Defender of IndyCar

Nostalgic Wisps about IMS

Things I Miss at IMS
Things I Miss at IMS

Every so often some road racing aficionado proposes the idea of having a late season race at Indy using Indy Cars, only on the road course instead of the oval. In theory it is not a bad idea, but it is my fervent hope it never, ever happens. That would be a sacrilegious violation of brickyard tradition.

Here is a better idea: Host a multi-class sports car endurance event with a weekend card of several series; perhaps even including Indy Lights. It does not appear Formula One will be back any time soon, and paying the vig those particular shakedown artists demand is even less likely to occur now that bean counters and loose-lipped greedy siblings have their mitts on the management and the kitty.

If ALMS is still in business next season, they are the logical headliners. If not, leverage the NASCAR relationship to get Grand-Am in there in exchange for an Indy Car road race at Daytona. Make an IMS event a twelve hour affair with the rest of the weekend devoted to lots of smaller series.

On second thought...maybe not all the way on the snakepit.
On second thought...maybe not all the way on the snakepit.

I disagree with extreme traditionalists who feel one race a year in May is plenty. That is a quaint notion but unrealistic at this point in history. In a perfect world the IMS racing season would include Indy, the BY400, the MotoGP, the USGP for F-1 and a large event for sports cars. Spread them all out by around a month and a half with the Indy 500 as the season kickoff.

This may seem small, but I would also un-bury the creek that wound its way through turn 1. It has no character running through large underground pipes. Put some trees back. Just a thought. Perhaps I just miss the snakepit. Here’s hoping the new regime keeps going on gentrification of the surrounding ‘hood(s) as well.

9 replies to “Nostalgic Wisps about IMS

  1. Here’s my take on the subject:

    Sunday – Run the Sportscar Race. Since that will probably be later on in the summer when the days start to get shorter, keep it to eight hours. As for the series, The ALMS from two years ago probably would have been a good match. If Acura pulls the plug after this year, ALMS will likely condense to one LMP class with the current LMP2 cars and some extremely late model LMP1 Lolas (Plus the GT’s also). Not sure that is the type of premier event the speedway would want to host. Likewise, Grand Am is second rate – the speedway is better than that. What I would suggest, given that many of the European Le Mans teams compete at Sebring and Petite LeMans, schedule the Indy race to be a part of the European LeMans series. The ALMS guys can join in if they want.

    On Saturday, I would see about running a mixed class race featuring both Atlantic and Indy Lights cars – the Lights cars are bigger, but the two series were within a second of each other at Mid Ohio last weekend. Would be great to see Summerton, Edwards and Desilvestro cut corners with Hildebrand, Savedra, Cunningham et al… Then, have the Indy cars be the Saturday feature.

  2. I agree with you. I think an ALMS 12 or 16 hour race at IMS is beneficial to both series. I also think you’d attract multiple teams from across the pond who feel a win at IMS would be a great addition to their trophy case.

    I don’t want to see Grand-Am at the track. I think the cars are too slow, and don’t deserve to touch the row of bricks. I also think the fans would rather see the more technology driven cars of the ALMS over those fart bucket DP’s.

  3. I like the idea of a 6-hour sports car race. The track doesn’t want to release spectators (no matter how small a sports car crowd may be) into residential areas after dark, so 12 hours would likely not work.

    I don’t see the creek making a reappearance, though some trees would be nice. The snakepit may never com back, but they need to stick some bleachers on the road course inside of Turn 4…that giant beach down there would be much more useful if filled with people.

  4. I’m a road racing aficionado and even I think IRL doing the infield at Indy is a poorly thought plan – the Indy 500 is such a special event, there is no need to dilute it.
    Would Monaco or Monza have the same feeling if F1 raced at them twice-a-year; I doubt it somehow. Leave Indy for the 500 and let the IRL blast on some (good) dedicated road circuits.

  5. Also, before I forget, I always thought September was a good time for the USGP, but I realise of course that they moved it forward because Montreal might not be in a good enough state weather wise to race that late in the season.
    On an unrelated matter, do you see the new USF1 team potentially changing any thoughts regarding an F1 race in the US?
    Editor’s note: It certainly can’t hurt. Either way the current leadership of F-1 loves large trucks filled with millions, and the current leadership of IMS is not going to fork it over without underwriting from a large corporate sponsor(s). I am not convinced they have the talent to pull that off.

  6. If, by some weird chance, F1 wanted to come back, then they should use it. IMS shouldn’t be used for anything except the biggest races.

  7. The thing is Redd, the F1 teams want to come back, the drivers want to come back and I’m sure that there are a large section of fans that want it back , but Bernie is the one who keeps saying no.

    He has this crazy idea idea of a race around the streets of New York (ala Monaco) (an idea that is met with groans an ridicule in F1 circles), but all we want is a good race at a good circuit and while Indy with its infield wasn’t perfect, it was still a decent race at a circuit with phenomenal motorsports history. What more could you ask for?
    I think the only shame for many fans was that more of the oval wasn’t used for the road circuit. I never understood why they never looped the infield outwards to take in the other side of the track.

    Apparently one of the main reasons that BMW are headed for the door at the end of this year, is that there were no North American races at all this season – that the formula is avoiding some an important market so that they can race in front of 10,000 people in Bahrain is absolutely absurd.

  8. I don’t follow F1 but my interest would be much greater if they did race at Indy. It doesn’t seem reasonable for them to ignore the US market, it did wonders for the Beatles. If they have to tweak the track a little to get F1 back then why not–TG put enough money into it already, what’s a few dollars more?

  9. @ Redd,

    I think it was a little more complicated than that – as far I am led to believe, there was a full-on falling out between George and Ecclestone to the point where TG and BE refused to even discuss the matter until someone budged.
    Unfortunately; neither did, time ran out and the consequence is that there is no US Grand Prix right now.

    Believe me, F1 doesn’t want to ignore the US market (in fact the teams really want to be there – it’s a big market for them), but until someone moves to make an offer, the current situation will remain the same. There is a shining light though – apparently they are in talks with the Canadian Grand Prix organisers to go back to Montreal for less than half of the original sanctioning fee.

    US and Canadian Grand Prix work out perfectly for TV stations here too, as they broadcast at around 6/7pm which pretty much guarantees the highest viewing figures for the year.

    (The nice thing about CART/IRL viewing is that they’re normally broadcast between 8/11pm UK time – depending where in the US the race takes place – which makes them a perfect way to round off a weekend)

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