Howard: IndyCar Must Make Its Own Luck
IndyCar management is often derided for making decisions that defy logic, sometimes rightfully but often due to lack of recognition of whatever the bigger picture may be. This particular instance of lack of vision and foresight seems egregious.
The sweetest of sweet spots of any summertime IndyCar schedule is the month of June. Why? Both hockey and basketball playoffs are wrapped up. The NFL is completely dormant. Baseball is in its mid-season period of ‘blah’ before end of season pennant battles materialize. Other than the occasional World Cup hoopla there is very little going on the sports world.
So why on earth is there three-week hole in the IndyCar schedule dead center in the sweet spot? It does not make any sense. No gains in either attendance or ratings will materialize if there are no events. Both NASCAR and Formula 1 race. Why should IndyCar not? The Indianapolis 500 was absolutely great, and could have provided season-long momentum. Races immediately following Indy were compelling, but this three week, momentum-killing gap sticks out like a sore thumb.
Given the number of available venues it is unlikely ‘date conflicts’ are a factor. It is easy to understand why teams prefer a break, but the month of June should have none. Most sports with which IndyCar must share the stage are inactive at the moment. Common sense demands IndyCar takes advantage.
When IndyCar finally gets back into action on the 28th it will be a street circuit in the summer heat of Houston, which will be incredibly uncomfortable for fans brave enough to attend. Any momentum built from the Indianapolis 500 will have been forgotten by most fans.
Future lesson: The heaviest and most exciting part of the IndyCar schedule going forward should be during the month of June. Instead of creating situations that enhance luck this part of the schedule is merely another self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. That remains frustrating to those of us who crave the product.