Why can't the USA produce a good driver.... competitive to world standards.
There's more to being a good RACE CAR driver than....
You're onto something here...and it's largely a cultural issue. F1, for most Americans, is an acquired taste.
Think of the fundamental differences:
1) F1 has massive, massive budgets for their teams, and the amount of investment, R&D, race support, etc all directly correlate to winning. NASCAR, which I personally don't care for, has an excruciatingly consistent product insofar as the cars themselves, and they want the racing on the course, dictated by the drivers, not the $$ behind the Ferrari team which wins the Manufacturer's Cup religiously.
2) Oval racing is as old as driving itself: the heritage here cannot be undersold, especially when you talk about Indianapolis and the Brickyard. Racing in Europe evolved naturally more as road races, not track races. Hence, the dichotomy.
3) While I bemoan the CART/IRL split, it did exactly what it served to do: bring more foreign and younger drivers into prominence. Some people decry that Indy is a bunch of no names and rookies, but the quality of driving is outstanding. I loved watching the British Invasion this season.... There is no *effective* equivalent development circuit/method for an American driver to get into F1.
4) It is what it is: standing start VS
rolling, the ability to pass on ovals VS
less so in F1. Plus, the ability to only see a fraction of the course, poor sightlines in F1, whereas in American auto racing, you can usually see the entire track. Don't underestimate that one.
I would like to see an American driver become a consistent driver in F1, but it would take a very special person to do that given the above issues.