Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the high volume of questions received, we can’t guarantee that every letter will be published, but we’ll answer as many as we can. Published questions may be edited for length and clarity. Questions received after 3pm ET each Monday will appear the following week.
Q: I’m hard-pressed to think of a larger manufacturer of racing cars than Dallara. Although it is a private family company, what would it be valued at if someone wanted to purchase it lock, stock, and barrel?
P. Worth Thompson
MARSHALL PRUETT: $44,932,017.54. But with the leftover Cyber Monday discount checkout on Dallara.com, type in DW12-4EVER at and you’ll get an extra 20 percent off. Seriously though, that’s the kind of info that’s only made available under NDA.
Q: There’s a lot of chatter about F1 vs IndyCar TV ratings. The conversation might need to start turning to IndyCar vs NHRA. With NHRA on Fox and getting the lead in (or out depending on the region), from the NFL, it’s only poised to grow. One race this year I read hit 1.67 million average and 2.8m tops people watching. And it wasn’t even Indy, it was the opening round of their Countdown in PA. They have absolutely phenomenal diversity amongst their fields, with men and women of all ages and backgrounds picking up wins.
It almost seems that they may be more primed to grow their audience faster than IndyCar is here in the States. This bugs me as an IndyCar fan, but I guess it’s great for motorsports as a whole. Penske doesn’t seem to have a plan aside from rebranding Lights as NXT and cutting their purse and putting races on cable/streaming. Meanwhile, NHRA has figured out how to get a TV deal with a major network, keep/pull sponsorship from NASCAR with Camping World, NAPA, etc., and get even more name recognition with Tony Stewart looking likely to go Top Fuel racing in the next couple years or sooner.
I know IndyCar started the year really strong, but as a fan for 25 years, I can’t help but feel that it’s fading faster than ever. That, or other types of racing has caught up in the eyes of the viewers.
I won’t even get into the fact my kids are asking me for the new NHRA and F1 games for Christmas. I wish I could find an old copy of the Indy 500 DOS game from when I was a kid and show them what fun really is.
Michael in Brownsburg
MP: I had a lot of folks forward me the links to news of IndyCar’s chosen video game creator having its board of directors quit, so that 1980s-era DOS game might be the hot ticket in 2023 because at least it exists.
The growth and momentum being shown by all of IndyCar’s rivals is seriously impressive. They’re either gaining on IndyCar or pulling away. I’ve written thousands of words in recent mailbags on the topic so I’ll stand on those as the deeper dives on the subject to explore.
Q: After reading the Iowa article and having had time to process things, I don’t think $100 is a bad price for a one-day event given everything the ticket offers. If I got to see Carrie Underwood and an IndyCar race and my tickets were $100, that’d probably feel like pretty good value.
The hurdle (and in my case barrier) is that this is a two-day event in the middle of nowhere. Going to Newton, Iowa isn’t convenient for a lot of us. It’s on the outside edge for me for what I consider close enough to home (six and a half hours). I’d probably feel a bit differently about the event if it wasn’t a doubleheader. I think the other hurdle for Indy Car fans is, going to see a race and getting a concert is a bonus. The event now feels like going to a concert and the race is a bonus, and I’m not a concert-goer.
I do hope the event is successful. I know if it was at MIS, which is closer to home, I’d have already paid for my tickets. I also think I’d go back if it was a one-day Saturday night event as well.
Ryan in West Michigan
MP: If 75 percent of the event was comprised of $100 flex tickets, there would be nothing to talk about. It would be the best ticket in sports entertainment. But there only so many of those tickets available.
Like you, I hope the event is a sell-out. I also hope IndyCar will bring back the 2.65-liter turbo V8 formula and for the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race to return.
Q: I’m new to following IndyCar and am surprised by the negativity, at least in this forum, around the sport. I’ve watched the 500 my whole life but never much, if anything, of the series beyond that. During COVID, with the dearth of sports programing I watched about 40 years worth of 500s on YouTube, and when the season started back up I began following it and was hooked. I catch every race, practice and qualifying; during the off season I’m watching old races on YouTube, and am all in. I tried other racing and found F1 not nearly as interesting, couldn’t find any appeal in NASCAR and do enjoy IMSA but nothing compares to the speed and competitiveness that IndyCar has going.
From the view of a newbie I see a great product, don’t care if they change the chassis or engines, enjoy the broadcasts on NBC and am surprised that it is not bigger than it is. So there you go!
Mike in MN
MP: Thanks for writing in, Mike. The greatest advice my French Fry Sebastien Bourdais ever gave me was: “Don’t read the comments!” There’s a hardcore group of IndyCar followers who can find the negatives in puppies and ice cream, and as you spend more time navigating the innernets, the spots to embrace and spots to avoid make themselves known.
I know Facebook isn’t the happiest place on the planet, but you might give the Elite IndyCar group a try there. Kind and passionate folks there, led by Adam Schrack. There’s also been an amazing group of racing fans who lean mostly towards IndyCar who’ve banded together around my podcast named the PRUE Day. It’s an amazing group of fun, thoughtful, and compassionate folks. They have a Discord group where most of the hilarity takes place. Drop them an email here if you want to join a cool new racing family.