This past weekend was a racing fan paradise. The Indy Cars did something dramatically different in Texas, Formula 1 ran nearby in roughly the same time zone, Le Mans occupied the first part of the weekend and NASCAR puttered around Pocono. Most of the events were very compelling, particularly Indy Car. Eddie Gossage and crew reconstituted a 30 year old idea involving twin Indy Car races with a twist.
Two common ways of pulling such events off in the distant past have been lining up in the finishing order of the first race, or inverting the field to start the second race. Both ways have great reasons for being, including the inverted start in which everyone is basically in the same boat except that cream is expected to rise to the top in the second race.
One of the big problems with Indy Car in recent years is the homogenization of the racing. It has become far too stale. Engines never blow up. Tires rarely fail. The equipment is the same except for the preparation. Pits close so everyone bunches up on yellows. Slow runners who stay out are waved ahead and moved to the rear. Indy Car has a chief steward who micromanages competition to an extreme degree. It is white bread racing. Far too few unknown variables affect outcomes. This is part of the reason either a Penske car or a Ganassi car win almost every race (which made a Dan Wheldon win by Bryan Herta’s team via Sam Schmidt Motorsports at the 500 very sweet this year).
With that in mind there has been no better idea lately than what they did between races: Every single driver was paraded up in front of the crowd and on national television (but not streamed live on the Internet-still one of the most colossally stupid aspects ever of Indy Car today) in reverse order of finish to spin one tire game show style to determine their starting position in the second race. That was just brilliant. That method of seeding randomly placed the strong guys with the weak ones all the way through the field.
In the end the outcome was predictable. One win for Ganassi and one win for Penske. In between we were treated to the type of classless arrogance we have long come to expect from former cart powers. At one point or another every public face at Ganassi whined and moaned about the new procedure before, during and after the event. Dario, Dixon and Chip all took turns being boorish assholes, particularly Dario. The class for which he is said to be known is sadly lacking when things do not go his way. Even Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven went on camera to bitch, and their driver got the pole for the second race.
These ungrateful, arrogant whiners completely forgot the value of a great show in favor of crying about what MIGHT hurt them down the road. So could some equipment failure or a crash or a brain fade in the pits at ANY race. To listen to the poor Ganassi bunch you would think the final standings of the entire season were entirely dependent on the second race of the doubleheader. In the end fans got to see some great racing, especially in the second race which was caution free and did indeed see cream rise to the top. The runs from back to front by some who you would expect and many you would not with no caution laps was a thing of beauty. It was a RACE. Dario finished first and seventh but acted as if he had been nailed to a cross. The entitlement these crybabies seem to believe they deserve is astounding.
Slimeball behavior on camera like we witnessed Saturday night makes me glad these fools wasted years of their life choosing a futile path that ended in failure. Twice. Indy Car and Eddie Gossage deserve kudos and thanks for trying something way out of the box and refreshingly original. These folks have got the best interest of the sport and its future in mind. What Ganassi, KV and others did was highly disrespectful and strikingly petty. Even more stupid are conspiracy theory nutjobs that slithered out of their holes screaming ‘FIX’ to put in $.02 of mostly illiterate mumbling.
It is my sincere hope that this becomes a fixture every year and that the selfish arrogance that went on prominent display gets replaced quickly with the kind of professionalism we need. These people need to get with the program or get out. The undercurrent of mutinous behavior we have seen all year must be stopped NOW.