No, it's not the people outside the series front office that really feel that way. In the States, you get a little more coverage for the race, but it's the people running the series who feel that the rest of the season means nothing. Was the whole reason behind the events in the early-mid 90's. And it's now just starting to take the turn back towards that pre-f'up series. Well, except for the gimmicky of gimmicky Iowa and double headers (which reach back to pre-CART).
Huh? What? How old are you?
True racing fans feel that way, but to the general public and the media in particular, there was no
other race aside from the Indianapolis 500. It used to lead virtually every sportscast in the country (well, except in San Francisco in the late 1970's) and get a level of coverage of no other motorsport event in the U.S. For the most part, Daytona was a blip at the time. Actually, the level of coverage for Indy into the early 90's still exceeds what's come since. For crying out loud, the network newscasts always mentioned the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not defending it, or saying it was right, but it is
the way it was. There was Indy and everything else. Myself being a racing fan, I followed the entire series closely, the general sports media and general public, not so much. I'm also discounting some provincial Hoosiers attitude of "nothing else matters but Indy."
And I don't believe it was the whole reason behind the events in the early-mid 90's. I have no idea what Tony George thought or what he convinced himself or let others convince himself of, but others had ulterior motives and found a willing ear. Some of the reasons he cited came straight from their mouths months and years earlier. He truly came off like a puppet.
Also, you may view double-headers as a gimmick, but in more lean times in USAC (think early to mid-70's), running two shorter races was about the only way to guarantee there might be more than 3 or 4 cars circulating at the end. Sad, but true. Done more from necessity than gimmickry.