No. 964
September 19, 2018

About The Autoextremist


Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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May 19, 2010

$20 million to win Indy and Charlotte on the same day? At least somebody has their thinking cap on...

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

It hasn't been officially confirmed - although it sounds like Bruton Smith has let the cat out of the bag, apparently - but it looks like Randy Bernard, the new impresario of IndyCar Racing, has come up with the kind of blockbuster idea that I expected of him given his promotional background in PBR. How does $20 million bucks to the driver who wins the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day sound?

Talk about sprinkling a load of buzz on America's cornflakes... All I can say is halle-frickin-luja! Somebody has finally stepped up to the plate and said that the way things are going just cannot continue, that they are simply unacceptable and that new ideas and concepts must be brought to the fore if racing is ever going to get out of its doldrums. Something has to be done to get people - especially the "stick and ball" media-types who only cover maybe two races a year (Daytona & Indy) and the casual, "I watch one race per year" fans - to talk about racing in a positive light in this country.

NASCAR certainly needs the shot in the arm - especially given its litany of troubles of late - and coverage of IndyCar racing is damn near nonexistent except for the Indianapolis 500, so why not? Why not get the media buzz going? Why not move the start time for the Indy 500 up to where it once was - or even earlier for that matter - so that the top stars of NASCAR and their teams could seriously plan efforts to run both races?

What, you wouldn't want Johnson, Gordon, the Busch brothers, Juan Pablo, Harvick, Stewart et al to participate in serious Indy 500 efforts against the Penske, Ganasssi and Andretti juggernauts? Sure you would. Think of 45 cars with 45 really good drivers trying to get into the field of 33 at Indy in qualifying. Think of the co-sponsorship deals. Think of the companies throwing in bonus money on top of the $20 million, say, $1 million to the winning crew chief & crew from a tool company, or beer company, or home improvement store. Think of the ratings bonanza that would come with it, and think of the ratings rocket that would be the Coke 600 if one of the drivers competing in both races actually won the Indianapolis 500. Are you kidding? It would be huge.

At the end of the day racing needs a giant kick in the ass. After all, it's fine if racing enthusiasts and gearheads of all stripes tune in to their various particular preferences in racing, but we all know that's not enough to sustain the sport going forward. The sport needs big ideas and it needs big buzz. It needs a boatload of creative ideas and creative solutions to be brought forth and it needs them in a hurry.

So why stop at the Charlotte-Indy $20 million? Why not a $10 million bonus to the driver who scores the most wins over four road races - two in IndyCar and two in NASCAR - with NASCAR teams providing rides for the top IndyCar stars who want to give it a go? Franchitti vs. Montoya vs.  Castroneves vs. Busch vs. Gordon vs. Stewart vs. Johnson vs. Dixon in stock cars at Watkins Glen? Why not?

I'm just glad someone is saying "Why not" instead of "Why?"

At this point that counts for real progress in a sport that's long overdue.



Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Indianapolis, Indiana, 1963. The great Jim Clark prepares to go out for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as one of his mechanics warms-up the engine in his Lotus "Powered by Ford." He would finish second to Parnelli Jones that year - whose oil-leaking car was not black-flagged by the race stewards in the closing laps - sealing the win for Jones. Clark would be named Rookie of the Year, however. Clark would have tire troubles at Indy in 1964, but in 1965 he drove his Lotus 38-Ford to victory at The Speedway, leading 190 of 200 laps and setting a new race record of 150.686 mph for the 500 miles. It would be the first win for a mid-engined car in the Indianapolis 500. Clark also became the the first and only driver in history to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the World Driving Championship in the same season. Clark also won the World Driving Championship in 1963.


Publisher's Note: Like these Ford racing photos? Check out Be forewarned, however, because you won't be able to go there and not order something. - PMD




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