THIS JUST IN… I have a face for radio

Stuff has happened. Adventures are happening. More things will happen.

At the beginning of 2014, I picked up a new client (for my company, http://www.242MPH.com) and entered a new world called… NASCAR. I now work with an awesome driver named Parker Kligerman. If you haven’t heard, we co-host a radio show each week called “Kickin’ it with Kligerman.”

What’s it about? Racing. All kinds of racing. F1, Global Rally Cross, IndyCar, NASCAR, V8 Super Cars… you name it. But not only that, it’s just a bunch of fun nonsense. Fitting for me, since it’s also charmingly inappropriate.

We just recorded the newest show this morning, featuring an interview with NASCAR driver Ryan Truex. Interested? Here’s the link: http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-12-features-ryan-truex-driver-83-borla-exhaust-camry-nascar-sprint-cup-series/

In fact, here are the links to the first 11 episodes, in case you have 11 hours to kill.

Episode 11 (featuring interviews with 11 Indy 500 drivers): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-11-features-eleven-drivers-2014-indianapolis-500-one-third-entire-starting-grid/

Episode 10 (featuring Kurt Busch): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-10-features-special-guest-kurt-busch-driver-no-41-haas-automation-chevy-ss-stewart-haas-racing-nascar/

Episode 9 (featuring Matt Hardigree from Jalopnik): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-9-features-the-famous-guy-heard-of-matt-hardigree-immensely-popular-car-culture-website-jalopnik-com/

Episode 8 (featuring AJ Allmendinger): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/wweeks-podcast-8-features-special-guest-aj-allmendinger-driver-no-47-chevy-jtg-daugherty-racing/

Episode 7 (featuring Parker’s Swan Racing announcement): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-7-features-full-interview-parker-kligerman-weeks-swan-racing-announcement/

Episode 6 (featuring iconic rapper 50 Cent): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-6-features-50-cent-50-cent-grammy-award-winning-artist-founder-sms-audio-g-unit-records/

Episode 5 (featuring Kyle Larson): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-5-features-special-guest-kyle-larson-driver-no-42-target-chevy-chip-ganassi-racing-nascar-sprint-cup-series/

Episode 4 (featuring Simon Pagenaud): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-4-featured-guest-indycar-driver-simon-pagenaud/

Episode 3 (featuring Austin Dillon): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/weeks-podcast-3-featured-guest-austin-dillon/

Episode 2 (featuring Alex Bowman): http://www.parkerkligerman.net/kickin-kligerman/

Pilot episode: http://www.parkerkligerman.net/kicking-parker-kligerman/

 

Or you can search “Parker Kligerman” on iTunes and get them all there. Let me know what you think!


The Aftermath: Your Turn

It’s been a week since the Randy Bernard announcement and what a week it’s been. I wrote a blog post on Tuesday with my viewpoints on the current situation at INDYCAR. Consider this a follow-up post, looking for some answers from you.

Note that I wrote this yesterday (Saturday) morning and was undecided on whether or not to post it. Yesterday afternoon, I read another blogger’s post and it was the ‘aha moment’ I needed to go ahead and post, with the hope of gaining clarity and working toward a solution.

From all the comments, tweets and conversations I’ve observed this week, two complaints were most prevalent:

  1. The fans are upset about Randy Bernard being fired because people liked him. He was described in Marshall Pruett’s article as a “rockstar” and many fans felt like they had a direct line of communication to him.
  2. INDYCAR is not being transparent. The fans need more information about what’s going on, in addition to feeling like they’re appreciated.

I had an enlightening conversation the other day with one of the people I respect most in this sport. This man, who has followed INDYCAR since he was five years old, said that he follows the sport for the racing, which is the best its been in years. He remarked that a majority of INDYCAR fans don’t care (or don’t even know) who the CEO is, and that that shouldn’t affect the on-track product.

He ended with, “I love this sport and I certainly don’t need a giant thank you sign for going to the race or watching it on tv.”

It made me step back and think about the other sports that I follow. I’m not involved professionally in any other sport, so I feel that I can look at it objectively. Take football, for instance. I’m a fan and I watch for the game, the players, the rivalries and the fun.

There are two things I don’t expect:

  1. I don’t expect to be told why the NFL makes staffing decisions.
  2. I don’t expect them to thank me for watching the games.

So why is INDYCAR different for the fans?

I think back to my first INDYCAR experience, falling in love with this sport the second I heard those engines fire. My first race was so amazing that I knew right away that I wanted to be more involved. But not once did I ever wonder why the head honchos weren’t thanking me for being there.

I wonder if INDYCAR’s super-access nature makes people feel like they’re so “in the know” that when there’s a staff change, it feels like they’ve lost a family member? Is that a bad thing? (I’m asking, not telling). I wonder where the “show me you love me” mentality comes from? And are the two complaints connected?

