Editorial

CART, Do You Know Who You Are?

 by Mark Cipolloni
October 22, 2000

 

Go to our forums to discuss this article

Others by Mark

Without a dictator such as a Bernie Ecclestone or a Bill France to tell it want it should be, CART appears stuck in a quandary, trying to figure out which owner, manufacturer, or sponsor to appease next.  Since the split with the IRL, CART has tried to redefine itself, and although it is to be commended for surviving in the face of extreme adversity, its future direction is somewhat clouded. 

It isn't part of the Indy 500, it's USA TV ratings are declining and it's soon to be without its most popular President and CEO to date, Bobby Rahal.  On top of that, one of its engine manufacturers, Mercedes,  recently withdrew from the series, its TV contract is up for renewal, and the search for Rahal's replacement has yet to turn up the ideal person for the job, at least one who is willing to take the position.

It seems everyone has an opinion of what CART should be (including us), yet sometimes we feel CART itself doesn't know who it is. It tries to be everything to everybody.  It doesn't have a clear direction.  

  • American or international?

  • Oval or road course?

  • Foreign drivers or American drivers?

  • Turbocharged or Naturally Aspirated?  And so on....

CART appears to be floundering, uncertain of its future.  Fortunately there is hope!  We have not seen a 5 or 10 year strategic business plan so we doubt one exists.  What we present below are what we feel are the issues that make CART what it is or isn't, and an analysis of each.

What CART is or isn't

#1 - CART is a World Championship.   Let's start with the series title.  The FIA now recognizes CART as a World Championship, so why not use that title?  CART's new title should be the 'CART FedEx World Championship Series'.    Likewise, F1 will continue to be known as the 'F1 World Championship Series'.  It's a subtle way for CART to say we are a 'world championship', and that in itself is significant.

#2 - CART's Mission is  Let's define what we believe CART's Mission Statement should be:

"The CART FedEx World Championship Series will strive to be the premier open wheel racing series in the world.  Our goal will be to provide the most competitive open wheel racing on a wide variety of oval and road courses worldwide.  Our cars (Champ Cars) shall always be among the most sophisticated and powerful open wheel race cars in the world.  We will continually strive to provide a fair and competitive environment for our drivers, our teams, our sponsors and our business partners; and to demand that our race circuits, rules & regulations, teams and drivers meet the highest level of standards.   We will never lose sight of the fact that our fans are our customers, to which we are forever grateful, always mindful, and never forgotten."

#3 - CART is without a strong leader  One has to remember why CART was formed in the first place.  CART was a group of very prominent team owners who were not satisfied with the way the sport was being run under USAC.  They did not like being told what to do, and worse yet, they were being paid very little in the way of prize money for the large investments they were making into the sport.  So in 1979 they broke away and formed CART.  Since that day CART has been essentially run by committee.  There have been a series of Presidents running the CART, but for all intents and purposes, it was the CART board, i.e. the team owners, who were calling all the shots that mattered.  The President essentially handled the administrative duties and carried out the wishes of the board.  I've followed CART since day one and it succeeds despite itself.  It's survived a string of presidents with personal agenda's, mistakes like losing PPG that would kill a lesser series, and angered many who have done business with them.....managing to piss off the Hulman George family to the point they rather risk the reputation of the Indy 500 than work with CART. The original CART white paper written by Dan Gurney had the concept right. They were rebelling against a large board that micro managed USAC, yet that is exactly what CART is today. CART needs a powerful, forward looking President.  Someone who is the guardian of the sport not just a guy looking for CART's next golden parachute. CART folks are good people with a great series and they deserve better. It's taken a long time to damage and will take a long time to fix. CART is to be commended for being so open with everything, willing to listen to everyone's opinion in an attempt to always reach a consensus.  Unfortunately, consensus building takes time, and in this fast paced sport, if you blink, you lose.  It took NASCAR all but 30-minutes to change the size of the restrictor plates at Talladega last weekend when it was deemed that speeds were too high.  Can you image CART changing turbo boost pressure between qualifying and the race?  With the current structure in place CART will continue to rule by committee, be slow to react, and indecisive when it does.  The CART board needs to put a strong leader in place and, as hard as it will be for them to let go, give that person almost carte blanc authority to run the series as they see fit.  But who is that person, and will the Board be willing to let go?  I nominate Bernie Ecclestone, though we doubt he would take the job.  CART should avoid direct comparison with F1, but CART can learn a lot from Bernie Ecclestone.  A fan recently said - "For better or worse I think the global phenomenon that is "Big Formula One" can be laid at Bernie Ecclestone's doorstep. Whether you want to label him a "promoter", a "showman", an "impresario", whatever, Bernie has brought about F1's "success" through marketing savvy.  If Ecclestone had not found his niche in motorsports, I have no doubt he would have made a formidable media executive. In short, Bernie's accomplishment has been to organize and package F1 in a highly impressive way and sell it to the world. To my eyes, he has concentrated on two key elements (besides his underlying organization of the sport) to do this: each Formula One race is an "event," usually one of "its" country's top-3 sporting events, and the concept of a World Championship."  CART needs a Bernie Ecclestone........now! 

