Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Friday, August 31, 2012

MIchael Andretti & IndyCar

SIMON: I like IndyCar. It’s entertaining, but it is the poor relation to Nascar, and I’m not sure why because I don’t find Nascar that interesting to watch. IndyCar’s poor relation status means that viewing figures aren’t that good and finances are tight. So what is a struggling championship to do? Possibly turn to Michael Andretti. There’s an interesting article/interview in Autosport with Michael. Not only is he a team owner, but his promotions company has stepped in to run and promote several of the IRL races. So with Michael being involved with so many layers of the championship, the big question is should Michael be given the keys to IndyCar altogether.

For me there's a conflict of interest issue here. Should a team owner also run the series? On the surface of it, I’d say no. if Michael A wants to run IndyCar, then he can’t run his team. He can own team, but he can’t direct his team’s affairs on race days. It would keep things clean and stop anyone from complaining (most of the time). It would certainly be interesting to see what he can do for the series that does need an image makeover. Then again, we could ask Bernie Ecclestone if he’d like a second job…

What are your thoughts Tammy?

TAMMY: I certainly see your point about a conflict of interest. I'd like to say, hey, we're all adults here, and even though he might put people in power to run things, that doesn't mean he'd be running things. Because we're all adults here and know that we shouldn't cheat or influence unduly. (And I know some of the people running things, such as the Baltimore GP this weekend. And they can be trusted to be impartial.) 

But in principle, I don't think the inmates should run the asylum. Being the power behind a couple race weekends? That's just running a wing or two of the building, not the whole mental institution. 

Then again, the Panoz Motor Sports Group ran in the American Le Mans Series, both of which were founded by Don Panoz (Dr. P, as he's known). I know those organizations were run as separate companies ... but it's the same sort of situation. (Though I can't say the Panoz cars got special treatment; they didn't do very well in the last years of their participation.)

So I'm with you, Simon, it wouldn't be appropriate. Then again, if you're giving me the choice between Michael A and Bernie E? I'd go ABB (anyone but Bernie). 

What do the rest of you think? If Michael A proves himself a great promoter and supporter, should he take an active role in the series? Or is that too much inbreeding?

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