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IndyCar $5M prize can be put to better use UPDATE Another reader responds, Your reader sure sounds like a “glass is half empty” guy. The concept of the $5 million prize is brilliant because the $5 million will never be paid out. This challenge is creating some pre-season buzz, which costs nothing, and when push comes to shove no one, particularly from NASCAR, is going to jump on the offer. I can hear the calls of “chicken” now. And for arguments sake, let’s say a Tony Stewart or a Kyle Busch does take up the challenge. What are the chances they (or anyone) would be able to jump into a random car they’ve never driven, and challenge IndyCar Series regulars for the win and the $5 million? Slim and none.

This is another great P.R. move from Randy Bernard, a guy who obviously knows his P.R. That he’s created more buzz in about a year on the job than the marketing staff of the old Indy Racing League did in the 14 years prior shows how inept that group was. Name withheld

IndyCar does not have this money sitting in the bank waiting to be won... or spent in some other way, such as increasing the prize fund.  Like any sporting event offering such a prize (a $1 million hole-in-one contest in golf, or the 'shot from half-court at a basketball game, etc.) what they have done is to purchase an insurance policy from an underwriter.  IndyCar bets whatever the policy costs (and it being the Las Vegas event) it could even be a trade-off of advertising space or promotional activity with a Vegas sportsbook... the purpose of the prize is to try and lure a big-name F1 or NASCAR driver into doing a one-off... or luring some major U.S. racer out of retirement... they don't want to make a big deal out of the specifics ahead of time because then it they have endure an entire racing season of sanctimonious jerks who would love to run but can't find the funding saying instead that "I would never lower myself to racing in IndyCar..."  If it works, its a great promotional tool... if not, it cost nothing and will be soon forgotten...

02/26/11 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I will be brief ... This gimmick of 5 mill for a driver from another series coming to race an IndyCar is so stupid ...This degrades the integrity of the series, basically making the statement that IndyCar does not have faith in it's own system of building it's own character ... IndyCar has made ZERO mention of any reason for it to be a "draw" or something different to pay attention to. Where are any real announcements as something positive for open wheel motorsports in North America. I like Randy, but the recent announcement about Anton George's return has many fearing that the end seems to be near ...again.

Simple idea ... up the per race prize money to more than what it is in NASCAR and the top 3 in the Championship get 10 mill, 5 mill and 3.5 mill ... Done, no more mass exodus of drivers to NASCAR ...

I was at a NASCAR race at Irwindale Speedway last month (won by former So Cal Karting and open wheel star Jason Bowles, one of the original "Stars of Karting Champions" who tested a Champ Car with Team Rahal in 2000 as part of the prize ...another who got away) and was amazed that almost every young former hotshoe from Karting was in that paddock, many products of the Champ Car and IndyCar Stars of Karting Series.

Just look at the difference in the checks that Jimmy Johnson and Dario Franchitti received for winning their respective Championships and that pretty much sums it up. Please withhold my name

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