Tag Archives: frustration

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)


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 itself  via self inflicted wounds and fade into oblivion… 
(fasten your seatbelts kids… it’s about to get bumpy)


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.


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?

American Open Wheel…

a breakfast rant.

So, as you many of you may know, I’m a managing editor/writer at a racing website. We started as a Champ Car centric site, covering the Champs and the feeder series (Atlantics).
When unifimergamalgimamorphacation happened we decided we would “transition” along with our teams and drivers. We also decided since we were now the more generic “OpenWheelWorld.net” that we would jump at the opportunity to cover some of the other major junior formulas in N.Amercia. Give those up and comers a little extra coverage and get to know the kids coming up the ladder. So we now cover IndyCar, Indy Lights, Atlantics, Star Mazda & Formula BMW. (and will add the odd article about other open wheel series if the situation warrants)

We do this as a labour of love. We rock on our own dime. We do it because the mainstream media doesn’t or won’t. I do it because over the years I got to know many of the players, especially the young drivers trying to make their mark in the world, and I figured if there was any way I could help them on their journey, I would, as I too reaped so much pleasure out of watching them pursue their dream.

So, fast forward to yesterday. All hands on deck. IndyCar was qualifying their final starting grid positions, Atlantics were qualifying for round 2 of their season. Star Mazda was contesting round 2 of their season, and Formula BMW was kicking off their season. Great! Busy day ahead for Meesh but I was looking forward to all the action!

but see, here is where the wheels fell off…

Were I not in possession of a computer, some savvy and some connections, I wouldn’t have had a fucking clue what was happening or when or where.

IndyCar gets an A, as they manage to provide some sort of coverage for anything that happens on track. Sometimes without any formal commentary, but nevertheless, there is live visual coverage. Apparently there was some TV coverage as well, but being that I live in Canada, ESPN2 is not an option. (nor should IndyCar be relegated to that channel… but that’s a separate rant) I had everything I needed to write my reports in a timely fashion, with very little effort or frustration on my part.

Atlantics get a C. Their trainwreck of a website (lots of now obsolete fluff, very little substance) is so out of date it’s infuriating. No schedule uploads. (had to go to the Laguna Seca website so I knew what the session times were) No Session reports. (they uploaded Friday’s practice times about 3 hrs after yesterdays 2nd qualifying session. Helpful huh?) The timing and scoring was working. The commentary however was from the Long Beach race. Again, not very helpful. And no working video coverage. Today I will hopefully be able to watch the race via their website. (since there is no tv coverage in Canada) We’ll see how that works out. I managed to get my articles up, but with very little flavour as I had no first hand accounts of anything that happened.

Star Mazda gets a C-. While their website was more up-to-date and cleaner, and they posted the session results in a more timely fashion, their timing and scoring was majorly fucked up. Surprising since they are hooked up to the IMSA site for that. It looked like it was working just fine, but see here is where the savvy and connections come into play. I happen to know John Edwards PR rep. I also happened to know that he had kicked ass and had smoked the field in practice. So I knew to give him a call when the timing and scoring showed him doing an installation lap then never returning to the track for qualification. Turns out he was on pole. Fast forward a couple of hours to the race. Again, no video coverage. IMSA radio was rebroadcasting some race from last weekend, and IMSA timing and scoring was again about as useless as a tit on a bull. This time John Edwards, who was on the pole remember, wasn’t even listed in the field. I watched, perplexed as the entire race unfolded, with no commentary, just times, and no JE. Again, a call to his PR rep (who btw is in Laguna with some of his other clients, not in Utah) to ask WTF?? was going on. He, being at the mercy of the T&S like I was, was equally perplexed. Turns out John had not only participated in the race, but had won by a substantial margin. A few hrs later I managed to get all the details in the SM press release. What I didn’t get however were any photo’s for editorial use. Nor did I get a response from the series PR rep when I wrote to request some for our coverage. Article up, hours after the fact, with an old Atlantic’s pic of John to coincide with it.

Formula BMW: They get a D. No schedule breakdown. No T&S. No video coverage. A press release that arrived at 11:30pm EDT and no photo’s to accompany the story available anywhere. It’s little wonder there are 4 teams and 10 drivers contesting this season. (two teams of 4 drivers btw…)

So, here’s the thing. We live in a N.America. A society filled with the most advanced information technology. Why then is it so fucking hard to provide timely and accurate accounts of the on track action in open wheel? Even something as simple as an email providing a timely session report with 2 or 3 photos for editorial use sent to a distribution list an hour after the event would do the trick.
Over in Nascarland, you not only know whats happening on and around the track, 24/7, but you know when every driver wipes his ass & what brand of toilet paper he uses. Then you get live coverage from 10 different angles on two or three networks, with a panel show to analyze it afterwards.

And what is it with these junior formula PR folks? Their series and their drivers are flying so fucking low under the radar that they don’t even register, yet someone contacts them for information to promote them and they ignore it. (I can’t tell you how many emails go unanswered) Ironically Champ Car was rarely any better as far as responses go. If you got a response, it was curt and mostly a one line answer, with no niceties. No big surprise that we were writing eulogies a month ago.

By sharp contrast, the “evil IRL” has been nothing but courteous, immensely helpful, & very welcoming. The media sites (for the series and the brickyard) are a plethora of information and access. Every email has been answered, with salutations, and if the person contacted didn’t have the answer, they not only replied but forwarded my email to the right person on the team. Just yesterday I received a reply from the brickyard folks. First she apologized for the tardy response. (it had been over a month, but I just assumed the answer was no as I was used to being ignored) Then she went about giving a detailed explanation. I replied right away thanking her for even replying at what surely had to be a crazy busy time for her, while adding a few other things. She replied again, right away! Such a simple thing but it makes all the difference in the world. Immediately my labour of love, and a lot of times inconvenient, attempts to cover the series is worth it. I know my efforts are appreciated by them. (Jeff Olson be damned!)

Someone else who gets it all right is A1GP. I had more access to their races, media, information and pictures, and they don’t even race in N.America! Their online coverage was amazing. Full live streaming video race coverage. Full live video podium. Full live video post race interviews. All free online. Cross platform. Simple.

So why do some get it so right and yet others get it all wrong?

Atlantic, Star Mazda and Formula BMW have no excuse!! Tell me those title sponsoring car companies don’t have the money and resources to at the very least have state of the art websites and I’ll tell you bullshit.

People sit and complain about the state of Open Wheel in this country. How we get no coverage, how sponsors ignore us. Well, when the sanctioning bodies of these series stop shooting themselves in the foot and start getting their acts together, only then will it change.

I feel bad for the drivers who are out there raising their own funding and busting their asses so they can pursue their dream. Hell, most drivers have more advanced websites than the series they are whoring themselves out to. What does that tell you?

So what is the answer? Well first of all, get your shit together people! Make some simple changes and build from there. Find an example of who gets it right, then emulate them, adapt, and make it work for you and if you don’t know how, ask! Cause I’m telling you, a few more days like yesterday, and I will be hard pressed to continue to put the effort in at my end.