Fist shaking Friday frustration…

I have been sitting here trying to shake off the ire that has been bubbling through my circulatory system for a couple of hours, but to no avail… so as they say… run for your lives, she’s about to blow!!!

But first… the happy stuff… (in an attempt to keep several f-bombs from your sidebars)

GO JOHNNY GO!!

That’s my boy!! Kicking ass and taking names!

This man-child is the future of American Open Wheel folks. He is fast. Like “raw unharnessed speed, more talent in his baby finger than most” fast. He is American (which seems to be the number 1 criteria for y’all out there) He is smart, a little cocky at times (a lot cocky actually) and he is but a pup, with many years to grow into the amazingly talented man and race car driver we will be talking and writing about for years to come… assuming of course that the entire ladder system doesn’t just implode on itselfย  via self inflicted wounds and fade into oblivion…ย 
(fasten your seatbelts kids… it’s about to get bumpy)

WHAT THE FUCK?!

Seriously. I’m so spitting mad right now I don’t know where to start.

I was so beside myself with excitement about this weekend. After months of winter, and weeks of suffering through NASCAR races so desperate for anything resembling racing, my friends and colleagues are finally gathered around the country to kick off the start of the 2009 American Open Wheel season, and I am chomping at the bit as a journalist and a fan to take it all in, enjoy it and cover it.
Well I might as well have run full force into a brick wall head first. It would be about as enjoyable. I “watched” two races this afternoon, and instead of the euphoria of the start of the season, all I feel is frustrated and empty and nail spitting mad.

My young friend John Edwards won the opening round of his season, and instead of watching and listening and cheering him on, I got to follow all the “thrilling action” via the shittiest timing and scoring platform.
Then I had to wait over 4 HOURS for any type of official news regarding the event, which came in the form of a series email with a fucking postage stamp sized photo to accompany it. His own team has yet to send anything out. Not even a fucking tweet! Come ON! It takes all of a few seconds to send a tweet via your mobile phone like “yay we won! share in our joy” to make us feel like we’re apart of the action. A quick , shitty , blurry twit pic would have thrilled me to no end! I remember people making fun of me last year in Edmonton for putting my pro camera down to take a pic of the podium with my blackberry to upload to my facebook so my friends at home could share in the moment. Well those at home weren’t making fun. In fact, they were very appreciative of it!

Not only would I like the news from the team about John, but I’d also like to know the status of his teammate Markus, who’s first lap ended with his car overturned on the tire wall. Again I remember back to two separate occasions when someone took a moment to drop a quick note from the track to assure me a driver was alright following an incident. It’s the little things that meant the most in the big picture.

Oh and the series website itself is a placeholder at the moment with nothing but a schedule and a link to buy swag. I mean it’s not like they’ve had like 5 MONTHS to tweak the site during the off season or anything…

Star Mazda also kicked off their season this afternoon.
Again, relegated to shitty t&s.
At least there is a possibility of watching their races tape delayed, (unlike Atlantics who have ZERO tv package), god only knows how many weeks from now though, on Speed. (oh wait, I don’t have Speed, so I can’t see those either… fuck it… I give up)
Again, about 4hrs later (just how far away is the goddamn media center from the winners circle???) I got the series email with the sketchy at best details about the race. To his credit, at least Peter Frey adds a full sized jpeg of the race winning car with his email so we have something to run with our race report.

Oh ya, Formula BMW also kicks off this weekend in Puebla, Mexico. I got a beautifully written qualifying report from Erik Mauk (no surprise there as he is the MASTER of press releases). Here’s the kicker though, this series not only has no tv package, but there isn’t even a t&s option. What is the point of writing about and covering a series that NO ONE CAN FOLLOW????

I repeat… WHAT THE FUCK?!?!

And we wonder why we sit here year after year lamenting about the decline of our beloved sport. We take so many small strides forward only to take a bazillion giant leaps backwards year after year.

The technology is out there folks. UTILIZE IT!!
There are cameras at all of these events. (There has to be at least a few for race control)
The slap in the face insult is desperately trying to glean any information from t&s, then being able to click on a link with full camera and commentary ON THE SAME GODDAMN TRACK for ALMS.

How are these kids and these teams expected to solicit sponsorship when they are the best kept fucking secret in racing?

How come Florida Kart can provide live t&s, chat, commentary, and a webcam for all of their events, and we can’t even get running text commentary for Atlantics and Star Mazda, two supposed major, professional open wheel series?

Why, when the technology is so accessible and available, (see the A1GP site for example) are the junior formulas still mired in the dark ages?

