Dual titles and driver reactions

Posted on: April 29, 2010 | Comments(8) | Drivers | By: Dave

Of course IZOD IndyCar Series drivers like the dual titles (road/street courses and ovals) within the IZOD IndyCar Series championship initiative. It’s potentially more money to purchase iPads and Ritmo Mundo watches for everyone on their extensive Christmas lists. Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard on April 27 announced the implementation of contests to recognize the highest-scoring oval driver and corresponding road/street circuit driver. The champion of each discipline will receive a TBD cash award along with a trophy named in honor of an Indy car racing legend. Over time, that likely will be more meaningful than the dough.

Randy Bernard with the fans

New Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard

“It’s good because some fans like the oval racing better so they will cheer for their driver to win the oval track championship and some fans that watch a lot of Formula 1, they like the road and street courses better so they would cheer for their driver and team to win that championship,” says Vitor Meira, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. “It also gives the teams more opportunity to show off their sponsors, sort of like a podium finish.

“You may not be top three in the overall championship but you might be in the road course championship or the oval track championship. It’s good for the fans, the sponsors and the teams. It brings more to the mix so I think it’s a good idea.”

Fans will have the opportunity the first week of June to vote on www.indycar.com for the two names to be placed on the trophies. Those will be unveiled during race weekends at Texas Motor Speedway (oval legend) and Watkins Glen International (road racing legend).

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay in action

“I think it’s great to highlight the fact that we do have two completely different disciplines of racing within one series,” says Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the most recent race at Long Beach in the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport.  “It’s the only racing series in the world that does that with the street courses, road courses, mile-and-a-half super speedways, and short ovals.

“So it’s great to highlight that and give it some recognition, but really what matters is winning the Indy 500 and winning the series championship. I don’t think anybody has heard that and is like, ‘OK, my primary goal is to win the road course championship or win the oval. I think it’s kind of a side note. Congratulations, you were the best in that category. But what real matters is the series championship and Indy 500.”

For the record, Hunter-Reay wouldn’t reject the awards for winning either of the supplementary championship categories.


There are 8 comments for this post.

  1. Corey Sharp on April 29, 2010 10:44 am
    Corey Sharp

    I love the idea! I think if fans could help vote on future tracks/venues it would also help with fan interest. For example fans could vote to add Phoenix or New Hampshire if they wanted to add another oval to the schedule. I am sure there would lots of politics and business involved in those decisions but it would empower the fans to get more involved.

  2. Dual titles and driver reactions | Indycar on April 29, 2010 11:12 am
    Dual titles and driver reactions | Indycar

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  3. John on April 29, 2010 11:13 am

    This is a stupid idea…..why not have a woman champion and a man champion…that way Danica could win something.
    Here is a thought….you want more fans? Go back to your roots, leave Austriala, Brazil and Japan to those folks add more races where your base is in the US….bring back the race at Michigan, Ovals are where its at….that is why Tony George split from CART in the first place.

  4. Ed on April 29, 2010 1:05 pm

    I think this is a great a idea and a positive step towards the complete reunification of not just the series but of the polarized fans of the IRL and Champ Car. IndyCar no longer exists per se but IndyCar = IRL + Champ Car. Since IndyCar now owns all historical data from the former ChampCar/ Cart, I think the current series should strive to incorporate all of Champ Car’s history as its own. If you click on the link of past champions on the website, all you see are IRL champions only. The versus broadcasts seem to exclude Champ Car as well. IndyCar today is all of American OWR. By assimilating all of Champ Car’s history, they may just acquire a larger fan base.

  5. photo collage on April 30, 2010 11:45 am
    photo collage

    Yes, do it, whatever. Anything to attract a new generation of fans. Me and the old guys are hanging in because we remember a competitive era, but Bernard’s job is generate new fans (not just please the existing ones), while everyone works toward making the racing part exciting again.

  6. Heo on April 30, 2010 11:48 am

    Ovals suck. I wish they removed them all except Indy, but Indy is not a true oval. So this dual championship is dumb as well since driving at ovals is more about the car setup than about driver skill.

  7. ian on May 3, 2010 5:17 pm

    Ovals are the most boring racing in the IRL, but it seems the whole series is about helping Danica win something…To bad she can’t drive a race car, but she Whines well…

  8. rick tolfa on June 28, 2011 1:37 pm
    rick tolfa

    Bernard has been talking a good game since he has been CEO and thats all! He wanted input when he took over but little good it has been. He needs to take a god look at NASCAR if he wants to run his program. Talk is cheap and so is the IRL!

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