#4 - CART is overwhelmed by NASCAR's domination  NASCAR has saturated the American racing market with its Winston Cup, Busch and Truck series, all to the detriment of open wheel racing.  Invariably, whenever CART or the IRL compete at tracks that also hold Winston Cup events, the grandstands are only 30% full.  Between NASCAR and other sports, race fans near these venues either have very little money left to spend on open wheel racing, or they choose not too. There is a saturation of NASCAR related TV programs as well.  Race news shows such as ESPN's RPM2Night or TNN's Raceday do nothing more than grease the NASCAR marketing steamroller.  Case in point - week in and week out RPM2Night's 'Open Wheel Wednesday' is nothing more than shot after shot of cars flipping and crashing, a subtle way of portraying open wheel racing in a negative light.  On the other hand, they feature at least one live NASCAR driver interview per show and glamorize everything about NASCAR.  NASCAR recently signed a very lucrative TV contract, netting NASCAR over $100 million in revenues annually.  By contrast, CART gets a paltry $5 million for its TV contract.  NASCAR's $100 million deal with Turner and AOL to produce and maintain their website is another big windfall.  In short, with all that revenue,  NASCAR is poised to completely dominate the USA racing scene for a very very long time.  Therefore, why go head-to-head with the goliath of oval track racing, when you are certain to come out bloodied, battered and beaten?  Find a niche where you can succeed and build on it  NASCAR is OVAL track racing in the USA.  Period.  End of story.  Lick your wounds and carry on.  CART must cement its status as the premier road racing series in North America, and build upon that.  Lock up Road Atlanta, downtown Miami, San Francisco, Montreal and Manhattan.  But don't stop there,.......read more.

CART - USA vs. World Poll
CART should?
Pull back and become a 100% American series
Increase overseas venues and become a viable World Championship
Stay the course

Results | Poll Archives

#5 - CART isn't a true international series....yet!  What about overseas? CART is viewed as largely a domestic series, with an occasional overseas foray.  Can it ever hope to gain international acceptance on the same level as F1, or will it just be riding F1's coattails?  F1 limits itself to 16 or 17 races per year.  Many tracks and countries want a major race event such as F1 or CART, but can't get one.  CART has met with quite a bit of success outside the borders of the USA, and in 2001, when CART goes to Mexico, England and Germany, it will be clear to everyone just how popular CART has become.  Whereas F1 is technically superior to CART, and for the moment, far more glamorous, CART races are more competitive, and in the long run, potentially more appealing to the worldwide masses.  F1 has become so expensive, one wonders how well it will do should an economic recession strike.  What happens when F1 sponsors see that CART can be a strong player in the international arena and require a budget 1/10th the size?  Will Compaq, an American company, pull its money from the Williams team and sponsor a CART team instead?  Will a company like BMW realize it has a better chance of winning in CART where it can supply engines to 8 or 10 cars rather than just 2 cars in F1?  Will F1 promoters realize they can host a CART race for 1/3 the cost of a F1 venue and actually make money?  CART must become a bigger player in the international arena, an arena that is not stifled by NASCAR.  The world thirsts for races F1 can't hope to provide.  We refer you to our recent article 'Will CART miss this boat too?" for some insight on where CART should be racing overseas.

