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19 august 2004- crapwagon apologist redux

in the very am today dan belcher sent me a link to a column written by champan rackaway and a post that he made to crapwagon (Ed: you are going to have to find that site yourself folks. the denizens of that site are a bit, well, ostentatious for my tastes. no offense to those who visit there). at the time, i was too tired to properly compose a coherant e-mail as a response to this latest gem.

it's late afternoon now. here's my response.

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Mr. Rackaway:

Once again, you have made your biases abundantly clear in your obvious lack of knoledge of what you are talking about. If you recall sometime earlier this year, I called you out when you claimed that Anton George had won the "war" because he had the formerly "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and Championship Auto Racing Teams did not. I have to call you out again because it is very clear to me that you are only typing characters on a word processor without actively thinking about what you have written.

You claim that CART nee OWRS is on life support because it has been "[b]leeding money for two years now, the series is a walking corpse, supported by those same three" people who you claim are, relatively speaking, saying good things while not actively doing anything. First of all it has not been "bleeding money" in any sense of the word. Bleeding in this case implies that spending has not been done wisely and is being wasted in whatever ventures that said dollars had been invested in. What CART did in its last year was ensure that it could provide its contractually obligated 18 entrants for the events on its schedule. You thought processes say to me that to not make sure that there were the minimum 18 entrants was the wrong thing to do. You want CART to not meet its requirements and to be sued on breach of contract and to therefore make the situation worse than it had been? It is a smart business plan to minimise the damage that you know will be incoming. Yes, I agree that that spending was excessive, but Chris Pook had no other alternatives. He was given a deuce and a 3 and was told to go beat a royal flush. I'd say that working with what he had, he did a damn fine job of ensuring that there was a season. Second, this consortium of owners isn't doing anything unusual for ANY first year business. New businesses usually will incur losses as it tries to grow its income. These three businessmen had stated from the very beginning that this year was just a "get through it" year and to not expect anything spectacular until the third year of business. Sounds to me like they have a business plan.

I take great offense to your feeling that "For CART-OWRS, it's been time to fold the tents and move on for a year now, but Kalkhoven, Gentilozzi, and Forsythe continue to whistle past the graveyard and pretend they have a product that people want. No matter how much the last remaining CART stalwarts complain about the great open wheel split diminishing the Indy 500 the upstart series still hits OWRS with a roundhouse every race weekend. If you're one of those few remaining fans, you're going to have a lot less to watch very soon - namely, nothing." If people want the product, going back to my last point, you have to spend money to make money. Obviously people want the product, see successful events such as the Molson Indys in Toronto and Vancouver and the Long Beach Gran Prix this year. You probably then would argue that those events had fewer turnout than the year previous. I say to you then that you must keep in mind that you must factor in the unecessary court date in january when Anton showed his true colors by not leaving OWRS alone when it tried to buy CART's assets. At that time, no one knew whether or not there would be a season. All three events reported record walk-up attendance. Being a few percent off from the previous year's attendance when there were no assurances of a season sounds to me that the people want to be there. Not a lot of promotion and still having record walk-ups while spending money to have a sound base to have future seasons on. But wasting money on a dieing series is bad. Denver had it's most sucessful race do date this year. Seems to me people want the product. I went to Cleveland this year. Yes the stands weren't full, but the people showed up. The race is an important part of the Cleveland economy and has been for 23 years. This event was slated to be an oval race for George's league. But the people quite loudly and clearly said that they would not support it. OWRS helped promote the race. But wasting money on a dieing series is bad. At least Cleveland wasn't supplemented by having mass amounts of free tickets given away just to make an event look full (see the race at Kentucky). I'm sure that the paid attendance there is more indicative of how much people want the product offered in Kentucky than the product offered in Cleveland.

And please, get off of Anton George. You say that the three owners (and by proxy the fans) "blam[e] Tony George for global warming". I blame George for the mess we are in and he most certainly deserves it. But I DO NOT blame him for the mess that CART put itself in in its last few years. It was the Champ Car OWNERS fault that prices got way out of wack. It was the Champ Car OWNERS fault that when the company went public that it started having extreme financial difficulties and it is the Champ Car OWNERS fault that Honda bolted due to "Spacergate" and the forced concession (more of a submission rather) to Toyota to have an equivalent engine formula to George's league. That was all the OWNERS' FAULT. HOWEVER if it hadn't been for that other league even existing and the Indycentric owners who lusted after the race which was starting to dim in importance and recognition as one of the greatest races, then we wouldn't be in this postition, other than the high costs.

Speaking of costs, stop talking out of both sides of your mouth. You criticize OWRS for having low counts, but you rationalize George's league for having a low count as well. One series has 18 cars because the series can't support new teams. The other has 22, but it could be higher but the "tough economic times" are the reason that it isn't 30 cars every week and there wasn't a legitimate Bump Day this year. Both series are based in the US, so therefore both suffer from the same "tough economy". One series can't prop up a team by "bleeding money" on it while another can't get teams becasue "the times are tough economically". Pure doublespeak. If times are so tough, then why was there a rumor of Alain Prost starting a Champ Car team next year and Haas not taking his part of Newman/Haas to George's league? That seems to me to be growth for Champ Car.

Aparantly you haven't been paying attention to the news as to Seoul. It's now quite common knowledge that the government of South Korea put the kibosh on that event. We already knew it wasn't happening. But here's a tidbit of info that you probably didn't know, or knew and failed to make a report on it: rumors are that the second TBA is going to be a duel event with Trans-Am in Puerto Rico. You are reporting that Seoul probably won't happen. Why not do some investigative reporting, use your sources and stop with the predications that the schedule was set to go on as it was when there were known concerns with Seoul and two holes in the calendar. Only a fool would think that no news when an event was in question (and with no signed contract for a race) is good news.

It is quite apparant to me that someone in Champ Car in the past must have wronged you in some way so now you whale away at them while they are down and apparantly out for the count. Please do me, and the hundreds of thousands of message board posters a favor: if you find so much at fault with our series that it is unbearable to watch and a waste to cover, STOP. But when (not if) we get back to a level of respectability, I expect you to make an apology for all of the over the top negativeness that you have. I'm a natural pessimistic person, but even I don't go and bash to the level that you are doing.

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racky sent me a response the first time. i didn't post it. i think i should have. you can give me some response as well. e-mail me at jcarti01@louisville.edu or jcarti01@yahoo.com. hopefully i may get some additions to the hate mail page.