- Associated Press - Monday, March 4, 2013

So, the Hulman & George Co. paid a consulting group to evaluate the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and now die-hard open-wheel fans are screaming they could have done a better job for free.

Granted, there are ideas bandied about Internet message boards that are better than some proposed by the Boston Consulting Group in the 115-page `Hulman & Co. Motorsports Strategy’ report obtained by The Associated Press, which reported on a handful of the concepts last week.

But, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said in a statement that BCG prepared many documents and what was obtained by AP was an early version of “suggested elements” for the long-term strategic growth of the company.

Regardless, some of the suggestions were no brainers:

_ Improve television ratings by “avoiding TV competition with other sports, particularly NASCAR and the NFL.”

_ To avoid competition for viewers, “check for local event conflicts before setting dates.”

_ Increase the value of sponsor partnerships by targeting “companies with large sports ad budgets and companies predisposed to motorsports (i.e. NASCAR levels).

_ In scheduling international races, cut costs for teams by running multiple races on regional trips; maximize viewership by avoiding conflicts such as F1 and Carnivale and target countries with a “high affinity for racing.”

You don’t say!

Hulman & Co. is under no obligation to follow anything in the report, including BCG’s recommendation that the Hulman-George family hang onto IndyCar and the speedway.

Where the consulting firm may have erred, though, is in declaring that IndyCar was “the best pure racing motorsports league in the U.S.” then offering a handful of ideas that essentially gimmick up the series.

Among the most polarizing suggestions are a 15-race U.S. schedule held over 19 weeks, a three-race playoff at the end of the season and a finale on the IMS road course.

Purists don’t want a playoff. They don’t want a second IndyCar race at IMS, and they certainly don’t want Long Beach moved from its traditional April date to a mid-September playoff race.

According to the report obtained by AP, the top 15 drivers in points would automatically qualify for the 18-driver field. The other three spots would be filled the day before the Texas event via a “sprint wildcard” race open to any driver who participated in at least one event during the season. The top three finishers would round out the field.

Points would be reset to zero for the playoffs and would be awarded as usual for the first two races, Texas and Long Beach. The finale on the road course at Indy would receive double points, likely making it a winner-take-all race.

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