IndyCar News and Notes

Justin Wilson returns to DCR for 2014

Below is an IndyCar News and Notes from AR1's Brian Carroccio.

Had it been Andretti, Penske or Ganassi my response would be different.

But presuming the reports and rumors are true, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing did attempt to buy out Justin Wilson’s contract from Dale Coyne Racing, Coyne (presuming DC actually returned Bobby Rahal’s phone calls) was absolutely right to say no. Wilson, of course, announced last week, he would be back with DCR in 2014.

Now, I know not everyone is going to see this the way I do. Some will certainly paint the notoriously elusive Coyne in a villainous light, claiming he blocked the talented, likable Wilson from a move to a better team. And while it’s probably safe to assume Coyne will do little to nothing publicly to dispel those notions, it’s undoubtedly true such thinking does not square with the facts.

See, Coyne’s team has actually been better than RLL in recent years. Look it up, if you want. Yes, RLL is better financed, particularly if they have in fact secured the National Guard funding. RLL also undoubtedly enjoys a more celebrated history. But if you look at on-track performance of late, RLL is trying to catch Coyne, not the other way around.

In other words, DC did not block JW from making an upward move, as would have been the case if Andretti, Penske, or Ganassi had set their sights on Wilson. Under that scenario, I would have been the first person beating the drum claiming Wilson should be allowed to pursue an opportunity with a top team. Simply put, that would have been the right thing to do, even if contractually, Coyne had the power to block such a move.

But a move to RLL would have been essentially, a lateral one. And given that, DC was right to protect his team’s most-valued asset.

IndyCar P.R.

With the recent resignation of Amy Konrath, and the lack of news coming from the offices at 16th & Georgetown, the quality of IndyCar public relations has been called into question of late. And if you want to say that IndyCar does not have sufficient P.R., I’m not going to disagree. Just don’t make the mistake of presuming it is the people who are at fault.

Because I don’t care if you have the greatest P.R. people known to man, a staff of three (now two) is not even close to adequate enough for a sport that has any aspirations of growing beyond its die-hard, niche audience.

I’m well aware there’s been a lot of tightening the belt at 16th & Georgetown in recent years. But the lack of staffing is something that needed to be addressed before Konrath’s resignation, and now, even more. And this is not something Mark Miles can take 11 months to interview candidates like he did with the recent sales and marketing positions.

Brian C.

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