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The Stephen Cox Blog presented by McGunegill Engine Performance: Indycar is Running Out of Heroes
The trouble with Indycar is not that there’s no one available to take Dario Franchitti’s place. The trouble with Indycar is that no one cares who takes Dario Franchitti’s place. The series is fast running out of heroes and reinforcements aren’t arriving quick enough. This is bad business.
Let’s look for a moment at a few successful business models.
When high school basketball star Damon Bailey began playing for Indiana University in 1990, be brought legions of fans with him. Everyone in the state knew of Bailey long before he arrived at IU because he had played at every small-town gymnasium for 100 miles in every direction for years. Damon Bailey drew interest from the target audience and as a result, the university sold tickets.
Everybody thinks former heavyweight champion and MMA superstar Randy Couture made his name in mixed martial arts. Wrong. He was a three-time NCAA All American wrestler and a three-time national champion runner-up long before his MMA career ever began. He brought his grass roots following to the UFC and as a result, ticket sales soared and mixed martial arts have gone mainstream.
Matt Kenseth used to run at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. I was there three weeks ago and saw his name engraved on the wall. Jeff Gordon used to drive at Bloomington Speedway when I raced stock cars there in the 80s. They took their fans with them to NASCAR.
Does anyone see a pattern here?
Now let’s take a look at the grass roots following that the next generation of Indycar drivers will bring to the sport.
Carlos Munoz of Indy Lights started his open wheel career in Italian Formula Renault before going to the West European Cup series. Jack Hawksworth ran the British Formula Renault series and arrived in America having run fewer than twenty races in full-sized automobiles in his life.
I spoke with Luca Filippi on the phone a few weeks ago. He’s a great guy and a fine driver. I really mean that. But his background is in Asian and European formula cars.
These guys will put on a great race, but the average American sports fan won’t watch it because the competitors have absolutely no grass roots following from the target audience.
Look, this is not the old IRL-CART argument, nor is it a plea for sprint car drivers to take over Indycar. And this isn’t about “getting more American drivers.” I couldn’t care less what nation a driver came from.
This is just business. Indycar needs to sell tickets to its target audience, which, like it or not, is still primarily American.
Precious few American auto racing fans know or care who won the last Formula-Whatever-Gizmo championship for rich kids in Europe. And no, they don’t know or care who won the last Formula Mazda title in the USA, either. The “why” doesn’t matter. They just don’t.
Indycar is not bringing in new heroes from short tracks and club racing. The barriers to entry are too great, the expenses are too high, and no one needs a good oval driver when the cars can be driven flat out around the entire track.
Instead, the series is relying on one race – the Indy 500 – to create their own heroes out of drivers who have little or no prior familiarity with an American audience. And with Franchitti, it worked. After three Indy wins he was a genuine star.
But with only one Indy 500 per year, there aren’t enough Borg Warner faces to continually re-stock Indycar’s depleted corps of superstars. And the new guys coming into the sport have no real support from American auto enthusiasts. We don’t know these guys. They climbed the racing ladder overseas and arrived in the US carrying a bucket of cash with no following from local club races or short tracks.
And that is why, generally speaking, no one really cares who replaces Dario Franchitti. Stock car fans in Wisconsin don’t care. Sprint car fans in Iowa don’t care. Road racers in Texas don’t care. And the predictable result is that they are less likely to buy tickets to an Indycar race. And that is a bad thing.
Dario’s departure leaves Indycar with one less hero, and we’re starting to run out of replacements.
Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions
McGunegill Engines/Boschett Timepieces #31
Co-host, Mecum Auto Auctions
Photo Credit: Indycar/LAT USA
Source: Global Media/Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions
· Auctions America to lift the gavel on approximately 800 lots of memorabilia without reserve, January 24-25, 2014 in Auburn, Indiana
· Two-day sale headlined by the Wally Arnold Collection featuring petroliana, automobilia, signs, soda fountain and country store nostalgia
· Auction also boasts extensive collection of model railroads including O Gauge treasures
· Frequently updated lists of entries available at auctionsamerica.com
AUBURN, Indiana – Auctions America is delighted to announce its first all-memorabilia sale, live from the Auburn Auction Park, January 24-25, 2014. This unique two-day online sale will present approximately 800 lots of memorabilia without reserve, including the eclectic Wally Arnold Collection featuring quality petroliana, automobilia, signs, soda fountain and country store nostalgia. Additionally, the sale boasts an extensive model railroad offering with an incredible assortment of new-old-stock (NOS) collectibles.