Why, when common sense tells you it should be the most obvious choice, don’t the series’ send out one full sized picture of whatever they’re writing about with their news releases. (or if it’s an issue of potential bouncing provide a link to a gallery of selected shots for use)

IndyCar/Indy Lights get it. For every session on track, I have access online to live visuals and a live voice telling me what’s happening on track. Almost immediately after each event I have access to results & photos to run with my stories. Most of the team/series PR folk are immediately available online to answer any questions or forward info or pics if requested.

Here’s why my frustration is boiling over tonight. It’s not as a blogger, but as the managing editor of an Open Wheel news site. See, over at OpenWheelWorld.net, we do the best we can to provide up-to-date news for all of the series. We WANT to champion and promote the junior formulas. We WANT to give these kids and teams the exposure to grow their fanbase and sell themselves to sponsors to make their way up the ladder to the “big show”.

When we are able to be, we are at the track, where we provide a steady stream of news, gossip, insight and photos. It’s important to us to provide the fans with that “this is what it’s like to be here” feeling, to keep them engaged in the sport and entice them to go to the track themselves. That’s how we all got hooked right?
(fyi, we are an amateur site, run by a bunch of freelancers (fans ourselves) with aspirations to work in the industry so we have to rock on our own dime to get to these events to provide coverage, that is why we aren’t at every event)

When we can’t be at the track ourselves, we absolutely rely on the series/teams themselves to provide us the materials to promote the series to the masses.

STOP MAKING IT SO HARD TO BE A FAN!!! UGH!

ok… going to stop now, cause I am literally on the verge of tears. (it’s been a tough week in general)
Tomorrow I will tackle all of the other stuff I was going to write about…

I just want racing to be my happy place again. Is that too much to ask?

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30 responses to “Fist shaking Friday frustration…

  1. Yeah, that’s all sofa king messed up…

  2. Even if they didn’t want to tweet, they could have at least set up a blog or MySpace/Facebook group of some sort as a temporary website in the meantime.

    • My sources tell me that the site was supposed to be up and running well prior to this weekend, and that Ben was none to happy in a meeting this weekend, saying: “I don’t care WHO dropped the ball, Get it done!!”

      (my thoughts exactly Ben! Fuck the finger pointing, just fix it!!)

  3. The HELL with pud-puller (Ditter-Twitter) Facebook, & MySpace…. Just have the series FOCUS on a proper, professional site to promote these training ground series!!!

    Andersen Racing driver Conor Daly did a better job than his team updating his Sebring race week than his TEAM (& their website) did

    He had photos & brief updates posted. He has not posted his race report yet, but post race was nuts & he might be traveling back from FLA…

    • Not a fan of Web 2.0/Social Media Dean? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I agree, Conor’s website provided much more insight than most. Taylor Hacquard (Star Mazda) kept us updated as to his car woes on Twitter all weekend as well.

      • no MB, I’m not. I think its an ultra low cost +lowest common denominator way of communication. The teams can cheap out & not hire professionals to inform & excite their fans & sponsors by providing bare bones, general info.

        Hey Driver X, when you go take a $h*t, don’t forget to take your i-Phone / Blackberry to tell the folks you just lost 5 pounds & throw in some generic thoughts about final practice!!!

        Hey PR Girl, aren’t you dating some dude who owns a digital SLR? We’ll give him an overcrew pass so he can take “free” photos of the team on race weekend. Why pay Mike @LAT for PROFESSIONAL stuff just to give it away on Flickr or My Space?

        Sorry, I know Audi made an R15 Facebook page… but come on! Make proper sites that could really be incredible sources of info (like newspaper & magazines USED to be)

        I think blogs & proper sites would be incredible… but Ditter is minimal info & bordering on WTFC’s for much of its unfiltered content. I would like to embrace ALL that is “new school”, but I also respect “old school” ways that provide actual jobs (like Sr. Editors) to enterprising men & women.

        • All valid points for sure, but I think social media has a place in the current and future way we report on our sport.

          I think there definitely needs to be a balance between the old school and new school to keep not only the old-timers of the fanbase happy, but also to grow the sport to future generations.

          Like it or not, web 2.0 is the standard now. As much as I try to keep up with everyone, the teams and drivers who have facebook pages or twitter accounts are the ones who grab my attention first and foremost, purely because those are the tools I currently use.

