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Keeping It Off the Wall
by Ed Donath

Gold Bullion

Fort Knox, KY—I must really be getting old. Not only can I relate to some of Robin Miller’s ramblings about the Indy 500’s utter techno breakdown, I can even understand and to an extent agree with the recent pontifications of septuagenarian Andy Granatelli quoted by Miller in his recent SPEED piece.

Not that I give a flying STP decal1 what might happen to the splitter of our beloved speed sport or to any of his inherited businesses, let alone to bullion artists like Granatelli and Miller. It’s just that the lack of technical diversity in open-wheel racing is the most ominous non-human contributing factor to its potential demise. So, for a change, it’s good not to be the only person writing or talking about it.

Unfortunately, very few motorsports people have realized the gravity of this situation. Including the owners of the Champ Car World Series who not only seem in no great hurry to enable or encourage a remedy but who place this extremely serious problem lower on their list of business issues that need to be resolved than one might expect. Of course, the acquisition of Cosworth might have a little something to do with this foot dragging.

While an abundance of show-goers were in the audience for this year’s three-day festivals of speed, who can say for how long the curious and casual will return for encore CCWS performances in the absence of a fresh new even-speedier techno script?

Meanwhile, the count of unquestioning lemmings that continue to support the Indy 500 has dwindled to less than half of its pre-split number with further attendance loss in the offing once it dawns on f-inheritor loyalists that not one of NASCAR’s engine brands will be mentioned during their entire “month” of May.

Ubiquitous STP stickers and a TV ad campaign that featured the company’s president, Andy Granatelli—who owned and sponsored Mario Andretti’s only Indy 500-winning car—convinced a lot of us to try his miracle lubricant. However, most folks later realized that STP was a redundantly unnecessary albeit extremely well marketed product. How many of my fellow Boomers ever became regular STP users, let alone purchased so much as a second bottle of the stuff?

So as I sit here amidst a vast gold reserve—worth nearly as much as the combined assets of the owners of America’s open-wheel racing series—I can only fantasize what I would create for Champ Car lovers if I had that kind of stew.

I’d cook up some real gold bullion!

Happy New Year.

1Ed says: “I slapped an STP sticker on my BMX bike a few years before the Famous Forum Feud with ‘Mister 500’ as a tribute to one of the all-time great pure marketing gimmicks…hey, pet rocks aren’t very portable and they can weigh you down in the jumps. But seriously, as a proponent of marketing excellence, I have always chided the current and past management of the Champ Car World Series for its marketing shortcomings, despite the hundreds of suggestions proposed by this renegade scribe and other fans.”

Road Rage! An op-ed feature by Ed Donath.

Copyright © 2005 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

Ed Donath Archive

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