Also, I wonder, whether the new CEO is a fan favorite or not, if he should have a full-time “fan liason” that the fans have a direct line to and who responds like Randy did.

The blog I did earlier in the week was met with lots of positive feedback, but there were a few people who misread my point, and assumed I was saying “good riddance” and that it doesn’t matter if we lose more fans. That couldn’t be more opposite than how I feel. If you think I’m not conscious of the fans and how important they are, then you don’t know me, or what I do and you clearly don’t understand my passion for wanting this sport to succeed.

This post is basically a fact-finding session, to help clear the confusion and figure out the bottom line. I understand that the timeline/PR/etiquette of Randy’s dismissal are all under fire but let’s put that aside.

I just want to know: Ultimately, what do YOU want? When you say, “they don’t care about the fans,” what are you looking for? If you were writing a letter to the CEO and you knew he/she was listening, what would you ask for?

NOTE: If you’re going to comment here, please be polite and productive. I’m asking this of you because I’m truly listening and I want work towards a solution. And I’m a nice person.


I Call Your Bluff

After the big Randy Bernard announcement last night, I received a tweet that went a little something like this: “Thoughts on today’s events?”

So for the tens of people who care to hear what I have to say, thanks for being here. From the beginning of this website, I’ve played it safe. Despite the numerous innuendos and a plethora of charmingly-inappropriate comments, I think I’ve done more asking for opinions than giving them.

It was all about the entertainment. But this… THIS… is serious.

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers… okay, our fathers… got their IndyCar news from the newspaper. They sat quietly in their houses and when a story broke from 16th & Georgetown, they read it. Then they set down their paper and pondered quietly to themselves. Perhaps they called a friend to discuss.

Today is a whole ‘nother ball game. Where did YOU get the RB news last night? Twitter? Facebook? The IndyCar website? No matter what channel it reached you through, it was most likely surrounded by the opinions of hundreds of other fans. The “presented without comment” method is no longer an option.

Such is the age of social media, where it only takes one person to scream “THE SKY IS FALLING” as they share the story, and everyone else just covers their head and waits for the inevitable disaster.

It’s quite obvious that I’m a fan of social media, however the mob mentality is a ridiculously vicious downside.

If you’ve gotten this far into the post, you’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned how I feel about Randy Bernard leaving IndyCar. And if you keep reading, you won’t find that opinion here either. It doesn’t matter what I think about the situation because this is bigger than that. It’s about the sport and its future.

I know why the fans love Randy. He listened to new ideas and he gave people a direct line of communication. For that and several other reasons, I can see why there’s so much fan support.

With that said, is it possible to be optimistic that an even bigger fan favorite might be next in line? Is it possible that other parts of the IndyCar community (drivers, teams and even the fans) can be part of leading a positive charge into a new era? Is it possible that the success of this sport might not rest solely on the shoulders of the IndyCar PR department?

Here’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

It was entertaining to watch the abundance of ‘screw this, I’m done being a fan’ responses last night. It’s equally as entertaining to see all those people still posting on twitter today. Now I’ve been known to push the #TeamPositivity charge pretty hard, and don’t get me wrong, I completely understand everyone’s frustration. It’s confusing, it’s unexplained and it don’t seem to make no damn sense.

But for those of you who say you’re done, mark my words: I call your bluff.

You’re not done. You’re not leaving the sport. And here’s why: You love it and you want to see what happens. Whether Randy’s replacement is amazeballs or whether it’s a Milka-esque disaster, you want to see it. You might pretend to look away, but you’ll still have one eye on the web and one finger scrolling through twitter.

It’s drama. And it’s the same stuff that fuels the rivalries (on and off the track) that you like to read about. Yes, the racing is the best in the world. But the “show” that surrounds the racing is just as interesting in its own right. Think about it: There’s no racing in the off-season, but you tune in to the silly season stories, don’t you? Do you completely tune out IndyCar from Sunday night to the following Sunday morning? Nope. It’s the stories and the drama that feed your desire to know, ‘What’s going on?!

Why do I know this? Because I am a die-hard fan. Just like you, like your father, and our forefathers too. I love this sport and want to see it return to the forefront of motorsports. Am I sitting here, just like you, wondering WHY all this is happening? Absolutely. But I know one more thing:

People know stuff. They’re not saying it right now and there are probably very few of them who are completely in the know, but every minute we spend on negative speculation is a minute of happiness we’ll never get back.


“Give me… a keg… of CHEER”

(Editor’s note: The title of this post is an obscure Teen Wolf reference, for all of you who weren’t awesome enough to get it on your own. At least my mom thinks I’m funny.)

I have a confession to make. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I had a reason for doing it. On Saturday of this past weekend, I… watched a NASCAR race.

