Let me tackle this one first. I hope Russ is reading this
Buford, you won't find me disagreeing with most of your points, save for a few...
Ride buyers. Ride buyers have existed almost since the beginning of racing. There were "ride buyers" at IMS in the 30's. The same lemmings you refer to are the ones that insisted that these "ride buyers" shut out deserving short track racers from Indy...and used Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart as their war cries. There is great irony in the rallying cries and how they had the greatest "ride buyers" ever, but that is for another post. Do you know what Buzz Calkins' dad did?, or Tyce Carlson's?, I'd say Racin Gardner's, but I know you do, and you brought up a great point about a possible connection to the George family. For one, Tyce Carlson was a USAC racer - ran Sprints, Midgets, Silver Crown. He was one of those guys, you know, that wouldn't have gotten a chance without the IRL (please note sarcasm and irony). Do you remember Ray Crawford? Ray did race Midgets, but was primarily a hobby racer who happened to own a chain of supermarkets in Southern California. Was he a ride buyer? How about going back to the teens and 20's - David Bruce-Brown was from a very wealthy family, how about Joe Boyer? - his father was president and board chairman of the Burroughs Corporation. Sorry, ride buying has always gone on. And I'm not comparing Calkins to Bruce-Brown or Boyer. Lord no... I also am not questioning the talent of Bruce-Brown or Boyer.
Sorry, I think the rabid CART folks (much like the rabid IRL folks do in their arguments) have singled out "Buzz", "Racin" and "Buddy" solely because of their names. I've read too many posts and columns that indicate so. If one checks the stats, Buzz did quite well the first couple of IRL seasons. Agreed, his pedigree wasn't good, with a decidely mediocre Indy Lights career. Yet, he still ran well and beat the vaunted Tony Stewart in the IRL. Buddy Lazier did well in the IRL, and yes, I am aware of his lack of success in CART. Racin Gardner, well...ok, next!
Regardless of one's feelings toward the IRL, Buzz Calkins did well by their standard...and was hardly a moving chicane (at least outside of his latter days and IMS). If he was, well, then Tony Stewart couldn't beat or get past a "moving chicane"
I know of people who similarly questioned Joe Gosek and Paul Durant's racing backgrounds simply because they didn't know them. They didn't follow short track racing. Similarly, I've run up against that constantly with drivers from the Western U.S. - they haven't heard of 'em, so they can't be any good (no, much like with college sports it simply means you didn't bother to try to learn anything about them
) Granted Double O Joe and Durant were tokens to prove to the same brainwashed (lemmings as you refer to them) that the IRL was sticking to the "mission statement" (koff koff). Also, sadly, see - Steve Kinser. Tokenism for the "cause".
And as far as thinking "all" of racing is NASCAR, blame the media. There was a time where every sportscaster I saw thought all NASCAR races were "Indy" races, 20-25 years later it was reversed. Wow, progress! That's not Tony George's fault and would have happened without him. It's the general level of knowledge, or lack of, about auto racing of the general media and sportscasters/sportswriters in general in these United States. These guys could only name 3-5 race drivers before and now many could only name 2-3. That is hardly Buzz Calkins fault. Very little of racing sticks to their brains.
The rest, I concur with. Buf, blame TG all you want and I can think of several drivers worthy of dumping on, but Buzz isn't anywhere near the top of that list. Jack Miller, now there
was a moving chicane. But even Dr. Jack didn't lead to NASCAR's popularity or cause the inability of mentally challenged/biased sports media
Really, if you truly hate the IRL there's others you should be blaming in addition to Tony George. You make it sound like he
thought of the "mission statement" of the IRL all by himself. Don't you think you're giving him too much credit?