A Collection of Misinformation

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I belong to several IndyCar and Indianapolis 500-related Facebook groups. Most fans there are so hard-core to the point that I feel intimidated on there. I have always considered myself fairly knowledgeable about Indianapolis 500s of past years, but I sometimes wonder how Donald Davidson would stack up to these guys.

I rarely post anything on any of them, but there are a lot of obscure photographs that I’ve never seen anywhere before – many of them coming from the personal photo albums of the various members.

But don’t take everything you see in these groups for granted. I know this is hard to believe, but not everything you see on the internet is true.

Case in point, not long ago, I saw a photo of the 1992 Indianapolis 500 front row, which consisted of Roberto Guerrero on pole in the green Quaker State Buick, Eddie Cheever in the No. 9 Target/Scotch Video Chip Ganassi Racing Lola, and Mario Andretti in the K-Mart/Texaco Lola-Ford of Newman/Hass. They got the two outside cars right, but Cheever’s car was mistakenly identified as Alex Zanardi.

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First of all, Zanardi never drove No. 9 for Ganassi; he was always No. 4. He also always drove Reynard/Hondas in his time at Ganassi. His rookie year in CART was 1996 and most importantly – he never drove in the Indianapolis 500. I certainly don’t begrudge people not knowing all of these facts. Many of you reading this probably knew all of that, but I’m guessing the majority of you did not – and that’s fine. But when people post something so wrong with so much confidence – that’s when I have a problem with it. My father always said, ignorance and arrogance is a lethal combination.

A couple of days ago, I saw a post where someone was complaining that NBC was really screwing over IndyCar fans by not showing old broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500 on NBCSN instead of replays of old soccer matches, during this complete down time for all sports. I started reading through the comments and it quickly devolved into how NBC was not a good broadcast partner for IndyCar. The comments highlighted how NBC does everything to promote NASCAR, but not IndyCar. They compared how FOX is showing old NASCAR races, but NBC was not showing IndyCar replays. I guess showing the 2019 St. Petersburg race last weekend during the scheduled time for the 2020 race must not have counted.

One person even said it was because NBC has never broadcasted the Indianapolis 500 – that was an ABC race. Seriously?

Like the example above, I don’t expect everyone to keep up with the changing TV partners and evolving contracts, but if you are going to comment – make sure you are giving out the correct facts.

I normally don’t comment on these posts. Even when I see a glaring error, I rarely correct them. I just read the misinformation, shake my head and move on. I always try to remember the advice of former IndyCar blogger, Pressdog – never engage the crazies.

But on this particular post and the subsequent comments, I could not contain myself.

For the record, NBC has been an IndyCar partner since 2012. That’s when Comcast bought NBC and used the NBC platform to convert their Versus channel into NBCSN. Most recently, ABC generally had the season-opener, the two IMS races in May and the double-header at Belle Isle; while NBCSN had all of the remaining races. In March of 2018, it was announced that NBC would become the exclusive broadcast home of the NTT IndyCar Series starting in 2019 – including the Indianapolis 500.

In my response, I told the person that NBC could show only one previous Indianapolis 500…last year’s. That is the only one that NBC owns the rights to. ABC/ESPN still own the rights to the replays from 1965 through 2018. I also explained that practically every old race broadcast has been uploaded onto You Tube.

I then addressed all of those that chose to bash NBC for being a bad partner. I shared my opinion that NBC had been an outstanding partner for the decade before they became the exclusive partner. In their first year of broadcasting the entire season in 2019, I saw nothing that would change my mind. Has every single race broadcast of theirs been perfect? No, but I think they have completely embraced the series and are wanting the relationship to continue for many years.

Sometimes, I think people just like to complain. Many think if you’re positive in supporting something, you’re sucking up. I have no reason to suck up to NBC or NBCSN. But I think they have done an excellent job.

I’m not sure what this current stoppage at the start of the season does for contract negotiations for when the contract ends after 2021 season, but I’m hopeful that they return in 2022. To say they have been a bad partner is just as irresponsible as some of the other misinformation some people are spouting about on social media. I wish they would leave it to the real hard-cores to comment. Then I would stay quiet along with everyone else.

George Phillips

3 Responses to “A Collection of Misinformation”

  1. Bruce Waine Says:

    “but if you are going to comment – make sure you are giving out the correct facts.”

    George hope you sent today’s blog to a group of people and particularly one individual in Washington D.C.

    This is critical when everyone’s individual’s health & welfare is
    dependent on telling the facts and truth…….. and not firing or dismissing individuals when or because they tell the facts and truth.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    One area in which I do wish Indycar was a bit more like NASCAR is its control of old race broadcasts. NASCAR seems to own the rights to most, if not all, of their old races, and can show them on networks (like FOX) that never aired the races originally.

    One thing I very much do miss from the old ABC television contract is the Indy 500 broadcast marathons that ESPN Classic would run in the week leading up to the race. Even in the last years of the contract when the races were only shown overnight, I would still watch and DVR.

  3. John Oreovicz Says:

    Zanardi ran No. 4 only in 1996 and ’97. He ran No. 1 in 1998.

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