It's been a slow couple of days in the world of sports, so this is a perfect time for me to rant about this weekend's Grand Prix.
I was down there at the event again and my initial reaction was to say that the buzz was really missing this year. Like I said, the scheduling of this race head-to-head against the World Cup was pure bonehead. I dunno what the attendance was for this race. In fact the folks at ChampCar won't say what the attendance was, because they aren't releasing attendance figures this year! Meanwhile, the TV ratings for the World Cup in this country went through the roof. I read that four million people tuned in, and that was just the CTV feed.
Man, what bad PR. You'd think if attendance had been good, these folks would have released the figures and wanted to brag about it. Personally, I'm of the view that the attendance was probably bad- when I was down there it seemed like there were fewer people there than in previous years. In fact, I get the sense that this event has turned downmarket in a big hurry. None of the big Hollywood stars were there, but all the usual women in hotpants showed up.
In fact there was more interest in some staged wrestling bout between two women in bikinis than there was on the racing on the race track! The bout was held by The Fight Network, promoting its digital TV channel, and their event was the talk of the Grand Prix. All the models at their display table were dressed in skimpy outfits. Who cares about Paul Tracy.
I also noticed that PartyPoker.net was there too. That's how downmarket this event has become, folks; this was a place to go if you were interested in fights, or poker, or girls. But forget it if you were interested in actual race cars. I noticed the Canadian Armed Forces were also there, showing off their tanks and trying to recruit people to go to Afghanistan. And there were plenty of beer gardens. I said this last year and I'll say it again, this race has turned into nothing more than a big beer drinker's convention. The people at MOLSON may be pleased, but not race fans. This race has turned into something completely minor-league, something to be ignored.
This race has lost a lot of ground in recent years, folks, and don't think for one second that this disasterous CART-IRL split isn't entirely to blame for the lack of interest in this race this year in this town. In this town and everywhere else in Canada, the hot circuit is NASCAR. There is more buzz about the fact that Montreal is going to be getting a crummy Busch Series race next year than there is for the ChampCar World Series. And it's all because NASCAR is the racing equivalent of the NFL these days.
In fact I hear now that the CART-IRL split isn't even going to get resolved until at least 2008- that this mess is going to continue right through next season, too! AAAARGH! Open-wheel racing is being ruined.
DANICA TO NASCAR?
In other racing news comes word of more problems for the IRL, as Danica Patrick of the Rahal-Letterman IRL team may quit the circuit to go to NASCAR next season.
One wonders what this will do to the IRL. Ask a casual fan about who's involved right now in the IRL and chances are the only driver they can think of is this woman. Surely this would be a blow to the series, Danica leaving for Jack Roush, even though this silly woman hasn't won a single race. Mind you, her whole IRL team has been in the toilet all season long with their crummy cars. So no wonder she loses all the time.