Knocking Down Some Cobwebs

BORDEAUX FRANCE - JULY 23: Tom Cruise arrives on the finish line after stage eighteen of the 2010 Tour de France from Salies-de-Bearn to Bordeaux on July 23 2010 in Bordeaux France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Remember me? It's OK if you don't, because I haven't been around much lately. My name is down there at the bottom of the page, and although I'm listed as an editor or something, I've been slacking a lot lately.

It's not because I don't have things to write about, but how many "Randy Bernard is a golden god" posts do you want to read? Also, I'm a real n00b when it comes to IndyCar, so I can't talk about my favorite race from the 60s/70s/80s, or compare the current tide of happy feelings with the dark days of The Great Schism of the Open Wheel Ranks.

But, like Lauren Talley, I've got a song to sing - well, a need to unclutter the corners of my mind where stuff builds up. So here goes, what one of my mentors, a sports columnist, always called the cheapest column to write: the grab bag.

"Have you met Marco Andretti?"  

Tuesday the news broke that Comcast has obtained FCC approval to take over NBC Universal, which includes IndyCar's home network of Versus. Although still needing Justice Department approval, this deal could have a significant impact on IndyCar, which would no doubt benefit from having increased visibility from being associated with the largest U.S. cable company.

When we also consider that IndyCar has opened a media liaison office in Hollywood, one wonders what cross-promotional stunts we'll see.

Imagine two-time and reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti making a cameo appearance on 30 Rock, or Will Power on Chuck, or Ryan Hunter-Reay on Days of Our Lives. Can Danica Patrick hosting Saturday Night Live be too far away?

I just hope that as these drivers become more well known, that perhaps other networks would be willing to book them for cameos. How cool would it be to see a series of IndyCar racers serving as Barney Stinson's wingman on How I Met Your Mother?

How do I say this?

In an effort to help other IndyCar bloggers, here's a list of adjectives for use in describing series CEO Randy Bernard in their posts:

astonishing, awe-inspiring, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, exalted, formidable, grand, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing, moving, overwhelming, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, wonderful, wondrous.

You're welcome.

Live isn't who we thought it was

Recently I saw some conversations on Twitter about the new media deal the American Le Mans Series has struck, which includes flag-to-flag live webcasts on ESPN3 with edited/taped or live broadcasts on the ABC/ESPN family.

Some bloggers/sports car fans thought this was a bad deal for the series because live TV coverage would be minimal.

I don't see it that way. With the expanding universe of sports and media outlets, and the development of delivery platforms like smart phones and mobile TV, we need to discard the notion that "live" is critical to (1) build a fan base or (2) meet the needs of existing fans.

"Live" is great, and probably the ideal for a series or sport, but what's more important is just to be seen and to have your sponsors seen. When you consider many sports have worldwide audiences and broadcasts may have to cross a dozen time zones, online - either over the web or a smart phone - is the most efficient way to do it.

Although taped and edited highlights may not be enough for hardcore fans, they are a great way to introduce a series to new fans, who will hopefully then be curious/interested enough to learn more, and more importantly, tell their friends.

Who knows? In a few years we may look back at the ALMS deal as the standard that all following deals were modeled after.

There's no business like ...

Speaking of that IndyCar media office in Hollywood, I have a couple great movie ideas I'd like to share with you.

"Foyt" ... there have been bio-pics of Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash and just about every King of England back to Richard the Lionhearted, so why not one of racing's most iconic figures? I'm inclined to see Robert Duvall playing present-day AJ with plenty of flashbacks and racing action.

"Driven 2" ... Yes, there have been a lot of jokes about this one in the Twitter-verse, but my version has a great twist. Forget Sly Stallone, think Tom Cruise reprising his character Cole Trickle from Days of Thunder, but now he's an aging open-wheel driver/team owner threatened by a young upstart played by either Justin Timberlake or that glowing vampire from Twilight.

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