Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spicing Up The Triple Crown...And My Weekly Rant

The beauty of social media is that it gives people a chance to share their interests with others, and sometimes that sharing leads to some crazy ideas.

But you know what? Sometimes it's the craziest of ideas that work the best.

Anyway, as he does most days, DZ at @groundedeffects posted a trivia question, and this time it involved Pocono. Namely, who holds the open wheel 4-lap track record there? Surprisingly enough, it is Peter Revson, who averaged 190.648 mph in 1973. The one-lap mark has since been long shattered, of course, but since qualifying no longer involves four laps, it still stands 40 years later.

So it brought up an idea in my head...why not make all of the Triple Crown races (Indy, Pocono, Fontana) 4-lap efforts? Indy, of course, is taken care of, as is tradition, but how about the other two?

I know IndyCar flirted with the 4-lap procedure at ovals a few years ago, and it didn't go over very well. But given we now have a Triple Crown designation why not give it a special qualifying process too? Iowa has its own with the heat races and they could just leave Milwaukee and Texas alone with their 2-lap qualifying.

So while we were sorting that out, Steve (@stevewittich) brought up the idea of the "Tri-Pole" crown, which is actually kind of awesome. Get a sponsor and put some money up for anyone who can win all three poles, or even a lesser amount if someone wins two.

The trophy would look a little like this... (Photo credit to @groundedeffects)

And if you read my last post about the rules changes, you know what is coming next...more points. If you win all three, you deserve more points. Or go cross country style and add up the qualifying positions for the three and give something out to the driver that has the lowest total. Say Tony Kanaan wins the pole at Indy, qualifies third at Pocono and second at Fontana -- that's 1-3-2 for six points. Lowest score wins, gets some bonus points. Or pass out some cash, which is just as good as money.

I've even come up with the idea for the trophy: one that has each of the scoring pylons mounted on a base, with the driver's car number etched in P1 on each one (or their starting positions if you add up all three). 

A big check, a cool trophy and (possibly) bonus points. Can't go wrong.

Is it a crazy idea? Certainly. Should IndyCar listen to crazy ideas from the fans? Absolutely.

The whole point of this post is I had an idea I wanted to share, because I thought it was funny and in a way, might actually work. And some of it is the hope that IndyCar is listening, because we as fans come up with ideas on how to better the product all of the time. In all the discussion about "fixing" IndyCar, the biggest one, to me, is that the fans should have a voice. Whether that is through a fan panel (which NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway both have, for example) or someone who monitors social media and passes things along to the higher-ups, we need to know that they are listening to us. Really listening to us, not by paying lip service and staying with the status quo.

If you are going to get a consulting group to come up with answers, why not come to the fans as well? We are passionate, and we are invested. Better yet, we know what we want. 

I think the more fans know they are being listened to, the more excited they get because then there is a true connect between the series and the fans. This should all be about what WE want, within reason, of course. But when they implement ideas and say it was due to fan response and suggestions, it makes us feel good because it makes us feel part of something.

That's why we follow sports, is for that connection. One reason drivers like Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe are so popular is because they connect with us. Off the track they pose for pictures and sign autographs and interact with the fans, and as a result when they are on the track it makes their fans feel like they are racing for them too.

In my mind, that connect has to be at every level for it to click. It's 2012, customer service extends well beyond whether we enjoy our experience at the track, it's all encompassing, in not only the real but virtual worlds.

Yes, I know it's business, and a big one at that. I can barely fend for myself, so I have no idea how to run a huge company. But I do know what gets me (and other fans) going, when I sit in my seat at the track or in front of the TV on race weekends. In that sense, we are the ones that are the experts.

So that's my (our) idea for the week, what do you think? Anyone in IndyCar, if you decide to implement this, e-mail me for my address to send me the big royalty check. You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention and yes, I would vote for you as Chicagoland Region Representative to the as-yet-unformed Indycar Fan Council. Heck let's just go ahead and install you as President and get this show on the road! Time waits for no one.