Besides restoring the annual Prize Fund for it’s Champion to Pre-2022 levels and more importantly Higher! Along with reinstating the three IndyCar rides including the Indianapolis 500!
Like others in Ye blogosphere, and feeling fairly uninspired to scribble ‘bout anything since the Racing Season’s pretty much Done ‘N Dusted! I turned to the Racer Mailbag to “see” if something caught my Attenzione, or tripped Thy No. 4 wire?
Not surprisingly, there were two questions in the October 26th Mailbag about the “Health” of Indy Lights, or more pointedly, the lack of Help by it’s parent Penske Entertainment Corporation to Help it’s Series Drivers to reach the top level of Indy Cars. Specifically this year’s Lights Champion Linus Lindqvist who appears to be not moving up to IndyCar next year.
Initially, I Didn’t know the exact details that caused Racer’s Marshall Pruett, or just MP in the Mailbag’s outburst. But Pruett effectively Slammed Penske Entertainment by writing that the Lights Prize is a Joke!
Subsequently learning after initially scribblin’ this prose, appropriately on Halloween, Uhm Trick or Treat? Like talk bout Bobbing for apples…
That Penske Entertainment at El Capitano’, nee roger Penske’s direction had trimmed it from it’s previous $1.2 million by more than 50%, Yikes!
Now am I saying it’s roger’s responsibility to fully Fund and ensure that each year’s Lights Champion gets a Full season Ride in Indy Cars? Absolutely Not! And I’m also not trying to insinuate how Roger should spend His money. Especially since Thars a very good reason that Roger’s a Billionaire and your Humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso is a Basement Dwelling lowly Blogger! Hey Mom, turn on the lights, Chirp chirp, Bueller?
Yet I’m not sure why I could remember this? But I was positive that 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion Simon Pagenaud’s prize was far larger than today’s Lights champion’s winner’s Cheque. For which indeed, the 22yr Old Frenchman won a $2.0 million prize award for winning the title ahead of Graham Rahal. For which in today’s dollars would be wort $2,944,523.81, or more than twice what Indy Lights pays out today! Roughly equivalent to 2.5 times the Lights Champions award, when using Marshall’s previous number…
Yet Marshall seemed to agree with the Mailbag writer who pointed out How Indy Lights doesn’t seem to have a Marketing Department to Help foster Business to Business (B2B) Deals between potential Sponsors and Aspiring Drivers/Teams.
For which another Hot topic seems to be the continued Bashing on about lack of Quality Key Personnel in Indy Cars, i.e.; Engineers, Mechanics, etc. For which I’d surmise that Lights is also a prime training ground for such Personnel. But who knows what’s NXT, Eh?
While is the switch this year to Firestone rubber just one more Cost cutting measure? By spreading the costs between IndyCar and Lights to use the same company’s tyres?
As Roger’s already chiseled in Stone that Indy Lights will not run the Freedom 100 anymore! Which was the Series marquee event, albeit eight Lights cars running around Mother Speedway at “reduced” speeds isn’t exactly saying much about the Health of your Series!
While I’d Arse-sume you could say basically ending Double Header weekends is another cost Cutting move, Eh? Although in fairness to Penske and Company, Pruett correctly points out how Roger just so happened to Buy IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor speedway and IMS Production just before COVID-19 Shut Down Motor Racing around the Globe! And that Roger’s fiscal Conservatism is simply a biproduct of trying to Stabilize things…
As Hopefully we won’t have to Hear Penske Entertainment’s No. 1 Puffed Shirt Mark Miles crowing about how much Lights has improved for 2023 because of it’s increased Car count. Which after all, is largely inflated by the massive Nine Car Armada that HMD Motorsports will run next year! And what Happens if/when HMD pulls it’s Lights plug a la Sam Schmidt did a decade ago?
Yet it wasn’t until reading For the Love of Indy’s Musings from the Weekend Halloween post that I learned about the massive Lights Advancement Prize fund being Slashed! While Raymond Hando further notes How it appears that Penske Entertainment is possibly Dismantling it’s Hugely popular Road to Indy ladder system! And whether or not there will be a Huge Chasm or Disconnect between Lights and Anderson Promotions UF F2000 ladder series?
While Racer’s Marshall Pruett noted in September How Asinine (My Words) it was that the series final Indy Pro 2000 Champion Louis Foster received a Prize of $614,000 to Advance to Indy Lights vs. Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist’s paltry $500k prize!
Whilst Pruett notes that Indy Lights is now paying a monetary Prize Fund Award of $735,000 to the Top four Finishers over the series 14 races. Yet surely either All or the Bulk of this money is going to the Teams, and Not the Drivers! And How Penske Entertainment has Robbed Lundqvist to Pay the Lights Teams His extra $720k the previous Lights Advancement Prize Fund Paid!
As Seriously Roger Penske and Penske Entertainment, Y’all can not come up with a measly $1.0 million to correctly Bump the Lights Champion’s Advancement Prize to a respectful $1.5 million? Not to mention reinstating the three race Dealio’ including the Indianapolis 500!
As Penske Entertainment should be massively Embarrassed that that it’s only paying Lundqvist One Sixth of what Simon Pagenaud’s 2006 champ Car Atlantic Prize was Worth!