I Want My IndyCar Racing In Hi-Def

Hammond, IN – Last weekend was a race fans dream, featuring televised events of nearly every form of motorsport: F-1, IRL, NASCAR, Rolex Sports Cars, NHRA and Champ Car. For the followers of domestic open wheel racing, the IRL put on their regular breathtaking show at Texas, while Champ Car was performing at the popular Portland road course. Unfortunately, signs of the weakened state of both series were much in evidence at both venues.

At the Texas Motors Speedway in Fort Worth, P.T. Barnum clone Eddie Gossage Jr. did his usual masterful job of promotion (i.e., ?Dan vs Danica?), and a good crowd was on hand. And, as is usually the case at Texas, they weren?t disappointed. However, ESPN2?s TV coverage was somewhat of a bummer for several reasons.

After watching NHRA drag racing and NASCAR Busch action in glorious high definition on ESPN2 it was a real letdown when the network went live to Indy Car broadcast in Texas. It was frustrating to find the best race of the weekend being broadcast in lower quality ?standard definition.? After enjoying coverage from the month of May at Indy in hi-def last month, the standard definition Texas broadcast was a bit of an insult to the IRL. Nothing against the NHRA or the Busch series, but it has never been more evident where the IRL stands in the big scheme of things, at least in the opinion of ESPN.

Also missing from the Texas telecast was the popular ?side-by-side? coverage, which allows viewers to follow the race during commercials. This feature, especially useful at a high-speed joint like Texas, was one thing that had made the IRL TV coverage special. As they say: I guess you don?t really appreciate what you have until it?s gone.

The Champ Car race at Portland during their annual Rose Festival has been one of CART/Champ Car?s premier events for many years. Sadly, those days appear to be over. The grandstands along the main straight were, shall we say, thinly populated; a fact impossible to hide. It?s hard to imagine that the event could have been profitable for the promoters.

It appears now, more than ever before, that perhaps Champ Car is on its last legs. With all of domestic open wheel racing slowly slipping in popularity across the board, this may be good thing. By now, everyone knows that, for long term survival, there can be only one open wheel series in this country. And, with no merger between the two groups in sight, the death of one is the only possible salvation.

So be it.

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