“Whether someone is new to the hobby or they are seeking specific items, they’ll find pieces to complement their collections at our January memorabilia sale,” says Donnie Gould, president, Auctions America. “We’re honored to present the late Wally Arnold’s exceptional treasures as Auctions America expands its memorabilia department in 2014.”
Until his passing in June 2013, Mr. Arnold resided in southern California. Highly regarded in the automotive aftermarket industry, he got his start sweeping floors at Cal Custom, and became president of the company by the 1970s. In the 1980s, Mr. Arnold joined the senior leadership team at Eagle One automotive appearance products, remaining with the company until it was acquired by Valvoline (Ashland, Inc.) in 1998. With his passion for motorsports and specifically hot rods, Mr. Arnold then formed White Eagle Motorsports. His company was hired by Valvoline to manage Eagle One displays at hot rod and custom car shows across the country.
Mr. Arnold carefully built his collection over 40 years, attending swap meets and antique shows with his family in search of new treasures. Highlights from his extensive collection slated for January’s auction block include a Mohawk 15-inch metal body globe found in untouched condition sporting patinaed paint on the high profile metal body with brilliant color on both lenses; a National #5 bronze candy store cash register (circa 1900) featuring a fine scroll design, a rare factory accessory time clock and natural bronze castings with a superb original finish; an United Motors double-sided porcelain and neon outdoor sign presented in its “as removed from the building” condition including mounting supports and guy wires; and a six-foot, Red Crown Gasoline porcelain sign offered in its as-found condition including the wood frame and working glass thermometer.
Model train collectors will also be treated to a diverse selection of items, including an ACE Trains of London O Gauge A4 Pacific Locomotive and Tender (Golden Eagle), a MTH 2-8-8-8-2 Triplex Steam Engine Erie with Proto-Sound 2.0 and a Lionel New Haven RS-11 Trainmaster Command Control Set.
Auctions America will offer a number of bidding options for the sale, including Internet, Proxibid, telephone and on-site. Only registered bidders will be permitted onsite during auction days.
Full event details, including a frequently updated list of entries, are available at auctionsamerica.com or by calling toll free 877.906.2437 (+1 260.927.9797 outside North America).
Formed in July 2010, Auctions America specializes in the sale of American classics, European sports cars, Detroit muscle, hot rods and customs. Headquartered at the Auburn Auction Park in Indiana, Auctions America boasts an expert team of full-time vehicle specialists, who offer over 140 years of combined experience. To learn more, visit auctionsamerica.com or Facebook or follow us on Twitter @auctionsamerica.
A selection of items from the Wally Arnold Collection © 2013 Courtesy of Auctions America
Meghan McGrail – email@example.com / 818.703.3731
Beth Ridenour – firstname.lastname@example.org / 407.474.6698
Source: Auctions America
- New for 2014 and first-ever use for the Chrysler Group is unique metallic matte exterior color as part of the special edition package on SRT Viper GTS model
- Package also includes exclusive exterior and interior content
- Limited production run of 50 Viper GTS models with Anodized Carbon Special Edition Package begins in Jan. 2014
Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand announced it will produce an exclusive, limited run Anodized Carbon Special Edition package for the SRT Viper GTS model.
Part of the special edition package is the new metallic matte exterior color that is being used for the first time by the Chrysler Group to add to the exclusivity of the SRT Viper.
“We’ve been waiting for the right time to use this striking new exterior color at the Chrysler Group and as the flagship for the SRT brand, the Viper is the perfect vehicle to showcase this combination of finishes and details to create such a unique look,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “The Viper’s unique, hand built and hand painted process allow us to create these ultra-exclusive special series builds. At SRT, the art of the American exotic supercar is every bit as important as its performance, and this car is for the enthusiasts who feel that way too.”
The new metallic matte exterior body color brings the Viper GTS a one-of-a-kind, luxurious look by providing even greater accentuation to the vehicle’s form. The metallic finish adds depth while the dark matte color amplifies the Viper’s sinister quality.
Unique exterior accents in the Anodized Carbon Special Edition package include: Black Vapor Chrome five-spoke “Rattler” wheels, Gloss Black GTS badge, Satin Black exhaust bezel, Anodized Carbon fuel filler door, orange brake calipers, carbon fiber brake ducts and rear applique.
Luxurious interior accents include Alcantara wrapped headliner, door bolsters and knee blockers; orange accent stitching on the Nappa leather wrapped door trim, center console and instrument panel and on the Nappa leather and Alcantara seats. Orange accents are also added to the door panel and instrument panel. Carbon fiber accents are added throughout the center stack, door panels and steering wheel, and an exclusive carbon GTS badge adorns the dashboard.
A limited production run of 50 Viper GTS models with the Anodized Carbon Special Edition Package begins in Jan. 2014 at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. A Viper GTS featuring the new special edition package is being shown on the floor at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov. 22-Dec. 1.
