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Keeping It Off the Wall
by Ed Donath

PUSH to Pass
7/12/04

Athens, NY—Given the choice of yet another low risk parade through the bumpy concrete barrier-enclosed streets in and around Toronto’s Exhibition Place or a road rage fest like the one we witnessed this past Sunday, how do you vote?

What a difference a year made for a renegade scribe who, somewhat regrettably, penned this Molson Indy Toronto account one year ago.

Relegated to the home couch for the viewing of the 2004 race, Spike-TV was the place to be for the tape-delayed T.O. festivities…

[Editor’s Note: Surprisingly, Donath’s Toronto press credential was renewed in spite of the above linked PR Director’s nightmare. However, Ed remained at home with what sounds like age-related issues. Nonetheless, Mr. Roget euphemistically refers to his condition as an “athletic injury.”]

…and I couldn’t help chuckling over the testosterone level “spike” that the demographically youthful male audience of the First Network for Men must have experienced with each of Paul Tracy’s chrome horn maneuvers.

“Hey Buzz. You watchin’ the Champ Cars on Spike?

“No man, I’m talkin’ to you on my cell phone. What’s up?”

“All kinds of wheel bangin’ and other rude stuff happening on the streets of Toronto!”

“Dude, you sure you’re not watching Necks-Tell Cup?”

“Nope, it’s the Champ Cars all right.”

The tarnishing of the formerly squeaky clean reputation of the Champ Car World Series aside, this is precisely the kind of word-of-mouth publicity that the series needs in order for it to garner anything more than the puny TV ratings it has experienced since its departure from ABC/ESPN.

Sadly, a youthful male audience will not go out of its way to watch a Sunday afternoon race in the summertime without the expectation of mayhem. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. And, as we all know by the sight of crowded grandstands at every venue, the TV numbers are the weak link in OWRS’ business plan chain.

While, on one hand, the defending series champion single-handedly caused a small fortune’s worth of chassis destruction plus major ill will amongst his peers, in the long run PT may save Champ Car drivers’ future employment by taking it upon himself to put a more NASCAR-like face on our beloved speed sport.

Who, after watching the Molson Indy of Toronto, would have the nerve to call the Champ Car drivers Nancy Boys?

Sure, there’s still a chronic whiner or two on the roster and yes, it is quite true that the nerdy French kid always seems to get the best of macho Mexicans and Americans.

However, there are more than enough multi-lingual smack talk and clenched fists to go around among the European, South American, and Canadian driver contingent…if the Toronto race is any indication of the masculinity of Champ Car pilots, that is.

“What about that Fabio-looking high school kid?” you ask. He was nowhere in sight this weekend but his So-Cal replacement has always been the perfect poster boy for Spike-TV.

Copyright © 2004 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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