While I was there I found a couple of mentions that were purely tangential in Readers' Comments threads.
But far from tangential was the point of one of them... I think it makes an ideal discussion base here:
Originally posted in Readers' Comments
I am a racing fan and an Indy 500 fan above all. We had terrific racing in 1995. 9 or 10 different winners, a second year team winning the Indy 500 and CART Championship in the same year, proving it was possible at even the top level in the USA if you had your act together, a great mix of fast ovals, short ovals, natural road courses, and street races. The driver and team who could succeed there were true professionls and Champions. And worthy of the linear link back to Ray Harroun.
We had fast exotic race cars, not as exotic as F1 but the cars did more things well. We had record crowds at all but a couple tracks, promotors lining up waving money to stage races. There was a decline in the ovals but there were three more being built to come on line in a year or two. There was record corporate sponsorship. There was record mainstream press coverage. There was record TV ratings. There was record International interest. So much so that Bernie was worried and pushed through a rule CART could only run ovals outside the USA and Canada other than one race grandfathered in. There were a record number of drivers being paid high six and well into 7 figures to race. Only a couple of ride buyers. Less than had been the case for about 20 years. There was something for everybody to like even if they did not like every single venue. Such a difference from 15 years before and the travesty of the USAC era.
One man changed all that with his power grab. Today the sport is in tatters. How the real racers (CART) could piss away a winning hand in their response to the grandson's tantrum is beyond me. But whether CART survives or not is irrelevant. We will never again see what we had before the tantrum. You can take all the delight you want in that. I do not.
You can probably guess which former contributor posted this... but that's not the point.
We've seen such manipulation of the affections of the crowds in the CART/USAC/IRL style of racing that one must ask what caused it all.
Is this really the source of the problems? Is it possible for it to be overcome?