#6 - CART isn't in tune with the TV and print media  Many complain that ABC/ESPN have done a mediocre job for CART, blaming all of CART's woes on TV.  While it's quite evident their allegiance has been to NASCAR, it wasn't always that way.  When ESPN started getting heavy into CART in 1983 it was intended that CART would become the prime motorsport on the network. At ABC as late as 1989, NASCAR was secondary to CART.  NASCAR grew the sport externally of TV.  Within TV, NASCAR worked with TV extensively. NASCAR hired former network big wigs to consult the TV product like Niel Pielson former CBS President. CART hired local TV people from Detroit. NASCAR makes sure events fit time slots.  NASCAR makes sure drivers are available to the press and public. NASCAR has 28 people working on popular press coverage. The ratings of a series are based on the series itself. NASCAR is popular today (though ratings and attendance are falling) because NASCAR understood it's audience and worked it well. Track NASCAR in the major daily newspapers. They know how to get space, CART gets almost none!  NASCAR is where it is because it is good at marketing it's product. NASCAR works carefully with their TV networks to assure the coverage works instead of blaming them for every problem. Having said all that, CART still needs a TV partner that is truly willing to grow the series and we hope ABC/ESPN can become that partner.  ESPN helped to grow NASCAR when NASCAR got started on TV, and now that NASCAR has awarded their TV contract to NBC and FOX, one would think that ABC and ESPN would be willing players with CART, having been betrayed by NASCAR.  However, ABC also has a strong allegiance (and contracts) to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony George and the IRL.  And what about guys like Dr. Jerry Punch and Bill Weber?  Where are they going when NASCAR leaves?  Will they move over to NBC or FOX, or will they be available for CART broadcasts? We know Bill Weber still has a contract with ESPN.  We don't know about Jerry Punch.   Are they even on CART's radar screen in their negotiations with ABC/ESPN? These guys both file stories about issues involving NASCAR for RPM2Night that are quite believable, interesting, and often heartwarming.  They put NASCAR on a pedestal and make you believe it.  Jerry's driver medical reports as a 'Doctor' are spot on. They should continue to do for CART what they currently do for NASCAR on RPM2Night next year (along with Jon Beekhuis, Marlo Klain and Robin Miller).  Jerry Punch would be a great addition to the race broadcasts working the pits with Gary Gerold and Jon Beekhuis. And please, let's get both of them to do the 'Inside CART' shows. They bring a passion to the sport (and hence to the fans) that CART needs. Although research shows that the announcers have very little to do with the ratings, if we were running CART, both Punch and Weber would have been locked up with hefty retainers as soon as NASCAR announced that ABC/ESPN had lost their TV contract.  It's all those little things that count in the big picture.

