By admin | May 27, 2014
By Richard Allen
On Monday evening I was asked to go on the ‘Mojo with Chris Moore and Brian Jones’ radio show on CBS Sports Radio to discuss various talking points about the recent running of the Indianapolis 500. In particular, the show’s producer had seen a Twitter post of mine in which I had criticized ABC and ESPN for their showing of the drivers’ significant others in a split screen during the pivotal final moments of that thrilling race. The purpose of bringing that radio appearance up is to make a point.
For IndyCar, that one race is everything. A driver and team’s season can be made or broken in those 500 miles. Very few other times for the rest of this year, unless something extraordinary happens, will anyone be asked to come on national radio shows to discuss IndyCar racing. Yet for that one race, a national radio show was willing to bring on someone as obscure as myself to talk Indy 500.
NASCAR has big races like the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400. Each of those events could and should be labeled as ‘crown jewels’ of the sport. However, none of them overshadows the rest of the series by such a great margin as to render the remainder of the schedule almost meaningless.
There will be far more significant people than me who will be asked to come on national and local radio shows on a daily basis to discuss the happenings within NASCAR whether the Sprint Cup Series has just completed a race in Daytona, Charlotte, Martinsville or Dover. The sport is bigger than any one race.
In IndyCar, that one race is bigger than the sport.
A look at that form of racing’s television coverage reveals where it ranks in the hierarchy of racing. The Indianapolis 500, and a very few other events, is broadcast on a major network while most of the other races on their schedule are difficult to find. Not only the Daytona 500, but every NASCAR race is aired by the major TV sports networks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Indy 500. And I very much wish IndyCar could grow a larger fan base and become a more vibrant force within the auto racing world. A rising tide lifts all boats and if IndyCar were to become more noteworthy year round, it would benefit all forms of racing.
I believe IndyCar’s recent move to reinstate its old ‘triple crown’ of 500 mile races at Indy, Michigan and Pocono was a good start as far as creating more reasons to discuss the sport goes. And, I like the idea of breaking some event weekends into two separate and distinct parts. However, there is still quite a ways to go before this form of racing can share the stage with NASCAR in terms of national recognition for an entire season rather than just one event.
For right now, the Indianapolis 500 completely dominates IndyCar racing. It could be worse as they could have nothing at all to lean on.
NASCAR, however, does not have one race that totally overshadows the rest of the schedule. NASCAR has no Indy 500… and that’s a good thing.
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