*hangs head & kicks the ground*

It went against everything in my belief system but I focused on the task at hand in order to cheer on Alex Tagliani. In the end, the Villenueve make-contact-and-never-lift maneuver (or the “Villain-maneuver,” if you will) reminded my why I don’t watch this sport on a regular basis, but nonetheless, I enjoyed watching the guy I was cheering for.

That night, I went to the Indy Mile for the AMA Flat Track Nationals. Another confession: I’m a flat track virgin. I agreed to go because I like speed. And also, the deep fried Twinkies served just outside the track at the State Fair. Can’t really say which one I love more.

At first, I just watched in awe at these guys keeping their bikes upright at that speed… on dirt. It was incredible and I was having a GOOD time. But it wasn’t until they announced No. 31 that I was having a GREAT time.

No. 31 is Dan Ingram, a 47-year-old, Clermont, IN native who had a massive motorcycle crash during a flat track race in 1993, and decided to come back to the sport he loves after 19 YEARS.

After hearing that story, how could you not cheer for this guy? Another fan favorite was Shayna Texter, the first female in AMA Grand National history to win a GNC Pro Singles Main Event. The fans loved her, but as a rule, I don’t cheer for a female just because she’s a female in a male-dominated sport. Oh you do? Good for you. I don’t. Set down your glass of Hatorade and let’s move on.

I know what you’re thinking: What is she getting at here? All this NASCAR nonsense and flat-trackin’ has a point, and the point is this: That day, I watched two events that are outside of my sports arsenal and enjoyed both because I had a REASON to CHEER for SOMEONE.

Back in the day, I attended my first Indy 500 simply to cross it off my bucket list. Before I ever heard the ‘Start Your Engines’ command, I had no intention of ever returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But as luck would have it, I watched the race with my dad, the man who could probably give Donald Davidson a run for his money. The man who told me everything I needed to know as those cars went round and round. The man who gave me REASONS to CHEER for those PEOPLE.

I say “those cars” and “those people” because that’s all they were to me, at the time. Random people under a helmet driving in cars that went really fast. But by sharing their stories – rivalry, comedy, history – my dad helped me to choose the ones I would cheer for and more importantly, made me want to watch more races.

From that day, my first race day, I was hooked. And that day is what I focus on whenever I meet an IndyCar virgin at the racetrack or talk to a new fan through social media. I try to remember that although I love this sport, to them it might just be a bunch of people in helmets driving really cool cars really fast. They need someone to cheer for. They need a reason to watch the next race, a reason to come back next year. They need to have a GREAT time instead of just a one-and-done GOOD time.

As a side note, I was tweeting about the whole flat-track experience on Saturday night. The following morning, Jeremy DeRuyter, the owner of Thirty4 Racing (one of the flat track teams) tweeted at me and asked if I had a good time. I was stunned… and taking notes like a good little PR person.

Thank you to Jeremy for giving me another person to cheer for when I go to my next flat track race (Go Thirty4 Racing!)… and I will most definitely go to another flat track race. Thank you to Tag and Dan Ingram for emphasizing the importance of “telling the story.” And thank you to everyone who realizes the power of “just one more fan.”


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There’s nothing like the Greatest Spectacle in Racing to make someone come out of (nonexistent) writing retirement. And apparently, there’s nothing like the Greatest Spectacle in Racing to make people turn on the sport, bitch up a storm and condemn everything in site.

Welcome to the month of May, race fans.

It’s been almost a year and half since I’ve written a race gIRL blog post. I really thought I was done. For the most part, my posts have been carefree race weekend picks that were tracked by no one and revered by less than tens of people.

This one shall be different. Parental warning: Explicit lyrics. I feel very strongly about this topic and therefore present to you a little post that I like to call…

QUITCHERBITCHIN’

I saw the following question on Curt Cavin’s blog recently:

“When do you think IndyCar packs it in and stops operations? Thirty-two cars? That’s like three horses showing up for the Kentucky Derby.”

I stared at this question for what must have been five minutes. In my head, I went all Roadrunner, pulling out a giant gavel, picturing this Mr. Joe Fan dude as Wyle E. Coyote, and whacking him. HARD. (Note: The old race gIRL would’ve made a “whacking him hard” joke here. Carry on.)

This, boys and girls, is a classic example of what is technically known as “absolute bullshit.” Maybe you know someone who suffers from this travesty. From real life, from a tweetup, or from the comfort of their anonymous profile on twitter, facebook or TrackForum (aka Where Negativity Goes to Fornicate).

I’m sure that YOU are not one of these Negative Nancies, because the race gIRL readers are badass. But if you know someone who matches the description above, I encourage you to ask this “fan” the following three questions:

  1. Are you effing kidding me?! (Okay, maybe skip to #2)
  2. Do you feel that your complaining is helping to solve the problem?
  3. What are YOU doing to be part of the solution?

