Response to Bud
July 15, 2002
A reader speaks out against the
Bud Shaw article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday.
Dear Mr. Shaw
I just read your article entitled "With Fewer stars and cars,
CART is headed in the wrong direction" published in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. First I question your
intentions while writing such an article. Who's
intentions is you article exactly serving, certainly not the
Cleveland public (who have been attending this race), nor the
city of Cleveland itself (who has shown that it supports CART
and benefits from this race) nor the fans of CART (who think
its the best form of racing in America). So what exactly is it
Mr.. Shaw that you're trying to say?
Comments such as the "roar of a mouse" suggest to me that you
have no knowledge of open wheel racing, beside what you have
been reading in the papers from Tony George or NASCAR
supporters. I bet the paper forces you to go to these
races, if you even attend that is. I have attended the
Cleveland race a few times and this race is as exiting and fun
as any I have been to.
In your article you chose to focus on the negatives that
surround CART and I will answer them in details to follow.
But u seem to forget that every racing series in America has
problems and that includes IRL and F1.
You bring up the fact that CART's
field is at 18c ars, while failing to mention that CART has
received over 25 entries for next year including some from the
IRL. Then you mention how it's losing its stars and that is
true but you have to remember that F1 is the premier racing
series in the world, and if the NBA players can get paid more
playing oversees they will. Therefore, why pick on CART
drivers for taking a better payday and not focus on everyone
else. the MLS is the same way, they lose their stars to Europe
why not mention that.
You mention "IRL still competes in front of rows of empty
seats at some of its stops, it has enjoyed a healthier
six-year run than the circuit that was selling itself as "all
the stars, all the cars" when the split occurred." This
is a funny dilemma - you claim that the IRL, which is
competing in front of empty stands, is fairing better that
CART which has already surpassed a Million Fans in attendance
before it reached the Cleveland G.P. In 8 races they
reached a million, while the IRL is still trying to reach 3/4
of that even with the Indy 500. Even our National pastime has
attendance problem, and CART has outdrawn 14 Major league
baseball teams by the all-star break. Your beloved Indians
barely reached a million fans by the all star break.
Now I do agree with you in that CART used to be arrogant and
ran itself to the ground, but I recommend you focus on what
Chris Pook has done with CART since taking over as CEO and I
am sure you will be more impressed.
In regards to IRL's TV package, you are right they did get a
good package but CART has to keep its own customers (racing
fans) before they reach out to others and all racing fans
watch Speed Channel. By the way, have you watched a race on
Speed Channel and compared that to the coverage of ESPN and
In conclusion, CART losing its stars is nothing new, that has
been happening for the longest time, did you forget that
Micheal Andretti was lost to F1 in the prime of open wheel
racing in America. In fact I recall everyone was pulling
for him to succeed in F1.
I as a CART fan root constantly
for Montoya because he is CART homegrown. Don't forget we got
to see Juan make his mistakes and watched him grow into a
champion that is representing CART well in F1. But you
do fail to mention CART also steals from F1 with drivers such
as Junqueira, Franchitti, Papis and so on. Did Japanese fans
stop going to baseball games in Japan when they lost Ichiro to
MLB? Heck no, in fact that makes the fans happy that their
stars are appreciated. CART fans feel the same about its
drivers since going to F1 is a lot like Ichiro and Shinjo
coming to the U.S.
You must stop comparing CART with NASCAR, they are two totally
different series' and they race different circuits. In
CART reflexes and talent are required constantly while in
NASCAR its the same lazy-racing motion of turning left, not to
say that Nascar drivers aren't talented (they are), but its
easier for a CART driver to go to F1, IRL, and NASCAR to drive
then it is for the others to come to CART. And that spells out
CART's uniqueness and high level of racing in the most diverse
racing in the world.
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