SRT Viper GTS
The SRT Viper GTS builds on the DNA of the SRT Viper model with more technologically advanced solutions, like its driver-selectable suspension system that allows this world-class car to find extreme limits on the track while also opening up its envelope as a more mature evolution of the classic, extreme performance formula.
Designed and built with premium features and materials inside and out, the Viper GTS models compete with the best performance touring cars in the world – and does so with a wide range of creature comforts, advanced drivetrain and interior technologies.
Under the hood is the handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter, mid-front V-10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque — the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world.
About SRT Brand
The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots.
The SRT lineup in the 2013 model year features five vehicles that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. The Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are joined by the SRT flagship Viper and Viper GTS models, which are making their highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market.
1938 WLD Solo Sport Owned and Ridden by McQueen will be Auctioned off Nov. 23
Walworth, Wis. – Mecum Auctions will offer a rare piece of celebrity history at the second annual Anaheim auction this Nov. 21-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center – a motorcycle once owned and ridden by “The King of Cool” Steve McQueen.
As the highest paid actor of his time, McQueen is best remembered for his roles in movies like “The Great Escape,” “The Getaway,” “Bullitt” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.” In addition to his acting career, McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast and a participant in off-road motorcycle racing. By the time of his death in 1980, McQueen had built up a personal collection of more than 100 classic rides.
While a part of McQueen’s vast motorcycle collection, this 1938 Harley-Davidson WLD (Lot S138.1) is more than just one of a hundred, it’s one that McQueen actually rode, and it is now set to ride Mecum’s red carpet in Anaheim.
“There’s a big difference between a bike that McQueen owned and bike that McQueen rode,” commented Mecum Auctions’ Founder and President Dana Mecum.
The original and unrestored motorcycle was sold at the 1984 Steve McQueen estate sale at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. This rare Solo Sport edition features a Silver Tan and Sunshine Blue paint scheme and shows just 21,000 miles on its odometer. McQueen’s fully documented ownership will accompany the sale in addition to his personal tools found wrapped in a piece of denim in the frame-mounted tool box.
This storied piece of McQueen history will cross Mecum’s auction block on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Anaheim. Doors to the event open each day at 8 a.m. and portions of all three days of the auction will be broadcast live on Discovery’s Velocity Network. Mecum will also present a live stream of the entire auction at www.mecum.com. Mecum’s website is updated daily with the latest consignments including detailed descriptions and photographs of the vehicles. To view the list, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for the Anaheim auction, visit www.mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050.
About Mecum Auctions
Nobody sells more than Mecum. Nobody. The Mecum Auction Company is the world leader of collector car and Road Art sales, hosting auctions throughout the United States. The company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars for 26 years, now offering more than 15,000 vehicles per year and averaging more than one auction each month. Established by President Dana Mecum in 1988, Mecum Auctions remains a family-run company headquartered in Walworth, Wis. For further information, visit www.mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050. Follow along with Mecum’s social media news and join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802
November 21-23, 2013
$20 per person per day; children 12 and younger admitted free of charge
Gates open daily at 8 a.m.
Vehicles start at 1 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday with Road Art an hour prior
Live TV Schedule:
Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m.
(All Times Pacific)
Courtesy of Barbara McQueen via Mecum Auctions
Source: Mecum Auctions
· RM Auctions returns to the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix from January 16–17 to kick off its 2014 collector car season
· Expanded to two days in 2014, the well-established sale will celebrate its 15th year by lifting the gavel on approximately 120 handpicked motor cars
· Early highlights span the spectrum of the market, led by a superb trio of sports and racing Porsches
· Annual sale kicks off RM’s 2014 international auction calendar, which includes the company’s highly anticipated inaugural Paris sale, along with returns to Amelia Island, Florida, and Monaco
· Frequently updated list of entries available online at www.rmauctions.com
BLENHEIM, Ontario – RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house for investment-quality automobiles, is delighted to announce a spectacular roster of early entries for its highly anticipated annual Arizona sale, January 16–17 at the beautiful Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. With a 15-year reputation for offering the world’s finest automobiles to a discerning international clientele, RM’s 2014 Arizona sale will now span two days, offering a handpicked selection of approximately 120 blue-chip motor cars.
“After what has been a record-setting and ground-breaking 2013 for RM, we’re already looking forward to continuing the momentum in the new year,” says Ian Kelleher, Car Specialist, RM Auctions. “The Arizona auctions have a history of providing a strong barometer for the season ahead, and RM’s 2014 Arizona sale is set to present a premier selection of cars as diverse and important as ever.”
