Wednesday, February 27, 2008

IRL CCWS Amalgamation Headed for Failure?

In my last post I suggested that TG now has half of what he needs to take open wheel racing to a new level and hopefully save it from oblivion. The half I referred to was my notion that OWR requires a single leader if it is to survive. The other half is strength, that leader must be strong and dictator like in order to grow the business.

After watching the Speed TV interview last Sunday TG's response to Robin Miller’s question, - would he now become a full time manager and get out of the team ownership business and conduct the business like Bernie E does in F1, - I began to realize that my prediction of failure might be accurate. TG answered Robin’s question after some thought by saying basically no, me and my wife are team owners and we like what we are doing.

This attitude shows me that he has hardly, if even at all, recognized that strong leadership is a must for any business to succeed. This just seems incredible to me that he cannot recognize that his own IRL is on the brink of failure and that it desperately needs strong leadership.

At today’s press conference both he and KK were claiming that the amalgamation of the two series would begin to solve their issues of sponsorship and other problems that have faced the two series since 96. Although both admitted that it would take a lot of work and time get where they envisioned, this joining together would be was the best way to proceed to that end. I don’t disagree but it will require a strong leader and I don’t see that in TG.

Another thing I saw nearly absent during the press conference was the idea of best practices. When two companies join together one of the greatest things that happen is recognizing each others best practices. The only mention of that was Barnhart’s bit about bringing some of the safety folks onboard because CC had a recognizably superior group that the IRL could take advantage of. It was incredible to me that when asked this specific question TG deferred it Barnhart. The CEO had better know everything that goes on in the company and my impression is that TG is giving up to much responsibility to his underlings.

OWR in this country is a niche market, that market was split between two series until last Friday. Neither series has shown any signs of growth since the split in 96. It is my opinion that both series were on a death course which might have possibly been nearing the end. Now with the amalgamation of the two what will happen? Well it’s still a niche market, can it be made into market big enough to support OWR. Maybe, but that is a tall order, one that I have seen better leaders than TG fail at.

I can’t predict the future but I suggest that Open Wheel Racing fans prepare themselves for life without open wheel racing. It may not happen soon but if someone doesn’t figure out this leadership thing it is very likely to happen eventually.


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