. would have been easier to start the season with Milwaukee.

  3. Starting the season in Milwaukee would be difficult since the series hasn’t been paid for last year’s race, not to mention the potential weather issues.

    Regarding Brazil, this is sadly starting to look like ChampCar’s futile efforts to stage a race in South Korea, which was promised for many years and never materialized. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen here but, from the perspective of an outsider, this looks awfully unprofessional.

    • Ahhh, I think he was JOKING about opening in Milwaukee 💡 Well, unless they attached snow plows to the Dallara Hondas… since opening in March or April in Wisconcin might very well include snow ❗ ❗ 💡

  4. how come one of the options wasn’t scrap Brazil, start season at Las Vegas or Texas?

  5. I like the second choice of the three that you offered: Run it consecutively with Motegi for 2010 (which, by the way, is spelled wrong above).

    On the other hand, and better yet, skip the race for 2010 (as you seem to prefer at this point) and do as I suggested on another forum: engage in some serious negotiating with the promoters of Surfers Paradise and do whatever it takes to get that race back on the schedule for 2011 (A1GP at Surfers appears to be toast, so they may be more amenable to compromise) — IN THE SPRING — two weeks before the Brazil race — Surfers at the end of February; Brazil in mid-March (the series needs to start earlier anyway). Surfers would fit seamlessly into the opening series of road/street races. As far as travel is concerned, to piggyback them would save the IRL a lot on travel expenses as opposed to making two separate overseas trips — Brazil would be just an extended stop on the way back to the States.

  6. Post-script to my comment above:

    More than any race in Brazil; and more one than Surfers Paradise …the ICS needs to GET MILWAUKEE BACK ON THE SCHEDULE!!! …for 2011.

  7. The race in Brazil is not going to happen, there is not near enough time to organize a street course that probably hasn’t even been drawn up yet. Rio is also a very crowded city with tons of people and tons of traffic, I’ve been to Rio and the streets are narrow with islands in the middle and it’s like that everywhere. And as far as a title sponsor goes the Izod deal is only for naming rights so the IRL gets all the money, they need a sponsor that will pay the teams to show up the way PPG did, otherwise what’s the point? The sponsorship quotes for the IRL will be pretty low next year the league needs to work on getting these teams some money.

  8. I guess I should have put one of those smiley face things by my Milwaukee comment.

    But I do think they need to work Milwaukee out. This Brazil thing seems pretty desperate–why the rush or why not use the existing F1 track?

    And there also seems to be so many people who like Surfer’s Paradise–don’t see why they couldn’t hit that and Japan at the same time.

  9. Sorry, Redd, I didn’t realize you were being facetious. I apologize for that.

    As for Surfer’s Paradise, there are several issues that I see with getting that race back on the schedule:

    1. Timing. F1 has their race in Melbourne in March, and usually the FIA won’t allow races to be held that close together.

    2. AVESCO-Australian V Eight Super Car Organization. The sanctioning body for Australia’s #1 motorsport series and an organization IndyCar can learn a lot from about how to run and market a series. AVESCO shares the date at Surfer’s Paradise-some say they and not IndyCar or A1GP are the real headliner of the weekend, If IndyCar wants to have this race, it has to mesh with AVESCO’s schedule. Logistically, it would work well with Japan, but again, this would probably have to be worked out with AVESCO.

    3.Money. What everything comes down to. This is an expensive trip. Honda pays for everything when IndyCar goes to Japan. It has to be worthwhile financially for the series to go to Australia as well, and right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  10. I know I’ll be disappointed, but I hope to God they can find someone other than Izod as a sponsor. Don’t they know you need a big, mass market name that expects significant ROI to your demographic – i.e. men …your big box stores, food, beverage, etc.? You can’t tell me that people will be flocking to department stores to buy Izod just because they sponsor IndyCar. I try to buy from companies who support racing…but I’m not buying any of that overpriced, candyass crap.

    • Candy-A$$ ❓ ❓

      Guess we won’t see you wearing Penske or Hugo BOSS designed gear, eh ❓ Rich do yourself a favor & Google IZOD & its parent company. They sell plenty of stuff that is in those box stores & non candyass 💡

  11. Well, much like Versus is better than no television, Izod is better than no title sponsor at all, I guess.

  12. I hate to become part of the “doom and gloom” types, but I have serious fear that what is happening with Rio is going to become endemic of the IndyCar Series. There is a total vacuum of leadership in the series, at least to the public eye, and I am almost waiting for the other shoe to drop, that being that the Sisters are going to run Indy and shut the rest of the series down.

    I hope I am wrong, but the lack of any action on the TV situation, the constant postponement of “title sponsor” designation, the lack of a “signed deal” between Michael Andretti and Danica long after the deal was announced, and most importantly, the lack of any coherent marketing of the series have me wondering if we aren’t heading for a USFL-type demise.

    This brings me to two questions, one of which you have already posed: If the Sisters decide to bail on the series, who’s going to buy it based on the current TV/sponsorship/leadership situation? Sadly, I don’t see an answer to that one, short of it being a consortium of current owners much like what CART did when it split from USAC.

    And second, when is the series, if it is to continue, going to find a public “frontman” for the series. One of the blogs, perhaps Cavin’s, suggested that John Andretti might be a good choice for that job. I know, Tony George does not have the most magnetic personailty, but at least when you wanted a public “face,” he was there. (And of course he had to be — it was HIS money.)

    I am as devout a fan of IndyCar racing as there is, but the actions of the “powers that be” in the series since George’s ouster have perplexed me to the point of serious anguish at least in the off-track areas.

    Anyone want to talk me off the ledge?

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