From the very first time I heard those magical words: “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines,” this sport has hooked me and I’ll never look back. (I’m quite confident that you can relate because, as I mentioned, you’re badass.) I’ve learned over the years that this sport isn’t perfect, but not once have I ever even considered saying some of the things that these so-called “fans” are putting out there.

Yessir, packing it in IS the answer. Let’s just throw in the towel and go home. 32 cars?! Dear God… this must be the end. There will never be another “glory day.” Every race is boring now. What are the people in charge doing? Let’s never again experience the magic of the Indianapolis 500. We need to stop the balloon launch cuz balloons are for kids. Pork tenderloin is yucky and puppies aren’t cute. Damn kids, get off my lawn.

EPIC. FAIL. Grumpy bastards.

One final question for our friends who love to hate: Do you have all the information? If you do, then please feel free to continue telling the world how things should be done. Let everyone know the secret: who should be doing what, when, where and why. We’re all dying to know because then our beloved sport, which would be doomed without your apparent knowledge, will be able to thrive again… like most of us are excited (and hopeful) to see. But we can’t do it without you, so thanks in advance for your help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*slams gavel*


There are two things certain in life: Death and Silly Season

Loretta Young once said, “A charming woman is a busy woman.” Therefore it only makes sense that the race gIRL, being charmingly inappropriate, should be inappropriately busy. And so I have been.

In the midst of all this chaos, I had no choice but to turn to the one man who truly knows how to handle the madness… the Flying Cocksman.

“Mr. Cocksman,” I said.
“Please,” he responded, “Call me Al.”
“Al?”
“Yes. Then I can call you Betty.”
“Deal. Can we talk? I don’t know how to handle the pressure.”
“I’ll show you pressure.”
“Focus. I need help.”
“You’ve come to the right place,” he told me. “Step into my office.”

So I carried him into Dario’s living room. What followed was a conversation that I dare never repeat. It contained more ‘That’s what she said’ moments than should be legal in Nevada. No matter. I learned the one important lesson: It’s Silly Season 2010. Embrace the madness.

God, I missed you guys. Has there ever been a silly season that started with such a bang? And I do love a good bang. (I shake my fist at you, Flying Cocksman). Did you ever think that THIS would be the launch into 2011? That TK and Wheldon would be considering the Nationwide Truck Series? That 7-11 would make the worst decision since Milka said ‘I want to seet in dee race caa?’ That Rahal would be finalizing a deal with Ganassi while FAZZT was eying a second car? That Danica would tweet only about herself? Oh wait. We knew that one.

Nevertheless, the craziness is upon us and it’s only gonna get better. You’ve got 135 days to celebrate the chaos. I recommend that you grab a beer – preferably Leinenkugel’s, to celebrate the return of the Milwaukee Mile with my Wisconsin brethren and well, it’s just damn good beer. So raise that bottle, rip off your clothes and yell, “It’s Silly Season, BABY!” Cuz when that green flag drops, I expect you to be READY.

Note: If you actually went ahead and did what I recommended, please tweet about it so the whole world knows that you’re a die-hard. Plus, I’ll think you’re pretty swell. Happy Silly Season!


Cafe do Brasil Indy 300

I have a friend who used to say I always had his attention when I started stories with, “So I was in the shower the other day…”

As such, I’ve decided to start all future posts that way. Alright, maybe not. That’s just utter exploitation and the race gIRL does not condone such things.

So I was having a pillow fight with a girlfriend the other day. And we were discussing the fact that… wait, are you even listening? If your mind started to wander just then, there’s only one thing to bring you back…

What… in the name of Zeus’ manparts… IS that? What’s with this series and its phallic-shaped obsessions? I think with the demise of the Delta Wang, we had a hole to fill. (See what I did there?) So in comes the God of Speed on his (18th century) unicycle to bring victory to all the land. Or… one person in the land. Now hold up, all ye “art” supporters. I’m not bashing the originality or the concept. I actually think, overall, it looks rather… mighty. But can someone – anyone – explain why there’s a triumphant kickstand on this gentleman? What does it symbolize? Why is it erect? What the hell is he reaching for? These are the hard-core questions that we, as fans, need to know. Or maybe it’s just me.

And I won’t even touch the fact that he appears to be bald, yet with long, flowing locks in the back. If scary-ass trophy dude wants to rock a mullet, who are we to judge?

Let’s talk about who’s going to take home this glorious gem, shall we? I have no choice but to go with Will Power for the win this weekend. He deserves it and you know it. Sure, Dario deserves it too… just less. And let’s be honest – no one wants to see that. So I’ll go with Franchitti for second and – ahh, what the hell – TK for P3.

Before I go, let’s make one thing clear. A green-to-checkered race without yellows is not wonderful. Can someone relay that message to the field before the race? Wait. KV is still running? Nevermind then. We’re all set.

I’m just kidding, Mr. Kalkhoven. Enjoy the race.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers