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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Godspeed

Just a few days ago, on a recent music-related trip to Nashville, Tennessee, I was also able to devote some impromptu time for what I will loquaciously describe as a 'Friday PM Indycar Fan and Blogging Commiseration Summit'. 

In the maelstrom of the final hours before the 2013 Indy 500, I had several regretfully much-too-brief interactions during the pre-race tweet-up and picture this past May.  When I officially knew we were coming to 'Nashvegas' for a few days, I knew I needed to look up our good Indycar friend, George. George Phillips (of Oilpressure Blog fame and @oilpressureblog on Twitter) and his lovely wife Susan (aka @chiapet58) and I gathered together only to share some time getting to know each other. I doubt they'd mind if I revealed that the evening was full of good conversation and laughs on a great many subjects, Indycar included. 

Of all the things I've experienced over the last several years in the world of Indycar as experienced over the internet, my most positive experiences come from the direct social interaction with people whom I've only previously known via a digital environment. This includes fans, drivers, and racing industry people alike. This Friday PM was no exception.

After our 'tweetup-of-3' and after much discussion on the messages we put out in the universe via our blogs and twitter, I was left with the overriding feeling that, of all the problems Indycar has to overcome just to survive, the fans are not one of them. 

I also felt, as the same themes keep appearing in my writing and truly I have nothing new to say, and, as I've been threatening for several posts now, this is a good time to set the blog aside for a while. 

In summation, as I have written many a tome on the subject of Indycar, my primary goal (and the reason for the naming of Grounded Effects) was to produce thought-provoking and engaging commentaries for the fans of Indycar. I still feel many of the thoughts here have value in the near- and long-term for Indycar fans so please feel free to visit the "Museum" of the Grounded Effects blog... don't cost nothin'.

For your ease of future reference, below is a compendium with green listings among the most read, and the orange listings among the most read and personal favorites of mine, the links for which are found under the 'Museum' heading on the upper-right column of this blog. 

If you wish, please also follow down to the bottom for my final thoughts. 

2009
Sep.   
I’m going to blog about Indycar.
How I got started following Indycar, part 1.
Oct.
How I got started following Indycar, part 2.
Favorite Indycars, part 1 – ’79 Chaparral.
          Nov.
Indycar thoughts for the future.
Favorite Indycars, part 2 – ‘65 Lotus.
          Dec.
An Indy 500 trip for $365 (aka The Dollar a day plan).
Fave Indycars, part 3 – ’70 PJ Colt.
Please don’t change/mess up the start of the Indy 500.

2010
          Jan.
Tony G is out - Open letter to Hulman IMS ownership.
          Feb.
The Hallowed Grounds in winter.
Carb Day concert band suggestions.
100 days to Indy - Indy trip planning.
          Mar.
Fortune favors the bold – new car/engine ideas.
Season opener - Sao Paulo race review.
Faux Carb Day concert band announcement.
          Apr.
Disparity in racing is OK.
Simple Indycar math.
Celebrating some good news and more Indycar math.
          May
May = Indy for me.
500 Qualy predictions.
Last minute Indy trip stuff/prediction recap.
          July
D-day ICONIC preview.
          Sep.
Reviving the fading mystique of Indy ramble.
          Oct.
End of Season thoughts, part 1 – Dario is a legend, small crowds and TV.
End of Season thoughts, part 2 – Indycar is a niche sport, but devoted fanbase.
          Nov.
Post-season withdrawals, Pagoda shuttered, Chevy’s back, TK out of ride.
Thanksgiving and more Indycar math.

2011
          Jan.
Blog review.
Blog visual refresher.
Whither Sam Hornish.
Essence of NASCAR vs Indycar racing/competition.
          Feb.
American auto companies thoughts.
          Mar.
Indycar misses formula for future.
Whom should Randy Bernard trust?
Favorite Indycars, part 4 – ’85 March Cosworth ‘spin and win’.
          Apr.
Indycar parody lyrics – Jay Penske – Lawyers, Guns, and Money.
          May
Greatest 33 thoughts.
500 Qualy predictions.
Qualy predictions recap, race preview and prediction.
          Jun.
Race and predictions review.
Explaining Indycar to non-fans.
          Aug.
Predictions for the future of Indycar – Pain.
Fave Engines of Indy, part 1 – ’60s Ford V8 (sounds).
          Sep.
Why NASCAR drives won’t race the Indycar World Challenge.
Funky Cars of Indy, part 1 – Yunick’s ’64 Hurst Floor-shifter Spcl.
          Oct.
Indycar’s missing character – the car.
Post-Las Vegas/questioning my Indycar.
Dealing w post-Vegas grief.
          Nov.
Indycar Slang.
          Dec.

Looking to 2012 – Carb Day band ideas.

2012
          Jan.
Goofy graphical thoughts.
Missing Dick Simon.
          Feb.
Fans demand better Indycar coverage online.
Laughing at the new F1 cars – Platypus fever.
Zip-Line fever/Ideas for the 500.
Fave engines of Indy, part 2 – The Offy (sounds).
          Mar.
Pre-season cautionary thoughts.
Indycar Parody lyrics - Pippa Mann – Pippa Nation.
Equinox – new season.
St. Pete expectations/self-mantra: post-Wheldon.
          Apr.
Writing contrition.
The Greatest 33 and Indycar nerdery cont'd.
          May
Indycon Level 4 and my origins redux.
Jay Penske redux and diatribe on Indycar’s direction.
My rambling Indy 500 trip memories, 2004, part 1 - a new beginning.
My rambling Indy 500 trip memories, 2004, part 2 – cont’d.
My rambling Indy 500 trip memories, 2004, part 3 – final.
Indy 500 qualy predictions.
          Jun.
Milwaukee Indyfest trip and an energy revelation.
          Jul.
Drama as an asset to Indycar, not a distraction.
Humorous end-of-race alternatives to Green-White-Checkers.
          Sep.
Indycar needs some Gangnam Style.
Now THAT’S a season (review).
          Oct.
Days of Reflection (Wheldon and life).
Escapism in the off-season.
          Dec.
Left adrift as an Indycar fan – no more apologism.

2013
          Feb.
Post-Superbowl, waiting for Indycar.
Indycar and my iPod shuffle (a noir narrative).
          Mar.
Crystal Ballin’ – 2013, beyond... die spec racing.
          Apr.
Nostalgia as a false pain-relief remedy.
          May
One last plea for Indycar change.
          Jul.
Pocono – an on-site review for IndycarUK.
          Aug.
Should there be an end of the Hulman reign over Indycar?
          Sep.   
Final Rites - Grounded Effects Blog Recap.


Epilogue
I have been a fan of varying degrees of Indycar for nearly four decades and have come to the following conclusions with regard to the sport:
1. The Indy 500 is still truly a worldwide showcase event.
2. Building a viable series around the Indy 500 has proven to be folly. Aside from the 500, it has been and essentially still is a niche (300,000 followers/20,000 in person) sport and will remain so until a philosophical shift of what Indycar is supposed to be occurs, if ever.
3. For the sport of Indycar (or any autosport) to thrive and grow in the next 20 years, it MUST allow for an open, flexible, and agile set of rules and platform in which real innovation, creativeness, forward-thinking, and ingenuity are welcomed as the norm. Something akin to a 'formula libre' Indycar can thrive. 
4. I believe no other option exists for Indycar but to change radically. If not, it will continue the slow degradation and devaluation death march we've seen for nearly 20 years. Change is well overdue. 
5. I give Indycar in its current state through the 2016 season. It must either have a plan for radical change in place or it will be done. The current 'timeline' recently set by Walker and Miles is not a plan which will cause Indycar to survive beyond 2016.
6. We fans are never the problem, RATHER, we're the solution, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Until Indycar figures out what fans truly want and supplies what we demand, there is no long-term viability of the sport.

It is truly as simple as basic economics:
- The fans are consumers. We have the power of our money to support the things we demand. 
- Discretionary spending will continue to be reduced as the economy continues to polarize and eliminate the middle-class.
- The ONLY reason any professional sport (product) exists, ultimately, is to fill a demand by the fans (consumer). 
- Supply of product in and of itself does not create demand.
- Consumers will respond positively when you supply something they demand.
- The supplier who truly listens, who cares, and aims to provide the best possible product to meet or exceed the consumer expectations will be the one who ultimately survives.
- For auto-racing to be a viable sport, supply MUST ONLY follow demand.
- For Indycar to merely have the potential to survive, it must provide a product in much greater demand (at least 3 times the current demand in both TV and on-location markets), all other things being equal.
- You fans are the consumers. You have the power to demand, but it's up to suppliers to fill that demand. 
- I believe without question that demand will be filled. 

By whom is the Billion-Dollar answer.


"Whosoever desires constant success,
must change his conduct with the times."
-Niccolo Machiavelli


Best wishes and Godspeed to you all!

2 comments:

  1. Farewell and Godspeed, DZ. We'll see you around Twitter and The Track, but I'll miss reading your thoughts here in long form.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Speedgeek! I'm shuttering the operation until I have anything new or different to say. I appreciate your visits here and to other blogs as well.

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