Will Buxton, SPEED Channel's pit-lane reporter for Formula 1, posted a blog last week about the experience he had visiting the IndyCar race in Sonoma, CA, the other weekend. (Read the post.) To paraphrase, he loved it.
Now, you have to figure that WillB (I hope he doesn't mind me calling him that) had the best treatment possible--access to all drivers, owners, bigwigs. But even so, he spent part of the race in the stands and he visited the fan zone. One of his comments is this: "It really feels like a community, not just between the teams, drivers, and media, but among the fans too." Then he says this: "The simple fact is, Indycar works. It works because it is fun. It works because it understand how racing should be and what the fans should get for the price of their ticket."
I have two points to make about this:
- His post confirms my growing impression of Formula 1. Sure, it's technologically advanced and impressive, and the biggest, most everything. But it takes itself pretty seriously. Pretentiously. It doesn't seem like much fun. WillB doesn't say this explicitly, just implicitly.
- I think that IndyCar v. F1 is a lot like ALMS v. NASCAR. One side of that equation seems bigger, cooler, more, and the other seems like the poor relation. But the poor relations in these cases give you a better experience and more access to the action.
So for everyone out there who loves watching live racing, I'm going to encourage you to go see the "poor relations." I'm talking about the ALMS and IndyCar, but also Grand-Am, World Challenge, Indy Lights (or whatever they call it now), SCCA weekends, historic races, or whatever. Sure, the lure of the money and the stars is appealing. But if you like to watch racing, there are plenty of places to get right up next to the action.