23 August 2010

Is Dominance Boring?

Will Power won on Sunday.  Again.  For the fifth time in 2010.  He's hitting 5-for-9 on road/street courses this year.  Basically, Will Power is 1941 Ted Williams when required to turn left and right.

But Power's success raises a philosophical question: is dominance good for the IZOD IndyCar Series?

I, without question, say yes.  Having Will Power control the road/street races this year has been excellent for the series.

touched on the subject of Will Power before - after Long Beach, when he was 2-for-3 on the young season.    And while he hasn't quite kept up that pace, the 29-year old has been impressive almost everywhere he has been in 2010, from his .556 winning percentage on the road/street courses to qualifying second at Indianapolis to a fifth-place showing at Iowa.

It wasn't boring watching the Bulls dominate the 1990's in basketball; through talent and a gigantic marketing effort, everyone knew Michael Jordon (or thought they did).  Fans watched expressly to see what would happen next.  Same with the New York Yankees of the late 90's.  Love them or hate them (just like Team Penske), they brought people to the stands and to the TV.

Now, to be honest, this has not happened just yet in regards to Will Power.  But I will admit that when a road/street course is on the schedule, I notice it and make sure to pay attention to Power.  Yes, Mid-Ohio saw exactly 0 passes for the lead on track, but given Power's prowess (say that three times fast), watching him try and hunt down Dario Franchitti was still fun to watch.

In the midst of Shark Week, Power chasing Franchitti was the IndyCar equivalent of the great whites chasing seals off the South African coast.

Sure, Power led 73 laps on Sunday.  Was it exciting?  If you enjoy watching the best in the sport put on a near-flawless performance, yes.  If you enjoy the story of a man who broke his back at the same track a year ago and returned to dominate the track and his competitors, then yes.

We are a cynical bunch, the IndyCar fans.  Unfortunately, we too often look the gift horse in the mouth.  Instead, recognize that a star is emerging - a relatively young, increasingly charismatic young man who is only going to get better over the next few years.  Sit back and enjoy what you're witnessing.  Because these types of seasons don't come along too often.    

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