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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

Writing On The Wall
3/10/03

ATHENS, NY—So much is being written, now that both so-called American open-wheel series have survived their respective opening rounds, about the shortcomings of each and the rather obvious possibility that survival may not be possible for either or both entities should there be a continuation of “the split.”

Robin Miller’s most recent ESPN commentary—one of his best as a result of it’s being true commentary; personal observations and feelings not encumbered or obfuscated by a pressman’s story—expresses, quite clearly and accurately, the predicament in which our beloved speed sport now finds itself.

So what if all the “name” drivers and team owners, powerful Japanese carmakers and the tradition-steeped Speedway itself accrue to its inheritor’s account? At most venues he can barely give away enough tickets to fill the grandstands of a small-town high school football field.

So what if the Champ Car World Series’ no-name driver lineup plays to packed houses on some of the world’s most charming city streets? More Americans tune in shot-from-the-hip reruns of that obnoxious Aussie snake stroking croc-baiter than CΛRT races being artistically videographed and chronicled by the capable-but-unavailable SPEED contingent.

TV ratings would really take a hit if Rachel Ray sautéing a 30-minute meal ever got shown opposite a Champ Car race, let alone some popular oval product like the Busch League or the Crashman Super Trucks.

NASCAR reaping the benefits of open-wheel racing’s lack of captivating marketing and cohesiveness is, of course, the raison d'être for Miller’s current rant. Robin is correct in his assessment.

Nonetheless, this renegade scribe must add that we can only kid ourselves for so long about Uncle Joe’s eleventh hour piecemeal SPEED/CBS contract being superior to the longstanding one-way ABC/ESPN fiasco that preceded it and that the importance of making a star out of somebody or something was certainly overlooked by Grandpa Chris in the process of fulfilling his promise of an 18+ car field.

Another commentator who is forever trying to convince us that his is the inside story on everything had a similar epiphany to Robin Miller’s this week. My fellow Upstate New Yorker, Brock Yates, also makes a few valid observations and comments about the weaknesses of Champ Car racing circa 2003. While his suggested remedies make even less sense than CΛRT’s own bungling ways, credit must at least be given to Yates for correctly identifying the most obvious problems and for providing food for thought.

Perhaps, now that Robin Miller has seen the writing on the wall he will be less concerned about the overrated importance of rumor mongering and story-breaking and will be more impressed by the fact that he possesses a fair amount of influential power that could actually be exerted to help right some of the wrongs.

The graffiti added by my can of spray paint to the sayings scrawled on the wall: You can’t be a part of the solution until you’re no longer a part of the problem.

Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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