#7 - CART isn't passionate  It's called passion.  NASCAR has it.  Formula One has it.  CART doesn't.  NASCAR fans are very passionate toward their favorite driver.  A majority of F1 fans are passionate for Ferrari or for the driver from their country.  What are CART fans passionate about, especially CART's American fans?   Some think CART has too many foreign drivers and not enough American drivers, and that turns American's away.  On the surface this statement seems true, especially since CART still runs a majority of races in the USA, and NASCAR, which is 100% American, is a huge success.  One might argue that CART's USA TV ratings would be higher if more American drivers were in the series.  However, we doubt that the addition of even 5 more American's would make a dent in the TV numbers, at least not immediately.   There are a lot of other factors holding CART's TV numbers down, but it is fan apathy that is probably the most important. Although we are seeing more flag waving in the grandstands (ala F1), it seems it's the foreign fans that have all the enthusiasm for their countrymen.  Canadians cheered Tracy in Vancouver.  Colombian fans only have one driver, Juan Montoya, to cheer for, yet they make more noise in the grandstands then the rest of the fans combined.  Mexicans cheer Fernandez.  The Tifosi cheers Ferrari with red Ferrari flags and loud horns.  Americans?  For the most part they just sit there quietly.  It was great to see the crowd in Houston chanted USA! USA! USA! for the American winner Jimmy Vasser after the race.  CART needs more of that.  CART needs excitement, a rivalry.  There is much rivalry in NASCAR.  Earnhardt vs. Martin vs. Gordon vs. Labonte.  NASCAR promotes conflict where CART stops it.  Dale Earnhardt will attack Ford so that Ford guys will attack his Chevy.  NASCAR fans are vociferous, noisy and emotional.  They wear their favorite driver on their shirts and their car number on their rear windows. CART has a Nations Cup, but it fails to capitalize on the rivalry between nations.  As CART goes more international, its diverse culture is actually an asset.  CART should purchase some air horns (again ala F1),  thousands of flags (especially USA flags) representing the various countries, and hand them out to the fans at each race.  Let them cheer their countrymen on.  Get those loud air horns blowing in the grandstands.  It's time to light a fire under the American fans.  If ever a sports team needed cheerleaders, CART's American drivers certainly do.  Each time Montoya takes the lead at Fontana next weekend, the Colombians will get up, wave their flags, stomp their feet, and cheer.  Each time Andretti takes the lead will Americans do likewise?  Will we see the American flags waving next year in Germany, right next to the Brazilian flag, the Union Jack, and Mexican flag?  CART needs to play the country vs. country, driver vs. driver card much stronger.  Like F1, CART is an Olympic battlefield where national pride is on the line.  Go USA!

#8 - CART isn't stock car racing  Passing - NASCAR has it, CART and F1 doesn't.  Does the lack of passing on CART's road and street circuits (and this year the ovals too) explain CART's poor TV ratings?  The IRL only races on ovals and most of their races are on network TV.  Their TV ratings are atrocious too.  All sporting events have been hit with steady downward TV ratings and CART is no different.  TV is saturated with a multitude of sports and open wheel racing is a niche sport, far from from being considered mainstream like Football, Baseball and NASCAR.  CART's oval track races get the same poor ratings as its road and street races.  There is no data that supports the theory that fans don't tune into CART on TV because of the lack of road racing passes. Compared to F1, CART provides a lot of passing, and contrary to what many Americans might think, worldwide F1 is by far more popular than even NASCAR.  Certainly more passing would help CART, but if Bernie Ecclestone can sell F1 which has almost no passing, one would think that CART can sell even better.  What would NASCAR do in this situation?  Of course they would change the rules to promote passing, but they would also sit down with the TV people and come up with a way to dramatize what it takes to pull off a pass, and how skillful the driver is who can. They would point out the intricacy's of making a pass, dramatize the details...the braking, the downshifting, the difficulty.  They would turn the problem around and make the fans believe a 'pass' is something to be marveled at.  

Champ car and F1 drivers have a difficult time pulling off passes because the turbulence from the car directly in front spoils the downforce generated by the front and rear wings of the car attempting to pass.  If CART wants to develop an aerodynamic package that will produce better racing over the long haul, we recommend they invest in some research and do it right this time.  CART should help fund the research into the idea of higher underwing downforce (see recent article).  The ability of drivers to pass on the race track directly affects CART and its ability to justly portray itself as the pinnacle of exciting open-wheeled racing.  CART needs a good show to stay in business so it is CART who should pay. Given CART races on such a wide variety of circuits, the two objectives of the research would be: 
  1. Detailed study of the circuits (computer simulation) to catalog the effect of running different levels of downforce/drag/horsepower on each track. This data should be summarized and then an identification be made of the desired number (four ?) of different packages to adequately cover the requirements of CART's four type of tracks . Rather than go into scientific details,  what we are looking for is basically the need to ensure that the cars are generally grip-limited in the turns without an excessive horsepower-surplus available on corner exit (otherwise either any fool can drive them, or would be quite likely to spin on exit). This would take an expert group about 3-months. 

