Much of the rhetoric emanating from the mouths of those charged with the future of IndyCar is increasingly disturbing, defies sense and foolishly dismisses the reality of history. Derrick Walker is on record as saying balance is 1/3 ovals, 1/3 street circuits and 1/3 road courses. Uh, no. That is not balance. That is 67% non-oval. Insist on 50% oval and 50% non-oval.
Dan Anderson, now the guy in charge of the ENTIRE IndyCar ladder, openly advocates purging ovals as expressed in an interview on Gordon Kirby’s website: “We’re going to do less ovals,” he said. “I think that the model that requires Indy Lights to do five, six or seven oval races a year is just not workable. It defeats the population in the series because too many drivers from foreign countries don’t understand ovals or are scared of them. Oval racing is exciting but there’s a high cost in crash damage and everything else. We definitely need to train drivers on ovals. My F2000 series does one oval race. My Pro Mazda series does two oval races and my Indy Lights series will do three oval races. That’s the progression that I think we need to do. In the years to come if we see ourselves healthy and we can expand beyond that without hurting the car counts, we’ll do that. “ I like Dan and the way he operates, but American racing IS oval racing. ‘Training drivers’ and ‘crash damage’ are weak excuses for aberrant behavior by self-serving team owners that have been trying unsuccessfully for forty years turn IndyCar into a domestic version of Formula 1.
The only real proof anyone needs to make a case for ovals is to look at NASCAR’s recent deals. Despite attendance that is slipping and television ratings that are down, NBC Sports just opened the bank for NASCAR rights and their 30+ ovals, two road courses and no street circuits. I strongly suggest the Formula One-abees again wresting control of IndyCar take a strong, objective look at the history and demise of every big time road racing series in the country.
It is high time to concoct the strongest possible lineup that mixes every type of venue over twenty events spread from right after the Super Bowl to the beginning of football season. Each one can be made to work with coherent terms, promotion and execution. In no particular order, here are the best choices:
- Rockingham (Hillenburg’s track)
Ten Non-Ovals (5 natural terrain; 5 temporaries):
- Watkins Glen
- Long Beach
- St. Pete
- Get Pikes Peak reopened for real racing, install SAFER and go racing.
Need alternate non-ovals? There are some choices:
- Road America
- Miller in Utah
- Something in Canada
Ovals must be the primary basis for the series. If the mostly foreign twisty specialists are more like Mike Conway than Ed Carpenter, find more Ed Carpenters. It is not difficult if you look. If you want, open ten races to the formula bunch and award its own championship. Run a field of Ed Carpenters on ovals and award a championship for that. One thing is for certain: Over emphasis on non-ovals is pointless and and has no meaningful future. Do what is right for a change.