Tag Archive: Grand Am

It’s no secret to anyone not wearing rose-colored glasses that Motorsports is approaching a crisis. This is not confined to the U.S. but is a global issue. Whether you are talking about F1 or road racing in the U.S. unsettling things are happening. Things that do not bode well for those concerned.

In F1, generally considered to be the pinnacle of racing, the HRT team barely made it to the end of the 2012 season. They are not listed on the FIA’s list of teams to contest the 2013 championship. While many of the world’s major companies are involved, I doubt if other than Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull any of the teams are awash in cash. (Forgot Mercedes, but it may be approaching put up or shut up time for them.

Nascar had declines in both attendance and viewers from 2010. I don’t mention 2011 because that was a slight increase over 2010. In other words the decline has resumed.

Road racing in the U.S. is a total basket case. Grand Am has been on life support for its top class, Daytona prototype for some time. ALMS, while enjoying a wide range of manufacturer, primarily import, support had been for sale for a few years now. Now it has agreed to be purchased by Grand Am. (Remember Grand Am is owned by the France family, i.e. Nascar)

Trans-Am is gamely trying to recapture  the glory from the days of manufacturer involvement with the pony cars in the 60’s and 70’s. While the introduction of what are in essence stock car chassied pony cars bodes well, the lack of a viable TV contract is a MAJOR constraint.

Even vintage racing has taken a hit. Car counts are down at many venues, despite the fact that this is one of the most affordable ways to participate, maybe not race, that there is.

So what is to happen? Will all the brave talk of the “new car” in Nascar bring fans back? Will Twitter return Nascar back to its glory days of only a few years ago? Or, will a Generation 6 spec race car provide the same type of racing that has caused fans to abandon the sport in droves? And is Twitter another way to keep up with the sport without actually attending races?

As to GrandAm/ALMS what are they going to do? Will they try to make it a road racing version on Nascar? Or capitalize on the strengths of the two series?

Trans- AM is returning to the classic road racing circuits in the coming year. The addition of Sebring and Daytona, plus a return to VIR can only be viewed as positives. But even more so is the alignment with SVRA. That is probably the most natural fit for them. But still the major players aren’t coming in without a TV contract. Hopefully that will be addressed, because it is great racing.

Hopefully 2013 will be a year for growth in motorsport. But there is something going on in the world regarding Motorsports beyond the economy, and the powers that be need to address it. Iphones sell millions on the day they are introduced, but Nascar was down 24% in the 18-34 demo. Hmm? That should be speaking to somebody.

Now lets see, I have a car, all it needs is a few upgrades, and  if I could find a driver with some money………..

It’s probably not a good idea to start a post with an apology, or an excuse. But in this case it’s probably necessary. Seems like this entire summer has consisted of  a series of events that kept me from writing here. When you’re young you have a vision of a quiet old age with little to do.  Perhaps sitting in front of a cozy fire in the armchair with a good book, and an adult beverage, while the trusted hound lies at your feet.

While it’s a comforting picture I suppose that time hasn’t arrived for me yet. Too many interests and things to do yet still only 24 hours in a day. So for the first and last time I apologize.

But a quick review, partial I am sure of what has happened this year.

In Formula One it looked like Red Bull’s dominance of the last several years was ended. McLaren and Lotus (formerly Renault) had cars that were noticeably faster than the Bull. At the same time Fernando Alonso was doing miracles with a Ferrari that was at best the  fourth fastest car on the grid.

Now  however it looks like Red Bull has found its edge again, Ferrari may still only be third fastest, and McLaren has lost its way. The prediction here is Red Bull all the way.

Indycar which I had hoped would make use of the out of the box talents of Randy Bernard to reclaim its glory has reverted to form. A palace coup by the owners has forced Bernard out in the past few days. Does anyone believe that the owners, who created the split of open wheel racing in this country, with disastrous results, can pull this one out? If so I hope you are right but I doubt it.

Panoz after years of trying to sell ALMS finally was able to sell it to another competing series, Grand AM aka Nascar secret twin. Its been no secret that Grand AM has been struggling in recent years to attract cars, other than those owned by the Nascar teams or associated manufacturers. ALMS on the other hand had a more diverse group and was heavily supported by international manufacturers. So what does this portend, that Nascar will try to impose its brand of “entertainment” marketing on road racing? Or, is this an attempt to stop the bleeding in Daytona?

Trans Am continues to limp along and I think this is a subject for another time.

Nascar is an interesting study. One looks at TV ratings which week after week are stagnant at best, attendance that continues a gradual decline. Yet they continue to make amazing amounts of money, so what is the real story there? Is it just a victim of an economy that continues to limp along? Or, as some have said, is it a sport that has lost relevance with its audience.

Vintage racing seems to be struggling as well. This would be the one area that I thought would not be impacted as much as it has been. SO like Nascar the question is why.

Anyway, during the coming weeks we intend to address these plus a lot of other stories.

Well, its almost time once again. Time to shake off the winter doldrums and start back to racing. The Daytona 24 hour is history along with the Grand Am support event. In Spain the F1 teams having all done their ritual launches of the new cars, fired off the first test of the year at Jerez.  This weekend will see the first race of the V8 Stockcar Series season.

So, are you ready? Have you almost got the car ready? Are all the parts here, just waiting to be put on? Or is it the old as soon as I get my tax refund check, I will knock it out.

Whichever one it is, its an exciting time, everyone is going to win the championship, set new lap records and all the disappointment from last year will be forgotten.

Maybe for you its something totally different. Regardless its getting to be that time again.

I thought I would add a feature. Today I have my first poll question. Of course its a basic one, what type of road racing do you like. Feel free to add comments if you like. Dont get excited about the format, we will change that as we go forward.