  2. For at least two of these "downforce-packages"; determine what level of total downforce that it will take for better racing if the vast majority of the downforce is created by the underwing. This requires wind tunnel testing to match the options, followed by at least two full-size cars (manufactured or modified from existing/old chassis) and several track tests. This would take an expert group about 6-months.

The end result would be a package that is more conducive to passing.  Open wheel racing never featured as much passing as NASCAR stock cars, never has and never will.  But that's not to say there isn't room for improvement.

#9 - CART is surviving the CART/IRL split  Tony George was banking on CART failing when he created the IRL, hoping that all the sponsors would abandon CART for the chance to be at the Indy 500.  That never happened as its sponsors see CART, with its international events, a far better bang for the buck than a purely domestic series, even if that domestic series includes the Indy 500.  CART can and will continue to survive without the Indy 500, but it must strive to let go of the weaker races and replace them with renowned events.  If it loses one engine manufacturer, it must strive to get another to replace it.  If it loses one driver to F1, it must strive to get an even better one back.  If it loses one sponsor it must strive to gain two.

#10 - CART isn't a spectacle  OK, so CART doesn't have the Indy 500.  Should it just roll over and play dead?  NASCAR has the "No Bull 5". In selected races, the top 5 finishers qualify for a $1 million dollar bonus if they can win the next designated No Bull 5 race. There are 4 or 5 of those races per year, and they rotate the tracks and races through the schedule. The $1 million bonus has been won 3 or 4 times in the last few years.  NASCAR has a play money launcher that they use and whenever someone wins they fire all kids of play money into the air off a moving truck, showering the place with money fluttering in the breeze. Quite a vision!  CART has already said they want to build their series in 22 Indy 500's.  That's fine, but why can't CART talk, say a VISA, into sponsoring a No Bull 5 type promotion; something to make selected races more exciting.....a spectacle.

#11 - CART isn't lazy racing, or is it?  In this previous article we addressed the issue of CART's HP dilemma.  Some say Champ cars are getting too fast for the oval tracks.  When one examines the HP to weight ratio of a Champ car vs. a F1 car, one can easily see that either a Champ car has too little HP, or it weighs too much.  At around 1,700 pounds (with driver) Champ cars are overweight when compared to 1,323 pound (with driver) F1 cars. F-1: 825 HP/1323 Lb. = 0.623 HP/Lb.; CART: 900 HP/1700 Lb. = 0.529 HP/Lb.  No wonder guys like Zanardi found F1 cars so hard to adapt too.  Their incredible braking, cornering speeds and fast acceleration require the reflexes of young drivers, the best of the best.  Perhaps CART should put the Champ cars on diets to bring their weight closer to that of a F1 car, and to slow them on Superspeedways, require them to run ballast, slightly lower boost, and a Handford Device with an even bigger vertical rear endplate (i.e. a parachute so to speak) to further limit their terminal velocity.  Image the hole in the air that wing would make?  And you thought this years Michigan 500 had a lot of passing?  No, Champ Cars don't have too much HP, especially on road and street circuits. Champ cars do everything slower than a F1 car (accelerate, brake and corner) leading Niki Lauda to call American racing 'lazy racing'........sloooow motion.  If CART is going to compete in the international arena, its cars had better perform somewhat on par with F1 cars.  Champ cars now must weigh 1,550 LBS without driver.  To start I would propose Champ cars be made to weigh 1,550 LBS with the driver.  That's a weight reduction of about 150 LBS of the 400 LB difference.  They still won't be as nimble as a F1 car, but it's a start.  One point to remember here is that the amount of energy a car hits a wall is directly proportional to its weight/mass, but it is proportional to its velocity squared (See this article for a more detailed explanation).  Reducing the weight will cause corner speeds to go up, hence why we suggested ballast for the oval tracks to keep the oval track cornering speeds no higher than they are today.  As for the HP, CART should strive to keep it between 850 and 900, but no more.  That is best controlled by tweaking the turbo boost.  See #12 below.  Frank Williams said to the European press recently that he was embarrassed that Champ Cars had more HP (900 vs. 820) than F1 cars.  It's those kind of statements that bring a little intrigue to the CART series......the anticipation that the fastest cars in the world are coming to Europe in 2001.