Headlining early entries for the Arizona sale are a trio of rare sports and racing Porsches, led by an ex-Bob Donner and Don Wester 1960 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder, chassis 718.066. Boasting extensive racing history from 1961 to 1964, including numerous podium finishes at SCCA and USRRC events, 718.066 has been beautifully restored to original specifications and is presented in fantastic condition. Offered for the first time in nearly 20 years, this RS 61 Spyder is expected to fetch between $2,800,000 and $3,200,000 when it crosses the podium in January. The RS 61 is joined by another fantastic race car from the German marque, a 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6, chassis 906-116. In addition to a notable European track record, including 1st place finishes at both the 1968 Norisring and the 1969 Hockenheim Finale, 906-116 is one of only three known street legal examples. This 906, presented with known ownership from new, has been well-restored and is ready for the track (Estimate: $1,200,000–1,600,000). The superb group of Porsches is completed by an ultra-rare 1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1500 GS Speedster, chassis 83087, which has been freshly restored by marque specialists and features a race-derived four-cam GS motor (Estimate: $1,100,000–$1,500,000).
Shelby Myers, Managing Director, RM Auctions – California, adds, “The GT and sports racing cars in our Arizona auction really represent what makes this hobby so wonderful. Whether you’re at the corkscrew at Laguna Seca or thundering past an old friend on a twisty mountain road on the Colorado Grand, these are history’s great motor cars that really get the adrenaline pumping!”
Additional important sports and racing highlights slated to cross the podium at RM’s Arizona Biltmore sale include:
· a 1961 Chaparral 1 Sports Racing Car, chassis 003, one of the two Jim Hall team cars built by Troutman & Barnes for the 1961–1963 seasons, and campaigned by Hall and his partner Hap Sharp in the golden age of front-engine sports racers. Following improvements made by the current owner, 003 has also seen podium finishes in several recent vintage racing events (Estimate available upon request);
· a matching-numbers, Ferrari Classiche certified 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L ‘Lusso’, chassis 5215 GT, which boasts a meticulous and well-documented restoration and has known history from new (Estimate: $1,700,000–$2,000,000);
· a striking 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, chassis 198.042.8500244, finished in its original color combination of DB334 Light Blue over red leather, one of only six produced in this shade from the factory. This U.S.-specification model has been upgraded with European specification headlamps and includes its original tool roll, books, and Mercedes-Benz build sheet (Estimate: $800,000–$1,000,000);
· a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS, chassis 08353, finished in the incredibly rare hue of Grigio Fumo. Chassis 08353 was the fifth from last example of only 200 produced, and was originally delivered through legendary Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti Motors. Showing less than 12,000 original miles, this 275 GTS is presented for sale following a fresh restoration by marque specialists (Estimate: $1,200,000–$1,600,000);
· a 1960 OSCA 850 S, chassis 769, which has an excellent, period racing history. Chassis 769 frequently competed in SCCA events from 1960 to 1965, with numerous podium finishes, including wins at Limerock and Marlboro, along with class wins at both the 1960 and 1962 12 Hours of Sebring. It has been well-maintained and is ready to return to the track (Estimate: $600,000–$800,000).
RM’s annual Arizona sale begins what promises to be an outstanding 2014 calendar of events for the company, including a highly anticipated debut sale in Paris on February 5, during the world-famous Retromobile week. Additional upcoming 2014 events include RM’s renowned Amelia Island, Florida, sale, scheduled for March 8, in conjunction with the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, along with stunning cars and breathtaking views at RM’s third biennial Monaco auction, on May 10.
Full event details, including a frequently updated list of consignments, are available online at www.rmauctions.com or by calling toll free at 1 800 211 4371 (+1 519 352 4575 outside North America).
For those unable to attend the event in person, RM offers a broad range of remote bidding options, including Internet, absentee, and telephone bidding, and the auction will stream live online at www.rmauctions.com to provide real-time coverage of the sale.
About RM Auctions
RM Auctions is the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With over three decades of experience in the collector car industry, RM’s vertically integrated range of services, from restoration to private treaty sales, auctions, estate planning, and financial services, coupled with an expert team of international car specialists at seven offices around the world, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. RM proudly holds five of the top ten all-time records for the most expensive motor cars sold at auction. RM’s restoration division has achieved unprecedented accolades, earning Best of Show honors at the world’s top concours events, including the prestigious Amelia Island and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. For further information, visit rmauctions.com, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @rmauctions.
1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1500 GS Speedster (Photo Credit Pawel Litwinski © 2013 Courtesy of RM Auctions).
+1 519 437 3061
+1 519 437 3053
Source: RM Auctions