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It’s now obvious Miles, IndyCar are utilizing Boston Consulting Group’s suggestions

Sep 27, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

There are three words most diehard IndyCar fans would probably like to forget but are actually going to play a major role on the 2014 season.

No, they’re not Indy Racing League.

It’s actually Boston Consulting Group.

You remember the BCG report, done back in March during the angst of the then-six-month offseason that ran from mid-September 2012 through to late March this year, right? And the subsequent response from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the AP’s reporting on the report? You don’t? Oh that’s right, the suggestions offered from the 115-page document have not exactly been front page material in the wake of what’s been a dynamic season on track in the year’s first 16 races.

But, as time has passed, and planning for the 2014 IndyCar Series season has commenced, it’s become painfully apparent there’s a lot more of the BCG report that’s entering into IndyCar’s short-term strategy.

In no official order, I’ll offer these as proof:

  • Condensed schedule. The BCG suggestion was for a 15-race schedule held over 19 weeks, from April to August. Based on projections and sources, the 2014 IndyCar calendar will likely be 19 or 20 races held over 23 weeks, with three or four doubleheaders (St. Petersburg is in play to become one and/or replace one of the three existing ones from 2013). St. Pete will be held March 30 and if the plan to end the season on Labor Day comes true, that will mean a season finale the weekend of August 29-31. So there’s that. And potentially, even a greater thrash during the year for all involved with the traveling circus.
  • Using Indianapolis Motor Speedway more. Well, this one’s obvious. Like it or not, an IMS road course race is coming, and will thus open the floodgates to debate over whether the last bastion of IndyCar tradition at the Speedway has been dumped like yesterday’s Fried Tenderloin sandwich from Mug ‘n Bun. From a pure numbers standpoint, even if attendance is 40 or 50,000, it’s a bottom line improvement for the Speedway compared to 7,500 or 10,000, and another race for the series at the series’ greatest race course.
  • Selling the pure racing. If this hasn’t been discussed publicly, it should, and frankly needs to be in the wake of NASCAR’s Chase controversy and drudgery of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s dominance in Formula One. IndyCar’s product this year has been second-to-none with 10 different winners, 18 different podium finishers, a manufacturer battle that is tied after 16 races and a variety of circuits unmatched in motorsports. The product’s been too good to ignore … yet it’s ignored by almost all of mainstream America except for the 400-500,000 hardcores. I can dream about the prospect of some ambassadorial boots on the ground selling the product, right?

When the BCG report was revealed, it didn’t immediately scream that it needed to be implemented. But for Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the head of IndyCar’s parent company, it’s now obvious that the report is playing into the series’ future direction. Whether it can take IndyCar to the next stratosphere it so deserves remains to be seen.

  1. manik56 - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    A struggling business would be unwise to ignore a consulting firm that you hired to make their business better. Why wouldn’t IndyCar implement their ideas? At least they are trying. Now back to Randy Bernard’s firing…

    • tonelok - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Because they are bad ideas.

      • indycarseries500 - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        Or they’re genius and our fandom/ideas of how it should be makes us blind to that. I’m not totally sure either way.

  2. Jeff - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    IndyCar has far and away been the most compelling racing series of the three mentioned. Still and yet, Ganassi and Penske still are the dominating teams. IndyCar needs even more competitive teams and more oval races, before I’ll be truly happy as an IndyCar fan.

    • indycarseries500 - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Wait, so you say Sebastien Vettel’s domination in F1 is the best thing in racing and two teams that have combined to win 6 of 16 races are “dominating” and holding the series back?

  3. midtec2005 - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    You know, Tony, I’m thinking about starting the Dayton Consulting Group. I’m a professional researcher anyway, so it could work. Maybe IMS could pay me billions to do some research for them. Heck, I’ll take half the money BCG took and deliver in half the time. With that I could come to some better conclusions too! Apparently all I need to do is hold a focus group and make some half-hearted suggestions.

  4. tonelok - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Looking outward for help can be advantageous if one is too close to see clearly. To spend the money they did is another issue. It also discredits those at the helm because implemented ideas are “farmed out”. There are some unbelievably bad suggestions coming from this BCG and they have come at a time when IndyCar is a dark house in the motor racing world. F1 is boring. NASCAR is hokey (their gimmicks are laughable) and yet both crush IndyCar in every arena: marketing, fan support, sponsor involvement, television coverage, ect. The idea that the top brass at IndyCar do not have the confidence in their own ideas and have to go outside and pay big noney for advice bleeds weakness. I hate to say it but what if this is the precise moment that things are about to turn around for IndyCar and at that same moment top management panicked and blew a bunch of money that would actually contribute to their demise rather than assist them.

    • midtec2005 - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      You’re totally on point, and that’s a huge chunk of change that could have been directly invested in the series (if they were going to spend it anyway…).

  5. kitnamania13 - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    They need to triple ticket prices, promote the drivers as Evel Knievel types, and run a 28 race schedule in 3 weeks. Until they do that, they aren’t truly holding to BCG’s vision.

  6. Jeff - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I wanna see Vettel switch to IndyCar, race for AJ Foyt, and be just as dominating as he is in F1. That would be perfect.

  7. worknman24hours - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Indycar needs to promote itself.

    The series is practically invisible in the United States.

    Run the races at the same time in the same time zones in the U.S. every weekend.

    And put the series back on a regular television channel.


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