#12 - CART's heritage is turbocharged  Should CART drop the turbo engines and adopt a naturally aspirated engine for 2003 and beyond?  The fans don't want CART to dumb down their engines just to get back to Indy, and the CART manufacturers don't want that either.  NASCAR, the IRL and F1 all run naturally aspirated engines, and a F1 engine is certainly sophisticated enough.  Why is CART still turbocharged?  Because the engine manufacturers still feel the 1.8 liter, 55 inches of boost (as opposed to the current 2.65 liter 40 inches of boost), turbocharged engine is the way to go for CART.  That proposal was made because:

  • The 1.8 liter formula will be good for at least 10 years, i.e. rules stability

  • Speeds can be controlled by reducing boost pressure gradually each year   It allows the manufacturers the freedom to challenge their engineers technically, without all the restrictions imposed by a NASCAR or an IRL type engine formula.  As at least two manufacturer's have stated, CART can choose to change to a low tech formula and it will be up to us to decide whether we stay or go.

  • They have invested a lot of research in turbocharged engines and they don't want to throw all that away with say a normally aspirated or air restricted engine program that requires totally different research and development.

  • The sound of Turbocharged engines are an important part of CART's heritage.

  • Turbochargers muffle the sound enough so Champ Cars can race on street circuits, something CART has plenty of.  The new 3.5 liter, 180-degree crank IRL engines may sound better than the 4.0 liter 90 degree crank engines,   but they are still too loud for street racing.

They are sound reasons for staying with a Turbo engine, but one naturally aspirated engine idea we had keeps on resurfacing.  Instead of switching to the big and heavy 3.5 liter, RPM restricted IRL engine, just suppose CART were to switch to the 3.0 liter V-10 engine formula, ala F1.  With restrictions on exotic materials, outrageous electronics and perhaps RPM limits (so they can last 500 miles, though still above 16,000 RPM), what would it take for some of the F1 engine manufacturers to come up with an engine for CART.  We discussed this concept with a few current CART engine reps who thought those engines, though cheaper than their F1 counterpart,  would still be far too expensive for CART.  Perhaps that is true, but the thought of a Ferrari or a BMW building CART engines is enticing.  Can you imagine the Tifosi in the grandstands at a CART race?  We can. Would the manufacturers then be able to spread their development costs across both series to produce a somewhat economical engine?  Let's face it, F1 engines are way too expensive and the slightest drop-off in the economy may force more than one of them out of F1. How do they justify spending $200 million annually to produce engines for a 2-car team?  Unless CART is willing convince the FIA to adopt a common, more economical, V-10 engine formula that both CART and F1 can use, we recommend CART go with the 1.8 liter turbo engine for the reasons stated above.  They should absolutely avoid the IRL engine spec.  Foreign race fans are bred on the high-tech world of F1.  An IRL engine in a Champ Car will give the Niki Lauda's of the world more ammunition to demean CART.  

#13 - CART is road racing  NASCAR is to oval racing what CART is to road racing.  Road races are somewhat follow-the-leader and boring to many.  Why then, should CART become primarily a road racing series?  CART's road racing attendance has been up every year for the last 8 or 10, while its oval track attendance continues its downward spiral.  The trend is well defined and the pattern consistent.  The fans have spoken loud and clear.  If they want to attend an oval race, NASCAR is their first choice.  If we want to attend a road race, CART is their choice.  Perhaps road races are boring to the born and bred NASCAR fans who consider a race such as Talladega as the crème-de-la crème of the sport.  To them, open wheel racing doesn't even exist.  On the other hand, road race fans understand that their form of racing puts a premium on driver skill, whereas oval track racing puts a premium on the car and its setup.  They appreciate the difficulty in pulling off a pass on a road course as compared to an oval.  Whereas, Americans look to NASCAR, and hence ovals, to fulfill their excitement, American road racing fans, and fans elsewhere in the world (where oval racing is nonexistent), consider road racing the ultimate form of motorsports.  CART's road races both inside and outside of the USA (Toronto, Vancouver, Surfers and soon to be Rio and Mexico) are spectacular hits.  The record attendance seen at these races, plus that seen at F1 road races, underscore their worldwide popularity.  NASCAR's failure in Japan underscores the worldwide lack of interest in America's most popular form of racing.  NASCAR is very much an American thing.  Champ cars look like F1 cars, and outside the USA open wheel racing (CART and F1) is viewed as the ultimate form of motorsports.