          I’m an old dog myself, who was being forced to learn all the new tricks just to keep up and have a voice. (just an aside: I’m in phase two of a job interview process, and I believe what got me there was my rudimentary at best knowledge of social media, as this is something the company knows very little about, but wants to explore)

          I also agree with you 100% that team/series websites need to be much more than they are, with twitter and facebook being used just as supplemental tools to drive traffic back to said websites.

          And while I agree with the amateur vs professional photog argument, as an amateur writer/photog myself, I have to admit that on occasion I have provided shots gratis for teams/drivers. Hey, how do you think those pro’s got started right?

    • I didn’t mean to say that it should be used instead of a full website. I was only talking about a holdover. They should have taken care of it so that my suggestion wouldn’t have needed to have been mentioned. That’s it!

  4. I, too, thought Conor did a great job updating… he usually does. He’s a natural.

    • Ironically he has not posted any Friday race reports yet…

      Star Mazda DQ’d the 3rd place finisher (sorry can’t recall his name…) so Conor gets a podium without the PR for his sponsors.

      Must have been the green race car curse??? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Meesh, spend 5 minutes with me and you’ll see I’m actually quite fond of F-bombs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nice! I’ve been known to make sailors blush ๐Ÿ˜‰

      What races you heading to this year? My wishlist is rapidly dwindling down, but I’m holding out hope of getting in a few.

      • Indy (100% chance) all month long, as usual…. probably Chicago and Kentucky, depending on family, business, and the alignment of the planets. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • I’m going to try for Indy. (but I don’t hold out much hope there) Chicago is on my wishlist too. Toronto and Watkin’s Glen are for sure. Unless a bored millionaire contacts me this week, St. Pete’s is now out. And Mid-O just got removed from the list due to a conflict at my end.

  6. I’m getting the impression that the Atlantics staff & teams were chased out of the media centre and off the grounds immediately following the race. (no other excuse for the lack of substantial updating)

    • Sadly, I think Ben Johnston is relying on his media company to do handle his new toy, the Atlantic series (& management).

      IMO they worry about kissing his a$$ & have no freakin’ clue about racing. The Green Prix thing bombed when the Cosworths were pulled out from under him. The Savannah event imploded & the Atlantics are using the Champ Car era logo (& it sucked when it was “new”).

      Ben… Hire some people with RACING passion & experience!!!

  7. Not only are they using the Champ Car sucky logo, they are using the sucky Champ Car naming scheme with twenty gazillian words in the series title.

    • that seriously drives me batty! I always end up shortening it or just using “Atlantics” as it’s a PITA to write it out all the time.

    • Agreed Pat… WTF is the point of cramming 6-7 elements into a logo when it becomes unreadable?

      Do “Powered by Mazda” & “Cooper Tires” really need to be jammed into a logo? (1) nearly unreadable from a distance & (2) when its a series patch, those logos are in close proximity to the series branding anyway.

  8. I have no idea how you’re getting threaded comments, I don’t have the option to reply in the right place so here will have to do…

    It isn’t putting it into the logo I have the problem with – my problem is using those words at all.

    Why can’t it just be the “Cooper Tire Atlantic Championship with Mazda”?

    • LOL… there should be a faded out “reply” at the top of each post (Name//date/time/reply) Threaded comments are a new addition to WordPress, so I thought I would try it out.

    • I still think thats a mouthful + the sponsors want representation in the series logo.

      CART had the PPG Indy Car World Series… Most I know called it “Indycars”. Winston or Sprint… I call ’em Cup cars. My Detroit Tigers play in a stadium named after a bank that moved out of town… Most I know still call the new part “Tiger Stadium”

      My point? Naming rights are BS…. especially if the sponsor thinks the fans & media will spit out half a paragraph as the series name!

      Now back in the day I tried to use PPG when using paint. I’d try Cooper Tires on my car. Mazda has my props for supporting so much motorsports… they just don’t ALL have to crowd their way onto a series logo.

      • very true on the naming rights and the examples cited.

        I don’t care that it says Rogers Centre on the sign, it will always be Skydome to me.

        • ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ My sister lives near Denver & when her husband attends the Avs games he hands his ticket to the ticket taker, smiles & says “I just LOVE coming to games @ the Coke Center!”

          Almost everytime the person replies “This is the PEPSI Center sir…” He responds with: “I’ve always been a Coca-Cola man.

          Its just his way of poking at the system. His opinion is how do the naming rights HELP the fans? Are there discounts on Pepsi? Does Pepsi’s sponsorship of the arena save the fan money??

          Racing is different… Cooper Tires or Mazda might offer freebees or ticket deals via their dealers or venders. The fan can benefit. ๐Ÿ™‚