#14 - CART isn't branded  Mention CART to someone on the street and you will likely get a huh, what's that you say?  Mention NASCAR and the response is yeah, I know what you mean.  We are not particularly fond of the name 'CART' as a racing series, 'IndyCar' of course was much better, far more recognizable.  Unfortunately CART lost the right to use that name when the IRL was formed.  Ditto for Champ Cars.  Everyone knows what a F1, Stock Car, or Indy Car is, but say 'Champ Car' and you will get the same huh, what's that you say, reaction.  Hopefully once the new movie DRIVEN is released the CART and Champ Car names will be better recognized by the average Joe on the street.  If CART isn't planning a yearlong media blitz around that movie, shame on them.  NASCAR would milk it for all it's worth.  Unfortunately this is going to take money, lots of it.  Is CART willing to dig into its coiffeurs and spend the money it takes to do it right, or will they throw penny's at it in the hope that it miraculously takes care of itself?

In closing, whereas NASCAR pays attention to competition details and makes hard calls, CART worries about stock prices. CART rules are made by owners. NASCAR makes the rules and owners damn well follow them. Whereas NASCAR works with TV to make the productions better, CART blames TV.  NASCAR got where they are by working at it. CART is where is is despite itself.  CART is a good series that can be great.  It just needs to understand what it is, but more importantly what it isn't.  It needs to recognize its shortcomings and then do something about them.  Understanding who they are is of course the first step.  What they do with it is entirely another matter.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article

Visit the Nascartop50

Our ranking out of 750 NASCAR websites since joining on 7/3/00

Will CART miss this boat too, - Destined to forever race in the shadows of NASCAR? 10/13/00

Lights to IRL Specs - Why the new Indy Lights cars should meet IRL specs 9/28/00

Soft Walls - drivers take a stand while you still can 9/6/00

Sigma team - ready to do combat in CART 8/27/00

CART Fan Forum - Highlights from CART's very first Fan Forum 8/11/00

Warren Hughes - A name to remember 8/7/00

CART restarts - NASCAR Style 8/5/00

Mario Andretti Tribute - America's Driver of the Century 8/3/00

Shift w/o Lift - How it works 8/2/00

Aerodynamics - CART's chance to make progressive changes 7/31/00

Chicago - Qualifying Report 7/30/00

CART's HP dilemma 7/23/00

Michigan 500 - Race Report 7/23/00

Michigan 500 - Qualifying Report 7/22/00

Soft Walls - Finally, a safer wall system 7/7/00

Buddy Rice deserves a shot at Champ Cars 7/5/00

Choices, Choices, we rate possible new CART venues 7/4/00

Cleveland Race report Super-sub now Superman 7/2/00

Cleveland Saturday 7/1/00

Cleveland Friday 6/30/00

Portland Race Report 6/24/00

Portland Saturday 6/24/00

Portland Friday 6/23/00

CART must avoid Detroit's politics 6/20/00

10 ways for CART to invest $100 million 6/12/00

Juan-derful Juan wins Milwaukee pole 6/03/00

Marlboro boys sandwich Andretti 6/02/00

Montoya and Ganassi do CART proud at Indy
5/28/00

Penske gets the Monkey off his back with 100th win at Nazareth

Welcome to AutoRacing1.com

A year of progress shapes Rockingham

A solution for CART's franchise dilemma

Lausitzring nears completion, fighting hard to win CART date

Paul Tracy keeps his Kool, wins LBGP for 2nd time

What is an American driver?

Warming up at Nazareth

172 mph in a Champ Car is the ultimate adrenaline rush 11/29/99

Standing Start Rules proposed standing start rules for CART 11/21/99

Standing Starts are they right for CART 10/10/99

 

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2000, AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